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Facts &Trends FALL 2015 • FACTSANDTRENDS.NET
shaping Future leaders Tools for creating a culture of leadership development
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Contents COVER SECTION 14 Shaping future leaders Building a culture of leadership development is crucial for the health of the church. By Lisa Cannon Green
20 Add leaders, multiply ministry Eric Geiger talks about conviction, culture, and constructs that develop leaders. By Carol Pipes
22 D esert church plant thrives with Ministry Grid Ministry Grid provides training by leading ministry experts for every ministry area. By Karen L. Willoughby
FEATURES 24 6 marks of a healthy group How do you know if your group is healthy? Here are some ways to find out. By Ken Braddy
28 Serving single How the church can best serve singles and how singles can best serve in the church. By Lore Ferguson Wilbert
30 Rescue me from my church budget Determine the financial culture you wish to create. By Todd McMichen
34 Are small churches the next big thing? Millennials are looking for smaller worship spaces. What does that mean? By Ruth Moon
38 Using technology wisely Technology can greatly benefit our ministries, but disciplined discernment is needed. By Tim Challies 4 • Facts & Trends
42 Can it happen here?
Workplace abuse of staff in the church happens more often than we’d like to think. Here’s how to avoid it. By Patti Townley-Covert
45 N ot so friendly fire Ways church leaders can support, instead of shoot down, their colleagues. By Mark Dance
IN EVERY ISSUE 5 Inside F&T When DIY doesn’t work. By Carol Pipes
6 From My Perspective Training the next generation of leaders. By Thom S. Rainer
7 Insights eliefs, issues, and trends impacting the church and B our world.
33 Groups Matter Five small group basics. By Robert Noland
37 Technology 4 reasons to add media to your website. By Matt Morris
41 Calibrate 11 places to use church greeters. By Chuck Lawless
46 On Our Radar Relevant and practical resources for you and your church.
51 The Exchange 3 leadership principles vital to the church. By Ed Stetzer
Facts&Trends Volume 61 • Number 6 • FALL 2015
FACTS & TRENDS IS DESIGNED TO HELP PASTORS, CHURCH STAFF, AND DENOMINATIONAL LEADERS NAVIGATE THE ISSUES AND TRENDS IMPACTING THE CHURCH BY PROVIDING INFORMATION, INSIGHTS, AND RESOURCES FOR EFFECTIVE MINISTRY.
When DIY doesn’t work
Production Team Editor | Carol Pipes Managing Editor | Matt Erickson Senior Writer | Lisa Cannon Green Online Editor | Aaron Earls Graphic Designer | Katie Shull
LifeWay Leadership President and Publisher | Thom S. Rainer Executive Editor | Ed Stetzer Senior Editor | Marty King
Contributors Ken Braddy, Tim Challies, Patti Townley-Covert, Mark Dance, Chuck Lawless, Charles Long, Todd McMichen, Ruth Moon, Matt Morris, Robert Noland, Lore Ferguson Wilbert, Karen Willoughby
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he latest issue of Do It Yourself magazine just arrived at my doorstep. The cover promised 43 DIY projects I can tackle this fall. My husband, Keith, rolled his eyes at my gleeful pronouncement to try them all. He’s seen that look of hopeful determination in my eyes before. In today’s world of YouTube videos, Google searches, and home improvement channels, you can teach yourself to do almost anything. Believe me, I’ve tried. In high school, I attempted to teach myself how to play the bassoon. Squawk! It wasn’t until I took private lessons that I began to excel (or at least not sound like a dying goose). More recently, Keith and I watched a video on how to replace the wax ring on a toilet. As I’m writing this column, a plumber is downstairs fixing our mistake. I even taught myself how to debone a chicken with some degree of success. Yes, there were chicken parts scattered across the kitchen, and I almost lost a finger. But I did it! (Next time I’ll get the butcher to dissect the bird before I cook it.) Of course, the skills I have mastered are ones where I received hands-on training from someone who knew more than me. They gave me instructions, showed me how to perform the skill, and then practiced alongside me until I developed the skill myself. One area people probably shouldn’t DIY is leadership development. Sure, I can read books, watch TED Talks, and attend conferences to help hone my leadership skills. But leadership is best learned from those who are leading. The Apostle Paul knew this and modeled it for the early church. He explained that God has gifted pastors and teachers within the church to train Christ’s followers to do ministry. This strengthens and unifies the church and multiplies its influence and impact beyond the current generation. As new leaders are developed, they will train others. In this issue, we unpack the tools churches need to create a culture of leadership development. In his column, LifeWay President and CEO Thom Rainer offers practical ways pastors can train and disciple the next generation. Facts & Trends Senior Writer Lisa Green examines how three churches intentionally develop new leaders and unleash them to do ministry. In our leadership Q&A, Eric Geiger, vice president of LifeWay’s Resources Division, explains why he believes churches should excel at leadership development. And Executive Editor Ed Stetzer lays out three leadership principles that contribute to the overall health of a church. Developing others is deeply connected to what it means to be a Christ-follower. Leadership training is a natural part of discipleship, which can’t be accomplished solo. So, guide well because that is your job. At the end of the day, developing leaders will determine the future of your church or organization.
Carol Pipes, Editor @CarolPipes | Carol.Pipes@lifeway.com
Facts & Trends • 5
FROM MY PERSPECTIVE
Training the next generation of leaders
eadership development is one of the biggest challenges for churches and church leaders. Churches often miss opportunities to minister because they don’t have enough leaders ready. The Apostle Paul exhorted pastors and teachers to train up leaders within the church (Ephesians 4:11-13). Pastors are still called to identify and train the next generation of leaders in our churches. If the pastor doesn’t equip the next generation of leaders in the church, who will? Churches need an equipping culture. Of course, everyone in our churches should be discipled and all are called to be ministers. If you do discipleship, you’ll be creating leaders. But if you recognize someone with the gifts and calling to vocational ministry, take the time to personally invest in them beyond the discipleship and development of a typical church member. Members of the Millennial generation are seeking people to invest in their lives. They want to be part of organizations that are intentional about raising up leaders. We will lose members of this generation if we don’t spend time mentoring them. So, what are some natural ways pastors and church leaders can be intentional about developing leaders? Develop leaders from the pulpit. What is spoken from the pulpit will become a priority of the church. A pastor’s passions and priorities are ultimately going to be demonstrated in what is preached from the pulpit. Are you using your sermons to
equip those who are sitting in the pews to grow in their understanding of leadership? Make theological training a critical part of ministry training. Every Christian should be theologically trained. Small groups and Sunday school are logical places for theological training to take place. Your church might consider hosting seminars or
“LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND DISCIPLESHIP GO HAND IN HAND.” — THOM S. RAINER
classes taught by seminary professors. There is a growing synergy between local churches and seminaries to train leaders through on campus and online education, as well as seminars at the local church. This trend will continue to gain ground in the near future. Pastoral apprenticeships are also a great way to train both theologically and methodologically. Spend time with those you are developing. Model for them healthy leadership characteristics. Take them with you on hospital visits, serve alongside them on mission trips, show them how to disciple others, and walk with them on their spiritual journey. Help them decipher God’s call on their life and what He’s trying to teach
6 • Facts & Trends
them. Leadership development and discipleship go hand in hand. Give them a learning path. Recommend books, podcasts, and conferences that will contribute to their development. If the person you’re mentoring is on your staff, offer to send them to at least one conference a year. Give them opportunities to lead. If you recognize potential leadership abilities in church members, provide opportunities for those gifts and talents to be developed. You might start by having them lead a volunteer team or small group. As they progress in their leadership abilities, give them more responsibility. You’ll begin to see the areas where they excel and where they have limitations. Be personal with those you are developing. So much of development is about character. Share with them not only on a professional level but on a personal level as well. Share with them how you handle family issues and how to balance work and personal life. You’ll find in these types of relationships reciprocal learning always takes place. In my informal mentoring relationships, I’ve always felt I’ve learned more than I’ve taught. Every church should be constantly asking: Is God raising up the next generation of missionaries, pastors, children’s ministers, and theologians in our church? Are we equipping those who will later equip others? Thom S. Rainer (@ThomRainer) is President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.
Beliefs, issues, and trends impacting our world
VIEWS ON DIVORCE DIVIDE AMERICANS
Divorce is a sin when...
astors believe not all divorces are created equal, but for many Americans any reason is as good as another according to new research from LifeWay Research. “Pastors make a distinction about the rightness of a divorce based on the reasons behind it,” says Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research vice president. “They want to account for the parts of Scripture that speak of possible rationales.” However, Americans view virtually all reasons for ending a marriage in the same moral light.
“About one in seven Americans are saying divorce is a sin in all of these cases, more than a third don’t think any of these would be a sin, and almost half believe some circumstances would be sinful, but not others.” — SCOTT MCCONNELL, LIFEWAY RESEARCH VICE PRESIDENT
Facts & Trends • 7
Beliefs, issues, and trends impacting our world
What’s morally wrong? Americans’ list grows shorter
ost Americans now view gay sex as morally acceptable, and they see out-of-wedlock birth as no more wrong than wearing fur, Gallup research shows. Nearly three-quarters believe suicide is morally wrong, yet most say doctor-assisted suicide is morally acceptable. Acceptance of many behaviors is at the highest level since Gallup began tracking these issues in the early 2000s, although acceptance has declined for the death penalty and medical testing on animals.
CONSIDERED MORALLY WRONG BY A MAJORITY:
CONSIDERED MORALLY ACCEPTABLE BY A MAJORITY:
% morally acceptable 2001
Married men and women having an affair
% morally acceptable 2001
Sex between an unmarried man and woman
Medical research using stem cells from human embryos
Sex between teenagers
Gay or lesbian relations
Sex between teenagers
Buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur
Having a baby outside marriage
The death penalty
Medical testing on animals
AMERICANS ARE EVENLY DIVIDED ON ABORTION, WITH 45 PERCENT CONSIDERING IT MORALLY ACCEPTABLE, AN EQUAL SHARE VIEWING IT AS MORALLY WRONG, AND THE REST UNDECIDED.
Source: Gallup.com | * Not measured in early 2000s
Making headway against hunger
he world is making progress toward feeding the hungry, with 216 million fewer undernourished people today than in 1990-92. Improvement was strongest in the world’s developing areas, despite population growth. Fewer than 1 in 10 people now go hungry in eastern and southeastern Asia, where rates were once as high as 30 percent. However, almost a quarter of people in sub-Saharan Africa remain undernourished, as do one-fifth of people in the Caribbean.
