Out My Window…

A few weeks back I spent the weekend with a congregation that has endured catastrophe. It’s the second such congregation I’ve been privileged to work with over the last several years. Now, you may think your church is one of those (and I suppose it could be), but when I say “catastrophe” I’m talking about

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Out My Window…

After a steady flow of weekend consulting trip and an ever-increasing number of conversations with pastors and church leaders and just “regular-ole” church folks, I’m offering a couple of observations that hopefully make the frequent flyer miles worthwhile. First, I’ve decided to never again be surprised by an airlines ability to mangle my travel plans…but

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 11

Honestly, I thought I was finished with this blog series after ten installments. But this weekend, a conversation brought one more idea to mind that I think is important enough to share. When you pastor a difficult church–one that’s been struggling for awhile and has frequently demonstrated unhealthy behaviors–you can easily slide into a view

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 10

Beware of the “Culture of Can’t.” When you pastor a difficult congregation, you can easily feel overwhelmed at times with all you know you can’t do. So a trip to the next ministry conference confronts you with seven new ideas, each successfully navigated by an enthusiastic speaker. Just look at what I did…and you can do

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 9

As we have said, momentum is critical in helping a struggling church move in a new direction. Momentum comes when there is a slowly rising ground swell of new thinking, even if that shift has yet to produce new results. When there are signs that church is beginning to think differently, it’s time to start reinforcing

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 8

Once you get a bit of momentum moving in the direction of new values, you can begin identifying places where the old ways aren’t contributing to your new values. Now, be careful here! Momentum doesn’t mean you preached it and they said “Amen” a lot (though that’s a good day). Momentum is seen when people

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 7

One of the mistakes that pastors in struggling churches often make is miscalculating the manner in which real culture change takes place. Now, by struggling church, I mean those that have been plateaued or in decline for a number of years, where the people may be kind to each other and even seem to enjoy

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 6

In the challenge of helping your congregation adopt some new values, you have to accept that preaching new thinking seldom can be a sufficient strategy on its own. We’ve been considering the path forward, especially for struggling churches, and usually the congregation’s values need some adjustment. Of course, we’re not speaking of the values that

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 5

Values are the building blocks of culture. In the local church, what we value (or prioritize) ultimately determines our effectiveness even more than great visions and plans. The best ideas will ultimately either be driven by or succumb to your values. As someone has wisely observed, “Culture eats vision for lunch.” In a struggling local

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An Important Look into Your Church’s Culture – Part 4

In our last blog in this series, we talked about finding a few specific targets that could potentially be within reach of your congregation. Now, before we unveil the next step, it’s important to verify that we’ve chosen targets that matter. If we were more friendly would that make a difference? If we truly began to love

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