The First 3 Things to Plan

If you were planning to take a trip, a journey, this summer, what are three of the first things you would need to plan? Perhaps you said where to, who is going, how will you get there? There are many things to consider; why this destination? What is your objective, rest, relaxation, sight-seeing, visiting historical sights? When we plan a trip with our family we consider these and many more. In churches and other organizations we plan as well. However, there is a big difference in planning and strategic planning for effective results.

In the church for instance I often hear of how much we gave. Assisting churches to find where their true focus is I often hear responses as; “We gave away 150 backpacks.” Or “We handed out 300 bottles of water at the community festival.” While these efforts are worthy of our time and resources they are not necessarily fulfilling the mission of the church, The Great Commission. You can hand out 300 bottles of water without once sharing the gospel. In fact the pastor of one church I was working with came to the conclusion, “There is nothing we have been doing in our booth that an atheist in the very next booth could not do.”

This pastor realized his church was doing social ministry, not sharing the story of Christ – fulfilling the Great Commission. Each year this church held planning meetings, involved several members of the congregation and encouraged every member to be involved in the community festival. They contributed to the festival, participated in the two day festival in a church sponsored booth. They were giving away free “stuff” all weekend. Yet, they were not sharing Jesus. The pastor and members of his church came to the conclusion that while they were involved and participating, they were not acting as a New Testament church. Unfortunately, many of our churches are playing this scenario in their communities – and believe they are doing it in the name of Christianity. It might be in the name of Christianity, but it is in name only and it does not match up with what we read in the book of Acts.

When you plan for a trip, if you are going to drive, you plan your route. How are you going to get to your destination. You plan which roads to take and what you will see along the way. You identify signs, cities, and sights you will encounter along the way. On your trip you watch for those particular roads, signs, and attractions. These are destination indicators. They are indicators that you are traveling in the right direction. (See Turnaround Journey)

As a church when you plan, plan for results – effective results that move you toward your destination. As the church your ultimate destination should be to fulfill the Great Commission; make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to observe all the things of God in Christ Jesus. Not only plan for effective results, you need to build in destination indicators so that along the journey you can identify that you are truly being effective and moving in the right direction.

What are the first three things you need to build into your planning for effective ministry? Be sure they include destination indicators along the journey.

Destination indicators are only one element of a successful equation laid out in Turnaround Journey. Most churches never build in destination indicators or other factors that you would never dream of leaving out of planning and implementing for a trip with your family. For more information on strategic planning and implementation for effective results contact George Yates and purchase your copy of Turnaround Journey, available at Amazon, Barnes&, SonC.A.R.E. Ministries, and other on-line retailers.

Involve Everyone in the Process

One of the dynamics of small groups is involvement. Whether you are teaching a Bible study or working with a team, getting everyone involved is important. If you only want yes people, people to rubberstamp your ideas, you do not need a team. You only need a few people who can nod their head up and down. But if you want and value input, realizing God speaks to others and that you may not have all the ideas, all the answers, then you’ll need to use approaches that assist and insures every person’s involvement in discussions and debate. Everyone’s involvement carries beneficial results as it engages each person’s higher order thought processes, allows everyone to be heard, produces learning, and brings cohesiveness and agreement through thought and discussion.

When recruiting and assembling a team it is important to inform those being recruited that their thoughts and ideas are not only important but valuable, desired, and necessary for the team to accomplish its goals. When speaking with pastors and other organization leaders about selecting persons to be recruited for a church health team or a planning team, I suggest the following criteria. The people you want and need on this team need to be open-minded, forward thinking, positive people who will share their thoughts and opinions and listen to all others with open mindedness as well. This information should be shared with each person as he/she is being recruited. They need to know the expectations up front, before they agree to serve with you on a team.

