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Gauges To Measure In Family Ministry part 3

Last day of discussing 5 ministry gauges to help you do family ministry better.

A brief overview of the earlier 3 Gauges:

Gauge 1: Strategy. Take time to strategically put some things in place to focus on the end goal, will lead to better steps along the way.

Gauge 2: Experience Gauge: Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences.

Gauge 3: Groups Gauge: Self-reliance is one of the greatest threats a church leader can face. It overestimates your abilities and diminishes the impact of your team. So develop your teams!

Now Today, the last 2 Gauges.

Gauge 4: Service Gauge: Are you creating consistent opportunities for kids and students to experience personal ministry?

Here are some things that will begin to happen if you ignore the service gauge.

  • Parents become programmed to see the church as a provider of services for their kids.
  • Leaders never recognize that the discipleship process is also about influencing a student to serve and care for others.
  • Students established a consumer mindset about the church.
  • Communities continue to perceive the church as institutional and insulated.
  • Individual families never experience a sense of calling and mission to make others a priority.
  • Students fail to experience and realize their calling to care for others, and they leave the church without a passion to pursue God’s calling in their lives.

 

The last Gauge to pay attention to would be…

5. Personal Gauge: Are you taking care of yourself?

  • Be a student. “If you’ve closed your mind off to any learning, you’re not a student.”
  • Be balanced. “No one wins when you lose your family. No one wins when you quit your job.”

I have found over the years that paying attention to these 5 gauges can help all of us as we attempt to get our family ministry on the right page. These five gauges are excellent for evaluating where your ministry now stands, and they will help you continue to grow.

So, what are some other gauges you may use in your family ministry?

 

Family Ministry Gauge to Measure part 2

If you have not read part one jump over there first.

Now, if you have read it but need a recap of the first 2 gauges we talked about to help all of us to improve, here is that recap:

Gauge 1:  Strategy Gauge: Making sure you have aligned your systems and processes so that your staff, your leaders, and your parents lead with the same end-in-mind.

 

Gauge 2: Experience Gauge: Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences. You don’t want people to leave without feeling like they were a part of an experience. It is that experience that people share around the water cooler on Monday.

Now for the third Gauge:

Groups Gauge: Here is where you want to make sure you are creating a culture that truly grows and develops leaders who serve in your ministry. Self-reliance is one of the greatest threats a church leader can face. It overestimates your abilities and diminishes the impact of your team. So develop your teams!

Volunteers matter. A community is formed there. There is an importance in serving in that ministry. There is also an importance of “prioritizing small groups at every stage of life”.

Life examples:
1. Place preschoolers in small groups to connect parents.
– parents want to know the people who keep their kids to know their kids
– in the toddler room, small group leader in the room is connected to 8 kids. Everyone cares for every kid, but that leader has 8 kids to follow-up on and care for. Changes everything about communication.
– small groups help little people understand the big idea of God they can’t see by connecting Him to their concrete worlds
– in small groups, kids learn from leaders how to pray and talk to God.
– with parents, you are working against parents’ sense of apprehension. Relationships take that away!
2. Place elementary kids in small groups to help them understand faith and lead them to take the next steps toward Christ
– most of what we learn foundationally, we learn in elementary school.
– help apply big ideas from the Word to their lives. Never just teaching to teach. Never just covering information.
– relational investments in kids give influence to both parents and kids.
– creates a consistent environment to learn bible skills and spiritual habits
– safe and relational environment for kids to ask questions about trusting in Jesus
3. Middle school: help them personalize their faith.
– a place to belong. they are looking for their pack.
– A safe place to discuss challenging issues
– challenge kids by application of scripture
4. High school: give another adult voice
– the greatest gift for a high school parent is another adult pointing them in the same direction
– in the middle of the crowd, they don’t want to be alone.
– challenge students to put faith in action
If you start small groups in high school, kids won’t be comfortable. That’s why you start in preschool years. Most importantly, start with whatever and wherever you are. This group gauge will look different between small and large churches. The basic difference is: in a small church, you don’t need to break the church down smaller. Use the gathering times you may already have to carry out the group’s gauge. In a large church, you need to break the church down into smaller groups for everything explained above.

