Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Great Article Published by Catalyst...Leadership Development Insights From Ephesians 4

Such an amazing article posted here today - http://catalystconference.com/read/leadership-development-insight-from-ephesians-4/

Personally, one of the reasons I am looking forward to this weekend's Leadership Summit at Lakeside!


One of the constant struggles church leaders face is determining how to achieve alignment between congregational and pastoral expectations. If you are reading this, you likely are a Christian leader. You also are likely to attend a church that expects the pastors to do the ministry of the church (most do).
After all, that’s what they hired you for, right?
Wrong!
Kind of…
Many churches hire their pastor looking for someone to do the ministry. People are busy, and the other staff is overloaded. The pastors are the paid professionals.
So churches hire more and more staff. Which is why you are right: most churches do hire their pastors to do most of the ministry. Here’s the problem: relying on pastors to do most of the ministry IS NOT BIBLICAL.
Ephesians 4:12 teaches that pastors and teachers are to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ." A pastor’s primary responsibility is NOT to do the entire ministry. Those in pastoral ministry are to equip (i.e. – train, lead, and develop) others for ministry that builds up the body of Christ.
Here is a list of implications for pastoral ministry and churches who DO NOT ignore Ephesians 4:12:
1) Pastors should be evaluated on how many leaders they are developing.
Many people evaluate pastors on how often the visit the sick or how often they preach. Some churches even evaluate them on if they maintained their office hours. These methods are flawed.
Evaluate your pastor on how many leaders he’s developing.
2) Pastors should have leadership development as a major component of their job description.
If leader development isn’t in their job description, it will never get done. This affects who you hire, as it will drive the questions that you ask during the hiring process.
3) All individuals serving in professional ministry should be equipping–not just the senior pastor.
Equipping is not the role of a certain pastor only. All ministry leaders in your church should be equipping others; this includes everything from children’s ministry to senior citizens.
4) Few pastors should have pastoral care as a primary ministry activity.
They should be evaluated on how well they are developing leaders to do pastoral care and to train others to do pastoral care. Senior pastors will never have the time or energy to lead, if they are doing the majority (if not all) of the pastoral care.
5) Pastors must teach Ephesians 4 in order to destroy the “pastor does all the ministry” mentality.
This mentality has done more to harm the church than almost anything else. We’ve created a form of Christianity that I like to call “Spectator Christianity.” Some would say it stronger than that…it’s Unbiblical Christianity.
Pastors, if you aren’t equipping leaders for ministry, you are ignoring a key verse and harming your church. These changes will likely take time. Start teaching through the book of Ephesians and be ready to camp out in Ephesians 4 for a couple weeks if you have to.
6) “Doing all the ministry” robs your church members of opportunities to serve.
God intends for everyone to be involved in ministry and created each member of the church uniquely to do so. Don’t rob others of the opportunity by doing it all. Equip them, trust them, and then start challenging them to develop leaders.
7) Churches must require service according to the church’s philosophy.
Everyone who is a member (and preferably many more) should be serving on a weekly basis. If this isn’t occurring, the pastoral staff is likely not focused on the right areas. Remember: every member, a servant. Otherwise, you aren’t leading or shepherding your flock.
If these implications strike close to home and you desire to take steps to better train leaders at your church, I encourage you to explore Ministry Grid. Their mission is that of Ephesians 4 and the resources and tools they will provide are ideal for churches who want to develop leaders at all levels. I am excited about this new leadership training platform and the service it will offer the church.

War is not ours, it is the Lord's...

"War is not our, it is the Lord's." Words shared by Scott Thomas at our Prayer and Worship time on Saturday.

This past Saturday, we had an amazing time of worshiping and praying with no agenda, just seeking the face of God!

One of the songs we sang, had a line in it that absolutely sticks out in my mind,  "God is unstoppable." 

These two truths set up the whole night of prayer and worship and lid the foundation for the Lord to speak into my spirit and to both affirm and confirm something to me and it is this.

The enemy is going to try to press me and Lakeside on all sides.  Four specific areas where he is going to try to press are in the following areas:
  • Division - He is going to try to divide.  The last thing the enemy wants is unity around God's mission and vision.  If the enemy can divide and cause division he can get a foot in the door.  Division is like a cancer.  Do I think people intentional try to divide?  Must people...NO, not intentional.  But there are those people who will allow pride to build up and they think they know better, or there will be people who will always find fault with any and every thing and just criticize.  
  • Discouragement - The enemy works through discouragement, to cause people to doubt, to cause people to be neutralized.  This a way he allows fear to enter in, if fear enters in, it can be a place where decisions are made.  Fear should never dictate decisions.  Again, I don't believe people are always intentional about this.  But I do believe people do bring with them negativity and again always looking for what they can criticize and find fault with...if you are looking for something to find fault with you will find it.  Love what Pastor Mark tweeted just today...a compliment from a fool is really an insult and an insult is a compliment. CONSIDER THE SOURCE. some insults are compliments.    I also love what Nicky Gumbel tweeted as well, Be generous with encouragement. It is verbal sunshine. It costs nothing, it warms hearts and enriches lives.
  • Distraction - The enemy is always looking at way to distract us from the mission and the vision that God has given us.  The enemy does all he can to get our focus off the Savior.  The enemy will do whatever he can to throw up peripheral things to distract us, things that we shouldn't focus on.  In a sense we almost need to put blinders on and keep looking ahead.  There will always be distractions to try to get off course.  We need to ignore the distractions and keep pressing on!
  • Destruction - The enemy wants to all out an destroy us and God's Church.  He is destroying families.  He destroying lives.  His MO is to kill, steal and destroy!  The enemy will do this from the inside out.  He is finding ways to destroy the church and to wreak havoc.  We must always be aware of tactics of the enemy.  He will definitely try to get his way into the church and destroy.
These are some the things that I have experienced over the last several months.  I know God is on the move at Lakeside and throughout NE Wisconsin.  I also know the enemy will do what he can to stop any momentum.  I am here to pick a fight with him by getting on my knees and seeking God!

"War is not our, it is the Lord's."  The enemy will not win.  I will not allow him to get a foothold.  God is unstoppable!

I will believe, what Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14:6, when Jonathan had a daring plan and was about to confront his enemies, the Philistines, "perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf."  

I will continue to trust in the Lord and fight against, the division, the discouragement, the distractions and the destruction.

 


Friday, October 18, 2013

Leadership Thoughts

 Over the the last 22 years, my adult life.  I have learned so much about life and leadership.

Throughout those 22 years I worked in jobs and served in ministry capacities that required leadership.  None of these experiences were exactly alike and each one required a variation of leadership skill.

My jobs as an adult:
Theater manager at TC Williams High School
Warehouse manager at a carpet  store
Host at a very prestigious corpoarate Law Firm in Washington DC (Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering)
Assistant Manager/Inventory Control Specialist for Family Christian
Stores
Youth Pastor at Harvest Church
Youth/Associate Pastor at Crosslight Assembly
Bible Teacher at Evangel Christian School
Young Adult Director for the Potomac District
Campus Pastor (plus other responsibilities) at National Community Church
Lead Pastor at Lakeside Community Church

Every job unique, every experience very distinct, every opportunity allowed me to grow and develop leadership skill (still growing in Leadership skills).  I have learned so much from running a Theater Auditorium as a high school senior 18 years old to working at huge corporate law firm with very powerful attorneys, to serving customers at Christian bookstore (Christian customers are some of the nastiest people I have ever worked with) to leading an amazing church where I am currently.

