Thursday, December 29, 2011
I remember talking to a guy who was the epitome of this statement. He proudly told me that their staff were so busy that they never took a day off. I replied, "Wow bro, you would not have been allowed to work on Jesus' staff because even He rested."
We all want to change our world. Hopefully inside of you is a big dream. If that is the case, you will have to learn to rest and have down time.
*Note: Some people are lazy, never meet deadlines and do not work. My only advice is- step up your game. This blog is not for you.
Here are some questions to help you see where you are at.
1. How often do you have time for fun and recreation? What do you do for fun? (writing sermons or reading theology books DON'T count)
2. Do you feel guilty for taking time off? Why?
3. What do your wife or friends say about your balance? Have you asked them to honestly tell you if they think you work too much?
Burnout is real for everyone. Learn to rest properly. Ask your spouse to help you have time to recharge. Help your spouse as well. Fight guilt. It is mostly internal, self-imposed guilt. The people you serve want you rested, in a good mood and refreshed. If they don't, change positions, jobs or churches immediately.
Let's go for the long haul!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I said all that to make a point. As rough as 2011 was, I believe my assignment is to encourage others to give it one more shot. 2012 may not be your most "blissful" year, but it can be your best year. It is a year to restore hope and give it one more shot. I am not preaching at you, I am walking with you. I will be going into 2012 with some serious challenges. My mom is battling serious, life-threatening cancer. Our giving was down at church almost 25% over the past three months. I did not see the fruit I expected with some outreach ideas we implemented. So- I am with you.
There are two stories in Scripture that come to mind. The first is Peter and the empty nets. He fished all night and even came back at the right time in the morning and....nothing. You been there? Jesus shows up and asks him to give it one more shot and he told him, "But I tried..." Felt that way? Maybe it is your marriage. Maybe it is ministry. Maybe it is your career. At any rate, Jesus is calling us to give it one more shot. Peter, in the same sentence, says, "Nevertheless, at thy word." He obeyed and great blessing followed.
The other story is a short parable in Luke about a man with a failing fig tree. The master wanted it down and the man convinced him that he needed one more shot. He cultivated the tree and gave it "special attention." It produced. 3 years of no figs and he gave it one more shot.
I want to encourage you to cast your nets out again. Cultivate your situation. Use the "cr_p" of life to be your fertilizer. Believe once again. Give it one more shot. This may be the time that breakthrough comes. Hope is the greatest weapon you have against the unknown of the future.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Leaders are the protectors and providers of the culture. Whether you are a ministry leader or a manager of a department, culture matters. Culture is the unwritten code of a group of people that determines how they speak, interact and dress. Everyplace has a culture. The culture is the expression of the values of that group of people.
Leader, you are to be the one who sets the guidelines for what culture will be present in your ministry/organization.
Look at this:
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. (Luke 9:16 NLT)
As a leader, you can model and teach culture, but the people around you have to distribute it. They have to be carriers of the cultural values of that organization. If the transfer doesn't happen, you will be very frustrated that people are not getting it. It has to become viral. How does this happen?
Let's look at what Jesus did in the above verses of Scripture:
1. He Interacted with Heaven:
-Jesus looked to heaven and a miracle happened in His hands. The vision for your ministry has to come from heaven. It cannot be copied and pasted.
2. He Gave it to the Disciples:
-He transferred what He was given from heaven to the disciples. He shared it with them. Share the culture of the organization with your people. Get it in their heads and hands.
3. They Gave it to the People:
-Jesus did not take on the task of being the primary vision caster on the culture. The disciples gave the bread and fish out. They distributed it. Culture usually gets diluted from the head down. It multiplied with Jesus. Why? He put that responsibility of distributing in their hands.
Let your leaders know your values of how culture will be formed. Encourage every department head to share those values regularly with their team.
The point is: the leaders AROUND you have to be the primary distributors to the people. The people on this story all got a piece of the miracle in Jesus' hands because the disciples distributed it.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. They Need to be Lavished with Encouragement:
-Go overboard. Text it. Post it. Tweet it. Send cards. Never assume they know. Remember, "What you fail to celebrate will leave your life."
2. They Need Permission to Lead without Fear of Failure:
-Because we are trying to build these "perfect" ministries, we don't allow staff the permission to attempt and.....fail. We scold and punish this because elder boards don't want to "waste" money. I don't know of any idea that works perfectly the first time. If it did, then it was TOO safe.
3. They Need Authentic Relationships:
-Staff need to have a real relationship with you. A virus spreads by proximity. Whatever you are trying to accomplish cannot be done at arms length.
4. They Need a Cheerleader and a Coach, not a General Manager:
-We usually think that staff need a General Manager or Coach. Not really. Put on your Pom poms and do some cheering. They need to be encouraged and constantly reminded that they are making a difference.
