When Email Makes More Enemies Than Friends

Recently, I received an email from a colleague who had not taken the time to write the email properly. I responded by explaining that I was confused and needed clarity. I didn’t hear back from him for more than a week. When he finally did respond, he gave a quip and unhelpful response without answering my questions or explaining anything further. I could only surmise that he was in a hurry and didn’t really read through his email to me or my response to him.

Had we been sitting in the room together discussing the issue, this would never have happened. He would have been a lot more focused on me and how he was presenting himself. 

As pastors and leaders, it is important we pay attention to WHAT we communicate via email as well as HOW we communicate it. I have made it a habit to follow these four email best practices. I recommend you give them a try.

Four Steps to Communicate Kindly in Email

1. Reread the email before you hit ‘Send’.

It’s super easy to do, and well worth the time. Just read it one more time. Eight times out of ten I bet you’ll find something that wasn’t clear and tweak it. You will never regret taking the extra time to reread an email before clicking ‘Send’, but you will sometimes regret when you didn’t. You can’t ‘take back’ an email!

2. Keep it to one topic.

I’ve discovered that people (myself included) are often guilty of just skimming an email before replying. If I try to address 2 or 3 issues in the same email, sometimes the reader will only respond to the first issue, leaving me hanging for the rest. Try to keep emails to one topic at a time – and include the topic in the subject line. If you have three separate things to say to someone, send them three different emails. It might seem a little weird and redundant – but it works!

3. Respond within 24 hours.

Waiting two, three or more days to respond to a legitimate email is the equivalent of ignoring someone while they are talking to you. It creates unnecessary drama and for some people it is quite offensive. Responding to the multitude of emails you receive each day can be daunting. If you know you can’t properly get back to someone right away, try replying with a very short note saying something like, “I’d love to get back to you on this, but can it wait until next week?” Bottom line, don’t leave people hanging!

4. End with a genuine sign-off.

We are all familiar with the typical boiler-plate sign-offs included in email signatures, like, “Sincerely,” or “Thanks.” Although this is common, it is also fairly impersonal. An extra 10 seconds for every email can turn your detached and sometimes inappropriate sign-off into a friendly one. I don’t say, “Sincerely,” to my wife, but I might for a formal letter to a company. For many of my friends and colleagues, I often close with “Be Blessed!” or “Blessings!” Sometimes, the most appropriate email sign-off is, “Thanks so much!”, “I really appreciate it.”, “Great job” or even, “Have a fabulous day!” Whatever it is, why not make it unique for every email? It will set a positive and authentic tone to the end of your conversation. Another idea: include the person’s name as well, “Have a great day Tim!”

What other email habits would you add to this list?



Bonus: Check out this infographic with more email tips at the bottom!

mbti_sendmail_infographic

Teach Yourself to Smile

[This post is also available at www.guestfriendly.org.]

That’s right. I said, ‘Teach Yourself’. Just because you have a face and positive emotions doesn’t mean you have a good smile. Don’t believe me? Check out my post, “The Problem With Your Face!” When I realized that my habitual smile looked more like a scowl than anything else I realized I needed to fix it. Here are a few steps I recommend to get you started:

STEP 1: EVALUATE YOUR ‘REAL’ SMILE.

First, it’s important for you to get a good, solid evaluation of your smile. I’m not talking about the pasted smile you put on when you are taking a picture. I’m talking about the smile you use every day at home, work, in the store, etc. You’ll need input from more than yourself too. This will require a good dose of humility on your part.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Look in the Mirror
    As long as you aren’t embarrassed being with yourself too much, this one is really easy. The next time you are alone in the bathroom spend some time smiling at yourself. The best way to do this is to just ‘pretend’ you are in different scenario’s and smile like you would at those times. While doing this, ask yourself, “Is this what I want people to see?” The first time I did this I became very frustrated. I found that I didn’t really know how to smile except when I was getting my picture taken or was laughing. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with my facial muscles and worked on retraining them.

    But don’t stop there. Just because YOU like your smile doesn’t mean others do!
     

  • Ask Someone You Trust
    This means you have to admit that you might have a problem and need help. I know enough about us leaders that this one hurdle may be bigger than the smile itself. Assuming you can get over whatever pride you may be carrying, find someone you trust to give honest feedback. You’re not looking for someone who is afraid to hurt your feelings. That’s totally counter-productive. Find someone who will honestly evaluate your natural smile and ask them their opinion and thoughts. Then, as they give you feedback, just listen, ask clarifying questions and resist the impulse to defend yourself if the evaluation you receive is less than you expected.
     
