Archive for August, 2008



August 29, 2008

Stephen Covey has given us a great new read that has much to do with church planting.

THE SPEED OF TRUST. Catchy title.

Trust changes everything. When trust goes up…the cost of advancement goes down while the pace accelerates. When trust goes down…the cost goes up while the pace slows. Covey asks 4 questions to get at the core issues of being a credible leader…

1. Are you congruent? 2. What is your agenda? 3. Are you relevant? 4. What is your track record?

He moves from there into describing 13 behaviors that build trust. It’s a list worth the price of the book times ten! Trust can be built and measured. When we do we remarkably reduce our frustrations and increase our ministry progress.

Finally Covey looks at organizational trust and how to inspire it.   Another mother lode of wisdom.

THE SPEED OF TRUST by Stephen Covey published by Freepress. Own it.



August 18, 2008

If you are responsible for staff supervision then heads up.

Many of us have never supervised a person in a paid position. The early temptation is to rely on a casual connection at Starbucks now and again to catch up and talk. Over time however, a relationship that does not respect the need for accountability can become a frustrating to everyone.

Enter the MAP.

MAP is short for Ministry Action Plan. It is a tool that helps a staff person define their work and creates a format for exploring progress. A MAP has three sections. “M” is for MOMENTUM. A person should have 2-4 tasks that make up their “M”. These are those few things that if you do them really well they will dramatically contribute to progress. They should be expressed in terms of s.m.a.r.t. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed).  Momentum items are often achieved in a few months or a year. “A” is for ACTIVITIES. A person should have up to a dozen or more of these duties that must be done but are routine.  Activities usually are long term detail responsibilities.  “P” is for POSSIBILITIES. A person should have at least one of these activities that represent risk, exploration and freedom to fail.

The idea is to have your staff person design their MAP and contract with the supervisor for alignment with your needs and vision.   Then meet monthly or quarterly to evaluate progress and confirm alignment. As pastor, you may want to have a MAP too. It is your accountability check and creates a document for your board to use with you.

MAPs are evolving documents that reflect progress and make sure every one is on the same page. They create a format that make it easier to have difficult conversations. Staff supervision does not just happen over coffee. For most of us, it requires some structure and the MAP can work for you.


Ubiquitous Altruism: Bill and the folks on South Division

August 10, 2008

It just keeps popping up.

So last week my Time Mag featured a story by Bill Gates on “creative capitalism”. OK…before you choke on your mouse…hear him out. Gates is really convinced that he can fix capitalism by linking the for profit ventures of business with concrete needs in the developing world. He tells the story of the RED campaign that has hooked up Hallmark and Gap (and Microsoft) along with others to forward a percentage of their profits to fight health problems like malaria in Africa. I had to smile as he told the story how Bono drive that engine. Bravo! Score one for Bill.

Then last night I was hiking along south Division in GR and encountered the Avenue of the Arts event. Seems the second Saturday of the month the two dozen artists who anchor their businesses on south Division put their goods out on the street to engage customers. Gotcha. I had a great conversation with Reg who works in New Orleans and in GR. Like others they were passionate about their work and the community they are creating through micro enterprising. Results…community, dignity, productivity and some interesting art. OK it’s not for everyone…..but try this….

As  one writer put it…”some theologians focus on the problem of evil, I am wrestling with the problem of good. There is a growing spirit of altruism in and around us and that can only be coming from one place.” Score one for the spirit.

So how does a planter pay attention to that activity in ways that bless and advance the cause? Your turn.


Planting a Verge

August 4, 2008

If you catch Leadership Journal you have seen the story of Dave Gibbons, planter of New Song in LA. Dave’s world changed after spending time in Bangkok where he discovered that the Evangelical Covenant Church had about 400 churches with 4000 attenders. Back home in LA New Song also had about 4000 members. So he asked which was stronger.. …..?

Easy choice for Dave.

So much of our default mode is to centralize and elevate one leader. With that comes great vulnerability and a high ratio of passive worshippers. Now Dave is committed to “verge”. That is to converge the best features of small and large churches. He sees them as churches from 30 to 100. Much larger and the pastoral leader is swallowed up in internal organizational duties while the percent of spectator behavior goes up. Much smaller and they are too fragile and not enough people energy. Hence the Verge.

I was encouraged recently to hear of one of our RCA plants that is worships about 60 and is now considering planting another site. They have taken to “verge” thinking. Big isn’t bad…it’s just been over rated for so long. To reproduce in multiple forms you have to be “on the verge”….on the edge of small and large. Read more in the current LJ.