MarkHowellLive.com

Pushing Boundary-Free GroupLife

Page 3 of 208

Will You Take Advantage of My 2017 Coaching Network?

coaching-network-calendarEvery year I block off six days and several hours a week for six months to personally invest in a very limited group of small group pastors.

My 2017 Small Group Ministry Coaching Network experience is designed to give you the tools and strategies you need in order to build a small group ministry that works in the 21st century. The coaching network program will expose you to a new perspective. While it makes sense that in order to get different results you need to do different things…it’s not always clear what those different things might be. My coaching network program is designed around the idea that different, not better, leads to the kind of strategy that connects beyond the usual suspects.

Who will be part of the network? Each of my networks are limited to 12 participants and are designed for small group champions who serve in a local church. Because of the nature of the role, champions may be senior pastors, executive pastors, small group pastors and directors, ministers of education, and other key leaders.

Special Bonus: Registration for GroupLife Southwest is included (my small group conference here in Las Vegas is March 27th and 28th).

What will you receive?

  • Five monthly coaching sessions. Anchored by a 90 minute video conference call, these group session provides focused exposure to the strategies that will build a more powerful platform.  Sessions are scheduled at 11am Pacific on January 19th, February 16th, April 20th, May 18th, and June 15th).
  • Two day gathering in Las Vegas. March 29th: 1pm-5pm followed by dinner | March 30th: 8am-12pm
  • Bonus: Registration for GroupLife Southwest is included (my small group conference here in Las Vegas is March 27th and 28th)
  • Focused training on key strategic steps including planning with the end in mind, developing an annual grouplife calendar, identifying an unlimited number of new leaders, launching new groups in waves, and impacting your community through groups.
  • Tools, strategies and next steps to be implemented after every session.
  • Access to special password protected network pages with customized content for each session.
  • Scheduled 60 minute one-on-one calls to address questions more specifically, bring team members into the conversation, or help equip your senior pastor or other key staff members.
  • The opportunity to connect with other network participants between sessions
  • Email access to Mark during the six months

What are the expectations?

  • Participate in all six sessions
  • Invest as little as $1250 after 11/30/15)
  • Cover your own travel expenses to the two day gathering
  • Commit to the reading and exercises between sessions

What’s next? Complete the Coaching Network Application. My 2017 Coaching Network begins on January 19th, 2017. Questions? Contact me.

My 2016 Christmas Reading List

booksEvery year I create a list of books I think you should read.  Sometimes the books I include are very purely about small group ministry, discipleship, spiritual formation or leadership.  Other times, the books I include may seem pretty far afield (innovation, design, leadership, or strategy).  You’ll just have to trust me.  I wouldn’t include a book I didn’t think would be added to your toolbox and contribute in a trajectory-altering way.

This year my reading list is a combination of books I’ve just read (or am reading now) and a few that are on my stack and I’ll read over the next few weeks. You may want to keep these books in mind and pick up one or two yourself!

Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways by Bill Taylor.  This is a read and then read again kind of book.  Taylor is the author of two of my favorite reads in the last 10 years: Practically Radical and and Mavericks at Work.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney. McChesney was my favorite speaker at the 2016 Global Leadership Summit. I called this “the most important book I’ve read this year.” You can read my review right here.

The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni is a great read and an important one if you do any hiring or recruiting,  I have no doubt this framework will quickly make it into our set of hiring and recruiting practices. You can read my review right here.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss is the author of a number of books, most notably The 4 Hour Work Week.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly. The co-founder of Wired magazine, Kelly is a kind of a sage. I love thinking about the changes that are arriving. This will be a good addition to my stack.

Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development, a new book from Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck. If you’re building a ministry of any kind, leadership development is essential. You can read my review right here.

Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters by John Maxwell. If you haven’t read Maxwell latest, this really ought to be on your list. I feel like it should be required reading for all small group coaches. You can read my review right here.

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis. Lewis is the author of a number of popular and important books over the last number of years including Moneyball, The Big Short and The Blind Side. This one sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to get started.