Leadership has definitely been modeled to me from an amazing men and women over these 22 years.  I value every investment those individuals have made in me.

I have also learned a lot about leadership from amazing authors, speakers and bloggers, I continue to grow through reading and listening to these amazing leaders.  I truly believe LEADERS ARE READERS and READERS ARE LEADERS.

So of these voices include John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard, Michael Hyatt, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Dave Fergunson, Patrick Lencioni, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Collins, Len Sweet, and Daniel Pink.

My top ten leadership books: (No Order)
From Good to Great - Jim Collins
Drive - Daniel Pink
Axiom -Bill Hybels
Lead Like Jesus - Ken Blanchard
The 7 Habits of Highly Effect People - Steve Covey
The Catalyst Leader - Brad Lomenick
Next Generation Leader - Andy Stanley
Four Faces of a Leader - Dr. H. Robert Rhoden
Purple Cow - Seth Godin
The Making of a Leader - Robert Clinton

Here is what I know about leadership...it is tough; it is lonely; leadership is not about making the easy decision but the right decision; leadership is about have the right people in the right seat on the bus; leadership is about equipping, enabling and empowering others; leadership is not about making the popular decision; there will always be complainers and critics to your leadership; there are late adapters; leadership is determined in making the 49/51% decisions; you can't make everyone happy; leaders can't stay in the pack; leaders can't lead if no one is following; greatest leadership model is Jesus - He was the ultimate servant leader; leaders don't have to have all the right answers; leaders are catalyst; leaders embrace change; leaders aren't afraid to take risk; leadership about action and not talk; leadership is about people not principle; leadership is never boring; leadership is about leaving a legacy; you can't not be a leader without character; leaders can't be insecure (if you are a leader and you are insecure you will sabotage yourself and the organization)  I can go on and one...but I won't!

If I could describe myself as a leader, I would say I am visionary/servant leader.  My Myers/Briggs personality type is ENFP: This would be best describe me.
As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.
ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it. 

ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. They're constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP's life, and because they are focused on keeping "centered", the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values. 

An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. Unlike other Extraverted types, ENFPs need time alone to center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centered will usually be quite successful at their endeavors. Others may fall into the habit of dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of achieving. 

Most ENFPs have great people skills. They are genuinely warm and interested in people, and place great importance on their inter-personal relationships. ENFPs almost always have a strong need to be liked. Sometimes, especially at a younger age, an ENFP will tend to be "gushy" and insincere, and generally "overdo" in an effort to win acceptance. However, once an ENFP has learned to balance their need to be true to themselves with their need for acceptance, they excel at bringing out the best in others, and are typically well-liked. They have an exceptional ability to intuitively understand a person after a very short period of time, and use their intuition and flexibility to relate to others on their own level. 

Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP's family members. 

An ENFP who has "gone wrong" may be quite manipulative - and very good it. The gift of gab which they are blessed with makes it naturally easy for them to get what they want. Most ENFPs will not abuse their abilities, because that would not jive with their value systems. 

ENFPs sometimes make serious errors in judgment. They have an amazing ability to intuitively perceive the truth about a person or situation, but when they apply judgment to their perception, they may jump to the wrong conclusions. 

ENFPs who have not learned to follow through may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships. Always seeing the possibilities of what could be, they may become bored with what actually is. The strong sense of values will keep many ENFPs dedicated to their relationships. However, ENFPs like a little excitement in their lives, and are best matched with individuals who are comfortable with change and new experiences. 

Having an ENFP parent can be a fun-filled experience, but may be stressful at times for children with strong Sensing or Judging tendancies. Such children may see the ENFP parent as inconsistent and difficult to understand, as the children are pulled along in the whirlwind life of the ENFP. Sometimes the ENFP will want to be their child's best friend, and at other times they will play the parental authoritarian. But ENFPs are always consistent in their value systems, which they will impress on their children above all else, along with a basic joy of living. 

ENFPs are basically happy people. They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas. Many go into business for themselves. They have the ability to be quite productive with little supervision, as long as they are excited about what they're doing. 

Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. They need to maintain control over themselves, but they do not believe in controlling others. Their dislike of dependence and suppression extends to others as well as to themselves. 

ENFPs are charming, ingenuous, risk-taking, sensitive, people-oriented individuals with capabilities ranging across a broad spectrum. They have many gifts which they will use to fulfill themselves and those near them, if they are able to remain centered and master the ability of following through.

One of my mentors and in my opinion one the best leaders that I have served with Pastor Mark Batterson came up with a list of 17 Reminders for Leaders, I have personalized this list for me and have made it my own.  You will always see this list by me somewhere.

1. Tough decisions only get tougher.
You are only one decision away from a totally different life. I believe that. One change in diet or exercise can radically change your health status. One change in spiritual disciplines can open up new dimensions of grace and power.  One change in a relationship can lead to intimacy.  What do you need to stop doing or start doing?  Your destiny isn’t a mystery. Your destiny is the cumulative decisions you make.  What tough decision do you need to make?  What are you waiting for?

2. Negativity is cancer.  Kill it or it will kill you.
I am wide open to rebuke.  Constructive criticism is the avenue to excellence. But I have zero tolerance for negativity.  How do you stop negativity? Positivity.  Share wins before every meeting. It reminds us that God is moving and we get to be part of it. Sharing wins creates positive energy.  And it’s positivity that gives us the energy we need to deal with negativity. Don’t let one staff member, one board member or one small group member hijack what God has called you to captain.

3. No Margin = No Vision.  (PERSONALLY I CALL IT HEALTHY BOUNDARIES)
If you try to be all things to all people you’ll become nothing to nobody.  I have focus days and meetings days. I meet with people on my meeting days. I meet with God on my focus days.  I need days where there is nothing on my agenda so I can read or write, dream or rest.  The lack of margin will kill your creativity.  If you don’t control your calendar your calendar will control you. It starts with establish boundaries.  Then you need to guard against the Messiah complex.  You can’t save everybody. In fact, you can’t save anybody.  You aren’t doing anybody any favors if you make yourself available to everybody all the time.  Take a break.  Take a day off. Take a vacation. Take a sabbatical.

4. If you listen to God people will listen to you.
People don’t need a word from me. They need a word from God.  I want my messages to have a prophetic edge to them and that happens when I get into the presence of God.  The presence of God is where problems are solved and dreams are conceived.  Get in the presence of God.  At the end of the day, I am nothing without God’s anointing. I need to keep an ear tuned to the people, but more importantly, I need to keep an ear tuned to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.

5. Don’t let your budget determine your vision.
Too often we allow our budget to determine our vision instead of allowing vision to determine our budget.  That doesn’t mean you hire lots of staff you’ll need to fire. It doesn’t mean you let expenses get out of control. It does mean that you hold tenaciously to this simple truth: when God gives a vision He makes provision.  You need to budget in a way that gives God the room to do miracles.  And make doubly sure that you have vision beyond your resources.

