Category: leadership

I have been spending the past few days in my Proverbs journal for my devotions then I read a chapter from Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.  I am challenged all around right now.  While Provers gives daily wisdom Wild Goose Chase is challenging my to step out of my cage and go after the God-given desires of my heart – because no one else can chase them for me….only I can chase them for myself.  It has really been a great book.  I am going to recommend it to a few people (probably loan it out)  when I get done with it.  It’s so good.  The ‘wild goose’ is the Holy Spirit which is the English translation of what the Celtic-Christians call the holy Spirit  ‘An Geadh-Glas’ which translates ‘the wild goose.’  I love Marks candor in the book.  Mark is the Pastor of the National Community Church in Washington, DC.  Once I am done with the book I will give a full review on it – but for now I don’t want to spoil the book other than to say it is good – really good.

The one thought I have really been challenged with was when Mark was talking about the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan.’  Here is what he said;

Hurry kills everything from compassion to creativity.  And when you’re in a hurry, you don’t have time to get out of your routine, do you?  No room for Spirit-led spontaneity.  No time for Wild Goose chases.  Here is the great irony: the priest and the Levite were probably on their way to the temple.  They were so busy loving God that they didn’t have time to love their neighbor.  And that is when our routines become counterproductive.  Let’s be honest.  We can get so busy doing “ministry” that we don’t have time for ministry.

This is so true.  I’ve seen it in my own life over the past 6 months.  I have been asked to do things and have become so busy doing “ministry” that I have forgotten to do ministry.  God has really been convicting me of that big time.  So I made a phone call and apologized for not being as proactive as I should have been in some things that I said I would do.  There is freedom in forgiveness and freedom in seeking forgiveness.  How have you gotten so busy doing “ministry” that you haven’t been able to do ministry or have become so STUCK in your routine and so GUARDED with your time that you have blocked things that God wants for you?  I know I have but I am trying hard to undo those things.

I am looking forward to journaling through Proverbs and finishing the Wild Goose Chase over the coming weeks.  There is something more satisfying than pursuing spiritual fitness than physical.  Without both we will die though – that’s something to think about.

I joined our gyms ‘Winter Meltdown’ this past week.  It’s a 12 week contest to lose weight and get in shape for summer.  The winner gets the entry fees from four different Anytime Fitness clubs in the area.  Honestly even if I don’t win I’m already a winner.  It will definitely help keep me motivated to drop the rest of the weight I want to lose by summer.  I’m down another 4lbs this week.  That’s pretty exciting for me.

What’s even more exciting is pursuing God the way He wants me to.


haiti: my response

When I heard the news of the earthquake in Haiti I couldn’t believe it.  An earthquake so severe that some are even calling it ‘apocalyptic’ of nature.  There is no doubt that it is bad.  Then this morning they were rocked with another earthquake of a 6.1 magnitude.  This little nation is just getting hammered – hard right now.  The pictures are just devastating.  So many people have lost their lives.  So many families impacted forever.  Missionaries have fled from Haiti because of fear.  Some are saying this is Haiti’s judgment from God for being a nation of voo doo and not worshiping God.   Others are getting mad at some who are vocally outspoken in saying that.  If we carefully read through the OT we know God judges nations who turn from him or who never acknowledge him.  In Romans we know God says he turns people over to their desires sometimes.  These are tough passages in times of devastation like what is going on in Haiti.

Here’s my thought: God has set the stage for His Gospel (a message of hope) to go in to Haiti to reach this little nation.  Lately I have been feeling a tug at my heart for Haiti – it’s devastation but also the brokenness of the people there.  I don’t know that God is calling me to do anything more than pray for Haiti.  I do know in the past couple of days I have had a few conversations of going to Haiti in the future to help with relief/ rebuilding.  Each of these were unprovoked by me.  I was approached.  I can’t say for sure God is calling me to go but the more I think about it the more I want to go.

Still I’m not sure it’s God saying, “Go.”  I do know this – I will continue to pray about it and ask some questions.  Maybe find a good ministry to volunteer through if God opens that door.  God calls some of us to give money and some of us to go and do physical labor and help to share the Gospel.  The thing is that whatever God calls us to is no more important than the other.  It’s about being a good steward of what He is calling you to do with your time and resources.

