Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year End Wrap Up

Today is December 31st and it is the end of the year 2007. As we go out of this year I thought it would be great to give you a wrap up of this year on my blog. I track my blog stats with Google Analytics.

For the year of 2007:

7,995 Visits
11,948 Page Views
4,331 Visitors

Viewed in 72 Countries
Top three: 1) USA, 2) Canada, 3) United Kingdom

Viewed in 49 States plus DC (missing Alaska if you know anyone there)
Top three: 1) Texas, 2) California, 3) Nebraska

Top four posts:

1) Evolution For Dance
2) Drinking On Stage
3) Message Prep System
4) Clothe The Naked

Top Three Blogger Sites That Sent Hits My Way: (there were others like google, blogger, technorati, etc...but these are sites of other bloggers)

1) Serial Youth Pastor
3) Connecting For Eternity

Some of my favorite keyword searches that lead people here:

"win the lottery" pray numbers agreement bible (I wonder if they won)
austin churches hiring worship pastors in 2007 (I don't sing that good)
does mark driscoll rudely speak of women
i am looking for a tamale maker or sauage maker?
i live with my mom
making sleighs for santa (my bivocational ministry job...NOT)
prayer for my spirit guide (I hope they found the "right" one)
wifes clothed and naked (not at my site)
you know your ghetto when

So who are all of you???

62% use Internet Explorer, 33% use Firefox
83% use Windows, 9% use Macintosh
53% use 1024x768 as your screen resolution,

It is a google world...I don't know why you yahoo'ers don't wake up.
1478 hits came through 90

May all of you have a blessed and fruitful year.

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Part 2

During this series, "Triple Your Youth Ministry", it is my hope that you don't look at this as a prescription. You know, do A. B. C. or 1. 2. 3. and you will be guaranteed that your youth ministry will triple. I am sorry to disappoint you but it won't happen.

Your youth ministry (or any ministry/church/business) will grow in proportion to the size of its leader.

Now before you all go hit the buffet lines I'm not talking about your waist size. I am talking specifically about the size of your vision and your leadership. This is what I alluded to in Part 1 that this might not be a one year project. If you are not ready or are not able to lead your ministry at the level you want it to won't happen.

Let me give you some bible examples:
  • Moses wasn't just some hick off the backside of the desert. Moses was strategically raised in Pharaoh's court. He was given the best of educations and was raised to be a leader.
  • Daniel was educated in the finest of schools in.
  • Nehemiah was skilled enough to be within the kings inner circle.
  • David was brought in as an armor bearer to the king and was given responsibility after responsibility to grow.
I could go on and on with other examples but the point is that for you to see growth of the magnitude we are talking about it is going to come only after you grow yourself. Don't dismiss these examples. God strategically placed them where they needed to be and utilized their backgrounds in the dimension He wanted to use them.

These men were raised to be leaders and their success was in direct proportion to not just God...but their being able to lead.

Begin this year to prepare for the growth God desires for your ministry.
  • Read some books that will give you the knowledge you need.
  • Read blogs of churches and pastors who are seeing big things happen. Listen to their messages to catch some of that vision.
  • Put yourself in another arena to sharpen your skills.
  • Visit a larger youth ministry in your area and connect with their youth pastor to increase your vision.
  • Listen to some leadership podcasts that will continually feed your leadership.
  • Go to a larger youth ministry conference that will expand your vision.
  • Get started with these videos on Developing Yourself As A Leader.
Set a plan in motion today to begin your growth. Start down this path today and you will see that vision begin to happen.

What are some resources you could use to grow yourself?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Part 1

All this week I want to give some practical approaches to growing a youth ministry. I want to help any youth pastor out there triple their youth ministry in one year.

Can it happen? You bet.

In fact, we did it twice in two different churches. In both, we were able to not just double, but triple our youth ministry in one year's time.

These series of posts are going to be written for those youth pastor's out there that dream of doing something big for God. It is about those of you who want to make incredible community impact.

Make no mistake...growth is biblical and I believe God wants to grow your youth ministry. I believe He has a heart for the teens in your community and is waiting for someone to step up to the plate and swing for the fences.

Before we get going this week, I'll be very upfront in saying this is not a debate about whether a small or large youth ministry is God's will. This is not whether we are focused on "numbers" only. It is not about "depth" of the ministry although I hope to cover it. I'm also not going to go into a lot of detail. Most of it is going to be short and sweet. I've thought about writing a lot of this into the form of an e-book, but one of my goals in life is to be able to get practical tools into the hands of ministry at little or no cost.