6. Everything is an experiment
One of the greatest dangers we face as leaders is inattentional blindness. We stop noticing our environment.  When that happens we lose creativity, we lose excellence.  You’ve got to make some mistakes!  You’ve got to take some risks.  Over time there is a cognitive shift from right-brain to left-brain: we stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing it out of memory.  Do something different.  After all, if you want God to do something new then you can’t keep doing the same old thing.

7. If your life is interesting your messages will be interesting.
The reason why many of our messages lack impact is because they aren’t interesting and they aren’t interesting because we’re not interesting.  Get a life!  You need a life outside of church.  Go on an adventure. Take up a hobby.  Learn something new. If your life is boring, chances are that your sermons will be too.

8. Don’t just dream big. Think long.
We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in 2 years, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.  Zoom out.  Your mantra shouldn’t be “as soon as possible.” It should be “as long as it takes.”  Your vision isn’t just too small. It’s too short.

9. Put your family first
At the end of the day, I want to be famous in my home.  God has not called me to sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry.  They deserve my best.  Don’t let work become home and home become work.  Success for me is my kids growing up to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Your youth pastor isn’t called to disciple your kids. You are.  You’ll make mistakes, but the secret to successful parenting is this: keep trying, keep forgiving, keep loving.

10. Who you’re becoming is more important than what you’re doing.
Don’t worry about church growth. Focus on personal growth and church growth will take care of itself.  Stay humble. Stay hungry. Make sure you’re doing ministry out of the overflow of what God is doing in your own heart, your own life.  Remember that who you are is more important than what you do.  People over programs. People over portfolios.

11. Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. So plan away. And loving God with all of your strength = a great work ethic.  So work hard.  But I believe in prayerstorming more than brainstorming.  Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you.  If work is the engine of success, then prayer is the high-octane fuel.

12. If you have something to say, say it.
My greatest regret looking back over twenty years of ministry?  Simple: I wish I had communicated the gospel more consistently and more clearly.  I should have said it and said it again and again and again.  You cannot over-communicate.  Say it. Then say it over and over again.  Say it in different ways.  When in doubt, CC.  Another mantra is this: don’t internalize, verbalize.  I don’t want to hear about issues when they’ve become full-blown problems with collateral damage.  Internalizing issues only makes them worse.  And I don’t want to hear it from a third-party. If you have something to say, say it.

13. Be Yourself ---- (THIS IS ONE THAT I READ OVER AND OVER AGAIN! EVERY LEADER NEEDS TO GRAB THIS ONE!)
Don’t try to be who you’re not. >>>> I’m not trying to be a pastor anymore. I’m trying to be myself.  <<<<< I’m certainly trying to grow in maturity and gifting, but I’m not worried about who I’m not.  Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.” Uniformity isn’t the goal. Unity is.  That also doesn’t mean unanimous.  According to the categorization of adopters, 16% of the people you lead will be resisters. It doesn’t matter if you come down with stone tablets from Mount Sinai.  Even Jesus lost one of his disciples.

14. Don’t live for the applause of people.
Great philosophy of ministry is Matthew 10:16: Be shrewd as a snake and innocent as a dove. You’ve got to beat the enemy at his own game and that takes creativity.  But you also need to do the right things for the right reasons and that takes integrity.  Don’t worry about being politically correct.  Be biblically correct. Most of my reward has been forfeited because I was more concerned about “my kingdom” than “thy kingdom.” I was living for the applause of people.  To get to the point where you genuinely care for people you have to get to the point where you don’t care how they feel about you.  Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.

15. I’d rather have one God idea than a thousand good ideas.  (For me prayer is so key!  I also need to break away from the routine)
Let me say it again: get in the presence of God. Those new ideas are discovered in the context of prayer and fasting and nowhere else. Good ideas are good, but God ideas change the course of history.  There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet.  Here’s a formula: change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. Sometimes you just need to get out of your routine.

16. You cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.
If you want to receive honor then you need to give honor. If you want a generous culture, then you’ve got to give sacrificially.  Set the example. Set the bar.  At the end of the day, the strengths and weaknesses of any organization mirror the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership.  Take responsibility for it. Then take action.  For better or for worse, you cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.

17. Enjoy the journey
If you are too focused on the future you’ll fall into the when/then syndrome. When we have “this many people” or “this much money” I’ll be able to enjoy leadership. No you won’t.  You need to enjoy every stage.  For the record, it will only get harder.  It will only get more complicated. Sin will complicate your life in negative ways.  Blessings will complicate your life in positive ways. When I got married it complicated my life. Praise God. We have three complications named Torin, Declan and Norah. I can’t imagine life without those complications.  So count the cost and keep on keeping on.

Added:

18.  You need to lead with courage.
It is more than taking risks, it is having the courage and conviction to stand behind your decisions.  Change is always scary...but leaders embrace change.  One single act of courage is often the tipping point for extraordinary change.  You always have to be prepared to jump.  Yes, it is scary, but do it with conviction and faith in God!  As you have courage it will inspire others.  Be a radical revolutionary to advance the cause of Christ.  Remember, the purpose of life is not to arrive safely at death.  Dare to trust God with incredible things in and through your life.

19.  Don't take yourself seriously, take God seriously.
I have learned the art of laughing at myself and not taking myself seriously.  I don't know it all! I don't have it all together!  I am no different from anyone else.  This mentality helps me not to get too big for my britches.  It is important to work hard!  We also need to be willing to play hard too.  I have also learned that no matter what, no job is beneath me.  With this attitude every leader needs to learn to stop speaking and offering advice and ask questions and take notes.  God is Sovereign and I am not.  God is Omniscient and I am not!  Don't take yourself too seriously.

20.  Invest in others and look for others to invest in you.
One of my mentors, Dr. Dick Foth always talks about the 2s and 3s.  Find 2 or 3 people to invest in and allow 2 or 3 others to invest in you.  Great leaders have great mentors investing into them, great leaders also have disciples that they are investing in.  I believe it is important to help people to live out their destiny and fulfill their calling.  I am an empowerer.  I also want to equip others to do the works of service.  No greater joy for me is to see people using their gifts and talents for the Kingdom of God, if that means they do something better than me, I am all for it!  It is also important to have faithful and trustworthy people speaking into your life, people who have been around the sun more times than you have.  I have three amazing men who consistently speak into my life.  Men who know more than I do about life and ministry.  I have learned so much from these men who have been in the trenches of leadership and ministry.  These men, I highly respect and will always honor!