Acquiring each person’s input on a particular subject can be as simple as going around the room allowing each person time to share, starting at one end of the room let’s say the person on your right, and moving around the room until every person has been given a chance to voice his/her thoughts. This approach works and is okay in some formats for particular situations. However, you will receive better discussion and draw to a right decision when you learn to foster healthy debate across the team. (see blog post on Healthy Debate & read chapter seven in Turnaround Journey)

When you go around the room calling on each person to respond, they are likely to give their own thoughts and opinions. Team members will not often speak to one another persons ideas. Each person wants his or her ides to be heard. On the other hand, when you as a leader encourage healthy debate team members will discuss pros and cons of each person’s ideas, tweaking, building on, and adding to the ideas that they believe to be a better fit for the organization. This healthy debate will lead the team to a cohesive conclusion and suggestion for moving forward toward implementation within the organization.

There are several ways to encourage and spark healthy debate. Perhaps one of the simplest ways is to throw out a question probing the higher order thought processes of each person in the room. When the first person responds, wait a few seconds to see if someone replies, counters, or adds to the first response. If so your debate has begun. If no one replies to the first response, spark the debate with a second question. “What does everyone else think about that idea?” You can follow up with, “What other ideas do you have?” or “What are other ways we could…?” As the leader, you are the catalyst to move the debate forward. However, be careful not to give your own thoughts on the subject too early. This is a debate closer and you will miss out on good debate and likely miss other good or even greater ideas and suggestions. (see blog post titled The Leader Speaks Last)

Another benefit of insuring the involvement in the discussion of every team member is to come to that conclusion with solidarity. In a situation where every person on the team has had the opportunity to share his/her ideas and thoughts and all have provided input into the suggested conclusion, no one can leave the room and claim, “It’s not what I wanted, but…” A team should always come to a right conclusion and leave the team meeting with unity of purpose, in agreement for moving forward with the team’s decision.

Learn to involve and engage every person on your team or in your Bible study for a more productive implementation of truths learned and effective practices within the organization. For more information on involving everyone in the process contact George Yates and purchase your copy of Turnaround Journey today.

The Need for Overarching Themes & Goals

Every church needs an overarching objective. I believe it is a good practice to set a new overarching objective every year, perhaps even more often if you have a set time, criteria, and goals and accomplish those in a shorter time frame. An overarching theme or objective is determined by the church leaders by answering one question; “If we could only work on one thing (objective) for the next year (nine months, six months, etc.) what one thing would that be?”

Answering this question and narrowing to only one main objective will require discussion with the right people in the room. It may require more than one meeting. In one church when I introduced this concept to the church leaders (staff & deacon chair), we listed several ideas on a tear sheet and let each person give reason for why that should be our overarching theme for the remaining seven months of the year. Everyone left the meeting with the assignment to contemplate and pray for direction of which of the seven or eight ideas to select as our overarching objective.

When we came back together the following week, there were two of the ideas on everyone’s mind. We realized the two were actually connected and by working on either one, we would also be developing the other.  We concluded our discussion by choosing one and then began strategizing how to effectively implement improvements in this area throughout the organization of ministry.

Before proper strategic planning can take place though, your overarching theme needs to be turned into a goal – an overarching goal for the entire ministry organization – not only the pastor and staff. I refer to the Overarching Goal as the “OG.” In the book Turnaround Journey Calvert City Community Church begins their turnaround journey by selecting families as their overarching theme. The theme of families can take on a very wide spectrum of ministry and thoughts of what “family” includes. So before the team can proceed they must develop a goal for ministry to families for their church. Since it is to be an overarching goal it must be strong enough to support the fulfillment of the Great Commission and broad enough to be executed by all ministries within the church.

An Overarching Goal (OG) based on an overarching theme must include the theme as well as other elements of a goal. When setting a goal you need a “from here to where by when” (here + where x when=goal). In other words you must first determine where you are today, currently in regards to your goal relating to your theme. If your overarching theme is spiritual maturity for your congregation you need to have an understanding of where your people are at today. That is your from here.

Next you need a to where. Where is it you would like for your people to be at the end of your timeframe? Realistically, what should you expect from your people in the area of spiritual growth? TO determine a fitting to where, you must first determine a way to measure such growth. Is it measurable. If not, then you need to rethink your theme. Once you have a style of measure you can set your to where.

Your by when is simply selecting a date to accomplish your from here to where. I There are many other built in calendar dates a church can use as well. Example: Easter, the start of the new church year, or school start or finish dates.

