D6 Happenings

Next Tuesday, I’ll be heading east back to the DFW Metroplex to attend the D6 Conference.  I’m looking forward to meeting some new friends, and connecting with some old friends at the same time.  What is the D6 Conference about this year?  I’ll let them explain it in detail:

For the last several years everyone has been talkin family ministry, right? But the conversation is really bigger than just family ministry. It s bigger than any trend we ve seen come through the church or an exhibit hall at some conference.


The bigger conversation is really about biblical discipleship. And biblical discipleship is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


We no longer have to sell the crisis the church is facing in NextGen discipleship. Instead, our challenge is to provide NEXT steps and NEXT strategies: practical, time-proven plans to implement change within the church and in the home.


The primary challenge we face is implementing the strategy and practical steps to breakthrough to the NEXT level in fulfilling the mission of the church. D6 2011 is fully dedicated to equipping leaders, ministers, volunteers, and parents with practical NEXT steps and NEXT level strategies for discipling the NEXT generation.


Leaders at D6 2011 will collaborate on what is NEXT for the church, families, parents, students, and kids.


  • Radical Homes
  • Broken Families
  • Biblical Worldview
  • Growing Marriages
  • Implementing Change
  • Healthy Ministry Teams
  • Generational Discipleship

I’m really excited to be attending a conference that combines such a great group of parenting, marriage, and church experts in one place.  Every conference has their niche, and I see D6 as having a valuable voice in the family ministry movement in our churches and schools.  I feel like I live in the golden age of church ministry conferences, and I’m so thrilled to be participating with D6 next week!

I wrote about it last week, that I’ll be a part of a special writing and live-blogging group bringing you relevant information from pre-conference labs and main general sessions.  I’ll also be conducting some back stage interviews throughout the week.  Stay tuned next week for more information, and get ready to learn something new along with me!

Staff Talk: Move Where You Want to Be

Navigating the dangerous, yet rewarding waters of Church Staff Relationships takes a certain kind of courage.  It first takes the courage to figure out what it is that you want.  Then it takes even more courage to take the next step of actually moving in the direction you want to go.  Again, it sounds silly doesn’t it?

What is it going to take for things to flourish in your staff relationships?  What are you going to have to DO to make things get healthy and stay healthy?

Those I Lead -> This should be the easy one, right?  As the leader it falls on us to ACT on those things we have defined.  You’re the leader, implement with honor and integrity what you want to see in your area of responsibility.  One way to do this is to encourage feedback in individual settings, as it pertains to the team as a whole.  As the leader you are the standard bearer, act like it!

Those I Cooperate With -> It’s upon you as a coworker to CHANGE what you can about your relationships to bring about what you defined.  Change yourself first, then act patiently to change others. (Knowing they might now!)  I’m sure you’ve heard the famous Ghandi quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  It’s especially true in the peer staff relationships at our churches!

Those I Follow -> In this hard place of moving in the direction you want to move with your own leader, it falls on you to INFLUENCE your leader in creative ways to help bring about the defined goals.  Do not, I repeat, do not walk into your bosses office and tell them exactly what you are doing to improve your relationship.  That would be a relationship-killer!  Instead pray and act honestly and openly with your senior leadership.  It’s imperative that you prove you can be trusted, before being completely honest and open about your goals.

So you’ve defined the goals, and now you are acting to make it happen.  Let’s all agree that it’s hard to move when you’ve grown comfortable (even when unhappy), but let’s also agree that moving is what has to happen for things to change.  I believe in you!

What are you willing to change to make it happen?  Dare you to leave a comment and tell me!

D6 Conference Look Ahead

This year I get to attend the D6 Conference (finally a conference close to home!) and I’ll be bringing all my readers here live and up-to-the minute information related to the conference.  The conference is from September 21-23rd in Dallas, TX; and features an absolutely amazing collection of speakers.  I’m really looking forward to my time with other family-centered ministry leaders and I’ll be working hard to bring you some great content and ideas from my time there.

The D6 Conference is pleased to announce that they will be streaming the following sessions from this year s conference for free at d6conference.com/live. (All times are approximate.)  How cool is that?  You can be wherever you want, and still pick up a ton of free stuff online!  Put it in the calendar now, and plan on watching on these days!

