Top Posts of June 2010

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the last month on the blog:

  1. Thoughts on Burnout, Sleep, Adrenalin, Stress, Sex and Eating
  2. Being a Pastor’s Wife Part 1
  3. What a Pastor Does on a Break
  4. Being a Pastor’s Wife Part 4
  5. Soccernomics
  6. Being a Pastor’s Wife Part 3
  7. What He Must Be…If He Wants to Marry my Daughter
  8. Being a Pastor’s Wife Part 5
  9. Saturday Night Mind Dump… (6/5/10)
  10. Being a Pastor’s Wife Part 2

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Where to begin
  • I didn’t do a mind dump last Saturday because we were on vacation
  • I know many pastors don’t take vacations, for a variety of reasons
  • Here is a newsflash that I have learned:  your church will not die without you
  • I’m grateful that I have a team that would not let me not take vacation
  • I’m grateful for elders who will not let me burn myself and my church out by preaching every week
  • It was awesome getting away with Katie and the kids, no cell phone or computer
  • Love that
  • We took hikes, sat on the back porch drinking coffee and reading books
  • With 3 small kids, we didn’t sleep in, but that is life
  • It was awesome going to church with Katie and just sitting and soaking in being at church
  • Today was the rummage sale for our adoption
  • I was once again reminded this week about how amazing my wife is and how far I married up
  • It was so humbling to have people donate the things they did and the time they gave
  • We could not have done it without so many friends giving stuff and time
  • We had friends who gave up over 12 hours of their time
  • A huge, huge thank you. Words cannot express our gratitude
  • At the end of the today, we raised almost $1800
  • We are doing another one at our house in a few weeks, so we’ll keep you posted
  • We are almost done with Phase 1, so excited
  • Tonight was an awesome night at Revolution
  • We continued our One Prayer Unstoppable series by using a sermon from Steven Furtick on God’s unstoppable power
  • We shared tonight with parents that we are transitioning from Cody leading Rev Up to having Paul Samson lead it
  • Excited about what Cody has done and what God is going to use him for in the future as he re-enlists in the Army
  • Excited to have Paul on board
  • We are also going to have Rev Up meet on Friday nights when we move so that students can be part of the service and serve on teams
  • Really excited about this
  • Even though I’m sad that the US lost today, I’m excited about the soccer still to be played
  • There is nothing like the World Cup
  • This week, our entire staff team is on vacation, so I’m planning to get a lot of upcoming stuff done for joining Acts 29, working on the study guides for our Ultimate Fighter series on 2 Timothy and working on my book proposal
  • Two weeks ago, we used a message from Craig Groeschel about killing the lions in your life and fulfilling what God was calling you to
  • For me, I have always wanted to write a book and started one but never finished for a variety of reasons
  • So, on vacation I decided to start working on it
  • I remember Mark Batterson telling me that you know you are ready to write a book when you are willing to write it even in you have to publish it, I can honestly say that is where I am at, so excited about this topic that is just burning in me
  • Stay tuned

What a Pastor Does on a Break

Ever since being a student pastor I have watched lead pastors (sometimes from afar and sometimes up close) burnout and fizzle out of ministry. Ministry and leadership is a marathon, not a sprint which it is so often treated as such. This past year our elder team worked through my job description (I didn’t have one before) and laid out what I should be spending my time on, who I should be spending time with, how much time I should spend on sermon prep, how many weekends a year I should preach, etc. One of the things we talked through was each summer having 3 – 4 weekends in a row that I don’t preach. To use that time to recharge, listen to preaching, go on a family vacation, spend extra time with leaders, work on upcoming sermons and study guides.

Well, my break starts this week. I couldn’t feel more excited and weirder about the whole experience. Which I think is a good thing.

The next month will be filled with some personal evaluation, taking a step back to look at Revolution, looking ahead to the coming year, working on the study guides and family devotional guides for our sermon series Ultimate Fighter (2 Timothy) & The Blessed Life (Philippians), prep for The Perfect Kid series, going on a family vacation, some reading and world cup watching.

