Links for Leaders 10/6/17

It’s the weekend…finally. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Below, you’ll find some articles I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Before diving into those, in case you missed them this week. Here are the top 3 posts from my blog this week that I hope you find helpful:

Now, onto some more articles and podcasts to help you:

October is pastor appreciation month, which can be nice, but Thom Rainer shares 10 ways to bring joy to your pastor throughout the year. These are great.

Charles Stone shares 5 questions every church staff should ask themselves on a regular basis. These questions are incredibly telling and I think will create some great conversations.

Ever wonder why people aren’t coming to your church or aren’t staying? Carey Nieuwhof shares 12 reasons your church isn’t attracting new people (and many of them will surprise you).

Sometimes in ministry, your heart hardens and when that happens, your joy for ministry and people wains. Here are 10 signs your heart is hardening.

I’m always on the lookout on how to make a sermon series more interesting, attractional or relevant. Joe Hoagland shares 3 ideas from TV series that can be really helpful as you put together your next sermon series.

Links for Leaders 9/22/17

It’s the weekend…finally. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Below, you’ll find some articles and podcasts I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Before diving into those, in case you missed them this week. Here are the top 3 posts from my blog this week that I hope you find helpful:

Now, onto some more articles and podcasts to help you:

This post (Why Control Freaks Rarely Lead Large Organizations) from Carey Nieuwhof was the most convicting thing I’ve read as a leader in a long time. This hit me right where I am right now and nailed the struggle and tension that I feel as a leader.

If you’re a parent and a fan of podcasts, the last two Parent Cue podcasts have been great. The first is on how grandparents can help with parenting and being a great influence on kids. The second is on advice for the varying stages of fatherhood.

On a regular basis a guy will tell me about how his coworker “gets him.” Is more attractive than his spouse or some other reason why they should leave their spouse. Wrong. And Adam Weber has a great post on 5 reasons your coworker is cuter than your husband or wife.

If you’re a pastor or leader, you probably struggle with hiring. Hiring feels like pinning the tail on the donkey and seems to only workout half the time. Rich Birch, who has a fantastic podcast for leaders has some great axioms on hiring.

Links for Leaders 9/8/17

It’s the weekend…finally. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Below, you’ll find some articles I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Before diving into those, in case you missed them this week. Here are the top 3 posts from my blog that I hope you find helpful:

Now, onto some more articles to help you:

I meet a lot of people who wonder if they are leaders or wonder if they have what it takes to be a leader. Scott Cochrane breaks down how to know if you are talking like a leader. This is also helpful for leaders to evaluate how they speak to make sure they are moving people forward.

I love preaching. It is one of my favorite parts of my job. So I’m always on the lookout for insights on how to get better at it. Rookiepreacher.com has proven to be a great site for that. On it, they shared 8 principles of great preaching from Dave Stone who pastors a large church in Kentucky. These are pure gold for communicators.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently on church health and how a church pursues health and stays healthy. The older a church gets, the harder this seems to get and the harder you must fight for it. Brian Dodd (who always shares great nuggets) listed 11 practices of pastors whose churches have sustained health and growth.

As our church grows and the size of our staff, elder team and volunteer teams continue to grow, I find that I have less and less control over things. This is great for our church and the health of it, but it is also hard for me to handle because I tend to be a control freak. That’s why I love the perspective Ron Edmondson has, to look at the 5 things you control as a senior leader.

