Today, July 24th, is my mother’s birthday. It is a big one for her. (I am of course smart enough not to announce her age on the internet.) She taught me much of what I know about being a servant leader. She led by example in ways that affected the rest of my life. For example: I can’t count the number of times that for one reason or another I got up early and walked into the living room to find my mother sitting there reading her Bible or praying. I knew she was praying for me when I was walking close to God, and I knew she was praying for me when I wasn’t. She was always helping people out. We lived in the country during my teen years. We attended a small country church that had an average Sunday morning attendance of 13! (And our family made up 4 of that count.) I remember mom giving the pastor’s wife a hug when they were ready to quit, and just listening to her cry. We seemed to always be able to make room when someone needed a place to stay “for a bit”, when they were “in between jobs” or take care of the kids for a few weeks when the parents were out of commission. Thanks Mom for being an incredible example! Have an awesome birthday! (And remember that you aren’t as old as Grandnana! When God said, “Let there be light!” She flipped the switch.)
Archive for the 'Service' Category
I know that a lot of you who read this blog have some great ideas of your own! If you have been reading the Christian Leadership blog for a while and have something burning inside you that you think would be great to share with our readers. Send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your post of less than 500 words. (As you can see from my posts, people who want pages of text tend to read another blog.) If it is something that I think the readers would appreciate, I will happily post it with full credit given to you. Feel free to include a link to your own blog or webpage if you have one. If possible, this could become a once a week feature. Thanks in advance!
Four Things I Want From Those Who Serve With Me June 8, 2011
#1 – Don’t let me be surprised.
If something goes wrong, if a mistake has been made or if we have dropped the ball then the last thing I want to do is find out about what has happened “through the grapevine.” And…I don’t want half of the story either. (Many times just half of the story is told in order to “protect” the leader…when actually quite the opposite is true. “Protection” is knowing all of the facts…ALL of them.)
Tell me the truth…always.
(AND…leaders, it is up to you to create this type of environment. If you have a nasty habit of “shooting the messenger” then it is quite likely that you do not know the whole story in regards to what is happening in your organization.)
#2 – Don’t let me be the emperor that has no clothes!
I don’t know if you have read “The Emperor’s New Clothes” lately…it is a really funny children’s story that, unfortunately, isn’t so funny when it is played out in church world.
Once again…I need the truth from the people around me. I do not view those who God has placed around me as a liability but rather an asset…and I can honestly say that I have had numerous bad ideas as a leader over the past several years that have not made their way towards implementation because there are men and women around me who are willing to say, “Dude, we love you…but…that’s a bad idea.”
Leaders…it takes a secure person to be able to create this type of environment. You can either do this and reap the benefits…or you can surround yourself with “yes men” who refuse to tell you the truth because they fear you more than they fear the Lord.
#3 – Keep short accounts with me
We are a team…God has called us to serve Jesus together and the enemy would actually love to divide our leadership team way more than he wants to divide our church. (Because…he knows if he can divide us…the church will follow!)
As a team we will have spirited debate. We will disagree on decisions that have been made and/or how things should be done in the future. When this happens let’s be respectful, honest and refuse to allow a root of bitterness to develop among us. Life is too short and hell is too hot for us to allow anger and frustration with one another to continue to fester.
#4 – Be willing to put your personal preferences aside for the greater good of God’s church.
When people’s main filter of making decision is ran through their personal preferences the entire organization will always gravitate towards comfort and conformity because doing so is always easy…and as human beings we have to be aware of this natural tendency to drift in this direction.
Jesus didn’t call us to take up our mattress…He commanded us to take up our cross. This is hard…and many times it will mean putting our personal preferences aside in order to see God’s precepts carried out. We always have to be serious about putting pride aside and embracing whatever it is the Lord wants for us.
There has never been a church on the planet that has made a significant difference because the leaders were obsessed with always having their own way (this includes the senior pastor!) Let’s continue to beg God to conform and transform us so that we can do all HE has in mind for us to do…even when it places us in a perpetual state of discomfort.
You may be thinking, (((Dude, its July! What are you doing posting on Easter))) Well, I am happy to say that Dean Herman and I went to talk with Greg Powell of the Easley, SC Department of Parks & Recreation and we have locked in the date of March 27th 2010 for the next Easley Egg Drop. I am excited about this as we have been back and forth with them since April 7th or so about getting this date reserved. Sometimes, planning big events takes some time. I am thankful that we can now start working on some of the othe details…like getting 200,000 plastic eggs stuffed with candy, a helicopter, enough hotdogs, cotton candy, snowcones, popcorn etc. to get 10,000 kids and their parents on a good sugar high! Golf carts to shuttle people from parking, a band to play, inflatables for the kids to play on…you get the picture…still a lot to do!
