Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How to Make a Good Decision

How does your church make decisions? Who makes the decisions? How timely are decisions made?

What we experience in many churches is that making decisions is difficult and that many churches do not have a process that helps them. In fact, the decision-making process is so poor that I now ask churches, "What is your process for making decisions?" Most often these leaders do not have an answer.

Here's a decision-making tree to help you and your church make better, more timely decisions:

Step 1: Values
Your core values are the foundation that gives your church its sense of individual identity, provides direction, and are foundation upon which decisions are made. Run the decision through your core values. Your goal is to determine the consistency of the decision with your core values. The values decision answers the question can we say yes to this decision? Ask these two questions:

1. Is this decision consistent with and connected to our core values?
  • If yes, write a statement that describes how it is consistent and connected to your core values, then move ahead.
  • If no, stop. Write a clear statement of why the decision does not meet your core values test and clearly communicate the reason to the person who brought the decision in question.
2. Do our core values warrant spending dollars on this decision?
  • If yes, are those dollars available in the regular budget or would it require extra-budget funding?
  • If no, what is it about the decision that makes it not reach the level of importance for funding? Write your statement and present it to the person bringing the decision
Step 2: Mission
Now you are looking at how this decision connects with your church's mission, that statement that describes why your church exists. Your mission statement answers the question should we say yes to this decision?
  • If yes, write a clear statement of how this decision moves you ahead in your mission.
  • If no, stop. Write your statement describing why it does not connect with your mission and communicate the reason.
Step 3: Vision
Your vision is what you wish to see come to being in the next few years. Ask the question: does this decision contribute to accomplishing our vision? At this step you are answering the final question of will we say yes to this decision?
  • If yes, write your statement that describes how a positive decision substantially contributes to accomplishing your vision. Clearly describe what you will gain by a positive decision.
  • If no, write your statement describing why it does not and clearly describe what you will lose by making a negative decision.
This decision-making process runs your decisions through your core values, mission, and vision and by writing your reasoning at each step it will help you be more clear and more certain about your decision as well as having clear communication to give to your church.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SEED TEAM - Gathering the Right People

They used to be called a core team. Sometimes people speak of a launch team. But we're talking about your seed team: the four to six committed Christians (or families) who are going to bring their giftedness to the task of gathering new people together to become a new church.

In our Kairos strategy lab training we speak of both a seed team and a launch team. The seed team is your original group of people who will do the hard work of gathering your launch team. The seed team are those ten to fifteen adults who are going on mission you.  Your first missional communities will form around these seed team members. The launch team are the next thirty or so people whom your seed team will gather into their missional communities to give you the bulk you need to launch your regular Sunday worship experiences.

In our experience the planters who have had the easiest time have also had strong seed teams. Here are the kinds of people who make strong seed team members:
  1. Christians of good Character. They are going to be the first faces of the new church. You want them to show Jesus well.
  2.  Competent to be ministry leaders. You are going to depend on these people to carry leadership in the work. They need to know how to do ministry and to do it well.
  3. Good Chemistry with the vision God has given you. Everyone will come with their own set of expectations and wishes, but your seed team members should be willing to follow your lead over and above their expectations.
  4. Sacrificial givers. You will ask and lead your seed team to tithe to this new church. This money will be your primary source of working funds for the new church.
  5. Reaching out to and inviting their friends and relationships into relationship with Jesus in the new church. They need to be(come) evangelistic bringers.
 Learn more about gathering a seed team from these videos on the Kairos website:
  • Jared King, Gathering Your Seed Team
  • Tim Blair, Seed Team Development

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Last week I listened to Andy Stanley's Leadership podcast on keystone habits (by Charles Duhigg) as a culture changing/energizing action. A keystone habit is a critical action that creates and rearranges other habits for the potential to dramatically energize your church's culture. Keystone habits are able to create this new energy and culture because:
  1. they provide a focal point for action; 
  2. they serve as the soil from which other habits grow; and 
  3. they give you energy and confidence to do more
Stanley described how North Point staff identified the habit of "inviting people to church" as their keystone habit. If they could help their people begin to practice regularly inviting people to church they saw power to energize their mission to create a church unchurched people would like.

What was so attention grabbing to me was that last weekend I think Gena and I saw a keystone habit discovered at the church we were facilitating a StratOp weekend with. What was their keystone habit?

Spiritual Conversations

For the past three years we have worked with this church as they learned how to be a church whose members were comfortable with having spiritual conversations. They are still early in the process of turning the concept of spiritual conversations into a keystone habit, but they are already seeing the results. Their baptism rate went from 0 three years ago to 21 baptisms last year.

If you want to know more about how to have spiritual conversations with others order our Sharing Faith workbook.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." While this quote may or may not have come from Peter Drucker, the truth of it is indisputable. While strategy gives direction and guidance, culture tells us how we do life.

So how does a church change its culture? How do we dig down to the bedrock of how we do life as a church and change it?