Reading List for Christmas, 2013

Reading List for Christmas, 2014

Reading List for Christmas, 2015

Image by Catface27

5 Questions to Ask as 2016 Comes to a Close

Albert Einstein said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

I love Albert Einstein’s thinking! So helpful.

Here are my best shot at 5 questions to ask as 2016 comes to a close!

5 questions to ask as 2016 comes to a close:

  1. Did you establish “wins” for the strategies you used this year?  If so, how did you do?  Did your plans succeed or fail?  If you didn’t establish wins, plan on adding this very important ingredient in 2017.  Andy Stanley’s 7 Practices of Effective Ministry is an excellent resource for this.  See also, What Will You Call a “Win” for the Groups in Your Ministry?
  2. Did you move closer to the preferred future?  Or simply prevent slippage?  If you haven’t developed a refined preferred future, it is time and you need to do it.  See also, Creating Your “Refined” Preferred Future.
  3. Are you ending the year with a solid plan for 2017?  Even if you developed an annual calendar for 2015-2016 (i.e., September to August), it’s a good idea to recalibrate for the start of the new year.  What changes or adjustments do you need to make?  See also, How to Build an Annual GroupLife Calendar.
  4. What have been your key learnings?  What have you learned is true in your setting that you didn’t know before?  What have you learned is actually an outdated assumption?  See also, Is It Time to Take a Fresh Look at Your Assumptions? and My Top 3 Learnings about Small Group Ministry This Year.
  5. What aspects of your design need to be carefully examined?  Remember, “your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing (Andy Stanley).”  If you want different results, you need to develop a different design.  Doing the same things again and again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity (Albert Einstein).  Using the same strategy after you know it is ineffective is irresponsible and poor stewardship.  See also, 7 Signs Your Small Group Ministry Has a Bad Design.

Need more help? Consider signing up for my FREE 31 day training program. You can find out more about 31 Days to a Better Small Group Ministry right here.

31-days-banner

Image by Ben Raynal

Friday’s List | December 16

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite awhile. I’m asked for recommendations all the time. I’ll be posting a short list every Friday.

Here are the things I’m reading, listening to, loving and wrestling with:

Here’s what I’m reading right now:

5 Eye-Opening Reasons Other People Don’t Value Your Time by Carey Nieuwhof.

15 New Books I Recommend by Brad Lomenick. This is a short and sweet, no frills, list but a very good list.

Three Questions Every Small Group Ministry Must Answer by James Emery White. You don’t have to agree. You do need to read for perspective.

THE MAIN REASON PEOPLE DON’T BECOME CHURCH MEMBERS by Dan Reiland.

Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways by Bill Taylor,  This is a read and then read again kind of book.

Here’s what I’m listening to:

Small Group Metrics: What to Measure and Why with Bill Willits on the Small Group Network Podcast. This is an excellent insider look at North Point’s practices.

Marcus Buckingham — Capitalizing on Your Personal Strength on the EntreLeadership Podcast.

How to Build a Leadership Development Pipeline with Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck on the Vanderbloemen Leadership Podcast.

Quote I’m wrestling with:

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Winston Churchill

App I’m using:

I’m committed this year to increasing my effectiveness. Nozbe is a leading productivity app. First heard about it from Michael Hyatt. It’s already making a big difference.

My own post I hope you’re reading:

Are You Prioritizing the Launch of New Groups? Really hope you caught this one. If you’re not prioritizing the launch of new groups, you can’t expect to build a thriving small group ministry.

12-days-of-christmas-banner

Don’t Miss This Powerful Study: Starting Over: Your Life Beyond Regrets

starting-overFinally had an opportunity to take a look at a powerful new book (and study) from Dave and Jon Ferguson. Starting Over: Your Life Beyond Regrets is the newest project from the authors of Finding Your Way Back to God.

Starting Over was developed as a result of many conversations the Ferguson’s had with people who had read Finding Your Way Back to God: Five Awakenings to Your New Life. The authors made a curious discovery. You may remember that the second awakening was awakening to regret. Their discovery? “Many of the people we talked to experienced the Awakening to Regret but then got stuck there.” Starting Over was developed to help people “come face to face with your regrets and learn to start over.”

