EP 193 MINISTRY MAXIMS PT. 2 OF 3
Hey there Bootcampers! Summer is well under way, Bob and Jimbo have been taking some down time to renew and refresh, but they have some great content ready for you. In this second installment of Ministry Maxims they highlight some important shifts for pastors to consider as they lead.
One of the first steps is to re-evaluate your score card (especially during summer.)
Maxim #4: Measuring Actions vs. Counting Outcomes:
- How many gospel conversations are your people your having on a regular basis? (Shout-out to Jason Lawson on his April 3rd Post) Identifying new things to count: Reggie McNeal
- Celebrate the activity (actions) done unto the accomplishment of the vision or the goal
Maxim #5: Multiple financial streams vs. single financial streams
- Resourcing mission and ministry may require more than tithes and offerings
- The people of God are called to resource the mission and ministry God has called your church to fulfill
- Here is a great resource for thinking through the development of additional economic streams: The Coming Revolution in Church Economics
This summer is a great time for you to consider your church branding and website. Our great partners at One Eighty digital have the expertise to get you heading in the right direction. Contact them and let them know you are a Bootcamp listener.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are, back at the bootcamp. Back at it again, Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next episode as we jump in, man. as last week’s aired, you were hanging out in, beautiful Seaside, Florida and sending me hopefully a bunch of Truman show picks and. Uh, in, in, in paraphernalia and, and buying me about $500 worth of souvenirs.
you’re such a good friend. I mean, really, you’re, you’re a great friend and I’m really grateful for you. but for this week’s, while this one airs, I will be, finishing up a few days hanging out with my family in Arkansas,
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: and, jumping into, all the things that we have there with family up in Arkansas and on my way back to Florida.
Bob Bickford: Well, I, I love vacation time and, I, Think it’s an important part of just your yearly routine. And I know one of our, challenges as re planters, struggle to get away and, uh, have vacation. So I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna burden you guys, that are not vacationing. but I do wanna challenge you, man, like take some time to get away, like, You know, [00:01:00] get out in the country, walk along the stream, hit a state campground, you know, do something, uh, to get away, to refresh yourself.
Cuz we all know that ministry’s hard and, you really benefit physically and mentally and spiritually from, from getting away and watching a sunset or, you know, out nature or playing with your kids in a park, doing things. So I, I think that was one of the things, Jimbo, looking back on it, I didn’t play enough.
in those years of replanting because I was so freaking consumed about just the weight of replanting so hard. It’s so hard. And it just, if you, if you can’t get away and, feel some refreshment and renewal man, you’re gonna be challenged. So, man, please do that.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, some pressure. I mean, a lot of that pressure comes from, these expectations of the scorecards that we have. We’ve created that, that aren’t necessarily. The right scorecards, and we’ve been talking about that kind of in different ways over the last couple weeks. So a couple weeks ago we just talked about in summer in general, how to focus on mobilizing your members missionally rather than just, trying to keep as many people [00:02:00] in attendance as you can over the summer.
And then, Last week we jumped into, these maxims that you’ve been working on have been so well received as we’ve been, uh, have the opportunity to travel around and speak. Some has been one of the presentations you’ve been doing and. We talked about discerning and adapting versus doubling down or diving deep into discouragement and, how to do that.
We talked about leading pragmatic change versus reinvigorating old, old programs and changing the culture of the church. And then lastly, we talked about, empowering and equipping for ministry versus just exhausting yourself doing everything living at the end of the liver line. and so part of, as we think about these things, one of the ways we have to.
I think even just work to keep our spirits up and work to keep our efforts aligned in the right direction, is how we define success and what is the scorecard. talk to me a little bit, Bob, about like how to think about the scorecard as we’re doing these things in a church with minimal, minimal resources.
you know, average to just below or just above average size church, which [00:03:00] what we said is like right at about 80% of Southern Baptist churches are, are below 100. and so, if you’re below 100, you’re right in that 80 percentile mark of all Southern Baptist churches. So for those churches, how do we measure, knowing that we’re heading the right direction?
