Free Webinar: How To Build A Healthy Staff Culture

I’ve been married to a pastor for 22 years which means I’ve been a sounding board for all kinds of staffing issues from hiring/firing to getting the most from each team member. Oh sure, we plot and plan together for ministry strategy, events, and the spiritual growth of a church, but accomplishing our plans would be nearly impossible without the help of a talented, healthy ministry team.

If you are a pastor’s wife, you’re a sounding board, too. You’ve probably counseled your hubby through staffing conflicts, frustrations, and challenges. Sometimes you’ve sided with him. Sometimes you’ve played devil’s advocate to help him see another point of view. Those conversations are valuable to our husbands…and to our churches.

Let me share with you a few more valuable conversations that every pastor ought to hear.

My husband, leader of Courage To Lead, a coaching resource for pastors, asked some GREAT leaders this question:

How do you build a Healthy Staff Culture? 

Shawn had insightful conversations with these men, and the info they shared was incredible.

Sam Chand has been coaching pastors for years, and he’s full of wisdom. Sam has mentored Craig Groeschel, Chris Hodges, Brian Houston, and many others. He is the author of Breaking Your Church’s Culture Code.

Larry Osborne pastors North Coast Church in California, speaks at conferences, and coaches senior leaders across the country. He is the author of Sticky Church and Sticky Teams.

William Vanderbloemem runs the premier church staffing company that was just named one of the best places to work in America.

Chris Brown works with Dave Ramsey Solutions and is the host of the True Stewardship Leader Podcast.

Layne Schranz is part of the Lead Team at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Al. He is responsible for leading and guiding their 14 campus pastors, and he knows how to build and maintain a healthy staff culture.

These men have insanely practical things to share. If you or your husband are involved in ministry leadership, you absolutely don’t want to miss this. 

Here are the quick details:

Webinar:  Building a Healthy Staff Culture

Date: Wed, Feb. 17

Time: 12 pm CST (1pm EST10am PST).

Time Conflict? Don’t worry! We’re sending out the on-demand replay link to everyone who signs up for this free training.

Click here to reserve your spot! 

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The Best Teams Do THIS!

She didn’t like me, and she told me so. Very bluntly. I was naively blind to her frustrations, and she was kettle pot of irritations waiting to explode.

And she did. She pulled me aside to vent her anger leaving me stunned and speechless. As I reeled from her biting words, my mind struggled to understand how she and I got so far off-track.

That was 2 decades ago. We worked together in the mortgage industry, and it was my first experience with staff teamwork, or lack thereof. That season of my life taught me many lessons, not the least of which was love (especially on a team) is work.

These days my experiences with teamwork are vastly different. Not because our team is composed of Godly Christians who always do the right thing, but rather because our team lives by a code – a code which guides us to interact wisely and avoid those “off-track” moments.

The Code is our set of Ministry Team values at Mountain Lake Church. It sets the tone and trajectory for how we get things done. Each of our 7 core values is important, but I daresay one is critical.

Honesty.

Working alongside people with different agendas, personalities, and strengths presents its challenges, but those challenges are exponentially multiplied when we aren’t honest about how we feel. When our staff relationships become strained, our ministry quality takes a dive. Have you ever found yourself in these situations:

  • When that staff member makes a hurtful comment, we give the cold shoulder and avoid him/her.
  • When a team member overlooks us, we feel underappreciated and grow bitter.
  • When the actions of someone else costs us, we choose not to help him/her in the future.

Conflict happens. On every team. In every church. On every staff. Unresolved conflict leads to an unhealthy team. The key to success, however, lies in our response to conflict.

At Mountain Lake, we’ve chosen honesty as our response. Leaning on Ephesians 4:15, we have agreed as a team to speak the truth, in loving ways, to each other. These conversations are:

  • always done in private.
  • never “vented” about to other people.
  • handled immediately.
  • initiated with phrases such as, “You probably don’t realize it, but when you said____, it bothered me.” Or, “I’m sure you didn’t intend any harm, but when you ______, I was a little frustrated.”
  • ended with grace.

We’ve learned that the best ministry teams are made up of people who love each other. We’ve also learned that love takes WORK. Some teams aren’t willing to work that hard. But the best ones are.

If you or someone on your team is struggling in this area, let me encourage you to be honest, talk through your issues, and offer grace to one another. It’s not easy, but it’s oh, so worth it. Join us at Velocity 2015 for more great ideas like this….I have it on good authority that the Pastors’ Wives Track is going to be the bomb!

Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

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Velocity 2015 Is Coming!

velocity 2015I love a good sale. A bargain. Knowing I’m not just getting my money’s worth, I’m getting MORE than my money’s worth. The thrill of the deal gets me every time.

That’s why I’m pumped to tell you about Velocity 2015. It’s a DEAL! This isn’t just a conference. It’s two days of inspiring speakers, helpful workshops, and tons of resources, not to mention the opportunity to connect with other ministry leaders, ask questions, reignite passion, and unify our teams. We need this. We WANT this!

The registration site is open, and an early bird rate is waiting for you – $69 until December 1, 2014! We are busy preparing for Velocity 2015 because at Churchplanters, we care about pastors, their families, and their teams. So we’re planning a conference that will equip us all to lead well and stay spiritually healthy.

PW TRACKOf course, my favorite part is the Pastors’ Wives Track! We’ll hear from:

Kathy Litton, National Consultant for Ministry to Pastors Wives for the North American Mission Board and Pastor’s Wife of First Baptist Church, Mobile, Alabama.

Amy Bloye, co-author of the book, It’s Personal, a book designed to help ministry couples and church planters thrive during the journey of church planting, Lead Pastor’s Wife, West Ridge Church, Dallas, Georgia, and 20 year veteran of marriage and ministry.

Lindsey Gerdes, Lead Pastor’s Wife of Revolution Church, Canton, Georgia, church planter, worship leader, and women’s ministry leader.

Tricia Lovejoy, yep, I’ll get in on the fun too. I love connecting with and encouraging other women in ministry, and I’d love to meet YOU!

Click here to see the line up and begin making plans to join us February 23-24, 2015. I hope you’ll join me for two days of ideas, motivation, community, and inspiration.

Hope to see YOU there!

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An Odd Vacation Destination

MLC Tower 1There is something odd about the people of my church. Something different from the other churches I’ve served. Something refreshing, but rare.

They vacation at church.

Or, something like that.

We hosted our annual pastors’ conference earlier this month, and just like each year for the past 10 years, we asked our church members and attenders to consider assisting us during the event with set up and takedown, greeting, registration, and hospitality. We never have to recruit extra volunteers; apparently serving at Velocity is a hot ticket item. Again this year I talked with volunteers who actually used their vacation days to work from sun up to sun down serving strangers.

It boggles my mind, really. I mean, Velocity isn’t cool drinks and white sandy beaches. It’s not restful. It doesn’t pay much – just a Velocity t-shirt and a sore back. But the volunteers tell a different story. They say they are inspired as they listen to our main stage speakers. They say they gain insights in leadership and help for their own marriages in our breakout classes. They say they hear the “behind the scenes” stories of pastors and churches across our nation – stories of what God is doing in their churches and the challenges those pastors face. As our volunteers host and greet, they overhear all kinds of things, and they grow. They worship. They bless and are blessed.

Conference attenders notice. The number one compliment we receive as a leadership team just might be about our people. Time and again we hear how helpful, friendly, and genuinely interested our volunteers are. We’ve heard stories of them meeting financial needs of conference attenders, praying with them, and getting home addresses in order to mail encouraging notes long after the conference ends. In so many ways our volunteers “pastor” our guests, and our volunteers find great value in their service.

Sometimes value is worth more than a vacation. Just ask the camera man who worshipped between camera shots during our main sessions. Or the worship team who left exhausted but felt closer to God. Or the registration team who was energized after meeting so many new people. Or Mike, who when asked by a conference attender if he could quote the mission of Mountain Lake Church, confidently responded, “To belong in healthy relationships with God and others, to become more like Christ, and to bless our world.” Mike knows our mission….and his purpose….and that in itself is extremely valuable.

So while I mixed and mingled with the conference attenders, I hugged the necks of our volunteers, I slipped into back rooms to give high-fives, and I asked what God was teaching them. I love those people….God’s people….our partners. They chose to vacation with me last week….at church….and I’m thankful for them.

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A Look Back at Velocity 2014

velocity2014-500So a week has passed since my favorite conference of the year, and I’ve had a bit of time to reflect. Here are a few quotes that caught my attention:

Don’t bankrupt your marriage and ministry by making withdrawals without also making deposits. – Matt and Sarah Keller

If it’s true that leaders are learners, what are you learning? – Dave Ferguson

Too many of us in ministry want the fame of game day without the pain of training. – Shawn Lovejoy

The essence of leadership is embodying what we want others to become. – Derwin Gray

You aren’t remembered for your entrance. You’re remembered for your exit. – Rick Bezet

Have we exchanged studying the Gospel for sharing the Gospel? – Brandon Hatmaker

I want to be famous in my own home. – Mark Batterson

We don’t have an information problem in the church. We have an application problem. – Pete Hise

But maybe my favorite quote was not from a main stage speaker. It was a Tweet from a conference attender, Nick Carnes:

“Cameraman stops between shots to raise his hands in worship. That’s why I love #Velocity14 Conference. Not just a conference, it’s church!”

These are the ideas and challenges that gave me food for thought last week. Maybe you’ll stop to think about them, too. All the knowledge in the world means nothing without application, so make today a day of CHANGE!

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Velocity 2014 and BIG News!

velocity2014-500It’s no secret that my husband and I love pastors. That’s why we started churchplanters.com in 2004! Over the last 10 years we’ve trained and equipped thousands of men and women to start and lead healthy churches through coaching, resourcing, consulting, and, my favorite, our annual conference, Velocity.

February 17 and 18th – NEXT WEEK – Velocity will be in full swing! I can’t wait because the overall topic speaks to a subject that so many in ministry struggle to master: the pace of ministry.

Our culture puts emphasis on speed. We like things fast and now. Life inside the church is often no different as we fall into the trap of running faster and faster to provide more ministry, grow our churches, and build more influence. We believe the more we accelerate the more impact we will have. We have an impact alright…an impact as we hit the wall head-on.

However, we can also move too slowly. When our leadership lacks a clear vision, we become paralyzed by the complexity of decisions before us. The good news: We don’t hit the wall. The bad news: We never get to the wall.

Velocity is about a different kind of speed. It is about keeping PACE with the Holy Spirit. Jesus invites us into a new world: His Kingdom. There are times when we must speed up. There are times that we must slow down. This is the Velocity that we embrace.

Next week, speakers and session leaders will inspire and challenge all of us in attendance.

But wait! That could include YOU!! This year we will broadcast all of the main sessions via live-streaming!

Did you catch that??!

ALL MAIN SESSIONS WILL BE STREAMED LIVE!!! Check out the details at churchplanters.com. If you can’t be here in person, you can still benefit from our dynamic speakers and learn how to keep pace….the right pace….in ministry. Simply log onto Churchplanters.com. Don’t forget to follow along with everyone else using #Velocity2014 on Twitter!

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The Most Refreshing Shower I Ever Had

clean_waterLast week I had the honor of spending time with 450 women who do what I do. Who live a life similar to mine. 

Pastors’ wives and women in ministry.

We met at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tn, where my friends, Pete and Brandi Wilson, pastor and lead. We sang songs of worship to the One who called our families to serve Him, we prayed for one another to lead well and disciple others, we laughed, we enjoyed fabulous giveaways, and we were equipped by some practical, inspirational speakers. I took notes and pictures and got TONS of ideas for my own ministry. On top of all of that, I enjoyed late night desserts in ritzy restaurants, far too much McDonald’s food, hugs from friends that I only see once a year, and a sense of refreshment that only comes when God breathes new life into my weary soul.

I’m incredibly grateful for refreshment like that. I literally stood in my hotel shower and praised God for all the ways He has seen fit to re-energize me over the last few days. From tidbits of wisdom from other wise women to recognizing the gifts He has given me, I listed them one by one as I stood under that hot water.

I took a long, long shower.

Do you know what I’m tempted to do? I’m tempted to get so busy with the details of my day that I overlook the ways God reveals His love to me….the ways He offers refreshment….the answers He gives to my prayers….the ways He provides for my family…..the unwarranted blessings He gives me. I find it far too easy to get lost in accomplishing my to-do list and ignore the activity of God in my life.

Can I get a witness? Do you sense the same temptation in your own life?

Maybe you are in need of a shower. A long one, like me. Maybe you need to set you to-do list aside, get out of your regular routine, and focus on the activity of God in your life. Maybe you need reminisce over the ways your Heavenly Father provides for you…for your family….for your health….for your spiritual growth….for your emotional well-being…for your creativity and sense of purpose.

Something beautiful happens when we recite the gifts our Lord gives. We are renewed. We understand our worth. We recognize the love the Father has for us. Our gratitude breeds health…emotionally and spiritually.

Ps 9:1-2 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

May we, my friends, find time to give thanks and tell of all the marvelous things our God has done. We will be filled with joy when we do.

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Leading and Loving It

RetreatBanner1If anyone were to ask me what my dream job is, I could honestly answer that I’m living it! I’ve devoted my life to ministry in Jesus’ name, and I am fulfilled, satisfied, and content in how I’ve spent my life. From my early years of service (teaching AWANA’s and participating in a Christian drama club) to these current years of church planting, I have reveled in the experiences, the stories of faith, the fruit of our labor, the changed lives, and the spiritual growth that I’ve seen in others…..and that I’ve personally experienced. I’m living the dream! I’m leading and loving it!

