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Published every Thursday the goal of the unSeminary podcast is to be an encouragement to Pastors and Church Leaders with practical help you can apply to your ministry right away.
Healing the Racial Divide in Your Church with Derwin Gray
Thanks for joining us for the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Dr. Derwin Gray, the lead pastor at Transformation Church in South Carolina.
In the bible we see every nation, tribe, and tongue worshiping Christ together, yet in our country and churches we continually see examples of the racial divide. Listen in as Derwin shares his heart and steps that we can take toward racial reconciliation in order to achieve God’s vision for a redeemed and reconciled multiethnic family of believers.
* Consumer Christianity versus authentic Christianity. // Jesus says the world will know His disciples because of their love for one another. There is a difference between consumer Christianity which says Jesus is a means to an end and authentic Christianity which says Jesus is the end. Jesus broke down every dividing wall so we could be a part of a new multiethnic family. This is intrinsic to the gospel.* Our differences reflect God. // Some Christians don’t want to talk about race, but Derwin points out that the bible does talk about it. God redeems our colors and our culture to be a beautiful reflection of Him in the world. At the end of the bible there’s every nation, tribe, and tongue worshiping around Christ. God saved us as individuals to put us into a family, and this family is a multicolored family. Keeping silent about the issue of racism hurts the witness of Christ.* Homogenous unit principle. // The homogenous unit principle teaches that if churches want to grow fast, they should gather and target the same type of people in a church. This idea was developed by a missionary in India to reach out to the different castes of people and bring them together as the family of God. But it was changed in the US to reach out to people who already look and think alike. Decades later the result is increased political division, racial prejudice, and isolation in the body of Christ, along with deteriorating discipleship.* A gospel issue. // If you truly want to heal the racial division in our churches, you need to recognize that there will be a backlash. You need to have a theological conviction that this is a gospel issue so that you can stand against the opposition. Examine your motives for taking this step. You shouldn’t want a diverse church just because America is more diverse, but because it is the outworking of the gospel of Jesus Christ.* Diversity in leadership. // Your leadership should reflect the congregation you want to have. That doesn’t mean that someone is on the immigration team just because they are Latino, or someone is on the urban team just because they are Black. It means sharing the pulpit and needs to be reflected in leadership positions that make decisions, such as executive pastors and small group pastors.* Cross-cultural competency is important. // Love means being willing to learn about someone else’s culture. When you have the majority culture, you don’t have to listen to others’ stories. Choose to listen so you can understand where people are coming from, and what they experience in their lives. In the gospel, our ethnic differences don’t need to be obliterated, they can be celebrated. All of us through the blood of Jesus are equally declared righteous.* Healing our racial divide and living in His light. // Derwin’s book, How to Heal Our Racial Divide: What the Bible Says, and the First Christians Knew, about Racial Reconciliation, is meant to help leaders lead more effectively in the area of racial reconciliation. It goes through Scripture, showing the heart of God, and how God from the beginning envisioned a reconciled multiethnic family in loving community, reflecting his beauty and healing presence in the world.
Don’t miss the giveaway unSeminary is offering to the first five leaders who commit to reading Derwin’s book with another leader at their chu...
Leading in Our Churches & Community in this Current Moment with Dino Rizzo
Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. In this episode we’ll be chatting with Dino Rizzo, the executive director of the Association of Related Churches (ARC) as well as part of the senior leadership team at Church of the Highlands. ARC was created in 2000 by six pastors and has grown to be a preeminent church planting and leadership support organization.
Having been a church planter himself, Dino has a passion for training other church planters, and coming alongside them as an older brother in Christ to cheer them along on their journey. Listen in as Dino shares encouragement for church planters and leaders in this season.
