In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins and Daniel Im are joined by Dave Milam, vice president of strategic design at Visioneering Studios. During their conversation, they discuss the following questions:
What are the new trends when it comes to churches and their use of space?
What are the most common mistakes churches make when they enter into a building program?
What research does Visioneering do before a church moves forward with a plan?
When revitalizing and replanting, what should churches do to their space before relaunching?
What are best practices for making a move, celebrating, and transitioning well?
“Constantly I am hearing churches say we need more lobby space, we need more community space, places where people can just sit and talk.”
“One of the biggest mistakes I see is churches not locking down that number – this is how much money we are going to spend, not a penny over – and really holding the team that they hire to that number.”
“What’s the smartest next move for us based on what we can afford?”
“If you do a capital campaign, a church typically can raise two to two and a half times their annual giving in a two-year capital campaign, if they use a consultant. If they don’t use a consultant it tends to be one times their annual giving in a two-year campaign.”
“For every person in your church, you typically need about 50 square feet in your church building.”
“It’s possible that really what the building needs is just the new vision and new leadership.”
“The last thing I want is for a church to sacrifice ministry or staffing dollars to build a building or fix carpet.”
“If you are a larger church and you have been gifted a building for a campus, then it is worth doing a full on evaluation of the people flow, the space requirements, the carpet, the branding, the whole ball of wax.”
“There are so many opportunities to celebrate when the process is happening. It’s super critical to make sure the church is doing that, because when they are celebrating together they notice what God’s doing.”
90 Second Leadership - New Role Audit (Todd Adkins) - YouTube
Today I want to talk to you about starting a new role. When you begin a new leadership role, this quadrant can help you to determine where the church or ministry currently is and how to gain or capitalize the momentum of that situation. Let’s take a look.
If you have little resources and little momentum, the church is stagnant. You must create a sense of urgency and help your people see that change is necessary. Don’t live in shadows of the past. You may need to reorganize top levels of leadership to stir momentum.
If you have lots of resources but little momentum, you’re in a turnaround state. Recognize your church is in significant trouble and you need to quickly re-energize people. This may mean helping key stakeholders release grip on the status quo. If you can’t motivate this existing crew, it may require bringing in fresh blood to create momentum.
If you have strong momentum but little resources, you’re in a start-up. The energy is great, but if you don’t coordinate the time, talents, and treasures under your care, it will be easy to go off the rails because there are no boundaries. Create systems and structure to help people grow.
If you have both momentum and resources, you’re likely in a state of rapid growth. Your responsibility is to ensure your systems and structures are scalable to sustain this growth. Be sure you can quickly onboard new people because growth equals more people.
Now that you understand this framework and how to audit your new leadership role, what are you going to do about it?
There have been times in my life that I have struggled with my own identity. I have felt the pressure that I must have a title or assignment to feel significant. There were times in my younger years where I struggled with not living in a metropolitan region of America. I felt reduced. I felt insignificant. I felt like others did not recognize the value of where I served.
At times, this created a discontentment that was unhealthy. While the struggle was real, it became apparent that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks relating to these kinds of things. What matters is that you know and live out God’s purpose for your life. When you choose to live out God’s purpose for your life, while titles and assignments and opportunities are nice, you will find joy and happiness regardless of the specifics, because you are living purposefully.
Recently, we conducted a professional survey with our entire church. One of the many questions we asked our congregation that day was the following: What topic would be of most interest to you during a Sunday sermon? We received responses from several thousand people. Other than teaching through books of the Bible, as I have done regularly through the years, there were two topics people asked us to address: finding purpose and marriage.
You cannot live fit spiritually if you do not live purposefully. Without purpose, people live aimlessly. I have become convinced the need to live with purpose is greater than the survey may have revealed. People want to know their life matters.
Yes, God is at work in your life. Did you know that Romans 8:28 informs us that in each and every part of your life, God is at work? These things work together or cooperate to produce a greater effect than they could individually. God works through all things in concert together.
God is always orchestrating everything in your life to work together for your benefit. He sets His heart toward all of us who love Him intimately and pursue Him passionately. God’s intention and will is always good and always best for you.