  • Ask a Stranger
    OK. Maybe that’s going a little too far. You’ll have to decide. But consider this, your most trusted friends are used to seeing your face every week. It’s possible they will not be capable of giving you an objective opinion. So ask a stranger. Next time you are sitting in a waiting room or standing in a line, humble yourself and ask the person next to you for some feedback. You might start by simply smiling at the person before saying something like this: “Excuse me. I know this might sound really weird, but I am a public speaker and recently I’ve been wondering what kinds of first impressions I make when I smile. If it doesn’t make you too uncomfortable, could you just rate your impression of my smile just a moment ago as well as right now while I’m talking on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being that I seem really mean and 5 being that I seem very friendly and approachable? Again, just let me know if you’d rather not. I know it’s a very strange request.”
     
  • Ask a New Acquaintance
    Finally, you can ask someone you have recently become acquainted with. Perhaps it’s a pastor or leader from another church, a new attendee in your church, or a next door neighbor. You could use a similar approach as above and solicit their feedback.
     

STEP 2: DEFINE YOUR NEW SMILE

Next, you need to begin working on your new smile (assuming you need to). This isn’t something you will accomplish in one sitting. It will likely require a concerted effort on your part over a period of days, even weeks before you find the smile you are really looking for. Here are more suggestions:

  • Focus on Your Muscles
    Ask yourself what muscles you are using when you are truly smiling. There are over 50 muscles in your face. It’s highly likely that there are some that you almost never use and don’t even know are there. In fact, a good 20 minutes of ‘smiling’ could leave your facial muscles feeling sore. That’s a good thing. Find and consciously discover the new muscles you are using. You’ll need that knowledge later when you want to smile but don’t have a mirror in front of you to make sure you’re doing it right!

    A lot of research has shown that great smiles use the orbicularis oculi muscle. This is the muscle that surrounds your eyes. Good smiles will produce a slight squint in your eyes that help transform the smile from a ‘fake’ smile to a genuine one – sometimes called ‘laugh lines’. 
     
  • Ask Yourself How Your Face Feels
    This sounds weird but it works for me. I’ve discovered that when I’m smiling properly my cheeks touch the bottoms of my glasses and I can feel a different kind of pressure on the edges of my mouth. Again, that’s great knowledge to have when I’m out and about. About the only time I can genuinely ensure I’m smiling while talking to people is during a Skype call where I can see myself at the same time as the person I’m addressing. Since you and I don’t live on Skype we need some ‘help’ making sure we’re getting it right.
     
  • Get More Feedback
    You’ve developed a new smile and you like it. So you begin turning on the charm everywhere you go . . . and people start running. What gives? Try going back to Step 1 and get more input. For all you know, your new ‘smile’ still says things you never intended (and never said before). The last thing you want is for your first impression to be, “I’ve lost my marbles and hope you know where they are!”
     

STEP 3: PRACTICE

You spent most of your adult life perfecting that grumpy look. I guarantee you won’t ‘fix’ it in just a couple of weeks or even months. They say it takes 21 days to build a new habit, but in this case I suspect we’re talking more like 6 months. Practice, practice, practice. Check out your smile in front of the mirror often. Look it over every day. Until you know you are representing the ‘real you’ stay on your guard whenever you respond with a smile.

 

The Problem With Your Face

[This post is also available at www.guestfriendly.org.]


Your face probably lies . . . a lot!

You think you know what your face is saying, but it’s very possible you don’t. I discovered this the hard way. For years I thought I was expressing a kind, friendly expression everywhere I went.

Here are two examples:

  • A few years ago I was driving to work and passed by a church attendee walking in the parking lot. She saw me and lifted her hand in a brief wave of greeting. I made eye contact as I passed by, moved my mouth muscles into what I considered to be a ‘greeting smile’ and nodded. Immediately, I got the impression I should ‘check’ what my smile looked like. So I looked up into the rear view mirror and repeated the smile, only to be horrified to see a scowl looking back at me!
     
