Browsing: Church Health

Leadership Is… Pastor Support #314

A three legged stool is strong, but less than helpful when missing a leg. In supporting our Pastors, I look for people who, like the three legged stool, consistently share three qualities. They are consistent in their prayer support, excited about volunteering within their giftedness and they go out of their way to encourage others.

“Being a Pastor is a tough, demanding job, one that is not always very well understood or appreciated. Pastoral work is more complex than that which transpires in the hour or two a week that many lay people see the pastor in action…” (Burns, Chapman and Guthrie, Resilient Ministry)

Returning to my church office one day I spotted $18,000 worth of Pastoral encouragement on the sidewalk. Blue suede color with chrome highlights, crossover dual exhaust, slash mufflers, two cylinder 3500 rpm achieving a clean 45 mpg. Our visiting Pastor told us with great enthusiasm how his church gave his Youth Pastor and himself matching Harley Davidson touring motorcycles on Pastor Appreciation Sunday. This church invested $36,000 in Ministry encouragement. Now, the point is not the money and not the motorcycles. The beautiful point is every time these two Pastors ride to work, take a weekend tour or re-tell the story, they are reminded how much they love and are loved by their people. 

I haven’t bought any of our Pastors a Hawg lately, but it is a dramatic illustration of what people working together can do to collectively show their Ministry staff their love and appreciation.

I have the privilege of meeting and praying with our Pastor every other Wednesday. We pray, share, laugh and sometimes and cry as we seek God’s plan for our church and community.

Leadership is … ensuring your Ministry staff know that you care for them.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is … A Serious and Prayerful Conversation on Church Health #310

My prayerful dream for today is to challenge our status quo and stimulate serious conversations in homes and churches worldwide.

Over the last year, I’ve asked one specific question to every Christian Business owner and manager that I’ve met. Here is the question.

What year over year percentage increase in sales or customers would constitute a healthy and successful business?

My research is casual, only designed to stimulate a conversation with you and your Leaders.

The average response to my question is that a Business should grow by 6.5% in terms of increased customers, clients or product sales every year to be considered healthy. Here’s the fascinating point. These same men and women, including you and I, are the leaders in our churches. We pray, share, discuss, set direction, encourage and lead our churches. Yet, the average growth rate in our churches is dismal compared to the business community. A quick look at church Annual Report stats suggests that the average growth rate of churches is 1% – 2% a year.

“Nation wide research suggests that poor to fair growth in churches is between 2-5% a year.” (Gary L. McIntosh)

Anyone want their church to be known as poor to fair?

Church health research and Pastors themselves suggest a healthy church should have an annual attendance growth rate of 6% in worship services each year. This positive growth is a result of prayer, scripturally sound teaching and consistency in vision, mission and values. I concur Ministry is different from the business world of enterprise. But, our goal in church is unmeasurably greater. Your church is, or should be, a living organism. Just like the human body, it is designed to grow and heal itself.

So, here is my question that I’d love each of you to prayerfully share and converse with your Pastor or Leadership Board.  Why is it we expect and aim for our businesses to have a 6.5% increase every year yet we, the same leaders, are satisfied with a 1% growth in our churches?

Leadership is … prayerfully seeking healthy churches.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Change #306

As a leader, you are responsible to guide your team through our changing world. You know the vision that you and your team have developed and own.  However, to accomplish your God directed vision you will need to make changes, motivate and encourage your followers.

Change is often perceived as a difficult challenge. The routine is comfortable and feels secure. A change impacts the working environment. The change to the balance may be uncomfortable until stabilized. Your role in orchestrating change is crucial to the degree of acceptance. During times of stress team members look to you, their leader for support, encouragement and security. You can reduce staff anxiety and increase staff comfort by following a few points.

Be honest in stating the reason for the changes. State why the change is required, how it will affect the individual staff and the organization as a whole.

Emphasize the benefits of the change. Staff are concerned about the organization, but are more concerned about their working environment, career plans and individual security.

Detail the positive and potential challenging aspects of the change. Staff will find the negatives if you don’t. By identifying all sides of the issue, you are being honest and this will increase staff’s level of confidence. Spend time with your staff.

Define a realistic plan for implementation. Here’s a good opportunity to win staff support by asking for their input in designing the plan. Staff are always more committed to a project they have had input into. Honestly ask for staff feedback and use it. We can all benefit from the advice and input from staff experience.

Finally, and possibly most important, look at your own track record. When you have a reputation for positive changes, staff will trust your work and will be positive. However, past failures will be projected into the future, feared, resented and derailed by staff.

Change is difficult. Be honest, represent all the issues well and your staff will learn to trust your judgment and leadership.

Leadership is … knowing that change can and should be positive.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… A Body Of Believers #305

Every church or mission is unique with its own culture. This culture is a mosaic of the vision, mission, values, habits, beliefs, traditions and rules held by the individuals involved. These components work together to develop the culture and define the spiritual health of your church. 

A servant led church would be a living, growing, learning organism that radiates Christ’s love. “If you don’t live it, you don’t believe it.” (Larry Spears, Theory of Servant-Leadership.)

