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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Thom Rainer on Pastors and vacations.

Two years ago I spoke to a pastor about his church. After he shared with me all the areas in which he had been involved and the ministries he led, I asked him an innocent question: When do you take vacation? His answer flabbergasted me. “I don’t,” he said. I thought maybe he had misunderstood me, so I clarified. In the past six years that you have served as pastor, when did you take a vacation? “I haven’t,” he reiterated. I had heard him right the first time. This pastor had deprived himself and his family for the past six years. I anticipated burnout was not far away. Unfortunately, I was right.

A peek inside Max Lucado’s writing process.

Max is the author of almost 100 books with more than 80 million copies in print. There are probably less than five authors in the world who are that prolific—or that successful. It’s mind-boggling.

Paul Levy on Success in ministry is dangerous, accountability doesn’t work and other thoughts on falling from grace.

Recently I’ve spent some time with two friends who were in ministry but have fallen morally and so now find themselves out of a job that they loved, separated from their families and, in all honesty, struggling. I’ve showed what I’ve written to them and I wouldn’t say they were overjoyed at what I had to say but both agreed I could put this on here.

David Murrow on Holiday services and men.

Why are holiday services, which draw huge numbers of irreligious men, so ineffective at engaging them? I believe that holiday services are, by their very nature, poorly suited for men. They tend to hide the church’s greater mission under a mountain of religious tradition and ceremony. Holiday services also give men a skewed perspective on what the gospel is all about.

Kara Powell on What your calendar says about your view of God.

If I want to find out what a leader thinks about God, I don’t look at their prayer journal or their preaching. I look at their calendar. Everyone I know grapples with busyness. It’s often how we define ourselves. When someone asks us, “How are you?” our default answer is frequently one word: “Busy”. This busyness cuts across boundaries of faith, vocation, and socio-economic status.

Shawn Wood on His sermon prep system.

The job of a church planter and pastor has a lot of moving parts, but for me, the biggest of them is my time preparing to preach.

James MacDonald on When men act like men.

Everywhere you look, men are in trouble—falling to superficiality, entertainment lifestyles, sensuality, secularism, lives lived apart from God, reaping for themselves and their families the harvest of what they have sown. Someone needs to throw men a life line. Men are are sinking, and only Jesus Christ can save them. Christ Himself must invade the territory of men’s hearts and rule without rival or equal.

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.

book

  1. Jonathan Parnell on Figuring out what is God’s will for my life?
  2. Why team alignment is so important.
  3. Todd Rhodes on What churches can learn from Google killing Google reader. Lots of insights, I’m sad as I love google reader, but a great leadership move.
  4. If you read this blog through Google Reader, you’ll want to update to Feedly, now that Google Reader is shutting down.
  5. 5 insights behind North Point’s success.
  6. Ed Stetzer on Whether or not the church needs to “get with the times.”
  7. 3 practical ways to increase giving at your church.

Som Sabadell Flashmob

Links I Like

  1. The deep limitations of digital church
  2. J.D. Greear on Homosexuality and the gospel part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4
  3. Are Mormons Christians?
  4. Justin Buzzard on That idol that you love, it doesn’t love you back.
  5. A biblical view of success.
  6. Ryan Huguley on 7 ways to prepare for worship
  7. 3 reasons you need to attend the Planet Rev parent meeting tonight if you are a parent at Revolution Church
  8. Scott Thomas on The pastor’s wife is simply a wife

Links of the Week

  1. Matt Chandler on “Success” is a hollow goal
  2. To get ahead, do what others don’t do. This is a helpful list. 
  3. Download a free album from Page CXVI. If you don’t know this band, you should. They put out some great mixes of hymns. 
  4. Michael Hyatt on 5 Reasons Why You Should Take A Nap Every Day.
  5. Easter services and men. Great insight here for pastors and churches. 

Where Success Comes From

“Purpose & principle, clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control. People will know how to behave in accordance with them, and they’ll do it in thousands of unimaginable, creative ways. The organization will become a vital, living set of beliefs. All organizations are merely conceptual embodiments of a very old, very basic idea – the idea of community. They can be no more or less than the sum of the beliefs of the people drawn to them; of their character, judgments, acts, and efforts. An organization’s success has enormously more to do with clarity of a shared purpose, common principles and strength of belief in them than to assets, expertise, operating ability, or management competence, important as they may be.” -Dee Hock, The Birth of the Chaordic Age

