Entries by Dave Kraft (1143)


Ten things learned about church change

Leadership is all about leading change and leading it well. Ron Edmondson shares ten things he’s learned about leading church change.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

I left the church planting world to help revitalize and grow an established church. It’s proven to be challenging – maybe slightly more than I thought it would be.

But, God has allowed us to experience incredible energy and excitement. I am not big on sharing numbers in this format, but let me simply say – God is working. Amazingly working. The potential in the days ahead is astounding to me.

Needless to say, there has been a lot of change since I made the transition. I tend to like change. I think it’s necessary if any organization, church or relationship wants to grow – or even remain alive. But, some change came fast. It didn’t necessarily seem fast to me, and certainly not monumental, but I know, in a church over 100 years old – what is slow change to me is considered fast to others.

For the most part, the reception to change has been good. Still, change, no matter how necessary, is never easy. Along the way, I have learned a few things. I share this knowing over fifty percent of the readers of this blog are in ministry. Hopefully some of what we’ve learned will help others.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned in leading church change:

1. Don’t try to be the church down the street.

You have to be true to the DNA, heritage and culture of the church you lead. This doesn’t mean don’t change, but does mean change should be relevant to context. It’s a mistake to think you can “cookie-cutter” someone else’s success.

2. Don’t oppose everything old.

When you’re against everything done in the past you push people into a corner to defend themselves. The old – whatever it is – got you to where you are today. It may not be all bad. In fact, at one time it might have been very good – the best. The old was once new. The new is simply where the most energy is at currently. (Someday it will be old.)

3. Celebrate history and change will be easier.

People were there years ago, building the church where you serve today. My granddaddy would say, “Don’t forget what brung ya!” I especially love hearing the stories of how the church grew through other times of change. It may sound like a strange connection, but I’ve observed when people get a chance to tell their story they feel better about the change you are proposing.

4. Many times information overcomes objection.

Many times. I might even say most times. You can’t over-communicate in times of change. The more they know the “why”, the less they will resist the “what”. (By the way, my interview with Zig Ziglar confirmed this principle.)

5. It sometimes seems easier to let a church slowly die than to try to change things.

There. I said it. But, it’s true. Some people are not going to want the church to change. Period. End of story. And, most likely, they will find a way to let you know. (Most likely that will be some way other than telling you – but you’ll hear it.) But, that doesn’t mean the church can’t, won’t and shouldn’t change – and thrive again.

6. Change is uncomfortable for everyone.

It’s just more uncomfortable for some than others. You might read THIS POST about a recent sobering reminder I had about the relativism of objection to change.

7. Some days all you’ll hear are the critics.

This is just life. I think Satan even has a hand in this one. You’ll think no one is on your side. You’ll think you’re wasting your time. You’ll have a one-day (or multiple day) pity party. On those days, you’ll need to remember the vision God called you to complete. Keep going.

8. The degree of pain determines the degree of resistance to change.

When people are injured – or afraid – or lack trust, they are more likely to cling to what’s comfortable and resist what’s new. That is true in their personal life or their church life. When leading change in a place where injury is present, there will be resistance based solely on that pain. You may have to lead people to a place of forgiveness before you can lead them to a place of change.

9. The best supporters are often silent.

I don’t know why. They just are. They are satisfied. Happy. Ecstatic even perhaps. They just don’t always tell you they are. But, good news, they are usually telling others. And, that’s fueling more growth. And, God is faithful. Somehow, just when you need it most, God seems to send an encourager.

10. Change speed is relative to change frequency. The longer there’s been no change, the longer it will take to implement change. The longer a church has plateaued or been in decline, the longer it will be before the church can grow again.

These are some things I’ve learned about leading change. I hope something here is helpful to you.




Some ways leaders drive their team members nuts!

I find it hard to believe that leaders would intentionally drive their team members nuts, but some nevertheless do so anyway. Dan Rockwell shares some ways leaders do just that.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

Imagine the person on your team who drives you nuts. Realize you drive others crazy, too, but they’re afraid to tell you.

A leader’s quirks, inconsistencies, and weaknesses should be addressed, not tolerated.

Three ways leaders drive people nuts:

#1. Respond emotionally to problems, failure, or tough situations.

1.  Emotionally unpredictable leaders are bullies.

2.  People walk on eggshells when you’re emotionally unpredictable. Emotional leaders distract and drain teammates.

3.  Make snap decisions in the moment. Change your mind later.

4.  Throw-up your hands in frustration.

5.  Passion goes right when it invigorates and wrong when it intimidates.

6.  Emotionally steady leaders enable boldness.

#2. Show up unprepared for meetings.

