Oct 13, 2015

Selfie Leadership vs. Usie Leadership

We live in the age of "selfies."  Everyone feels the pressure to promote their own personal "brand."  But when it comes to leadership...does the selfie model work?  Or does a "usie" model work better?

Take a look at the comparisons below.  What kind of leadership are you providing?  Selfie or Usie?

If you would like a copy of this infograph, feel free to email me at daleh@cftoday.org.

Oct 12, 2015

The Bible App Storybook Bible (Enter to Win a Free Copy)

Now, the most downloaded children's Bible app, The Bible App for Kids, is available in print!  Created by YouVersion, the creator of the Bible app which has more than 170 million downloads, in partnership with OneHope, an international ministry that has reached more than a billion children and youth with stories from the Bible. 
The Storybook Bible, tells the meta-narrative of the Bible, in a way that children can easily understand and whole families can enjoy.  From Creation to a New Heaven and a New Earth, each story is woven together for children to easily understand God's redemptive plan.

We're giving away a free copy to one of our readers.  You can enter by emailing me at daleh@cftoday.org.  We'll announce the winner next Monday, October 19, here on this site. 

You can also pre-order a copy of this great new resource at this link.  

Oct 9, 2015

3 Keys to Giving Guest Families a Great First Experience

Did you know the experience you give guests on their first visit is the single most important factor in seeing them return?

Let's define guest experience.  Guest experience is the sum of all the interactions a family has with your ministry.  It includes everything from the family's first awareness that your church exists to the totality of their first visit.  The critical moments during this time are touchpoints.  The touchpoints all add up to create the family's guest experience with you.

Here's 3 keys that will help you create an amazing guest experience for families.

Key #1 - The guest experience is everyone's responsibility.  Everyone the family interacts with is part of the guest experience.  Their experience will not only be shaped by the greeter at the door, but also by the person at the classroom door and everyone else they encounter along the way.

If you want to give guests a great experience, train not only your greeters and check-in team, but your people at the classroom doors and other key people guests will encounter as well. 

Disney has developed a great strategy for this that can be summed up in this statement.
While no one owns the guest, someone, in every case, owns the moment.
Everyone must be made aware of this and own the moments they interact with the guest.

Key #2 - The guest experience is shaped by everything the guest encounters.  You can have a great first-time family check-in process, but if they encounter a smelly, dirty bathroom it will negatively affect their experience.  You can have great hallway signage, but if the pick-up line is long, it will again cast a shadow on their experience.  Look at your guest experience holistically. 

Key #3 - Understand your guests.  If you want to meet the needs, wants and emotions of your guests, then you must know what they are.  Be intentional about identifying these and then create a blueprint for meeting them.  When you truly understand your guests, then you can truly give them a great experience.

Oct 8, 2015

How to Lead People Who Are Older & More Experienced Than You

I am often asked by younger leaders, "How do I lead people who are older and more experienced than I am?"

Now that I'm in my late 40's and have been leading for over 26 years, I don't face that situation quite as often.  But I can definitely relate to it.  Seems just yesterday, I was a young leader interacting with people who had been doing ministry longer than I had been alive.

Looking back, here's some tips I wish I'd known.  I trust it will be a help to younger leaders who are reading this as well as older leaders who want to encourage the next generation.

Create teamwork through collaboration.  Since you are younger and less experienced, people will not always trust your ideas and opinions.  The key to overcoming this is collaboration.  Don't just shove ideas and initiatives down from the top.  Instead, gather ideas and opinions from people, work through them together and then move forward with what rises to the top.  Collaboration will help you create the teamwork you need in place as a young leader. 

Gain knowledge through feedback.  Your lack of experience will naturally lead to people questioning your expertise, skill and knowledge.  Make this an advantage instead of a disadvantage through feedback.  Be intentional about asking for feedback about your performance and seek ways to digest and implement it.  Older leaders will not think less of you for this.  In fact, it will cause them to respect you and follow you. 

Build trust through integrity.  Older leaders will struggle to see you as a role model since you don't have a proven track record.  Start building a track record people can trust by walking your talk, keeping your promises and being honest. 

Deepen relationships through care.  Older leaders will not open their heart to you because of your title.  They will open their heart to your leadership because they know you care about them.  Show them you care by taking an interest in them personally and investing time in them.  Show them you care more about them as a person than about what they do.

Encourage through inspiration.  Sometimes older leaders struggle with complacency, discouragement and even burnout.  As a young leader, you can tap into the excitement and energy of your youth to inspire them.  Help them break out of the box they may be in and help them stretch for more.

Honor the past while pointing to the future.  Older leaders tend to reflect on the past.  This will be heard in statements like "we've always done it that way" or "we tried something like that and it didn't work" or  "we don't like change" or "remember how great it was when."

If you disregard or refuse to honor the past, older leaders will not follow you into the future.  The future is built on a foundation of gratitude for the past.

The floor is yours. 
Are you a young leader?  
What are you thoughts?  
What other questions do you have?
Are you an older leader?  
What other advice do you have for younger leaders?  
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Oct 7, 2015

How We Saw Our Kids Bring Over 150 of Their Unchurched Friends to Church in One Day

A few weeks ago our kids brought over 150 of their unchurched friends to church in one weekend.  This was the result of an intentional strategy which is illustrated below.

Oct 6, 2015

Why the Kids in Your Ministry Are Fidgeting

Were the kids in your ministry fidgeting this past weekend?

If they were, it's not because they're irreverent or rebellious.  They were fidgeting because they're wired to move and you weren't giving them enough opportunities to do so.

You can go with kids' natural wiring to help them learn and engage or you can force them to sit still and be quiet.  Force them into a prolonged sedentary state and they'll feel like they're in "time out" and will soon dread coming to church.

Am I saying that kids should never sit and listen quietly?  No.  I believe they should...but in small doses.  If you want kids to experience times of "being still and quiet" before the Lord, then balance it will lots of time for them to "dance" before the Lord.
Honor kids time to move and they will honor the time you ask them to be still and quiet.
Active learning has been proven to be more effective than quiescent learning.  Make sure your programming reflects this.  Here are five expectations we go over with the kids at the beginning of every service.

Talk when it's time to talk.
We give kids lots of opportunities to talk, discuss and interact with each other and their leaders.

Sing when its time to sing. 
We encourage kids to engage during the worship songs.  2 of the songs are upbeat and very active.  1 is a slower, more reflective worship song.

Listen when it's time to listen. 
When someone else is talking up front or in their group, show respect by listening.

Play when it's time to play.
There are lots of interactive learning activities and games.  We encourage kids to get involved.

Have fun.
We encourage a culture of fun.  We want their experience to be engaging, relevant and enjoyable.

Notice the percentages of the expectations listed above.
  • Moving, interacting and talking - 80%
  • Sitting still, being quiet and listening - 20%  
The 80% enables the 20% to be effective.  Take a look at your percentage.  If the kids are fidgeting, it's probably because the sitting still and being quiet percentage is too high.