Friday, March 26, 2010

The Bus Principle

Last night I shared with our leadership team for The Well about "The Bus" principle of ministry.
Our ministry is like a bus. People will get on at certain points, stay awhile and then get off. The point is that people will get on the bus and people will get off the bus.

In starting a new church we have to understand this. Everyone that stands at the bus stop does not mean that they will get on your bus. As people get on the bus, they will bring gifts, talents and a wealth of experience. Some will also bring baggage from past experiences. When they first get on the bus treat it like dating. Dating gets really weird when one person wants to overcommit to quickly. We can smother new people. During the dating time, let them get used to your bus, allow them time to adjust to the route of this bus also. Overtime, they may choose to take this bus for their daily route.

People also get off the bus. This is natural. It can be a detriment to momentum however. At our meeting, our leaders had these things to say: 1) Ask if there was a reason in particular they got off of your bus. 2) Discern between legitimate concerns and excuses. 3) If they are people of character and added value to your ministry...keep the relationship door open. Let them know that you celebrate their decision (if done correctly) and will always be there for them.

This lesson was talked about in order to prevent the emotional rollercoaster of joy when they get on and depression when they get off.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oblivious to the Fact

The funny thing about starting movements is that the ones who start a movement usually don't know they are starting one and sometimes never see it.
There is a great price to pray for those of us who burn with a desire to change this world. The price is pain, discomfort and to often, go unappreciated.

Here is a great quote I read today:
"I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often-painful process." - Diana Nyad

I received a letter of encouragement from a young man I mentored last year. I watched the video of three youth I personally taught how to play instruments. One of them has helped single handedly start a middle school ministry. I see a movement forming there. I could not see it when I was there.

There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going in life. There is the best way and then the easiest way.

I spoke with a young leader a few days ago. They talked about how the ministry they were at had a full band and all the resources. They also shared that they would be scared to walk into a youth ministry without those things with just a Bible study. He did not understand that the ministry he was in at that time was just a Bible study.

The point is that your calling to start a movement will be painful and full of discomfort and times where you will question why you are there or what you are doing.

I looked at my "couch mattress" laying on the floor, my plastic Target furniture and the lavender walls of a kid's room and God told me, "The very fact you see all this around you means you are called." As I was praying I felt the presence of God cover me and encourage me. encouraged today!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Get Beat like Abraham! (not the bible guy)

Abraham Lincoln had a great story. We see people at the pinnacle of success, but rarely do we hear or see the beatings they took to get their. Because of not being able or not being told about our heroes bad times, we tend to measure success on a different scoreboard than the scoreboard our heroes or great historical people had.

Look at Abraham Lincoln's "Path to Success." Do you want these type of beatings?
1831- His business went bankrupt
1832- He was defeated in a legislative race.
1833- Another business failed.
1834- He was elected to the Illinois legislature.
1835- His fiance died.
1836- He had a nervous breakdown
1842- He married Mary Todd, whose family had a wider network of social and political connections.
1843- He was defeated in a Congressional race.
1847- He was elected to serve in the House of Representatives.
1848- He was defeated in another Congressional race.
1855- He was defeated in a Senatorial race.
1856- He was defeated in a vice presidential bid.
1860- He was elected the 16th President of the U.S.A.

Three decades of hurt, failure and success. Here is what Lincoln said about his journey:
"Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."

This guy took a lot of beatings, literally, in the political sense. But he did not stop, he kept pursuing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maxwell's Secrets of Success- Thoughts

My daily devotions have a serving of John Maxwell's "Leadership for Graduates" given to me by my previous pastor Dwight Dunning, "Sparkling Gems from the Greek," by Rick Renner, given to me by Bishop Garry Bryant, my current Field Director and Overseer for The Well. Oh yeh, The Bible :) I am currently reading through Proverbs and Romans.

Today, I read a couple of principles that spoke to me. I have read many of these over and over, but today it stuck out!
These principles are geared for those who desire to start movements:
1. There is no secret of success. I call this the magic pill syndrome. Leaders think if they can do this "one" thing, then everything in their organization will change. There are no magic pills.

2. Success is for everyone. Leaders who start movements must be reminded of this. No matter where they are at or where their people are at, everyone can be successful. Believe this about everyone.

3. Your life becomes better only when you become better. Your quality of life is determined by you. Your ministry will grow when you decide to grow.

4. There is no success without sacrifice. As John Maxwell says, "To go up, you must give up." What are you willing to give up to go to the next level?