Starting this Saturday, we are partnering with almost 1,200 churches from around the globe for the One Prayer initiative in our series Unstoppable. I’m not only excited about this series because of the topic and how it will challenge us as a church, but also who our church will get to hear from over the course of the series. I know many pastors who take the mindset that when they go on vacation, they want to get a speaker worse than them so when they return their church is excited they are back to hear good preaching. Our goal is that whether I speak or not, whether Paul is leading worship or not, 52 weeks a year you can know that Revolution will be awesome and you will not have to worry about bringing a friend. Revolution will be Revolution regardless of who is speaking or leading worship. For the next 4 weeks we will get to hear from Luke Simmons, Craig Groeschel, Steven Furtick and Timothy Keller.

If you think of it, Katie and I would appreciate your prayers to be recharged, refreshed over the next month. God is doing amazing things at Revolution and we are praying and expecting the next year to be even better than this year (which is hard to imagine) as we move to our new location.

Get ready!

What I’m Reading This Summer

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good book. We just wrapped up Nehemiah this past weekend, which means I am heading into summer. This summer will be different for me in a few ways. I am taking a break, which is much needed after getting Revolution off the ground. Ava starts kindergarten, which will usher in a whole new world.

Every summer I set a goal of reading at least 10 books on a variety of topics. Some for my personal leadership, parenting/marriage, future sermons (this summer I’m prepping for The Perfect Kid series), my own spiritual journey and for fun. I didn’t list the fun ones (usually novels). This summer I’m planning to read David Baldacci’s King & Maxwell series. Katie and I are also planning on watching Lost this summer as we have never seen it.

So, if you are curious, here are the books I’m hoping to read this summer:

Vacation & Rest

I think for many people, the idea of a vacation tends to be a mirage. Especially type A, driven leaders who are pastors. The idea of a vacation sounds wimpy. Just when you start to talk about taking a vacation, especially as a pastor, you start to ask questions like, “What will people think if I take a vacation? Who will preach for me? Will my church survive if I am away?” While these are stupid questions, there is that little voice in your head that asks them.

As we got Revolution off the ground, it was non-stop and has been non-stop for the last 18 months. In that 18 month time span, I have had 5 weeks off from preaching until this month. That is not enough for the sustainability of me or the church.

Recently, Katie and I read through Leading on Empty together which led to many really good, challenging conversations about our schedules, pace and what was sustainable. While there are seasons in life that are busier than others, one of the main questions you need to ask is, “Is this sustainable?” We began to see that life was moving too quickly and it was affecting sleep, our relationship, how we related to our kids and ultimately how I worked.

The main reason that pastors step out of ministry is burnout. Most people don’t know this, but when you start out as a pastor, you have about a 5 – 10% of retiring as a pastor. In fact, 85% of pastors quit being pastors after the first 5 years. The reason? Burnout.

As I’ve talked with other pastors, they constantly say pace, balance and having regular rest and vacation are reasons they are still in ministry.

I think for many of us, we are so good at continuing to keep moving, staying busy because if we stop, we aren’t sure what we would do.

Katie and I started to ask questions like:  what refreshes us? Why am I having trouble sleeping? Am I stopping enough? What re-energizes me? If we have the same schedule and pace in 6 months, will that be a good or a bad thing?

There was a great article that I came across by C.J. Mahaney about how to maximize vacation. One of the problems with vacation is many people come back from it and say, “Now, I need a vacation” because they didn’t maximize their time away. One of the things he points out is that careful planning leads to a great vacation, along with the fact that the Dad drives the attitude and the feeling of the vacation.

Along with C.J.’s article, I came across a lot of other blogs and articles about the topics of rest and leadership:  Killing ourselves in Jesus’ name by Scott Thomas and The sabbath was made for man by Catalyst.

Take the time, do some research, figure out what makes you rest, how you relax and then do it.