Like Finding Your Way Back to God, this book is very engaging. In my opinion, Finding Your Way Back was one of the most readable books I had ever come across with an evangelistic theme. And Starting Over? It has the same quality! Packs with personal stories and skillfully told stories from the Bible, this is the kind of book that will be given to friends, neighbors, co-workers and family. Easy to read and so encouraging.

A 5 session study is well-written and very easy to use. Although some participants will be anxious about joining a discussion on this topic, most will be quickly made at ease by the tone set in the opening questions. Each session of the study includes an opening icebreaker and questions that will consistently welcome everyone to the conversation. The Bible study portion of the study does a very good job of exploring a series of stories, Psalms, and passages on regret. A life application section will help participants make the story personal.

The participant guide also includes an extensive leader guide that will enable even the most inexperienced leader to feel better equipped to lead.

A short video also accompanies each session of the study guide. Available for viewing online at StartingOverBook.org, each of the video sessions includes a short teaching by Dave or Jon Ferguson and very compelling personal story about regret.

I have to tell you, I believe Starting Over: Your Life Beyond Regrets may have even greater potential than Finding Your Back to God. Why? I think regret is an even more cross-cultural topic. While everyone may not be overwhelmed by feelings of regret, everyone can personally relate. If you’re looking for a compelling study that will appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike, take a look at Starting Over. I love this study and I think you will too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

What’s Your New Year’s Plan for Stewarding Well Your Responsibility?

how-can-i-helpIt’s not always popular…but this is the way I think. And I’m pretty sure it is the right way to think about what we do.

When I read Matthew 25 (the Parable of the Talents), I am very confident that one of Jesus’ points is that we’ve each been given something to steward “according to our abilities” and we’re expected to steward it well. As a small group ministry point person, I interpret that to mean that I’ve been entrusted with investing the time and talents of coaches (leaders of leaders) and the leaders they care for.

I’m not sure about you, but for me I take this stewardship seriously. I really hope you do too.

Because I believe this is the right interpretation, I feel compelled to manage the investment well! After all…I really want to hear “well done” at the end of the game.

And as a result, as I come to the end of the year, I’m thinking about next year. I’m thinking about how I might improve what I’m doing.

Is that you?

If it is, I want to suggest a few things you might want to consider as 2017 approaches:

  1. You might consider signing up for my new FREE email course, 31 Days to a Better Small Group Ministry. I think this will really help a lot of people steward their responsibility/opportunity more effectively.
  2. You may want to consider attending GroupLife Southwest 2017. I can guarantee you this conference will expose you (and maybe some from your team) to some of the best ideas for small group ministry in the 21st century. I’m offering the Super Early Bird registration through 12/31/17. You can read about it right here.
  3. You might want to consider joining my 2017 coaching network. Every year I invest 6 months in a small cohort of small group pastors and directors. Limited to 12 members, this is an excellent way to reach your goals. You can read about my coaching network right here. Believe it or not, you can still apply and get an excellent rate.
  4. You might want to set up a coaching call (or a series of calls) to help you get from where you are to where you want to be (from your present to your preferred future). My coaching call packages can be tailored to fit your need.
  5. Need to build an effective coaching structure? Train new coaches? Go back to the drawing board and design your ministry to do things it can’t currently do? Jumpstart January? Maybe one of my mini-courses is just the thing to help you be a good steward of the opportunity.  You can find out about my growing list of tutorials, designed to allow you to move at your own pace and include other members of your team! You can find out about my mini-courses right here.

Listen, I don’t really know what the solution is for you and for your needs. I do know you’ve been entrusted with a stewardship. And I’m pretty sure you want to do a good job.

If I can help you…I’d love to!

mark

31 Days to a Better Small Group Ministry

31-days-to-a-better-small-group-ministry2Invest 31 days and I’ll help you build a better small group ministry.

Have big hopes and dreams for your small group ministry? Got a list of improvements sitting in the ‘someday’ basket?

Want to kickstart your small group ministry into a new gear?  Accomplish some things you’ve been meaning to but haven’t found the time?

