The Reason Many Policies are Written

Many policies are written because someone didn’t want to solve a problem.

In her book “Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands”, Nancy Ortberg talks about the need to differentiate between “a tension to be managed and a problem to be solved“. One example for me is the constant tension between the administration/money side of ministry and the discipleship/hands on side of ministry. As pastor, I’m always going to have to balance tension between our business administrator working to conserve cash and our youth pastor finding legitimate ministry needs in which to spend it, for example. That’s a tension to be managed, not a problem to be solved. On the other hand, an employee who is taking advantage of a more casual organizational structure, which I typically prefer…that’s a problem to be solved. Quickly. A system, which is not working, causing more harm than good to the organization…problem to be solved. Now.

Most of the time, however, in my experience, churches are notorious for creating a new policy to attempt to manage the problem rather than doing the difficult work of solving it. Solving the problem often involves getting personal with people. It involves challenging people. It involves change. It involves holding people accountable to a higher standard. That’s messy. It’s never fun. Most churches like neat, clean and seemingly easy. (Just being honest.)

Using my illustration above, if the youth pastor has a perceived spending problem, rather than addressing the problem with him directly, many times a policy is created to “solve” the problem and curtail spending. Every other staff member may be performing satisfactorily, but the policy controls everyone. Plus, without wise counsel, the youth pastor never learns principles of healthy budgeting or how to manage cash flow, for example, and it continues to impact his ministry for years to come. Problem not solved.

Policies are easy. They are a piece of paper. They may involve some discussion, perhaps a committee meeting (maybe even a tense committee meeting), maybe even a church vote, but they seldom specifically address the people who are causing the problem in the first place. They make people feel better about the problem, but they almost never solve real problems. In fact, they usually only create more problems…which later need to be solved!

For more of my thoughts on policies, see THIS POST. I realize this problem is not limited to churches. Even the best organizations and corporations struggle to address problems as needed.

My advice:

Manage the tensions, but solve the problems.

Do the hard work. It’s what leaders are supposed to do. Not always easiest. Always best.

Have you seen churches (or organizations) try to manage a problem that needed to be solved?

Bonus points if you give me an example.

Learn How to Preach at this One-Day Workshop

Conferences are great, but sometimes, the content can be overwhelming. That’s why Preaching Rocket has created a one-day workshop focused on just one ministry topic: Preaching.

Preaching is one of the most important ways to teach people to follow Jesus and help them understand God’s Word. Dr. Thom Rainer found that 90% of UNCHURCHED people choose a church because of the message; so good preaching is a great way to reach new people, too.

It’s one of the most important and visible things in a church, which is why you should make time to develop your skills.
Preaching Rocket is hosting a one-day workshop called Preach Better Sermons LIVE, featuring some of the nation’s top communicators – Andy Stanley, Pete Wilson, Jeff Henderson, Reggie Joiner, Pete Scazzaro, Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens and more. There are seven chances to attend.

Here are the dates and cities:

  • August 31 – Atlanta (Special Guest: Andy Stanley)
  • September 27 – Chicago (Special Guests: Jarrett and Jeannie Stevens)
  • October 18 – Nashville (Special Guest: Pete Wilson)
  • November 16 – Los Angeles (Special Guest: Reggie Joiner)
  • December 6 – New York (Special Guest: Pete Scazzero)
  • January 23 – Dallas (Special Guest: Reggie Joiner)
  • February 21 – Orlando (Special Guest: TBA)

The cost of the event is just $49 until June 15th; then the price increases. Every attender will get a copy of Andy Stanley’s newest book – Deep and Wide – and lunch from Chick-fil-a®.


Visit the event page and plan to register now for the lowest early registration price.

Just for today…

Just for today….

Let’s:

Forget what is behind and press on…

Not grow weary in doing good…

Consider others better than ourselves…

Love our enemy…

Pray continually…

Humble ourselves…

Forgive as we’ve been forgiven…

Let your light shine before men…

Cast our cares upon Him…

Lay up treasures in Heaven…

Judge not, lest you be judged…

Seek so we will find…

Tomorrow is a new day….

But for today…

What else should we do today?

10 Hard Life Lessons I’ve Learned by Experience

Some of life’s greatest lessons come packaged in a hard personal experience. I’ve learned a few things in life, but truly, the greatest things I know came through mistakes, failures and disappointments.

Here are 10 hard to learn life lessons:

  • A “lesson in humility” teaches far more than a “ego boost”…
  • Often…in my experience…what I don’t want to do is the very thing I need to do the most…
  • The best friends sometimes say the hardest things to hear…
  • Sometimes it’s not until you give up the right to control that a breakthrough comes…
  • People are more honest with you if they can predict your reaction…
  • We hurt most the ones we love the most…
  • Very few people can really comply with “don’t tell anyone”…
  • You never get a second chance at a first impression…
  • God’s way is better than my own…
  • Rebuilding trust is more difficult than keeping established trust…

What are some hard lessons you’ve had to learn?

