Links for Your Weekend Reading

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Don’t preach simply, preach richly.

Thom Rainer on An autopsy of a burned out pastor.

The pastor would not say “no” to requests for time. Being a short-term people pleaser became a longer-term problem.

Chuck Lawless on 10 Questions for a spiritual check-up.

It’s hard to believe that almost ½ of 2014 is now gone. Rather than worry about days past, though, let’s focus on preparing for the rest of the year. Use this list as a spiritual checkup to evaluate your walk, and then let us know how we might pray for you.

Denny Burk on Should you allow your kids to go to a sleepover?

The day of sleepovers has passed. There are simply too many risks involved. Parents, therefore, should be wary of allowing their children to participate in what for many of us was a very common part of our growing-up years.

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Top Post of June

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In case you missed them, here are the top 10 posts for the last month:

  1. Pick a Church
  2. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  3. N.T. Wright on Gay Marriage
  4. Pastors Can Make the Worst Friends
  5. God Will Let You Have Your Sin
  6. Why Calvinism Matters
  7. What to do When You’re Too Tired to Work
  8. How Motherhood Begins, Continues, And…
  9. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  10. 10 Books Every Christian Leader Should Read

5 Albums I’m Loving Right Now

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I’m a huge fan of music and every year I post my favorite albums of the year. You can see my honorable mentions and favorite albums of 2013.

Since we’re halfway through the year, I thought I’d share 5 albums that I am digging right now (in no particular order). You can see all the albums I’m digging for the year on my spotify list here.

  1. Broken Bells – After the Disco
  2. Houses – A Quiet Darkness
  3. Lost in the Trees – Past Life
  4. Passenger – Whispers
  5. William Fitzsimmons – Lions

The list is definitely more melancholy and serious than my normal tastes. Part of that is getting older and the main part is I’ve been doing a ton of writing this year on my book, so I need the quieter stuff.

What are your favorite albums of the year so far?

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The Loneliness of a Pastor on a Holiday

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I’ll admit right from the start. This is an awkward post to write (and no, I don’t need an invite for a cookout this weekend). But with the 4th of July coming up, I thought it might be helpful for pastors, for a pastor’s wife, and for church members to understand what a holiday like this is often like for a pastor.

Many pastors and their families do nothing with anyone on a holiday weekend.

This is something that is hard for someone who is not a pastor to understand.

A pastor knows so many people, and because of this, people in their church think the pastor and his wife have a ton of friends. This is rarely the case. Because they know so many people, everyone in their church assumes the pastor and his family is always doing something with someone. So, when a picnic or pool party rolls around in the summer time, no one thinks to invite the pastor and his family because “they probably already have plans.”

I remember how hard this was when we first planted Revolution. I remember when this became obvious. We were talking to someone about a summer holiday, I can’t remember which one and they were surprised we had no plans. And they said, “But you guys know everybody. I thought you’d have 15 invitations.”

Now, if you are an introvert, you may not care. Chances are high though, if you don’t care, your spouse does.

In the past few years, this has changed for our family by doing a few things:

  1. Invite people over. At first we started inviting people to our house on the holiday weekends. If no one invites you to their house, throw a party and invite people over. Have a great time. Besides you’re the pastor, they’ll want to come over. This is also a great opportunity to model hospitality if your church isn’t very good at this.
  2. Build community the rest of the year. We often wait to build community for when we need it. That leaves us lonely and hurting. You have to build community for the time that you need community, if you wait til you need it, it will be too late. Pour into relationships at other times, be a good friend to others. Many pastors struggle with being a good friend and shutting off work and just being a person.
  3. Teach people what it is like to be a leader. Most people have no idea what it is like to be a pastor or be a pastor’s wife or be part of a pastor’s family. Teach them. Talk about it. Recommend books on it or share blogs (like this one). It isn’t that your church doesn’t care, they just don’t know.
  4. Be someone people want to invite over. The reality is, some people don’t hang out with their pastor or his wife because they aren’t fun to be with. It isn’t that they are being mean, it is just that you aren’t any fun to be with. You might be a grumpy pastor, or a bitter pastor’s wife. Fight against that. Be a friend people want to have. Learn how to talk about other topics besides church or God. Have some hobbies you can do with others.

I hope that helps you as a pastor or if you aren’t a pastor, to know how your pastor might feel this weekend. Have a great holiday!

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How to Find the Right Boss

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The church I lead is hiring 2 new staff members right now and while I’ve learned a ton about hiring (a post coming soon), I have also learned a lot about how to pick a boss. Often, when someone talks about finding a job or a career, we simply look at the company, the perks, the pay, location and the values and mission of the church or organization and decide on that. Yet, studies show people leave jobs more because of their boss than anything else. In fact, people will take less money to stay with a boss they love. One of the questions I ask each person we interview is this: Tell me about your ideal lead pastor. What can he do to help you succeed? What things can he do to hamper your growth? These questions tell me a few things: do they know what they are looking for in a boss? Do they know themselves well enough to know what they need to succeed?

I believe, one of the reasons we don’t succeed or move forward in life is because we aren’t sure what that looks like.