8 • Facts & Trends
October is World Hunger Month. About 795 million people are undernourished globally. Your church can help alleviate hunger globally by giving to the World Hunger Fund at local LifeWay Stores or at WorldHungerFund.com. At FeedingAmerica.org, find hunger stats for your community by searching for “Map the Meal Gap,” and find a local food bank where you can volunteer by entering your zip code. Source: FAO.org and WFP.org
Cities vary widely on churchgoing, Bible reading
n Birmingham, Alabama, people are reading their Bibles. In San Francisco, they’re skipping church. And in West Palm Beach, Florida, many have never in their lives gone to church regularly. American cities are markedly diverse in their relationships with church and the Bible, new studies from the Barna Research Group show. Not surprisingly, cities in the South report more churchgoing and Bible reading than those on either coast. More than half the people in Birmingham are “Bible-minded,” reading the Bible within the past week and asserting its accuracy, the research shows. At the opposite extreme, just 9 percent of the people in Providence, Rhode Island, are Bible-minded. Church is least popular in San Francisco, where 61 percent are “unchurched”—they haven’t attended in the past six months. In contrast, only 13 percent are unchurched in Augusta, Georgia. And in West Palm Beach, 1 in 6 has never attended church regularly. That’s nearly double the national average. Nationally, 9 percent never attended regularly and 29 percent have stopped, for a total of 38 percent who are unchurched, the Barna research found. Source: Barna
Denominational views on same-sex marriage
hile a majority of Americans now favor same-sex marriage, 72 percent of white evangelical Baptists remain opposed, the Public Religion Research Institute reports. Support for same-sex marriage is strongest among Unitarian Universalists, at 94 percent, and Buddhists, at 84 percent. More than three-fourths of Jews and the religiously unaffiliated also say they are in favor. Opposition is in the majority for Mormons (68 percent), white evangelical Protestants (66 percent), Hispanic Protestants (58 percent), black Protestants (54 percent), and Muslims (51 percent). While two-thirds of white evangelicals oppose making same-sex marriage legal, white mainline Protestants take the opposite view, with 62 percent in favor. Six in 10 Catholics, 56 percent of Orthodox Christians, and 55 percent of Hindus also say they are in favor. Overall, 54 percent of Americans say they favor allowing same-sex marriage, and 38 percent say they are opposed. Source: PublicReligion.org FactsAndTrends.net
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Facts & Trends • 9
Beliefs, issues, and trends impacting our world
Encouraging trends in global Christianity
ith more conflict over religious liberty in the United States and high-profile martyrdoms around the world, it would seem Christianity is in global peril. But that’s not the case, according to a new report. Published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, the findings of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary provide an optimistic picture of Christianity heading into the heart of the 21st century. Among the positive trends: • Christianity is growing. More than one-third (33.4 percent) of the 7.3 billion people on Earth are Christians. That’s up from 32.4 percent in 2000. By 2050, when the world population is expected to top 9.5 billion people, 36 percent will be Christians. Those positive numbers are due to explosive growth in Africa and Asia. • We are reaching the unreached. In 1900, more than half of the world’s population (54.3 percent) was unreached with the gospel. Today, that percentage is down to 29.3 and will drop another 2 percentage points by 2050. More than 2.1 billion people have not been evangelized, and the number of international missionaries dropped in the last 15 years. But the gospel is spreading. In 1900, only 4.3 percent of non-Christians even knew a Christian. That number stands at 14.1 percent today and is expected to climb to 15.4 percent by 2050, largely from the spread of the gospel into predominantly non-Christian nations.
Global Christian Distribution annual trend percentage AFRICA +2.78% • ASIA +2.19% • LATIN AMERICA +1.20% • OCEANIA +1.08% • NORTH AMERICA +0.67% • EUROPE +0.16%
BY THE NUMBERS: BIBLE TRANSLATION—WHO NEEDS IT?
ost Americans mistakenly believe the Bible is available in all languages, new research shows, when in reality translation has not even begun for more than 1,800 languages. However, 72 percent of Americans are unaware of the need for more translations. According to the American Bible Society, fewer than half of the world’s 6,901 languages have complete Bible translations.
of U.S. households owns at least one Bible.
Source: AmericanBible.org PHOTO LIGHTSTOCK.COM
10 • Facts & Trends
Ask the Experts Q. How do I develop a mission statement for my church? A: Bryan Rose, lead navigator for Auxano, suggests these seven steps for developing your church’s primary purpose.
Source: FactsandTrends.net, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
1. Collaborate with a diverse team. Bring together 9-12 staff and lay leaders from multiple generations and ministries. 2. Study the Scriptures. Read and reflect together on Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8. 3. Understand the lost in your community. Make list “A” naming the condition of people who are far from Christ, digging deep for characteristics or issues specific to your locality (i.e., isolated, child-centric, pursuing significance, unfulfilled). 4. Describe growth as a believer in your context. Make list “B” describing the character, actions, and condition of growing followers of Christ, specifically in your church (i.e., renewed, at peace, compassionate, in community). 5. Articulate an action-oriented calling. Using steps 3 and 4, craft a 10- to 15-word mission statement that activates your congregation to pursue movement from lostness (List A) to growing in Christ (List B) every day. 6. Filter through the “5 C’s.” Most mission statements are too complicated, wordy, and long. Use this filter to refine your new mission. • Is it clear? Could a 12-year-old understand and live it? • Is it concise? Are you using commas and conjunctions? If so, your statement may be too long. • Is it compelling? Does this inspire conversation and excite? • Is it catalytic? Is active participation required to live it? • Is it contextual? Is it reflective of who and where you are as a church? 7. Prayerfully lead toward this true north. Understand that vision transfers through people, not paper. Lead the church body to embrace your church’s mission statement by consistently communicating it through sermons, conversations, illustrations, and actions. Source: Auxano.com
98% 1 in 5 of Americans believe people should have access to the Bible.
Americans (21%) believe the Bible is not currently available in all of the world’s languages.
of first languages worldwide do not yet have a translation of the Bible.
Facts & Trends • 11
Six ways churches can help their pastors thrive
By Lisa Cannon Green
he statistics are sobering: Four out of five senior pastors expect conflict in their church. Most say being a pastor is overwhelming. Nearly half say the demands of ministry seem too much to handle. Yet churches can do much to ease pastors’ stress and encourage them to stay in ministry, according to a new report from LifeWay Research examining the reasons pastors quit. LifeWay’s survey of 1,500 pastors from evangelical (including non-denominational) and historically black churches found most are hanging on. About 1 percent a year leave for non-ministry jobs or non-pastoral roles in ministry. But the study identified many stress points that can contribute to a pastor’s departure. Top reasons for leaving the pastorate, current pastors say, are a change in calling, conflict in the church, and family issues.
Here are six recommendations on how churches can better support their pastors and possibly help avoid these issues. Set reasonable expectations. More than 1 in 5 pastors believe they face unrealistic demands. That can lead to burnout, the experts say. “After personal failures—deep, frustrating, agonizing defeats—many will decide, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” says Jamie Johns, a corporate chaplain in Houston, Texas. A church can help by having members pitch in with duties such as hospital visits and not expecting the pastor or his family to do everything, says Melissa Haas, director
12 • Facts & Trends
Beliefs, issues, and trends impacting our world
of support groups for Hope Quest Ministries. Donald Hicks, president of Church Health Solutions, recommends a written contract—“a pastor covenant that basically says what I’m going to do for the church, what the church is going to do for me, and what we’re going to do together.”
PASTOR STRESS: BY THE NUMBERS
More than 8 out of 10 pastors agree they feel they must be “on-call” 24 hours a day.
Provide paid time off. More than 80 percent of pastors feel they must be on call 24 hours a day. As a result, they may neglect their own spiritual health, the report says. “Personal retreats, solitude, times away where you can think and reflect and pray—to me, that’s crucial,” says Lance Witt, president of Replenish Ministries. Without prodding from the church, pastors may not take a personal Sabbath. “Firmly insist they recharge, recreate, and reconnect,” says Jared Pingleton, director of counseling services for Focus on the Family. “One of the burnout factors is that you give and you give and you give until you give out.”
$ 53 percent of pastors say they are often concerned about the financial security of their family.
54 percent of pastors agree the role of pastor is frequently overwhelming.
More than 1 in 3
Make sure pastors can get counseling. For confidentiality, this may need to occur outside the church and in a different town, the report notes. There has to be a cultural shift away from this notion that a pastor can’t struggle,” says James Eubanks, director of counseling for First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia. He recommends telling pastors, “Hey, we know you have clay feet just like everyone else, so we want you to get any help you need, any time you need it.”
pastors agree ministry demands keep them from spending time with family.
THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT MINISTRY
Have a clergy support group. More than a third of pastors say the demands of ministry keep them from spending time with their family. To help, churches should have a group “whose main objective is to keep their pastor and his family healthy, well-fed, well-housed, and to make sure their automobiles are safe to drive,” says H.B. London, president of H.B. London Ministries. Pay the pastor adequately. More than half of pastors say they are often concerned about the financial security of their family. “When a pastor is not paid properly, most of his time is spent trying to figure out how he’s going to support his family,” London says. For help determining church staff salaries visit CompStudy.LifeWay.com.
More than 9 in 10 married pastors agree their spouse has found a fulfilling ministry in their church. And 94 percent of married pastors agree their spouse is enthusiastic about life in ministry together.
1% More than 9 in 10 pastors agree their families regularly receive genuine encouragement from their congregations.
Encourage friendships. To find fulfillment, pastors need to get out of the office and make true friends, the report says. “Pastors need some life-giving friendships where they’re not the pastor and they’re not on, but actual friendships that replenish their life and fill them up,” says Witt. LISA CANNON GREEN (@LisaCCGreen) is senior writer for Facts & Trends.
About 1 percent of pastors a year leave the pastorate for non-ministry jobs or non-pastoral roles in ministry.
PASTOR CARE LINE 1-844-4PASTOR (1-844-472-7867)
Available 8 a.m.-10 p.m. ET Provided by Focus on the Family.
Facts & Trends • 13
shaping Future leaders Tools for creating a culture of leadership development By Lisa Cannon Green
14 â€˘ Facts & Trends
idway through leadership training at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, Rex Hamilton woke up one morning and realized he could breathe. Months of saturating himself in God’s Word had eased his longstanding anxiety. Studying with a small group helped him confront sin and unbelief. Within two years, the former high school basketball coach was on staff at the Texas church, overseeing leadership training for others. “I experienced the gospel in a new and deeper way than I ever had,” he says. “It opened my eyes and empowered me to want to go out and serve the Lord.” Today, hundreds sign up every year for the nine-month leadership course that changed Hamilton’s life. But at thousands of other churches across America, building future leaders is a hit-or-miss effort that leaves the ministry at risk, church growth experts say. “When I ask pastors, ‘What’s your leadership development strategy for your church?’ I only get two answers,” says church leadership consultant Mac Lake. “One answer is, ‘Well, Mac, we don’t have one.’ And the other answer is, ‘Well, ours is organic’—which means they don’t have one.” Only 29 percent of Protestant pastors say their churches have staff development plans, LifeWay Research found, even though the vast majority believe it’s important to equip church leaders. Training for volunteers typically happens once a year or less, and informal mentoring is the most common style. Even among the largest churches, most have no leadership development plan. Too often, churches without plans to develop new leaders stymie their own growth, Lake says. They hire leaders,
and then lose momentum when those staffers leave. They place volunteers in ill-fitting roles because no one else is ready. The pastor is overloaded trying to handle everything alone. “The pastor becomes the bottleneck,” says Daniel Im, church multiplication specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources.
Building a pipeline Rick Duncan recalls being that bottleneck decades ago, struggling to grow his northeast Ohio church beyond 200 members when more than 100,000 unchurched people lived within five miles. His epiphany came at a seminar when he realized the barrier was his lack of leaders. “Even if I’m totally devoted to it, I’m only going to make a few disciples,” he says. “So I have to equip other people to also make disciples.” Now he manages leadership development for Cuyahoga Valley Church and is working to train leaders at other area churches. The training is built on the concept of a leadership pipeline, the idea that people become leaders in stages and gain essential skills at each turn. First, they learn to lead themselves, then to lead others. Eventually some will lead other leaders, lead departments, or lead an entire organization. Most churches are good at the initial stage, teaching new believers to live like Christ, but they falter at guiding believers into leadership, Duncan and Lake agree. And that stunts spiritual growth because the Great Commission calls all believers to be leaders as they make disciples of others. “We have to take people beyond living like Jesus and teach them how to
OF PROTESTANT PASTORS SAY THEIR CHURCHES HAVE STAFF DEVELOPMENT PLANS — LifeWay Research
Facts & Trends • 15
“TO SEND OUT CAMPUSES AND CHURCH PLANTS, WE NEED PEOPLE IN OUR PIPELINE TO BE EQUIPPED AND READY.” —Deanna Spallone, Christ Fellowship in Miami
Mac Lake’s three conversions
hurch leadership consultant Mac Lake shares how he learned the value of leadership development. Lake is visionary architect for the Multiply Group and leadership pipeline navigator for Auxano. My first conversion was when I was 9 years old. That was my conversion from lost to found. That is my salvation story. My second conversion came when I was 27 years old. I was a great follower of Christ, but I didn’t know how to lead. I was in seminary, and a pastor came alongside me and began to disciple me as a leader. For the first time in my life I began to see, “Oh, I’m not just supposed to lead myself— God wants me to learn how to lead others.” And so, he helped me make that second conversion, from doer to leader. Then I started in ministry, and at age 34, I was leading all kinds of teams. And it almost killed me. I had a midnight conversion where I went from leader to developer. God whispered into my soul, “You know, if you want to have a long-term impact and really want to maintain health as a leader, you need to begin to develop leaders.” So, I began to focus all my efforts on discipling leaders so they could lead the teams and I wasn’t doing all the leading. As I’m doing the leadership pipeline with churches, pastors are coming to me and saying, “Oh my goodness, my staff has never had this second conversion. My staff has never had this third conversion. I’ve been asking them to develop leaders when they’ve never had a leadership development conversion.” That’s like asking a lost person to lead somebody to Jesus.