The strategic planning dies not end with the setting of an Overarching Goal. That is the beginning point. If you want to implement for true Great Commission success begin with setting an overarching Goal. For more on this and the other steps for effective strategic planning and implementation pick up your copy of Turnaround Journey and contact George Yates at SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

Life is a journey and your church is on a journey. Why not set the next leg of your church’s journey on course for a more productive and effective beautiful journey.

Using Questions in Conversational Pause and Wait for a Response

I have had inquiries about two recent blog posts; Conversational Pause and Wait for a Response. The following is a portion of one conversation and response to one of those inquirers.  In a teaching setting as Sunday School or other Bible study group, you have great opportunities to use this teaching technique. A study the gospels, reveals Jesus using these techniques.

Questions are one of the greatest teaching tools God has given us. Learning to use properly formulated questions is critical in effective teaching for true life changing learning. As a student of the question and its proper usage for effectiveness I enjoy using and teaching others the art and benefit of using properly formulated questions.  Unfortunately, in churches (Sunday School) the one type of question most often used produces little or no learning. (You can read more about this in Teaching That Bears Fruit, chapter 4, The Art of the Question). Learning to formulate good thought provoking questions will change your teaching as well as the atmosphere of your class and produce life-changing learning.

I write about questions in response to your inquiry because using the right formulated questions will build in automatic opportunity for pause. Example: In your class you could ask, “What day of the week is today?” As soon as someone answers “Sunday.” All thinking stops. This question only calls on the listener to use static recall, not in-depth thinking (what I refer to as Higher Order Thought Processes). Everyone knows it is Sunday. There is no opportunity for learning.

Instead of that question why not ask, “What does Sunday mean to you personally?” Everyone in the room must use higher order thinking to process this question. When one person, John, speaks, everyone processes what John is saying with what he or she is thinking. No matter how many people speak to the question, everyone’s thinking remains engaged processing each new piece of information until you, the leader, say it is time to move on. The pause is critical in creating this learning experience.

Formulating the right question is part one of the teaching experience. Part two comes in allowing the listeners to become learners. You do this by pausing, allowing each one in the room to process the information. This is one of the greatest downfalls of many Sunday School teachers – not pausing to allow the higher order thought processes to engage. I’ve sat in classes as a guest and listened as a teacher asked what I thought was a brilliant question for a learning experience. Yet, the teacher did not slow down. Without even taking a breath she/he kept on going without allowing the listeners to realize there was a question or a potential learning experience available.

Questions are not the only method of arriving at conversational pauses, but they are perhaps the easiest and most natural way to arrive at a pause geared for learning. You can also learn to use statements to create the same type learning experience. Example: It has been said that the Reverend Billy Graham has stated that 50% of the people sitting in church on Sunday morning are not born again Christians. – There is an implied question in the statement. Perhaps more than one. First, it probes every person to consider his own spiritual walk. Second, it should probe “How can we help change that statistic” conversation among the class. Another example: Studies have shown that the percentage of churched teens and unchurched teens experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sex is virtually the same. That is a statement, but think of the probing it could lead to in your listeners.

While using statements can produce those same type learning experiences as questions, in a Sunday School class it may be best to use a follow up question to steer the thought processes; a question as, “What does that statistic say to you?” The key is to learn to pause and not to speak or give an answer without waiting for an answer. It is becoming comfortable with the discomfort of silence. Occasionally, not often, you may want to insert a little humor to lighten the tension brought on by the silence: something light like humming the Jeopardy tune or saying ‘tick, tock, tick, tock. It is also good to let your listeners know their input is valuable and needed for everyone to learn and live according to scripture.

Conversational pauses create vital learning experiences. It takes practice, but I believe anyone can learn to use this effectively. In the small group setting the learning part (for those listening) is instinctive. The teacher on the other hand has to re-learn how to teach by adding this to his repertoire. However, once you learn it and practice it with regularity, you will see a change in your teaching style, in the class atmosphere, and in the life-changing learning of those in your class.

For more on this topic contact George Yates and purchase your copy of Teaching That Bears Fruit.


