We have some fantastic blog posts for you to check out this month. Enjoy!
You’d think that being in church leadership would ensure you’re not tempted to fall into the same temptations as, say, leaders in the marketplace.
As nice as that line of thinking is, it’s wrong.
A few years ago, Patrick Lencioni did a great job outlining the 5 temptations of a CEO. All of those apply to anyone in leadership, and Patrick’s books are always packed with helpful insights.
I think all of those temptations apply to any senior leader, but ministry adds a layer of complexity or two.
You and I are human. We are subject to the same temptations as anyone else.
Recognizing that we’re vulnerable to a whole host of temptations, pitfalls and set of issues is actually a good thing. Self-awareness is a gift. It can lead you to confession, repentance and a different future.
Denial is a different story. If you think you have no sin, or that these things can’t and don’t happen to you, well…good luck with that. I think there’s something in the scripture that says those of us who say we have no sin deceive ourselves.
When it comes to temptation, denial is an accelerator. The more we think it will never happen to us, the more we position ourselves to have it happen.
Integrity. It is a powerful word. It is used to describe people whose private lives match their public lives, whose actions match their words, who live honorably and humbly.
Rightfully so, we long for our leaders to be filled with integrity. For more than twenty years, people have used The Perceived Leader Integrity Scale as an instrument to measure how people view their leader’s integrity. The questions in the instrument are designed to highlight what a lack of integrity looks like in the life of a leader. In the instrument, people respond, on a Likert Scale, to statements like: “My supervisor deliberately fuels conflicts among employees,” “My supervisor would blame me for his/her own mistakes,” and “My supervisor avoids coaching me because he/she wants me to fail.”
Here are 3 indicators of integrity lapses in leadership:
1. Leaders without integrity fuel conflict
In life and leadership, there are people who create chaos wherever they go. Unhealthy leaders enjoy creating conflict and drama because it keeps people guessing and relying on them. It takes a lack of integrity to pursue chaos in order to make yourself feel necessary.
2. Leaders without integrity shift blame to others
Leaders with integrity take responsibility for their team, even their team’s struggles and mistakes. Leaders without integrity continually look to shift blame to others, even to those they lead without providing coaching or without replacing team members.
Last week, Saddleback Church celebrated an amazing spiritual milestone. Since their founding 38 years ago, they have baptized 50,000 new believers.
That is something the entire body of Christ needs to pause and thank God for. 50,000 people making commitments to Christ in one local church is an amazing and beautiful thing
It’s also amazing and beautiful when 50,000 people come to Christ and are baptized across 10, 100 or 1,000 congregations.
Breaking Down The Numbers
As I considered those numbers, I started wondering what equivalent stats would look like in churches of those different sizes.
According to Outreach magazine, Saddleback averages over 26,000 attendees every weekend. They’ve been in existence for about 38 years. That’s just over 1,300 baptisms per year. But that’s not an accurate average for their current size because they obviously had a lot fewer baptisms in the early years, with a lot more in recent years.
According to this article in ChristianityToday.com, Saddleback hit the 45,000 baptism mark in October of 2016, which means they baptized 5,000 people in the last 22 months. That’s a current average of 227 baptisms per month, or 2,727 baptisms per year. That is also great cause for celebration!
If you take those figures and average them for 26,000 church members across churches of different sizes, it looks like this:
- 1 church of 26,000: 2,727 baptisms per church per year
- 10 churches averaging 2,600: 272 baptisms per church per year
- 100 churches averaging 260: 27 baptisms per church per year
- 1,000 churches averaging 26: 2.7 baptisms per church per year
Why is it that while the first figure is rightly applauded as an astonishing accomplishment, the churches in the last line are usually made to feel like abject failures?
In my role as Executive Pastor, one of the things I can never avoid is doing the budget for the church each year. The budget is due to the eldership in early December, and it takes a bunch of work to get it together. I usually start working on it in mid to late August.
I wanted to share the process I go through each year, along with a few pointers. I’ll assume your church uses QuickBooks or some other application that affords you some capability along these lines.
The basic approach is to use “actuals” from the current year to build a budget for the coming year. The amount of “tweaking” required to finalize the new budget depends on how similar the coming year will be to the current year. An aggressive growth strategy, for example, will require lots of adjustments in terms of outreach (marketing, advertising, events, etc.) and staff (salaries, benefits, recruiting expenses, etc.). Make sense?
The first order of business is to perform a detailed review of the current year’s “actuals.” If your situation is like ours, you have some amount of misclassifications and other errors in your system. If these errors aren’t corrected before the new budget is created (using current year actuals) they will be projected forward to the coming year. Have your bookkeeper go through an account by account review of the actual expenses for the current year. I have found it easier to do this if you start with a high level look at the church’s actuals versus budget report. Look for line items where there are significant differences between actual expenses and the amount budgeted. A quick review of the details often reveals misclassifications and other errors.
Thank you to our sources for this month’s blog posts:
Carey Nieuwhof – The 5 Temptations of a Pastor
Eric Geiger – 3 Indicators of Integrity Lapses in Leaders
Christianity Today (Karl Vaters) – Celebrating 50,000 Baptisms – No Matter How Many Churches It Takes
Executive Pastor Online – Creating The Annual Budget