Pastors Q & A

Question Number One

“What’s one thing you’re currently doing in ministry, that you wish you had started years ago?”

Q and A Image

“Saying no and trusting others. I said yes to every speaking opportunity. I said yes to fill every void and need (Sunday School teacher, Missions leader, etc) I said yes to every meeting. I said yes to every activity. Which was basically saying no to my wife. No to my daughter. No to my family. And most importantly, no to God. I was doing so much I had zero time to invest in the relationships that mattered most. One reason was because I didn’t trust. I thought in order for it to be done right, I had to do it.” – Cody Hogden, First Baptist Church Orangefield

My answer may be more philosophical than practical but what I wished that I had done early on in my ministry was to spend more time understanding the culture and how people learn. I simply thought a well prepared sermon would be effective. But if my speaking style is not conducive to a listener’s ability to learn; then I am not being the most effective I can be. I may reach some older people or some younger people who have been versed in the “old” style of teaching, but I won’t be able to reach the unchurched or unsaved adult. What you notice in the hunting world is really good hunters spend more time scouting and understanding their prey than they do hunting it. They have discovered that success is not determined by the amount of time they spend hunting but the amount of time they spend understanding the practices of the prey they are after. If they know their prey, harvesting it is simple. I spent too much time “hunting” and not enough time “scouting.” – Gary Miller, Locus Church

I am currently the only full time pastor in our church. So we started doing a Tuesday evening conference call for all the pastors to review the weekend and discuss future plans. I wish I had began this much sooner as it has helped build community and trust on our team. The guys have told me how valuable it makes them feel. Ben Fugate, Journey Christian Church

I wish I did better at adjusting time spent doing ministry work and family. I often validated my actions towards neglecting family by blaming it on God and His work. I have a better understanding that God wants both aspects of my life to be healthy. It’s not a one-or-the-other situation. – Jeremiah Marshall, Gospel Outreach Community Church

I would say daily reading, reading a Proverb a day, weekly learning from resources/podcasts/sermons (including T.E.D. talks or sources that sometimes aren’t necessarily Christian), creating a detailed weekly schedule that is centered around my God given purpose/roles, and reading leader blog posts would definitely be something that I wish I started years ago. So, in a nutshell: Growing myself in disciplines and wisdom. — Brandon Petty, Generation Church

I would say the most important thing I am doing now and not then was paying close attention to the pace of my life. Making sure like creation, there is a sustainable rhythm to my days and week. Some seasons the days are much longer like summer. However, I must consciously look for seasons where the days are shorter and the nights are longer. Just like winter. Whatever pace works for a person is the pace they should follow. But everyone must find a pace or they won’t last through all the seasons of ministry ahead. – Gregg Farrell, Crossland Community Church

#1 Deeper spiritual focus early morning prayer and fasting.   #2 Ask better questions. #3 Committed study day that is in concrete(early in the week). #4 Sermon series planning staying a quarter ahead. – Duane Garner, New Vision Ministries

Did a staycation this year, it was incredible. Wish I would have taken more time off. Even if you can’t afford to leave town, take a staycation where you turn off the phone, enjoy your family, and catch up on projects. – Allen Bonnell, Immanuel Baptist Church

I would say rest and reloading. scheduling time to distress so u and your family have finish lines to run to. That’s something I wish I learned earlier in life and ministry. – Dustin Thompson, Refuge Church

Conduct a Facility Inspection

One Thing Series

This post is a part of the “One Thing” series. Often we feel like we have to take drastic steps in our life or church to see significant change, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the small things create the biggest impact. In this series, we’ll focus on “One Thing” you can do that will get you and your church moving in the right direction.

Checklist

While all of these are major factors to consider, the one thing that seems to hold most churches back is vision.

No, not the kind of vision you’re probably thinking. I’m talking about the vision provided by your eyes. Most facility issues never get dealt with because they’re never really noticed, at least not by you, because you’re used to it.

However, new visitors notice them because they’re laying a fresh set of eyes on a new place. So, they notice the cobwebs in the corners, the stains in the ceiling tiles, and the weird smell coming from the bathroom.

