In this Issue

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- Feature Article: Why Isn't Our Church Growing?

- Suzanne Recommends:

  • Upcoming Teleseminars on April 2 and May 7

    • How to Build a Marriage Mentoring Ministry at Your Church

    • How to Use Learner-Centered and User-Friendly Bible Studies to Help Those of All Spiritual Levels Grow

  • Healing the Heart of Your Church
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A Note From Suzanne

We are doing well. It has been a challenging year for us with my brother-in-law's struggle with his Parkinsons' illness. We give praises to God for working out an employment situation for him recently. We ask for your prayers that he has the energy to continue to work. He's quite an extravert and enjoys the people interaction there. We'd like him to continue to experience that and also to have the independence that comes from supporting himself.

I am continuing my doctoral studies at Dallas. Gil and I will be spending time there this spring and summer for me to continue my work. The program is a blessing, and I am grateful to God for all I am learning there and the ministry relationships I am building.

We think of you all often and will be praying for your ministries and your families, too. God bless you all, and I hope you enjoy this month's e-zine.

Why Isn't Our Church Growing?

I have had the opportunity to visit many churches over the last several months, both in the DC metropolitan area and in different parts of the country. Many of these churches are filled with good people and pastors who have a heart to reach out and grow their churches. Yet after laboring many years in ministry, many still are not growing and long to do so. Why, I asked? What is going on that is causing these churches not to grow?

As I reflected on this issue, it occurred to me that churches and the pastors who lead them are faced with many of the same issues that large and small business owners face as they seek to grow their businesses. Leading a church encompasses all of the same issues that running a business does - research and development, sales and marketing, operations, finance and administration, and management. Unless a leadership learns to manage each of these areas effectively, their ministry's impact and fruitfulness will be hindered.

Let's review the key problem areas that can prevent healthy growth in a church body. Prayerfully consider these areas before the Lord to see if they could be holding back the health and growth of your church body. 

  1. Lack of Resources (Funds and Staff)

    Many church leaders face a chronic lack of resources.
    These resources can include money, facilities, staff, or volunteers to implement the ministry the church needs. I recently spoke with a young pastor who bemoaned the fact that each of the young men he discipled and trained left the church to go begin new ministries. Granted, this is a healthy thing for the kingdom at large, however, these experiences left this young pastor short of leadership resources on a continual basis for his own ministry.

  2. Lack of the Spiritual Gifts of Leadership and Administration in the Church Leadership Team

    Many pastors are in a place of serving as "solo-preneurs" in the early years of the life of their church. Many of these men and
    women are pastors at heart - they are more oriented to shepherding the flock that God has given them than doing some of the more leadership-oriented tasks, such as creating vision for the church, building teams, hiring staff, and developing programs. The church needs those with the gift of leadership to move the ministry forward, set vision and direction. This allows the pastor the freedom to develop messages and pastor the flock. If the pastor does not possess a leadership gift, he or she needs to ensure that someone on the leadership team does, and that this gift is highly valued and used properly.

  3. Lack of Clarity Regarding the Needs of Its Target Group

    Every church and business is faced with the difficult task of determining the needs of its target group. Certain churches over the years have done a phenomenal job of studying their communities and designing ministry programs based on the needs of their target group. A couple of these churches that come quickly to mind are Willow Creek and Saddleback Community Church. Their careful "exegesis" of their communities helped to produce the outstanding level of growth these churches have experienced, notwithstanding God's blessings. Of course, there is always the need to present the gospel - that is a given. Yet the methods by which this is done can vary widely between various groups. Is this something your leadership team has done? Do you know exactly the types of programs and services to which your target group will respond? Do you know what will be ineffective in reaching them? Don't waste time developing programs for which there is no audience.

  4. Failure to Effectively "Get the Word Out"

    Every leader and every business must learn to "get the word out" and effectively market its services. You might have the best teaching, the best church programs, the most healthy relationships, and wonderful fellowship, yet if no one knows about your church, it is not going to grow. How is your church leadership team doing at getting the word out about your ministry? Is your failure to do so negatively impacting your church's growth?

  5. Lack of Joint, Big-Picture Perspective

    I have seen many small churches that either inherited a facility or even large churches who own resources that they are not fully utilizing. They have labored for years, sometimes over a decade, and not been able to grow their ministries, upgrade to a nicer facility, or even repair broken appliances in the church. Why not join together, especially churches that are in nearby communities to one another, to share facilities,
    ministry resources, and people resources? Co-sponsoring events is another great way to help both churches reach out and grow. This would enable more ministry to happen with less resource expenditure and less effort. We all are trying to accomplish the same vision - that of extending the Great Commission to all.

  6. Lack of Excellence in Programming and Care

    This is something I see regularly both in businesses and churches, and it relates to the environment of how people are cared for and their needs met. This has to do with both the physical plant of the facility, but also the process by which people are cared for. It really become
    s a customer service issue. Leaders do not take care to resolve concerns people have. The organization does not strive for excellence, and the health of the church suffers. Examples of this in churches can include a pastor's failure to return people's calls for days at a time, failure to follow up on situations that concern people until they are resolved, or even old, raggedy carpet in the church facility. I experienced this just recently as I sat on hold for over 20 minutes with my mortgage company to resolve a simple question. These are the enemies of excellence. Each instance communicates a lack of care about members we are called to shepherd.

