20 QUESTIONS A PASTOR MUST ASK IN TRANSITIONING AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH

One of my roles is to serve as a member of my conference’s Church Health Commission and also as one of its Intentional Interim Transition Specialists.  As such, I frequently come into contact with church and pastors that need to be involved in a “turnaround process.”  Brain Dodd  has an excellent article for those persons in the leadership role. – Steve

by Brian Dodd

One of the most difficult things a pastor can do is transition an existing church. It is important to know right questions to ask before embarking on this challenging assignment.
The following are 20 Questions Pastors Must Ask When Transitioning An Established Church:
What are their traditions?
What are their preferences?
What are the agendas of the existing leaders?
Do the leaders want to transition and move into the future?
Are you prepared to change the existing leaders? They likely took the church from 500 to 100 in attendance, not 100 to 500.
Do the facilities need a facelift? A leaking roof is a sign something else is leaking. Also, outdated facilities do not attract young families.
Do you have a funding plan?
Do you have quality childcare and student ministries?
What and who are we here for? Questions 9-17 are vision questions.
What is needed to impact our community?
Where did we come from?
Where are we now?
Where are we going?
What are the critical success factors?
How do we message this?
What is our timeline?
How do we establish mile markers and measure success?
Am I spiritually and physically prepared for transition?
Have I prayed a hedge of protection around my family?
Am I in this for the long haul? Has God called me to this?
These questions will help you.

FOR MORE WISE COUNSEL GO TO BRIAN DODDBRIAN DODD

Advertisements

ARE YOU LEADING WELL? 13 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Charles Stone has an excellent post for pastoral leaders who are trying to stay on mission, lead well, and keep a healthy balance in their lives. – Steve

by Charles Stone

Five years ago I began a new adventure…leading a new church in a new country. I accepted the lead pastor role at a great church in Canada, West Park Church in London, Ontario. This church is filled with great people committed to God and the cause of Christ. I’ve loved my time here and although I faced some challenges the first year, it has been a great experience. Before I even started, I spent three weeks preparing for my new ministry and I learned these 4 keys necessary to start well and sustain healthy ministry. I’ve also included 13 questions that help us determine how well we are leading.

I use the acronym PALM to illustrate these 4 simple keys. It describes four practices that not only make a new transition go smoother, but represent leadership priorities I recommend every good leader embrace whether or not he or she is new to a ministry role. I’ll briefly explain them and then pose some questions to help you evaluate how well you are embodying these principles.

Prioritize family and self care. This concept simply means that to lead well, we must lead ourselves and our families well. I once heard Chuck Swindoll say that a healthy ministry flows out of a healthy marriage.

  • Key questions to ask.
  1. How would your spouse or kids say you are doing in keeping family a priority?
  2. How often do you take a day off when you truly disconnect from your leadership role?
  3. Are you getting enough sleep and exercise?
  4. Are you saying ‘no’ enough to demands people try to place on your time that you know if you said ‘yes’ would not further your mission?

Avidly over-communicate. This concept implies that leaders must intentionally use multiple means to keep theirs churches and teams informed of what’s happening.

  • Key questions to ask.
  1. Do you have an intentional process you use to communicate to others progress in achieving your goals and key initiatives?
  2. How many tools do you use to communicate? Or, do you count on one method and hope it’s successful?
  3. How often do you repeat your church’s overall purpose and objectives?

Listen and learn. This idea embodies the principle that good leaders are learners and learning happens when we assume a listening posture.

CONTINUE READING

 

 

 

 

 

7 WARNING SIGNS WHEN HIRING STAFF

Dan Reiland shares this seasoned counsel on a vital leadership process in the church. – STEVE

Hiring someone to join your staff is one of the coolest things ever, and simultaneously can scare you spitless.

Especially if you’ve ever had a newly hired staff person go from a dream come true to your worst nightmare.

I always love the privilege to get to add someone to the team. It represents newness, progress and taking new territory. But it’s far better to have an unfilled position, no matter how long it takes, rather than hire the wrong person.

The hiring process is complicated, it’s honestly a study in human nature. Even done well, you never remove all the risks. But there are certain things you can watch for.

Over the course of three decades of hiring experience, I have observed definite patterns and behaviors that either draw me in or drive me away from a potential staff member.

Snap judgments and quick opinions are never wise, but there are specific caution flags that I’ve learned that should not be ignored.

Sometimes a caution flag turns out to be no big deal. It’s just a small piece of the candidate’s story, and in context of their larger story, it’s not something that defines who they are as a person.

In order to grasp and fully understand this kind of nuance in a person’s story it requires that you:

  • Pay close attention during the interview process.
  • Ask open ended questions, ask for stories, and ask more questions directly from their answers.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions.
  • Involve a team, and never have only one person make the hiring decision.
  • Never rush the process.

I’m sure you could add a warning flag or two, but here are seven you should not ignore.

7 Major Warning Signs:

1) It seems like a job more than a calling.

I’m not suggesting that you over spiritualize or even romanticize the hiring process. The position receives a paycheck, but it’s also a church and a sense of calling needs to be evident to some degree.

It’s a delicate balance I know; you don’t want to have someone play the God card.

For example, “God told me He wants me here.” There must be room for God to speak to both parties. But a genuine sense from the candidate that God is in the process is vital.

2) Their spouse is not fully supportive of the idea.

If the spouse isn’t enthusiastic, you need to proceed with great caution.

If the candidate says, “My husband or wife will get happy when we get here,” no they won’t. If they aren’t happy about the decision before they join the team, it only gets worse after. Don’t force it no matter how much you like the person.

It’s not that you are “interviewing” the spouse, but you do want to get to know them. It’s also important that they attend worship at your church at least once and love it.

