Tuesday, October 16, 2012

4 reasons to empower young leaders

You need young leaders in your organization and you need to start empowering, listening to, and pushing them forward now and not later. Truth is I'm not a young leader anymore and really I hate to type that! We have some amazing young leaders on our team and I am blown away by how much they bring to the table. Yes they are learning as they lead and yes they make mistakes but they also bring fresh energy and perspective that our church needs. Young leaders...
  1. See what could be // they see potential where we see problems. Because young leaders are not bogged down by what did not work in the past they quickly see opportunity and are willing to take a risk. They just don't have the same baggage many of us have.
  2. Question // they really do want to know why we do what we do. Young leaders push organizations to explain their mission, vision, and strategy. You need to be asked why more often and I do too!
  3. Embrace opportunity // they are ready for a new challenge and they are ready to do significant work. Young leaders thrive when they are asked to do significant things with their life and not go through the motion of constant maintenance.
  4. Give life to the organization // they simply bring joy and a ton of laughter to the team. Young leaders give organizations hope for tomorrow. They give everyone a reason to share, mentor, and invest in more than the demand of our to-do list today.
I'm so thankful for the young leaders serving on our staff. You can find many of them listed here on our staff page. How we empower young leaders today will shape the future of our churches and ministries tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our next adventure at Grace Community...

A few weeks ago we took a Sunday to reveal our next big adventure at our church. At our north campus we challenged our people to continue to move from one service to two. It's so exciting to see our north campus continue to reach north Clarksville and get to see life change week after week. For our south campus we are have reached the point where we feel it's time to build a facility. We have rented a school for the past 5 years and God has allowed us to maximize that space to the point where we simply have to create more seats so we can see more people hear about Jesus. You can watch our lead pastor Chad Rowland cast vision for these next steps here by video but what excites me more than adding services or building facilities are the five things our church is praying for as we move through this journey.
  1. That God would protect us from treating temporary things as if they are eternal
  2. That God would give us generous hearts
  3. That God would not allow space to keep us from reaching people now
  4. That God would one day allow us to share Truth with every single person in our community
  5. That God would enlarge our influence beyond our city walls
Dreaming big and so excited to see what God does next. If you are out there and you follow this blog I would love for you to hop in and join us for one of our services at our online campus. You can check that our at www.gcomlive.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

4 ways to thrive with social media

Most ministries out there are plugged into some form of social media. Most of use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or have some kind of blog but the question you need to ask is are you using it effectively. The answer for most ministry leaders is no. Most churches, kids ministries, and student ministries simply have no strategy for how they use social media. My friend Terrace Crawford just wrote book that I hope you will check out that can really help you develop a social media strategy called #GoingSocial. Terrace helped me figure out how to leverage social media years ago and we have both been leveraging the technology to make a difference for our ministries for years. Finally he put all he has learned in a book to help church leaders navigate the world of social media. Yes it can be confusing but trust me this is a topic you need to process with your ministry team. How are you utilizing social media in your context? Here are 4 quick tips for all of you processing how to get better at leveraging this communication tool for ministry...
  1. Learn from others using social media well >> Find some people you respect using social media well and learn from them.
  2. Be Consistent >> Using social media well only happens when you use it consistently. Make it a part of your routine.
  3. Be Responsive >> Social media is about relationships and that only happens when you are responsive to others. Leave comments, make new friends, communicate with others. Make sure you are having an online conversation.
  4. Be Strategic >> Know your target audience for every social media avenue you use and stay focused.
I hope you will take time to check out the book #GoingSocial this week. You can join the conversation on Facebook here and also on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

7 TRUST BUILDERS for your team

One of the foundational elements of a healthy organization is trust. When your parents, students, volunteers, or other staff members think of you and the ministry area you lead do they believe the best? Do they believe the ministry you lead is one that will be able to rely on? This past week our staff here at Grace Community Church processed the idea of what the trust builders are for our ministry teams. Trust is earned over time and can be eroded in the same way. Here are seven trust builders we landed on for our team...
  • Follow Through > simple...deliver on what you say you are going to do.
  • Consistent Feedback > our volunteers need us to help them know how they are doing as they serve. When we consistently give balanced feedback (good and bad) we enable to them to see we have their best interest in mind.
  • Knowing People Personally > everyone loves to be known and cared for. When we get to know people on a personal level we advance the trust process.
  • See Potential > when we can look into others and see the potential of what God can do through them people begin to trust us. This happens because we see what others can't see in themselves.
  • Be Prepared > everyone is busy, always strive to be prepared when you are responsible for leading.
  • Ownership of Ministry > be willing to own the good and the bad of what is going on with your ministry. No need to cover things up, just be real and keep improving.
  • Clear Communication > this is the last on the list but it might be the most important. Communicating consistently and clearly helps people to know the direction of the organization. Clear communication can build trust because people have or can find the right information! People will never embrace the mission of vision of your ministry if they don't have clear communication from the leadership.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Onward: leadership lessons from Starbucks