Wednesday Mind Dump…

  • Feels like this week has flown by.
  • How about you?
  • Last week was a blur, but a great week.
  • I got to spend 2 days with my team at the leadership summit.
  • If you missed my notes, you can check them out here.
  • There were some fantastic talks this year.
  • Tons of takeaways.
  • Spent the day Saturday on Mt. Lemmon with our kids fishing.
  • It was great.
  • Our one son Judah has memories of fishing with his birth dad in Ethiopia and started to ask about going fishing together.
  • It was a great moment watching him fish and doing it with him.
  • Like most things in our family, it was controlled chaos, but a great time.
  • I got to kick off our new series at Revolution on Sunday called This is Living
  • If you missed it, you can watch or listen to it here.
  • You can also watch a short clip from the message here.
  • This message is really just a snapshot of what I have been learning in the last 2 years.
  • Read a great, short book over the weekend, A Theology of the Ordinary.
  • Here are some thoughts about it.
  • It was heartbreaking watching the footage from Charlottesville.
  • It was also a very somber, moving moment on Sunday at Revolution as we prayed this together.
  • Last night I had an elder meeting and I was reminded of why I’m grateful for our elders but also thankful for the work we have put in at our church to create the culture we had.
  • Last night’s meeting was our time to simply be together, pray and catch up, speak truth to each other and ask some hard questions.
  • It is uncomfortable and comforting all at the same time.
  • I’m really excited for Sunday because we’re going to unpack what keeps us from living, essentially, how to stop sinning so we can move forward to what God has for us.
  • And can you believe it?
  • Less than a month til real football starts!
  • Back at it…

Tuesday Morning Mind Dump…

  • It was so great after 6 weeks off from preaching to be back on Sunday.
  • The buzz and excitement in our church right now is so obvious.
  • With the addition of Derek to our staff team, REVcommunities launching soon, school is back in session.
  • It’s a good season.
  • I told someone recently that it feels like our flywheel as a church is picking up speed, which feels nice.
  • I got to share some celebrations on Sunday from what God did over the last 6 weeks in our church: In the last 6 weeks we’ve had 42 first time guests, 23 3rd time guests, 216 next steps taken in sermons, 7 first serves and 19 first time givers.
  • And we had someone take the step of following Jesus on Sunday.
  • That never gets old.
  • If you missed Sunday as I kicked our series The Bibleyou can watch it here.
  • And if you’re struggling with reading the bible, here are some questions to help you.
  • And if you’re looking for more resources on the bible, here you go.
  • This Sunday I’m unpacking the story of the Bible, what is the Bible about.
  • If you miss what something is trying to tell you, you will end up lost.
  • I think this one thing causes more frustration for Christians and confusion for people when they come to the Bible.
  • Our daughter is going into 7th grade, which is a big deal in the way that we school our kids. Things begin to pick up and change for her.
  • Which is exciting and scary at the same time.
  • Crazy to think she is in 7th grade and will be 12 next week.
  • Every year I meet with a group of guys in our church to focus on leadership and help them grow as leaders, personally, at work and in their family.
  • This year, I might do 2 groups, but the exciting thing is that I switched up what we’ll cover and how we’ll do things.
  • Can’t wait to try it out.
  • I find that when I try to pass on things I’ve learned to younger leaders, I grow a ton by their questions, push backs and searching.
  • As much I have loved my big green egg, I haven’t smoked anything yet.
  • Well, that changes this week.
  • Wednesday I’m smoking a pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon.
  • Then, on Friday, I’m going to smoke a pork shoulder for over 8 hours.
  • I’m trying it out on some of our oldest friends so if it tanks, pizza won’t be a huge disappointment.
  • So excited to try it out.
  • Last week I got to speak to 2 different groups outside of Revolution.
  • On Thursday I was on base talking to a group of non-commissioned officers about work/life balance.
  • On Saturday I got to talk to a group of parents about how to become an intentional family.
  • Tons of fun and lots of great questions.
  • Then, Saturday afternoon we intentionally avoided the heat and rain and went to see Despicable Me 3. 
  • If you haven’t seen it, it is exactly what you expect it to be.
  • Good times for sure.
  • I love that my kids love movie trailers before the movie as much as I do.
  • Well, back to it…