 

I hope you see the importance of this “Group Gauge”. How may you change and improve your group gauge in your ministry? Why do you see this as a valuable thing to do?

5 Family Ministry Gauges To Continually Measure

I have a regular weekly habit of re-reading my notes taken over the years from conferences, books that I read, leadership meetings and seminars that I get the privilege of attending and more. I schedule 2 hours every week to do this. During one of these times, I ran into some notes from a Family Ministry conference that I attended. This post is an attempt to share some of these great nuggets that I still find important to measure that stem from attending this conference a couple of years ago.
The speaker, Terry Scalzitti, is a senior pastor at a church in Oceanview Baptist Church (Myrtle Beach, SC), but he spent several years doing “next gen” ministry in Florida. He started off his pre-conference workshop with Deuteronomy 6:6 to focus on why we do what we do.
A brief overview in an attempt to help start us all on the same page:
  • We all want to be better at what we do, because we believe that what we do matters.
  • You can leverage what is cultural, what is changing, to communicate what is eternal. If we don’t, we are the ones that look like a fool.
  • If you want to build something that lasts, you have to be willing to change what you build.
  • When you upgrade your system (when you’re willing to change), you highlight the mission in a clear way.
Now that we are all on the same playing ground, let me share the 5 gauges that Terry shared to help us do ministry better:
1. Strategy Gauge: Align systems so that your staff, your leaders, and your parents lead with the same end-in-mind? Sounds like common sense but poll all 3 of those groups sometimes separately and you may be amazed at the diverse answers you get.
Taking the time to Plan and think strategically as you work every week on moving the ball forward with the common mission and vision of the church can sometimes create a feeling of not being able to see the forest through the trees. Take time to strategically put some things in place to focus on the end goal, will lead to better steps along the way.
If the strategy isn’t improved…
  • Silo-Thinking becomes the mentality of staff.
  • Over-programming and competing systems dilute the effectiveness of the church.
  • There is no consistent forum to test and change ineffective programming. (As you test, keep the end in mind. Keep it constructive.)
  • Leaders and volunteers get disillusioned with lack of direction.
  • Parents struggle with how to partner with the church.
2. Experience Gauge: Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences.
Terry stated, “I don’t want people to leave without feeling like they were a part of an experience.”
According to Leonard Sweet, an experience is:
  • Experiential
  • Participatory
  • Image-driven
  • Connective
How do we create this? We simplify, and we connect with our audience.
If an experience isn’t improved…
  • Parents and leaders will probably never teach the same truths as a synchronized effort.
  • The church is perceived as irrelevant. (People need to hear something practical. Know your audience.)
  • Individual leaders will tend to teach whatever they think is important.
  • A canceling effect happened to important core truths. (They need simple truths that are easy to understand and they can apply.)
  • Biblical truths are viewed as boring and irrelevant.
These are the first 2 of the 5 Family Gauges to make sure you are measuring, evaluating and testing. It is a firm belief of mine that all things important, we will measure and keep track of. If you want to test this, try and forget your wedding anniversary, or, stop measuring how many sweets you eat. You get the idea. Living the bigger picture of what God has for all of us is so important to me that measuring, changing and not giving up is of utmost importance to see the results that I know should and can be achieved.
Stay tuned for the other 3 Gauges…

Giving Effective Feedback

Giving good feedback

Most feedback I have received has never worked the way I hoped for or the way the person who gave me feedback thought it would work. 

Why? Because the feedback usually was only a personal preference of the person giving it. The feedback stays pretty generic. Feedback has nothing to do with the goals of the person getting the feedback. Share specific feedback. Share feedback that’s focused on the person you’re giving feedback to. 

Feedback is a leadership tool. 

Instead of starting with preferences, start with the idea of effectiveness. Instead of starting with you, start with them. 

Example: (Bad) I thought that task could have had better advertising. (This is personal preference and built around you not the one who is needing feedback).

(Good) If you and your team could have set aside more time to think through your advertisement plan. Do you think you would have experienced better results? (This keeps the focus on effectiveness not preference). 

