Fruitful Leadership

Photo May 09, 5 34 31 PM

The gym where I walk most days has several motivational type sayings painted on one of the walls. “Today’s actions are tomorrow’s results,” is the one I like the most. It reminds me that the investment of eating right and exercising today will pay off in a healthier body in the future.

In a world where instant gratification has become the norm, as leaders, we need to remember that the most important results will usually come from small investments over time.

What does success look like in your ministry? This can be a challenging question for many pastors and ministry leaders. The word “success” has a lot of baggage associated with it. Too often we think about the business world where success is usually related to profits, customer satisfaction, stock price, or other money related terms. In the church world we are often so focused on not being a business, that we lose sight of results altogether. That too can be dangerous.

If you don’t like the word “success,” then change it to “fruit.” What would cause you to feel your ministry has been fruitful this year? This should lead us to set SMARTER Goals. [see my earlier post] Another way to think about this same concept is to imagine where you would like your ministry to be at the end of the year, or at some other date in the future.

  • Pick an area of your ministry which you have been measuring, or one that you will be able to measure starting now.

This can be another challenge for many leaders in ministry. Some people don’t even like the mention of measuring things associated with the church. I would like to remind you that there are many examples of measuring things throughout the Bible. We know how many people Jesus fed, we know how many were saved on Pentecost , we even know the number of fish Simon Peter dragged ashore so the disciples could have breakfast with the risen Christ. (see John 21:11) Counting things, or measuring results, are not bad. As long as we are counting what counts to God.

Another challenge in the church world is that some of the most important things do not have a clear way for us to measure them. For example, a church may want to focus on growing disciples. A great goal, but how would you measure that? Great question! This is where we need to find some indicator we can measure and come to peace using it and realizing there may not be any way to “prove” we have been fruitful. Using the example above of growing disciples, I might suggest the church use something like the percentage of the congregation serving, or in a Christian community group (Sunday school, small group, Celebrate Recovery, Women’s or Men’s ministry, etc.), or financial giving. Would any of those be “proof” the church was growing disciples. No. But they could certainly be a great indicator.

Once you have an area of focus to measure, the next step is to identify a way to impact that measurement each week. This is usually much more challenging than just coming up with a goal or area of focus. In the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, author Sean Covey talks about the difference between “lag” and “lead” measures.

  • Lag = measures the goal
  • Lead = is predictive (measures something that leads to the goal), and is influenceable (something we can influence)

Here is an example most of us can relate to – losing weight. Let’s say we set a goal to lose 20 pounds. When we step on the scale that is a lag measurement. It is important because it is how we measure our goal, or progress toward our goal. But it is only measuring the results. We also need to identify one or two lead measurements. In this example, we might measure our calorie intake and our steps each day. By staying under a certain number of calories and taking the right number of steps, we will eventually see the results we want and achieve our goal.

Now is your opportunity to make this discussion real.

  • What is a real goal you want to set for yourself or your ministry?
  • What is the measurement for that goal?
  • What are the one or two lead measures you will use to ensure will achieve this goal?

The mission Christ gave us is too important for us to just hope we drift into a more fruitful ministry. As leaders in the church it is our responsibility to take an active role in this process. Yes, it is challenging. But remember, God is with us!

Here are a few suggested next steps:

  1. Read the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Sean Covey.
  2. Work with a professional coach who can provide encouragement, resources, and accountability.
  3. Schedule a special session with your team to identify a Wildly Important Goal and the appropriate lag and lead measurements.

Check out my church leadership online webinars at:

Ken Willard, PCC

Author | Professional Certified Coach |

Succession Planning


On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr in Washington D.C. Vice President George H. W. Bush was in Texas at the time. During the chaos which ensued at the White House, Reagan’s Secretary of State, Al Haig, went on TV to try and calm the country. However, he committed a serious PR faux pas by saying, “I, Al Haig, am in control here at the White House.” While Haig was just trying to calm a worried country, some people thought he was either ignorant of, or trying to go around the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which already established a succession to the Presidency in case of death.

What has been your experience with succession planning? Chances are, you have not thought much about it in the course of your day-to-day leadership. We are going to look at two sides to succession planning, and my hope is that you will find value in this discussion. . . no matter what the size or type of church or organization you find yourself.

First, let’s look at a definition of the term from Wikipedia:

  • Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die. Succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume these roles as they become available.

The first type of succession planning we are going to look at is based on the definition above from Wikipedia. We are going to expand it to include not just leaders in the church, but everyone who performs anything you consider an essential role or position. (paid staff, un-paid ministry leaders, other key leaders, other vital roles, etc.) Try to make this as real as possible, by actually writing down the names of everyone on your staff, team, or area of responsibility.

There are several factors to consider when thinking about succession planning. Census data shows over three million people turn 66 each year in our country. And this number is growing each year as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age. The days of people working for one company their whole life is likely a thing of the past. In fact, some research shows that people in the U.S. tend to stay with a single employer for just over four years. And then there is the popular, “hit by a bus” part of the equation. (Not sure why it is always a bus.)

No matter how you slice it, chances are good that if you have a team of six or more people, at least one of them will need to be replaced in the next 12 months. You have two choices, you can choose to ignore that until it actually happens. This is the most popular route for too many leaders. We wait until someone turns in their two-week notice, and then start scrambling to replace them. Or, you can invest some time now in preparation and planning.

Here is what this first level of succession planning might look like in a typical church:

  1. List out all of the people in the team who are in a position of leadership, or are performing some type of essential role in your area of responsibility.
  2. Identify their potential back-up. Who has the potential to step into each person’s role?
  3. What training and/or other type of preparation will each back-up person require in order to be successful in their new role?
  4. Where do you have gaps? In other words, where is there no logical back-up person for a key position?
  5. What action needs to take place in order to fill all of our gaps?

As stated before, this is really just one side of the succession planning process. However, just completing the steps listed above will put you in a small group of leaders who are not waiting for situations to happen to them, but are preparing now to get ahead of the inevitable. So congratulations to you if you are willing to complete those five important steps!

The other side of a successful succession planning process is missed by most churches and organizations. This is where we look at the people side, and not focus solely on the positions. Remember that listing of your team you wrote out before? Now look at each name. Try to set aside for the time being your need to fill positions or the needs of the church, and focus just on each person. What are their strengths? What are their gifts? What potential do they have beyond their current position? What are their wants and desires in relationship to their career? This side of succession planning can and should connect with the other side, but it is too often left out of the equation. Schedule time, outside of any performance review conversation, to sit down with each person on your team to better understand where they see themselves going in their career path. This investment of time and energy will pay off with huge dividends in the total succession planning process.

