Revitalize Now

Revitalize Now

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

No one comes to serve in a church with the hope and dream of seeing it plateau, decline, or die.

 The hope of every minister is to see the works of God occur in the life of a congregation.  Prayers are voiced and ministry invested into the lives of a congregation so a community can be reached, and lives transformed.  The desire to be part of a healthy congregation is real but there is another reality more than 80% of churches must face – they are plateaued, declining, or dying.  Across the SBC this is a growing reality according to Lifeway statistics.

This means the majority of those attending one of our SBC churches each Sunday are sitting down to worship in a church where they have not seen the church grow in a healthy way as disciples of Christ which resulted in reaching the 

people of their community.  While the population of the TEBA is growing exponentially, many of our churches are stymied in their efforts to grow and be healthy congregations. 

So, what can a church who wants to get healthy do? 

You can choose to get help. On March 22 & 23 you can be part of the Revitalize, Replant, Recover Church Summit hosted at FBC Willis.  This Summit will be led by Mark Clifton and Kyle Bueermann of the North American Mission Board.  You will learn how to be a healthier church by understanding and implementing revitalization principles based upon God’s Word and proven practices.

 Why not take the step?  Be part of this Summit with a group of your church leadership.  It’s a choice that can lead to breaking out of the 80% and moving your church to a healthier future.  https://teba.org/church-summit-2024/ 

In Kingdom service,

Executive Director, AMS

Moving On

Moving On

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

Sometimes you just need to let some things go.

This past August we moved into a different home and with the transition we had the opportunity to evaluate what we would keep and what needed to find a new home.  Having been part of transitioning homes of two sets of parents, we are particularly mindful that what may be important to you will one day be on the discard pile of your children.

But some things can be hard to let go of, they have memories attached, they represent a particular event or time in your life, or they may be a reminder of God’s provision in your life.  One of those reminders of God’s faithfulness has been in the garages of our various homes for the last 28 years.  It was a small wooden chest of drawers with streaky orange paint covering the original beige color.  It wasn’t alone.  It was part of a set of 3 chests of drawers that moved over the years from inside use to outside storage.  They didn’t match, but I didn’t need them to as their purpose was served by what they could hold.  One was brown, one was white, and the other orange. 

My wife preferred I would opt to get a more uniform look to the garage motif.  I liked what each of them reminded me of.  The brown one was originally part of the furniture she had from when I met her in college – it reminded me of those days we had together falling in love and growing together.  The white bureau was a convertible changing table with three drawers below it which we bought together when we learned we were becoming parents.  There were many prayers spoken standing at that white bureau over our son and from time to time I would be reminded of how precious it was to see so many of those prayers answered.  The streaky orange one had its own history.  It was a reminder of God’s provision.

It was 28 years ago when I left the church plant we had begun in the DFW area and was on my way to begin a pastorate in San Antonio.  While we waited for the sale of our home my family stayed behind and I moved into an unfurnished apartment during the transition.  I didn’t need much in the way of furnishings, but I considered it would be helpful to have something to put clothes and other items in.  Money was tight and I was hopeful I could locate something suitable when I reached San Antonio.  It was 6:00 AM when I pulled into the parking lot of a shopping center to pick up a coffee and was praying about the trip to San Antonio and the need for a bureau.  And then I saw it.  Standing alone in a vast empty parking lot – a streaky orange chest of drawers.  With no donation station in sight, it had been abandoned by its owner and was now sitting discarded.  Trash to them but treasure to me.  I had asked God to provide, and He did.  I just didn’t remember to specify the color. 

For years to come, I would pray for God’s provision in many situations and would find when I walked into the garage and saw that physical reminder of how He took care of even the smallest need.  It was hard to contemplate letting go of that reminder, but it was time.  On a Friday night before the waste folks came on Saturday, I placed all three bureaus at the curb for pick up.  Before the truck came, they were gone, with new owners who found them useful, perhaps even an answer to prayers. 