Friday, November 25, 2011
I was reading through my one year Bible plan and came across the story of Moses hitting the rock. God told Moses to hit the rock and water would come out. Moses was so frustrated that he struck the rock in anger. The people's complaints drove him to the point that his frustration manifested in anger. God told him that he would not be the one to lead the people into the promise land because of this.
Many leaders have this "frustration point." That point is where frustration turns to anger.
Moses was banned from the promise land. David Banner had to roam from town to town.
We will also limit ourselves when we allow frustration to turn to anger. You can tell when this is happening when:
1. You Resent People's Complaints and Problems
2. You Don't Have a Desire to Develop People
3. You Say Offensive Things to People
4. You Have No Patience for Mistakes
5. "Calmness" is Not How People Around You would Describe You
Before you strike the rock in anger or turn to the Hulk, take a timeout. I do this by first of all practicing thankfulness. Secondly, I take time away. Learn to get away and have fun. Finally, talk and think about ALL the good that is going on. Frustrated leaders cannot lead their people to a place of promise. It takes patience, calmness and peace.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Insecurity is a feeling of vulnerabilities, characterized by a low sense of self worth. It manifests in anger, defensiveness and isolation.
As leaders, we must allow God to minister to our own insecurities as we minister to other people's insecurities.
Warning.... When ministering to insecure people realize that: no matter how much time you give them, they feel like it isn't enough. No matter how many "thank you's" they get, they are not appreciated. It is kind of like pouring sand into bags with holes in it. You can also call it, "bad investing." There is very little return on investment.
This may be your story as a leader. You are continually discontent because insecurity has created holes in your emotional tank. You may be dealing with people like this. Whatever the case may be. Don't beat yourself up. Continue to love and reassure them. Finally don't give up, but keep the perspective.
When dealing with insecure people you are only as good as your last ____________ (fill in the blank.)
Remember, Adam and Eve were naked and ashamed, but God clothed them. God has provided a covering that assure us as well. Sin may have birthed insecurity, but the cross provided a covering that creates security.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
I have had the Lord check my heart in a major way lately. I have had spiritual CAT Scans and MRI's done. I felt God really speaking to me that I have "entitlement" issues. Ministry seems so selfless and great, but the truth of the matter is that inside of all us there is a "self-serving" piece of our hearts. We can tell how much of this cancer we have when we face thankless situations time and time again.
I realized that I was upset because people were not giving back as much as I was giving them. I figured that if I poured my heart into them then they would become committed and stable. WRONG. I found discouragement creeping in. It was during this time that I felt the Lord say, "Kevin, as long you feel like people are here for your pleasure you will always feel that way. You are here for THEIR purpose, they are not here for yours."
I realized that God will allow us to be put in seeminlgy thankless, obscure and emotionally draining situations to show us what is really in our hearts. Are we leading because we need the people to approve and we need them?
Here are some observations on this issue:
1. People will never give back as much as you put in.
I put in like 8 hours on one situation a few weeks ago. I am not sure how your time looks, but for me that is a lot of time. None of the folks that took up those hours showed up to our worship experience. You have to be selfless when ministering. You don't put in to get back. You put in because you are being faithful.
2. Entitled People Get Easily Offended AND Frustrated
If you are the least bit entitled then you will find yourself perpetually frustrated. If you have the "deserving" mentality then you will never find fulfillment. The ability and call to lead is a privilege. It is an honor. It is a blessing. The opportunity to be hurt and abandoned in the process is also an honor, privilege and blessing. The only thing we are entitled to is to share in His sufferings.
3. The Pity Party Leader Never Throws Parties
The pity party leader is like the donkey, Eor, from Winnie the Pooh. You are like, "Hey bro, how is it going?" They are like, "Well, no one cares. Half the people did not show up this week. I did not get anything for Pastor Appreciation. If I jump off a bridge, no one will notice."
This mentality is also a cancer. It hinders us from being able to have fun, be free and enjoy the ride. No matter how many people you have or at what stage you are at---- you will always "need" more. You will need more attention, more people, more offerings, more influence and more love. Learn to be content and throw parties. Celebrate and be grateful for every small thing that comes to your life. Throw parties!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I quit every Monday. Really. I go through the “holy hangover.”
You may or may not be a pastor, but you have these hangovers too. Whenever expectation and reality collide, you will have a hangover emotionally. This may be true of your marriage, job or perhaps ministry. You probably had or still have lofty expectations of all of the above. The problem comes when we allow discouragement to linger and learning to have “right” expectations. I have lofty expectations. That is my downfall. I am too hard on myself and expect too much of myself. This causes my crash most times.
Here are my daily reminders about Discouragement:
1. Discouragement is a matter of perspective. Get advice from people who have a better perspective. Have people who are “God in skin.” Allow mentors and trusted friends to speak into your life. The greatest perspective is God’s perspective. As you are reading His Word, take time to listen and journal what you feel God saying.
