leadership development

Viral Volunteerism Part 1

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 1 – Clarity of Vision

“How do I get more volunteers?” I hear this question from leaders across the country. Why? Because of what I have never heard from anyone, anywhere… “We have too many volunteers!”

So, how do you get (and keep) more volunteers? Let’s explore this together over the next few posts… It all starts with leadership.

Let’s be more specific. By leadership we mean CLEAR leadership. Why? Because, the leadership must have clarity in several essential areas for people to develop the trust necessary to follow. Here are a few of those vital areas…

Clear Vision. Do people have a clear sense of where all of this is going? Are the leadership teams united in the pursuit of a shared vision for the church or organization? Has this been clearly communicated to those being asked to get on board? If not, get this done! People are slow to get on board a train with an uncertain destination.

Clear Goal. This is different than the overall vision of the organization. This one is specific to the initiative or event you are asking people to volunteer for. To get people to not only volunteer but to be excited about it, you have to clarify the win.

In other words, what does success look like if all goes even better than expected? The more specific you can be, the better. For example – Our goal is to pack 450 homeless care packets and deliver them to the shelter by 1pm.

Clear Information. This one is simple, but essential. Do people know what they are getting themselves into? Have you taken the time to let people know the who, what, when, where and how of what you are asking? We will cover this more specifically in an upcoming post, especially as it concerns the #1 factor in people’s willingness to volunteer.

Again, people will be slow to sign-up and show up if they aren’t sure what they are signing up for.

Clear leadership is central to creating a culture of Viral Volunteerism where the people have a high level of trust in a team that has done their homework!

Need some help gaining organizational clarity? Reply below and let’s get started with a free coaching call!

The Shepherd CEO

UnknownTwo extremes pull and tug at most pastors, especially those that lead small/medium sized congregations . They may be called upon at any time of day or night to be one or the other. It can be as overwhelming as it is exhausting to find balance between caring for and leading the flock. In other words, being the Shepherd and the “CEO.”

The pastor as shepherd. This role calls on the pastor to be listener, comforter, intercessor, counselor, friend and more. While this can be as rewarding as any aspect of ministry, it can also be exhausting. Without some checks and balances pastors can easily find themselves suffering from compassion fatigue and worse, burn-out. This role isn’t isolated to the pastor and is shared in so many ways by spouses, kids and other ministry team members.

Still, being a shepherd never goes out of style. As a small church pastor I cared personally for the church one family, couple or individual at a time. When I was a large church pastor I was there for the staff, lead teams and their families who in turn cared for the larger congregation through small groups. To be honest, this is will always be the best method regardless of size… God’s people caring for one another! Regardless, the call to love the people we lead is still relevant, and always will be. Shepherding never goes out of style. Only the context changes with size.

Then there’s the pastor as CEO. Regardless of polity, structure and/or staffing, the pastor can’t ignore the realities of organization life (visioning, goal-setting, staffing, budgeting, planning, training, etc.). I have had the privilege of pastoring churches from 9-900 and the overall responsibility is the same, only the administrative method changes. For many in small and medium-sized churches, they often find themselves as their own secretary, executive assistant, administrative pastor and more all rolled into one. There is a better way and we would love to help you find it! (Let’s talk coaching!)

Whether you have paid staff or not to handle daily operations, the reality is that the church has a business side to it and it should be handled with a practical professionalism, and a lot of prayer! After all, administration is a biblical gift. For those with the benefit of dedicated staff for all the above, you still bear the responsibility of oversight, equipping and encouraging each leader and each area of ministry well.

Pastors have long since been tasked with leading as both shepherd and CEO. “Old school” pastors and churches emphasize one while millennial ministers and their ministries have trended to the other. However, both are vital to the health of the organizational culture and congregation.

Bottom line? Pastors must be all about the business of being there for people while simultaneously overseeing the nuts and bolts of organizational life. Both never stop begging for attention and deserve equal parts compassion and excellence.