Bob Bickford: Yeah, so the typical measurements of, buildings, budgets, worship, attendance, most norm society churches, they have their building and it’s a smaller building. It could be a really nice building, but might need to be updated. So they, they had, you know, deal with that. But then what we typically look at Jimbo is the summer.
And as we’re talking about the summer, there’s a summer slump in attendance and in resources,
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: and we said this I think a couple podcasts ago. Usually after Mother’s Day, you kind of hit a summer slump until like the weekend before school or the week after school, right? And so I just want to say guys, just know that you’re not alone in that and, if we’re consistently basing our.
our value, our, our, the success of our ministry on [00:04:00] those external scorecards in the summer, we’re gonna be challenged. So I think what I would say is, is we’re talking about making some shifts in the summer, making some, adjustments. What I would do, Jimbo, is start counting, actions. Rather than counting results or measuring actions rather than counting results.
And so I think that’s one fundamental maxim or shift that we need to make. And so here’s what I mean by that. Measuring actions. Well, our, our good friend Jason Lawson, uh, fantastic guy. he posted a picture of something their church is doing in terms of go counting gospel conversations
JimBo Stewart: Shout out. Jason Lawson, one of our favorite listeners.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. Yeah. he built this ping pong thing, ping pong ball holder, and he measured if you had a gospel conversation with somebody, you put a white ping pong ball in. If you have, a gospel conversation and it leads to somebody coming to faith in Christ, you put a orange ping pong ball in and if they, have a gospel conversation that leads to a commitment to Christ and leads to baptism, they put a blue, ping pong ball in his holder, and I don’t know [00:05:00] where he is.
Got it. Where, you know, set up in his church. But I would imagine setting that sucker up in the lobby or something in your worship center, you know, there’s people walking in. I think everybody’s gonna get excited about that. Well, what are you measuring? You’re measuring activity that would and will lead unto, fruit.
And so, um, what I would simply say is if you can measure actions that are taking place in individual’s lives and waiting for those actions to lead to results, As God is the one who brings harvest and maturity and all those things, I think you’re in a better place. So measuring actions like, okay, how many people do we have engaging in a prayer journey this, uh, summer, right?
Okay. Now Jimbo, I don’t know about your prayer life, but most of the time I pray about things for a while before they really come into reality.
Right? And so, um, if, if my prayer life was only, I’m just gonna pray about this and I’m gonna hope that it happens, like soon as I say amen, it should happen, right?
I’m [00:06:00] gonna be frustrated. But how many people do we have conservatively praying together about a particular matter? Um, how many people do we have serving the community? Like, you know what, if you just set aside instead of Monday visitation night, why don’t you make it like Monday, make this place beautiful night and.
Um, you go around your community, particularly in the areas that maybe have trash or you know, weeds and stuff like, and you just put on you. Get church t-shirts and, you know, get refreshments and then you just go attack a corner. And you do that on, on Mondays, right? When you have a low visitation number.
Right? And here’s the thing, you’re gonna get more people who are gonna mow a yard and pick up trash than knock on somebody’s door and visitation well, and, and just shifts and hope So measure some actions like that. and rather than counting the results. And so I think what we, what we can see, And you see this in, people who are, trying to get on a health program or, you know, have you seen Jimbo, have you seen the, uh, like [00:07:00] couch to 5K programs?
Like people will do, like I just sit on the couch and eat chips and ding dongs all the time and just watch, you know, reruns of Little House on the Prairie or ESPN Sports Center or whatever. Well, they say, okay, instead of doing that, why don’t you go walk for 30 minutes? Then why don’t you run for. 10 minutes.
You know, I don’t know what the progression is, but I’ve, I’ve was well established that I only run if I’m afraid or in danger. Right. I run for fun.