MAC LAKE, CHURCH LEADERSHIP CONSULTANT
16 • Facts & Trends
lead like Jesus,” Lake says. The leadership pipeline terminology comes from a business management book, but church consultant Brad Bridges says churches aren’t borrowing a corporate concept. “I’d say all corporate leader development was really modeled after what we see in Scripture,” says Bridges, vice president of the Malphurs Group. “The church is trying to restore to itself what the corporate world learned from God.”
Modeling leadership A strong leadership development program will teach a blend of topics, from decision-making and collaboration to ministry skills such as evangelizing and leading Bible study. Theology and spiritual growth will also be part of the mix. Leadership training should go handin-hand with discipleship. Beyond that, programs can look very different from one church to the next—and that’s as it should be, Duncan says, because plans work best when they fit the personality of a church. At Duncan’s church in Ohio, a leader and three learners huddle every other week for about six months. Between meetings, learners have reading materials and videos to study, but Duncan says the key is their interaction with the group leader. “They need to spend time with someone who has grown as a leader more than they have,” he says. At Christ Fellowship in Miami, leadership development is built on an apprenticeship model, says Deanna Spallone, training and development director. With nearly 3,000 volunteers, the church equips its people by finding top-notch training materials, making that content available to leaders, and then relying on those leaders to coach and train their teams. “To send out campuses and church plants, we need people in our pipeline to FALL 2015
Austin Stone’s leadership training includes classroom training and weekly meetings.
be equipped and ready,” she says. Austin Stone Community Church uses a more structured approach, with nine months of classroom training that follows the school schedule. About 250-300 people meet weekly in an auditorium, then break into small groups—a leader and three or four learners with similar goals. Participants are expected to memorize Scripture and study for exams. The program has more applicants than it can accommodate. “They can draw near to the Lord and grow as much as they possibly can in those nine months,” Hamilton says. Whatever the approach, leaders agree people need field experience and feedback in addition to their study materials. Churches tend to focus solely on knowledge, Im says: “Hey, you want to be a leader? This is what you need to know. Read this.” But that’s not enough. “Individuals need to actually be in the
ministry, be on the ground doing it, and they learn through that,” he says. “They also need feedback, which is the coaching piece.” Lake calls those three KNOWLEDGE elements “the triad of development—knowledge, experience, and coaching. When those three things overlap, that’s when transformation can truly take place in the life of a leader.”
An orderly transition Duncan, a former pro baseball player, says leadership development has been a home run for his Cleveland-area church—not only in growing young leaders but also in passing the baton to a new lead pastor. He had seen what happens when a pastor dies without a successor. It wasn’t good. “So I began to study Scripture and it seemed like there was a pretty orderly
PHOTO PROVIDED BY AUSTIN STONE
TRIAD OF DEVELOPMENT
Facts & Trends • 17
Tips for getting started Begin with yourself. “If you as the pastor don’t believe you need to grow, the chances of your church growing numerically or spiritually are pretty slim.” —Brad Bridges, vice president of the Malphurs Group Be intentional. “We look at our volunteers and say, ‘How can we help develop them to be leaders?’” —Deanna Spallone, training and development director, Christ Fellowship, Miami, Florida
transition between Moses and Joshua and Elijah and Elisha, and I’m thinking, Why can’t we do this on purpose?” He spent two years training Chad Allen to take his place at the helm of the church Duncan founded in 1987. “He had never been a senior pastor, and his church was about half the size of our church. So I poured into his life over a two-year period to help equip him to lead our organization.” And then Duncan stayed on board—supporting the new leader, working with church planters, and cementing the loyalty of longtime members. Nearly three years later, he’s pleased with the transition. Cuyahoga Valley Church is exploring the launch of a satellite campus in the future, and people from all corners of the ministry are involved in shaping the church’s leadership development process. To Duncan, that broad involvement is critical. If one person develops a plan and presents it to others, “They’ll go, ‘Eh, this looks pretty good—go for it, brother,’ and there’s not ownership. You want widespread ownership in this.”
Choose character. “Select people who are faithful, so if things get hard, they’ll follow through. They’re available—they have time to sacrifice. And they’re teachable—they want to learn and can receive correction.” —Rex Hamilton, director of equipping, The Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, Texas Plan for the leaders you’ll need in 2-3 years. Otherwise, “you’re relying on new church members to transfer in, or you try to steal from other ministry areas within the church.” —Daniel Im, church multiplication specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources Make tools your own. “Learn from other churches, but don’t just import what they’re doing. You have to look at your particular vision. It can’t be a cookie-cutter approach.” —Rick Duncan, founding pastor, Cuyahoga Valley Church, Broadview Heights, Ohio Be patient with failure. “Failure is the greatest fertilizer for the development of new leaders. When a young leader makes a mistake, that’s a teachable moment.” —Mac Lake, leadership pipeline navigator for Auxano
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY AUSTIN STONE
18 • Facts & Trends
Widespread ownership leads to a shift in culture—a change in which leaders begin to multiply because leadership is embraced and expected. Ultimately, Lake says, that’s the goal. Getting there demands patience. It’s messy. But in the long run, it works. “If you really care about the long-term health and vitality of your church,” he says, “you’re going to focus on building a culture of leadership development.” LISA CANNON GREEN (@LisaCCGreen) is senior writer for Facts & Trends.
•T he Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow by Mark Miller. A business fable about character traits of a strong leader. •T he Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and James Noel. The path from leading self to leading an organization. • Leaders at All Levels by Ram Charan. The apprenticeship model for leadership succession. • Ministry Grid. MinistryGrid.com. Online leadership training designed for ministry. • Auxano. Auxano.com. Consulting on church vision and leadership development.
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Facts & Trends • 19
Add leaders, multiply ministry ERIC GEIGER ON CONVICTION, CULTURE, AND CONSTRUCTS THAT DEVELOP LEADERS
o one should outpace the church in developing and deploying leaders, says Eric Geiger, vice president of LifeWay’s Resources Division. In addition to leading a team of almost 600 to produce a comprehensive array of resources for the local church, Geiger is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. His passion for the church comes through as he talks about the need to assist pastors in their mission of equipping their members for ministry. Facts & Trends recently talked to Geiger about the importance of developing leaders to expand the influence and ministry of the church.
What are some traits you consider vital to effective leadership? In their classic work based on extensive research, The Leadership Challenge, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner build the argument that credibility is the most important trait. People want to be able to trust and follow their leaders. For a leader to have credibility, the leader must be a person of integrity. When the apostle Paul challenged Timothy to entrust the message to others, he wrote, “Commit to faithful men who will be able” (2 Timothy 2:2). He did not say, “Commit to able men who will be faithful.” He started with character, with integrity. Beyond character that results in credibility, a leader must be competent in building a healthy culture. Peter
By Carol Pipes Drucker wrote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He was not diminishing strategy but was merely elevating the importance of culture. Without a healthy culture, any strategy is doomed. A leader must also be competent in developing others, setting a direction, and mobilizing people to move in that direction.
You’ve written that the church should excel in developing leaders. Why is that and why is leadership development important to the church? No organization has the mission the church has—to take the gospel to all people groups, to serve and bless the world. No organization has the promise we have, that what we invest in will last forever. The Lord will preserve His church to the end. Leadership development is essential for the people of God. The church is healthy when people are equipped for ministry, for serving others (Ephesians 4:11-13). The church multiplies as leaders are discipled and created. A local church’s influence and ministry expands as leaders in that church are developed.
LifeWay Research found less than 30 percent of church leaders spend time designing a plan to develop leaders. Yet most say they value equipping leaders. Why do you suppose there is a disconnect
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and what can church leaders do to develop leaders? There is a disconnect, and it exists for several reasons. For a church to effectively develop leaders, the church must have a conviction for development, a healthy ministry culture, and constructs (systems) that help develop leaders. Conviction, culture, and constructs are all essential. If equipping leaders is not occurring, one of those is missing. The church should identify what is missing, and respond accordingly. So questions to ask oneself are: Is there a conviction for us to develop leaders? Do we have a healthy culture that facilitates leaders developing other leaders? Do we have constructs and tools that help us develop leaders?
Why is it important to develop younger leaders? Developing younger leaders is important for now and for the future. For now, we miss out if we don’t allow younger leaders to serve and contribute. The Lord has always used younger leaders to serve His people. For example, Josiah was 16 when he began to seek the Lord, which led to a revival among God’s people. Mary was a teenager when the Lord chose to bring the Messiah into the world through her womb. George Whitefield and John Wesley met with a handful of others as college students in what was called the “Holy Club.” Jonathan Edwards was 19 when he penned his 70 resolutions. FALL 2015
For the future, the growth, health, and impact of the church depend on developing young leaders. As today’s leaders, we are responsible for future leaders. A leader who is not developing young leaders is not serving the organization well. The leader is either being shortsighted or selfish—shortsighted in that the future is not being considered or selfish in that the leader thinks only about himself or herself.
Sometimes leadership development is thought of as distinct from discipleship. Why is that a mistake? To view discipleship as distinct from leadership development is to propose that discipleship does not impact all of one’s life. One’s leadership cannot be divorced from one’s faith. If leaders are developed apart from Jesus, the emphasis is inevitably on skills and not the heart transformed through Christ. Divorcing leadership development from discipleship can leave people more skilled and less sanctified. And when competency and skill outpace character, leaders are set up for a fall. We don’t serve people well if we teach them how to lead without teaching them how to follow Jesus.
Is there a common area of leadership church leaders tend to ignore? Church leaders tend to think too little about the culture of the church. For example, it’s one thing to have a
“LEADERS WHO VIEW THEMSELVES AS SERVANTS AND LOVE THE PEOPLE THEY LEAD MAKE A BIGGER IMPACT IN EVERY SETTING.” — Eric Geiger
doctrinal statement that affirms the priesthood of all believers. It’s another to have a culture that values the contribution of all believers and does not view the pastors as the only ones who can minister. It’s one thing to have a doctrinal statement that affirms our brokenness. It’s another for a culture to exist in a church where people realize they are broken and in constant need of God’s grace.
What has surprised you about leadership? While each context is unique, and a leader is wise to learn the culture and history of each assignment, I’m often surprised at how much of leadership really does translate from one context to another. People struggle with change in every setting. Character matters in every setting. Clarity matters in every setting. Leaders who view themselves
as servants and love the people they lead make a bigger impact in every setting.
What’s one of the biggest challenges to leading the church today? Churches exist to make disciples. We live in a culture that is faster and increasingly expects things instantly, but discipleship is a long, continual process. It does not happen overnight. Disciple-making is going to be continually countercultural, and that will bring a myriad of challenges to church leaders.
What kind of pastoral leadership do you think the church needs to fulfill its mission? We need humble pastors who are followers first, surrendered to the Lord, sensitive to His Spirit, and filled with a deep conviction to equip others. CAROL PIPES (@CarolPipes) is editor of Facts & Trends.
