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The RIGHT people using the RIGHT tools in the RIGHT way at the RIGHT time for all the RIGHT reasons.
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I began ChurchLead in 2002 to provide consulting and information to church leaders to help them become more effective in achieving their mission. Most church leaders know what they want to accomplish, but they often need some help to successfully navigate the waters with so many competing technology tools and systems.

The methods have changed over the past few years, but the essence of the original mission remains the same. To help leaders use the right technology, at the right time, in the right way, to accomplish their mission. 

- Rob Overton

Recent Articles 
Monday, July 26 2010
Series: Leading the (Not So) Simple Church - Part 1

It seems logical that it would be a simple task to implement a “simple” approach to ministry, doesn’t it? I mean, simple equates with easy, right? As many church leaders have found, the decision to become "simple" or "sticky" or even "relevant" does not necessarily result in the church reflecting that decision. The inspiration and decision to change anything in your church structure is merely the first step. The planning, execution and the way that change is managed will make all the difference.

I have the utmost respect for Thom Rainer and his model of “Simple Church”. I think that it is a very healthy process for church leaders to figure out who they are and ask themselves whether they have become too complicated and less effective. The Simple Church concept provides a fresh perspective on ministry that is great for creating a more intentional and focused ministry. I applaud any church that chooses to look at themselves with the willingness to change if necessary. This is critical because there are far too many churches who keep doing things the same old way until there is no one left to do those things with!

In this series of articles, I will examine the following areas:
  • Churches Need Models
  • Moving from concept to implementation
  • Managing the change process
 
Next step: Churches Need Models.
Posted by: Rob Overton AT 12:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, July 08 2010
Ministry Silos: Good or Bad?
I am amazed at how many churches spend a lot of time defining their Mission, Vision and Goals without ever ensuring that the practical plans of the various ministries lead to success. The cumulative effect of all of the ministry processes should logically result in the accomplishment of the mission and vision of the church. I feel it necessary to point out that I do realize that if God does not show up, all of the plans are meaningless.   But I also think that it is poor stewardship to allow the plans to be an obstacle to ministry!  Unfortunately, certain ministry processes are sometimes in conflict with processes of other ministries, and even those not in direct conflict are seldom designed to work in concert together. The result is a series of ministry silos which operate independently of one another.

Much has been written about ministry silos and how they should be avoided, but this is easier said than done. The fact is, there needs to be some division of labor and focus in order for the ministries to be effective. Compounding the situation, ministries are led in many cases by lay people who are volunteering their time and talents. The combination of the need for specialization and the need for lay leadership naturally moves toward a “church within a church” situation. I believe that the proper function and operation of the silos makes all the difference.

Managing Silos
Since silos are a natural occurrence, care must be taken to prevent them from resulting in isolated and underachieving ministries. It is critically important to create tactical plans designed to foster continuity and to keep information flowing between ministries. There are several key areas of understanding required in order to create effective plans.
  • Each ministry needs to understand their impact on other ministries as well as the ones on which they are dependent.
  • Each ministry needs to have a good grasp on how families connect and move through the church, and how their particular ministry facilitates the movement.
  • Each ministry needs to understand their role in the church’s master plan as defined in their mission/vision statement. Ministry leaders, both staff and volunteer, need such perspective, but they seldom have it.
Proper understanding and appreciation of ministry silos is necessary to avoid the pitfalls.  Properly managed, they can help produce dynamic and thriving ministries.  Managed poorly, they will result in a collection of disparate ministries with little cohesion and uncertain direction.
Posted by: Rob Overton AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, July 01 2010

I was listening to my Pastor, Dave Gibson, preach a sermon based on Titus 2:2.  (2Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.)  He made the point that we who are the Body of Christ are constantly “read” by other people and we either demonstrate Christ-like attributes or we do not.  This started a flood of thoughts in my mind and prompted me to take it a little further.  Sorry Dave, but I probably missed what you said after that!

Not only are we “read” but in a sense we are tasted and experienced by the world. I began to think about how a wine connoisseur evaluates a bottle of wine.  Terms begin to swirl like bold, vibrant, earthy, acidic and the list goes on and on.  Now, I am certainly not a wine connoisseur!  If not for the spell checker feature of my software, I would not even be able to spell it!  But I have always been amazed at people who had so finely tuned their palette that they could give a thorough evaluation of a wine from only a taste or two.  They can easily spot an inferior wine with very little effort.

In a sense, society has been trained to be an expert in making quick assessments of other individuals with which they come in contact.  The evaluation metrics that they use are not always fair and are inconsistent to a degree, but they can generally give a pretty fair analysis of a person given enough exposure.  Of course without the exposure, there is no evaluation whatsoever resulting in zero impact.  (note to self: expand in a different post)  It seems that a wine review can be broken down into three basic parts: the first impression, general characteristics, and the finish.

With this in mind, I offer the following possible reviews of a Christian by a people connoisseur.  This is certainly not an exhaustive set, but hopefully enough to make a point.

Review # 1 – Highly acidic on the tongue resulting in a very unpleasant experience.   I could not bear to finish the glass.

I cringe when I think of all of the times when I have made my first impression to a person in an ugly and offensive way.  Perhaps it was when I was made to wait an intolerable amount of time at the bank, or when I was cut off by a careless driver.  Whatever preceded my poor first impression, it does not begin to excuse the way that I represented my maker.  Bottom line is that when the first impression is poor, there is no reason to look further for depth.  Impression formed, forever ingrained, an opportunity lost.  Testimony delivered.

Review #2 – A bright presentation with great mouth feel.  Wine disappoints as it has no real depth. 

How easy is this? I can remember to be gracious to the waitress at the restaurant after I leave church on Sunday, but have I made any impact?   How many times have I had a chance to share my faith, or meet a need, or just demonstrate compassion and I have just gone about my business?  I am humbled when I am in the presence of someone who reaches out when I do not.  It is also significant when those who are facing incredible adversity or loss manage to use the situation to demonstrate God’s goodness to the rest of the world.  These are people of great substance.  I want to be one of those.

Review # 3 – A very robust presentation giving way to earthy tones with good depth.  Unfortunately, the finish is somewhat weak.

I want to finish well.  I really do.  I love to see people like my father who has never let up and keeps pressing on, preaching the Gospel and defusing difficult situations.  I am talking about people who work for the kingdom as long as they have strength to do so.  I also admire people who find a new way of serving the kingdom when life situations and circumstances dictate a change.  I want to be one of the people who get older and manage to see it as just getting nearer to the time that they can actually be with God.

Review #4 – Good first impression giving way to great depth and complexity.  Prevalent notes of grace, mercy and compassion leading to an invigorating finish.  Truly, a life to savor.

So I have to ask myself, Am I living a life that makes people want to take a further look?  And when they look closer, am I living in such a way the depth of faith is observed?  And will I finish my life in such a way that Christ’s message never dims?  One thing is certain; we give our testimony many times in every day.  We either act as an ambassador for God's love, grace and mercy or we give a hollow or distorted representation of our master.

So... what am I going to taste like today?
Posted by: Rob Overton AT 11:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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