From around the globe, people tune in on Fletch’s warm and sound advice. He’s a friend and “church doctor,” bringing an objective perspective, broad knowledge and vast experience. Your question will get a personal reply from Fletch.
Hey Fletch … I’ve been in ministry a long time. Your XP-Seminar is unlike anything that I have attended before. I absolutely love it. The XPastor site exudes something different than most sites. What is it that is different?
DRF—Thanks so much for your gracious words. The free XPastor site has been around for over 14 years and has over 700 articles and thousands of pages of PDFs. Our aim is for articles that will stand the test of time. A good article should last at least five or ten years, often more.
Webster defines a blog as: ‘a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer.’Blogs are short and wonderful snippets of thought. That is not XPastor.
XPastor presents articles of length and substance. Each one is written by a leader in their area of church expertise. They are much longer than a 150 word blog post, generally between 1,000-2,000 words, sometimes more. We don’t publish listicles of the ’10 Things You Need to Do This Week,’ with a sentence beside each one.
At XPastor, the material makes you think. It challenges you. You may not always agree with everything you read, but isn’t that how we best learn?
XPastor is free. We don’t pay people for writing their articles. It is a gift to the church around the world. To pay the rent, we host the XP-Seminar and workshops, as well as do strategic consulting with churches.
This is what makes XPastor different and effective for church leaders around the globe.
Hey Fletch … In response to the March 8, 2018 “Hey Fletch” column, let me add (and feel free to use my name here): In regard to how often our people come to church each month, we are closer to the traditional three times per month because we have so many worship service options. Sports and club programs and travel options are one of the main reasons for the drop from worship attendance of 3 or 4 times a month. Alternate worship service times help with that. Plus, sermon-based small groups cause those who miss to listen online to be prepared for their groups. Larry Osborne
DRF—Larry, thanks so much for sharing. Normally “Hey Fletch” is anonymous for the ones asking the questions, so I appreciate you giving permission to share your story. With five campuses, you make it easy for people to worship near where they live. I noticed on your Vista campus a variety of worship service times—Saturdays 5:30pm, Sundays 7:30am, 9am, 11am, 12:45pm, 6pm. It would be hard to say, “our kid’s sports program on Sunday morning made it impossible for us to worship this week.” Tami and I love going to church on Saturday nights. When I was young, I used to go to Vista to visit my great-grandmother. I’m thrilled that there is now a vibrant church in that region!
Hey Fletch … I have heard you talk about “easy onramps” in a church. What do you mean by that?
DRF—Every church needs places where newcomers can easily “get on board.” Existing attenders also need to know how they can revitalize their spiritual lives in groups ranging from the basics, to ongoing study, to serving others. I like to call these “easy onramps.”
One size does not fit all churches. Just as you have different kinds of onramps to get on a freeway, tollway or to catch a train, so you need customized ways to engage people. I would be pleased to work with you and explore what will work best for your church. You need a carefully designed ministry strategy, not a bevy of tactical programs. More is not always better. A strategy of engagement takes time and planning to be most effective. Give folks an easy onramp to the exciting path of following Christ as your church.
Hey Fletch … In a February 6, 2018 “Hey Fletch” column I saw the question: Is anyone out there using a system that allows a church to broadcast a Spanish speaking translator to our congregation? My wife is from Argentina and we sometimes attend a Spanish service near us in the States. When they see me walking in, they hand me a headset without even asking. I find that attending a service being translated into English makes me focus more on the entire message. I get more out of it than I do in an English service. I think that this is because there is an inevitable short translation delay. I pay attention to the body language of the speaker, catch the crowd reaction and then hear the translation. I’d recommend to someone that is considering offering translation services to attend a church that is spoken in a foreign language and translated it to English to get a feel for the experience.
DRF—This comment is pure gold. From my experience in doing ministry in four dozen countries, that comment is true. The act of translation forces me to listen better and enhances my spiritual growth. Thanks for writing in!
Hey Fletch— I so love the resources that you are providing on XPastor. I recently transitioned into the Operations Pastor role, which for us is similar to an XP in most churches. First, I’m observing that ministry leaders have a hard time seeing the holistic ministry picture, and how their ministry is a small puzzle piece in the larger organizational puzzle. Second, ministry leaders make a habit of doing almost everything at the last minute, as in moments prior to the start time of a service. HELP! How do I address these problems?
DRF—Those are some great questions in your new role! For your first question, a huge piece of your role is “setting the stage.” You must show leaders how their ministry fits in. Their eyes may glaze over at the complexity of the entire church. Take time to share the big picture, strategy and vision. Show how their ministry fits into the vision of the church. Explain in stories how what they are doing matters as vital piece of the whole organization.
For the second question, solve this one and you will win a Nobel Prize! Many go into ministry with strong people and relational skills. Unfortunately, this means they need to go to “the school of hard knocks” on planning, strategy and organization. Preach it hard. Give them workable schedules. Set deadlines and show them how to make those deadlines. Unfortunately, prepare to be regularly disappointed for the first year but things slowly will change.
Hey Fletch … Is anyone out there successfully using a system that will allow a church to broadcast a Spanish speaking translator to our congregation? Their desire is to sit in on our live service, rather than attend a Spanish speaking service. We would prefer not to distribute devices but rather have them stream a signal to their cell phone or tablet with a set of earbuds.
DRF—I love this question! Thanks for writing back and saying: “We’ll be testing a device that promises to be a very good fit. A little pricey, but just what we’re looking for with expandability. The recommendation came from a person in our church.” If you go with it, write an article about the journey. That is valuable!