DIG DEEPER •S imple Church by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. A call to simplify church ministry with clarity, movement, alignment, and focus. •E ricGeiger.com a blog by Eric Geiger
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Desert Harvest Church, a church plant in Gilbert, Arizona, has batpized 27 new believers within the first two years of the church. During a baptism service at a community pool, Pastor Joey Baysinger (above) welcomes newly baptized believers into their church family. PHOTO PROVIDED BY DESERT HARVEST CHURCH, GILBERT, ARIZONA
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Desert church plant thrives with Ministry Grid
he first time church planter Joey Baysinger heard about Ministry Grid, he was hooked. The first course new deacon Brent Heaton took hooked him, too. And today, two years later, members of Desert Harvest Church in Gilbert, Arizona, have completed more than 300 Ministry Grid courses. Ministry Grid is an online video tool created by LifeWay that provides conference-level theological and ministry-enhancing training at home or in a group setting. Its library consists of more than 3,000 conferences and training events, many of which have been edited into 10- or 20-minute segments. “Everything on Ministry Grid is studio quality and done with excellence,” Baysinger told Facts & Trends. “I can’t send all my people to seminary, but I can share Ministry Grid, and for a fraction of the cost,” the pastor continues. “It’s a way of growing leaders. Without leaders the church will never grow.” Desert Harvest has grown in two years from a core group of 37 to 100 now meeting for worship in a local elementary school, and for ministry throughout the week at home, work, in their neighborhood, and community. “We’re just leading people to Christ, one at a time, nice and slow,” Baysinger says. “We’re baptizing seven this Sunday, 12 so far this year, and 27 in the first two years.” “I simply want slow growth,” the pastor continues. “If the church has fast growth, it’s like some of our trees in Arizona that have shallow watering and blow over in a storm.”
By Karen L. Willoughby Baysinger credits Ministry Grid with equipping the church plant’s new leaders with the skills they need to make an eternal difference in Gilbert, a suburb southeast of downtown Phoenix that’s home to about 220,000 people. Heaton, the first-time deacon who took the Ministry Grid course, “The Deacon I Want to Be,” led by pastor Johnny Hunt, now helps Baysinger administer the training.
“Without leaders the church will never grow.” — Joey Baysinger “We live in a busy area and don’t have a church building of our own, so we’re always looking for creative ways to train our ministry leaders,” Baysinger says. “As the pastor, I look for topics [on Ministry Grid] and assign them to my leaders. “I tell them, ‘I want you to watch this and take notes,’ and then we discuss what they’ve learned.” Those discussions usually are oneon-one. “We’ve been doing this since the church began,” Baysinger says. Baysinger was still youth pastor at Gateway Fellowship in Gilbert when he attended a training conference in Phoenix and heard about Ministry Grid. Already anticipating planting a new church, Baysinger says he knew what a help Ministry Grid would be. Today, he says, “Our church is always on the move. Getting together for meeting
and training is a difficult thing to do.” Ministry Grid addresses the common reasons most churches don’t train: lack of time, the availability of trainers, and the cost of training. Desert Harvest Church plans to continue renting space at the school to maximize its community impact, bolstered by Sunday worship and midweek home groups and neighborhood connections. Among its community outreaches, the church provides movie nights in the park and sponsors the Ranch Run 5K race to raise money for children’s ministries. In addition to regular missions giving, Desert Harvest helps support an orphanage in Pakistan. This year they used LifeWay’s Journey Off the Map VBS curriculum—with leaders trained through Ministry Grid—at Desert Harvest, at a sister church in the process of revitalization, and in Rocky Point, Mexico. “If you don’t water for a long time, slowly, the roots grow shallow,” Baysinger says. “If I can water nice and slow and deep—like we’re doing with Ministry Grid—we’re going to become rooted and have strong leaders.” KAREN L. WILLOUGHBY is a writer from Mapleton, Utah.
DIG DEEPER • MinistryGrid.com With more than 3,000 exclusive training videos, Ministry Grid provides training by leading ministry experts for every ministry area from the parking lot to the pulpit.
Facts & Trends • 23
marks of a healthy group
24 â€˘ Facts & Trends
By Ken Braddy
tarting this year, I’ve taken a renewed interest in improving my overall health. My smartphone has built-in diagnostic apps that help me monitor my body’s health. I can track cholesterol, sodium, fat, calories, and other indicators of whether I’m eating healthy. The app can also track my exercise routines and calories burned, plus my heart rate. I’m a click away from knowing whether I’m healthier than I was a month ago. Today, I’m a Bible study leader at my church, and I guide a group of empty nest adults to study the Bible using Bible Studies for Life. Now more than ever, I’m concerned about the health of both my body and my Bible study group. How do I know whether my group is healthy? I haven’t found an app for that. But having led education and discipleship ministries for 18 years in the local church, I’ve seen healthy and not-so-healthy groups. Here are six markers that can be found in healthy groups.
about people. Groups do not belong to the group leader, but to the Lord. Sometimes group leaders feel like they “win” when they have a large group (maybe even the largest one offered by the church). Healthy groups encourage members to explore leadership roles in other areas of the church and to leave the group when they discover a place of service. As a friend once said, a Bible teaching ministry is to be a clearinghouse, not a storehouse. Acts 13:1-3 records the sending of Barnabas and Paul on a missionary journey; note that the church didn’t collapse without them, but other capable leaders took their place and sent them out. Healthy groups release people, not hoard them.
GROUPS DO NOT BELONG TO THE GROUP LEADER, BUT TO THE LORD.
1. GROWING. It’s true that healthy things grow. One mark of a healthy group is numerical growth. Babies have important growth markers that pediatricians monitor. Infants are projected to gain a certain number of ounces in a set amount of time; it would be abnormal for them not to grow. Acts 2:47 indicates the New Testament church grew daily as the Holy Spirit convicted people of sin and they accepted Christ’s offer of forgiveness. Jesus said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). And as far back as Genesis, we can see that people, plants, and animals are expected to reproduce and multiply. It’s normal for things to grow. Healthy groups reach new people and grow numerically.
3. ENGAGING. Healthy groups have a teacher or leader who understands that people learn in different ways. Healthy groups engage people in active learning. A healthy group studies together, explores Scripture together, and doesn’t just listen to a group leader talk about the Bible. Jesus, the Master Teacher, was known for using a variety of approaches to communicate truth to His audiences. He lectured, asked questions, used visual aids, made assignments, and told stories (just to name a few!). Healthy groups also engage in the study of Scripture using ongoing Bible studies that have a clear path of study that makes sense over time. Healthy groups don’t take a random approach to studying God’s Word, but depend on trustworthy resources with a clear plan for discipling people with wisdom. Healthy groups are places where people are fully engaged in a study of Scripture.
2. SENDING. Healthy groups regularly release people to serve. I have appreciated group leaders over the years who had a “catch and release” mindset
4. DEPENDING. The Apostle Paul told Timothy to “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Healthy groups know there are things
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they must do in order to grow and remain healthy, but have learned not to be prideful about their accomplishments. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to minister and serve in the Lord’s strength and grace, not his own. Healthy groups depend on prayer and the Holy Spirit as they trust God to lead them. They experience the Acts 2:47 truth that God is the One adding to their number. 5. INCLUDING. Healthy groups remember that many unreached people are all around them. A healthy group is outwardly focused yet has the ability to keep an eye on its group members. Healthy groups are always open to including more people. Healthy groups plan for it, pray toward it, and cele-
HEALTHY GROUPS REMEMBER THAT MANY UNREACHED PEOPLE ARE ALL AROUND THEM.
brate when new people are brought into the life of the group. Healthy groups have an openness to newcomers, and they never have a sense the work of reaching new people is done.
6. SERVING. Healthy groups are involved in ministries both inside and outside the church. Healthy groups have a mentality that the mission is “out there” and doesn’t take place 9 a.m. to noon on Sundays! There is great joy when group members take on new roles and responsibilities, spread their wings, and use their God-given gifts and experiences to serve others.
As you consider these six marks of a healthy group, I hope you see your group as a healthy one. If not, focus on one or two of these marks and begin to make changes. Talk honestly with your group members about the ways you want it to change in order to be an even healthier group in the future. KEN BRADDY is manager of LifeWay’s adult ongoing Bible studies, leads a Bible study group each week, loves Tex-Mex, and wishes he had his ’78 Camaro back.
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26 • Facts & Trends
S NGLE HOW THE CHURCH CAN BEST SERVE SINGLES AND HOW SINGLES CAN BEST SERVE IN THE CHURCH.
By Lore FErGUSON WILBERT
he’s been single for centuries and watched hundreds of thousands of her friends marry. She’s been groaning for two millennia, aching for her groom to come and wed her in an eternal marriage. She is the ultimate single. The Church, more than any entity, understands the ache of singleness, the longing for Christ’s return. Kathy Keller says, “Singles have in many ways more of an opportunity to display what it means to be Christ’s spouse in their singleness [than married people].” This is a needed reminder for both single and married Christians. For singles it means this unique time of undistractedness points them to the deep truth that we are all unfulfilled until Christ’s return. For married couples it says even marriage cannot provide eternal and lasting joy.
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How can singles uniquely serve the local church and how can the local church joyfully serve singles? Church, affirm singles: Sometimes the local church can forget two of the loudest voices in the New Testament were single men (Jesus and Paul) and that Paul called singleness a gift (1 Corinthians 7:7). Instead of treating someone’s singleness like a “meantime,” affirm singleness as a good and timely gift. If God has not given the equally good gift of marriage to someone, it is because it’s not best for that person at that time. What a single has today is a gift, so affirm it as such. And don’t affirm only the gift of singleness—affirm the gift of the single. Single people are a gift just as they are.
money than married people, but for the local church for what singleness the godly single the opposite might ought to look like. She is broken and actually be true. A godly single will be blemished, but she is becoming beauspending life, finances, energy, and time tiful and worth protecting. Think of on the things of God (1 Corinthians the deepest angsts you have as a single. 7:32). The unmarried will actually have The Church experiences those same more to give to the local church than longings. She’s groaning for her groom, the married. Most singles are able to longing for intimacy, fasting until the devote significant time to the study final feast. Protect her chastity and of God’s Word, meetings and purity by living lives that are discipleship, and creative chaste and pure—not bespace for brainstorming cause it proves you ready ONE-IN-FOUR and problem solving— for ministry, but because all of which are great it brings you ever closer OF TODAY’S assets to the local to the culmination of all YOUNG ADULTS church. Value these things and the wedding assets instead of valuing feast of Christ and His MAY NEVER MARRY only the status quo. bride. — Pew Research 2014
Church, help singles: One of the aches of singleness is the lack of a partner in all of life. Doing ministry is difficult and coming home by yourself every day can be a constant aching reminder of how alone you feel. There is no one with whom to process the complexities of life. This also has ramifications for sanctification since there is no constant iron sharpening iron agent in our lives. Church, help singles by opening your homes to them, not just for special events and perfectly ordered dinners. Open your homes to them in all their messy glory. Teach men how to serve wives and children. Teach women how to care for husbands and children. Be their family in the aching absence of their own family.
Singles, serve the church: The previous point is true— your singleness should be spent for the good of the church. But the point is moot if you’re not actually doing this. Because you’re doing much of life alone, there are activities and events on your schedule that aren’t shared with a partner, so there will be a measure of commitments you have that keep you from being the carefree picture of a typical single. But margins exist all around your life—early morning meeting times for discipleship, weekends given to serving your local church, and evenings to practice hospitality in your home. These might not be official roles, but they could bring you into official roles you desire. Be faithful with what you have and trust the Lord to grow you and your gifts in His time and way.