  7. Discouragement and Losing the "Mental Game"

    Ministry and running a business have a lot in common. They both take a tremendous amount of perserverance. Many pastors and small business leaders work alone, especially at the beginning. They know what their vision is, they are excited about it, and they are trying to get communicate it to others so that they will get excited about it, too. Yet often people don't understand the vision of what pastors and leaders are trying to do, and they fail to "get on board" to help. Even worse, they often fail to understand the magnitude of the task and simply nitpick and criticize what the pastor
    or leader has not yet accomplished. Both pastors and small business leaders have to develop a tenacity to stay with their vision until it happens, and be willing to change strategies as necessary along the way to reach their goals.

  8. Lack of Health in the Leadership Team or Church

    We all remember the story of Achan in the Old Testament, who failed to get rid of idols that the Lord had prohibited the Israelites from holding onto. There can be "sin the camp" in the present, or past sin the camp, which is negatively impacting the health and growth of the church . In our February 12, 2007 teleseminar on Healing the Heart of the Church, we discussed the
    the impacts of past sin or church trauma and how they can affect the current work and ministry of the church. Seek God about this as a pastor and leadership team to ensure that there is no place of known sin before Him that could cause His discipline to be upon the church.

Did you miss our March 5 teleseminar on "Developing a Healthy Leadership culture? You can still obtain your copy of the case study and CD to learn about this Texas megachurch's journey to health and growth. Simply go to the shop here to order your copy

The Story of a Texas Mega-Church

Maximizing Tomorrow's Leaders Today

Your feedback is always welcome! Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter, such as hiring or managing staff, inspiring volunteers, or preventing burnout, for examples. I'll do my best to address your concerns!

I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

Many prayers and blessings to you all,

Leadership Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize individual and organizational performance.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172

Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2007.

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Leadership Tips
March 2007
Vol. I, Issue 4

Leadership Tips is published once monthly.

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Upcoming Teleseminar April 2

How to Build a Marriage Mentoring Ministry at Your Church
Do you want to learn more about how to set up a marriage mentoring ministry at your church?

Join Suzanne on Monday, April 2, to learn the process she, another pastor and their team walked through to establish the marriage mentoring ministry at McLean Bible Church.

You'll have the opportunity to ask questions and receive additional insight into making this ministry work successfully in your church.

Can't make it? No problem.You'll be able to purchase the audio CD and the Parrott's Marriage Mentoring manual as a package in the e-store afterward.

Hope to see you there! Monday, April 2, 7 pm - 8 pm EST, 6 p.m. CST / 5 PST.

Go to shop to register

Upcoming Teleseminar May 7

How to Use User-Friendly, Learner-Center Bible Studies to Help Those of all Spiritual Levels Grow

There is a plethora of Bible studies on the market today. But as a pastor, how do you find and choose those that help people of all spiritual levels grow, and help people learn to feed themselves spiritually?

So many Bible studies today lean heavily on the study of others and commentaries. While these are very valuable, they fail to teach people to dig into God's word themselves and learn to feed themselves spiritually through the Bible.

Diana Schick of Creative Living International has spent the last 20 years of her ministry developing learner-centered, user-friendly bible studies to help people of all spiritual levels do just this. People learn to read and dig into the truths of the Bible on their own. The "Building on the Basics" section of each study then helps learners apply these biblical truths to their lives.

Join Diana and her husband, Michael, in an upcoming teleseminar on Monday, May 7, 7 pm - 8 pm EST, 6 p.m. CST / 5 PST.

Can't make it? No problem.You'll be able to purchase the audio CD and the Creative Living Proverbs' study online afterward.

Upcoming Spring and Summer Teleseminars
Keep watch for other upcoming teleseminars on the topics we're discussing in Leadership Tips.

Save the Date:
Save the following dates starting at 7 pm EST, 6 pm CST, 5 pm PST

April 2, 2007- How to Build a Marriage Mentoring Ministry at Your Church

May 7, 2007- How to use user-friendly and learner-centered Bible studies for those at all spiritual levels

June 11, 2007 - How to Understand the Key Beliefs of Islam and Influence Your Muslim Acquaintances Toward Christ

July 2007 - How to Be a Missional Church to Impact Your Community for Christ

August 13, 2007 - Recent Financial and Legislative Developments Which May Impact Your Church

More Details to Come....

Healing the Heart of Your Church
Another excellent resource for pastors on developing a healthier leadership culture is called Healing the Heart of your Church.

Like people, a church can become sick and traumatized from past sins in its corporate Body. The destructive effects of these past sins can linger for decades, hindering the present and future work and growth of the church.

Healing the Heart of your Church explains this phenomenon, laying out a strategy to address the wounds and lead the church to healing and greater effectiveness for Christ.

Healing the Heart of Your Church

Preview of April Issue:
In April's issue of Leadership Tips, we'll discuss how to address some of the hindrances to growth reviewed in the March issue of Leadership Tips.

Pastor's Corner

Would you like to advertise your needs in this e-zine? Pastors contact my office on occasion to make other church leaders aware of position openings in their churches or needed resources. For more information, contact suzanne@

About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting. Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize both individual and organizational performance. Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

Copyright © 2006-2007 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC