Relaunching a Vision

April 28, 2011

The question I get asked the most by pastors in plateaued or declining churches is this, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” I would do a relaunch. Here are a few thoughts on what a relaunch might look like.

– You have to step back and make sure that the vision is God-given, focused, energizing, compelling, dangerous, and something that you as a leader will gladly give your life to.

– Do something new. You have to create new energy. You will never get new energy from tweaking something old. A name change, a new ministry, a new service, something radical.

– Brand it. Create new phrases that are simple, they resonate with people, and they give everything traction.

– Promote it. This is almost May. I would do the relaunch in September. If it was Sept, I’d say January. January, Easter. You get the idea. You have to blow torch this for several weeks and get people pumped. If this sounds like hype to you, go stick your head in the book of Acts. If we believe what we believe and that it saves lives from hell, we should be willing to create some enthusiasm around the greatest message of history. Promoting it for several weeks gives time for the right people to rally around you and the vision and it also gives time for the wrong people to make a lot of noise. If the vision is from God just keep going forward. The wrong people will either leave or see that God was in it all along.

– Pull the plug on mediocre programs. A relaunch is your best opportunity to change the way you’ve been operating. There might be a lot of history with those programs, you might have good people who love thos programs and they might not understand why things have to change. As a leader you have to help them understand that we just can’t keep doing what we’ve always done and expect something new. Making those tough decisions and having those tough conversations will elevate your leadership with people. If they know you care and that you genuinely want to see your church reach its full redemptive potential, they will follow you.

– Make sure that the changes you make are significant enough to create new energy. If the first Sunday of the relaunch feels like the last Sunday before the relaunch, you are toast. If your people spend months working on relationships and inviting people to the first service of the relaunch, it has to be a significant, if not radical, change. When you start painting a picture of what that might look like, expect push back. That’s normal. Doesn’t mean everyone hates you and your ideas. Give people time to process the ideas and to envision multiple changed lives on a weekly basis.

– You won’t be able to explain everything or guarantee the success of every idea. It’s not possible. Steven Furtick tells his church that he’s probably never more than 70% sure of an idea. It might work, it might not. But, if we stay where we are we’ll always be where we’ve been.

– Make sure that your communication reinforces your commitment to unity as a multi-generational congregation moving forward on the vision together. This means that you are asking the teens and young adults to lay down their personal preferences for the greater good. It also means you are asking your seniors to do the same. We all want what we want. We all have our preferences. It’s not possible to do church in a way that is perfect for everyone. At some point we all have to say, “I’d rather see lost people saved than have everything my way”.

– A relaunch will cost money. Don’t forget, people give to vision, not need. Finances follow fire.



April 11, 2011

A few quick thoughts.

– Outlandish was outstanding. It just was. God was with us.

– We had the right speakers with the right messages for the right time and the right people. You can’t line that stuff up. It’s a God-thing. There was a flow from topic to topic and speaker to speaker that made it one of the most seamless, cohesive conferences I’ve been to.

– People were pumped! We were tweeting our fingers off and just trying to keep up with all of the good points from each speaker.

– The format worked. The one day, 6 speakers, blast of information was a rush. I loved it.

– People were very positive. The feed back was excellent.

– We broke even. Whew!

Thanks to all of you who showed up, volunteered, registered, drove for hours, etc. Thank you!!

Keys to a Great Board Meeting

March 21, 2011

We love board meetings at Crosspoint. No. Seriously. We look forward to them. Board meetings don’t have to be bored meetings. They don’t have to stink. They don’t have to be stressful, tense, or threatening. Here are a few things we do that add value to our meetings:

– Have a plan. We don’t waste people’s time. You have to have a clear agenda and you have to keep things moving. Make sure all reports are ready, the room is ready, and have the meeting planned as best as you can.

– Have a vision. All church business has to be focused on moving your God-given vision forward. Remind people up front that every discussion and decision made in this meeting can help or hurt the vision. Meetings take on an entirely different tone when they have purpose and passion. You are answering the question, “Why am I here?”

– Keep it relaxed. I don’t mean disorderly, just not too uptight. Choose your words carefully. Keep it buoyant. Laugh, cry, stop and pray, etc. The setting of the room is huge. We’ve met in 3 or 4 different places here and we keep mixing it up.

– Coffee. Water. Snacks.

– Lead with conviction. Don’t hesitantly mumble your way through your thoughts. Share your heart. Clearly explain the direction you want to take. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

– Don’t spend inordinate amounts of time on finances and facility issues. There may be times of crises that require this but as a rule people will dread coming if they expect long periods of circular conversation without conclusions. Don’t let the same people always steer the topics or do most of the talking.

– If you don’t have much on the agenda to discuss, spend the time celebrating victories and casting vision for the future.

– Don’t be too long. We meet from 7-9:30 once a month.

Staff Development

February 9, 2011

I’m privileged to be a part of a Willow Creek Canada ‘Leaders Village’. It’s essentially a group of pastors of the largest churches in Atlantic Canada. I get more out of a day and a half with these guys than I do from most conference or books that I take in.

