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Top Posts of 2017 #2 “7 Indicators that you’ve Found the Ideal Ministry Spouse”

Marriage1

In ministry your spouse can make you or break you. It may be cliché but it’s true, behind every great Ministry Staff Member is a great ministry spouse…and you can’t have one without the other. So whether you’re already married or you’re still searching for the right person, here are a couple traits you should be looking for in the ideal ministry spouse.

1. They’re Flexible

When you’re in ministry, you’re constantly “on.” Ministry doesn’t always abide by the family schedule. Crisis doesn’t always happen in people’s lives and the church according to plan.

2. They’re Comfortable being Independent

Ministry is a calling (profession) that requires long hours at times, especially during holidays that are traditionally family moments. Finding someone that understands the importance of having you around the kids and the family but is also able to run the household while you’re not available is essential.

3. They Embrace the Church you work at

Great ministry spouses believe in you and they believe in what you’re doing. It’s more than a job to them too. They don’t want to just see you succeed they want to see the church you’re leading succeed. They find creative ways to be involved in the church you’re leading that fit their personality and reach out to the staff and volunteers. They’re an extension of you.

4. They’re Your Biggest Fan

Ministry can really knock the wind out of you at times. Great ministry spouses know how to shoulder your burdens and comfort you in the low moments, and they’re the first ones to celebrate you in the good moments.

5. They’re Assertive with Boundaries

While being supportive they also have the ability to be firm, be honest and clear about what they need from you, and know when it’s time to call an audible for a date night or vacation. They make you want to be “better,” they bring out the best in you, and call you on your stuff.

6. They’re Safe

Even though you’re not going to share everything with them about your job, you’re going to share most things with them. Great ministry spouses are trustworthy, hold sensitive information to themselves well, and act as a stabilizing voice in your life.

7. They Understand the Pressure of Ministry

Ministry carries with it unique spiritual, emotional, time, and social pressures. Great ministry spouses “get it.” They help you carry and even diffuse that pressure.


Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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[Webinar Replay] Underfunded: 4 Reasons Church Vision Stalls

Recently the Unstuck Group hosted a conversation with Joe Sangl, the President and CEO of INJOY Stewardship Solutions about church vision and the common challenges of funding it well.

Even an inspiring vision can stall out when funding falls short. And for many different reasons, money is an aspect of vision pastors often sidestep.

In the conversation, we touched on topics like:

  • The Un-Fundable Vision
  • Fundraising vs. Building a Generous Culture
  • The Campaign Trap
  • Not Knowing What You Don’t Know (and Proceeding Anyway)

If you missed out on the conversation, click here to get the webinar replay.


Posted in Family

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5 Foundational Leadership Lessons I Learned from my Dad

dadholdinghands

Father’s Day always provides a great opportunity to reflect on the kind of Father you had growing up and of course the kind of Father you would like to be yourself. In thinking about my Dad this weekend there were so many lessons that he taught me that came to mind, and fortunately, many things I still have to learn from my Dad. And while every father and man has their deficiencies to be sure, my dad has been an accelerant in my life and leadership by consistently allowing me to stand on his shoulders. Dad, I love you, and I’m so grateful that you’re in my life! So here are a handful of leadership principles that I learned from my Dad.

1. Great Leaders make themselves Available to the Right People

Even though he worked for the Department of Defense with the Joint Chiefs, the Pentagon etc. etc. he wasn’t an absentee father. Dad was always there. Even if it meant getting up at 4:00am to commute into D.C. to get to work early so he could be home in the evenings. He was at the soccer games, the wrestling matches, and we always sat down for a family dinner. Dad proved his love for us with his presence.

2. Great Leaders know that Failure doesn’t have to be Final

When my girlfriend and I made some poor choices in High School instead of blowing up and sacrificing me to Jesus, he took me in his room opened up the Bible and we walked through the story of David and Bathsheba. He spoke hope into me by sharing with me that God still called King David a man after his own heart, and that God wasn’t done with me either.

