How to evaluate your church’s health — key questions

I’ve consulted with dozens of churches formally, and perhaps hundreds informally. However, many churches never evaluate their ministry with any rigor.

The reason, these churches say, is because they don’t see the need for the effort, expense and potentially difficult season (emotionally) inaugurated by bringing in someone from the outside or going through an evaluation process. In my experience, those who refuse to evaluate themselves are either trying to avoid seeing empirically what they already know to be true through experience (painful), or are deferring pain in hopes it can be avoided by grasping for quick-fix solutions in the present (“We got this”).

Such mindsets betray feelings of, We could fix this if we really wanted to or really thought there was a problem. The words of the late Dr. Charles Siburt come to mind here: “Then why haven’t you?”


Stop worrying about Millennials


Everyone is buzzing over the new Pew Research study that suggests Millennials are continuing to leave Christianity for the ranks of the “nones” (the religiously unaffiliated). A closer look at the data shows the bulk of the slide has occurred within Mainline Christian denominations and Catholicism, with Evangelical Protestants essentially holding the fort. While the bulk of the study didn’t isolate Millennials, its implications aim toward them. This means of course, the obligatory freak-out among some Christians who are afraid we are losing the next generation.

Here are some brief thoughts of my own.


When the well runs dry

Pastors are unusually dependent on “the well.” All people are to one degree or another, but pastors are more dependent on “the well” than others — in part because they participate first-hand in helping replenish the wells of others. When we dry up, the results are felt by others.


Consistent is better than extraordinary

If I asked you to tell me about your 2014, you’d likely tell me about the highlights — vacations you took, job changes, big things in the lives of your kids, and other things that stand out in your mind. But, that’s not what made the biggest difference in your life in 2014. Here’s what actually made the biggest difference: You ate. You slept. You drank water. That’s why you’re alive. That’s what sustained you and allowed all of the other things to happen. When any of those slipped, so did the rest of life. Try to enjoy your vacation without food, drink or sleep. Try to have breakthroughs at work or be a sunshiny presence at home. Eat, drink, sleep. Do those three things well and the rest of life happens. Fail to do them and life is worse — or life ends.


How to adjust to multiple services: 8 tips

How can preachers make adjustments that better prepare them for the transition from one to multiple services? I’ve been a part of such a transition numerous times, and made the transition from two to three, and three to four. I’ve also had to make adjustments for seasons that included preaching live in multiple venues and multiple locations on Sundays. Each season required me to make adjustments — physically, personally and vocationally. While my experience is that the jump from two to three services requires the most adjusting — the jump from one to two services also requires substantial adjustments.
Here are some things I’ve found.


A step-by-step church staff review guide

Staff reviews are thought by some to be intrinsically miserable and somewhat useless. They really don’t have to be. They can actually be a time staff looks forward to.


Execution > Vision


By Tim Spivey, lead planter of New Vintage Church (San Diego) Truth bomb: More churches struggle because they lack execution than because they lack vision or fresh ideas. In fact, the lack of vision and fresh ideas can often be a symptom of chronic lack of execution of ideas and vision. Let me explain with […]


5 common preaching mistakes & how to fix them


Preaching week after week, year after year, is extremely challenging. Doing so with any degree of consistency and excellence is even more challenging. No preacher is at his or her best every weekend. Personal matters and church issues can hurt preparation time. Sometimes, the well just seems dry. There’s no freshness, no zip on the […]


Can churches grow in the summer?


Of course they can. In fact, churches should grow in the summer. However, they rarely do for one simple reason: Their leaders let down too much. Some churches I know do away with children’s ministry for the summer to give their teachers a rest. Others quit small groups or put virtually nothing on the church […]


The Monday Rule

The simple implementation of the Monday rule can change the climate of your church for the better significantly. NVC has worked, unofficially, at creating a “Monday Rule” culture. We’ve never stated it officially, but is understood by most of our people nonetheless because we have encouraged it from our beginning. Staff abides by it, as […]