300 episodes

Are you looking for practical ministry help to drive your ministry further ... faster?

Have a sinking feeling that your ministry training didn't prepare you for the real world?

Hey ... you're not alone! Join thousands of others in pursuit of stuff they wish they taught in seminary.

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.

unSeminary Podcast Rich Birch

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.7 • 92 Ratings

Are you looking for practical ministry help to drive your ministry further ... faster?

Have a sinking feeling that your ministry training didn't prepare you for the real world?

Hey ... you're not alone! Join thousands of others in pursuit of stuff they wish they taught in seminary.

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.

    Office Hours: Attracting Young Families & Help with Hiring Your Next Team Member

    Office Hours: Attracting Young Families & Help with Hiring Your Next Team Member

    Thanks for joining us for this month’s Office Hours podcast episode. Today Rich is answering your questions about attracting young families and getting help with hiring your next team member.

    John Boyle, executive pastor, Calvary Bible Church in Boulder, Colorado:

    “I wanted to pick your brain on attracting more young families to our church.”

    * Know your neighborhood. // The ESRI Know Your Neighborhood Tool provides mapping information regarding neighborhood styles at a granular level, which drives deeper into social behavior in your area. Have your leadership team talk about the ESRI neighborhoods in your area and how you are connecting, or not, with each of these groups of people.* Five things to try to connect with young families. // 1) Host a parenting series targeted directly to young families. 2) Audit your kids ministry by getting someone to look at the quantitative and qualitative results of your ministry pre-COVID and post-COVID. Bring in a strategic outsider to help you find where you could be doing a better job with things. 3) Think life milestones for your church. Listen to this podcast with Kurt Brodbeck from Northview Church for life milestone examples. 4) Ask a focus group of five families how you can make it easier for them and their friends to connect with your ministry. And then ask how you could help them right now. 5) Find the things that the families with young kids in your area care about and get outside your walls to get involved in those things. How can you serve and love and care for the schools, kids, and young families in your community?

    Audrey Eisenberg, executive pastor, Inland Hills Church in Chino, California:

    “How can we get the word out about opportunities in our church in such a way that they feel exciting and meaningful to the kinds of people who we would love to have join our team?”

    * Internal versus external. // Look at internal and external church hires from two different perspectives. What are you trying to accomplish? You hire someone internally for an area when you want to maintain the good things that are working and incrementally improve. But you hire externally when there’s an area in your church that’s broken and you want to find a way to accelerate and fix it moving forward.* Cultivate your relationship internally. // If you’re thinking about hiring internally, create some fishing ponds where you can better get to know potential leaders in your church, and then hire from there. Determine if any of your top 50 donors might be able to move into a leadership role. These people are already bought into your mission. Or put together a list of key leaders and host a book club. Get together, read a book and talk about. This allows you to get to know people better and identify potential future hires.* Network outside the church. // In networking outside of the church for an external hire, create a spreadsheet with three columns. In the first column write the name of 10-20 people who have some sort of existing network. Rate their influence from one to ten in the second column, one meaning they have a huge social network and ten being not that influential. Then in the third column rate the likeliness of them getting your jobs out to people on their networks. Sort the names by the influence rating and then by the possibility of the networking influence column.

    • 30 min
    Mega to Meta? Your First Step in Starting a Metaverse Ministry with Jason Poling

    Mega to Meta? Your First Step in Starting a Metaverse Ministry with Jason Poling

    Welcome to the unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Jason Poling, lead pastor of Cornerstone Church of Yuba City in California. For the first ten years of Jason’s ministry as a pastor, he felt like he had been living in “maintenance mode.” While his church was experiencing growth, some of which was due to brand new believers, a lot of the growth came from the already-churched crowd. After a bold prayer for God to increase his faith, in 2019 God opened his eyes to the massive, unchurched population in the digital world.

    Listen in as Jason talks with us about the mission field in the Metaverse, how your church can begin to reach the lost, and even establish a campus there.