Sending with Affirmation, Follow up, and Accountability

You are only setting the course for tomorrow when you build in follow up and accountability.”

Have you ever been in a meeting where no one could remember who was responsible from a previous meeting for progress on an issue or event your team was dealing with? We talked about it. Who was going to take care of that? I thought you were? Not me. I thought someone else was handling it. Meetings can be frustrating when actions for future progress are made yet no accountability and follow up are assigned.

Many meetings in church and business end without any commitment to follow up or accountability. Without commitment to follow up the likelihood of accomplishment diminishes dramatically. In a meeting, when a decision is made requiring action, assignments for undertaking the task should also be made. When assignments are made or challenges issued if follow-up does not occur, accountability wanes. A good leader instills the need for assignments to be made and a course of accountability is set.

In the story of Turnaround Journey, chapter four, no action decisions were made in the meeting. Therefore, one may not see a need for follow up and accountability. Reading this chapter you will notice however how Pastor Tim closes the meeting: “Let’s go get some lunch and commit to pray for these decisions and the implementation of things to come.” Does he build in follow up and accountability? Certainly. “Let’s go get some lunch and commit to pray…” With three words he gave the assigned follow up and accountability. The assignment was not only to pray, but to commit to pray. And the one word commit also depicts accountability.

Regardless of what your team, staff, or committee is contemplating, if there is no follow up and accountability taking place, is there really any forward progress taking place? Even in what seems to be routine meetings (preparing a budget, reviewing the church calendar, discussing present or future ministries) you are only setting the course for tomorrow when you build in follow up and accountability. Like preaching or teaching without issuing a challenge, are you not in effect only dispensing knowledge? Dispensing knowledge does not cause learning or growth. Though it might produce trivia buffs.

In Turnaround Journey, Pastor Tim, just prior to his statements for follow up and accountability, took time to thank his team members, acknowledging their good work and his appreciation. If you are not in the habit of continually thanking your team, staff, and others working with you, it is a good habit to get into. Verbal thanks and words of appreciation are always good. Beyond words, look for other ways to share your appreciation with your direct reports, team and staff as well. Gratitude goes a long way in future performance from team members and others.

Practice building in follow up and accountability in all your meetings and ministry. Jesus did; follow-up and accountability were active parts of each meeting, lesson, and teaching session with His disciples.

For more information on these topics purchase your copy of Turnaround Journey and contact George Yates at SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

Turnaround Journey

Many churches and organizations plan, but there is a large difference between planning and strategic planning that leads to implementation for effective ministry. Working with churches over the years one realization that has occurred to me is execution or implementation for effective ministry is an area of weakness in most of our churches, ministries, and organizations. Could this be an indicator of the plateaued and declining state of 80-90% of our churches? I believe it is.

While some believe that planning and hosting an event, leads to success, and consider their events to be successful, the truth is many events and ministry endeavors are lacking in effective, efficient, Gospel-centered ministry. This is why I believe God has guided me in writing Turnaround Journey.

Turnaround Journey follows the story of Pastor Tim Farling and Calvert City Community Church as they learn a clear and easy to follow strategic planning process with techniques on effective and successful implementation. The formula in this book helps leaders and teams narrow their focus spending their time on those things which will bring the highest results for the church or organization.

In addition the reader will find thirty-four helpful insights for productive leadership in any area of life. Thirty-four leadership tips and techniques that will change the effectiveness of your organization and increase your leadership ability and skills.

Thank you Dr.’s Jeff Iorg, Larry Wynn, & Syd Garrett for the following:

Dr. Jeff Iorg, President, Golden Gate Seminary

“Embedded in this story are important principles about actually leading a church to plan and implement strategic change.  There are many theoretical books on how to do this – but sadly, not too many on how to really get it done.  If you are discouraged by theoreticians and frustrated by failed efforts, check out the insights in this book as a roadmap to practical change in your church.”

Larry Wynn, Vice president, Church Revitalization, Georgia Baptist Convention

In Turnaround Journey, George Yates gives insight into leadership development that is applicable in the church, family, and corporate world as well. These principles are Biblically based and practical. Anyone desiring to become a more effective leader will benefit from this book.

