The Solomon Foundation was created with you in mind—whether you are an investor looking for a fixed rate investment opportunity, or you are just starting to save money with our low-minimum investment. Perhaps you are the pastor looking for a partner in ministry, or the church planter needing funding for a facility where your ministry can grow. The Solomon Foundation serves churches through many facets and recently I had the opportunity to attend their executive pastor and financial manager conference called “What’s Next.” After spending two days in beautiful Colorado, here are 15 leadership lesson and questions that I am pondering on my flight home.
1. “Jesus is always better.”
2. Do you currently belong to something meaningful in God’s kingdom? I want to always be a part of His work. This must become my prayer.
3. I need to be praying for Spirit movement and for God to draw people into His church.
4. Does your staff understand the role of the different teams? Do your teams stay within their team roles? Do your team members respect each other’s roles? “You can have a good strategy in place, but if you don’t have the culture and the enabling systems that allow you to successfully implement that strategy, the culture of the organization will defeat the strategy.” Richard Clark.
5. What is your church’s culture? Does the culture of the church match the culture you speak about? Who gets to set the culture? Who is the consumer of your culture? Do you know if your culture is successfully leaking into your community?
6. Is your worship attendance declining? How does this month’s average worship attendance compare to the same month of the last few years?
7. Does your church produce evangelistic fruit? As a general rule, a healthy church will reach at least one non-Christian for every 20 in worship attendance.
8. Are unrealistic expectations of pastoral care a growth barrier to your church? Healthy churches view pastors as equippers for the members to do the ministry. Who gets called for a hospital visit?
9. Is your church fun? Jesus made it possible for us to radically enjoy a relationship with Him and to enjoy His creation. Do you like going to your church? Do you staff members like worshipping there?
10. Is your church reproducing leaders at every level? Do your staff members have a growing apprentice? Can your staff and your key leaders write down the mission, vision, and share next steps on a napkin?
11. What is your average attendance to staff ratio? Tony Morgan from the unstuck group recommends an 86:1 FTE ratio and most others say somewhere between 75:1 to 90:1 depending on your church.
12. What is your average staffing costs as a percentage of the total budget? On average churches fall between 45%-50% of the budget and benefits comprise of 8-10% of the total.
13. Do you have an established hiring process? How are you making sure your candidate has the ideal character, competence, chemistry, and calling for your church? Does your candidate pass the lunch test? Have you checked the references they didn’t list? Is there a group in this decision making process?
14. We are living in a time of five living generations and we are starting to see the 4th generation taking on the leadership of the church. Millennial worship is a very different expression than generation X. How do we get there? What steps do you need to take to become more relevant to the generation you are trying to lead.
15. The Dot: The age group of people that your church is most effective with.
The Sweet Spot: The five-year gap on either side of your Dot that is the sweet spot that connects with your audience. Every church is on a continuum and we need to apply pressure to the left side of the dot to stay relevant. How are you pushing young people to the front of the line and how are older people raising up the younger leaders? Be smart on how much pressure you apply. Know how much you can lead the group and bend them without breaking them. Can you expand the Sweet Spot to maybe 7 years on either side? “Leadership is making people uncomfortable at a rate they can tolerate.”
16. Secondary adulthood is where they retire at 65 but live so much longer. How is the church using the treasure trove of people who don’t need your money but still want a job? Those in second adulthood are self-starters, dreamers, and get things done.
17. Maybe prayer isn’t what we think? Could it be that prayer is just being with God? Could it be that prayer is trust in God?
Hopefully, these lessons and questions get you thinking about the church you are either leading or a part of. Which of these questions stirred something inside you?