    * Ripe for harvest. // The Metaverse is a unique space where especially younger generations who are digital natives go to build relationships. No matter how cool or relevant your church is, there are some people who will never attend a brick-and-mortar church. Yet the Metaverse provides an easy entry point for them where they can check out a service and interact with the other people there in a safe, low-pressure way.* What is VR church? // The Metaverse version of services at Cornerstone Church are very much like being at the in real life (IRL) location. Instead of seeing physical people, you’ll see their avatars. As you walk toward other people in the Metaverse, audio is spatially constructed and you’ll be able to hear them talk and enter into conversation, just like IRL. The one thing you need to participate is a VR headset. In the Metaverse, Cornerstone streams their services, similar to how they would on other platforms like Facebook or YouTube. In addition to VR, you can utilize Discord (similar to a beefed up version of Zoom) and Twitch (a streaming platform that goes beyond YouTube) to create a robust experience in the Metaverse.* Keep a connection. // Cornerstone Church of Yuba City treats their VR church as one of their campuses and maintains a connection between their IRL site and their Metaverse location. Talk to your IRL campuses about what God is doing in the Metaverse location, and talk to your Metaverse campus about what God’s doing in the IRL locations. Hybridize training and offer opportunities for things like bible study or small groups for your people both IRL and in the Metaverse. Make use of Discord and its ability to use a two-way camera to provide opportunities for more interaction between IRL and the Metaverse. Share vision and prayer requests across campuses.* Build relationships. // Remember that people primarily visit the Metaverse to connect. Serving people in the Metaverse can look like approaching them and asking them how you can pray for them. While it might seem creepy to approach a stranger out of the blue IRL and do this, it’s normal in the Metaverse. Many people might be discouraged, lonely or depressed and hungry for relationship. Even if people might want to be anonymous at first, in the end they are much more open to conversation in the Metaverse. There are always opportunities to share Christ’s love and encourage others.* A world of its own. // Jason suggests thinking of the Metaverse as a world that has different continents. Each VR platform (AltSpace VR, Rec Room, Horizons, etc.) is a different continent with different tribes that have had very little exposure to the gospel. * Test the waters. // You can experience the Metaverse world first by logging into the 2D version to find what might be attracting people on that side. Then pick up a VR headset, which currently is about $300 and talk with people. Explore the world and Metaverse church services to see what you can do and what the Metaverse has to offer.* Try out small events. // When you’re ready to set up a church experience, Altspace VR is one of the easier platforms to try out your first Metaverse service.

    • 41 min
    Best Practices in Onboarding New Staff with Ken McAnulty

    Best Practices in Onboarding New Staff with Ken McAnulty

    Thanks for joining us for this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Ken McAnulty, executive pastor at Arise Church in Florida.

    The hiring process is tough, and ramping up new staff can be awkward and stressful if it isn’t done with a lot of intentionality. Ken is with us today to talk about how to onboard new hires well and set them up for success.

    * Create a great experience. // What do you want new hires to experience when they come to work at your church? What do you want people to understand? These are questions that Ken and his team began to ask as they created the onboarding process at Arise. Their goal was to set a healthy pace so that when a new staff completed their onboarding week, they would feel like they could run in their role without hindrances. The pace that a church sets during the first week of a new hire’s orientation is the pace that individual is going to live by for their first year.* What works for them. // The first thing that Ken and his team do is to make sure that they have things set up for the new staff member before their first day. They communicate with new staff about things like setting up their office in a way that works for them and providing a computer of their choice with software they need. They also add fun aspects to the welcome by doing a bit of research on new hires through social media, or by talking with a person’s spouse, to surprise them with things they enjoy, such as playing a favorite song upon their arrival.* Four things to impart. // There are four things Arise Church really wants to impart to their new staff members in their first week. They want them to walk away with a sense of the culture at Arise, a sense of care that they’re about more than what they do, a sense of competency or an understanding of how they can be successful, and finally the course or path in which way they should go.* Sense of culture comes first. // Culture is much more important than competency. So the pastor takes the new staff member to lunch and talks with them about the history and culture of the church, as well as the future vision. After spending time with the pastor, the new hire then sits with other staff members who they will work closely with and hears their stories. Plugging new hires into relationships not only communicates culture, it humanizes the staff and creates open doors so they can get to know each other faster. The onboarding week wraps up with a truth or dare lunch which provides opportunities for the staff team to be authentic with each other and build rapport.* Last Day at Arise. // The last culture component of the onboarding process is a document called Last Day at Arise. Working through the document helps new hires intentionally think about how they will be known at Arise and who they’re going to be. Finally they will review that document with their direct-up at the end of their first week. This creates accountability as well as future coaching opportunities to help the new staff member achieve their goals.* Take time to express care. // When we expect new staff to hit the ground running right away and we become all business about getting them plugged in to their role, the person is lost in the tasks. We’re in the people business, and that needs to start with our staff. Each person we bring on board has a gift and a calling that we’re being given by God to steward. Take intentional time to express care for them and communicate that they are more than what they do for you. Every day of the onboarding week at Arise, certain staff have lunch with the new hire. The onboarding process can feel like a firehose, so Ken checks in with them throughout the week to see how they are doing and what questions they may have.* Competency and course. // Competency is about how to do your job or role, and course is about knowing which way to go.

