- Praise God
- Please be praying...
- What Every Church Needs to Know about Marketing: Final Thoughts: If you don't pass the people test, nothing else matters
- What Every Church Needs to Know about Marketing: Part 3: Marketing is about People
- What Every Church Needs To Know about Marketing: Part 2: Marketing is Everything
- Getting Your Current Members to Invite Friends
- Through the eyes of a visitor
- Encouraging progress
- Please be praying
- Bootstrap Faith
- Know Our Hearts?
- Seldom Read But Always Evaluated
- Creating an Experience
- The Bond Between Music and Design
- The Church Exposed
- The Value Principle
- The Nike Effect: Part II
- The Nike Effect: Part I
- Starting New This New Year
- Christmas Revelation from Charlie Brown
- The Video: Speaking Starbucksian
- And The Winners Are...
- The Video: A Treasure Hunt
- The Video: We're Not Like That Church Down The Street
- The Video: Signs of Neediness
- The Video: Death to Papyrus and Comic Sans!
- The Video: Inconsistent Artwork
- A Thanksgiving Thought
- The Video: The Culture Crime
- The Video: Reserved for Barista
- The Video: Real Men Love Java
- The Video: Marketing is more than you realize
- The Video: The purpose of the video.
- What If Starbucks Marketed Like the Church? A Parable.
- re-Branding on Momentum
I am so honored and thankful to have been able to sit down a few weeks ago and chat with Chris Yaw of ChurchNext.tv. Anytime I'm able to share my passion for church marketing and healthy church growth with others is a gift! Check out the video link below for a whole host of insightful questions and honest answers about church marketing, when and when not to promote your church, and the keys to really growing a healthy, thriving church body. Enjoy!
There is a charming little fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a princess and a pea. Hang with me for a moment as I tie it into our lives in ministry. As the story goes, the Queen is searching for a bride for her son and many a young lady have shown themselves willing to oblige. A slew of candidates parade by claiming to be the future princess. In a test to find the "true princess" for her son, the queen mother takes the opportunity to place a small pea beneath 20 mattresses while a potential princess sleeps over on a rainy night.
As the story goes, the young woman is so discomforted by the pea that she is unable to sleep and claims to be bruised from this offensive object (that she feels through 20 feather mattresses). Alas, the queen determines that she has found her future daughter-n-law. After all, only the true princess could have been so sensitive to this ever-so-slight of an inconvenience.
When you first read this it seems charming and harmless enough, doesn't it? The princess was found--hurrah! Look a little closer. While scholars have argued over its premise, I personally see it as a mockery. Who but a "princess" could be affected so greatly by such the slightest bit of discomfort? Only a "princess" must have it so perfect. "Princess" cannot tolerate anything imperfect. In reality, this story is an indictment upon the princess. Think about it.
For church leaders, there are three princesses that you might have to learn to handle--each of them are dealt with in a very different way.
For one, many of those in your community are princesses by nature. Many live privileged lives and have high standards. They expect a certain level of communication and perhaps are finicky about how things are done. In order to get on their radar, they require you to speak their language and show that you value what they value. As a minister, these are those we pursue. He expects us to be like wise fishermen--understanding their often "princess-like" nature. After all, we have to remember that the nature of man is to "look on the outside" (1 Sam 16:7). Considering that they might look at things differently can only help us connect with them more effectively.
The second place we find the princess mentality is within the church. How many times have huge, healthy ministry initiatives been thwarted because they did not sit well with those who wanted it their way? As believers, its often easy to assume that non-believers would be self-centered (as is human nature), but we do not expect it in the church. Well, its in there. Many church leaders will tell you that they do not have problems with the non-Christians, its the finicky church people that keep them wound in a knot. The only way to deal with it is to teach it and challenge it out of the flock; such as how Paul taught us to be content in all things (Phil 4:6-11). He certainly was no princess.
The third place it is found is within us. It is important to realize that the various standards and conveniences of our culture tempt us all to succumb to a mentality that life should be without discomforts. We all can find ourselves becoming the spoiled "princesses." We especially find them within within ourselves in the areas where we cannot let the little things go. Let us never lose sight of the fact that God shapes us through challenges. Discomfort--the thorn in our flesh--is often a valuable assistant to guiding us into dependence and focus on Him.
Here's the irony... that while we must avoid being princesses, the object of our ministry pursuit is often just that--and we would be wise to realize it. For God, He is on a relentless pursuit to pull off the impossible... turning the self-centered nature of a princess into the heart of a benevolent King. Certainly that is what He is attempting to do with us.
In my travels I often run into church leaders who have lived incredible lives of faith. They were impacted by God and subsequently abandoned their previous walk and threw their lives into ministry. One of the things I see with these leaders is an incredible tenacity to follow God at any cost. The concept of obedience and stretching their horizons is a never-ending one. At the same time, these leaders who have pulled their faith up by the bootstraps tend to fall short in many areas of ministry.
The leader whose attitude is, "Why can't they just obey God? That's what the Bible says..." is often the same one who struggles to provide mentorship and structured discipleship for his church. Why? For one, because they were likely never mentored. They sat under a minister who taught them from a pulpit, but never walked with them and coached them through life. They find it hard to see why people need coaching. They didn't. To them the Christian walk, Bible study, and obedience was so black-and-white, that they cannot fathom why it is not so clearly black-and-white to everyone else. As a result, they often get frustrated when people do not follow simple steps of faith and they do not have the patience nor vision to provide the deliberate mentorship that they were never given themselves.
In reality, it is not fully their fault. Few of us were mentored. We really don't even have a mental picture of what that looks like. We were preached to, but churches have rarely had the programs needed to support healthy discipleship. And few men ever took the time to apprentice the young believer from their gray world into black-and-white faith. As a result, many churches have a chasm between those that "get it" (and do all the work in the church) and those who never seem to possess the same reality of God.
A few years ago, a pastor read my book and called me for help. He had pastored for about 15 years and had struggled to get his congregation over 50 people. He was an honorable man who had given his all to help people. His wife and family had stood beside him as he endured hardship year after year in order to stay afloat. He spoke of desiring to see growth, but was saddened in that he lacked strong leaders. He was a man of bootstrap faith. He listened to the preacher as a young believer and he acted on what was said. His action led him into ministry and now he was struggling with people that simply would not take the same initiative in their faith.
I asked him, "How are you mentoring leaders?" He was puzzled, responding, "Well, I prepare and preach every week." For fifteen years, he had given people words—powerful words, but had never really built people. As a result, he never had an infrastructure that would support growth. Let me challenge that the job of a church leader as a mentor is never done. Even when you have a congregation of 10,000 and hundreds of mentors leading healthy people, you are still responsible to seek a handful of people who you can pour your life into in a deeper way.
"And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also." 2 Tim 2:2 (Amplified)
This was Paul mentoring to Timothy—writing him a personal letter—teaching him to mentor others. Are you a person of bootstrap faith? What are you doing to pour you life into a small group of people that you will mentor into true leaders? For every bootstrapper, there are dozens who will need a lot more effort in order to become whom God has called them to be. As leaders, the next move is ours.