  • I remember sitting in my office across from a young couple in our church. The young man was interested in a job and had brought his wife along to discuss details and options with me. At one point in the conversation, he made a great comment that solicited a positive emotion inside of me. In a purely automatic response I again, moved my facial muscles in a modicum of a smile and nodded thoughtfully. A few moments later, I remembered the ‘scowl’ from the parking lot and realized that I had just frowned at him when I should have been smiling!

Most people smile at least a few times a day without even thinking about it. At least, they smile on the inside. Something happens that brings a small measure of joy into our hearts and we respond, either intentionally or unconsciously with a smile or nod.

The problem is, for MANY of us, our outward reactions don’t even
come close to our intention or genuine feelings.

This was true for me. One day my wife mentioned something about my ‘frown’ and I finally started paying attention. I was appalled and embarrassed. What I thought was a thoughtful or gentle smile was a total frown. I’m not exaggerating. My mouth automatically turned down on both sides creating a perfect frown. Ugh!

Since then I have been having an almost daily battle with my face – forcing it to truly express what I think and feel instead of what it (as if it has a will!) naturally expresses.

As a pastor, public speaker and Jesus follower with a strong desire to encourage and strengthen those around me, this became a very important issue for me. I’m afraid to think too much about the number of people I have given a negative impression about me, or worse, Jesus Christ, because of my expression.

The Scary-Mad Man

A while back our church hosted a national speaker and pastor for a conference. He brought one of his pastors and associates to assist him during the conference. Since I was sitting behind him, I engaged him in some breif conversation before the service. My first impression was less than nice. He seemed extremely unfriendly and antisocial. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was mad at me.

What shocked me was when the national speaker got up and introduced him as one of the kindest, passionate man with a huge hunger for God. I realized I had fallen for his scary expression. He seemed to be constantly frowning, even when it seemed like he should be happy.

It’s sad to say, but this has happened to me more often that I want to admit, and often from pastors and christian leaders that are, or should be, held with a measure of respect and esteem.

In his book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, Guy Kawasaki said, “What does it cost to smile? Nothing. What does it cost not to smile? Everything, if it prevents you from connecting with people. While smiling sends a very clear message about your state of mind, not smiling creates an opening for many interpretations, including grumpiness, aloofness, and anger – none of which helps you enchant people.”

It turns out little orphan Annie had the right idea, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”

How is your smile, really? 

Check out “Teach Yourself to Smile” to learn some great tips on how to smile!

How much time do you spend on your yard?

It is absolutely dumbfounding to me how much time and money American’s spend taking care of their lawn.

According to the article ‘Statistically Speaking: Lawns by the Numbers,’ we spend a whopping 30 billion dollars keeping our grass green and trim. The reason we are so focused on the yard is quite simple. It’s what everyone sees when they drive by! Really, if we all took care of our lawn like we did our garage or basement, I suspect it wouldn’t look quite so nice.

As much as we try, people tend to make judgement calls by what they see. People’s perception is their reality, even if their perception is false. So we spend a lot of time making sure our lawns look nice (among many other things) so people will have a good perception of us.

What bothers me about this is that many ministries forget to take care of their “other” lawn. I’m talking about their virtual lawn – the church or ministry website.

Sometimes I am really embarrassed when I see some church websites. Often, it is the equivalent of an unkempt lawn with weeds sticking out everywhere, shrubs that are way overgrown and tall grass in places that should have been trimmed with a weed wacker long ago. No church would want to leave their front lawn in that condition on a Sunday morning!

What’s even more scary is that some church leaders either don’t care or don’t realize their website needs help. So the many virtual guests who ‘visit’ the church each week stop by, take one look, and put the pedal to the metal. They figure, “If that’s what the front lawn looks like, there’s no way I want to stop by for a visit!”

I HAVE TO BE HONEST. This really, really, really bothers me. And it’s why I started my own website business several years ago – to specifically help local churches and ministries with their virtual presence. I believe your church website holds one of the keys to increasing guest attendance each week!

MY OFFER TO YOU

I would love to have the chance to give you my opinion of your church or ministry website. I promise to be honest with you (no gimmicks and no tricks.) I’ll tell you if I think it looks great or if it needs a facelift, an overhaul or a funeral. If it needs a facelift, I’ll make some recommendations. If it needs more, I’ll let you know and also give you a quote for what I would charge to fix it for you.

Please consider taking me up on the offer. You have nothing to lose!

Looking For An Exceptional Greeter?

