Category Archive: learning

Wrong Assumptions Can Kill You

 

Hey Friends,

If you are like me in any way you have, and continue to make, wrong assumptions. When we lead, minister, or serve with wrong assumptions we can get the wrong results. I spent all day Wednesday with a great leader and consultant, Dan Novak. He has a PhD in leadership and is a great man of God. He added much value to me and Faith Promise. We have used him several times at Faith Promise and he always helps us. I can recommend him without reservation.

Before he spent the day with me he interviewed two focus groups made up of staff members. I didn’t know he was going to do that but it proved invaluable. As Dan unpacked how some of the staff viewed things I was surprised. I was surprised because I thought everyone understood my heart as the leader. Wrong assumption! This is not their fault, but mine.

I know what’s going on in my head but no one else does. After 28 years of marriage you would think I would have learned this lesson by now! Not a smart man. Dan pointed out some things I know to do, but need to improve on.

Things like:

  • Listening WELL! This is a gift and an art and I’m not great at it.
  • Sharing with people how I arrive at decisions. This shows my heart and trains new leaders at the same time.
  • Making sure everyone FEELS heard in a decision.
  • Being present when you’re present.
  • Not forgetting as senior leader my voice counts more than I realize! Being careful of hallway conversations and quickly being negative about an idea or question.
  • The expert can be wrong. I can crush creativity and young leaders by quickly telling them an idea will not work…
  • As a leader gets older he or she (Me) thinks they can quit filtering what they say with kindness. Being older is not a license to be ugly.

We all judge ourselves by our intentions and everyone else judges us by our actions. They can be very different.

Lest you think the day was negative, it was not. We talked strategy, vision, process and many other things. This list above shows areas I need to work on. I asked Dan in to discuss the overall health of Faith Promise. He said of all the organizations he has worked with, we are at the top in health. As the lead shepherd it is my job to make sure the Church and its leadership are healthy.

I asked Dan if the staff could be healthy and the membership not be healthy. He said that was not very possible. We will set a date for next year and see if our great health has improved. The healthier we are the stronger the Body will be.

The thought for the day is: Let people see your heart.

Love you and I pray you know it.

Pastor Chris

 

Why Do You Stay?

Hey Friends,

Thanks for the great input to Monday’s question. Today I have another question. If you have been at your Church for 7 years or longer, Why do you stay?  I have come to the conclusion that the average church member stays at a Church for about 6-7 years. This can be a good thing or not so much. This question is for those “Long term” members.

This is a question I have pondered for the last few years. I believe answering this can add great value to Churches adding and keeping key core members that add great value to any ministry.

Maybe 7 is the number of completion? There are many reasons why people leave a Church but only one is the right answer: “God is leading me somewhere else.” There is no doubt He leads us. Strange it is about every 7 years!

As you read this blog, what is your track record at the Church or Churches you have been a part of?

Why have you left?

Or better yet why have you stayed?

Knowing the answer will help me a lot. What do you think?

Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a time to leave a local Church. I think some that leave are not being led by the Lord, but there are other reasons. What do you think they are? For a Church to remain strong and vibrant it must be able to keep Core members. They know the vision and the DNA of the Church.

Love so feedback on this issue. I think  this is more important than most people realize.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Are You The Right Person To Ask?

 

Hey Friends,

Hope you had a great Memorial Day holiday. My family and I had a great day and some fun in the sun.

Something I have learned over 30 years of ministry is, ask the right people the right questions and you get the right answers. Some of that can be hard; I know it is for me.

Something I just realized is that I seem to ask the right questions at the wrong time. I have lived with an assumption and I’m not sure it is right. If the numbers are going up and to the right and we are baptizing people, I think all is well at the Church.  I love riding the wave that God creates. I love when the Church is growing and people are being saved. So, I rarely ask questions like: are we healthy, is everything OK, are we doing the right things in the ministry…?

When all is well (Church attendance increasing) I live at 5,000 ft., pray,  preach and cast vision. When the wave crests and we slow in our growth I get out of the plane and start kicking the tires and asking questions. Somehow I think the questions need to be asked sooner! What do you think?