It's not very often that you get an inside look into a company during their darkest days but that is exactly the journey that the book Onward takes us on. This book tells the story of how Starbucks worked through the banking and housing crisis from 2008-2010. I know that does not sound like a fun read but it is really a powerful story of resilience. The true mark of an organization is how they respond to struggle. This is an inside look of how a founder of an organization came back to help lead that organization through crisis. The book is packed with leadership lessons for all of us in ministry but here are my favorite notes from the book.

  • No business can do well for its shareholders without first doing well by all the people its business touches.
  • When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. 
  • That, as I've said, is what merchants do. We take something ordinary and infuse it with emotion and meaning, and then we tell its story over and over and over again, often without saying a word. 
  • Work should be personal. For all of us. Not just for the artist and the entrepreneur. Work should have meaning for the accountant, the construction worker, the technologist, the manager, and the clerk. 
  • Creating an engaging, respectful, trusting workplace culture is not the result of any one thing. It's a combination of intent, process, and heart, a trio that must constantly be fine-tuned. 
  • Companies pay a price when their leaders ignore things that may be fracturing their foundation. Starbucks was no different. 
  • Starbucks is in the business of exceeding expectations. That means we have to admit it when we are not as good as we think we should be. 
  • This is why, I think, so many companies fail. Not because of challenges in the marketplace, but because of challenges on the inside. 
  • Without confidence, people could not perform 
  • What elements about Starbucks, we asked ourselves, are ritual and what elements are merely habits? 
  • We forgot that “ones” add up. 
  • The world belongs to the few people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
  • I've always believed that innovation is about rethinking the nature of relationships, not just rethinking products, 
  • Growth had been a carcinogen. 
  • Success is not sustainable if it's defined by how big you become. 
  • Pursuing short-term rewards is always shortsighted. 
  • Exploring an imperfect idea can often lead to a better one 
  • At its core, I believe leadership is about instilling confidence in others,

Thursday, October 4, 2012

7 ways to motivate your team

Maintaining momentum and motivating our volunteers is a constant battle that every leader has to give attention. This week we hit fall break here in our community and it is a good reminder to look around an evaluate how we are doing in motivating our team . Last year I had the chance to hear Kendra Flemming talk about how she motivates her volunteers at North Point Community Church and I wanted to share these today on the blog. Kendra is a next level leader and you can follow her blog here. Check out this list of 7 principles that attract volunteers to our ministry and can keep our teams motivated.

We are initially attracted to things that are visually appealing //  Some volunteer connections are bound in relationship but many times we are drawn in simply the look and feel of an environment. Branding, clear communication, and environment matter.

We are naturally attracted to excellence // No one wants to feed time, energy, and talent into something that is mediocre. Be committed to progressive excellence.

We are increasingly attracted to things that are celebrated // What we celebrate becomes attractive to our volunteer teams. Celebrate what matters most.

We are relationally connected to dynamic communities // Excellent leaders attract other great leaders. Dynamic attracts dynamic.

We are selfishly attracted to things that are personally beneficial //  leaders stay when they are serving and growing at the same time. Make sure your volunteers are growing and being rewarded!

We are attracted to fun! // Environments that are fun, where we laugh, attract people! We have to create margin for fun.

We are ultimately attracted to leaders and organizations with integrity. //  Know what we value and live what we value

These attraction factors help to motivate our volunteers. The end goal is to empower volunteers for the long haul. Motivated volunteers are going to thrive and serve longer. What are you doing to motivate your team? In this list of 7 is there one that stands out?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do you really believe in what you are doing?

I have a good friend who NEVER believes the best about his sports teams. Ask him how things are going and he will tell you that his teams are not doing well. It could be the line, the quarterbacks, the defensive backs, or coaching that leads to his doubt. I finally asked him why and he told me that when he did not allow himself to believe in the team it was easier for him to process the outcome. He is probably right because I choose to believe the best about my teams and it sure does hurt when things go bad!

The perspective of my friend might help with our sports teams but rarely will it help with any organization, department, or team you lead. If others are going to follow you they need to know you really do believe in what you are doing. If you don't believe in what you are doing why would anyone else. Belief helps people...

