I’m Moving To Colorado Springs! What???

I have a Love/Hate relationship with change.  How about you?

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In the Fall of 2013, it was revealed at our staff retreat that my wife and I were going to step out of our staff roles at the time to launch the first multisite church campus of Christ Community Church. Fast forward to Nov 8, 2015. On this Sunday we announced that our campus would be changing our video teaching model to offer live preaching. Not only did this change not include my wife and I (change in leadership), we also announced that we were moving to Colorado Springs in 4 weeks.

This has all happened so quickly.  We really have seen the finger prints of God all over this…not only in our own lives, but for the health of the campus as well.

So, this is basically a journal entry reflecting on my thoughts with this transition:  What I FEEL vs. what I KNOW.

What I feel | There is personal loss attached to big life transitions. Loss of close friends, co-workers, family, culture, and familiarity.

What I know | There often needs to be loss if God is going to bless us with new blessings. It’s His way of making room for the new. I have seen this over and over in my lifetime, so I’m not sure why I don’t get more excited at the onset of changing seasons when they pop up.

What I feel | 18 months is too soon after launching a new church campus for the leadership to move on. Ok, it’s too soon for my comfort level. There, I said it. I really thought I’d be shepherding this body of believers for at least 3-5 years. And that was my problem. I presumed God’s intentions more than I should have.

What I know | God’s timing is always perfect and always better than mine. On God’s clock, late and early are non-existent. This is so comforting (and frustrating) to me.

What I feel | Its not fair that I don’t get to be a part of this local church body in its next chapter. I want to see it grow. I want to meet all the amazing, new people. I want to celebrate with the new believers and disciple them.

What I know | God’s calling on my life (and yours) is never about fairness. And it is not about our personal wants. It is, however, always about obedience, faith, and a larger Kingdom purpose than my own little world.

What I feel | I worry about how my kids will weather through this change. Our 2 oldest are staying in GA, while 2 of our boys are moving with us. I often think, they did not ask for this life of ministry….constant change and moving from place to place.

What I know | They are only mine for a season and for the purpose of training them up in faith and life. Ultimately, they are The Lord’s. When we dedicated them to Him as babies, we were placing them in His care. As they have grown older, I have had to constantly re-visit those moments and ask myself a question. Do I truly mean today what I meant back then? Thankfully, the answer has been ‘yes.’ But I do find myself constantly rededicating each of them to God’s care and providence. This is mainly for my own sanity.

What I feel | If I’m going to be really authentic here, I’d have to admit that I’ve said to God (more than once) that I didn’t ask for this calling of ministry in my life. I’ve often thought what it would be like to go to church at the same time as everyone else does. Or how it would feel not to have to live completely by my calendar. Or not having the heaviness of knowing so much of the pain and struggle many of our church members are¬†enduring each week.

What I know | While that all sounds appealing on the surface, I know better. Yes, ministry is demanding and hard. But (there’s a huge ‘but’ here), it is also rewarding beyond words. The innumerable experiences, tragedies, joys, challenges, victories, and relationships God has gifted me with….none of them would have come to be if I had said ‘No’ to His call on my life. I would have forfeited the past 24 years of partnership with God. The thought that I could have given all that away to someone else makes me cringe.

“This is God’s universe, and He does things His way.¬† We may have a better way, but we don’t have a universe.”¬† – Dr. J. Vernon Megee

 How about you?  How have you maneuvered through major transitions in life?  When have what you FEEL vs. what you KNOW collided?

This has been the quickest, healthiest, and craziest change in my life to date…..and I’m really looking forward to it!

5 Keys to Doing the Right Thing

Have you ever noticed that doing the RIGHT THING often brings a certain level of discomfort?

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Don’t you wish it was the other way around? ¬†I do. ¬†But I guess that is why God gave us tools like the Matthew 18 principle for dealing with conflict. ¬†And he did tell us ahead of time that life was not going to be easy. ¬†So how do we approach doing what’s right despite how painful or awkward it might feel?

Allow me to share 5 things I try to do:

1. Pray | Yep, good old Spiritual discernment. ¬†When the answers are not obvious to us we must remember …they are very clear to God. ¬†So why not ask for a peek into his knowledge?

2. Ask ‘why’ | Do¬†the benefits largely overpower the reasons NOT to do it? ¬†In other words, if doing nothing seems like a huge mistake then at least we know that something needs to change.

3. Ask ‘who’ | Seriously, who will this decision help the most? ¬†Whatever decision I make, it’s almost always the wrong decision if I’m the only clear beneficiary.

4. Talk about it | Just start openly talking about the issue around others as if you are leaning toward that decision.  Pay attention to the body language, facial reactions, and verbal input you get.  Want to really be aggressive?  Ask them how they would come to a decision.

