10 Things this Pastor had to learn about Church Attenders (The Hard Way)

Planting a church has been, and continues to be, a wild ride. We have a beautiful church and we have fun together. Because of that, I thought it would be fun to share 10 things that this rookie church planter did not know about the people he would be asked to lead. Enjoy!

  1. I have an agenda! People will attend your church to push their agenda. These are often noble things, however, it’s their agenda, not yours.
  2. Ronald Reagan sits at the right hand . . . say what! The best way to get Amen’s and the Hallelujah chorus singing is to bash the Democratic Party and of course say something nice about Ronald Reagan. After all, nothing brings them to a blood stained cross like Red & Blue politics.
  3. Hello, Critics! You will have a handful of critics that meet regularly to discuss what they don’t like about you or your leadership team. Some are even open to sharing it with you!
  4. Pastor, you got a minute? Minutes before the Sunday service you will be asked to do numerous things. Here are a few requests I have had; make an announcement (today) for me, show a video, sing Happy Birthday to my mom that is visiting.
  5. Better Late than Never. For some, the Sunday morning service starts in the middle of the third worship song.
  6. Giving is so Old Testament. On the subject of giving, many have worked out that tithing is an option. You will even have a brave one from time to time let you know tithing is Old Testament and we are no longer under the law (code for, “I don’t give”).
  7. Busy, Busy, Busy. Some people have been too busy to serve for several decades.
  8. Social Media: Some in your church will let it rip on Social Media removing all doubt about their maturity and their Christian witness!
  9. First Time Visitors: Some believe that first-time visitors should immediately stop smoking, dress modestly, and clean up their language.
  10. I don’t want to let you down. Key volunteers, Elders, and Deacons will have seasons of unexpected busyness. Because of their commitment to the church, or even a person, they may be inclined to keep the plates spinning in the air. Don’t let this happen! You must step in and assist or the plates will hit your church in the head.

Social Media Strategy and Expectations for Key Leaders

Social Media Strategy and Expectations for Key Leaders

A famous author once said you can’t hit a target you can’t see. So what is the social media target you want your team to hit? If you don’t know, trust me they are hitting a target, just not likely the one you want them to hit.

You have likely already had to deal with the aftermath of an overzealous leader letting it rip in the Social Media stratosphere. If you haven’t, you will! Assuming, of course, you have no strategy in place.

Friend, you need to cover the topic of Social Media in your training as you would for any other important topic when processing a new employee or volunteer. The reason, to protect the reputation of your church and those who call the church home.  Unfortunately, it only takes one person to create the wrong kind of buzz and stir up the hornets’ nest.

When a team member lets loose on Social Media I think most of us can agree it causes more harm than good. Many times it causes dissension or division, and rarely do we see folks come to a blood stained cross!

So what do you want to see from your key leaders as it pertains to interacting on Social Media?  That is a question you need to ask and then place those thoughts on a sheet of paper.  If you find yourself with writer’s block, ask yourself what you don’t want to see and soon the words will start flowing.

You will quickly come up with your list. Let’s call that list your rough draft.  Get another set of eyeballs on your list. Ask a trusted team member or two what you may have missed. Continue to tweak until you have a written Social Media Strategy for Key Leaders.

Make it simple, for example here is what we want to see:

  • Be seen as a person who is gracious and kind
  • Celebrate what God is doing in your life or the church
  • Promote events; men’s, women’s, singles, guest speakers
  • Bible verses
  • Share resources that are approved by your church
  • Celebrate family moments. Bragging on your kids, wife, etc.
  • Encouraging others
  • Modeling Humility, Care, Love

Here is what we don’t want to see

  • Posting toxic or contentious topics
  • Crude jokes
  • Spilling your dirty laundry
  • Pictures of friends and family in bathing suits
  • Pictures of people partying
  • Responding to posts or going back and forth with others on a volatile subject

The lists are meant to get you thinking. You need to create lists that best serve your church.  The intent here is to have a standard and to have the Social Media conversation. Dealing with it on the front side may save you pain on the back side. Lastly, we are called to honor Christ in all that we do and that includes our conduct with Social Media.

Does Your Leadership Team Exercise Maturity While Using Social Media Platforms? Part 2

The story depicted in Part 1 of this blog post has become commonplace. Social media at one time was the darling of the church. It provided a helpful way to communicate with our church family and even allowed us to reach outside of the church community.