2. Discouraging times are part of natural seasons of life. There is no one who ever avoided discouragement. However, you cannot let discouragement debilitate you. I had a mentor who told me you can go through discouragement, but don’t be discouraged. One is a passing season while the other is a state of mind/being. Prepare mentally for discouraging situations. This may sound weird, but you cannot be blindsided. That is the test of maturity. Don’t be naïve and think you are the exception. This form of arrogance allows discouragement to feed.
3. Discouragement is deadly when combined with exhaustion. I love the Snickers commercial that says, “You are not you when you are hungry.” I believe the same can be compared to discouragement. You are not yourself when you are exhausted. I remember this young, arrogant guy at college that told me, “Day off? Dude, we are so busy doing Kingdom work that we can’t take a day off.” I responded, “Wow, you guys are doing it much different than Jesus and God Himself. They both took days off. I am glad you are not on my staff. You would take a day off or turn in resignations.” Needless to say, we are not Facebook friends. And that church does not exist today. Pastor Tracy Reynolds often says, “Come apart (and rest) or you will come apart.”
Don’t let unreal expectations come in and cause discouragement. This has been the biggest lesson in church planting I have learned. I am called to be faithful and prepare the best worship experience I can. God brings people. I cannot control people. And…. people are people. The one key I use to fight discouragement is to look upon the providence and sovereignty of God. Remember, God is ultimately in charge of all the results. You can gain encouragement when you thank Him for the results He has produced. You can gain encouragement when you pause and say, “Our Father who is in the heavens….” He is your loving Father and He is in the heavens. He is seated on the throne. As Ron Carpenter jr., has said before, “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?”
Yep. I quit every Monday. I just have to start back every Tuesday.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
He was quoting the pastoral espistles where Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift inside of him and Paul told Titus to "set things in order at Crete." I believe these are two areas that must give us perspective of a bigger picture of daily activities.
As leaders, we can ask ourselves every day, "Is this ministry fervent with a fire and love for God and is it increasingly having more order? Did the tasks and appointments today work toward that or against that?"
The Two Goals:
1) On Fire: As leaders we must make sure daily we are stoking the flames of love for Christ. Without a relentless love for Jesus and what we call "fire," we are nothing more than whitewashed tombs and talking heads. People desire to follow a leader who is full of God's presence and power. Are you projecting that on your people? Are you congregants more on fire for God than when you first met them? Or are they just working harder, giving more and doing more stuff? That is not on fire.
2) In Order: Paul told Titus that the reason he left him in Crete was to set things in order. People may not like structure, but they sure appreciate what it produces- order. Our job as leaders is to continually raise up leaders and set systems in place so the ministy can out live us. If you left today would it fall apart, or are setting things in order? What did you do today to "set things in order?"
Thanks to Pastor, Dr. and Awesome Guy- Brett Cooper.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Maybe you were at ground zero after the tragedy, but I was only able to see pictures. What devestation. What destruction. There was so much work to be done. I could not imagine. I wonder if Nehemiah felt the same way about the walls of Jerusalem. The situation caused him to weep for months. He left a secure job and life to go take on this task full time.
There will come a point in time and sometimes multiple times when you will feel like Nehemiah or feel like you are spiritually standing at ground zero. Things you have built have been attacked by the enemy and now they look like they will never live again. You worked hard. You believed. You pressed and now it looks like there is just shambles and ruins left. This is where leadership is tested. This is where the rubber meets the road. Leaders arise in times of crisis. The true leaders show up when crisis hit.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) It can be done.
-Your first thought is, "Wow, do I have the energy and time to do this. This looks like impossible." It can be done. It will be hard. It will be a process. But it is has to be done and it can be done- by you.
2) With God's help it can be done in record time.
Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in a record 52 days. This should have taken a few years. When you submit this rebuilding to God, He will come along side of you and help you do it in record time. What takes years for man can takes just days with God. Lay this rebuilding project down to Him.
3) It will energize people and unite them.
We usually think that people will be burned out and not have the energy to go through with this. Nehemiah united and organized the people at different stations. There are people waiting to step up during this time. They were hidden before, but will be heroes now. The people were full of strength and fought together.
4) Have a vision of what the rebuilt "wall" will look like.
You have to stand in the midst of your devestation, no matter how big or small, and have a vision of what it could be again. You have to let God be the Master Builder. Ask Him for fresh vision of what it could be and what He sees it as.
Nehemiah did not imagine this. His vision was built upon the prophet's writings on the restoration of the wall and temple. He knew this was God's heart and desire. It was not Nehemiah's plan, but God's plan. Be assured that God wants the walls of your marriage, ministry and life rebuilt. It is His plan and desire.
