2 ways you can support your Lead Pastor immediately

“Accomplish your dreams by helping enough others accomplish theirs.” – Zig Ziglar

As the point leader, your Lead Pastor is given a unique perspective of the church. Yet he carries the heaviest burden of anyone in the church. As a staff pastor, there are two immediate ways you can support your Lead Pastor:

1) Clarify his expectations for you

Get a one-sentence job description from your pastor. My pastor gave me the greatest gift a staff pastor could ever receive: a one word job description. When he gave it to me I thought it was Christmas morning!

A one-sentence job description is not easy. It takes a lot of energy and time to develop a one-sentence job description. Nothing else gives greater clarity. It’s worth it. Do it. You’ll be glad you did. (Remember, it is not supposed to be complete.)

2) Deliver on this!

Once expectations are clear, you gotta deliver.

Develop your strategy by consulting with ministry peers around the country who are being effective. Let them know your one-sentence job description along with your ministry strengths and challenges.

Develop an initial strategy. Share the initial strategy with your Lead Pastor and get his input. Discover who on the team is strategic and bring them into the process regardless of their place on the org chart. I’m blessed to have an incredibly supportive and strategic Executive Pastor.

Share the new strategy and vision with key leaders within your ministry who will help you deliver!

414 weeks left

. . . until my oldest daughter graduates from high school. Time is flying by. In 414 weeks our home of six people will forever change. Three years ago I wrote a blog post when I discovered there were only 590 weeks left. Now 414 . . .

Kids in 2009 with 590 weeks left

Kids growing fast with only 414 weeks left

You Have a Perfect System

Congratulations! You have a perfect system.

“Your system is perfectly designed to provide the exact results you are getting.” – Andy Stanley

Personal System

Your financial position is the exact byproduct your financial system is designed to produce.

Your fitness level is the exact byproduct your fitness system is designed to produce.

Your spiritual disciplines are the exact byproduct your spiritual disciplines system is designed to produce.

Church’s System

Your church’s group participation, giving, and service are the exact product your church’s systems are designed to produce.

You may ask, “If systems produce then where’s the room for the Holy Spirit’s role?”

Systems produce participation. The Holy Spirit changes hearts. Effective systems lead people to environments we’ve seen the Holy Spirit most often do his work.

So before you create another event or program at your church, evaluate your system. What do want people to do? What are the steps they must take to get there? Should you implement clearer, more simple steps for people to take? Where are the roadblocks? Where are people getting “stuck”?

You have designed a system that is perfectly designed to produce your current results.

Swinging on the front porch w/Ginger until 4am

It’s easy to remember the pain, the hurts, and the disappointments.

I’m reading a book in which the author encouraged readers to describe the greatest moment of love they’ve ever experienced as an antidote to recalling negative memories. So I decided to participate in order to get the most out of the book.

Here’s my moment:

It was June 6, 1996. I was flying back to the U.S. after serving a one year “remote” tour in South Korea as a member of the U.S. Air Force. My returning flight was delayed and I arrived in San Angelo, Texas around 10:00pm. Anxiously waiting for me in the small, desolate airport terminal was my fiancé, Ginger.

We had been anticipating this night for more than a year. This would be the night our long separation would finally end.

We went to Ginger’s parent’s house and, in the dark of night, sat on the front porch swing talking until 4:00am. I can’t remember what we talked about but I vividly remember how I felt. My heart felt fully alive, deeply happy, uncontrollably giddy, yet somehow peaceful. I could sense that my love for Ginger was exactly how she felt toward me. We were in love.

I knew that Ginger was the beautiful woman that God had chosen for me. That night as Ginger talked her eyes sparkled and her smile was big. Our hearts reconnected and we knew this “thing” was permanent.

That night, those feelings, that interaction, that never-ending conversation was the best experience of love I have ever had.

Taking the time to remember, re-live, and then describe “my moment” has been incredibly heart-filling.

How about you? What’s your moment? You may be surprised by how much good this excercise does your heart.

Trusting God without Loving Him

Last summer Ginger and I prayed more than ever. We stood face-to-face with an extreme crossroads in our lives. We needed to decide which ministry position to pursue located in different parts of the country. Our decision felt life-altering. Praying often was easy and necessary.

We needed answers so we leaned on the person we trusted most: God.

God answered our prayers and revealed His beautiful will.

Recently, I sensed that my prayers have been less intense and regular. Why? The answers I need feel less pressing and less urgent. Then I wondered if God asks, “Do you just want answers or do you want a relationship?”

I lean on Him during the storm because I trust Him. I lean on Him during the calm because I love Him.

Learning . . .

The question that stopped me in my tracks

“Do you believe God is the greatest thing you can experience in the world?”

