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 Also, outdated facilities do not attract young families.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

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5 WAYS TO KEEP CRITICS AT BAY

Charles Stone has some wise counsel on an issue that affects and afflicts most leaders. It is part of a larger volume published by InterVarsity Press (see below) – Steve

5 WAYS TO KEEP CRITICS AT BAY

by Charles Stone

Criticism in ministry is never fun. And we often try to avoid our critics thinking that by keeping our distance, we can keep their criticism as bay. However, the opposite may be true. I’ve found that staying closer to them may actually lessen their criticism. Consider these five ways to keep your critics closer to you and their criticism away from you.

 Take the initiative.

Make a list of critics in your ministry that you currently avoid and with whom you need to (re) connect. Pray that they will respond to your initiatives to reach out. Ask the Lord to give you the courage to act. And determine the best way to reach each individual. Should you schedule a breakfast or lunch with him? If you do, be sure to communicate that you don’t have an agenda but that you simply want to connect. Or should you seek her out after a church service to chat? Perhaps you should perform a simple act of kindness.

I once dealt with a leader who would often cast a wary eye toward me. It seemed that I could never meet his expectations. He rarely affirmed me, and although he was not necessarily an open critic, his emotional field around me was seldom an attracting one. I knew his wife enjoyed gardening, and loved unique gardening tools. I saw an interesting hand tool in a flight magazine on a plane trip, so I ordered it for her. A few days after she got it, this leader gave me one of the few compliments I ever got from him; he thanked me for my thoughtfulness toward his wife and seemed truly appreciative. That small act of kindness helped keep me connected to this critic.

As you increase the frequency of contact with your critics, you will build trust. Someone once said, “Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by use.” One final thought: some critics are so caustic that you need to keep your distance. Remember, you don’t need to maintain contact with every critic. Use your judgment.

Leverage the power of story.

Learn to share your story regularly with others. Let your critics know who you are and what makes you tick. That doesn’t mean you must share every intimate detail. Rather, open your heart to let others in. Be vulnerable to them. At the same time, learn your critic’s stories as well. In a non­intrusive way, express curiosity about his life and his story without overdoing it with questions. God may give you a broader perspective and insight to what fuels his criticism.

Put yourself in your critic’s shoes. Instead of mentally tagging her with a negative description, reframe your self-talk. Ask yourself, “I wonder why Jill acts likes she does. I wonder what she brings from her past that could be fueling her criticism.” Adopt a learning mindset rather than a judging one.

One way to share your story is through passion. I’m an introvert, and although I have good people skills, I’m not a party person. If given a choice, I’d rather read, be in a quiet place, connect one on one and stay out of the limelight. When on stage, though, I communicate passion. But I’ve realized that in day-to-day encounters, my introverted personality can sometimes convey to others that I lack passion, especially to extroverted leaders. When trying to connect with extroverted leaders, sometimes I’ve tried to force passion, which unfortunately can come across as emotional reactivity. I’m now learning to communicate more of my heart and passion through story, while staying true to how God created me. I now share more of my life when I preach and when I lead meetings. So, if you’re an introvert like me, you’ll probably have to work harder to communicate passion than if you’re an extrovert.

READ THE REST OF THIS POST ….

FOR A FULLER TREATMENT GO TO: Used with permission of InterVarsity Press, Stone, Charles (2014-01-01). People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval-Motivated Leadership (Kindle Locations 2062-2098). Kindle Edition.

7 BIGGEST BLUNDERS OF EXPERIENCED LEADERS

Dan Rockwell is a daily source of great teaching on leadership.  Here is the best of his blog posts this past week – STEVE

#1. Forgetting who serves who. Leaders serve others so others can serve others. It’s easy to begin thinking the people around you are there to serve you.

Repeat to yourself, “I’m here to bring out the best in others.”

#2. Blaming rather than taking ownership. The first question real leaders ask when someone under-performs is, “What will I do to maximize their performance next time?”

#3. Thinking that self-perception is accurate. I’ve read that only about a third of us see ourselves the way others see us. You think you’re nice. Others think you’re a jerk. You see yourself as open to feedback and suggestions. Others see you as closed and rigid.

Hire a coach to perform a narrative 360 review. This process goes beyond filling out questionnaires. All participants are interviewed. To be effective, make this a forward-facing activity, not simply a backward-facing witch hunt.

READ MORE ….

5 WAYS TO MINIMIZE MINISTRY SILOS

Charles Stone of Stonewell Ministries has one of the most useful leadership blogs available, especially for pastors in churches.  This blog post speaks to a great challenge for any leader seeking to get people to work from the “big picture.” – Steve

5 WAYS TO MINIMIZE MINISTRY SILOS

by Charles Stone

Patrick Lencioni brought the concept of silos into the leadership conversation with this great book, Silos, Politics, and Turf WarsSilos occur in organizations and churches when leaders act like their ministry or team is the only one that matters. A silo attitude results in that leader or team only supporting, giving, or attending functions that pertain to them. It can be kill a ministry and result in many problems. In this post I suggest ways to minimize ministry silos.

First, what problems do ministry silos cause? Here are a few.

  • Unhealthy competition
  • Jealousy
  • Hurt feelings
  • Pride
  • Lack of trust
  • Fighting over limited resources
  • Foot dragging
  • Politics

So how can a leader minimize ministry silos? Below I suggest a key foundation and then 5 pillars to build on that foundation to rid your ministry of silos.

If you want to change your culture to minimize and remove silos, build from the bottom up. Build a solid foundation on the Biblical concept of unity. Teach and train your leaders often about unity remembering that unity does not mean uniformity. God gives each of us unique gifts and abilities which creates a healthy church. Keep these and other Scriptures in front of your leaders.

  • Psa. 133.1 (NIV) How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
  • Rom. 15.5 (NIV) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
  • Eph. 4.3 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  • 1Cor. 1.10 (NLT) I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

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