While you and your church or organization will never need to have anything as formal as our 25th Amendment in place to deal with succession planning, smart leaders are proactive in preparing for open positions AND growing those on their team.

Here are a few suggested next steps:

  1. Schedule an off-site retreat with your leadership team to put together a succession plan for your organization. Working with an outside facilitator will free you up to be more involved in the process.
  2. Read the book, Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller.
  3. Work with a professional coach who can provide encouragement, resources, and accountability.

Contact me if you are interested in learning more or want me to work with you and your team.

Check out my church leadership online webinars at:


First-Time Guests


As I’m writing this, we are just days away from Easter. As exciting as that news is for us as Christians, it also means we are heading into one of the busiest times of the year for our churches. The three highest attended weekends for most churches are Easter, Christmas, and Mother’s Day. Chances are very good your church will see a substantial increase in both attendance, and first-time guests those weekends.

While some people/families who come to your church for the first time during those seasons are of course “church” people who only attend a few times a year – somewhere in the mix will be people who are “unchurched” (do not have a home church, may not have been in church for many years…if ever)

After dozens of church consultations, hundreds of mystery guest visits (reports from Faith Perceptions), and reading many books and articles, here are my top ten recommendations/reminders:

  1. Walk outside the church and look at the building from where you expect most new people will park. If you had never been to your church before, could you tell where to enter? New guests need good directional signing.
  2. Where possible, ask your greeters to stand outside and open the doors for everyone. If that is not possible, please open the doors before someone reaches them. Be sure your greeters are not engaged in their own conversations when people are arriving.
  3. Take a good look at the nursery and children’s ministry areas. Are they clean and organized? Have someone remove anything being stored in those rooms. (upright pianos, chairs, etc.)
  4. How long is your “meet & greet” time? This is a very uncomfortable time for many unchurched first-time guests. If it is normally more than two minutes, consider cutting it back at least for this weekend. (see 10 Reasons Guests Don’t Return to Your Church by Thom S. Rainer)
  5. Be sure to welcome everyone, but offer a special welcome to anyone who may be attending for the first time. [Please don’t ask them to raise their hands, or stand and introduce themselves. Yes, those are still happening in some churches.]
  6. Ask everyone to fill out a connections card, pew pad, etc….First-time guests will typically follow the people around them. If no one else fills it out, they will not either. Best Practice: “If this is your first time here, welcome! We want you to know that a $10 donation will be made in your honor to Nothing-But-Nets for every first-time card we receive. That ten dollars will buy a mosquito net which may save a child’s life.”
  7. Review your worship service and bulletin for anything which might be “insider” language. Would someone who has never been to any church before understand what you are doing and saying in worship? Remember, it is not about changing what we do as much as it is welcoming people to join us. For example, many churches really love their times of call-and-response. (The pastor says something, and the congregation responds.) Believe it or not, these are different in every church. So even “church” people can feel lost. Unchurched people tend to feel not included.
  8. What is your plan for following up on first-time guests who leave their information? The 24-48 hours after their visit is critical. If you receive a phone number, that is always the best way to reach out to a new guest. A short call from the pastor, or trained connections person, during a time you expect to reach them. “Hi Kay, this is pastor Mike at First United Methodist Church. I see where you visited our church for the first time this weekend. I just wanted to call and say ‘thanks!’ We would love to have you come back and see us again. In fact, next weekend I’m starting a series on bible myths. Is there anything I can answer for you at this point? – Less than a minute total. (unless they initiate a conversation)
    • If you don’t get a phone number, then an email the next day is good too. If you only receive an address, then a postcard/letter should be the last option.
  9. The time right after the service ends is very important for first-time guests. Church people tend to either run for the doors, or gather with people they already know. Recruit a few people to watch for new faces and be sure they are made to feel welcome.
  10. First-time guests with children often run late. Be sure there are still greeters in place, space available in the nursery and children’s ministry rooms, and seats in the back on the aisle.

There are of course many more, but ten seems to be a good place to stop.

I recently read the book, Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom S. Rainer. It is very good and I would recommend it to everyone – especially those in charge of the hospitality ministry. It is a quick read, but has many great points.

God is calling us to reach the lost ONE.

Let’s be sure they feel welcome when they come to our churches.

Check out my church leadership online webinars at:


Mind the Gap


The term “mind the gap” is a visual or audible warning to subway passengers to be careful while crossing the spatial gap between the station platform and the train door. The origin of the phrase is typically attributed to being introduced in 1969 on the London Underground in the United Kingdom.

This is a great reminder for leaders everywhere. We too must mind the gap. While there are many different gaps we need to be aware of as leaders in our organization, let’s focus today on just three main areas: communication, values, and goals. Let’s look first at communication.




As leaders, we are constantly communicating. In fact, if we are honest, it can sometimes feel like we are communicating the same things over and over again. We must be very cautious when we begin to feel this way. People tend to fill any real or perceived gaps in communication with their own stories. That can be very dangerous to any team or organization.

Here is an analogy which might help. Imagine a marathon race with a field of runners so large that the start must be staggered. In other words, a group of runners start, then after a few seconds another group of runners start, and so on. The runners are not racing as much against each other as they are the clock. If the field was large enough, it might be possible that the last group of runners were just starting as the first group was finishing. How might the last group feel watching the first runners cross the finish line? Challenged? Defeated? Encouraged? As leaders we are often way out in front of our team. We are the ones creating the strategy, making the plans, determining the course for our organization. We need to ensure the communication is clear and consistent to everyone. Chances are good that when we are getting tired of talking about something, there are those on our team who are just hearing it for the first time.

Now let’s look at values. What are the values of your organization? (As long as you’re looking, go ahead and find your mission and vision too.) Every organization has values. You may or may not have taken the time to identify them, but they are there nonetheless. Values are what guide your decisions, plans, and how you treat people both internal and external throughout your organization. Think of them like the banks of a large river, determining the course and speed.

If your organization has identified your values, take an honest look at them and see if they are real or aspirational. If people within and outside your organization were asked to list the values which come to mind when they think of your organization, would their list match yours? Remember Enron? Guess what, their values were: communication, respect, and integrity! What a gap between what they said were their values and their actions and behaviors. Your gap is certainly not that big. However, there very well may be a gap in your stated values and your actions and behaviors. As a leader, you must own this gap. It is not too late. Start today. Communicate your values again throughout your organization, and intentionally work on living into those values.

The final area we are going to look at for closing gaps is goals. Does your organization have goals for this year? How about you, do you have personal goals for the year? If you have one or both, take them out now. Too many leaders and organizations create goals, and then file them away and forget about them until the end of the year. This behavior creates a gap in importance. Creating goals but then forgetting about them sends the message that this is just an activity to complete, not a priority we feel will make any difference in ourselves or our organization. Again, it is not too late. Establish a habit now of reviewing goals at least monthly. Put it on your calendar. Share it with someone who can hold you accountable. Consider working with a coach who might help you with this habit.

The other gap in many goals is the “why.” If you are familiar with SMART goals, this is the “S” – Specific. Why are you setting this goal? In my work with both individual leaders and organizations, this is the component missing most often. I would also share that it is my belief that this is the single most important component to ensure the success of a goal. Two things tend to lead to this gap. First, the reason why the goal is being set seems to be so obvious there is no reason to state it on paper. When organizations create a gap by leaving the “why” out of their goals, everyone tends to fill that gap with their own “why.” At best, this creates confusion. At worst, this creates conflict. The second thing which tends to lead to this gap is too much focus on the “M” or measurement component. As important as the measurement component might be, it should never be the main focus of a goal. When the “why” piece is missing in a goal, the measurement component tends to become the whole goal. And those types of goals are rarely accomplished.

Here are a few suggested next steps:

  • Have an honest conversation with your team about communication. Be sure to include peers, supervisors, and those who report to you. Assess where you are, then make plans to improve. Try to listen without getting defensive.
  • Read, Time Management for the Christian Leader to learn more about setting SMARTER goals for yourself and your church. You can find it on Amazon
  • Check out my blog on SMARTER goals here
  • Work with a coach who can be a partner with you on the journey to close the gaps!

Check out my church leadership online webinars at:



Accountability is NOT a Bad Word


What comes to mind when you hear the word “accountability?”

For most people in our culture today, the word immediately brings to mind some form of punitive action. Too often, accountability shows up when something goes wrong and people are looking to lay blame. The finger pointing begins. “Sales are down this quarter. Someone is going to be held accountable!”

In the book, Winning with Accountability, Henry J. Evans says,

“Accountability should not be defined as a punitive response to something going wrong. Accountability means preventing something from going wrong.”

Achieving our organization’s mission and vision begins with accountability.

  • Mission-focused organizations front-load accountability into all of their strategies.
  • Leaders must establish a culture of accountability where it will be anticipated and expected.
  • Accountability is about achieving our goals and not fear or stress.

Hypocrisy exists in the space between language and action.

What happens when an organization or a leader says one thing, but their actions say something else? Employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, and everyone else will soon stop trusting them and assume their words are of little value. Have you heard or thought any of these types of quotes about a company?

  • “My company says they value new ideas, but we keep doing things the old way.”
  • “The sign in the window indicated the business was accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but I feel like I was ripped off.”
  • “The company leaders say they value diversity, but everyone in charge looks alike.”

In accountable cultures everyone holds each other accountable for their commitments in a positive and productive manner.

Accountability is born with two or more people know about a commitment.

The key first step for accountability is clearly communicating our expectations to those who are responsible. As leaders, this would include not just those who report directly to us, but also those who we may be influencing throughout our leadership circle. One tool which can help ensure you have clearly communicated your expectations to others is a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Specific – Have I described and provided a visual of the behaviors and deadlines required for this task? Do they know what “success” will look like? Do they understand the “why” we are doing this? ***This is by far the most important element of any S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Measurable – Can my request be measured? Does it have a clearly defined completion point? When it’s all said and done, can you actually measure if the goal was achieved?

Actionable – Will this drive people to actually “do” something or maybe change a behavior?

Results-Oriented – Will this request move us closer to our vision? We don’t need more tasks that just create work . . . we need to see tangible results.

Time-Based – Will those who are involved clearly see and hear completion dates and/or clear milestone dates? Can we write this request on a calendar and break it down into smaller steps?

While positive accountability may not be easy, it can be SIMPLE.

  • Set Expectations – never assume, be clear and focused. SMART goals are a great tool.
  • Invite Commitment – Just because someone knows what to do, doesn’t mean they will do it. Explain how the goal will benefit them and the organization. Connect what they want to what the company needs to achieve.
  • Measure Progress – Reward completion . . . but recognize steps along the way. Periodically let people know how they are doing. Ask what they need—what is getting in the way? Remove obstacles. Good goals are always measurable.
  • Provide Feedback – Honestly share how you feel. Be clear, don’t make them guess. Feedback is a gift, be sincere. Intent is more important than technique.
  • Link to Consequences – What will happen if they are successful? What will happen if they are not? Not about punishments, focus on the mission and vision.
  • Evaluate Effectiveness – Focus on the results, not the effort. What worked and what did not? What should have been done? What did they learn? Be systematic and consistent.

Take a look at your own organization and especially your personal leadership style. How would you describe the current accountability culture? Positive or punitive? No matter where you are today, it is never too late to take steps toward a more positive accountability culture. But it will not happen by accident or by wishing. Make some plans now to take one small step in the direction of positive accountability. Your team and your whole organization will be benefit from your efforts.

Here are a few suggested resources:

  • Winning with Accountability by Henry J. Evans
  • Time Management for the Christian Leader by Ken Willard
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • Leadership 101: What Every Leader Need to Know by John C. Maxwell
  • Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen R. Covey

Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Leadership seminar on accountability, setting SMART goals, or several other leadership topics.

Check out my church leadership online webinars at:



Leaders Grow Leaders

three small tree isolated on white

Organizations of all types are hungry for leaders. We are at an interesting point in time when a very large generation of leaders, Baby Boomers, are starting to retire or at least step back from leadership positions they have held for years. Another very large generation of leaders, Millennials, are just starting to move into key leadership positions. This transition of leaders can be challenging for many organizations. How about you? What is your plan to grow, develop, and prepare leaders in your organization?

Leaders tend to learn best from other leaders. This is one reason your current leaders are the best resource your organization has to identify and grow your future leaders. Are you familiar with the term, succession planning? In many cases, leaders and organizations only view succession planning as reactive. A key person has left, or is leaving soon, and the company needs a plan to replace them. Succession planning can and should be more proactive. Leaders and the company working together to grow and develop the next leaders. Effective succession planning involves four strategies of development:

  1. Identifying potential leaders. There are many great tools to help with this process. The key is to have a pool larger than your anticipated needs.
  2. Equipping them to develop their leadership skills. This involves having an intentional plan, personalized to each leader.
  3. Mentoring them to be effective. Partnering up each potential leader with a current leader who can walk with them as they grow and develop.
  4. Empowering them to use their leadership skills. Research shows that the single biggest way to grow a leader is to give them a project they can lead.