3. Great Leaders Strategically Target Their Audience

Some of the most memorable moments I have of my father are of fishing trips that we took together. It was there that I learned that a leader needs to learn to read the subtle nuances of the environment he is in, understand his audience, and use the right method, tools, and techniques to get the desired results.

4. Great Leaders Admit Their Mistakes

In the early years of our marriage, like many couples, Lisa and I really struggled and had to face down some pretty hurtful issues in our lives and relationship. In that process we had a conversation with my Mom and Dad where we told them about our struggles and how some of it was rooted in some behaviors I learned growing up in our home. With tears in his eyes he looked at my wife and me and apologized to us both. How many guys ever get that kind of gift from their father?

5. Great Leaders Empower people by Believing in them

My dad isn’t a perfect man, who is? But one thing I have never once questioned about my father is if he believed in me or not. I always knew, and know today that he is proud of me. That kind of belief breaths a safety and security into people that frees them up to risk and attempt great things. It’s amazing to have someone in your corner cheering you on in life.


Posted in Family, Leadership, Testimonial

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7 Indicators that You’ve Found the Ideal Ministry Spouse

Marriage1

In ministry your spouse can make you or break you. It may be cliché but it’s true, behind every great Ministry Staff Member is a great ministry spouse…and you can’t have one without the other. So whether you’re already married or you’re still searching for the right person, here are a couple traits you should be looking for in the ideal ministry spouse.

1. They’re Flexible

When you’re in ministry, you’re constantly “on.” Ministry doesn’t always abide by the family schedule. Crisis doesn’t always happen in people’s lives and the church according to plan.

2. They’re Comfortable being Independent

Ministry is a calling (profession) that requires long hours at times, especially during holidays that are traditionally family moments. Finding someone that understands the importance of having you around the kids and the family but is also able to run the household while you’re not available is essential.

3. They Embrace the Church you work at

Great ministry spouses believe in you and they believe in what you’re doing. It’s more than a job to them too. They don’t want to just see you succeed they want to see the church you’re leading succeed. They find creative ways to be involved in the church you’re leading that fit their personality and reach out to the staff and volunteers. They’re an extension of you.

4. They’re Your Biggest Fan

Ministry can really knock the wind out of you at times. Great ministry spouses know how to shoulder your burdens and comfort you in the low moments, and they’re the first ones to celebrate you in the good moments.

5. They’re Assertive with Boundaries

While being supportive they also have the ability to be firm, be honest and clear about what they need from you, and know when it’s time to call an audible for a date night or vacation. They make you want to be “better,” they bring out the best in you, and call you on your stuff.

6. They’re Safe

Even though you’re not going to share everything with them about your job, you’re going to share most things with them. Great ministry spouses are trustworthy, hold sensitive information to themselves well, and act as a stabilizing voice in your life.

7. They Understand the Pressure of Ministry

Ministry carries with it unique spiritual, emotional, time, and social pressures. Great ministry spouses “get it.” They help you carry and even diffuse that pressure.


Posted in Family, Leadership, Staffing

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9 Reasons I’m Still Married after 20 Years

Anniversary20th

Lisa and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. And while sitting on a white sand beach under an umbrella overlooking the ocean (don’t hate) we talked about these 9 reasons why we’re still married, and legitimately enjoying our marriage more than ever, after 20 years. We hope there are a few ideas in here that may help you have a more intimate friendship with your spouse.

#1 We Prioritize Each Other

We decided a long time ago that our friendship is more important than any other friendship we have. We choose to say no to girls or guys weekends away in order to say yes to time together. I’m not saying Lisa never goes out with her girlfriends or I never go fishing with some guys, but what I am saying is our time together comes first.