If I was telling someone looking for a job who would not be the boss, but would have a boss I would tell you a few things:

  1. Know who you are. This means that you need to understand your gifts, talents, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. This may seem like an obvious thing, but many are unsure of how they are wired. If you aren’t sure how you are wired, you won’t know how will you fit with a boss or a culture. Do you like teamwork, working alone? Do you want a strict office or more laid back policies? Each church has a different culture based on its leaders, city and history and you need to understand this. I was on staff at a good church in Wisconsin and it was a terrible cultural fit. They wanted high extroverts who wanted a casual business dress with regular office hours. Doing student ministry at the time, this was not a good fit for me. Others would have loved it.
  2. Know what you need to succeed. This follows closely with the first one, but know what environment and kind of boss you need to succeed. Do you want a micro manager who one who is hands off? How much say do you want in the vision and culture of the church? What things are non-negotiable things for you and what are more open handed issues and beliefs? These questions will help you determine if someone or a church is a good fit. Otherwise, you will choose on location, style and pay and those are not always the best reasons to choose a job.
  3. Find someone worth following. If you are not the CEO, Lead Pastor or lead whatever, one of your main concerns is finding a leader you want to follow. That leader will decide so much about your career, livelihood, excitement, passion and happiness in your life that finding the wrong can be devastating. It adds stress, disappointment, hurt, possibly abuse and pain. I can’t emphasize enough that you need to spend time figuring out the kind of leader you want to follow, if the person you are interviewing with or working for right now is the leader you want to follow and make a choice. I think more leaders who not be the lead pastor need to spend more time thinking about the kind of person they are working for or following instead of judging a job based on salary and perks.

In the end, finding the right boss can be just as important as finding the right job. When you find the right boss, I would encourage you to think hard before you go looking for a new one. They aren’t easy to find, as anyone who has worked for the wrong boss can attest.

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5 Things Productive People do in the Morning

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Productivity is something everyone would like to raise in their life. To accomplish more is a goal most people have. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on time management, productivity, cutting things out of your life and how to step your game up. It seems like productive people accomplish more than everyone else and it isn’t because their life is easier or they have more hours in the day. They do specific things that everyone does not do.

Here are 5 things productive people do in the morning:

  1. Make their bed. I came across this from Admiral William McRaven, the Navy SEAL who commanded the operation to capture Osama Bin Laden. He says, “Start every day making your bed, which was the first task of the day at SEAL training. If you do so, it will mean that the first thing you do in the morning is to accomplish something, which sets the tone for the day, encourages you to accomplish more, and reinforces that little things in life matter. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made–that you made,” McRaven said, “and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
  2. Read. Productive people read in the morning. It might be the bible, a leadership book, but something that will grow them. This is pouring into themselves so they have more to give to others. In this time, they don’t check their email. It seems the most productive people check their email either at lunch or a few hours into work. You’ll see why in #5.
  3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starts thing off well. Productive people not only eat breakfast, but they eat a high protein breakfast. That means, no cereal. You will be hungry in an hour and then spend the day snacking, which will hurt your health and you’ll end up eating too much sugar and you’ll feel it in the middle of the afternoon.
  4. Exercise. I could also say they get a good night sleep, but that isn’t necessarily a morning thing. Productive people do get better and more sleep than unproductive people. They go to bed at a decent time (usually the same time each night) and get up at the same time each morning so their life is more routine. By getting up early enough, they exercise. This helps to clear your head, get your blood flowing and get ready for the day. It also allows you to make sure exercise happens as it is easy for the day to get away from you or your evening to be busy.
  5. Plan your day. All of us have known the feeling of our day getting away from us. That doesn’t happen to productive people. They don’t waste time. They don’t sit in meetings they shouldn’t be in, they check their email on their time table, not someone else’s. The first thing I do after reading in the morning is list the 2-3 most important things I need to accomplish in a day and then strive to do those things.

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Not in Vain

Today, I am still on my summer preaching break. I decided this year I would share some of the messages that have challenged my heart the most in the past year.

Last year at the Leadership Summit, Andy Stanley gave an incredible talk called Not in Vain. I knew I wanted to share the message with Revolution as some point and today was that day. If you missed it or want to hear it again, you can watch it below. I hope it challenges you the way it did me.

Links for Your Weekend Reading

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Patrick Lencioni on The healthiest organizations win.

A healthy organization is one that maintains a cohesive leadership team, establishes clarity about what it stands for, communicates that clarity repetitively, and puts in place processes and systems to reinforce that clarity over time.

 How one church is using orderliness to attract millenials.

Jen Wilkin on Daughters and dating and how to intimidate their suitors.

Here’s the problem with shotgun jokes and applications posted on the fridge: to anyone paying attention, they announce that you fully expect your daughter to have poor judgment. Be assured that your daughter is paying attention. And don’t be shocked if she meets your expectation. You might want to worry less about terrorizing or retro-fitting prospective suitors and worry more about preparing your daughter to choose wisely. And that means building a wall. Instead of intimidating all your daughter’s potential suitors, raise a daughter who intimidates them just fine on her own.

The #1 lie parents believe about social media.

The #1 lie parents believe about social media is that that they have to be as tech savvy as their kids. Why is that a lie? Because you will NEVER be as tech savvy as your kids.

Thom Rainer on 10 tips to becoming a more productive pastor.

Pastors are thus expected to “run the race” constantly. But how can a pastor keep the pace in this marathon of ministry without burning out? How can a pastor remain productive with such demands? Allow me to offer ten tips to becoming a more productive pastor.

6 Tips to getting a better night sleep.

OK GO new song (Always blown away by the creativity of this band and this is incredible)

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N.T. Wright on Gay Marriage

This is so good:

You can read the transcript of the interview here.

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