Tuesday Morning Mind Dump…

  • After 6 weeks away from preaching, it feels nice to be writing a sermon.
  • It was nice the last 2 weeks just being at Revolution and not preaching. So good for the soul.
  • I love summer for the vacation, the down time, but also the reading time.
  • Here are some of my favorites from the summer.
  • I can’t wait to kick off The Bible this Sunday and spend the next 3 weeks answering common questions about the bible.
  • I can’t say enough, how much the last 6 weeks off from preaching have meant and how helpful they have been.
  • Pastors, you need to take time off in the summer.
  • It doesn’t have to be 6 weeks, but you can’t have a sustainable rhythm and last in ministry if you preach 48 or 50 times a year.
  • I know because I tried to do it the first 3 years of our church.
  • It was great to see how much Joe and Erik have grown as communicators as they got the chance to preach while I was away.
  • But I’m excited about spending the next 10 weeks preaching again.
  • 10 weeks is my limit right now for how many times I’ll preach in a row.
  • That’s another thing a pastor and his elder team should figure out, what keeps a pastor fresh. For you it might be 6 or 12.
  • After we do The Bible series we’re going to spend most of the fall walking through 1, 2 and 3 John.
  • We had our newcomers lunch yesterday and it was packed.
  • Blown away that we have grown over the summer.
  • Always amazes me.
  • Speaking of growth, I am so excited about the addition of Derek to our team.
  • He spent his first 4 weeks working while I was away, but the last 2 weeks working with him have been incredible.
  • Someone texted me while I was away and said, “Derek is exactly what our church needed” and I couldn’t agree more.
  • His gifts and personality are a perfect fit for what we needed and God’s timing in it has been cool to watch.
  • I’m in the middle of book 4 of the Harry Potter series with our kids.
  • We took a break from Lord of the Rings after The Two Towers to read this and it’s been fun.
  • The writing it so simple and the storytelling captures you.
  • I’ve been asked how our kids are handling it. Our kids haven’t seen the movies so their imaginations are driving what they see (which I think makes a big deal).
  • The conversations we’ve had about witches, wizards and spells have been great too.
  • I’m speaking Thursday afternoon on base to a group of young leaders in the Air Force about purpose and mission.
  • I’m getting more and more chances to speak on base and I love the time with them.
  • Then Saturday morning I’m speaking at Vail Family University on how to build an intentional family.
  • If you’re there, come say hi.
  • Lots happening, so back to it…

Links for Leaders 7/14/17

It’s the weekend. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Here are 4 articles I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Every leader is busy but we don’t often realize what our busyness does to us and our churches. Here’s a great list from Carey Nieuwof of what busyness does to a leader and how it holds a church back. #2 is especially relevant to pastors I think.

Do you get enough sleep? The answer for most of us is no. But what are you supposed to do? Charles Stone has a simple test to gauge your sleep and some really practical tips to get your sleep back on track.

Do you want to be a part of a healthy team? Are you on a healthy team? Ron Edmondson lists out 10 phrases to help you answer those questions. 

If you have a middle schooler, you can relate to this list from Kristin Ivy: 34 reasons your middle schooler is freaking out.

Thursday Mind Dump…

  • It’s been a whirlwind of a week in the Reich house.
  • Katie had to be in Phoenix Monday and Tuesday for something and I had to be up there yesterday.
  • Made for a hectic week, but it’s done!
  • It was really excited to be in Phoenix with the other Acts 29 pastors in Arizona and some SBC pastors as we talked and prayed about how to plant more healthy churches in our state.
  • Loved everything about this circle.
  • I also got to spend yesterday doing another interview in the process of hiring a new pastor at Revolution and made 4 reference calls.
  • It is a great (and holy) opportunity to interview people.
  • I love the potential this role has not only for our staff team, but more specifically to help the people entrusted to our church for them to grow.
  • I am also grateful I don’t interview people for a living.
  • Thankful those people share their wisdom in books and blogs though.
  • We’re getting so close to hiring someone, so keep praying for us.
  • Every week our staff team and team leads share celebrations with each other that we are able to share with our teams.
  • I was simply blown away this week.
  • Story after story of people taking next steps.
  • I shared a few of them on Facebook live yesterday.
  • I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready for June.
  • Ready for a new rhythm for a bit to catch my breath.
  • The other night we showed our kids Remember the Titans for family movie night.
  • The conversations about race were really interesting.
  • Watching our kids process the history of our nation, as they look at the makeup of our family.
  • I’m hopeful they have a deep understanding of the pain of racism but also how to fight against it.
  • Next up in this journey for them is Hidden Figures.
  • Leaders are always asking me what I’m reading.
  • Here’s my list right now for sermon prep.
  • I’m working on a series we’ll start at Revolution on July 23rd called The Bible. 
  • We’ll look at 4 questions: How do we know the Bible is True? What is the main point of the Bible? Why should you read the Bible? and How do you read the Bible?
  • So excited for this series.
  • I’m also pretty excited to jump back into a book of the Bible on May 21st and do a series on Jonah called When God Doesn’t Make Sense
  • Anyway, back at it…

