UPDATE: This event is now over. If you missed it, check out the video replay on YouTube.
Here at The Unstuck Group, we are incredibly excited about 2017. Why? We’re hearing from hundreds of pastors across the country who plan to take significant steps to get unstuck this year — pastors who believe their church has a compelling purpose, even if it’s been lost, derailed or delayed.
We love the mission of church planting, but we get particularly fired up by seeing churches revitalized, restored and renewed. (more…)
We have just a few spaces left for our free webinar on Small Group Strategies to Grow Your Church. This live event on Tuesday, July 19 at 1pm EST will be hosted by Tony Morgan and will feature insights from church leaders who have seen small groups work, including Chris Surratt (SmallGroup.com) and Chris Brown (North Coast Church).
Walmart, with all of it’s success as a company, has continued to come under public criticism in recent years. A quick Google Search will provide a litany of articles about the company devaluing employees in order to pad bottom lines and the big box store “gobbling up” smaller local retailers when they move into a new community.
It seems like every town in America has a Walmart. But with all of their expansion and financial success is Walmart headed in the right direction?
I recently read an article in Forbes that suggested despite all of their success, the future looks bleak for Walmart.
Past wins don’t necessitate future success.
I’m glad churches want to know how to reach Millennials. They aren’t fans of organizations, so these 15-34 year olds don’t trust organized religion and churches as much as other generations do.
More than that, churches do not yet understand how to respond to the new life stage of emerging adulthood, so we have a lot of work to do with twentysomethings. I couldn’t be more excited they are getting more focus.
But I’m worried even more about a different generation: the Baby Boomers.
The Unstuck Group continues to grow! Tammy Kelley, one of our newest ministry consultants, has served in a number of different ministry roles and environments for more than 20 years, including serving on the senior leadership team at Willow Creek Community Church, as an executive search consultant with Vanderbloemen Search Group, and now as leader of the Creative Arts Team at Christ Community Church, a multisite church in the Chicagoland area.
I caught up with Tammy to get a little more of her story and wisdom on leading creatives from her experiences in her current role.
TIFFANY: Tell me how you came to join The Unstuck Group team?
TAMMY: I’ve had such an interesting journey in ministry and have worked with some truly amazing churches. In the 90’s, I was a volunteer at Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio leading the first impressions teams, driving youth to serving events, just helping wherever I could. Eventually I was asked to join the church’s leadership board. During that season God clarified my calling to ministry. I eventually went on staff at Ginghamsburg, held several different roles, and ended up being the executive pastor.
I transitioned to Willow Creek in 2001, serving on the leadership team overseeing Human Resources, Communications, Local and Global Compassion, and the Hispanic Ministry. In 2010, I was invited to join Vanderbloemen Search Group and served as a consultant for four and a half years.
TIFFANY: How did you discover you had a passion for helping churches get unstuck?
TAMMY: I never pursued any type of consulting opportunities, yet early in my ministry career God seemed to send church leaders my way for advice, coaching and strategic thought.
I remember one specific event in the late 90’s — it was a two-day training for senior pastors, and oddly enough, I was the main speaker. (I say “oddly enough” because it is still a bit unusual for a female to be working with senior pastoral staff.) On the second day, many of the pastors thanked me, and several said they had stayed up late into the night discussing what I had shared. Quite honestly, that stunned me, but it also helped me understand that I needed to be faithful to continue to come along side church leaders and help them get unstuck.
TIFFANY: What has transitioning to leading creatives in your current role taught you about leadership?
TAMMY: My personality profile always tested high in creativity, but I always thought of my creativity being more with designing org charts than designing weekend services. As I jumped into my creative arts role two key words have been drivers for me: collaboration and consistency.
As the leader of a creative team vs. a more operational team, I find I need to create lots of venues for collaboration – lots of conversations with multiple people in each conversation. My office door is almost always open and has a constant flow of people in and out discussing ideas.
I have learned to appreciate the leadership voice of worship pastors and tech teams who dream and think in visuals and song. At the same time, I have learned that especially in the Arts, we need consistent systems and processes to keep our ever flowing fountain of ideas in control and to make sure we deliver excellence each weekend.
TIFFANY: How would you encourage pastors who are trying to build or improve the creative arts capabilities in their churches?