31 Days to a Better Small Group Ministry is a 31 day program that launches on January 1, 2017.

Each day in the program includes:

  • Teaching – each day you’ll be given in depth instruction on both the WHY and HOW of the task of the day.
  • A Task – something to DO that will help you accomplish that step.
  • Further reading – so you can dive deeper on any task.

Take a series of small steps to go farther than ever

By the end of 31 days you’ll have:

  • Accurately assessed where your small group ministry stands.
  • Established a clear picture of your preferred future.
  • Created a one year calendar that strategically shapes your approach.
  • Customized a set of activities (lead measures) that forecast success.
  • Customized a job description for launch-phase coaches that fits your ministry.
  • Identified a list of potential coaches.
  • Recruited an initial set of coaching candidates using the launch-phase coach job description.
  • and much more.

I’m opening up a limited number of “seats” for this 31 day program to test it for a future course for sale.

Are you ready for a challenge? Are you willing to invest the time and energy to take a test-drive?

Sign up today for this limited enrollment course!

Click here to see the sign-up form.

Will You Join Me (and hundreds of others) for GroupLife Southwest 2017?

glsw-squareWill You Join Me (and hundreds of others) for GroupLife Southwest 2017?

I hope you’re planning to join us for GroupLife Southwest! And I really hope you’ll take advantage of the Early Bird Price of $149.95 (the Early Bird Price ends on 2/27/17).

But why should you join us at the GroupLife Southwest conference?

That is a great question! Here’s why you should join us in Las Vegas next March for this conference:

  1. You read my blog for a reason! I know that may sound like a weird thing to say right off, but isn’t it true? If you weren’t learning the things you need to know, you would have stopped reading here a long time ago! Right? And I organized the conference!
  2. I’ve invited a powerful lineup of trusted small group ministry experts and leading practitioners to offer timely breakouts on the topics that you need to know about and will benefit greatly from!
    • Bill Willits from North Point. Bill has been at North Point since their beginning and has been the point person for the small group ministry that has connected over 72,000! His insights alone will be worth the price of the conference.
    • Tim Cooper from North Point. You may not know Tim, but I can tell you his breakout at re:group 2016, Community for Everyone, was truly inspiring and incredibly challenging. I personally came away from his breakouts with a number of game-changing insights.
    • Chris Surratt from LifeWay. You probably recognize Chris’s name, but you may not remember his role as the Small Group Pastor for Cross Point Church (and prior to that Seacoast Community Church) and the author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us (packed with the great insights that only come from a seasoned practitioner accustomed to figuring out how to connect the people you aren’t already connecting and actually make disciples).
    • Mindy Caliguire from SoulCare. Mindy is one of the leading experts, a real practitioner, in the area of spiritual formation for leaders. If you’re trying to shape leaders who can help shape members…you need to hear what Mindy has to say.
    • Dave Enns from North Coast. Again, you may not recognize Dave’s name, but you probably recognize North Coast Church. Well known for their sticky church small group strategy and philosophy, they have consistently connected over 80% of their weekend adult worship attendance in small groups. And they’ve been doing it for years while they’ve become one of the largest churches in the country.
    • Hugh Halter from Forge America. Hugh is not a household name…unless you want to connect unchurched friends, neighbors, co-workers and family. I’ve heard him a number of times at conferences like Exponential. His latest book Happy Hour is packed with insights. When I was assembling the lineup, he was the first person I contacted. If you want to be effective in the 21st century, you need to be paying attention to Hugh.
    • Todd Engstrom from Austin Stone. Several years ago The Austin Stone Community Church began a transition from an ordinary, business-as-usual small group ministry (that primarily existed for insiders) to a missional community strategy, intent on becoming a force that would impact Austin. Their journey is a great story and their transition is full of lessons learned.
    • Me. In addition to hosting the conference, I’m planning to present two breakouts that I think you’ll find very helpful. In addition, I’m cooking up a special breakout for Monday night that will be a live demonstration of how a small group connection works. I’m also presenting a breakouts on building an effective coaching structure and maximizing a church-wide campaign.
  3. Hang out with hundreds of small group practitioners! I learn more from the people I meet during the breaks at conferences every time I go. I’m doing a couple special things to help you do the same.
  4. Las Vegas in March! Trust me, March is one of the best times to come to Vegas. The weather is beautiful…and it’s not beautiful almost everywhere else.

