When Leaders Need To Call A “Time Out!”

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I’ve discussed quite a bit the two ways that organizations—especially churches and non-profit ministries—can measure success: By quantity or by quality. And I think a good case can be made for both of these metrics from the Bible. 

My bigger concern is when we try to use bigger numbers as the sole gauge of success. In a training time I had with some ministry interns, we took a deep dive into the reasons why the metric of bigger and ever-increasing numbers became the sole measurement for success in our churches. During this training time, I took these interns to Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians and two Old Testament examples where people got this wrong. Take a listen…

It’s important for shepherd leaders to call a “time out” to get their teammates to step back for a moment to consider what metrics they are using. My book Shepherd Leadership can be a good resource to use in this evaluation process. I am currently working with pastors who are using my book as a discussion-starter for their team, and I would be happy to do this with you as well. If I can be of service to you, please contact me. 

Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Growing The Wrong Thing

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

In a recent teaching time with some ministry interns, I discussed the two main metrics that we can use to measure growth: quantity and quality. Sadly, too many churches and ministries have gotten so caught up in the “numbers game” of more-more-more being the only metric of success, that they’ve forgotten about quality. Or maybe they do focus on quality, but only as a means to the end of more-more-more. 

This is never a metric of success that is discussed in the Bible. Check this out…

In the chapter entitled ‘Don’t Try to Grow Your Ministry’ in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter I wrote this—

Businesses think in terms of quantitative gains—things they can count—but churches and nonprofits should be thinking in terms of qualitative gains—a quality improvement that isn’t as easily counted. I think we all know this, and yet we still persist in wanting to define success in a church or a nonprofit by those quantitative standards such as attendance growth, donations, and the like. When we think qualitative over quantitative, suddenly what seemed “small” is so significant and so valuable that it cannot be calculated! What if one of those babies that weren’t aborted discovers a cure for cancer, or deciphers a dialect to take the Gospel to an unreached people group, or becomes the loving next-door neighbor that leads your son or daughter to a relationship with Jesus? 

Just as you cannot put a price tag on a life, you cannot put a price tag on a sheep. Make no mistake about it, God views His sheep—every single one of them—as invaluable. Because His valuation is so high, we can understand why He gets so angry at those who are more concerned about their success than they are about the health of the sheep. When God uses the word “Woe!” we should definitely take that seriously. He uses that very word to warn shepherd leaders who were shirking their responsibility when He said, “Woe to those shepherds who only take care of themselves” (Ezekiel 34:2). 

When we map out our plan for success, or when we try to define success solely by quantitative measurements, we ultimately become more committed to our plans than to God’s sheep. God pulls no punches when He calls leaders with this attitude evil, mere hired hands, or even thieves (Jeremiah 23:3; John 10:8, 12). And most sobering of all, God says, “I will hold them accountable” (Ezekiel 34:10). 

Friends, let’s make sure we are focused on the metrics that really matter. Recently, a pastor shared honestly with me about his frustration with the “numbers game,” and purchased five copies of my book to use as a discussion starter with his church staff. I hope you will consider using Shepherd Leadership in a similar way. If I can be of assistance, please let me know. 

Shepherd Leadership is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

The Non-Profit Clash

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I have been involved in church ministry in one form or another for most of my life. Even when I was involved in the business world, I frequently helped non-profit organizations, offering my time, finances, and wisdom. 

To this day, I remain a huge supporter of what our front-lines non-profit organizations are doing, especially our local churches. 

However, there is often a fundamental disconnect between the board of these ministries and the director or pastor. This disconnect can easily escalate into a full-blown clash—believe me, I’ve seen it firsthand when I’ve been called in as a consultant—if this issue isn’t quickly addressed. 

The main issue is the mindset of measuring success by quality or by quantity. Both have their place, but often times the board members are thinking primarily in terms of quantity while the director or pastor is thinking primarily in terms of quality. 

Here’s how I addressed this topic when I taught a group of ministry interns…

In my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter I have a chapter called “Don’t Try To Grow Your Ministry” in which I note: 

This is a common disconnect in nonprofit organizations and churches. Many of the boards of these organizations are wonderful, godly people who fully believe in the mission of the organization. These board members are often successful business people who have both wisdom and wealth to contribute to the organization. But here’s the problem: the way we define success in a for-profit organization isn’t the same way we define success in a nonprofit organization. And often the way we define success in any of our ministries doesn’t line up with the Bible’s definition. 

For both pastors of churches and directors of non-profit organizations, and for their respective board members, I would recommend using Shepherd Leadership as a discussion-starter to address this potentially ministry-derailing topic. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple.

If I can help as a consultant in your church or non-profit, please get in touch with me. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Quality Over Quantity

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the Ailbe Podcast with Rusty Rabon. 

Rusty referred to the opening chapter of my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter where I talk about how many of our churches and church leaders are attempting to climb the wrong ladder of success. Rusty noted how many people become frustrated because they are not seeing the success the way that so many people define it.

Before addressing frustrated pastors, I first spoke to the board members that are supporting that pastor. 

In Shepherd Leadership I wrote,

“Businesses think in terms of quantitative gains—things they can count—but churches and nonprofits should be thinking in terms of qualitative gains—a quality improvement that isn’t as easily counted. I think we all know this, and yet we still persist in wanting to define success in a church or a nonprofit by those quantitative standards such as attendance growth, donations, and the like. When we think qualitative over quantitative, suddenly what seemed “small” is so significant and so valuable that it cannot be calculated!”

