Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Second Push

This is the time of year when you are doing the recruiting "Second Push". The first push has already taken place. You've identified the roles that need to be filled for the coming ministry season, and you've done your best to find "the right people for the right places".

But now comes the time for the "Second Push". This is the time when you realize that some of your initial placements aren't going to work out. Some of the people have been placed in roles that are not a fit for their personality and gifting. Maybe you need to ask them "How is it going?" and "Is there something else you'd like to do, or are you ready to press on in this assignment?"

Also the "Second Push" is when you realize that there were some blind spots in your leadership structure. Now you see that there are roles needed that you had not foreseen. So now it's time to do the second round of recruiting.

As you recruit, keep 3 major things in mind:

1) No one is looking to just fill your NEED
In general, people don't jump at the opportunity to fill a need. Your need does not constitute their emergency. "Need-based recruiting" might as well be called "guilt-based recruiting". You tell people how desperate you are, and hope that they will want to help. This may fill a few immediate needs on a short term basis. But it seldom brings people joy and they will soon slip away from your team. Soon the guilt wears off and, as weariness sets in, they head for the escape hatch.

Principle: People want to be part of the vision
In recruiting, find how you can inspire people to activate their God-given desire for significance. Everyone wants to know that their life is making a difference. Everyone wants to be part of something great. Everyone wants to feel valued. And God has gifted every single Christian, with a talent for ministry. The trick is finding their gifting and providing opportunities to release that gifting for maximum Kingdom impact. Continually show people how their piece of the ministry puzzle is contributing to the vision being accomplished.

2) No one is looking for MORE stuff to do
Everybody is busy. Nobody jumps at the opportunity to add another responsibility to their already busy schedule. And to make matters worse, we often force ministry leaders to sit through mindless meetings. They sit around watching us fumble through, revealing how unprepared we were for their contribution. Then we ask them to show up for events where they feel their skills aren't even being utilized.

Principle: Make every minute count
If you don't have seriously valuable content and a pressing reason to hold a meeting: then don't. And when people show up to serve, clearly define their responsibility. Each volunteer needs to know that their absence will leave a gaping hole in the mission's accomplishment. The reason that people often drop the ball is because their role doesn't seem important. They figure that anybody could do the mindless work they're being asked to do. Streamline each leader's ministry so that they clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. And whatever you do: don't waste their time!

3) No one is looking to follow a STRESSED-OUT leader
One time I met with a staff member to talk about the image he had been projecting. It seemed that he would often mention (to anyone who would listen) how much work he was being asked to do. In meetings and conversations he would often take a deep breath and give a little "sign". When people asked him about anything, he was always sure to share how stressful his job was and how little time he had for anything new. And then he wondered why people weren't flocking to join his ministry areas.

Principle: Be a leader that people want to follow
Our conversation was very simple. I said, "People follow leaders whom they want to be like...and right now, nobody wants to be like you." Fortunately, this was a smart and humble guy. He quickly recognized the negative pattern that had slipped into his conversational habits. He became very conscious of the importance of his words and attitudes. And the result? His new positive attitude became an attractional force to his ministry.

And one more thought. Continually search for individuals with a "leader's heart". These are the people who "get it". They have an aptitude for leadership. They have a positive attitude and demonstrate the fruit of the spirit. Given the right circumstances, they could probably do your job better than you do. These people are a special gift from God. Don't give them piddly little tasks. Give them positions of leadership and authority. Pour into their personal and spiritual development. And especially with these "high caliber" volunteers, implement #1, #2 and #3.

Monday, December 01, 2008

what's up with the blog?

I've had a number of people asking why this is blog has been inactive for so many months. Well, it really has to do with a matter of function/purpose.

When I was at Faith Church, the blog was a fantastic leadership tool. People read it and followed up. I felt like it was an opportunity to teach and minister primarily to the people at our church. Occasionally I would share personal and family updates. But mostly it was a church ministry function.

