This week I received an encouraging email from a friend I coached last year.
For those of you serving churches 200 and under, I thought you would appreciate his perspective on the five changes he’s made in his church and life that made the greatest impact.
Here’s what he sent me (with my comments):
Five Changes Any Senior Pastor Should Make
Hey man, hope you’re well. Wanted to share a few things with you for you to share with your coaching clients. Here are the five greatest things I did or changed because of you—in descending order of impact:
5. Christmas Offering.
This has been huge for our church. This Saturday we have our “packing meals for Haiti party” with the folks from Lifeline. Our goal was 7,000, and we came in at over 10,000, which represents some 40,000 meals.
(Brian’s comment: I always encourage churches to push for a massive offering during December, part of which will go to some incredible mission project somewhere. Doing so unites the congregation in an outreach-focused manner year after year and pays huge spiritual dividends.)
4. Scheduling Multiple Christmas Eve Services.
This was a big win for me personally and gave me a lot of confidence and the desire to take more risks. I would NEVER have done that. But mostly it was so appreciated by so many in the congregation. Doing three services this year for sure.
(Brian’s comment: I always recommend that if you only had one Christmas Eve service last year, that you offer at least two. Doing so is one of the factors that helps churches under 200 move from being a single-cell church to a multiple one.)
3. Really Push Online Giving.
This has been so huge for our church. I think I told you that in spite of our attendance being lower the last few years, our giving has been equal to and better than the previous five years since we began to push online giving. It’s been huge.
(Brian’s comment: Regardless of church size, it should be your goal to receive 75 percent of your offerings via online sources.)
2. Regular November/June Messages on Giving (and the 90-Day Tithing Challenge).
From the very moment that first 90-day challenge went into effect in December of 2015, our finances turned a corner. I just shudder to think where we’d be right now financially as a church if I hadn’t signed up for coaching.
(Brian’s comment: One of the quickest changes any Senior Pastor can make is to your preaching, and this change brings the most immediate impact of all. If you want a generous church, you must model generosity, teach it and call for action. See my article: 10 Changes That Will Dramatically Increase Giving in Your Church.)
1. But the Top Thing Above All Others Is Taking Friday and Saturday Off.
This has been so huge. I was thinking a little bit ago that how I feel on Thursday night is how the rest of the world feels every Friday in anticipation of a two-day weekend. I had never felt that in all my ministry. Sure, I took Monday off, but it wasn’t two days in a row, and it was on the heels of Sunday.
But now, I can’t tell you how great I feel on Thursday night anticipating Friday and Saturday. Sure, there are times that I don’t get stuff done and have to work on Friday or Saturday, but it’s not in the office and not with people. I try to work so much smarter and harder during the week to make sure that Friday and Saturday are mostly time off.
(Brian’s comment: If you haven’t read my article “How Senior Pastors Can Schedule Their Week for Maximum Impact” please do so. Trust me, you need two days off each week, together, on Friday and Saturday. Read that article, and you’ll understand why.)
There’s a lot of other stuff obviously, but when you’re talking to guys, and they are fighting you on some of this stuff, please tell them to just to shut up and try it.