Top 5 Recent Leadership Posts

feedbackBelow are my most popular posts on leadership.  I’m sharing these with you for one key reason.  I am looking to making a few small adjustments with my approach to my blog and I really need your input.  Take a look.

1) Manage your life, or your life will manage you

2) Your worship style is not working

3) We’re going to skin our knee on ministry work

4) 5 tips to having a good day of rest

5) Taking the Church’s Biblical pulse

Now tell me…which of these post did you like the most and why?

What aspects of the content did you find most helpful, and what material do I need to change or completely get rid of?  Are there leadership topics/issues that I am missing?

I’d love your input.  Either comment below or email me at brent@ccclive.org

(photo credit: www.jeffbullas.com)

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3 Ways to Continue Leading When Life Gets Difficult

Leaders don’t have the option of quitting when life gets difficult. 

tornado-over-road

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?  Loss of a loved one.  Wrecked the car.  Unwanted medical diagnosis.  Family drama.  You name it…we have all experienced an untimely life difficulty right in the middle of a season when more than usual is demanded of us as leaders.  It never fails.  Maybe it’s an outreach event, speaking engagement, or project deadline.  Or maybe it’s launching a new ministry or planting a church (that one’s mine).

So, how do we continue leading through a challenging season without losing our sanity, credibility, and family?

Here are 3 critical steps I’ve used recently.

1.  Evaluate | No matter how much you feel that you don’t have even 5 minutes to yourself, take time to stop, breathe, and evaluate your current situation.  Inventory the season you’re in so that everything is on the table.  Otherwise, we fall into the trap of simply running around putting out fires as our task lists seem to multiply like Gremlins (you might not get that reference if you’re under 25).

2.  Adjust | Now that you’re breathing again and can hopefully look at the big picture objectively, there are likely some adjustments that need to be made.  Say this with me, “I am not Superman!”  Furthermore, you are not Jesus either.  Now, take 1 to 3 items off your plate.  Don’t have a coronary.  I’m not saying this is forever…just long enough to get you through this season ALIVE.

3.  Move forward | If you have actually done #2 and taken the ‘appropriate’ items off, you should be feeling a huge weight lifted.  Next, simply inform those people who need to know and how this adjustment might effect them.  This does two things.  It provides others clear communication about you as a leader and how you are prioritizing your time.  It also builds in accountability.  When others know our plans it helps us actually stick to those plans.  We know they will be checking up on us.

What would you add?  What has worked for you.

Join the conversation, leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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God of ‘WOW’

When was the last time God ‘Wowed’ you?

I don’t know about you, but when God amazes me in larger than normal ways it usually includes a bit of humility.  Recently, I had one of those moments.  God stepped in and reminded me that He was still in charge of the situation….NOT me! 

This was a healthy piece of humble pie.  You see, the week leading up to our first ‘soft’ launch of our new Satellite church campus was packed full of endless task lists, technical disappointments, exhausting work days, and personal family struggles.  

The problem:

   – There was too much left to do before Sunday.

   – Contractors informed me we would not have internet, video teaching or projection capabilities. 

   – I was struggling emotionally to maneuver through and balance leading a new church launch and a family crisis at the same time.  And my college studies had come to a screeching halt.   

The result:

   – Our core church family showed up, cleaned up, donated and constructed in a HUGE way.  God deployed His Church body and the work got done.  

   – Video streaming capabilities, projection, and high-speed internet…..were ALL in place by Friday evening.   

   – We had an unexpected breakthrough in our family situation which gave my wife and I hope that we didn’t have before.

God showed up in a big way.  He blessed me with peace of mind and comfort that He was definitely in control.  Then, I was reminded of God’s reply to Job in chapter 38.

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
 Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

    Tell me, if you have understanding.”  v.2-4

More humble pie.

I was relying on my own knowledge and control of these details.  I was allowing myself to become anxious about things that God was already at work in.  And the purpose in all of this became crystal clear.  God gets the credit for all of it….NOT ME.

