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Building the Engaged Church . Larry Hammond. Building An Engaged Church. What is a Strength? How Can You Identify Strengths How to Manage Non-Strengths. What is Engagement? Why Does It Matter? What Drives Engagement? How to Develop Engagement. Why Am I Here?. Background Passion Values

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Building An Engaged Church

What is a Strength?

  • How Can You Identify Strengths

  • How to Manage Non-Strengths

  • What is Engagement?

    • Why Does It Matter?

    • What Drives Engagement?

    • How to Develop Engagement

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Why Am I Here?

  • Background

  • Passion

  • Values

  • Legacy – “Want to Impact Lives”

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What is a Strength?

A strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity. This ability is a powerful, productive combination of talent, skill and knowledge.

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What are Talents?

Talents are naturally reoccurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied.

Unlike skills and knowledge, talents naturally exist within you and cannot be acquired.

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What is a Spiritual Gift?

  • Spiritual gifts are gifts that are bestowed on Christians, each having his or her proper gift to strengthen the church.

  • Spiritual gifts are God-given graces meant for works of service, to benefit and build up the body of Christ as a whole.

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Focus on Strengths














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Focus on Strengths

  • “The gift you

  • have received,

  • give as a gift.”

  • - Matthew 10:8

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Focus on Strengths


(Ability to perform)


(What you know)


(God-given gifts)





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What are Skills?

Skills are basic abilities to move through the fundamental steps of a given task.

They can be acquired and developed through formal or informal training.

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What is Knowledge?

Knowledge is, simply, what you know.

You can acquire knowledge through education or training.

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Creating a Strength

When you enhance a talent by adding the right skills and useful knowledge, you have created a strength.

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Rapid Learning


What kinds of activities are you naturally drawn to?

What kinds of activities do you seem to pick up on quickly?

In what activities did the “steps” just come to you automatically?

Five Clues to Talent

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Glimpses of Excellence


During what activities have you had moments of subconscious excellence, “How did I do that?”

What activities give you a kick, either while doing them or immediately after finishing them, “When can I do that again?”

Five Clues to Talent

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Putting It Simply

People don’t change that much.

Don’t waste time trying to

put in what was left out.

Try to draw out what was left in.

That is hard enough.

First, Break All The Rules

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Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.

“A leader is someone who can get things done through other people.”

Warren Buffett

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Leaders stay true to who they are – and then make sure they have the right people around them.

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  • Always seem to be a struggle.

  • Practice does not make it perfect.

  • Harmless if does not play a role in your life.

  • Becomes a weakness when you try to use it.

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Non-Talents—What do you do?

  • Manage, don’t FIX

    • If you can avoid using them, then do so!

    • Use support systems

    • Complementary partnering

    • Leverage your talents

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The “Weakness-Prevention” Assumptions

  • “You can learn or do anything if you just try hard enough”

  • “You have the greatest room for growth in your areas of greatest weakness”

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A lesser talent becomes a weakness only when you try to use it.

Whenever possible, avoid using your areas of lesser talent.

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Strengths-Building:The Right Assumptions

  • Some behaviors can be learned. Many are nearly impossible to learn. There are differences between talent, skills, and knowledge.

  • The best in a role delivers the same outcomes, but can use different behaviors.

  • Weakness-fixing prevents failure. Strengths-building leads to success.

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Spiritual Gifts

Your spiritual gifts help you find what the ministry is that God wants to see you accomplish.

Your talents are God’s way of showing you how you will accomplish it.

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Discovering Spiritual Gifts

Help your congregation discover their individual Spiritual Gifts and their talents.

Doing so will create a powerful combination as discovering Spiritual Gifts defines the outcome and discovering talents defines the steps.

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Invest in Your Strengths

If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.

While our society encourages us to be well-rounded, this approach inadvertently breeds mediocrity.

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Find Your Leadership Strengths

“I’ve never met an effective leader who wasn’t aware of his talents and working to sharpen them.”

Wesley Clark

NATO Supreme Allied Commander (former)

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When we focus on our talents, we are more effective at our tasks and roles.

We are also more successful, happy and fulfilled.

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StrengthsFinder® Themes



































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I am intrigued by

the differences

between people


I hope no one

has a disagreement


What stories

do I have?


I hope I

get to spend time

with a person

I know well




How is

each personfeeling?




I will complete this

by Friday


I wonder if anyone

is feeling

left out?




