Month: September 2019

Six Mistakes Many Search Committees Are Making Today

  1. Taking too long
  2. Playing candidates off one another
  3. Not doing background checks: legal, social media, credit;
  4. They are not asking “#MeToo” questions
  5. Not providing clarity to internal candidates
  6. They are not communicating sufficiently to the congregation

Some highlights from today’s Rainer Report:

  • There is no reason why it should take as long as it normally does to fill pastoral vacancies.
  • You should always run legal, social media, and credit background checks on potential pastors before hiring them.
  • Pastors, your social media footprint will follow you throughout life. Don’t do stupid.
  • You don’t have to give all the details of a pastor search to a church, but the congregation needs ongoing updates.
*Find out 3 Benefits to Using a Search Company as a Candidate

Article taken from and written by Tom Rainer. Thom is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, and online community and resource for church leaders. 

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

No man or woman is ever fully acquitted of all responsibility. Just as there are inalienable rights, there is such a thing as inalienable responsibility.

What this means is that everyone leads something.

Everyone is in charge of something—even if it’s just you. Each one of us is responsible for the choices and decisions we make. We must all learn to rightly influence ourselves.

In this 3-day track, Clay challenges us to identify the ways in which we lead, even when we don’t think we are in a position of leadership. He reminds us that we are all always leaders – we are always in charge of our emotions, thoughts, reactions, and decisions.

Perhaps you’ve blamed your boss for poor leadership, or resisted your own leadership capabilities. Regardless of your circumstance, take the next few days to recognize your flourishing leadership. Complete the challenges at the end of the day to help guide your reflection.


When most people think about the challenges of leading when they aren’t in charge, the most common excuse they give for their failure is—you guessed it—their boss.

It’s likely that, at some point, we’ll all have to work for a bad leader, but that is not an excuse. I say that even though I don’t know your situation. There are some bosses who are insecure, unaware, and defensive and are intimidated if you choose to exercise any kind of leadership when you’re not yet in charge.

What I’m going to say in this chapter may feel next to impossible. But let me ask you: what is the chance there is still something you can learn in this situation where you currently find yourself? Even if that chance is one in a million, I’d like to quote my friend and yours, Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance. Yeah!”

When you aren’t accomplishing what you want to accomplish in the role you’re in, it’s natural to look for someone to blame. And the easiest target is your boss, especially when you’ve already concluded he or she is a bad leader.

When you make a judgment about someone, specifically your manager, you will persistently look for behaviors to justify the judgment you’ve made. Then, with your settled judgment in place, you look for every possible reason no one else would or could succeed in your role. It’s a self-defeating prophecy where you give yourself a pass for your own lack of leadership.

Reflection: Answer the poll below.

How well do you lead when you feel you’re not in charge?
  1. I never lead
  2. Only lead due to my boss’s lack of leadership
  3. I only when asked to do so
  4. Always lead

Article taken from and written by Rick Warren. Rick is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America’s largest and most influential churches.

3 Ways to Replace Busyness with Purpose in Your Ministry

More than 70 percent of pastors say they work between 55 to 75 hours every single week.

Those numbers may not surprise you. But they should.

Just like all the people you serve in ministry every week, you were created for a specific purpose—and that purpose isn’t fulfilled simply through activity and busyness.

You might think those late nights hunched over your computer and all those times you’ve skipped family meals are helping you fulfill your unique purpose.

But your purpose is more than what you do on Sunday mornings. It’s more than what you do in meetings and hospital visits. Those activities may help you fulfill your purpose, but they must not define your purpose.

Every pastor, just like every person, is driven by something. Many are driven by the pressures around them. Others are driven by responding to crises in their midst—and there are plenty of those, right? Some pastors are driven by the expectations of those they lead.

But God wants something more from us.

He wants us to live purpose driven lives. You can’t lead others to make the most of their lives if you’re not doing it. Just because you’re doing the activities of ministry doesn’t mean you’re pursuing your unique calling in life.

Often, our unique calling gets drowned out by random activity.

Consider what the apostle Paul shared with Timothy, a young pastor in his day, and his church in Ephesus. “Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as [people] who do not know the meaning of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time”(Ephesians 5:15-16 PHILLIPS).

God expects us to make use of our time in ways that help us achieve what he has called us to do. Too often, though, we do everything but what really matters most.

I’ve got good news for you. You can do something about it.

Let me share three steps to organizing your life and ministry in a way that’ll help you achieve your life mission.

1. Develop your goals around your purpose.

Start with your unique purpose, which is rooted in God’s five purposes: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. For this article, I’ll assume you’ve got that settled.

Goals put feet on your purpose. Think of them as statements of faith, typically phrased like this: “I believe God wants me to accomplish ____________ (what you’ll accomplish) by _________ (when you’ll do it).”

Set goals that you can’t accomplish without God’s help. Goals that require faith. Frankly, those are the only goals worth having. Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV). God uses us to do the incredible when we trust him to do the impossible.

But make sure you’re chasing the right goals. Few realities will be more disheartening than reaching the end of your life and realizing you were successful in achieving a goal that didn’t matter.