So what do you look for in potential leaders? When hiring and promoting leaders, many times we focus too much on a person’s experience, education, and technical skills. Those are important, but should only be the baseline and not the only areas we look for in our potential leaders. Here are a few other areas I would strongly suggest we look for in new leaders:

  • Character – evidence of honesty, teachability, humility, reliability, a healthy work ethic, willingness to serve others.
  • Competence – ability to do the job, experience, education, talents, and skills.
  • Chemistry – the ability to fit into the culture and work with teams of other people.
  • Conviction – passionate about the mission, vision, and values of the organization.
  • Commitment – devoted to growing as a leader. Willing to work on their own growth and development.
  • Courage – willing to take a chance, push the envelope, and challenge the status quo.

Remember, there are some things you can teach . . . and some you cannot.

We can teach someone how to use Microsoft Office products, or how to fill out an expense report, or most of the other technical aspects of a leadership job. However, teaching the six “C” areas listed above are very unlikely. We can encourage them. We can add fuel to the fire if they are already in place in a person. But teaching them to a person is a whole different story.

Let’s look now at a few ways to equip leaders once you have identified them. First, determine the key competencies leaders in your organization need in order to be successful. (e.g. decision making, interpersonal skills, time management, emotional intelligence, conflict management, communication skills, problem solving, accountability, etc.) As you work with each individual leader, identify a competency where they are strong and one they need to develop. Have them put together a plan for each.

Another way to equip leaders is to invest in them. Leaders are readers. There are many great leadership books. Buy them a new book each month and ask them to share what they are learning with others. Here are a few of my favorite books for new leaders:

  • Good to Great by James Collins;
  • Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell;
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham;
  • Leadership and the One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard;
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell; and
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

Send them to a leadership training event. Hire a leadership coach to work with them. It is less important how you are investing in each leader. What is important is for you to invest in their leadership development.

One of the wonderful aspects of today’s world is that great leadership development is available to all organizations. No matter what your size or budget. One of the greatest challenges for leadership development today is the pace of our lives at work and everywhere. We are often going so fast there is no time available to develop and grow ourselves, much less new leaders. That is the paradox of leadership development. It is not too late. Grow the leaders in your organization, including yourself, today so that you will be prepared for tomorrow.

Here are a few suggested next steps:

1) Put together a plan to grow yourself and the leaders around you.

2) Read the book Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller.

3) Work with a professional leadership coach who can provide encouragement, resources, and accountability.

  • I am an ICF certified coach, and would love to schedule a FREE first call to explore a coaching journey with you and answer any questions you might have about coaching.

4) Engage with a professional leadership trainer and facilitator to work with you and your team. [like me 🙂 ]

5) Attend a leadership event of some type.

6) Check out my church leadership online webinars at: 

Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Leadership seminar. Topics include:

  • Accountable Leadership
  • Growing New Leaders
  • Creating a Leadership Culture
  • Servant Leadership
  • Time Management for the Christian Leader
  • Setting Goals
  • Basic Coaching Skills
  • Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Strategic Ministry Planning


Leaders Step INTO the Fire


firefighter-24First responders are amazing people. These men and women run toward dangerous situations, while the rest of us run away. Yes, that is part of their training. However, I also believe that these courageous individuals are wired different from other people. Studies have found that when people are put in stressful or threatening situations, changes in the brain functioning occur. The more sophisticated frontal-lobe portion of the brain—which is responsible for planning, impulse control, problem solving, and organizing—shuts down. Most of the brain’s activity is registered in the amygdala, which is in a more primitive part of the brain. This triggers the “fight-or-flight” responses that are geared toward self-protection. The same type of changes in brain functions happen when a person gets angry, is insulted, or generally feels threatened. I’m sure we can all recall times where we were in environments that were not physically threatening, but a person or a situation was making us feel so uncomfortable we started having trouble thinking clearly or even communicating coherently.


“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” Laurence J. Peter

What does all this have to do with leading in the workplace? While most leaders are not dealing with life-threatening situations each day, we are often encountering conflict which causes stress and thus lowers productivity. In the wonderful book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, author Patrick Lencioni makes the case that constructive conflict can be beneficial in any organization. He defines constructive conflict as engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate about ideas. Too often, conflict in our places of work (and other places) is anything but constructive.

Recognizing the sources of conflict is fundamental to understanding and working through conflict. Some conflict situations are easily resolved, while others seem almost impossible. Often, the source of the conflict determines how easy it is to resolve the conflict. Here are the four main sources of conflict:

  1. Facts – People can see the same facts differently, or they can disagree on what the facts are in a situation. Conflicts over the facts are often the easiest conflicts to manage because they can be resolved by sharing information or getting reliable data.
  2. Methods – People can also disagree on how to do something. Since conflict over methods assumes a common goal, it can usually be resolved by problem solving.
  3. Goals – People can disagree over goals, where the disagreement is around what should be done. Collaboration—working together to come to an agreement on goals—can help solve these conflicts.
  4. Values – People can also disagree over values, or basic principles or beliefs. This is the most difficult kind of conflict to resolve because people identify strongly with their values. Values are deeply rooted and people resist changing them.

The sources of conflict become progressively more difficult to resolve as you move down the list from facts to values. Fortunately, knowing the source of conflict and verbalizing it can go a long way toward minimizing the conflict or resolving it altogether.

When we don’t know how to handle conflict, little troubles can become lethally toxic. People tend to display three types of toxic reactions: they brood (usually demonstrated by total withdrawal from the conversation; they blow-up (usually disproportional to the issue); they triangulate (telling their side to others to gain support), we triangulate because we lack trust in others or self-confidence in ourselves. None of these will resolve the conflict. The quickest resolution between two points of contention is always 1-to-1 conversation.  Over the years, we have all acquired preferences to how we deal with conflict. Influences likely include how we have seen other leaders deal with conflict, watching and copying other role models, even our experiences with conflict at home. There are generally five recognized ways to handle conflict:

  1. Avoid (I lose, you lose) – While leaders should not make a habit of avoiding conflict, there are times where it may be appropriate. When you are unprepared and/or when passions are too high to make the conversation productive. In these cases it might be best to deal with the conflict at another time.
  2. Accommodate (I lose, you win)This style might be appropriate with you value the relationship higher than the issue causing conflict. Be careful from using this style just to avoid conflict altogether. Leaders should be seen as cooperative, not weak.
  3. Compromise (We both win, we both lose) – True compromising involves honesty and reasonableness. This style will usually resolve the conflict quickly, but may be a challenge in the long run due to neither party feeling totally positive about the outcomes.
  4. Compete (I win, you lose) – Best used when the outcome is extremely important and the relationship is of little importance. Overused this style can have a very detrimental effect.
  5. Collaborate (I win, you win) – Both parties are trying to resolve a common problem to a mutually satisfying outcome. Each party starts by sharing information instead of concessions. Using this style takes time and an investment from both parties. While there is no “right” style, collaborating is generally seen as the most appropriate style.