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Love my church
  • Talked about how to handle adversity, opposition and criticism tonight from Nehemiah 4:1 – 14
  • Great passage, great example of not only how to be a leader in the midst of adversity and opposition, but how to handle that personally
  • Nehemiah heard the criticism, prayed about it and then got back to work
  • No one does anything great in their life or for God without experiencing some opposition and criticism
  • It is part of the journey
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • Love having 2nd and 3rd time guests introduce their friends that they brought with them
  • So much energy comes by investing and inviting in our friends
  • Humbled by how many people God is entrusting us with
  • Heading to California for a conference this week with Katie, Paul and Jennifer
  • Really excited about the time away
  • I’ll be live blogging the main sessions and then I’m doing the preaching track with Rick Warren, so I’ll be sharing my notes from that
  • Can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to have no kids and all the information I’m going to get this week
  • Wow
  • Katie and I are talking about maybe going to Disneyland one night
  • I’ve never been before
  • Love this picture of our kids
  • Someone told me I looked mad tonight
  • For me, I get so frustrated when people mail in their dreams because of adversity and I get so mad when churches are derailed because leaders don’t stand up to opposition and criticism
  • Remember, when someone comes to you says, “They are mad,” you are talking to “they”
  • “They” is always 1 person
  • This might be one of the best leadership books I’ve read in a long time
  • So excited about the Rev Up meeting next week
  • I can’t wait to see how this ministry is able to affect the lives of students and their families
  • Cody is a great young leader that is going to do huge stuff for God at Revolution
  • Spent a good bit of time this week laying out what Revolution’s system will be to help new believers get connected at Revolution and take the next step in their journey
  • Really excited about having this planned out so we are better able to help people in their journey
  • If you haven’t signed up to be baptized on the 20th and would like to be, please email Christe LePeau
  • Pretty excited about the super bowl tomorrow
  • Without a horse in the game, I’m just hoping for a good game
  • I think the Colts will win, but it will be close
  • And high scoring
  • I have been working through this question posed to me by my spiritual director last week, “Do you enjoy success?”
  • Trying to learn how to be more present in the moment of what God is doing and enjoying what He is doing in my life
  • Excited about next week and being able to talk about how you defend what God has given you, whether it is your own life (spiritual and physical), relationships, family, ministry, church or job
  • This is incredibly important, not only to our church, but also as individuals
  • Too often, we let our protection happen by chance
  • It’s going to be a powerful night
  • Lots of props, which is always fun

Do You Enjoy Success?

One of the things I started doing before Revolution started was meeting with a spiritual director. As a pastor and communicator, a big part of my job is helping others with their spiritual journey, answering questions, giving guidance and helping people see where God is working in their lives. I love this about my job. The problem I ran into was I needed someone to help me with that.

Last week, during my monthly session, I was sharing about the weight of pastoring. It is hard to describe the weight a pastor carries. While all jobs have weights, for me I feel the financial, spiritual, relational, emotional weight, as well as the calling that is on my life for this job.

As I was describing this and all the things God has done in the last few months at Revolution (which have been amazing and God has done some unbelievable things at our church) she asked me, “How do you handle success?”

It stopped me in my tracks.

She went on, “Do you ever just sit and bathe in what God is doing, what God has done? Or, are you so focused on the next thing, looking for the next problem that you miss what God is doing?”

As a church planter, it is bred in us to be a fighter. It takes a fighter to make it, church planting is not for the faint of heart. You also don’t want to have the idea that you have arrived or made it as a church. You don’t want to be prideful or think God is moving because of you.

I left thinking, “Am I allowed to enjoy what God is doing?”

The answer is yes. A resounding yes.

So, now I’m celebrating more. I’m bathing in what God is doing. I’m trying to be more present to enjoy what God is doing around me, in me and through me.

So, leaders. Do you enjoy success? Do you enjoy when God moves and he uses you, or, are you off to the next thing, looking for the next fire to put out, the next problem to solve?

I am enjoying God moving and using me. I am enjoying God’s success.

Links of the Week

  1. 18 Questions for a Church Planters Soul (from Acts 29). Great thoughts as the busyness of church can often eclipse our souls.
  2. Tony Morgan on Ministry is messy. This is the beauty and heartache of church. Real life.
  3. Barna’s latest study on generational perspectives of the Bible.
  4. C.J. Mahaney on What precisely is the gospel?
  5. How staff and leaders can set volunteers up for success.
  6. Scot McKnight on OMG and taking the Lord’s name in vain. Is it still a sin if you abbreviate it?

Links of the Week

  1. Nancy Ortberg on 3 steps to creating momentum where you are. Momentum is a leaders best friend, it takes time to create, it is easily lost, but it is so important in a church. You can tell when it is or is not there.
  2. Perry Noble on Leading a team. A must read for all leaders.
  3. Wayne Daley on Being a man of action and Having integrity.
  4. Greg Despres on the Uniqueness of the Bible.
  5. Mark Batterson on What success is. Everyone is trying to accomplish it, but how do you define it?
  6. Bill Hybels on the state of the church.
  7. Scot McKnight on Thoughts on a pastor’s schedule. This is a huge resource for leader’s in any organization, but specifically pastors.
  8. Paul Ingram laid out what God has been doing at Revolution in the first year of life. Love what God is doing and that Paul and Jennifer are part of making that happen.
  9. Ed Stetzer on Why missional churches don’t do global missions and how they can fix that. This is a very challenging article, it definitely clarifies the definition of missional.