Which leads to the main reasons this page has been fairly inactive:

1) Since having been called to Tuscaloosa First Wesleyan I found that most of our people here are much less "blog addicted". It began to feel like a labor to keep something like this up-to-date, when it seemed that few people within our local church followed the page regularly. In fact, the people who have requested me to start writing again...are people who are outside of Tuscaloosa.

2) The other primary reason has to do with FACEBOOK. So many of the people who regularly followed my blog are now on Facebook. And for those of you who follow Tracy's writings, you know that she does a fantastic job of keeping everybody up to date on the happenings of the Gorveatte family (with pictures!).

So there you have it. I plan to keep this website and hang on to the title "JOEL...GET TO THE POINT". And from time to time we'll use this page to serve a particular purpose (so be sure to check in occasionally). But for the time being...we'll see you on Facebook!

Have a fantastic day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

happened naturally

When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.

~ Lao Tse

Read back the through the above statement a few times and let the power of this truth sink in.

Leadership is not drawing attention to yourself. It is about moving the mission forward in ways that feel natural to the rhythm of life and organizational flow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

artist's angst

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

purpose power

George Washington Carver said: “No individual has any right to come into the word and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.”

When you look at men and women throughout history. Those who excelled. When you read in the Bible of great leaders of faith… you see that they were men and women with a purpose.

Noah was able to build the ark, in spite of the criticism and ridicule of his neighbors...because he had a purpose.

Abraham was willing to leave his family and friends to go to a new land…because he had a purpose

Joseph was able to endure persecution and imprisonment…because he had a purpose

Moses was able to leave the palace and the riches of Egypt to lead the children of Israel…because he had a purpose.

David was able to face down the giant Goliath (while others ran and hid in their tents)… because he had a purpose.

Daniel stood firm when being thrown into a lion’s den…because he had a purpose.

John the Baptist was able to say, “I must decrease so that Christ may increase”…because he had a purpose.

Stephen proclaimed the message of God (even while being put to death)…because he had a purpose

Paul was able to withstand persecution and hardship…because he had a purpose

JESUS himself, in his love for mankind allowed himself to be placed on a cross, in our place...because he had a purpose.

And WHAT IS that purpose? Take a few minutes today and read (Matthew 22:37-39) and (Matthew 28:18-20).

Thursday, May 22, 2008


An elderly gent was invited to an old friends' home for dinner one evening. He was impressed by the way his buddy preceded every request to his wife with endearing terms such as: Honey, My Love, Darling, Sweetheart, Pumpkin, etc. The couple had been married almost 70 years and clearly, they were still very much in love.

While the wife was in the kitchen, the man leaned over and said to his host, 'I think it's wonderful that, after all these years, you still call your wife those loving pet names'.

The old man hung his head. 'I have to tell you the truth,' he said, 'Her name slipped my mind about 10 years ago and I'm scared to death to ask her what it is!'

So here's The Point

Be sure to express your love and appreciation to someone today. And if you can remember their's even better!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

myths about volunteers

7 Myths of Volunteerism
Bill Hybels

Every church has, at some time or another, complained about a lack of volunteers. Excuses are given as to why volunteers aren't showing up and a mad scramble usually ensues to figure out how to get the work of the church done. But most of the conceptions that we have about volunteers are misconceptions. Some of the reasons our churches give for not making great strides in recruiting volunteers are not good reasons … they're myths. Here are the seven most common myths about volunteers.

Myth #1
There aren't enough volunteers to go around. Almost everywhere I turn when I meet with pastors and leaders, they're bemoaning the fact that they don't have enough volunteers for their ministries. But there's always a reason why they're not serving. I don't know what it is in your church. We know some of the reasons in our church.

But here's an idea to consider: Why don't you identify those people and ask them to come to a pizza party at the pastor's home? Say, "Hey, we've asked you to come tonight to pose a question. We're trying to raise the value of volunteerism in our church and we know you attend, but we're not sure that you serve anywhere. Why don't you serve?" You're going to hear some very interesting things. Some will say: "You know, I served for a while, and then no one called me to serve again so I thought you didn't need me;" "I served for a while, but the ministry team leader was not a good guy, so I stopped serving and no one's called me since;" "I served for a while because I was told that I was needed, I got there, and I really wasn't needed, so I stopped serving."