I have to stop and qualify this, because it is very important for us to understand. Everything that happens to you is not good, but God uses everything for your ultimate good.
Regardless of who you are, where you are, or what you do in your life, if you are a Christian, God is always moving you to His eternal high purpose: Making you more like Jesus Christ. He created you to live your life with God’s purpose always on your mind, becoming like Jesus Christ.
The only way you will ever feel fulfilled is to know that God is always sovereignly and lovingly using everything in your life to make you more like Jesus Christ, for His glory.
Whoever you are and whatever your current circumstances, pursue God’s purpose for your life. Through every season of your life, from good to bad to mediocre, pursue God’s purpose. Now and in the future, pursue God’s purpose with a great expectation that God is working in your life, believe Him for your future with hope.
Life is not easy; it is full of challenges and even some losses. Job deeply believed what we need to believe: I believe nothing can hinder God’s purpose for my life! He trusted this because he knew God could do anything. Do you? While some people may experience a level of restoration as Job did, others may live to the end faithfully yet lose their lives as mentioned in Hebrews 11. For both groups, the ultimate promise is that God’s eternal purposes will come to fruition. The way you view God will determine how you view everything else in your life, including your problems, challenges, and even losses.
Please understand this clearly—what God wants to do, He will do. God is unstoppable! Therefore, each of us should declare this personally: I believe nothing can hinder God’s purpose for my life! Yes, God is able! He is unstoppable!
This is an excerpt from chapter 1 of Living Fit by Ronnie Floyd.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the senior pastor of Cross Church and president of the National Day of Prayer.
Executive level meetings are an under-utilized learning opportunities. Strategically exposing staff members of various levels within the church or organization to executive level meetings is healthy for multiple reasons:
Takes away the mystery of what “They” do in there
Helps staff understand how decisions are made
Exposes staff to healthy conflict and how it is handled by leadership
Invests naturally in staff and conveys a sense of trust within the organization
Helps to embed culture and reinforces values of the organization
Right now there are likely a bunch of reasons going through your head as to why this is a bad idea, but hear me out and let me introduce to you the concept of Vote, Voice, View. I use this approach on occasion to allow selected staff to come into our meetings and participate at one of these levels.
Level 1: Vote
At the end of the day only the executive team really has a “Vote” in any decision that occurs during the meeting. They are obviously seated at the table and are able to speak up at any time during the course of the meeting.
Level 2: Voice
If team members are invited into the meeting at the “Voice” level of participation they may have a seat at the table or simply be in the room. They are invited for one of three reasons:
To speak on a specific subject at a specific time during the meeting
To provide a unique perspective on something that will be discussed
To represent an absent executive team member, in which case they have freedom to participate in discussions but do not have a vote on any decisions
Level 3: View
Being invited in at the “View” level means invited team members are in the room but not at the table and they do not participate in any part of the discussion unless asked to do so. They have have been brought in to watch and learn so they can make note of what occurs and communicate it back through the organization.
If you still think this is a bad idea I challenge you to consider evaluating your meeting structure and environment. Your reticence might indicate that you need to change something about how you do meetings. Ask yourself these three questions about including team members in executive meetings:
Do you feel the meeting is a waste of staff members’ time?
Do you not want staff members to see how conflict is handled?
Are you scared to let staff members see how decisions really are made?
I understand that there are many meetings where it would be inappropriate to have extra people in the room. However, if you have healthy meetings then there is no good reason you wouldn’t be able to invite other staff in from time to time and give them the chance to learn and grow in a new way.
In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins and Daniel Im are joined by Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. During their conversation, they discuss the following questions:
Have you ever left a church as an attender and why?
What are the reasons church leaders think people leave their church?
What does the research actually say?
What’s the most surprising thing you discovered in the research?
What do churchgoers want in their churches?
“I assume people come or go from your church because of either preaching, worship, or kids.”
“In this economy, there are so many things that are subscription based. If I’m merely ‘subscribing’ to a church instead of becoming a part of the body, there are multiple opportunities for me to opt out.”
