Welcome to Church Leader Insights. We trust you’ll be blessed by the reading we have for you this week.
There are many leadership mistakes we make as pastors. I’m certain I make one nearly everyday.
This post is only about one mistake. Only one, but one of the worst.
And, frankly, I’m as guilty of this one as anyone. I think most of us are prone to making this mistake. In any realm of leadership.
Here is one of the worst mistakes pastors make in leadership:
Allowing a few negative voices to overwhelm us.
Have you been guilty of that mistake?
Be careful. There is a Biblical principle here.
“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6)
When we place our focus on a few negatives, it injures everyone.
- We cater to them.
- We try to appease them.
- We worry about them.
- We neglect the greater good.
And, in the end, here’s the strange part I’ve seen –
We usually find out nothing we could have done would have made them happy anyway.
Negative people are often negative for reasons other than something you did as a leader.
They are hurting. Of course, we need to love them, pray for them, and help them as we can.
But, when we let their negativity control us, in the process, everyone loses.
You may have wondered why you haven’t been seeing me around lately. Frankly, I won’t be back.
I wanted to stay, and I wish things could have worked out between us. Maybe you don’t realize how your church looked from my perspective.
Take a look and maybe you’ll understand why I’m not coming back to your church.
You held me hostage in my own home
I’d been visiting for a couple of months when you started a capital campaign. Two members knocked on my door with a pledge card—and they wouldn’t leave until I signed it.
Did I bring this on myself by putting tithe checks in the offering plate without joining? Still, I was a visitor—certainly not ready for a long-term financial commitment to your church.
I wish I’d had the backbone to explain this to your determined solicitors. Instead, to get them out of my house, I signed the pledge card—and never set foot in your church again.
Lesson for the church: Be careful how you train your volunteers. I have little doubt they were urged to bring back completed pledge cards. Their zeal to comply overcame their common sense.
You didn’t reach out
We filled out the pew card. We introduced ourselves after the worship service. You sent one email, and we responded: “We would love a chance to meet with you and learn more about the church.”
If you can’t bother to assertively follow up with someone who is showing active interest in your church, you clearly don’t care. We’re moving on.
We’ve found that it is hard to compare church management software. The pricing can be hidden. And the features can seem more like comparing apples to watermelons rather than apples to apples.
So this fall we sent surveys to over 200 church management software providers asking in-depth questions about features, pricing, clientele, and the companies behind the code. Sixty-one responded and were willing to share details beyond their sales pitch.
This list represents over 12,000 cells of spreadsheet data that’s been analyzed and distilled into an easier way to compare cost and features. In fact, we calculated the estimated 3-year costs for each solution regardless of if pricing was a one-time purchase, a flat rate subscription, or a tiered-rate subscription (i.e., based on congregation size, licensed users, or modules).
This allows us to compare each solution by value (cost per feature) and cost per attendee across small, medium, large, and megachurches.
After the list, we’ve included some additional explanations on the data as well as a few notable exclusions from the list who chose not to share their information with you.
Around this time of year, the mainstream media and Internet meme-machines like to remind us how old we are by telling us all of the things this year’s high school graduates won’t remember because, well, they weren’t even born yet.
That list is usually all pop culture, technology and political references. But what about church? I bet we can make a good list.
In church leadership, we have a looooong memory. And for some reason, we expect the new wine to clothe itself with old wineskins to learn and accept every moment of our history as part of their own personal story.
This spring’s high school graduates were born in the year 2000. Here are some churchy things for which they have little to no context for…
- “Shout to the Lord”
That was 1994, folks.
- When Worship Bands Were Edgy
Carey Nieuwhof wrote about this very well in his article “The Impending Death of Cool Church.”
- Billy Graham Crusades
His last was in 2005. They were five years old.
- Televangelists Committing Fraud and Conspiracy
More on why that should influence how your church talks about money in Tony Morgan’s article “It’s Not the ‘80s Anymore.”
- Giving Cash at Church
The Unstuck Group’s intern this semester specifically mentioned “offering plates of all varieties… the strangest ones I’ve seen were velvet bags with wooden handles. Very retro.” Tony also said his church doesn’t take an offering in services anymore. And there are no “giving boxes” either.
- Why “See You at the Pole” Is a Thing
Prayer at school is not a part of their collective consciousness.
Thank you to our sources for this week’s blog posts:
Ron Edmondson – One Terrible Leadership Mistake We Make as Pastors (And Leaders)
Facts & Trends – Why I’m Not Coming Back to Your Church
Church Mag – 2018 Big List of Church Management Software
The Unstuck Group – 18 Churchy Things the Class of 2018 Won’t Get