Church Is Like A Video Game… (sort of)

Probably dating myself but ok, hands down, my absolute favorite all time Atari game is Pitfall.

It was the coolest game ever.

You swung on vines.

You hopped on the heads of alligators.

You jumped on rolling logs.

The goal?

Get through the jungle and capture all of the treasures before time runs out.

When I started playing Pitfall my brother told me, “Whatever you do, don’t fall into the quicksand.”

Sure enough, staying out of the quicksand was one of the toughest parts of the game.

In similar fashion, I planted my church 14 years ago and staying out of the quicksand that gets churches stuck is one of the toughest things about leading a church.

We got stuck 4 years into our church plant.

It felt awful. It seemed like the more we did to get unstuck the more stuck we got.

It was like the quicksand in Pitfall all over again.

Then we made some radical changes and our church doubled over the next year.

Now we’re celebrating a whole new phase in our church’s growth as we move into a building and we expect things to accelerate even faster.

We’ve learned so much as we crossed over different growth barriers and that’s why I recorded a webinar called “5 Factors To Becoming A Fast Growing Church.”

You can’t buy a ticket to this exclusive event…but you can check out the replay here:

Watch-webinar-button

Albert Einstein Could Help Your Church…

In 2004 our church was stuck.

We had grown at a good rate for our first 3 years and then we hit “the wall”.

We got stuck in our growth as a church and for the next 18 months, we grew by 10 people.

Ten.individual.humans.

Not to sound ungrateful, but we had a whole city to reach and growing by 10 people every 18 months wasn’t going to cut it.

At first I believed the “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing” myth. I learned that doesn’t work.

Here’s a leadership lesson (which is a loosely based on an Albert Einstein quote): to get out of the mess, you have to do different things than what got you into the mess.

Over the next few months, I learned why we were stuck. We took serious action and that next year our church doubled.

Now we’re celebrating a whole new phase in our church’s growth as we moved into a building and we expect things to accelerate even faster.

We’ve learned so much as we crossed over different growth barriers and that’s why I recorded a webinar called “5 Factors To Becoming A Fast Growing Church.”

You can’t buy a ticket to this exclusive event…but you can check out the replay here:

Watch-webinar-button

 

#1 Habit Of Highly Effective Preachers

Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote:

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Sounds confusing, right?  But what it means is that we have a tendency as people to allow non-essentials to distract us.  So, maintaining focus is key.  And as a pastor, here is the essential focus that has struck me:

I need to preach the Gospel every week and give people an opportunity to make a decision to come to know Jesus in our services each week.

I think this is really important for several reasons:

1. It gives people an opportunity to cross the line of faith – Many times people don’t respond the first time you share the Gospel with them. They need time to think it over. The sooner you share the Gospel, the sooner they start thinking it over.

2. The Christians in your church know what to expect – If you share the Gospel every week, people will bring those far from God to your church every week. The Christians in your church will know that you are going to give their friends an opportunity to make a decision, and will bring their friends who need Jesus.

3. It will teach the people in your church how to share the Gospel – People learn by what is modeled for them. If you share the Gospel, they will know how to share it as well.

Let me say for the record that I don’t consider myself an evangelist. I wouldn’t put it in my top 3 spiritual gifts. I’m a teacher before anything else. But even if I’m not an evangelist, this verse says I’m to do the work of an evangelist.

We’ve seen so many give their lives to Jesus at CF since Easter. God is doing something wonderful and exciting. This isn’t an isolated thing. There are people in your church who are ready right now to give their lives to Jesus. All we have to do is show them how.

Maximizing a Pastor’s Summer

Most Pastors dread the “Summer Slump”. Typically, this is when giving and attendance fluctuate the most in a given year.

Yet here’s what I have learned over the last 10 years:

1. Summer is not as bad as people make it out to be

2. You don’t have to take as big of an attendance hit (I’ll talk about in depth later)

3. With planning, you can eliminate the giving slump (More on that later)

4. The key to maximizing the Summer is understanding the trends of the Summer

The basic trends of Summer are that people generally go out of town the first 2 weeks after school lets out and the 2 weeks before school comes back in session.

So here’s my recommendation to you:

1. Don’t fight the calendar. If you do, I promise you’ll lose.

2. Plan to take some time off from preaching over the Summer. Go on vacation. Do some guest speaking. invest in your up and coming teachers as they fill the pulpit for you.

3. Plan “Mini-Easters” on certain Sunday that will bring new people and stabilize your attendance.

I talk about how to do all of this in my resource, “How to Make Every Sunday Like Easter”. You can pick it up by clicking here. It outlines 14 ways to make every Sunday as powerful as Easter Sunday.

Pastor Who… A Time Lord for Jesus

God calls us to be masters of our time, one of the greatest treasures He gives us.  With all you have to do maybe you wish you had a TARDIS to time travel in:

tardis

If so, today I’ve got time management tips #3, #4 & #5 for you and the first one is cutting down on the procrastination…

Tip #3: Eat That Frog!

I got this tip from a book by the same title, but the principle is so true! If eating a frog is on your list of things you have to do in a given day, here’s the tip – eat the frog first! If not, the frog will be looming over you all day and you won’t accomplish much because you’ll be distracted.

If your frog is a conversation you need to have, then have it first thing in the morning so you can get it out of the way and you can get on with your day. If it’s a project that has to get done, then do it and get on with your life. You’ll be glad you did.

The best part is this – eating a frog (whatever that is for you) is probably the worst thing you’ll have to deal with that day, so your day can only get better from there 🙂

Tip #4: Plan your day the night before

Before I go to bed, I sneak into my home office and write down the 15-20 things I need to accomplish the next day. They vary in size, shape, and scope but once I write them down I know they’re going to get accomplished.

If you wait until 10AM to plan your day, it’s over. Your morning is half over and several small fires have already hit your desk. But if you will take 15 minutes the night before to plan your day, you will get twice as much done, and more importantly, you’ll get the most important things done.

By the way, it doesn’t matter what kind of to-do list you have, as long as you have one. If you walk into your office without a to-do list and time blocked out in your calendar to accomplish them, they won’t happen.

When you take time to write out what you need to accomplish, you’re saying, “My time is valuable and the tasks I need to accomplish are valuable as well.” This will carry over into the kind of work you produce and how you value your time and the time of others.

Tip #5: Triage What Needs to Get Done

I have a limited amount of time to accomplish a huge amount of tasks. This requires me to decide what gets done, delegated, delayed, or deleted.

1. What gets Done – this is the stuff that is most important on my list. It is the stuff that only I can do.

2. What gets Delegated – anything that someone else can do. The general rule is that if a person can do a task 75% as well as you, it should be delegated.

3. What gets Delayed – there are things that I need to do, but they aren’t a priority. So they get delayed until I can give them the proper time. This is especially true of things that you need to do but aren’t time sensitive.

4. What gets Deleted – This is the nonsense that comes across my desk. This is the stuff that has no benefit engaging in (i.e. answering an irate email from a person who’s mind you aren’t going to change).

I look at everything I have to do through this lens. The truth is, you’re probably doing too much. This has helped me sort through everything that comes my way.

If these tips have been helpful to you definitely check out my FREE Ebook, “The Productive Pastor” for additional blessings…