people matter

It’s in You. And Your Team. Let’s Access It.

You know it’s good - your leadership, your team, your work, your life - but, there’s a gnawing sense that it could be better. More focused. More replenishing. More you.

I only have a few spots left

People Matter. How Do They Know?

It's one thing to say "people matter," it's another to assess, invest and train so that all your systems, processes, and teams genuinely communicate "people matter."

What about your guest experiences?

  • Your weekend services.
  • Your mid-size events.
  • Groups. Classes

How are you consistently communicating "people matter" - to God and to your church? All of us have room for improvement. We benefit from outside-our-viewpoint perspective...

To Tag or Not to Tag

I just received a question from Kyle - a friend who serves at a neighboring church in our area. 

Do our greeters wear name tags or only those serving at our Guest Services center? 

I've had dozens of conversations with churches asking a similar question, but much to my own surprise, I don't think I've addressed it in writing 'til now. Thanks for the prompt, Kyle! 

To Tag or Not to Tag

At Granger Community we want to remove all the barriers we can

Do I Love Quiet & Hate People?

I've been trying to find the rhythm that honors the way God wired me. I'm an introvert. A connections pastor introvert. I like people. Love people. There's nothing fake in the way I interact with people, particularly around our gatherings as a church.

But as an introvert, I need down time. Alone time. Time to be, to think, to create, to rest. (Of course we all need this time - it's what Sabbath is about - even for extroverts.) I refuel by being away from people, especially lots of people. nd it's helpful to my "spiritual maturity" thermometer to see my inclination toward introversion as "contemplative." It is what it is, I suppose.  

However, sometimes my effort to find rhythm turns

Original Grace vs Original Sin | Part 1

I’ve been wrestling lately with the crap inside of me. My own broken places. The effects of shame that rear up to suck me back into a hole of “you’re not good enough.” I’ve fought with my own besetting sin and the distractions that are triggers for me.

I’ve witnessed my sister going through the painful process of chemotherapy. I’ve read text reports of a family member’s baby fighting for his life. I’ve read the devastating reports and watched the wreckage video of tornadoes in Oklahoma. And I’ve read the tweets and heard the rhetoric of Christians pointing to the "justice" of God. His punishment for sin. I’m sick about the suffering and fed up with the judgment of people who speak for God.

Peter, Jesus... and Me

I'm realizing again just how much I relate to the Peter of the New Testament. I try to put myself in the story of the Bible, try to embrace the eternal message of the divine... and the human (that the divine created). Peter makes it easy for me. I so connect to his classic scenes.

When I read about Peter it’s easy for me to see… 

a man with his foot in his mouth;

his mouth in everyone’s ear;

and someone else’s ear in his hand!

And it’s pretty much true…look at him:    

  • After a considerable amount of time with Jesus, Peter’s still interrupting teaching time with requests in Matthew 15, like, “explain the parable to us”. Followed by Jesus’ first closing his eyes, moving from despair to smile to a nasal laugh, before cupping his face in his hands and asking, “Are you still so dull?”
  • In Luke 12, he leans over

Broken Systems Break Service


I've had some unbelievable customer service experiences that left my head spinning. So have you. You know those experiences that leave you asking, "Did that just happen?"

I have a very good friend who recently encountered "one of those." Her cell service suddenly went south: missed calls, no rings, no voicemail, inability to virtually use the phone as a phone. What follows is the actual chat conversation. "Sprint" and "Eva" are the phone company representative. "You" is my friend, the bewildered customer.

Sprint: We received your information and will connect you with a Chat Specialist soon.

Eva J.: Hi.

Eva J.: Thank you for contacting Sprint. I am happy to help you.

Eva J.: Please hold a moment while I access your account.

Eva J.: Thank you for waiting.

Eva J.: Please let me know the complete address of the location where you're getting the issue.

You: (Address provided)

Eva J.: Ok.

Eva J.: Please allow me a moment to check the details.

Eva J.: Thank you for being online.

Eva J.: I understand that you are having the network issue in your area and you are not able to use the phone services. I am sorry for the inconvenience you have gone through. Its a known network outage in your area and we have already reported it to our technicians and they are working hard to get it fixed. Its in the final stages of fix and is expected to be resolved very soon.

Eva J.: The Estimated Time of Resolution (ETR) updated by our technical team is: 06/22/2013 19:00:00 CST

You: I beg your pardon? I will continue to have virtually NO cell phone service until JUNE? That is not "very soon"

Eva J.: I understand your concern but the Sprint is working on to upgrade it's signal strength, so you're getting the issue.

You: I appreciate that "the Sprint" (where are you writing from anyway?) is working to upgrade it's signal strength but I am having serious difficulty accepting that I will continue to be billed for a service that is virtually unusable.

Eva J.: I am sorry for the inconvenience experiencing by you but it's a technical issue and resolving by our technical team.

You: Eva J, this is not "inconvenience". This is paying for a service that is not working. What would you do if you were in my place? You're telling me you're sorry but not giving me any options. As I see it, you are essentially telling me to find another service, is that correct?

