Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Trevin Wax on The 4 stages of writing.

I recently came across the HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, a book that has a chapter on the four stages of the writing process. Reflecting on my experience writing blogs and non-fiction books, I recognized these stages even if I’d never consciously labeled them this way.

Tim Challies on The porn-free family plan.

The tragedy of Michael Sam.

Michael Sam is so much more than a gay man. He is a man that is made in the image of Almighty God. His sexuality was never meant to hold the weight of his identity. Every time that he is referred to as the first openly gay NFL player what is happening is that his humanity is being robbed.

Things Disney Characters do That Would be Creepy if You did Them

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Why You Aren’t a Leader

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I meet a lot of people in their 20′s and 30′s who are really smart. The reason I know they are smart is because they tell me. Typically, in your 20′s, you are always the smartest person in the room, especially as it relates to churches. I get it. I was the same way. I’ve had to since apologize to some people I worked under for my arrogance.

If you are in your 20′s and 30′s, there is also a sense of people should just hand things to you.

I remember a couple of years ago being asked by some people at Revolution why we weren’t supporting a church plant in Tucson (sadly, this church plant no longer exists). My response was, “they never asked.” Now, the people asking knew the planter and asked why we didn’t just give money to them without them asking.

Answer: leaders cast a vision. Leaders make the ask. Leaders make it known what is needed. Leaders sit across the table from influencers, givers, and others leaders, cast a vision and say, “I want you to be involved and here’s how _____.”

Leaders do not wait for someone to give them something.

If you are a church planter or pastor and don’t have the volunteers you need, the money you need, the people you need. You have either not asked or you are not casting a compelling vision for people to join.

Don’t miss this: people are not looking for something else to give to or something else to do. 

They are looking for something worth their time, money and effort.

This is hard to do and this one reason is why so few dreamers ever reach their full potential. Here are 3 ways to ask:

  1. Don’t say no for someone. You have a need and you know the perfect person to fill that need, except they are really busy. Many pastors will not ask that person, they will ask someone less qualified. Don’t. Don’t say no for someone. Let them say no for themselves. They might be too busy. They might cut something out of their life to do what you ask them to do.
  2. Know what you are asking for. If you are asking them to give to something, know how much you are asking for. If it is serving, know for how long and how much time it will take. The more specific you are in what you are asking for, the higher the chance they will say yes.
  3. Know why you are asking. This is where many leaders miss the boat. They know “what” and “how” for their church plant, team, ministry, etc. but they don’t know why. Why should this person do this? What will it gain? Why is it worth their time or money? I once talked to a campus minister and all he told me in our hour meeting was what he would do on campus. I already knew that. I wanted to know why, I wanted to hear his heart, I wanted to hear his passion and why it drove him to give his life to it.

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One of My Hopes for the Church

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Can I tell you one of my dreams for Revolution Church and your church?

I preached on our vision and some dreams on Sunday. Here’s how I closed:

I want people to know that we stand against sin in our world, that we want to see people rescued from it and live the life God has called them to live.

I also want them to know that we are incredibly broken, more broken than we ever realized. But, that we have been rescued and it is greater than we thought possible and we will not quit until everyone knows.

I also want them to know, that even if we disagree with them, if they have a need we can meet, we will be there. I long for people to look at people who are part of our church and say, “I don’t agree with everything they believe, but when I needed a friend, when I needed a shoulder to cry on, when I needed food, when I needed help financially, when I needed a ride home because I was too drunk to drive, when I needed to be picked up off the ground because my life hit rock bottom, someone from Revolution was there.”

And that through serving, through loving, through walking with them, you will be given an opportunity to talk about Jesus with them and that through your serving and loving, they will be open. Because, they will begin to look around their life and see the brokenness and see that you are the only friend still there and wonder what is so different about you.

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Will You Mentor Me?

The word Mentor in magazine letters on a notice board

Since Revolution Church is filled with people in college and their 20′s and because we’re part of Acts 29, myself and the other leaders at Revolution will often get requests to mentor someone. Either in our church or a church planter or worship leader.

This has caused me to think through, what makes an effective mentor. They are important, but I think we often set ourselves and the person we are seeking help from up for disaster.

A mentor is someone further ahead of you in an area you want to grow in. 