* Decide on your outlook. // It’s been a season where church leaders everywhere are evaluating if their souls are healthy and their spirits are full. Painful seasons can cause you to focus on the complications of church and leadership and become disillusioned. Bring your focus back to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ and decide what your outlook will be.* Look at your soul. // If you find you are frustrated, angry, fixated on the negative, and comparing yourself to others, it’s a sign that you need to shift your focus. Remember that you are valued by God for who you are and not what you do. You are seen and loved. Look at the field you’re in and know that this is where God has you in this season. He’s responsible for your usefulness.* Reach out to others. // If you feel isolated, remember that you’re not alone. Take time to cultivate relationships and be proactive about reaching out to those around you. If you have friends you haven’t seen or talked to in a while, you can be the one to take that first step in reconnecting with them. * Serve your community. // So many times the way out of your own pain is by serving someone else. There is no peace or fulfillment when you live your life for just me, myself, and I. Dino recommends that before having your first church service at a new church launch, serve your city. You’re not there to just build a church; you’re there to make the city better and will grow the church by engaging and serving your community.* Empower your people to make a difference. // Church of the Highlands wants to empower their people to make a difference so they hold a Serve Day in July with the purpose of serving the people in their community in various ways. An “all call” event like this helps to pull in people who aren’t already exercising those serving muscles. Rather than a one-time event, a serve day is meant to build a culture of service at your church. As you create serving opportunities, you can develop leaders, build partnerships, and plug people into small groups where serving is a regular part of life.* Be a blessing today. // With all of the pain and hurt in the world, one of the greatest things we can do is decide to be a blessing each day. Get up and bless the people around you, even in the smallest ways, and model it to your church. For ideas on how to begin, visit www.serveday.com and www.servolution.org.
You can learn more about ARC and access their many resources for church planters at www.arcchurches.com. Or follow along at Church of the Highlands at www.churchofthehighlands.com.
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International Business & Marketing Coach Chris Ducker Offers Advice for Church Leaders
Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. We’re chatting with marketplace leader Chris Ducker, who is a serial entrepreneur, bestselling author, and runs several businesses.
As churches find themselves more a part of the online world, there is continually a challenge to connect with people in a meaningful way. Listen in as Chris shares how to add a personal touch to your interactions online, encouraging conversations instead of simply shouting into a virtual megaphone.
* P to P versus B to B or B to C. // We may be familiar with businesses and organizations being business to business or business to consumer, but Chris says the new focus should be people to people. At the end of the day, whether you are signing a deal with a company, or serving a community, people are attracted to you because of who you are and what you stand for.* Attract and repel. // If you want to build a community and attract a certain segment of people, you have to be you all the time. You will equally deter and repel people away as you will attract the right people who want to be part of your tribe. You can’t please everyone. Understand what you want to be known for, where your unique traits lie in respect to that, and how to lean into it.* No comment left behind. // When someone sends Chris a direct message on social media or email, he believes strongly that they should get a direct reply from him because they’ve taken time out of their day to reach out to him. He tells us it’s wrong to ignore someone who has come to you in this way, seeking help. Take the time to respond to them even if it’s only a quick response.* Connect to the people. // Ask people open-ended questions about how you can serve them. When you are willing to have a conversation beyond a yes or no answer, you’ll be able to receive information that can help you offer value to others using your unique skillset as a leader.* Online communication is not a megaphone. // Pastors may not be willing to get into as many conversations online because it can be overwhelming and feel like a time-waster. But for those who decide to do it, Chris believes only good things can come from it. It’s a way to build relationships and you never know when one little question you answer can change a person’s mindset. As leaders we need to take seriously the responsibility to show up for our people. * Have a virtual staff. // Build a virtual team to support on the online communication and social media part of the church work. It will give you more time in your day to focus on aspects of your work that only you can do when you have others handle the repetitive tasks.* Hire the staff type you need. // If you’re looking for someone who can work a few hours a week on tasks you’d like to delegate, you can find individuals through freelance sites. The other way is to hire someone for a role rather than just a task, which can be done through Chris’s site virtualstafffinder.com. Virtual Stafffinder will go through the process of going through applications, vetting and testing them so you don’t have to focus on it.* One person is not the same as three. // A common misconception Chris notices when hiring virtual team members is the assumption that one person can successfully do three people’s jobs. That doesn’t work with local staff, and it doesn’t with virtual staff either. Another big mistake is assuming that because a person has a specific skill that they don’t need guidance or onboarding of any kind. Training always helps set new team members up for success.
We’re giving away 10 copies of Chris’s book, a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Youpreneur-Definitive-Go-Future-Proof/dp/1999857941/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?
Helpful Insights for Church Leaders with Brian Dodd
Thanks for joining in for the unSeminary podcast. This time we’re talking with Brian Dodd, the Director of New Ministry Partnerships at Injoy Stewardship Solutions. He also runs a blog called Brian Dodd on Leadership which provides perspective, encouragement, and solutions for church and ministry leaders.