It can be done. It will be done and it will be done in record time.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I was reading Leviticus chapter 14 and I felt the Lord speak to me. The priest had to sacrifice animals for people's sin. It was messy. This was all done so they could be presented unto God as pure. This was before the time of Christ, so the priest was their only hope. He had a very, very messy job. If they had a skin disease- he had to sacrifice an animal. I am not sure I would have signed up to be a priest in that day and time. I am not about blood and guts. My wife is a Physician Assistant. She loves that stuff. I get queasy.
I felt God impress upon me that this is what developing people is like. It is messy. There is blood and guts (not literally). There are people with issues. There are people constantly messing up and in need of restoration and forgiveness. This is what starting a movement is all about. I am glad that I had "priests" that dealt with my issues by sacrifice. They sacrificed time and energy to make sure that I could be all I could be before God.
As a leader who is starting a movement, keep that in mind today. It is messy. If you don't like messes and want everything to be neat; find something else to do.
Your homework is to read Leviticus 14 now.
Friday, September 16, 2011
I have had this happen to me before as well. It can be comparable to Abraham offering his son Isaac up at the LORD's command. This process can feel like the worst pain ever at the time, but afterwards there is growth and perspective that comes from it.
Abraham was given a dream by God. He did not ask for his assignment. He did not ask for a son or for his son to be the one where the Covenant promise would come through. He was merely minding his own business and God interrupted his life. He was given a dream whereby God allowed it do go through a process of death. Abraham carried his son onto the altar and was ready to whatever God was asking.
Many of us have a hard time with that. The reason is that we live with expectations. We have formulated certain expectations of a dream's outcome should look like. These expectations are what makes this ordained death process look so bad. God ordained that Abraham would have to offer the dream up.
Take the life of Jesus Christ for example. His disciples had an expectation that their calling to follow Messiah would result in governmental rule and reign. Their earthly expectation of their dream literally died. When Christ went to the cross, all of their dreams and desires went there too.
I wonder how they felt? I wonder the disappointment. I wonder the embarrassment they felt from family and friends. I wonder what it felt like the first day back to their old jobs.
The crazy thing is that the dream wasn't dead. God had a much better plan. They did not even recognize Jesus when he rose from the dead. It was like nothing they had expected and was MUCH better. Trust God even when it looks like death may be occurring because it is. Your dream will die so His can live. Beware.... you may not recognize it when it does rise again.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Recently our group leader asked the men, "What is the main issue you are trying to overcome?"
Every dude in the group totally danced around the question. They explained every mystery known to mankind but would not share their "thing."
One of the greatest problems is when we cannot honestly sit down and share our weaknesses, limitations and issues as a leader.
If you really want to know what they are. Ask you wife. Ask your best friend. Ask the people you lead (in a secret survey).
What are your blindspots and weaknesses?
1) I am very defensive. I have insecurities. I know this and I have to learn to not answer people back in a smart-ellic way.
2) I am too task oriented. I am all about the bottom line and getting the job done in the most effective manner. That sounds really good at first, until you realize that I will do this at the cost of relationships. My strength can also be my greatest weakness if not checked.
3) I am also really afraid of "failing." I compare myself to others a lot and hold my self to stupidly ridiculous high standards. My greatest fear is failing and being mediocre in God's call for my life. I have to learn that when I am following Christ- there is no failure when it comes to meeting expectations. He met them all for me.
Take time to inventory your blindspots. Let people around you help you and speak into your life.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
He sat with some of the Business Services leaders of our company and was sharing his plan. We have one guy on staff that consults multi-million dollar companies. Nick did not know this. This gentleman we will call "Michael," began to ask questions. Nick had not done any research or planning. He did not know how many businesses like his had been started in that area, their gross profit or how long they last. He had no clue of their prices or anything.
As Michael was talking, Nick was just looking at him with a somewhat blank stare. Michael asked, "Son, are you going to write this down?"
Here is what I learned from that meeting about leadership and starting movements.
1)Many leaders have a hard time transitioning from the "do-it-all" or "go to guy" to truly empowering others. There is a reason for this. When they first start a movement they are required to get the business or ministry going by sheer energy and everything falls back on them. It is hard to hand over something that you worked so hard for. The people you are handing off to will NEVER have the same passion you do. But they will have more TIME and ENERGY to do it. Nick may have been a great sales guy, but can Nick actually transition to being the "Empowering/Administrative Leader?"
2) Energy is Limited. I am still a relatively "young leader or pastor." At the time of this blog I am 32 years old. I have started a church in a city with two families and have no previous ties here. I also work 50+ hours a week at Workforce Solutions as a Recruiter. The energy it has taken has been enormous. It is the most energy consuming endeavor I have embarked upon. But here is the thing; energy is limited. I have to rest a lot. I mean a lot. The older I get, the less energy I will have. Nick has a lot of energy and can do all he is doing right now, but his energy reserve is getting smaller and smaller. This is how burnout occurs. You get a bunch of stuff going while your energy reserve is high, but you have to continue to sustain it. Don't build your movement on energy you will not have in 10 years, but rather "invest" your energy into building people coupled with proper structures.
