Empty Nesting & Time Zones

IMG_5663I have a love/hate relationship with watching our kids grow up!

In our 26+ years of marriage, our family has moved over 20 times.  And 5 of those have been large moves across the country.

Why?

One word.¬† ‘Adventure.’

What I’ve discovered as Cailey and I are quickly becoming empty nesters is that our kids are taking on the rhythm of life they were raised in.

Take exhibit A (image to the right).  This is the new world clock on my phone.  As of this week, this now represents the 3 time zones our immediate family live in.

Most of our moves, and all 5 of the big ones, were related to doing ministry.¬† And it wasn’t ever as simple as going where employment was.¬† There were always multiple options for us to choose from.¬† I guess we’ve just firmly believed in listening to God carefully and stepping in faith in whichever direction He sends us.¬† We’ve modeled this lifestyle to our kids, so it should not surprise me that we now have a 21 y/o son living in Colorado and a 23 y/o son serving the next 3 years in Guam with the U.S. Navy.¬† Our other two kids currently live at home, but who knows where they will end up in the next year or two?

 

All that said, here are a few lessons I’m learning about watching our kids leave our nest and become highly independent adults.

  • Our direction and influence in their lives must look different than before. It also needs to be OFFERED, not GIVEN.
  • Their life choices are THEIR life choices. Their career, family, lifestyle, and overall worldview isn’t going to look just like mine. Those are not wrong or right. They are simply going to be different…unique to the person they are becoming.
  • It is fun watching them discover ADULTING along the way. But this is a spectator sport. We must not interfere in game play when we’re on the bench. And guess what? Our kids will determine if and when we come off the sidelines, not us.
  • Lastly, I love the fact that our kids still TALK to us! Now, I’m not so naive to claim that they tell us everything and they know all there is to know about Mom and Dad. But we still share our ambitions, worries, victories, and basic joys with each other. Cailey and I call that a win for our family.

Our family is far from perfect. We’ve even been told we’re entertaining at times (that’s not always a compliment). But our kids genuinely love each other, and deep down they know that their parents love them.

Here’s to family, life transition, and simply going with the flow!

 

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Would You Take a Selfie With God?

No matter how old you get, I think you’ll agree that none of us will ever forget the friendships we had in High School. Those were formative years of our adolescence. And if you were anything like me, you had different friendships.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about!

I had 2-3 friends that my parents didn’t care for. They would strongly encourage me to stay clear of them. “That guy’s bad news, Brent” they would say. “They’re going to just get you into trouble.”

Generally speaking, they were wrong. One friend, however, they were dead right on with…..but that’s a different blog post ūüôā

I digress.

Have you ever viewed God as a friend? You know, like the friends you associated with in school? Well, this thought entered my mind recently and I ended up mulling over it a while.

selfie.002

Whether you already have a relationship with God or not, I think this concept of the Creator of the Universe actually wanting to have a real friendship with you and I is difficult to grasp. I mean….he’s God! But he still calls us ‘friends.’

Anyway, the more I thought about it I determined that there really are two types of friend that God offers to us. See what you think.

Friend #1 – That friend you have a lot in common with. You have so much fun just being together and in each other‚Äôs company. It doesn’t even matter what you’re doing. You really look forward to spending time together. This is the friend you’ve taken selfies with in about HALF of your Instagram feed.
Friend #2 – The person you work to build a relationship with because of what you can gain from them. Maybe because of who they know, what they have, or the position they hold. This friendship is not the kind that just evolves naturally. It requires initiative, but the investment is worth it!
I would argue that there are aspects of both in God. The longer we know him and spend real time with him, the more comfortable we become. The more we learn that he really is very relational.
Additionally, I’d be willing to bet that God would take the most epic selfie! (we just might have to edit the brightness down afterward)

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How To Date Your Spouse On A Budget

We’re so excited…Episode #1 of the new Hot & Cold vlog is in the books!

If you enjoy this post, please consider leaving a comment below and even sharing it on Facebook or Twitter. ¬†We’re also taking suggestions for future topics.

Lastly, congrats to the winner of the marriage book giveaway!  We announce the winner in this episode AND have a fun, new contest for you.

