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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Multi-Site Churches: Your Input Needed

Greg I received an email from Greg Surratt, the Senior Pastor at Seacoast Church last week.  Seacoast is one of the leading churches in the multi-site movement today.  He asked for our help.  Greg wrote:

Todd,

I’m speaking at the multi-site thing in

Chicago

next month and I’m asking for a little help from my friends.

Frankly, I don't just want to be a cheerleader for multi-site...so it would help me if you could take a minute and help me reflect on what needs to be communicated on the topic:

  1. What are the questions, hot buttons, concerns, issues concerning multi-site?
  2. If you were coming...what would you want to hear from me specifically?

OK... here's your chance to direct your questions; identify your hot buttons, concerns, etc about multi-sites to the pastor of a bonafide multi-site church (and a successful one at that!).

If you were going to the conference, what would you like to hear?  What would you ask Greg?  (I'm going... but unfortunately, the conference is all sold out; which should tell you something about the momentum of the movement.)

From my past experience here... this could turn ugly; but I will not allow that.  Everyone gets one post on this one, and no more.  I'm interested in your input; but not your arguements.  :)  Express your concerns; ask your questions; and be sincere and respectful.

Thanks for your help... I'm sure your input will help Greg put together a great presentation!

Todd

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September 28, 2005 in Multi-Site Churches | Permalink | Comments (40) | TrackBack

1 in 4 People: Church Hoppers

Fullchurch According to a recent study:

1.  1 in 4 church attendees have switched churches in the past five years.

2.  On average, just 7% of new attenders are formally unchurched.

So... I'm interested in what you think... what reasons do you think that this is the case?

I'll start:

People are fickle.  People leave over anything.  People like to stir up controversy.  People can't get along.  People can't get past their own preferences and leave on a dime when something is cated to them.

I think an interesting study would be to see how many 'repeat offenders' there are in this group.  How many church hoppers change every five years.  I know a slew of them from my past.  And how does this same group of people keep getting ticked off every five years or so.

I almost think that the church is divided into two groups... the 'hoppers' and the 'lifers'.  (The 'lifer's would never leave a church, even if there WAS a good reason).

What say you?

Todd

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September 28, 2005 in Trends in Today's Church | Permalink | Comments (42) | TrackBack

Six Things Worship Pastors Would Like to Tell Their Senior Pastor

Guitarguy Billy Cox posted an interesting list of things that most worship pastors would like to tell their senior pastors:

6. If we could afford to play/sing all the time we would.

5. In our minds, music is valuable in its own right and not just as means of filling your sanctuary.

4. We think and feel very deeply, so we can tell whether you really appreciate us or not, yet we are insecure, so we might let you exploit us for awhile...and shame on you if you do.

3. We love music and we worked hard to develop our skills, so it's frustrating to us when you ask us to perform alongside untalented people who love only the spotlight.

2. For us, doing music is its own reward, and you don't need to pressure us, heap praise on us, fawn over us, nor guilt us into doing what we already love to do.

1. Nearly every other church within a ten mile radius of my home is starving for capable musicians...and I choose to share my God-given talent with your church.

OK, all you worship leaders (I speak as a former one)... is this an accurate list?  What would you add?  (Feel free to post anonymously if you wish on this one).  And the final question?  What don't you just tell him these things?  :)

Todd

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September 28, 2005 in Worship | Permalink | Comments (71) | TrackBack

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When Someone Leaves Your Church...

Ever have someone leave your church?  Sometimes people leave for really good reasons; sometimes the reasons are pitiful; but still people leave.  It's a fact of life.  How does your church deal with this?

Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, OK has a page dedicated to this on their website.  (Thanks to One Salient Oversight for the link!)  See what you think:

We realize that God will move people from Emmanuel in His providence. Some of our members will be moved to another city, others will move to sister churches in Enid, and others will be called home to be with the Lord.

In order for us to keep an accurate accounting of our membership, we ask you to do the following if you separate from the fellowship of Emmanuel for reasons other than death.

Please contact one of the pastors regarding your decision to move.
Unite with a sister church as quickly as possible.
Request from us a letter of recommendation, which we will gladly give, unless there are unresolved church discipline issues.

We ask that you contact us, not because we seek to change your mind, but rather that our relationships with each other will continue and that we might learn how to more effectively minister to our people.

What matters is that you actively worship God and serve Him through the local church. Whether you worship at Emmanuel or another sister church is your decision, not ours. We desire to be in good relationship with all Christians regardless of where they worship.

FOR DISCUSSION:  Any Thoughts?

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September 27, 2005 in Leadership Issues | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Church Splits, Division & Personalities

Finger Chris Gonzalez has a great post over at his blog.  Chris writes:

Here is something I have heard often: 99% of church splits are not over theology, but over personality.

There was a time in my life when this gave me some comfort. Now I think it is just a thing people say to feel better about themselves.

It is as if personality is some kind of blank check for acting like an idiot. Too often, personality is an excuse for not changing. "Hey, this is just the way I am." It's as if personalilty is not a spiritual or weighty issue. Well, we can't just wiggle off the hook that easily, as if we couldn't help it since it was a personality issue.