September 21—Wednesday

September 22—Thursday

September 23—Friday

  • Student Ministry Panel—Josh Griffin, Allyson Evans, Allen Pointer, Wayne Rice (9:30 AM CST)—During Session 6
  • Mark Holmen (11:05 AM CST)—During Session 7

Be sure to follow  @theD6conference  for unique conference-related tweets!

To help you get the full experience of D6, this collection of bloggers, writers, and leaders will be working together to make something fun all of those following from home!

Staff Talk: What Do You Want?

Learning to navigate staff relationships so that you are healthy and happy can be a difficult road.  However, it is a road that is possible to navigate.  It all starts with defining the culture and atmosphere you want to work in.  That sounds too simple, doesn’t it?  It sounds simple, because it is simple.  Before you can ‘work on it’ you need to know WHAT you want.  Don’t be afraid to be specific.

For example, you might say that you want your work environment to be one that is fun, or respectful, or harboring trust, or where accountability is practiced.  Whatever you want, you need to sit down with a pen and paper and figure out what it is that you want.

I think of it like this: If someone were to walk into your working environment and observe your team; what would they tell you it looks like?  It may seem silly to say this, but the time taken to define what you want is often put off.  But it’s worth your time to figure this part out.

But what does it look like within the context of the three working relationships we have at work?

Those I Lead ->  What would you want people to say about the department you lead, or the department you manage?  One key thing to remember for those I lead: involve them in helping to define what this should be.  I’m not saying that you let them define it, but you let them have a voice in the conversation.

Those I Cooperate With ->  If someone evaluated the relationship between you and a staff peer, what would you want them to discover?  As I cannot make those I work with do what I want, this becomes inwardly focused.  I have to ask myself these questions: What could I learn from those I work with?  What could I offer to those I work with?  What could happen if I got along with those I work with?  Invest the time necessary to see what you want from those you work with.

Those I Follow -> How would you define a healthy relationship with your senior leader?   Much like those I cooperate with, this one is inwardly focused.   I ve talked to so many people at churches that are unhappy with their relationship with their Senior leader; but few of them can tell me exactly what they even want out of their senior leader.   What is it that you want.

We could sum up this opening principle by saying that before you get to the DOING part of navigating staff relationships, you DEFINE what you want.

So here s the question to you: What do you want from those you work with?   Comment NOW!!

Navigating Staff Relationships

I remember my very first day at Trinity Church in Lubbock.  I was taken across campus to fill out some HR and tax paperwork, and after I finished I found myself all alone in someone’s office that was far from my own.  I asked where I needed to go next, and was told that I should go to my office and start the adventure.  However, there was one problem.  I didn’t know where my office was!  I spent the next 30 minutes walking around campus looking for my office.  In fact, it wasn’t until a week later that I discovered that the lady working outside my office door actually worked for me.  Amazing, I had an assistant and it took me a week to figure it out!

Now things have gotten much better at Trinity for new employees, but it’s still proof that being on a church staff can be quite the adventure.  Guess what I hear when I talk to people in church ministry?   Few want to talk about their ministry, but a good deal of people want to lament their pastors, peers, or volunteers.

Why is this so?

Because the most challenging and most unprepared aspect of working in church ministry is how we work within our staff structures.  Let’s be honest, how many of us ever dreamed that working with others would be so hard at a church?!?

This week I want to talk about something that has consumed my life as of late.  Learning to navigate all the different staff relationships we deal with inside of a church-staff setting.  Before we get started, let’s look at defining the three main categories of all staff relationships.

Define the Three Main Categories of Staff Relationships:

  1. Those we Lead
    1. Subordinates = Staff that reports to us directly.
    2. Volunteers = Those that serve in our areas and depend on us for leadership.
  2. Those we Cooperate with in accomplishing the Greater Vision of our churches
    1. Co-Workers = Peers that work on our same level within the organization
    2. If you re the Kid s Pastor, here is your Youth Pastor
  1. Those we Follow
    1. Managers = Direct Reports
    2. Executive Leaders/Pastors = Lead those we report to, or lead us directly.
    3. Senior Pastors = Leader of entire organization
Somewhere in the realm of all three of these we operate.  People we lead, people we cooperate with (or should be cooperating with), and people we follow and serve under.  As we start to identify the 4 principles of navigating through the sometimes treachrous, but always rewarding church staff relationships, I’d like to hear from you.
How many do you lead?  
How many are considered your ‘peers’ on your church staff?  
Who leads you, is it an executive pastor, department pastor, or do you sit directly under a Senior Pastor?