Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Golf is dumb!

Golf is dumb. I stink at it. After hitting a bucket of balls at Rivercut's driving range, I realized that golf is NOT fun when you cannot play at a mediocre level. Plus, if you do not know the common rules which every golfer abides by, you become an annoyance on the range. For example, you should not yell at people during their back swing unless you need a daily dose of attention. If you hit a ball which has the potential of striking an innocent pedestrian, a verbal warning is needed to give the victim the ability to watch the ball smack them in the face.

It is always good to live in the roll of a "newcomer." The anxiousness, nervousness, and uncertainty is only manageable by the potential pay off from "practicing." This perspective helps me understand why some are disoriented when they attend my "course" at church.

From the parking lot to the pew, may we always take care of our "newcomers."

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Final Class

I finished my first class today at Central Bible College. I gave the final exam to about 20 students in the Sociology of American Youth class. This entire semester I have felt the responsibility of training the next generation of youth pastors. To sum up my feelings let me just say that "I have seen the future...and it looks hopeful."

Stick it to man!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pixar Love

At Pixar, the secret to success, the CEO says, to six back to back 3-D animation movie hits was that every person on the Pixar team loves great films. They wanted to make films that they themselves would want to see over and over.

I wonder if we should ask staff if they love the Church as the first criteria for hiring? A good litmus test for our level of ownership is to ask ourselves, "if I did not get a paycheck from my church, would I choose to attend it."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The "We" Factor

Daisy and I went to Starbucks tonight for a quick date. After I ordered a cup of Pike's coffee, I asked about the new brown borderline topless logo. The barista quickly explained, "we are getting back to our roots."

"Interesting," I replied. "Why are they doing it?," I asked.

The barista confidently told me, "At Starbucks, we are about coffee and that is what we are getting back to."

The lesson is simple. The barista's use of "we" communicated his ownership, partnership, and cooperation with the renewed vision of Starbucks. It felt to me as if the CEO of Starbucks was explaining his renewed vision to a skeptical customer. I loved it.

I want the "we" factor.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spiritual Intelligence

Sunday evening we hosted the all church leaders meeting for Central Assembly. Jim Bradford is one of the greatest spiritual leaders in ministry. He is passionate about spiritually leading leaders. These are the observations I made:

1. SQ - There is IQ (intelligence quotient), EQ (emotional quotient), and certainly SQ (spiritual quotient), defined by the total integration of one's body, soul, and spirit resulting in the ability to discern and thereby lead people into transformation. Leading people spiritually is the highest calling for those in ministry.

2. Feedback - Receiving feedback is the most overrated leadership exercise...but do it. Surround yourself with people you trust and ask for genuine feedback.

3. Laugh - Don't take yourself to serious.

4. Dream - Leaders need a dream. I find that statements that begin with "what if," especially when given by trusted leaders, are fuel for an organizations future.

5. Loving the poor and underprivileged among our church keeps consumer spirituality at bay. I believe when we look for opportunities in the people and communities that surround us, God changes things for the better. He’s good like that.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (MSG) Eph 3:20-21

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The big 30!

Today is my 30th birthday. Everyone asks me do I feel 30. How is 30 suppose to feel? I feel great...the best in a long time.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jeanne Mayo Unplugged

Last night at New Community, I had the incredible opportunity of interviewing my spiritual mom Jeanne Mayo. I have heard Jeanne speak countless times but last night was special b. You can get the podcast teaching here (http://centralassembly.podbean.com/)

Without any notes, Jeanne held the crowd for nearly 40 minutes. She talked family priorities, past successes, failures, and the most important message for the emerging church.

Jeanne...we love you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Good to Great Friendships

I had lunch today with a great friend. We had a refreshing conversation about some classic Good to Great principles (e.g. hedgehog principle, flexing the "no" muscle, etc.).

During the course of the meal, I could feel my protective personality guard dissolve as we talked and laughed (can you recognize your guard?). It occurred to me as we were laughing that this not only a good friendship but also a great friendship. Here are some good to great friendship factors my friend possess:

1. More Plow Horse, than Show Horse
2. Believes more in the "why" than the "how"
3. Confronts facts without loosing faith in the potential for greatness
4. Never violates personal trust
5. Spontaneously calls for last minute unplanned lunches

Friendships are easily excused because of busy schedules. It's the stuff I excuse in myself that can derail my life. I tend towards too much work and too little rest. Great friends help me with that stuff.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rolling Your Cross

On the way home, I encountered something of unique value for my spiritual life (excuse the not so good quality cell phone picture). The picture is a gentleman, probably well meaning, rolling a cross down a major intersection in Springfield. My thoughts immediately went to John 19:17 where the Bible says, "Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha)." At first glance, I thought what a wimp! "Jesus did not roll his cross, he carried it," I arrogantly said to my wife.

In a moment of divine revelation, the Spirit showed me that I'm stupid (this happens to me a lot). Luke 14:27 says, "anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."

We are charged to carry our cross, a symbolic representation of sacrifice and redemption. What cross are you carrying... or rolling? I respect this man for rolling his cross. Maybe this was the only cross he could bear. It is so easy to criticize another's cross. It is equally hard to be vulnerable about our crosses. Our cross feels personal. It is hard to be the real you when you feel like people may crucify you to the cross that you are carrying...or rolling.

Whether you are carrying or rolling your cross, continue on! May we live only for His approval while we carry or roll our cross.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Heart MOPS

Today I attended, by special invitation, the MOPS International Leadership Summit. I was very impressed by Elisa Morgan and her organized staff. Of course what else could one expect from an international ministry run completely by ladies for ladies. I must admit I felt like a fish out of water because I was the only guy attending the conference.

