Category: Leadership and Life

Outward Focus Will Stop Decline

Since we work with many plateaued and/or declining churches, it doesn’t take long to identify common threads. Many churches, regardless of size, struggle with these two issues for the same reasons. And the common causes? For plateaus, the issue is a lack of vision; for declines, the culprit is almost always inward focus. Inward focus

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Reaching the Next Level – 2

Last time, we began introduced our journey through the three key elements of getting your church to the “next level.” This week, let’s look at the first of these–Excellence. 1. Excellence Excellence asks the question, “Are we doing things well?” As the label implies, this element focuses on the quality with which we do what

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Reaching the Next level – 1

It’s the question we’re asked the most in the church health world, “How do we get to the next level?” Of course, the idea of “next level” can mean many things. It can speak to effectiveness, community impact, attendance or membership, and perhaps other elements of the local church agenda. But typically, the one asking

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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 2

In this series of blogs, we are focusing attention on the hardest places–churches that are seldom addressed in most of the church health literature. These are places where strong leaders seldom go, energetic people seldom stay, and new days simply don’t dawn. So, year after year, the pages of the church calendar find a way to

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An Important Look Into Your Church’s Culture – Part 1

Someone has wisely observed that “culture eats vision for lunch.” Okay, that sounds a bit odd, but the idea conveyed is that in a place that needs change, you can’t just talk your way into a new future. There may be some significant reasons why your local church is in the shape it’s in–reasons that

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10 Signs of an Inward-Focused Church

For the past several years, I’ve been a part of a team that crisscrosses the nation to work with local churches–hundreds of them. At the same time, I spend a chunk of my summers poring over church attendance and ministry data, identifying metrics to measure health and real effectiveness, and looking for clues to what

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Defining Moments in Church History…(8)

The Great Awakening (A.D. 1734-1744) makes our list of the eight defining moments as this amazing decade launched much of what has become evangelical Christianity in America. Evangelism took on many new forms as the preaching of the Gospel moved from the church house to  the community in one of the most remarkable and widespread

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What is the Church? – Part 5

As we have seen, Jesus had provided some critical information to help combat the disciples’ confusion as to what comes next after the tumultuous days of the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. And, ultimately, the awaited empowering brought a sense of direction amidst a Pentecost celebration like no other. The promise of “You shall

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What is Worship? – Part 3

Having looked at both the Old Testament and New Testament priorities in man’s worship of God, we’re now ready to start asking the modern question: How are these same priorities reflected in our worship? Relationship with (obedience to) God Relationship with one another Rest Giving and serving Remembering and praising As we have previously noted,

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