So why do this stuff? Because guys like my friend Aaron bring their families to it because it is free and open to the public. And then after being shown the love of Jesus through a crazy event like this, he decides to take his family to check out that church that gave all that stuff away free. And then his wife up and gave her heart to Jesus! And a couple weeks later, so did Aaron! Then they got baptized together! Then they got involved in my Home TEAM(Small group)! They got involved in reaching out to other people and are now volunteering to help with other events! That is why we do it.
Yesterday at 5 Point Fellowship, we celebrated the 4th of July by having sort of a community party/festival that we give to the community for free. There were inflatable rides, bungee slingshots, a rock wall, music, popcorn, cotton candy, sno cones, face painting, hotdogs and most of all, lots of smiles for free! I, along with many other volunteers, was able to share the love of Jesus Christ with people in word, but also through what we were doing. I was really proud off all the people from the church that started setting up about 1:00 and didn’t leave until the parking lot and church were cleaned up at almost 11:00 at night! It was great to have so many hands pitching in, and when asked to do anything, no one said, “That’s not my job.” Every single volunteer pitched in where they saw a need! I love working with this bunch! For those who may read this who have never even heard of 5 Point Fellowship or even Easley, SC…Sorry the blog is a little off my normal fare…I just had to brag on my people!
Some of us have been in church so long that we don’t remember what the first time we stepped into a church felt like. Stop and think. What does your church look like to the person who is showing up for the first time? What if it is their first time in a church EVER? How is your church constantly keeping in mind that there are people coming who don’t know “the rules” who don’t know what “an offering” is or a “clap offering”? There are so many micro-culture things that go on in a church that many times we don’t even remember why we do them. Does everyone pray out loud once the prayer is started, or do they bow their heads in silence when the person leading in prayer prays? Do you put one finger in the air when you walk across the front of the church? Do people kneel, stand, jump, shout, lay down, spin around? All of that is fine, but can you explain it quickly to the person who doesn’t know anything about the Lord and even less about your church?
A quick thought for the end of my morning rant: God doesn’t give us more than we can bear. Is your church ready to bear the burden of new growth? Baby Christians? Messy New People?…
Ok, some would say my brain doesn’t work, but, here is a glimpse as to how it functions….
This last week has been an incredible week of positives and negatives. One friend got saved! Three young men at a camp I worked last week got saved! Six were baptized! One friend from church died. One student died in a car wreck. Girl Scout cookies came in, so I and my work study have enjoyed those! A friend lost his job. I picked up some more work for this summer. My wife and I paid off one debt! The April 4th egg drop is really coming together! The city is changing their mind on some of the things we had agreed on. My church office was repainted while I was gone, and it looks great! Home TEAM ministry is growing like crazy! Need some new leaders and hosts! Sunday was incredible! 8 people accepted Jesus into their hearts! Started New Believers class Sunday night!
I want to thank you if you check my blog every day! Thanks for being faithful. I hope I don’t lose to many readers, but I am heading out in about 8 hours for Honduras and am not sure how often I will be near a computer between now and next Saturday. Pray for me as I, and a bunch of students from North Greenville University are working with a bunch of kids at a kids camp representing 15 churches in the region.
So, do you believe in “Divine Coincidences”? Lately it seems that God has been working through so many “coincidental” events in my life that it has my brain spinning. Just one simple example. God asked me clearly to give a man a certain sum of money. I asked my wife if it was OK, and she asked, “Where will the money come from?” My response was simple, “I don’t know. But I know that God has never let us down yet, and He isn’t going to stop providing for us because we obey Him.” She immediately gave her blessing on the decision and I gave the man the money. Within a day, not only had God “replaced” the amount I gave through a series of “circumstances”, but I was told I am going to receive an unexpected raise that amounts to more than ten times the amount given! God is awesome! I am constantly reminded of how God our Father wants to bless us, but we must first be obedient to His will!
At my church, we just hit that 600 mark. A little background, we are a four year old church plant in a rented theater building. Our space is far from optimal though the location is good in the downtown area of our big town/small city. While we have space in the main theater(sanctuary) for the adults in the two services, the kids side of the church is overflowing! It is a good problem to have!
Creative solutions is becoming the name of the game around here. We have a New Believer’s class meeting in the pastor’s office,there is another group meeting in the lobby, of course in the sanctuary, and then the upstairs, downstairs and classroom space is being used on the “children’s” side on Sunday nights! God is Awesome! We are praying for God’s guidance,(and funding), for a new location or some other creative way to handle the growth. It is incredible to see people coming to the Lord and seeing people’s lives changed.
This is more of a testimony than a great blog to help your church, but hopefully it will encourage you if you are a pastor out there who feels like your church is handicapped by your facilities. God can do amazing things with very little! Think a few loaves of bread and some fish!