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How to say no to ministry

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One of the more difficult tasks to accomplish in leadership is to relentlessly guard the vision of the organization. As they grow organizations, including churches, naturally drift towards complexity. People have good ideas that require action, development, project management, resource allocation, and organization that at surface level seem to enhance and strengthen the organization. These structures, while well meaning, often times actually slow down, detract from, and often prevent the organization from moving forward. I’m not saying that systems are the enemy, however the worship of systems. Remember systems aren’t the vision, the vision is the vision, and effective systems simply become the pathway for the organization to easily move along towards the vision. The single greatest word you can ever use to relentlessly guard the vision is to learn to say no to what detracts from it.

Below are 5 evaluative questions designed to help you narrow the focus and say no to opportunities that will cause you to subtly drift away from the vision.

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Posted in Leadership

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Leadership Lessons I learned from my dad

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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 accelerator 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.

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Posted in Family, Leadership

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moving is a lot like leading a church

cliffordtraveling

After spending the last 4 days in a minivan with 3 kids, a dog, and a guinea pig I’ve decided that moving is a lot like leading a Church.

#1 Things never go according to plan

The military says it this way: no plan ever survives contact with the enemy. In our case I planned how much time we would spend on the road each day, what city we would stop and eat in, and I even made hotel reservations ahead of time. But after setting a world record for the amount of potty breaks in a single day…well let’s just say my plans got thwarted. There will be obstacles, detours, closed roads, and things generally won’t go according to plan. Regardless, stay on course. If God has given you a vision and a direction to go in, then keep going in that direction. Great leaders are not only tenaciously committed to the direction the organization is going they’re adaptable.

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Posted in Family, Leadership

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reparando

For the past 17 years I’ve been traveling all over the world on short-term mission trips. I’ve had the privilege of leading literally hundreds of people on trips exposing them to what God is doing, and can do through them, around the globe. Last week was a dream come true for me. I was able to take my wife and two oldest girls (ages 6 & 7) on our first “family mission trip” to Guatemala. Serving with the Radford family, some friends of ours who are missionaries, at an orphanage that they work at was an incredible experience for my family. But surprisingly what captured my attention and has my heart still stirring was a movie that Lee and Angel showed Lisa and I one evening after the girls were in bed.

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Posted in Family, Spiritual Formation

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my last post from Guatemala

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Today was our last day in Guatemala. Tomorrow we take a road-trip back to Guatemala City and then catch a flight home on Saturday morning.

To top off the week we decided to pack up the girls and take a trip over to check out Vina Studios. Vina began years ago as a part of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Today they are carrying on the legacy of Wycliffe translating the Gospel into the languages of indigenous people groups around the world. Not only were we hoping to reinforce a high view of Scripture in the lives of our children and instill a vision for the Bible being made accessible to all people, but also expose them to a unique project Vina has been working on. Vina is specifically targeting the next generation…children. And they are doing it through an incredible show called “Deditos,” which literally means “little fingers.” Vina is doing a series of children’s videos telling the major stories of the scriptures through finger puppets. We got to see the sets that are being designed and used as well as tour the sets on which these films are shot. Finally we got to preview the story of Noah’s Ark. Vina is doing an incredible job of telling the story of the Scriptures in an accurate, compelling, and culturally relevant manner to a generation of children that is primarily illiterate. We were excited to see such an incredible tool that is going to be used to reach many with the Gospel!

Then just for a little fun we hit the local market in Panajachel for a few souvenirs and of course the girls first tuk-tuk ride!

The bottom line goal of this trip was to both construct and to reinforce the culture of our family. These last few days have been about continuing to place guardrails in the lives of our children to nudge them not only to God, but joining Him on mission in this world. Here’s to hoping that these last few days have been seared into the minds and hearts of our little girls for the rest of their lives…and here’s to hoping that God uses the environment we’re creating in our family to do something incredibly special in our girls for the sake of His Kingdom!

See you stateside soon!


Posted in Family, Spiritual Formation