JimBo Stewart: Or if we’re trying to catch our plane in Detroit,
Bob Bickford: Yes, we do that. But what are they, they’re trying to get them to change small actions. So if we could get our churches to change some small actions, I think that would be good.
So I love what, um, Reggie McNeil is a writer that talks about this all the time and missional, renaissance and some others. He’s, he says, and here’s some, here’s some missional, here are some missional action things that he talks about. Um, and counting ’em, like how many neighbors have I gotten to know by name in the past month?
How many coworkers have I gotten to know on a deeper level? How [00:08:00] many significant conversations have I had in my favorite third place, which is like coffee shop or you know, public place. How many people have I had in my home this past month? How many meals have I shared with people outside my church family this week?
And then how many times have I intentionally sought to be a blessing to someone? Now, these are just a handful of ones that he’s suggests and we’ll, we’ll put that, uh, blog article that he’s written about. How do you become Michel? So what if we just started cataloging that? And then what I, what I think is ultimately those things are gonna lead towards results, and it’s so important.
So let’s shift our minds from just counting the baptisms to counting the actions that lead to conversations that potentially lead to people coming to faith, being baptized and and joining your church.
JimBo Stewart: And figure out how to celebrate the, even the smallest baby steps, man. Uh, I think, uh, we’ve talked about this several times on this podcast before, man, if you could every Sunday figure out one thing to celebrate. Where, where God is at work in your life as a family. [00:09:00] Uh, we, when we drive to our church, there’s a bridge we have to go across called the Buckman Bridge, which I was scared of death of when I moved here.
I’m not scared of Bridges, but Bob, I swear in the first six months I moved to Jacksonville, like 10 people I think died on the Buckman Bridge and like. Like, every time I saw the news, it was like somebody died on the Buckman Bridge and I was like, I don’t ever wanna drive on the Buckman Bridge. I’m no longer scared of it, but I still don’t like driving on it.
So, even the timing of it to change my heart, right as we hit the Buckman Bridge, we all stop whatever we were talking about or doing or singing, which is typically show tunes in, in my minivan these days cuz all my kids have gotten into theater. and we, so we stop doing that and I say, Hey everybody.
All right. How have you seen God at work in your life over the last week?
and everybody has to share, and it usually takes about the time for us to get across the bridge, and then one of us prays for each other, and we’ve found this as a family. It’s been such a great way to every week highlight how have you seen God at work in your life this week?
And so as you’re measuring these questions that Bob’s talking about,[00:10:00] Man, figure out how do you in your service, just pick one story and let, and it doesn’t have to be huge. I mean, it can literally be the smallest little step. and that’s even a good thing sometimes because that lets other people know that, hey, this is something I could actually do.
When you start celebrating something small, that hears that goes, oh, that’s something worth celebrating. And it’s something. That’s attainable. I could do that. I can do that small thing. So counting those things, kinda that input goals versus output goals leading versus lagging, that we’ve talked about before.
I love that, Bob. I think that’s great.
Bob Bickford: So one of the things we’ll be challenged with is determining what, what those actions are. Cuz first of all, we’ve gotta communicate them. We, we have to discover them, we have to communicate them. And I think what you said is very important. We’ve gotta celebrate them, right? So, If I think you are looking for it now, I’ll just, I’ll do this because this, this is just really, this is easy for me to do and then you can make the application to your church situation.
But Jimbo, I, I will take on a [00:11:00] Saturday because I wanna see something happen in my yard in my home, and we’ve been traveling so much that I have to be very strategic about my Saturdays because I have limited time. Limited resources, and so I will say, this Saturday, I’m going to repair this section of fence, and so I will then say, okay, in order to repair this section of fence, what do I need to do?
Well, I need to clear the weeds. I need to remove the damaged wood. I need to assess what are the, what are, what do I need to buy at Home Depot? And uh, usually Jimbo I try to fit in a new tool purchase for every home project.
but unfortunately I’m old enough to where I ha I’m the old guy at church where everybody can come and say, Hey, do you have this tool?