In most cultures a “hero” is someone who runs into a dangerous situation without thinking about themselves. Much like the first responders mentioned earlier. A true leader is someone who steps into a conflict situation to resolve it instead of turning away. No leader will ever bat 1,000 when it comes to dealing with conflict. However, all of us can get a little better over time. Set the goal to grow your leadership skills this year. One great place to start is how you deal with conflict. Be a leader, step into the fire!

Here are a few suggested next steps to grow your conflict resolution skills:

1) Visit the HRD Press website ( and order Dealing with Conflict Instrument. This is a great tool for identifying your preferred style and learning more about the appropriate uses of each style.

2) Read the book Crucial Confrontations by Petterson and Grenny.

3) Work with a professional coach who can partner with you in a confidential and results focused process.

4) Engage with a professional trainer and facilitator to work with you and your team. Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Conflict Resolution Skills seminar.

5) Check out my church leadership online webinars at:


Feed Your Team


feedback2Leaders – Are you starving your team?

Team members of all ages and stages are hungry for one thing from their leaders, constructive feedback. Everyone values the praise, opinion, and even the criticism (when it is delivered effectively) of those who lead them. A study done by DDI (Development Dimensions International) in 2011 found that only 49% of employees believed that their managers gave them feedback most of the time or always. A Gallup survey in 2009 found that 25% of people felt “ignored” in their place of work. How about you and your team? When was the last time you gave each person on your team some constructive feedback on how they were doing? (Sorry, not counting any type of formal performance review.)

breakfast of champions

Before we get too far into this, let’s talk about what “constructive” really looks like when it comes to feedback. While it is true that some feedback is better than nothing, as leaders, we really need to provide our team with feedback that they can actually use. So when we say things like, “Good job” or maybe, “Nice work” or even, “Way to go!” Those may feel good to say and even to hear, but they are not specific enough for most people to do anything with them. That is one reason they are quickly forgotten. Think about it this way, if someone on your team did a great job on something and you want them to repeat that performance, the chances of them doing it again go way up when you can tell them specifically what they did well and why it matters.

STARYears ago as a DDI facilitator, I learned a very simple and effective acronym to ensure we are giving others feedback they can use. It is called “S.T.A.R.” and stands for: Situation or Task, Action, and Result. What was the situation your team member was engaged in, or what was the task they were working on? What did they say or what action did they take? What was the result? The more specific you can get each element, the better. Here is an example of what that might sound like: “Patti, I overheard you talking to that customer on the phone a few minutes ago who was obviously upset. You really listened to her, and kept calm, even though I could hear her voice getting louder several times. I thought you did a wonderful job of representing the company without taking her complaint personal. Not only did you find a solution to her issue, I think you have won us a customer for life! Well done.” That would likely take only a minute or two of your time, and would certainly make Patti’s day. In fact, Patti would likely remember that conversation more than her last performance review.

In those cases where your feedback needs to address a correction in behavior more than celebrate, you will need to add two very important pieces to the S.T.A.R. process. First, what was the alternative action the person should have taken? What would you have rather they say or do in that situation? Second, describe clearly to them the enhanced result the alternative action would have created. Shared together, these two additional components added to the S.T.A.R. feedback process will improve communication and reduce the number of time you need to repeatedly address the same issue.


The following are best practices concerning constructive feedback:

  • When possible, always give the feedback immediately following the action. Every hour that goes by lessens the impact. This is especially true for positive feedback, because the person is often thinking that their good efforts are not being noticed.
  • Don’t make the person guess. When giving positive feedback, be sure to share exactly what they did or say that was good. If you are giving feedback to correct a performance issue, get right to the point without beating around the bush.
  • Each person is different. Some like to be recognized for positive performance in front of others, but not everyone is comfortable in this situation. Even when you mean well, a positive situation can become a source of embarrassment. Know the person’s preference before you recognize them in public.
  • Any type of negative feedback should always be done away from others. Even if this means having to wait a while to address the situation.
  • Limit your feedback to one topic. Either positive or negative. (The old “sandwich” approach is never effective.) Don’t confuse the person by trying to cover too much ground.
  • Avoid using the work “but” (or substitute words like “however”) in your feedback. For example, “Ken, you did a great job with that presentation this morning! But, all of the monthly reports you submitted were wrong and will have to be redone.” People tend to only recall what we say after the “but” in our feedback.
  • Make every effort to share constructive feedback person-to-person and not through technology or another person. The nature of constructive feedback is verbal and informal. This is best done face-to-face. The phone and programs like Skype, would be a good second choice.
  • Work with a professional coach who can help you improve your constructive feedback skills.
  • Be balanced. Most people need to hear twenty or more positive feedbacks for every one negative they hear to stay motivated at work. How is your ratio?
  • Be sincere. Can you tell if someone is telling you what they think you want to hear? So can others. Respect the person you are giving feedback. Make the feedback count by being sincere.
  • Bring in a professional who can facilitate a seminar with you and others on how to give more constructive feedback and performance coaching.
  • Read the books, Leadership and the One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, and Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen.


You team is starving for more feedback from you as their leader. Yes, it will take time and may not feel like it is your top priority every day. See it as an investment in growing the potential of each and every person who looks to you for influence. Like most good investments, the long-term payoff will be worth your efforts. Feed Your Team!

Here are a few suggested next steps to grow your feedback skills:


1) Work with a professional coach who can partner with you in a confidential and results focused process.

2) Engage with a professional trainer and facilitator to work with you and your team. Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Feedback Skills seminar.

3) Check out my church leadership online webinars at:


Leaders Listen

Sprache - Schall

What are you listening to right now?

Music, a clock, traffic, people talking, wind, a dog barking, a baby crying, the TV, etc.

How many sounds can you identify all around you right now?