When you look at the world today, there seems to be a real deficit in leadership at the top levels. But if you look at everyday life and what’s happening in local churches, local businesses, and community there’s extraordinary leadership going on right now. Listen in as Brian shares wisdom and insights on leadership that can be used to train, inspire, develop, and equip your people and teams.
* Humble leaders grow churches. // Around 85% of churches are plateaued or declining. If your church is one of the 15%, what are you doing to get to that point? The number one characteristic Brian sees in pastors of growing churches is unbelievable humility. A humble leader who is ready to follow God’s leading and steward well what they’ve been given is a number one asset for a growing church.* Three components to spiritual leadership. // There are three components to spiritual leadership: God, the assignment, and a person. God determines the assignment and then gives a person the privilege to be part of that assignment.* Character, competence, and creativity. // When doing personal coaching with church leaders, Brian has them focus on character, competence, and creativity. In his research on leadership, he found that character didn’t make it to the top ten traits needed to get to the top in a person’s line of work. While you may not need character to get to the top, however, you will need it to stay at the top. * Leadership skills and leader skills. // A leader must develop leadership skills and leader skills. Leadership skills are developing the skills, talents, and abilities to accomplish a task or assignment given to you by God. Leader development is becoming the man or woman who can accomplish those tasks given to you by God. When you systemize the setting of God as the primary resource of everything in your life and leadership you have solved 90-95% of the character issues you’ll face.* Creativity is about solutions. // Creativity is directly tied to what we are producing. It’s leveraging resources in a new and different way to produce results that nobody has ever done before. It doesn’t come from abundance, but rather from a lack of abundance. We need to make sure we aren’t leading in a domineering way that stifles creativity and does not produce solutions.* A tool for leading your people well. // Brian has written a book called 2021: The Year in Leadership. The Stories of Faith, Athletics, Business and Life Which Inspired Us All. Every page is filled with leadership lessons and contains over 80 illustrations that church leaders can use in sermons, trainings, team huddles, as well as individual growth and development.
You can follow along with Brian Dodd and grab a copy of his book at briandoddonleadership.com, plus get free access to The Top 75 Leadership Quotes Of 2021 Part 2.
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Coaching on Rebuilding a “New” Launch Team for Your Church with Shawn Lovejoy
Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. We’re chatting with Shawn Lovejoy, the founder and CEO of Courageous Pastors and Courage to Lead. His work is all about coaching leaders around what keeps them up at night and focuses on personal and organizational growth.
Shawn is talking with us about building and redeploying healthy teams in our churches after the struggles of the last couple of years.
* A switch in the focus. // Shawn says that three years ago, before so much of the upheaval we’ve experienced, 90% of his talks with pastors were on the nuts and bolts side of leading a church and 10% on the personal side. Today with everything we have going on in our world, that has now switched to 90% personal and 10% nuts and bolts. Shawn’s organization talks with pastors about getting back up and finding confidence and courage again.* Grieve the loss, then move ahead. // Grieve the loss that you had in your church since the pandemic, but then focus on moving ahead. Look at the church leaders currently on your staff as your new launch team and pour into them. Rebuild the team you’ve got and deploy them to equip your people to live out the church’s mission.* Look at building leaders at every level. // The opportunity for church leaders now is not to focus on getting more followers, but rather building leaders at every level. Look for people who aren’t just ministry doers, but ministry developers. Build teams from the staff to lay leaders to volunteers. Train your staff team to replicate themselves and give their jobs away. In doing so they make themselves indispensable rather than being bottlenecks. And building a strong leadership culture at your church will strengthen you at the center so you can stand firm when the next challenge comes your way.* Culture, team, and systems. // Shawn’s book Building a Killer Team Without Killing Yourself or Your Team helps leaders move ahead with becoming a better leader and team builder. Shawn can trace every growing or non-growing church back to three things—the culture, the team, and the systems—and he coaches around these three gears of growth. The number one thing that keeps church leaders awake at night is people. We need to stop believing that if we can hire a certain person it will solve all of our problems. Instead we need to learn to develop our people on healthy teams.* Build great, healthy teams. // Shawn’s process to building healthy teams focuses five pillars. This sequence includes fostering togetherness, recruiting and building great talent, bolstering accountability, structuring for growth and peace, and maintaining rhythms and finish lines.* Be clear and honest with your staff. // We all would love to acquire the best team ever. But we all have folks on our teams who aren’t meeting expectations. As a leader, part of developing staff member means talking to them when we are not happy with their performance. By doing so we can help them get realigned, or they may recognize the current position isn’t right for them. Be clear and honest about not meeting your expectations. It allows them to hear from the Holy Spirit on where they are called and whether they should opt out. Offer clarity and honesty on where they are winning and not winning, on what’s acceptable and not acceptable.