They need to want to attend your church, not just work there.

3) Spiritual life and community appear to take a back seat to advancement.

It’s good to know the potential staff member has aspirations to rise in responsibility within the organization. Ambition is good. But there’s more to this idea.

It’s true that you are hiring a person to fulfill a specific responsibility. Be very clear on your expectations. However, in the local church, spiritual life and community cannot be separated from the job.

It’s critical that your candidate expresses a genuine longing to grow as a Christian, be part of your community, and develop in their spiritual maturity.

READ MORE

I KNOW THINGS

From Dan Rockwell comes this excellent post about failure, frustration, disappointment, real power and relationships.  One of the best leadership posts I have read recently-Steve

BY DAN ROCKWELL

Spotted on a tee shirt in a book store – “When I drink, I know things.”

I turned to my wife and said, “I don’t even need to drink.”

I know things:

#1. I know fear of failure has helped me succeed.

Concern for loss of reputation or respect motivates when things are going wrong.

Ego is useful when used in service of others.

Ego harms when it devalues others.

#2. I know frustration is a good thing when it ignites solution-finding, but exhausting when you snuggle up with it.

Frustration is your response to ‘evil’. No one gets red-faced when you finish ahead of time and under budget.

Four questions drain poison from anger.

  1. What do you want?
  2. What’s important about that?
  3. How might you include others?
  4. What’s the most reasonable step forward?

#3. I know character waits on the other side of disappointment and pain.

You find character digging ditches, not lounging on the beach.

Grit expresses and develops character.

The only way to develop grit is to use it. When you give up on meaningful work because it’s hard, you lose some of yourself.

Grit tip: Hang with people who have grit if you want to develop grit.

Read more ….

HOW TO HANDLE AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY

Dan Rockwell tackles a topic that so many leaders face daily and struggle with constantly. – Steve

Uncertainty finds comfort in nostalgia.

Those who run from ambiguity and uncertainty are bound to repeat the past.

Uncertainty and humility:

The higher you go in organizational life, the lower your tolerance for uncertainty.

Arrogance ties itself to status, position, and admiration.

Humility enables leaders to navigate uncertainty and ambiguity, but uncertainty repels arrogance.

Humility knows itself and tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty.

Identity blurs into performance for arrogant leaders. Performance isn’t identity for humility.

Failure, learning and personal development fall by the wayside when arrogance controls leaders.

Humility and arrogance:

  1. Humility doesn’t need status. Arrogance compares, stands aloof, and puts others down.
  2. Humility is FOR others. Arrogance is FOR itself. Arrogance is stressed. It worries that it won’t get it’s due and fears losing status.
  3. Humility stands WITH. Arrogance stands above and against. Standing WITH creates freedom and gratitude. Standing above and against creates stress, anger, envy, contempt, and insecurity.

Read more at ROCKWELL

LEADING THE WAY

change-fish

by Dr. Steve Dunn

As we were created by the Master Designer, we are hard-wired for change.  But sin has rewired us to see change us something to be feared and resisted.  This rewiring is often disguised by a desire to be comfortable or a belief that practicality is the supreme value in any situation.  The need for change is often ignored because we are busy maintaining life as it has been handed to us.  We even believe the theological lie that good is good enough and so change often doesn’t occur even when there is mounting evidence that without change we will die.

Many persons see their role in the leadership in the church is to help the people go where they want to go.  That is a dangerous fallacy.  The role of leadership in the church is to help the people go where God wants them to go.

Leading the way is not easy.  It requires three things:

  1. It requires vision on the part of the leader.
  2. It requires prayer to insure that the leader’s vision is truly God’s vision.
  3. It requires relational work to help others share that vision.
  4. It requires courage because sooner or leader has to get out front and lead the way.

And that courage must be grounded in the faith that trusts that God will be at work in and through the leader and the process.

A wise leader does his or homework.  You must look before you leap.  But sooner or later you have to leap.

© 2018  by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com 

 

How to Help Cautious Decision-Makers Make Commitments

Sharing a particularly helpful from Dan Rockwell. – Steve

BY DAN ROCKWELL

Great results require meaningful commitments.

A commitment is saying NO many times in service to a meaningful YES.

The truth about MAYBE:

I hate MAYBE. Just say yes or no!

Maybe is worse than No.

People who can’t say NO and aren’t ready to say YES are anchors. When someone says, “I’m not sure,” everything grinds to a halt until they make up their mind.

MAYBE is a stranglehold on progress.

But thoughtful people need time to commit.

7 steps that help cautious decision-makers make meaningful commitments:

  1. Make clear requests. Don’t beat around the bush. Cautious decision-makers hate ambiguity. Discuss purpose, outcomes, and responsibilities, for example.
  2. Connect requests to their values and goals. How are you helping them get where they want to go? Explore what they get when you explain what you need.
  3. Expect ‘Maybe’ and ‘I’m not sure’ if it’s a big ask. Stay on target, but don’t push down the door.
  4. Offer support. “I’m glad you’re giving this commitment some consideration. What information might I provide that will help you make up your mind?”
  5. Ask, “What needs to be true for you in order for you to be comfortable making this commitment?”
  6. State intent. “I want to keep moving the agenda forward.”
  7. Set a reasonable deadline. “Could you give me your decision by end of day this Thursday?” Or, “When is a good time for you to give me your decision?”

Help team members identify and explore their greater yes if you expect meaningful commitments.

Tip: Relieve pressure by saying, “I’m OK either way.” If you aren’t OK with someone saying no, it’s not a request. It’s a demand.

Teammates who make commitments slowly and follow-through fully are better than those who commit quickly and disappoint.

How might leaders help people make meaningful commitments?

read more