    • 35 min
    Rebuilding a Team Culture That Was Broken with Jesse DeYoung

    Rebuilding a Team Culture That Was Broken with Jesse DeYoung

    Thanks for tuning into the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Jesse DeYoung, the executive lead pastor at Flatirons Community Church in Boulder, Colorado.

    Jesse is talking with us today about how Flatirons Church worked through a difficult season of ministry, addressed their broken team culture, and witnessed God’s redemption among the staff.

    * Recognize what’s not working. // The culture at Flatirons is self-described as anti-corporate and so for years the staff largely resisted structures and systems. As the church grew, however, it became difficult to uphold the vision without systems. The culture on the staff at this point was to push off blame and responsibility to the lead pastor. As a result, more and more pressure fell on the lead pastor and he was forced to take a six-month sabbatical. * Acknowledge the need for repentance. // At first in the lead pastor’s absence, the staff felt confident that everything would be sorted out and fixed with regard to issues in the church. But those same problems came back a short time later, making it clear that the issues didn’t come solely from the lead pastor, but from the church culture itself. The first step in moving forward was that everyone acknowledge a need for repentance and growth.* Offer severance. // When the lead pastor returned at the beginning of 2020, Flatirons knew they would need to reduce staff, partially because there were some staff that just weren’t aligned with where the church was headed, and partially because of covid. So one of the things Flatirons did to begin the changes needed for the church was to offer a voluntary five-and-a-half-month severance plan that church staff could take. The leadership had conversations with people to guide them in what was best for them and expected a small number of people to take the severance. It turned out that a third of the staff members stepped down, demonstrating that change was needed.* Redistribute responsibilities. // To help the lead pastor level up and teach and lead in a way that is sustainable, Flatirons realized that they needed someone who was going to carry his other prior work and responsibilities. This decision led to Jesse becoming the executive lead pastor and managing the rest of the lead team. Now Jesse and his team work together to solve most of the issues within the church and keep it running. This structure allows the lead pastor his time to focus on his ministry.* Stay relationally connected. // Jesse meets with the lead pastor once a week so that he can tell the pastor about everything that’s going on before they meet with other staff. Four or five times a year they go on a day trip together to have more unstructured conversations. This time allows them to relationally stay connected.* Four things to keep in mind. // Jesse keeps four things in mind in his relationship with the lead pastor: Emotional awareness in the moment between each other. Honoring the lead pastor with generous empathy toward what baggage he carries in his work. Trying to spend five to ten percent of his energy to help his lead pastor win. And confronting each other when your opinions on matters disagree.

    You can learn more about Flatirons Community Church at www.flatironschurch.com.

    4 Keys to a Thriving Executive Pastor & Lead Pastor Relationship

    View this post on Instagram a href="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CYZCZnjt1hp/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c...

    • 34 min
    Connection & Engagement Lessons from a Fast Growing Church During the Pandemic with Julie Hawkins

    Connection & Engagement Lessons from a Fast Growing Church During the Pandemic with Julie Hawkins

    Today we’re chatting with Julie Hawkins, the Next Steps Pastor at Chapel Hill Church in Washington state.

    So many churches had to quickly develop an online presence at the beginning of 2020 and it made the area of helping people take their next steps more challenging. Listen in as Julie shares how Chapel Hill Church took advantage of opportunities to pioneer new methods of building deeper relationships and increasing connection and engagement, and how they are using what they’ve learned moving forward.

