Blog

Is It A “Fit” Or A “Fit In” Issue?

When a staff member has difficulty assimilating into a new church culture, we often reference the dissonance as a “fit” issue. And, increasingly we see more emphasis being placed on “fit” during the hiring process. I have found it helpful though to further differentiate into “fit” and “fit in” factors. For purposes of this discussion, “fit” related factors are more... Continue Reading

Should Your Church Engage In Social Ministry and Social Justice?

  “Matthew 25 scares the hell out me,” was the response of a pastor friend to the question of what he had learned during his recent sabbatical. Reading with new found clarity where Jesus thrice states we will be judged by our compassion towards “the least of these” had unnerved this seasoned pastor. And, observing social ministry and social justice... Continue Reading

All I Need To Know About Being An Executive Pastor I Learned On West Wing

The breadth of responsibilities for the typical Executive Pastor makes it difficult to briefly describe the position’s job duties. The pithiest description I’ve heard is “the Executive Pastor does everything the Pastor can’t do, won’t do, and shouldn’t do, and if did do, we’d be in big do.” Aside from witty maxims, analogies can be most helpful. The analogy of... Continue Reading

Leader Tool Kit Exercise: Start, Stop, Continue

Start, Stop, Continue is a simple yet catalytic team building, feedback, and decision making exercise with a variety of applications that every church leader should have in their facilitation toolkit. When I am called in as an outside consultant to facilitate strategic conversations, this is my default feedback tool. Let’s take a closer look at how it works. Facilitation Instructions... Continue Reading

Dot Voting: A Group Evaluation and Prioritization Tool

Most church leaders who have facilitated staff, team, or committee brainstorming sessions know that most of these efforts result in more ideas, initiatives, or strategies than you can possibly implement at once. How do you go about deciding which initiatives to undertake first? How do you determine priorities?  One of the simplest ways for coming together on an agreed upon... Continue Reading

An Alternate Approach To Command, Demand, and Control Leadership

Last week we looked at the history, definition, and outcomes of the Command, Demand, and Control Leadership approach that has become so popular in businesses and churches in recent decades. This week we examine an alternate approach for church leaders to consider.  The Church and Culture Has Changed Today’s churches are too large, too complex, and too dynamic to put... Continue Reading

Command, Demand, and Control Leadership

Command, demand, and control is a common leadership style in the local church. Many of today’s church leaders were mentored themselves by command, demand, and control leaders, and therefore the culture of most churches is based on command, demand, and control behaviors. A command, demand, and control leadership approach is based on models from the military, where top generals develop... Continue Reading

Parkinson’s Second Law and Church Budgets

In the article, “Church Staffing Levels – Getting It Right,” we examined the effect of Parkinson’s First Law, “work expands to fill the time allotted” and its application to church staffing. A corollary is Parkinson’s Second Law, “expenditures rise to meet income,” a law that has application to church budgets and expenditures. Northcote Parkinson’s satirical look at industrial and government... Continue Reading

Church Staffing Levels: Getting It Right

Following World War II, English historian, C. Northcote Parkinson wrote a well-known book, Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress, where he ridiculed the excesses of government bureaucracy. Parkinson cited as an example the 5,000 employees supporting 5,000 English Navy vessels during the war and the same number of employees supporting only 500 vessels following the war. Parkinson’s “Laws,” though satirical,... Continue Reading

Should You Hire More or Less Church Staff?

The staffing structures of many Southern Baptist Churches has been influenced by the philosophy of W.A. Criswell, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas (1944-1991). Dr. Criswell was known to employee numerous Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary students and graduates to oversee very narrow and specific age demographics. Criswell was said to have set recruitment goals for church staff based upon... Continue Reading

Does a Lean Staff Really Increase Volunteers?

Much is being written about the evidence that leaner church staffs result in increased numbers of volunteers. For some it appears the verdict is in and they are prepared to declare unequivocally that too many staff negatively impacts volunteerism. My problem with this assumption, besides my own experience to the contrary, is summed up in the “post hoc, ergo propter... Continue Reading

Leader Engagement….Getting It Right

In last week’s post, Where Are You On The Leader Engagement Continuum?, we looked at the symptoms of too much, too little, too early, and too late leader engagement with subordinates. This week we examine the causes of ineffective leader engagement and the behaviors that lead to appropriate and timely leader engagement with those they supervise and lead. Causes of... Continue Reading