“Only 57% of churchgoers would describe themselves as completely committed to continuing to attend their current church.”
“By the time you find out someone is considering leaving your church, they are actively looking and pretty much gone. You can’t assume you will know ahead of time someone is on the brink of leaving.”
“Stepping away from leadership means ‘I’m starting to look’ in a lot of cases.”
“The number one reason people gave that they would leave their church is doctrine.”
“When we asked people what they would like more of from their current church, there are things on that list that include serving, which implied that people want to serve more.”
“In total, 1 out of 4 churchgoers indicated that they want their church to improve. Either saying ‘give me help in finding new ways I can serve’ or ‘give me more chances to serve.’”
“If we are listening a little more to the talents and gifts people are bringing to the church, we can be creating roles within the church for them to help them fit.”
“They are not looking for another job, they already have one of those. They are looking for something more missional.”
“The second highest reason for switching churches as an adult was that you did not feel engaged or involved in meaningful work at the church.”
90 Second Leadership - Three Types of Ministry Transitions (Todd Adkins) - YouTube
Today I want to talk to you about three types of transitions in your church. Volunteers and leaders come and go in churches all the time. That’s why it’s important to develop people throughout your leadership pipeline because these types of transitions happen at every level. Let’s take a look.
Temporary transitions occur when someone steps out of a role for a defined timeline. This transition probably occurs most often in your church. Some examples include maternity or medical leave, caring for an ailing family member, and even special assignments or strategic initiatives. In a temporary transition, you focus on covering the responsibilities for the role during the person’s leave of absence, not replacing them.
Departure-defined transitions occur when someone plans to leave a position within a set timeline. Some examples include retirement and job transitions as well as roles that have set terms like Sunday School teachers who commit for or a year. Because of the set timeline, most churches navigate these transitions well. The best scenario is when there is a full leadership pipeline in place that provides a strong bench of leaders for succession at every level.
Unexpected, or emergency, transitions occur when someone vacates their position, well, unexpectedly. We often consider this type the “if so-and-so gets hit by a bus” plan. The unlikelihood of tragedies makes it easy to dismiss this transition, but we should have plans in place to cover the unexpected departure of any leader or volunteer and for whatever reason. Whether it’s a two-hour or two weeks notice, it’s still urgent to replace that leader in short order. People get new jobs, face medical emergencies, or just up and quit! This is why leadership development at all pipeline levels is crucial. We must be ready for emergencies when they arise.
Now that you understand these three types of ministry transitions and the importance of development in your leadership pipeline, what are you going to do about it?
William Wallace, Melinda Gates, Hitler, Elvis Presley, Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Bono, and Jeff Bezos.
What’s your off-the-cuff reaction when you hear those names? Do you think of similarities or differences? If you could group them together with one word, which one would you use?
Would the word “leader” come to mind?
Now you may or may not agree on how effective each one of those individuals were (or are) as leaders, but it’s clear that when they acted, people followed. They led and history is different because of it.
While William Wallace led with passion to secure Scottish freedom from the English, Melinda Gates has led with compassion to give away more money than most people can even begin to fathom. While Hitler led the Germans with an authoritarian grip, Elvis Presley led with his charisma and rolling tunes.
Haven’t you ever noticed that as quickly as you can name leaders, you are able to name different attributes that make each of them uniquely effective? This is because there is no silver bullet to leadership. There is no common set of characteristics that—when put together—produce the end result of a leader.
In fact, just consider the weight of these words from Donald Clifton, the father of Strengths-Based Psychology, the grandfather of Positive Psychology, and the creator of the StrengthsFinder assessment. He was asked, just a few months before his death in 2003, what his greatest discovery was from three decades of leadership research. Here was his response,
A leader needs to know his strengths as a carpenter knows his tools, or as a physician knows the instruments at her disposal. What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths—and can call on the right strength at the right time. This explains why there is no definitive list of characteristics that describes all leaders. 
Is every pew sitter a leader?