Ask yourself these five questions as you set your goals:
  • Will it glorify God?
  • Does it make me more like Jesus?
  • Will it make a positive contribution to the world?
  • Does it enhance my life message?
  • Can I do it in faith without doubting?

If you can answer these questions affirmatively (at least one of them and, hopefully, more than one), you know you have goals that matter, goals that will lead to a purpose driven life.

2. Organize your activities around your goals.

Many people have goals, but if your goals aren’t organized into actions and activities, your life won’t be purpose driven.

The best way to organize your activities is to categorize and prioritize them. Make a big laundry list of all the activities you need to do, but don’t just stop there.

Put together tasks that relate to one another. Your hospital visits. Put all your sermon preparation tasks together. Then rank them by importance.

The problem with many to-do lists is that the tasks can vary widely in value. If you’re living your life by a to-do list, you’re not purpose-driven, you’re activity driven.

Instead, organize your goals around the activities God wants you to do. You could do that many different ways.

I’ll tell you how I do it:

I organize my tasks around relationships—my relationship with God, my relationship with my family, my relationships at church, my relationships with other churches, and my relationships with the unchurched. This helps me stay balanced.

It’s easy in ministry to focus on serving others and ignore your own relationship with Jesus and your relationships within your family. Organizing your tasks around these relationships will help you avoid that.

3. Balance your schedule around your goals and activities.

Your schedule is ground zero for accomplishing God’s mission for your life. You can have great goals and focused tasks yet fail at fulfilling your mission if you miss this part.

You’ll have to schedule what’s important in your life. If you only have a 2 p.m. doctor’s visit on your schedule, it’s likely your whole day will revolve around that appointment.

Don’t let other people determine what’s important in your life. Schedule the tasks that matter to you, the tasks that will help you advance toward your goals.

The antidote to the frantic way many of us live in ministry is a schedule that’s planned and lived around our purpose.

I think of it like a tree. The roots of the tree are God’s five purposes for your life.

The trunk of the tree is God’s mission based upon your unique SHAPE, what God has called you to do. Then you have the branches, which are the five spheres (relationships) of life I mentioned earlier. The twigs coming out of those branches are the goals you’ve set to accomplish in those specific spheres. The pine needles are the activities and tasks you need to schedule in order to achieve your goals.

Everything is connected.

The roots of God’s eternal purposes nourish and provide the foundation for your purpose. Your unique purpose flows into the different spheres of your life. Your faith goals in each of those areas provide the momentum that moves you forward in your mission.

The scheduled tasks and actions within each of those goals provide the practical handles that ensure you complete your goals.

I know that many pastors feel as if their lives have gotten out of control. They’re busy going from meeting one need to another without the opportunity to really focus on their unique purpose.

But remember this. Time is not the issue. You have just enough time to do God’s will. If you try to do more than God’s will, you won’t have time. If you’re constantly running out of time, you’re either trying to do something that’s not God’s will or you’re doing it in the wrong way.

Stop letting your task list drive your life and your ministry.
Start letting God’s mission for your life drive your goals in all spheres of your life.

Article taken from and written by Rick Warren. Rick is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America’s largest and most influential churches.

Why a Jam-Packed Fall Ministry Calendar Might Be a Warning Sign

Feeling too busy already? Over-programming is one of the most common indicators a church has slipped into Maintenance Phase.

We recently released our Q3 2018 edition of The Unstuck Church Report. Based on about 1,200 churches that have recently taken the team version of the Unstuck Church Assessment, 80% found themselves on the right side of the church life cycle.

I pulled this image from the report to show you what I’m talking about.

As you can see, the majority of churches are sitting in the Maintenance Phase. The tricky thing about Maintenance Phase is that churches are often here months, or even years, before they recognize it. These churches look healthy on the surface, but when you dig deeper, you’ll find they have started to plateau or decline.  

There are a few key indicators that a church has entered Maintenance. One of the most common? Over-programming.

Rather than one team pulling in one direction, ministries begin to prioritize their programming over the health of the overall church.

This particular season of ministry seems more program-filled than others—back-to-school events, Fall Festivals, Trunk or Treat, new small groups and a lot more. I do believe some events can serve a place in the Church, but if they start driving your church instead of a simple strategy, you will likely start experiencing the pain of complexity creep.

When I work with churches, I’ve noticed a common theme: healthy, growing churches tend to approach discipleship in the form of a path. Declining churches tend to approach discipleship through lots of programs.

As leaders, the pull can be to always do more. We seem to think, “The more we offer, the more people will show up.” But getting people to show up for more things doesn’t equate to spiritual development. (I dig into this topic a lot more in a previous blog post. You should read it.)

Healthy churches are helping people take their next steps following Jesus.

With the start of this new ministry calendar, I’d encourage you to take a step back, look at the big picture and ask yourself the tough questions.

Is your church experiencing sustained health?
Where are you seeing the most life-change within your church?
Are you feeling incredibly busy because there is so much going on?
What is all of the fall activity leading people towards?

I’m passionate about churches experiencing greater health and growth. If you’re in a season of plateau or decline, the first step towards reversing it is to recognize where you really are today.

Article taken from Tony Morgan Live and written by Tony Morgan. Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group.