Church, hire singles: It’s commonly heard that singles have more time and
Singles, protect the church: Singles, you have the ultimate role model in
Singles, love the church: One of my favorite lines of any book is from the Jesus Storybook Bible after the creation of Adam and Eve: “And they were lovely because He loved them.” What made them beautiful was the reality that they were loved by God. Often we struggle to love what God loves (His bride) because we do not feel loved by her. I want to tenderly encourage you to learn to love what God has called lovely and what He loves. The bride of Christ will be blemished and broken until she is presented spotless before her groom— so you will feel the angst of what is not yet perfect. Love her anyway. Love her into loveliness. LORE FERGUSON WILBERT (@LoreFerguson) is a writer in Denver, Colorado. Our congrats to Lore on her recent wedding!
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30 • Facts & Trends
Rescue me from my church budget
By Todd McMichen
he church budgeting process ranks fairly low on the list of the most motivating and inspiring experiences in a minister’s life. Pastors will line up to deliver a message, shepherd the hurting, pray for the wayward, and lead the body forward. However, if a pastor lies awake at night thinking of the church budget, it’s usually for the wrong reasons. Let’s look at a popular budgeting process. It begins with ministry leaders submitting their annual requests for funds. Some inflate their numbers because they don’t expect to receive their request. Others underestimate their budget needs. Once the numbers are in, the vetting process begins. Unfortunately, this process is often shaped more by fixed expenses and relational loyalties than most would like to admit. Tough decisions are always present, which result either in hurt feelings or a stressful extension of reasonable financial limits.
Illustration by Charles Long FactsAndTrends.net
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By the time the budget is complete the process has gone on too long, and fear or disappointment has set in among the ministry team. Finally, the budget is sent to a financial business meeting for approval, where it’s secretly hoped few show up to participate. Does a positive, rewarding, and visionary budgeting process exist? If so, what does it look like? Let me suggest a different approach— one that can increase vision, disciple your people, and set you free from the bondage that sometimes accompanies money. 1.Begin with a season of prayer and fasting. God grants you resources to use for His glory and to impact lives. Your leadership needs to feel deep gratitude and responsibility before the process begins. Releasing ownership will change the language of the conversation from the beginning. 2. Recount how God has been at work over the past year. Where do you see the fruit of His hand or the anointing of His Spirit? Seeing the hand of God can provide a good indication of what He desires to do in the future. Ultimately, you need to align your resources to support God’s work. Acknowledging God’s work will prevent personal agendas, subjective opinions, and ministry silos from occurring. Released resources and the Spirit’s leading create wonderful meetings. 3. Stand on the foundation of vision clarity and a well-defined discipleship strategy. No church is great at everything. Do you know what your church does better than 10,000 others? God places unique people in unique communities for a specific period of time. Your church has its own unique calling and it’s not supposed to compete with the congregation across town or mirror the church across the country. You are free to be you. This level of focus will
cause your ministry to expand. It helps you say a powerful “yes” as well as a confident “no.” 4. Learn your ROI. Do you know the impact of a dollar spent? Are you investing the proper amount to gain the desired result to accomplish your dream? The longer a church exists, the more its budget grows. It’s rare that a congregation evaluates an expense based on the return. We tend to continually fund ministries long after they have lost effectiveness. Every ministry line is not mission critical and not all ministries are created to exist forever. The vision to glorify God and make disciples never changes, but strategy does. 5. Allow strength and strategy to lead. This may be a radical concept for most, but give consideration to starting each budget year with a blank slate by not encouraging each department to make its own financial requests. Instead, allow the activity of God, the vision strategy, and a few select financially gifted people to create a solid business plan. This doesn’t mean collaboration and dialogue are removed. It simply means those with the giftedness should lead under the clear direction of the bigger picture vision. 6. Spend strategically, not simply less. This might be the most shocking piece of advice. Create a spending plan that spends only 90 percent of your previous year’s undesignated giving receipts. (This may take a few years to accomplish.) Most churches increase their budget 3-15 percent annually. Why do we do this? “It’s faith based and visionary,” the pastor says. However, it tends to create a lot of stress and reduced spending throughout the year. In reality, it’s far from visionary. It can be careless, unfocused, and demotivating. It creates a crisis money culture instead of a generous culture.
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7. Plan to be surprised. Every year God will call you to become engaged in something you can’t currently see. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that something will break or wear out. And then there’s the next growth step that will need to be funded, too. Prepare for what you can’t currently see. Nothing is more financially freeing than cash reserves. It’s a sure way to tell God “yes” before He ever asks you to go. Now, don’t step over the line and hoard cash reserves. God gives you money to invest in His causes. 8. Inspire others with the vision investment plan. This is the opposite of simply getting church budget approval. A well-designed spending plan and presentation should bring glory to God, affirm those who have invested, validate what the leaders have said in the past, and inspire toward the future. It should raise generosity. Loyalty and confidence in the leadership should increase. A faith-filled expectation for the future inspires all. Everything is a choice. As leaders, we choose the financial culture we create. Every conversation can be both a vision and discipleship conversation. It all depends on how you lead it. TODD MCMICHEN (@ToddMcMichen) is chief campaigns officer at Auxano. For more resources on how to grow a generous culture, check out his blog: toddmcmichen.com.
DIG DEEPER •L eading A Generous Church by Todd McMichen
GROUPS MATTER FIVE SMALL GROUP BASICS
aunching a new small group is no small task. There are several details to think through—what will the group study, who will lead the meetings, will kids be welcome, and will anyone even show up? Recruiting a leader and group members is only the beginning. These often-overlooked group dynamics are crucial to long-term success.
How often do we meet? Meeting weekly is best, even though it may be a challenge for some groups. Irregular meetings make it tough to stay current and cultivate relationships. Children, work, and busy schedules often complicate matters. Everyone is busy these days, but if a small group is going to make a difference in the spiritual growth of its members, it must become a priority. Anything worthwhile requires commitment, and people will commit to what they feel is worthwhile. Look for intentional ways to keep in touch between meetings. And plan ahead for holidays, summer, and other seasonal events.
What day and time do we meet? Honest communication from all group members is the only way to sort out this important decision. If everyone works together to find the optimum time, it rarely is a deal-breaker. Make sure everyone is on board with the final decision of when to meet. Be creative and don’t be afraid to consider an outside-the-norm solution that works best for your group.
By robert noland
Where do we meet? This is one of the most important elements of meeting together. A quiet, private place where the group can meet on a regular basis is preferable. If you are meeting away from the church campus, ask group members to take turns hosting in their homes. Consider the three C’s when choosing the location for any small group—calm, confidential, and comfortable.
What if someone makes a habit of no-showing or canceling? Talk to the person or couple involved. Find out first if there’s any dynamic in the group that’s keeping them from being more involved. If not, while allowing grace, ask them to make the group a priority. Each time a group meets, the bond between members solidifies, so after several missed meetings it could become difficult for them to connect with others. Don’t take it personally if someone can’t be a regular part of the group. Some people may not be ready to join a group yet. For others, another time or group may be a better fit for them. Leave the door open.
What if someone dominates the conversation and another never speaks? Here’s a good guideline for a diverse group of personalities—extroverts should remember to listen before they speak, while introverts should be encouraged to share their thoughts. A key to healthy group conversations is making sure everyone has the opportunity to share, and everyone is respected. Group leaders must learn to embrace silence as an ally, not an enemy. Silence allows group members time for thinking and processing. A few minutes of quiet can be a sign of solid friendships developing in the group. Leaders must learn to politely smile and keep eye contact around the room, creating an atmosphere of open dialogue for all, not just filling the air with words. In our crazy, noisy world, having a safe place to ask questions and share what God is doing in the lives of group members is an essential part of making disciples. A healthy small group can quickly become a sanctuary where God is heard above the fray. And growth will surely follow. ROBERT NOLAND, a freelance writer in Franklin, Tennessee, has been in ministry for more than 30 years.
CHRISTOPHER FUTCHER / ISTOCKPHOTO
FactsAndTrends.net Facts & Trends • 33
Are small churches the next big thing? By RUTH MOON
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MILLENNIALS ARE LOOKING FOR SMALLER WORSHIP SPACES. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
y perfect church was nothing special. It had no flashy church trappings: fewer than 100 congregants on a Sunday, a church planting pastor from California, a home-grown worship team composed of a Ph.D. student, a guitar shop owner, and a local bluegrass guitarist, and “special ministries” I could count twice on one hand. The small community inside the sanctuary, though, kept me going through two years of graduate school, and friends from that church still support me through ups and downs. In my half-dozen moves before and since, I’ve discovered the “perfect church” is a holy grail. I have searched high and low for a church with no patriotic politics in preaching, an in-tune worship team, and a commitment to biblical truth, and often come up short. And I’ve learned that when a church that checks those boxes is nowhere to be found, a good community can fine-tune my ears to the worship, give me a compassionate lens to interpret theology, and feed my soul. It turns out I am not alone: researchers agree that my generation—the millennials—overwhelmingly values relationships and authenticity in church. And those two things often come in small spaces. “Millennials are looking more for relationships than for a program,” says Karl Vaters (NewSmallChurch.com), who wrote The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches, and the Small Thinking that Divides Us. “Our grandparents’ generation built the megachurches,” he says. “They took relationships for granted but needed to
build structures. The millennial generation takes these structures for granted and needs to build relationships.”
Who are we, anyway? So, who are millennials? According to the U.S. census, this generation (born between 1980-2000) makes up the largest share of the U.S. population, at 28.7 percent (Baby Boomers, the next largest generation, comprise 23.7 percent of the population). Millennials are slightly more racially diverse than the overall U.S. population, with a 56 percent white population compared to the 62 percent white majority of the overall population. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, they are more likely to be nonreligious than any other age group. And, according to LifeWay Research, more than two-thirds who attend a Protestant church in high school will quit attending for a year or more as 18- to 22-year-olds.
The perfect church There’s no one description of a millennial’s perfect church. A LifeWay Research study found that the younger unchurched prefer cathedral-like spaces to more modern warehouse-like buildings. Gary Clemmer, executive administrative pastor at Ecclesia Hollywood in Los Angeles, found that his parishioners, including many millennials, felt more comfortable at a repurposed theater than a more traditional church building. But millennials tend to like small, and researchers, pastors, and architects are taking notice. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay, predicted a move to smaller worship gatherings as one of 15 trends
MILLENNIAL VOICES “My husband, Nathan, and I chose Park Street Church in Boston partly because of its connection to other communities we’re in. Many of our friends from Nathan’s graduate program attend Park Street, and there are a lot of InterVarsity connections as well. It’s nice to know you’re worshiping with others who work in the same place you do during the week, or who work with you for the same goal. I also deeply value community with people who are different from me, and to some degree I’ve found that in a church small group which is fairly diverse in terms of age and culture of origin.” — Hannah Eagleson, 33, staff writer/ editor, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
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to watch in 2015. “Millennials gravitate toward intimacy and smallness,” said Rainer. “Small communities deliver friendships, accountability relationships, environments for spiritual growth, and maximum participation.” While young adults like small venues, they aren’t necessarily looking for churches with small congregations, says Sam Rainer, president of Rainer Research, and, at age 35, a millennial himself. They are often drawn to the program offerings at a larger church, but might look for congregations that meet at multiple sites or are smaller than megachurches.
