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...
10 Ways to Increase Community Outreach

10 Ways to Increase Community Outreach

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 Community outreach is the “proof side” of the gospel. In the introductory pages of Rick Russaw’s book The Externally Focused Church, he boldly states that evangelical churches that are truly awake shift to living out “the proof side of the proclaimed gospel.” Yet far too often, even big churches with big rooms, big lights, big music, and big crowds lose touch with genuine community outreach. Churches perpetuate the fallacy that as long as their services are close to full, they are reaching our community. On the other end of the size spectrum, there are many smaller churches that have gone into self-preservation mode. They exist as a “holy huddle,” losing touch with the neighborhood that surrounds them. I grew up in a church like this. A once vibrant, transformative church lost touch with reality and the ever-changing landscape of the neighborhood where it was planted. As the needs of the community changed, the church didn’t. Eventually the church dove into a protective state, clinging to its exciting history as justification for its unshifting present strategy. The church drained itself of its evangelistic lifeblood and replaced it with formaldehyde–giving the church an appearance of being alive but, in truth, being long dead. This is harsh. I know. But we need to hear...
What to Do When Vision Leaks

What to Do When Vision Leaks

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  “Some leaders believe that if they fill people’s vision buckets all the way to the top one time, those buckets will stay full forever. But the truth is, people’s buckets have holes of varying sizes in their bottoms. As a result, vision leaks out.” – Bill Hybels, Leadership Axioms   I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Bill Hybels speak before, but the man loves buckets. I must have heard three or four different messages from him that included some sort of a bucket analogy. But, I have to admit, this is one example where it truly works. Those of us who serve on church staffs are fully immersed in church culture every moment of every day. So when our church decides on a vision, staff have smaller “holes” in their “buckets” and so vision leaks much more slowly. It still leaks. Have you ever spoken with a burnt-out pastor or staffer who has lost touch with his passion? Vision has totally leaked out of his bucket. But for those who are outside of the day-to-day ministry grind, vision leaks even faster. Hybels continues from the quote above: “You or I could deliver a mind-blowing, God-honoring, pulse-quickening vision talk on Sunday that leaves everyone revved up to go change the...
5 Steps to Great Church Guest Follow Up

5 Steps to Great Church Guest Follow Up

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 You are losing guests out the back door of your church every week. This is the unfortunate truth about every church. Even churches that are knocking it out of the park every week lose guests out the back door. Why? Because not every person is going to want to come back for a second time. But here’s an encouraging reality… The vast majority of your first-time guests are looking for a reason to come back. Let that sink in for just a minute. Think about everything that had to happen for a guest to visit your church for the very first time. They checked out your website, and liked it enough to come. They maybe downloaded or streamed a sermon, and liked it enough to come. They figured out if the location and service times worked for their family rhythm, and liked it enough to come. Their friend begged them for weeks to check it out, and liked them enough to come. Your church has already overcome the vast majority of barriers to getting a first-time guest in the door. Now they’re looking for a reason to come back. They liked you enough to come once, and now they’re searching for a reason to come a second time. Most people who visit...
Why Teams Fail

Why Teams Fail

Teams have a lifespan that is often way too short. The glory days. The wonder years. Camelot. Utopia. The three-year span where everyone worked together, communicated, found their niche, talked through problems, focused on the future, and hit performance goals out of the park. If you’ve never had a season in your ministry like that, I’m sorry. Because it’s a beautiful thing. It really is. When a team is hitting on all cylinders, it’s glorious and exhilarating. But often times, things fall apart. For no obvious reason at all, a team that was working just fine a year ago has totally run off of the rails. People are quitting, they’re backbiting, they’re contentious, they’re gossiping, and they haven’t hit their performance goals in far too long. What happened? True teamwork is hard to achieve but easy to lose. Several years ago, my wife and I were driving home from vacation. The summer sky was clear; the highway wasn’t too busy. It was a beautiful day and everyone on the road seemed to be driving along in rare summer-driving bliss. No speeders or traffic weavers; no semis going too slow or left lane hogs. But in my rearview mirror, I suddenly noticed an SUV that took a slight turn. Perhaps the initial jerk happened because of a dropped coffee or to change the song on the radio. But then the driver made that irreversible mistake: overcorrection. The SUV swerved out of control, hitting the barrier in the median and made three full flips. Several cars stopped and emergency crews made their way to the scene. A once serene drive took a sudden,...