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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

From the Alban Institute:

  1. E-mail makes it impossible to read the non-verbal body language of the persons with whom you are communicating.  Likewise, they can’t read yours. I have occasionally made the mistake (perhaps you have, too) of trying to crack a joke through e-mail and having it fall flat. I can’t read the body language to tell how the joke is being received, and others can’t see the twinkle in my eyes when I am joking.  When a congregation is in conflict, folks are already very emotionally reactive.  Therefore, people in this situation are far more likely to misread or misinterpret what is being said under the best of conditions.  Eliminating visual cues and vocal inflection further cripples the communication process and opens the door to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
  2. E-mail appears to be fast, almost immediate, communication, when in fact the length of time it takes to deliver a message depends largely on the recipient’s personal habits.  Some people check their Blackberrys or iPhones for messages every few minutes, and some go for days without turning on their computer to look at their e-mail.  The uncertainty around when a message is received often adds to the confusion of who knows what and when they heard it—often a central communication issue in conflicted situations.
  3. Because e-mail language is often less formal than traditional written language, it feels much more like talking on the telephone, except that it is a one-sided conversation.  Your e-mail message probably makes perfect sense to you.  But it may contain unspoken assumptions, or even a typo that can change the meaning of the message for your recipient, and complicate your effort to communicate.  It can actually take longer to sort out miscommunication than it would to relay information in face-to-face conversations, one at a time.  I frequently have to tell pastors to stop using e-mail when trying to deal with a parishioner’s difficult behavior, and simply go talk to them.   A face-to-face conversation, with give and take, can often serve to sort out a complicated situation when a one-sided e-mail message only makes it more complex.
  4. E-mail is not confidential. No matter what kind of disclaimer or warning about confidentiality you include in your e-mail, anyone can forward any e-mail at any time. When I am about to send out an e-mail message, I always ask myself, “Would I feel comfortable if this e-mail were forwarded to someone else—even if it was accidentally forwarded?”  If your answer to that question is “no,” then don’t send it.  And that is related to another practice you might want to develop: get in the habit of re-reading any e-mail message before sending it out.  Usually, you will just catch typos and the occasional omitted word, but sometimes, you will hear a very different message than the one you intended.  Train yourself to pause and re-read before you hit the send button.
  5. E-mail is not a constructive venue for important conversations.  One of the strengths of e-mail is its ability to communicate details quickly and efficiently.  Important conversations, and especially those that surround a conflicted situation, need and deserve richer and fuller interaction—one in which nuance and non-verbal communication is part of the communication process.

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Who is really leading worship during a service or gathering? I would say the Holy Spirit, the pastor, and the worship musicians (in order of priority).

The Holy Spirit is always the first and most important leader of worship. The Spirit’s preparation and work began long before the service was a twinkling in our eye. Before the first text or song is chosen, the Spirit is aligning the elements and people that will be included in the service. We need the Holy Spirit to point all the elements in a service to Jesus. The Spirit’s presence in the midst of a service is always the default leader. When the Spirit moves, we follow.

The pastor is always the second most important lead worshiper in a service or gathering. That’s right – the Holy Spirit does come before (and sometimes through!) the pastor. The pastor is the spiritual leader for the entire congregation, and this includes the congregation in worship. Just because you’ve got the guitar or mic doesn’t mean everyone is watching/following you. The pastor will always set the tone for worship in any setting. If the pastor’s heart and mind are engaged in the songs, prayers, and texts, then the people will be as well. If the pastor is shuffling through sermon notes, making small talk with the ushers, or not singing, then the people will be equally disengaged in worship.

The worship musicians are the next most important leaders in worship. Notice that “musicians” is plural. All who play instruments or sing are on equal ground. If you are on the platform in front of the people, you are just as important as anyone else in front. The lead vocalists aren’t elevated higher than the bass player. Being a worship musician requires a good dose of humility. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” Although the spotlights may shine on the musicians, it’s important to remember that everyone is following the pastors cues, and nothing is possible without the Spirit’s work.

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  • Does your church take design seriously (architecture, worship, long range planning, etc.)?
  • Does your church offer guest-friendly “try before you buy” environments?
  • Is your church’s view of the world present in how you design worship?
  • Does your church welcome the question “Why is it like that?” around the subject of worship?
  • How much attention is paid to how people physically connect to your church?
  • Can your church fulfill it’s mission in 1 step instead of 6?
  • How much does your church talk about process (instead of product)?
  • Is the hierarchy of importance easily discernable in your church?

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from The Work of the People

Questions for reflection:

  1. Where do you “over do it”? Where do you need to slow down?
  2. How does your church/ministry counteract the need for Sabbath?
  3. Does your church/ministry promote “going” to church, or “being” the church?

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From Tony Morgan

Feel free to keep investing in print communications if your highest priority is keeping your “internal customers” happy. Just thought you should know that other organizations are using the web to reach the same people you’re probably trying to reach in your community.

So what else does your church do to keep “internal customers” happy, but misses reaching out to new people?

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14 Signs that worship renewal is needed:

  1. Passive congregation that lacks enthusiasm/joy
  2. Guests are not welcome or drawn into the community
  3. Cerebral worship oriented exclusively toward teaching
  4. Evangelistic worship oriented exclusively toward conversion
  5. Weak communication in leading and preaching
  6. Long sermons that lack application
  7. Communion is infrequent and tacked on when used, often looking like a funeral
  8. Classroom formation seating
  9. Lifeless singing and limited range of music
  10. Structure of order
  11. Christian year not followed
  12. Use of the arts shunned
  13. People not involved in responses/antiphons/passing the peace
  14. Senses are not engaged in worship

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From Church Marketing Sucks:

While advertising, street signs and a full garage on a Sunday are great signs of success for a church, they aren’t necessarily indications of a great impact on your community. As Rizzo points out, a billboard may mean that your community knows the name of your church, but does it mean any more than that?

The ultimate test would be this: if your church closed, would anyone notice? Other than the regulars, who would shed a tear for a moment and then go somewhere else? Would the neighbors, local police, community leaders and schools even notice if you disappeared? Now think, what would change that–another advertisement or visiting the sick and staffing an after school club?

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