3) Research and Planning was too Much Work for Nick. Nick did not want to have to do all the research and planning. He wanted to get some grant money and get rolling. He did not have time for all this stuff. I could tell by his glazed over look. My movement is church planting/pastoring. I see the same glazed over look on pastor's eyes as they go out to start a church. They have a word from God and do not have time for all that research and planning. They are going to go in God's power and do His work, right? I have seen 6 friends close the doors of their church plants since I have started. I am officially two years in this city and 6 months after launching. Research and planning will save you from costly mistakes that young leaders usually make. Learn from others. Interview them. Develop a strategic plan (in pencil of course).
I think I learned more from ole Nick than he learned from me.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Jacob was done wrong in the most amazing way. Worked 7 years for a lady he did not want to marry and then was cheated into working another 7 years for the wife he wanted. Despite this, Jacob carried a godly perspective and did not allow the hurt he experienced to shape him.
We will never escape life without experiencing hurt and pain. Realize that hurt and pain from a sickness or disease is much different than hurt or pain from relationships. I want to talk to you about that for a few minutes.
In life and especially ministry, you will get hurt from and by people. You will also, hopefully unintentionally, hurt others as well. The way we respond and react will utlimately determine how we proceed in our lives.
To be totally honest, I have been taught all the proper techniques of planting and growing churches. The books I have read and mentors I have sat under address all the hot topics and trending movements. I was aware of all the church growth stuff. I was aware of all the newest teaching. However I was not aware and was never taught on a real level how much people can hurt you.
You have two options when you are hurt by someone. The first option is to internalize it and promise yourself this will never happen again. You can live in a false trust of others and react out of that pain the rest of your life. The second option is to process the hurt and pain in a positive manner. The first step is to realize that people are people. Allow yourself to grieve the relationship and the hurt, but ultimately allow God to speak to you, give you perspective and then encourage you.
I have been active in ministry for 10 years now. Only the past two years have I met some of the most faithful and trustworthy people and literally, crazy folks. Yep. Crazy. I have heard, "I got your back man. We are going to do this together." Or my favorite, "I am here to serve you. God has called me here." After these statements, the same folks have cursed me out (and I am still trying to figure out why), left me and never returned a call, attempted to sabotage our ministry when we supported them in difficult times and one dude even gave a check and then stopped payment without telling me (you know that story).
I love our church and this city. God has taught me how to discern who the true leaders are. God has taught me to love those who have done me wrong. God has taught me how to love and most importantly He has taught me how to process pain and hurt from relationships.
Here are the steps to take when a relationship ends painfully:
1) Extend love and grace to that person. People are people. We are fallen and broken.
2) Spread that love and grace to your leadership around you. They may have to know the facts (or they may not), but teach them how to operate in love and grace.
3) Allow yourself time to grieve. It hurts. You will experience shock and awe in some of the stuff that is done to you and your family. Cry. Cry out to God. Have a friend to vent to.
4) Gain God's perspective on the situation. Let Him speak to you about the situation.
5) Finally, do not react in an email, text or even a call. If you feel that you absolutely must talk to that person, do it face to face and get someone to be your filter and see if it is worth it.
Jacob was hurt deeply. He had huge disappointments, but he did not allow that hurt to run his life or dictate his calling. Neither should we. Process the pain positively.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
One message was about the Grace of God. Grace is God's free gift of salvation to us. The only thing we contributed for our salvation was our sin. He freely forgave us. We cannot worked to be saved or work to stay saved. He has fully accepted us in Christ. Once we have surrendered to Christ, God views us "in Christ." We are free. We are beloved. (I know there are many different theological view points. This is not my main focus in this blog.)
Most people can grasp this and say, "I can do that. I can dig that. That's awesome." Here is the twist I want to bring. Grace is not something just between us and God, but it should be between us and others.
2nd Peter 3:18, "But grow in the GRACE and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
There may be 1,000 interpretations on how to grow in the grace of God, but I want to share my interpretations for leaders.
Growing in grace is two-fold. The first is understanding God's grace. (read Romans for a full understanding). The second is dispensing that grace to others. This is where I want to focus today.
As leaders, we must be "grace-filled" toward people. People are people. They are going to do stupid stuff. Rather- WE are going to do stupid stuff. We are going to fail. We are going to miss the mark of the standard that others set for us. We are going to disappoint each other.
I see people all the time who have very little grace and kindness toward others who do not do what they think they should do.
If we are going to see the people we lead come to full fruition then we must extend grace to them and show kindness. We must grow in the grace of God.