Two things stood out:

1. The first thing articulated was the MOPS mission, slogan, and experience. I like this because clarifying missional direction creates the framework and expectation of any organization. It is obvious these ladies know their brand.

2. At the end, Elisa challenged everyone to take control of their time by resigning from Chronos, the imposter boss, and resume control to Chiros, the eternal boss.

MOPS is cool!
(I am not just saying it because my wife loves it...well maybe a little)

Friday, April 11, 2008

American Idol Shouts to the Lord

A few days ago, American Idol closed out their charity night with one of the most popular worship songs of all time.

I want to give Idol props for concluding the evening with Shout to the Lord. I never tend to over analyze the use of Christian songs used for mainstream influence (e.g. Amazing Grace, Joy to the World, etc.) but a few things stood out about this song on American Idol.

Here are some of the comments posted on youtube about the song on Idol.

"God always blesses us!! Hah! Bulls***! I wonder if you would be in the same state of mind if you were one of those poor kids the Idols were visiting with."

"Yeah, that's it...praise Jesus and the fabulous job he is doing. Try putting your faith in something real, like your family and friends."

Question: Why is the name of Jesus, who is known as the epitome of love, edited from the first presentation and more interestingly added in during the second? Why are people offended by the name of Jesus in the song and not the name of Shepherd?

Ear Tubes

I took my youngest daughter to get ear tubes this morning. Chipper as ever, she rolled out of bed with me at 6:00am. We arrived at the outpatient surgery center and was soon shown to our room. The one thing I noticed is how every nurse and doctor who came in kept asking if we had any questions. First of all, we should all ask people new to our world this helpful question. Secondly, I realized that I trusted these people with my most cherished loved one without feeling the need to ask questions. I did not know what questions to ask or what the surgery entailed. Perhaps a pathway of experience should be outlined for people who are new to our worlds.

The bottom line is my daughter will be healthier because of the procedure. She is home watching Hairspray. Life is awesome! In the end, I care more about the bottom line than knowing the pathway of experience.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Dip by Seth Godin

Book Review: The Dip by Seth Godin

Seth Godin (Baker Books, 80 pp., hardback)

Quitters are not losers. Although most people know this, there is a cultural stigma with quitting. We have all heard this sentiment echoed repeatedly in grade-school, sports and corporate slogans. When someone usually quits, the reason and purpose is unclear.

In The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick), Godin says winners quit all the time, and he enthusiastically encourages the practice. He is not some senile schoolteacher but the author of eight other worldwide bestsellers including Purple Cow. He is also the founder of Squidoo.com (a platform of user-generated pages) and a popular blogger.

Godin explains how people win biggest by getting through the dip, "the long, difficult stretch between starting something and mastering it," according to Godin. While we may cringe in anguish at the thought of that long slog, Godin says that the dip is actually the quickest way to get you where you want.

Only stick with the dips that are likely to work out; otherwise, strategically quit when your situation looks like a cul-de-sac, a situation where you work and things stay the same, or a cliff, a situation where you cannot quit until you fall off.

The whole point of quitting is to put all of your effort into something suited for you. "If your competition is working hard to be well-rounded and balanced but you're obsessed with being the best in the world at just one thing, who's going to win?" If you try to master multiple things, all of them will either fail or become lukewarm successes. "On the other hand, once you learn how to master something, you get good at mastery, and that skill will help you master the next one."

Coach Jeanne!

My leader coach did a session this past week on personal growth. First of all, Jeanne Mayo is the best personal development coach available for youth leaders. She gave us around eight points for personal growth but somehow I ended up with twelve. Personal growth junkies will love this list:

1.Buy a digital voice recorder. This is so you can make voice notes on all of the podcasts.
2. Schedule time to think in a consistent location.
3. Quit distractions
4. Transform your daily work culture into a growth culture
5. Form a mastermind group who help you think thought complex strategies
6. Fail at something
7. Learn the lessons and forget the details of hurtful situations
8. Talk less and say more
9. Never let yesterday consume your today
10. Write your hurt in the sand and your blessings in stone
11. Make your questions bigger than your answers
12. Make your purpose bigger than your money

Thanks Coach Jeanne!

Quitting With Integrity

I just wrapped up a refreshing two day retreat experience called The Cadre.

It's the understatement of the year to merely describe this group of people as friends. They are truly family. The unique take away from this weekend is this concept of "quitting with grace." A famous football coach once said, "Quitters never win and winners never quit." Although true on some levels, i saw many champions this week who quit. Here are a few observations:

1. Quitting always presents new opportunities.
2. Quitting is not the same as failing.
3. If we've been conditioned to never quit, pride can hold a person paralyzed.

Quit...Quit the wrong things to make opportunity for the right things.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Cadre Reunion

I will spend the next few days at Jeanne Mayo's Cadre. I am so excited about catching up with friends and hearing from the best ministry coach in the world. You can check out Jeanne at www.youthleaderscoach.com/home.asp

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

iGoogle and iChurch

One of the tensions in church leadership today is the battle raging with adapting to culture. If done with balance there can be many benefits with which attendees can relate (e.g. media, web, etc.). However, taken to the extreme, catering to peoples needs can become a seductive and destructive behavior for church leadership. Churches cannot become consumer driven catering to every need of an individual.

I was going through my blog roll today and followed a link to subscribe to an rss feed. Long story short I created an iGoogle page and and a Google reader where I can read each of my blogs in one single simple location. Simply awesome!

I was challenged today by how simple Google made the process. What if we, as leaders, started with simple as the first priority for everything. Here are the things I have noticed about simplicity:
1. It is hard to communicate simply ( I typed that five times).
2. Simple things get big ROI (return on investment).
3. Simple programs are popular.
4. Simple is sexy - Nik White
5. Simple stands out.