If they notice enough of these issues, they make the decision not to come back. It doesn’t matter how well they’re greeted, how much fun their kids had, or how much they enjoyed the message. If you’re facility is a mess, you’re losing visitors.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution, and it can be accomplished with a pen and a piece of paper in as little as thirty minutes a month. It’s called a Facility Inspection. This is an intentional walkthrough of your facility, paying careful attention to any areas that need to be addressed.

Here’s a simple example:

Outside / Parking Lot

  • Entrances to campus clearly marked with signage.
  • Parking lot clean and clear of debris such as dirt, leaves, and trash.
  • Guest parking and handicap parking areas clearly labeled.
  • Grass mowed and weeds pulled from flowerbeds.
  • Water features on property clean and working properly.
  • All outside lights in working order.

Inside

  • All signage and print material clearly visible and up to date.
  • No burned out light bulbs.
  • Carpets vacuumed, and tile, vinyl, or concrete floors clean.
  • No dead bugs or rodents inside building. (Traps should not be visible.)
  • No cobwebs, dust, or dirt on any surface.
  • All rooms, especially bathrooms, clean, neat, and disinfected.
  • No ceiling tiles stained by water leaks.
  • All thermostat and HVAC units functioning in every room.

This is a very simple checklist, and no doubt you’ll want to customize your own.

Keep in mind your initial walkthrough may take a little longer, but once you start doing this monthly, it should go much quicker.

Also, you still have to deal with the issues that come from the inspection. A lot of it you should be able to handle yourself. Or to save yourself time, find someone handy within your church, and let him or her do the work. You could even give them a cool title like Facility Manager.

How often are you doing a Facility Inspection? What would you add to my checklist? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Also, make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips just like this delivered to your inbox each week.

Move to Two

As in two services, as quickly as possible. Just not too quickly. Move too quick and you may end up with two mediocre services. You want to avoid that. So, you wait until you’re filling up seventy to eighty percent of the chairs in your auditorium before you make the move.

Moveto2

Not only do you need to pay attention to the number of chairs you’re filling up each week, you also need to get buy in from your key leaders and volunteers.

This was something we failed to do early on in our church. We were packing out our Sunday morning service and we, as in the pastor and a few others, knew we had to add a service. There was only one problem, not everyone wanted to go to two services and that included key members of the worship team.

We added a Saturday night service anyway and added a new worship leader for that service. It certainly wasn’t ideal, and the Saturday service suffered because of it. But it did free up seats on Sunday morning, which was the main goal.

When we were able to move from renting a facility to building one, once again the subject of multiple services was brought up. Some people thought that a new facility and more seats would mean we would go back to one service, however that was never the plan.

Multiple services create multiple benefits that are too good to ignore. For example:

  1. More Times = More Options

The more service times you offer, the more likely people are to show up. When you’re moving to two services, I would suggest you offer an early Sunday morning service for those who like waking up early, and a service following that one for those who like to sleep in a little later. Saturday and Sunday nights can work as well, but I’ve found that services are better when offered in pairs, specifically for the next benefit.

  1. More Times = More Opportunities

Multiple services give people multiple opportunities to serve without having to miss a service. Multiple services eliminate one of the most common reasons people give for not wanting to serve in kids’ ministry. With two services, they can serve in one and sit in the other. It essentially doubles the number of volunteer opportunities at your church, which is a very good thing.

  1. More Times = Less About Me

Perhaps the biggest pushback you’ll get when trying to move to two services is this idea that everyone needs to be in the same service. Moving to two services will cause people to not know everyone who attend the church. This is a good thing because it shows your congregation that it’s not about them; it’s about reaching those who don’t know Christ.

Here’s something else about adding a service: it costs you little to nothing, and yet it can double your effectiveness. Some churches would be wise to shrink their sanctuary down, just so they could add another service.

So, what are you waiting for? This fall would be a great time to add a service. Let me know if I can help.

How many services are you currently offering? What is holding you back from adding another service time? Let me know in the comments below, and let me know if I can help you get started.