I’ll be sharing more clips from this interview soon, so please stay tuned. If you would like to check out the other clips I have already shared from this podcast, please check them out here. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Podcast: Efficient Quantity Needs Effective Quality

Listen to the audio-only version of this podcast by clicking on the player below, or scroll down to watch the video.

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • [0:20] Quality vs. Quantity is a struggle all leaders have to address 
  • [0:55] Quantity is easier to measure, which is why leaders tend to lean this way
  • [1:45] I share a funny story about working with a church board
  • [2:53] Leadership is about quality—how do leaders focus on this?
  • [3:33] I share an insightful story from the Chick-fil-A boardroom
  • [4:21] Greg talks about his leadership struggle with silos
  • [5:27] I share a story from my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter
  • [6:30] Efficiency and effectiveness don’t have to compete with each other
  • [7:11] Quality is never an accident
  • [7:50] Greg shares a helpful list of three items, but to stay on track you can only pick 2-of-the-3
  • [8:45] What distracts us from pursuing quality?
  • [10:00] Both quality and quantity have their places, but the leader needs to determine which one takes the priority
  • [10:47] Greg shares a comical conclusion he made after overhearing a break room conversation
  • [12:27] Why do leaders find security in “more”?
  • [13:55] There is one key place where quantity should probably come first
  • [14:48] Numbers are easy to use to measure quantity, but quality is much harder to measure
  • [16:38] An important lesson for leaders
  • [18:14] A leader’s words need to be more qualitative than quantitative
  • [19:15] Our coaching huddle clients get both quantity and quality

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and Apple.

More?

I keep getting these annoying messages on Twitter that say something like, “I got over 500 new followers on Twitter, and you can too!!” Then I get these sorts of emails, “We can increase the traffic to your blog 300% per day!”

What would make them think I want more? Maybe it’s because almost everything in our lives is about more.

  • After high school, go to college to get more education.
  • After college, climb the corporate ladder to get more money or more recognition.
  • After you start working, take more vacations and enjoy more perks.

Lately, I’ve become focused on better. I think better is better than more.

More is about width, better is about depth.

More is an exhausting pursuit, better is a satisfying pursuit.

More is about quantity, better is about quality.

So here’s my challenge, trade more for better

  • Instead of looking for more friends, make your current friendships better.
  • Instead of getting more followers on Twitter, make better followers.
  • Instead of getting more education, get a better education.
  • Instead of trying to read more books, read better books.
  • Instead of spending more time with a lot of people, spend better time with a few people.

In what areas of your life can better be better than more?

More Today?

I have shared before how I often wake up with a particular song on my mind. This morning it was a 1969 classic that I added to my iPod a few weeks ago: “More Today Than Yesterday” by The Spiral Starecase. (Go ahead and listen to the song while you read on.)

So as I was attempting to wake up Betsy, I sang part of the chorus to her. “I love you more today than yesterday. But not as much as tomorrow.” Which got me thinking: How do I do this?

Betsy and I have been “an item” for 8,935 days. I thought I loved her tons yesterday, so how do I love her more today than yesterday? Let me take a couple of cues from the song:

“I’ll be spending time with you”—the greater the quantity of time I spend with her the more likely I’ll have quality time with her.

“Everyday’s a new day in love with you”—love keeps no record of wrongs. If I’m holding grudges against her or beating myself up over mistakes I made, I’m keeping a record. Forgiveness is the key to wiping the slate clean so I can love her more today than yesterday.

“With each day comes a new way of loving you”—there’s a reason why the apostle Paul talks about “growing up” in the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. My love should be maturing and growing up every day. So today I should be able to love Betsy in a more mature way.

“I thank the Lord for love like ours that grows ever stronger”—as my relationship with Jesus becomes more intimate I will learn how to love Betsy more today than yesterday. As C.S. Lewis put it, “When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”

What special relationships do you have? Do you love that earthly dearest more today than yesterday? With quality time, forgiveness, maturity, and a closer relationship with Jesus, you can truly love that special someone more today than yesterday. Give it a try!

Every day’s a new day, every time I love you.

Every way’s a new way, every time I love you!

The Right Time To Do The Right Thing

I spent yesterday afternoon and a good portion of this morning with a precious family. The 93-year-old patriarch of the family is in his last days on this earth. This family is absolutely wonderful, and it has been such a blessing to spend this time with them.

They laugh, tell stories, sing songs, read Scripture, joke with each other, and cry. The full range of emotions overflowing from a full life.

I have learned something—the human heart is designed to know and to be known. The human heart longs for relationship—deep, meaningful, satisfying relationship. In order to achieve this type of relationship, two things are key: (1) Time and (2) Empathy.

(1) Time. Relationships cannot be microwaved. We cannot just show up, press a few buttons, and—voilá—expect a meaningful relationship. Of course, just spending a lot of time together doesn’t mean a relationship will be successful either. However, the greater the quantity of time that is spent means a greater likelihood of quality time.

(2) Empathy. The Bible says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). It doesn’t say, “If people are low, bring them up; if they are too high, bring them down to realistic levels.” Empathy is all about letting the other person drive the agenda—to match whatever they are feeling. A Swedish Proverb says, “A shared joy is a double joy, and a shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

Here’s a good pattern to follow—

Right Time + Right Thing = Meaningful Relationships
<or>
Quality Time + Empathy Time = Satisfying Relationships

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