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  • Clear it

  • Confrontation to resolution


  • Maximizer

  • Polish the pearl

  • The very best it can be

  • Developer

  • Help others grow

  • Their growth is your fuel

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  • Achiever

  • Inside out push

  • Everyday starts at zero

  • Keeps you moving

  • Self-Assurance

  • Inner certainty

  • Robust

  • Belief

  • Be of service

  • Altruistic

  • Work must matter

  • Significance

  • Outside in pull

  • Craving for significance

  • Keeps you reaching

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Strategic Thinking

  • Analytical

  • “Prove it”

  • “Show me the numbers”

  • Context

  • “How did we get here?”

  • Back to the blueprints

  • Futuristic

  • “There’s got to be a better world”

  • Always projecting

  • Input

  • “Wow that’s interesting”!

  • Inquisitive

  • Like to collect things/ideas

  • Ideation

  • In love with ideas

  • A new perspective

  • A new connection

  • A new concept

  • Arranger

  • The present is precious

  • “There’s got to be a better way”

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The Power of Being Called

When you discover your talents and link those talents with your passion, there is no telling what God can accomplish through you.

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Leadership that Lasts

Perhaps the ultimate test of a leader is not what you are able to do in the “here and now” – but instead what continues to grow long after you’re gone.

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Why Do We Need a Formal System to Identify and Communicate about Strengths?

  • Helps identify and quantify attributes that can be considered subjective.

  • Provides a language / tool to discuss strengths and weaknesses.

  • Creates a science to support or deny self-perception.

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Present or Engaged? about Strengths?




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From Doing to Being about Strengths?

To become healthy again, the Church needs to stop doing and start being.

We need to stop focusing on institutional preservation and instead focus on the basics and what it means to be the church.

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Involvement and Engagement about Strengths?

Involvement is not engagement.

Involvement is what you do, in and for your church.

Engagement is how you feel about your church. Engagement is all about emotions.

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What is Engagement? about Strengths?

  • Engagement is the “emotional bond” or “attachment” that members develop with the church during repeated, ongoing positive interactions. This bond goes beyond a single moment in time and is instead, defined by the enduring behaviors, attitudes, actions and heart of the church and its members.

  • Or, simply put, when members are engaged, they are emotionally connected to the church, passionate about its mission and service, as well as seamlessly aligned with the church’s purpose and direction.

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What is Engagement? about Strengths?

Engagement describes a sense of belonging to a “family” that stems from one’s experience of making a meaningful contribution to an organization and realizing the value in it.

Church engagement is typically expressed in four themes:

1. life satisfaction

2. willingness to invite a friend to church

3. community service

4. financial giving

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“Let’s hit the door as soon as the pastor has finished”

“Our church is really going in the wrong direction”




Three Member Types

“What a great experience, how do I get more involved”





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Engaged Members finished”

  • These members are loyal and have a strong psychological connection to their church.

  • They are more spiritually committed, more likely to invite friends, family members, and coworkers to church events and give more both financially and in commitment of time.

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Not Engaged Members finished”

These members may attend regularly, but they are not psychologically connected to their church.

Their connection to the church is more social than spiritual. They give moderately but not sacrificially and they may do a minimal amount of volunteering in the community. They are less likely to invite others and more likely to leave.

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Actively Disengaged Members finished”

These members usually show up only once or twice a year, if at all.

They are on the membership rolls, and can tell you what church they belong to -- but may not be able to name the pastor.

In general, they are unhappy with their church and insist on sharing that unhappiness with just about everyone.

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Why does Engagement matter? finished”



Spiritual Commitment

Member Engagement



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Indicators of Spiritual Health finished”

Life Satisfaction

I am completely satisfied with my life.


In the last month, I have invited someone to participate in my congregation/parish.


How many volunteer hours a week do you give to help and serve others in your community?


How much have you given to further the church’s mission?

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Why does Engagement matter? finished”

  • Engaged members:

    • are nearly three times as likely to be extremely satisfied with their lives.

    • are more than ten times as likely to invite friends to their faith community events.

    • volunteer more than two hours per week in their communities.

    • give up to three times more money to their faith communities.

    • don’t burn out; they only become stronger, more energized and more engaged.

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Why does Engagement matter? finished”

  • Engaged churches:

    • Engaged churches reach out to people and make them feel valued. Provide clear expectations for members and clear expectations on what they can expect from their church.

    • They let members know their opinions count and that their participation is important.

