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March 13, 2013 in Featured

It’s been said, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

As a lifelong consultant, that statement may just be the Bible verse I most recite to clients. In short, as I speak to people all over the world, one thing becomes apparent very quickly – we all have the same issues. I can safely say, it’s been years since I’ve encountered a completely new issue with a consulting client. Sure, all issues have varying degrees of minutia that make up the problem as a whole, but the topics, concerns, obstacles and journeys are all pretty much identical everywhere.

As a result of those commonalities, I find myself using the same expressions over and over. I had one person ask me recently, “do you say the same thing over and over everywhere you go?” I had to say, “honestly, yes I do.” He then told me he had heard me say the same quotes a hundred times. Of course my consultant-like comeback was, “then fix it and move on the next issue.”

I thought it might be a good idea to share some of those common, most-used, sayings I find myself repeating over and over. Most of these aren’t cute or witty sayings, but are just real life answers to common problems.  I’ve often been asked to write a book of these isms, but I can’t because I’m sure I’ve borrowed most of these from somewhere or someone else. I’ve attributed the ones I was sure of:

  1. Start with the end in mind.
  2. Do what’s right and our competition will take a left.
  3. If you treat them like babies, they’ll just keep pooping in public
  4. What should be done eventually must be done immediately.
  5. Jesus didn’t form committees and boards and run his ideas past them.
  6. Again? What are you paying me for? Clearly it’s not my advice.
  7. Two heads are better than one, as long as the first head is Jesus.
  8. There are always four choices we can make:  Poor, Good, Better, Best. Our problem is we keep making “good” decisions. That’s only one step away from a poor one. 
  9. There’s never a bad time to make the best decision.
  10. Don’t build what you can’t finish. (Luke 14:25-35)
  11. If you knew what to do, why are you still asking for permission to do it.
  12. Jesus did tell us to seek wise counsel….so I’m not sure why you hired ME!
  13. Impossible doesn’t mean unsolvable.
  14. If you know yet do not do, you will have not. (partially and vaguely from The Bible.)
  15. Bibles and people should be treated alike in one way; when we talk about them, let’s make sure they’re at least in the room.
  16. Sometimes we gotta break it if we’re gonna fix it.
  17. We gotta knock if we expect it to open.
  18. There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
  19. Seriously.. again?
  20. You can’t go to feed the hungry tonight because you have Wednesday night dinner at your church? (OK, so I don’t use that one too often, but I could.)

There are about 100 more, so maybe I’ll post them over the next few weeks. I will also post the most common issues I find in consulting – the very issues the quotes above are usually applied towards.  In the meantime, All Praise Ministries would love to help your church overcome any and all obstacles as they relate to Worship, Music, Ministry, Marketing and the Arts. Reach out to us today and let us help you get to where God wants you to be!


The Difference Between Pastors and Preachers

January 6, 2014 in Featured

This may be the shortest article I’ve ever written, and yet, it just may be the article that costs All Praise Ministries some clients.  At APM, we are typically hired by the lead “pastor” of a church to work with the music and/or art department to help improve the worship experience for the congregation. Occasionally, but not often, a “pastor” may asks us to give them some feedback on their preaching style, or on his management style of the other leaders under him. But hardly ever will a “pastor” seek our advice past those boundaries. So, what I’m about to write wasn’t an opinion that was ordered, requested or suggested, and certainly not paid for.  But after 16 years of serving as church consultants, we’ve come to realize an underlying  cause to many of the common problems we find in the church: Preachers posing as Pastors.

Simply put, the definition of a pastor, as described by Websters is, “a spiritual overseer.”  The definition of a preacher is, “one who makes a speech about religion in a church or other public place.

There are many who are both preacher and pastor. These people understand that to be called “pastor” carries with it an obligation to oversee the flock. That word oversee means to physically watch or direct something or someone in order to make sure the desired result is achieved.” They understand that pastors can’t just cast a vision and hire people to execute it. That’s what a CEO does, but is not what defines a pastor. They understand pastoral duties require more than just simply showing up on Sundays to preach. They must watch over the flock. Guide them. Touch them personally. Be involved as much as humanly possible with the daily coming and going of the sheep.

But the ones who contribute to the most turmoil in a church are preachers who think they are pastors. Those who may go as far as casting the vision for the church and help implement the vision. They may hold the staff to the high bar set by that vision. But they separate themselves from the sheep. They place layers upon layers of people between themselves and the flock. Overtime, they loose sight of the core issues of their congregation and begin focusing on the issues associated with their church’s operation and organization. They begin to use excuses like, “if I’m to keep a clear vision for this church, I must remain separate and apart from the congregants.” Many of these types even preach about the hardships of their pastoral duties and complain about the “unfair” disadvantages of being a “pastor” who is responsible for such a huge vision. Although God actually calls pastors to place the needs of others above their own, many are focused on their vision and their plans for “the church.”

So,  simply put: If all you do is cast vision, hold staff meetings and show up on Sunday to preach. STOP CALLING YOURSELF A PASTOR! And for goodness sake, stop requiring others to call you pastor.





Is Your Church Staffed for Success or for Status Quo?

May 3, 2013 in Featured

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, recently did an interview about how to run an organization. Churches are organizations, and I found his comments highlighted what many churches are lacking today.  Costolo equated the staffing of an organization to a good improvisational troop. To have a diverse and effective improv group, you need intellectuals and innovators.

The Innovators: According to Costolo, “these are your dropouts and visionaries.”  The people who say, “I need the freedom to think about this problem outside the limits of whatever constraints other people might operate under.”

The Intellectuals: Dick goes on to say that this equally important group are the ones who “think in terms of measuring themselves and everyone around them with data.”