And I’m that guy now, right? So, so I’ve, I’m well moving on that, but, Also, okay, do I need new boards and do I need new, wood fence screws? That sort of thing. So I kind of think through that strategically. Like, here’s, in my mind, here’s the, what the fence was gonna look like. What are all the steps that I need to take in order to get that fence in place?
Then I go get the resources, [00:12:00] and then I set aside the time and then I wake up early and we do it right. So in the same way you might say, how do I create more leaders in the church? Well, What kinds of leaders do we need and where do we need them? Right. What kinds of qualities do these leaders need in these particular places?
What kinds of infrastructure do they need to, to be able to lead? Do we have to background check? I mean, all these sorts of things. What kind of heart and mind and spirit and posture do I wanna see these leaders ha have, you know, in, in their lives? So then you would, you would reverse engineer, go back and do that.
And then if you also say, what would it take for our church to be actually more focused on the community? And aware of the community. What could we do? Like I, I would love to see our church, know the council, know the teachers, know the superintendent, know the coaches, you know, whatever. All right, well, what’s it gonna take to do that?
Or, I would like to see our, people equipped to have conversations in coffee shops and in restaurants and, and, you know, all those kinds of things. Well, what would it take to [00:13:00] help our people do that? Right? So then what you can do is you can start equipping them. To fulfill that vision, but to participate and be able to, to, engage in those actions that would lead onto to that vision, right?
So, so I think it’s oftentimes easier for us to dec to say and declare vision. Here’s, we want our church to be evangelistically engaged. All right, great. are we doing to help them do that?
Right. How are we creating a posture in them to do that? So it’s one thing to, to even to read the Great Commission passage.
but how do I develop a people that are sensitive to the Lord’s command to do that? How do I address their fears? How do, how do we develop a passion for lost people? All those sorts of things. And then counting, you know, the activity unto that vision. a as actionable steps. so we went on a prayer walk.
Great, let’s talk about that. We went in a conver shop, we went in a coffee shop, and then our action was to have a conversation with a [00:14:00] stranger about anything.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: And you celebrate that. Well, you know, Bob talked to these guys about why they wear overalls all the time. And so, you know, hey, they had a great conversation about that, right?
Something like that. So, I think if we can break it down in chunks like that, Realize that we’re making steps towards, an ultimate vision or ultimate goal. I think that’s helpful. And so let’s measure and celebrate those actions, right? Like we, we’ve had 15 people that have had 15 conversations this week, with somebody they didn’t know.
Can we celebrate that? Because we realize, and then paint the bigger picture because we realize that talking to strangers ultimately leads to having significant conversations.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. This is huge. I think you know the idea of what is this big goal? How do we reverse engineer that and think through the input goals that produce the output goals? Daniel M does a great job of talking about that.
in no silver bullets as well as the, I think my favorite thing that Daniel m says in that whole book is, when we think about discipleship, when we think about transformation, and that’s transformation, discipling our people, transforming the community, it’s about [00:15:00] direction, not destination.
and so that allows you, that frees you up to think in this kind of one step at a time. like what are the, what are the input goals that are helping us get to transformation? How do we measure those? How do we, how do we discern what those are? How do we measure those? And how do we celebrate those, so that it continues on.
another thing that we’ve talked about not only is how do, how do we, look at the scorecard and how do we measure success? but. Most of these ideas do not all, but a lot of these ideas do require some amount of funding, personnel, you know, we need sup, we need support. and so one of the things I love, you’ve, you have on your list here of seven Things is, is how to support the ministry in multiple ways versus just single stream support of congregational giving.
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So we are, we are really entering into a season Jimbo, I think, where, resourcing. Mission and ministry is gonna require more than just tides and offerings. Now, I, here, here, here’s, [00:16:00] I want to be careful as I say this, right, because the, the ministry and the mission of the church is always supported by the people of God as the work of God in the hearts of the people of God, they give towards the mission and ministry.