Leadership Gold: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Leading

1_Gold (6_14)I’m a big John Maxwell fan and have read most of his books. His most recent Leadership Gold is by far one of his best. It is a list of the 26 most important leadership lessons he has learned over a span of 30+ years of leading.

Some of my favorites were: 

If it’s lonely at the top, you’re not doing something right. Many leaders think that it is impossible to be a good leader and know people or be close to your team/followers. One of greatest joys since starting Revolution is how close I am to the other leaders and team that I serve with and lead. It is a huge risk, it is hard work, but it is worth it instead of being distant from your team.

Never work a day in your life. This one really spoke to me because it is something that I am living right now. The idea of “find what you love do, do it well enough so that people will pay you to do it.” That is what I’m doing right now.

The best leaders are listeners. I need to improve on this one. I am the type of person that when I am talking to someone I am thinking about what I am going to say to them instead of listening, really listening to them.

To see how the leaders is doing look at the people. The best way to see how an organization, team or leader is doing, look at the people who are following that person. Are they better off? Is the organization farther than they were before? Leaders make things better or worse, which one do you make your team/organization/church?

Don’t manage your time – manage your life. According to Maxwell, “Nothing separates successful people from unsuccessful people more than how they use their time.” We all have the same amount of time, we can’t get more in a day. The task is not to learn how to manage time, but to manage and maximize your life. The story in this chapter of the 1000 marbles is worth the price of the book, what a great example.

Keep learning to keep leading. Growth does not just happen, personally or corporately. To grow as a leader, you must have a plan. To take the next step as a leader and become all that you are meant to become, you need to have a plan. All leaders who have made any impact in history or done anything noteworthy were constant learners, they never “arrived” but they always had a plan to get there. Maxwell points out, “What is the one thing – more than any other – that will determine the growth of an organization? The growth of the people in the organization. And what determines the people’s growth? The growth of the leader! As long as people are following you, they will be able to go only as far as you go. If you’re not growing, they won’t be growing – either that or they will leave and go somewhere else where they can grow.”

The secret to a good meeting is the meeting before the meeting. This has been a learning curve for me. The idea of meeting with the most influential people before THE meeting to get on the same page and work through the desired outcome of the meeting. People do not like being surprised and they like to be a part of deciding the outcome of something. Too many leaders (myself included) forget that when we present an idea, we’ve been thinking about it for weeks or months and that the people we are presenting it to are hearing it for the first time. Maxwell says, “Most people are down on what they’re not up on.”

This idea also helps to remind us of what the point of a meeting is. Maxwell says, “Most people have the wrong idea about the purpose of a meeting. I think a lot of us think of them as time savers. You pull a bunch of people into a room so that you can deliver a message once. That’s the wrong way to think about a meeting. Meetings are for getting things done! To do that, you must often have a meeting before the meeting to prepare for the meeting.”

Be a connector not just a climber. I think leaders naturally see themselves “climbers.” People who get things done, are on a mission, going somewhere.

Those who start the journey with you seldom finish with you. This has been one of the most painful things for me to learn as a leader. When you lose a teammate, for any reason, it hurts. The idea that some of the people who will do the hardest work with me, go through painful experiences with me, will not make it all the way is hard to wrap my hands around, but it is true. Even now, I can make a list of people who have led with me, but are no longer with me and it hurts. Sometimes it was the right thing and for the right reasons, sometimes it wasn’t. Either way it hurt. As a leader, you must learn how to handle this because this is one of the things that will make or break your leadership.

Few leaders are successful unless a lot of people want them to be. What a reminder. I can make a list of people who I am no longer working with who put me in the position I am in today simply because they invested in me, gave me opportunities, and helped me along the way. No one gets anywhere worthwile on their own.

John Maxwell is the king of one liners, so in honor that, here are a few from the book:

  • We attract who we are, not who we want.
  • No matter if you are just starting out or if you are at the peak of your career; the more you work in your strength zone, the more successful you will be.
  • Organizations exist to make people’s strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.
  • Leaders inevitably make things better or worse for the people who follow them. Wherever you have a good leader, the team gets better, the organization gets better; the department or division gets better. And wherever you have a bad leader, everyone that leader impacts has a tougher time. Leadership makes every endeavor either better or worse.
  • The one thing all good organizations have in common is good leadership.
  • The loyalty of followers comes as a reward to the leader who earns it, not the one who years for it.
  • I can’t lead people if I need people.
  • Leaders have to be willing to do things others are unwilling to do.
  • People don’t pay for average.
  • Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily.
  • As a leader, to some degree, you choose who you lose.

If you are looking for a leadership book to read, this is one definitely worth picking up.