His point is this: you need both on your team. And the leadership needs to listen to and accept any offering of ideas from both sides. Managers should respond to their employees’ perceptions, not ignore them. As Costolo said, “When we, as leaders, deny there’s an issue and reflexively defend the status quo, it creates misery for people.” It also nearly guarantees failure for your organization.

Too many churches today rely on the same leaders who once lead them to greatness to get them out of their current hole.  What they fail to recognize is that these leaders are also the same ones who took them into that hole. Back in the day, they started on solid ground. Today, the soggy hole requires a completely different set of skill & knowledge sets in order to advance.  For most of these churches, it’s time to bring in a new group of advisers and staff members who think differently than the staus quo, and it’s time for leaders to listen to them.

All Praise Ministries can help you find innovators and Intellectuals for any and all of your staffing needs. If you’re having trouble getting your church back on solid ground, we want to hear from you. We can help.


March 4, 2013 in Featured



Is your church focused on pointing people to Christ, or pointing people to a deeper relationship in Christ? Maybe your church does both well. Great. You’re a member of the extreme minority. Many established churches are losing members in record numbers. Here’s what All Praise Ministries believes is causing this trend:

Serving the members of the church over serving the lost in the community

When a church starts considering the needs of its members over the needs of the lost, it becomes complicit to the will of The Devil and the church WILL begin to shrink and sink. A church that caters to it’s membership and the saved is not a church. It is, at best, a seminary that teaches the saved how to remain so. The church God wants us to “run” on Earth –  the churches that will grow and thrive in the work of The Lord, will care for the lost, first and foremost. It will sacrifice tradition for new and effective ways to operate in today’s communities. 

In our dealings with churches all over the world, we find churches that lose more members than they gain each year. Most of these shrinking churches are holding on to something like pride, control, status, money, people, tradition or status quo.  In most cases, the same pastoral staff that got them into this current mess is the same staff trying to lead them out of it. Of course, that won’t work in most cases. So, what’s the answer for these diminishing churches?

Give up.

Yes, you read correctly. Give up. Here are 4 of the top 10 things we’ve discovered are driving churches into financial and spiritual bankruptcy-type situations. And it’s time to give them up:

1. Pride. Someone CAN and WILL do it better. And chances are it will be differently than your preferred method. Hire someone to lead you to the next level and then trust them to accomplish what you hired them to do.  There are many consultancies, like All Praise Ministries, that can help you find your way back to growth. But you have to be willing to let go of your Pride and admit you need help.

2. Control. If you’re a lead pastor reading this, it’s time to clearly identify and state your area of core competency to your leaders and hand over the reigns to everything else to them. Worship Leaders plan worship services. Youth pastors run the youth department. Finance Managers handle how and when to spend the money; every person has a skill set. Allow them to use it while you use yours. Listen to them. Trust them to make decisions FOR YOU! Are you a gifted communicator? (I hope so.) Then preach and teach. Let go of everything else.

3. Traditions. Here’s a test. Do you know how many people in your congregation today gave their heart to Christ in the last 12 months?  Through baptism or membership roles, do you know the number? If that number is less than 10% of your weekly attendance, chances are you are focused too heavily on your traditions. One church in 2011, with a weekly attendance of about 1200 spent a budget of 4.6 million and had a total of 15 baptisms. In contrast, a member of our All Praise team went on a mission trip for $3500 and led over 120 people to Christ. But to do so, he had to get out of the four walls of the church. Pastors, it’s time to get OUT of your comfort zones. Can the money being spent on Wednesday night chicken dinners and Senior nights at the nursing home, be better used by sending a street team out into your community with door hanger invitations and the message of Christ? We think so.

4. People. Sometimes, you just have to cut the chaff. This certainly applies to the people on staff who are not helping move the needle upward, but it also applies to members – givers & contributors – who’ve supported you through the ups and downs. Often, the problem is too many givers are supporting the down times. All Praise believes that if most givers would stop giving when they see the church moving backwards in the number of saved, most pastors would be quicker in making changes to how they serve the lost. Instead, the opposite is typically the case. The pastor of the failing church looks for ways to turn the ship without losing the contribution of those “kind enough” to fund the sinking ship. So more focus goes internally to the programs and care functions than into outreach. It’s a vicious circle that only spins out of control, eventually leading to each member on staff operating in drowning mode….taking everyone and everything around them down with the ship.

To learn more about how to right the ship, and to see the other 6 tips, send us a note or call us. We’ll help you come up with a plan….the question is, will you GIVE UP and work the plan?





February 18, 2013 in Featured, For Worship Leaders, Worship Team

It’s Tuesday morning and last Sunday feels like a month ago. Your focus is on the next service. Even for those of us who plan weeks in advance, this next service is the most important one of all. Team built. Music sent. Rehearsal done. Creative meeting? Check. Feeling pretty pumped. Phone rings. The female voice you’ve planned on using for two of your key songs cancels. All of a sudden, it feels as if your week just started all over again. WHERE am I going to find a voice like hers? One who’s available on short notice?


We’ve been there. Recently. But the difference between churches who belong to the All Praise Network and those who don’t, is that we are part of a large network of highly skilled musicians, vocalists and technical experts who have and can play and work with anyone in any situation. Many of them, can be at your door at the drop of a hat.  Need a bass player tomorrow? Call All Praise. Need a worship leader even though there’s no time to rehearse with the band? Call All Praise. Does your sound team need instruction or training? Call All Praise. Whatever your worship needs are:


We are a nonprofit organization and take no money from you for our services. You simply pay us what our musicians and technicians charge us. We pay them, handle all the tax paperwork, travel arrangements, expenses, and more importantly, make sure you have the talent you need ON TIME –  EVERY TIME!

So next time you only “thought” you were ready for Sunday, give us a call. We’re here to help you take your worship experience to the next level.