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Aspen Group Blog

Knowledge to navigate the intersection of church culture, leadership, ministry, and facilities.

Blog Feature

Leadership | Church Culture | Ministry

How to Lead Leaders: 13 Core Principles for Managing Players (and Pastors)

By: Brian Dodd
March 27, 2019

Healthy churches are led by leaders who are intentional about coaching up and leading others on their team. But how do pastors do this well? In Tom Verducci’s classic book, The Cubs Way, he chronicles the team’s owner Tom Ricketts’s acquisition of Theo Epstein to head all baseball operations, the subsequent construction of the team, and manager Joe Maddon’s leadership style, which he calls his “13 Core Principles Of Managing.”

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Ministry | Easter

Welcoming Easter Guests

By: Josh Gregoire
March 21, 2019

Easter is one of the most highly attended church services of the year. I suspect this isn’t new information to most of you involved in ministry. You have likely experienced the significant influx of attendees on Easter and Christmas. Though these holidays represent the most widely attended church services of the year, there are differences between them. In this article, we’ll explore who’s most likely to attend church this Easter, and how we can prepare for them.

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Making Space for Millennials Executive Summary

Making Space for Millennials Executive Summary

Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.

Blog Feature

Leadership | Ministry

Celebrating 5 Types of Givers in Your Church: How to Inspire Transformational Generosity, Part 2

By: Marian V. Liautaud
March 06, 2019

When Julie Bullock, Senior Generosity Strategy for Generis, guides leaders on how to inspire true, transformational giving in their church, she uses a “ham or eggs” model to illustrate the difference between transactional and transformational giving. Bullock discusses the high cost of output-focused giving. You can read about this in Part 1 of this two-part blog series on inspiring total generosity in your church. Instead of focusing solely on outputs (amounts and/or percentages of giving) when it comes to giving in your church, leaders should focus their people on the heart condition and place of all givers who are exploring and growing in their own discipleship journey. In this post, Bullock identifies five types of givers and how to celebrate generosity as part of their overall discipleship journey.

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Leadership | Ministry

Ham or Eggs?: How to Inspire Transformational Generosity, Part 1

By: Marian V. Liautaud
February 27, 2019

Julie Bullock, Senior Generosity Strategist for Generis, likes to talk about giving in terms of ham and eggs.  “It’s the notion that when the pig produces the ham, there is a total transformation that happens,” she explains. “The pig is never the same. You can't get the pig back to its original form. For the pig, it was a total commitment.

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Blog Feature

Church Culture | Ministry

How to Make Your Church Relevant Within Your Local Community

By: Evan McBroom
February 05, 2019

What is context in your community? What surrounds your church? Are you in the inner city? Are you in an affluent suburb? Do you have major employers that have moved to town or have moved from town? Is there a big plant closing? What are your demographics? Are you in Jerusalem or Judea or Samaria, or are you the end of the earth? Your context is what surrounds you. It is your culture.

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Culture | Leadership | Ministry

8 Key Leadership Tasks for Navigating Change at Church

By: Kurt Andre
January 31, 2019

In my article, “A Formula for Navigating Change at Church,” I share a tried and true pattern to help leaders discern if their church has the right components to effectively guide their congregation through change. Once church leaders have processed how the Change Formula applies in their environment, leaders often ask, “What can I do to take my church through change? What are the needed skills and competencies I should be focused on?”

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Leadership | Ministry

Will the New Tax Changes Affect Giving at Your Church?

By: the Editors of Church Law and Tax
January 24, 2019

When President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 into law in December of 2017, church leaders wondered about the new law’s implications for ministry in 2018 and beyond. In particular, would the substantial increase in the standard deduction affect pledges for capital campaigns and overall giving?

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Blog Feature

Ministry | thanksgiving | Careers

Grateful to Be Creating Space for Ministry Impact

By: Brad Eisenmann
November 22, 2017

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). At Aspen Group, we have much to be thankful this year. We’re grateful to be fulfilling our mission—creating space for ministry impact—with a variety of churches in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and beyond.

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Culture | Leadership | Multisite | church facilities | church planting | Ministry

How to Think Strategically (and Spiritually) About Church Expansion: An Aspen Podcast with Thrive Christian Church

By: Marian V. Liautaud
October 03, 2017

Whether you're considering the launch of your first multisite campus, thinking about planting your tenth church, or exploring the relocation of your existing church space, you must think strategically about that expansion process. The two guests on this fifth and final episode of the Alignment Conference Podcast know that reality all too well. For nearly three years, Bob Gray, project developer at Aspen Group, and Graham Richards, senior pastor at Thrive Christian Church, worked alongside each other exploring new growth opportunities within the church. And this past summer, all that work came to fruition with the opening of Thrive's new site in Westfield, Indiana. In this episode, Bob and Graham reflect back on that process, discussing the questions they worked through, including:  How do you know when it’s time to make a change, and, what kind of change should be made? On October 17, Thrive Christian Church will host the 2017 Alignment Conference, giving church leaders a chance to see firsthand the impact that a new, strategically-designed space can have for a church. Listen to this podcast, and you'll be well prepared for this year's event.  

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Culture | Leadership | Multisite | church facilities | church planting | Ministry

How to Respond to Your Church Planting Call: An Aspen Podcast Featuring Patrick O'Connell

By: Marian V. Liautaud
September 19, 2017

The tug. The calling. The spiritual tap on the shoulder. However you describe it, you're certain that God has laid it on your heart to plant a church. But you're less certain on what to do next. Where would you plant it? How do you gather a team? Do you have staff ready to launch these new churches? And if so, how will they actually do it? Who's going to pay for it? What kind of budget is even needed? Or maybe you're on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you're an experienced church planter who now leads multiple campuses. How do you not only hold it all together but also maintain energy as you try to keep your organization moving forward? In episode 4 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Patrick O'Connell, director of NewThing Network, answers several key questions about church planting and expansion strategies. Whether you're brand new to church planting or a seasoned veteran, Patrick shares a wealth of information for church planters and leaders who are eager to answer God's call to plant a church.

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