Change Your Life in 30 Days: Ted Talk

I love simple! Maybe it’s because my simple mind can comprehend simple. 🙂

Watch this short video TED Talk. It’s simple, but you could use the simplicity to change some areas of your life. Take a few minutes and be encouraged.

I have a few ideas of how this could help me.

How about you? Anything you’d like to try to improve or achieve?

Why I’m a Solo Runner!

Most people who know me well know I like to run…

I have lots of other runners around me…

I get many invitations to run with other people…

I occasionally do, and have enjoyed the conversations…

But I generally prefer to run alone…

Why?

Running is my down time…

It’s where I think the best…

It’s where I unwind most…

It’s where I’m freed of technology, and conversation, and stress…

It’s where God sometimes chooses to speak to me…

I run alone because it one way I’m made a better person…

What is that one thing you do best alone?

5 Characteristics of Healthy Teams

Healthy teams have some things in common with other healthy teams.

Healthy teams:

Evaluate – Healthy teams are willing to think critically, without getting their feelings hurt, in order to continue to improve things.

Encourage – Healthy teams make a concerted effort to encourage others on the team.

Construct – Healthy teams build a solid foundation together so the vision is completed beyond the span of a team member.

Challenge – Healthy teams challenge each other when there is a need, in an effort to hold one another accountable, and keep the team healthy.

Cooperate – Healthy teams learn to get along, even when they don’t agree with each other, for the good of the vision and the team.

That’s my list…

What would you add?

Are You Watching the Royal Wedding?

Okay, I have to be honest, I’m just being curious with this post…

I tweeted yesterday about the royal wedding and the response was huge. It must be a pretty big deal. In full disclosure, I’m a fan of royalty. Over the years, I’ve followed and studied the monarchy. I’m fascinated by it and in my public management degree I learned a lot about how that form of government works. Royalty is in full attention now, because apparently there are many very interested in the wedding of Prince William and Kate. There’s even a website for complete information HERE (Possibly a few more websites mention the wedding…I don’t know.)

Some have called this the wedding of this century.  Apparently, this is a couple truly in love.

So, with a royal wedding this week…I have some questions:

Do you care?

Are you following this event?

Will you wake up to view it live?

Could you care less?

Are you a fan of royalty?

What advice would you give the royal couple?

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Church Staff Members Serving Outside Church

I often encourage our staff to volunteer somewhere in our community…

Outside the church…

It could be coaching a ball team…

Serving on a non-profit board…

Picking up trash…

Visiting a nursing home…

Working with a para-church ministry…

Joining a civic group or community leadership program…

I do this personally and believe in it because…

It allows us to get outside the walls of the church…

Actually allows us to meet people…

Be a part of and show support for our community…

Learn more about the people we are trying to reach…

And…

If we are going to ask others to serve…

We need to set an example they can follow…

Some of us get paid to serve in the church…

Where do we volunteer?

Does your staff volunteer in the community in which you live?

Do you agree or disagree?

Are You More Like Martha or Mary?

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, Luke 10:41 NIV

I’m confident that wasn’t the response Martha was looking for. Didn’t Jesus care that Mary refused to cut the pies or set the table? Couldn’t He see that Martha had so much to do if they were still going to eat by noon? Shouldn’t Jesus have told Mary to get up and get busy?

There was work to be done. If Jesus was going to get His fill of fried chicken, someone had to fry it! Martha was tasked with everything. The Lord was coming to dinner. Didn’t He deserve the best? Poor Martha! Left to do it all!

Do you ever feel like that?

Mary was just ‘hanging out’ with Jesus! Sitting at His feet, listening to His teaching, she had forgotten all about making the iced tea. She was busy, too!

Was Jesus saying that we shouldn’t prepare for our family and friends? Was He saying that we shouldn’t have a complete meal, because we need to invest all our time into meditating on His word? Is He asking Martha not to finish rolling out the biscuits?

Of course not! I’m quite sure Jesus would soon join Martha in the kitchen. He quite possibly might even have whipped up some mashed potatoes and gravy a little later. What Jesus was trying to tell Martha was to slow down and to set her priorities. Maybe they didn’t need to have three choices of vegetables that day, because Jesus was in the house.

If you and I are to mature as followers of God, we must give Jesus the time He deserves. I’m the classic Martha type. If there’s work to be done…I’ll do it. In the process, I’ve often missed some of the best opportunities for time with my Savior.

Are you like me at times?

Has your life become so crowded that you have forsaken your time with Jesus? Maybe you are worried and upset about too many things.

Take a break at the foot of Jesus. Let something go for a minute…even good things…so you can choose what is most important…choose Jesus!

Just curious…are you more like Martha or Mary most days?

Be honest!