5 Things Every Church Leader Should Unlearn in 2018 (If You Want to Stay Relevant)

2. Flex Workers and Remote Workers Are Lazy

I’m hearing this question more and more from leaders who are struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing work culture: What do I do with (young) team members who want to work from home, from coffee shops and have flex hours?”

My answer: Embrace it.

There’s a myth that still persists that team members who want to have flex hours or who want to do remote work are lazy.

They’re not lazy. They’re living in the 21st century. We have this thing called the Internet these days, and it’s changing everything.

Gone are the days when you needed a central location that everyone reported to at a set hour to do set work. Sure, if you run a factory that produces widgets, you probably still run that kind of a business.

But if you work in a church or in an office, arguably, you don’t anymore. If you run reception, sure, you need set hours and a set location. Ditto if your job requires some form of manual labour or production.

But beyond that, if you’re an information or knowledge worker, you don’t.

Bryan Miles has become one of my favorite leaders to listen about the changing work culture. He and his wife, Shannon, have built a large, rapidly growing company that’s entirely virtual, and last year was voted by Inc. magazine as having the #1 workplace culture in America.

Bryan has a new book called Virtual Culture: Why the Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore. You may want to put it on your reading list. I also interview Bryan on an upcoming episode of my Leadership Podcast. You can subscribe for free here to make sure you catch the interview.

Bottom line?

Remote workers aren’t lazy. Lazy workers are lazy.

If you have a lazy team member, deal with it. If they don’t improve, release them.

But embrace remote work and remote workers. What you’ll discover is that productivity actually increases (often dramatically), costs go down and you begin to attract some of the best and brightest talent out there.

Will you need some set hours where everyone’s together? Of course. Many organizations have common days where everyone’s in the office but give freedom on other days.

So how do you evaluate people then if you can’t see them?

Well, first, being chained to a desk rarely improves anyone’s motivation or productivity.

And second, evaluate on them on results, not process. NOT producing is entirely different than how they’re producing.

If you focus on the outcome, not the process, you usually get a better outcome.

By the way, I’ve been working with flex and remote teams for years and love it. Several of my team members are from Bryan’s company, BELAY Solutions, and I love it.

You can learn more here to see if remote work may be right for you.

3. Online Engagement Happens by Lazy People in Their PJs

I literally heard this again this week from a leader. It drives me crazy in the most polite Canadian way.

Two of the seven church trends I identified for 2018 deal with the relative decline of church-in-a-box (as I call it) and the rise of digital church. You can read about those trends here.

But underneath it all is an attitude that people who engage church online are lazy and only watch in their PJs.

Does that have a shred of truth? Of course. I’m sure there are thousands of Christians who are too lazy to go to church and watch in their PJs instead. And maybe online church has been a back door for that group.

But…and this is what leaders keep missing…online church has a far bigger front door than back door.

The online world isn’t for lazy people, it’s for people. And if you want to reach people, stop ignoring the online world where ALL the people alive today are.

You shop online. You don’t make a physical purchase without checking it out online first. And you don’t drive anywhere new without jumping online.

Life has moved online, so ministry has to as well.

If you keep thinking online engagement only happens by lazy people, you’ll miss 99 percent of people you’re trying to reach.

You can read more about how churches moving online will impact 201here.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.

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