The question is, how do pastors do this without losing it? Is balance even possible?

Share your suggestions in the reply section below. Need some help finding a balance or renewing your focus on one or the other? We would love to help you find a more effective balance. Let us know how we can help through an ongoing coaching partnership. Just reply, “Let’s talk coaching!” in the reply section below and we’ll get connected!

Lonely Leadership

UnknownLeadership can be a lonely life. Beyond the online image of big events, conferences, retreats, lunch meetings, speaking engagements and more… leadership can leave you feeling isolated and wondering if anyone “gets it” or the world you live in. It’s easy to find yourself increasingly lonely and longing for something missing in all of it.

My wife and I find ourselves in just such a season as I have “moved” to a new assignment while she finishes teaching at a university in another state. Not fun. So, I came up with 5 Ways to Beat Leadership Loneliness while battling a little loneliness myself…

1) Admit you are lonely. It’s okay. While you may be surrounded by busy people in the course of your work, you can still be starved for meaningful relationships that have nothing to do with meeting your next goal or pulling off that upcoming event.

Admit to yourself, your family and a few trusted friends if you find yourself growing isolated. And, while there is solace in solitude with the Lord, isolation is a different matter. Someone has said, “Isolation is the devil’s home court.” Admit it… you miss people. That doesn’t make you weak, that makes you human.

2) Know your limitations.

You crave relationship.That’s okay. We were created for it! No, you don’t need more work related interaction, you have probably had enough of that. You need people to share the real stuff of life with. You may actually find the extremes of busyness increasing right along with isolation in a bizarre and dangerous irony. How do you know when you are reaching an unhealthy place? Read on…

3) Know your temptations.

Loneliness can lead to lesser things, much less and much worse. Let’s face it, we are all tempted to self-medicate when we are in pain. The enemy knows this and will be right there to “help” with temporary “fixes” that distract from or make the pain of loneliness go away for the moment. Everyone is tempted by some of these… from comfort eating to extreme sports/exercising, pornography to workaholism, binge watching favorite shows to substance abuse, “retail therapy,” and more. How do you keep from falling into these traps?

Know what really tempts you and let a few trusted people in on it (Hint: They may already know!). Draw close to the Lord through worship and the Word. Bring others around who will encourage and hold you accountable. You can live above these temptations! Speaking of accountability…

4) Stay open.

We all need some “alone time.” However, again, it’s easy to become a “hermit” and simply shut out the rest of the world. Resist the temptation to get comfortable with being alone. Stay open to friendships and the accountability they bring. Seek out conversations about things that truly matter. Be willing to ask and, more importantly, be asked questions about your life and leadership. Be there for others as much as you need them to be there for you. Whatever you do, don’t get too used to leading and living as a “party of one.”  We were made for fellowship with God and others!

5) Be active.

Don’t be busy, be active. Find a few things that fuel you spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally. Find some things you and your spouse, kids or friends also enjoy and get into it! I like to hike, write, work out, read, and a new hobby of kayaking… anything outdoors! Be intentional about carving out regular time to restore, even rest. You will be a better person for your family and leader for your church/organization as you stay active and healthy.

I’ll admit it… I don’t get lonely sometimes, I get just plain pathetic. I need the company of the Lord, my wife, my friends, and a long trail to wander on with them!

What about you? How are you actively beating leadership loneliness? Share your thoughts below…

5 Truths of Organizational Culture

imagesThese truths are worth repeating. I share them at least once a year. Why? Because we need to reflect on them at least that often. Ask yourself a few questions about your lead team, ministry or organization…

Have you plateaued? Do you feel an increasing lack of momentum within your organization and influence within your community? Perhaps you are willing to take a serious “look in the mirror” but don’t know where to start or what to look for?

