Church Growth, Health…or Survival?

I came across a quote by a long-time pastor that was in a newspaper and it said this: “In the first five years of ministry I had a sign on my desk that read Win the world for Christ. My second five years of ministry I put up a new sign that said Win one or two for Christ. And then now, later in my ministry I have a sign on my desk that says Try not to lose too many.”

I thought that was kind of funny, but I think a lot of people are facing that reality right now. On the church level, I’ve seen the church go from the Church Growth movement of the ‘90s into Church Health, which I think was actually a step in the right direction. But in a lot of ways, we find ourselves today in Church Survival mode. 

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Self-Care Tips for Stressful Times

What do you do to protect yourself to function at a sustainable level of time and energy when things are unsettled and stressful?

This is a season of unsettledness in the world and in the churches I’m serving in as well. There’s a lot of unsettledness in search process and other churchy kind of things that lead to instability. There are a few things I’ve found that are important to do to maintain my own capacity to function in the midst of the instability, and not be overwhelmed or overtaken by it, and really become a contributor to the instability. 

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The Pivot No One Is Talking About

If there’s one word that I find more irritating than covid right now, it’s the word pivot. Everybody’s pivoting. They’re pivoting from offline to online and physical to virtual, and all other kinds of pivots. It’s all the same thing, really. 

Before this whole crisis where pivot became the most popular word next to covid, I always just thought of pivot as a basketball move, but now it’s something that businesses and churches and people or are all doing. 

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A Theology of Crisis

Today I’m going to share with you part of a larger interview I did with Stuart McKnight of theologynow.ca. We covered a lot of ground in the interview and this little segment had to do with the question I asked him about a theology of crisis, specifically a theology of Covid and how we handle it and respond to it theologically. I think you’ll find this useful and stimulating and you’ll see that it applies not just to Corvid. So jump in and have a listen. 

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What’s Your Default Hammer

There’s an old saying that says, if your only tool is a hammer, you’re going to see every problem as a nail. What is your hammer? What is your nail? What is your default setting when you’re in crisis or under stress? 

Some kinds of personality and leadership tests seek to discern in part what your default operating mechanism is. When you go under stress, do you operate differently than you normally do? There’s a lot of pretty good leaders who are good leaders in normal times, but under stress they become tyrants and really controlling and non-collaborative, which is their default setting. Other people kind of withdraw and get quiet. 

When it comes to crisis, whether it’s a national/international crisis like the Covid-19, whether it’s in business or in church or a family crisis, the same kind of thing happens. But it’s not necessarily just about our personality; it’s about our skill set. As leaders, we have some skills. We have some things that we’re really good at, which are different for each one of us, that when things go sideways, we might fall back on those skills, whether or not that skill is what is needed at the time. It’s our hammer. It’s our default hammer. 

Are you aware of what your default hammer is? 

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