I can ultimately tell you how much have grown in grace by the way you extend it to others.
Here are a few thoughts on this.
1) "I don't think they should or shouldn't do that or make that decision..." Those statements are grace busters. One question, "Who made you the ultimate standard setter for the universe?" It gets worse if you share your concerns with them and they don't do what you think they should. The question is, "Can you extend grace and truly love them even when they make decisions that you don't agree with?"
2) Do you punish people by with holding love? Donald Miller spoke of this in his book, "Blue Like Jazz." It was a "revelation moment" for me. That is what I would do. If someone did something to me that hurt me or did not follow my prescribed standards for their life, I would withold love. Do you give them the cold shoulder?
3) Do you tell everyone else how they failed and did not follow your advice? Gossipy leaders are awesome. They build their case to everyone around them about how those people did not do what they thought they should do. They trash those people also to make themselves look better. If you point out everyone else's problems, you look like the leadership guru. Learn to protect and cover people.
4) Give grace because you will need it. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7, that the same judgment you give others you will be judged by. Becareful when you cast judgment on others. This is when you make your standard the standard for their lives. We make people live to standards that God does not even make them live to.
You will fail. You will make stupid decisions. You will have a lapse in leadership. You will need others to be graceful to you, so show grace to others. The amount of grace you show others, you will receive.
Monday, May 30, 2011
1) Don't build your reputation on what you haven't done yet.
2) A little job done is better than a big job talked about.
I am not sure who exactly wrote these quotes, but they have become cornerstones to my core values. It is very important for a leader to lead with vision and share what is not yet. We must have a vision for where we are going and what we are doing. This also must be balanced with doing what has been promised and following through on your current commitments.
As leaders we get bored easily with managing the status quo. There is nothing wrong with that. The issue arises when we have a new, big vision to unveil every six months and we have not followed through with the small things we have been promising.
Learn to master doing the small, mundane things with excellence. This will give you credibility and endurance to do the greater things.
Here are some keys to managing the mundane and leading with vision:
1) People want a consistent leader. They want to know they can trust you. Every idea you share, finish it before launching a new one.
2) People can only handle 20% of change a year. This is my biggest failure. I do it the other way around. I sometimes think they can handle 80% of change a year. Every ministry I have led has been this way. BUT- for me to be more effective, I must understand how much change my people can take. I can handle more emotional change than they can. I love it, most of them just go with it.
3) Don't be THAT guy. Don't be that leader who is always talking about what they are going to do. People will listen. Some will listen with awe. It makes you feel good. I have known leaders who have 7 people in their church and they are talking about these grandiose ideas but they never do the small thing they can do NOW. People eventually get tired of hearing it.
4) Don't overpromise and under-deliver. Be the opposite. It is better to not promise it and do it rather than to promise it and not do it. As leaders we want to impress and help people so we talk twice as much as we should. Learn to slow down and listen. Learn to slow down and not promise things you cannot come through on.
If you look at the Nehemiah blogs I wrote. This Jewish hero, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, rode around at night and surveyed the problems. He researched. He planned. He prayed. He fasted. Finally, after a long time, he unveiled the idea.....after he had the resources lined up and a plan. Very important.
A little job done is better than a big job talked about.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
As a leader who desires to start a movement in your church or organization there is a hidden enemy called, "Burnout."
I remember in 2007 sitting with Coach John (Chasteen), Dean of Southwestern Christian University, at an Applebees in South Carolina and he explained burnout to a friend and I on a napkin. He drew the picture of a linear graph and showed the signs and procession of burnout. He also shared his dramatic experience with this.
I work a full time, 45-55 hour a week full time job. I commute 2 hours a day to work. Then there is this thing I do on the side called, "The Well." We are a very active church in the community and we put all we have into our Sunday night worship experience. Recently I confessed to my wife that stress was getting the best of me. I know all this stuff, but as a man- you just push on. The stress of planting a new, growing church, counseling, leading the leaders of the ministry and the full time jon was overwhelming. Here are a few thought on stress....
1. Know the Signs: Anger/Frustration. Lack of joy in hobbies that once seemed fun. Marriage or close relationships suffer. Depression. Lack of motivation. Physically tired all the time. Withdrawal. Constant ideas on how to escape or quit.
2. Know the Reasons (personally): Stress comes because of being overwhelmed. This can come because of personal high expectations or meeting other's approval. This may come from conflict. Know what burns you out.
3. Act Immediately: The moment you think you are burning out- act. Take some time. Explain to your wife, leaders or denomination that you need a few days off. Begin to seek God fresh once again.
4. Set up Boundaries: Weekly have a time of personal refreshing. You need to do this spiritually and recreationally. Guard your time carefully.
Do you find ministry frustrating?
Have you lost joy and peace, internally?
Are you fatigued and lack motivation?