One of our challenges as leaders is to know what sounds to let fall into the background and which ones we need to focus on because they are important. Too often we focus on the wrong sounds and miss the right ones.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They are either speaking or preparing to speak.” – Stephen R. Covey

Over the years I have worked with and for some great leaders. One of the skills I feel takes a leader to the next level is their ability to actively listen to others. How about you? On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best, where would you rank your listening skills?

One of the core competencies of all types of coaching is Deep Listening. This is a key area when I teach either basic coaching classes or discipleship coaching seminars. We intentionally spend extra time on this area because I know it is a challenge for many of us and is an area we can all improve.

I believe there are six levels of listening:

  1. Ignoring – another person is talking, maybe directly to us, and we are not paying any attention to them at all. Our minds are occupied somewhere else.
  2. Pretend Listening – someone is talking to us and we are nodding our head and saying “uh huh” just enough to make them think we are paying attention.
  3. Selective Listening – we hear a few words or phrases, but not enough to catch the whole meaning. This often causes us to ask someone to repeat what they just said.

__________________________ Active Listening ___________________________

  1. Attentive – we hear every word and understand the meaning being communicated to us. Very few conversations ever reach this level.
  2. Empathic – not only do we hear every word and understand the meaning, we also “get” how what is being communicated to us is making the other person feel.
  3. Spirit – for Christians, this is where we hear the Holy Spirit communicating to us through what the other person is saying. We hear their words, understand how they feel, and have a clear sense of God’s Spirit within the other person.


Even the very best listeners can find it challenging to stay in the “active listening” area all the time. Like any skill, it takes practice and intentionality.

Here are a few best practices to help you improve your listening skills:

  • Make eye contact with a person talking to you. Do not let yourself be distracted by things going on around you.
  • Learn to quite your mind chatter so you can be fully present during a conversation.
  • The words “listen” and “silent” have the same letters. Practice being silent a few minutes a day. Become comfortable with small amounts of silence in conversations.
  • Watch a TV show or movie with the sound turned off for a while. Notice body language and non-verbal clues.
  • Watch the TED Talk of Julian Treasure, 5 ways to listen better.
  • Resist the urge to share a story or brilliant comment during important conversations with others.
  • Stop trying to multi-task when you should be listening.
  • Listen to understand, not fix the other person.

Most people cannot remember the last time someone really listened to them. How sad. As leaders we are called to model the way. Make it a point today to improve your listening skills.

Listening is a tremendous gift. Give that gift to someone today!

Here are a few suggested next steps to grow your feedback skills:

1) Work with a professional coach who can partner with you in a confidential and results focused process.

2) Engage with a professional trainer and facilitator to work with you and your team. Contact me if you are interested in hosting a Listening Skills seminar.

3) Check out my church leadership online webinars at:


Identifying Leaders


What’s something you purchased recently where you did a lot of research beforehand?

A new home, iPhone, car, computer, major appliance, TV, drone?

How did you know what to look for? What factors influenced your final decision?

When my wife and I take a trip she is great about doing lots of research. She will buy a book on where we are going, search internet websites, talk to people who have been there, check out the hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. We are both very organized, so we tend to plan out our relaxation. 🙂

Just like it is always important to know what you are looking for before making a major purchase, we should take the time to clearly identify what we are looking for in new leaders.

Many of the churches and pastors I work with talk to me about the challenges of identifying leaders for their ministry positions. They often find themselves in the position of filling a leadership slot and feel pressured to do it quickly. Does this sound familiar to you?

Now is the perfect time to intentionally get ahead of the game by investing a little time and effort in the process of identifying new leaders for your ministry. I would like to encourage you to start with prayer. Ask God to help you see the leaders he has already brought to your church. There may be some people who are on the sidelines just wanting to be seen and asked. Pray also for God to bring new leaders to your ministry.

“For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9

While there are many important traits, skills, competencies, etc. to look for in new leaders, I’d like to share six that I feel are critical:

  • Character: confidence in their walk with Jesus, evidence of honesty, teachability, humility, reliability, a healthy work ethic, willingness to serve (always a red flag for me when a potential leader is not already serving somewhere)
  • Competence: ability to do the job, Spiritual Gifts, experience, education, talents, skills
  • Chemistry: ability to fit into the culture and work with the current team
  • Conviction: passionate about the mission, vision, and values of the church
  • Commitment: devoted to growing as a disciple, demonstrating movement in their own spiritual life
  • Courage: willing to take a chance, push the envelope, challenge the status quo


These are of course areas where every leader can grow too. There are many things we can do to encourage that growth. But when they are absent—it is difficult, if not impossible, to create them in someone.

Some things you can teach—and some things you cannot.

What about you? What do you look for in new leaders? I encourage you to use my list as a starting point, but don’t stop there. Spend a few minutes right now and identify what you should look for in new leaders.

Here are some suggested next steps:

  1. Read the book Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard.
  2. Contact Ken Willard to see about creating a leadership development process for your ministry.
  3. Order a Leadership4Transformation Leadership Development guide from Ebay
  4. Pray about who might already be in your church now waiting to be asked for a leadership role, and for God to continue to bring you new leaders.

You don’t have to do it alone. Ken can walk with you and your church as he has with many other churches and organizations to provide coaching, training, encouragement, resources, and support along the way. Together we can equip leaders in your ministry!

Let’s take a step in that direction today!


Discipleship Coaching


“When you relate to a person as a faith coach, you participate in the work of the Spirit by coming alongside people as an advocate and helper.” – Hall, Cooper, and McElveen in the book Faith Coaching

Have you ever had a one-on-one conversation with anyone about your personal spiritual journey?

Discipleship is a very hot topic in the church world today. After many years of using membership as the main target, we are beginning to see churches focus more on making disciples and less on making members. This is a wonderful trend and I hope this is the start of a revival throughout churches everywhere.

There are many spiritual disciplines which will help people grow closer to the image of Christ: reading the Bible, serving others, financial giving, prayer, observing the Sabbath, attending worship, sharing the faith, involvement in a small group, etc. However, I believe we are missing a critical element in most church discipleship ministries. . .

compassDiscipleship Coaching – the ministry of meeting with individuals one-on-one in order to help them take the next steps on their spiritual journey.


Please don’t misunderstand, I think there is tremendous value in all of the spiritual disciplines – AND people certainly grow as disciples in small groups, classes, worship services, and lots of other settings. I just think we are missing a very important piece of the puzzle without one-on-one conversations.