Your church is a body of believers. This body of Servant Leaders, demonstrating God’s love through serving has the potential for impacting its surrounding community. Imagine the unprecedented impact a group of dedicated Christ following churches would have on our world. Small decisions influence larger decisions and transformed lives impact others, the wave of influence for Christ is beyond imagination in today’s world.

A Servant led church would have a dynamic, exciting and motivating vision based firmly on God’s Word plus the values and spiritual gifts of its people. The vision would focus each individual to a closer personal relationship with God. The vision would involve leading others to Christ and developing disciples. There would be Home Bible Studies and opportunities to meet for prayer during the week in addition to the weekend services. Each service would be designed to bring people into a closer relationship with their heavenly Father. This church would be committed to win their community for Christ.

George Barna surveyed people who didn’t attend church presently, asking if they decided to attend a church, what would influence their choice. “The most common response was they would seek a church that was committed to helping people outside the church who needed care and consideration”. (www.barna.com) I find this fascinating. People who don’t attend church see community service as a factor that would influence their choice of a church to attend. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 NKJV)

Serving in church should be equivalent to a gene or DNA within the human genogram. Imagine a loving, caring serving gene within the growing living organism of your church that grows and reproduces itself. The influence would be beyond imagination.

Leadership is … showing God’s love to your community.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Leading From Your Heart #300

Heart values are significant to the Servant Leader. Christ reminds us, “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart”. (Matthew 15:18 NIV) The heart values of  Servant Leaders are not designed for self-gratification and the glory of men. “A true servant does what he does from the heart to be seen by the Lord, not by men.” (Servant Leadership and Eldership)

The Servant Leader leads, as Christ did, from the heart. Instead of thinking control and personal power, the Christian Servant Leader lives by Christ’s values. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 2:5 KJV) This requires a transformation of thought, belief and practice. The Servant leader is not concerned about self, personal glory or individual accomplishment. “The substance of servant hood. It is about people who are willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ no matter what the personal implications.” (McManus, An Unstoppable Force)

“Real Servant Leadership begins when you decide to learn from and follow the real Servant Leader, Jesus Christ.” (Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership, Discovering the secrets of servant leadership from the life of Christ) Our daily life, work and volunteer activities should demonstrate Christ in all we do.

Servant Eldership is about serving others by serving Christ. Pastors, leaders, employers and volunteers, do you have a heart value to serve the people in your community? Do you serve from your heart filled with Christ’s love? What can you do this week to serve our Lord, the vision of your place of work and the church you attend? You, with God’s help, can change your heart, your neighbors heart and that of your community.  Christ did!

Leadership is … changing hearts not minds.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Getting It Right #290

Are you adrift with ineffective leadership? Many Christian leaders have adopted leadership styles without a Biblical standard. They don’t lead by serving. They may set goals, monitor performance, counsel, recruit, motivate and discipline. But, following the latest guru or fad of the month club doesn’t work.

“Much of the church is spiritually impotent-void of vital, personal and intimate walk with God. Having fallen into the cult of the comfortable, the church, for the most part, is no long a power to be reckoned with. It has largely lost the respect of the masses; it is often no longer a power to be reckoned with. It has largely lost the respect of the masses’ it is often the object of ridicule. Tragically, it has become the last place our nation would turn for help.” (Bill Bright, The coming Revival America’s Call to Fast, Pray and “Seek God’s Face”)

“Jesus shrugged it off. Every tree that wasn’t planted by my Father in heaven will be pulled up by its roots. Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men. When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch.” (Matthew 15:13-14 MSG)

“Good leaders can make a small difference; bad leaders can make a huge negative difference”. (Fortune Magazine)

We’ve all heard the phrase, “History repeats itself’. To state it another way, the future will be the same as the past, unless something changes. As Christian leaders, if we want to have any impact on our future, we need to change. I’m not recommending a change in theology, values, prayer or Bible study. I’m suggesting as Christian leaders, we need to follow Christ’s example and exude Servant Leadership. We need to follow the blueprint.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Are your followers growing in their relationship to their Heavenly Father? If not, why not?

Leadership is, following a Biblical standard of Servant Leadership.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Taking Prescriptions #285

Here’s a frightening reality of our attitude to personal and church health.

Let me illustrate. You don’t feel well. You feel unhealthy, lethargic and know that something isn’t right. Something hurts or maybe a bone is broken. Maybe we need surgery. The next logical step is to visit a trained professional for advice, recommendation or solution. You visit your Doctor, Health Clinic or Hospital. We receive the prescription, exercise routine, referral or plan for surgery. What happens next?

Here’s the reality. Thirty percent of us don’t follow through on the advice and don’t bother going to the Pharmacy to pick up the prescription. A further thirty percent of us run to the Pharmacy to pick up the prescription but don’t take it correctly or consistently.  Another thirty percent buy the prescription but leave it on the shelf. That leaves ten percent of us that follow through and implement the advice.

Let’s consider the typical church. Internal surveys indicate that 70% of churches do not consider themselves to be healthy. The power of an internal culture (the way we do it around here) can be so strong that the church is unaware or unwilling to implement a solution or change strategy.