Saturday Night Mind Dump… (End of Vacation Edition)

  • Awesome night tonight @ Revolution
  • It was great to go to church, do nothing, and just be part of our church
  • Every pastor needs to do that
  • You see things you don’t normally see because you aren’t “on”
  • I got some feedback from pastors on twitter about why I would go to Revolution if I wasn’t preaching
  • When we started Revolution one of our goals was to start a church we would want to attend
  • We did that
  • Paul has done an awesome job with this series
  • The creativity has been great
  • Love the conversation this series has sparked
  • A lot of people taking serious steps to get out of debt and make right decisions when it comes to money
  • Awesome!
  • Here are some things that Katie blogged about how we save money and shop on a budget
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • We got back from vacation yesterday
  • This is where I got to start running from all week
  • This picture shows why I love being at the beach
  • This picture shows why I love vacation
  • While in San Diego I got to have lunch with Jim Johnson and then David Fairchild
  • Both guys really challenged my thinking about church and leadership from two completely different perspectives
  • When Jim’s book comes out, it will be a must read
  • We announced our next series tonight, so excited about this series
  • I have loved my break this month, but I am ready to get back and preach
  • I am so grateful to have the elders we do who have allowed me to have this break and the team we have in place so that everything runs smoothly
  • This week is the home stretch to finishing the writing of our Partnership class
  • Be on the lookout for this in August
  • This happened while we were gone, not cool
  • Some new tunes worth checking out:  Lost Ocean, The Drawing Room, and the new Future of Forestery & The Glorious Unseen
  • If you haven’t joined Revolution’s Facebook Group yet, you can do so here
  • Ashton “sat” up today
  • We have our small group tomorrow
  • It will be great to meet since we were off last week
  • It’s amazing how when you miss a week, you miss the people and the conversations
  • It’s time for bed
  • Getting up tomorrow and taking a long run
  • I see a 10 miler in my future

Off to Colorado

Katie and I get on a plane this morning to head to Colorado. We’ll be there until Saturday morning, when we’ll fly back in time so I can preach on Saturday night. Next Saturday is going to be awesome, new series, Paul will be here leading worship for us as they are looking for a place to live. Great night to be there.

Whenever I go away, I always take more books than I’ll have time to read, force of habit. But it is one of the ways I re-energize and relax. I’m taking Everything must change, Jesus wants to save Christians, Talent is never enough, Essential church & What got you here won’t get you there.

I am more convinced than ever that couples need to schedule in times where they get away without their kids. Time away to reconnect, to relax, sleep, be together, to rekindle their passion for each other.

In light of that, this week I won’t be posting very much or anything at all. The posts that will go up this week are already planned and typed out. I’ll be taking a much needed break.

I will be twittering though, so you can follow our adventures here.

White Water Rafting

One of the things we did in Durango was go white water rafting. When we asked how old you have to be, they said they took 2 year olds! So I did what any good Dad would do, I took Ava. She cried for all 90 minutes of the trip. In her defense, she doesn’t like getting splashed and the water was 20 degrees. You can see her standing in between my legs. It made it a little difficult to row and try to keep her steady. But isn’t that what being a parent is all about, creating stories? We call it memories, but they are really stories for later embarassment.

Vacation – Durango, CO

Love going on vacation. I told Katie, if there is a place I could retire to, it is Durango. It is beautiful in the winter, they got 300 inches of snow this year, but it is breathtaking in the summer.

We went canoeing, I took Ava whitewater rafting (she hated it, but after it was over, she loved it), I went mountain biking and went past snow, that was weird. Overall, a great week, definitely what we needed.

Here are some pics from the trip:

Vacation

We’re leaving for a much needed vacation tomorrow morning, about when the sun comes up. I am pretty excited about being away with the family, some good books, the mountains (the picture below is where we’re going), my bike, and my family! Did I already say that.

I’m looking forward to doing some good reading, I’m taking:  Under the Unpredictable Plant, Winning with People, Authenticity, Surprised by Hope, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality &  Renovation of the Heart. My goal is to get through 3 of them.

I will not be taking my phone or laptop (family vacation rules) so I will not be blogging, so the comments will be turned off. Please pray for us while we’re gone, we could use it as we get refreshed. See you in 9 days!