I love to tell the story about a large church in New York City that invites anyone who wants to be a greeter to join them Sunday morning. In the back room, before people begin arriving for church, all volunteers are asked to line up and smile. The pastor in charge then points to different people down the line to be the greeters for the morning, encouraging everyone else to work on their smile before coming back.

The fact is, just because someone is a nice person doesn’t necessarily mean they would make a great greeter. The best greeters are those that help attendees feel both welcome and at home as they arrive at church. They will help ease worries, reduce tension and are an important part of a first time guest’s first impression.

The Exceptional Greeter Workshop.

I’d like to introduce to you, ‘The Exceptional Greeter’ workshop, where I share some basic principles that are so easy to implement, but sometimes difficult to remember. Turn your ‘ho-hum’ greeters and ushers into ‘amazing’ greeters and ushers. 

The Exceptional Greeter is available in two formats: DVD or Thumb Drive. It includes video teaching as well as a participant’s note-taker. The 2 hour workshop is designed to be split into several 10-20 minute teaching segments, each followed by a group oriented question to facilitate workshop discussion & interaction throughout.

ORDER TODAY! 

Last Minute Christmas Links

I came across some more great links, resources and articles for churches & pastors I’d like to share with you. Perhaps you will find one or more of them helpful as you prepare for upcoming Christmas services & events and as you navigate that tension between ministry and family during this holiday season. Enjoy the Christmas Links!

The One Group You Might Forget This Christmas by Focus on the Family
The holiday season is upon us. As a pastor you have planned Christmas Eve services, prepared end-of-year reports, and been to more Christmas parties than you care to remember. With all of the activity involved in getting your church ready for Christmas, it can be easy to forget one group – your family. Read More.


Take the Nice Is Naughty Quiz for Pastors by Will Mancini
You’ve heard of the naughty or nice quiz before. We put people on one side of the behavior equation this time of the year. And if that doesn’t cross your mind, then someone at North Pole Central is finalizing the tally before Santa’s globe-trotting, Christmas Eve sleigh ride. This year, however, I want to put these terms on the same side of the equation. I think pastors need to consider “niceness” from an entirely different point of view. Read More.


25 Last Minute Christmas Ideas (for your church) by Robert Carnes
We’re all familiar with last-minute Christmas shopping. I’m one of the worst when it comes to Yuletide procrastination. Some of us don’t even start buying gifts until Christmas Eve. However, last minute is not a good policy when it comes to Christmas planning at your church. Because it takes a good deal more time to successfully orchestrate church events than it does to pick up some tacky sweaters from the department store. Read More.


Watch “The Story of Christmas” Video Series by YouVersion
Brought to you by The Lumo Project, the Bible App is now featuring this very special video collection throughout this holiday season. Each clip shows part of the story of Jesus’ birth with voice-over narration directly from the Scriptures. Read More.


57 Christmas Videos by Kevin D. Hendricks
Leading up to Christmas, we’re highlighting several Christmas videos on Fridays because videos on Fridays are fun. Plus Christmas videos that don’t suck might be useful for your church. If you like Christmas videos, today is your lucky day. We’re not waiting until Friday, because we’ve got 57 Christmas videos your church can use. Read More.


4 Ways to Keep Your Marriage from being Injured During the Christmas Holiday by Ron Edmondson
The Christmas season can be hard on relationships. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with a couple after the holidays because of problems that developed — or were exaggerated — between Thanksgiving and New Years. How can you protect your marriage this Christmas? That’s a good goal, right? Read More.


Christmas Resources For Your Church (right here on waynehedlund.org!)
Christmas is coming! If you are in church leadership, hopefully you have already begun preparations for your Christmas weekend services.Whether you are hosting a Christmas Series, a Christmas Eve service or simply want to add some resources to your church website or blog – I suspect one or more of the below links and video’s may be just what you were looking for. Read More.

The Christmas Scale by Igniter Media
It’s hard to believe that the greatest message the world will ever hear is contained in one simple scale. Downloads are available at IgniterMedia.com.


Check out more great links & videos for Christmas right here!

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Why Most People Resist Change

People usually contact me because they want to change something.

They either want to change personally as a leader or to change the way things are done in their ministry. A driving motivation behind change is transformation. We want to be different, better and more effective; and we want to see people’s lives changed around us.

I find it very interesting how much we resist change.