It helps fund what you’re going to do, right? but here’s one of the things we see. In certain settings is we have churches that have maybe in decline and they’re coming back. They have a monster facility. They have a lot of reserves. Well, it’s important, imperative that they release those reserves towards mission and ministry.
That’s sometimes hard for them to do. Right. But the other thing too is we find some, some churches that in addition to the faithful giving of their, of their body, they need help. Outside of that and resource outside of that. So sometimes you have churches partnering with churches, sometimes denominations, all those sorts of things.
So we see all that kind of thing happen too. But ultimately what, what we have been given a lot of times is churches have been given resources in the terms of property and facilities that they don’t, that they could leverage [00:17:00] towards, economic generation and community blessing and those sorts of things.
And so we’re coming into a time where, Where the majority of our pastors, or we’ve been in a time a long time, and perhaps we’ve always been this way, where the majority of our pastors in our denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, are bivocational or co vocational, right? 33,000 plus I think is the estimates the last time I heard the estimates.
And so we’ve got individuals who are called by God to do ministry in a context that God has placed them and they have a daytime job or a, a. you know, some kind of income stream that supports them as they lead the people of God, right? We see that missionaries were always funded in some way by the body, but also outside the body by other congregations.
So the idea that a church, a local church meeting in a particular context, Can receive resources from outside that context or within that context, in addition to the giving, the regular giving of the people is, is shown in the scriptures, right? So I just wanna set that stage that we see that. But here’s what we’re seeing happen in some different places, and I really like this.
some [00:18:00] churches that only use their property on, you know, one or two times a week are finding ways to utilize their property, to bless the community, and then also receiving income from that use. Whether it’s a school group or a community organization or counselors or piano teachers or you know, just all kinds of things.
Or if they have a community coffee shop or if they, lease their, their athletic fields or something like that. There are multiple ways that they can generate income that are given then towards that income is used for mission and ministry, right? So I think we’re coming into a season where we need multiple streams of income.
To support mission and ministry in the local context. So, As churches decline, they lose resources, which creates a burden for mission in ministry as we see this changing in generations that are, that’s coming about think the estimate in 2025, we’re gonna see a lot of the, the folks who have supported churches through their faithful sacrificial gifts for a, [00:19:00] a long time through the boomer generation.
They’re gonna pass away and the next generations don’t give quite at that level. So we’re gonna see that we, we may have shifting, issues of ality, Jimbo, where some churches are gonna be facing. you know, greater challenges is to their, to their, uh, exemptions from property tax and those sorts of things.
If that happens, man, what are we gonna do? Right? We’re, we’re gonna have a, we’re gonna have to figure some things out. So I wanna recommend a resource. there’s a, a guy named Mark Daz, who’s written a book called The Coming Revolution in Church Economics. We’ll put it on the post, the blog post, for the show notes.
And I think he outlines some really important things about how churches can think about finances in ways that are not just how do we get money to sur to keep doing what we’ve always been doing. His point is how can we use what God has given us to resource, mission, and ministry order to continue to proclaim the gospel here, but also to bless the community in which God has called us to do ministry.
Right. I love some of the things [00:20:00] that he talks about in his book, and I’m leaning into this, trying to figure this out, and we’re having more conversations about it all the time.
JimBo Stewart: No, I think this is key, man. It’s, the financial aspects of it are hard. we cannot let it become a source of stress and anxiety.
I mean, the Matthews 6 33 principal is very true. Right that we pursue First Kingdom of God and his righteousness. And you know, I love it that, you know, what is it?
Clifton always quotes black and beyond. God will always resource his plans for his church, but he’s under no obligation, nor will he resource your plans for his church. but there’s also the idea of being, being wise and stewarding like we had, uh, Rick Wheeler on several weeks ago to talk about.
