Archive for October, 2009

Coaching in Ministry

Sometime ago, I wrote this about what coaching was doing in and through my relationship with those I was coaching…

TCI has a coaching program (, so I was reflecting on that and I came across something I wrote several years ago that I thought might be of interest to you:

I have recently been coaching 5 gifted and talented pastors. I’ve recently added a denominational leader to my group. Each of these gifted people have high-octane ministries with challenging growth opportunities and significant barriers to overcome. Our twice monthly conversations are stimulating and challenging. And, I’m becoming a better leader through coaching.

All gifted leaders are similar in at least one respect…passion for what they do. My coaching group is no different. When we talk, I’m constantly encouraged by their heartbeat for ministry and their commitment to overcoming the barriers to growth. We’ve laughed, cried a little, and enjoyed the journey together. I’ve been praying for them more than I ever thought I would. Each of them are growing stronger, their ministries are getting larger, and their leadership is becoming more effective. I get to be part of that journey, and I’m the better for it.

Part of what has changed in me is thinking about “how” and “why”. It is easy, in the midst of a busy life, to only ask the “what” question. Coaching forces me to think through, with my colleagues, the “how” question. “How do you develop team members? How did you identify the top priorities of your ministry? How can I cultivate an evangelistic heart in our people?”. These questions invariably lead me to probe further and make sure the “why” of what we do is clear. Because I’m helping others refine their thinking, my own thinking gets clearer.

When I first started coaching, I wondered how much I’d have to share. Now I know that it is not primarily the learning resources (of which I try to share generously and frequently!) that I bring to the table, it is my heart for ministry and the working of God in my life and ministry. Indeed, the Wisdom Writer said many years ago, “Iron sharpens iron”. I believe it. I’m experiencing it. Coaching is making me a better leader! I’m glad I’m in the game and on the field of kingdom work.

So….how are you growing in your role as a leader by being part of a team and coaching each other to healthier ministry life?


October 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

Synergy in Ministry-Part 2

Synergy is about figuring out how NOT to have unformity…but to have UNITY of mission, vision, and values throughout the life of the ministry or company. I have a side interest in the study of macro-economics and the alleviation of global poverty (which is one reason I think the PEACE plan from Rick Warren is so right on)

A few summers ago, I read Thomas Friedmans, The World is Flat. I loved the book and the way it made me think about globalization…but also about how companies begin to “master” core technology. UPS, for instance, is obviously a master of supply chain logistics. And, they are now making it work for them in revenue enhancing ways! Friedman even uses the term, “‘insourcing” because UPS engineers come right inside your company; analyze its manufacturing, packaging, and delivery processes; and then design, redesign, and manage your whole global supply chain. And, if necessary, they’ll even finance parts of it, such as receivables and COD payments. – (The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman, page 144)

So…where is your organization experiencing the benefits of synergy? Where are you creating so much energy that it really is becoming a Core Technology for you? What do you do best and does everyone in your organization have a handle on it?(what Collins calls your hedgehog…the intersection where you are best in the world, most passionate, and driving your economic engine).

Excellent organizations are fueled by synergy.

October 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

Synergy in Ministry

Excellence. Simplicity. Synergy. Synergy..what’s that all about?

Synergy actually adds energy to the system. It is a “force multiplier”. Effective leaders always multiply energy by multiplying themselves, and the energy between others to produce net gains beyond simple addition.

A hundred years ago when I was in school we talked about “message centers”. Everything you do communicates. You know this is true when you lead a church, ministry, or company. There was a famous study a few decades back with an article called, “Street Level Bureaucrats”…the article suggested that governmental programs are never really successful or not based on the law…but on the street level folks who really implement the programs.

So….what or who in your church, ministry, company is SAYING something different than your VISION? What or who in your organization really–by virtue of their words or behaviors—is “telling” people something different than your organization announces by its printed mission and vision statement? To the extent that your people, your processes, and your programs are not synergistic, they are draining energy from your organization.

The castmembers who sweep the streets at Disneyland affect the way I experience Disney. The maid who cleans my room at the Hilton affects my experience with Hilton. When I am at Wal-Mart or May Company, I’m still expecting people to be pleasant and customer service oriented. If you lead a church, do your children’s workers “own” the vision of your church? How about the food service folks? EVERYONE and EVERYTHING communicates.

Synergy is about adding energy to a system by all the parts working well together and having ONE message. We know a lack of synergy when we experience it. When the cashier is “ho-hum” and doesn’t “get it” the way the cook and the server did. When my Starbucks experience is a seamless up-beat and positive customer interaction, then I feel it working…from the front door in and out.

More on this topic later….do you have synergy in your church, ministry, or company?

October 25, 2009 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

Equipping Leaders

In an earlier post, I talked about 4 Jobs of a Leader….Here are some thoughts on the subject of Equipping Leaders….

Effective leaders do four things: they cast vision, they create environments, they develop systems, and they equip leaders.

