Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Should Your Church Be Listening to The Profit or The Prophets?

DISCLAIMER: I have what is likely an unhealthy and irrational dislike for the idea that "churches are businesses." I've heard all the arguments (they have buildings, pay staff, take out loans, etc...) and I find them terribly un-compelling (not really a word, I know). While some elements of church-life may resemble business life, that does not mean churches are businesses. Business exists to accumlate wealth (only ineffective businesses disagree with this). The church exists to give itself away. The two ideas are mutually exclusive.

That being said, I think church leaders have much they can learn from business leaders. I have learned an immense amount from friends who are extremely successful in their businesses. However, I would never try to "run a church" the way they run their businesses. Successful leadership is the ability to learn from others without copying everything they do.

Shark Tank and The Profit are two business-oriented television shows have recently become extremely popular. I love both shows because they provide insight into the human condition. I also love them because they provide an opportunity to watch wisdom (and often folly) in action. There is much to learn from these types of presentations.

Marcus Lemonis (@MarcusLemonis) is The Profit. He is a self-made millionaire who invests in businesses to enable them to turn around. On every episode of his show he relies on his three fundamental principles to empower his partner's success. He demands they focus on PEOPLE, PROCESS and PRODUCT.

The Three P's Of Church Success

For a while, I'd watch The Profit and think about how I might apply it to church leadership. I wrestled with what the three P's of church life were.
  • Who were our people? Were they the people in the seats on Sunday? Are they our staff? Are they the people of our community who we are trying to reach?
  • What is our process? Is it how we connect people to small groups? Is it the "assimilation" process we use to move people from their first visit to being a committed member? Is it how we communicate or how we budget? Is it the way we challenge people to become faithful givers?
  • What is our product? Is it our Sunday morning service? Is it the Gospel? Is it our small groups? Is it the offering?
I found myself unable to create a reasonable application of Marcus' principles to the church.

Then it hit me. The church is not a business. Church success is not measured like business success.

So I began to think about what three principles I might use to pursue church success. If I could alliterate them, it would be even better. Here's where I settled. Church success is somewhat about the three M's.

The Three M's Of Church Success

Our Message
Everything must begin with our message, which is really quite simple. "The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world."

Our Ministries
"Ministry" is a churchy word which refers to the "stuff we do." Our ministries ought to reflect our message. Because the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world, what are we doing? How are we interacting with the Father? How are we reflecting the Son? How are we revealing salvation to the world. I fear that the ministries of many churches become overly complicated and complex because the church's have not maintained their focus on the simplicity of our message.

Our Members
My church doesn't have an official "membership." Yet we still call people to be committed to our local body of Christ. Ultimately, a church must have some understanding of what they are doing with the people God has entrusted to them. How are they forming them? How are they caring for them? How are they releasing them into the world for mission?

This is obviously not comprehensive. It's kind of a jumping-off series of thoughts. I'd be interested to hear what others think about this... Feel free to comment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Weather Devotionals: It's Cold Outside

Today it is cold.

But not as cold as it was this winter.

There is snow in the air.

But not as much as there was this winter.

No matter how bad today is...

It could always be worse.

It will get warm again.

You can be forgiven.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weather Devotionals: The Sun is Shining Again

Today we are thankful for the sun after days of constant rain.

We are reminded that the storms of life always end.
They are replaced by the bright light of a new day spent in the Son.

Though we may be drenched and cold from the trials of life, 
We will be warmed and comforted by the love of our Savior.

Monday, April 20, 2015

You Cannot Blaze The Future While You're Obsessed With Preserving The Past

I find it intriguing...

Christians come in all different sizes, shapes, models, etc... We are from different places, we have different backgrounds, we vote differently, we dress differently, we eat differently.

The one thing that unites us is that we are a people who are not defined by our past, but rather by our future.

Thus, I find it intriguing...

So many churches are far more concerned with preserving their past than they are with blazing their future.

Perhaps this is why they lack unity? When you minimize the one thing that should hold you together, you are bound to come apart.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weather Devotionals: Thankful For The Rain

Thank you for the rain.

Just as your falling showers soften the hardened earth 
so your falling Spirit's conviction softens our calloused heart.

Just as your falling showers quench thirst and enable growth
so your falling Spirit's guidance refreshes us and makes us more like you.

Thank you for the rain.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

10 Reasons Easter Is More Than Just A Chance to Eat Peeps

Easter is right around the corner. Egg hunts are everywhere. New outfits are flying off the rack at JC Penney. We all remember how good Peeps taste and how bad they are for us. It's a good time of year.

Easter, though, has more significance than eggs, clothes and sugar animals. Because of Jesus' resurrection, our lives don't have to remain the same. We can plug into His power and embrace the new life He offers. Consider these 10 reasons Easter should matter to you:

  1. Jesus' resurrection means He is the champion of new life.

  2. Jesus' resurrection means a power exists which is stronger than death.

  3. Death need not be feared, because it is not the end.

  4. If death is not the end, than there is more to life than just this life.

  5. Eternity matters.

  6. Jesus' resurrection means we can leave our past in the grave and embrace a bright future.

  7. Jesus' resurrection means that today's defeat doesn't have to destroy tomorrow's victory.

  8. Jesus' resurrection means this thing in your life is not the end of the story.

  9. Jesus' resurrection means we never need to despair.

  10. Jesus' resurrection means we always have hope.