Ministry Briefing Conversations: Sam Chand on Church Culture

March 6, 2014 | no responses | Leave a comment

For the last twenty to thirty years church leaders have heard about the importance of vision.

We have gone to conferences about vision, lectured on vision, and encouraged our congregations to buy into vision for years. While many times all a church needs is a clearer understanding of their vision, many times vision just isn’t enough. There is something missing: a healthy church culture.

Let’s be brutally honest: an unhealthy church culture will eat your church’s vision for lunch.

Enter Sam Chand.

Sam’s book Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code goes after that piece that eludes us: church culture. Sam sat down with Todd and Matt yesterday to talk a little bit about the book, why culture is so important for churches, and how to start developing a healthy church culture:

You can track Sam down at his website and on twitter, and you can find Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code on Amazon.

Ministry Briefing Conversations: Mike Batts on the Housing Allowance Ruling

November 25, 2013 | 3 responses | Leave a comment

Last week a Wisconsin Federal District Court judge ruled that the pastoral housing allowance violates the establishment clause of the first amendment. This news can be quite upsetting for church leaders across the country as they try to figure out how to fairly compensate their pastors, and for pastors who need to rethink their monthly budgets now that a major tax benefit has been ruled unconstitutional.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to speak with Mike Batts, managing partner of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee. Mike and his team work exclusively with churches and pastors, and have served as trusted advisors to members of congress on policy issues related to church finances. We asked Mike about the ruling and what church leaders need to know about it.

Check out the video below to hear Mike’s take on what this ruling means for you:


Ministry Briefing Conversations: Peter Greer and The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good

November 6, 2013 | no responses | Leave a comment

Peter Greer is the President and CEO of Hope International, a Christ centered microfinance organization, and the author of The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good. After actively seeking to serve the less fortunate all over the world, Peter began to realize that the good work that he was might have been done out of questionable motives. Over the course of the book, and throughout our conversation, Peter shares stories from his life (the dude was nearly kidnapped by a silverback gorilla!) and uses them to share a warning with all of us in ministry leadership: the minor moral compromises that we make lead to significant moral failures down the road.

The book is a phenomenal reminder for all of us in ministry leadership about the dangers of forgetting who we are called to serve. The interview gives a great intro to the book, check it out and let us know what you think:


Ministry Briefing Conversations: Rick McKinley

October 30, 2013 | 2 responses | Leave a comment

This Beautiful MessTwelve years ago Rick McKinley and a small team of people started a church in what was considered to be the most unchurched city in America: Portland, Oregon. Today, Imago Dei is a thriving church that is working as part of a larger movement of Kingdom-minded churches to share the love of Jesus with the city of Portland. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Rick, ostensibly to talk about his recently released book This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God. Our conversation started with Rick sharing about the book, and how important it is to focus on the Kingdom… instead of the church.

From there, we had a fascinating conversation about why Rick is so optimistic about the church, what has been happening in Portland, and how he has had the opportunity to be a part of an incredible movement of Kingdom focused churches, working to expand the Kingdom in Portland. Over the course of our conversation, Rick shares the backstory of what is happening in Portland, and what churches can do when they stop competing, and start focusing on the Kingdom. Check it out, and let us know what you think:

Ministry Briefing Conversations: Making Your Church Magnetic

October 23, 2013 | one response | Leave a comment

PullWithin the church world we love the idea of having our church be a place where unbelievers feel welcomed and at home. While this is a great idea, many times we struggle to put this theory into practice. Bob Franquiz lived this. Having planted a church that began to grow early on, Bob woke up realizing that his growth was from “church people,” not from those that are far from Christ. In our conversation today, Bob tells the story of how he went about reshaping his churches culture, creating a place where the unchurched aren’t just welcome, but they feel as though they belong there.

Throughout the course of our conversation today, Bob shares his story, why he wrote Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic, and how to start reshaping your church’s culture in order to make it magnetic to the world around us:

Ministry Briefing Conversations: It’s Cheaper Than Therapy

October 16, 2013 | no responses | Leave a comment

Mykey Robinson is convinced that we need to learn how to be better forgivers, and we tend to agree. This is the premise behind his new book Cheaper Than Therapy: How To Forgive and Overcome Anger, Anxiety, Fear and Stress. While Mykey would not necessarily claim this a “Christian Book,” he has very intentionally written about forgiveness from a Christian worldview. As church leaders, we are constantly engaging with people who are struggling to forgive others, and many times we too struggle with forgiveness.