Keeping feedback about the other person and their effectiveness, helps them to feel respected. Keeping feedback about your preference etc makes the other person feel they don’t measure up. 

Great feedback is about the other person not about your preference.

Am I being specific enough to give great feedback?

Is it really worth being a great leader in your ministry?

Being great isn’t always so great.

Have you ever excelled at a job or position to then be ignored? As you learn your place and excel at it, there comes a time where the nice things said about you come to a stop. The resources poured into you to help you improve stop. The incremental pay raises or small bonuses stop.

Why?

You have become great at what you do. But that is not it. Your place of ministry does not recognize the value of high-capacity, well-trained, top 20% type of leaders. Don’t hold this against your leader, or your church, or the church board when it comes time for any of the above to be shown. Unfortunately, many fall into this category. Sadly, many have never learned or experienced the value of this type of impactful leader.

So what now?

Be that great leader that you are and help your church, ministry, the board, and your leader see the value in having someone like you. You can do this in many ways, I am only going to walk one to two examples out. Be creative in what you can do in your situation.

Start with the same challenge that God gave Moses, “What is in your hand?” Start with what you have. Model how to reward, recognize and love on your top performers. Yes, play favorites in a way. The ministry is for everyone, but why devalue the time and effort of your top performers? Love on everyone, but because you are spending more time with the top performers, you will love on them more.

Here are some quick ideas on how to spread the love with little to no budget.

* Pay more for the same conferences they go to as opposed to the amount helped with when others go.
* Invite them more into your house for meals with you and your family.
* Recognize them by name in the largest group setting of their peers that you have control over. Share why you are mentioning them by name.
* Buy them a coffee more often.
* Hang out with them in their office, the hallways, etc.

There you have it. These ideas will not break the bank. But, if you have the influence and ability to do more, then do it. Resources invested in your top 20% doesn’t return void, or they would not be the 20%.

Create a culture where going the

Perfectly designed for the results you are getting

You’re designed for the results you are getting.

The title of this post has always loomed in the back of my head as I continue to try to grow as a leader. Serving as the XP of my church it is an active part of my weekly duties to look for anything that may hinder our mission.

Here is one common one that I find in many churches. No Implementation Strategy.

Let me explain. Churches are finally beginning to understand the value of reading, conferences, networking and more. Churches set up regular book reviews with their teams. Many have found ways to get their leaders to conferences. Several have taken the next step with designing networks to grow with one another. The main fail I see in this plan as it currently stands, it’s all info consuming and no plan to use the knowledge.

Same if we stand behind the pulpit every week and only share facts and no challenges of how to use what we are sharing? All the info consumption is worthless if we do not create ways to live what we are learning.

This is why, if you look at your life, spiritual or through your leadership, you have designed your life for the results you are getting.

What if you took less different types of info in and implemented more of what you took in?

What if you blocked off time (and I mean to actually add it to your calendar) to invest in living the info?

What if you changed the metrics of what success looks like? Instead of the amount of conferences you go to, or the fullness of your bookshelves, it was the results of what is contained on your bookshelf. What’s preached on Sunday.