What is God calling you to do for Haiti or for your local church?  Maybe it’s pray.  Maybe it’s send money.  Maybe it’s go.  Whatever it is He is calling you to be a good steward of that.

changes for 2010

I have been thinking about making some big changes for a while.  More personally than ministry related but still these changes will have an impact on my ministry.  Over the past few years I have felt myself drifting more and more into “social media.”  Social media isn’t bad or evil in and of itself – but when it becomes something that takes half of your time through the day then I think it’s something to address and deal with.  Lets be honest in our culture today everything is shifting to social media so we can be connected.  This really weirds some people out and really excited/ draws others in.  For me, it really drew me in.  Like many others I have an online community that follows what I am doing or what is going on in my life.  Now there are some great pros to this.  I can post a prayer request and have literally hundreds of people praying for different things.  I can get ministry advice in minutes.  But there are cons; it takes time to develop this community and sustain it.  It can take away from your work or life.  Social media is made to enhance our lives but really it can take away from it if we let it.  We can get to the place where we use it to see how much value we have which is a false reality and it isn’t how God values us.

So in 2010 I am making some changes in how I use social media personally.  Starting this week I will begin to ween myself down to one Twitter post a day.   I will also only be making one Facebook status update once a day OR every other day.  From here on they will pertain MOSTLY to blog posts. I will continue to use TXTSignal for our student ministry updates as well as Facebook.

I will also be drastically changing how I spend my time online and through the day.  I haven’t gotten my daily schedule down just yet but this week I will have it broken into blocks for studying/ reading, responding to phone calls/ emails and lesson development.  I will post more on the breakdown of my day as I develop it more.  It will definitely be a structure change I need to make to become more effective as a Youth Pastor.  These changes will not come easy and will be met with resistance but I know it will happen.

What changes do you need to make for 2010?  Notice these aren’t resolutions – they are lifestyle changes.

We (the pastoral staff) attended the RHMA Pastor’s Conference last week in Morton, IL.  While we were there we had the priviledge in meeting Walter Kaiser.

I had heard a lot about Dr. Kaiser while I was in Ogallala.  Every time Eric knew he was speaking at a Mid-West E-Free meeting he would encourage us to go and listen to him.  I wish I had now.  When you think of great theologias often times I think they will be hard to understand when they speak.  Dr. Kaiser has a great delivery method and is a great communicator.  Dr. Kaiser is a very smart man and is a heavy hitter in doctrine and theology, especially in the Evangelical Free world as he was a seminary professor at Trinity Evangelical School of Divinity for many years.  Tuesday morning in the second session we were sitting in the row in front of Dr. Kaiser.  There was a joke made about Teddy Kennedy and Martha’s Vineyard and Dr. Kaiser and Jay were the only 2 laughing at it and an immediate bond was made.  Dr. Kaiser leaned up and said something to Jay and they began talking.  We talked to him at a few of the breaks.  He is a really nice 76 year old man.

At supper we  were sitting down and Dr. Kaiser and his wife saw us and came over and asked if they could sit with us.  It was pretty cool having supper with him listening to him talk just about life in general.  He has a great sense of humor.  Eventually Jay asked him if he would be willing to do a seminar on revival here in Newell and he said he would be interested in it.

It seemed like every time we turned around the Kaiser’s were right there after that point.  Wednesday evning we had supper with his oldest son and him and I were able to talk about youth ministry.  He has a pretty cool story of how their youth ministry started within the church he is currenty at.  It sounds like God is doing some really amazing things there right now in the live of their church and their youth.

Honestly Kaiser was my favorite over Blackaby.  For being 76 he still has a lot of energy and his humor his funny…but more than that you can tell he is a man who loves God, His Word and teaching it.

This past week our pastoral staff went to the RHMA Pastors Conference.  The them was “Seeking Revival in Rural America.”  Overall it was pretty good.  I will be posting a few different posts on the pros and cons of the conference form my perspective.  The two heavy hitter keynote speakers were Dr. Henry Blackaby and Dr. Walter Kaiser.  Both men are amazingly brilliant – there is no doubt about that.  My favorite was Kaiser by far though.  I think that comes from the story I have from the conference about hanging out with him…I will share that in a post on it’s own.

The really cool thing about the conference was their bookstore.  Almost all of the books were 50% off and some 75% off.  It was amazing.  I walked away with some great books for $60!  Below is the list of books I bought for $60.  Seriously.  I still can’t believe it.

The Messiah In The Old Testament – Kaiser

Revive Us Again – Kaiser (he actually gave us all this one for free)

What Does The Lord Require: A Guide for Preaching and Teaching Biblical Ethics – Kaiser

Is God on America’s Side – Lutzer

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God’s Sprit Invades the Hearts of His People – Cymbala

Fresh Encounter: God’s Pattern for Spiritual Awakening – Blackaby & King

Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged – Horner

Future Grace: The Purifying Power of Living By Faith – Piper

Your Ministry’s Next Chapter: Restoring the Passion of the Mid-Career Pastor – Fenton

I’m pretty excited about reading them all.  Man it’s going to take me a while to get through these.