That question stopped me in my tracks.

I was tempted to quickly respond, “of course!” and move on but something inside me revealed an uneasy tension. I forced myself to pause and dive deeper.

At the risk of hyperbole, what I discovered is altering my understanding and relationship with God.

Most of my life I believed this statement: Serving God is the greatest thing in the world to experience = Statement #1. Yet, this question reminded me that God is the greatest thing in the world to experience = Statement #2. See the subtle difference?

Statement #1: “Serving God is the greatest thing in the world to experience” results in:

– When I serve God effectively I please Him and He embraces me more

– God is sorta lovingly embarrassed when my service is less effective (this makes the pressure of ministry unbearable at times)

– God’s primary way of measuring my love for Him is my service (this causes me to sometimes feel proud and other times feel guilty based on ministry effectiveness)

Statement #2: “God is the greatest thing in the world to experience” results in:

– I can embrace God’s complete love regardless of what I produce (According to Jer. 1 He knew me and set me apart before He formed me in my Mom’s womb – before I produced anything)

– I connect with God independent of my ministry (My ministry is a response to God’s call. My relationship is a result of God’s sacrificial pursuit of me.)

How about you? What do you genuinely believe is the greatest thing in the world to experience?

3 things I know about you

1) You will ALWAYS be LOVED

Imagine falling in love with something before you’ve created it. Then watching with love and pride as it comes to life and develops. That’s how God views you. One of the greatest fears is being alone. You are never alone. God loved you before he created you.

2) YOU are handcrafted

God made you exactly as you are on purpose. Your eye color, hair color, and nose size is customized. Your personality is handcrafted. You are a unique creation of Almighty God. He created you and smiled because you were formed exactly as he intended. Congratulations!

3) You will ALWAYS have a PURPOSE

You weren’t an experiment, an accident, or an afterthought. Your parents may not have planned you but God did. You were not only planned, you were intentionally crafted for the unique purposes prepared by God Himself!

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Galatians 1:15 “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace…”

September, 2001 as I remember it

Eleven year ago this morning, I went to work assuming it would be a typical Tuesday. When I walked into my office, I saw two of my co-workers watching my office TV. They quickly brought me up to speed saying 2 planes had flown into the “World Trade Center”. My immediate thought was “What’s the ‘World Trade Center’?” (I’d actually taken THIS pic of it a few years earlier.)

Like all Americans, over the next few minutes I saw images that would remain seared in my mind. When the towers actually fell, like you, I was overwhelmed. I felt paralyzed. With each passing minute everything felt more cataclysmic.

Over the next few days, I heard terms like Al Quada, sleeper cells, and Osama Bin Ladin. Each term seemed to reveal more darkness and hate.

The paradox for our family occurred two weeks later when my wife delivered our first baby. Our little girl was born on September 24th. She was and is a beautiful miracle straight from the hands of God.

I remember September, 2001 as darkness followed by beauty.

Today, we’ll all remember the impact of 9/11. Then tonight I’ll take our almost 11-year old daughter to church for Kid’s Choir rehearsal.

Life is a paradox isn’t it?

Amidst the darkness, we can embrace His blessings.

Connected but not plugged in

Last week I walked into the living room early in the morning carrying my cup of coffee. While rubbing my eyes I looked down and laughed at what I saw. Intending to charge my computer, I had connected my power cord to my computer but I hadn’t plugged the power cord into the electrical outlet. Connected but not plugged in.

Do you live like that sometimes? I do. You know you’re connected but not plugged in when you . . .

. . . haven’t had your coffee. 🙂

. . . spend time with your kids but find yourself glancing at your phone.

. . . have conversations about sports, weather, politics but nothing else.

. . . allow yourself to experience community but avoid transparency.

. . . are pouring into others but no one is pouring into you.

. . . have forgotten ‘why’ you are serving.

. . . can’t remember the last time you took a risk for God.

Choose to be connected AND plugged in with your God, your mission, your family and the people God places in your path today.

My Facebook friends and Twitter followers are imperfect

I have a few hundred Facebook “friends” and Twitter “followers”, a few LinkedIn “connections” and Instagram “followers”. (Haven’t ventured into the Pinterest world and does anyone still use Google+?)

Anyway, these “friends”, “followers”, & “connections” will naturally make judgements on me based a limited amount of information (my bio and any personal interactions we’ve had).

Imagine that! Imperfect people determine how much they ‘like’, ‘follow’, or ‘connect’ with you based on a limited amount of information.

However, a PERFECT God knows EVERYTHING about you and has chosen to pursue you with an UNCONDITIONAL love.

Who’s opinion will matter most to you today?