Are your sleep patterns changing?
Do you dream of doing something else (fantasizing)?
Have you lost gratefulness?
Talk to someone today. Be open, vulnerable and honest. Take some time away. Rest and recharge. Most importantly, let God speak to you about your situation. You were never mean to carry that stress.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Some people are hungry for a show. Some people are hungry for an emotional experience. Some people are not hungry at all. Others are hungry for authenticity...
The amount of people who have disconnected with the local church have done so because of the lack of authenticity in spirituality. There are groups that love the cultural idea of "church" and there are those who want a revival, emotional experience each week.
I struggle here folks. Really. I get turned off by pretention and "traveling evangelists" that bop people on the head and work them up in an emotional frenzy. I am also turned off by those who are cold, frozen and have no spiritual vitality. I crossed through the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement where I was pushed to the floor by the Super Hero of the hour. I was emotionally manipulated and part of the Super Hero's "ego show."
I have also been on the other side where the group is so scared of the Holy Spirit moving that they make sure there are no opportunities for Him to actively touch people.
I have found that there are people who need "authentic spirituality" from Christ. They need authentic leaders, who are emotionally stable, character driven and Holy Spirit consumed. As Maxwell says, "Everything rises and falls on Leadership."
If we have a need that we are trying to meet through the people that attend our church, then there will never be authenticity.
If we need the emotional high for the moment and it drives our ego, then there will never be authenticity.
If we need the approval of the people and their thumbs up, then there will never be authenticity.
If we have a pre-scribed religious approach to God and connecting with Him, there will never be authenticity.
Authentic leaders hunger for God. They have a strong personal devotional life and are emotionally secure. They model this for their church.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
I am speaking from that book this week to our congregation on "When the Sun Goes Down." So many times we talk about, "breakthrough," "miracles," "walking in faith," and "deliverance," but in our experience we see the opposite. This can be confusing, hurting and demoralizing. To trust for a certain thing to take place and then the opposite happen can take the wind out of your sails.
The key to this is that Joshua saw the sun go down on a generation before he ever saw the sun stand still. Day after day he saw people rebelling and "locked" out of the promise land. Sometimes before we see the sun stand still we will see the sun go down. It takes audacious faith to continue to persevere and believe despite that. Here are three reasons God will allow the sun to go down in our lives:
These are from Psalm 42, when David was betrayed by his son Absalom and was seeing the sun go down.
God allows the sun to go down because:
1. It Creates an Opportunity to Get Closer to Him
David said that his soul "panted" for the living God. His sun gone down experience pushed him closer to God.
2. It Causes us to Reflect Upon the Goodness of God in the Past
Two times David says, "I remember...."
3. Our Hope will Remain in God- not a Vision or Positive Circumstances
David said twice to himself, "Put your hope in God." He was sad, depressed and worn out because his hope was in circumstances changing, not in the Unchanging God of the Universe.
As you have "Sun Gone Down Experiences" read Psalm 42 and gain comfort, encouragement and perspective.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
.....but then Monday came. I was really tired. I had to go back to my full time job. I am not "Pastor Kevin" at my job. As a matter of fact, I had two co-workers actively try to get me fired. I had to meet with management and our HR department about this. I had to work on next week's sermon. I began to work on our next events. Very anti-climatic. What now?
I am reminded of the birth of Christ. There were angels, traveling shepherds and God's glory that came that day. What a circumstance of miracles that led up to this event. I heard a message from one of my mentors, Dwight Dunning, who preached, "What Happens After the Glory?" He spoke on Christmas about the shepherds and all those involved in this event. It was probably pretty anti-climatic. They went back to "normal." They had this great experience, but what now?
After a Great Ministry Experience:
1. Take Time to Celebrate with Your Team: Have a party! Have fun. Thank them for their faithfulness and reflect upon the faithfulness of God.
2. Share with Them your Next Big Event: Shift their minds to thinking that was the end all. Remind them there is much more to come. Start working on improving your ministries. Use S-Curves for your advantage.
3. Make a Memory, but not a Monument: There are some preachers and even leaders in our denominations who talk about that "one experience," pastorate, church plant or book they wrote. They are experts of the previous 20 years, but have no clue how to shift for the next 20 years. Some guys say, "Yeh, son, I had 80 people at my church one time too." (gruff country old voice.)
4. Don't Try to Out Do the Previous Week: Ministry is tough. We have great nights where we progress and change and then we have MONTHS where nothing visually happens. It seems like we are plowing through concrete..... then BAM, we have a powerful week and so we work hard to out do the previous week. Don't focus on that. Growth is a process, not an event.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Why aren't people digging my "kool-aid?"
On Sundays, I am going to post thoughts about church and why false movements make it. I watch Jehova's Witnesses and Mormons go out in groups and spread their false gospel. I watch non-Christian movements about saving "pear trees" or something like that flourish and have followers.
