The Fastest Way to Destroy a Team

Leading a church is difficult. It’s made even more difficult when everyone on the team is not on the same page. If you’re smart, you do your best to make sure all discussions and debates happen behind closed doors with the appropriate leaders and that everyone understands why you’re making certain decisions and the strategy behind it. Once a decision is made, it’s your job to own it, whether you agree with it or not. Not owning it is the fastest way to destroy a team.

I haven’t always got this right, but I learned really quickly that in order to be united as a church I had to stand behind the pastor’s decisions.

That means sometimes I have to support decisions that I don’t like.

It means sometimes I may not like how those decisions impact my volunteers and church.

And it means sometimes I have to come off as the bad guy even though it’s not my fault.

It would be a lot easier for me to just pass the blame onto the pastor, or the board, or whoever is responsible for making the decisions. It would make me look better, and I could avoid any backlash or confrontation. But it also would destroy the unity in the church.

Part of my job is to protect my pastor and my church. If I’m not willing to deal with difficult issues and own the decision that was made, I’m not doing my job.

The same goes for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a church staff or if you’re a volunteer. You need to own the decisions the leadership makes in your church. If you can’t do that, you need to find a new church to attend.

If you’re a lead pastor reading this and you have someone on your team who refuses to own decisions and is always throwing you under the bus, you need to confront them. If you don’t, they’re going to keep you stressed out. Ask them to straighten up, and if they don’t, ask them to leave. It’s that important.

Have you ever had to deal with this issue? How did you handle it? Let us know by leaving a comment below. If you found this post helpful, would you do me a favor and share it with another pastor or church leader? Let’s work together to strengthen small town pastors around the world.

One of the Biggest Mistakes Pastors Make

Who are you spending your time with? It’s a very important question, and one you need to answer honestly. Because your time is limited, who you spend it with matters more than you think. The mistake many small town pastors make is allowing the wrong people to take up the majority of their time.

I read a story a few years ago about a retail company that did the math and discovered that 5% of their customers were accounting for 80% of their customer service calls. To make matters worse, these same customers were accounting for less than 1% of their profit.

That sounds like a lot of small town churches. Eighty percent of the complaints come from five percent of the congregation, and typically that 5% are not giving or serving. Yet, we make the huge mistake of spending time with them.


As pastors, we want to make everyone happy, and most of us absolutely hate conflict. We think if we spend enough time with our critics, we can somehow make them understand.

Can I just tell you, that’s rarely the case. There are some people you are never going to make happy no matter how hard you try. I don’t even think they want to understand. I think in most circumstances, they just enjoy conflict.

So, let me encourage you to do the same thing this retail company did. They wrote a nice note letting these customers know they wouldn’t be able to help them anymore, and they helped them find somewhere else to take their business.

You should do something similar. The next time you get cornered by that same person who always has a complaint, let them know you love them, but they would probably be happier at another church.

Once you do this enough, you’ll find that you have way more time to spend with those people who are excited about the vision and want to help you accomplish it.

Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it by giving it to the loudest voices. Be intentional about who you spend your time with. Invest in those who can help you make the church better, and encourage those who only want to complain to take their complaints somewhere else.

Who is the thorn in your side? What do they love complaining about? Leave a comment and get it off your chest. I promise you’ll feel better. And if you want to know more about turning around a struggling church, subscribe to the blog and get my new Ebook for free.

Five Ministries Every Church Needs to Be Good At

Most small town churches are trying to do too much. In reality, you really only need to be good at about five things, and I would argue you could get by with being really good at three of them. For many years the church I serve has offered a great kid’s ministry, a great worship experience, and guest services that make guests feel like family. Throughout the years we’ve always grown in attendance, despite struggling to get groups going at our church and being even worse at missions. However, I think if we did all five of these well, we’d see even greater growth, and I believe you would as well. So, let’s take a look at each one.

  1. Kids

If you’re looking to reach young families, kid’s ministry is the most important ministry in your church. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest struggles of the small town and rural church, and it doesn’t have to be. You can do kid’s ministry well with a small budget and even a small number of committed volunteers. I outline the five ingredients to a great kid’s ministry in this post.

  1. 1st Impressions/Guest Services

The church I serve didn’t do a lot of things right when it started out twelve years ago. This is the one thing they did, and it held the church together during those early days when we were trying to figure everything else out. If you want to keep guests coming back to your church, you have to get this right. I share a few ideas on how you can do that in this post.

  1. Worship

I know worship can be used to describe many different things, but in this context I’m specifically talking about the singing and preaching that happens during a service. This is another big area most small town and rural churches struggle to get right. I totally understand. We struggled too for a very long time, but the key is trying to get better each week and never settling for mediocre. Regardless of the style of music your church sings, do it with excellence. In the same way, make sure you’re prepared to preach a gospel-centered message and speak with passion.

  1. Groups

Like many other small town pastors I speak to, groups is an area that we just can’t figure out. We can’t recruit people to lead groups, and some of those who do lead can’t get people to come to their groups. It’s been more than a little frustrating. Even though I’ve contemplated giving up on them, I know that they’re vital to keeping people connected and to keep people growing. If you’ve figured out the answer, please send me an email and share your secret.

  1. Missions

My first real leadership position in the church was Missions Director, and I was the worst. Every fundraiser I held lost money. Luckily, the church I serve gave me a second chance in a position for which I was better suited. We’re still not great at international missions, but we’re getting better. The area we’ve made the biggest strides is in local missions, serving our communities and local schools. If you want people to start talking about your church, one of the best things you can do is serve your community.

It’s very difficult for most churches to do all five of these areas well, which is why you often have to choose which you’re going to be good at. In my opinion, you start with the first three and add the other two when you can.

You may disagree, and if so I’d love to hear your opinion. Leave it in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.