Sometimes you just need to let some things go.  In church life, just as in our daily lives, we need never mistake the reminders of God’s provision for the essentials of God’s intention.  Change is part of life.  It’s part of the life of every church.  But in the midst of change, we get to know and serve the unchanging God of creation.  We hold onto Him and Him alone.

In Kingdom service,

Executive Director ~ AMS

Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season, and a
time for every matter under heaven…
Effective Leadership

Effective Leadership

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

How are you going to develop your leadership skills in 2024?  Have you thought through the areas of your ministry that need to be strengthened or brought into sharper focus?  Whether we lead a committee or team at our church or serve as its pastor, we all have areas where we are expected to provide leadership.  Let me offer the following acrostic as a reflection on some of the various aspects of leadership that are part of an effective ministry:

Love Jesus and His People… it all starts with our hearts being fully yielded to Jesus and securely anchored in a love relationship with Him.  Through the love we have for Jesus, we are drawn to love His people even when times are challenging.

Encouragement Motivates People to Greatness… there is no lack of people ready to criticize or find fault but those who can see the best in us get the best from us.  A great leader knows how to see the good in people and draw it out of them with even better results because they are motivated to do well.

Admit Your Limitations but Create a Team to Overcome Them… if you don’t know your limitations (you just found one) then just ask someone who works with you.  Understanding what we can and cannot do well frees us to be effective while allowing us to build a team that is complementary to our needs.

Determine to Keep Your Focus on What Matters… if everything matters then nothing really matters at all.  A leader who stays focused on the main things will be able to accomplish great things while allowing those matters that are ancillary to be dealt with by other means.  Competition for your time and energy is a daily reality but determine to give your best to the people and needs that matter most.

Expect Challenges (Problems) and Determine Your Opportunities (Solutions)… not if they happen but when they appear.  Challenges are part of doing anything of value in the Kingdom of God.  We find out our character and God’s provision in times of challenge.  The good news is that the same times of challenge affirm our leadership and provide future opportunities if we respond correctly.

Relationships are the Foundation of Quality Leadership… and the leader who ignores the development of solid relational skills will suffer the consequences in the long run.  We must take time with our team and with those we are seeking to lead.  John Maxwell called it “walking slowly through the crowd” which meant to not be in such a hurry to get to the next moment that you lose the moment you’re in with people.

Spend Time Reflecting so You Can See the Future… or your future will be limited by the moment you’re in right now.  We need to have times of prayerful reflection and the larger the responsibility and the greater the challenge the more time is needed to reflect.  We all need time to recharge our vision so we can be effective and make needed adjustments before moving forward.

Help People Celebrate… because what they see us celebrate, they understand as having value.  What do you celebrate as a team?  The leader who affirms and celebrates the victories of the team as well as acknowledges setbacks while affirming a positive future will strengthen the ability of the team to serve effectively.

Invest in Developing Others… they are your present strength and future leaders.  The intentional development of leaders is one of the most important roles you can have for your team.  Getting them the skill training they need or providing them with the resources required for their own personal growth is vital.  Every minute you spend developing a future leader is multiplied into the lives of others.

Persevere and When You’re Weary – Persevere Some More… because leadership means you will get flies on your windshield so clean them off and move on.

 

In Kingdom service,

Executive Director, AMS

Choose Your Change

Choose Your Change

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

Change is part of all our lives.  Some changes you make because you want to do so.  Some changes you don’t get to choose, they are made for you.  When Hamas invaded southern Israel on October 7, taking 239 hostages, and killing 1200 people, it propelled Israel into war and meant the TEBA Israel Trip set to leave two weeks later had to be rescheduled for later in 2024. 

I know you join me in praying for the peace of Israel, for the hostages to be released, and for a just peace to return to the area.  The new dates of the TEBA Holy Land Trip are November 11-20, 2024, and I hope you will consider being part of this amazing journey through the lands of the Bible.