Relationships over brick and mortar
MILLENNIAL VOICES “It’s cliché, but I chose my church in large part because of the community it offers. It’s a diverse congregation with a lot of couples in the same stage of life as my wife and I. Beyond that, it’s the teaching depth of our pastor, and the go-and-do mindset of our leadership team. We aren’t a church within four walls; we’re a community focused on being the church of Christ in our everyday lives, our schools, jobs, and neighborhoods. That mindset, that passion, is compelling and something that I can get behind.” — Eric Siewert, 27, international client manager, Tyndale House Publishers
Thom Rainer predicts megachurches will continue to grow, but will shift from large facilities to small buildings and multiple venues. Smaller groups or communities within the large church could be key for reaching millennials. They will also look for a unique flavor. “There’s a move toward more variety in our society, from chewing gum to churches. We’re becoming a multi-society,” Sam Rainer says. “With millennials, it’s all about being yourself and being unique.” Whatever millennials want, churches are taking notice. Church architect Derek DeGroot points out that the church building’s story is as important as its size, and that building materials and décor can serve as signposts as much as a sermon or music style. “The building is a piece of storytelling. It allows someone to ask, ‘Do I fit here or not?’” he says. “It’s important to millennials to say, ‘We know this is a church when we walk in the building.’” As important as the building, though,
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are the people in it — a lesson I learned through my church searches and a point that researchers emphasize. Pastors looking to build connections with millennials should start by building relationships and looking for leaders among that age group, say Sam Rainer and Adam Greenway, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Greenway’s suggestion would be to prioritize small groups and get to know the young adults at your church. “Millennials have a strong desire for community. We see that in the social media revolution,” he says. “One thing that will attract them to smaller worship venues is the desire to not merely be a dot in a crowd but to find connectedness.” RUTH MOON (@RMoon) is a freelance reporter and a contributing editor for Christianity Today magazine. She is a graduate student in international communication at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is also a millennial.
DIG DEEPER •T he Millennials by Thom S. Rainer and Jess W. Rainer •L ost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and How to Reach Them by Ed Stetzer, Richie Stanley, and Jason Hayes
Technical tools for your ministry
4 reasons to add media to your website
aybe she heard about your church from a friend. She heads to your church website to check it out. Does the pastor really preach like Billy Graham? She looks for an audio clip. It’s not there. Are the kids’ programs really as awesome as she’s heard? She looks for a video. It’s not there. And guess what you’ll see when you scan the visitors’ parking lot on Sunday morning? She’s not there. If people are searching for a church, you can bet they’ll go online before they hit the pews—looking for details about the pastor, the programs, and the preaching. But many church websites don’t have sermons, snippets, or even a video about the pastor. Here are four ways adding media (photos, audio, and video) to your website will benefit both members and non-members. 1. Media will help bring people to your church. Potential visitors, who may be new to the area or looking for a new church home, most likely will access your website to learn more about your church before they ever set foot in your building. Use photos to show what ministries and programs you have to offer (worship center, student and kids’ ministry areas). Potential visitors not only want to know what you have to offer them and their families but also want to hear how you deliver God’s Word. Offering your pastor’s sermons via video or audio will give visitors a good idea of what they’ll experience at your church. Some recommended video hosting sites are Vimeo, YouTube, and Sermoncast. If you go with hosting your church’s videos on a site like Vimeo or
By Matt Morris
YouTube, it’s easy to share the videos on social media and lead visitors to your site that way. SoundCloud is a tool for recording and uploading audio files and sharing them on your site. 2. It makes it easy for members to catch up. I missed our pastor’s sermon last Sunday. My wife and I were volunteering in the nursery. Fortunately, my church posts all of our pastor’s sermons online each Monday. This allows me, as a member, to listen to Pastor Andy even though I was serving in the nursery on Sunday morning. It’s how I stay engaged in what is being preached every week should I have to miss a Sunday. I’m able to pick up right where our pastor left off the previous Sunday. 3. Media will help your members in their own personal Bible study. I actually refer back to what my pastor preaches regularly. Many times I’ve written notes to friends and family members and have drawn on my pastor’s thoughts and expositions of Scripture. I’ve also found myself reading a passage of Scripture and referring back to my pastor’s commentary on the subject. If you don’t have the time
or ability to add video to your website, at least consider adding the pastor’s manuscript and/or sermon audio. 4. It keeps your members engaged. Adding media to your website not only allows members to catch up on sermons but also can create more community engagement in your church. Consider posting photos of new members, so others can welcome them and help them get plugged in to a small group. Some churches post video testimonies of people who have recently been baptized. A great way to share what’s happening in your kids’ and student ministries is to post photos and videos from the most recent VBS or DiscipleNow weekend. You can get your people excited about missions by posting media of mission team members leading people to Christ. Adding media to your church website is another opportunity to share with others and show them what your church is all about. MATT MORRIS (@MattMorris80) works at Ministry Brands in Knoxville, Tennessee.
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Using technology wisely By Tim Challies
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echnology: It sometimes feels like you can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it. You are dependent upon it, but suspicious of its inevitable creep into every nook and cranny of your life, your family, your work, and, yes, even your church. Digital technologies are just like this: You rely upon them but distrust them. You love them but loathe them all at once. What is the Christian to do? How is the Christian to think wisely about all of these promising new apps, these glittering new gizmos and gadgets? How can a Christian live with virtue in a world like ours? To find compelling answers we need to go all the way to the beginning and to the day God spoke human beings into existence. The story of human history can easily be told by and through our tools, which is to say, our technologies. God intended it this way. He created Adam and Eve, two naked people in a little garden, and told them their job was to fill this earth and to subdue it, to fill it with people and to exercise dominion over it. These two people had a global mandate, and the only hope they had for carrying it out was to develop technologies. To grow crops for themselves and their family, they would need technologies to break up and turn over the ground. To reach far continents, they would need technologies to span rivers and seas. In this way, humans have always been responsible before God to create new technologies and to master existing ones. We simply cannot do what God created us to do without technology. The relationship of humans to their technologies should have remained
perfectly good and simple—create technologies and use those inventions to honor and glorify God. It would have remained simple if it hadn’t been for that evil serpent. Sadly, Adam and Eve chose to chart their own course rather than follow God’s, and as they did so, they plunged the world into sin. Their relationship with technology suddenly became complicated. Now those same tools that could be used to do such good could also be used to commit acts of horrendous evil. Every time Adam and Eve touched one of their tools they had the choice to use it in ways that would carry out God’s plan, or to use it in ways that would hinder God’s plan. What was true of them then is equally true of us now. What was true of the most ancient and rudimentary technologies is true of the most modern and advanced. And it is especially interesting that those theologians and theorists who have a particular interest in technology agree: Every technology comes with both opportunities and risks. Each introduces positive consequences and negative ones. This is true even for you. Every technology you have introduced into your home, business, or church has brought both benefits and drawbacks. This was true when your family first brought a computer into the home—you now had access to a world of information, but also an endless torrent of pornography. When your church leaders decided to replace hymnbooks with PowerPoint, it was easy to add new songs to the repertoire, but somehow the older hymns went missing. This was true when your daughter bought her first smartphone—you could now get in touch
“NOW THOSE SAME TOOLS THAT COULD BE USED TO DO SO MUCH GOOD COULD ALSO BE USED TO COMMIT ACTS OF HORRENDOUS EVIL.” — Tim Challies
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DEALING WITH DISTRACTION
n our fast-paced, high-tech world, distraction is a huge problem for many of us. “If we are to live deep lives, lives that truly matter, we must first fill our hearts and minds with deep thoughts, thoughts that truly matter. Distraction is the enemy of deep thinking, and it is an enemy we must seek out and destroy,” says Tim Challies in his book, The Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family and the Digital World (Zondervan, 2015). The book provides some tips for dealing with distraction, which are outlined below: • Identify your distractions. Before you can deal with the distractions in your life, you will need to discover where and how you are being distracted. •M easure your use of media. You will need to spend time measuring the media in your life. •F ind the beeps. Once you have measured the media in your life, you will need to find which media are particularly distracting to you. •F ind what dulls. Seek out those things that tend to dull your mind instead of sharpening it. •D elete and unsubscribe. Begin to distance yourself from your distractions. •F ocus on substance. Make sure you are filling your mind with thoughts that are useful, that contribute to the development of godly character and a life lived for God.
DIG DEEPER •T he Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family, and the Digital World by Tim Challies
with her whenever you needed to, but she also began to live much of her life staring at that little glowing rectangle. Remember when you signed up for your Facebook account? You got back in touch with those old college friends, but you also found yourself spending hours mindlessly scrolling through your timeline. Each of these technologies brought both joy and pain, both good and bad. Some people are so aware of the cost of technology that they consider it not worth the risk, and so they maintain a strict separation from new technologies. Some people are so attuned to the benefits that they never stop to weigh the consequences, and they enthu“THE TIMES AND siastically embrace it all. But TECHNOLOGIES HAVE the wise Christian lives somewhere between the two, as a CHANGED, BUT THE person who exercises disciplined CHALLENGE REMAINS.” discernment. He or she carefully evaluates each technology, ask— Tim Challies ing where and how it will bring opportunities while also looking carefully and prayerfully for where it will bring risks. The times and technologies have changed, but the challenge remains. Not only do our God-given orders stand—He still calls us to fill and subdue the earth—but they have been expanded so we are now responsible to take the good news of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the earth’s farthest corners. Until that work is done, we remain responsible before God to develop and master new technologies. Awareness of the inevitability of both benefits and drawbacks is not meant to make us abandon technology, but to use it with wisdom and singular focus. And, indeed, history shows this is exactly what Christians have always done. In the 16th century, Christians saw the opportunity afforded by the printing press and soon used it to print and spread God’s Word—actions that changed the world through a great Reformation. In the 20th century, Christians saw the opportunity afforded by radio and soon used it to broadcast the good news all over the globe with countless thousands being saved. In the 21st century, we have seen the creation of many apps and devices that include the Bible, theological study tools, and other prayer and devotional guides. And it all makes me wonder: What new technologies are waiting for us to see the opportunity, rightly weigh the risk, and then unleash them for the good of the nations and the glory of God? TIM CHALLIES (@Challies) is a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Canada, and the author of The Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family, and the Digital World.
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Practical ministry ideas for your church
11 places to use church greeters
By chuck lawless
he church where my wife and I attend, Restoration Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina, does a great job greeting us as we arrive at our worship location. Our leaders have done their homework and have recognized the importance of making positive first impressions. Many people recognize the importance of having trained greeters at the doors when guests arrive. I agree, but I also think there are several other places to use greeters: 1. In the parking lot near each entrance. Station greeters as near to each parking lot entrance as possible. They may also direct traffic, but more importantly, they welcome worshippers as they arrive. The first face a guest (or member, for that matter) sees should be an enthusiastic one. 2. Throughout the parking lot. Well-identified greeters can answer questions, assist those who need help, provide umbrellas when needed, and simply be another friendly face for those arriving. 3. At each entrance door. Most churches have a main entrance, but greeters should be at any door folks may enter. Unless directed otherwise by signs or parking lot greeters, anyone might enter at a less-frequented door— and everyone deserves a greeting. 4. At the welcome center. This one surely seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve visited churches with no one at the welcome center. Sometimes that’s because the welcome center attendant is escorting a guest somewhere, but that simply means the welcome center needs more workers. At least one greeter should always be at the welcome center.
5. At the entrance to the worship center. Again, churches often have ushers or others at the doors to distribute worship guides or bulletins. That’s a great start, but sometimes the number of people entering is more than the ushers alone can greet. I encourage churches to have others there simply to welcome folks as they enter to worship.
6. Throughout the worship center. More often than not, the “secret shoppers” we send on church consultations report that no one speaks to them prior to the service. One way to address this issue is to have assigned greeters in each section of the worship center. They probably sit in the same area every Sunday anyway, so why not give them a greeting assignment? 7. At each major intersection in the church facility. The larger the facility is, the more important these greeters can be. At any point where someone may get turned around, confused, or lost, greeters can be both a welcoming face and a necessary guide. At the entrance of children’s ministry sections, they can also double as a security force to help protect the children as needed. 8. In each small group gathering. We hope all small group members will greet everyone else, but experience tells us otherwise. Whether the group is an on-campus gathering like Sunday school or an off-campus meeting like a life group, intentional greeters are important. No one is missed if someone is prepared to greet everyone. 9. At every churchwide fellowship.