I hope this is practical, I also hope this give you an idea of the leader that I am.  Let us value and honor leadership.  Let's not be afraid to step into leadership.
1. Tough decisions only get tougher.
You are only one decision away from a totally different life. I believe that. One change in diet or exercise can radically change your health status. One change in spiritual disciplines can open up new dimensions of grace and power.  One change in a relationship can lead to intimacy.  What do you need to stop doing or start doing?  Your destiny isn’t a mystery. Your destiny is the cumulative decisions you make.  What tough decision do you need to make?  What are you waiting for?
2. Negativity is cancer.  Kill it or it will kill you.
I am wide open to rebuke.  Constructive criticism is the avenue to excellence. But I have zero tolerance for negativity.  How do you stop negativity? Positivity.  One of the ways we do that at NCC is sharing wins before every meeting. It reminds us that God is moving and we get to be part of it. Sharing wins creates positive energy.  And it’s positivity that gives us the energy we need to deal with negativity. Don’t let one staff member, one board member or one small group member hijack what God has called you to captain.
3. No Margin = No Vision.
If you try to be all things to all people you’ll become nothing to nobody.  I have focus days and meetings days. I meet with people on my meeting days. I meet with God on my focus days.  I need days where there is nothing on my agenda so I can read or write, dream or rest.  The lack of margin will kill your creativity.  If you don’t control your calendar your calendar will control you. It starts with establish boundaries.  Then you need to guard against the Messiah complex.  You can’t save everybody. In fact, you can’t save anybody.  You aren’t doing anybody any favors if you make yourself available to everybody all the time.  Take a break.  Take a day off. Take a vacation. Take a sabbatical.
4. If you listen to God people will listen to you.
People don’t need a word from me. They need a word from God.  I want my messages to have a prophetic edge to them and that happens when I get into the presence of God.  The presence of God is where problems are solved and dreams are conceived.  Get in the presence of God.  At the end of the day, I am nothing without God’s anointing. I need to keep an ear tuned to the people, but more importantly, I need to keep an ear tuned to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
5. Don’t let your budget determine your vision.
Too often we allow our budget to determine our vision instead of allowing vision to determine our budget.  That doesn’t mean you hire lots of staff you’ll need to fire. It doesn’t mean you let expenses get out of control. It does mean that you hold tenaciously to this simple truth: when God gives a vision He makes provision.  You need to budget in a way that gives God the room to do miracles.  And make doubly sure that you have vision beyond your resources.
6. Everything is an experiment
One of the greatest dangers we face as leaders is inattentional blindness. We stop noticing our environment.  When that happens we lose creativity, we lose excellence.  You’ve got to make some mistakes!  You’ve got to take some risks.  Over time there is a cognitive shift from right-brain to left-brain: we stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing it out of memory.  Do something different.  After all, if you want God to do something new then you can’t keep doing the same old thing.
7. If your life is interesting your messages will be interesting.
The reason why many of our messages lack impact is because they aren’t interesting and they aren’t interesting because we’re not interesting.  Get a life!  You need a life outside of church.  Go on an adventure. Take up a hobby.  Learn something new. If your life is boring, chances are that your sermons will be too.
8. Don’t just dream big. Think long.
We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in 2 years, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.  Zoom out.  Your mantra shouldn’t be “as soon as possible.” It should be “as long as it takes.”  Your vision isn’t just too small. It’s too short.
9. Put your family first
At the end of the day, I want to be famous in my home.  God has not called me to sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry.  They deserve my best.  Don’t let work become home and home become work.  Success for me is my kids growing up to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Your youth pastor isn’t called to disciple your kids. You are.  You’ll make mistakes, but the secret to successful parenting is this: keep trying, keep forgiving, keep loving.
10. Who you’re becoming is more important than what you’re doing.
Don’t worry about church growth. Focus on personal growth and church growth will take care of itself.  Stay humble. Stay hungry. Make sure you’re doing ministry out of the overflow of what God is doing in your own heart, your own life.  Remember that who you are is more important than what you do.  People over programs. People over portfolios.
11. Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. So plan away. And loving God with all of your strength = a great work ethic.  So work hard.  But I believe in prayerstorming more than brainstorming.  Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you.  If work is the engine of success, then prayer is the high-octane fuel.
12. If you have something to say, say it.
My greatest regret looking back over fifteen years of preaching?  Simple: I wish I had communicated the gospel more consistently and more clearly.  I should have said it and said it again and again and again.  You cannot over-communicate.  Say it. Then say it over and over again.  Say it in different ways. As a multi-site church we have a mantra: when in doubt, CC.  Another mantra is this: don’t internalize, verbalize.  I don’t want to hear about issues when they’ve become full-blown problems with collateral damage.  Internalizing issues only makes them worse.  And I don’t want to hear it from a third-party. If you have something to say, say it.
13. Be Yourself
Don’t try to be who you’re not.  I’m not trying to be a pastor anymore. I’m trying to be myself.  I’m certainly trying to grow in maturity and gifting, but I’m not worried about who I’m not.  Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.” Uniformity isn’t the goal. Unity is.  That also doesn’t mean unanimous.  According to the categorization of adopters, 16% of the people you lead will be resisters. It doesn’t matter if you come down with stone tablets from Mount Sinai.  Even Jesus lost one of his disciples.
14. Don’t live for the applause of people.
My philosophy of ministry is Matthew 10:16: Be shrewd as a snake and innocent as a dove. You’ve got to beat the enemy at his own game and that takes creativity.  But you also need to do the right things for the right reasons and that takes integrity.  Don’t worry about being politically correct.  Be biblically correct. Most of my reward has been forfeited because I was more concerned about “my kingdom” than “thy kingdom.” I was living for the applause of people.  To get to the point where you genuinely care for people you have to get to the point where you don’t care how they feel about you.  Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.
15. I’d rather have one God idea than a thousand good ideas.
Let me say it again: get in the presence of God. Those new ideas are discovered in the context of prayer and fasting and nowhere else. Good ideas are good, but God ideas change the course of history.  There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet.  Here’s a formula: change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. Sometimes you just need to get out of your routine.
16. You cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.
If you want to receive honor then you need to give honor. If you want a generous culture, then you’ve got to give sacrificially.  Set the example. Set the bar.  At the end of the day, the strengths and weaknesses of any organization mirror the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership.  Take responsibility for it. Then take action.  For better or for worse, you cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.
17. Enjoy the journey
If you are too focused on the future you’ll fall into the when/then syndrome. When we have “this many people” or “this much money” I’ll be able to enjoy leadership. No you won’t.  You need to enjoy every stage.  For the record, it will only get harder.  It will only get more complicated. Sin will complicate your life in negative ways.  Blessings will complicate your life in positive ways. When I got married it complicated my life. Praise God. We have three complications named Parker, Summer, and Josiah. I can’t imagine life without those complications.  So count the cost and keep on keeping on.
- See more at: http://www.markbatterson.com/uncategorized/17-reminders-for-leaders-2/#sthash.eWN3jI5u.dpuf
1. Tough decisions only get tougher.
You are only one decision away from a totally different life. I believe that. One change in diet or exercise can radically change your health status. One change in spiritual disciplines can open up new dimensions of grace and power.  One change in a relationship can lead to intimacy.  What do you need to stop doing or start doing?  Your destiny isn’t a mystery. Your destiny is the cumulative decisions you make.  What tough decision do you need to make?  What are you waiting for?
2. Negativity is cancer.  Kill it or it will kill you.
I am wide open to rebuke.  Constructive criticism is the avenue to excellence. But I have zero tolerance for negativity.  How do you stop negativity? Positivity.  One of the ways we do that at NCC is sharing wins before every meeting. It reminds us that God is moving and we get to be part of it. Sharing wins creates positive energy.  And it’s positivity that gives us the energy we need to deal with negativity. Don’t let one staff member, one board member or one small group member hijack what God has called you to captain.
3. No Margin = No Vision.
If you try to be all things to all people you’ll become nothing to nobody.  I have focus days and meetings days. I meet with people on my meeting days. I meet with God on my focus days.  I need days where there is nothing on my agenda so I can read or write, dream or rest.  The lack of margin will kill your creativity.  If you don’t control your calendar your calendar will control you. It starts with establish boundaries.  Then you need to guard against the Messiah complex.  You can’t save everybody. In fact, you can’t save anybody.  You aren’t doing anybody any favors if you make yourself available to everybody all the time.  Take a break.  Take a day off. Take a vacation. Take a sabbatical.
4. If you listen to God people will listen to you.
People don’t need a word from me. They need a word from God.  I want my messages to have a prophetic edge to them and that happens when I get into the presence of God.  The presence of God is where problems are solved and dreams are conceived.  Get in the presence of God.  At the end of the day, I am nothing without God’s anointing. I need to keep an ear tuned to the people, but more importantly, I need to keep an ear tuned to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
5. Don’t let your budget determine your vision.
Too often we allow our budget to determine our vision instead of allowing vision to determine our budget.  That doesn’t mean you hire lots of staff you’ll need to fire. It doesn’t mean you let expenses get out of control. It does mean that you hold tenaciously to this simple truth: when God gives a vision He makes provision.  You need to budget in a way that gives God the room to do miracles.  And make doubly sure that you have vision beyond your resources.
6. Everything is an experiment
One of the greatest dangers we face as leaders is inattentional blindness. We stop noticing our environment.  When that happens we lose creativity, we lose excellence.  You’ve got to make some mistakes!  You’ve got to take some risks.  Over time there is a cognitive shift from right-brain to left-brain: we stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing it out of memory.  Do something different.  After all, if you want God to do something new then you can’t keep doing the same old thing.
7. If your life is interesting your messages will be interesting.
The reason why many of our messages lack impact is because they aren’t interesting and they aren’t interesting because we’re not interesting.  Get a life!  You need a life outside of church.  Go on an adventure. Take up a hobby.  Learn something new. If your life is boring, chances are that your sermons will be too.
8. Don’t just dream big. Think long.
We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in 2 years, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.  Zoom out.  Your mantra shouldn’t be “as soon as possible.” It should be “as long as it takes.”  Your vision isn’t just too small. It’s too short.
9. Put your family first
At the end of the day, I want to be famous in my home.  God has not called me to sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry.  They deserve my best.  Don’t let work become home and home become work.  Success for me is my kids growing up to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Your youth pastor isn’t called to disciple your kids. You are.  You’ll make mistakes, but the secret to successful parenting is this: keep trying, keep forgiving, keep loving.