Can the Church be healthy and not grow? Can the Church be growing and not be healthy? Before you say, “numbers don’t matter,” read the book of Numbers and the book of Acts. Numbers matter! As a matter of fact, everyone counts and should be counted. That is how I read the Word.

With that said, numbers are not the only thing that matter! What do you think are the marks of a healthy Church? I would love some input. I guess you can tell I’ve gotten out of the plane and I’m asking questions.

At Faith Promise we have had some serious space limitations for the last few years. We are now doing 13 services in 5 locations. We now are expanding our Pellissippi Campus and in January we will have more seats.  In preparation I am asking questions about health so we can be ready for the next wave that Jesus generates for His Church.

I love Church growth. I love to win souls. I love life transformation and restoration. Is that not the reason Jesus came? How do you see it?

I think I’m asking the right questions. Are you the right person to ask?

Just a thought…

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

How Long Can The Leader Feel The Pulse?

Hey Friends,

This weekend I was walking through the Word when I reread a story we have all studied: Absalom’s rebellion against his father, King David. I am not going to retell the whole story but you can read it in 2 Sam. 13-19. There are many facets and angles to the story, but this time I read it from a leadership perspective.

King David was a man after God’s own heart. He was a superb leader and built a great dynasty. In the middle of his reign after he was well established as the King and Leader of Israel, his son “stole” the hearts of the people away from David. The people loved David and yet he was usurped by his son. How could this happen? I know this – if it can happen to him it can happen to any of us!!!

After David allowed his banished son to return to Jerusalem, he began a slow steady revolt right under everyone’s noses. For four years Absalom would stay at the gates of the city and tell people if he were King they would get justice. He would be an ear for the downtrodden and misused. Sounds like a presidential race and political promises. The only problem is that David was not up for reelection. He was King for life unless someone stole the crown.

By the time David was warned, Absalom was already marching with David’s army at his command. He was coming to kill David and become the King. He had already crowned himself King. David knew he was beaten and he fled from his son. As I meditated on the story some questions came to mind:

  • How did King David get so disconnected from his people?
  • Did David see it and ignore it because it was his son?
  • Did no one warn the King of the uprising?
  • Where were David’s trusted men?
  • Was David so confident that nothing could happen to his leadership?
  • Can this happen today?
  • How can I stay connected with the church I lead so this will not ever happen to me?
  • If the devil were to try to divide you and your people, how would he do it?
  • What would the signs be if you were becoming disconnected?

I think that this is a very important issue for each of us and we should all have our ear to the ground and our fingers on the pulse of the organizations we lead.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s keep asking the right questions to the right people and we will get all the information we need to keep growing, learning and leading well.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Second Book Finally Out! HELP!

Hey Friends,

Well, after years of work and prayer, my second book is about to be here. We had almost 10,000 copies of the first book, The Climb of Your Life:Reaching the Peak of Your Potential, out and it is still selling. Now, we have the second book: The Plan of Your Life: Managing What Matters Most!  This book will help hundreds of thousands of people grow closer to Jesus. The bottom line of the book is helping people create a personal growth plan in the five most important areas of their lives.

I am so fired up about its potential for the Kingdom of God. The book was written as a story, in a creative way to hold the reader’s attention while helping him or her to grow. The first 5,000 copies will be at Faith Promise the first weekend in December. I am now pre-selling them. You can purchase them on this website or at Faith Promise.

This book will not only help you, but anyone you give it to. I encourage you to give it as Christmas gifts or stocking suffers. This is a gift that will keep giving for the rest of eternity.

So, here is how can you HELP:

1. Pray for the book to “Grow Legs” and get into the hands of hundreds of thousands that will benefit from it.

2. Get a copy for yourself, read it and write a testimony to be added to this website.

3. Get a copy for friends and family. Christmas is the perfect time!

4. Help me get the word out by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media you have access to. You can link to this site and get the word out.

