Congregational Champions Retreat 002 Was a Great Time of Dialogue

CCR002 GroupThe second of seven Congregational Champions Retreats to be held this fall finished on Thursday, September 15th. Here are the seven participants plus me from five denominations, and five states plus Canada. It was extremely enjoyable to have them in our home. We had some great dialogue. We ran out of time, so I will seek to adjust the content so we are not rushed, and are able to complete the agenda.

The goal is to download what I have learned about helping congregations become vital and vibrant, and journey in the direction of their full Kingdom potential. It is not that what I have learned is perfect, the best, or the only good approach to serving as a third-party provider to congregations. It is that over 40 years I have learned many things, had many insights, and thought long-term about the spiritual and strategic approaches that make a significant different in the ability of congregations to soar with faith.

I do not want to hoard this knowledge. I want to share it to accelerate the learning of others, and so they might go farther than I have in increasing the faithfulness, effectiveness, and innovation of congregations. Would you like to be one of these? Would you like to meet with me in our home? [You will lodge elsewhere.] If so, go to for more information, or contact me at

Insight 270: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Eliminating Entitlement [Part A]

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform are willing to eliminate anything that appears to be claiming an entitlement that is not part of the core mission of the congregation. One type of entitlement are programs, ministry, and activities that have existed for five to seven years or more and feel they have the right to always exist and be funded by the congregation.

Second is space. Some people feel their class or program are entitled to a certain room in the facilities, and to decorate and set up this space as they desire and no one has the right to change it.

Insight 269: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Strategic Abandonment

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform are willing to execute strategic abandonment. This is about the things the congregation will stop doing so it can start doing the things that will be more effective for their future ministry. This is very tough for congregations. The culture of congregations more than a generation old is thick with thing they have always done before. Sacred traditions have deep roots and incestuous patterns of relationship.

Strategic abandonment does not mean the congregation stops doing things without knowing why, and know what--if anything--will replace what is abandoned. The new things must be perceived as two times or more better than the losses experienced by abandoning the old.

Insight 268: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Focusing on Short-Term Staff

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform should focus on short-term/part-time staff--also known as 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers. As they transition and change they may discover they need to shuffle staff or reposition staff. Existing full-time permanent staff may not have the gifts, skills, and preferences to make the shifts. But, to a degree the congregation is stuck with them. If they are long-term staff they may feel an entitlement to their original position description.

An example is the area of technology and digital communication, especially with a focus on social media. This changes so fast that new aptitudes are needed continuously.

Insight 267: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Focusing on 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform are careful about their investment in full-time permanent staff. They focus on 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers. These are people who work 22 hours per week for 44 weeks per year on a one to three year covenant.

Several reasons exist for doing this. First, the cost for a full-time permanent staff person with full fringe benefits is high. Up to four 22-44 Ministry Mobilizers can be employed for the same cost. Second, while going through a period of one to five years of transition and change leading to transformation short-term commitments to specific staff roles are needed.

Insight 266: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Evaluating Digital Communication Strategy Annually

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform regularly evaluate their digitally communications strategy. Annually is essential, but more regular, every 120 days, may be preferred. They ask questions such as these: Who are we trying to communicate with digitally? How are we trying to communicate with them? Is it working? How well? Do we really know their communication patterns and have fit our strategy into it?

Do we need to advocate to people who do not communicate much or any digitally the advantages of communicating in this manner? Do we need to encourage people to “Go Paperless” regarding their communication from our congregation?

Insight 265: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Encouraging Cell Telephone Use During Worship

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform do not ask people to turn off their cell telephones and tablets during worship. Yes, they do ask them to silence them, but not to turn them off.

Instead they ask them to use their cell telephones to make an offering, access You Version or some other Bible application for the scripture being read, take sermon notes, click on the QR code on the worship bulletin/folder to see announcements, access the church web site and register for an upcoming event, text about the sermon, music, or some other aspect of the service, and other things.

Insight 264: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Asking for Regular Feedback

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform ask the people connected with their congregation for regular, systematic feedback. Leaders do not assume that by talking with several people in their personal network that they know the mind of the congregations. Too often our friends tell us what we want to hear because they want to remain our friends. Or, they are already in agreement with us so we simply reinforce group think.

Congregations who do not ask for regular, systematic feedback may be marching off in directions where no one is following, and they cannot figure out why when they are working so hard.

Insight 263: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Believing Effectiveness is More Important Than Loyalty

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform hunger for effectiveness in what they do rather than loyalty. While loyalty is a great quality, it can be taken too far. Yes we hunger for loyalty to the Triune God. Yes we hunger for loyalty to the mission and vision of our congregation. Yes we hunger for loyalty to our person Christian mission. All of these are good.

Loyalty taken too far is when we are loyal to a program long after its effectiveness and relevance is gone. Or, loyalty to staff persons whose effectiveness has passed and their ministry needs to be renewed.

Insight 262: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Distinguishing What is True and What is Perception

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform understand the difference between what is true and what is perceived to be true. They understand that congregational participants possess a body of information called perceived truthful information. No one has all the facts. The perception of the truth is actually more powerful in a congregational culture than is the true.

The old adage, “don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is already made up” is as true in the church as it is in other parts of life. Much of the perception of truth comes from lifelong cultural or family understandings and not Christ-centered convictions.

Insight 261: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Commitment to a Tough Journey

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform know that just because a journey is tough does not mean it is an unworthy journey. The transformation of congregations is tough. Transformation is a journey whose finish line is elusive. If it was easier than more congregations would achieve it.

Because congregations truly seeking to transform know it is a tough journey they do not give up. Congregations only seeking what ends up being a short-term fix do often stop short of the goal of transformation. They are discouraged by the lack of fast, visible progress that fits their image of the future of their congregation.