Sure, the church family knows one another (we think), but that doesn’t mean everyone feels welcomed at the fellowship event. A simple “hello” and a genuine “we’re glad you’re here” can mean a lot to that lonely, hurting church member. 10. At the doors and in the parking lot at the end of the worship service. I’ve attended churches with greeters before the service, but not many with greeters in place afterward. Why not have folks ready to encourage and challenge others as they leave to apply what they’ve learned? 11. On the church website. Enlist some energetic greeters to post an invitation to church-searchers who check out your website. That way, you greet your guests before they come, when they come, and as they go out to serve. Greeters should still be screened and trained, but the greeter role provides opportunities for many members to be involved. Involve more people intentionally, and your church will be a friendlier place. CHUCK LAWLESS (@Clawlessjr) is professor of evangelism and missions and dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary.
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Can it happen here? WORKPLACE ABUSE OF STAFF IN THE CHURCH AND HOW TO AVOID IT By Patti Townley-Covert Convinced he’d been called to ministry, Brian* and his wife sold their home and business. They moved into a small apartment to reduce expenses so they could afford the seminary tuition. Upon graduation, Brian was offered a church staff position. They were elated—until his first official meeting with the senior pastor. He handed Brian a contract and expected him to sign it. The document gave the senior pastor complete authority over the scope of Brian’s duties. In addition, he’d be required to cut the church grass on his only day off. Eager to affirm his willingness to serve, Brian ignored his misgivings and accepted the terms. Unfortunately, this event foreshadowed an ongoing process of humiliation and exploitation that grew worse over time. Instead of allowing Brian to minister to others, the senior pastor assigned menial tasks such as filling the soda machine. He judged and maligned Brian’s entire family, making them feel incompetent and inadequate. Months of mistreatment added layers of pain as Brian and his family began to doubt themselves and one another. Eventually he could no longer pray or think clearly about the situation. Desperate, he began polling former seminary classmates about their experiences. Through networking, he discovered that serious wounding by senior pastors was not uncommon.
ohn Setser learned that lesson as a young associate pastor. The work was fun; the people were friendly and appreciative. His senior pastor became a trusted mentor until one day, out of the blue, he accused Setser of trying to steal the church. Stunned, Setser insisted he’d never do such a thing, but the senior pastor refused to listen. Instead, he questioned Setser’s character and calling. Though Setser continued doing his best to please his employer, nothing helped. Heartbroken and devastated, Setser finally resigned, wondering what he could have done differently. That experience along with the testimonies of others fueled Setser’s doctoral research, which became the basis for his book, Broken Hearts, Shattered Trust: Workplace Abuse of Staff in the Church. It also led to the founding of Barnabas Group, a nonprofit committed to church staff
advocacy. (For more information, see ShatteredTrust.org) To be clear, workplace abuse is not limited to senior pastors. It can occur in any situation when someone in church leadership abuses his or her power over staff or volunteers. In this interview, we explore with Setser the dynamics of abuse in the workplace and how to prevent it.
The word abuse can signify different things to different people. For the sake of clarity, how do you define it as related to clergy? Setser: Pastor abuse is not about a leader having a bad day and taking it out on a staff member. It’s not being strict, demanding, opinionated, or picky. Abuse occurs when pastors or other ministers in positions of author-
ity use power or influence to control, manipulate, or otherwise demean and exploit staff associates. It can happen over time or with one catastrophic event.
What effects does this type of mistreatment have on victims? Setser: Wounded staff associates are left feeling shocked and traumatized. Mystified at how such treatment could occur in their church home, they feel abandoned by their Christian family, left alone to speculate about what went wrong and whom they can trust. Staff abuse can even lead to post-traumatic stress or dissociative identity disorders. Those who are wrongfully terminated (or forced out as I was) suffer tremendous loss. They no longer have a paycheck or precious relationships with workplace associates and church members (due to shunning). Their pro*names changed
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fessional identity is gone. They experience the death of a dream. Feeling spiritually useless, some are so broken they leave the ministry and stop attending church. For example, a young friend of mine entered a church leadership program that offered senior pastor mentoring, Bible study, and a closer walk with Jesus. But after taking the position, things weren’t as promised. Instead of being loved, respected, and taught, he became like an indentured servant to a corporate-minded leader intent on developing a growth-oriented organization. Feeling betrayed and used, he ended his internship and quit going to church. It took years for him to recover from the experience.
What do you mean by a corporate-minded leader? Setser: Most people want to be successful, and pastors are no exception. With ministerial success difficult to gauge, effectiveness can easily start being evaluated according to measurable results. The size of the church budget, membership numbers, and new buildings become success indicators. Yet when expectations aren’t met, a pastor tends to blame himself. And, however unintentional it may be, a church board or officials can add to the stress. Such pressure makes it no wonder some church leaders start doing whatever it takes to achieve the world’s view of success. These factors can subtly start shifting a pastor’s focus until he begins to employ a corporate model as the most efficient pathway to achieve FactsAndTrends.net
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results. Some Christian role models reinforce this message by advising that to move forward, certain individuals might need to be sacrificed, especially if they don’t get on board with the program. Protecting the church and making sure its needs are met become the highest priority. Methods become more important than miracles and doing becomes more important than being.
As a senior pastor, did you struggle with these issues? Setser: Yes. In a position of authority, it didn’t take long for me to start compromising. During my first pastorate, I became determined to win God’s and my supervisor’s approval. Each month while filling out a progress report detailing my ministry’s accomplishments, I presented the facts in the best light possible. I didn’t lie exactly, but stretched the truth to the breaking point. Good things were happening, but I was afraid the progress might not be enough. Many of my divisional colleagues experienced the same pressure. Compromise didn’t stop there. Instead, it triggered a pattern that made my need to appear successful more important than loving God and serving people. Consequently, my spiritual paradigm started being replaced by a corporate mindset that included my own agenda. By God’s grace, I became convicted of the problems and repented.
DIG DEEPER •B roken Hearts, Shattered Trust: Workplace Abuse of Staff in the Church by Jon Setser
My friend Tom didn’t. He pioneered his church espousing such ideals as unconditional love and acceptance. The church’s vision statement emphasized joy, community, and commitment to Christ. They stayed on mission until the church became prosperous enough to purchase a building. Then Tom became obsessed. Money, remodeling, and filling seats were all he could think about. Subtly, over time, ministry packaging and a promotional agenda replaced other priorities. Consequently, stress and pressure to grow his church turned Tom into a brutal boss. Staff were expendable, and he frequently blamed them for his failures. His ability to abuse staff eventually became legendary in the community. Another senior pastor friend also succumbed to the pressure. Andy wanted his small church to buy an empty school and turn it into a regional Bible college. His staff objected due to the prohibitive cost. Instead of listening and respecting their advice, Andy bullied them. In the name of his vision, he publicly rebuked his staff for their lack of faith and mandated they follow him as he followed God. Blind ambition turned Andy’s passion for Jesus into a drive to achieve ministerial success regardless of who got hurt. Stories like these have convinced me that any leader who is called, competent, and qualified is capable of turning into a wounding agent.
What safeguards might be put in place to prevent that from happening? Setser: Several specific steps can certainly help prevent the denial and compromise that lead to abuse. Trustworthy Christian leaders:
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1. Stay close to Jesus. Keeping a soft heart before the Lord will keep it tender and sensitive with workplace associates. 2. Model the way for others by loving their staff and caring for them like family. A pastor who loves his staff shows his congregation how to love one another. 3. Cultivate teamwork by trusting the Holy Spirit to work in and through each staff member. Good leaders don’t micromanage. 4. Listen to their staff. If the only voice a leader hears is his own, he’s well on his way toward becoming a wounding agent. 5. Find safe people to share and pray with. This not only increases effectiveness but also provides accountability. 6. Take time for recreation and laugh often. It’s crucial not to let ministry become your life. If it does, it can eat a senior pastor alive as well as cause him to devour his staff. 7. Remember that ministry is a spiritual enterprise. Church personnel are not like watches that need to be fixed, but rather like trees that need the right conditions to grow and bear fruit (Psalm 1:2–3). Ministers who make an honest relationship with the Lord their highest priority will cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. Rather than spiral out of control until they become wounding agents, these pastors and their staff will demonstrate the fruits that produce healthy, vibrant congregations. PATTI TOWNLEY-COVERT is a freelance writer living in Ontario, California. *Names and insignificant details have been changed to protect privacy.
Not so friendly fire
hen soldiers accidentally shoot their allies in battle, it’s called “friendly fire.” That term falls short in describing what happens when a church leader takes a verbal shot at his or her own spiritual brother or sister. Pastors and other church leaders are soldiers in a literal, albeit invisible, war. When you consider the collateral damage that results from some of our spiritual feuds, it gives us reason to pause and think before we shoot off our mouths at our allies. I want to suggest a few ways church leaders can support, instead of shoot down, their colleagues.
1. PRAY FOR AND WITH EACH OTHER. Just a few hours before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, He took time to pray for His disciples to live and serve in unity. “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me … May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me” (John 17:21, 23). Although those first century Christians would face horrendous persecution, Jesus knew future generations would face an even subtler enemy— disunity within the family of God. We can assume Jesus is still praying for His bride to be unified (John 17:20). Maybe we should join Him in both saying this prayer as well as being the answer to it. Would you take time today to pray specifically for other pastors and churches in your town? Sincerely pray for their success and blessing, and you will certainly be blessed in the process. I know our Father will as well.
By MARK DANCE 2. C ELEBRATE THE SUCCESS OF ANOTHER MINISTRY. What if our Father wants more from His children than merely getting along? Christian love and unity are central to our mission, just as disunity is a distraction to it. What kind of message would it send to other pastors and churches in your community if you started promoting their ministries on social media without them asking? What upcoming event is a sister church promoting to reach your community?
“DO NOT BE CONQUERED BY EVIL, BUT CONQUER EVIL WITH GOOD” (ROMANS 12:21)
in private (Ephesians 4:15, Matthew 18:15). Although there has always been in-fighting within the family of God, there has never been as wide an array of weapons to shoot each other with. Social media snipers need to be exposed as the cowards they are, yet not by returning fire at them with the same worldly weapons. Instead of fighting fire with fire, “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you … Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them” (Luke 6:28, 31). Godly leaders would rather devote their energies toward fighting against the kingdom of darkness instead of within the kingdom of God. Whether it is with a pen or the tongue, there is no excuse for “friendly fire” in the family of God. “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
4. HELP A WOUNDED COLLEAGUE. Give them a shout-out and help expand the kingdom as you build unity within it. When we celebrate the successes of sister churches, I believe we’re in a small way living out the answer to Jesus’ prayer for His children to become “completely one.”
3. R EBUKE RELUCTANTLY AND PRIVATELY. I’m not suggesting pastors should avoid a noble fight. However, the world and the church deserve better from us than a “sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” If you believe you must rebuke another pastor or leader, do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:16), as well as with love and
If you know a Christian leader who is under attack, why not initiate contact and help carry their burden? Someday you may need them to return the favor. After all, we’re called to “carry one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Pastors need friends, not friendly fire. There are too many hurting pastors out there for only a few advocates to help. Let’s all try to help another pastor or leader who needs our encouragement and friendship. MARK DANCE (@MarkDance) is associate vice president of pastoral leadership at LifeWay. Pastors can connect with him at LifeWayPastors.com, MarkDance.net, and mark.dance@ lifeway.com.