5. Give me other ideas of how to spread the word.

Thanks in advance for your help and prayers. Together we can continue to add value to so many others.

Love and appreciate you,

Pastor Chris

P.S. Nobody makes a huge difference unless a lot of people want him or her to do so. We are better together!

 

Growth Changes Everything

Hey Friends,

As you already realize, I love growth! I love it personally, spiritually and ministerially. I love to see the Church grow. There is one problem with growth – IT CHANGES EVERYTHING!

I love what Larry Osborne said in his book, Sticky Teams: “Never forget, growth changes everything. A storefront church, a midsized church, a large church, and a megachurch aren’t simply bigger versions of the same thing. They are completely different animals. They have little in common, especially relationally, organizationally, and structurally.”

I used to think you just added more chairs or services and now I realize that growth causes major restructuring in the organization. Most pastors are so focused on the spiritual that we miss the required recalibration to sustain the growth and additional people. Without realizing it, many of us have hamstrung our ministries due to organizational mismanagement. Not on purpose, nor is it sin; its just not the proper structure or governance.

It is amazing that what used to work at 500, now is a barrier at 1,200. This is what I call the danger zone. Things have to change and yet no one really wants them to. We like it how it is. We like the relationships we have fostered and the reporting structure. We like it and we enjoyed watching the growth.

This leads me to a question: Which do you like more – how it is now or the vision God has given you to accomplish? You did not think it was going to be that easy, did you? If we are vision-driven then the goals and the outcome will drive our organization, not necessarily what we like.

Right now, what is holding you back from going to the next level? There is no question that change is a basic requirement. Are you ready?

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Leader Development – How Do We Keep It a Priority?

Hey Friends,

Even as a casual reader of this blog, you know I am totally committed to leadership and developing others to reach their leadership potential. Yet, it can easily fall out of a primary position in any organization. Even though I firmly believe everything rises and falls on leadership, radical growth can kill leader development. For the last several years Faith Promise has grown at a rate of 15-20 percent annually. With growth like this it is easy to find yourself living with your hair on fire!

With this kind of growth, hundreds of volunteers, small groups and connection points are required to assimilate God’s harvest of souls. Last year we baptised over 500 people. That is a lot of baby believers to disciple and care for. Let this go on for several years and you tend to drop leader development and just try to keep up with the growth. I know better and it still happened to me!

I am grateful God grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and pointed out my omission. Now it is time to get our hands dirty with raising up ministers and leaders.  Can we really drown in God’s blessings? We have slowed down in growth at our first campus due to space limitations. But I think there are more limitations than just space.

I am convinced that the Lord will only send us the people we can care for. Without knowing it, leadership, volunteers and groups can be the limiters, not just the facilities. Here we are with four campuses and all that is required to keep them running. Time to get back to the fundamentals!

This is not an easy shift for a staff and church that are used to radical growth. I am so excited about the future and the challenges before us. There is “gold in them there pews!” It is time to mine the potential of people who are just sitting in the pews! I believe this is God ordered and He will empower us to accomplish His vision. Your vision can never outdistance your leadership.

How do you see it?

Just thinking out loud.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. My new book, The Plan of Your Life-Managing What Matters Most, goes on pre-sale this weekend at Faith Promise!

 

Recent Reads

Hey Friends,

Maybe you have noticed I have not been posting near as many blogs lately. Three months of not feeling good has a way of slowing you down. Most of you know I love to read and grow. Part of my personal growth plan for 2011 is to read 25 books. Thought I would give you some of the latest books that I enjoyed. These are in no particular order of priority.

1. IR-REV-REND. By Greg Surratt. This was a great read. It is funny and devotional in nature. The author is a great man of God and leader in the Kingdom.

2. Onward. By Howard Schultz. This was a great book of passion and leadership in difficult circumstances. I highly recommend it.

3. Leading On Empty. By Wayne Cordellio. This is a must read for leaders in ministry and any leader would gain great value by reading the book. It could save your life or ministry.

4. Presidential Courage. I forgot the author but it was an awesome book. The book deals with difficult decisions in the worse times. These decisions changed our Nation.

