Church Vision: 5 Benchmarks and Evaluation Guide

Church Vision: 5 Benchmarks and Evaluation Guide

Church Growth, the Right Way I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours. I work with The Malphurs Group to equip churches to break through barriers,and maximize your impact for Christ. Download my free guide and learn 10 simple secrets that will help keep guestsfrom leaving through the back door (and even help attract higher numbers of first-timers). Yes! Send It Now “Where there is no vision the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18 How many times have you seen that verse thrown around in church without any context? Did you know that this oft-quoted sentence is really only half of the verse? Did you know that the King James Version (translated in the 17th century when there was little to no concept of the word “vision” as we understand it in contemporary language) is one of the very few translations which uses the word vision in this verse? Take a look at the more modern English Standard Version of the entire Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” “Prophetic vision” is certainly different than what we normally mean when we say “vision.” As a consultant, no one wants this verse to be about strategic planning more than me. But it’s not. The point of this verse is to say that without Divine direction, Godly wisdom, and insight from the Lord people tend to run wild. Only when they have been given boundaries through instruction do they experience truer joy. A more accurate paraphrase would be this: where this is no Biblical, convicting preaching, sin will abound. This...
5 Lessons from the Church Planting Trends Study

5 Lessons from the Church Planting Trends Study

Church Growth, the Right Way I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours. I work with The Malphurs Group to equip churches to break through barriers,and maximize your impact for Christ. Download my free guide and learn 10 simple secrets that will help keep guestsfrom leaving through the back door (and even help attract higher numbers of first-timers). Yes! Send It Now   The older I get, the less I understand haircuts. Now, I live in East Tennessee—so however cool people are cutting their hair in New York and LA will be how cool people in my neck of the woods will cut their hair in ten years. So I’ve got plenty of time to adjust to the hipster haircuts I see on television and the Internet. But I have to be honest. Sometimes, I just don’t get it. Why does a man have a bun? Why is a mullet considered shady but buzzing your hair on the back but letting it grow long on the top (the reverse mullet?) totally fine? Are mohawks back in style now? Also, hats? If I ever put on one of these hip cowboy/sombrero/orthodox Jewish hats, my wife may slap me. I’m certain that the hats are cool. I’m just also certain that I am not. And here’s a confession: I’m not that old. So I can only imagine the groans that must escape the mouths of long-established pastors and leaders when they see an article titled like mine or read this article on Christianity Today—one of their most popular posts in 2015. Hearing about church planting trends or seeing something that implies that “established”...
How to Get Team Clarity in the Weekly Grind

How to Get Team Clarity in the Weekly Grind

Church Growth, the Right Way I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours. I work with The Malphurs Group to equip churches to break through barriers,and maximize your impact for Christ. Download my free guide and learn 10 simple secrets that will help keep guestsfrom leaving through the back door (and even help attract higher numbers of first-timers). Yes! Send It Now Leaders know where they’re going and how to get there. Confusion is the enemy of momentum. It crushes your ability to reach goals, and limits your capacity for accomplishing the intended vision. Unfortunately, many churches and church staffs are marked by confusion. Their efforts are divided, and team members waste time on tasks and projects that don’t move the church closer to realizing its maximum impact. I’ll never forget, one summer as a kid my family went to a Florida beach for vacation. After sitting in the sand for a while, my dad pointed to a distant pier. He said, “Let’s walk there. There’s probably a great spot to get some ice cream, to cool down, and take in a great view.” “Plus,” he said, “it’s not that far.” We were all-in. So we started the journey. We walked. And walked. And walked. “Not that far” turned out to be “pretty stinkin’ far.” When we got there, there was no place to get ice cream. Just a souvenir shop and a place to buy bait. The view was mostly of guys fishing. It was hot. I don’t remember the circumstances, but somehow my sister–who was in high school–got side-tracked somehow and ended up being toted back to our spot...
The Anatomy of Toxic Leaders

The Anatomy of Toxic Leaders

Churches don’t just need bold leaders; they need healthy ones.   The truth is undeniable: leadership matters. With great leadership, God can transform a holy huddle into a city on a hill. With great leadership, bold visions for evangelism and disciple-making can be realized. With great leadership, churches can be beacons of generosity around the world.   Without great leadership, churches lack momentum, have a blurred vision, and are marred by strife.   The dismissal of Darrin Patrick reminded many of us in leadership circles of Mark Driscoll and the similar accusations of heavy-handed leadership and ego run amok. No one should argue, I don’t think, that both Driscoll and Patrick are genuine believers who are gifted in leadership and blessed by God to accomplish His work. Nor will you find this article to be a personal bash against them. Look somewhere else for that.   No. I would wager most leaders have more in common with these two men than we would like to admit publicly. Therefore, we would do well to examine ourselves, empathize with our co-laborers in Christ, and do the tough soul work of identifying toxic leadership within ourselves and our churches.   The difficulty in diagnosing toxic leadership is that that we frequently cannot identify toxic leaders based on external factors. In many cases, things appear to be going well. If we want to seek to understand the anatomy of toxic leaders, we have to turn on the leadership MRI machine and look internally.   Here is the anatomy of toxic leaders:   1) Holds accountable but lacks accountability. Toxic leaders love accountability, as long...
How to End the Worship Wars

How to End the Worship Wars

Australia invaded America in the 1990’s. In 1996, it seems like every church in America was suddenly going through an identity crisis because of this singular question: “Should we sing ‘Shout to the Lord’ during our Sunday service?”  Sure the words were harmless, and most of the accompaniment is with a piano, but the song wasn’t in the hymnal.  That Australian (female!) worship leader Darlene Something-No-One-Can-Pronounce (is it Check? Czech?) had unwittingly stirred the pot, and what would be known as the “worship wars” began.  Churches had to decide: are your services going to be ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary?’  And for the churches that couldn’t decide, they would be ‘blended.’ Some of you are reading this post and are laughing because you thought that the “worship wars” ended years ago. Not true. We now stand nearly two decades after the start of the worship wars, and many churches are still stuck on the issue.  At The Malphurs Group, the topic of worship styles is still sensitive and relevant to many of our partner churches. Too many churches have split (and are still splitting) over the issue of what type of music to sing on a Sunday morning.  And the churches that decided to be ‘blended’ have discovered that by choosing no firm direction, they haven’t made everyone happy–they’ve made everyone discontent. But here’s the good news: the worship wars can end today. How? It’s simple: be yourself. As a church leadership team, it’s time that you sat down and asked these questions in order to end the worship wars: 1. What’s our main purpose as a congregation; is it externally...