Sometimes being a pastor is sort of like being an ice cream man that can’t eat dairy. You are constantly giving. You are always helping feed people. You often feel as though you’re in the business of making people happy, but you often do not get much for yourself.
It can be exhausting — pouring out all the time and never getting poured into.
That is why we encourage leaders to regularly attend conferences.
They are like summer camps for adults. There is a tangible sense of excitement, expectation, and community.
We were blessed to attend Collyde Summit in NJ this year. It did all of those things for our leadership team!
Colyde brought together world-class Christian leaders like Mark Batterson, Levi Lusko, and Elevation Worship for a two-day event. It was a game changer for us.
There were dozens of spiritual takeaways from Collyde:
“When you pray to god regularly, irregular things happen regularly.”
“Hurting with hope still hurts.”
“Praying is a form of dreaming. Dreaming is a form of praying.”
“We often want God to do something new while we do the same old thing.”
“Though he was king of heaven, he was homeless.”
“If you cheat your gift you’ll never develop it.”
“Are we transforming culture or being transformed by it?”
“Daily, ask God to restore the joy of your salvation.”
We could write a blog on each of these thoughts that ministered to us, but we want to focus on lessons we learned that will improve the way we lead our churches.
Here are five takeaways that we plan on taking back to our organizations.
ONE: The Clearest Communications Framework We’ve Ever Seen
Dawn Nicole Baldwin of AspireOne blew us away!
She explained that it’s crucial that your church adopts a communications framework — taking the guesswork out of what gets posted, mailed, or announced.
Actually define each potential announcement and set up a framework to help ensure it gets out there.
You need to define all your events and ministries as “high” “medium” or “low visibility.”
From there, you can decide which ones get the most focus in your communications.
Your major, high visibility events are given the front page of the website, many posts on social, and your whole organization is on the same page that this is a focus.
Your light visibility events are with a niche group within your church, so people within that group must take ownership of communication for the event.
She explained that this must come from a culture, not just a random email sent out one day. You need to have a culture that understands that “less is more” when it comes to promotion.
If you do not define what is important, nothing will be.
TWO: The Apps & Tools Elevation Uses Are Accessible and Affordable
This one is quite simple, but surprisingly refreshing.
When we think of major organizations, we often assume that the way they do everything must be inaccessible and impossible to replicate.
That isn’t the case. Elevation Church use three tools that are both accessible and affordable — they plan their services and volunteers using Planning Center.
They communicate across campuses and teams during the service using Slack.
They film worship and put every set online under a private password using Vimeo. They do this so people can go back and watch their set after each service — this allows them to make improvements and better develop their stage presence.
TRHEE: Give Yourself a Value Assessment
It’s crucial that your church has a culture of assessment. There should never be an event, program, or service that does not receive some level of constructive feedback on a regular basis.
Assessment makes our ministries better — that’s common sense.
But, how often do we do personal assessments?
Tim Lucas, the pastor of Liquid Church in NJ explained the he does value assessments with his team. He creates a culture where they step back and ask themselves where do they stand on character traits — humility being a key.
They have created a culture that values humility and fights arrogance.
In the business world, ego is often rewarded. We want to fight that trend, ego is the enemy.
Jesus was king of the world, but he served. He was active in the intricate creation of the universe and the human body, but he still washed his disciples feet.
There is no question that Jesus valued humility. Our church culture must do the same.
Do that by constantly encouraging their team to search their heart for pride and get rid of it.
FOUR: Move to a Fixed Calendar
Pastors are crazy busy. We all know this. I know you have been there, you put in a full day of work — we are talking from 6AM to 6PM. You feel exhausted, drained, and like you didn’t have a second to think.
Here is the ironic thing. You didn’t even get to your most important project — you didn’t touch your sermon notes or your strategic plan.
Carey Nieuwhof explains that we need to actually schedule time for our priorities.
Here’s the blunt truth that Carey challenged us with — people will not ask you accomplish your most important tasks. They will push you to accomplish the tasks that are important to them.
No one is asking you if you spent time with your family, focus on your sermon notes, refueled your soul, or spent time vision casting.
Thus, you need to actually schedule time to do your best work…when you are at your best.
You are responsible to accomplish your most important priorities.
He suggests the answer to this problem is moving to a fixed calendar.
This is where you basically book multiple appoints every single day of every single week — with yourself.
Everyone has a rhythm — what time of day do you do your best work? Write that down.
What time of day do you just drag and struggle? Write that down!
Example: If you do your best work from 6AM – 10AM, schedule your prep time right there.
If you find yourself dragging around 11AM, use this time for email and calendar organization.
Most importantly, schedule time for your family and personal goals.
Don’t just give them the leftovers. Schedule family time! Schedule a date night!
Do this so you can genuinely tell people. “No, sorry I cannot meet at 7:30PM. I am booked. Can you do lunch this Friday though?”
FIVE: Break the Negative Narrative
This one sort of falls under the “spiritual” category, but this spoke to us profoundly in an organizational sense.
Negative narratives are all around us.
People like to complain. People like to talk of the worst case scenario. Negativity seems to be the norm in many of our cultures and communities.
Andi Andrews encouraged us to rise above the negative narrative and change the culture.
Churches seem to be obsessed with business and stress, but we need to break that negative narrative. We need to change the culture — not be changed by it.
Negativity is the easiest way to destroy your productivity.
Fight negativity at all costs.