Countless churches have benefited a great deal from social media, seeing improved communication and reduced costs. Social media is simple and in most cases free, hence the reason why just about every evangelical church in America uses it.

So how do we ensure that social media continues to add value to the churches we serve and minimize the potential negative impact? It ultimately comes down to clearly articulating your social media strategy. Here are 5 simple steps to help your church to develop a Social Media Strategy.

 

  1. What does your church want to achieve by using Social Media?
  • Get some of your key leaders in a room with a whiteboard and spend 45 minutes going over what you want to see social media do for your ministry. Write everything down! Then distill that list down to 3-5 items.

 

  1. “We never want to see this!”
  • With those same leaders in the room, talk about what you don’t want to see on your social media pages. To get your mind going, think of what you have seen on other pages that was divisive or unhelpful. Write it down! What you don’t want will help get you closer to what you do want.

 

  1. Who currently has password access to Social Media at your church?
  • Take inventory of what team members are currently posting to your social media platforms. You may be surprised how many team members have logins and post sporadically.  If possible, keep the number limited to no more than two. Less is more and helps you to stay consistent and on message. Change your password if necessary!

 

  1. Expect unintended consequences.
  • For example, if you have agreed as a team not to use social media to post on hot topic issues such as Politics & Social Issues, many will be disappointed. Be patient with those who may not agree. Ensure they know you realize these topics are important and your church is committed to addressing them in different ways. Still, you need to learn how to say no to a lot of requests.

 

  1. Get Started
  • Your social media strategy can change but you must get started.  If you continue your ministry without a plan for social media you will likely pay a price. Again, get started!

 

Sample Social Media Strategy

  • We use Social Media to achieve the following 3 things:
    • Inform and communicate: what is going on in the church, upcoming events, dates, times, addresses, etc.
    • Celebrate wins: baptisms, pictures of women’s events, etc.
    • Paid advertisements which promote our church or events

 

Next Week’s Blog:

Social Media Strategy and Expectations for Key Leaders

 

Does Your Leadership Team Exercise Maturity While Using Social Media Platforms? Part 1

Maturity for some, well, it’s like the color gray. How many shades of gray does your team play with? We have all been there when someone on the team lets a post get out of control on Social Media and it garners attention and a high response.

The calls and emails begin to trickle in. The dialogue starts something like this, “Hey Pastor, what do you think about that post on Facebook?”  Immediately, you get a front row seat and begin to gauge the perceptions of those who have brought the matter to your attention.

Your next move is to view the post yourself and you find yourself perplexed. Wondering, what in the world was my leader thinking!  Just when you think it could not get any worse it does. Your leader has decided to respond to each person who disagreed with him and he does so publically for all to see.

Clearly, he is passionate about his position and even uses Bible verses to drive home the point! Much of what was said was true, yet it was not so much what was said but how it was said.

Eventually, the post loses steam and it’s no longer a subject matter for the masses, yet it has not left your mind. As a Pastor, you know you must have a conversation with this leader.

You desire to show your leader a more excellent way.  You begin the dialogue and quickly you realize your leader thinks he did a good thing! Of course, he recognizes he got a little heated but he lets you know that Apostle Paul got heated on many occasions as well.

Trying to keep the meeting on track and knowing this is a coaching opportunity, you thank him for his zeal and love for the truth and you remind him of what God’s Word says as it pertains to grace. You share with this brother that we are to use both Grace & Truth. You point this brother to verses on humility and the fruit of the spirit. He nods his head up and down and then says the unthinkable.

“Pastor, I think we see Social Media and the use of it differently!”

10 Things You Should Not Say to Your Pastor

10 Things You Should Not Say to Your Pastor

Church members say the most amusing things. Here are some:

  1. I listened to Famous Preacher X preach on that very same passage and he seemed to emphasize another point more than you did.
  2. Pastor, I know you’re getting ready to preach in a few minutes, but do you mind if I have a minute?
  3. Pastor, I know you’re getting ready to preach, however, I thought you should know the bathroom toilet is not working.
  4. Pastor, I really like that hymn we sang today just not the way we sang it.
  5. Pastor, do you know what I really like about this church? You don’t talk about giving much.
  6. Pastor, your message on Church Membership was good but you should understand that I am part of the global church.
  7. Pastor, it has been a few months since you invited me to your house for dinner, did I do something wrong?
  8. Pastor, I think we should spend some of our financial resources in this direction and understand that I do tithe!
  9. You have really grown as a Pastor and you are getting much better.
  10. Can you ask your Elders to follow up with me when you get a chance?

