7 Ideas For Creating Staff Connections

Church staff must learn to do life outside of ministry work together if they hope to lead as a family.

After giving a breakout talk at CMConnect recently, I was asked about practical ideas for things staff can do to create healthy, meaningful relationships with one another.  The purpose is to build family-type relationships.

Why?

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So, here are some fun possibilities to consider: 

  • Skeet shooting (yup, but not when your Lead Pastor is angry with you).
  • Have a staff member (and spouse) over for dinner just to get to know them better.  Be sure to enquire about food allergies 🙂
  • Bowling (bonding with fun competition).
  • Have a regular staff meeting with zero ministry work on the agenda.
  • Pray for each other’s marriages, kids, finances, health, and ministry concerns.  Don’t skimp on time with this!
  • Experience a personality assessment together and discuss the results openly.  Talk through what you learn about leading together that you didn’t know before.
  • Volunteer in someone else’s ministry area!  This expresses love & appreciation for that leader, and models ‘Kingdom Work’ to the rest of the church.

Would you add anything to this list?

Please leave a comment below.  I love hearing from my readers 🙂

Note: If you are interested in receiving coaching on this topic or other ministry areas, feel free to contact me at BrentDumler@icloud.com.  I’ll custom taylor something to fit your specific needs.

 

 

Leadership Burnout: 4 Signs To Watch For

“Leadership is a marathon, NOT a sprint.”

You’ve heard this before.  Church leadership requires a healthy pace.  You and I;  we’re not Superman.  We’re definitely not God.  So we need to stop living our lives like we are.

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As leaders in the Church, you and I have a huge responsibility.  This is all the more reason we must be attentive to our spiritual, physical, and emotional health regularly.

Here are 4 signs to beware of:

Short temper | Anyone ever accused you of being snappy?  Maybe your spouse or a co-worker?  And when they address it doesn’t it make us even SNAPPIER?  When we have been going full throttle for too long, anything (anyone) that appears to be a speed bump in our way ends up really irritating us.  Watch out for this.

Fatigue | Staying up too late and getting up too early.  Have you ever said to yourself, “People survive on 3-4 hours of sleep a night all the time.  I just need to push through this busy season.”  Two thoughts here.  1. That is simply justifying an unhealthy lifestyle.  2. If you’re in church leadership, guess what?  It’s always a busy season!

Told by others | This one usually stings a bit.  And the reason is usually because the person holding us accountable is someone we have a close relationship with.  A spouse, close mentor, or good friend.  That’s why it stings…because you and I know they’re right!  Here are a few things I’ve personally been told: “Hey man, what’s up? You’ve been a bit distant lately.”   “You have not checked in on me and how my family has been doing in quite a while.  I miss that.”   Are you O.K? You haven’t been yourself lately.”

Isolation | This one is huge!  Beware when you reach the point of dreading being around anyone.  You stop going to Small Group with your spouse during the week.  You tend to be the last one in at staff meetings and the first one to leave.  Your list of friends you can confide in has diminished to zero.

If you can relate to any of these today, please….talk to someone.  Modify your schedule.  Take a true Sabbath rest.  Ask your spouse to pray for/with you.

If this isn’t you but you know someone who is in this place, do them a favor.  Offer some loving accountability.  Share this post with them.  Offer to pray over them.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore your gut on this.  Leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

I’m Moving To Colorado Springs! What???

I have a Love/Hate relationship with change.  How about you?

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In the Fall of 2013, it was revealed at our staff retreat that my wife and I were going to step out of our staff roles at the time to launch the first multisite church campus of Christ Community Church. Fast forward to Nov 8, 2015. On this Sunday we announced that our campus would be changing our video teaching model to offer live preaching. Not only did this change not include my wife and I (change in leadership), we also announced that we were moving to Colorado Springs in 4 weeks.

This has all happened so quickly.  We really have seen the finger prints of God all over this…not only in our own lives, but for the health of the campus as well.

So, this is basically a journal entry reflecting on my thoughts with this transition:  What I FEEL vs. what I KNOW.

What I feel | There is personal loss attached to big life transitions. Loss of close friends, co-workers, family, culture, and familiarity.

What I know | There often needs to be loss if God is going to bless us with new blessings. It’s His way of making room for the new. I have seen this over and over in my lifetime, so I’m not sure why I don’t get more excited at the onset of changing seasons when they pop up.

