Lead

Serve Through VISA

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 7.48.07 AMLooking for some opportunities to serve God’s purposes around the world –perhaps a shorter assignment?  Or a short assignment that might lead to a longer possibility?  Here’s the place to begin.  VISA (Volunteers In Service Abroad) Ministries will help get you there, and at this website, you can explore existing opportunities and follow a path that will communicate your interest to people that can help.  Just log on at visaministries.org

Looking for some opportunities to serve God’s purposes around the world –perhaps a shorter assignment?  Or a short assignment that might lead to a longer possibility?  Here’s the place to begin.  VISA (Volunteers In Service Abroad) Ministries will help get you there, and at this website, you can explore existing opportunities and follow a path [...]

All In Manifesto

Thanks, Mark Batterson!  (http://amzn.to/1gx6jzB)
(“All In” is LifePoint’s theme for 2014… also the title of Mark’s latest book.)

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes.
Keep seeking God.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.
Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences.
Enjoy the journey.
Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Don’t let fear dictate your decisions.
Take a flying leap of faith.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back.
Push all of your chips to the middle of the table.
It’s time to ante up all of your faith.
It’s time to go all in.

Thanks, Mark Batterson!  (http://amzn.to/1gx6jzB) (“All In” is LifePoint’s theme for 2014… also the title of Mark’s latest book.) Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making [...]

Book Review: “Stuck in a Funk? How to Get Your Church Moving Forward” by Tony Morgan

Tony’s book “Stuck in a Funk?  How to Get Your Church Moving Forward” represents the complete “Leisure Suit” series bound in one volume.  The Leisure Suit leadership series includes 4 eBooks previously published separately.  The book contains 4 parts, 37 chapters, and a “Key Ideas & Discussion Questions” section.  Tony is a church health, growth, and leadership consultant.

StuckOne of the more “usable” aspects of this book is the ability for each of the chapters to stand alone, as well as to build upon the previous chapter.  As a result, this book could serve as an excellent option for leadership teams, staff meetings, and even small group studies.

Tony not only identifies reasons for church stagnancy, but offers practical suggestions and exercises that can be implemented immediately.  The book is divided in four sections:  Part One:  The Leisure Suit Trap –Why Your Church is Stuck; Part Two: Hanging Up the Leisure Suit –How to Get Unstuck; Part Three:  Stayin’ Alive –Build a Legacy of Leadership; and Part Four: Get Your Groove On –Communicate Through Change.  The topics cover the full range of issues in a local church:  from leadership development to church marketing; from staffing, utilizing social media, and the internet to building a platform; from diagnosing unhelpful structures, recognizing the difference between management and leadership, to implementing systems that promote new results; and almost everything in between.

While I would not suggest this as a deficit, I found myself wishing that Tony had included more of his own experiences as pastor/staff pastor.  Perhaps this was intentional, to speak to as broad of an audience as possible.  Still, most leaders not only relate more readily to material but also find it easier to accept criticism, critique, and principles of leadership when they become convinced that the author’s experience validates his/her perspectives and opinions.

If you’re a list person, and/or you find straightforward, practical statements about leadership and organization issues helpful, you’ll love this eBook.  In fact, many chapters in the book could be used in leadership training and coaching as curriculum.  The principles that Tony shares go well beyond simply getting unstuck, and would benefit anyone seeking to be about leadership development in a church or organization.

Tony specifically states his purpose for the book in the conclusion:  “My main purpose for writing this book was to challenge your thinking . . . to look hard at the church’s purpose.”  If when reading you’ll read with a soft heart and an eagerness to learn something, the book will not only accomplish Tony’s purpose, but will fulfill the title.

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/Y6l7NU

 

Tony’s book “Stuck in a Funk?  How to Get Your Church Moving Forward” represents the complete “Leisure Suit” series bound in one volume.  The Leisure Suit leadership series includes 4 eBooks previously published separately.  The book contains 4 parts, 37 chapters, and a “Key Ideas & Discussion Questions” section.  Tony is a church health, growth, [...]

WCA Leadership Summit 2011

Cathy, Bryan, Katherine and I attended the Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit this year.  I’ve been to at least a half-dozen of them, if not more.  Each year I honestly get some great stuff personally and professionally.  Bill Hybels reminded us several times over the two days, “When leaders grow, everyone wins.”  The Summit closed yesterday with an amazing talk by Erwin McManus.  So good to hear him again!

WCA had several bloggers following the sessions, which made note taking much easier!  Among them I found Paul Steinbrueck’s site helpful:  http://www.liveintentionally.org/   At Paul’s site, you can find notes on every session.

I found Mama Maggie Gobran’s session particularly moving –she ministers to the poorest of the poor in Cairo’s Garbage City.  She reminds me (and others) of Mother Theresa: humility, simple devotion and love for Jesus.

Did you attend?  What did you think?

Cathy, Bryan, Katherine and I attended the Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit this year.  I’ve been to at least a half-dozen of them, if not more.  Each year I honestly get some great stuff personally and professionally.  Bill Hybels reminded us several times over the two days, “When leaders grow, everyone wins.”  The Summit closed [...]

