Review the Action

After an event or launch or kickoff do you give yourself the opportunity for an after-action review?  This is a great way to learn from the experience and in turn build a foundation for improvement?

In the Army we called them AARs. (The Army has a penchant for acronyms.) In business we called them de-briefs.

This is a simple but effective process to ensure that you grow from your mistakes and embrace new opportunities.

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What can we do differently?

Another way of thinking about it is:

  • What happened?
  • Why it happened?
  • How can it be done better next time?

Great teams take the time to review.

Great Leaders Celebrate Others

Want to be a great leader? Then learn to celebrate others.

A recent trip gave me the opportunity to hangout with a great leader. Among other things, I notice this leader consistently celebrated those he led. He did this in several ways:

  • He celebrated every one on the team for something.
  • He celebrated the smallest wins and magnified them.
  • He celebrated the humility he noticed in other leaders.
  • He celebrated the family of all the leaders on the team for being part of the mission.
  • He celebrated everything God was doing by telling stories of people.

Lesson: Great leaders are humble and celebrate frequently.

Review of the Radio Segment: ’The Rise of Religious Marketing.’

I listened to a radio segment on WBEZ Chicago public radio the other day called ’The Rise of Religious Marketing.’

The host asked the question: What do churches need to do to get you back in the pew. The panel was a business professor of marketing, a Catholic theologian and two radio moderators.People called in and offered their insights.

Here are my take-aways from the segment:

* Churches need to be intentional in their branding and marketing efforts.

* The message remains the same but the medium changes.

* Our culture is cynical and distrustful of ‘religion’ and church marketers ought to just acknowledge it.

The biggest challenge according to the panel is reaching Millennials. Here are some specific points about them:

* Millennials are ‘spiritual’ but they like to do everything on their own. (The point being that the digital age has allowed people to spend more time alone.) Churches need to understand this.

* Millennials don’t like to be marketed to. They prefer authenticity and are sensitive to these issues.

* Millennials don’t see what churches can do for them; but nor do they see what they can do for the church.

* Story appeals to them and so marketing then become about inviting them into a story.

* Millennials want to get involved with what the church is doing. They are attracted to outreach and community action.

* Millenials use the web and check-out EVERYTHING on the web. Churches need to understand this and figure out how to present themselves honestly and authentically on their digital platforms.

All good insights for church planters to consider.

HERE IS THE LINK to the piece.

10 Minutes

You have 10 minutes.

  • You have 10 minutes to communicate you care I am here.
  • You have 10 minutes to make a great first impression.
  • You have 10 minutes to show me that what you do here matters.
  • You have 10 minutes to Wow me.
  • You have 10 minutes to convince me you want me here.

Ready–set, go!

That’s it. Most people have decided within the first 10 minutes of arriving at your gathering whether they are coming back.

We’ve all had experiences where we walked into a place and knew in less than 10 minutes we wouldn’t be back. Last week my family and I went out to eat for lunch at a local restaurant. We don’t it often so i was looking for a treat.

I realized with the first 10 minutes I had determined I wasn’t coming back—ever.

We were greeted by a young lady who didn’t quite seem to care we had arrived. Then we waited–longer than we were told. Once we got to our table we waited another 10 minutes to be greeted by our waiter.

It sucked.

The food wasn’t so bad. The place was clean and pleasant. But the service was terrible and that made all the difference.

I am assuming you care that people want to come back.

You have 10 minutes. That’s it.

10 minutes and people will have decided that they are coming back or not.

So what are you doing in that first 10 minutes so that I stick around?

Check out these posts…

Who are you Expecting
3 Questions Every Visitor is asking

Want to Make Disciples? Think Mission

I have a theory. Our discipleship challenge isn’t methodological–it’s missiological.

I have the privilege of speaking to church planters every day. I listen to how God has worked in their lives; how they’ve been obedient to the call to plant churches in their city or region. I listen to their plans, their dream and their hopes. Hearing all of this never fails to inspire me.

I also listen to them talk about their desire to make disciples. This is good news of course. We ought to be thinking about making disciples, especially if you’re planting a church.

Why? Jesus told us to do it.

Matthew 28 16-20: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

But it’s not long before these planters begin lamenting that their discipleship models aren’t working. They tell me that people aren’t growing nor responding…that people just aren’t getting it. People aren’t reproducing and they aren’t making more disciples. They get frustrated. Some quit.

So much of our disciple making conversation comes down to this…

  • What’s the right model?
  • Who’s doing it well?
  • Where can I get the best training?
  • What’s the best system for this?

These are great questions of course. Church planters have a bias toward action and God love them for it. They want to get in the game with a plan and make things happen.

But they aren’t the right questions.

This perceived ‘challenge of discipleship’ isn’t really a challenge at all. Our discipleship challenge isn’t methodological–it’s missiological. I am convinced the best (and only ‘method’) for creating disciples is to help people find their mission and then give them permission and encouragement to do it.

Want to create disciples in your church, plant more churches. Seriously.

Discipleship happens in the context of mission. If you’re not giving people a mission (and I mean a real mission) then don’t expect them to grow as disciples. And you had better not even think about having them make more disciples.

The best way to make disciples is to help people find their mission.