Do you know what’s timeless and what’s timely? Learn the principles and practices that are making grouplife work in the 21st century.

The Early Bird price ends on February 27th

The Early Bird price ends on February 27th and jumps up $199.95 per person. Why not take advantage of $149.95? And maybe even bring another team member or two? You can buy your tickets right here.

You can find out more at GroupLifeSouthwest.com.

Listen, I’d love it if you’d join us. Don’t miss a great conference!

Friday’s List | December 9

fridays-listFriday’s List: December 9

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite awhile. I’m asked for recommendations all the time. I’ll be posting a short list every Friday.

Here are the things I’m reading, listening to, loving and wrestling with:

Here’s what I’m reading right now:

10 Things an Effective Church Vision Must Do by Brian K. Dodd.

6 Things Your Boss Counts On by Dan Reiland. Dan Reiland is Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA.

6 (Non-Political) Lessons for Church Leaders from the Trump Campaign by Rich Birch. This is an excellent analysis over on the unSeminary blog.

Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways by Bill Taylor,  This is a read and then read again kind of book.

Here’s what I’m listening to:

How to Create Your Life Vision Plan with Michael Hyatt on the Smart Passive Income podcast. Very good right now as the new year approaches.

In the Wake of Leadership with Andy Stanley on the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. All about the importance of saying “thank you” and how to do it.

Simply Brilliant with Bill Taylor on the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast by Mitch Joel.

Quote I’m wrestling with:

“What are the things we are doing that make it difficult for unconnected people to connect to a small group?” I love this question from 6 Questions We Should All Be Asking.

App I’m using:

I’m committed this year to increasing my effectiveness. Nozbe is a leading productivity app. First heard about it from Michael Hyatt. It’s already making a big difference.

My own post I hope you’re reading:

Top 10 Signs You’re Prioritizing the Right Things in Small Group Ministry. It’s actually very common to end up prioritizing the WRONG things…and then wonder why your ministry is stuck.

New from LifeWay: Disciples Path is a Series You Need to See

disciples-path-beginningI spent some time with a new resource from LifeWay that I think you’re going to want to know about. Disciples Path is a 6 study journey (a one-year intentional plan for discipleship, specifically designed to make disciples who make disciples).

“Created by disciple-makers for disciple-makers, fourteen disciple-making church leaders were brought together to think through how to instill biblical understandings, principles, and practices of discipleship with the end goal of making disciples who make disciples (from the introduction).”

Four discipleship distinctives are incorporated into the finished product. The Disciples Path is progressive (it takes you somewhere); it is relational (it is a journey taken alongside a disciple-maker); it is disciplined (what happens between meetings is more important than what happens in them); and it is replicable (the person who has been discipled then uses the series to disciple another).

Truly designed as a journey, “each session of the journey offers a mix of group discussion, personal study, and practical application.” Each session begins with group discussion, engaging the Bible through both story and teaching. An individual discovery section includes content for individual use during the time between group gatherings (incorporating worship, personal study and application.

I like the design of the group discussion material. A combination of reading and questions for discussion, it should produce a good conversation that prepares the individual or group for application. The content assumes very little prior Bible knowledge and is well-written, making it easy to use regardless of background.

The weekly activities are enough to require commitment and discipline, but not so much as to be oppressive. Along with a daily Bible reading plan, additional activities are to be selected from a checklist by the disciple and discipler to “match personal preferences and available time (an interesting idea).”

You can learn more and sign up for a free preview right here.

I like the format and plan and can see it being used in a variety of situations and settings. The writing and design definitely make Disciples Path accessible regardless of spiritual background. While there is challenge built into the content and pace, it isn’t overwhelming. Enough to require commitment. Not so much as to be a deterrent.

If you’re looking for a discipleship toolkit, spend some time with Disciples Path. I found it to be really engaging and well-designed. I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
« Older posts Newer posts »