Thursday, 30 June 2011

Good to Grow: why we do what we do...

To end this series of blogs on my book Good to Grow here are some snippets on a range of topics which I hope will give you an interest in reading more! If you are at the Brighton Conference the book will be available in the book shop.

The last but one quote in this series speaks of one of the costs of our journey – the final quote of the reason for what we do!

‘Too many churches move to multiple meetings too early, stalling momentum rather than creating it. The extra demands that multiple meetings place on staff members and committed volunteers need to be recognized when making such a decision.’

‘Leaders! We can be so familiar with the church we attend that we forget how uncomfortable it can feel walking into what is a strange environment, where everyone seems to know everyone else and understands all the unstated rules and protocols. Church can just seem downright bizarre to the unchurched person.’

‘Once a meeting room is regularly 80 per cent full, the number of new people coming along week by week will begin to drop off. Regular attenders won’t bring friends, family or work colleagues if it’s hard to find space for them.’

‘If your church has not grown for the last ten years, it is unlikely that dividing what you already have into two is going to help you.’

‘The loss of the luxury of flexibility to run over time is weighed against the benefit of reaching more people for Jesus.’

‘It is our continued experience that as we have provided more options and more space, God has given us more people.’

Good to Grow by Steve Tibbert is published by Authentic Media and is available from bookshops now. Order online from and enter the title of the book Good to Grow

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Good to Grow: Useful Information!

Leaders come across all sorts of useful sources of information – the following is a quote from Good to Grow, originally found in a small booklet that is full of thought-provoking stuff - the results of their research...

‘Another source of useful information came from a booklet entitled Leadership, Vision and Growing Churches – a study of 1,100 congregations, sponsored by the Salvation Army. From this small volume I learned, among other things:

• that in a situation where the church leader is in his early forties or early sixties the church is more likely to grow
• that growth was more likely after the leader has been in post from seven to nine years, followed by ten to thirteen years
• that of the gifts a church leader may have, the one characteristic (out of eight types) that distinguished fast-growing churches was that their leader was a ‘Shaper’ (this is from the Belbin typography)
• that beyond the leader himself, churches that had run an Alpha course were twice as likely to have a vision for the future as those that had not (31 per cent to 17 per cent)’

This next quote from the book contains information from the research of an American called Bill Tenny-Brittian: ( The Top Five Reasons Churches Don’t Grow)

‘Research shows that if a first-time visitor to your church gives you their contact information and is followed up within twenty-four hours, they are 86 per cent more likely to return. Leave any contact until the end of the week and that percentage drops to less than 25 per cent.’

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Good to Grow: I love team!

If you are around me for any length of time there are recurrent topics I will speak about in reference to leading a church. Team building has to be a major one of these. It’s not going to be surprising then to find that it is a topic that appears in the book Good to Grow...

‘It would be my observation that too many leaders set up their leadership teams so that their own abilities appear to be head and shoulders above those of the team they lead. This can give a false impression that they are extremely good leaders. I believe one of the true tests of great leadership is the stature of the men and women around the primary leader. I am surrounded by men and women of great gifting and capacity, each in their own area of expertise far more gifted than I am. I would have it no other way. As I have said before, ‘staff your weaknesses’ – and this also explains why we have such a large staff team at King’s: I have a multiplicity of weaknesses!’

‘I have since learned, through the input of Brian Watts, who pastors a church in Battersea and who is also an excellent coach in team work, that how the team members relate to each other and work together reflects how the church does the same. A look at the former will tend to give you a clear reading of the latter, especially when it comes to ‘church temperature’. Signals from the team mirror what’s happening in the church. This gives useful information to help you pastor people through change.’

‘To grow a large church, you need strength in depth. It also requires the team leader to be secure enough to cope with having many gifted people on his team, not to be threatened by their abilities but to recognize his key role in leading, enabling and supporting such a team to achieve their best.’

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Good to Grow: marriage, character and stamina!

Other topics of importance in leadership and that I deal with in the book Good to Grow are marriage and character... and the stamina that is needed to go with them!

‘It has been my observation that sometimes the limiting factor of a ministry’s effectiveness and sustainability has nothing to do with the leader’s capacity or gift – or that of the team. A weak leadership marriage, rather than being a place of rest and refreshment, becomes a limiting factor, sometimes tragically derailing the whole deal.’

‘The personal life of the leader and their corporate leadership are totally linked together in my experience. Our culture has made a huge mistake in separating the private and the public. Integrity, whether in private life or public arena, is always an issue of character.’

‘I broke almost every rule and boundary I have ever set for myself and taught to others, and began working seven-day weeks, even while on holiday. Deb and the boys were remarkably supportive. There are times in life when you just have to ‘up your game’, and I know myself well enough to know that I can go to another level for a relatively limited period of time, say three to six months. Good leaders generally have something in the bag for the ‘Big Push’ moment. It could be in the first year of planting a church; here it was for a building project. The greatest danger in a period like this is that what starts as a short term push turns into a lifestyle. Ten months later I hit the wall. I started to observe that I was reacting more emotionally in meetings when conflict was involved - and it all came to a head in one particular week which included Deb requesting I stop looking at my emails on my iPhone during lunch on our day off.’

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Good to Grow: effective leadership

One of the topics that I look at in the book Good to Grow is effective leadership – what is it and what does it mean to lead the church well? The following quotes from the book highlight this important topic:

‘To build mission-focused communities requires sustained, focused leadership in the local church – we must continue to take a close look at ourselves to ensure that we are practising what we preach. I find that local churches have a tendency to drift towards a pastoral mode, taking their agenda from believers rather than the lost.’

‘I am continually amazed at how quickly church leaders, many of whom are pastors or teachers, become primarily focused on looking after the existing group of people. If you want to grow a church, the future is in the new people – your task is to get all the existing committed people to see this as their job too.’

‘One of the greatest leadership challenges is to predict the future, and the best way to predict the future is to look at past trends. A church that hasn’t grown in the last five years is unlikely to double in size in the next five without major re-engineering or other significant change. At King’s we have always planned for and prayed for an annual increase of 10 per cent – net. As I mentioned previously, a church will double its size in seven years if you achieve this goal.’