I can also promise you that if you are not ready for growth it probably won't happen over the next year. Some of what I'll cover will deal with that.

For a little background, in the first church our youth ministry went from averaging 30 in July to 90 by May of the next year. In the second, our youth ministry went from averaging 24 to averaging 75 in one years time. These are monthly averages of our weekly attendance. These were also both in small least small by my standards. Both averaged between 300 to 500 in attendance at the time of our growth. The first was in a community of 25,000. The other was in a city of 275,000. Our growth was also in no way attributed to the church growing through that season as both churches attendance over the year stayed pretty much flat. Reason I know is I counted.

Here is a sample of what we will be covering:
So strap in as I'm ready to help you grow your youth ministry!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Closing Out The Year

2007 has come to a close my friends. For me it has been an interesting ride. The first six months were stable followed by six months of...well...I'm not sure I have words to describe.

In reflection, I don't know if anyone could have saw the last six months coming. Part of me says it is all preparation. Another part of me screams out, "WHY????"

I can honestly say that for the past three or four years I have been in a desert season. One that has seasoned and birthed in me the desire to do something crazy, huge for God. 2007 has fueled the vision God had started in me four years ago. Four years I came to Corpus with the vision to start a church.

What was I thinking at the time? We weren't ready. I also spent a year dying to that vision only to find it coming back to the surface. And even after almost screwing it up twice, here it is again.

Sometimes being on staff at churches you learn how to do things. You also learn how not to do things. In 2007 (and 2006), I learned more how we are "not" going to do things. It has really taught me the value of how to treat staff. I have vowed to never treat someone on our staff as I have been treated this year.

This year I have met many great friends across the country through blogging. I hope to continue developing those relationships. God has also reconnected us with some old friends and brought some new ones to our lives back here in Corpus.

This year has been a year of knowledge for me as I have probably read more this year than ever before. My main area of reading was on churches and leadership. It has opened my eyes to innovation and I feel really solidified what God is birthing.

I have been drawn to church marketing and web design over this year. I think part of that is from my business background and my love for the internet. I actually would love to consult with churches on how to develop an internet presence and brand their selves. Maybe that is something to blog on in the future.

Above all, it has really taught me the value of family. I often do not show my wife and children how much I appreciate them. My wife is my best friend. My children are a huge blessing to me. In the end, if I did all I do for church and lose would never be worth it. My wife has supported me through the thick and thin and has been along for this crazy ride. Honey, I love you. Both of our parents have been huge to us in the past six months...thanks.

Expect some new things in 2008 for Making Difference Makers. Leadership and helping others be all they can be is a passion of mine. I've got some crazy ideas to try out for this blog and I hope some of you will be along for the ride next year. I will have only one more post for 2007 which will be a recap of the year. If you have been a loyal reader....thanks. May you be blessed and highly favored next year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

With the holidays hitting this will be my last post on Making Difference Makers until after Christmas. I'll still be posting some on my personal blog.

I want to wish everyone of you who read here a Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year.

If you would like some reading, here are a few posts from this year:
Be blessed from our family to yours.

Personal Growth Part 4

All week we have been talking about personal growth. Today, I want to give you some elements that you could include in your personal growth plan as well as a document that can help you get started..

If you need to get caught up on this series check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

It is important to remember as you launch out on this journey of personal development that you to not get trapped into a one-dimensional mindset. You can't just emphasize one area for the sake of other areas.

There are four dimensions to your own personal growth that I see should be emphasized:
  1. Spiritual Development
  2. Leadership Development
  3. Relationship Development
  4. Career Development
As you begin to develop yourself you must work to be well-rounded. One thing I believe is that development leaks. That means one area leaks into other areas. Developing your leadership capacity will flow into your relationships and career. You must work on developing your whole life. True life success will be gained when you have a congruency of all areas.

A document that will help you in putting together your plan that I created is Your Life Plan.

You can also read more in my post "Components of a Life Plan" and "Life Plan Recap"

What do you see as vital to include in a personal growth plan?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Personal Growth Part 3

Let's get right to it. Part 1 and Part 2 warmed us right up so we should be just about ready to get to the nuts and bolts of a personal plan.

When you look at people who are successful, no matter what their arena is, you will always find that there was a plan behind their success. People who are on a path to a destination, know what they want, develop a plan, and go after it with all they have within them.

Jim Rohn said, "If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much."

When it comes down to it, all of us have the capacity to get whatever it is we want. Through the process of personal development we can transform our lives.
  1. Develop the Plan for You - Everyone is different. Some are very detailed and some are very "free-spirited". When it comes to a plan, guess what??? There is no right plan. The right one is the one that best works for you. Are you are reader? Then plan it around books. Like to listen? Use podcasts or audio books. Whatever your personality, your strengths or weaknesses, develop a plan around them.
  2. Establish Times to Spend Working On Your Plan - Set a time and do it. Right down what you want to accomplish each week and discipline yourself to work on those steps everyday.
  3. Keep A Journal - Take notes. Document your journey. Don't trust your memory, write it down in a notebook as it happens. Record your ideas and inspirations as you travel down this road of personal growth. These will be valubable.
  4. Set Goals - Your plan is the road-map to attaining your goals. Look at your destination and begin to work backward. Set shorter goals that are on the path to the larger goals you are trying to attain. Make sure these goals are measurable and attainable and go after them.
  5. Act - People who get where they want to go get there because the act. They work their plan. Right now as you are reading this you are beginning to see clearly the idea you want to attain. That is why you need to act now. Don't wait. Start setting those goals, develop a plan and take action. If the plan is good, the results can be miraculous.
What is your first step?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Want A Free ipod?

Don't excuse this just yet make sure you read it all!!!

I’ve been wanting to get my wife an ipod for a long time. Problem is: BUDGET.

After following a good friend of mine and his new acquisitions (a xbox 360 and an ipod touch), I am giving this a plunge.

So, I decided to give a try. Basically, you sign up for a service, fulfill a requirement and get a couple other people to do the same thing and they thank you with a free ipod touch.

I’m the most skeptical of these kinds of giveaways because there always seems to be a catch hidden in the Terms of Service that makes the whole thing either illegitimate or totally not worth my time, but I now have a friend who has received not one but two items doing this. This is the real deal. All I need are a couple other people who want an ipod touch for free, too!


It’s pretty easy to do. It probably takes about 10 minutes to setup. Click on the link below, register, pick an account type (referral is the easiest) and complete just 1 offer. This is not like other sites where you need to complete one offer on 2 or 3 different pages. And a lot of these offers are free trials with nothing else to buy and no commitments!

There are plenty of cool offers to choose from, such as Blockbuster online,, Netflix and Gamefly, services you might regularly sign up for anyway. I've used Netflix before and resigned up for it since it was only $14. There’s basically no long term commitment or obligation, so after a month or two I can cancel after receiving credit. Another good offer is renting DVDs through Blockbuster online (it’ll cost ya $9.95 to try it).

After signing up and completing your one offer, simply refer 5-8 people (depending on the free prize you choose - you can even get $350 cash) to do the same under your link. Then they will ship your ipod touch or your selected item for free.

Here’s how you can get a FREE iPod Touch:
  1. Click this link:
  2. Sign up and choose an account type (Referral is the easiest).
  3. Complete just 1 offer (like Blockbuster, Netflix or and then refer up to 8 people to do the same under your referral link. (The 8GB iPod needs only 5 referrals, the 16GB requires 8 referrals.)
  4. Receive your iPod Touch for FREE!
It honestly isn’t any more difficult than that.

A little tip:
If you click an offer and don’t sign up for it on that visit, make sure you clear your browser’s cookies before going back to it again from your account. Otherwise the tracking cookie might not register that you signed up for their service from and you’ll have to request a manual credit, which can take several weeks.

Here’s a news report and also another one on YouTube that explain how all this works and proves that it is indeed legit.

Thanks Tim For Being The Originator For Me.

Anyone wanna help me and work towards their own free ipod touch?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Personal Growth Part 2

When it comes to personal growth, we are affected by everything around us. The things we read, watch, who we spend the most time with, and who we allow to speak into our lives all play a part in our development. Yesterday, in Part 1, we starting talking about having a personal growth plan. Today, I want to talk about our associations and those that influence us.

W. Clement Stone
said, "You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?"

You should never underestimate the power of influence. There is great power in those that are around us to influence us. Most of the time we don't recognize how it has affected us because these influences have developed over an extended period of time.

When it comes to influences you need to ask yourself three questions:
  1. Who Am I Around?
  2. What Are These Associations Doing To Me?
  3. Is That Okay?
Having the right associations in your life that are influencing you in a positive way can make or break you. I see the power of this every day in my day to day job. The students I teach have allowed negative influences to shape their lives to the point that the damaged things they are doing are positive behaviors to them.

As a pastor, business leader, department head, or head of a household it is vital that you begin to allow your life to be shaped in a positive direction this coming year. Here are three ways you you can handle associations or relationships that might be holding you back:
  1. Disassociate - Obviously this is a tough one. Some people that are holding you back may be close people in your life. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't take this one lightly. You are going to have to make the choice to allow a negative influence to stay and determine the quality of your life.
  2. Limited Association - You can begin to limit your time with a negative influence and begin to spend major time with positive influences.
  3. Expand Your Associations - Begin to find other successful people in your industry and spend time with them. Take them to them on the whatever you can to begin to have these people start speaking into your life.
How are you letting positive associations affect you?

Another great post to read to kick off your personal growth plan is Your Life Purpose.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Personal Growth Part 1

Jim Rohn said, "The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development."

As we creep ever so slowly to the dropping of the ball signaling the end of 2007 and on into 2008 I thought it would be pertinent to talk about personal growth. If there is one thing that I could tell you that should be on the top of your goals/new year resolutions for this coming year it would be to Grow Yourself.

As you set out to lead your church, business, department, or even family it is vital that you develop a plan that will help you grow. Personal growth is a journey because it doesn't happen overnight. It is a journey because it is an adventure taking you to places within yourself that you have never been. As you get closer and closer to your destination and you feel the growth taking place you will have a sense of excitement.

Truth is personal growth is a process and a destination. It is a process filled with steps that lead you to being and becoming a better person. It is a destination that truly never ends as you find out when you reach it, there is one more that is farther down the road.

As we step out on this road to personal growth let me give you a few things that it is going to take:
  1. Change - Most people think where they are is just fine. Truth is if you aren't going forward you are going backward. I say backward with intention there as there is no such thing as staying still. If you don't use it you lose it. Change is a decision that must be made and accepted if you are to grow.
  2. Perseverance - Many people start, successful people finish. Truth is growing is not an easy task. And a plan of growth is going to take time. You don't grow overnight, you grow as you develop and stay consistent in your plan.
  3. Work - It is hard work. It is setting aside time everyday to work on yourself. It is easy to sit and do nothing. It is easy to stay right where you are. It takes work to become the person you are destined to be.
  4. Action - It take starting. You must start. Don't hesitate. Don't shrink back. Go forward one step at a time. Burn the bridges of nonresistance behind you. Spring forth into a life of purpose.
What are you waiting for?

Advice To Youth Pastors From A Former Youth Pastor

Alright, it's time to flip this post. This post is to all the youth pastors and youth workers in the audience.

It's always cool to give some advice to people you formally worked for, but now it is time to give some advice to former peers. As a youth pastor I took my calling seriously. My vision was the vision the Lord gave the church: Go and make disciples.

We worked hard on making our ministries a place where teens would want to bring their friends in mass. We tripled our youth ministry in one year twice at two different churches. We also have some teens that have gone into ministry.

I decided that I should give you a little advice as well. Don't be hatin', I walked in your shoes so oblige me.
  1. Do Your Job With Pride
  2. Support Your Pastor
  3. Show Up On Time
  4. Your Not A Teen Anymore Act Like It
  5. Plan, Plan, Plan
  6. Stay Cutting Edge
  7. You Don't Have To Fart To Make A Point
  8. Be An Example To Your Teens
  9. Learn To Communicate With Excellence
  10. You Don't Have To Play Games To Reach Them
  11. Prepare For The Next Level Now
  12. Speak Their Language...But Not Their Slang
  13. Show Them How Much You Care Not How Much You Know
  14. Spend Time With Your Family If You Have One
  15. You Are More Than A Baby-sitter
  16. You Can't Do It By Yourself, Recruit
  17. Treat You Position With Respect
  18. Pour Into The Lives Of Your Leaders First
  19. Replace Yourself
  20. Give Your Teens Ownership Of The Ministry
  21. Transition From Group Mentality To Ministry Mentality
  22. Their Are Lots Of Teens Not Going To Heaven....REACH THEM
  23. You Don't Have To Say "Crap" To Reach Them
  24. Our Purpose - Make Disciples
  25. Work On Your Systems Or They Will Work You
  26. Ultimately The Teens Are Your Pastors Not Yours
  27. You Are There To Partner With Parents
  28. Raise Your Teens To Be Leaders
  29. Don't Preach Down To Teens Preach Up
  30. Don't Make It All About You
  31. Don't Be Fooled If It Falls Apart When You Leave It's Not Always Your Fault
  32. Call And Meet Other Youth Pastors In Your Area
  33. Be Real That Can Spot A Fake A Mile Away
  34. Empower Your Leaders To Lead
  35. Protect Your Pastor
  36. Build Teams To Do More
  37. It Takes Three To Five Years To See Fruit From Your Work
  38. Cast Vision
  39. Sometimes You Must Fight For Your Families Time
  40. Did I Already Say - ACT YOUR AGE
  41. Don't Be Afraid To Share Your Stage With You Leaders
  42. Your Vision Is The Same As The Vision Of Your Church
  43. Don't Make Your Ministry A Silo
  44. Work Hard But Work Smart
  45. Work Like It's All You, Pray Like It's All God
Nutshell: Youth Ministry is a calling...treat it as such. You don't have to act like a teen to reach them...but you do need to reach them where they are. Build a team so you can be more productive. Create systems that will make your ministry more effective. Spend more time with your family if you have one...lose them and it doesn't matter how many teens you have reached. Show up on time...but more into it when you are there than you think you can. Plan your ministry and work your plan. Pray hard. Lean on God.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Advice To Senior Pastors From A Former Youth Pastor

Since I have been there and done that (8 years as a youth pastor) and are now transitioning into a Lead Pastor role, I thought it would be prudent to give a little advice to all the Sr. Pastors out there. I could elaborate on these but I think they pretty much speak for themselves.

Here are 40 points for you Senior Pastors out there.
  1. Stop The Fundraising
  2. Treat Them As A Professional
  3. Give 'Em Some Face Time On Sunday's
  4. Turn Them Loose
  5. Value Their Input
  6. Pour Into Their Lives
  7. Set Them Up For Success
  8. Don't Overwork Them
  9. Get Them Some Help
  10. Don't Make Them Do Everything Else
  11. They Are Not Your Slave
  12. You Hired Them For What They Do....Turn 'em LOOSE
  13. Tell Them You Appreciate Them
  14. Tell Them They Are Doing A Great Job
  15. Tell Them They Are Valuable To The Organization
  16. They Are Not Your Janitor's
  17. You Don't Have To Treat Them The Same Way You Were Treated As A Youth Pastor
  18. Did I Already Say NO FUNDRAISING?
  19. They Can Do More Than Announcements On Sunday Morning
  20. Invite Them To Your House
  21. Have Some Fun With Them
  22. Take Them Out To Dinner Sometime
  23. Give Them A Budget "With Money"
  24. Free Up Their Schedule With More Flex Time
  25. Let Them Be With Their Youth
  26. Send Them To Conferences
  27. Never, Never, Never Make Them Pay Their Own Way
  29. When They Have Done Great Tell Them
  30. When They Haven't Done Great Help Them
  31. Let Them Have A Family Life
  32. They Don't Have To Be Busy With Activity's
  33. They Are Not The Church Baby-Sitters
  35. Buy Them Resources To Help Them Be Better
  36. Send Them To Conferences That Will Actually Help Them
  37. Give Them A Year End Bonus
  38. They Are Not You...Don't Make Them Be You
  39. Let Them Change It Up If Necessary
  40. Make Sure Their Ministry Vision Is The Same As The Churches
Bonus: They really are MORE THAN youth pastors.

What it comes down to is most youth pastors move on mainly because they feel under-appreciated and over-worked. They aren't your slaves they are "PASTORS' called by God to make a difference in the next generation. Set them up for success and turn them loose to become who God wants them to be. Don't make them be "youth pastors" and then have them do all the other things in the church. They are already pastoring a "church". Just like you don't do it all by yourself, they can't do it all and then do all the work of the church for you. Most youth pastors I know care more about kids and do this for less pay than most of you give out. Don't make them struggle financially. Treat them like GOLD. This may be a reiteration of that whole list up there but maybe it needs to be said. AND MAYBE JUST MAYBE MORE YOUTH PASTORS WOULD BE LONG TERM AND MORE SUCCESSFUL IF YOU WOULD JUST STOP AND PAY ATTENTION.

Did I Miss Anything?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Know Where You Are Going

Many years ago I was taking our basketball team to the state tournament in Galveston. Since I had been there two years in a row I was pretty confident that I knew how to get there. Only problem was this time I was going at night and I didn't double check my directions. Needless to say I missed my turn and about 10 miles out of the way I knew I was lost.

As a leader of a church, business, family head or even as an individual I believe that it is important to KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING.

One of the things I've been guilty of is allowing life to take me where it wants me to go. I've allowed others to put me in that proverbial box. They have made the choices for me based on their needs and desires. This is all great and fine until you realize you have gone down a path that didn't take you to your ultimate destination.

I want to challenge you early on that you need to begin to start shaping the journey to your destination. I believe this is possible even if you work for someone else. When you you begin shaping your destination it is easier to motivate yourself, your team and even your organization to move toward where it needs to go.

You can know where you are going by:
  1. Create a Map - One thing you can do is design a road trip map to your future. Just today I read the vision for CityLife Church in Australia. It was a great example of an organization that has mapped out specifically the direction they are going. Know your life purpose and chart your course.
  2. Set Up Mini-Stops - These would be quantified goals that strategically let you know you are on track to your future.
  3. Refuel Along The Way - Sometimes trips can be taxing. It is important to remember that part of the fun of reaching a destination is the journey along the way. Make sure you and your organization recharge and have fun.
Where are you on a journey to?

Inspirational Quotes

Hate to break in and create any randomness but I need some help. I felt this request was worth being on this blog since the title is called Making Difference Makers.

I need a quote and one that is inspirational at that. One that is motivational as well as cutting edge.

This is going up in my class on the board. As we are planting our church I'm teaching high school students in an at-risk charter school.

With that said, best quote in the comments goes up on the board. Know that you will be jumping into my world helping to make a difference in the lives of these students.

What's your favorite motivational quote?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Be The Change

When it comes to leading and organizations, change is inevitable. Great leaders though are always looking ahead and changing by design as they seek to make their lives and organizations more dynamic and effective in our current world. No matter what though, because leadership is such a fluid dynamic when it comes to leading people you have got to understand that change will come.

Change is a choice. You can either initiate the change you want to be or you can allow circumstances to demand the change that needs to be made and accept the outcome that is thrown your way. Either way, change is the only path toward transformation as we travel on this journey.

That is why you need to be aware of the three types of change:

The first is change by crisis. As you begin to look at your organization or department are you going to have to change due to a crisis. Maybe it is one of your leaders or staff that come to you and say they can no longer help out. Maybe as a church you have realized that you attendance has been declining rapidly. Maybe in your life a health issue has no forced change upon you.Were you prepared or are you now having to change due to the crisis. The cost is usually high when it comes to this type of change.

The second type of change is by drift. Many churches get into this type of change. They are always looking around for the next best thing. They see a mega-church doing such and such program that has gotten them results so they drift towards that. Then the see another church doing something else and they drift towards that. Or they even go along with the latest church fads. Usually the problem with this type of change is that it does not happen fast enough. Usually when you have changed because of drift you have changed too late or it wasn't the most ideal change for your organization or department.

The third type of change is by design. This is where being innovative leads you into the change you want. Successful leaders are looking ahead and, even though they might already be successful, see change as a chance to create new energy and momentum for growth. Changing by design is embracing change as a choice.

You can change by design and be the change you want by:
  1. Charting your destination - Write out where it is you want to be in one, two or five years. Be specific.
  2. Constructing a new course - Begin moving toward your new destination intentionally. Work your way backwards and set benchmarks to hit.
  3. Creating the change - Begin making it happen. Be determined. Force the change.
Lance Armstrong said, "The easiest way to predict the future is to create it."

What change to you see coming?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Positive Appreciation

As we go about our day-to-day with our families, our staffs and even our friends, we must realize that on a daily basis we are adding to people. You see, every minute of every day that you spend with people you are either adding COST or adding VALUE.

As you wake up and see your children or spouse before you go to work, what are you adding to their lives?

As you go throughout your day with your co-workers, staff, or employer, what are you adding to their lives?

In the evening when you are at home, what are you adding to your families lives?

When you are with friends, what are you adding to their lives?

This week, as you go through your life, I want you to think about adding VALUE to those around you through POSITIVE APPRECIATION.

If you spend your life complaining about other people or your situation to others all you are doing is adding COST. We all get caught doing it sometimes. In fact, our country loves to gossip. Some people even live to gossip.

If you are going to make a difference in others lives you must do so by adding VALUE. When you speak positive appreciation about and to others you:

1) Empower them towards accomplishments

2) Motivate them to be more than they can be

3) Inspire them to higher levels of living

Imagine what your church, department, business, or family could be like if every one thrived on adding VALUE. Imagine the change we could bring to the world around us. What would your children's futures look like if they grew up in an environment like this?

Start today....go appreciate someone.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Leadership DNA of a Pastor Part 5

Lots of stuff packed into this series this week. This weeks series called The Leadership DNA of a Pastor has been a series devoted to helping a pastor or ministry leader to be more effective.

All week we have been digging into some leadership principles for a pastor or department head that can help make them more successful. In case you missed any here are links to all four parts:

Part 1 - Intro
Part 4 - COACH and FRIEND

Everyone of these are great traits to put in place in your ministry. As you go through your week, month, and year think of how you can put each one into practice. I hope each of the summaries can give you some specifics. As you seek to be a better leader in your organization, let me give you a couple of resources that can be a better you.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork
Lead on: Leadership That Endures in a Changing World
Riding the Blue Train: A Leadership Plan for Explosive Growth
Sabotage: The Nasty Little Secret We All Know Holds Us Back!

Blogs/Podcasts To Follow For Pastoral and Leadership Thoughts:
Potential Blog
Catalyst Blog
History In The Making Swerve

Got some resources of your own???? Feel free to comment and let everyone know.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Leadership DNA of a Pastor Part 4

After leading out this week with part 1 of a new post series called "The Leadership DNA of a Pastor", we are now in the home stretch.

In part 2, we coved being a PACESETTER and a VISIONARY. In part 3, we looked at being a DIRECTOR and a RECRUITER.

Today, we want to add in the last two leadership principles that could and should be in every pastors skill dynamic. The two we are covering today are being a COACH and a FRIEND.

A great leader is a person that coaches those people around them. Bringing out the best in others is a vital principal that will make all your teams successful.

As we look at being a COACH it is important in this area that people feel they are becoming a better player on a better team.
  • Teaching: Understands and communicates a well defined game plan and teaches the team principles and concepts that make each team member a better and well rounded player.
  • Developer: Aware of the development of each key team member and mentors them in their personal, spiritual, and emotional development.
  • Aware: Socially aware so both people and project are managed well. Provides encouragement and positive feedback to keep morale high.
  • Execution: Executes from a game plan with effective policy and procedure manuals and implements them by giving oversight to the training and mentoring of each team player.
  • Confrontation: Knows how to confront difficult situations with dignity and grace while affirming the efforts of each team member.
The last principle is something that is so personal to me. I want to be surrounded not by a bunch of people who bow down and do what I want. I want to be surrounded by people that I can call family.

Leadership is not just about being organized and administrative, it is about caring for others. People don't care how much you know, they want to know if you care for them. A great leader is a person that cares for people around them. Caring for those that are on your team is another way you will be successful as a leader.

As you are a FRIEND to those on your team they will exhibit a feeling of being cared for by God and others as they do what they are called to.

To properly care for others you need to:
  • Communicate: Communicates effectively the vision of the church and the department so volunteers know why their gift and commitment makes a difference.
  • Models Maturity: Leads the department into a healthy care and connected environment that celebrates and supports people within the team structure.
  • Supports: Responds to the crisis situations in a timely and empathetic manner and members feel supported. Oversees that small group relationships are built throughout the department.
  • Disciples: Builds a network of teams that gives quality care in the form of life discipleship. Leads a leadership small group each month.
  • Affirms: Affirms each team member’s importance and value to the team through fellowship events, awards, and communication and values each team member. Organizes departmental fellowships that are designed to build strong teams and cause members to feel connected.
What do you think makes some a strong COACH or FRIEND as a leader?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Leadership DNA of a Pastor Part 3

Continuing in our series on the Leadership DNA of a Pastor lets jump right into Part 3. You can catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2.

God has a great desire to build His church and He uses people to make that happen. In fact, I would say God wants to build it more than we do.

Today, we want to add on two more leadership principals that should be part of the DNA of a Department Head or Pastor. The are DIRECTOR and RECRUITER.

As you seek to be a DIRECTOR for your team you must realize that "key directives are easily understood so the team can follow".
  • Systems: One of the responsibilities of a pastor is creating the necessary systems that make growth and stability a possibility. This leader understands how social, organizational, and technological systems work within the organization and joyfully work within those systems.
  • Factors: Directors are aware of excellence in administrating the factors that create a productive ministry environment through good policies and procedures, job descriptions, volunteer schedules, and team ministry. They are decisive with integrity and honesty.
  • Planning: Within the organization these leaders embrace and demonstrate excellence in creating a detailed plan that manages objectives and time lines well so that progress is made and goals are achieved.
  • Culture: A great director understands that atmosphere is vital to the health of the team and does well in listening to the ideas of the team. They communicate with vision, kindness, and respect where the team develops a sense of mature community.
The fourth leadership principal our leaders need to be successful at is being a RECRUITER. Building strong teams is a key component of building a strong church. A Recruiter is one who makes their team members "feel personally assisted".
  • Recruits: This dynamic leader assimilates volunteers into the atmosphere and spiritual disciplines of their church as a part of a team.
  • Connects: They are great at connecting the gifts and passions of the team member to the appropriate job description and ministry.
  • Assesses: The recruiting leader assesses personnel needs well and recruits accordingly. They don’t just plug holes but finds people who fulfill a needed role.
  • Helps People: Developing people in the tasks assigned to them by having good training processes in place and when the task doesn’t fit them helps them find new places to serve is what makes this leader the backbone of the organization. They are aware of the individual training that is necessary to assist people in finding their unique place on the team
  • Listens: They listen to the ideas and opinions of others and implement ideas the team has agreed upon.
Click here for a video series on recruiting.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Leadership DNA of a Pastor Part 2

Each day this week we are going to cover two leadership principles that should make up the DNA of a pastor.

As we already covered in part 1, it is important to understand that great churches are built by great people. This means us personally, as well as the people we lead. Although I know it is Christ who ultimately builds His church, He does use people to make it happen. That is why it is important that we do all we can to be prepared.

Today, I want to cover the principles of PACESETTER and VISIONARY.

As a PACESETTER, people love following you for who you are. A pacesetter is one who leads through:
  • Integrity: People of integrity chooses a course of action consistent with Christian values that demonstrate honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, and productivity.
  • Responsibility: Responsible leaders exert a high level of effort and perseverance towards goals, deadlines, and time-lines with dependability and take responsibility for mistakes.
  • Self-control: A self-controlled leader sets well defined personal goals, motivates self, and demonstrates self control in the face of adversity and tension. They also demonstrate consistent control of their emotions with others.
  • Humility: A leader of humility performs their position with a true sense of self-worth and maintains a positive view of self as well as affirms the gifts in people around him/her. They make an accurate assessment of personal knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • Pacesetter: This leader ultimately sets the pace of the team consistent with the goals of the organization taking into account the gifts, abilities, resources, and maturity of the team members.
A VISIONARY leader is one in which the people they lead say they are consistently excited about what they do. A visionary leads by:
  • Team Player: They understand and communicate the general vision of the church with excitement in an emotionally positive way and causes the team to see how their part is vital in the big picture.
  • Sees Ahead: This leader researches trends and is aware of what other churches are doing to stay on the cutting edge. They are finding new ideas and using originality to meet and handle new challenges.
  • Problem Solver: A visionary sees ahead of the team to make adjustments and problem solve to keep the team on track. They are effective in coping with different situations and problems and are able to take action without being told.
  • Motivated: Visionary leaders motivate the team by contagiously casting the vision in an intergenerational way through different mediums to keep the team with high motivation for the task.
  • Collaborates: Understanding the importance of the gifts of others and how they can be blended to create a better team is an important task of a visionary, as well as cooperating effectively with others through designing work schedules and assignments.
What do you see that can make a PACESETTER or VISIONARY better?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Leadership DNA of a Pastor Part 1

This week I want to delve into what I feel are six leadership dynamics that should make up the DNA of a pastor. Although these six are just a starting point I do want to preface this week by saying that prayer and a strong spiritual life should be the backbone for your leadership.

As you set out to develop the leadership culture of your church. It is important to understand that great churches are built by great people. This is why it is important to understand that the growth and stability of your department or church will be on how much you develop your leaders.

I know there is kind of a mixed dynamic in the church world when it comes to talking about leadership. You may even have your own filter about it as you are reading these posts. I can tell you my years of leading and being on different staffs I have seen the value of each of these leadership dynamics. I have seen that as a person puts laws like being a pacesetter, visionary, director, recruiter, coach, and friend into place, it brings more stability and growth within the church as a whole. Developing your leadership core to embody these six should be a priority.

A long time ago I realized that God doesn't give us what we can't handle. That is much like a cup. God will only fill our "cup" until its full. A full cup stretches the limits of it's boundaries. It is only when we enlarge that cup will He give us more. That is the dynamic of faith. Faith always stretches us and enlarges us. As you begin to work on these six "laws" your cup will stretch to hold more and more capacity thus furthering the work that God wants to do on this earth.

What are some of the dynamics that make up your leaders?