Most of us learn quickly that critics are a fact of life for those who have been called to leadership in Christ’s church – but that doesn’t exempt us from the pain.
As a result, I’m always on the lookout for sound teaching on the topic.
Here’s a great article on the subject of criticism from John Koessler that I read this week:
Not long after I graduated from seminary, I spoke to a friend about my discouragement with the church I was serving. Looking back I realize now that things were not as bad as they seemed. The opposition I faced was the sort that every young pastor deals with, especially when he is eager to prove himself. But at the time it seemed to me that I had made a terrible mistake.
Some of the church’s charter members were grumbling about changes I had initiated. A few even hinted that I had bullied the church’s leaders into seeing things my way. Their criticism was unfounded but it stung just the same. I began to wonder if I was wrong to accept a call to this congregation. My friend listened to my tale of woe but was unsympathetic. “Worse things have been said about better men” he told me. I was annoyed by his blunt reply but could not disagree with his point.
Jesus warned those who speak in his name that they will also share in his reproach: “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!” (Matt. 10:24-25)
The problem here is ultimately one of authority. Christ’s words serve as fair warning to all who preach that divine authority does not guarantee a smooth path. We would like to think that God given authority also gives us leverage with our hearers. “Listen to us,” we want to say. “We speak for God.” But the same Bible that gives us our authority also offers ample proof of the congregation’s capacity for discounting that authority.
Preaching is an awkward business. The preacher does not give advice, the preacher declares. The preacher tells people what is right and what is wrong. When they turn to the right or the left, the preacher stands before them like the angel who stood in Balaam’s path, and says, “This is the way, walk in it.” What right do we have to make such demands? Who are we to tell others how to live?
Preaching is impolite. When we preach we draw public conclusions about the motives of our listeners and impugn their character. We utter things from the pulpit that we would not dare to say in private conversation, at least not to strangers!
This is the preacher’s prophetic responsibility. “Prophetic preaching does not necessarily imply that the preacher assumes the role of Jeremiah or Amos, but that the preacher remains faithful to the prophetic dimensions of biblical texts” Thomas G. Long explains. “If the word comes from God in the biblical text, the preacher remains true to that word, regardless of the reaction or the cost.”
Unfortunately, the prophetic mantle cannot guarantee that every barb that aimed in our direction is undeserved. Some of the complaints leveled against us are warranted. The reproach we bear is not always the reproach of Christ. Sometimes it comes as a result of rash decisions we have made or right words spoken in the wrong spirit. My friend was right. Worse things have been said about better men. And just as often better things are said about us than we deserve.
“Worse things have been said about better men.” What a great (and profoundly true) statement!
P.S. For a brief resource on the topic of dealing with your critics, check out How to Handle Criticism (MP3 Download).
The DISC is a personality profile that rates potential hires (or those already on staff) in four distinct categories: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.
A healthy staff needs a good mix of personalities for maximum effectiveness – just look at Jesus’ staff team.
Many of you have asked what website we use for the DISC, so here it is:
By taking advantage of the DISC, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to best lead your existing staff and how a potential new hire will fit on your team.
P.S. For a comprehensive guide to how to recruit, hire, manage and de-hire staff, check out The Staffing Workshop.
“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”
Did you know that each month, as a part of the “Church Leader Insights Family,” you receive the CLI Newsletter, directly to your inbox, packed with the best church leadership content I can find.
Just in case you missed it, here’s an Andy Stanley article that was included in this month’s newsletter:
“You need to identify three or four gauges to watch. Attendance is an obvious one. As a church, there will always be a need to know that particular number. But if we laser in on attendance and ignore everything else, we’ll get such a small picture of the real health of our churches.
I encourage you to dig deeper and think about things like: How many leaders vs. apprentices do we have in our ministries? How many seasoned leaders are helping vs. newcomers that need help?
As you find the correct gauges, you’ll discover that they help monitor health as well as growth.” Read More…
The Church Leader Insights Newsletter is designed to bring you the best available material on Church Growth, Evangelism, Leadership and Church Planting every month – and all you have to do is check your email!
If you’re not already subscribed, you can click this link to sign up right now.
I wanted to take a quick opportunity this morning to tell you about one of the pastors from my coaching network who are really doing great things for God’s Kingdom.
