Daily Thought General Leadership Priorities

Jumpstart 2012

It’s hard to believe, but 2011 is almost over.  As I say every year, it seems that 2011 just started a few months ago.  Time is definitely flying by.

Having a few days off for the Christmas Holiday was great. Not only did it allow me to slow down for a bit, but I also had some time to think and put together a game plan for preparing for the new year. I am taking this week to “Jumpstart 2012”. My week is going to be heavily scheduled on preparing myself for the new year.

[quote type=”center”]How are you preparing for 2012?[/quote]

For most of us, this week between Christmas and New Years is often slower, has less going on, and can be a great time to prepare our selves.

I sat down earlier in the month and started looking for goals I had set for 2011 and quickly realized I couldn’t find the document. I’m sure I have it down somewhere on my computer but this year I am trying something new.

I have made a list of personal and business goals for the new year. I used our company’s Google Apps account to prepare and save the document so it can be shared with others in our company. From that, I am going to develop a game plan for reaching those goals this year. That game plan is what I am going to use to FOCUS my daily efforts. Two of my goals revolve around attaining new clients. I am going to keep a running tally on my wall so that I can have a constant, daily reminder of that goal…

What are you doing to prepare yourself, your church or organization or your business for 2012?

Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership Priorities

1% Increase to Cooperative Program

While not all of our clients are Southern Baptist, we do have quite a few that are. Read the post below by Nate Adams, the Executive Director for the Illinois Baptist State Association. It’s amazing that a 1% increase in your church’s giving to the cooperative program would have a $100 mil. impact.

You can see Nate’s post Here or read below:

Church Management Growing Your Giving Base Leadership Priorities

5 Ways to Break Through Barriers to Church Growth

By Pat Pajak, associate executive director, IBSA Church Strengthening Team

Has your church growth leveled off or even started declining? Every church faces growth barriers at various times in its lifecycle. Most churches face growth barriers when attendance reaches 65, 125, 250, 500, and 1,000. By learning to identify and break through these barriers, you can keep your momentum and continue growing for God’s glory. What is keeping your church from growing? Healthy organisms grow. If you feel stagnation setting in, barriers are inhibiting your growth. Implement a plan to remove them.

Church Management Leadership Priorities Visitors

The Real Cost of Free

One of the greatest fallacies in our culture is the perception of ‘free’.  That simple word sounds so good to people, yet few realize that it is actually a misnomer.  There really is nothing free.  (Except salvation through Jesus Christ, but even that cost Jesus his life.)

Every time something is offered for free, someone, somewhere, somehow had to pay for it.

Many churches are operating under the assumption that their volunteers are free labor.  The truth is that the free labor comes at a cost.  While it may not cost in dollars directly, the intrinsic costs of volunteer labor can be substantial.  Let’s look at a few examples.

Church Management Daily Thought Leadership Priorities

Have you found a helpful messenger?

Thom Rainer posted on his blog today insights about the “Quest for Helpful Messengers.”  He hit the nail dead on with his post.  As leaders, we do often devote our attention to people from two camps.  We have the first camp of people that feed our ego and continually praise our efforts.  These people in some instances are genuinely happy for our leadership, but can also have a hidden agenda and are using this method for their own self gratification and advancement.

The second camp is the opposite.  These people are constantly criticizing and critiquing your efforts.  The old adage, “the squeeky wheel gets the oil” fits here.  These people are also typically using this method for their own means.

As a leader we must seek out helpful messengers.  Those people that will work with us and share truth.  Those individuals that are selfless and will work for the good of the organization not fulfilling their own selfish agendas.  Seek out these people, and invest in them.

Church Management Church Planting Priorities

RT Ed Stetzer – Top Issues Church Planters Face Reports

See the post from Ed Stetzer’s blog about the top issues that church planters face.

Ed Stetzer – Top Issues Church Planters Face Reports.

Daily Thought Leadership Priorities

Ministry Lusting – Day 1 Into the Field

For the next few days, we’ll be posting articles from a friend of ours, Stephen Boster, KCI Campus Pastor for Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO.  Stephen released a post a few months ago that got me thinking, do we as pastors fall victim to ‘lusting’ after other ministries?  Take a few minutes to check out his thoughts and feel free to comment.  – Josh

Day 1 – Into The Field

My seminary experience provided me with two things at the end of my scholarly journey (besides a great Biblical education): (1) the beginnings of a seminary library, and

(2) the seminary belly – and you fellow seminarians know exactly what I mean about that extra 10-20 pounds around the midline. J

I enjoy my library.  I find myself continuing to utilize the tools and resources that seminary taught me to research and apply.  Seminary serves as a deep well that I draw from on a continual basis.

Communication General Priorities Visitors Web

Churches have websites but many aren’t utilizing them, LifeWay survey finds By David Roach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) | Though most churches have a website, there is a divide between congregations that use their sites only for one-way communication and those that maximize their online presence with interactive technology.