Gather your team and walk through these tried and tested truths from Pastor Andy Stanley. You might even want to unpack them one at a time to discover what they say about you and, more importantly, what you need to do about it…

5 Inescapable Truths of Organizational Culture

by Pastor Andy Stanley 

Culture: That set of unwritten rules that determine how a people in an organization act, react, solve problems, treat people, live out expectations, approaches… the stuff that makes up the personality of the organization.

Culture incorporates Values: For example, excellence is a value. How we express (apply, live it out, etc) excellence creates our culture. Culture says, “This is how we do it here.”

Culture impacts how people carry out and focus on the vision/mission. It is difficult but EXTRAORDINARILY important to embrace cultural change.

Reality: Every church has a culture. What is ours? Describe it in 3 words… _________________   _________________   _________________

Truth 1: Leaders shape the culture whether they intend to or not.

Leaders either adapt to the present culture (become invisible) or create culture (change agent).

What is the driving force of our culture? God may be blessing… but what is He blessing and to what end? When you are sure about this, protect it and promote it at all cost!

Truth 2: Time in erodes awareness of.

If you aren’t intentional, the longer we are in leadership the less aware we are of our culture (how we appear to others).

These first two truths compound one another. You have to build into your culture ways to stay aware. i.e. Guest Ready! For example… new staff/guest evaluations and “Main Event” reviews.

Truth 3: Healthy cultures attract and keep healthy people.

Unhealthy people (i.e. consumers vs. producers; self-absorbed; negative; critical; tradition-bound; power-brokers; “needy” drama kings & queens, etc) are attracted to unhealthy cultures. Healthy people  (producers, others-oriented, not easily offended, “get it done”, etc)  have a low tolerance of unhealthy cultures… and they just leave. If we really want to be able to minister to unhealthy, hurting people, we must constantly strive to be healthy people in healthy environments.

Unhealthy Indicators:

1 – Unhealthy people (Consumers) are drama oriented & healthy people (Producers) are “get-it-done” oriented.

2 – Unhealthy people are self-focused & healthy people are others-focused.

3 – Unhealthy organizations use sideways energy and are busy, busy, busy… with little productivity (and wore out, uninspired leaders). Healthy organizations are others-focused (making disciples) and use forward energy, resulting in high productivity (and energized, inspired leaders!).

Truth 4: The organizational culture impacts the long-term productivity of the organization.

Territorialism is replaced by collaboration. Mediocrity is replaced by excellence. Red tape is replaced by simple systems that empower people. Feelings don’t get hurt and leaders don’t have to walk on “eggshells,” killing momentum and productivity again and again… and there is healthy growth!

Truth 5: Unhealthy cultures are slow to adapt to change.

The churches that grow the fastest and are the healthiest are those that are NOT focused on their church members. (NOTE: This is assuming you have created healthy discipleship environments and processes for your members). An unhealthy culture is generally focused inward, on itself and their back is to the marketplace. An unhealthy church resists change. Healthy churches seek outward focused, forward moving change and can act, react, morph, adapt and create in a high-energy environment. Members needs are cared for as, together, they share life and care for others.

“Does this really matter?” YES!

If our productivity is tied to making disciples and impacting a culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ… then intentionally growing from the inside-out into a healthy culture eternally matters!

Notes: What spoke to you? How can you identify these truths in your organizational culture? Share at least 2 examples or take-a-ways…

*5 Truths in bold by Andy Stanley… summaries from his teaching are from yours truly.

I Love BIG Churches 3

Unknown-11I Love BIG Churches Part 3

7 Myths about BIG Churches

BIG Churches really don’t need defended. So, why am I sharing this series of posts? Again, it is simply to help those who may be suffering from “BIG Church Bitterness” get past it and move on to fulfilling God’s unique call on their lives and ministries. Are some of the criticisms about “BIG Churches” warranted? Yes. However, I have found these to be the exception and not the rule. Only God truly knows the heart. Until then…

Consider these 7 Myths About BIG Churches.