No one person can mentor you in every part of your life.

This is the problem we run into. We look for someone to be the end all be all for us.

When someone asks for a mentor, I explain this to them and then ask a series of questions:

  1. What is the 1 or 2 areas you want to grow in as you think about your life in the next 3, 6, 12 months? This could be finances, prayer, marriage, boundaries, health, etc.
  2. Why do you think I can help you? I want to know why they think I can help them. Not because I want to pump up my ego, but I want to know they’ve done their homework on me not just threw a dart at the wall and picked the closest person.
  3. What are you doing or have you tried to grow in this area? Often, not always, but often people seek a mentor because they are lazy. I want to know what books or blogs this person has looked at in this area. Are they actively seeking to grow in this area or just hoping to rub off success from someone. Which leads to the last part.
  4. How much time are you willing to put into this? Anything worth doing will take time. You won’t grow in your handling of finances, health, marriage, career, preaching, etc. without putting in time and effort. This is a commitment you are as the person getting mentored is making, the mentor is coming along for the ride and if I as the mentor am not convinced you are into the ride, I’m getting off.

If you are worth your salt as a leader, person or pastor, you will be asked often to mentor people. You must be selectively in who you mentor because you are giving up one of your most precious commodities as a leader, your time. If you are asking to be mentored, to succeed and have it be worthwhile for you, you need to do your homework and be willing to put in the work. There is nothing more exciting than working with a person who wants to grow in an area and helping them to grow in that area. Love seeing that happen.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Hard coming back from a different week, a spring break week
  • It was great having the day off from preaching yesterday and having the opportunity to attend a new church plant here in Tucson with my family
  • Love sitting with Katie in church and hearing a sermon with her
  • If you are a pastor, when you don’t preach, you should go to a different church to learn and steal ideas
  • We kicked off a brand new series yesterday at Revolution called All In
  • Josh Watt did a great job of kicking the series off
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • He talked about why we should go all in with Jesus
  • Because Jesus went all in for us
  • I heard after church yesterday that Revolution has grown by 25% in the last year
  • And had over 20 guests yesterday
  • So humbling how God continues to move in our church and city
  • I got to share my story at a health and wellness seminar on Saturday
  • It was awesome to share how I lost weight, kept it off and the change Jesus made in my heart during that time
  • It has been awesome building my crossfit box at home and being able to do all my workouts in my garage
  • This weekend, with the help of a friend, I’m building a rack to do squats, pullups, dips and bench
  • So excited for that piece
  • Almost done
  • I have my coaching call with Brian Howard today
  • Talking about what my role needs to look like as Revolution goes from the 250 to 500 size in attendance
  • As our church continues to grow, my role continues to change and
  • I’m excited to be back preaching this week and looking at what it looks like to go all in in our daily lives
  • Changes everything about us
  • Time to get back to it…
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Pastor, Enjoy the Season of Growth (And Pruning)

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I was talking to a church planter the other day who is in the hard season of planting. He told me (something I have felt and heard other planters say), “It seems like nothing we are doing is working or growing. But it seems like Revolution is going gang busters right now.”

A few thoughts I shared with him:

  1. This season is coming. If you are a pastor, leader or church planter, you will feel like this at some point. Whether it is because it didn’t go as you expected, people leave your church, giving goes down, no one responds to a sermon, you lose a place to meet or have a fight within your leadership or a hard season with your spouse or kids. Either way, it is coming.
  2. Let’s admit that from our perspective everyone has it easier and better. It doesn’t matter if you are a pastor or not, everyone has it better. Everyone has the bigger church, bigger budget, better marriage, better situation, better staff, better worship leader, kids pastor, student pastor, bigger blog or twitter platform. Everyone else is a better communicator, leader, pastor, better everything. It isn’t true, but it seems that way and because it seems that way, it becomes true in your mind.
  3. Don’t waste the pruning season. Pruning is brutal. Whether personally or as an organization. Everyone needs it and everyone gets it. The question is if they use it or waste it. Every leader from Moses, David, Jesus and Paul went through the desert and were pruned. Everyone of them came out the other side and while no leader wants to go through the desert, after going through it, they wouldn’t trade it. For me and our church, 2012-2013 was a season of pruning. It was hard. I grew a lot in those years. God did a lot of work on my heart and in our church. During that season, our church didn’t grow a lot. I think sometimes God protects our churches from growing so he can work on the leaders. Bottom line is this, if you are in a season of pruning personally, as a church staff or as a church (and you know if you are), lean into it. Grow in it. Don’t waste it. Those seasons tend to last until God is finished with us so you might as well dig into it.
  4. Enjoy the harvest season. Right now, Revolution is moving from the pruning season (we are still in it) to a season of growth and harvest. This is what every pastor and church dreams of, and it is fun. This is when things work, things grow, MC’s grown and multiply and people get saved, sermons have life and connect. It is easy to miss this season and not enjoy it. That doesn’t mean sit back and be lazy, but thank God for this season. It is his grace on you.

