Top Posts of 2018

It’s hard to believe this year has come to an end. For me, this has been a tough year in ministry. Some of the things I thought would happen didn’t. Some of the ideas I tried, didn’t work. Some of the steps we took, were in the wrong direction. While the church I serve saw some good things happen this year, we continue to believe and plan for better days ahead. If you can relate, I encourage you to subscribe to the blog, and while you’re here, take a look back at some of my most popular posts from 2018.

  1. 5 Reasons We Made the Switch from CCB to PCO
  2. 4 Phrases Every Pastor Should Say Every Sunday
  3. Seven People You Should Fire Today
  4. 4 Types of Pastoral Leadership
  5. 3 Facts about Small Town Churches
  6. Ten Preaching Mistakes You Should Avoid
  7. 5 Assumptions Your Church Should Make to Serve Guests Better
  8. Five Ministries Every Church Needs to be Good At
  9. Thoughts on Growing a Small Church
  10. Every Church Welcome Needs these 5 Elements

Need some help growing your church in 2019? I’d love to coach you. Send me an email and let’s chat.

Five Ways Volunteers Can Make a Great First Impression

The ideas in this post can be a game changer for your church. The level of love and care a church shows for guests largely determines whether the church is going to grow, or going to die. These ideas are simple. Anyone can do them, even your church. These ideas don’t cost money, so you don’t have an excuse not to put them into practice. To implement these ideas and make a great impression, all your church needs is a willingness to put forth the effort to share Jesus’s love with those in your community. Surely, we can all do that.

The Five Ideas

  1. Expect guests to show up every week. Even if they don’t, you still start by creating the expectation. If you’re not expecting them, you won’t be ready when they show up. You’re praying for guests to show up, right? So, expect God to answer those prayers and be ready. Every volunteer in your church should be ready for new guests each week.
  2. Welcome guests with a smile. Go out of your way to greet people you don’t know. Offer a handshake and introduce yourself. I’m an introvert at heart, but I quickly realized that at church I have to go out of my way to meet people. Those first connections people make have a huge impact on whether they will come back.
  3. Get to know them. Greeting guests is a great first step, but you really gain traction with people when you take it a step further and get to know them. Find out their names. Do they have children? How did they hear about the church? The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to serve them. Keep in mind, not everyone is going to be comfortable giving you their life story from the start, so learn how to read people and don’t come off as pushy.
  1. Surprise them. If you can just exceed one expectation they may have had, you’ll leave a positive impression on them. This often is as easy as remembering their name. There’s something about remembering a name that just creates a connection with a lot of people. So, whenever I meet someone new at my church, I type their name into my phone. It helps me remember. You can do the same thing with a notebook; just don’t let them see you doing it. You can also surprise guests by giving them a gift, writing them a letter, or sending them a message on Facebook. These little touches can create a big wow factor.
  1. Don’t forget to say goodbye and invite them back. This is the finishing touch of a great first impression. If you’ve met someone new before service, try your best to track them down after service and invite them back. This will often send the message that you really do care about them.

That’s it. It’s that simple, and yet so many churches do a terrible job at creating good first impressions. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the culture, and when you do, you’ll see how big of a difference it really makes.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Let us know by leaving a comment below. And if I can ever help you in this area or any other please send me an email or check out my coaching page for more options. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more each week.

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.