Wednesday Morning Mind Dump…

  • It’s been a whirlwind of 3 days.
  • Sunday right after church, I flew to Reno for the Acts 29 West Conference.
  • Which was awesome.
  • Then got up at 4:30 Tuesday morning to fly home so I could be here for Katie’s birthday.
  • I was dragging through the Reno, Vegas and Tucson airport.
  • But it felt so good to get home.
  • One of the things I love about Katie’s birthday is surprising her with her summer reading list.
  • I think one of the best ways a husband can love and serve his wife is get her good books to read that fill her heart and soul with some gospel goodness.
  • And some funny/sad/moving memoirs.
  • And yes, I got her other stuff too.
  • Speaking of summer, now’s a good time to start thinking through your summer reading list.
  • Summer is a great time to grow, give your brain a break, think through a new project or dream.
  • It’s a great time to reset something and start over halfway through the year.
  • It was incredible being in Reno and hearing all the things that God is doing, not only in Acts 29 West, but around the world.
  • I love being a part of a global network that is planting churches and seeing lives changed.
  • One of the things I was most excited about when I left Reno were some of the ideas me and the other pastors in Arizona have for partnering together to plant more churches in our state.
  • Can’t wait to see them unfold.
  • On the plane, I got to read David Murray’s new book Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture.
  • So helpful.
  • If you are a leader who is over 30, this is a book you must read.
  • I’ll share some book notes soon.
  • My birthday is Saturday so Katie and I are celebrating our birthdays with friends next week.
  • It is one of the advantages of having your birthday the same week as your spouse’s.
  • Well, I’m a day and a half behind on my sermon.
  • Back at it…

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

  • What a day yesterday.
  • I know every pastor says that the day after Easter.
  • For me, one of the things I loved about yesterday were the people I prayed with who are struggling to come to Christ. They are wrestling and pressing in, getting questions answered.
  • I love when people cross the line of faith and get baptized, but I was reminded yesterday of how God is at work in every part of that journey.
  • I know that intellectually, but it was a sweet reminder yesterday that our church is a place for that and we are a part of that.
  • Because our church exists to help people take their next step with God, I love that people were taking steps yesterday.
  • Those people wrestling, coming to faith, to me, those are enormous celebrations of the day.
  • The people who pulled me aside and said, “Something happened today and I don’t know what it is.”
  • Rest in that pastor.
  • It was awesome to hear from some of the church planters we are supporting to hear how their days went.
  • We kicked off a series yesterday that I couldn’t be more excited about.
  • For 5 weeks, we are laying the foundation of what our church believes a healthy, mature follower of Jesus is.
  • What we mean when we say discipleship.
  • We started yesterday with a disciple is loved by God.
  • What excites me about this is not only the clarity for our church and RC leaders, but also for people in our church who are searching and skeptical.
  • Too many churches define discipleship as everything that comes after the gospel or say, “the gospel encompasses everything.”
  • It does, but when we start discipleship with what we do, it does a disservice to our people and gives them a burden they can’t carry.
  • If you’re curious about some of the books that have influenced our thinking, check these out.
  • Katie was away for the weekend, leaving me with the Reich 5.
  • She went to Galveston to do a photo shoot.
  • I love that she is getting to use her gifts and talents in that way.
  • It was a long weekend with the kids though.
  • We were all wiped and then to throw Easter activities onto it.
  • We’re all moving slowly today.
  • I’m speaking at a MOPS group tomorrow on the topics of my book Breathing Room. 
  • Should be a fun time.
  • For me, I love the questions after the fact and the conversations I get to have with people as they wrestle through their schedules and how to say no to things.
  • Katie and I got a big green egg for our 15th anniversary.
  • Yes, super romantic.
  • Yes, my wife is awesome.
  • Yes, it makes everything more delicious than my old grill.
  • Made this yesterday.
  • Incredible.
  • Well, back at it…