When I ask clients (who are paying me to help them change) to do something different which they have been doing a certain way for a long time, they almost always fight me about it, sometimes even to the point of getting angry at my suggestion. In other words, they resist change.

I remember talking to a pastor who wanted to make some sweeping changes in how the church reached out to the community. I made three initial recommendations to him. The first had to do with the delivery of his Sunday morning messages (always a very sensitive topic for pastors.) The second was regarding the structure of the staff. And the third was related to how the church kept track of guest information. In each case, he told me, in no uncertain terms, that he “wasn’t ready to do that yet.” After a while I realized that he wanted to see changes happen, but he wasn’t willing to change himself. It took a while to help him shift his thinking.

Even when we know WHAT we should do different, we tend to keep doing it the old way.

This is intriguing for me. I struggle changing certain personal behaviors in my life (like how I eat,) and even how I view myself (personal insecurities.) In the same way, leaders and organizations struggle making the necessary changes to grow and make a bigger difference in their communities – even when they know what they should be doing.

This morning, I ran across this 8 minute video. I almost didn’t watch it. I’m so glad I did. Check it out.

Change is hard, especially when it means changing behaviors and mindsets that are deeply rooted in our psyche.

Whether it’s about our self-worth, how we see God or how we think He sees us, how we eat, talk or lead – if it’s something we’ve been doing the same way for a long time, it’s going to take work and effort to begin doing it differently.

 


Food for Thought – this would be a great video to share on a Sunday morning while addressing life change from the pulpit. Just an idea!


 

An invitation to get some help.

 

Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”

I’d like to invite you to consider starting a conversation with me about helping you or your organization change. Driving change has been a part of what I do as a leader my entire adult life. Every situation is different and will require a different strategy – but I am confident you can change. Let me help you grow and make a greater impact with those around you!

To learn more about the coaching I provide, click here!

What The Church Can Learn From Chick-fil-A

When we are travelling on vacation as a family, my wife has been known to grab my smartphone and ask Google to find the nearest Chick-fil-A. It’s a favorite place to eat for our family. I’m secretly glad we don’t live near one – I’m sure my waist would rebel even more than it is right now!

Anyone who has visited a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant will agree that the experience, compared to other fast food establishments, is quite unique. Most of us would give them a thumbs up and enjoy talking about the friendly employees, great customer service and the yummy chicken and fries. 

I ran across an article about some of the little things they do to serve their customers and thought to myself, “There are a lot of great ideas that the church could learn from this Christian-based nation-wide company!” Here are a few of my ideas, inspired by Chick-fil-A.

SMILE A LOT

I’m convinced God has injected a very important part of His personality into the muscles in our face. I learned that the hard way (check out, “Teach Yourself To Smile“.) Unfortunately, many people have forgotten how to smile. This is not just for your greeters, either. It’s a rare occasion that a Chick-fil-A employee doesn’t smile, no matter who they are or where they serve. I’d like to challenge local churches to teach everybody to smile at one another . . . a LOT! I know it will make a difference.

MAINTAIN HIGH STANDARDS

Sometimes, when I visit local churches it seems obvious to me that the leaders of the church have forgotten that they aren’t just a family. They are a family receiving guests. There’s a difference. A big one. When my family is just ‘hanging out together’ in our home, we’re OK with the occasional mess here or there. But when we’re hosting company, we clean up and sometimes even fix up the house to be able to receive our guests with excellence. Chick-fil-A shows high standards, from the bathrooms, to the floors, to the parking lot and beyond. I recommend local churches ask themselves the question, “Are we positioned to receive our guests and attendees with excellence every single week?”

DO SOMETHING UNEXPECTED

When was the last time you found yourself washing hands at a public bathroom and noticed a mouthwash dispenser made available to guests, for free. That’s what you’ll find at many Chick-fil-A restaurants. It’s both helpful and unexpected. It’s actually a well-kept secret any organization that is truly providing a ‘Wow’ experience has held close to their chest. They do something that is pleasantly unexpected. That is, it’s not expected at all, as in the mouthwash, or it’s above people’s expectations (like the smile.) Attendees will talk about their church experience to their friends when they walk away with a “Wow!” like that. (Hint, hint, click the link and buy one for your church bathroom today!)