There are going to be lots of reasons. We can moan, sob, and groan about a lack of volunteers in our churches. It's just a myth. There are a lot of people who are potential servants in your church. You have to identify why they're not serving, get on the solution side, and invite them back into serving.

There are 500,000 non-churched people within a 30-minute drive of our campus at Willow Creek. If we're not making significant progress in drafting the people who already attend our church, who aren't willing to serve, then I've got to think beyond that and say, "Well, there are 500,000 other people out there. They all represent becoming potential volunteers. Obviously, there are a few challenges along the way to drafting them. But the people are there. We have to meet them, lead them to Christ, disciple them, convince them they have a spiritual gift, and invite them! If you're a leader in a local church, part of what you need to do is lift the vision, set the strategy, and start praying like crazy that you'll start to meet and lead to Christ ever-increasing numbers of people who will eventually become volunteers in your church.

Myth #2
Volunteers are only capable of doing the busy work of the church. By this I refer to the myth that volunteers are only capable of doing repetitive tasks that the paid staff doesn't really want to mess with. That they're only capable of doing the tasks that are low in strategic import. At Willow, the decision-making positions with the greatest strategic import are often done almost exclusively by volunteers. To think that volunteers can only do busy work isn't true theologically, it doesn't agree with the experiences of the New Testament church, and it certainly doesn't agree with the experiences of our church.

Our elders, for instance, are responsible for the overall spiritual oversight of our church. They hire and fire the senior pastor, they exert church discipline and doctrinal evaluation and they're all volunteers. Our board of directors moves around tens of millions of dollars. They're involved with construction, legal matters, etc. They're all volunteers.

In every church, there are high-capacity volunteers, there are medium-capacity volunteers, and then there are lower-capacity volunteers. (When I say lower-capacity, I'm not talking about someone's IQ or social skills. I am just talking about giftedness, availability, life experience, stage of life, and commitment to Christ). Some people in your church will only step up and get involved if you offer them a high-capacity volunteer opportunity. We have to make sure that our churches have a wide portfolio of high-capacity volunteer positions, mid-capacity volunteer positions, and lower-capacity volunteer positions, and then we've got to match the people with the positions.

Myth #3
Volunteers are free help. I remember when we decided to do food service on our campus. It was a big decision. We knew that when we were going to provide food service that we were going to have to pay a small staff for a few key people. But we envisioned hundreds of volunteers helping out in that ministry. When a couple of our board members were putting the business plan together for our food-service ministry, one of our staff leaders plugged in a number. And that was questioned at the board meeting. The answer came back that the money was for a full-time salary and benefit package to hire a great person to recruit volunteers to work in our food-service ministry and to nurture and train and care for those volunteers who would step forward and serve. And the board member said, "Wait, I thought volunteers were always free help." The other guy said, "Volunteers offer enormous amounts of help around here, but they are never free."

Volunteers need and deserve to be given competent leadership, sensitive shepherding, ongoing development, training, and tools to do their job. They're supposed to be nurtured and coached by the staff into their full-redemptive potential. That's going to require some staff. At Willow, we give some of our high capacity volunteers their own office, their own phone, and computer. They come to staff meetings. They don't get a paycheck for it, but we certainly give them the tools and the equipment that they need to do what God has called them to do. They do an enormous amount of work for us. But they really aren't free.

Myth #4
Most volunteers want to serve in one role for a lifetime. Let me reveal a nasty little secret about pastors and paid staff. When a pastor or staff recruit a volunteer and train them and help them figure out their spiritual gifts and finally place them in a critical role in some ministry of the church, the paid staff are just hoping against hope that they have filled that ministry position from now until the Lord's return.

