March 10th, 2015

Beggars Can’t Grow Choosers

beggars can't be choosers photoI attend more church staff meetings in a given month than you can imagine. I have been consulting for years, so it has become easy to quickly discern culture. Sometimes I can even tell the staff member’s job title by how they are dressed, what they bring (or don’t bring) to a meeting, or what time they arrive. Culture can’t be stopped and is easily caught.

The most pervasive cultural element that transcends church size, denomination, or location is a culture of begging vs. leading. Here are a few examples:

• “Our people are so disengaged.”
• “We have such a hard time getting people to participate in groups.”
• “It’s the same people who volunteer for everything. We need more volunteers.”
• “Our people just don’t give like they should.”

This kind of language can result in blaming, shaming, and begging. It can promote a negative language that creeps out from a staff meeting to the people without you even knowing it. When you find yourself on the wrong side of the problem, you can become event, sign up, or emphasis oriented. Seeking these quick fixes and short-term solutions will only dig a deeper hole – even if you gain immediate relief. This is fool’s gold.

You must change your leadership language and culture and be able to confidently tell your people things like this:

“We do not need more volunteers or money! You are so generous and our leadership is so faithful that we run a surplus. However, we encourage you to serve and give for your sake. It is where you will find many blessings. It is where you grow, connect, and make a difference. You will find freedom, joy, and victory.”

Don’t expect to just show up this weekend saying these words as if they magically create culture. You must grow vision culture and develop strategy before you have a problem. This gives you the freedom and power to direct your resources (e.g., emotions, words, people, time, and money). You want your people to feel like they “get to do something great” instead of feeling that they’ve “got to do something painful.” Make powerful leadership decisions before you have a problem. If you already have a problem, then own it as a leader. Don’t run to the quick fix, feel good, high-pressure emphasis. Fix it right over time with process.

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