You can learn more about Building a Killer Team Without Killing Yourself or Your Team at www.killerteambook.org. To get coaching help, listen to the Courageous Pastors podcast, and explore more free resources that can help your church, visit Courageous Pastors at www.courageouspastors.com.
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Reflecting Back 5+ Years After a Sr. Leader Transition with Executive Pastor Kevin Cook
Thanks for tuning in for this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re chatting with Kevin Cook, executive pastor at Cross Point Church in the greater Nashville, Tennessee, area. They have six locations in middle Tennessee plus online services.
God has entrusted those of us who are executive pastors with a significant leadership. While He may be preparing you for what’s coming next, it’s critical that we be present and pay attention to what God’s saying to us in the now. Listen in as Kevin shares how God prepared Cross Point Church for an unexpected senior leader transition and kept them from missing what He was doing.
* What is He saying to you today? // Sometimes it’s difficult to see what God is doing in our lives, and we become restless, wanting to move ahead to something different. When Kevin joined the lead team at Cross Point as the Executive Pastor of Stewardship Operations, he struggled to see how his wiring connected with some of his responsibilities and wondered if he belonged elsewhere. After an especially draining season, Kevin learned that his relationship with God is more about being present with Him in the moment, following His promptings today, and being willing to say yes. * Focus on the now. // God is often preparing us for things we could have never imagined. When we are so focused on the next we can miss what God is calling us to do in the now. We get our to do list and try to take control, figuring things out on our own. Rather than focusing on the next thing you have to do, look for what it is He has for you here and now.* Say yes to God. // Kevin said yes to God and chose to stay at Cross Point, paying attention to what God was doing. Two months later there was an unexpected lead pastor transition. Cross Point approached Kevin about moving from Executive Pastor of Stewardship Operations to becoming the head Executive Pastor, leading the church through the transition. Kevin knew there was no way he could approach this transition on his own so he turned himself fully to God for guidance. God led him to pray for wisdom, discernment, clarity, unity, and peace. Peace sometimes doesn’t come until after the decision is made, but God will lead you to that peace in His time.* Don’t lead on your own. // Kevin didn’t dive into leading the church on his own. He started a small interim leadership team and with their help would follow where God was leading the church. What God has called us to do is more important than us as individuals. We need others to help us and we need to allow God to lead through us, but we also need to hold on loosely to what we’ve been given.* God will work in His time. // During the search for a new lead pastor the interim lead team kept the church up-to-date on the status of interviews and candidates. Six months into the lead pastor search Cross Point had said no to 10 candidates, but they knew the right person was out there and they had to wait for God to reveal who it was. God’s calendar is not our calendar and He will send the right candidate when it’s time.* Be there for the lead pastor. // There’s a huge amount of pressure on lead pastors, especially in larger churches, and it’s so important for the executive pastor to be a support to the lead pastor. Help hold the lead pastor up by praying for him. Be willing to charge the hill with him, be there for him, develop that relationship of trust, and help alleviate pressure in his work.
You can learn more about Cross Point Church at www.crosspoint.tv, and the message that impacted Kevin, Don’t Stop at Six by Steven Furtick.
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Subscribe- you’ll be glad
Add this one to your weekly listening routine. You’ll be encouraged and glad you did. Tremendous guests. Excellent insight in ministry leadership. I love the detailed show notes.
Thank you Mr. Birch for your podcast. I came across your work about a week before Covid-19 impacted the Houston area and signed up to Unseminary. I’ve been the lead pastor at The Life Church-Baytown going on 3 months, I look forward to your emails, podcast, and resources... thank you and your staff for you’re commitment, especially in these times.
Practical and Insightful
The unSeminary podcast is packed with practical and insightful content that keeps me listening. I enjoy both the interviews and the solo content from Rich. Keep up the great work!