Now, this is understandable, because in most churches, staff are working really hard and when volunteers start jumping from one ministry to the next, that requires staff time. But here's the truth from the volunteer side: Very few volunteers hit the jackpot the very first time they serve somewhere. Most of the time, when a volunteer steps forward and starts to serve, they start to learn more about their gifts, more about their capacities, more about what they like and what they don't like. And it's not uncommon at all for about three to six months into a serving experience, for a volunteer to start self-assessing.

In some dysfunctional church environments, a pastor will stand up and say, "Let's talk about commitment. Let's talk about keeping your word. Let's talk about loyalty." And the volunteer is thinking, "I am committed, I'm loyal, I'm faithful. I might just be in the wrong role." In healthy, high-functioning churches, staff and volunteers stay in a consistent dialogue about how it's going with the volunteer and whether the work still seems like a good fit.

If a volunteer has pounded one nail for 10 years, if he/she decides to explore another ministry, welcome the exploration. Invite them into it. They might decide to go back to what they were doing, or they might find a whole new lease on life and serve God with greater enthusiasm in the new role.

Myth #5
Volunteers are not interested in training or development. Volunteers, generally speaking, love getting a little better at stuff. They would like to be a little sharper, their tools to be razor-edged. They would like to be developed. My opinion is that there should be training as well as on-going training whenever a volunteer steps into the position.

Myth #6
Volunteers need encouragement from heaven but they really don't need much encouragement from anyone on Earth. We ought to clean up structures so that staff know exactly who their volunteer team members are, and we should be creating cultures of inspiration. It doesn't require a graduate degree from Harvard, it doesn't cost any more money, it doesn't even take very much time for you to go around thanking and blessing volunteers. It really doesn't. I tell our staff all the time, "You have to think of yourself as a thanking machine. If you're not thanking volunteers every day and blessing them and encouraging them, you're missing a tremendous opportunity to fire up someone who really deserves being fired up."

Volunteers have real jobs and they have marriages and kids and a lawn to mow and cars to wash. Sometimes when volunteers come our way, their tanks are low. They've been beat up at work and they sat in traffic and now they're coming over to the church to give another couple hours of service because they love God and love the vision of the church. And it's no small thing to a volunteer when you just say, "Hey, Tom, thanks for being here." If you want to lead a volunteer revolution, it has to be in the context of an inspired culture, and once you get that going, it's an unstoppable force!

Myth #7

Volunteerism is a one-way deal—all output, no returns, no rewards. Quite commonly, a senior pastor will say to me, "Bill, our people are busy, they work hard in the market place, they're raising kids, they're doing stuff in the community. I just couldn't ask them to do more than that." And something starts boiling in me. Because what those pastors are really telling me is that they don't want to ask their people to put serving towels over their arms and step up to volunteering for the cause of Christ in the local church because they fear it will diminish the quality of their lives. It will add one more stress to already stressed-out people. It will put yet another burden on the backs of people who are already hunched over from carrying too many burdens; I can't tell you how much I disagree with that position.

Volunteerism done right, volunteerism done biblically, wisely, and in the power of the Holy Spirit will not diminish the quality of a person's life. It will do precisely the opposite! Volunteerism done right will dramatically and often radically, positively transform a person's life. Inviting a person into servanthood in the cause of Christ is often one of the kindest, most life giving, joy-producing, spiritually-enriching opportunities you can offer somebody. Volunteerism done right will add immeasurably to the quality of the people in your congregation's lives.

Volunteerism done right will grow people's faith, deepen their trust, stretch their skills, enrich their relationships, increase their joy, and last, but hardly least, it will set them up for the commendation every sincere Christ follower wants to hear at the end of their time here on planet Earth: "Well done, son. Well done, daughter. You loved me, you served people, you used your gifts, you made a difference in this fallen world. Way to go!" Is there anything better than that?