Today, I want to share with you Mike McGown, Senior Pastor of Parkway Fellowship in Katy, TX (West Houston Area). In this short video testimony, you’ll hear how the network (and coaching in general) has made an impact in his leadership and his church.
It’s the Kingdom results that I hear about from pastors like Mike that has me pumped about my upcoming Tele-Coaching Network for Senior Pastors:
|[flow href="http://cli.s3.amazonaws.com/media/videos/2010TC/SANY0057.flv" width="250" height="163"]||Mike McGown
Will you consider applying for my new Senior Pastor Tele-Coaching Network?
It starts August 19 and is almost 50% full – apply today!
For more information or to apply now, visit:
Welcoming new people to your church is one of the pillars of a solid Assimilation System (not to mention a demonstration of Christian hospitality).
But whether we like it or not, many of the people greeting newcomers at our churches aren’t sure how to make others feel welcome.
First impressions are so important that I recommend having a brief training for all of your greeters every Sunday (yes every Sunday).
Recently, I ran across a good article about this from my friend Hal Seed - he asks his people to “LINE-UP” and welcome new people every weekend:
How much time does it take for a visitor to decide whether or not they will return to your church? Experts pose differing numbers on this. Some say as quickly as 90 seconds. Others say three minutes. Still others say they take as long as 12 minutes to decide. Whoever is right, making a good first impression is imperative if you are going to retain first time visitors. Doing this well will change as your church grows.
Churches with attendance under 150 can make a friendly first impression by stationing two or three outgoing volunteers at their front doors. In this size church, newcomers are able to look around the crowd and find the “people like me” pretty quickly. “People like me,” is key to assimilating newcomers in smaller churches.
Once you get to 200 or more, the number of names and faces is large enough that you’ll an exceptionally committed volunteer to be at the door at least 45 weekends a year. Since the average Sunday school teacher only attends church 39 weeks a year, you probably won’t find such a person. Hence, a staff member needs to assume this responsibility. When our church was under 400, my associate pastor met every first time visitor and introduced them to others. If you ask anyone who came during that era, “Who did you meet first?” there answer was always, “Scott Evans.”
Above 400, first impressions must be everyone’s responsibility. The average church welcomes three visitors per week for every 100 attendees. So at 400, you’ll have 12 or more brand new guests each weekend. No one person can meet and introduce them all to someone like them. Welcoming becomes a family affair.
At New Song, I ask our Core to “LINE-UP” every weekend.
L = Look for someone you don’t know.
I = Introduce yourself.
N = Never sit alone.
E = Engage in conversation after the service.
U = Use the RU New Café (our monthly lunch for newcomers).
P = Practice the 3/10 Rule (talk to 3 people you don’t know during the first 10 minutes after the service).
LINE-UP has made us one of the friendliest churches in the world. And it’s scalable, so it ought to work for yours too. Embed the process in your people by teaching it at leadership meetings, new members’ classes, and at least annually in church.
Great stuff Hal – keep up the good work.
How do you teach your people to welcome newcomers?
What can you do this week to help your church become even friendlier than last Sunday?
P.S. To learn the in’s and out’s (and all the details) of fine-tuning your church’s Assimilation System, check out The Assimilation Intensive.
When you have a few candidates in mind for a position, in addition to the personality tests and strengths assessments I suggest in The Staffing Workshop, be sure to check them out on Facebook too.
Check out their photo library, their updates and their recent postings.
What does it tell you about them?
Does their Facebook page affirm that you are moving in the right direction or give you pause?
Is there anything there that gives you a hint of an uneasy stomach? You get the picture…
While you are at it, Google them and do a Twitter search too.
With minimal effort, we have access to information that we could have only dreamed of a few years ago.
This bit of web detective work, while it takes a few minutes, may save you years of regret from hiring the wrong person.
Oh, and in the business world, this is now standard practice.
Remember, staffing success is 95% hiring well!
P.S. For the best hiring principles and practices (and tips on recruiting, managing and “de-hiring” too), check out The Staffing Workshop.
“You promote yourself every time you take on a new responsibility.”
– William Gore, executive (Founder of Gore-Tex)
From its earliest days, The Journey has been a multi-site church and we’ve found it to be a highly effective way to multiply our impact (in New York City and beyond). However, launching multiple campuses is neither easy nor foolproof. To that end, I’m always on the lookout for sound advice on the subject.