Last night we were discussing staff development and I had to think about strategic things we do at Crosspoint to keep our staff stretched, growing, and moving forward. Here are a few quick items:

– Collaborative environment, open office, all day networking. I think this is huge. We create a work environment where every day is a learning experience.

– 6 month reviews. I do informal reviews more frequent than 6 months, but at least every 6 months we check for alignment, issues, satisfaction, etc.

– MAP. Our ‘Ministry Action Plan’ is the primary document that outlines in detail our goals, strategies, and dreams.

– Top 5 Top 5’s. We recently introduced this idea and I think it’s been helpful for everyone to keep the main things, the most pressing issues, on the front burner.

– Conferences, books, staff meetings, etc. We are intentional on helping our staff get under the best teaching they can, any way that we can. We all need new ideas and fresh perspectives. Most staff meetings include something that I bring that is meant to teach leadership principles to the team.

Top 5 Top 5’s

January 13, 2011

We had our first staff meeting of the new year yesterday. I took us through an exercise to help us focus on the most pressing issues each of us are facing as we begin 2011. Also, there are only 4 months left of our church year and I want us to finish strong. Here it is:

1. Top 5 things that need my best energy and ideas. (Leadership)

2. Top 5 things that need immediate improvements. (Hustle)

3. Top 5 things that I need to recruit someone else to do. (Delegation)

4. Top 5 things that I need to promote or communicate better. (Communication)

5. Top 5 things that I need to initiate. (Innovation)

Part 2

December 8, 2010

Last week I broke the ice on a new initiative on our district. Annnnndddd, I’m pretty pumped about it’s potential.

This week I thought I’d blog a bit about what happens when we get serious about this.

– You have to have a passion for souls. It has to be blazing. This is step one. If you’ve lost this, I would say pray, fast, read, listen, plead, do whatever you have to do to get back to this. Think about your calling. Why did you get into this in the first place?

– You have to be strategic about the way you introduce or reintroduce this fire to your congregation. This is where it gets tricky and there is no way I can type everything about this right now. You are going to need to talk to someone who has done this before. You’ll need to identify who your key people are. Essentially, you are going to have to introduce change. And you are going to have to be willing to pay the price for the necessary changes. It’s crazy to think that you can achieve new results from the same methods. People will have to want salvations and baptisms more than they want personal preferences met. The right changes for the right reasons should be acceptable to mature believers. Don’t quit on me already!! 🙂 Don’t think about all the negative reaction to change. If you don’t change, your church will never break through. You may as well pay the price for change as pay the price for maintenance.

– Good evangelism is a mixture of ‘come and see’ and ‘go and tell’. You want to create a culture of anticipation and expectation about Sundays. They (your congregation) will go and tell others to come and see. If the services are done with excellence and there is a clear, quality, relevant invitation to cross the line of faith almost every week…your church will have more opportunities to lead spiritually lost people to Jesus. I know that is quite a statement, but I believe it to be true. I don’t think Crosspoint is an anomaly. I think we can see all of our churches reaching more and more people.

– Being an outward focused church requires risk. There may be some things you need to stop doing and some other things that you can initiate. You need to seriously evaluate the purpose of everything you do. After you have carefully examined everything your church does with some of your best thinkers, you can start to ask “What can our church do (with excellence) to reach our community?” This is putting some substance to your vision. What is the unique way that God has designed your church to have the greatest redemptive potential possible? The answer is in the people you have, or God is bringing, the needs of your community, the opportunities of your community, and what you can do really really well that will make some noise. Most of the changes Crosspoint has made were framed around questions like these.

More later…


Evangelistic Urgency

December 4, 2010

I’m not sure how many Pastors on the Atlantic District of the Wesleyan Church are following this blog, but this will be a good test to find out. If you are one of the above mentioned crowd, and you know someone who needs to read this, please copy and paste, use multiple exclamation marks and all capital letters. Bold type.

I’m on our District Board of Admin. We met in Moncton last week. One of the great discussions of our meeting was our prayer to see more of our Pastors rekindle and fire up the evangelistic flame that called them into ministry in the first place. Yes, we want healthy churches. Yes, we understand there is more to running a church than numbers. But, we are burdened to see more of our pastors and their churches leading more people to Jesus.

So, I’ve been asked by the DBA to create and lead something for this purpose. A few thoughts:

– We’re looking for people who seriously want to see their churches reaching spiritually lost people. We’ll likely contact a starter group and invite them to participate. Hit comment if you want to be contacted.

– We want to come alongside you and encourage you.

– We want to engage conversations that may lead to break throughs that otherwise may have been missed.

– We want to pray for you and your church.

– We want you to know that your District is with you. We are in this together.

I’ll be putting more details together next week. I just wanted to float this to see if there are any keeners out there who want to comment now and say ‘I’m in, let me know more.’ Who knows, this could be the start of something very cool for many changed lives around our District.