Syd Garrett, Director of Compliance, Fortune 100 Global Telecommunications company

Turnaround Journey is an excellent handbook for all leaders in the church –  ministers, teachers, staff, as well as lay leaders.  George Yates does a fantastic job of laying out the tools and techniques for leadership and problem solving in the church.  In reality, many of the insights are really not limited to churches – really applicable to a Christian leader of any organization.  I’m going to borrow some of the analogies and approaches for use at work.

To learn more and to order your copy of Turnaround Journey visit or your favorite bookseller’s website.

Changing Directional Thought Processes

Changing Directional Thought Processes – Have you ever watched Wheel of Fortune on television? There have been times when I have watched it and think of one word likely in the puzzle, and I can’t think of any other word that could fit – even after I know the word I’m thinking is not correct. It is like a tunnel-vision of thought that I cannot break. Once the puzzle is revealed I may realize how obvious it was. But I could not break my own tunnel-vision of thought.

How many times have you been in a meeting or leading a discussion and realized only one avenue of thought was being explored? Working with pastors and church teams, I see this often. Recently, a church team was considering behavior patterns of their church. Patterns the church had developed that may be detrimental to the church’s growth. The conversation turned to their Sunday morning Bible study and carried on for fifteen minutes. When I would ask the team, “What else?” The response would be something about Bible study groups. While structuring for a more effective, disciple-making Bible study was certainly a need, I realized the group was stuck in a tunnel-vision thought pattern. I needed to break the thought processes of the team and redirect their thinking toward behavior patterns in other areas of church life.

First, I needed to break into the current thinking, lead the team away from Bible study only. “These are good, and you certainly have realized a great need in changing the behavior patterns of Bible study groups. However, we need to look at all areas of the church life.” These two statements cause a pause in the thinking of everyone in the room. The subtle compliment in the first statement breaks the chain of thought. Then I would need to redirect the thought processes. “What other behavior patterns, good or bad, do you see in other ministries or actions of the church body that positively or negatively affect the church?” The conversation moved away from Bible study and other areas were addressed. Since that meeting the team has identified areas of need in Bible study and have the first steps in place to becoming more effective and efficient in building disciples and fulfilling the Great Commission. Not only in Bible study, but in three other areas of church life as well.

In chapter nine of the book Turnaround Journey, coach Greg has been leading the church leadership team in a discussion using questions and statements to engage the team’s higher order thought processes. At a particular point Greg realizes the team members are focusing on only one aspect or one line of discovery. Team members are caught in a tunnel-vision of their thought processes. Greg poses one question to break this tunnel-vision. “Are your driving gauges solely on the instrument panel of the dash in your car?” With this one question Greg is forcing the team members to unearth a different line of thinking.

It is like a train changing tracks. This question causes the team to think of gauges as something other than instruments found on the car’s dash board. It is a think outside the box question. Greg realized the members were focused only on those instrument panel gauges. So he uses a question to redirect their thinking. The question is worded in such a way that it interrupts everyone’s thinking, but it also interrupts their thought processes. After giving time for those thought processes to be broken down Greg rephrases the question to enlighten his listeners and to reengage their thinking. He could have asked the second question first and avoided the awkward silence. However, Greg knew he needed to break down the thought processes and after the appropriate time, regenerate them. What do you think, was he successful? Read chapter nine of Turnaround Journey to see if the conversation changed directions. Did the team members realized there was more to be explored than the twelve inches of a dash panel?

Changing directional thought processes takes people deeper in their learning experience, causing more than impressions to be made. Changing directional thought patterns does not stop with attaching old information to new. It leads people in a discovery of what they had not considered or experienced in the past. Learning to use questions that change directional thought processes is a powerful tool in helping others gain insight, and change behavior patterns (people begin looking at subjects from a different perspective). However, a word of caution is due here. Using this directional change too early or with wrong timing can have a detrimental effect on the learning process. In leadership this can have an adverse effect on the team’s ability and willingness to carry out assignments. Learn to use this when appropriate, but always use cautiously, and with wisdom.

Jesus used this type of leadership with the religious leaders, his disciples and others following Him. Can you name a time Jesus changed the directional thought processes of 1) the religious leaders (Pharisees, Scribes, Sanhedrin), 2) his disciples, 3) one or more of His followers?

For more information on Changing Directional Thought Processes contact George Yates and purchase your copy of Turnaround Journey.

Wait for a Response

Wait for a Response – This post has some very close similarities with the previous post “Leadership Conversational Pauses”. It is nature in our culture to give an answer. From our earliest age of recollection we are trained in giving an answer. As a child, even before we were able to ask a question, every time we looked at our parents with a queried look, they always gave us an answer. As a child grows he learns to expect an answer when he/she has an inquiry. In turn children are taught to give an answer when asked a question. This routine becomes second nature. One thing we need to improve upon is that not every query needs a quick, even instant response.

I’ve watched leaders and teachers ask great questions and not allow anyone time to answer, blowing right past a great learning opportunity. Darryl Eldridge (Rockbridge Seminary) has said, “Never ask a question you do not want someone to answer.” This is great advice and one all leaders should study, concentrate on, and practice. Slow down, allow time for your team members to process the information and wait for them to give you an answer.

One reason we do not wait for a response is because silence is awkward. It is true silence is awkward. Yet silence is also a great learning tool when used properly. Again, slow down, silence is okay. As noted several times in Turnaround Journey, ten seconds of silence can seem like several minutes. This is what makes silence awkward. However, this is no reason to give the answer or move on without an answer.

Learn to read the body language and facial expressions of your team members. If they seem confused or in need of clarification, you may need to restate or reform the question for a better understanding. But do not answer the question or move on without an answer. Your learners need the brief time of silence to move to higher order thinking to process the information. Asking good formulated questions will bring about learning and will allow your team to assess more possibilities for drawing a conclusion and coming to a right decision.

When leaders wait for a response and allow the team members to process the information, encouraging their response(s), effective team work and productive outcomes materialize. When used effectively this will also help build a better, more efficient team. Waiting for a response can be used in a variety of scenarios: when you need your team or learners to discover a truth or how to best move forward in a particular situation, helping team members to understand needed changes (personally or as a team), brainstorming,, gaining knowledge, and assisting individuals to realize their shortcomings.

In the gospel of John, chapter eight, when the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, He asked a question, then he hesitated, stooped down, wrote on the ground and waited – in silence – for their response. Another great lesson learned from our Lord and Savior.

Practice waiting for a response, then put it into practice in all your circles of influence.

For more information on Waiting for a Response contact George Yates and order your copy of Turnaround Journey.


Leadership Conversational Pauses

Leadership Conversational Pauses – Effective leaders understand the necessity and viability of conversational pauses.  Many leaders and teachers, however, move through these concepts missing the opportunity for understanding and true learning to take place in the minds of listeners. A pause for even a few seconds will enable the higher order thought processes to kick into gear allowing the listeners to process and grasp what is being said. When listeners are allowed the opportunity to engage the higher order thought processes, the new information is processed alongside familiar information stored in the memory bank of the brain. It is the combining of the old, familiar, with the new information which brings about understanding and learning.

By moving along in a group discussion or a one on one conversation without these pauses there are few indicators that the person(s) have gained an understanding of what you desire from them. In fact, without pauses, there are few opportunities for the needed learning to take place. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed too many leaders who did not allow this time for understanding, and when the later actions of the listeners did not meet the desires of the leader the only person held accountable was the listener. In my opinion the leader is most at fault in many of these situations.

Another error I have seen leaders make is to run through his spiel letting his listeners know what he wants without any pauses. Then at the very end of his discourse ask something like; “Have you got that?” In most scenarios the subjects would simply say yes, or ‘I think so’, whether they do or not. For this we could find fault with the subjects or listeners. We might ask, why didn’t she speak up? All too often though, people have been put down and made to feel inferior enough times that they are willing to risk going into the project with a partial knowledge of the assignment than face scorn and ridicule even if the ridicule is subtle and unknown by the leader. For others, they do not speak up and ask questions because they do not want to feel like the only one who does not understand and they do not want to prolong the meeting.