1. “They don’t preach the Word.” By what metric do you base that on? How many of their sermons or teaching series have you personally engaged in? Could they simply have a different style than some of of us? Perhaps. To be honest, many pastors of larger congregations are simply better communicators. They have a leadership team and a strategy that allows, equips and insists on this. However, this doesn’t make them more or less true to God’s Word. I have sat under and followed closely BIG and even MEGA church pastors who preach expository while others preach topical. What most have in common is a love for the Word and real world application. Some insist, “They tell too many stories.” Do they? Maybe. Then, again, didn’t Jesus often communicate through story, parable and object lessons?

2. “Their worship is shallow.” I hear this one the most. “It’s too ‘showy’.” I wonder… is it ok for exceptionally gifted people to use their gifts for God’s glory? Can people who are professionally trained in music, staging, lights, sound & other forms of media serve the Lord and offer their gifts with a pure heart, or are they somehow unqualified due to too much experience? Sure, if a worship set somehow fails to even mention any member of the Trinity, there’s a problem. Just one more question… can we make too big a deal out of the biggest deal in the world? Should a “professional” level of investment only be reserved for the secular gatherings the majority of us often enjoy outside the church worship context? (concerts, movies, college & professional sports, fishing tournaments, NASCAR… just to name a few)

3. “Their people are only attenders.” Some probably are. Then again, having pastored churches from 9-900, I would suggest the percentages aren’t that different. “Pew sitting” can be just as prevalent among small churches as large. I have witnessed many in small churches who are too quick to give people credit by merely showing up. Choosing not to do anything but show up is a personal choice, regardless of context. One could argue that larger churches offer even more opportunity to be invested in serving Christ and the community.

4. “They steal most of their people from other churches.” This one might be my favorite. There are likely an exception or two out there. However, trust me on this one, few large church lead teams spend their days strategizing on how to gain more members from smaller congregations. They don’t have to. They are too busy strategizing and implementing the Great Commission. It’s true, people do leave smaller churches and join them in their vision. The question is, “Why?” Could it be because many Christ followers want to be where people are actively passionate about reaching the lost, making disciples and transforming a community?  “BIG Churches” often do this with a high level of excellence… and things like passion and excellence are very attractive and contagious to most people (saved or unsaved). God set it up this way… excellence and passion attracts, mediocrity and routine simply don’t.

5. “People are lost in the crowd.” True… but only if they want to be. Practically speaking we can only do life with a limited number of people, a small group, if you will. This holds true whether the larger group is 100 or 10,000. Could it be that there are even more ways and opportunities to be truly connected with others at larger churches? Maybe. Suffice it to say that we can choose to be connected or not regardless of the size of the greater group we worship with. The choice is ours. “But I feel like I’m not connected.” This is possible and, yes, easier in larger contexts. However, small or large, it’s hard to feel this way if you are plugged into a small group and actively serving with others. Most churches of any size offer these opportunities… and big churches offer all the more.

6. “Their leaders are all about the money.” True, they often talk more, promote more, preach and teach more about money. Then again, God’s Word addresses money and stewardship more than subjects like faith and grace combined. Could it be that they talk about money more because it takes more to serve the amount of people they are impacting? And, it’s true, BIG Church leaders almost always make more money. This brings with it the temptations that more money brings to every Christ follower. However, in my experience, few talk about how much they and their families give, invest and sacrifice on behalf of the Kingdom, least of all them. Rest assured, they will answer for their stewardship just like you.

7. “Their leaders are power hungry. “ Again, this is a ready temptation for any top-level leader. Still, it may be just as easy to be the “king” of a smaller church mini-kingdom among a smaller demographic… perhaps easier? Large church leaders often have far less hands-on management of the overall ministry than small/medium sized church leaders. This is by necessity. They more often have a high level of trust and investment in the leaders they lead who in turn lead others who then lead the members of the congregation. Some insist, “Yeah, but they aren’t real pastors, true shepherds of the flock.” I would submit that they are. They simply pastor a difference flock, namely, the staff and leadership flock. These sub-groups often comprise a group as large or larger than those of entire small congregations.