    * Try new things. // It can be hard for larger churches to make sudden changes. However, the early days of COVID gave Chapel Hill Church the opportunity to try new things quickly and see what worked or what needed to be changed. With these pioneering efforts came more exploration of what could be done online and this actually led to deepening of relationships and increased engagement.* Virtual mission trips. // One of the things the church did was organize some virtual Go teams with their global outreach partners across the world. What they discovered was doing an online mission trip allowed the church to engage a segment of their congregation that would never be able to actually visit countries like Cambodia or Thailand. Similarly, the church was able to engage with their ministry partners in a deeper way by listening to their needs over Zoom and praying for them. Chapel Hill also included cultural aspects to the online experiences, such as sharing a recipe or music from the country, or providing fair trade gift boxes. * Build local outreach relationships. // Similarly, with local outreach partners people at the church learned that while showing up to serve is a great opportunity to build relationship, you can continue to build that relationship outside of the actual experience. Take time to pray for various ministry partners and connect with them online.* Online evangelism. // Chapel Hill was surprised by how well groups like Alpha did when moved online during the pandemic. People were still willing to dig into the deep questions of life. In fact, they saw more people come to faith through their online Alpha groups via Zoom than they’d seen in person. * Online life groups. // During the initial phase of the pandemic, life groups were also moved online to Zoom, and more people joined those groups than ever before. Having the meetings on Zoom moving forward allows people to stay connected even when they’re out of town or unable to get together. People love these little communities that have been developed.* Training online. // Chapel Hill adapted much of their training to be online too, and hope to continue with this method moving forward. Online training allows people to watch the videos at their own speed when it fits into their schedule, and then build a relationship in person.* Connecting via text. // When it comes to connecting with people and reengaging new people, or those who haven’t returned to in-person services yet, Julie uses the tool Focus Growth. Focus Growth helps with first-time guest follow-up by reminding the staff to begin a conversation with guests via text message. Text messages are a primary way we communicate and so it allows the church staff to reach out without overwhelming new people or being too pushy. The response from guests has been overwhelmingly positive.* Future relationship-building projects. // Using technology to help us better care for people has many applications. Just a few that Julie has on her radar are creating a structured framework for engaging volunteers at the church, creating a system of congregational care within the large church so that people feel well cared for, and working with the leadership to make sure they are caring well for themselves and the staff.

    You can learn more about Chapel Hill Church at a href="...

    • 27 min
    Helping Female Leaders in Your Church Find Their Leadership Voice with Kadi Cole

    Helping Female Leaders in Your Church Find Their Leadership Voice with Kadi Cole

    Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Kadi Cole, the founder of Kadi Cole & Company, an organization created to help leaders of all organizations. Kadi is with us today to talk about encouraging female leaders at your church while removing barriers from leadership opportunities.

    * Find the drop off. // Many men in church leadership are trying to help the women on their teams develop their potential, but they find that opportunities aren’t being taken advantage of by women, or enjoyed by women who are there. We may unknowingly put up barriers to women thriving in leadership and do a disservice to what we’re trying to accomplish in creating opportunities for them. If you find this is the case, look at where women are entering the pipeline in your church’s staff and volunteers, and where they’re dropping off. In most churches there is a big drop-off in women moving from the lower level leadership roles to manager roles. If you see that drop-off then you know there is something in your culture preventing women from finding their place and feeling confident.* Ask about experiences in those roles. // If you have women with great potential stepping down or stepping back from leadership, ask them what their experience was in the organization. We may hear a variety of answers from the work not being worth their time, to lack of feedback to help with growth. But sometimes we simply have things in our culture that make meeting easier for men and not women based on needs for their daily family and home lives.* Acknowledge the awkwardness. // When you’re thinking about how to talk to women about their roles and what is holding them back, it will be an awkward conversation on both sides. Just acknowledge that it might be weird and uncomfortable to talk about these topics. Let her know that you care deeply about her and her being everything she can be in the kingdom. Communicate that you want to talk about what needs fixing in your leadership that will help open doors for her to lead successfully. Make space for that confidential, honest and authentic conversation to happen.* Ask open-ended questions about life. // It’s easy to make assumptions about women or their life stage, so be individually focused by asking them open-ended questions about their actual lives. Communicating assumptions without knowing the truth sends mixed messages about a female leader’s value and importance as a leader. Valuing a female leader and her contribution means making space for her voice.* Give advice, not just compliments. // Giving vague compliments on a job well done isn’t constructive. Women rely more on constructive feedback. Offer specific compliments, but also add in suggestions on what to do next time. This affirms and develops her leadership while also encouraging her that she’s still wanted on the team. * Help clean the sticky floor. // When a woman comes into a male-dominated organization, it’s not easy to navigate and can bring out insecurity. Each woman has a “sticky floor” that is made of doubts and conversations women have in their own minds that keep them stuck. It causes them to hold themselves back from moving forward and going for leadership opportunities. You can help them fight the sticky floor by letting them know how they are demonstrating leadership. In addition to their confidence, also help them increase their competence by developing specific leadership skills that prepare them for higher levels of management.* Increase leadership confidence. // Women often tend to hold themselves to higher standards in their work and compare themselves to others. In Kadi’s latest book, Find Your Leadership Voice in 90 Days, she hopes to give women step-by-step guidance on how to step into leadership roles with confidence without compromising who they are.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
92 Ratings

92 Ratings

JayJayJayhawk ,

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.

Minister Macias ,

Thank you.

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.

RevDeanL ,

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!

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