Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hey Fletch … I am relatively new as an XP. First, your website and the XP-Seminar have been tremendous resources. Second, I want to hang out with an XP in my area for a day to watch how they work. The problem I have is, “How I should structure the day and what questions I should ask?” I feel as though I don’t even know what questions I need answered right now. I just know that others out there have many years and more wisdom in this role than I do. If you were to observe an XP for a day, what would you want them to show you or answer for you?

DRF—Nice to hear from you. There is a great group of XPs in your city. Let me know if you want to get connected with them. They meet regularly and talk through XP issues.

Hanging out with another XP is a great way to grow. I applaud your thinking on this. There is no reason to go it alone or to reinvent the wheel. Getting outside advice and understanding is crucial. I do strategic coaching with XPs and always recommend they get up close with other churches. You are on a great path.

Here are some thoughts for you:

  • Be with the XP on a day of significant meetings. Discover how the staff meetings are run. Get in on a Core Team or Key Staff meeting. Click some mental pictures of those meetings. Take notes on what you want to emulate and what won’t work in your situation.
  • From those meetings, assemble a list of situational issues for discussion. You will probably have more than an hour’s worth of material. This could make great fodder for a lunchtime discussion. Take the XP out for lunch and pay for the meal as a mini thank you for the time together.
  • Ask about the strengths that the XP brings to the church. There could be issues of giftedness or style for you to learn from. The XP may have significant experience in past ministry or business as well.
  • Discover the limitations of the XP and how they compensate for that. Some XPs are strong in ministry skills. They may supplement business expertise with staff or a team of leaders, such people on a Finance or Facilities. On the other side of the coin, some XPs are great in business and have other staff help with ministry strategy.
  • Review the church’s org chart and see how it compares to yours.
  • Most XPs are either Board members or sit in with the Governing Board. Walk through this experience and compare it to yours. What kind of prep work does the XP send to the Board before the meeting? How does this help inform the Board and pave the way for better discussion and decisions.
  • As time allows, talk through staffing issues and ministry planning. Who are the great staff and how are they encouraged. What is being done with staff who are not performing well or who have stagnated? Have the XP explain the mission of the church and how it is being lived out in the staff, budget priorities and people of the church.

After your day together, send a personal note with a small gift, perhaps a card to Starbucks. The amount is less important than the thought behind it.

You may want to return for another day or invite the XP to your church for a day or lunch.

Let me know how it goes!