  • Move Forward >> when leaderships displays belief in the mission then people are more likely to take a step of faith. Over and over in the Bible God used men and women to call people to action. Those leaders had nothing but belief in their God to lean on and the people responded.
  • Never Quit >> when I see a leader believe and lead strong even in hard times I am encouraged to not give up and to keep pushing.
  • Trust the Leadership >> when people see you believe then they can trust that you will make the best decision for the organization. Belief drives us to vision and away from selfishness.
If you see people around you not moving forward, quitting, and not trusting leadership maybe it's time to step back and see if you still really believe. When have you seen the power of belief make a difference in your organization or ministry?

Monday, October 1, 2012

5 reasons we partner with Compassion International

This Sunday we announced that Grace Community Church was officially partnering with Compassion International to do ministry in Guatemala and specifically in Guatemala City. Sunday was a day I will never forget as I watched people hear the story of Compassion and respond by sponsoring kid after kid. Here are a few big reasons why we are now working with compassion to reach Guatemla for Jesus...
  1. Changing the life of one child can change the destiny of a family // when you help a child break free from poverty you impact an entire family and open their family to be engaged by a local church and have hope!
  2. When we partner with Compassion we are partnering with the local church // when we send mission teams into any country we want to support the work of the local church. Compassion only works through the local church and works to connect us with local churches.
  3. We want our families to be able to meet their sponsor kids when on mission trips // that simple, connection is a powerful thing!
  4. We want our mission trips to be focused on spreading the message of Jesus // Compassion is not just about freeing people from poverty it's also passionate about seeing people discover Jesus.
  5. Compassion helps us give our families a way to do mission work together // every family can work together to sponsor a child and change a life. I have seen it work in my home for five years as my kids have loved on our sponsor child in Kenya.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Connect teens to your church

Many people spend tons of time looking at the statistics of how teens respond to the church when they graduate and head to college. The statistics can be discouraging and we are all trying to find ways to help teens discover faith in Jesus that endures beyond high school. Here is one idea that we all need to begin to embrace. If we want teens to be a part of the church after high school then we better connect them to the church during high school. If teens are a part of the church and not just a youth ministry during high school then they will look to connect with the church in college. Here are a few ways we are trying to make this happen week after week in our context...

Empower teens to serve now // we make every effort to give away important leadership roles to teens. Serving connects teenagers to other adult mentors and the heartbeat of the church.

Mission trips and serve events connected with the church // anytime a teen goes on a foreign mission trip they go with other leaders from the church. Our student ministry also joins our church in serving our city through several events we do every year uniting the church and our youth ministry.

Plan your worship gathering with the teen in mind // we try to always keep in mind with our service plans, series, worship sets, and stage look that teens will be worshiping with us. Allow teens to have a voice in your planning. This also allows teens and parents to worship together. We believe that makes a difference.

When we serve with teens, worship with teens, and encourage teens to be on mission with the church then we begin to place healthy adult relationships around them. Connecting teens to the church is not just about a healthy youth ministry it also demands a vibrant church who will make an effort. Teens know when they are wanted. Lets start making the connection.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

controlling meeting madness

Meetings...we need them but so many of us seem to be drowning with them at the same time. They control our schedule to the point we have little time to get the work done we just met about with some leader, board, committee, or group. We are a church that is seven years old and over the almost six years I have been here we have gone through different levels of meeting madness. I feel like just this semester we have found a flow that is working for our family ministry team and our staff as a whole. The best way to control meeting madness is to have an effective plan. The point of meetings is to accomplish work as a team so we want to make sure they are effective not out of control. Here is our meeting strategy for our staff right now at Grace Community. Thought you might want to see our flow and I hope it helps...
  1. all staff meeting [once a month] > our entire team gathers once a month for an all hands on deck staff meeting. Here we get to celebrate wins, cast vision, and focus on the big rocks that need everyone to give attention and effort.
  2. family ministry team meeting [once a month] > our entire family team gathers for lunch, training, and encouragement once a month. This helps to make sure we are all fighting together to create engaging environments for the next generation and also partner with parents. We are better when we are connected together.
  3. department meetings [twice a month] > on our off weeks departments (youth, kids, college, campus, worship, etc.) gather to make sure we are getting our work accomplished in our areas. This ensures we have enough time in between meetings to bring back progress after a meeting. 
  4. staff development days [three times a year] > we make sure and block off three days each year where we get away and connect away from the office for a day and just get work done together. These are days to talk vision, long range planning, and team building. We just want to make our church better on these days.
How have you learned to manage meeting madness in your organization?