5. Take action | At some point we just need to make a decision. ¬†And sometimes this can be risky. ¬†But being willing to risk failure in order to lead well builds self-confidence and gives your team members more reason to follow your lead in the future. ¬†Take the dive. ¬†If it was the right decision celebrate and run with it. ¬†If not, own it and learn from it. ¬†Either way it’s a win-win situation.

What do you struggle with when making big decisions?  What filters or processes have you used?

Please comment below. 

 

Quotes From FMCGC15

It is inspiring when church leaders from all over the world unite to get on the same page.

Here are many of the top quotes from the past 4 days in Orlando at the Free Methodist Church General Conference 2015.

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Larry Walkemeyer 

“God‚Äôs vision always takes a team.”

“Too often prayer is assumed in stead of activated.”

“Fear robs, and obedience rewards.”

“Good is often the chief enemy of great.”

“When we live behind fear, we invite garbage into our lives.”

“Remain open-handed with whoever God gives you.‚ÄĚ

“Without a strong WHY we will gravitate to what is EASIEST.”

 

Al Sones

“Obedience to the Holy Spirit ‚Äėrequires‚Äô vulnerability”

 

Bishop David Kendall

“God’s love didn’t wait until we were known – God Loved!”

“The love God commands is the love God empowers.”

 

Bruce Bennett

“Jesus didn’t give us an impossible mission. ¬†We’ve just been slow learners.”

“Calling will always interrupt what you’re doing.”

 

Keith Cowart

“Being a leader is being comfortable with your gifting and your lack.”

 

Stephen Gray

‚ÄúChurch multiplication is a Spiritual decision.”

“The local church is the only hope of the world.”

“Movements must be dangerous to be effective.”

 

Ben Sigman

“Numbers are not the goal. ¬†If numbers are the goal, you will do ungodly things to get them.”

 

Bishop David Roller

“Love of others is not natural.”

“Never ask God who your neighbor is unless you want him to wreck your Tuesday night.”

“Don‚Äôt allow religious work to distract you from God‚Äôs heart.”

“If we are really going to love our neighbor, we cannot continue as we are.”

“Love demands that we move forward with dangerous plans.”

“We can only love when we invite God‚Äôs character to overtake our character.”

“We must love in ways that amaze and astound our communities.”

 

J.D. Van Valin

“If you want to see the kingdom of God at work, you’re going to have to deal with some odor.”

 

Bruce Cromwell

“May God bless you with tension.”

 

Bishop Matthew Thomas

“If the Lord is providing the power he’ll provide the way.”

“We must have a life worthy of showing them.”

“Jesus conveyed his power, and gave the command. ¬†‘Go…make disciples.”

“Why would anyone want to follow YOU?‚ÄĚ

Where you there this week?

What quotes or takeaways would you add?  Now, let us go home to our churches a changed people.  And may God change our communities through us.

God Bless.

Leave comments below.

Coming Soon…My First eBook!

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. ¬†So, I decided to take the plunge. ¬†And honestly, this eBook is coming right out of my own growth experiences over recent years.

Here’s the title…

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This is a small eBook, and will be used to give away FREE to those who subscribe to this blog.  This is the first in a LeadRight series.  Other titles will be listed on the last page.

I’d appreciate it if you could help me out! ¬†Would you…

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Keeping with the theme of ‘Goals’…what are you working on? ¬†What is something you really want to try that is new and challenging? ¬†Go ahead, take a risk and post it. ¬†I double-dog dare you!

Have a stupendous week.

4 Ways To Embrace Failure

How does failure affect you?

Every new venture has the potential to succeed or fail. ..BUT only if you actually take a risk.  This is very true for churches when they launch their first multisite campus as well.  Nine months since our launch and the lessons continue to flood in weekly.

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Recently, our streaming video teaching failed in a BIG way! ¬†So I thought I’d write about it (insert smirk). ¬†What exactly happened and why is less important than actually taking steps to ensure that this virtually does’t¬†happen again. ¬†Our team got together during the week, collaborated, and agreed on a process. ¬†All I can say is that the next campus our church launches should be much better off as a result of the lessons we’ve learned.

So, what are we to do when things go wrong…whether we caused it or not? ¬†The choice is up to you and I.

Here are 4 ways to EMBRACE failure.

1) ¬†Expect it | What we can see coming (to a degree) prepares us to better deal with it mentally when it hits. ¬†It’s like a warning. ¬†And I’m not talking about pessimism either. ¬†Reality and experience teach us that failures are a part of life.

2) ¬†Don’t fear it | Fear can keep us from taking future risks. ¬†Fear screams, “Don’t even try that!” ¬†Here’s the thing, fear of failure crowns complacency as King. ¬†We don’t want that.

3) ¬†Learn from it | Failures not learned from are usually repeated. ¬†If you continue to stub your toe on the same item when you get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, don’t you eventually move that item? ¬†Learning usually requires some level¬†of adjustment. ¬†Leaders who don’t learn from their failures fail to grow.