1.  Arrive late and make excuses.

2.  Search for meeting notes after you arrive.

3.  Ask to be briefed after you arrive.

4.  Hold meetings without clear purpose or agendas.

5.  Busyness is never an excuse for lack of preparation.

6.  Lack of preparation makes others feel you’re incompetent.

#3. Appear disinterested during one on ones

1.  Finish a task after your appointment arrives. “I”ll be right with you. I just need to finish this email.”

2.  Answer email while someone is talking.

3.  Keep looking at your phone or watch.

4.  Distracted leaders make people feel devalued.

5.  If you want the best from others, let them know they’re valued.

Seven  more ways leaders drive people nuts:

1.  Solve problems in email.

2.  Schedule important meetings at the end of the day.

3.  Complain about people to their teammates.

4.  Expect more from others than you expect from yourself.

5.  Create an unsustainable pace.

6.  Talk with a loud voice.

7.  Give yourself perks.

Four  tips for leaders who drive people crazy:

1.  Remember how important you are. The more important you are, the more important good manners become.

2.  Remember how important they are. You succeed when your team succeeds. Don’t make things more difficult than they need to be.

3.  Preparation says you value other people’s time.

4.  Stay calm.


Anything here from Dan that you need to own and stop doing?




Three leadership bones you need!

We are all well aware of the fact that there are many bones in our bodies.  Recently I read about three of them from Reba McEntire.

She said, “To be successful you need a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”

I saw this as both amusing and instructive. Let’s take these three bones and address each of them from a leadership perspective

1.A wishbone will enable us to Dream boldly

Years ago, J. B. Phillips wrote a book titled Your God Is Too Small.

Sadly, that is the case for many leaders. The problems & obstacles are big and their view of God & his power is small. Every good leader worth his salt is a dreamer who is trusting God and believing God for the impossible. The key is not going to God and telling him how big your problems are but going to your problems and telling them how big your God is. The Bible and history are full of leaders stepping out and trying to accomplish the improbable, impossible, unusual, unlikely, unthinkable and unimaginable. Ephesians 3:20 clearly instructs us that this is the kind of God we serve: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” The Message has it: “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

All leaders need a wishbone!

 2.  A backbone will enable us to Implement fearlessly

There is a great deal of fear among leaders. We fear failure. We fear embarrassment. We fear pushback. We fear people leaving. We fear making a horrible decision.  We fear looking foolish.

Fear holds us back.  “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”  Proverb 29:25 (The Message).

The next time I’m tempted to park in a disabled spot, I’m going to do it and then tell the officer handing me the ticket that I am “disabled” because of fear! Think it will work?

We need to ask God for ideas and then step out in faith, pull the trigger and implement fearlessly, consistently and faithfully when we get those ideas. We can easily fall into the trap of the “paralysis of analysis” by trying to predict what people will think about us if we do this or that. The fact of the matter is that most people aren’t thinking about us at all. They’re too busy thinking about themselves.

 All leaders need a backbone!

3.  A funny bone will enable us to laugh heartily

Proverb 17:22 tells us that laughter is good medicine. Many leaders don’t laugh enough--especially at themselves. I am the chief of sinners in this regard!

Life and leadership weighs us down and we miss out on good healthy belly laughs. There’s a reason that Comedy Central and Saturday Night Live are so popular.

I don’t believe I’ve seen a scientific survey on this, but I’m going to wager that those leaders who laugh the most lead the longest.

I just googled and found this:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

Science has finally caught up with these words in the Bible that King Solomon wrote some 3,000 years ago.

The following report is from The Week magazine: "Laughter is good for your health—and now scientists know why. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that when 20 healthy volunteers smiled and guffawed while watching the comedy Kingpin, their blood flow increased by 22 percent--about the same increase caused by aerobic exercise. But when volunteers watched tension-filled scenes from Saving Private Ryan, their blood flow decreased 35 percent. 

"The researchers say that laughing apparently causes the endothelium, the tissue that lines blood vessels, to expand, which increases blood flow. Laughter may also improve arterial health by reducing mental stress, which constricts vessels and cuts blood flow. A healthy lifestyle—researcher Michael Miller tells New Scientist—would include 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, and 15 minutes of hearty laughter each day.”

All leaders need a funny bone!

So there you have it! How are you doing in “Your Bones?”


What no one ever told you about work/life balance!

For years I have been a strong proponent of work-life balance. It is one of the key elements in coaching to avoid burn out, and I address it early in the coaching partnership. Here, Michael Hyatt adds some new insights to this critical component of effective leadership.

