Monday, May 15, 2017

The Unstuck Church - Tony Morgan

My friend Tony Morgan has a brand new book releasing on the 16th May -The Unstuck Church.

Here is what a few well-known Pastors had to say about it:
“Your church is perfectly designed to get the results you are currently getting. If you’re satisfied with the results, write a book. If not, read this one… with your entire leadership team." - Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Ministries
"Every once in awhile you find a book that makes you ask "Where has this been all my (ministry) life?" This is one of those books." - Carey Nieuwhof, Founding and Teaching Pastor, Connexus Church
"Whether you are a part of a church plant or a 100-year-old established church, there is a wealth of wisdom in this book for you. If you care about your church, take your team through this book.”- Craig Groeschel, Pastor of Life.Church and author of Divine Direction—7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life
So that should be good enough voices to encourage you to read the book. So what can I add?

Tony is the real deal

I read many books and apart from a few book signing hellos I've never spent any time with the 99% of the authors. But through our connection with Tony at MKCC I have been able to spend day's in meetings and learn through discussions over meals. We have even shared an awkward hug. (Those of you who happen to know us both will understand)

His life is marked by humility and a simple love for Jesus which enriches his family life and empowers his ministry.

Tony loves the local church

I first heard of Tony when I attended a breakout session at a Purpose Driven Conference at Saddleback Church. He and his friend Tim Stevens talked about Simply Strategic Volunteers (still one of the most practical books with ideas on valuing volunteers I've read) while they were serving at Granger Comunity Church. He then served at NewSpring Church SC before setting up The Unstuck Group. I may not get this right but I believe he has now served over 200 churches of all sizes both large and small and many different denominations.

He has a real passion for seeing every local church be all that God wants them to be. To help them to reach more people that are far from Jesus and empower the church to effectively assist people in taking their next step in discipleship.

Tony is serving God in his sweet spot

Having experienced Tony partnering with Milton Keynes Christian Centre over the last few years I know he has been uniquely shaped by God to help churches get unstuck, find health and grow. He has the ability to help you get to where you want and need to be quickly, even though you have been stuck in the long grass for a long time unsure of your next step.

If you are involved in leading a church, do yourself a favour, buy his book here.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Leadership - Mentor the next generation

Dr Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Here are a few quotes from her talk at Rethink Leadership 2017
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast. – Peter Drucker
  • Leadership culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  • What kind of leadership culture was needed to grow churches with young people in the church?
  • With the next-generation, it's more about grass roots activism and not top down great leadership
  • It’s not about hip leadership culture. Pastors, we can put away our skinny jeans.
  • Keychain leadership culture - hand the keys over - responsibility, power & authority. As you hand them over, your church will flourish.
  • It is about Reciprocal Learning – Saying, if you see me doing something wrong, please tell me. 
  • Think of me as a fellow patient who having been admitted a little earlier could give you some advice - C S Lewis
  • We are all here today because someone handed the keys over to us.
  • Take Baby Steps - To give someone their first lesson in the car you don't go to the motorway, you go to a deserted car park.
  • The two biggest problems in the church are that we think too small and we live scared. Young people come with new ideas and courage to take risks.
  • Young people give our church more vitality, innovation, passion, and money. They may not have money but their parents do.
  • The enthusiasm of young people is not your church’s problem. It is your church’s solution.
  • What revolution is waiting in the church as you hand over keys to young people who are ready for them and become a mentor to them?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Predictable Success

Les McKeown business consultant and author of Predictable Success: Getting Your Organisation On The Growth Track…And Keeping It, took a session at Rethink Leadership. It was also good to hear an accent from nearer home as Les originates from Northern Ireland.

Les described the seven stages of every organisation and church and the parts the various types of leaders plays.