4) ¬†Share it | Grab a huge piece of humble pie, own your “Well that didn’t go as I had hoped” moment, and help others to grow their leadership from your experience. ¬†Most of the incredibly helpful leaders I have learned from in the past 20 years of ministry realized that sharing their personal mishaps actually helps further Kingdom work. ¬†It offers hindsight to younger, less experienced leaders.

In a recent interview, Jon Acuff¬†said, “I like the 39 year old me better than the 29 year old me, and I hope the 49 year old me feels the same.”

I think that can apply to leaders too. ¬†Think about it. ¬†Ten years from now don’t you hope to be a stronger leader than you are today?

Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

You’re Not The Gatekeeper Of Every Ministry

Remember that iconic line from Monty Python and The Holy Grail?

“None shall pass!”

Arthur, King of the Britains, attempts to pass a bridge. ¬†It is guarded, however, by the infamous Black Knight. ¬†He guards this bridge with his life, allowing no one to cross over to the other side. ¬†He claims, “None shall pass” twice before earning multiple ‘flesh wounds.’

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I share this because I recently had a powerful coaching discussion with my Lead Pastor. ¬†In September of 2014 I transitioned into a Campus Pastor role in the midst of our church’s first multisite launch. ¬†Can I just say…I’ve learned a lot in just 8 months!

As a new, and smaller, campus we want to be careful and purposeful about when and how we start new ministries.  Too much too soon can bring more problems than good.  This was the topic I brought up to him.  After a few minutes, he made a statement that instantly gave me clarity on the issue.

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Wow!  And he followed up with this.

He explained that new ministries simply need to have clear purpose, leadership, boundaries, and must be fully in line with the mission, vision, and core values of our church. ¬†That’s my job. ¬†As long as that is all in place, we want to be permission-giving.

If you’re in a senior leadership role, can you relate to this? ¬†Do you find this helpful? ¬†How is the creation of new ministries handled in your church?

Join the discussion.  Please leave a comment below.

 

 

5 Huge Differences Between Leaders & Managers

“If leadership practices in the Church are not drastically different from the corporate world, the Church’s influence on the world will cease reflecting the person of Jesus.”

For the sake of this post, let’s define ‘managers’ as task-oriented individuals in high positions who’s only goal is to get results at any cost…and ‘leaders’ as people-oriented individuals in influential positions who’s goal is to accomplish objectives with their teams.

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Managers say, “You will get this done.”

¬† ¬†Leaders say, “We’ll get this done together.”

Managers tend to delegate tasks to those in specific positions.

   Leaders give tasks out to those team members best equipped to handle them. 

Managers lead others out the office they occupy.

   Leaders lead out of relationship which earns them influence.

Mangers make decisions out of what makes sense and seems logical.

¬† ¬†Leaders realize the importance of prayer, thinking ‘outside of the box,’ and involving others in decisions.

Managers tend to protect their position until they are offered a chance to move up the corporate ladder.

   Leaders do their best to bring one or two others along and mentor them to replace themselves one day.

 

That’s my list. ¬†Would you add anything? ¬†I’d love to hear your thoughts. ¬†Leave a comment below.

 

Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com

How Proximity Can Affect Your Perspective

“I can see it’s not level from here!”

I didn’t actually say that out loud. ¬†But it’s what came to mind as I was watching a a hired worker on a scissor lift hang crosses from our Sanctuary ceiling in preparation for our Easter services.

He was roughly 25 feet off the ground as I witnessed him pull out a leveling tool to see if the cross was level.

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I almost laughed.  It was so obvious from where I was positioned on the ground and about 30 feet from him.  The cross was very crooked.  But his proximity to the work being done was so close that the degree of inaccuracy was not clear to him.  He needed a resource, a level, to bring it into perspective.

This is often the case with leaders when they find themselves in particular seasons in their company or church. ¬†Sometimes we end up so close and focused on a problem or need for change that we simply cannot see the obvious. ¬†In these times it’s often a good idea to consider involving the perspective of someone not as close to the situation as we are. ¬†Someone whose proximity is more distant. ¬†This ‘level’ can either be someone on another team within your organization or a hired consultant.

So many times, these people will step into our situation and almost immediately take notice of something that was staring you and I right in the face the entire time.

Where are you looking for that ‘A-Ha’ moment? ¬†Do you have others helping you who don’t have a direct connection to your present situation?

Join the discussion. ¬†I’d love for you to leave a comment below.

Leadership Insights from the Seahawks and Superbowl XLIX

“What??? ¬† Why didn’t we just have Lynch run it in?”

Famous and haunting screams echoed by Seahawk 12s everywhere.  If you missed how Superbowl XLIX ended, watch the 60 sec clip HERE.