10. Who you’re becoming is more important than what you’re doing.
Don’t worry about church growth. Focus on personal growth and church growth will take care of itself.  Stay humble. Stay hungry. Make sure you’re doing ministry out of the overflow of what God is doing in your own heart, your own life.  Remember that who you are is more important than what you do.  People over programs. People over portfolios.
11. Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. So plan away. And loving God with all of your strength = a great work ethic.  So work hard.  But I believe in prayerstorming more than brainstorming.  Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you.  If work is the engine of success, then prayer is the high-octane fuel.
12. If you have something to say, say it.
My greatest regret looking back over fifteen years of preaching?  Simple: I wish I had communicated the gospel more consistently and more clearly.  I should have said it and said it again and again and again.  You cannot over-communicate.  Say it. Then say it over and over again.  Say it in different ways. As a multi-site church we have a mantra: when in doubt, CC.  Another mantra is this: don’t internalize, verbalize.  I don’t want to hear about issues when they’ve become full-blown problems with collateral damage.  Internalizing issues only makes them worse.  And I don’t want to hear it from a third-party. If you have something to say, say it.
13. Be Yourself
Don’t try to be who you’re not.  I’m not trying to be a pastor anymore. I’m trying to be myself.  I’m certainly trying to grow in maturity and gifting, but I’m not worried about who I’m not.  Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.” Uniformity isn’t the goal. Unity is.  That also doesn’t mean unanimous.  According to the categorization of adopters, 16% of the people you lead will be resisters. It doesn’t matter if you come down with stone tablets from Mount Sinai.  Even Jesus lost one of his disciples.
14. Don’t live for the applause of people.
My philosophy of ministry is Matthew 10:16: Be shrewd as a snake and innocent as a dove. You’ve got to beat the enemy at his own game and that takes creativity.  But you also need to do the right things for the right reasons and that takes integrity.  Don’t worry about being politically correct.  Be biblically correct. Most of my reward has been forfeited because I was more concerned about “my kingdom” than “thy kingdom.” I was living for the applause of people.  To get to the point where you genuinely care for people you have to get to the point where you don’t care how they feel about you.  Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.
15. I’d rather have one God idea than a thousand good ideas.
Let me say it again: get in the presence of God. Those new ideas are discovered in the context of prayer and fasting and nowhere else. Good ideas are good, but God ideas change the course of history.  There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet.  Here’s a formula: change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. Sometimes you just need to get out of your routine.
16. You cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.
If you want to receive honor then you need to give honor. If you want a generous culture, then you’ve got to give sacrificially.  Set the example. Set the bar.  At the end of the day, the strengths and weaknesses of any organization mirror the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership.  Take responsibility for it. Then take action.  For better or for worse, you cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.
17. Enjoy the journey
If you are too focused on the future you’ll fall into the when/then syndrome. When we have “this many people” or “this much money” I’ll be able to enjoy leadership. No you won’t.  You need to enjoy every stage.  For the record, it will only get harder.  It will only get more complicated. Sin will complicate your life in negative ways.  Blessings will complicate your life in positive ways. When I got married it complicated my life. Praise God. We have three complications named Parker, Summer, and Josiah. I can’t imagine life without those complications.  So count the cost and keep on keeping on.
- See more at: http://www.markbatterson.com/uncategorized/17-reminders-for-leaders-2/#sthash.eWN3jI5u.dpuf
1. Tough decisions only get tougher.
You are only one decision away from a totally different life. I believe that. One change in diet or exercise can radically change your health status. One change in spiritual disciplines can open up new dimensions of grace and power.  One change in a relationship can lead to intimacy.  What do you need to stop doing or start doing?  Your destiny isn’t a mystery. Your destiny is the cumulative decisions you make.  What tough decision do you need to make?  What are you waiting for?
2. Negativity is cancer.  Kill it or it will kill you.
I am wide open to rebuke.  Constructive criticism is the avenue to excellence. But I have zero tolerance for negativity.  How do you stop negativity? Positivity.  One of the ways we do that at NCC is sharing wins before every meeting. It reminds us that God is moving and we get to be part of it. Sharing wins creates positive energy.  And it’s positivity that gives us the energy we need to deal with negativity. Don’t let one staff member, one board member or one small group member hijack what God has called you to captain.
3. No Margin = No Vision.
If you try to be all things to all people you’ll become nothing to nobody.  I have focus days and meetings days. I meet with people on my meeting days. I meet with God on my focus days.  I need days where there is nothing on my agenda so I can read or write, dream or rest.  The lack of margin will kill your creativity.  If you don’t control your calendar your calendar will control you. It starts with establish boundaries.  Then you need to guard against the Messiah complex.  You can’t save everybody. In fact, you can’t save anybody.  You aren’t doing anybody any favors if you make yourself available to everybody all the time.  Take a break.  Take a day off. Take a vacation. Take a sabbatical.
4. If you listen to God people will listen to you.
People don’t need a word from me. They need a word from God.  I want my messages to have a prophetic edge to them and that happens when I get into the presence of God.  The presence of God is where problems are solved and dreams are conceived.  Get in the presence of God.  At the end of the day, I am nothing without God’s anointing. I need to keep an ear tuned to the people, but more importantly, I need to keep an ear tuned to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
5. Don’t let your budget determine your vision.
Too often we allow our budget to determine our vision instead of allowing vision to determine our budget.  That doesn’t mean you hire lots of staff you’ll need to fire. It doesn’t mean you let expenses get out of control. It does mean that you hold tenaciously to this simple truth: when God gives a vision He makes provision.  You need to budget in a way that gives God the room to do miracles.  And make doubly sure that you have vision beyond your resources.
6. Everything is an experiment
One of the greatest dangers we face as leaders is inattentional blindness. We stop noticing our environment.  When that happens we lose creativity, we lose excellence.  You’ve got to make some mistakes!  You’ve got to take some risks.  Over time there is a cognitive shift from right-brain to left-brain: we stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing it out of memory.  Do something different.  After all, if you want God to do something new then you can’t keep doing the same old thing.
7. If your life is interesting your messages will be interesting.
The reason why many of our messages lack impact is because they aren’t interesting and they aren’t interesting because we’re not interesting.  Get a life!  You need a life outside of church.  Go on an adventure. Take up a hobby.  Learn something new. If your life is boring, chances are that your sermons will be too.
8. Don’t just dream big. Think long.
We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in 2 years, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.  Zoom out.  Your mantra shouldn’t be “as soon as possible.” It should be “as long as it takes.”  Your vision isn’t just too small. It’s too short.
9. Put your family first
At the end of the day, I want to be famous in my home.  God has not called me to sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry.  They deserve my best.  Don’t let work become home and home become work.  Success for me is my kids growing up to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Your youth pastor isn’t called to disciple your kids. You are.  You’ll make mistakes, but the secret to successful parenting is this: keep trying, keep forgiving, keep loving.
10. Who you’re becoming is more important than what you’re doing.
Don’t worry about church growth. Focus on personal growth and church growth will take care of itself.  Stay humble. Stay hungry. Make sure you’re doing ministry out of the overflow of what God is doing in your own heart, your own life.  Remember that who you are is more important than what you do.  People over programs. People over portfolios.
11. Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. So plan away. And loving God with all of your strength = a great work ethic.  So work hard.  But I believe in prayerstorming more than brainstorming.  Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you.  If work is the engine of success, then prayer is the high-octane fuel.
12. If you have something to say, say it.
My greatest regret looking back over fifteen years of preaching?  Simple: I wish I had communicated the gospel more consistently and more clearly.  I should have said it and said it again and again and again.  You cannot over-communicate.  Say it. Then say it over and over again.  Say it in different ways. As a multi-site church we have a mantra: when in doubt, CC.  Another mantra is this: don’t internalize, verbalize.  I don’t want to hear about issues when they’ve become full-blown problems with collateral damage.  Internalizing issues only makes them worse.  And I don’t want to hear it from a third-party. If you have something to say, say it.
13. Be Yourself
Don’t try to be who you’re not.  I’m not trying to be a pastor anymore. I’m trying to be myself.  I’m certainly trying to grow in maturity and gifting, but I’m not worried about who I’m not.  Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.” Uniformity isn’t the goal. Unity is.  That also doesn’t mean unanimous.  According to the categorization of adopters, 16% of the people you lead will be resisters. It doesn’t matter if you come down with stone tablets from Mount Sinai.  Even Jesus lost one of his disciples.
14. Don’t live for the applause of people.
My philosophy of ministry is Matthew 10:16: Be shrewd as a snake and innocent as a dove. You’ve got to beat the enemy at his own game and that takes creativity.  But you also need to do the right things for the right reasons and that takes integrity.  Don’t worry about being politically correct.  Be biblically correct. Most of my reward has been forfeited because I was more concerned about “my kingdom” than “thy kingdom.” I was living for the applause of people.  To get to the point where you genuinely care for people you have to get to the point where you don’t care how they feel about you.  Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.
15. I’d rather have one God idea than a thousand good ideas.
Let me say it again: get in the presence of God. Those new ideas are discovered in the context of prayer and fasting and nowhere else. Good ideas are good, but God ideas change the course of history.  There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet.  Here’s a formula: change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. Sometimes you just need to get out of your routine.
16. You cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.
If you want to receive honor then you need to give honor. If you want a generous culture, then you’ve got to give sacrificially.  Set the example. Set the bar.  At the end of the day, the strengths and weaknesses of any organization mirror the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership.  Take responsibility for it. Then take action.  For better or for worse, you cannot break the law of sowing and reaping.
17. Enjoy the journey
If you are too focused on the future you’ll fall into the when/then syndrome. When we have “this many people” or “this much money” I’ll be able to enjoy leadership. No you won’t.  You need to enjoy every stage.  For the record, it will only get harder.  It will only get more complicated. Sin will complicate your life in negative ways.  Blessings will complicate your life in positive ways. When I got married it complicated my life. Praise God. We have three complications named Parker, Summer, and Josiah. I can’t imagine life without those complications.  So count the cost and keep on keeping on.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grace, Grace, Grace and More Grace

