Israel: the planning process –10 tips for faith-based travelers

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Whether it’s your first trip to Israel or your tenth, one thing is certain: Planning well — in advance — is essential for a truly transformative experience in the Land of the Bible.

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Using 360-degree evaluations for improved performance

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In work or professional settings, the best feedback is face-to-face. However, I have found it is very difficult and utopian to expect that everyone will act this way. As a result, we have implemented the use of 360 feedback as a part of our annual reviews and, on occasion, as a part of time-sensitive feedback needs.

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Project team member combinations to avoid

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In the world of church facility construction, renovation and development, there are several integral roles and responsibilities that are required for every project. They might or might not be paid professionals for each role, but they are present and the responsibilities to the project are no less important. Here are the basics that virtually every project must have as part of the church’s team.

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3 leadership practices every young minister can do right now

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I recently had coffee with a young(er) minister. He asked a great question: What can I do right now? The young minister (he’s around 20) wanted to know how he could lead better. Starting today. He caught me a bit off guard. After all, leadership is learned and refined over time. Pastors spend years growing. He knew that, but he also wanted to know what could be done immediately.

I’m not that far removed from being a “young” pastor (at 35, many might still categorize me in this way), but I have learned — some things the hard way — from pastoring for 10 years. There are a few practices young ministers can do right now that will help them grow immediately. Here are three leadership practices I shared with him.

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Stop worrying about Millennials

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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.

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Settling the annual review debate

In HR and management circles, there is a raging debate over whether or not to do annual reviews.

staffmanagementAll of Christ Community Church’s 120-plus employees are currently at the end of our fiscal year annual review season. Between now and June 30, each employee will receive a year-end review that takes place once a year at this time. It is a very systematic and organized process.

So, you can guess from our process that I am a believer in annual reviews. Well, I am — but you might be surprised at my answer to the annual review debate. Should an organization, business or church conduct annual reviews?

My answer is a resounding “maybe”. Let me explain.

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4 reasons why connecting spaces trump cattle chutes

When I started my career in church facility development in 19XX (you venture a guess), the foyer/lobby/narthex (for my liturgical friends) was generally sized to be 1- to 2-square-feet per seat in the main worship space. In those days, this space was intended to be used as a place to funnel people from the worship space to the outside or down a series of narrow corridors that led to the education, administration or fellowship areas. There was often a small table for giving / tithing envelopes or general information, along with one or two uncomfortable high-back chairs … usually not ones you would enjoy sitting in for any length of time, nor were they arranged in a manner to encourage conversation or community.

For all practicality, the foyer was nothing more than a well-appointed cattle chute. (MOO)

Not any more.

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The difference between commentary and leadership

Both commentary and leadership are needed. Sometimes they overlap — a commentator may also be a leader. But here is how they are different.

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How a healthy church can spiral — quickly — into dysfunction

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Churches are more like organisms than they are organizations. Like an organism, when church health declines, it typically does so slowly. But there are cases when an otherwise healthy person experiences a sudden deterioration. Healthy churches can also experience a sharp decline in health. There are cases of healthy churches quickly becoming dysfunctional. Below are five ways I’ve seen churches spiral downward quickly, almost overnight.

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Protecting your church and religious organization against fraud

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Now more than ever, all organizations are exposed to risk, including cyber security breaches and internal fraud. Religious institutions — which strive on building a trusting relationship with their members and employees on the foundation of religious beliefs, coupled with tight budgets and limited financial oversight — are even more vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

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