This trip is designed for pastors who serve in churches that would not be able to host such a trip on their own.  Whether a pastor comes by themselves, with their spouse, or with additional church members they will be part of the TEBA Pastor’s Team.  Each pastor on the trip will be given an equal opportunity to share Bible Moments with the group at the sites we visit.  This trip will be open to Sr. Pastors, ministers, church members, and friends.  Over 20 are already registered so reserve your spot before we reach our trip limit.

TEBA Sr. Pastors will receive a $500 trip credit against their final payment for the trip.  This offer is good for all Sr. Pastors in the TEBA whether they come on their own or bring others with them. 

In Kingdom service,

 Executive Director, AMS

5 Rules of Healthy Leadership

5 Rules of Healthy Leadership

LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.

Who taught you to be a leader?  November is a month we gather with family and friends to express Thanksgiving for the many blessings of God in our lives.  Why not take a moment to reflect on those who taught you about leadership and how to serve well the body of Christ, those who invested in you and showed you by example the impact of a life yielded to the Holy Spirit and transformed by the pursuit of knowing Jesus?  I am grateful for the many friends and mentors I have enjoyed in my life.  One of those is Eric Gieger.  I came to know Eric more than a decade ago as the author of Simple Church.  We brought Eric in to lead a Ministry Staff Retreat and he did an outstanding job.  We then came into regular contact with each other when I served for 8 years as a LifeWay Trustee where Eric led various divisions and was the driving force behind the Gospel Project curriculum.  While Eric is now the Sr. Pastor of Mariners Church, he continues to be someone who challenges my growth through his writings. 

That’s why when Eric posted recently about a book authored in 2009 by Dave Ulrich, The Leadership Code, I was prompted to revisit the book and bring you the core highlights I have gleaned from it.  You can find Eric’s article on this book at https://ericgeiger.com/2023/09/the-leadership-code-a-framework-for-the-transferable-tasks-of-a-leader/.

A major takeaway of the book is that the core elements of good leadership are transferable from one role to another.  While there is a percentage of leadership that is “domain specific to an industry” and has to be learned over time, the essentials of leadership are the same from role to role.  Ulrich shares 5 Rules for leaders to be mindful of and to intentionally develop in their lives.  All leaders will have areas they are more easily competent in but all 5 are needed for effective leaders.  I encourage you to read the list and identify the area(s) you are the strongest in and the one you might need to grow in.

Rule 1: Be A Strategist – Shape the future. Deliberate leaders anticipate the future and work through the answer of “Where are we going?” looking at different possibilities and time frames.  They create a sense of urgency and work with their team to advance the ministry from where it is to where it is heading.

Rule 2: Be an Executor – Make things happen. Intentional leaders are focused on the question “How will we make sure we get to where we are going?” How will we achieve the change needed, build in accountability, create the plans, coordinate our endeavors, share information, and build a strategic outcome?

Rule 3: Be a Talent Manager – Engage today’s talent. Forward-thinking leaders answer the question, “Who goes with us on our business (ministry) journey?” They choose the right people for the right role and make sure they are equipped with what they need to succeed. 

Rule 4: Be a Human Capital Developer – Build the next generation. These future-focused leaders who are committed to discovering the next generation of leaders.  How we integrate them into present opportunities often provides the impetus for their personal growth.

Rule 5: Be Proficient – Invest in yourself. While this is the 5th rule it is critical to the other 4 areas as you can’t take people further than you are willing to go yourself.  You need regular time to self-develop and grow in your leadership capacity.  Unless you create the time and space for your own growth, it will never happen. 

I trust you will find the concepts in this book as helpful as I have in your own leadership journey.  While written from a business perspective, the leadership principles it exposes are found in the book of Proverbs.  May we all endeavor to grow in our own capacity for the greater glory of God’s Kingdom!

In Kingdom service,

 Executive Director, AMS