Building a Culture of Failure

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Peter Drucker You’ve probably heard this many times before. It’s the idea that strategy, while a necessary part of business, just doesn’t correlate with success the way culture does. If you want your organization to make progress – actual, sustained progress – you’ve got to have a strong culture. There’s… Read more »

The Three-Team Model for Church Growth

How many meetings do you go to in a week? My guess: too many. If meetings have overtaken your calendar, it’s probably because you’re a part of a bunch of teams.  Organizations have jumped on the team approach and away from the “department” approach; they form teams of staff from different departments to address unique… Read more »

How to Be Productive When You’re Distracted

We all have days when we struggle to find focus. We have all the best intentions of getting things done, but we just can’t seem to get into a groove. We’re tired, under the weather, or distracted by some external or internal situation, and we find ourselves… drifting. Ever find yourself just staring at the… Read more »

A Leader’s Most Valuable Asset

What’s a leader’s most valuable asset?  Some say it’s vision. Effective leaders define a better future, and inspire the team to work together to create it. Without vision, there’s no unity, no common direction. What about expertise? A leading expert can be an effective guide, applying their deep knowledge to define strategy and guide the… Read more »

The Church Growth Formula

How do churches grow? My last post looked at three key components of church growth: creating share-worthy experiences, fostering authentic community, and providing clear next steps for new people. And all of those are essential! Any church that isn’t offering those three things is in an uphill battle for growth. But organizations are more than… Read more »

The Obvious Reasons Your Church Isn’t Growing – and What to Do About It

Why do some churches grow, and others don’t? How can it be that a really good church – one that offers great preaching, musically excellent worship, and fantastic kids’ programs – just kind of hovers around the same attendance each week, and isn’t seeing new people come through the door? Straight from the desk of… Read more »

The 8 Axioms of Church Communication

These are 8 things that I say all the time around the office, so often that they’ve turned into axioms. At least for me. #1: You said exactly what you wanted to say, but that doesn’t mean they heard exactly what you wanted them to hear. Maybe you’re caught off guard when your beautifully crafted… Read more »

The Caution Tape Effect

You probably love your church lobby after Sunday services. It’s a beehive of activity – conversations and connections, sharing stories and burdens and prayers, new people being greeted, etc. Now imagine if you took caution tape and blocked off your lobby, so that after church people could not engage with each other, but had to… Read more »

The 5 Components of a Successful Brand

Admit it: you love branding. I have yet to meet a passionate, engaged-with-their-job marketing or communications person who isn’t All About The Brand. I am, too! I’ve designed logos, helped a few organizations create new brands for themselves, and worked with and for organizations as they figure out what to do to improve the brand… Read more »

Simplifying Your Model

The multisite church movement has been around for some time now. Along the way to adding more sites, many churches have realized something: adding sites doesn’t necessarily mean growth. New locations are being added, but overall attendance and engagement isn’t increasing – at least anywhere near to what was hoped for. Churches in this situation… Read more »

  • Organizational Leadership, Strategy, Uncategorized

    Thoughts on “Belong Before Believe”

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    People belong to a group based on its actions, more than its words. They choose to belong to a group when that group does things that they want to get on board with. Every group that people belong to outside of church does stuff. Clubs, sports leagues, civic organizations… people join them to do, not… Read more »

  • Best Practices, Organizational Leadership, Uncategorized

    Tourists or Pilgrims 

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    Pilgrims are seeking a purpose. Tourists are seeking an experience. A tourist might love the experience, rave over it, document it, relive it. But they aren’t committed to it. Tourists share experiences but they don’t construct them. They’re in it temporarily, not for the long haul. Tourists are consumers at heart. Pilgrims are on a… Read more »

  • Best Practices, Strategy

    Missional vs. Attractional – a Thought Experiment

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    Here’s a thought experiment: imagine you have a friend who’s far from God, and they’re about to head out on a mission to Mars. You’ve got one hour with them before they take off, and that hour is on Sunday morning. If you’d rather have them hear the gospel by watching a great sermon by… Read more »

  • Organizational Leadership, Strategy

    The Social Flywheel

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    Having a strong social presence is too often the end goal (either by intent, by misstep, or by default) for churches and other organizations that remain unclear about how social engagement contributes to having more people attending church on Sundays or participating in midweek ministry.

  • Practical stuff

    A Super Simple, Totally Doable Weekly Social Media Calendar

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    First, this: I didn’t come up with this plan myself. It’s a combination of input from folks who spend a lot more time building social community than I do, at places like Gwinnett Church and Saddleback Church. But it is tailored to the less-resourced model that I work with. Our weekly plan looks like this:… Read more »

  • Practical stuff, Strategy

    The All-Important, Under-Used Elevator Pitch

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    Before I got into church marketing, I spent time in several completely different industries: retail banking, enterprise software, and private education. All required different approaches to marketing, communication, and sales. But if there’s a common thread across all of them, it was this: the products and services I was helping sell were complicated. Communicating about… Read more »

  • Practical stuff

    The Three C’s

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    Every time I meet with a leader who is looking for my help convincing other people to participate in their event, program, activity, or ministry, I reiterate a basic principle of marketing communication that I call The Three C’s. This is especially helpful for self-declared “non-marketers,” but anyone looking to clarity of their own communication… Read more »

  • Organizational Leadership

    A Daily Meditation of Humility for Communicators

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      “Just because you said exactly what you wanted to say, doesn’t mean they heard exactly what you wanted them to hear.”   Anyone in the business of communicating needs to say this to themselves every day. No matter how strong of a communicator you are, how creative or experienced, it’s easy to slip into… Read more »

  • For Churches, Organizational Leadership, Strategy

    Strategy vs. Description

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    “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker We’ve all heard this before. You know what else trumps strategy? Execution. If you’re in church communications or marketing, you’ve probably been asked “what’s your marketing/social media/advertising/outreach strategy?”  more times than you can count.  I work for a large church in New England, one of the most… Read more »

  • Organizational Leadership, Strategy

    Overcoming Resistance

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    The War of Art, by author Steven Pressfield, begins with the idea that all of us have a barrier between the life we currently live, and the yet-to-be-lived life full of creative potential within us.  Creatives, whether artists/writers, entrepreneurs, or ad men (and it’s not a stretch to include preachers here), have deep within them… Read more »