Of all these things, equipping leaders has got to be the most difficult! But, over time and with lots of blood and sweat, I’ve learned a few things I think might be worth your consideration. In my ministry as a pastor, writer, and speaker, I’m most often asked about developing other leaders (see for additional resources).

How do you grow people to spiritual maturity and maximum Kingdom impact? How can we develop our leadership team to our greatest potential? In my experience, there are 5 specific practices that produce positive benefits:

Life on Life. I know of no other way to sow into a life other than doing life together. Sharing your life with those you lead will involve formal and informal times together. The journey is a combination of parenting, dating, marriage, and team sports! By the way…EVERY time I’ve had a leadership failure on my teams, it is due (at least in part) to the fact that we didn’t stay connected “life on life”

Training. One of the meanings of the Hebrew word for training is “to make narrow”. Specific skill training helps to provide skills and strategic understandings. Since vision is always more “caught” than “taught”, the process of training often provides great vision refining moments.

Benchmarking. There is great value in exposing your leadership team to greatness. Visiting other churches that are doing a great job in ministry can elevate the vision and passion of everyone on your team.

Leadership Development. Both Jim Collins and John Maxwell talk about “levels” of leadership. My experience suggests that we must teach people that leadership is a process, NOT an event. Helping people to see their leadership potential unfold over time is part of the process of effective equipping. We are working hard in our own church to provide “first serve” opportunities in every ministry and to cultivate “high capacity” leaders who can effectively lead other leaders.

Shared Experiences. Leadership equipping happens best in community. At our churches ( and, we have joyous histories of some amazing growth and leadership development. There have been some incredible individual moments of ministry. But the more we do ministry, the more we are committed to doing ministry together—as teams of people with shared vision and passion. So, we are structuring lots of experiences where people can have the shared experience of working together, facing challenges, cultivating vision, and deepening their relationships with Christ and one another. Leadership equipping is not a solo sport!

Effective leaders equip leaders. The fruit of that ministry produces a ripple effect that reaches the shores of heaven. The Apostle Paul was clear about that in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 when he wrote, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy”. At our church, we say “Changed Lives are Our Business”. We’ve learned over time that equipping leaders is a core technology at the heart of our business!

October 23, 2009 at 10:27 pm 1 comment

Mentoring in Ministry

As many of you know, I am committed to investing my life in others for the sake of Kingdom Impact. I was recently reviewing something I shared with a friend and person I’ve mentored in ministry…thought these things might be of benefit to you….

1) Philosophy of Ministry…are you clear on who are you in ministry, what your gift mix is all about, what is distinctive about you?

2) Systems…does your ministry have clear and identified systems (at we have resources on your inviting, connecting, and serving system. We also have coaching available; check the website for additional information.

Part of being able to teach others is understanding (with clarity!) the systems that you have in your ministry environment…this is the key to successful franchising operations as well (so of particular value to those of you who are going “multi-site” with your ministries)

3) Leadership Development Machine…Everything rises and falls on leadership…so what are you doing to develop, mature, etc. What gets measured gets paid attention to…so what are you measuring? Does everyone in leadership know the scorecard? At our church (, we measure attendance, decisons, baptisms, giving, # of people in small groups/relationships, and # of people serving in ministry using gifts. What do you measure?

4) Network…you not only have to “benchmark” with places where “best practices” are taking place, you also have to make sure you are getting fed, challenged, irked, at other models…what do you LOVE about your favorite ministry place and what do you disagree with? How is your benchmarking list of ministries being worked out in your specific place of ministry? Do you have a network of people that you can count on to grow and develop YOU and your leadership in ministry?

October 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm Leave a comment


I wrote an article some time ago that reflects learnings that help catalyze our leadership thinking. And, yeah God–the good people at picked up the article! This first article on GRIP-GRASP-GIFTS will help you experience the vision process as you lead your church to maturity…

Here’s a link to the article:

October 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

Simplicity in Ministry

“Simplicity changes the world.”

—Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO, Sun Microsystems

Simplicity is NOT simplistic. Simplicity is poetry in structure, clarity in focus, light in darkness. Simplicity is about people seeing clearly, understanding fully, and communicating clearly. Simplicity breeds the ability to reproduce. Complexity works against reproduction. Simplicity makes it easy to share with others.

II Timothy 2:2 says we are to teach faithful ones who will then teach others who will teach others. Reproduction is central to the Christian faith. I’ve had 30+ years of vocational ministry service and leadership. I have an advanced degree in Administration & Organizational Studies. After all these years, the KISS (Keep it simple stupid) principle still works for me. Use whatever organization required to fulfill the vision and mission.

So…why is it after all these years that those of us in leadership have a tendency to make it complex and hard to understand rather than simple?? UGH! Simplicity makes it possible for vision and passion to reproduce.

Simplicity…it’s worth it!

October 21, 2009 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

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