Sticky Ministry, pt. 1

Stickychurch-conf-banner_01 I so appreciate churches that obey a calling from God to provide other churches with resources to improve their ministry. North Coast, Saddleback, Willow Creek, Fellowship Church and others do so much for the Kingdom by calling together churches for the purposes of sharing ideas and learning together. Ironically, many of these churches take a great deal of heat from those that also benefit greatly from their knowledge and experience. That shouldn't happen. But, that's a subject for another post.

I've spent the last couple of days at the Sticky Teams conference at North Coast Church in nearby Vista, California. The content of the conference seemed to be a combination of the books Sticky Church and Sticky Teams–two of my favorite ministry books of the last 5 years. Sticky Church addresses the closing of the back door, and Sticky Teams is book on building and sustaining a healthy leadership team–ministers, "board," etc. Wayne Cordeiro, Jamie Munson, Larry Osborne, Chris Brown and others used the time to equip churches to close the back door and have healthy church leaderships.

I thought I would use today's post to share some of the highlights from the conference. Some are quotes, others are concepts, others are experiences. Off we go:

  • Churches must be intentional and strategic about building a sticky team, it will not happen on it's own. Until it becomes a passion for everyone on the team, it will be difficult for a church to prevail at it's mission. God can do anything, but he's likely to bless those who honor him with unity and health.
  • Focus on health, not growth.
  • Teams are more likely to be sticky when they prioritize team unity, clarity, and relationship more than ministry. It is ministry, and without it, ministry is highly unlikely to get done.
  • On the subject of staff, ministry leaders and volunteers–consider the Pony Express. Which was more important–the ponies or the mail? Answer: the ponies. Without them, there is no mail. Note: When I first heard this concept a number of years ago, I bucked against it. Now, I couldn't agree more.
  •  "The only thing worse than a church with no vision is a church with too many visions." — Wayne Cordeiro
  • The best way to make sure you have enough people to serve is to keep the ones you have. How do you do that? Help them understand why what their doing matters, keep the standards high, and make nurturing those servants among the highest priorities in your ministry…if not the highest.
  • A 30-year study researched "fast-tracked" employees (those considered to be the best and brightest) and their career paths. The two biggest reasons people derailed was: Inability to adapt and poor relational skills. The biggest reasons they succeeded: Ability to adapt and strong relational skills.
  • Speaking of church staffs and elder groups: winning teams guard the gate. Losing teams let anyone in. Note: Man, is that the truth.
  • From the book Sticky Teams: "But unity doesn’t just happen. You have to work at it day after day, because if you don’t, it quickly slips away. And once it does, it won’t matter how clear your vision is or how gifted your team is. When the foundation rots, it’s not long until the whole house collapses."
  • More from Sticky Teams: "In fact, unity that insists on uniformity isn’t unity at all. It’s a cheap counterfeit. Genuine and biblical unity is found in the midst of real and passionate differences that we set aside in the recognition that the differences we have are nowhere as important as the King we serve. Let’s admit it. Our Christian hot buttons constantly change. One decade’s battleground is another decade’s yawn."

More tomorrow. If you haven't picked up Sticky Church or Sticky Teams. I hope you'll do it today. They are full of practical, contrarian wisdom for closing the back door and building a healthy leadership team. That is more than half of the ministry ball-game from a practical standpoint.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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