5. Whisper. By Bill Hybles. This book covered the topic of hearing God’s voice. It was a pleasure to read and very motivational. Hybles has been where few have dared to trod.

Any of these books could add value to you. If you do not read these, which ones will you read? If you do not read then how will you grow into your full potential? I pray you have a passion for personal growth. At the heart of personal growth is a greater goal of pleasing the  Lord who died for us.

Hope this helps.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. Keep watching I will give an opportunity to prepurchase my next book “The Plan of Your Life, managing what matters most.” Pray with me that this book grows legs and helps untold numbers of people grow more like Jesus.

 

Limited?

Hey Friends,

The Lord has been speaking to me lately about some areas in which I have been limiting my ministry! I’ll bet the same could be said for every leader reading this blog. Let me explain. Jesus said, “Let it be done according to your faith.” The Scripture also records, “I can do all things…” and, “Nothing is impossible with God…” I am sure you could quote other verses affirming the power that works in each of us.

At our Pellissippi Campus we are just about out of space, or are we? I determined that 500 was the maximum we could run at our Saturday night service. The truth is, we have 1,050 seats. Why did I SELF-LIMIT our potential? As a matter of fact, I did it years ago. I heard it said that 50% was capacity on Saturday night and I just bought it. I also said 300 was our maximum attendance at our 9:00 am Sunday morning service. Why? Because we had struggled at 8:30 and so many people love to sleep in on Sunday mornings. So, I just confessed that 300 was our max, self-limiting our ability to reach more lost people.

In 12 months we will move into 600 additional seats in our Pellissippi Worship Center and have more space for kids and fellowship. So, we can quit and say we can’t grow until we have more room, or we can believe God will maximize all our services. That means we must hit 750 or more on Saturday night. It also means we have to grow the 9:00 am service. Our God is able and we must believe by faith He can do it and He will use us to accomplish His will.

If we get real, it us usually the leader that is the bottleneck to growth or forward momentum. We can’t allow the gospel to be stifled, stopped, or slowed down! God can burst through the barriers that we all face. What barrier is blocking you? Is there an area in your ministry you are self-limiting?

By faith you can win and go to the next level!

Praying for you.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

A Passion to Grow?

Hey Friends,

Yesterday, I fired off my first meeting with a new coaching network I established. The goal is to add value to leaders and help people reach their full potential. That is a passion of my heart. I believe it is a biblical mandate. As a pastor of a great church, it is my job to help people be ready for the Judgment Seat of Christ.

There are five in my first group and those guys are hungry! Nothing better than being with people that are hungry to grow.

Hungry people are willing to do what it takes to go to the next level. If you are not hungry then you probably don’t do the work required to change and go the next level – to break through barriers every leader must assault to continue to grow and not become stagnant. How hungry are you? What are you willing to do to grow? What barriers are you facing that must be dealt with?

There are three times when people are willing to change:

  • They learn enough they want to.
  • They hurt enough they have to.
  • They love enough they are willing to.

Halfway through the day I asked @Chuckcarringer to come in and talk to the group. Pastor Chuck is an awesome leader and encourager. As he affirmed the group, he made some statements that caught my attention. He praised the group because they were of the 2 or 3% of people who actually wanted to grow. They proved it by setting aside the time and the money required to go to the next level. You could feel the level of the room rise through the encouragement he  provided.

Chuck said something more important next: “It is great you are a part of the 2 or 3%, but I want to encourage you to be the 1% that actually does the hard work of transformation.” As he spoke I wondered, “Am I still willing to change and do the hard work required to break barriers and become all God has placed in me?” This is a question we all need to address from time to time. Complacency is a fierce enemy to growth and forward momentum.

Where are you on the scale:

Complacent          1          2         3        4         5          6          7          8        9          10              

Hungry                  1          2         3        4         5          6          7          8        9          10    

Your truthful answer matters more than you know!

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. Chuck Carringer is available for Executive Coaching.  A great leader’s leader to follow and read. Check out his website. This guy makes me better!