Eva J.: I understand your concern and if I were at your place then may be I would have also reacted like the same.

Eva J.: The upgradation is for the betterment of the services and you'll get the credit for the known outage systematically.

You: I appreciate your time but this situation is unacceptable. I no longer have access to a land line at home which makes my cell service reliability imperative. You are leaving me no option but to cancel my Sprint service and sign on with another carrier.

Eva J.: I can assure you we are working to not only fix it, but improve your overall customer experience in the area.

You: Yes, I hear you saying that, but what you're also saying is that I will not have dependable service until June of this year. That is not acceptable.

Eva J.: As your calls are dropping, so I can offer you 100 anytime minutes for free and when the services gets corrected then you'll get the proactive credit from the system automatically.

Eva J.: Is there anything else I can assist you with today? 

You: Sorry, I'm at work and was answering my other phone.Ok, so your offer is to give me 100 anytime minutes? You already know, if you have my account in front of you, that I pay for unlimited minutes so this offer has no interest for me. My only interest is in having dependable service. Can Sprint provide me with dependable service by Monday, April 1, 2013? If not, I will need to cancel my service with Sprint. Can I do that with you or must I contact another area?

Eva J.: Yes. You have free minutes on your account but the anytime minutes can be used to call on landline numbers.

Eva J.: I am sorry but I cannot confirm you that you've updated connectivity and network on and after April 01, 2013 and the account can be closed by our accounts team only, so we can arrange a cancellation callback from here or you can also contact our Account Services team directly at 1-888-211-4727. When you call, select option 2 to make changes to your account then press 5 to cancel.

You: I will do so. Thank you for your time.

Eva J.: You're welcome.

Eva J.: Thank you for choosing Sprint - we appreciate your business!


When systems prevent serving the people we're set up to serve, our systems are broken. When anything - anything - gets in the way of people experiencing the Story of Jesus in our churches, something is broken.

Your Teams Are People, Too

We know it, no one needs to remind us. Or do we need to be reminded? The volunteers and staff who make up our ministry teams matter as much as the people we're serving. Our teams are people, too.

As I've had conversations with volunteers and staff on my various teams over the past couple weeks, I've been reminded. People matter. People need value. These people are my first "customers" or "guests".

Just this past week or so, I've been reminded - they will experience value when:

    People I Want on My Guest Services Team | #10 - Missional People

    Alas, the end of this list: People I Want on My Guest Services Team. I'm sure this list could be longer than a Top 10; maybe 20, 30 or even 100. But you see the period of time just ten characteristics took to post.

    However, we have arrived. Number 10:

    • Missional People: people who reach out to those who are seeking God

    Breakfast Barricades

    I live in northern Indiana in the path of the snow belt from Lake Michigan. We call it Lake Effect. I think that's intended to remind us that we get to enjoy the water and beaches of the great lake... when it's warm. I bring all that up to say that when it finally starts getting warmer, we Hoosiers find ourselves in the path of the department of transportation - fixing pot holes. Some days I prefer the snow.

    Today was one such day. This morning on my way to a breakfast meeting I approached the main thoroughfare out of my neighborhood and discovered

    Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 5

    In the last several posts about creating and cultivating a volunteer culture, I’ve pulled from my second book, Lasting Impressions: From Visiting to Belonging, to review some common myths that prevent people from stepping up to serve in the local church (or any organization).

    Myth #2: “Volunteering Requires Too Much Time.”

    • This myth may or may not be true in your church. If the only way to volunteer at your church is by serving every week for hours at a time

    Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 4

     MYTH #1: “There’s no room for me; it’s all being done already.”

    • You and I know nothing could be further from the truth. Unless it's really true, of course. Maybe your staff is doing it all. Maybe you've structured things in such a way that there really are not new opportunities for new peeps.

    Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 3

    When your church decides to intentionally develop a culture where it's normal to volunteer, where it's natural to serve, it's easy to make it all about the task. And when it's all about the task, we can make it all about our church. It's all too easy to forget that it's first about Jesus and people. I know - shocking. Earth-breaking. But true. Here are a couple examples.

    • The objective, the task alone drives the recruitment of volunteers. 
      • Often churches look at the ministry goals in front of them and go into recruitment mode to get the task of ministry done. And why not?

    Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 2

    In our local churches we sometimes operate in a fantasy land, ignoring the reality that our people are living outside the four walls of the church. We create programs, activities, and opportunities for people to volunteer their time and talent as though our people are sitting around with nothing to do.

    When we do ask them to step up and participate, we're often vague, and sometimes shaming.

    It's as though we think people walk through the front door of our church saying,

    Volunteer Culture: It Won't Just Happen, Part 1

    I’m often asked what it takes to move a local church from staff-led ministry to ministry led and carried out by teams of volunteers. It's certainly not an overnight process to make such an intentional change. 

    Here’s part one of several responses to the question: how do create a culture of volunteering where people choose to step up and serve?

    It starts with vision