As the country began to shut down last year because of COVID, Pastor Taylor Burgess and his leadership team at Cross Community Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, made an important decision. As a church, they would not lie down and die. They committed to facing the future with courage. Cross Community has been working on transitioning from a portable to permanent space, plus navigating a capital campaign, all amid the pandemic. I spoke with Taylor, who serves as lead pastor, to see what advice he would offer other churches in the midst of a building project or other major change.
Discipleship is a journey. It begins with bringing people into a community, building them up, and eventually sending them out again. At Aspen Group, we believe that church facilities can shape and accelerate the disciple-making journey. Built space guides people to behave in specific ways. When churches are intentional about their building’s layout and design, they can lead people on a journey, moving them from a first-time visitor to a fully devoted Christ-follower. However, it can be hard to identify priorities or know where to start. In this article, I’ll give you some ideas and examples to help you apply the concept of designing for discipleship.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
When COVID-19 hit the U.S., church leaders faced the unexpected and overwhelming challenge of closing their doors. You may have had to quickly figure out how to stream services and move ministry activities online. Now, you’re likely grappling with the daunting details of how to reopen your facilities for in-person worship and other ministries. You and your church leadership team are wrestling myriad questions and concerns about how to relaunch church in COVID-safe ways. At the same time, as a leader, you need to lift your eyes, look out at the horizon, and ask, “What have we learned about our church in this crisis that can help us prepare for a new season of ministry?”
January is the time when churches send out annual giving statements to their congregation. The government requires churches to confirm all gifts of $250 or more annually with a statement to givers. However, sending out a giving statement shouldn’t be seen as simply an administrative task, something you have to do. To the contrary, this is a great opportunity to reach out to your givers and let them know how profoundly grateful you are for their part in providing the financial resources to make ministry happen.
Recently, I spoke with Pastor Ricardo Smith, also known as Pastor Ricky, the founder of Classic City Conference, and Josh Gregoire, Aspen's Church Relations Coordinator, to discuss this sold-out in-person event, still open to virtual attendees. Designed to reach pastors, ministers, church leadership teams, and community leaders around the country, the Classic City Conference features top-level speakers that will challenge, encourage, and equip attendees.
At the beginning of the COVID experience, within the Aspen leadership team, we discussed the importance of pacing ourselves as leaders because we had a sense that the pandemic was going to be its own marathon. Perhaps this season has felt like that for you, too—a marathon with more miles than you ever anticipated.
Leadership development may often be perceived as vague, time-consuming, or intimidating. In reality, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Using “Tony” as my fictional example, here is a proven, five-step mentorship/apprenticeship model that can be used to develop new leaders in church ministry.
What do you need to recognize about shifts in culture now that will affect your church in the coming year? How can you find unity within your church? How can you keep running the race? These are questions we explored in a recent conversation with Karl Vaters, one of the leading voices for equipping leaders of small churches. Karl is the Teaching Pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and author of several books including, The Church Recovery Guide: How Your Congregation Can Adapt and Thrive after a Crisis, which was released this summer.
This month, we had the privilege of hosting a conversation with Monty Kelso, President and CEO of Slingshot Group, a team that helps churches and nonprofits hire well and coach existing leaders. The topic was timely because October is Pastor’s Appreciation Month. Whether you’re a pastor or a church member, Monty shared tips on helping pastors maintain their resiliency, fight off discouragement, and stay focused in this age of COVID.
As a leader, you’ve never experienced a season like this one. Even before the pandemic, the pace of change in our culture has been ever-increasing for the past 10 to 15 years. The current generation of leaders are the only generation that has had to lead in a context where the pace of change is so rapid. Not only are you managing and leading through the tactical work, making plans and working in details, but there is also the emotional stress of change followed by change and then more change again.