I don't see Jesus giving us any wiggle room for disunity based upon personality differences. Check out the apostle's personality profiles and you'll see that we can't just play the personality card and allow our guilty consciences to be soothed.

Jesus picked, I think intentionally, a politically diverse group in order to prove that unity is based upon something other than sameness (uniformity).

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September 27, 2005 in Church Conflict | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Bassist Convinced He's the best Musician in the Worship Band

Bassist This just in from LarkNews.com:

FRANKFORT — Jerry Clark can slap the bass with the best players in town. And as a member of First Assembly of God's worship band, he's convinced he's better than anyone else on the platform.
    "I'm way ahead of the other guys in terms of talent," he says during a break at Saturday worship band practice.
    Clark has played in a local rock band for 18 years, honing his bass-playing gift. The band has made several CDs and tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky.
    Clark began lending his musical expertise to First Assembly 11 years ago, but at times gets fed up with the amateurs in the worship band.
    "The piano lady can only play notes you put in front of her," he says. "She can't jam. I'll be over there slapping and grooving, and these other guys look at me like, 'What? What?' They get so caught up in what I'm doing, they lose their place. I'm like, 'Dudes, play the worship music!'"
    Clark says he often feels he's "carrying the band," but he's committed to it as his ministry.
    "Everyone's got their cross," he says.

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September 27, 2005 in Worship | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

What Factors Determine Your Church Salary?

2006s_1 Last week, we looked briefly at Senior Pastor pay levels. When it comes to paying associate staff members in your congregation, many different factors figure in. According to the new 2006 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff by James F. Cobble, Jr. and Richard R. Hammar, here are some key factors in influencing what your church's salary package should look like for associate staff:

1. Church Attendance
In their latest study, weekend worship attendance had a direct influence on the compensation levels of associate staff pastors. Here are the average associate pastor total compensation packages for church size:

Church Attendace 0-99 -- $32k
Church Attendance 100-299 -- $49k
Church Attendance 300-499 -- $58K
Church Attendance 500-749 -- $67k
Church Attendance 750-999 -- $68k
Church Attendance over 1000 -- $82k

2. Church Income
About half of all associate pastors serve in churches with an average annual budget of over one million dollars. And salary packages didn't reach the national average for most associate positions in church with an annual budget of less than $900,000.

Church Income $0-$249,999 -- $43k
Church Income $249,999-$499,999 -- $48k
Church Income $500,000-$749,999 -- $57k
Church Income $750,000-$999,999 -- $57k
Church Income $1,000,000+ -- $73k

3. Education
Education does matter. College graduates do earn more than non-graduates, but the highest salaries go to those who have graduate degrees.

High School -- $48k
Associates Degree -- $44k
Bachelor -- $61k
Masters -- $69k
Doctorate -- $68k

4. Length of Service
Salary packages do tend to increase along with years of service.

Employed 0-5 years -- $60k
Employed 6-10 years -- $65k
Employed 11-15 years -- $69k
Employed over 15 years - $72k

5. Hours Worked
According to their survey, most part-time associates work half-time at the church.

1-14 hours per week -- $12.92/hour
15-29 hours per week -- $18.84/hour
30-39 hours per week -- $20.18/hour
All Part Time -- $18.99 per hour

These are just a few of the stats and helps that are available in this new compensation directory. There are over 150 pages of charts, graphs, and data to show what the average compensation packages are for church staff around the country. If you don't already have a copy, I would encourage you to order a copy today. It's just $19.95 plus shipping; and it will save you many grueling hours trying to decide what is fair in the area of compensation. You can order one from us here.

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September 27, 2005 in Personnel Issues | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Sunday, September 25, 2005

So, Ya Wanna Be a Church Leader, Huh?!

Church_leaderEugene Peterson begins his paraphrase of I Timothy 3 in The Message with the words, "If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good!"

BUT...

Huh? I hate that word. Why does there always have to be a 'but'?

The writer then gives us some modern day listings of things that Paul says are an absolute must for church leaders today. Peterson calls them "preconditions".

Monday mornings are always a great time for a reality check. As church leaders, we must take the time periodically to measure ourselves against the standard. I'm asking that we all take fifteen minutes this morning to self-evaluate how we're doing. It could make a big difference in your week; and in your ministry.

Take some time right now. Don't just skim this list... read each item individually. Write down some action steps on your weaker points. And thank God when you're doing well in others.

OK... here we go.  A leader must be...

1.  well-thought-of
Are there people in your church right now that you need to clear the air with?  Are there people you are trying to lead who don't think well of you?  How can you make it right this week?

2.  committed to his wife
How close is your relationship?  Sure, you may feel totally committed to your wife, but does she know that?  Do whatever you need to this week to make your spouse feel vibrant and a useful part of your ministry.

3.  cool and collected
Have you blown your temper lately?  Have you held a grudge?  Again... is there someone you're trying to lead who you are ticked at?  Pray for God's help to stay cool and collected even under pressure.