Here’s a great article from Jim Tomberlin at MultiSite Solutions:
The 5 Ps of Launching a MultiSite Campus
by Jim Tomberlin
Multi-site congregations have a high success rate because of the support and leverage of the sending church. So what does it take to launch a multi-site campus? You need:
- prayer to precede
- provision to start
- a pastor to lead
- people to follow
- and a place to meet
Prayer to Precede
Have you prayed about going multi-site?There are many logical and compelling reasons to go multi-site, but the only one that really matters is God’s call. Is this something God is leading your church to do? Is there a profound sense that God is in this initiative? Is there an overwhelming conviction “we have to do this to be obedient and faithful stewards of our resources in order to fulfill God’s purpose for our church?” This conviction primarily comes as God confirms through prayer.
As you begin to wrap your arms around your community through a multiple campus strategy, Pray4YourBlock is a wonderful resource to help mobilize your prayer champions and congregation to pray for the neighborhoods where they already live. Imagine what could happen if the communities you are trying to reach were covered and saturated with prayer!
Provision to Start
Any endeavor takes seed money to get launched. Though multi-siting creates more seats at the optimal inviting hours for a fraction of the cost and in less time than building on to an existing church facility, it does cost money.
The average start-up cost nationwide for launching a campus is $250,000. Typically, churches will start by adding a multi-site line item to their operating budget and have a special fund-raising campaign to launch a multi-site campus. The Bible wisely reminds to sit down and “count the cost” to make sure we have enough money to finish before we begin an ambitious project. (Luke 14:28)
A Pastor to Lead
The multi-site pastor, often called the “campus pastor” is the most important component in going multi-site. As in every endeavor, everything rises or falls on leadership. The best place to find a campus pastor is usually within the sending congregation. They are the “face with the place” who need to be high-capacity leaders, team players, and DNA carriers of the church.
People to Follow
The strength of a multi-site launch is the core of followers who come out of the sending congregation. They typically already live in the targeted area of the new launch. Figure out how many people it takes to have a fully functioning congregational expression of your church in a new location and enlist at least that many to serve for a one-year commitment. The larger this launch core, the sooner the campus becomes self-sustaining functionally and financially.
A Place to Meet
Since the majority of church-going Americans live within a 15 minute drive of their church, the ideal place for a multi-site campus is within the 15-30 minute perimeter of the sending campus. Find out where your church has concentrations of attenders at the 15-30 perimeter and launch there. This puts a new congregation in fresh “mission” territory, yet builds on the good reputation of the sending church with a core of people who have the church’s DNA.
Some 50% of multi-campus churches start out utilizing space in a school building for their first remote sites. Schools, along with theaters, are typically low-risk, low-cost alternatives for going multi-site. A school is typically good for a one-to-three year run in terms of energy and volunteer commitment to helping with a portable church on wheels that gets set-up and torn-down every week.
Leasing a commercial facility provides a 24-7 presence, but is more expensive because of the renovation required for a church.
There is also an increasing trend where existing churches merge or become adopted and absorbed by a healthy, growing multi-campus church.
When you have preceded with prayer, provision to start, a pastor to lead, people who will follow, and a place to meet–you are ready to launch a multi-site campus!
Go forth and multiply!
That’s solid, proven wisdom – lining up the 5 P’s will put you a long way down the road to launching a thriving and successful multi-site campus!
P.S. For a proven strategy to Launch a new church (or a new campus), check out The Launch Conference on CD.
Each month, as a part of the “Church Leader Insights Family,” you receive the CLI Newsletter, directly to your inbox, packed with the best church leadership content I can find.
Just in case you missed it, here’s an article from The Christian Post that was included in this month’s newsletter:
“Studies have shown that, in general, churches typically plateau in attendance by their fifteenth year, and by about thirty-five years they begin having trouble replacing the members they lose,” the book states. “[A]mong evangelical churches, those under three years old will win ten people to Christ per year for every hundred members. Those three to fifteen years old will win five people per year for every hundred members. After age fifteen the number drops to three per year.” — Read More…
The Church Leader Insights Newsletter is designed to bring you the best and latest thinking on Church Growth, Evangelism, Leadership and Church Planting every month!
If you’re not already subscribed, you can click this link to sign up right now.
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