Regardless of the season you are in, it doesn’t last forever. Spring does come and winter ends. But the summer harvest also moves into a season of fall which becomes winter. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how much we want it to or how much it seems like hard difficult season won’t end, it will.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Getting this up a little later than normal
  • I’m trying out a new Monday morning (post-preaching) routine
  • If it works like I hope it will, I’ll blog about it
  • Yesterday was a rough sermon to give
  • I like to to preach sermons that are more exciting, uplifting and challenging
  • Preaching on Samson from Judges 16 is such a cautionary tale to look at
  • But yet so important because no one thinks they will do anything to wreck their lives
  • But, you are always one choice away from wrecking your life
  • If you missed yesterday at Revolution, you can listen to it here
  • It was heartbreaking talking to people after church yesterday and hearing story after story of how someone wrecked their life and they got caught in it
  • Heartbreaking
  • We had our newcomer’s lunch yesterday
  • Love hearing how new people find our church and how excited they are about Revolution
  • I talked to a church planter this morning that is in the hard season of planting, that season that seems dreary and it seems like nothing is working or growing
  • It was a good reminder to enjoy the seasons of growth
  • And that both seasons are evidences of God’s grace
  • So excited for the next series at Revolution called All In
  • Can’t wait to spend 4 weeks looking at how the world, a city, a neighborhood, a family and a person are changed
  • Simply by one person going All In
  • Shared about one of the best leadership books I’ve read over the weekend
  • If you are a leader, you need to check it out
  • Taking Katie to look at a photographer’s gallery tonight
  • Pretty excited about how she is opening up to use her gifts and creativity in this area
  • Love seeing that blossom in her and how many people want her to take their pictures
  • Always exciting when other people think your spouse is as awesome as you think they are
  • Going to support some friends and their adoption fundraiser tonight at Chick Fil-A
  • If you can, come out to the one at El Con Mall from 5-7 and help them bring their 2 sweet little girls home from the Congo
  • Landed on what I think will be an awesome series to kick the fall off
  • We’re going to do a series on objections and complaints people have about Christianity called Why I’m Not a Christian
  • Going to hit some hard and controversial topics
  • Should be fun
  • Time to get to it
  • Til next time…
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Links for your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Chuck Lawless on 10 questions every leader should ask every week.

Most leaders, though, would benefit from more regular evaluations – particularly self-evaluations. Even daily and weekly self-evaluations merit our consideration if we want to lead well, regardless of our position.

12 things TEDx speakers do that pastors do not.

“An idea isn’t just a story or a list of facts. A good idea takes evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion.” Of course TEDx talkers often have multiple points, but they always have direction: they’re always moving forward to a set conclusion (and that’s all big idea preaching is, for all the flack it gets). They also suggest to the speaker: “Get your idea out as quickly as possible.”

Joe Stengele on 4 time management tips for leaders and pastors.

I get to meet lots of leaders. Some are young, some are old, but without a doubt the ones who get the most done always manage their time well. Most young leaders I meet have no idea how to manage their time. I’m one decade into what I pray will be a lifetime of ministry, and I have made plenty of mistakes, but there are four time management tips I have learned. I pray these will help you as you grow in leadership, by God’s grace.

Brian Dodd on 5 lies men believe. This is so good.

J.D. Greear on Why plant campuses when you could plant churches.