I have been in vocational ministry for just about 11 years now.  I have definitely seen my fair share of bloopers or mishaps that have happened both behind the scenes and live.  So I have decided to start a new series on my blog called “Ministry Mishaps.”  Maybe you have some you would like to share just email them to me at and they may get posted as well.  Spread the word – I am sure there are a ton of them that have happened.

Sometimes these bloopers actually get in the way of people hearing the Gospel clearly and sometimes they are down right funny.  Sometimes they even give people a bad perception of what the “Church”  really looks like…maybe even possible damaging the reputation of Christ.  There are so many types of mishaps and all are welcome here.

So if you have some mishaps to share or know of someone who does tell them to email them to me at

Any thoughts?

Thanks to Joe for pointing this out.

[ht to tim]

prayer triggers

Alright so I posted my creative chaos idea the other day.  I love how Los is doing this on his blog.  Go over and check out the other ideas.

What is a prayer trigger? Well it’s something (maybe an object) that reminds you to pray about something.

Do you use anything as a prayer trigger? I am trying to do this more and more. Tonight at my leaders meeting I issued my first prayer trigger. It’s really pretty simple.

You know the Wrigley’s Gum – 5? Well I bought each one of my leaders a pack of it and handed it out. They looked at me like I was from another planet. SO I explained to them, “I want you to think of 5 students who you can pray for. There are 15 sticks of gum in here – so you will have 15 opportunities to pray for 5 students.” Funny thing is that they loved the idea of it.

Who would have thought that gum could trigger prayer?

I eluded to something my last post that I think is important whenever you work with a team of pastors in a church.  It’s the idea of sharing responsibilities within the service.  Now maybe with a mega church this principle doesn’t apply but I think it really does in churches from 0-700’ish people in attendance.  I like the idea of sharing responsibilities and I think it does a few things not just for the team but the congregation as well.  Here are 4 things I think it helps to benefit.  These are also transferable to other ministries and positions that work with teams under the and it’s something I try hard to practice with my leaders.

  • UNITY – I really think it helps to foster unity amongst the staff and between the staff and the congregation.  I think it helps the congregation view the other pastors (the ones below the senior pastor) as pastors/ leaders in the church as well.  Over the past 10 years I have heard from time to time, “But you’re not the pastor I am submissive to.  You’re the youth pastor.”  I say be creative and get the associate pastor, youth pastor, music pastor, heck even the pastor of janitorial engineer up front to do announcements, help with communion, prayer.  Get them up there for something – anything.  Face time is valuable time.
  • THE TEAM – The thing I hated more than anything in sports was sitting the bench.  Sometimes my coach would say, “You have an important role…to not be seen or get in the way.”  It’s true I have had coaches tell me that.  Sitting the bench is never fun whether it’s in sports or church.  There may be other roles you fill through the week but when it comes to “adult church” you sit the bench.  My question is, “Why?”  I think the team benefits from the different “players” (pastors) being able to lead different aspects or pieces of the service.  You want to build the team and help them grow in every aspect.  Let them get up and fumble the ball – even when the lead pastor is in town.  This helps to show the congregation that there is a real trust that the lead pastor has in the other guys on his team.
  • CONNECTED – Getting the other staff upfront helps to connect them to the congregation.  In student ministry one of the most exciting things for me is to see my leaders leading from upfront.  This gives them not only ownership of the ministry but it also instills a deeper sense of trust with the students as well.  The students can see that the youth pastor isn’t the only one capable of leading.  This is a vitally important message to get across.
  • DEVELOPMENT – I think as the lead pastor or as a pastor over any team the thing you always want to be doing is developing the skills of your team.  How are you investing in the skills of the team you are surrounded with?  For me it was over the past few months I was in Ogallala.  Eric had started coming to the Green and began critiquing my messages every Thursday morning.  He saw a need to pour into my ability (or lack thereof) and help me grow through it.  Honestly it wasn’t always easy to hear his criticism but I knew he was trying to help me grow in this area.  Over those past few months there I began to notice a huge difference in my style and delivery.  I am grateful that he took the time to invest in me – even when he knew there was a strong chance I was leaving New Hope.  He still continued to poor into me.  What are you doing to pour into your team?  How are you developing them?