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Who Will Be In Leadership Positions for Your Congregation Five Years from Now?

Leader_word_cloudIf you do not know the answer to this question then the ongoing vitality, excellence, and innovation of your congregation may be in trouble. If means you do not have a proactive plan of leadership development. It mean your are hoping year after year that you can find enough people to fill the leadership slots in your congregation. 

More importantly it means you are not developing the next generation of leadership within your congregation. It means you may run out of leaders at some point in the future. It means the average age of the leaders in your congregation will increase each year. It means the same people show up in leadership positions year after year because no new leaders are being developed.

It means you do not understand that people over 50 years old are still willing to step forward and volunteer out of a sense of commitment and responsibility, while people under 50 tend to want to be asked. It means you do not understand that people under 50 want to be sure that anything they commit to has meaning and significance that captivates their imagination and is worth the time investment. Remember that time is the most precious commodity of the 21st century.

Continue reading "Who Will Be In Leadership Positions for Your Congregation Five Years from Now?" »

Want to Reach Diverse Cultures in Your Congregation's Community Context?

Become an Internal Ministry Agent! It is not a secret agent, but it could be magical. Magician_hat

This week I spoke to a class at Campbellsville University in Kentucky on human diversity. The professor wanted me to talk about how throughout my ministry I ministered among diverse congregations and a wide diversity of denominations. I had to think that through because I do not claim I have always been successful in diversity, that I have the magical formula, or that I should necessarily be seen as an expert in this area.

One element I talked about was the necessity to become what I call an Internal Ministry Agent

This is the ability to minister among the diverse cultures of people, the neighborhood and communities, and/or the affinity networks to whom God is sending you in such a way that you are accepted as belonging to their culture, neighborhood, or affinity network. You are part of them. You are trusted. You are appreciated. You are respected. You are genuine. You are obviously caring. You have earned the right to speak into their core values as persons and offer Christ-like community to them.

To accomplish this you do not have to live 24-7 within their culture, neighborhood, community, or affinity group. You "simply" have to be seen as an Internal Ministry Agent. Saying these words is "simple". Accomplishing this can be "complicated". It may happen immediately. It may take an undetermined amount of time. It you quit before you achieve acceptance, your relationship with these diverse cultures may go back to zero, and you or someone else would have to start over again.

You must do this yourself, or you must develop a partner who will do it in your Internal Ministry Agent. More about this in a later post.

Issues About Church Staff and How to Budget for Them: A Collection of Posts

Church-staff-21Over the past week I have written five posts around the issue of staff positions in congregations and how to budget for them in the context of the overall church budget. Knowing you might have seen one or two but not the whole series, I am now posting links to all five of them. 

If any of these raise questions for you or points around which you would like to dialogue, let me know. I would be glad to respond. You can either comment on this post or send me a message at

Is This the Year You Will Start Rebalancing Your Church Budget?

Budget creep has been happening within your church budget for years now. But, since you never do zero- Church-budgetbased budgeting, you never recreate a budget that makes sense for what you say you are actually trying to fund in and through your congregation. Every year personnel costs and buildings/grounds costs creep a little higher as a percentage of your overall budget. Every year the percentage of the budget available for the real work of your congregation--missions, programs, ministries, and other activities--goes down. 

Since the passion and commitment around vision is weak in your congregation, and you have never thought about rebalancing your budget according to percentage ranges for personnel, buildings/grounds, programs, and missions, you have dug a deep hole out of which it is difficult to climb. As you prepare your new budget this fall, will this be the year?

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Who Says You Have to Pay Your Church Staff a Salary?

Convention wisdom says church staff persons are typically paid a salary and appropriate benefits. Small Church 003Unconventional wisdom says it is not necessary to pay staff a salary. Which is right? That depends.

Let's take the case of smaller membership churches who have less than 125 to 135 in weekly attendance. This is 60 percent or more of all North American congregations.

Often they do not have staff other than a solo pastor. At times they may have a less than half-time secretary, and a cleaning person or service for a few hours per week. Seldom do they have other staff unless they have an unusually high income due to the socioeconomic demographics of their congregation. Of course there are many variations to this pattern.

What if rather than having paid staff beyond their solo pastor, these smaller membership churches had volunteers who did not require a salary and benefits? What if they had several of them? What if they had a team of people who worked 11 hours per week--including their Sunday responsibilities--for 44 weeks per year in non-paid positions. What if they had a staff title and a position description, a negotiated covenant that established their goals, and coaching from the solo pastor or others for the excellent fulfillment of their ministry responsibilities?

Would they be considered "real" staff? Sure. Why not? They would be staff in all ways except they would not have a salary and appropriate benefits. In fact, through their tithes and offerings there is a certain sense in which they are paying for the right to be staff. 

It may not happen the first time someone suggests it in a smaller membership church, but it may be an idea that could grow on them. By the way, it may also work in many situations in congregations of all sizes. It is a true innovation on volunteerism in congregations and how to RightSize staff.

It brings a whole new perspective to RightSizing staff. Think about it.