The new CONTEST runs through Saturday, May 20th.  Details in this video.

Resource:  HomeWord, with Jim Burns & Doug Fields, is an incredible resource to marriages and families.  We cannot say enough good about the amount of helpful information you can find throughout this website.  Check it out!

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(Our son, Garrett, composed & produced the theme music for our vlog. Contact us if you would like to have him produce something for your needs)

New Marriage Vlog Promo

We are SO EXCITED!

Share this post and tag @Brent_Dumler on Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win a book giveaway on one of our favorite marriage books.

Comment below if you would like to make topic suggestions that you would like to see on future episodes.

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7 Ideas For Creating Staff Connections

Church staff must learn to do life outside of ministry work together if they hope to lead as a family.

After giving a breakout talk at CMConnect recently, I was asked about practical ideas for things staff can do to create healthy, meaningful relationships with one another.  The purpose is to build family-type relationships.

Why?

leadership.001.jpg

So, here are some fun possibilities to consider: 

  • Skeet shooting (yup, but not when your Lead Pastor is angry with you).
  • Have a staff member (and spouse) over for dinner just to get to know them better. ¬†Be sure to enquire about food allergies ūüôā
  • Bowling (bonding with fun competition).
  • Have a regular staff meeting with zero ministry work on the agenda.
  • Pray for each other’s marriages, kids, finances, health, and ministry concerns. ¬†Don’t skimp on time with this!
  • Experience a personality assessment together and discuss the results openly. ¬†Talk through what you learn about leading together that you didn’t know before.
  • Volunteer in someone else’s ministry area! ¬†This expresses love & appreciation for that leader, and models ‘Kingdom Work’ to the rest of the church.

Would you add anything to this list?

Please leave a comment below. ¬†I love hearing from my readers ūüôā

Note: If you are interested in receiving coaching on this topic or other ministry areas, feel free to contact me at BrentDumler@icloud.com. ¬†I’ll custom taylor something to fit your specific needs.

 

 

9 Insights To A Lasting Marriage

Leadership requires selflessness, mentoring, learning from others, patience, persistence, and the willingness to grow through your mistakes. ¬†These also apply to making a marriage work. ¬†And not to simply ‘work,’ but to THRIVE.

Today (August 31) marks 24 years with one AMAZING woman of God! ¬†Both of us have had to lead ourselves and each other through some pretty challenging seasons. ¬†But we have both learned that marriage is much more than a ‘relationship status’ on Facebook. ¬†It’s a life-long investment in a journey together.

Here are 9 lessons on marriage I’ve come to realize over the years.

Leavenworth,_WA_-_Gustav's
Honeymoon | 1991 | Leavenworth, WA (Bavarian Village)

Marriage Insight #1 | Celebrate well, and remember often.

Turner Field | Our first MLB game
Turner Field | Our first MLB game

Marriage Insight #2 | Experience new things together.

Annual Family Vacation | Lincoln City, OR
Annual Family Vacation | Lincoln City, OR

Marriage Insight #3 | Cherish your family traditions while you have them.

Gloria Jean's Coffee | A Favorite From Our Dating Years
Gloria Jean’s Coffee | A Favorite From Our Dating Years

Marriage Insight #4 | Don’t forget to travel down memory lane now and then.

Every Time We Visit Nashville, TN
Every Time We Visit Nashville, TN

Marriage Insight #5 | Travel and explore together often.

The 'Chick-fil-a' of Hamburgers | Lake Forest, CA
The ‘Chick-fil-a’ of Hamburgers | Lake Forest, CA

Marriage Insight #6 | Experience good food together.

Multnomah Falls | Columbia River Gorge, OR
Multnomah Falls | Columbia River Gorge, OR

Marriage Insight #7 | Family memories are priceless.  Protect them.

Marriage Retreat | WinShape in Rome, GA
Marriage Retreat | WinShape in Rome, GA

Marriage Insight #8 | Invest in your relationship.  Otherwise it will run dry.

Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach, SC

Marriage Insight #9 | Don’t be afraid of displaying your love for each other publicly.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Cor. 13:7

To Cailey, the most incredible and beautiful woman I have ever known….Thank You! ¬†Thank you for loving me, especially at times when I’ve been unlovable. ¬†Thank you for patiently waiting for me to learn what it looks like to be the Spiritual leader of our home. ¬†I still have much to learn here. ¬†Thank you for being a¬†loving, guiding, teaching, and nurturing mother to our children. ¬†And lastly, thank you for constantly challenging me to become a better husband, father, and church leader.

Happy Anniversary…I Love You!

Is your past restricting your future?

Relationships ALWAYS require work! This is true of marriage, friendships, family, co-workers, etc. Sometimes a situation occurs that tosses a grenade into the middle of a relationship leaving only pain & destruction remaining.

So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)

Referencing Barclay on this passage, we cannot be made right with God until we are made right with the people in our lives. There really are no exceptions!

What do you do when reconciliation is NOT possible?

This is a question I’ve personally been wrestling with this week. Recently, I attended a leadership conference with my wife and 3 team members from our church. Now, the church we had served at prior to where we are at now endured a painful church split a few years ago. This was a result of the Senior Pastor resigning due to some integrity issues that caused there to be a complete lack of trust between he and the rest of the church leadership. I’ll spare you the ugly details. In over 20 years of church ministry, this was the first time I seriously doubted that I would ever serve in the church again. But God (how He does) had other plans for me.

Back to the conference.

My wife and I came to know that our former Pastor had relocated and is currently pastoring another church…..which just happened to be a 20-minute drive from our conference. Coincidence? I think not! God’s ways are not our ways, and I honestly think He gets a kick out of watching us react to His spiritual orchestrations from time to time. Don’t you? Well, to make a very complicated story short…we took action on the above verse. My wife and I (while basking in prayer) took time from the conference schedule and drove to his church, only to discover that he was not there. We were able to eventually make indirect contact with him via his wife…but he refused to meet with us to hear our apology and requested email communication. We emailed our short and honest apology, to which we received a 300-word reply that clearly indicated he had not dealt with any level of healing or repentance in his own life since then. Initially, the anger and resentment began to resurface inside me. But within moments God spoke to me, “Pray for him. He’s not benefited from the healthy church family that you have the last 2 years.” Boom! That’s what I call a God-smack.

I leave you with 3 spiritual truths:

1. We are not allowed to use the ‘what if’ factor as an excuse to not attempt reconciliation.

2. Our obedience, regardless of the outcome, will always lead to health.

3. Being at odds with another believer is never God’s best for us.

Do you need to forgive or apologize to someone in your life? Get prayed-up…take a breath…and move forward. God’s best life is just waiting around the corner for you!

Pastoral Inventory

2  things every Senior Pastor should take a personal inventory of:

1)  Are there people in your church who spend more time talking to you than Jesus?

Now don’t let that question offend you. ¬†Let me explain. ¬†Many pastors experience the occasional ‘concerned‘ church member. ¬†You know these people. ¬†They usually don’t have an appointment when they stop by your office, and they want to tell you about all the things that are wrong in the church. ¬†If they are not spending more time praying about their intensions and their own possible contribution to a solution, they don’t need to be consuming portions of your valuable time. ¬†Practice being a good steward of your time. ¬†Make every minute worth something.

2)  Are you very aware of specific needs (both personal & professional) of each member of your pastoral staff team?

In the last 20 years of ministry, I’m disgusted to say that the¬†MAJORITY of¬†churches I’ve served in have been lead by pastors who were not at all in touch with their¬†staff. ¬†Whether your church office consists of only one pastor and a part-time admin assistant, or a full-time team of 30 ministers…connection matters. ¬†Ministry teams are very different than sales or marketing teams in the corporate America cubical. ¬†I’m going to make a very strong statement here. ¬†If your Lead Pastor does not genuinely care about you and what you’ve got going on in your life…he/she will not care about anything of spiritual relevance in your area of ministry. ¬†Lead Pastors need to be actively¬†‘in the know’ with their staff and praying for them regularly.

Are you a Lead Pastor, and do you struggle with either of these in your church?  Are you a support staff at your church, and what have been your experiences?

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