And, Stewarding the opportunities that God has given us. Thinking strategically, thinking wisely, and not just to fund everything we’ve all been doing, like you said, but to figure out how to advance the mission that God has given us.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. So, uh, I, I think in addition to thinking through. Additional streams of, of income. Here’s what I want to say. There’s some fundamental things [00:21:00] that, um, are important. First is the faithful instruction on biblical giving. Like let’s just not abandon that. Right? And I was talking with the pastor just yesterday and he said, you know, we’ve had a couple dips and, giving from season to season.
He said, we’re in a good place now. But he goes, I just struggled to be the pastor that does the money sermon.
Right? And here’s what I want to say. Do the money sermon.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: Just, just do it. Right. You’re gonna have to do it. discipleship and assistance in developing, financial stewardship. Like just, you know, help people figure that out.
and, and offer it to a supportive way. Right. And don’t, don’t, don’t only have the attitude of, I just gotta get people to figure their finances out so they can fund our ministry. Right. Like that.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I mean, when you’re talking about money, you, I mean, you, you, you can’t shift into the, salesman mode. You’re, you’re talking about it as a pastor because it’s a biblical topic, because Jesus talks about it, because the Bible talks about it. Because this is something we have to figure out how to [00:22:00] navigate, and I think, I think we oughta, there ought to be something said about it every week and not just, Hey, here’s where you give your offer.
Offering. I think every, every time you mention your offering is an opportunity to talk about why you would ever even mention your offering in the first place. don’t just mention every week, Hey, we’re passing the plate, or Here’s where you give at the, you know, the box on the way out. Or give online or like, don’t just do that.
That’s the, that’s just as bad as being a salesman. If you’re gonna talk about money, talk about it biblically talk about why we do it. and this is all discipleship.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, I, and there’s some real simple ways you can do it, and sprinkle it in every week in different ways. That doesn’t feel like it’s a big thing. You can say, Hey, you know what, we’re supported. Our church is supported by the generous skips and, and, uh, sacrificial offering of our people. And one of the things we’ve been able to do is this.
Right? And you could talk about that, right? you could talk about how you partner with them, international, somebody local, maybe somebody regional. you could even, Highlight something within the church body that that [00:23:00] is taken care of through fateful gifts and support. So you guys noticed a new, some new decorations on the way in by the coffee area.
And I just wanna say thank you guys for giving regularly to help us update our facilities to welcome people and communicate the gospel. And so help people see where their gifts go. And to communicate that in strategic ways. and then I think the spiritual nature of it too is that God, God gives us resources and he asks us to give back to him as an act of worship.
And so that’s why we’re doing it. And it also reminds us that, that our security is not in what we own, but in the God who provides for us not only our salvation, but what we need to live. Right? And so do those things on a regular basis. And I think you, that’s, those are ways that you can practically talk about giving, that help people.
Connect it with a greater thing than your church just needs money to operate.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. One of the ways I always like to talk about it is, you know, the Bible says that, we can’t serve two masters. Right? That you know it, there’s always this idea that money becomes this. Temptation to put our security in that and our hope [00:24:00] in that rather than Jesus. And one of the ways we get to practice on a regular basis, sacrificing that idol and putting it in its place is through giving to the church.
I’ll even say that’s, I’ve told you it’s the reason that. I don’t do automated giving for my tithe, and you can set it up automated and if you want to do that, that’s fine for me. I actually am grateful for the opportunity every time I get a paycheck where I have to calculate it and I have to make the conscious decision, I’m going to give this money.
Out of my pocket to the church. And here’s why I’m doing it, because it’s an act of worship. Because it, it makes sure that money stays in its right place in my heart and in my mind. And that Jesus stays in the right place in my mind, in my heart, it’s for me. I don’t get the benefit of that if I automate it.
and, you know, nobody writes checks anymore. so we still do it online, but. We, we don’t automate it, we do it automatically online. Hey, come back next week and we’re gonna finish up this conversation about maxims and scorecards, on this material that Bob has [00:25:00] written.