Is that Great Volunteer/Employee Ready to Lead? Part 2

Is that Great Volunteer/Employee Ready to Lead? Part 2

My intent for Part 1 of this blog post was to point out that it does not take much for a volunteer/employee to differentiate themselves from their peers. I suggested that simply showing up for work on time and having a positive attitude may be enough for a volunteer/employee to stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Of course, when this same person begins completing tasks and adding value, we may be inclined to herald from the rooftops, “I think we have a leader amongst us!”

But before we get ahead of ourselves and pronounce that the next Abraham Lincoln is in our midst, let’s slow down a bit and consider doing what I call the self-test. The self-test is a series of small tasks that have deadlines attached to them. For example, I recently identified ten men whom I thought had the potential to lead others.  Each possessed a great attitude and were getting things done within the organization I lead. Clearly they were standing out like that purple cow!

I had my assistant send out an email inviting the ten to join me for what I call Leadership Basics. The date I offered was Thursdays and I even provided two time slots, 5:30AM or 4:30PM. The training would last just three weeks with each of those sessions being 1.5 hours in length.

Here is what I was looking for:

  • Would they show up on time and prepared?
  • How would they enter the meeting? With a great attitude or talking about a bad morning or bad day?
  • How did they engage with others?
  • Were they a listener or a talker?
  • Were they gracious, or like a bull in a china shop?
  • Were they self-motivated (no reward offered for completing the assignment) or were they motivated by gifts (I offered a free dinner and a movie for one assignment)?

Here is what I found

  • Some were late, some were on time.
  • Some did their assignments, some got busy and even shared with me how busy they are (even though the assignments all took less than 10 minutes).
  • Some were prepared, some were not.
  • Some let us know about their personal problems and some did not.
  • Some let me know that they needed to leave early (and even took 10 minutes from the groups’ time to let us know why)!

The Good News

The good news is that two of these men stood out! They were able to demonstrate to me that with coaching, they have the potential to be future all-stars.  As leaders, it is our job to identify the talent within our organization and also to develop talent. Before we entrust more responsibilities to our people, let’s make sure that they can handle it. Remember, if they can’t manage themselves, they will not be able to manage others.

It does not take long to find out if one can manage themselves. Consider a self-test or two for that volunteer/employee that you are considering dispensing more responsibility to. What you find out may surprise you!

Is that Great Volunteer/Employee Ready to Lead?

Is that Great Volunteer/Employee Ready to Lead?

One of the goals of team leaders is to identify the up and coming talent that is already within the walls of the organization. For most of us, they stand out like a purple cow. What is it that makes them so easy to spot?

 Here are four characteristics that stand out:

  1. Positive attitude
  2. Show up/available
  3. Open to learning new things
  4. They get the job done

These are all good things. However, how many times have we had that so called “perfect fit” become a not-so-perfect fit? Perhaps more than we would like to admit! Naturally, we as leaders are drawn to those with great attitudes and those who roll up their sleeves to get the job done.

What is really happening is we are noticing those around us who have differentiated themselves from their peers. This is a good thing! As I was climbing the leadership ladder during my time in corporate America, I had an Executive sit me down. He told me, “Charlie, I have good news and bad news for you today. The bad news is, you have lots of competition. The good news is, they’re not that good!”

He went on to say, “It will NOT be very difficult for you to stand out or to distance yourself from your competition or even those paid by this very firm.” He continued, “If you simply show up for work on time, you will separate yourself from most.” He shared some very practical things that were not taught to me during business school. He said, “Shine your shoes and have a great attitude.”

Of course, these are all practical things as they hardly speak to one’s capacity or lead us to believe one can lead a team. So what’s the point? It does not take much to stand out. Yes, we are to encourage this type of behavior. We certainly want those that serve with us to know we care about them and we want them to know they are appreciated. But the real question is, can this person actually lead? In my next blog, we will look to find if one can lead by performing what I call a simple self-test. Until then…

Lead well and by example!