BE CREATIVE

People love creativity. Just check out the latest box-office hit or see what’s trending on YouTube or Vimeo. I think we are naturally attracted to organizations who experiment a lot and try something new or different every once in a while. Chick-fil-A does a great job at turning heads, just because they try something new every once in a while. Their ‘Save the Cows‘ campaign is a prime example. I can’t help but wonder what local churches can do to surprise their community with a good dose of creative inspiration!

HOST A GREAT WEBSITE

Your church website is often the first place prospective guests go before they decide to actually visit on a Sunday. Sadly, I suspect some people decide to try a different church, simply because they were unimpressed by a church’s virtual presence (or lack of.) Chick-fil-A has a fabulous website that does so much more than give directions to the nearest restaurant. They boast customer testimonies, special campaigns, menu’s that include exact ingredients (with nutritious information) and a lot more. If your church is trying to attract the community, it needs a good website.

NOTE: I offer website services to local churches at reasonable prices. Learn more at www.tlsites.com

SHARE THE GOOD NEWS

Chick-fil-A isn’t just interested in providing great service and food in their communities. They also want to make a big difference. I happen to know that most churches desire the same thing (the make a difference part, that is.) And, in fact, many of those same churches ARE making a difference. Lives are being changed and people are experiencing God’s transforming love over and over again. The problem? Nobody hears about it. I think it’d be great if our local churches would figure out how to capture and announce those stories of transformation to their communities and world, similar to how Chick-fil-A does on their ‘Customer Stories‘ page.

What else can local churches learn from Chick-fil-A?

Why Young Adults Don’t Attend Your Church

I used to visit a restaurant that had two separate dining areas, one slightly larger than the other. The larger dining area was always where I sat to eat, even though I had to walk right by the smaller dining area to get there. To be honest, it never occurred to me that I could sit in there if I wanted to. The reason was quite simple. It was where all the ‘regulars’ sat, who were also all much older than me. There was sort of an ‘exclusive club’ feel to the place. Everything about that space screamed, “Private Party” even though it wasn’t.

Sadly, our churches often send this same message to the younger generations, without even realizing it.

Let’s split up the ‘younger generation’ demographic into two categories, those (1) not interested in God and those (2) interested in or pursuing God, and focus on the latter group. It’s not hard to miss these people in our churches today, especially in the small to mid-sized churches. 

Why aren’t they attending more of our churches? 

I suspect the following 5 reasons might answer that question.

1. It feels like an insiders club.

Young people aren’t interested in learning the secret handshake so they can be part of the church. If they visit the church a few times and feel like an ‘outsider’ for very long, they’re not going to stick around. It is super important church leaders ask the question, “What (formal & informal) hoops have we created that people have to go through before they are accepted and integrated into the life of our church?”

In other words, how long will it take & what needs to happen before they are treated like family? More than any other age group, we need to be intentional about making this process simple, both practically and emotionally. 

2. It reminds them of their ‘mom & dads’ church.

I’ve heard young adults echo this phrase many times over the years. They leave the church they grew up in and find themselves at college or on their own. Eventually, they check out some churches in the area. From the moment they walk through the doors until they leave, their experience reminds them of church growing up. Only, for many of them, the Sunday morning experience growing up wasn’t for them, it was for the adults, for mom and dad. 

Although technically “adults,” many young people aren’t interested in acting like the ‘older’ adults they’ve been around their whole life. They want to express themselves as the younger generation. Churches who are actively reaching this group of people are also finding ways to enhance the Sunday morning environment to better appeal to them.

3. There is nothing interesting for them to do.

Despite the fact that young adults have a history of sitting in front of their devices, TV’s and xbox’s growing up, they don’t want to just sit around at church. They’ve grown up having a lot more freedom and control over what they get to see and do than those before them. And they are going to get bored real quick if they are forced to just do and go where everyone tells them to. They want to have a say in what’s going on and they want to do something important and interesting.

Churches who are thinking of this generation will quickly get them involved in ministry. They will encourage them to reach out to felt needs in the community. And they will provide lots of fun activities that are designed to keep young adults engaged with one another and the church family.

4. There is no one interesting to hang out with.

Many young adults who visit your church are looking for new connections. Surprisingly, not just with peers, but with people who can act as mentors and leaders in their life. That said, peers are important. Many a young person will walk in a church, scan the crowd, and determine to never return simply because there is no one else around their age. Churches that can reach a small ‘quorum’ of young adults have the beginnings of a foundation to build on, relationally.