That is the finding of a new LifeWay Research study sponsored by Axletree Media, one of LifeWay’s partners in its Digital Church initiative designed to enhance delivery systems and keep up with the digital needs of the church.

The survey of 1,003 Protestant churches found that while 78 percent have a website, less than half of those congregations use their sites for interactive purposes like obtaining and distributing prayer requests (43 percent), registering people for events and activities (39 percent) and automating more church processes (30 percent).

A majority of congregations with a website use it for one-way communication, the survey revealed. A full 91 percent provide information to potential visitors online and 79 percent provide information to the congregation. Fifty-seven percent encourage increased attendance and involvement among the congregation and 52 percent solicit interest in ministry or volunteer opportunities.

“Many churches are using their website like a Yellow Pages ad characterized by basic information and infrequent updates,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “This is in sharp contrast with churches that use their website like a bustling church receptionist registering people for upcoming events, collecting prayer requests and obtaining volunteers.

“There is nothing wrong with using a church website to simply give directions to the church or state the church’s beliefs,” McConnell added. “However, we must realize that more and more people expect to be able to interact online without having to drive or make a phone call to the church.”

Larger churches are more likely than their smaller counterparts to use their websites interactively. Among churches with a website, 69 percent of churches with 500 or more in average worship attendance register people for events or activities online, but only 25 percent of churches with one to 49 attendees do the same. Fifty-two percent of congregations with 500 or more attendees seek to use their website to “allow more processes at (their) church to be automated,” compared with 15 percent of churches with one to 49 attendees.

In contrast, large and small churches are about equally as likely to use their websites to provide information to potential visitors. There is also little difference between large and small churches using their websites to provide information to their congregation.

The study also found differences in the frequency of website usage. Forty percent of churches with websites update their sites once a week and 15 percent update more than once a week. But nearly half of churches with websites (42 percent) update them only once a month or less. That includes 7 percent that update once a year or less.

Among the factors that keep churches from providing more content and services online are limited time among church staff (46 percent), limited financial resources (41 percent), limited time among volunteers (39 percent) and little interest expressed by the congregation for more online content or services (35 percent).

Bill Nix, CEO of Axletree Media, lamented that more churches do not take advantage of online ministry resources.

“With the low cost of online technology today, any size congregation can build and maintain a helpful website,” Nix said. “Plus, updating a website has become so easy that no church needs to feel like it lacks the technological savvy to have a presence on the Internet.”

Digital photos are the most common technology utilized among churches with websites and the only technology used by a majority of those congregations. Eighty-two percent use digital photos in their online ministries, 47 percent use digital audio files or podcasts, 31 percent utilize digital video files, 26 percent use text messaging, and 26 percent of congregations use blogs.

The poll was conducted Sept. 8-20.

David Roach is a pastor and writer in Shelbyville, Ky.

Communication General Leadership Priorities

How will your church reach your community in the New Year?

It’s that time again, the time we all tell each other how we can’t believe how fast the previous year has gone by.  I will admit, 2010 has seemed to fly by.  It’s amazing how we start each week on Monday and before we know it, its Friday.  Time sure seems to be moving along quickly.

Question  of the week:

How will your church reach your community in 2011?

Here are some ideas:

Setup a plan to serve, without expecting return. I know, novel right?  But when was the last time your church did something for the community just because it was the right thing to do?  I’m not talking about doing something for the less fortunate.  I’m suggesting something that benefits everyone.  Some ideas we’ve seen before are:

– Gas Day – offer to pay a set amount per gallon at the local gas station.  Take it one step further and offer to pump for the person.  This is a good way to strike up a conversation and meet more people in the community.

– Car Wash – Have a day where you wash cars for people in the community.  While your local cheerleaders might get upset that you are taking a fundraiser from them, just do it because its the right thing to do.

– Oil Change – Have a day at the church parking lot where men will volunteer to change oil for single mothers.

– Rake Leaves – travel through neighborhoods and offer to rake leaves.

There are surely countless ideas and ways you can help out your community.  Ask your town mayor or other leaders about things that they know of.  It won’t hurt your church and will reap rewards for your congregation.  Remember, the question to ask yourself is:

If your church closed its doors, and left the community, would the the community know?

Accounting Church Management General Priorities Time Management

Maintaining Balance Part 3 – Your Church

Let’s face it.  In many cases our modern churches have become much more than just a gathering place to worship.  We have added daycare, schools, coffee shops, bookstores, free wi-fi, etc., etc., etc.  Now there is nothing inherently bad with these things, and for the most part they are great tools for reaching new people and providing Christ centered education for our children.  However, who is responsible for keeping these things operational and when do we get back to the church being a group of believers assembled together to worship God?

Today, I’d like to focus on maintaining balance in Your Church.  The statistics are staggering:

  • Pastors have the second highest divorce rate of any other profession.
  • 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
  • 45% of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
  • 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.

And the most Staggering Statistic: