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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The friendless pastor.

It’s ironic that pastors, who talk the most about the need for community, experience it the least. Our days and nights are filled with calls, meetings, and interactions with people. But despite lots of people contact, we have few trusted peers. We have too many relationships and too few friends. Isolated leaders are a danger to themselves and their churches.

Joel Garfinkle on What great leaders do.

What does a leader look like? Think of two leaders, famous or not, whom you admire and respect. What do they do that is so different? What traits do they have that help them excel at a high level? Leadership is not a great mystery. Great leaders have specific traits in common.

Are pastors kids prodigals?

The survey’s results say no. Barna found that PKs leave the church, experience periods of doubt, and abandon their Christian faith at a rate pretty equivalent to our peers.

Trevin Wax on Why pastors should preach the “why” before the “what.”

Plans are good. Programs are good. But the why behind the plan and the why behind the program is even better.

Brian Howard on Why we can’t be friends.

Most of us like to talk about ourselves. But unless you are in a counselor’s office at least half of any given conversation should be asking questions about the other person’s interests and desires. There is little that is more relationally life giving than having a person take a deep interest in you. Offer this blessing to those you are in relationship with. In a real friendship you are not only receiving but you are giving.

Brian Dodd on What churches can do to ensure guests come back after Easter.

 Churches do a great job of putting significant effort into their Sunday worship services.  I would like to challenge all churches to put an equal amount of effort into your children’s classes and programming.  The reason is because children can deliver “the win” of a 75% return rate.

 

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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.

book

  1. How to use Evernote to keep track of everything. I love Evernote. It is the app I use more than anything else.
  2. Craig Groeschel on 4 things every leader should know about their staff.
  3. A father of 8 talks about the looks and comments he gets and what it reveals about our culture and families. I get these a lot, so I can relate.
  4. Scott Williams on The power of naps.
  5. 12 costs all leaders must be willing to pay to be successful.
  6. Jay Yarow on How 18-29 year olds view the use of technology. This is pretty eye opening and will have huge implications on life and ministry into the future.
  7. How to pray for your city.
  8. Charles Stone on 5 telling questions to ask at your next staff meeting.
  9. Sam Storms on Does God want you to be happy?
  10. Thom Rainer on How to be a better church staff member.

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
  1. Tim Stevens on You have to give up to go up. Great leadership principle.
  2. Rick Warren on Picking great books.
  3. Preaching for the home run. My preaching professor told me, “Don’t preach for the home run, just preach to get on base.”

Links I Like

Links of the Week

  1. The Village Church on Churches planting churches. Right now, we are starting to work through plans to plant our first church as Revolution. I’m hoping this happens in the next 2 – 5 years. This vision is also one of the reasons I am excited about Revolution joining Acts 29.
  2. To your tweets into a journal.
  3. Sam Harris of Fast Company wrote an article about contradictions in the Bible. Justin Holcomb and Matt Perman wrote two great responses to the article. You can read Justin’s here (love Justin’s title Why Fast Company need to do their homework) and Matt’s here. On the same topic, if you have questions about the Bible, how we got it, if there are contradictions in it. A great book to check out is The Big Book of Bible Difficulties.
  4. Is the church afraid of modesty?
  5. Jamie Munson on Leading your family in stewardship. One of the roles of a husband/father is to lead their family. The area of stewardship, how your family spends their money, time and resources all fits under the category of stewardship.
  6. How great leaders aspire action.
  7. Ed Stetzer’s take on George Barna’s research on the resurgence of the reformed camp.
  8. Josh Buice on The troubling view of Joel Osteen. Joel has a new book out and was recently on The View and continued his teaching of not wanting to offend anyone with the gospel.
  9. The journey of Lecrae. If more rap was like Lecrae, I would listen to more rap.
  10. Perry Noble on The price of being a leader.
  11. Is it possible to be too nice as a leader? Ron Edmondson thinks so, great stuff.
  12. Mark Driscoll on Daddy christmas tips. These are great and a must read for every dad.

Links of the Week

  1. Scott Williams on why Leadership is simple.
  2. The benefits of being a church planting church. I’m praying that in the next 3 – 5 years we plant our first church out of Revolution.
  3. Silence is still an answer. This is a great article on why churches and pastors need to take certain stands on issues and mission. Silence communicates something.
  4. So, why are pastors so fat? This article is right on and it is a big problem for pastors. We need more self control in this area of our lives. You can see my journey here.
  5. How to disciple your wife. Great, easy steps.
  6. Jamie Munson on 4 reasons to expand your church (even when you shouldn’t). I always want Revolution to balance risk/faith with wisdom. This is hard but I believe healthy, effective, growing churches do this well.
  7. 11 signs you are addicted to twitter. Only 5 of these were true for me, I guess that means I’m only halfway addicted.
  8. Teaching church history to kids. Here is a great resource to teach your kids church history, looks great.
  9. J.D. Greear on The goal of preaching. This is a great short video.
  10. Perry Noble on 7 reasons leaders flame out. Great list.
  11. 25 nutritional secrets from Men’s Health. This has been one of the most helpful things in my weight loss journey.
  12. Jani Ortlund on Missional mothering.

Leaders Choose Their Hills

One thing that is true of all leaders is that they have strong beliefs. All leaders have hills that they have chosen to die on. Here are some things I’ve learned in 13 years of leading in a church setting:

  1. As soon as you decide what your hills are, you will be tested on them.
  2. No matter what hill you pick, someone will be mad.
  3. If you choose a hill to die on, chances are good, that you will die on that hill. So pick wisely.

