Month: July 2012

The Question Leaders Are Afraid to Ask

For 17 years I worked/served the local Church. Before that I worked for the city of Southfield as a carpenters apprentice, I worked as a roofer, a sou chef and a baseball/soccer coach for a Christian school. For more than 20 years I have worked around other leaders, under leaders, and have lead others. In that time, I have been lead by good and bad leaders, have lead in good and bad ways and have made lots of good and bad leadership decisions.

I have been a student of leadership since my days in middle school. Even then, I had a desire to be influencer…whether it was from the front or the back.

Leadership is my Passion

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own leadership and the type of leader I have been and the type of leader I have a strong desire to be. I turn 37 in September and this season of life is one where God is teaching me so much. I feel like I’m in a refining and a very challenging time.

Because of all this, I have been thinking about my leadership and leadership in general.

Here are some initial thoughts on the type of leader I want to be…

  • I want to influence people to live a great story with their lives
  • I want to model humility & servanthood
  • I want to be an incredible listener and someone who remembers the depth of the details I was told
  • I want to continually push those in my inner circle to better leaders
  • I don’t want to settle for average and I want to be embrace change
  • I want to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus and lead others to His feet

AND…I want to continually ask the question that I think most leaders are afraid to ask…

What can I do to improve as a Leader?

Don’t get me wrong, lot’s of leaders ask that question. But, typically they ask themselves that question and that’s only one part of the equation.

As leaders, we MUST ask the people we lead or are in close relationship with as well! We must ask for their genuine, truthful and honest opinion. And…we must ask from an open and honest standpoint.

I have found that leaders just don’t ask that question very often.

Why is that?

Our leadership will change for the better is we get over the fear of asking that very powerful question.

So, make a list of both the people you know want to hear that answer from and the people you don’t, and start asking.

A Blessed Life

My family and I get to experience something this week that we haven’t had much experience with…vacation!

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done a lot of traveling. But, most of the time our vacation or traveling also coincides with me teaching at a summer camp. And, that is pretty darn awesome! We’ve had a lot of great experiences at summer camps as a family. But, it’s not quite vacation when you teach twice a day and deal with the exhaustion that comes from teaching.

But, this upcoming week, we get to spend away and with each other. The last time we had time away like this was a few days we got to spend in California 4 years ago. It was absolutely amazing!

This trip wouldn’t be possible without some absolutely HUGE blessings from some incredible friends.

First…our entire conference was paid for! That means our hotel and registration costs were taken of by an prize entry that Tracie entered our family in. Because of that simple move, our family won this incredible trip!! Without this incredible gift, we wouldn’t have been able to afford this trip.

This is not only an incredible experience for Tracie and I to learn more from leading PKU researchers and doctors, but for Zach & Madie it’s an absolutely unbelievable opportunity! The conference provides some incredible food for PKU’er’s and it’s one of the only times in Zach & Madie’s life that they can walk up to a food table and grab whatever they want. We forget how much of our lives revolve around food and because of that, they are constantly left out. This is an incredible time for them to not feel left out.

Second…our very good friends are letting us borrow their mini-van for the week! Who does that??? We’ve had two sets of friends this summer let us borrow their vans and we’ve been so blessed! It’s amazing how blessed we are and I can’t thank these families enough!

Third…God blessed us with a few days before the conference to head to New York City. None of this would have happened without a few amazing gifts from friends.

Again, we are a blessed family!

 

 

The Church pt. 3

Many years ago I was handed a phenomenal book called Purpose Driven Church. I ATE it up! LOVED it! I actually couldn’t put it down and I’ve probably read it a few dozen times over the last 12 years. It was incredibly foundational for me and helped me figure out what I believe about the Church and why it exists. I actually had the privilege of attending one of the first Purpose Drive Church Conferences at Saddleback Church as well and that experience was an ‘ebenezer’ type moment for me. It blew me away and increased my love and belief in the local Church.

The basic premise of PDC says that the Church has 5 unique purposes…Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry. Those purposes are found in the great commandment and the great commission.

I agree with that to some extent after all these years, but I would probably role it all into one purpose…that has a few different focuses.

The growth of Jesus Followers

That’s my number one purpose of the Church. When I first started in ministry 17 years ago, I would have said to reach the lost at all cost. 5 years into ministry I would have said to worship God. 10 years in I would have said to build fellowship and give people a great place to serve.

Today I turn to Acts 2:42.

“They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.”

I think the Church exists to help followers of Jesus grow in their faith and maturity in Christ. I think this is done in a variety of ways…discipleship, evangelism, worship, ministry and fellowship. All of those focuses, when united together, should produce fully devoted followers of Jesus.

On a side note. I talk to my kids all the time about the Church. Why it exists. Why we attend or don’t attend. What’s the purpose…etc. Last week I was talking about the Church and Zach said…”I think the purpose of the church is to learn fun facts about Jesus”! I thought that was super cute!!!

This is why I believe in small groups so deeply. And…let me say this about small groups. I don’t believe in a small group ministry, or small groups based on a book study, or small groups as a program.

I believe the Church should embrace and live out small groups as a way of life. The early church was all about community. Breaking down the large community to houses and doing it in such a way that astounded people with how incredible they took care of each other and how they grew in their faith.

I believe that there should be no higher priority for the local church than the growth of followers of Jesus. Because when they’re growing and maturing in their faith…they will reach those that don’t know Christ and they will serve their family, friends and communities.

Through the Valley, Over the Hurdles and Up the Hills

I was telling a close friend last week that I think 2012 has been the hardesttoughest year of my short 36 years (almost 37) on planet earth.

I know that’s quite a statement and I’ve had quite a few rough years, but 2012 takes the cake.

This past year has felt like I’ve been taking a long walk through a very long valley, with many hurdles and many rocky hills.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s not all been tough. It’s not been all pain. It’s not been all struggle.

There have been incredibly high moments. I am a very blessed man. I have a wife of 15 years who has stuck by me and supported me and has loved me throughout all of our ups and downs. I have 4 incredibly wonderful kids. I have parents who continually amaze me with their support and love. I have a core group of mentors who have been pouring into me for many, many years. I have friends in my inner core who have been there and continue to check in on me and love me.

I have had some pretty amazing opportunities to tell those far from Christ about His amazing love. I have had some great moments to teach and speak to many students and adults. I have been able to pray for and care for so many!

And…I have a God who is faithful and who has been speaking so clearly to me…it’s really been amazing.

What I love about the valley’s, the hurdles and the hills is this…

It’s not fun to go through them, but once you do, you can find & experience the beauty that comes from pain. 

I am so excited about the future. I know that God has been and will continue refining the rough areas of my life and I know that the seasons of valley, of hurdles, of hills will ultimately bring me to a great place.

I can’t remember a time when my heart has been so full and so ready to experience the things and the ways of God. I know He is laying huge dreams on my heart and I can’t wait to experience the Kingdom size vision He has given me. Now is the time to sit and listen and to reflect on His beauty, His majesty, His grace, and His Love.