Planning and Goals

Pastors and other vocational church leadership staff are educated in many things. If they have an M.div they typically have studied the Bible very deeply. They typically have studied church history, and probably have some counseling or other shepherding in their education.

In talking with pastors and other staff that I know, neither their undergrad or seminary experience prepared them for the “normal challenges of organizational leadership”. Some of them are great leaders, but it really is innate skill or talent, undeveloped until it needed to be exercized in the heat of battle.

Today’s post is about two simple activities in organizational leadership: Planning and Goals.


Planning is an activity that takes goals as an input, and creates action steps as an output. Goals are expressed as a what by when; some desired outcome on some desired schedule. Goals can be very simple, such as, “Preach a sermon series on marriage in May”, or they can be grandiose and complex, such as, “Convert our sunday school communities to small group communities by the end of the year.” Continue reading “Planning and Goals”

What are Your Bottlenecks?

I could ask the question differently. I could ask what is preventing your church from growing faster. I could ask what is preventing your congregation from growing deeper in relationship with Christ. I could ask the question relative to any specific goal you have what is preventing you from acheiving it. But I really want you to think about your ministry holistically. What are your ministry bottlenecks?


Sometimes the bottleneck appears to be finances. Sometimes the bottleneck appears to be human resources or volunteers. Sometimes that bottleneck appears to be a cohesive vision. I am going to say that none of these things are really bottlenecks. All of them are symptoms of a different bottleneck. A leadership bottleneck. Continue reading “What are Your Bottlenecks?”

Growing From a Seed

— An Incomplete Parable or Analogy —

Jesus used all kinds of parables and analogies in His teaching to his disciples. They lived in a primarily agrarian society, so agriculture was very familiar to all the people of Jesus day. Sheep and Shepherds were common place. Growers of fruit and other crops were also common. Jesus used these very familiar images in his stories, explaining the kingdom of God, because he knew that they would be very familiar to the people around him.

They are not as familiar to us. In this post-industrial age, how many of you have ever met a shepherd, or have raised any kind of livestock or grown crops. These word pictures don’t necessarily resonate with us, the way they did with the people Jesus came into contact with. Yet we persist in using His parables, and analogies to explain spiritual things to our peers. Even in this blog, Fruit Producing Ministry, I use agrarian metaphor to reflect the mission of The Church, as an output of agriculture.


This is a parable of leadership. Churches grow from a seed. We already call the most common way of establishing a new church a “plant”. In fact it is more like a cutting. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The lesson in this parable is that a growing plant needs different kind of leadership at different phases of growth. Continue reading “Growing From a Seed”

Church Marketing

I suppose I used to think that the idea of church marketing was a bad idea. A concept from the business world, applied to a non-profit organization, whose mission is not competitive. However, I think the idea of sharing the gospel is marketing. In fact, all churches and all chrisitians are marketers. If we understand a little about sales and marketing, we realize that we use many of the same techniques and ploys in sharing the gospel that marketing and sales professionals do in their work.

We all should be marketing Christ. But along the way, we want to market our church. We want people who accept our message of hope in Christ, to also join our community. We want to recruit them to help us share that same message of hope with others. Continue reading “Church Marketing”