Why is it that the church is so bad at starting movements? Only 1 in 10 church plants make it. Why? Why do pastors and youth pastors struggle to keep people coming?
The basic human need of every person is love and acceptance. The second major need on the "Bordeaux's" scale is "a sense of being a part of a greater movement to change the world."
Churches for the most part are lacking in these two areas. We thrive on superficial worship services with superficial relationships. We punish people by with holding love from them if they are not part of our standard or code. We also are so wrapped up in "doing church" and having Bible Studies that we don't have a vision to be a movement, sent by God, to bring tangible change to our communities.
People join false movements because they are accepted, loved and feel part of a movement that is greater than them.
Let's make a personal covenant to see potential and speak to the potential in people around us. Let's return to authentic relationships where people can be transparent. Let's also recover our lost mission and invite people around us to be a part of that.
When is the last time you have told someone how much potential you see in them and called out gifts that you see?
When is the last time you sat over a cup of coffee, or hung out a while after church or a meeting and chatted about life with someone?
When is the last time you have casted vision beyond yourself?
Do people feel accepted in your ministry? Do people have the fire in their eyes about a vision larger than themselves?
Don't be mad if people ain't all up in your kool-aid. Maybe your kool-aid lacks sugar.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I would love your feedback on this. The issue is what pastors call "sheep stealing." I have never understood the term or found it to be biblical. Recently, I had this accusation against me. I don't understand it because a pastor does not "own" someone and it is illegal to steal a person; I think that is called kidnapping.
So, here are my thoughts.
Biblically: As long as someone was in a household of faith that believed the major beliefs of Christianity, it did not matter. The only time Paul was concerned was if they were leaving the faith.
Ecclesiately: If one of my congregants feels led by God to go somewhere else, I honor that. We are the Church as a body.
Personally: If someone feels like it is time to move on or they are getting fed and connected somewhere else then no amount of convincing or manipulating is going to change that. I can't take it personally. I am not a super pastor. I have people who have left, who will leave and those who will come.
I had a gentleman talk to me the other day about his church and his desire to leave. My counsel was this, "I am going to give you the same instructions that I want someone to give a person in our congregation. First, seek God and hear from Him. Secondly, go to your pastor, face to face, and be real with these feelings. Thirdly, seek outside counsel before making decisions."
Finally, you love people unconditionally and encourage their faithfulness where they are planted. From that point they have to make their own decisions.
When you are starting a movement, you will attract people who are fans and those who are critical. Don't set out to prove critics wrong, rather continue on the mission and let the results of your vision speak for you.
So, is sheep stealing Biblical?
Monday, February 21, 2011
These points really gripped my heart on leading others effectively:
•know your limits
•consider the counsel of others
•don't let people put you on a pedestal.
•make sure you are transparent and confessional.
•learn the phrase, "I don't know the answer, but I
•encourage your spouse to keep you humble.
•listen closely to the deep still small voice of God.
•remember: Jesus loved all men, but obeyed his Father.
These are great reminders in our lives and in leading others.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
In my prayer time the other day, I felt the Lord say to me, "You are not building your kingdom to show off to mankind, but you are building MY Kingdom to see mankind transformed."
Often, people, leaders and pastors, have an expectation of what they are building. The leader or pastor will be consumed with "the work of the ministry." In all actuality we need other people's approval so much and are in the search to be significant that we are working at building something to show off to them.
We all have the need to be accepted and approved. I have mentioned this before, but we must allow God's Spirit to search our hearts and prod us. The question, as a leader, you must ask yourself is this, "If I walked away tomorrow from this ministry or job, could I still possess joy and a sense of significance from just "being" a child of God?"
Building God's Kingdom is surrendering to the path that He places us on. .
Building our kingdoms are marked by:
-Need to Control
-Source of Joy is Success from Our Kingdom
-Lack of Satisfaction with Current Situation (all leaders need to keep pushing forward, but "contentment with godliness is great gain")
-Starved for Someone to Recognize Us
Building God's Kingdom is marked by:
-Joy from Our Position as Sons and Daughters
-Releasing of Control (God is Sovereign)
-A Contentment that Produces Peace
-Thankful that God Recognizes and is INVOLVED.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I recently listened to a talk by Andy Stanley and he outlined these 5 questions that guide his messages. Hope this refreshes and encourages you.
1. What do they need to know? This is your subject. One thought.
2. Why do they need to know it?
Educating them on the importance of your subject/thought.
3. What do they need to do?
4. Why do they need to do it?
Inspiration. "Imagine if..." "What if we all did this what would happen?" Paint a picture.
5. What can I do to help them remember?
Visual reminders, reiteration and point(s) easy to memorize.
I use this outline to help guide my weekly messages. It has made a huge difference.