As for our first worship service together, everything was perfect.  God’s Spirit was there.  We worshipped, learned, and fellowshipped together.  There was a shared energy and hope for families and individuals in our new community.  

How about you?  Has God ‘Wowed’ you recently….and what did you learn from it?  Please comment below and share this post with others who might need it.  

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4 Keys That Allow Your Ministries to Work Together

sharing_the_load_of_the_puzzle_800_clr_7511When individual ministries work together, the entire Church benefits.

This is something that’s been an ideal thought in ministry for years, but rarely becomes a reality.  Think about it.  How often do you find a Youth Pastor and Kids Pastor working together for the benefit of all students?  Or when have you noticed the Worship Pastor taking time out of their busy day to help the college ministry improve their services?

I am blessed to have a team that really does operate as a family.  As a network of family ministries, we share a common goal.  We don’t have everyone off doing their own thing…hoping for a great outcome in individuals lives.

Here’s what it looks like for us.

Everyone owns the vision:  Again, we share one common goal.  For us, we call it a ‘common thread.’  This is what connects one ministry to another.  It’s what helps a child to transition well from Kids Church to Student ministry…and from Students to our College ministry.  We have hopes for the hand-off.

Communicate well:  Our team leaders are constantly asking each other what they need from one another.  They talk about what should be learned and experienced by a student by the time they transition to the next ministry area.  If our Kids Pastor teaches what she wants without regard for what the Student Pastor will be teaching incoming middle school students, those students will have a difficult transition spiritually.

Do ministry together:  Some examples of supporting each other in ministry are setting up tables and chairs for an event that doesn’t involve us, or spending time with another staff member problem-solving an issue in their ministry.  It’s sacrificing some of your time to lend a hand to a co-worker.  If they have a big event coming up, or you see them frantically making copies, punching holes, and stapling packets…..ask if they could use some help.  Maybe you are having a busy day too.  But by even offering 5-10 minutes of your time will tell them that you see their work as valuable.  Sometime the offer becomes more support than the actual help.

Do life together:  Ok, hear this loud and clear. This RARELY involves ministry work.  99.99999% of the time this needs to be talking about our Spiritual journey with Jesus, our kids and spouses, sharing our emotional highs and lows.  Go to a ball game together.  Hang out at a favorite coffee shop (not discussing work).  Get together often, have fun, and pray for each other.  This involves humility and authenticity.

Now, these things don’t just happen over night.  It takes time and intentionality.  Place each other on your Google calendar and regard that appointment as you would with anyone else in the church.  Just because something else may come up and they are a co-worker, don’t view it as not a big deal to reschedule.  They are a big deal.  Keep that appointment.

A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken

A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken (Eccl. 4:9-12)

When the church staff do life and ministry together as a real family, the church body will always benefit from it.

Where have you seen this in action?  What would you add to the five components listed above?

Please your comments below. 

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Lady, You’re Holding Up The Line!

long line for coffee

You’re a coffee snob, and it’s affecting your attitude.

Standing in line to order my coffee at the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble, the following conversation takes place right in front of me:

Barista:  May I help you?

Customer:  Yes…um…what drink did that person order?

Barista:  I don’t know.  Hey (to the other barista), what drink did you make that customer?

Other Barista:  Oh, I think it was a vanilla frapp with whip.

Customer:  Yes, I’ll have that! 

Done in 60 seconds, but I found myself becoming quite impatient with this woman’s apparent lack of espresso knowledge & inability to know her order before she steps up to the counter.  As growing thoughts of (almost) rage quickly permeated my being, I had a startling realization.  “I’ve officially become a coffee snob!”  

2 Corinthians 6:6 then hit be between the eyes…  ‘We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.’  I want to be proven faithful to God by my patience…especially in small moments like these.  My character was not discounted by any outward display of rude behavior, but my heart was. 