These are just a few of the BIG Church myths we could address. Whatever you do, don’t buy into them. Determine to be too busy fulfilling the Great Commission as a lead team to dwell on what others are or are not doing.

 

4 Preoccupations of Great Leaders

UnknownEveryone is preoccupied by something. What separates the difference makers from those who simply don’t comes down to what they are preoccupied with. Especially for those serving in ministry life, here are 4 Preoccupations of Great Leaders…

Who are we serving? It’s easy to get off-center and become a people-pleaser. Let’s face it, so much is tied to the support and morale of those under our influence. Are we called to serve a world of others? Yes. However, they shouldn’t be our deep motivation. Besides, falling in and out of favor based on the preferences of people is just a fact of life for leaders. Remember, what we do is ultimately done “as unto the Lord.” It is his “well done” that we are striving for and are living in by His grace, through faith.

Why are we doing this? Any leader worth their salt has looked toward heaven and asked, “What am I doing and why am I doing it!?!” While it may have become a little too familiar in leadership circles, knowing and constantly returning to our “Why?” is a healthy practice, essential, really. When I’ve found myself wandering and wondering as a leader I have returned again and again to thoughts that focus on the good of others, the health of my family and the glory of the Lord. What is your “Why?”

How can I help? We vision and value. We strategize and plan. We resource and equip. We do a lot of things  in the pursuit or our organizational missions. But, somehow, we can still fall short of leading effectively. Return often to a simpler place as a leader and ask those you have empowered, “How can I help?” We may just be surprised to find that some of what we offer is of little help. In short, let others help you help them.

Who’s next? Most of us are so preoccupied with answering,  “What’s next?” that we miss the more important and far more influential question, “Who’s next?” Who are investing in? Who are you developing, encouraging, helping to grow and get better, BE better? Whether you are just getting started or are coming down the final stretch, your season as a leader will pass all too quickly. There will always be something else, but there will never be someone else quite like you and, even more important, those you can and should be preparing to lead next. Invest in “Who’s next?” and the “What’s next?” will become far more effective.

What are your preoccupations as a leader? I would love to hear your thoughts below! Need some help discovering your “Why?” Email me at tompelt1@gmail.com and let’s talk about partnering to become a healthier leader.

 

Some Advice for Pastors: Part 1

imagesWhether you are thinking about pastoring, just getting started or are have been at it a long time, here are 3 pieces of friendly advice I’ve picked up after 27 years of being just called and crazy enough to keep doing it…

Lead Yourself.

“Young man, I don’t know what you do for a living, but you either learn to love what you do or die a young man.” Those were the words an ER Doctor told me after diagnosing a kidney infection, kidney stones, an ulcer, etc. I was a wreck and just fell apart. And, it wasn’t in the middle of a board meeting, either. No, I was actually trying to take some time off going to a St. Louis Cardinals ball game with my family. Too little, too late. Instead, I ended up sick in a bathroom and then half passed out on the sidewalk waiting for my wife to get the car and find the nearest hospital. It took no time for them to discover that my system was all out of whack. The doctor nailed the diagnosis. I was stressed out… way out. I was too embarrassed to tell him I was a pastor, paid to model and preach the abundant life that comes from following Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Although I would have to learn this lesson again (and again)… this was Lesson 101 in learning to manage myself well.

Leading as a team is essential for sustained success in life and leadership. However, while you should have individuals and teams in place for both accountability and encouragement, they are not ultimately responsible for your health. Only you can manage you in a holistic way. I’ll shoot straight, you will be to blame if and when you burn out spiritually, emotionally, relationally and/or physically. Only you can pace yourself, only you can take time off, only you can worship daily, only you can get adequate rest, only you can eat right, only you can exercise, and only you can have a life beyond your title. Bottom line? Only you can lead you. Ministry is hard, and that’s an understatement. Then again, welcome to planet earth. No excuses. Determine now to live for the long haul and lead yourself well.