One of the most frequent objections I get to our multi-site approach is this: “Why do you plant more campuses when you can plant churches instead?” Since our church is committed to church planting, I take this objection very seriously. And at first glance, the objection seems rather intuitive—people and money you could be investing in a church plant are instead being re-directed into a campus. This objection, however, is built upon two assumptions: first, that church planting solves the problem of overcrowding; second, that the multi-site approach competes with—or even precludes—church planting. But neither assumption is true.

Dave Page on Why people leave a church plant early.

Those who start the journey with you seldom finish with you. In the church planting world I call this principle THE LAW OF SCAFFOLDING. The people you start the church with are not the people you grow the church with. This is one of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a church planter.

Ruth Graham on The heresy of Jesus Calling

I’m tempted to call this blasphemy. Thomas Nelson specifically requested I not use the word “channeling” to describe Young’s first-person writing in the voice of Jesus—the word has New Age connotations—but it’s hard to avoid it in describing the book’s rhetorical approach.

Todd Rhoades on Are you more like Jay Leno or Jimmy Fallon as a leader?

Leno was, by most accounts, forced out early by NBC.  A new article/commentary at Mashable tells why:  Jay Leno, while he was doing great in the traditional measures (nationwide TV audience in a given demographic) could not make the switch to the future (which included youtube, vine, twitter, facebook, and all the viral directions that TV and late night was going).

Bryan Rose on How to ask the right questions when hiring a church staff member.

Mistakes are most often made when hiring is based on surface characteristics like stage ability, resume experience or fashion sense, rather than on the foundation of church culture. Your values define your church’s culture. Therefore, values should form the basis of your staffing logic, whether the prospective leader is paid or unpaid. Well thought-through interview questions, based on values, could be the difference between a perfect match and the perfect storm.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Yesterday was off the charts at Revolution
  • This series on manhood has simply been one of my favorite series, although Beautiful was a close second
  • Yesterday I preached on the battle we fight against sin, temptation, negative emotions and addictions
  • I’m blown away by the example that Samson is for us of what not to do
  • Loved all the conversations I had afterward as people continued to wrestle with things
  • I think for many people, the pain of being chained to something is so great, they just feel like they can’t move forward
  • Always shake my head at the guy who tells me porn isn’t a temptation
  • Let’s say that’s possible
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I also have a long list of books, websites and other helpful things here to help you fight temptation and sin in your life
  • Not overly sad that the Olympics are ending
  • We barely watched any of them
  • I’m a bigger fan of the summer ones
  • It also means we are canceling our cable until the NFL rolls around again
  • For the first time since starting Crossfit, I’m taking a week off from lifting this week
  • It will be interesting to see how my heart and emotions deal with it, but I think it will also be good for my body
  • I have my next coaching appointment this week with Brian Howard
  • I’m already seeing the payoff to this
  • Pastors, if you don’t have a coach, you should get one
  • Started a book over the weekend that you should read if you are a pastor
  • It’s called People Pleasing Pastors
  • Good heart work for pastors
  • I can’t remember if I said this last week, but I’m going to Indonesia for 8 days this summer
  • Really excited about how that will change my viewpoint
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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Mark Driscoll on The 6 kinds of church services and how they impact preaching and worship planning.

Too often a church service is themed theologically, without consideration for the mood emotionally. But getting the mood right is very important. If you don’t, the sermon and the rest of the service won’t align for a journey, but collide like a car wreck.

Rosaria Butterfield on You are what you read.

Michael Hyatt on How millionaires manage their time.

I’ve been lucky enough to interview over 130 millionaires. They know the value of their time, and use it to the best of their ability. I’ve curated the top tips on their time management to help you have more time to work, and more time to play and be with your family. So how do you stay productive when faced with a seemingly endless to-do list? Here are four awesome tips for greater productivity, straight from the millionaires themselves.

The 5 most important questions a church needs to answer.

  • Question 1:  What is Our Mission?
  • Question 2:  Who is Our Customer?
  • Question 3:  What Does the Customer Value?
  • Question 4:  What are Our Results?
  • Question 5:  What is Our Plan?

4 Tips for Starting a Children’s Ministry in a Church Plant.

Church plants are becoming increasingly popular and in the midst of all there is to do, getting your children’s ministry off the ground can tend to slip under the radar. Here are a few practical tips for starting a children’s ministry in your church plant.

People Pleasing Pastors

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