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ON OUR RADAR Practical resources for you and your church
A look inside:
Sermons on Marriage Must Go Deeper than Behavior By Tony Merida
Ministry in the New Marriage Culture By Jeff Iorg (B&H)
Same-sex marriage is here. So what do pastors and church leaders do now? Churches are faced with ministry dilemmas unknown to any previous generation. Hoping the problem goes away isn’t a good strategy. Christians must answer difficult questions about ministering both to couples in same-sex marriages and all the people impacted by those unions. Seminary president and experienced pastor, Jeff Iorg, has assembled some of the leading voices on a range of topics from children’s ministry to preaching to legal issues in the new marriage culture. Readers will be equipped with practical answers to some of these complex questions.
he goal of preaching a biblical view of marriage is to change how people think, not just how they act or vote. We preach to help people learn and think “Christianly” about all issues, including marriage. Unbelievers who oppose traditional marriage must be converted before they can truly develop a biblical viewpoint on this issue. Many Christians are regenerated, but have never been taught well on issues like sexuality and marriage. In both cases preachers must preach to change worldview, not just behavior. So, how are worldviews about marriage changed? First, we must empathize with people who do not share our perspective, not disrespect them. Many preachers are right in their stand on marriage but sinful in their attitude toward those who disagree with them. This is morally unacceptable and undercuts credibility, causing lost future opportunities to influence outsiders. It takes a long time for some people to “get it” when considering life-changing patterns to long-held beliefs. Be patient. Do not run them off by being a jerk in the pulpit! People may stumble over the gospel and reject biblical truth, but do not let it be because of your personality or attitude. Second, we can affirm something about the worldview of those who do not share all our convictions. We can find common ground to begin the dialogue. Often those who have competing worldviews believe something that can be affirmed. For example, even same-sex marriage advocates value “marriage” as a concept, just not its right definition. By affirming some common ground, we show respect and are more likely to gain a hearing. Paul modeled this approach when he affirmed some of the philosopher’s thought in Athens, before he blew up their inadequacies with truth. Third, show how their worldview falls flat and how the gospel offers them something infinitely better. In short, establish a point of contact with people (by sympathizing and affirming), and then have a point of conflict with them (as you unpack the gospel). Tony Merida is a contributor to Ministry in the New Marriage Culture from which this article is adapted. Used with permission from B&H Publishing, 2015.
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Books & Bible Studies God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe By J. Warner Wallace (David C. Cook)
With the expertise of a real-life detective, former atheist J. Warner Wallace examines eight critical pieces of evidence in the “crime scene” of the universe to determine if they point to a Divine Intruder (God). Author Eric Metaxas describes the book: “What if a brilliant prosecutor tried to prove the existence of God using real evidence and crystal clear arguments? Well, that’s precisely what J. Warner does in this magnificent book—and you get to be the jury.” An excellent book to pass along to not-yet believers that will also boost your own faith.
The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need By Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju (Crossway)
Pastors spend much of their time counseling people in crisis—a delicate task that requires one to carefully evaluate each situation, share relevant principles from God’s Word, and offer practical suggestions for moving forward. Too often, pastors feel unprepared to effectively shepherd
their people through difficult circumstances such as depression, adultery, eating disorders, and suicidal thinking. This book provides an overview of the counseling process from the initial meeting to the final session.
Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ By Eric Mason (B&H)
You’re a Christian, so now what? God not only saved you from something, but for something—to be conformed to the image of Christ. Pastor Eric Mason is passionate about helping Christians unleash the transformative power of God in their lives as they learn to be faithful disciples of Jesus. Being conformed to the image of Christ is a lifelong journey for every Christian, and Unleashed outlines the process of spiritual growth from the first moments of faith to the last.
Rediscovering Jesus By David B. Capes, Rodney Reeves, and E. Randolph Richards (IVP)
Who is your Jesus? Matthew’s teacher? John’s Word made flesh? Hebrews’ great high priest? What if it turned out that your Jesus is a composite of your favorite selections from the New Testament buffet, garnished with some Hollywood and Americana? Rediscovering Jesus is
challenging look at how we encounter Jesus in Scripture and our culture. It goes beyond other surveys by probing how our understanding of Jesus can make a difference in life.
From Dependence to Dignity: How to Alleviate Poverty Through Church-Centered Microfinance By Brian Fikkert and Russell Mask (Zondervan)
From Dependence to Dignity explains the basic principles for successfully utilizing microfinance in ministry. The insights of microfinance can play a big role in helping to stabilize poor households, removing them from the brink of disaster and enabling them to make the changes that are conducive to long-term progress. Moreover, when combined with evangelism and discipleship, a church-centered microfinance program can be a powerful tool for holistic ministry—one that is empowering for the poor and builds relationships between churches in economically advanced countries and poor nations.
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ON OUR RADAR Practical resources for you and your church
It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die Jefferson Bethke (LifeWay)
Jefferson Bethke is not a pastor or theologian, but over the past couple of years he’s fallen more in love with Jesus, the story of God, and His church by removing the mute button we may have put on Jesus as 21st century Americans and letting Him speak on His own terms. Looking at both the Old and New Testaments, Bethke reminds readers of the life-changing message of Jesus that turned the world upside-down.This video-based study will help group members see Jesus for who He truly is and to see Him more vibrant and alive each
day. Because when we see the real Jesus, then we can better follow Him, and that’s where true joy is found.
Open Your Bible: God’s Word is For You and For Now By Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams (LifeWay)
From the creators of She Reads Truth, this Bible study with optional online videos will equip and empower women to study God’s Word for themselves. SheReadsTruth.com serves thousands of women through online devotionals. Key issues covered in their first print Bible study include: Read Truth, Approach Truth, Engage Truth, Apply Truth, Remain in Truth, and Share Truth.
FOLKS WE’RE FOLLOWING Whenever we as Christians become A missionary mindset compels us spiritually arrogant, we should to understand others before they remember that our Savior became understand us. poor, homeless, and was executed @MartyDuren, manager of social media strategy, LifeWay Christian Resources for us.
If you love people instead of use people, you can build together instead of step on each other. Things still get done & it’s much more fun.
@DrJJWilliams, associate professor of New Testament Interpretation, SBTS
@JennieAllen, author and founder
48 • Facts & Trends
Conferences & Events Passion Conference 2016
The Next Level Conference
January 8-9, 2016 Ridgecrest Conference Center, Black Mountain, NC (two events)
February 3-5, 2016, Savannah Georgia Next Level is where church leaders from around the world converge to share ideas for creating ministries with an “only God” explanation. In an atmosphere charged with soul-stirring worship and powerful speakers, church leaders share innovative and doable strategies and trade down-to-earth advice. Speakers take time for one-on-one conversations and attendees make connections with peers that fuel years of fruitful ministry.
January 15-16, 2016 Fort Worth, TX
January 2–4 Atlanta, Georgia (2 locations); Houston, Texas Speakers and artists: Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, and many more A gathering for 18-25 year olds, Passion exists to see a generation leverage their lives for the glory of God. To kick-off 2016, Passion will be connecting three locations across two cities with a single heartbeat—to lift up the name of Jesus! Each location will experience live worship in each session and both live and live-streamed speakers. 268generation.com
VBS Preview Events
January 21-23, 2016 Nashville, TN (three events) LifeWay will host preview events for those leaders wanting to experience the 2016 VBS theme “Submerged” a little early. Attendees will learn from experts how churches can best use next year’s materials. LifeWay.com/VBS
To join the movement and for more information go to www.HebrewsInitiative.com.
ON OUR RADAR Practical resources for you and your church
Digital ‘5 Leadership Questions’ podcast Barnabas Piper and Todd Adkins
New from LifeWay’s leadership development team, each weekly episode features co-hosts Barnabas Piper and Todd Adkins asking five questions of different guests or about different leadership topics. Listeners will hear from younger leaders as well as those who have been in leadership for decades. The aim of the podcast is to inform and encourage Christian leaders whether they serve in the pastorate, the business world, non-profits, or on a volunteer basis. Guests include John Perkins, John Piper, Brad Lomenick, Tami Heim, and Dave Ramsey.
3 leadership principles vital to the church
e church leaders are a fickle bunch. One of our most well-developed practices is that of the pendulum swing, and we’ve instituted one as it pertains to church leadership. In the ‘80s, a strong emphasis on leadership permeated American culture, including the church. A vast array of books and lectures focused on leadership theories and practices meant to develop good organizational leaders. These ideas began influencing and shaping churches that adopted many of the same practices. In the late ‘90s, however, the pendulum swung the opposite direction and people began to object to some of the corporate leadership principles being applied in churches. They argued we need fewer leadership principles and more biblical principles. This unhelpful pendulum swing sometimes placed complementary principles at odds with one another. Instead of being antithetical to biblical principles, sound leadership principles can contribute to the overall health of the church. Furthermore, leadership development is vital for a church to engage in its mission.
Much of what is stated there is appropeople and the culture as a whole. priate for all leaders. The biblical principles presented in Leadership is not merely conceptual 1 Timothy 3 are applicable in all times in the Scriptures, such as we see in and all places. They are transcultural. 1 Timothy 3; it is a biblical practice. However, the leader needed in a given There are both prescriptive passages circumstance will not only display that define what leadership should be those characteristics, but will also be and descriptive passages that describe shaped by contextual factors. the lives and work of biblical leaders. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul argues a case We are privy to the good, bad, and the for paying church leaders for their ugly of leadership, work. He fights hard “LEADERSHIP ISN’T DONE IN A not to dissuade us for the rights of these from it, but to teach leaders to be finanVACUUM; IT’S THEOLOGICAL, us to employ it cially supported by AND THEOLOGY IS BEST rightly. those they lead. “The PRACTICED IN CONTEXT OF THE Lord has commanded There are three key things that help that those who LOCAL COMMUNITY.” us keep us from an preach the gospel — ED STETZER should earn their unhealthy pendulum swing. In addition to living by the gospel,” understanding its biblical basis, we must (v. 14) he says, “but I have used none of also remember that leadership is both these rights” (v. 15). theological and contextual. He turns down the rights he fought so hard to defend for others. Why? It’s LEADERSHIP IS THEOLOGICAL a contextual decision for him. In his Leadership isn’t done in a vacuum; it’s situation, he believes it’s better not to theological, and theology is best pracreceive such support, but he protects ticed in context of the local community. the right of others to do so in their own One main reason some have led poor- contexts. ly, historically, is that they have a weak theological basis for leadership that isn’t AMBIDEXTROUS LEADERS sturdy enough to support the weighty Good leaders will think deeply about a LEADERSHIP IS BIBLICAL directions and decisions of leadership. solid, biblical foundation for leadership, Throughout Scripture there is rarely a The majority of 1 Timothy 3 is descrip- and contextualize it well in their own great move of God without an accomtive of the expected life and doctrine contexts. They will be ambidextrous— panying leader used by God. With a of a leader. The prescribed character is not trading one for the other, but few exceptions, you’ll find a consistent unapologetically Scriptural. seeing leadership as both biblical and pattern of God raising up and preparing contextual. a leader, and then sending this leader for LEADERSHIP IS CONTEXTUAL I’m ready for the pendulum to settle His particular purposes. In Ephesians 4, we read that God gave back toward the center in a place that Paul writes to Timothy in affirmation apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, encourages a robust biblical foundation of good pastoral leadership, “This and teachers to equip God’s people for leadership, undergirded by sound saying is trustworthy: ‘If anyone aspires for the work of ministry. All of their theology, and thoughtful translation to be an overseer, he desires a noble work takes place in a certain time and into our contexts. work’” (1 Timothy 3:1). The rest of the place, in a context. That place and time ED STETZER (@EdStetzer) is executive chapter sets precedent for the noble requires a particular style and model director of LifeWay Research. For more visit character and work of pastoral leaders. of leadership that makes sense to the EdStetzer.com. FactsAndTrends.net
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“Pastor, what is my next step?” Now you can have a better answer. The question comes in many forms: What does God want from me? What is God’s will for my life? How do I get closer to God? Essentially, they all point to the desire to be a better disciple. These are not easy questions to answer. But we can help. Just have your congregation take the Transformational Discipleship Assessment (TDA). This simple questionnaire (based on 8 attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the life of a maturing believer) reveals the specific strengths and weaknesses of your congregation. Individual reports help each person focus on specific areas that need improvement. The group report will help you plan sermons that address the needs that many share in your church.
Learn more at www.LifeWay.com/TDA