What I feel | 18 months is too soon after launching a new church campus for the leadership to move on. Ok, it’s too soon for my comfort level. There, I said it. I really thought I’d be shepherding this body of believers for at least 3-5 years. And that was my problem. I presumed God’s intentions more than I should have.

What I know | God’s timing is always perfect and always better than mine. On God’s clock, late and early are non-existent. This is so comforting (and frustrating) to me.

What I feel | Its not fair that I don’t get to be a part of this local church body in its next chapter. I want to see it grow. I want to meet all the amazing, new people. I want to celebrate with the new believers and disciple them.

What I know | God’s calling on my life (and yours) is never about fairness. And it is not about our personal wants. It is, however, always about obedience, faith, and a larger Kingdom purpose than my own little world.

What I feel | I worry about how my kids will weather through this change. Our 2 oldest are staying in GA, while 2 of our boys are moving with us. I often think, they did not ask for this life of ministry….constant change and moving from place to place.

What I know | They are only mine for a season and for the purpose of training them up in faith and life. Ultimately, they are The Lord’s. When we dedicated them to Him as babies, we were placing them in His care. As they have grown older, I have had to constantly re-visit those moments and ask myself a question. Do I truly mean today what I meant back then? Thankfully, the answer has been ‘yes.’ But I do find myself constantly rededicating each of them to God’s care and providence. This is mainly for my own sanity.

What I feel | If I’m going to be really authentic here, I’d have to admit that I’ve said to God (more than once) that I didn’t ask for this calling of ministry in my life. I’ve often thought what it would be like to go to church at the same time as everyone else does. Or how it would feel not to have to live completely by my calendar. Or not having the heaviness of knowing so much of the pain and struggle many of our church members are enduring each week.

What I know | While that all sounds appealing on the surface, I know better. Yes, ministry is demanding and hard. But (there’s a huge ‘but’ here), it is also rewarding beyond words. The innumerable experiences, tragedies, joys, challenges, victories, and relationships God has gifted me with….none of them would have come to be if I had said ‘No’ to His call on my life. I would have forfeited the past 24 years of partnership with God. The thought that I could have given all that away to someone else makes me cringe.

“This is God’s universe, and He does things His way.  We may have a better way, but we don’t have a universe.”  – Dr. J. Vernon Megee

 How about you?  How have you maneuvered through major transitions in life?  When have what you FEEL vs. what you KNOW collided?

This has been the quickest, healthiest, and craziest change in my life to date…..and I’m really looking forward to it!

5 Keys to Doing the Right Thing

Have you ever noticed that doing the RIGHT THING often brings a certain level of discomfort?

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Don’t you wish it was the other way around?  I do.  But I guess that is why God gave us tools like the Matthew 18 principle for dealing with conflict.  And he did tell us ahead of time that life was not going to be easy.  So how do we approach doing what’s right despite how painful or awkward it might feel?

Allow me to share 5 things I try to do:

1. Pray | Yep, good old Spiritual discernment.  When the answers are not obvious to us we must remember …they are very clear to God.  So why not ask for a peek into his knowledge?

2. Ask ‘why’ | Do the benefits largely overpower the reasons NOT to do it?  In other words, if doing nothing seems like a huge mistake then at least we know that something needs to change.

3. Ask ‘who’ | Seriously, who will this decision help the most?  Whatever decision I make, it’s almost always the wrong decision if I’m the only clear beneficiary.

4. Talk about it | Just start openly talking about the issue around others as if you are leaning toward that decision.  Pay attention to the body language, facial reactions, and verbal input you get.  Want to really be aggressive?  Ask them how they would come to a decision.

5. Take action | At some point we just need to make a decision.  And sometimes this can be risky.  But being willing to risk failure in order to lead well builds self-confidence and gives your team members more reason to follow your lead in the future.  Take the dive.  If it was the right decision celebrate and run with it.  If not, own it and learn from it.  Either way it’s a win-win situation.

What do you struggle with when making big decisions?  What filters or processes have you used?

Please comment below. 

 

Quotes From FMCGC15

It is inspiring when church leaders from all over the world unite to get on the same page.

Here are many of the top quotes from the past 4 days in Orlando at the Free Methodist Church General Conference 2015.

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Larry Walkemeyer 

“God’s vision always takes a team.”

“Too often prayer is assumed in stead of activated.”

“Fear robs, and obedience rewards.”

“Good is often the chief enemy of great.”