5. Success is achieved in inches, not miles. Celebrate your small wins. Our church plant has come leaps and bounds since we first started in Jim's apartment. You travel miles by traveling inches. Growth is what you do daily, not occassionaly.

6. The greatest enemy of tomorrow's success is today's success. Don't get comfortable, you have an adversary!

7. No advice on success works unless you do. The only place where success comes before work is the dictionary.

One other thought today: Those closest to you will choke your dreams or stretch your vision.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Essentials of Movement Starting Communication Methods

I am a student of communication. I love to listen to different communicators and how they bring across their ideas and concepts... or lack of. I love to speculate who their direct or indirect mentors are or who they model their communication style after.

Here is my problem. I adore the styles of T.D Jakes, Dr. Mark Chirona, Ron Carpenter Jr., and many other Charismatics. I also adore Andy Stanley, Ed Stetzer, Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick and many other more conservative type preachers (Baptist, Methodist, etc.) Because of this I find myself as this weird hybrid. As I listen to all these communicators, I try not to get caught up in the moment of what is being said, but how they are bringing it across. I also love (actually hate) listening to myself and evaluating it.

Here are some quick and basic tips if you are leader that is committed to starting a movement.

Couple of pre-cursors- (your life needs to be clean, you need to be committed to prayer and speak with the passion of God). With that being said, use these tips as a check off:

1) Use a Powerful Opening Statement or Story and Closing. You have two minutes to get and keep their attention. Think of it as a movie trailer or opening to a movie. Use a personal story, quote or illustration that "Grips them by the Throat." You also want to end on a powerful note. They may forget what was in the middle, but they will remember the opener and closer.
2) Preach One Message and One Theme. Most preachers call it the "anointing", secular communicators call it adrenaline. Either way, the moment cannot overtake what you prepared for and prayed about. If you are a Christian preacher, then make sure it is the anointing and not adrenaline. Everytime you speak you will face the nervousness of fear and the pumping of adrenaline. You will be able to think about 3 times as fast as you can speak. If you are person of prayer, what did God say to you in the preparation time?
3) Powerful Questions and Purposeful Props. This generation wants to leave with questions that stay with them all week, not answers that satisfy for a moment. They also need "handles." Use a prop, video or something creative everytime you speak. (make sure it reflects the one point you want to get across).
4) History Matters. Never assume that people know the concepts or the history you are speaking about. Especially when teaching ancient history or the Bible, make sure you give context and background of what is happening around. Who wrote the book? When? Why? What is this passage a bigger picture of? This also makes it more real to skeptics.
5) Pull-Don't Push. I hear a lot of communicators say, "You need to get this...You ought....You Should...We Must..." 30 minutes of this will drain even the most committed people.
6) Tone and Tempo. Go against your grain. If you are one humdred miles per hour, then practice slowing down. If you are slow, work on tempo and tone. Also, don't try to inflect your voice like your favorite speaker. I hear southern boys trying to sound like Ron Carpenter Jr. or Jensen Franklin, while the other guys have this "McManus/Stanley" inflection.
7) Humor. Humor. Humor. Use funny stories about your own life. Be humorous, just don't be a joke. The way to the heart of Americans is through their laughes.
8) Avoid Insincere Phrases. Hallelujah, How Many of You Know, Uhms, Praise God, God Almighty, Listen-Listen-Listen..... These are all phrases I hear. They are nothing more than insincere repititious fillers to most speakers. I heard one guy say, "How Many of You Know?" about 60 times during one message. I heard one person say, "God Almighty," about 15 times.
9) Never Take Shots. Don't take cheap shots at people when you are speaking. You know if you are doing it. Don't....

I hope this helps some of you. At The Well, we value Spirit-empowered communication, creativity and the ability stay with our theme of our series....and be respectful of time limits. No one loves to hear you as much as you love talking...Don't forget that.

These basic tips will be a great help to you as you are communicating. Print this out and use it as a check list when communicating.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Greatest General Never

Story by Mark Twain:
A man died and met Saint Peter at the gates of heaven. Recognizing the saint's knowledge and wisdom, he wanted to ask him a question.
"Saint Peter," he said, "I have been interested in military history for many years. Tell me, who was the greatest general of all times?"
Peter quickly responded, "Oh that is a simple question. It's that man right over there."
The man looked where Peter was pointing and answered, "You must be mistaken. I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer."
"That's right," Peter remarked, "But he would have been the greatest general of all time- if he had been a general."

Unused potential usually comes from not being able to see what is before us. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the life around us that we can't see the life before us. Don't quit. Don't be contained by what you see around you.

If this story was written about you, what would it say? What would you will be the greatest "never" at.

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