Archive for June, 2007

Are you buying it?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Seth Godin is one of my favorite bloggers for two reasons.

  1. He always has something great to share.
  2. The thoughts that he shares are applicable in almost any working environment.

If you haven’t seen his latest post about responsibility, take some time to check that out. If you are a church leader, I think It’s a great word to share with your team of leaders or just to read yourself and consider whether your community is “buying what you are selling.” I think it would be a great lead-in to pondering some questions like…

What are the things that we believe in and want to communicate to our community?

In what ways are we responsibly nurturing and growing our congregation for long term health?

In what ways might we be compromising long term health in order to address short term issues?

What are our ethical and moral responsibilities are leaders of our community?

Are we buying what we’re selling?

Or if you are looking for something different, check out his post on the importance of vibe. I think we are going to take his advice and recruit some leaders for our Saturday night service to focus strictly on this.

Finally home for a week!

Monday, June 18th, 2007

We are finally home from our High School mission trip. It was a great trip that went fairly smoothly. A few bumps and bruises, a broken thumb (not mine) and a few kids and adults who were under the weather during the trip, but besides that, it went great. I left hoping it wasn’t my last opportunity to serve in the role I filled for this year’s trip even though I will no longer be working in youth ministry. There are few things more exciting that watching young kids passionate about serving.

I also got a great Father’s Day present this past Sunday. After being away from my daughter for 13 days, my little girl came home. It made my day to see her again. I’m home now for the week before High School camp next week and then my summer travel is over. I’m looking forward to being home with the family throughout July.

A life free from conflict…

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Conflict is inevitable because leadership means change, and change provokes resistance. If you are looking for a life free from conflict, make sure you don’t become a leader or a preacher. (19)

The above quote is from a great book I am reading, 360-Degree Leadership: Preaching to transform congregations, by Michael J. Quicke. I’ll post more about it later, but it’s basic thesis is the role of leading and the role of preaching cannot be divorced. Quicke gives critique to the modern day fascination (both inside the church and in the business world) with “leadership” that he believes has not only devalued the role of preaching but has also separated this function from the critical role in plays in the work of a leader. Another quote illustrates this.

Instead of claiming that leadership is supremely important and that preaching supports it, let’s assert that preaching is supremely important and leadership flows out of it. (55)

So far, great read. I highly recommend it.

Parking Spots

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Johnny and I arrived in Shreveport today for our High School mission trip. We’re here a few days early getting everything ready and making sure the church is ready to receive 140 youth and adults. As we were walking into the church today through the staff parking area, we noticed some reserved spaces. There were three spaces for Associate Pastors and the closest spot to the door was reserved for the Senior Pastor.

Parking-3

Johnny and I chuckled a little bit and he asked me if I had seen this post from Seth Godin about parking spots. It’s an interesting post that Seth writes from a business perspective, but certainly has implications for the church as well.

I’ve worked for two Senior Pastors who had pretty specific instructions for staff parking: Park as far away from the church as possible. We actually park across the street at Chick-Fila (thank you Chick-Fila) every Sunday now and ride a shuttle bus over to the main camps. For both of these pastors, the message was clear: we are here for others.

But for a church to thrive, I don’t think it can stop with the staff. That may work in the business environment, but a church succeeds when customers (sorry if you don’t like the analogy) care about other customers and genuinely want other customers to experience and enjoy the product

Which raises a great question: What is your church producing?

Again, you might not like the connection with business, but that should stir your mind. Is your church producing people who seek to live in the ways of Jesus or is your church producing people who think they need their own reserved parking place?

Let’s pray it’s the former.

I need to tell a story…

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

For almost two months, I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been pretty quiet here on the blog and it’s taken me some time to process why that it is. Earlier this week, I felt like I was gaining some clarity on the answer to that question. I was beginning to realize that the transition in my role at the church was a significant contributing factor to my silence. I am slowly getting used to the idea of “speaking” from a different perspective and yet I realize that this new location in some ways requires me to communicate differently. I guess the best way to describe that is that I feel a heightened sense of responsibility for my words. Perhaps I should have felt that all along, but I certainly feel it now as I move into a more defined pastoral role in the life of our church community.

I’ve said this before, but I continue to believe that as you develop in the role of teacher/preacher, you spend a great deal of energy trying to get people to listen to you and it is only after you realize that people are taking you seriously that the fear sets in and you realize, “these people are actually depending upon me to say something. I better not screw this up.” It seems that in my first six years of ministry, I’ve been back and forth on that pendulum which swings between boastful pride and utter humility.

Tonight, we had some wonderful friends over for dinner. One couple we have known for quite some time, and they were instrumental in starting Mosaic. The other couple who joined us for dinner were invited to Mosaic by the first couple so we’ve only known them for a short time, but I have really enjoyed getting to know them. I really enjoyed tonight. We had some great conversation… one of those conversations that you can spend hours participating in and yet you feel like you’ve only been talking for 10 minutes… you know what I mean…

I was asking the husband questions about his job (I don’t know why, but I am always fascinated by what people do all day!) and he shared an incredible response with me that has encouraged me to write tonight. As he was sharing about his work and some of the stuff that he does, he said, “I don’t quite understand it but I find myself needing to tell a story. I’m not sure what that story is, but I know that I need to tell it.” I’ve been mulling over those two sentences all night. I really feel like I needed to hear that tonight.

Like my friend, I feel the need to tell a story. Further, as a follower of Jesus, I understand that to be one of the primary functions of my life… but the process gets fuzzy when I am reminded of the fact that the process of retelling is also a process of reliving. It is not enough to tell the story. We are invited to “live in” and “embody” a particular story. That’s where the work gets hard, and it’s also the point where the fear begins to rise because we are now aware that people are listening and watching. And the reason that they are listening and watching isn’t to fulfill some exhibitionist fantasy. The reason that they are watching is because they are desperate to believe that there is more to the story… and that perhaps the expectation and excitement that the story has produced in their life might have a chance to actually be realized.

In the words of a friend, I heard my call to speak again tonight… I heard my call to write and to journal and to pray and to wrestle and to read and to reflect and to share… because I too have a story to share… and I too have a story to live.

And so do you…

Had a bad day?

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Watch until the very end!

Friday, June 1st, 2007

There’s a great line from Steve at the very end of this video.