4.  accessible
Is your office door open or closed right now?  Are you accessible to your staff?  to your church?  to other pastors in your community?  to those who oppose you?

5.  hospitable
Are you friendly?  Do people feel comfortable around you?  How long has it been since you've opened your home to new people?

6.  he must know what he's talking about
Are you well-researched?  Do you really know what you're talking about, or do you do a good job 'snowing' people?

7.  not be overfond of wine
Is this a temptation of yours?  If so, watch out.

8.  not pushy but gentle
Are you a leader or a manipulator?  Are you motivational or abusive?

9.  not thin-skinned
Are you sitting around this morning consumed by bad comments from yesterday?  Think about the positive things that were accomplished yesterday.  Truth be told, many more people were ministered to in a postive way than were upset about something that went wrong.

10.  not money-hungry
Are you consumed and motivated by money? 

11.  handle his own affairs well
What personal affairs are in shambles?  Take some time to do your best to get your personal affairs in good shape today so you can concentrate on ministry.

12.  attentive to his own children and having their respect
Don't place your ministry over family.  Spend some time with your kids today.  Quality and Quanity.

13.  must not be a new believer
Not much you can do here... hopefully you can check this one off your list!  :)

14.  outsiders must think well of him
What does your community think about you?  Who cares, you ask?  Evidently, it's important... because Paul stuck it in here.  Make a list of things you could do to help people in your community have a good impression of you!

There you have it... how did you do?

FOR DISCUSSION:  Was there a certain area that God really spoke to you in?  What are you struggling with?  What are you doing well with?  (Feel free to post anonymously if need be).  How important is it to follow these guidelines in your own ministry?

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September 25, 2005 in Leadership Issues | Permalink | Comments (58) | TrackBack

The Ultimate "Seeker" Bible for Time-Conscience Unbelievers: The 100-Minute Bible

100minutebible From Yahoo News:

Business folk are used to reading executive summaries of important documents, and now would-be Christians are to have the same privilege, in the form of a chopped-down Bible that can be read in under two hours.

A Church of England vicar was on Wednesday unveiling his self-styled "100-Minute Bible", an ultra-condensed edition of the Christian holy book which claims to neatly summarise every teaching from the Creation to the Revelation.

The Reverend Michael Hinton was launching his work at Canterbury Cathedral in southern England, the headquarters of the Anglican Church.

Publishers the 100-Minute Press say the book has been written for those who want to know more about Christianity but who do not have the time to read the original in full.

"This is a book for adults and has been written in a style to encourage readers to keep turning the pages, but without resorting to any literary gimmicks," said Len Budd from the publishing firm.

"As the bible itself, the 100-Minute Bible should be a bestseller."

Here's a sample...

The Sermon on the Mount - as retold in the 100-Minute Bible:

Much of Jesus’ teaching was brought together when, seated on a hillside, he spoke to his disciples about life in the kingdom of God. He taught that true happiness comes from having the right attitudes. Those who are humble, concerned about the world’s sinfulness, gentle, devoted to goodness, merciful, single-minded in God’s service, and peace-lovers will be blessed by God. Those of his followers who are persecuted in this world should rejoice, because they will have a rich reward in the next.

Jesus emphasised that he had not come to destroy the moral demands of the Jewish Law but to fulfil them. He taught that it is not enough not to commit murder; the anger which can lead to murder must be set aside too. It is not enough not to commit adultery; lustful thoughts must be set aside too. It is not enough to keep only our solemn promises; we should always mean what we say.

The Jewish Law taught that retaliation should be proportionate to the harm done - an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth - but Jesus taught that we should love our enemies and that we should return good for evil, turning the other cheek when others attack us.

He went on to say that ostentatious piety and charitable giving are wrong; both piety and giving should be between ourselves and God. No-one can serve two masters; it is impossible to serve both God and money. God knows what people’s needs are and will supply them, in the same way as he provides food for birds and glorious clothing for flowers; we should not be anxious but should trust him. We should not judge others; for we shall be judged to the degree we judge. It is difficult to find the way to the kingdom of heaven and there will be those who will try to mislead us. We should assess others by the moral and spiritual quality of their lives.

He summarised the whole moral teaching of the Old Testament in the command to treat others as you would like them to treat you.

Jesus said that anyone who acts on his words is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. When storms came the house stood firm. But anyone who does not act on his words is like a man who built his house on sand. When storms came the house fell, and the ensuing devastation was great.

Matthew 5 - 7

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September 25, 2005 in Trends in Today's Church | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Church Sign Primer

Church_parking It's Friday, and I'm kind of in a kick-back mode; so I thought I'd post this (right after the 'pitching the tent' entry!).  I'll probably be in big trouble.

Bob Hyatt at Bob.Blog has a great primer on church signs.  You know, after reading some of the church signs Bob shows (and some that I've seen personally), I'm wondering if anyone is really putting on their thinking caps when they decide what to put on their sign.

Click here to see Bob's posting...

Have a great weekend!  :)

Todd

FOR DISCUSSION:  What's the most obnoxious church sign you've ever seen?

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September 23, 2005 in Humor | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack