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SHAUN, TELL US More About Strengths-Training To INCREASE Church Attendance.

 
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Post SHAUN, TELL US More About Strengths-Training To INCREASE Church Attendance. News & Views
In a previous Post, you shared how your being a Gallup-Certified "Strengths Coach" is helping churches INCREASE GROWTH in a DOZEN COUNTRIES on THREE CONTINENTS.

Unless a leader can find and develop the talents and strengths of those under their guidance, said leader ends up doing all the work himself or herself. As a result, the work of the Lord is hindered and the leader becomes discouraged at the lack of progress.

WOULD YOU PLEASE share your vision for helping churches, Pastors and leaders at all levels, find and put to meaningful use, the abilities, talents and team-related strengths of those under their spiritual guidance? It is understood that you are incredibly busy, but any hope you can share will be MUCH APPRECIATED. I think it can BLESS a lot of our Viewers.

Our Viewers can contact you by Private Message, PM, at the bottom-left of this page. However, if you have other contact info, please feel free to share it. Blessings.

Doyle
writedoyle@mail.com
404-933-1373
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12/4/21 9:26 pm


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Post shaunbwilson
Thanks for asking, Doyle. Helping people discover and use their strengths for the benefit of their congregation is an incredible way to increase engagement in the church. In the US, I have most often done this type of work with congregations and church leadership teams. In other countries, I have most often done this type of work with pastors associations to allow the pastors to both benefit from one another's strengths and also to help identify and call on the strengths of those in their church's leadership team and congregation.

A bit of background:

Engagement vs. Involvement

First, it's important to understand that there's a difference between involvement and engagement. Involvement is what you do in or for the church. Engagement is how you feel about your church. It's about feeling emotionally and psychologically connected to the church.

Most pastors think that if they can just get people involved in the church, it will cause them to feel more connected to the church. But what Gallup's research shows is that the opposite is true.

Most ministers work to get congregants to volunteer (involvement). Most often, the pressure is applied to get congregants to fill whatever role is "open" in the church. However, when we guilt congregants into filling a role they are not suited to, it often results in frustration and—many times—eventually leaving the congregation.

For instance, if we believe that just anyone can be a greeter (since it's just saying "hello" and making people feel welcome), and we guilt John into being a greeter to fill an empty role even though he is not naturally good at meeting new people and making them feel welcome, John is likely to suddenly begin "missing" Sundays that he is expected to perform that role. Even if he decides to give it the old college try, if greeting doesn't align with his natural talents, he is likely to eventually burn out in this role. Eventually, John simply finds a new place to worship.

What Gallup's studies show is that engagement increases involvement, but involvement usually does not increase engagement.

Why is Engagement Important?

Gallup has done research into church engagement, and the research shows that the more engaged someone is, the more likely they are to be "fully spiritually committed" (as measured by a defined set of Christian attitudes and behaviors). Moreover, those who are engaged are significantly more likely to have higher life satisfaction, to invite non-attenders to attend their church, to give in the offering sacrificially, and to serve more hours per month in the church than those who are not engaged or actively disengaged. Feeling emotionally and psychologically connected to the church (engaged) leads to these four outcomes.

How Does a Church Raise Engagement?

There are 12 things that Gallup has shown to increase engagement at church. One of the lowest-hanging fruits of the 12 is helping congregants to regularly have the opportunity to do what they do best for their congregation. Only 44% of congregants strongly agree with the statement "In my congregation, I regularly have the opportunity to do what I do best." The strengths work I do helps both congregants and the leadership of a church to identify the strengths of each church member and understand how that strength can be used as a tool for the benefit of the body. When both the leadership and the congregants have this information, it allows for each congregant to move toward regularly having the opportunity to do what they do best for the body.

Using Strengths in a Ministry Setting

The specific work that I do begins with a church, a church leadership team, pastor's association, pastors of a district, denomination leadership team, etc. taking a Gallup CliftonStrengths Assessment. Once they take the assessment, I create a personalized Strengths Brief for each participant that is approximately 13 pages long. It includes information on the different ways a person with their specific top 5 strengths might use those strengths in ministry, the ways in which those strengths can be used in leadership, what to look out for so that the strength isn't misused (making it a weakness), and even how to use each strength to create better spousal and parent/child relationships. Then the real fun begins...

The Strengths Intensive is a 3-day highly interactive program that helps each person to identify the specific and individual talents that God has placed within them and understand how to use those talents for the glory of God in their church, ministry, or parachurch organization. It is a training that is designed to help each member of the body of Christ understand how to better apply Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12 to their lives.

Participants also learn to better understand the talents of other members of the body in their church, leadership team, pastor's association, or district so that the group may call on the strengths of others when a situation would most benefit from that strength.

For example, I know which member of our missions organization to call on to help us understand what roadblocks we might encounter as we launch a new strategy because this is their strength. I know which member of our missions organization to call on when I know that we need to make sure our ministry partners know that we value their input and help them know that they have been heard. I know which member of our missions organization to call on to help us develop effective strategies to accomplish new goals and opportunities that the Lord has given to us. And I know which member of our missions organization to call on to help us figure out the best path forward in the face of conflict.

The truth is, while one person can do all of these things, no one person can do all of them well because God did not create people to be well-rounded. But He did create teams to be well-rounded (Rom 12:3-8). The Strengths Intensive teaches teams to know how to call on the right person with the right strength at the right time. When each member regularly has an opportunity to do what he or she does best, it leads to engagement. And as we said in the beginning, higher engagement leads to inviting and growth in a church, ministry, or parachurch organization.
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12/4/21 10:54 pm


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Post FLRon
I would be interested in learning more about the 12 things that Gallup has shown to increase engagement at church. Is that info available publicly?
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12/8/21 11:12 am


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Post shaunbwilson
FLRon wrote:
I would be interested in learning more about the 12 things that Gallup has shown to increase engagement at church. Is that info available publicly?


Ron, I've had an extremely busy couple of days, but I will come back and answer this as soon as I can. Thanks for your patience!
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12/10/21 5:43 pm


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Post Dean Steenburgh
Shaun, can you provide information as to how much this cost to find these strengths & weaknesses?
Also, are you ever available on the west coast?
If you can't answer this as a post will you shoot me a PM?
Thx, Dean
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12/19/21 2:20 am


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Post shaunbwilson
FLRon wrote:
I would be interested in learning more about the 12 things that Gallup has shown to increase engagement at church. Is that info available publicly?


Ron, thanks so much for your patience. Below is more information that Gallup has released publicly about the 12 things that they have shown to increase engagement at church. These 12 things fit into 4 categories, which I will list below.

Before reading through the list, it is important to note that these 12 things are part of a congregation's hierarchy of needs. You are probably familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which lists the needs that a person has in his or her life. The hierarchy starts with physiological needs like food, water, and air to breathe. Next are safety needs like a safe place to live and some basic level of financial security. Next are love and belonging needs, which include the need for close relationships, friends, and love. In a hierarchy of needs like this, each level must be progressed through in order. This makes sense to us in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs—no one is looking for a wife at the love and belonging level if he cannot breathe at the physiological level. The hierarchy of congregational needs is the same; it must be progressed through in order.

The first level of the hierarchy is answering the question "What do I get?" The very first thing congregants and potential congregants need to move toward engagement is an answer to this question. Within this level are two measures of engagement[1]:

1. As a member of my congregation, I know what is expected of me.
2. In my congregation, my spiritual needs are met.

The second level of the hierarchy is answering the question "What do I give?" People have an innate need to give of themselves. This level is all about whether the gifts that the Lord has entrusted to them will be identified, cultivated, and allowed to thrive within the body. God has gifted every member of the body with talents to minister, and a person who is not given that opportunity will quickly become frustrated and either leave or cause problems in a church. The questions that fall within this part of the hierarchy are[2]:

3. In my congregation, I regularly have the opportunity to do what I do best.
4. In the last month, I have received recognition or praise from someone in my congregation.
5. The spiritual leaders in my congregation seem to care about me as a person.
6. There is someone in my congregation who encourages my spiritual development.

The third level of the hierarchy is helping congregants answer the question "Do I belong?" This level of the hierarchy helps a person determine whether they "fit" within the congregation. Does the local body value my input, or am I just padding the Sunday morning attendance numbers and coffers? Are we spiritually motivated by the same things? Do we have similar views on a believer's call to holiness? The questions that fall within this part of the hierarchy are[3]:

7. As a member of my congregation, my opinions seem to count.
8. The mission or purpose of my congregation makes me feel my participation is important.
9. The other members of my congregation are committed to spiritual growth.
10. Aside from family members, I have a best friend in my congregation.

The fourth and final level of the hierarchy is helping congregants answer the question "How can we grow?" Although engagement does drive the outcome of "inviting," that is not what this question is about. This question is about how the congregation as a body can be moved toward spiritual growth. The questions that fall within this part of the hierarchy are[4]:

11. In the last six months, someone in my congregation has talked to me about the progress of my spiritual growth.
12. In my congregation, I have opportunities to learn and grow.

In my original post, I described how I help churches focus on item number 3. However, I also teach a 3-hour seminar called "Why People Stay" that focuses on all 12 items of engagement and explores strategies for increasing engagement in each area. As you can see, what is listed above simply scratches the surface or provides a general overview of how churches can begin to think about increasing engagement, which Gallup has demonstrated increases Spiritual Commitment as well as the outcomes of Life Satisfaction, Inviting, Serving, and Giving.
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12/22/21 2:25 pm


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