I just overheard someone say, "we don't talk about sin enough."

As I read throughout the New Testament (New Covenant), the New Covenant that was set up between the God of the Universe and us His beloved Children, who live in complete depravity separated from Him.  As I read through the amazing life giving, redemptive words of our Savior Jesus Christ, what I read is Grace!  Yes, Jesus was full of TRUTH and full of GRACE (John 1).  Jesus is the one who sets us free from our sins and He is the One that offers the free gift of GRACE!

Too many, well many Christ followers believe, "I have to live up to a certain standard in order to be accepted by God."  This is a lie, and it is a toxic!  We will never measure up to the standard of Christ.  We will always fall short.  ALWAYS.

I think the correct way to think is this, "As I place my trust in Jesus, God completely accepts me into His presence and family no matter what."

The amazing GRACE that our God offers us is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return.  Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you or how sinful or sinless you are.   Grace is being loved when you are unlovable...yes it is that simple.  We make it so complicated, because we want to control.

GRACE is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved.  It has everything and only to do with the Lover.  Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with the weights and measures.  I do think you appreciate that GRACE so much more when you realize how sinful you really are, personally, I am a sinner in need of God's unconditional GRACE!  I don't need someone to tell me how much of a sinner that I am, that is the Holy Spirit's job, to convict me and draw me to the AMAZING GRACE of God.