In today’s conversation we talk about Mykey’s new book, the basics of forgiveness, and how we can do it better. Check it out, and let us know what you think:

Ministry Briefing Conversations: David Marquet, Author of Turn the Ship Around

October 9, 2013 | no responses | Leave a comment

TurnTheShipAroundAt first glance, it would seem that there are few similarities between nuclear submarines and churches. While the mission of a nuclear submarine is quite different from that of a church, the leadership challenges of both organizations are quite similar. The average pastor may not have to decide how to deploy torpedos on a daily basis, but he does need to understand how to establish a healthy culture that allows the organization to achieve the mission it has been tasked with.

In today’s conversation we sit down with David Marquet, author of Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders. David retired from the United States Navy as a Captain after serving 24 years in the submarine forces. The most fascinating part of David’s career, and the topic of the book, is how he was able to totally reshape the culture of the USS Santa Fe during the tenure of his command. During his two years aboard the Santa Fe, the boat went from the worst performing boat in the fleet to being recognized as the top performing submarine in his squadron.

Across our country, there are hundreds of churches in need of a culture change, and several thousand church leaders who are struggling to figure out where to start. Today’s conversation has some fantastic parallels to church revitalization work, and establishing a healthy church culture. Check it out, and let us know what you think:

Ministry Briefing Conversations: Indispensable Practices of a Church Leader

October 2, 2013 | no responses | Leave a comment

Our friend Brian Dodd has been blogging on church leadership for years. Best known for his ability to find leadership applications from movies, sporting events, and pop-culture, what Brian is really excited about is serving church leaders and helping them be better leaders. Brian’s latest project a new book: 10 Indispensible Practices of The 2-Minute Leader.

Today, we spend some time with Brian, hearing about the book, his heart for church leaders, and his approach to healthy church leadership:

Ministry Briefing Conversations: The Church Leader as a Creative

September 25, 2013 | no responses | Leave a comment

Todd HenryWhen you think of the word creative, who do you think of? Painters? Writers? Actors? Designers?

Chances are that you would consider each of these professions as creatives, but how about pastors?

Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, author of the book The Accidental Creative, and has a podcast with the same name. He also believes that church leaders who don’t consider themselves to be creatives are shortchanging themselves, and their congregations.

Todd’s new book, Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day releases September 26th, and will be a vital tool for church leaders everywhere who are trying to be good stewards of the gifts and resources that they have been entrusted with:

Here’s the hard truth: sooner or later all of our tomorrows will run out, so how we choose to spend today is significant. Each day that we postpone difficult tasks and succumb to the clutter that chokes creativity, discipline, and innovation results in a net deficit to the world, our organizations, and ourselves.

 Die Empty is a tool for people who aren’t willing to put off their most important work for another day. Todd Henry explains the forces that keep us in stagnation, and introduces a process for instilling consistent practices into your life that will keep you on a true and steady course.

Todd recently sat down with us for a conversation about how to not just survive in the “create on demand world,” but how to thrive as we go about our day to day work. Buckle up, because this conversation is both intense, and insightful:

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Ministry Briefing Conversations: Learning from Canada on Same-Sex Marriage

September 18, 2013 | 2 responses | Leave a comment

canadaCulture is changing.

One of the most significant issues that our society has dealt with over the past several years is the controversy surrounding same-sex marriage. We have seen the sheer volume of court rulings related to this subject, and if we are honest, we will admit that it seems as though same-sex marriage will soon be the law of the land in the United States. As we sort through stories for each week’s Ministry Briefing, we come across countless stories of churches, Christians, and talking heads sharing their thoughts on the debate… but what we haven’t seen are any stories on what ministry in this new context might look like.

This week, we are excited to share a conversation that we had with Andrew Lamme, director of Toronto Church Planting. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for nearly ten years, and Andrew has had the opportunity to minister in various capacities in that environment. We asked Andrew to join us for a conversation on his experiences in Canada, and what we in the United States can learn from his experiences.

The conversation is about fifteen minutes long, and through the course of the video he will speak to some of the fears we have in the US (being forced to marry a homosexual couple, being force to hire homosexual pastors, etc) and then share about what ministry needs to look like in that context.

Check it out, and let us know what you think:

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Ministry Briefing Conversations: The Six Types of Atheists

September 11, 2013 | no responses | Leave a comment

6In the August edition of Ministry Briefing we shared a story from CNN entitled Behold, the Six Types of Atheists. The story shared the work of Christopher Silver and Thomas Coleman, researchers from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, whose work attempted to demystify the “religious nones,” and better understand those in the non-belief community. The study determined that there are six basic types of atheists:

Intellectual atheist/agnostic
Ritual atheist

Shortly after the article ran, we had the opportunity to sit down with Christopher and Thomas for a conversation about their findings, what surprised them, and what they would like to share about their findings with the evangelical world. The conversation lasts about fifteen minutes, and has some interesting applications to the way we approach discipleship in the church. Check it out, and let us know what you think:

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