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Now, I’m ¬†a true and committed Seattle Seahawk fan…born and raised in the great PNW. ¬†I was so excited for the chance to have 2 consecutive Superbowls on record for Seattle. ¬†In the moment, I’ll admit. ¬†I was frustrated, mad, and genuinely disturbed.

BUT…I began to recover my sanity the next morning after hearing Pete Carroll’s explanation of what happened. ¬†The original plan was to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch. ¬†Apparently, the Patriots’ defense lined up in such a way that Lynch would most likely have been stopped.

This really got me thinking.  There are huge leadership insights to be learned here.

1. ¬†We’re not always going to agree with leadership | Look…not agreeing and not supporting are two completely different things. ¬†I still think that short pass that resulted in a game-ending interception was a bad call. ¬†But, I still respect Pete Carroll and support his judgement in that moment. ¬†Churches aren’t much different. ¬†We may not agree with our pastor or team leader all the time, but I’ll tell you this. ¬†They need our support and prayers just the same.

2. ¬†Leadership often sees things that we don’t | Now that I’ve been in ministry for over 20 years, I have experienced more and more situations where senior leadership made a decision that did not make a bit of sense to others in the church. ¬†Often, there are things (details) going on in the background that everyone isn’t aware of. ¬†These things play a big part of a leader’s decision process, and usually are experiences or pieces of information that the general church body would not benefit in knowing.

3. ¬†Leaders are going to let us down from time to time (click to Tweet)¬†| I can’t tell you how many leaders/mentors have disappointed me over the years. ¬†In the past, I’ve allowed those disappointments to shape my attitude and leadership negatively. ¬†I have learned the hard way, however, to simply expect people to let me down. ¬†The key is to strive to learn something from the failure and pain which can grow us into a healthier leader ourselves.

4. ¬†Forgiveness is a command…not an option | When leaders do make big mistakes and acknowledge that things didn’t end up how they thought they would, we’ve got to offer grace and move on. ¬†Your leadership needs to know that you have their best interests (and the church’s) in mind. ¬†This can actually encourage many leaders to be more open and less guarded with you in the future.

I’m not talking about unhealthy leaders here. ¬†Obviously, those in leadership who are leading from unhealth need accountability and help. ¬†This post is directed toward those leaders whose hearts, attitudes, and intensions are purely aimed at doing their best for the Church and in step with God’s will.

What has your experience been?  Are there any other lessons you would add to this list?  Comment below.

 

 

Photo credit: www4.pictures.zimbio.com & nypost.com 

Best Connection Methods With Those Attending Your Church

Gone are the days of the paper church newsletter. ¬†You know…the kind that actually had a stamp on it. ¬†We walked to our mailbox, opposed to clicking on our inbox.

As a Campus Pastor, I’m learning the massive importance of 2-way communication with those in our church. ¬†One tool I’ve absolutely fallen in love with is MailChimp. We use this service to send weekly eBulletins to our church attendees. ¬†It has helped us tremendously. ¬†(Here’s an example of ours)

HOWEVER!

It’s only helpful if you have a name and an ACCURATE email address. ¬†This is where traditional ‘paper’ Communication Cards fall short.

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It can be quite frustrating…having a communication card from a 1st time guest and not being able to read their email address. Maybe the ink was smeared, or they simply write like a doctor (no offense). ¬†Have you had this happen? This new guest visits your church, takes time to give you their info and drop the card in a box hoping for some sort of correspondence. And the worst instance is when this happens and they did not include a phone or snail-mail address. Now you’re at a dead end. The only thing to do here is pray that they return so we can follow up.

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All that leads me to say this. Churches must develop ways for those attending their worship services to submit Communication Card information via their mobile devices from their seats or in their vehicles on their way home. This will not only improve the accuracy issues mentioned above, it will also increase connections.

Here are a few key connection practices.

  • Convenience | Place communication cards in the seats. Don’t ask people to stop by somewhere else to pick one up…they won’t! Also, keep the card as simple as possible. Fewer specifics and clutter are less overwhelming.
  • 2-Way | People in your church should always have a way to respond or answer a question. For an eBulletin, take advantage of hyperlinks. These can connect them from there to social media, staff emails, event registration forms, and helpful resources.
  • Follow up | This is HUGE ¬†for people who just visited your church. First-time guests at our church receive a welcome letter (mailed with a stamp) mailed on Monday, followed by a brief email. This email encourages them to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, our website, and by signing up for our eBulletin.
  • Centralized | For us, we want everyone to receive our weekly eBulletin. They can get everything they need in one ‘centralized’ location.

Rich Birch offers some solid tips on following up with guests who visit your church in this UNSEMINARY post. You will want to check it out.

What does your church do? What areas of connection do you struggle with? Would you add any thoughts on the topic?

Please leave a comment.