Grace has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called "gifts' (whatever they may be).  What it does, it reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves and transforms, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications or for some who think, any disqualifications that the receiver personally hold...Grace is unconditional and it is one-way.

So, let me throw out this thought again, Jesus display, showed, acted, put forth His GRACE to those that least deserve it.  While others, the religious, the irreligious pointed out the sin, what did Jesus show and respond time and time again...HIS GRACE!

Here is the point, I think if we are honest we wrestle with, why because we want to take part in it.  Again, it is not about us, it may not even seem fair.  GRACE doesn't make demands, it just gives!  And from our vantage point, it always gives to the wrong person, those who we think don't deserve it!  It we are honest with ourselves, the one we look at in the mirror doesn't deserve it, even those that may be "perfect" or "righteous".  Even our "righteousness is like filthy rags" (I challenge you to look up the true context of what that means, seriously, look it up, be a studier of God's Word - Isaiah 64:6.)

We see all through out the Gospels, the Good News:  Jesus is always giving out to the wrong people - the prostitutes, tax collectors, half breeds.  The most extravagant sinners of Jesus's day receive His most passionate welcome and extravagant GRACE.  Why do you think others are less deserving?  Why do we think we are less deserving of His GRACE.

Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head.  It refuses to play it safe and lay it up.  GRACE is recklessly generous, uncomfortably promiscuous.  It doesn't keep score.  As Robert Capon puts it, "Grace works without requiring anything on our part.  It's not expensive.  It's not cheap.  It's free."

GRACE IS UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE GIVEN TO AN UNDESERVING PERSON BY AN OBLIGATED GIVER!  

 I love God's GRACE for me and for others, this is why I preach on it so passionately.

Jesus came to liberate us from the weight of having to make it on our own, from the demand to measure up.  He came to emancipate us from the burden to get it all right, from the obligation to fix ourselves, find ourselves, and free ourselves.  Jesus came to release from the slavish need to be right, rewarded, regarded, and respected.  Because Jesus came to set the captives free, life does not need to be a tireless effort to establish ourselves, justify ourselves, and validate ourselves.

Listen closely, I know many people who are religiously zealous, thinking you have it all together will say, "God's demands: "be righteous";"  However, with the New Testament, the New Covenant, God's diagnosis: "no one is righteous"; God's delieverence: "Jesus is our righteousness."

Once this GOOD NEWS grips your heart is changes EVERYTHING!

Because, I know human tendency of those who are all about "religion" and "keeping the law".  I know there are modern-day pharisees who will say, "look how perfect and righteous I am"  perhaps you have "all of God and His Word figured out."  Good for you...NO NEED TO COMMENT.  Seriously, if you comment to look for an argument I will not publish it.  If you "know it out and have it figured out."  Praise the Lord. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

The LAST thing that Jesus wanted to do is complicate our lives with religion.  That is the last thing, I want to do.

THE YOKE (contextually speaking) - Is a reference to to a way of living of each rabbi, every rabbi had his own distinctive yoke.  Each rabbi, would have had a thousand little laws or hedges he taught as his interpretation of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), in other words, his own suggested way of living.

With this address to those Jesus called out to those who were burdened by the impossible weight of the religion of the day, and the religion of today.   He calls out, "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

See, the Hebrew people had to follow not only biblical law but also the extraneous yoke of the rabbi of choice.  This is happening today...we add conditions and prerequisites to being a follower of Christ.  

What Jesus invites His follows into is a new way, a way to enter into his GRACE.  He invites people to accept His GRACEThe yoke that Jesus offers through GRACE doesn't add weight to our shoulders it releases it.

It is all about GRACE, GRACE, GRACE and MORE GRACE!  Receive it!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Listening to God this Morning...processing my thoughts.

Pastor Chuck Swindoll shared a profound insight on Leadership in his radio message this morning: "The person who knows 'how' will usually serve under the person who knows 'why.' Great leaders set aside time to do nothing but think-to think of, to think about the big picture 'Why' questions. Only then can they cast vision, inspire, and lead."

 I love what I get to do!  This is what God has called me to do, it is my destiny.  Everyday I wake up that I get to serve and lead an amazing church community. I love going into work each day.

I do face challenges in ministry!  Sometimes I do feel overwhelmed.  Yes I face my fair share of critics who think they know, but have no clue.  This is what God has prepared me for over the last 20 years and this is what He is continuing to pour into on a daily basis.  I am never above reproach or accountability.  I have some amazing people who know me and are able to point out my blind spots and speak to where I am currently. 

This morning, as I was praying and prepping for my day.  God started to reveal things to me about where Lakeside Community Church is as a church.

I feel like we are hitting a growth barrier/wall right now, with average attendance about 200-250.  I feel like we hit that attendance and like a bucket it begins to leak and we drop again.

This is what God revealed to me through prayer this morning...
  •  At Lakeside, we must fill our minds and hearts with a wealth of VISION, INSIGHTS, and SKILLS!  As we do this, these ideas and ideals will spill out from us and affect others we serve with.  We must stretch and grow ourselves and step out of our "bubbles of experience" and learn from others.  If you keep doing what you have always done, you will continue to get the same results.  
  • We must become multipliers here at Lakeside.  This comes from equipping and empowering others.  Not just equip those we work directly with, but we must equip third generation leaders---we must equip others to equip others.  We need to empower people. 
  • We must be willing to adapt to change, try new things.  Yes, for some that is scary.  But it is so crucial.  This is where faith steps in and you rely on God to get through the changes.  After all, it is NOT about us, it is about all about HIM and HIS desire for us to reach people for HIS Kingdom.  We have to trust God through transitions and changes...stop resisting, there I said.  Stop resisting changes that God wants to bring...IT IS FOR THE BEST and GOD'S GLORY!  This is something we need to get into and allow to be a part of what we do and who we are.
    • I have learned over time to allow EVERYTHING TO BE AN EXPERIMENT!  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better."   Let us live this!
 As God was speaking this to me this morning, I realize that everyone us at Lakeside must carry the Vision and the DNA of the church with us.  I also think that as we as Lakesiders carry the VISION and the DNA it will pour into our community around us. 

What I have seen and experienced, the local church will be known or will be ignored in our community.  Let me take it one step further, what will we be known for?  We will be know for what we are for or we will be known for what we are against.

Change is Needed!
Flexibility is a Must!
Adaptability is Necessary!

So "why" are these things important - to follow the vision that God has given us.   We have to look at the "BIG PICTURE" outside of our little world and pictures.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Psalm 139:1-24 - "God examine me..."

One of my daily prayers is "God examine me.  Examine my heart, examine my motives...search me for wrong attitudes.  Search me, to make sure there is nothing that grieves You oh God.  Help me today to walk in the destiny that You have for me.  That I may decrease and that You may increase in my life..."

Of course that is not all that I pray on a daily basis.  Those words aren't always exactly like these words, but this is the gist and the heart of what I pray to my God.

This prayer comes from Psalm 139:1-24, this is a Psalm of David.  This probably one of the songs He sang/prayed to God.