When I’m working with a church on creating a new discipleship process we always include coaching. As a certified coach, I will provide some basic coach training along the way. Here are the qualities I recommend looking for in potential discipleship coaches:

  • A Christian mature enough on their own walk to be able to provide guidance to others.
  • An active listener. Someone who can discern quickly the meaning behind what people are saying and hear God’s Spirit in each believer.
  • An encourager. A person who sees the best in people. Someone who can challenge others to use their Spiritual Gifts, heart, abilities, passions, and experiences in the Kingdom.
  • A committed member of the church who is familiar enough with the church to be able to connect someone to the appropriate leaders or ministry areas in order to grow as a disciple in all areas of their spiritual life.

One of the best things about discipleship coaching is that it works no matter where a person is on their spiritual journey. For someone new to the faith this can be a safe place for them to ask questions and focus more on the next small step and not be overwhelmed by how far they think they feel they need to travel. For a person who has been in the church for years, but may feel “stuck” this can be a conversation about trying new things and breaking out of their old patterns. No matter where we are on our spiritual journey, there is always a next step.

Another great thing about discipleship coaching is that it can be done in any size church. All you need is at least one person to get started. So no matter what size congregation you have, you can start helping people grow as disciples.

In the past few years I’ve had an opportunity to have dozens and dozens of discipleship coaching conversations with people. Each one is different, but there are two big things I’ve learned that I will leave with you to think about. First, none of the people I’ve talked with have ever had a one-on-one conversation with anyone about their personal spiritual journey. I bet the same is true in your church. And second, every single one of them struggles with reading the Bible. They all had the desire, but there was something getting in the way. How about everyone in your church? When is the last time you taught on reading Scripture? Are you just assuming everyone is in God’s Word?

Here are some suggested next steps:

  1. Read the book, Coaching for Christian Leaders: A Practical Guide by Linda J. Miller.
  2. Read the book, Stride: Creating a Discipleship Pathway for Your Church by Mike Schreiner and Ken Willard.
  3. Contact Ken Willard to see about adding Discipleship Coaching to your church’s discipleship process.
  4. Order a Discipleship Coaching participant workbook from Ebay.
  5. Pray about who might be the right person to invite as your first discipleship coach.
    • Be sure to invest in their training to ensure they are ready to help others.
  6. Check out my church leadership online webinars at:

You don’t have to try and do it alone. Ken can walk with you and your church as he has with many other churches to provide coaching, training, encouragement, resources, and support along the way. Together we can do it!

Let’s take a step in that direction today!





What do you want? What do you REALLY want?

“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

Many leaders, churches, organizations, and businesses set goals each year. The most popular time of the year occurs in January. Sometimes these goals are called New Year’s resolutions. How about you? What is it you really want? To lose weight, read more books, get that promotion at work, travel to a new destination, break a bad habit, save more money, pay down debt, spend more time with family and friends, live a healthier lifestyle?

After working with leaders in all types of organizations for many years, I have found two keys to actually achieving our goals. First, invest the time to clearly articulate the goal. When I was in the business world I taught a process called S.M.A.R.T. goals for years. When I transitioned into the church world I adjusted the acronym to S.M.A.R.T.E.R. and included the process in my book, Time Management for the Christian Leader. The second key to achieving goals is to share them with someone who can both hold you accountable and provide encouragement along the way.

While there are many words people use to form the acronym SMART, and I think they are all good, I use the following words to make up SMARTER: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-Oriented, Time-Based, Eternal, and Recorded. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.

Specific – You need to answer the question, why should this goal be accomplished? In my experience this is both the most important element of any goal AND the piece that gets skipped over the most. Resist the urge to move past this too fast. Christian comedian Michael Jr. has a great video explaining the power of “why” – click HERE to see it.

Measurable – This is the element which makes your goal quantifiable. How much? How many? While this is usually an easy area for most goals, there is a danger. The number is NOT the goal! It is only a measurement of the goal. However, when there is no “specific” or the “why” is unclear – then the number will often become the goal.

Actionable – Will the goal drive you to DO something? Locate a listing of action verbs and be sure there is at least one of them in all of your goals.

Results-Oriented – At least some of your goals each year should move you closer toward the vision God has for your life or your organization. No one needs more work. We need to be fruitful in our efforts.

Time-Based – Be sure there is a clear completion date in all of your goals. Not only will this help to create a sense of urgency, it will also allow you to break the goal down into smaller steps.

Eternal – Is there potential for this goal to advance the Kingdom of God? Is there room for God to work? While this might not apply to every goal you set, if you are a Christian or are setting goals for a church . . . I’d strongly suggest that at least some of your goals contain this element.

Recorded – Write your goals down. [electronic or on paper] Without a written record of the goal, it will tend to be vague and may even shift over time.

“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” – Fitzhugh Dodson

Do you really want to achieve your goals? Find someone to hold you accountable!

Accountability is born when two or more people know about a commitment.

Working with a professional coach is a great way to add accountability for you individually or for your church or organization.

Here are some suggested next steps: tm-book-cover

  1. Contact Ken Willard to see about hosting a Time Management for the Christian Leader seminar at your church.
  2. Read Ken’s book
  3. Contact Ken about coaching you and/or your church as you set goals and to walk with you toward achieving those goals.
  4. Check out my church leadership online webinars at:

You don’t have to do it alone. Together we can achieve your goals!

Take a step today!


Strategic Ministry Planning


For many years as a child I played pool. There was a table in the basement of my grandparent’s home. It was a small room, the table was up against one wall and you had to open a door to make some shots. Most of the time I played alone, but as I got older I started to play more with others. One of the keys I learned playing pool was that your best chance of winning was to plan a shot or two ahead.

Strategic Ministry Planning is a process I use with churches to help them discern where God is calling them and begin to plan ahead.

For too many local churches the plan for the year is just a copy of last year. How about your church? Does the current calendar look a lot like last year’s? Are you setting and achieving meaningful goals each year? Is there excitement and a feeling of positivity in the ministry, or it is more a feeling of stagnation and just going through the motions?

Most churches have a rich, wonderful history. I’m sure the book of your church has some amazing chapters full of powerful, fruitful ministry. Our purpose is NOT to write a new book . . . but to discover and discern the next chapter. I really believe the best season of ministry for your church is just around the corner.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to work with many churches and have developed a seminar on Strategic Ministry Planning designed to help pastors and church leaders on the journey.

