At last Friday’s NYC Coaching Network we began by talking about “Anchors” we need in our life to keep us grounded. Anchors are set activities that keep our priorities in order.
There are many different kinds of anchors: family anchors, spiritual anchors, personal growth anchors, etc.
Spiritual anchors are daily, weekly, yearly or occasional activities that we do to celebrate our faith or keep us grounded in faith.
Family anchors are things you do with your family to keep your priorities in order.
Let me give you some examples from our group discussion:
- Daily time with God
- Practicing a weekly Sabbath
- Regular date night with your spouse
- Monthly son/daughter lunch or dinner
PERSONAL GROWTH ANCHORS
- Reading one book a month
- A monthly mentoring or coaching relationship
Some are very systematic…do this every week or every month. Others can be occasional. Here are a few of my favorite occasional anchors:
- Visit my dad each year on his birthday (I made this decision when he turned 70).
- Take my son anywhere in the USA he wants to go when he turns 10 (and anywhere in the world he wants to go when he turns 16).
- Donate any clothes I haven’t worn in a year or more to the Salvation Army each spring.
I hope you are getting the picture. Anchors keep us grounded; they are guide stones we allow in our life so that when things gets hectic we are stay on course.
What are the anchors in your life?
How are you helping the members of your church build anchors?
P.S. For more on Personal Growth anchors, see my resource Developing A One Year Personal Growth Plan (I give you the top four anchors for personal growth). If you are read for a monthly mentoring/coaching relationship, check out my new Tele-Coaching Network for Senior Pastors (it starts in less than a month, so click here to apply now).
SYSTEM #3: THE ASSIMILATION SYSTEM
It’s Wednesday again! Time to take another step in our weekly Wednesday blog series, “Where There’s Slack There’s Lack.” Hopefully, you’ve been keeping up with us in this series and have been giving some real attention to whether there is slack (and therefore lack) in your church systems.
If you missed the series’ first post on The Weekend Service System or last week’s post on The Evangelism system, be sure to check them out in the archive.
We’ve got a fun system on tap for today – The Assimilation System. This is the system that asks, “How do you move people from being first-time guests to being fully developing members?” As we looked at last week, lots of churches have an evangelism problem – meaning that they have a hard time getting first-timers through their doors – but even more have an assimilation problem.
You know that you can’t just expect your first-time guests to come back without any intentional action from you and your staff. You have to make sure you are creating environments that make them feel comfortable and welcome.
Think about how many first time guests you have over the course of a year. An average of just 3 guests each week means that you influence over 150 new people every 12 months. How many of those are sticking around?
To get a gauge on how well you are keeping on top of your Assimilation System, try asking yourself these questions:
How many of your first-time guests end up becoming members? Are you happy with that number? If not, where is the problem?
When was the last time you looked at your church through a guest’s eyes?
Have you filled out your own communication card to make sure it is user-friendly?
What do people say is their first impression of your church?
Assimilation is one of those systems where a little bit of tweaking can reap big results. Simply by keeping your finger on the pulse of this one system, you will see a huge difference in growth.
So I challenge you to spend this week getting real with your Assimilation System. Be honest about how well it is working and what kind of improvements you need to make. When God blesses you with guests, you need to make sure you are doing your part to give them unhindered access to learning His truth!
Make this your mantra for the week: In my Assimilation System, effort = excellence!
P.S. – If you haven’t already, make sure you download the free Church Systems Report, to learn more about the eight church systems and how they work together.
Baptism is a very important event in the life of any new Christian. I know that we all go to great lengths to make sure the celebration is done just right. But what about the day or week after the baptism service? What’s your follow-up plan?
I’ve noticed that the week after a person’s baptism can be a trying time. Here are a few thoughts on why:
- Satan isn’t happy
- Their friends and family have a lot of tough questions
- They personally have a lot of doubts (Am I really saved? Am I worthy, etc.)
- An external trail (i.e. an argument at work or argument with a spouse) takes on a higher level of meaning because the baptism was so recent.
On Saturday, we baptized 57 people at our Beach Baptism on Long Island. For the last two days I’ve been following up with each person. Here’s my process:
- Since the baptism was on a Saturday, we prayed for all 57 people at the Sunday service. I asked our congregation to pray for them throughout the week too.
- As a staff we divide up the names of each person and pray for them throughout the week.
- I send each person an email copy of their baptism ‘group picture’ and an encouraging email from me. You can download a copy of the email I send to everyone by clicking here.
- We mail each person a copy of his or her baptism certificate.
- We follow up with them in about a month to make sure they are signed up for a small group.
This isn’t everything we do but it’s the highlights. The key point I want to make is that you need a follow-up process.
Even if you haven’t had a lot of baptisms lately, sit down and think through your process. Write it out; discuss it with your leaders; ask God to give you wisdom! I heard someone say one time that ‘if you are faithful with the few, you will be given even more.’
Here’s what’s happening with me and CLI that may be of interest to you this week:
Monday – In addition to the usual follow-up from Sunday, I’ll be following-up with the 57 people who were baptized on Saturday at our Beach Baptism (see tomorrow’s post for our follow-up process). That’s a record for one of our beach events – God is good!
Tuesday – Today I’m teaching an all day seminar for Church Planters who are at the 3 year mark. This is a private event at our office but if you want to come, shoot me an email. I love this topic because the 3 year challenges are unique…you’ve survived but will you thrive? Click here for some resources that may help you if this is where you find yourself.
Wednesday – I’m making the second round of decisions on my new Tele-Coaching Network for Senior Pastors. It’s not too late to apply, just click here.
Thursday – We have an all-staff meeting today. We meet every other Thursday for a one hour book study. Currently we are studying Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. Our next book is The Complete Book of Discipleship by Bill Hull (see the July Church Leader Insights Newsletter for my review of this book. You don’t get my newsletter? It’s free, click here).
Friday – I’m taking a rare Friday off. Not sure what we are doing yet! Is the X-Files movie worth seeing?
Saturday – I’m leading a Growth Group Servant Evangelism Project on the Upper West Side today. Our groups have been out every night this week doing Servant Evangelism and today I lead the final ‘group’ of groups. We do a week of Servant Evangelism every semester. Our goal is 25,000 touches this week!
The end of July is a great time to be in the city. I’m looking forward to a great week. Aren’t you glad we get to do what we do? I love being a pastor!
Today Greg Surratt, Senior Pastor Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC, is speaking at all four services at The Journey-Manhattan. I’ve know Greg personally for a couple of years, listened to his sermons/podcasts for even longer and been a fan of Seacoast for as long as I can remember. Greg has been super-gracious to us and our multi-site expansion. I know he’ll hit a home run today!
I’ll be there hosting each service and encouraging our volunteers (something I don’t always get to do when I’m speaking). It’s rare for us to have a guest speaker and even more rare for me to be in town when we have a guest speaker. I’m looking forward to hanging with Greg and ‘walking slowly through the crowd’ today.
In Brooklyn and Jersey City I’ll be teaching on the big screen and challenging everyone to do a Servant Evangelism project right after each Service.
We also have 50+ people for membership class this afternoon.
Should be a unique and fun day! I can’t wait to share with everyone that we baptized 50+ people yesterday at Jones Beach (the weather was perfect!!).
Off to the first service…hope you have a great Sunday!
“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious. ”
– John Sculley, Former CEO of Apple
Our annual Beach Baptism is tomorrow (Saturday, July 26) at 2:30pm at Jones Beach on Long Island. If you are in the area, stop in and join us – all the details are here.
To prepare for the Baptism we recently put together a montage of previous beach baptism videos. I think its pretty inspirational. Here’s the link:
For more videos from The Journey, check out our The Journey Church YouTube page here.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’m being audited by the IRS. The case is ‘almost closed’ although there are still some minor paperwork issues to be handled. Hopefully everything will be settled by August. As it turns out, everything was ‘proper and in order’ with my 2006 return but I did learn some important lessons.
First, I was selected for the audit by an IRS computer because my charitable giving was too high. Before you think I’m boasting, let me explain. If you are a minister, you claim a large portion of your salary as housing allowance, which means the part of your income that is deemed ‘salary’ is pretty low.
For example, if you make $40,000 per year and you claim $25,000 per year as Housing Allowance, your effective Salary is only $15,000 per year. But if you tithe (or more) off the full $40,000 and give, let’s say, $5,000 to your church then the IRS ‘sees it’ as if you are giving away $5,000 of your $15,000 salary – which, as you can imagine, raises some flags. (Full disclosure, you pay some taxes on the housing allowace but if it’s done right, you generally don’t pay state or federal tax on the part of your salary you deem as housing. Full disclosure 2: I’m a big fan of paying taxes. I love the benefits of living in America and the roads/schools/etc. that my taxes pay for. I just don’t believe in paying more than you should).
My situation aside, its an interesting commentary on American generosity when the IRS computers raise flags when someone gives away more than 10% of their income! I guess since the average American gives less than 3% of their income to charity it’s justified. Sad.
Second, I learned that the IRS can ask you for copies of your charitable giving statements (the forms that churches send out at the end of the year) and the canceled checks to back it up. I had the giving statement in my files…it was the canceled checks that gave me the problem. Fortunately, my bank and our church keeps scanned copies of the checks but it took some digging.
Third, I was audited for stuff on my 2006 return that I didn’t even claim. For example, I was audited for medical expenses. I had claimed zero medical expenses in 2006. The IRS computer chose to audit me on medical expenses because its a common issue where people cheat. Just thought you’d like to know.
Finally, I had a great sense of dread when the IRS audit documents arrived at my house but I had no sense of fear. Honestly, as soon as I read the paperwork I knew it was going to be a major pain and I dreaded having to produce all the canceled checks and documents in questions but I knew that I had nothing to fear. And this ‘lack of fear’ has nothing to do with my confidence in my own financial prowess. In fact, I’d give myself a grade of C+ when it comes to financial management. So why wasn’t I afraid of the IRS audit?
I was completely in unafraid of the audit because I knew I had done absolutely nothing wrong! I knew that no matter how much the IRS would poke around in or question my return that everything was proper and in order. And again, this is not to brag on my financial acumen but rather I knew I had done nothing wrong because since my days at Saddleback Church in the late 90s, I have willingly submitted my financial management to an outside firm – the #1 clergy financial management firm in America (you can read about Clergy Advantage by clicking here).
Because I had allowed a trusted adviser to manage my salary, housing allowance, retirement and tax documents I knew that I was in the clear no matter how many questions the IRS asked. In fact, as soon as I received the IRS audit papers, I called Clergy Advantage, faxed over the documents and entrusted them with the full process (I still had to find canceled checks and other paper work but they did the heavy lifting).
Why do I tell you all of this….well, one day you might be audited (apparently, ministers are audited at a higher rate than the general public because of the housing/salary issues I mentioned above). So, if you don’t have your financial house in order, an audit can be a major distraction. I want to spend as much time as possible focused on ministry! Also, a lot of pastors I know live in fear when it comes to their taxes. Clergy taxes are confusing and if you are trying to use ordinary tax software to handle the ‘extraordinary needs’ that arise from being a minister you may be in trouble.
And the final big lesson I want to share…get people around you who are good at the areas where you are weak! I’m weak when it comes to personal financial issues so I’ve made a point to bring folks like Clergy Advantage around me. I’m weak when it comes to a whole bunch of other issues too so I’ve tried to find trusted advisers that I can call on. Don’t be afraid to pay for good advice. In the case of Clergy Support, the advice is very inexpensive (maybe your church will even provide it for you) and they are great. But the old saying is true…beware of cheap advice, you may get what you pay for!
I hope these lessons are beneficial to you!
P.S. If you do call Clergy Advantage, please tell them I recommended you. I need all the good will with them I can get!
SYSTEM #2: THE EVANGELISM SYSTEM
Today, we’re moving ahead in our new Wednesday blog series, “Where There’s Slack There’s Lack.” Last week, we kicked off by examining your Weekend Service System and calling out the slack. Have you spent some time working on that system since last Wednesday? What kind of changes have you made?
This week, we’re going to keep working from the outside in by looking at your Evangelism System. The Evangelism System can also be called the Outreach System or the Marketing System. No matter what name you give it, it’s the system that asks, “How do we attract people to our church?”
Most of you know the principle of spiritual readiness – that God will never give you more than you are prepared to handle. As church leaders, we have a responsibility to plan for and be prepared for first-timers before they come (more on that next week). That way, when we do the work of evangelism that we’ve been called to, God can bless our efforts.
How have you been doing? What has this system looked like in your church over the last six months? Are you seeing a lot of first-time guests? If not, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve been slacking on evangelism.
To start getting your system back up to par, ask yourself:
When was the last time you did a big direct mail campaign?
Have you invested in servant evangelism lately?
Who was the last person you invited to your church?
When was the last time you challenged your people to bring friends to a big day?
As you begin to think about this system, make sure you are maximizing the seasons of the year when people are most willing to come to church for the first time. (Do you know what those are?) Keep your culture in mind. Know whether your community will respond best to postcards, emails, phone calls, billboards, or a specific combination of outreach methods. It’s true that God attracts, but we have to do our part of the preparation.
I challenge you to spend this week digging into your Evangelism System. Think about specific steps you can take to reach your community next week and next month. Lead the way through your personal evangelism. Give your people opportunities to invite their friends and then support them any way you can.
Evangelism is critical to what we do. We’ll never be able to bring unbelievers into God’s kingdom if we can’t first bring them through the doors of our churches!
Make this your mantra for the week: No slack = No lack.
P.S. – If you haven’t already, make sure you download the free Church Systems Report, to learn more about the eight church systems and how they work together.
P.P.S. – To dig deeper into the area of evangelism, check out these resources.
In less than 48 hours, we will be doing a video webcast of my Stewardship Seminar. Why don’t you join me for the event? It’s Thursday, July 24, from 9:00am – Noon Eastern Time. Here’s how it works:
- I’ll be teaching the seminar live here in NYC to a great group of pastors
- You will watch the video-stream of the seminar on your internet – with both audio and video! In fact, your entire staff can watch with you (you could even project it on the screen in your conference room).
Pretty cool, huh?
Here’s the link to register now (click here) or you can call 212.730.8300 x212 to register by phone or if you have any questions.
I hope to “see” you on Thursday!
P.S. If you’d like to be in the ‘live audience’ here in NYC, we still have a couple of spots available, just follow this link.
More Free Stuff...
Search The Blog
Looking for a particular subject? Please enter the keywords in below and press the search button to find what you are looking for...
Free E-Newsletter Sign-up
Nelson's Monthly E-Newsletter
The Church Leader Insights bi-weekly publication sent via email focuses on effective leadership, church growth, church planting, evangelism and much more.
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008