This passage always reminds me of God's amazing Sovereignty and His omnipotence.  I am also reminded how much I need His guidance and conviction in my life.  I am constantly reminded of the fact that I need to searchlight of God in my life to illuminate my blemishes, my motives and my sinful/selfish nature.  In others, I need His discernment above my own.

God knows me better than I could even know myself, and it is through His Son Jesus, who can identify with me, but never sinned who is the One that has made me righteous and whole.

Yes, I am a very imperfect vessel within my own strength, power and righteousness, it is the Good News of Jesus that I am convicted and made whole.  It is He who leads me.

Psalm 139:1-24 - English Standard Version

139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

Will you make Psalm 139:1-24, your prayer?  Will you ask Him to examine you?  Will you ask Him to lead you?

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!


Search My Heart by Hillsong United
http://youtu.be/1mqKT21HqqQ

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

So grateful for those who have I have serve with and served shoulder to shoulder with.

I posted this on Facebook yesterday, but I wanted to expand my thoughts here...

In 20 years of ministry, I have learned and grown so much from the amazing pastors and men of God I had the honor to serve with. I am grateful for each of these men who hired me and took chances on me. These men were my pastors, my bosses and my friends. So grateful for Tim Cerce, Michael Buckley and Mark Batterson. These men taught me so many things about life, pastoring, leading well (leading yourself and leading others). They taught me about church. I have grown so much in my 20 years of ministry. There are other pastors I have had the incredible privilege to learn from as well and I am always grateful for them Pastor Thomas Gulbronson, Mike Colon, Joel Schmidgall, Heather Sawyer Zempel and Dr. Dick Foth. I have been blessed by all of these investments in my life. Amazing leaders and influencers. Each one of these people have had a hand in shaping me. Thank you all for your investment in my life and ministry. Here is a few things I have learned from all these people, especially those I served directly with on staff... Chemistry is important, who you work with in ministry is key, bad chemistry = bad work environment. Work with people you love doing life and ministry with. (The order is intentional and important). Who you’re doing ministry with ultimately determines how much you enjoy it. I have always enjoyed doing what I do because of those I got to serve shoulder to shoulder with in ministry. I have been blessed beyond words. Thanks to all of you! Thanks for being my pastors and helping to shape me for what I get to do!

I also want to add how grateful for those I worked in the trenches with over the years in ministry.  My "band of brothers", my fellow campus pastors (Dave Schmidgall, Mike W., Jason Y., Kurtis P, Alan P., Ross M., Dave Clark, Mike G.), all my teammates/second family, my favorite officemates (John H., Will J., Andy B., Chris D.), so many people who taught me the VALUE of team and how it important it is to work with individuals who you just don't work with but you do life with!  I can honestly say I have learned and grown in ministry from every single person whom I have had an opportunity to do ministry with...I am glad I didn't do a ministry in a bubble, but had very unique experiences and amazing opportunities.

Here is a list that Pastor Mark Batterson came up with in regards to hiring staff...this has become my thoughts and convictions.  I have seen the amazing benefits of this strategy as well as I have benefited from this strategy.  Many of the ministries and friends in ministry of very successful churches and ministries have very similar strategies. 

Mark Batterson's ten tips on how to hire the right people: I have owned this as well because I have seen the great potential and benefits of this strategy:

#1 Make sure they have a sense of humor. This is at the top of my list. Laughter is the closest distance between two people. If they can’t laugh they can’t work at NCC :) I can’t imagine too many church staffs that laugh more than the NCC staff. We take two things seriously: God & fun :)

#2 There is an old adage: hire for attitude and train for skill. It’s true. Attitude is everything. We look for “extra mile” people who have a servant’s heart. Sometimes I’m amazed at how few “issues” we have a team. I don’t take that for granted. Everybody has an amazing attitude!

#3 Hire Internally. We always look internally before we look externally. I love hiring NCCers because they have a track record. You can “observe” them in their natural habitat.

#4 Hire Incrementally. I like hiring people part-time or as interns to see how they perform in those capacities. It’s a low risk scenario. If they perform well you try to bring them on full-time.

#5 Spirituality. How much do they love Jesus? I love working with people who have a spiritual intensity about them. This one is non-negotiable.

#6 Personality. We do a Myers-Briggs assessment with staff because it helps us understand the way each of us is wired. I think most relational problems are personality conflicts. It’s important to understand and appreciate different personality types. A church staff needs a healthy mix of personalities!

#7 Get the right people on the bus. We’re always changing portfolios and titles. I think that’s healthy. I’m more concerned about getting great people on the bus. Then you worry about where they sit. Don’t fill a position if you think you can find someone better to fill it in six months. Wait six months.

#8 Don’t ignore red flags. I’ve learned that little things are big things. I pay attention to details when I’m interviewing someone.

#9 Hire Visionaries. We have a simple modus operandi: let people get a vision from God and go for it. We’re a very decentralized church. We try to find self-motivated people who go after God-ordained dreams. Nothing is more frustrating than working with someone with no initiative. They don’t do anything without being asked. I want to hire people who have some get-up-and-go. One thing I love about our team is that I don’t have to push them. I have to encourage them to take time off :)

#10 Hire people you’d vacation with :) I know every staff chemistry is different but I don’t want to do ministry with people I don’t want to do life with. I’m a big believer in hiring people you really like! I don’t care whether it’s family or friends. I want to work with people I want to hang out with outside of work.

One last thought.
Who you are is more important than what you do. I remind our team of this all the time. Hire good people and they’ll do a good job. I’m so grateful for what our staff does. But I’m more grateful for who they are.

Great wisdom!  So grateful that Pastor Mark hired me and I got work with him and do life with him.

(Just given some insight and thoughts to who I am and my experience and back ground.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

An Opportunity for Practical Hands On Ministry Experience through a Summer Internship

Summer Internship Opportunity:
Lakeside Community Church, Algoma, WI

As a church, we have a desire to reach out to people far from God and see them grow into passionate followers of Jesus.  People are often first attracted to Lakeside by the friendly, loving atmosphere they find and learn that it is a healthy place to grow spiritually, emotionally and relationally.

Lakeside Community Church is in the small town of Algoma, Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan.  The area is striking with its beautiful water views and lush countryside.  Algoma is the epitome of a small town quality of life and yet it’s only minutes away from Green Bay where you’ll find entertainment, family activities and cultural opportunities.  It’s also the gateway to the beauty, culture and uniqueness of Door County.

The summer internship program at Lakeside is an intensive spiritual growth, leadership development and ministry immersion experience.  You will be given the opportunity to learn from some great innovative thinkers and creators in ministry, participate in the day-to-day activities of church staff culture and stretch yourself as a leader.  As a summer intern at Lakeside you will have the opportunity to learn from a church staff who loves what they do and loves to share their ministry and knowledge with others. Our heart is to help you find your place in the kingdom of God and help discern God's will for your life–the how, where and what God is calling you to do.  Summer interns will select a ministry concentration in which they will focus their efforts but will gain a holistic understanding of working as a team within the church.  Areas of concentration include: children's, youth and worship ministries.

For more information and how to apply, please see the attached full description and/or contact Pastor Chris Jarrell directly: Chris@Lakeside-Church.com.