I guess that depends on your definition of a leader. If you agree with the often-quoted phrase, which I believe is originally attributed to John Maxwell, that “leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less,” then yes. Every pew sitter is a leader.
That stay-at-home mom is a leader because she is influencing her children
That auto-mechanic is a leader because he is influencing the customers he encounters
That single dad is a leader because he is influencing those at work and his children at home
And that 85-year-old retired marine is a leader because he can influence the next generation by discipling them and displaying what a life well lived looks like
When you realize that everyone in your congregation is a leader in their everyday life, it’s not a big leap to also see them as potential leaders in your church. In fact, I would even advocate that seeing them as potential leaders is incredibly biblical and the very first step to live out Ephesians 4:11-16, so that you can equip them for the work of ministry that God has set apart for them to do.
Your role is not to lead and do everything.
Instead, it’s to equip others so that they can lead and do the work of ministry, so that the body of Christ can be built up, so that the church can reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, so that we can grow into maturity, and so that we can go and make disciples of all nations because the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few (Eph 4:11-16; Matt 28:18-20; Matt 9:37-38).
Why isn’t the next step a spiritual gift assessment?
At this point, many church leaders often turn to a spiritual gift assessment so that they can help their congregation figure out how they’re gifted and where they should serve. And to that, I say no! Don’t do it.
I’m not saying no to spiritual gifts, and I’m not saying no to assessments. What I am saying no to is a spiritual gift assessment being the very first step to equip your congregation to lead and serve.
After all, let’s say you complete a spiritual gift assessment and your top three gifts are administration, discernment, and mercy. What in the world are you supposed to do with that? Does your awareness of having these spiritual gifts move you one step closer to serving? To know where to serve, in what capacity to serve, and how to serve effectively? Likely not.
While identifying your spiritual gifts is a beneficial exercise, there isn’t always a direct link from identification to getting plugged into the right ministry area.
So instead of starting with a spiritual gift assessment, what if you started with passion? What if you started by helping your congregants identify which ministry area excited them the most? After placing them in that ministry, you could then match them up with a role where their gifts and talents could be utilized and invested for kingdom work.
Do you see how I’m not ignoring their gifting and talents? But instead reprioritizing the order in which we approach them?
In today’s freelance economy (or gig economy) where our congregants are likely juggling more than one job, in addition to managing extra-curricular activities for children, and fighting traffic like never before, people aren’t going to serve in your church in a long-term role simply because they know their gifts (here’s an easter egg: this is the topic of my next book).
To serve, they need to have a deep conviction for the “why.”
Why does your ministry matter? What difference will they make as a result of serving in your ministry? Why is this more important than Netflix, sports, and other activities that they could be doing?
Uncovering the “why” that drives the heart and soul of your people always begins by uncovering and identifying their area of passion. And there’s no quick way to get there. There’s no silver bullet. You need to simply sit down and listen. So what processes do you have in place to do that? To listen?
 Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow (New York: Gallup Press), 13
Daniel Im is Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources.
“If you want to work with widgets, go work in a factory. If you want to work with people, you’re going to have to learn how to love them and lead them and work with them.” I heard these words as a twenty-three year old learning to manage my first employee. These words impacted me and helped me learn people’s crucial importance to leadership.
The truth is, we need to be more impacted by people. Our leadership is neither about us or for us but about other people. Since it is about people, it requires collaboration. Ultimately, this collaborative leadership is sacred work because we are exerting our influence in the lives of others.
The more leadership influence we have, the more interdependent we must become. The more we must recognize the beauty and value of working together. However, people are hard. Collaboration is messy. Conflict is a reality.
What do we do? How do we value, care for, and inspire those we lead while addressing challenges and leading effectively?
First, we must be humble. Being a leader championing for collaboration starts within ourselves. It begins with our character. Our motivation for collaboration must not be from selfish ambition but from valuing others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3). It means a paradigm shift from “me” to “we.”
Second, we must honor those with whom we serve. A collaborative outlook views leadership as not concerned with personal success but with honoring others through making a way for those around us. It is about drawing out the giftings of others and pairing those giftings with our organizational mission to see people come alive. Honoring people by developing their giftings ultimately honors Christ.