Throughout the story in Turnaround Journey coach Greg and Pastor Tim use pauses with the staff and others to effectively communicate the desires and needs of the moment. In chapter eight Greg pauses several times to engage the higher order thought processes allowing the team members to process the new information and to develop a proper strategy for their church.

Practice using pauses in all your discussions and conversations. See what changes come from the people you speak with and those you lead by allowing information to be processed for better understanding. It may seem awkward at first, but you will see positive results. And if the understanding isn’t at the level you expect, you can clarify and make any corrections before leaving the discussion avoiding potential downtime and damage in the ministry field or workplace.

Learning when and where to place pauses in your team meetings and conversations is not difficult. In most cases the pauses should come natural, when you are asking something of your listeners, when you have completed giving instructions to be carried out, or as you are discussing a new platform or venue. The difficulty comes in implementing these pauses when you are not use to them. It is easy to keep going without the pauses. After all in your mind everything is clear. You, as the leader, have thought through the idea and know what you want. Remember: those in front of you are likely hearing this for the very first time. Five seconds of silence may seem like a long five minutes, but it will produce greater understanding and reap great rewards.

Practice pausing in your conversations and leadership meetings. Stop, breathe, allow your listeners to process the information you are divulging. You will build a less stressed team, with better capability to effectively, efficiently carry out the task and ministry ahead.

For more information on using pauses to build a more effective team contact George Yates. To pre-order your copy of Turnaround Journey visit the Turnaround Journey webpage.


Healthy Debate – Building Healthy Teams

Healthy Debate – is a great tool especially for strategy planning and leadership teams yet it is one seldom used, or at least seldom used effectively. Healthy debate should work to engage everyone on the team in the discussion. Healthy debate does involve conflict. However, in healthy debate, the conflict always remains on differing points of interest and not on personalities. The scenario played out in most organizations, large and small, is the conflict quickly turns to personalities. This is detrimental to a healthy outcome. Therefore, it cannot be healthy debate.

Healthy debate is conflicting points not personalities. In our story in Turnaround Journey (as in most scenarios) there are differing points of interest. Each of which could be validly supported. For healthy debate to occur the discussion should be led in such a way that the team comes to a ‘what is best for our situation’ answer and substantiates that answer with factual information. It is not based on any personalities or ministry preferences. In chapter seven of Turnaround Journey, Greg (the coach) had actually prepared the team for healthy debate for a full half hour prior to this decision making discussion. Greg had the team divide in pairs to share their ideas. Then he had them present the other person’s idea, not their own. What was he doing? He was allowing them to build a defense for the other person’s idea, not the person. Everyone’s idea was heard and accepted. But by being voiced by a second person, it brought a broader understanding and acceptance for each idea.

There are varying ways to build healthy debate into your team meetings. The key is to keep personalities out of the discussion – as much as possible. Make no mistake people’s personalities will come out as they share their ideas and thoughts. Otherwise there would not be passion for any particular idea. What we mean by keeping the personalities out is not to allow differing personalities to close off our open-mindedness. Healthy debate should not leave anyone feeling left out or belittled for sharing his/her opinion. As a leader it may be necessary from time to time to remind the team members to look beyond the person voicing the idea, and look at the premise of the idea. It is not the personality but the premise that will be implemented.

With some teams it may take time to build in true healthy debate, especially where people have not had the opportunity to openly express their ideas and understanding in the past. When first introduced to the idea some may feel insecure due to past experiences on your team or previous work, school teams, or even at home. In the church people do not want to offend another and do not want to feel offended or belittled. Therefore some may at first feel a little intimidated by the thought of healthy debate. This is where good strategic, encouraging leadership is very valuable to building your team members confidence that each person’s ideas and thoughts on every situation is vital to the team and the organizations future.

Seek out ways to implement and lead your team(s) in healthy debate.

For more information on healthy debate for effective decision making contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

To order a pre-release copy of Turnaround Journey visit for this and 33 more leadership tips as well as a prescription for effective strategic planning and implementation for your church or organization.