Leading yourself is my first piece advice for both rookies and veterans of ministry life.

Why Your Church Should Invest in Young Leaders

IMG_7323Why should you and your church invest in young leaders? Whether college age or 20 somethings, volunteers, interns, part or full-time, here are 4 reasons why you should make partnering with young leaders a priority…

1) You are investing in them. The challenge they face is this… ministries post positions but require or “prefer” 3 or 5 years experience. Yet, not everyone wants to give them the chance. This is more than discouraging to many young people I have spoken to. They are eager to answer their unique callings into ministry but hit the experience “wall” time and again. My advice for your church… INVEST! You be the ministry that gives them a shot.

Jiaan&Katelyn2) You are investing in your ministry. Young leaders bring an energy and enthusiasm that is a “shot in the arm” for any lead team and church family. The young leaders we have purposed to partner with over the years have done this and so much more! Sure, they will make some mistakes along the way. Who hasn’t? Who doesn’t? Still, they bring fresh ideas and creative perspectives to the table, especially concerning how to reach their generation for Christ.

3) You are investing in yourself. Fair warning… you and your more seasoned team may just be the ones who gain experience and insight into life and ministry. While it may be all too familiar, 1 Timothy 4:12 applies well here… “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 

4) You are investing in the kingdom of Christ! If you are worried about young people coming, gaining experience and then leaving… your fears may be justified, especially if you are a smaller congregation. However, if you see your role as a mentoring church in the BIG PICTURE of fulfilling the Great Commission, then it is a privilege to do so. Give them a shot. Help them grow. Learn and grow from them and then launch them into new realms of influence for Jesus! Who knows, maybe one will stick around and serve long-term? You won’t know until you try. Either way, it’s about what’s best for Christ and expanding His kingdom in your community..

NickMaryNellThe rewards far outweigh the risks when it comes to partnering with young leaders. They are not the church’s future… they are the kingdom now. And, they are waiting. INVEST!

6 Ways to Help Your Pastor Preach

images-3Do you want your pastor to preach better, deeper, more relevant, maybe even faster? Good luck with that last one! And, who even knows what “better” means? Still, you can be sure that most pastors genuinely hope to continue to grow as a communicator of God’s Word. This is where you come in! Consider 6 things you can do to help your pastor grow as an effective preacher and teacher of God’s Word…

Give them time. While pastors should be disciplined not to rely on the old “Saturday night special” (and blaming the Holy Spirit for it!), they should also be given ample time to prepare daily. Partner with them to carve out some specific time, preferably early in the week (maybe Monday-Wednesday, 8am-noon), for sermon prep. Make sure this is understood by the congregation and that exceptions are truly the exception. Great sermons aren’t simply downloadable or come via inspiration in between hospital and home visits.

Give them space. Is the church pastor’s office really conducive to hearing from God, going deep in His Word, and weaving in real-world application? It very well may be. Still, consider encouraging them to get out (local coffee shop, park, etc) to avoid what can be the “rut” of weekly study. Inspire creativity and even collaboration by encouraging them to get out there.

Give them resources. Do they have a “book allowance” or “professional expense?” Staying up and well-read on what God is doing and saying in the world (both secular and sacred) is vital to communicating well. Two great resources are LOGOS Bible software and Right Now Media. These are both amazing resources for insight and inspiration for all of your church leadership. Consider them as investments, not as expenses.

Give them a break! This an “insider’s tip.” Anytime before or immediately after preaching is NOT the time to bring up the leak in the nursery bathroom or ask them if they can remember to visit your neighbor’s bankers aunt with a hang nail. Are these really pastoral duties, anyway… or duties you and others are just as “called” and maybe even better skilled to perform? Regardless, your pastor needs to be focused solely on communicating God’s Word when it’s time to do so. If they find themselves in conversation with anyone, may I recommend first-time guests? Keep your pastor in “the zone” before and after they preach or teach.