TAMMY: I would encourage pastors to invest in relationships with their creative teams. Treat them as partners in ministry. Great things happen when there is synergy between the senior pastor and the creative arts team.
I would also say that just as much responsibility is on the shoulders of the creative arts team members for that relationship with the senior pastor. They need to listen and learn from the senior pastor, not rush to judgment or defense when the senior pastor gives feedback or requests a change to the service. It is a two-way street, a partnership, and the senior pastor is the top leadership voice.
The Unstuck Group is always growing, and today we have the pleasure of introducing you to Michael Moore, one of our newest ministry consultants. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, Michael has developed a deep passion for the local church, and now serves as Executive Pastor at Faith Chapel Christian Center in Birmingham, AL.
TIFFANY: Tell us a little bit about you. What led you to join The Unstuck Group team?
MICHAEL: For the last 10 years, I have had an opportunity to serve on staff at my local church in a number of different roles ranging from Marketing Director to Finance Director and now Executive Pastor.
It was in 2012 while in my Executive Pastor role that I had the opportunity to join one of Tony Morgan’s coaching networks for a few months in Atlanta, GA. The practical insight that I gained from that experience was exactly what our church needed. Little did I know that just a few years later, God would open up the door for me to join Tony and the rest of The Unstuck Group team as a ministry consultant.
For years I have always enjoyed having conversations with other church leaders around ideas that moved them closer to where they were trying to go. Witnessing these transformations firsthand has always pushed me to serve local churches and to help them in any way that I could to take a next step towards accomplishing their vision.
TIFFANY: You serve in ministry with your family, as do many pastors around the country. What are some of the things God’s taught you about leading and working with family?
MICHAEL: Great question! One of the main things that I have learned is that the ministry itself and the family unit are not one in the same, and that both require intentional investments to be successful.
To say it another way, while investing time into your family can often lead towards harmony within ministry, spending time working together in ministry does not necessarily equate to quality time invested in your family. So, it is critical to create margin within your schedule to invest quality time into your family outside of ministry.
TIFFANY: There’s a lot of debate going on right now about how churches need to adapt to continue reaching young adults. What are the most important things to consider from your perspective?
MICHAEL: Placing young adults in visible, leading roles within the church is a key, I believe, to reaching other young adults. Every single week, attendees are walking through the doors of our church and they are assessing internally whether or not they can identify with those who are out front in visible roles. Placing young adults in these types of roles helps to create an environment and promotes a connection these younger attendees can identify with.
Another key is to continue to refine our ability to share the Gospel in fresh and relevant ways. Young adults will always be attracted to churches that leverage creativity and technology to communicate the truth of Scripture in ways that are practical and relevant to their 21st century experience.
TIFFANY: When it comes to leading change in a well-established church, what are some key learnings you’d share with other young leaders?
MICHAEL: Over the years I have tried to apply a message that I learned from Pastor Carey Nieuwhof when it comes to leading organizational change—honor the past but don’t live in it!
As leaders, our odds at successfully leading change become a lot higher if we find a balance between celebrating what God has done in our past and not losing sight of the fact that He has more in store for our future.
As our team at The Unstuck Group continues to grow, today we introduce you to Dave D’Angelo, one of our newest ministry consultants. Dave is a pastor at North Way Christian Community in Pittsburgh, PA. With a decade of experience in multisite leadership, Dave shares what led him to join our team and some of the key things he learned over the years leading a multi-campus strategy.
TIFFANY: Tell me about your background and experience that led you to become a part of The Unstuck Group team?
DAVE: I served for 10 years at a multisite church in Ohio that was experiencing significant growth, both in attendance and in locations (from 1 to 6). This gave me the opportunity to experience a variety of staff roles, sometimes two and three at the same time. From communications to student ministries, campus pastor, executive pastor and even to human resources, it was incredible to lead from different perspectives within our organization, all while also serving on our leadership and teaching teams.
TIFFANY: How/when did you discover you had a passion for helping churches get unstuck?
DAVE: In 2012 I joined a coaching network with Tony Morgan to target my own leadership development, and that is when I first realized that teaming up with The Unstuck Group would be an amazing opportunity.