Stage 1 - Struggle
  • You get to start something and you have struggle.
  • If you don’t have people, you don’t have a church.
  • The early struggle is dominated by a singular leadership style - one with vision, the Visionary. 
  • They’re not afraid to take risks. They get the big picture. They’re charismatic, steely, passionate. They’re often great communicators, have the gift of the gab.
  • Visionaries get uptight when they have to grind out the details.
  • To get out of early struggle, the Visionary hires an Operator, a ruthless finisher, and together they bring us to the next stage.
Stage 2 - Fun
  • The first growth stage is called Fun.
  • It is in the Fun stage when we build the myths and legends of the church. In the future looking back we will say "Remember when....?"
  • It's where the church is at its most organically evangelical.
  • When we have Fun we grow.
  • We make it up as we go along, do whatever we need to do. We snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • So we grow and get more complex. Then the complexity of running our church then overwhelms our ability to move forward.
  • The Visionary and Operator are then joined by a Processor. They create processes so you don’t have to reinvent them every week.
Stage 3 - Whitewater's
  • The complexity restricts us from doing things on the fly.
  • We have to rehearse music, pay royalties get a building now we need a caretaker.
  • A Processor creates much-needed systems to make stuff replicable. 
  • But Processors are risk averse and say ‘No” a lot.
  • For the good of the church, you need the Visionary, Operator and Processor to work together really well.
  • This is the stage where you first encounter difficulties as for the first time the visionary, operator & processor get conflict for the first time
Stage 4 - Predictable Success
  • This is the stage where we can scale but it is also the time where the three leadership styles clash.
  • They think it's a personality conflict that is causing the difficulty but what's required is getting the three types of leaders working together.
Stage 5 - Treadmill
  •  The treadmill is instead of Predictable Success, we are just predictable.
  • The main difficulty is a visionary - operator conflict. 
  • We start over emphasising process & become predictable & bureaucratic.
  • That's when the visionary says "I didn't start this for this".
  • If the visionary doesn't get heard the visionary will depart.
  • This is the long, slow ride into irrelevancy. With the visionary gone, we are left with operators and processors. They get things done but there’s no vision.
  • The operators then leave to start all over again.
  • Processors are then left making sure the empty services are starting on time.
  • You can only invoke change up to Treadmill.
Stage 6 - The Big Rut
  • With visionary gone, all we can do is make things happen
  • Then the operators leave because they need the visionary
  • Then we are left with processors making sure that the increasing empty services are starting on time
  • There’s no coming back from The Big Rut. You’ve lost the power to self-diagnose. You actually like it like this.
Stage 7 - Death
  • Then you then hit Death Rattle. This can take generations because you have built a lot of assets.
  • If you are in the Big Rut or Death Rattle, there’s no point staying.
Closing Thoughts
  • You want to choose to be in Fun (organic and deep in intensity but not looking to grow) or you can be looking to grow.
  • You often don’t have a choice which stage you find yourself in. You can fall into Whitewater BECAUSE you have grown.
  • In Fun the visionary leader can get to do whatever he wants. If you want Predictable Success, authority flattens out because you make team-based decisions to scale.
  • A bean counter is a Processor who has no ability to relate to the Visionary or Operator. 
  • A visionary leader in Predictable Success has to institutionalise your vision.
  • An extreme visionary becomes an arsonist, an extreme operator becomes a maverick and an extreme processor is left p*****g in the wind
  • You must not empower power without overall alignment. to your vision.
  • If your overarching vision isn't institutionalised, then you have competing heroes/leaders working against each other.
  • Processors want to hold you accountable to current success. When your people say, ‘Back in the day…’, you’re in Whitewater.
  • Visionaries know the need systems and processes but they think they need them for everyone else, except them.
  • In a group discussion, the visionary, operator & processor must put the interest of the enterprise ahead of their own.
  • Getting quality team-based decisions means invoking the enterprise commitment.
  • Many early churches fail because they run out of resources before they run out of vision. You’ve got to keep a focus on viability.
  • I’m all for trial and error, but when you get traction, you have to go through it.
  • Learn to build a muscle of being ruthlessly constructive creating high-quality team-based decisions.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Rethink Leadership - Executive Pastor breakout

At Rethink Leadership I had a great time listening to a breakout session by Darius Wise, Executive Pastor of Denver United Church.

Darius provides leadership for their business operations, executive staff, and serves as one of their primary communicators. Previously he spent eleven years on staff at New Birth Church in Lithonia, Georgia.

  • Ministry is about people, relationships and valuing each other's story
  • The Executive Pastor role complements the senior pastor role
  • It is a rather unique position as it includes both operations and pastoring people
  • But they must have the ability to do "business" well
  • And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.- Dan 1:20-21 - It would seem that Daniel and his colleagues did their work 10 times better than others.
  • Through this they earned credibility & influence
  • You can't pay enough for credible and trustworthy leaders
  • The people who attend church each week are not looking for a perfect leader but they are looking for a leader who is credible & trustworthy
  • In church doing "business" well is a means to an end, to empower the church to care for & disciple people well
  • Remember to think people before process
  • Take time to walk through the lobby - but walk slowly! 
  • In the church, everyone's a janitor and everyone's a pastor
  • As an Executive Pastor, your role is to bring clarity &  build trust.
  • By definition, we can get positional authority but relational authority is what moves the needle and creates change
  • Seek to lead from relational access
  • An Executive Pastor has a unique position in the church, they are the middle man, with access and responsibility up and down the org chart.
  • You must learn to manage the tension.Manage the tension
  • Lead alongside not in front.