Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's about the Cargo

I think we've all heard the analogy between small churches and speedboats and larger churches and tankers.

The smaller can make changes quickly much like a speedboat while the larger has to take it's time and move slowly, much like the large church.

I brought up the question of "why" on Face Book and got a lot of good and right answers.
Some were very technologically sound; "the draft and freeboard--speedboat sits on top of water, tanker has a lot below the water line" and "less friction" and "momentum."
Other answers were more deep, such as, "As with life, that which requires a greater investment of time and energy to gain momentum to move, also requires more to change it's course. It's bigger!" Or the classic "your tanker has "fatter" people on it." (Thanks Josh!)

All these answers are true, but one thing I've never thought of until I heard it said from a dear Pastor friend last week was that "it depends also on the cargo." Pastor David Gibson went on to explain that an oil tanker needs about a 5 to 6 mile radius to make it's turn. The reason is due to the liquid cargo; if it makes too sharp of a turn it will cause a shift in weight and the cargo itself will cause the ship to turn over; meaning, it's not just a size issue, it's also about the cargo.

In relating to churches, I know of large churches that were able to make some quick changes without shipwrecking, and some small churches that needed to take their time.
Why? Was it just a size issue? No.
It's about the cargo.

People are the cargo we take with us in every journey. As a leader we need to know our ship and the people on it. If we make a change and the cargo tips over and causes the ship to sink, while the cargo was the result, it was the leader who navigated that way.

Navigate well and remember the cargo.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Goals in the Everyday

"The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream."--Harry Kemp

I got to spend lunch with a man who I love and trust, Ed Huie. I always enjoy our time together and he is someone who I've asked to speak into my life.

Here are some thoughts I've taken away from meeting with him and hearing his wise council, that may be of good encouragement to you as well.

Innate within every human being, there are at least three God-given desires....
  • The desire to worship something bigger than we are.
  • The desire to help those less than we are.
  • The desire to belong to something bigger than we are.
With those desires comes the doors that we either open or close to see them fulfilled or left unaccomplished. Like any door, they have hinges.
Hinges are the seemingly small detail to a door, but without them, the door will never open because a door is just a wall with it's hinges.

In my journey, looking for open doors has become a second nature to me and I've discovered what Ed has said many times is true, "Ministry opportunities aren't really about the door, it's about the hinges---hinges that are full of people who are dedicated, bring a distinction and are dependable."

Choose a goal for which you are willing to exchange a piece of your life. Doing so will result in meaningful relationships that will thrust you into worship, help and belonging bigger than you are.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blocks, Scaffolding and Rocks

During my time in the restaurant business; I managed with the mindset, "people are our greatest assets."
After all, buildings become outdated, tools need revamping, equipment breaks down; but people, people can learn, grow, bend, and adapt. People are our greatest assets.

Then along comes, Jim Collins with his book, "Good to Great" where he expounds on the thought with the "First Who then What" principle and explains that people are not our greatest assets---the RIGHT people are and furthermore the right people in the right spot.
At first glance this sounds like a heartless and even manipulative statement. But I've discovered it's mainly heartless and manipulative leaders who think that; because they interpret out of how they see. (Every one's toes okay? Whew good, I know that wasn't for anyone reading this anyway)

It's true. While we as leaders want everyone to run with the vision, the truth is not everyone will.
I've discovered there are three types of people who run with vision you have.
1. People who run with you.
2. People who don't run with you but hang out for the after party.
3. People who run with you for a while, then change tracks.

I love how my friend, Barry Morton, who church planted four years ago, puts it (as he quotes a mentor of his)
"Some people are like scaffolding; they're important and valuable for the beginning stages of the building, but eventually have to come down."

This is important to know when building, because some simply won't go the distance. They will find something "that needs their help" or "is just getting started"---and they will go.
Don't get discouraged with "scaffolding people."

In building; rocks, blocks and scaffolding all have their place. It's important to know what their place is and allow them to contribute to the level they can.

Getting the right people in the right spot makes all the difference as you lead with vision.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marriage, Points and Manna

I just finished up with a two-day marriage retreat in Summertown, TN.
We had a fantastic time taking a biblical look at marriage and learning some key principles to make our marriages go the distance.

In one session alone I just spent time outlining "The Four Laws of Marriage." They come from Genesis 2: 23-24, which says, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

In these two verses God gives us His ways for marriage.
Allow me to share one of the four with you.

"And shall cleave unto his wife." This is the law of pursuit.

Marriage takes work. A healthy marriage is one that is worked on continuously.
The reason why this "law" of marriage tends to fall through the cracks is because by nature we become lazy once we've acquired what we were pursuing.

I call it the "Woo, Woo, Whoa" syndrome. In the early stages of chasing after her; us guys do a lot of "wooing"---we dress nice, buy gifts, open doors (you get the picture) Then once we have her, we "whoa."
Or maybe it's not so much that we "whoa" as much as we don't understand the "point" system.

Yes, there is a point system all of us married guys keep up with; and they are valid points. Washing the dishes. One point.
Vacuuming. One point.
Buying flowers on a "non-special" day. One point.
Voluntary help with the kids. One point. And many more.
The problem is all points evaporate at midnight. They can't be stored up and cashed in when you want. Because love has to be pursued daily and without hidden motivation.

It's the "manna principle." Each day the Israelites were given food from Heaven, but they could only collect enough food for that day. After that day, all the leftover food spoiled and was no good.

In order to be a success in anything; you have to work at it. Sports, career, health, school; if you want it to be better then you have to work at it, but for some reason when it comes to marriage many tend to think they can stop working at it.
Don't be like so many that quit pursuing their spouse once the ring is on the finger; because like day old manna, it will sour and spoil.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Outside the Apple Box Thinkers

Today my family and I enjoyed a wonderful time at the "Apple Festival" in Lincoln, AR. It was about an hour away from where we live; and with clear skies and the weather resting at 68, it was perfect.

There's a question I had pop into my head over and over again as we passed the many display tables. Here it is.
"As a Pastor of a church, what would I do here to stand out from the rest of the booths, to be a blessing to people?"

I say this because I saw two, maybe three church booths that were there. They were selling things. One even had a little basketball hoop set up for kids to play.

So if you would, send my your thoughts on what would be a blessing to people in this type of setting while helping to set a positive image for the church and it's members.
I'm asking for "out of the box" suggestions because I do not consider selling items as a way of accomplishing the goal. (My opinion, not saying it's right or wrong; just not my way of thinking)

*Please note, I am not a Pastor of a church-----not yet ;)