Deal with it:

1. Recognize and address the emotions that are going through your mind.

2. Empathize with the person annoying you.  Put yourself in their situation.

3. Redirect your ‘reactions’ into doing something helpful in the moment.

What situations challenge your character?  Comment below.

Photo credit: susanotcenas.blogspot.com 

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Stepping Into God…1, 2, 3

When God is calling you to something HUGE, what do you do?  

Since day one of moving from Washington State to Columbus, GA over four years ago people simply assumed I was in the military.  I guess I can understand their reasoning.  I mean I have the Army haircut, and why else would someone move his family 2,600 miles across the country?

Come to think of it, the majority of twenty-three years of marriage for my wife and I have been anything but stable.  Don’t get me wrong; we are blessed with an incredible relationship.  That’s not what I mean when I say we have not been  ‘stable.’  We’ve actually never lived at the same address for more than three years.  Many of those residential moves have been related to ministry work.  In fact, we recently left the home we had hoped to purchase and settle down in and moved just across the river for the sole purpose of living in the town we are launching a new church campus in.  We are so excited for this new chapter of life the Lord is writing with us.

What about you?

What is God calling you into today that is new, different, or maybe even challenging?

I’ve learned something about God in my 27 years as a Christian.  This is huge…you might want to write it down or even Tweet it.

Ready?

Saying ‘yes’ to God at the moment of our salvation only begins a life of ‘yes’ moments with Him. 

You see, God doesn’t just want you and I to say ‘yes’ to His grace, forgiveness, and salvation and then to be done with it.  That intimate moment with Him is amazing.  But…to experience kingdom living on a grand scale we (you and I) are going to be constantly called, challenged, pushed, encouraged to step into something bigger than ourselves.  Something out of our comfort zone.  Something inconvenient.  Something we would even prefer not to do.

I’d like to offer you 3 clear steps to consider as you approach stepping into something new with God.

1)   Be open:  God is not going to force us against our will.  Now, He might make avoiding His call incredibly painful at times.  But He desires a trusting and open heart that will respond to Him.

2)   Pray:  Seriously.  Devote some real time to praying about whatever it is.  Journal your prayer life through it.  This will help to bring your head and spirit together on the issue.

3)   Tell another mature believer:  This really is where the rubber meets the road, folks.  The first two steps are completely on us.  But this one…this one takes it to a new level.  Telling someone creates accountability and defines the genuineness of our intentions with God.  Take this step seriously.

May our Lord and Heavenly Father bless and reassure you as you begin stepping even further into Him today.

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What keeps the Church from witnessing to unbelievers

photo from: manvsdebt.com

photo from: manvsdebt.com

What if the salvation experience of every new believer in the world was completely contingent upon the actions and behavior of church people?  Wow…we would really be in trouble.  But the Church’s relational conduct does have a tremendous impact on the world looking in.

Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT) reads…

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Now, at first glance we can read this passage strictly from a generic view.  I think we would all agree that these are valuable attributes for all people to live by.  At closer examination, however, we see that Paul is writing to the church in the city of Colosse.  To the Church!  He’s reminding church people…you and I…to be kind, gentle, and patient with each other.  To live out genuine love and peace….in the Church! 

Why was he specifically talking to believers here?  And more important, why do Paul’s words continue to speak to you and I today?  I would suggest two points for us to focus on regarding these few verses.

  1. Paul knew that Christ’s Church would go through seasons of contention and division.  Look at his words as a daily multi-vitamin.  It is preventive maintenance.
  2. Paul also knew that any sort of ‘dysfunction’ in the church could negatively affect the witness of Christians to the unbelieving world looking in.  We see this even today.  There are masses of people in the U.S. who will not enter a church because they know someone who has experienced hurts there.

Read the above passage one more time.  How might our Christian witness change if the world saw in our churches what Paul wrote above?  What does this mean for those of us who serve in church leadership, and what should our approach be with our congregations?

Join the conversation.  What are your experiences?

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