Monday, May 30, 2011

The Power of Small Things

These two quotes have shaped my life and the ministry I lead.

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.