Tag Archive - rest

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Why Following Jesus is all Backwards

I know that typically I’m cranking out a couple of blog posts a week that deal with Church Leadership and Making Vision Real. It’s usually something about building a great team, the art of execution, vision, structure, why policies will tank your church…or 15 reasons why your church is stuck and how to fix it. But this post is different. I hope you’ll give me some latitude…and I’ll get back to the 15 reasons why your church is stuck and how to fix it later.

I recently had a moment to rest and was reminded of a couple of ideas that, “I know,” but are really difficult for me to put into action. Even with more than 30 years into following Jesus I feel like there are some basic things I still struggle with. Maybe it’s just me, but this whole following Jesus thing seems so backwards sometimes (ok so all the time)…it just doesn’t come natural to me.

Anyway, here’s a few of the thoughts that I scribbled down that I thought I’d share…hope they’re helpful to you in some way.

To Win you have to be Last

This is tough for me. I like to win. I mean I really like to win. Competition is in my Strength Finders top 5. It’s part of why I think it’s unacceptable for people to die and go to hell…and why I think the church has got to be more aggressive in reaching outsiders instead of pandering to insiders. But…if you really want to win…Jesus said you’ve got to be willing to lose. Remember that whole first / last thing He talked about in that really famous sermon He preached?

To be able to truly Give you have to be able to Receive

You cannot give what you do not have. That makes sense…here’s the tough part though…in order to give you have to be able to receive. Another way to put this is you cannot give love if you don’t know how to receive love. This is tough…because receiving takes all kinds of humility…and if you’re human you get that humility doesn’t come natural to us.

You Work From Rest instead of Working to Rest

Most people are, “working for the weekend.” They work so they can save up enough time off and enough money to get away from work and take a break from it all. Jesus designed life differently than that. He worked from rest instead of resting from work. This one is super convicting for me.

To Gain Your Life you have to Lose it

This just seems super backwards to me…to gain life Jesus says I have to first lose it. I get that real life is found in Him and that in order to take hold of that life we have to let go of this one…but the implications for that statement are both simple and far reaching. This is why there is no leadership without loss. This is why when I got married I was hit square in the face with how selfish I was…and then again when I had a kid…and another…and another…and another. You can probably perceive that I’ve still got some room to grow here.

If you want to Find Wealth it’s start with Giving it away

So they key to building wealth isn’t getting as much as you can while you can, it’s not building up stock piles and hoarding things…it’s actually by giving it away. God’s design for money is that we give first, save second, and live on the rest. Giving first honors God, saving second builds wealth, and living on the rest teaches us contentment. We could probably all do with a little contentment.

I have to constantly remind myself (more like Jesus has to constantly remind me) that it’s not about being better, working harder, or doing more. Jesus is good enough, He worked enough, and He did enough. He really is enough…and I’m still figuring that all out. Hope you are too.


Posted in Spiritual Formation, Testimonial

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3 Pressure Points Facing Millennial Church Leaders

I recently had the opportunity to spend some significant time with 10 talented young millennial church leaders and had a blast! If these leaders are any indication of what the future leaders of the church look like then rest assured, the church is in great hands.

That being said there were a couple of pressure points that came up over and over again in the conversations from different angles.

#1 Anxiety about the Future

It was interesting to listen to these young church leaders discuss their work. They really are passionate and committed to the ministry God has called them to. But they’re also anxious about it. Their ambition to move the ball down the court, help the ministry progress, and get things accomplished can keep them from enjoying and receiving the blessings of the very ministry God has given to them. I also picked up on a longing for a future bigger and better role and ministry at the expense of missing the fruit of what’s been given to them today. I’d encourage young leaders to be faithful to whatever God has put in front of you today and let Him be concerned about where He puts you and what He gives you tomorrow.

#2 Relaxing Today

Many of these young leaders referred to the inability to “turn it off.” Anyone who is deeply and personally connected to his or her work can relate to the difficulty of coming home from work and not thinking about work. Being present is essential to health in life and relationships. “Bringing work home with you,” can be a recipe to undermine your most important relationships. I’d encourage young leaders to learn to take your weekly days off, scheduling your time off that you have coming to you each year, and put the cell phone down when you’re with your family. If you don’t learn what fuels you, fills you, and then schedule those things into your life you’ll end up in some kind of a crisis in your 40’s or 50’s that you could have avoided.

#3 Workload Confusion

It was also intriguing to hear the weight with which they carried the ministry they are involved with. Many young church leaders really do feel as though they are really busy and that one day when they are in a more important role with a more important title, have more authority and more people working for them that ministry and work will be easier. While I agree that many of them are working hard, I think many are confused about hard work. The weight of and the busyness of doing ministry is a very real thing, but not compared to the weight of leading ministry. I’d encourage young leaders to enjoy the season of ministry they are in, learn as much as they possibly can, and not long for greater responsibility too much because you might get it. And when you do, you may discover that with greater responsibility, more staff, and a more important title comes more pressure than you’re feeling today.