Quick lessons learned not so quickly

 
Have you ever had those times when you think you have learned a lesson but then later down the road you discover maybe you didn’t realize how important that lesson really was? Ever since moving to the Executive pastor role at my church I keep stumbling across these lessons.
It is my wish to not go into long details but, to mainly make this a bullet list. If you are like me and have heard these lessons already and are implementing them yet, you too will end up having these be a lesson you may have learned but it is not one that you will discover is one you will learn quickly. If you read one of these and wonder what it means then, by all means, ask because there is a chance you can actually turn this into a lesson learned quickly.
Here we go:
  • A written vision is important. The pen (or keyboard!) has power. It isn’t enough to envision your goals in your mind. You must have a blueprint on paper. Every decision you make, ask yourself: does this help me get closer to accomplishing the vision?
  • Learn to listen to the neighborhood that your church is in. You have to listen and then deliver. God really does know where He has placed your church and why.
  • Only hire people who have a fire. Hire people who are driven to do well and see your church succeed.
  • If you must let someone go who is paid or re-position a volunteer, be graceful and professional about it. This is hands down the worst part of being an Executive Pastor. It is tough to let people go, but for the greater good of the ministry and a greater benefit for the person, sometimes it must be done. It doesn’t matter if you are being let go or being repositioned, don’t burn bridges.
  • Learn to forgive. Things happen. People change. You can’t move forward in ministry — or in life — if you can’t forgive and move on.
  • Treat your team well. People will follow a leader who treats them with respect. Learn to value your team’s input, and always reward them for a job well done.
  •  Focus is the most underrated skill that you must master. What is on people’s computer screens is not usually resulting in a positive ROI. Learn to focus on what truly matters in your ministry. Then, do it consistently. Facebook, twitter, snap chat etc., even though you may use it for networking, most likely is not as profitable as you try to sell that it is.
  • Multitasking IS NOT greater productivity. Don’t put “good multitasker” on your resume. Numerous studies have shown that multitasking decreases brain power.
  • Learn to view situations objectively. Just because you would or wouldn’t do something, doesn’t mean others are the same way.
  • Don’t take life for granted. Life is temporary, and the only thing that matters at the end of the day is how you treated those relationships that God has given you for a time. Most importantly, how have you treated the relationship between you and God?
  • A network is crucial. As much as you try, you can’t do it alone. Building a personal and professional support network is imperative.
  • Busy is an ever-changing definition. What was busy last year for you probably is not busy for you today. This is why you should be nervous of any leader who keeps talking about how “Busy” they are. They could be showing you they have reached their lid.
  • Be picky when choosing your friends. My friend list (and I don’t mean Facebook) is short. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. I heard it said once that the top 5 people you spend the most time with represent the lid of who you will be like. What does your lid look like if this is true?

Interviewing High Potential Ministry Candidates

Interviewing

It is exciting times here at my church, First Church. We are seeing a ton of great things happening at the time of writing of this blog this morning. To focus on just one of those items I now have the privilege, being my pastors’ executive pastor, of assisting my lead pastor in interviewing new potential candidates. Yes, we have hired recently a new Harvest Bible Institute Pastor (we have an accredited Bible School starting at our church in the fall of 2017). Then we also hired a new facility building manager and now we are looking for a new worship pastor.

In this process, it has been confirmed some lessons that I have learned over the years about high capacity leaders that you want on your team really do things differently. This applies even when they interview, and you can see this through their questions and their answers to your strategically asked questions. I will take on today sharing some of my questions and what I learn from asking each one.

  • What were the things in your last position that energized you the most and what zapped your energy the most? 

This is kind of easy to see the benefits of asking this question. Some of the obvious takeaways would be seeing what gifts and tools they will be bringing to the table and the areas that they would prefer to stay away from. Areas that people gain energy from they will choose to stay there more often than the areas they don’t gain energy from. How much of the areas that drain them are really parts of the ministry they are applying for? While answering this also keep listening for a humble spirit especially when they are talking about their areas that they gain energy from.

  • What were the problems areas for you in your past position/ministry and do you see any of those potentially being here in this position? 

This is about adaptability. Listen to what problems they identify and how did they adapt to them? Problems will always be in every ministry/position but how does this potential person adapt to the challenges?

  • If you were hired for this position, what would be your game plan for the first 3 months?

Here is a question that will show a couple items about the interviewee. First, it allows the person to showcase some of their creativity. Secondly, it allows you to see how much they have researched your church and the ministry they are applying for. High capacity leaders do their homework. This is an area for the person to show you what specific things they know about your church, the good and the bad. One more thing this can show you is how well have they grasped what success would like in this role.

There are a few more strategic questions I enjoy asking, but, I will leave it at these for now. Some of you may be thinking, you just gave the questions you use in interviewing and people can prepare better now. I would say, you are correct! Bottom line is, High capacity leaders are prepared and do their homework. So if they have found this post and can benefit from it, they should be rewarded for doing their homework.

What questions would you add to this list?

