Elevate Your Leadership Game

A Chess Not Checkers Book Review

I have a confession to make. I haven’t done a lot of reading this year, and by not a lot, I mean almost none. I would like to blame it all on my writing schedule, but the truth is Netflix may be the biggest culprit. I know, I’m disappointed in myself also.

ChessNotCheckers

I did however take some time recently to read Mark Miller’s book, Chess Not Checkers, and I’m so glad I did.

Reading this book was a great reminder as to why reading is so important to growing your leadership.

The content wasn’t necessarily new or groundbreaking, but the book gives a simple and effective formula for growing a church that anyone can take and put into practice immediately.

Most churches, simply react to problems as the arise. They’re basically playing checkers. To become a great church, you need to learn how to play chess. When you play chess you’re no longer reacting to problems, you’re forming an effective strategy in order to win.

Great churches win when they implement these four strategies.

  1. Bet on LeadershipGrowing leaders grow organizations.

You cannot be a great church without great leadership. This means not only do you have to make a commitment to growing yourself as a leader, but you also have to have a strategy in place to grow others on your team.

  1. Act as One Alignment multiplies impact.

Many of the issues that keep churches from growing can be contributed to a lack of alignment. When every ministry is doing their own thing instead of working towards a common goal, the church suffers. Mark Miller explains that, “Part of your never-ending role is to keep the organization aligned on what matters most. When your organization gets out of alignment, you lose energy, focus, momentum, and results.”

  1. Win the HeartEngagement energizes effort.

One of the most important questions you can answer for your team is, “Do you care about me?” When the team knows you care as much about them and their dreams, as you do about the vision of the church, they will do everything possible to help you accomplish the vision.

  1. Excel at Execution Greatness hinges on execution.

Not matter how well you perform the first three strategies, none of it matters if you can’t execute consistently. If you consistently execute well, you’ll succeed. If you consistently execute poorly, you’ll lose.

Chess Not Checkers is a quick read and a great reminder of what it takes to grow a great church. The four strategies I’ve outlined above are the core of the book, and the leadership nuggets and insights found within the book are well worth the read.

What are you currently reading? If you’re not reading, what’s keeping you from it? Let us know in the comments below, and if you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Ignite Your Influence

Lessons from Phil Cooke

Recently, I was at a conference in which Phil Cooke spoke. I had heard of Phil before, but I didn’t know a lot about him. He’s actually a writer, producer, media consultant, and perhaps the Christian media’s biggest critic. Although, he’s quick to point out, he criticizes because he loves.

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On the third day of the conference, Phil talked about six qualities every great influencer has. Check out the list and see how you stack up.

  1. Influencers have ambition.

Ambition, a strong desire to achieve something. I think most of us have ambition, yet sometimes life has a way of beating it out of us. Before we know it we’re spending our time sitting on the couch watching Netflix and eating cheese puffs. Influencers push through the pull of becoming average.

  1. Influencers are ruthless about their time.

God has given each of us 24 hours a day, no more, no less. Influencers have a way of making the most out of the time they’ve been given. They’re not sleeping in, and they’re not spending their time playing video games, they’re trying to impact the world.

  1. Influencers establish a creative routine.

Creative and routine may not be two words you’d expect to see together, but the fact is those who accomplish the most are those who do the same thing day after day. Influencers find out what works for them, then they stick to a schedule.

  1. Influencers develop a real skill.

Just as Seth Godin wrote in his book The Dip, influencers realize it’s better to be the best at one thing, than it is to be average at a bunch of different things. Once they find out what their one thing is, they spend their time developing that skill.

  1. Influencers take responsibility.

The world is full of people who can point out how they’ve been done wrong, or who did them wrong. Many of them never get over this. Influencers on the other hand don’t cast blame anywhere else except themselves. They own it, then they move on and are better for it.

  1. Influencers know how to focus.

The amount of information available to you on any given day is incredible. Many of us spend hours online or in front of our tv. Lack of focus, leads to a lack of influence. Those making a difference are those who can focus on what’s most important.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this list and how your influencing those around you. Let us know in the comments below, and if you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered straight to your inbox.

Branding Faith

Lessons from Phil Cooke

Recently, I was at a conference in which Phil Cooke spoke. I had heard of Phil before, but I didn’t know a lot about him. He’s actually a writer, producer, media consultant, and perhaps the Christian media’s biggest critic. Although, he’s quick to point out, he criticizes because he loves.

PhilCooke

On the first night of the conference, Phil shared a wealth of knowledge on media, culture, and how churches can make the most of both. Check out the list below.

  1. In a media driven culture visibility is just as important as ability.

People today are spending more hours viewing media than they are sleeping each day. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. What advertisers have learned is that the more they put their product in front of your face, the more likely you are to purchase it. Churches must have the same mindset.

  1. In today’s culture, everything communicates.

Research has been done to show that people make decisions faster than ever. Church guests will make a decision whether to come back or not before they ever hear the band or preacher. This means your parking lot and foyer are just as important as what’s happening inside the sanctuary.

  1. The digital universe is unforgiving.

One hundred years ago it would take days, weeks, or even months for a major news story to make its way to most people. Now, it happens in seconds, and it doesn’t have to be major news, it can be as simple as you falling off the stage or having a slip of the tongue.

  1. Understand the power of a name.

Names are more important than we realize. If your denomination is in your church name, just know you’ve eliminated a large segment of people from ever visiting your church. Your church may be awesome, but if someone has had a bad experience at another church of the same denomination, they will lump you together.

  1. Speak the language of design.

Design is important, just ask Apple, Nike, or Starbucks. If you want to reach new people, you have to keep your design fresh. This means many churches need to do away with the pictures of doves, flames, and flags.

  1. It’s time to get serious about social media.

If Facebook were a country, it would have the largest population in the world. Yes, there’s a lot of junk on there, but the opportunity to reach people with the message of Jesus is unlike any we’ve ever had before.

  1. Know the story you need to tell.

In order to maximize your church’s voice, everyone needs to be telling the same story. You don’t need your Sunday School Director saying one thing and your Children’s Director saying another, everyone should be on the same page.

  1. Answer the question, why should I care.

Gone are the days when people felt guilt and shame for not going to church. Most just don’t think it’s important anymore. Before they’re willing to listen to your message, they want to know why they should care.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this list and how your engaging the culture around you. Let us know in the comments below, and if you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered straight to your inbox.