Shawn Lovejoy, founding pastor of Mountain Lake Church, began Mountain Lake in 2000 as an attractional, Sunday morning, worship experience based church. God blessed this infant which which became a mega church of almost 3,000 people. Yet Shawn felt something was wrong, something was missing. Their worship was great. People were inviting their friends and networks. By many standards Mountain Lake was a successful church plant. Yet deep within Shawn's heart was a disquieting seed of doubt. Were they growing a church or were they making disciples of Jesus?

This doubt led Shawn to rethink Mountain Lake. For the past four years Shawn has been working with missional thinkers like Alex Absalom, Hugh Halter, Alan Hirsch and others to answer this question:

How can we move an attractionally based church towards missional action without blowing it up?

Shawn walked our Multiplying Church Cohort through "9 Steps to Culture Change." The audio portion of this presentation with video notes is available for you to view on the Kairos
website. Shawn gives practical, down to earth advice based on their experience at Mountain Lake. You'll be blessed,  encouraged, and informed by Shawn.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Culture of Generosity

How's your church doing financially? At this time of year most churches are hoping that the Christmas spirit and tax incentives work together to motivate their people to give the year-end gifts that will balance their cash flow.

Tim Spivey (newvintage.org) brought his research and experience on developing a culture of generosity in churches to our final Multiplying Church Cohort meeting of 2014. Here's some highlights:
  • Generosity is a big, bold biblical theme
  • Generosity is a leadership driven outcome
  • Rule of thirds: 1/3 of your people give $10/week or $500 or more per year, 1/3 give less than $10/week, and 1/3 give nothing
  •  What it takes to raise money is a worthy cause and a worthy asker
  • Don't plow under your own field by de-emphasizing giving with statements such as, "Separate and apart from" or "you may choose to give your time"
Tim suggests a 2-year process to develop a culture of generosity in your church.

You can view Tim's presentation at the Kairos website.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

3 Seasons of Planting

The Kairos Strategy Lab is designed around three seasons of Planting: Groundwork, Launch, and Grow. Each season has its own set of objectives and purpose. We use this picture board to illustrate these three stages and the key tasks of each season.

Groundwork is the preparation time, beginning from Discovery Lab until the planter is on the field and at least 75% funded. The purpose of Groundwork is for the planter to lay a strong foundation for his work.

Goals of Season One: GroundWork
1.     Develop a ministry plan
2.     Gain a partner church
3.     Raise funding up to 75%
4.     Practice casting vision by organizing 3 large group events
5.     Initiate two prayer teams (mass and personal)
6.     Move onsite

Launch begins when the planter is on the field and continues through the first year after the launch of the regular Sunday worship experience.

Goals of Season Two: Launch are to accomplish the launch benchmarks, those tasks that will raise the planters probabilities of success:

1.     Seed Team committed (five to six family units)
2.     Tithing (by seed team)
3.     Financial team is in place
4.     Cast vision to 1,000 people who are added to the cultivation database
5.     Missional Communities (three with twenty people each)
6.     10 Baptisms

The Grow season usually begins about the third year of the church’s life. At this point the planter has experience under his belt, real people in the church, and all the challenges that come with church life. It’s easy at this point for the planter to settle into an “as usual” way of doing things that puts a brake on growth. The Grow season is designed to keep the church growing.

The Grow season begins when the new church is at least twelve months past the initial Sunday launch.

Goals of Season Three: Grow
1.     Begin using Natural Church Development to build and maintain healthy systems
2.     Establish a 3-deep leadership
3.     Recognized as an active, contributing part of community, the city gov’t and key community partners know and value you
4.     Reach an average worship attendance of 200 people
5.     Initiate plans for a daughter church plant

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kairos Planters at Exponential West 1014

Last week a good Kairos crew of staff and planters spent the week together at the Exponential West planters' conference hosted by the Saddleback church. We were treated to a feast of presentations and classes on evangelism.

After Exponential we took a few days together at Manhattan Beach in a men's retreat. We got to pray, play, eat, talk, walk, bicycle and play on the beach together. It was a great time of refreshment.

Exponential Reflections
Here are a few key nuggets from Exponential:
  • Ed Stetzer: No real researcher believes Christianity is dying in America. However, there is a radical shift of influence. Where in the 20th century non-believers looked towards Christians for influence in the 21st century they are looking towards the cultural  for influence. The 50% of Americans who are non-practicing religious  are moving into the category "nones," not having faith.
  • Jeff Vanderstelt: "People don't know how to share the gospel with unbelievers because they don't know how to share Jesus with each other.
  • Alex Absalom: "Discipleship is imitation more than information.
  • Hugh Halter: "Evangelism is changing the assumptions people have about us and God."
  • Shawn Lovejoy: "Becoming missional is moving people along the discipleship journey to become a disciple making people." 
  • Larry Osburn: "Come and See evangelism (inviting people to church) works. It: 1) lets people see how Christians worship and work, 2) provides instant and built-in followup and 3) everyone can do it