Let me break them down.

When you choose your hill(s), you are choosing things that you are passionate about. As a pastor, you are dying on hills that you believe are biblical and as a leader, you are also combining that belief to your passion and vision, which makes them even stronger. Most people in our culture do not like passionate people who know something because most people in our culture don’t know something and they aren’t passionate. As a pastor or leader in a church, you will be tested financially because your hills will cost you. There will be large givers in your church who disagree with your hills and they will want you to change them. There will be people who just don’t like your hills, their last pastor didn’t die on hills or he had different ones. People will look for you to compromise on them, to acquiesce them.

One thing I have learned is that vision divides, so people will look for ways for you to move off your hill. Any decision you make or hill you choose will make someone immensely happy and someone else furious. People will follow you because of a hill you choose and others will run as fast as they can in the other direction because of the hill you choose. A leader is not swayed. If you know what God has called you to, what is Biblical, then stick with that. Don’t go back and forth. Too many “leaders” are willing to drop their vision or make tweaks to it in an effort to keep people happy. That is not leadership. It is so sad to me when I talk to a leader and they say, “I know God is calling me to this or our church to this, but I’m getting flack so we are going to make some tweaks.”

Now, this doesn’t mean that a leader should act like a dictator and bulldoze through people and do what they want. This is why every leader needs accountability and a team to run things through. But, when that team says, “Yes, this is what God has called us.” Then, by all means, do that and move forward.

Your vision and hills will be difficult at times. Because these are things you feel called to, that means you are moving in the direction that you feel God is moving you, which means you will be very passionate about these. Remember, as passionately as you support them, others will passionately stand against them or just not like them.

At Revolution, we have chosen the hills we will die on and I can tell you that it has not always been easy. The hills we have chosen have defined us as a church. They have defined us missionally, doctrinally, how we spend money, how we hire staff and what we do on a weekly basis.

At the end of the day, all leaders and churches have hills they will die on. It might be a vision thing, it might a money thing, it might be a “keep everyone here and happy” thing, but whatever it is, you have them. So, choose well.

You Become what you Think About

You become what you think about most of the time.

Most of the time, leaders think about the qualities of leadership and how to apply them daily.

Leaders have a clear vision of where they are going, and they convey this vision to everyone around them.

Leaders have the courage to take risks, to move forward, to face danger with no guarantee of success.

Leaders have integrity. They deal honestly and straightforwardly with each person. They tell the truth, and they always keep their word.

Leaders are humble. They get results by using the strengths and knowledge of those around them. They know how to listen, and they know how to learn.

Leaders have foresight. They continually look ahead and anticipate what might happen. They make provisions to guard against possible reversals and put themselves into a position to take advantage of possible opportunities.

Leaders focus on what’s important. They concentrate their time and resources, and the time and resources of the company, on the activities that will make the most difference.

Leaders cooperate well with others. They are liked and respected by everyone around them. They go out of their way to get along well with the key people upon which the company depends. They truly believe that people are their most valuable asset.

The best companies (churches) have the best leaders. The second-best companies (churches) have the second-best leaders. The third-best companies (churches), in these times of turbulence, are unfortunately on their way out of business.

The most important contribution you can make to your company (church) is to be a leader, accept responsibility for results, and dare to go forward.

-Taken from How the Best Leaders Lead by Brian Tracy

Letting Go

It seems like the older I get, the more I have to let go of.

It is this way physically. The older you get, the less you can do and you have to let go. It takes longer to recover from a long run than when I was 18. I have to eat differently now.

Parenting is the same way. It seems like a series of letting go. As our kids get older, I give up more and more control over them.

Leadership is the same way. The longer you lead and the larger your church grows, the more you let go of.

This is definitely what is happening in my life right now and what God is teaching me. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently as we are in the process of moving to a new facility for Revolution. When Revolution started, Katie and I were involved in everything. From the printing, set up, greeting, first impressions, signs. Everything. In a way, it was kind of nice because I got to do things the way I wanted them done.

As our church has grown, we have raised up more and more leaders. To the point that we have a large leadership team overseeing a variety of teams. The other night we had a meeting about the move. I sat there looking at the list of tasks (numbering in the 30’s) of things that needed to be done for us to be ready to have a service there on July 17th. My name was next to 3 things. And 1 of them was already done. In fact, I wasn’t even leading the meeting. Paul was (as he is in charge of the move).

Now, this is a good thing because this is our plan at Revolution. By having the team we have, it frees me up to do what only I can do.

But, just because it is a good plan does not make it easy. Letting go is hard in any avenue of life, but as a leader, it is essential for you to take the next step and for your church to take the next step.

Like parenting, health and leadership. When you let go, you hope that you have done a good job of preparing those you are letting go of to do what they need to do. When my kids are grown and leave the house, hopefully I have taught them well and prepared them for what lies ahead. As a leader, when you let go, you find out if you have done a good job of leading and preparing people to lead. This is why many leaders don’t let go.

Craig Groeschel has two great blog posts about what a leader needs to “know”:  letting go of the need to know and what a leader doesn’t know.

Why do you think letting go is so hard to do?

How a Movement Starts

“There’s a difference between telling people what to do and inciting a movement. The movement happens when people talk to one another, when ideas spread within the community, and most of all, when peer support leads people to do what they always knew was the right thing. Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate. They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.” – Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us