After one of our sessions, and because of a late flight, I got to spend time with another member of our network to work on some of the challenges he was facing in his ministry. Right there over coffee, after getting coached, I was in position to provide some coaching. It was humbling and exciting to watch how an outside perspective can provide hope and encouragement to someone facing a challenging season in ministry. Right then I discovered the passion to help churches and leaders get unstuck.
TIFFANY: Why do you believe in multisite as a strategy for spreading the Gospel?
DAVE: I believe in multisite because I’ve seen it work firsthand. Multisite as a strategy is built on more than just great facilities and cool technology. It’s actually driven by the desire to keep the local church local. To me, that makes spreading the gospel more effective because more multisite campuses, from healthy churches, empowers church attendees to invest in relationships right in their own communities, and then invite them to a church that is also right in their own community. Not only that, but multisite, when healthy, leverages staff resources across multiple locations, allowing staff to focus on their strength areas rather than try to be good at everything.
Multisite as a strategy is actually driven by the desire to keep the local church local.
TIFFANY: What’s been one of the most unexpected leadership lessons you’ve learned while working in a multisite church?
DAVE: The lessons are unending, but what first comes to mind is this: nothing is clear until it is written down. Churches often operate in a very verbal leadership culture. We were no different. You can get away with that in a single site context, but the minute that distance becomes a part of your ministry equation, the need for clarity from staff and volunteers skyrockets. It’s been said that what goes un-communicated in a relationship eventually will control that relationship. The lesson I’ve learned is that communication in a multisite context must be written not verbal.
TIFFANY: What are some of the mistakes you find church leaders make when launching their first campus?
DAVE: Everyone makes mistakes in the first go at campus launches! That said, what I most often see is the tendency to give responsibility without authority. There is often a gap between a staff member’s job description and reality, particularly with campus pastors. When a leader does not have authority equal to his/her given responsibility, they quickly feel helpless, often returning to the senior leader for approval before making decisions. Then the senior leader’s frustration grows, thinking leaders are afraid to lead.
It’s a vicious cycle that debilitates ministry and kills culture. Taking time to clarify the decision making framework, including specific boundaries, is a step too often overlooked.
If I could pick one word to describe church communications directors it would be “overwhelmed.” The advice we have been finding resonates most often is simple: Give yourself permission to focus on the most important things. Schedule time to think. Do what only you can do, and build a team who can handle everything else.
There’s one important reason we encourage churches to track metrics to evaluate health, and it’s this:
Numbers start honest conversations.
The numbers don’t have emotions. The numbers don’t have an agenda. The numbers can’t misunderstand each other’s intent or come up with excuses. They are what they are. They don’t lie.
Now, obviously, the numbers don’t tell the whole story of any church’s health. Every church has a story, and a lot of ministry and life-change can’t appear on a spreadsheet. But when we look at the numbers, honest conversations must ensue. Here are some examples of conversations numbers create when we’re helping churches assess their ministry’s health:
- Why haven’t we baptized more people in the last year?
- Why is it that so many people visit our church one time but do not return a second time?
- Our children’s facility is crowded. How will we make room for growth?
- So, we’re debt-free, now what?
- Our staff are underpaid. What course of action should we take?
- We’re over-staffed. How is that affecting our ministry?
- Why are our small groups thriving while our volunteer teams struggle?
These questions, and dozens of others, spur action. They started with an honest look at the church’s health metrics. For any team to make long-term progress, it must begin with a clear understanding of its starting point.
There’s a time for opinions and gut-checks, and it’s after you’ve been honest about the state of things.
We use this tool as our starting point when a church asks us to help them assess ministry health. We’ve recently opened it up to anyone as an online resource.
It is a 100% online survey for the leadership of the church to complete. This is not a congregational survey; the results are based on church metrics — measurable data rather than the subjective opinions of leaders or members of the congregation.
Because your church’s effectiveness matters, we encourage you to check it out. Our team analyzes your church metrics and provides benchmarks to help you interpret where you are. And, you get a conversation with one of our consultants to talk through your results and help you think through next steps.
Don’t shy away from numbers. If you don’t know where you are, you won’t pray, plan or act with urgency.
Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? | Proverbs 27:23-24
Photo Credit: Ariana Prestes