#2 We Calendar Together

We have four kids. One plays volleyball, one is in orchestra, one plays soccer and one is 3 years old. We’re busy. Not to mention I’m in full time local church ministry, I do consulting with the Unstuck Group, and Lisa is going back to school to change careers. Did I mention we’re busy? But who isn’t? The difference is we calendar on a regular basis and run our calendar instead of allowing our calendar to run us (most of the time). Our friendship is our greatest priority. So we sneak breakfasts together when we can, we spend time on the patio out back after the kids go down, we go on dates…just the two of us, and we drop each other texts throughout the day.

#3 Keep the Lights on in the Bedroom…

Our bedroom life is more enjoyable today than it was 20 years ago. Of course the 20 years of experience doesn’t hurt. Along the way we’ve had to learn to talk about what we are comfortable with and uncomfortable with, what we enjoy and what we don’t, how to serve one another, be vulnerable with each other, and talk honestly with each other. And, yes, there were times that we even had to schedule bedroom time. The bottom line is if you don’t like each other outside of the bedroom, you’re not going to enjoy one another in the bedroom. By the way one small bit of advice: if you don’t like your bedroom life there’s no one to blame but the two of you, because you’re the only ones in there. You may not be able to change what’s been done to you in the past, or what you’ve done in the past and what you’ve brought into your marriage, but you get to choose how you move forward in the future.

#4 Vacations…with NO Kids

We go on vacation every 5 years without the kids (sometimes we sneak a night here or there in between). I’m a bit of a planner and for those who know me, you know that my wallet can be a bit a little tight at times. So we save up for 5 years and then go on a big vacation, just the two of us. It’s a great feeling to go on vacation and do what we want to and not worry about money or a big credit card bill that’s looming out there, because we planned for the vacation! And it prioritizes each other. I like my kids, but I like time alone with my wife.

#5 We Asked for Help when we Needed Help

I’ve written many times about the struggles Lisa and I had early on in our marriage. There’s a reason we didn’t have kids during the first 8 years of our marriage, we didn’t treat each other very well. But we got help. At different points we both demonstrated the embarrassing humility, and courage it takes to be vulnerable, put ourselves out there and ask for help. Which meant spending a lot of money on counseling. We were blessed to have trusted friends and mentors who believed in us, cared for us, and invested in us. It was expensive, it was hard, but it was worth it.

#6 We Don’t have Intimate Friendships with people of the Opposite Sex

This may sound a bit old fashioned and uber conservative but we don’t have serious friendships with people of the opposite sex. For example if I’m out of town and the battery dies on the minivan she doesn’t text the neighbor without including me, or their spouse in the text. Note to self: get used to group texting. We don’t go out to meals with the opposite sex, we don’t ride alone in the car with people of the opposite sex and even at work if I’m meeting with a woman alone at work I’m in a room that has a glass window in it.

#7 We Choose not to Compare our Marriage to Others

Social media has made it easy to play the comparison game when it comes to marriage. It’s easy to become enamored with what things appear to be like in someone’s marriage and become frustrated with your own. Lisa and I often remind ourselves of something our Pastor, Chad Moore said, “Don’t compare the image others are projecting to the reality you are hiding.” Instead we choose to compare ourselves with the standards that the Bible describes for love, friendship, and marriage. It’s no coincidence that when you do things the way God designed life to work how well life works.

#8 We Take Care of our Bodies

Neither one of us will ever be accused of being supermodels. My knees hurt when I run…so I don’t. My wife on the other hand has done the Chicago Marathon, the Air Force Marathon, and a litany of other races. She can run me into the ground, but I exercise on a consistent basis. It’s important that each of us stay in decent shape. We want to look attractive for our spouse. Each person has a different idea of what “attractive” means, and so we talk about what each other likes and do our best to meet those ideas.

#9 We Take Care of our Souls

It’s hard to love someone else well if you don’t love yourself well. That’s not selfish it’s Biblical. Jesus even said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” And so we give room to each other to take care of our souls. That may mean simple things like time alone golfing or fishing, time at the spa, going through a Step Study at Celebrate Recovery, going to church together as a family, encouraging and talking about each others spiritual journey…soul care.


Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Testimonial
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