Here are three keys to collaboration:
Leaders are often in their positions because they get things done, but this orientation toward tasks and tactics can make us neglect heart and humanness. We work with people; it’s what we do. Although we move the mission forward, we have to think of people and relationships first because it’s relationships that can reciprocally fuel movement.
If, as John Maxwell states, “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” then it can be asserted that “Leadership rises or falls on communication.” We can build collaboration on our teams by slowing down long enough to ask: Who needs to know? What do they need to know? When do they need to know it? Taking time to see the people around us and answer honors them, helps the mission, and fosters collaboration.
We all must provide accountability for others and speak the truth in love, but this can be difficult. This vital key to collaboration begins with us modeling leadership by being accountable to the people around us. We can keep others accountable when we keep our word, take ownership, and are faithful, dependable, and responsible. Until we model accountability, we can’t expect accountability.
God sent His Son to us to redeem and restore. Now, He works with us through the Great Commission, and He has commissioned us to work with others. Collaboration, although difficult, allows us to accomplish the work God to which has called us for His glory and the good of others as we inspire people to be their best and strive to fulfil our ultimate mission together.
In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins is joined by Tyler Reagin, the President of Catalyst and author of The Life-Giving Leader. During their conversation, they discuss why self-awareness is important and knowing your own influence.
“What’s unique about us is we are not necessarily on the frontline serving kids in Haiti, but we are serving those who serve the kids in Haiti.”
“Learning myself, I realized that the one thing that he felt like was a void in my wiring and leadership capacity was actually what God wanted to use to move me into the position and now sitting in the seat I’m in.”
“As a boss, I want to make sure I am not putting people in a position where they are operating in learned behavior all the time, because they are going to be exhausted.”
“One of the biggest challenges in leadership is you have to find time to work on the business, not in it.”
“What are you doing with your influence?”
“If we are followers of Jesus, people are watching. How we manage that seat, no matter what seat it is, is bringing God glory, it’s trying to honor Him, it’s trying to love the people He has entrusted to us.”
“Everybody has a little bit of influence. You might have influence with literally one other person. How you steward that influence is going to dictate how much more influence you get outside that circle.”
“I will take the physical struggle of a red eye, of lack of sleep here and there, to make sure that my kids aren’t getting second-best and to make sure that Catalyst isn’t getting second-best.”
“I want us to figure out ways to make the sound God has uniquely made us to make.”
“As a leader, life can flow one of two ways: it can flow to you or it can flow from you.”
Today I want to talk to you about the volunteer engagement matrix and how to build an army of volunteers. Often, in the church we practice leadership placement over leadership development. When we do so, we play a dangerous game. We settle for warm bodies instead of weekly volunteers.
This quadrant reveals four types of people in your church and how to equip them to become weekly volunteers.
If someone isn’t bought in to your church’s mission and is rarely around, they’re just a warm body. They simply fill the gaps when absolutely necessary. Cast a compelling vision to this person so they understand the importance of what they’re doing. Infuse in them a passion for your church’s mission and how they can use their gifts and service to contribute to it.
If someone is bought in but rarely serves, they’re willy nilly. They may understand the mission and vision of your church, but they aren’t fully committed. Maybe it’s a case of “everyone does what is right in his own mind.” Maybe you haven’t made a clear ask or explained what and why this service is needed. Make a clear, strategic ask to help them commit to the role.
If someone serves often but isn’t bought in to your mission, they’re willing and able. These are the people who step up and fill the sandbags but don’t know that it’s to prevent a flooding disaster. Provide a clear and compelling vision for the why behind the what of their ongoing service and dedication.
If someone is both bought in and serves frequently, they’re weekly volunteer material. They understand the importance of your church’s mission and are committed to serving to help fulfill it. When someone is a weekly volunteer, it’s important that you equip them to multiply themselves in that role. Doing so, you will develop an army of volunteers in your church.
Now that you understand how to get someone from being a warm body to a weekly volunteer, what are you going to do about it?