“When we live behind fear, we invite garbage into our lives.”

“Remain open-handed with whoever God gives you.”

“Without a strong WHY we will gravitate to what is EASIEST.”

 

Al Sones

“Obedience to the Holy Spirit ‘requires’ vulnerability”

 

Bishop David Kendall

“God’s love didn’t wait until we were known – God Loved!”

“The love God commands is the love God empowers.”

 

Bruce Bennett

“Jesus didn’t give us an impossible mission.  We’ve just been slow learners.”

“Calling will always interrupt what you’re doing.”

 

Keith Cowart

“Being a leader is being comfortable with your gifting and your lack.”

 

Stephen Gray

“Church multiplication is a Spiritual decision.”

“The local church is the only hope of the world.”

“Movements must be dangerous to be effective.”

 

Ben Sigman

“Numbers are not the goal.  If numbers are the goal, you will do ungodly things to get them.”

 

Bishop David Roller

“Love of others is not natural.”

“Never ask God who your neighbor is unless you want him to wreck your Tuesday night.”

“Don’t allow religious work to distract you from God’s heart.”

“If we are really going to love our neighbor, we cannot continue as we are.”

“Love demands that we move forward with dangerous plans.”

“We can only love when we invite God’s character to overtake our character.”

“We must love in ways that amaze and astound our communities.”

 

J.D. Van Valin

“If you want to see the kingdom of God at work, you’re going to have to deal with some odor.”

 

Bruce Cromwell

“May God bless you with tension.”

 

Bishop Matthew Thomas

“If the Lord is providing the power he’ll provide the way.”

“We must have a life worthy of showing them.”

“Jesus conveyed his power, and gave the command.  ‘Go…make disciples.”

“Why would anyone want to follow YOU?”

Where you there this week?

What quotes or takeaways would you add?  Now, let us go home to our churches a changed people.  And may God change our communities through us.

God Bless.

Leave comments below.

Coming Soon…My First eBook!

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.  So, I decided to take the plunge.  And honestly, this eBook is coming right out of my own growth experiences over recent years.

Here’s the title…

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This is a small eBook, and will be used to give away FREE to those who subscribe to this blog.  This is the first in a LeadRight series.  Other titles will be listed on the last page.

I’d appreciate it if you could help me out!  Would you…

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Keeping with the theme of ‘Goals’…what are you working on?  What is something you really want to try that is new and challenging?  Go ahead, take a risk and post it.  I double-dog dare you!

Have a stupendous week.

4 Ways To Embrace Failure

How does failure affect you?

Every new venture has the potential to succeed or fail. ..BUT only if you actually take a risk.  This is very true for churches when they launch their first multisite campus as well.  Nine months since our launch and the lessons continue to flood in weekly.

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Recently, our streaming video teaching failed in a BIG way!  So I thought I’d write about it (insert smirk).  What exactly happened and why is less important than actually taking steps to ensure that this virtually does’t happen again.  Our team got together during the week, collaborated, and agreed on a process.  All I can say is that the next campus our church launches should be much better off as a result of the lessons we’ve learned.

So, what are we to do when things go wrong…whether we caused it or not?  The choice is up to you and I.

Here are 4 ways to EMBRACE failure.

1)  Expect it | What we can see coming (to a degree) prepares us to better deal with it mentally when it hits.  It’s like a warning.  And I’m not talking about pessimism either.  Reality and experience teach us that failures are a part of life.

2)  Don’t fear it | Fear can keep us from taking future risks.  Fear screams, “Don’t even try that!”  Here’s the thing, fear of failure crowns complacency as King.  We don’t want that.

3)  Learn from it | Failures not learned from are usually repeated.  If you continue to stub your toe on the same item when you get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, don’t you eventually move that item?  Learning usually requires some level of adjustment.  Leaders who don’t learn from their failures fail to grow.

4)  Share it | Grab a huge piece of humble pie, own your “Well that didn’t go as I had hoped” moment, and help others to grow their leadership from your experience.  Most of the incredibly helpful leaders I have learned from in the past 20 years of ministry realized that sharing their personal mishaps actually helps further Kingdom work.  It offers hindsight to younger, less experienced leaders.

In a recent interview, Jon Acuff said, “I like the 39 year old me better than the 29 year old me, and I hope the 49 year old me feels the same.”

I think that can apply to leaders too.  Think about it.  Ten years from now don’t you hope to be a stronger leader than you are today?

Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you.