5 Ways that Leaders Can Foster a Growth Mindset in their Churches

  • 27 March 2017
  • Randy Wollf

vine climbing up tree trunk How do we cultivate a church culture where people actually want to grow in their affection for Christ and in their capacity to serve Him more effectively? Without a growth mindset, people will likely be satisfied with a mediocre distortion of biblical Christianity—"a standard churchy spirituality that doesn't require any real action, courage, or sacrifice" (Allan Hirsch).

A deep, disciple-making movement is possible when people grow in their relationship with God, develop godly character, pursue their God-given calling, love others, and hone and use their gifts/abilities in tandem with others (see Seven Dimensions of Christian leadership).

Let me share five ways that leaders can foster a growth mindset in their churches:

1. Share what you're learning

Growing leaders inspire others to grow. I would encourage leaders to humbly share what they’re learning from Scripture, what is helping them from their other reading and watching, and the lessons God is trying to teach them through their mistakes and successes. Be open and transparent about your journey.

2. Facilitate learning experiences

If you’re a ministry leader, you must facilitate learning experiences for your ministry team. Regularly debrief with team members one-on-one and as a team to catch key lessons that will strengthen people and the ministry. Do training activities with your team whether it’s 15 minutes at the start of a meeting or at an annual retreat.

Note: MinistryLift is available to help you with your training needs. Feel free to contact us for live training options or check out our Video Training Resources.

3. Provide appropriate resources that build capacity 

5 Ways to Mobilize Children into Ministry

  • 23 February 2017
  • Randy Wollf

children runningDuring my years as a children’s pastor and now as a parent of four children, I have become a huge fan of helping kids develop a servant heart. In this blog, I will share five ways that parents, children’s ministry workers, and friends of children, can mobilize children into ministry.

1. Believe that Children Can and Must Serve

We sometimes assume that children can only make a small contribution to the church. Yet, Jesus Himself pointed to children as exemplars of a simple faith—a mustard-seed-kind-of-faith that can move mountains.

Children often have a wholesome naiveté and are not intimidated by others. I still remember when my oldest son was three years-old. We were walking by a tough-looking guy sitting on a chair on the sidewalk. Before we could say anything, Caleb had jumped up on the guy’s lap and was chatting with him like he was an old friend.

Children are often eager to learn and try new things. What an opportunity to instill the value of serving others! The habits they establish now can last a lifetime.

If we say that every believer is an integral member of the body of Christ, it follows that all members—including children—are absolutely necessary. If children are not using their gifts and abilities to build up the body, the body suffers. It is imperative that we believe that children can and must serve.

2. Cultivate a Ministry Heart

One of the simple things we have done over the years with our kids is to invite them to serve with us. Whether it was helping stack chairs at the church or moving with our older kids into a refugee housing project (see the Do Something blog about this experience), we recognized that kids are quick to follow the examples of others.

7 Phrases That Make Church Visitors Groan

  • 17 August 2016
  • Keith Reed

Church visitors should be treated like gold. But sadly, they sometimes feel excluded by the very people who are trying to make them feel included. How does this happen?

I believe it’s mostly due to communication errors. Most people simply don’t realize that what they’re saying is inappropriate or even offensive. They likely have good intentions, but they fail to think about how their comments might make others feel (a friend of mine helps his church staff avoid this error by reminding them to “think like a visitor”).

Like it or not, church members will continue to unknowingly offend visitors. No leader can (or should) control what others say to a visitor, but what leaders can do is make better word choices when they get the chance to speak in front of the congregation. What is said by the person holding the microphone will not only put visitors at ease, it will also model the type of language that others in the church will hopefully adopt. 

Here are seven phrases that you should think twice about before using.

1. "If you're visiting with us today, we're so glad that you're here."

A classic line that worship leaders and emcees often use as a greeting to welcome guests. On the surface, there’s nothing “wrong” with this statement. But this statement carries subtle messages that aren’t helpful. 

    • This identifies visitors as a separate group which might make them feel like the one person at the dinner table who isn’t a blood relative. Most visitors don’t want extra attention; they’d rather be treated like everyone else. 
    • Unless there's an added message or course of action, these words of “gladness” are just words. Depending on how visitors experience the rest of the worship gathering (does anyone introduce themselves to them?), this statement might later be interpreted as empty words and reinforce a presupposition that a visitor may have of the church or of the Christian faith.  

I suggest that you use inclusive language when you address visitors. You can speak to them directly, but make the transition from “them” to “us.” Here’s an example: “Thanks for being here today. Whether you’re a newcomer or have been part of our church family for decades, we’re thankful that we can worship God in this place together.”  

2. "Make sure to invite your non-Christian friends.”