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.

Making Change Stick: 4 Disciplines of Execution for Your Ministry

  • Posted on: 14 October 2016
  • By: Randy Wollf

sticky handsIf you’re like me, you’ve seen many wonderful change initiatives start off strong only to be abandoned and forgotten after a few years. How can we implement change that lasts? In their book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, McChesney, Covey, and Huling describe a process that can help any organization make change stick over the long haul. We've implemented their 4-part strategy as a MinistryLift team and it has provided us with consistent traction toward our goals. Here's how it works:

Discipline #1 – Determine Your Wildly Important Goal(s) (WIGs)

“Don’t ask ‘What’s most important?’ Instead, begin by asking, ‘If every other area of our operation remained at its current level of performance, what is the one area where change would have the greatest impact?’”1 

With WIGs, less is more. If you have 2-3 goals, you are likely to achieve all of them. If you have 4-10 goals, you will likely achieve only 1-2 of these goals. With 11-20 goals, you will probably achieve none of them.

In MinistryLift (a ministry dedicated to providing non-formal training to churches), our WIG for this year is to increase participation by 50% in our five training ministries (live participation in training events, video views in our Resource library, blog views, and engagement via Facebook and Twitter).

Discipline #2 – Act on the Lead Measures

As we think about achieving WIGs, it’s helpful to differentiate between lag and lead measures. Lag measures capture what has already happened and what we can no longer control. For example, with the MinistryLift WIG, we can look at data from the past to see how we’re tracking in each of the five training ministries. Lag measures are important. Yet, if we want to accomplish our WIG, we need to be proactive and take steps that move those lag measures in the right direction. These steps are lead measures (what we can control moving forward).

5 Ways to Motivate More Effective Board Meetings

  • Posted on: 6 October 2016
  • By: Keith Reed

board roomThe “life” of a non-profit board exists in its official meetings. The time that a board has to experience this “life” is extremely limited (perhaps 30-40 hours each year), which means that board leaders have to plan meetings that enable the board to derive the most value during these scheduled interactions. Ineffective meetings—those that hinder a board’s ability to advance the agency’s mission by making good decisions—generate board dysfunction and affect the health of the agency. So investing wisdom in developing quality meetings and board experiences pays immense dividends.

Experienced, non-profit board leaders rely upon five key principles to ensure that their board meetings are productive and healthy:

1. Leverage the link between meetings and mission

Understand the essential relationship between effective board meetings and achieving the key outcomes necessary to advance the mission. When board leaders and the CEO fail to perceive the inter-relationship between well-planned board interactions and the ability of the agency to fulfill its vision, then insufficient attention will be given to nurturing the “life” of the board. The inevitable result will be poor planning, mediocre leadership, and risky decisions. 

2. Develop an annual agenda 

Board leaders serve the board and its members. This can only happen if board leaders understand the role and responsibility of the board, have a clear perception of the work that the board has to accomplish annually, and know how to pace the work of the board to fulfill its responsibilities effectively and efficiently. Developing an annual agenda will accomplish these purposes in the following ways: 

  • It will ensure that time-sensitive decisions are scheduled appropriately
  • It will require the board to have the necessary information in hand to make such decisions
  • It will empower the board to handle unanticipated issues without upsetting its rhythm

3. Nourish the culture

Pick a Point

  • Posted on: 30 September 2016
  • By: Keith Reed

empty notebookIn my last blog, I explained the three approaches of communicating the Bible that Andy Stanley outlines in his book, Communicating for a Change. Instead of teaching the Bible to people or teaching people the Bible, Stanley is an advocate of teaching people how to live a life that reflects the values, principles, and truths of the Bible.

This objective will change how you develop your message because your goal is no longer transferring information but helping people reach a destination (Stanley compares a speaker and their audience with a truck driver taking passengers on a ride). The journey is valuable, but its main purpose to guide listeners to the final destination that a speaker has in mind. The fastest (and often easiest) way to get from one point to another is a straight line. So instead of crafting multiple points and driving people through a series of S-curves, Stanley urges speakers to pick one point and stick with it.

All of us have sat and listened to speakers who crammed too many messages into a single talk. It’s hard to follow in the moment and it’s nearly impossible to remember days later. But what’s worse is that messages like these rarely change our lives.

The messages that have stuck with me the longest are ones that were simple and action-oriented. The point was clear and the application was specific. If you don’t have a central point that you can repeat multiple times, you won’t have a message that will stick with your listeners. Your point doesn’t need to rhyme, but it should be short and memorable. Here are some examples that I've used in past sermons:

  • A hardened heart is slow to listen.
  • Giants aren’t always what they seem.
  • What God has joined together should stay together.
  • No excuse is a valid excuse for disobeying. 

It takes me a while to craft a finely-tuned point, but this short phrase is what ultimately defines my roadmap. I typically don’t establish my point until I’m at least halfway through my preparation. This means that I already have several pages of scripted content and ideas that I’m sifting through. My point helps me determine what to keep and what to delete. It can be frustrating to cut good content that I’ve already spent hours developing, but in the end, I believe this makes my message stronger.