Posted by Michael Hyatt

When it comes to work and life, most of us know what it feels like to be out of balance. But do we know what it feels like to be in balance? It’s not a trick question—even if it seems so at first.

A few years ago I took my mentoring group on a ropes course. For one of the challenges, we walked a long stretch of rope that wound around several trees. We had to hold onto each other as we worked our way across the line.

Here’s what I remember most of all: When we were balanced, it never really felt like we were. Our legs constantly moved and wobbled, and we strained to grip each other and the nearest tree. But we stayed on that line a long time, making little corrections, adjusting our weight, and trying to stay upright. It didn’t feel like balance, but it was.

That’s exactly how life is, right?

We’ve been speaking the last week about the symphonic life—the idea of allowing all the parts of our life to play at the right pace and volume. It’s a metaphor for balance. But what about the people that say work-life balance is a myth, an unattainable condition we all hope for but need to forget about?

It’s only a myth if we misunderstand what balance means. Here are three vital aspects of balance we need to keep in mind, especially as we apply the concept to our work and life:


  1. Balance is not the same as rest. If we think that attaining balance means finally getting a much-needed break, then we’re missing something important. It’s not about rest, though it does include it. Balance is about distributing demands so we can stay on track. And sometimes that takes a lot of work. If that’s where you’re at right now, don’t be discouraged. It’s just part of the challenge.
  2. Balance is dynamic. “Life is like riding a bicycle,” Albert Einstein said. “In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” We’ve all experienced this. The slower you go, the more trouble it is to keep your bike up. Momentum helps us stay on course. It’s the same for all the corrections and adjustments we make along the way. Balance requires tweaking our schedule, task lists, and more. If you have it right one week, it still requires attention the next—which lead us to No. 3.
  3. Balance is intentional. Our bodies are programed to stay upright, but it takes a bit more focus when it comes to the complex responsibilities and relationships that make up our lives. We have to make purposeful decisions and actions if we want balance. It’s not accidental. Those decisions and actions will look different for each of us, but they’re essential for all of us just the same.

 For the continuation of Michael’s Post go to Michael Hyatt


Four huge distractions in meetings and how to deal with them

Meetings are generally listed among the top “Time Wasters” for leaders. Many meetings are deemed a colossal waste of time for lots of folks. Here Eric Geiger shares four huge distractions in meetings and how to fight them. A good read!

First posted by Eric Geiger

Four Huge Distractions in Meetings and How to Fight Them

Disengagement in meetings can quickly snowball. You have seen this. When a few people disengage in a meeting, others are soon to follow. One of the biggest culprits of disengagement in a meeting are distractions. Distractions can steer emotional energy, creative thinking, and collective wisdom away from the important matters being discussed. Here are four huge distractions in meetings.

1. Side conversations

Side conversations can derail a meeting. The attention of the team is divided and the person who has the floor is dishonored. When side conversations emerge ask, “Is this something the whole group needs to hear?” If it is, focus the meeting on that discussion for a few moments. If it is not, kindly ask the discussion to be handled offline.

2. Technology

In “The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings,” Amy Gallo writes, “Devices distract us. Many people think they can finish an email or read through a Twitter feed while listening to someone in a meeting. But research shows we really can’t multitask. Devices also distract others. Research suggests that we feel annoyed when people are on their devices during a meeting, yet we fail to realize that our actions have the same effect on others.”

After forwarding to my team, some responded that when they were on staff in another context or led consultations at other organizations, there was a basket where all phones were placed at the beginning of each meeting. Whatever your approach is, it is helpful to state expectations to the team on the devices that are allowed in the meeting.

3. Lateness

When the latecomer arrives to the meeting, the group is distracted and if the meeting has already begun, usually inefficient backtracking needs to occur. Being late for a meeting is not only distracting; it is also bad stewardship. I have been late for meetings, and I hate the stewardship implication of my lateness. “I am sorry I am five minutes late” is not an accurate statement. If there are 10 people in the meeting, and I am five minutes late, I just squandered 50 minutes of our time. To set the expectation that the meetings will start on time, start them on time.

4. Apathetic team members

Perhaps the biggest distraction in a meeting is an apathetic team member who subtly (or even intentionally) sends signals of disengagement. Dismissive body language, passive listening, and sour looks can tell the others “I don’t really want to be here” or “I don’t really believe in our mission.” When you sense apathy, you owe it to the team to confront the person privately. If apathy continues, you need to remove the person from the meeting. When apathetic team members are removed from meetings, the energy level and collective passion is exponentially raised. Wise leaders don’t let apathetic people destroy the culture of the team.