Give them grace. It isn’t easy to hit a home run every week. If your pastor is being true to God’s Word and doing their best to communicate it well… then encourage, encourage, encourage! Besides, what is was a “swing and miss” to you, may have been a “home run” to someone else. That’s just how the Spirit works. Besides, not every message is all about us.

Finally, pray for them. We saved the best for last. If you want your pastor to preach more effectively, pray for them more fervently! Pray for them emotionally, physically, relationally… for their spouse, kids, etc. Pray they will hear from the Lord, gain greater insight into God’s will and Word. How about praying for them to grow as a Christ-follower themselves? The enemy does all he can to distract and discourage your pastor and lead team. Guard them with the power of your prayers! Gather others to pray over them with you throughout the week and before/after they deliver a message to you and others.

Help your pastor preach, teach and lead in the example of God’s Word!

5 Things Healthy Churches DON’T Do

imgres-7What are some of the intangibles that distinguish healthy churches and organizations from unhealthy? Often, they are the things unseen, unsaid and undone that make all the difference.

Here are 5 Things Healthy Churches DON’T Do…

No.1 –  (No drumroll, please.) Healthy churches don’t do drama. How do you define drama? Keep reading.

No.2 – Healthy churches don’t do “needy.” Needy people need attention and recognition. When they don’t get it, they make messes or create relational conflict until people are forced to give them the attention they crave. Their feelings are easily hurt and people know they have to “walk on eggshells” around them. The problem with needy is that it is very attractive to needy. When this is tolerated and “drama queens (and kings)” are given their petty thrones, you quickly create an environment that is altogether unattractive to mature, unselfish, get-it-done people. The church stays inward-focussed, stuck and ineffective.

Healthy leaders create environments where the “atta’ boy!” we all need just comes with the territory. Opportunities are created to train, resource and especially to honor staff and volunteers (“volunteer of the week/month, etc; annual appreciation dinner, etc).

A good slogan to adopt and mantra to repeat is this… “We do needs, we don’t do needy.” 

No.3 – Healthy churches don’t do complaints. Not that people won’t complain. However, when the right climate has been created, complainers quickly sense that their whining has fallen on deaf ears. Complainers simply stick out like the sore thumbs that they are.

Constructive outlets are created for genuine issues to be addressed. For example, a place for suggestions on Guest Welcome Cards, a tab on the website and/or an email address to encourage, ask questions, and/or express concerns with the lead team, elders, etc.

No.4 – Healthy churches don’t do gossip. It’s been said that, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Ask yourself and your lead team, your small group or Sunday School leaders… “What do you talk about when there’s nothing to talk about?”

Then there’s this… gossip also happens to be sin. Mature followers of Jesus simply don’t go there. And, no, it isn’t okay when framed in the form of a “prayer request” or followed by the disclaimer, “Bless their hearts.” It’s just ugly, despicable, sin. It’s listed throughout Scripture right along with murder, perversion and other wicked acts and attitudes we wouldn’t think of being associated with as good God-fearing people.

When any leader hears gossip rear it’s ugly head, it gets chopped off with a firm “rebuke.” It sounds like, “Listen, they aren’t here. This isn’t our business. This conversation is over.”  Purpose environments of encouragement, genuine prayer and concern for others.

No.5 – Healthy churches don’t do selfish. One way this is expressed in unhealthy churches is through territorialism. Sure, there are specific spaces and environments created, outfitted and resourced for targetted groups. However, when there are little skirmishes over tools, toys and equipment, this is a tell-tale sign of spiritual and organization immaturity.

Again, the gift of administration can be applied and things such as sign-in/out sheets are created and long-range planning is employed to make many of the “emergencies” (i.e. a lack of planning) a thing of the past. Stuff is shared and cared for with excellence in order to help others succeed in playing their part in the greater vision.

What unhealthy intangibles have you identified and dealt with on your way to creating healthy churches and organizations? Share your thoughts below in the Reply section…