During this interactive seminar we will:

  • Start with a Spiritual Formation as we pray and review key Bible verses.
  • Examine the Strategic Ministry Planning overview with a focus on five key components.
  • Review why Strategic Ministry Planning is needed in all churches and the seven areas of benefit for your ministry.
  • Discuss the importance of a prayer ministry in your church.
  • Prayer walk the area around your facility in order to begin the process of hearing from God.
  • Learn about Church Life cycles and the role of vision in starting a new life cycle.
  • 2016-smp-coverLearn the importance of embracing a theology of change by looking at the differences between form and function.
  • The majority of our time will be spent in the areas of:
    • Core Values – the constant, passionate, biblical core beliefs that drive the ministry.
    • Mission – the broad, biblical view of what the ministry is supposed to be doing.
    • Vision – a clear, challenging, compelling, picture of the future of the ministry as you believe it can and must be.
  • Since all of this will likely lead to some changes in your ministry, we will spend a few minutes on Managing Conflict with a focus on resolving conflict Biblically.
  • Walk through how to set SMARTER goals in your ministry. [Based on a chapter in my book, Time Management for the Christian Leader. Click HERE to order.]

Are you ready to start discerning God’s vision for your ministry?

Would you like to start planning further ahead and not just keep doing things the same way?

Here are some suggested next steps:

  1. Contact Ken Willard to see about hosting a seminar in your church.
  2. Visit Leadership4Transformation website to learn more.
  3. Order a Strategic Ministry Planning participant workbook from Ebay.
  4. Check out my church leadership online webinars at:

You don’t have to try and do it alone. Ken can walk with you and your church as he has with many other churches to provide coaching, training, encouragement, resources, and support along the way. Together we can do it!

Take a step in that direction today!


Creating a Discipleship Process


“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

After working with pastors and churches for many years as a coach and consultant, reading hundreds of books, and talking with a lot of others in my field . . . I feel confident in saying that the number one challenge churches of all sizes and types are facing today is the ability to grow disciples. When I say “grow disciples,” I’m talking about reaching new people who are not already connected to a church AND helping those who are already connected to our church take a step or two closer to Christ.

For a church to do this requires intentionality and a process (or system) of some type. I’ve never met a pastor or church who was against growing disciples. The first challenge is making this a priority high enough in the ministry to outweigh the week-to-week pull of everything else. It just does not happen by accident. The next challenge is in creating a process which works for your specific ministry. A process everyone can understand and will help you reach the goal of growing your disciples. This is where I can help out.

In the fall of 2017 Abingdon Press will be publishing a new book by Ken Willard and Mike Schreiner about creating a new discipleship process in a local church. For the past few months I have been facilitating seminars on this subject and they have been very well received by those in attendance. Click HERE to see a short video of a session I did in the New Mexico United Methodist Conference.

During this interactive seminar we will:

  • Start with a Spiritual Formation as we pray and review key Bible verses.
  • Review the signs of needing a focus on discipleship in a local church such as: turnover, ministry serving opportunities, inviting (evangelism), resource challenged.
  • Clearly define discipleship and look at what we are trying to accomplish through a new discipleship process.
  • Examine what a discipleship process is and is not.
  • Discover the four key areas required for a discipleship process.
  • Review discipleship process elements, catalyst disciplines, and discipleship targets.
  • Walk through the 12 Keys to Creating a Discipleship Process.
    1. Foundation of Prayer
    2. Assemble a Team
    3. Current State
    4. Mission & Target
    5. Research Other Churches
    6. Connections Process
    7. Discipleship Coaching
    8. Communications
    9. Membership & Leadership
    10. Launch
    11. Measure & Celebrate
    12. Review, Revise, Renew & Refresh
  • Have opportunities for you and your team to apply what you are learning by designing a plan to create a new discipleship process for your church.

Are you ready to throw your congregation a life preserver?

Are you ready to take the initiative and make discipleship a priority in your ministry?

Here are some suggested next steps:

  1. Contact Ken to see about hosting a seminar in your church.
  2. Visit Leadership4Transformation website to learn more.
  3. Order a Discipleship Process participant workbook from Ebay.
  4. Check out my church leadership online webinars at:

Together we can grow your ministry by growing disciples!

Take a step in that direction today!

Don’t Have a Groundhog Year


One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. I can watch it over and over. (Sorry, bad joke.) In the movie Bill Murray’s character lives Groundhog Day over and over again and in the process he has the chance to grow and mature and eventually find true love.

In real life we don’t get the chance to keep doing the same day over and over until we get it right. However, there are some of us who seem to seem to get stuck in a rut doing the same thing year after year. There are of course some things which are great to do every day, every month, every year – reading and reflecting on God’s Word, honoring the Sabbath, exercising and eating right, time in prayer, investing in ourselves, quality time with family, etc.

In my coaching with pastors and work with churches I often hear phrases like, “I just feel stuck.” or “It feels like we are just going through the motions.” When consulting with a church I will often ask them, “What’s the difference between this year and last year in your ministry?” Too often the answer is “nothing” or “the year on our calendar.”

Here are four things I’d like to share with you as ways to ensure you don’t have a groundhog year:

  1. Time Assessment – Keep track of where you are spending your time for at least a couple of weeks. I know every week is different, but try to pick a couple of weeks you would say are fairly typical. Fifteen minute intervals are best to get a true picture. Look for trends. If needed, take it to another week to ensure you have a good picture.
  2. Priorities – Clearly identify what is most important to you. Where would you like to spend your time? Whether you call them “Big Rocks” or goals or just priorities, take an honest look at where you are investing your time on the assessment. Is there a connection? Are your priorities showing up at least every week? Don’t mistake activity for progress.

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau

  1. Lose ONE Thing – Yes, I know there are lots of things we cannot change about where we spend our time. There are always meetings we must attend, tasks only we can do, demands on us we have no control over. However, there are always areas of our time where we have total control. Focus there. Pick ONE thing you are doing now that could be done by someone else. This may take some investment (training, teaching, etc.) but will be worth it in the long run. Warning: this one thing may be something you really like to do—but is not in-line with your priorities. It will often take some will power to hand off this type of task. But it is critical for you to have space/margin before you go forward.
  2. Add ONE Thing – Insert a new activity or task every week (at least) which is very clearly connected to your goals or priorities. My recommendation here would be to start small, 30 minutes or less, and to grow your time investment gradually over the course of the year where possible. Imagine the rewarding feeling this will give you every time you take these small steps each week.

There is a quote from Albert Einstein where he said, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” Very true.

Are you in a rut? Do you want to ensure your 2018 is different from your 2017? Then now is the time to make an adjustment to where you are spending the precious hours God has given us.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Need help? Would you like a partner on this journey to help provide resources and hold you accountable? Let’s talk about coaching.


Check out my church leadership online webinars at: