Our mission is to help others increase their capacity so they can increasingly love God and others more deeply and serve more effectively. We build capacity in individuals, teams, and churches through training events, coaching relationships, and a variety of ministry resources. 

How to Build Strong Staff-Board Relations

  • Posted on: 24 April 2017
  • By: Randy Wollf

The growth of an organization often depends on the strength of the working relationship between its board and staff. Stephen M.R. Covey writes:

There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world—one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time. That one thing is trust. {1} 

Trust is the foundational element for building a strong board-staff team. Yet, how do we build trust in this strategic relationship? Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Spend time together

There is no substitute for just hanging out together in a relaxed, fun environment. For example, in the churches where I have served, we have done board-staff meals and retreats. When I was starting out in pastoral ministry, my lead pastor would remind the staff team to make the most of our overnight leadership retreats by spending time with non-staff leaders. It was prime time to build relationships.

The primary relationship in the board-staff team is between the lead pastor and the chair/moderator. If you are one of those people, make sure that you meet with your counterpart once or twice a month (preferably for a relaxed discussion over coffee or a meal). Build a strong relationship even as you discuss church matters.

It’s also important to encourage or even structure regular interactions between individual board members and staff.

Relationships provide the context in which trust can flourish.

2. Over-communicate

Establishing Church Goals During Pastoral Transitions

  • Posted on: 10 April 2017
  • By: Cam Taylor

Times of pastoral transition are windows of opportunity for a congregation to experience turning points towards health and renewed ministry. Welcoming a new senior pastor into a healthy, functional, and spiritually-renewed church community is a goal worth pursuing!

There are two approaches to pastoral transition―a more traditional approach or an intentional-transitional approach. There was a day when a "hold-the-fort-until-the-next-pastor-arrives" mindset worked, but this is less effective today.

The Intentional-Transitional Approach

The intentional-transitional approach focuses on seeing the time between pastors as a season of opportunity, and a time to facilitate meaningful and sustainable change. In this model, the transitional leader is a trained specialist and prepares the congregation to eventually do their search from a posture of health, prayer, and readiness.

The Five Benefits to the Intentional-Transitional Model

Why is it worth taking the time and trouble to engage in a well-planned transition? Let me give you with five of the benefits: 

1. During transition, you can create an atmosphere that fosters positive change and healthy adjustment. 

2. During transition, you have the opportunity to bring in outside specialists who are equipped to facilitate change―a luxury you often can’t afford during seasons of regular ministry.  

3. During transition, the focus on overall church health sets up the search process to be conducted from a place of strength, clear identity, and vision.  

4. The intentional-transitional model allows a congregation to work systematically through a process that recognizes key milestones and gives opportunity to involve new people. 

5. The transitional model gives the opportunity to deal with unwanted sacred cows and elephants too difficult to tackle during seasons of normal ministry.

Eight Transitional Goals

Below are descriptions of the eight transitional goals you seek to achieve during the transitional process. There is flexibility in how to achieve these goals, but the principles are fixed. 

1. Facilitating Closure 

Closure involves dealing with the past so as not to hinder what God is wanting to do in the future. A transitional leader serves as counselor and skilled listener―helping individuals relate to and deal with their past so it does not negatively impact God’s plan for the future.

2. Facilitating Preaching

Adopting a Personalized Approach to Discipleship

  • Posted on: 3 April 2017
  • By: Randy Wollf

StaircaseImagine a staircase that represents spiritual growth and maturity {1}. One way to disciple would be for someone further up the staircase to call people on lower steps to a higher standard and application of that standard. This might be motivational. A similar approach would be for someone who is more spiritually mature to not only call others to a higher standard, but to provide a detailed plan for how to achieve that growth.

What do you notice about these two approaches? They are both truth-based and growth-oriented. They provide an important vision for spiritual maturity. They communicate necessary ideas. Yet, they lack a personal touch and may not actually help a person take the next step in their discipleship journey.

A third approach would be for the disciple-maker to come alongside the disciple—to climb down the stairs and join them in their spiritual journey. This kind of personalized approach allows the disciple-maker to enter the experience of the disciple (and vice versa) and to provide the necessary support and guidance to take next steps.

What are four characteristics of this kind of personalized approach? 

1. It assumes relationship 

We cannot truly understand where people are at apart from a growing relationship with them. As we connect deeply with people, we are able to pray, encourage, support, and speak into their lives in ways that can help them move forward (you can check out Eight Characteristics of Disciple-making Relationships for more on these kinds of relationships). 

2. It involves customization

A large-group or programmatic approach to discipleship is often good for covering broad discipleship themes. A highly relational approach allows the disciple-maker to customize the application of this kind of content, so that it has maximum value for the other person. 

3. It necessitates a coaching/mentoring mindset

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