New day in ministry with a virtual assistant

I have entered a new season of ministry here at First Church DSM. I went from being the family pastor to being the executive pastor of family and ministry operations. For the first time since I started in Full-Time ministry back in 1992, I feel a little out of it as I try to figure out what I am doing now and the best way to do it.

In comes, the greatest tool my church could have allowed me to have. What is that tool you ask? Her name is Laura, my virtual assistant from Belay. Take out the part of her not physically being in my office area at the church and not being able to run an errand or two, Laura has been the best ministry gift from my church to me in this new position.

It has only been 2 weeks so far but Laura and I have really started dialing in how we can work the best with one another. I’ll describe some of the tools and ways we are using them that would benefit anyone working with an admin, virtual or physical. Let’s begin.

Slack is where it all starts for us. We use slack instead of texting. Organize your team conversations in open channels. Make a channel for a project, a topic, a team, or anything—everyone has a transparent view of all that’s going on. For sensitive information, create private channels and invite a few team members. We use Direct Messages just like you would a text. Then in slack you can take a conversation from typing to face-to-face by starting a voice or video call in any Channel or Direct Message. Make one-on-one or group calls right from Slack without needing to open another app or share invite links.

Trello is where we put our projects as we work on them. A Trello board is a list of lists, filled with cards, used by Laura and I. It’s a lot more than that, though. Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size.

Dropbox is where we will put all finished projects. For example, every year we run an Easter outreach. We will communicate with one another through slack, and add team members into that slack so we will have a one stop talk area for all things Easter that year. We will track all that communication over projects and due dates etc that we keep in an Easter Trello board. Once the budgets, ideas, checklist, vendor information, brochures created, and so much more we will take all of that and place it in our Drop Box Easter folder so that next year we will just go to the Easter folder and have a great starting point.

Evernote is more of our personal file cabinet.Big ideas, little details, and everything in between. Anything that matters to you can be captured in a note, ready for when you need it. Surfing the web and find a great article or blog that you enjoy, web clip to Evernote. get an email you want to file that is from an actual mailing list you want to be part of email it to your Evernote account. Take a picture of something you see that you want to remember later for a possible new stage design for your church, add into Evernote. Want the business card from the person you are meeting with but tired of having all these loose business cards or not having them ready to use when you need them, take a picture and add it into Evernote. Then have all of this and so much more available in real-time from any of your devices. That there is the real kicker for this tool. Available and searchable at any time even with pictures.

Lastly, Laura and I are finding that using doing a weekly zoom call to touch base “in person” keeps us in touch with the tone of what is going on for all week through slack, Trello, dropbox, and evernote. Belay has done a fantastic job of matching me with an assistant that works like I do. Even after they give you one they follow-up over the next couple weeks as well to make sure it is all going well. They interviewed me and found out my personality and made sure they gave me an admin that would fit.

Bottom line, it’s a new day in ministry with having a virtual assistant.

The Truth about your capacity

The truth about yours and mine capacity is that we should always be increasing it.

Traveling through a neighborhood recently where when I was a child I use to have a paper route. The homes were always the kind of homes that I dreamed of owning myself someday. Big driveways for many cars, several stories high, well-kept yards and more. I always enjoyed delivering the paper to the neighborhood. The tragic sight that I recently saw during this visit. Those same homes now several years later would not be anyone’s dream homes. Several yards tore up and dead. Driveways have more weeds growing from cracks in the driveways, and so many more changes that it no longer looks the same.

What is the big difference? The capacity of those new homeowners changed.

The homeowners had the capacity to take care of all their yards and homes. They later sold those homes to people who would move in and not have the same high-capacity in taking care of their homes and the result is what is the reality now.

Raise your capacity in whatever you are doing.

Some ways to raise your capacity in today’s world.

1. Read. Reading today can come in many forms. Information in today’s world is not something we have a shortage of.

2. Watch Videos. Plug into Lynda.com, YouTube,  Vimeo etc. Do a search for keywords that you want to raise your capacity in and stand back to be amazed at the number of videos available to grow from.

3. Join social networks. Join Facebook groups or pages, LinkedIn group, and the list goes on.

Bottom line. Today is the day to start raising your capacity. No excuses, there is way too many ways to grow.

 

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