In just a two weeks, I have the opportunity to spend a couple of days with hundreds of other pastors’ wives and women in ministry at the Leading and Loving It Re:Treat who are also living their dreams. We’re going to hang out, encourage each other, swap ideas, make new friends, and be refreshed.  And while we might be living our dream, we still need help along the way.

We need fresh ideas.

We need encouragement to fight the good fight.

We need friendship from other women who relate to our unique lives.

We need to meet with God.

That’s what we’re going to do at our retreat on November 12-14. I’ll also teach one of the breakout sessions, Critical Lessons Learned In Ministry. If you are coming to the retreat, I’d be honored for you to join me as I share a few of the critical crossroads I’ve faced in my years of ministry.

Do you ever take time to “retreat” and be refreshed? To be spurred on the be the best you can be? To engage in relationships that sharpen and refine? YOU CAN! YOU SHOULD! Plan a weekend or just an afternoon with some like-minded friends to make each other better. YOU can lead and love it, too!

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Pastors’ Wives, Your Husband NEEDS This!

As the wife of a lead pastor, I am privy to many behind the scenes conversations regarding our church. I assist my husband as he develops his weekly messages, I help him brainstorm future activities, and I’m a constant sounding board for countless decisions that he alone must make. I’m a filter for financial, managerial, and stewardship issues for him. My answers carry much influence, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. To be sure, I’m not his only sounding board, but I am his closest and most consistent listening ear.

If you, too, are the pastors’ wife, I bet you can relate. We are our husbands’ partners….we want to help them be the best they can be. That’s why I want you to know about a FREE webinar hosted by churchplanters.com – “Getting the Right People in the Right Seats.” If you’ve ever spent a date night with your hubby discussing staffing issues rather than your love life, then you probably understand just how important having the right team can be to your husband…..sometimes it’s an all-consuming issue. Hiring the right people can facilitate enormous spiritual success for your church, as well as help hold up your husband’s arms as he bears the heavy load of leadership.

When the right people are in the right positions, synergy and growth is almost always the result. When the wrong people are in the wrong positions, synergy is stymied, and so is a church’s growth. The lead pastor must answer questions like:

How do I know if I have the right people?

How do I know if I have people in the right seats?

What if I realize I don’t have the right people in the right seats?

Where can I find new leaders?

How do I select new leaders?

How do I move leaders to the right seats?

How do I deselect leaders that no longer fit?

These are not easy questions to answer, but I know this webinar can help!

William Vanderbloemen, founder and CEO of the Vanderbloemen Search Group joins my husband, Shawn Lovejoy, for this FREE event on Thursday, 9.26.13 at 10:30 AM. Click HERE to hear William and Shawn highlight the details. 

This could be future altering and life changing for your husband’s leadership, for your ministry team, and for your church! Register now! Space is limited!

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Marriage and Ministry: Tune In This Wednesday

2408Leadership in ministry brings its challenges.  

Leading people is never easy.  The leader meets demands, resolves conflicts, maintains overall vision, manages a staff, and guides an entire congregation of people to unity.  All of that adds up to a few stressful days (seasons) and many sleepless nights.  Most of the time, the leader feels inadequate to accomplish the task God has assigned.  Ahhh, but that’s the beauty of God’s way of doing things, isn’t it? His strength is displayed in our weakness.

For those of us who are married and serve in ministry leadership, the challenges often rise to a whole new level.  We bring our work home with us – the burden of counseling others through infidelity, holding the hands of those with illness, strategizing new programs for the church, bouncing staffing ideas off of our spouse – we talk about all of it.  All. The. Time.

If we aren’t careful, doing good work (the best work there is, as a matter of fact) can actually consume us and our marriage.  In very subtle ways, we can allow our passion for ministry overshadow our passion for our spouse.  Oh, we would never say we love our work more than our spouse, but sometimes our actions tell a different story.

My husband and I are partners in every sense of the word.  In ministry and in our home.  We believe you and your spouse should be as well. This Wednesday, July 31st at 3PM, we will be talking very practically about how you and your spouse can be and stay partners in both ministry and marriage during an online Whiteboard Session hosted by the Launch Network.  We’ll share key insights, stories, and practical steps to protect your marriage in the midst of leading a growing church.

Click the links above for all the details and join Shawn and me online Wednesday at 3pm.  Your ministry and marriage will be better for it!

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