Show Me

I’m out of town this week for some study/solitude time.  Unplugged during the day: listening, praying, seeking, quiet.  Evenings are about e-mails, study, plan.  I’m stuck on this song by Audrey Assad as I think about my longing for more of Jesus tonight:

Show Me  Audrey Assad

(Listen here: http://bit.ly/pS1i55)  (Buy on iTunes: http://bit.ly/o5nXUc)

You could plant me like a tree beside a river
You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild
And I would blossom like a flower in the desert
But for now just let me cry

You could raise me like a banner in a battle
Put victory like fire behind my shining eyes
And I would drift like falling snow over the embers
But for now just let me lie

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die

Set me like a star before the morning
Like a song that steals the darkness from a world asleep
And I’ll illuminate the path You’ve laid before me
But for now just let me be

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die
Oh, not before You show me how to die

So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with me

I’m out of town this week for some study/solitude time.  Unplugged during the day: listening, praying, seeking, quiet.  Evenings are about e-mails, study, plan.  I’m stuck on this song by Audrey Assad as I think about my longing for more of Jesus tonight: Show Me  Audrey Assad (Listen here: http://bit.ly/pS1i55)  (Buy on iTunes: http://bit.ly/o5nXUc) You could plant [...]

Followership: John Stott

A well-known evangelical leader passed away this week.  As one blogger puts it, for decades Stott was “. . . one of the most influential voices in evangelical Christianity. As a writer, pastor, teacher, thinker, and leader, Stott impacted countless Christians, shaping an entire movement along the way.” (http://bit.ly/qHfyoe)

Like many of us, Stott had a commitment to the truth of Scripture to transform life.  In one tribute, a short list of commitments that formed the basis of Stott’s own life.  I find that I really resonate with them:

  1. Make personal devotion to God in Christ our highest priority.
  2. Live consistently, with integrity. Resist the temptation to develop a public persona.
  3. Develop core disciplines like Scripture reading and mediation, prayer, work and rest.
  4. Trust in the unchangeable truth of Scripture. Go deep in our study of it.
  5. Prepare public talks with a focus on substance. Look for the connections and orders of our ideas.
  6. Value relationships with other leaders. Be a mentor without having to be called a mentor. Follow natural patterns. Don’t turn discipleship into a program.

Read the entire tribute here: http://bit.ly/rlNb1T

A well-known evangelical leader passed away this week.  As one blogger puts it, for decades Stott was “. . . one of the most influential voices in evangelical Christianity. As a writer, pastor, teacher, thinker, and leader, Stott impacted countless Christians, shaping an entire movement along the way.” (http://bit.ly/qHfyoe) Like many of us, Stott had a [...]

Stuck in the Mud

 

A few years ago I was with some good friends on my first visit to Africa. We visited several countries, but got stuck in Mozambique. I remember thinking, “I might never get out of here.” The place was quite remote, and our van was just stuck that bad. Eventually with much effort and help, we got out of the mud and back on our way.

As a pastor, one of my jobs is to keep LifePoint from being stuck.  Thankfully, I have great help.  I serve alongside an excellent staff and leadership board, together we’ve worked through some deep ruts and mud holes on the way to developing some forward momentum.

But there’s more to learn, and more to do.  Tony Morgan offers a helpful list for us to evaluate why a church may or may not be stuck.

8 Reasons Your Church is Stuck

  1. You lack a leadership empowerment plan. We have failed as leaders in the church if we do not embrace the unique gift-mix that God designed. And we won’t fully know the power and impact of the local church until people are empowered to be the people God wired them up to be.
  2. You are unclear about your vision and mission. There are lots of churches with vision statements, but I don’t think there are very many churches that really have a vision statement that clarifies who they are as an organization. A clear vision that is properly communicated will both rally and repel people.
  3. You blame outsiders and external factors. Victim-thinking will only lead to bitterness and competition. Leaders who blame outsiders and external factors actually are confessing their own failure to think creatively and inspire their team.
  4. Your structure inhibits growth. One of the attributes of a church in decline is a complex structure. The natural tendency of organizations is to add complexity to their structure and systems. The longer an organization exists, the more complex it typically gets.
  5. You worship your past success. Our past successes can be one of the greatest contributing factors to our future demise. When organizations stick to “the way we do it,” the safe approach of avoiding innovation and change becomes the riskiest approach.
  6. You focus on activities instead of outcomes. While many church leaders are full of vision and passion, they lack an effective strategy to accomplish their mission. That leads to a feeling of disorganization, and ultimately they become stuck.
  7. You fail to equip God’s people. For whatever reason, smaller churches I work with have a tendency to rely on the pastors and paid staff to carry the ministry load rather than equipping lay people.
  8. Your ministries ignore people outside the church. When churches become inward-focused and start making decisions about ministry to keep people rather than reach people, they also start to die.

Entire article is here:  http://tonymorganlive.com/2011/06/29/8-reasons-your-church-is-stuck/

 

  A few years ago I was with some good friends on my first visit to Africa. We visited several countries, but got stuck in Mozambique. I remember thinking, “I might never get out of here.” The place was quite remote, and our van was just stuck that bad. Eventually with much effort and help, [...]