Posted in Staffing

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How Great Leaders Manage the Tension between People and Projects

Every single person reading this article has a natural tendency when it comes to the tension between people and projects. Some of us are “people oriented,” while others are more “project oriented.” You know which one you are and so does everyone else around you. But which one is more important, the people or the project? The answer is, “Yes.” The project is for the people and the people are for the project. God has given his Church (people) a clear mission (project).

The project is something that Jesus has given us to do that must get done, the project matters. There is too much at stake for us to shrink back from the project that Jesus has given His Church.

The people matter too, because we can’t do this project alone. How we love one another is connected to the project being accomplished in and through us. The Gospel isn’t just taking ground out there, but it’s taking ground in us as we work it out.

4 Ways Church Leaders Manage this Tension between People and Projects

The Selfish Leader The selfish leader is a disconnected leader, because they delegate so they can disappear. They’re not really all that interested in the people on their team or the project. They’re interested in themselves. As a result the team suffers and they never end up accomplishing anything great.

The Darkside of Leadership This leader is so passionate about getting stuff done that they have a tendency to accomplish the project at the expense of people. In fact they’ll even go so far as to use people as commodities. And because you can’t lead from a distance this behavior eventually leads to isolation and manipulation. Isolation because when you use people, you end up alone. Manipulation because that’s what you resort to, when you can’t lead.

The Campfire Leader This leader cares more about the people than the project. In fact they’ll actually go so far as to sacrifice the project on the altar of relationship. This person essentially says that it’s okay to lose as long as you’re losing with friends.

Meaningful Work Meaningful work is doing something that matters to God with people that matter to you. This is the sweet spot where the tension between people and projects is managed well. Where people are for the projects and the projects are for the people.


Posted in Leadership

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How to Manage the Tension between Work and Rest

In the beginning, even before the fall of mankind, God created both work and rest (you can check out Genesis 1-3 for all the details). Both were helpful, both were holy, and both were enjoyed by and benefited man. After the fall of mankind everything was messed up, including mankind’s ideas and inclinations about work and rest. This tension still plagues us today, including church leaders. Our tendency in different seasons of leadership is to lean into one or the other more than we are designed to. And if not caught early it can do damage to our souls and ultimately the ministries that we are charged with leading.

Work

  • Personal ambition: When our ambition for growth as church leaders surpasses our ambition for God, there’s a problem.
  • High Expectations: When fast-charging and high-driving church leaders have set their vision and expectations higher for themselves and their ministries than God does, there’s a problem.
  • Selfish Gain: When we become consumed by our work and our identity as church leaders becomes rooted in our work rather than in God, there’s a problem.

Rest

  • Discouragement: When church leaders fall into discouragement and shrink back because things aren’t going the way they think they should be going, there’s a problem.
  • Emotional Weight: When church leaders pick up and begin to carry the emotional weight of the team, the outcomes of the vision, and the expectations of people in the church, there’s a problem.
  • Laziness: When church leaders over spiritualize the concepts of faith and dependency upon the Holy Spirit to work and avoid working hard themselves, there’s a problem.

When our hearts call too much for one or the other, something is off in us. We’ve been chasing after something that we were never intended to pursue. It should be an indicator to us that it’s time to return to the mission and return to God.

Photo Credit: CyboRoZ via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Leadership Lessons from a Family Vacation

Like many families this summer, we did a family vacation. Lisa and I had the opportunity to take the kids (all 4 of them now) for an incredible week in the mountains! Like any leader, it’s tough for me to just “turn it off.” So…upon reminiscing, here are five leadership lessons that parallel our time together we had as a family this summer.

1. The Best Teams have Fun Together

We hiked together, rode go-carts, played miniature golf, taught the girls to play Settlers of Catan, wrestled, snuggled, roasted marshmallows on a fire…the list goes on an on. Bottom line is…we did a lot of stuff to build memories and have fun together. The best teams I’ve ever been around have those same dynamics. They work hard at the work they’re doing, but they also work hard at building memories and having fun together.

2. Spend One-on-One Time with Your Most Important Players

One of the more exciting things for me was to do some one-on-one time with each of the kids. I got to take each of the girls to the driving range and putting green (yes they’re learning to play golf, and love it…shout out to The First Tee), and then just sit and hang at Starbucks. Lincoln, he’s easy at this age, just take him out for ice cream and he’s your best friend forever. Great leaders always intentionally invest individual time in their most promising players.

3. Make Space to Work on Yourself

Each day on vacation I got to spend a little time working on me. Whether it was exercising (I don’t like it, but I need it), or reading, I made space to work on me. The best leaders I’ve ever been around build time into the rhythm of their work to invest in their own personal development and growth.

4. Remember that Sometimes Leadership is just Messy

It rained almost every afternoon on vacation. Which was perfect for getting muddy on the trails (see the picture above). The reality is leadership isn’t always as crisp and clean as everybody makes it out to be. While you can study the science of management, leadership is an art. And like any art it can be messy, it can surprise you, it can turn out beautiful, there are moments that are discouraging, and there are moments of great triumph.

 5. Build Time to just Rest

One of the most glorious things about vacation? Let’s all say these two little words together: sleeping in! Believe it or not sleeping in or taking a nap could be the most spiritual thing you do all week. Simply put, if you run your life wide open with the pedal to the metal, you won’t be running for very long.


Posted in Family, Leadership
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