From Willow magazine, Volume 12, Issue 1 (Winter 2005). Willow Creek Association ©2005.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

swimming rats

John Maxwell tells of a study done by a group of scientists doing experiments on lab rats. In this test they took these rats and placed them in a big jar of water and put them in a room that was pitch black (no light at all), and they left these rats in the water. Now get this, in total darkness, the rats would only swim around for about 3 minutes before they would drown.

As they continued the test, they took some more rats and put them in those same jars of water and put them back in that same room. BUT this time, they allowed a single gleam of light to shine in. Just a single ray of light in the room. And those rats, for 36 hours, they swam and fought for their lives.

Just that single ray of hope, kept them alive 700x’s longer.

Where do you find your hope? I can't imagine what it must be like for those who try to "keep their head above water" without having the hope that comes from knowing Jesus.

Monday, April 14, 2008

the exchange

In (Mark 8:34-37) Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me…What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Notice the word “exchange”. Jesus said that there is a kind of “exchange” that is made for our souls. If you’re the typical American, you’re going to live an average life-span of about 25,550 days. And…every one of those days you’re exchanging your life for something.

You may exchange it for a day of watching television.
You may exchange it for a day on the golf course.
You may exchange it for a day at the lake.
You may exchange it for a day of working.
You may exchange it for a day of helping and changing someone's life.

The Bible says you are exchanging your life every day for something.

Now, think about that for a minute. Are you getting a good deal out of the exchange? Are you investing in stuff that’s just fun for today (but nobody is going to care about what you did 20 years from now)? ... OR are you making investments each day that will last for eternity?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

generation of debt

Why is our economy struggling so greatly? Why do we deal with so much fear when it comes to the issue of money? I wonder if some of the problem might have to do with these recent statistics:

People in the 18-24 year old age bracket spend nearly 30% of their income on debt repayment.
Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt Among Young Americans

Of households that carry consumer debt, the average carries over $10,000 in revolving debt and has 9 credit cards.
Jump$tart Coalition, 2007

Americans gave credit card companies over $24 Billion (in fees) for the year 2004. That was an increase of 18% over the previous year., 2005

A survey of teenagers today. Teenager believe that in the coming years they will earn $145,000 a year. When in reality, a person with a bachelor’s degree earns (on average) about 1/3 of that amount.
The Denver Post, citing Charles Schwab Teens and Money, 2007

The number of 18 to 24 year olds declaring bankruptcy has increased 96% in the last 10 years.
Richmond Credit Abuse Resistant Education (CARE) Program

What’s the problem? We live in a culture that is all about buying, and having, and wanting more and more stuff. Are we teaching biblical principles and modeling them for our kids?

(1 Timothy 6:6-8) says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

The Bible says, “Look, all this stuff that we get so worried about… it’s just stuff. It has no real value. It’s just a temporary distraction in your 80 or so years on this planet.”

Never forget....the most important things in life… aren’t things.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

love and fear

I am teaching right now through a Sunday Series called "Living Without Fear". There is a verse of Scripture that never fails to amaze me. (1 John 1:18) says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

It's hard to wrap my mind around how significant this really is. The Bible says that

the opposite of love is fear and
the opposite of fear is love

In other words, love and fear can't operate at the same time in your life. Love and fear can’t be in the same room. Here’s what happens: when love comes in the front door of your life, fear goes out the back door. Love chases fear away.

And no matter what anybody tries to tell you, the truth is this: You ARE loved! God has loved you ever second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year. There has never been a time that God has not loved you. And his PERFECT love can drive away our fears.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

high school memories

A woman was sitting in the waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, she remembered that a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in her high school class so many years ago. Could this be the same guy I had a crush on way back then? she wondered.

She quickly discarded any such thought when she met the balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face. He's way too old to have been my classmate, she thought to herself.

Still, after he examined her teeth, she asked, "Did you happen to attend Morgan Park High School?"

"Yes! I'm a Mustang," he gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" she asked.

"1975," he replied. "Why do you ask?"

"You were in my class!" she exclaimed.

"Really?" he said, looking at her closely. "What did you teach?"