Denominational Executives concur that typically only 30% to 40% of churches are healthy. Denominations assess the health of a church or a region of churches with a variety of methods. Some look at financial standing, others count attendance, percentage of volunteers or staff turnover. One of the most fascinating stats is to look at the percentage of the annual budget that goes to missions and outreach activities compared to what is spent internally. The most biblical way to assess the Spiritual health of a church is to count salvation decisions.

Leaders have a lot of dedication, and enthusiasm. However, just like people taking a medication or professional advice, we sometimes lose our enthusiasm, dedication and follow through.

At your next Leadership meeting, ask yourself and your associates to prayerfully consider what you and your team could do to improve the health of your church.

Leadership is praying and implementing God’s plan.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Sharing God’s Love With A Timothy #284

Our Adult Sunday school teacher asked how many of us could lead a friend to Christ without a Bible in hand. The frightening reality is that only a quarter of us in class that morning responded positively. How would you respond? Could you lead a friend to Christ without your Bible in hand?

Billy Graham used a paraphrase built on, 2 Timothy 2:2.  “This is like a mathematical formula for spreading the gospel and enlarging the church. Paul taught Timothy. Timothy shared what he knew with faithful men. And the faithful men were supposed to teach others also. And so the process goes on. If every believer followed this pattern, the church could reach the entire world in one generation. Mass crusades in which I believe and to which I have committed my life will never accomplish the Great Commission; one-on-one relationships will.” (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit)

I asked four of my favorite Ministry people what each of us should do to be more Christ-like. We talked about the style, the technique the difference between the way I was taught and the way my Millennial and Gen Z friends speak about Christ.

I came away with 9 key phrases that if we lived them would dramatically improve our role in letting our world know Christ.

I’ll frame these with questions. Are you and I:

  • Known as a people of integrity?
  • Known to be sensitive?
  • Good listeners?
  • Involved with friends who live and believe different?
  • Demonstrating God’s love in all our relationships?
  • Showing a positive relationship with our family and friends?
  • Living examples of God’s love?
  • Loving our neighbours as ourselves?
  • Involved in our community?

We will see the world wide impact. But it starts with you and me. Today!

“When it comes to evangelism and discipleship, obedience is a big deal. It’s not an extra credit item. It’s not the gold standard. It’s the only standard”

Mission Creep

Leadership is showing God’s love wherever you are.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership is a Healthy Church #266

Laurie KennedyIs your church a luxury cruise liner? Is it an aircraft carrier ready for battle? Or, could your church be compared to a hospital ship striving to meet the health and surgical needs of people worldwide? Ocean going ships, (just like churches) are not designed to float looking pretty in a harbor.

Similarly, God didn’t design our Pastors and Leaders to sit comfortably in the safe harbor of meeting with friends each week. God didn’t design our Sunday School and weekly Bible studies to resemble people sitting, eating and chatting on the luxury liner deck safely in the harbor.

The presumed safety and comfort of our weekend services is not what our Leaders are striving for. Our committed leaders seek the high seas and the miracles of a Vision demonstrating God’s love to our world.  Should we sometimes go to battle like the aircraft carrier? Yes! Should we be compared to the hospital ship seeking the hurt, providing loving and caring service? Yes!

We love our churches, the body of believers, the very bride of Christ is precious. Certainly we want to present Christ and His Bride as a healthy, vibrant expression of what He called us to be and do.

The most dangerous place for a ship during a storm is anchored in the harbor. There is risk that the ship will be damaged or destroyed. During the storm our ship needs to lift anchor and launch. The harbor is the last place we need to be.

To be healthy, our churches need to seek the high seas of our world, sharing our God given Spiritual Gifts, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. (Matthew 28:19 NIV)

Leadership is … praying our church out of the perceived safe harbor into the high seas of God’s calling.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Spiritual and Organizational Health #264

Laurie KennedyThere are over 14,000 moving parts in my car.

I love it when they all work together.

A symphony orchestra includes 90 musicians playing 82 different instruments together, solos or in small groups.

The sound of a full orchestra working together is awesome.

Our bodies have and require thousands of parts to function effectively. We each have 206 bones, our hearts beat about 35 million times a year. We have 5.6 litres of blood circulating three times a minute over 19,000 km per day. If all arteries, veins, and capillaries of the human circulatory system were laid end to end, the total length would be 100,000 km. The fastest nerve cells carry messages along their axons at an amazing 431 kph. There are about 700 muscles in the human body.

We all love it when our bodies work together in health.

Paul confirms the fascinating reality that the physical, spiritual and organizational health can and must work together. “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16 NIV)

Is your church spiritually and organizationally healthy, “fitly framed together” (Ephesians 2:21 KJV) to accomplish God’s vision? If it isn’t, Jesus tells us, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25 NIV)

My prayer for my church and yours is that each and every component of our ministries work together to accomplish God’s vision. We need to not only demonstrate God’s love but to do it collectively and cooperatively so that God is glorified in your community.

“In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvellously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (Romans 12:4-6 MSG)

Leadership is demonstrating God’s love by working together.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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