It shouldn’t stop there. One of the best ways to truly connect to this auspicious group of people, is by inviting them into the homes and lives of your church families. I’ve never heard of a young person who turned down an invitation to dinner and who doesn’t secretly enjoy experiencing ‘family’ away from their own family.

5. Their questions are not getting answered.

Young adults hate watered down and pat answers. They have questions and they are genuinely interested in the answers. They want to know the Truth. But they have little patience for flowery speeches, big words, and long explanations. They want it simple. They want to get it. They want it fast.

Communicators need to brush up on their skills and not assume what worked ten years ago will work today. They need to know how to tell great stories and they need to be consistently asking themselves how they can connect with young adults. More than ever before, church leaders must, “be prepared in season and out of season.”


What other reasons are young people staying away from our churches?

Welcome to WAYNEHEDLUND.ORG!

In July of 2010 I took the leap and became a blogger. 
My first post was entitled, “Lids, Levels & Leadership.” I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know if my attempts at reaching out to the larger christian community would succeed. All I knew was that I had sensed the gentle nudging from the Holy Spirit to step out in faith and see what would happen. I heard that ‘still, small voice’ speak to me at a Leadership Conference and a mentor in my life confirmed it just a few weeks later. I started blogging the very next week.

Little did I realize the ramifications of that one act of obedience.
I had no clue that just 4 years later I would be spending the bulk of my time helping churches, organizations (including Elim Fellowship where I now work) and leaders through coaching & speaking. I would have never envisioned starting a small business dedicated to helping local churches & ministries launch new websites. Four years doesn’t seem all that long of a time, but it feels like 8 years have gone by since I began this journey.

And it has been an awesome journey.
That same year, Pastor Phil Taylor from Grace Fellowship Church was the very first person who asked me to coach him. I remember him saying to me, “Why don’t you practice your new coaching career on me?” Remarkably, he and I have maintained that coaching relationship from that time to this. We still meet, faithfully, each month to discuss leadership and church ministry. He and his family have become dear friends to my wife & I.

In that short time I’ve also been privileged to work with some amazing christian leaders, like Pastors Bill King & Jonathan Evans, Pastors Tony Martorana & Bryan Kenville, Pastors Jim Crowley, Laurie Bolton & Don BuongiornePastors Randy & David Jackson, Pastors Ralph VanAuken & Mark DeCorey, Pastors Ron & Judy Burgio, Pastors Dan & Debbie Colton, Pastors Phil Underwood & Ryan Reese, Pastors Rick Rohlin & Tim Smart, Pastor Mike Wing, Chris Zeiglar & Jon Burgio and of course the leaders at both Elim Fellowship & Elim Bible Institute. It has been both amazing and an honor.

Where do I go from here?
I recently heard a similar God-sized whisper like the one from four years ago. I can only assume that it means God is continuing my journey in ways I can still not fully comprehend. Among other things, I believe God told me to relaunch my ministry with a new blog & website right here at www.waynehedlund.org. Other than that, all I know is that I’m to continue to do more of what I’ve done these past years. I hope I will do so with a greater anointing, inspiring excellence and increased expertise than I’ve done in the past. Of course, with God, anything is possible. We’ll see!

Three ways you can partner with me today.
I wonder if you might be willing to help me along on this ongoing journey today? You may do so in one of three ways (that I can think of, anyway).

  • Subscribe to my blog.
    It is one of the greatest joys in my life to be able to impart to others what I’m learning and have discovered about ministry & leadership. It would be an honor to be able to share these things with you too. Would you consider subscribing to my blog right now? It will only take about a minute.

Subscribe via rss!         Subscribe via email!

  • Tell someone else about this blog.
    One of the best ways you can partner with me is by getting the word out about my ministry and services. If you would be willing to let other ministry leaders know about waynehedlund.org I would be super-grateful. Alternatively, you are also welcome to simply give me a few contacts you think might be interested in me, and I’ll introduce myself to them. Simply shoot me an email with their names and contact information. Thanks!

Send Me Referrals

  • Make a donation.
    If you have the faith and the finances to invest in this ministry God has given me, I would be negligent to not give you the opportunity to do so. You are welcome to make a donation by personal check made out to ‘Wayne Hedlund’ and mailed to my work address at: Elim Fellowship; 1703 Dalton Rd; Lima, NY 14485. You may also make a donation via PayPal or credit/debit by visiting my Donations page right now.

Make a Donation

 

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