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What Engagement Creates finished”

  • Engaged churches create:

    • a strong feeling of belonging

    • a sense that individual member contributions are extremely important

    • a sense that the overall mission is truly important and worthwhile

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Focus on Outcomes finished”

Outcomes are the result of causes.

In order to affect the outcomes that are the indicators of spiritual health, leaders must focus on improving the causes of spiritual health.

It does not work the other way around.

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • 5. Communicate

  • 6. Chart the Path

  • 7. Focus on Strengths

  • 8. Live it

  • 1. Inform

  • 2. Form

  • 3. Take Stock

  • 4. Measure

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 1: Inform

  • Become familiar with the concepts of church engagement

  • Explore the theological, systematic foundations in embracing engagement as a vision

  • Study the available research on engagement

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 2: Form

  • Plant the seeds of engagement with the church leadership groups

  • Organize and participate in foundational conversations with church members

  • Connect an engagement framework with living a spiritually committed life

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 3: Take Stock

  • Take a hard look at the current state of the church

  • Actively listen to parishioners to gain insight on their experiences

  • Develop a list of positive building blocks and a list of areas which may require more focus

  • Celebrate and cherish the relationship that exists among parishioners

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 4: Measure

  • Develop a way to measure success

  • Explore the benefits of objective measurement

  • Develop goals and a timeline in order to evaluate the progression

  • Adapt, redefine and refocus when you hit bumps in the road (you will as no road is perfectly smooth)

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 5: Communicate

  • Nurture the desire and importance of belonging

  • Share the story of engagement and its importance

  • Offer parishioners the chance to share their own experiences

  • Continually invite parishioners to become part of the process of building an engaged church

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 6: Chart the Path

  • Develop the course of the church over a series of years

  • Consider the interrelated nature of the various aspects the church plays in the parishioners lives

  • Ensure the pastoral plan focuses clearly on engagement

  • Develop a timeline that aligns the strategic vision with tangible steps

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 7: Focus on Strengths

  • Educate on the impact of talent focus on parishioners

  • Offer parishioners the ability to explore their own talents

  • Explore the possibilities of the talents which exist within the congregation

  • Align the people with the purpose and then get out of their way

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Step 8: Live it

  • Your actions speak louder than any words you say

  • Lead the way, as you embrace engagement through your own actions, others will follow

  • Leadership and fostering engagement is not only contagious, its exponential

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How Do You Develop Engagement? finished”

  • Discover what each member’s strengths are

  • Match each member with a role that enables them to leverage their strengths

  • Explain the overall strategy & goals

  • Explain how their role fits into the overall strategy

  • Explain the roles of the other members

  • Point them in the right direction

  • Get out of their way

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How Do You Measure Engagement? finished”

  • Survey instruments are available that word questions in a manner to attain specific response.

    • Gallup ME25

  • Surveys must be anonymous and participants must be free from “expected response” or peer pressure.

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Member Engagement finished”

1. As a member of my congregation, I know what is expected of me.

2. In my congregation, my spiritual needs are met.

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

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Member Engagement finished”

6. There is someone in my congregation who encourages spiritual development.

7. As a member of my congregation, my opinions seem to count.

8. The mission or purpose of my congregation makes me feel that 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.

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Member Engagement finished”

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.

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Dimensions of Engagement finished”

  • Opportunities to learn and grow

  • Spiritual progress

How do we Grow?

  • Members committed to spiritual growth

  • The mission or purpose of my church

  • Best friend

  • My opinions count

Do I Belong?

  • Encourages spiritual development

  • Recognition

  • Opportunity to do best

  • Leaders care about me

What do I Give?

What do I Get?

  • My spiritual needs are met

  • • I know what is expected of me

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Spiritual Commitment’s Foundation finished”

The foundation of spiritual commitment is congregational engagement.

Congregational engagement describes the emotional degree of belonging an individual has in his or her congregation.

The more engaged members there are in your church, the healthier it is. Focus on engagement and spiritual commitment will follow.

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Engagement and Outcomes finished”

Life Satisfaction



Spiritual Commitment



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Connect People to Ministries finished”

1. What are your talents and strengths?

2. What do you love to do?

3. If time and money were no object, what would you do for God?

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Humor finished”

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Questions? finished”

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References finished”

  • Growing An Engaged Church. Winseman

  • Living Your Strengths. Winseman, Clifton, & Liesveld.

  • Now, Discover Your Strengths. Buckingham & Clifton.

  • Strength Based Leadership.Rath & Conchie