Friday, February 29, 2008

Post Number 1,000

This is post number 1,000. I'm honestly not to sure what to write. I thought about writing something inspirational. I thought about writing something that was challenging. But honestly I have only one thing on my mind for post 1,000.


Thanks to an awesome God who has changed my life from the inside out. A God who has filled my life with vision and passion. A God who poured out His life for a wretched soul like me. I'm so far from what I want to be but so thankful that I'm not where I used to be.

Thanks to a wonderful wife. You are so awesome to put up with a crazy nut like me. I love you so much. You're the apple of my eye, the sugar in my koolaid.

Thanks to my kids. You three girls are the delight of my life. You far exceed all my expectations. Each of you are awesome.

Thanks to my parents. You have been the biggest supporters of us. You have been there for us through the thick and the thin. And you are an inspiration in faithfulness to me.

Thanks to the people who follow this blog. I try to tell myself that I would write even if no one would read but I'd be lying. Especially since I check my stats four or five times a day. I know I don't always get it right but I write from a sincere passion of helping others make a difference in this world. I hope that the next 1,000 are inspirational and helpful.

Thanks to Life Church. Even though at this point it is being birthed, the team is forming and all the people that may grace our doors are yet to come...our passion is to help you be all you can be in God.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Capacity Of A Leader

You want a mirror shattering statement?

Perhaps your church or ministry is not growing because of "YOU".

Go ahead look in the mirror. You may be looking at the problem.

"Well...God bless...I'm just going to be faithful with the eleven people God wants me to have."

"Well...maybe God only wants me to have just a few people"

Pathetic...NEWSFLASH...God has come to seek and save the lost. God is more concerned than we will ever be with reaching the lost. His desire is for every church to grow. Get a clue. That means your church is the size it is...because of the capacity of your leadership.

If it is small or big it is because of the capacity of your leadership working in conjunction with the work of the Holy Spirit.

I think it is easy to sit and just lay it on God and say He is the one that is not bringing it to me. Honestly, it is time we as leaders of the church need to stand up and take responsibility repent for this, especially if you have a heart to impact this world.

Your church or ministry is the size it is because of your capacity to lead and the people with whom you surround yourself.

Let me state that another way for those of you that didn't get it.

The capacity of your leadership determines the size of your ministry.

In a future post we are going to look at the story of the three stewards in Matthew 25 and then we will also look at how we can increase our capacity.

What excuses have you been making?

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What To Do With Your Creative Team

You have recruited, assigned, designated your creative team...NOW WHAT??

Remember in a past post called "How To Develop A Creative Team" we gave several examples of how you can build a team. No matter what size of church or even as a sub-ministry you can have a creative team that will help take your content and creativity to a higher level.

With this post I want to give you some specific ways you can work with your creative team. I have seen different churches use them for different things.
  • Message Development
  • Service Creative Elements
  • Facility Set Design
  • Creating Content
  • Debrief & Download
Working With Your Creative Team
So you can see that having a creative team can really help what you are doing. Let me give you several things you can do with your team to make it more successful
  • Define The Roles - It is important going in to your team with them knowing what their role is supposed to be. Remember those points above that we gave you. Sit with your team and specifically tell them the role that the creative team is going to take.

  • Create Job Descriptions - Everyone on the team should have a specific job description that lays out the role, how often you will meet, what the team does when they are not in the meeting, expectations, etc... Be as specific as possible so your team will know what is expected.

  • Take Time To Create - Your team should meet weekly if possible. Use that time in a variety of ways as well. There can be future brainstorming, debriefing of the previous weekend services, content creation, set and stage design, etc... Again the possibilities are only defined by what it is you as the leader needs or wants.

  • Use Any Method Possible - As we said in our previous post don't let size of church or budget stop you. Your team can meet and communicate on all types of levels. You can utilize tools like Google Notebook or Documents where several people can collaborate on messages and/or series ideas. Those tools are great to be able to bring together a lot of heads. Your team could then work at home to gather content and brainstorm at anytime of the day. Oovoo is another free resource where you can meet with your team through the computer as it provides up to six people to video conference together at one time.
What are some things you are doing with your creative team?

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Are We Doing

I thought it would be great to elaborate a little on what God is doing through us right now and why. Currently we are in process of launching a church in the Corpus Christi, TX area called "Life Church".

This has been something that God has laid on my heart for about 4 or 5 years now. In fact I came here once many years ago and met with some friends about starting a church. At that time though it wasn't in God's timing.

Currently, we are launching in four phases, the build-up, pre-launch, launch and post-launch.

The phase we are in right now is the build-up. In this phase we are recruiting and building a launch team as well as a support team. I wrote a proposal for our church and you can also read more about how to support the church at

Corpus is a great area that really needs more churches that are about reaching the unchurched/unchristian population as well as dealing with the social community needs.

I currently work in an at-risk charter school and deal with many students that are a picture of some of the social needs of this community. Our clientèle is composed of teens that are in gangs, teen pregnancy, etc... It has given me a real burden for the broken side of the Coastal Bend.

I feel many churches and pastors are out of touch with the real needs of their city. Some drive their fancy cars, live in their big houses and try and do a few little outreaches to pacify and say they are reaching out...but they have no clue. Some are just building a Kingdom around themselves. I also know that there are some great men and women of God that are doing some tremendous things as well. I guess my experience has been working for some pretty crappy ones when it comes to this.

God leading me here has really changed me and put a burden in me to do something big. To find out more how you can partner with us to change this area visit


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Monday, February 25, 2008

Disturbed Yet?

Are you disturbed?

Sir Francis Drake says…

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little. When we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord.”

Is your dream large enough to disturb you? Is it large enough to keep you up at night? Is it large enough to drive you to your knees because you can't do it?

It it's's not a God-sized dream. And it will not produce the faith necessary to glorify God. God wants us to dream dreams that only He can make happen. When that happens He is glorified and we are not.

What size is your dream? Is it disturbing you?

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Google - Your Leadership Development Fetcher

I thought it would be great to give you one of my tips that I use for part of my personal development.

Really it can be summed up almost in one word - GOOGLE

Well Google Alerts is actually what I use...hmmm...that's two words.

With Google Alerts you can define exactly a term that you want google to search for and it will "alert" you, through email daily, weekly, or when it is published. With the alert you an have it search web content, blogs, news, video, groups or even comprehensive covering it all.

Right now I have an alert set with the term "church leadership" which searches daily through blogs. I will scan through the content on anything that looks interesting and read. Again any term you want, you can create your alert for.

I also used this to keep up with the Evolve and C3 Conferences.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

C3 - Creative Church Conference

Here is another great conference that I'm collecting blog posts on. Go [here] to read the various posts of bloggers who are attending the C3 Conference hosted by Ed Young Jr. and Fellowship Church.

If you are perhaps a church planter like me, and budget wise can't fit all the wonderful conferences in your financial folder or maybe you are oversees like my friend Will, then I hope this can be a great resource to you.

You can view posts on the Creative Church Conference by clicking [here] or by clicking on any of the feeds below.

Spread the word...stumble it...digg it...bookmark it. Get the word out...and let's be a resource to church planters everywhere.

RSS readers you may need to click over to the post to view the widget below.

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Who Am I

I've been keeping an eye on my stats and subscriptions and over the past month they have steadily been on the increase. With the various traffic coming here I thought I would introduce myself, tell you what I'm up too, and why I write this blog.

Who Is Jason Curlee
In a nutshell I'm a husband to an awesome wife, dad to three beautiful daughters, pastor, church planter and blogger.

I've been married to my wife since 1991...she is the love of my life, apple of my eye, the sugar in my kool-aid...well, you get the point! We have three girls of various ages who are each creative in their own ways.

At the time of this post I'm 38 years old. My wife and I have been in ministry since 1995 as youth pastors. We worked on staff at three different churches, First Assembly of God in Kingsville, Faith Family Church in Victoria, and another church in Corpus. We have also been involved in one failed church plant. You can read a little more about our story [here]

I am passionate about leadership development and communicating. My life purpose statement is to influence and develop others to make a difference in their world.

I also have a personal blog, myspace, facebook, youtube site, twitter and it seems just about every social networking site there is. You can find those links over on my personal blog where I journal about my journey.

What Are We Doing
What I'm most excited about is that we are currently in the process of launching Life Church in Corpus Christi, TX where I will be serving in the role of Lead Pastor. You can find more information at our various sites: Myspace, 300forLife, Website, Facebook. Please be praying for us on this journey of a lifetime. I'll also be blogging a little more about here.

What Is This Blog About
This blog, Making Difference Makers, flows from a passion in my life to influence and develop others to make a difference in their world. It has evolved tremendously over the two years that I have written. It started out as a way to let others keep up with me. It then evolved into something so random even I wonder what it was. Then over the past two months I have determined that it's focus would be to encourage, inspire, mentor, train, and be an overall help to ministry leaders out there.

As my wife so avidly tells me I'm addicted to this thing sitting in front of me. Over the past two years I have blogged and absolutely love it. I read blogs, I write blogs, I read blogs and I write some more blogs. Maybe she's right. Honestly I just want to learn and give what I learn to others.

Who are you? If you are a reader and have a site...leave me your link in a comment. I would love to read your blog or know more about you.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Connecting When Communicating

I have a passion for communicating and am always driving myself to be better. As a church communicator I don't feel it is just enough to open the Bible up and talk about Scriptures. I believe that we must connect our audience with our topic.

As a pastor or ministry leader it is not enough just to talk about a Scripture or topic from the Bible. To be more effective we must bridge the gap of knowledge that might be missing and connect our audience with why they need to listen to our message.

Here are three practical ways to convince people they need our message:
  • Highlight some specific knowledge they are missing - When it comes to developing a message or a series you can use a series teaser video leading up to the message or series. These teasers highlight the purpose in a creative way that creates the desire to listen.
  • Pose a question or puzzle that confronts people with a gap in their knowledge - I believe Andy Stanley is one of the best at asking questions that connect people. Whenever you are speaking it is important to ask as many connecting questions that covers the ages and characteristics of your audience. These questions are aimed at giving your audience a reason to listen'
  • Present them with situations that have unknown resolutions - Mystery always
Read these other posts related to this topic:
Communicate Simply
Communication Ability Matters

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How To Feed Yourself Spiritually As A Leader

I have to admit that as a pastor I hate to hear the words, "I'm not getting fed!"

Honestly, I think that is the lamest, most pathetic excuse I've ever heard from a Christian. As a Christian you must take the responsibility for making sure you are growing.

But to be honest I can agree with that statement somewhat. There are many pastors who do not know how to communicate and butcher their presentation but yet want people to not have the excuse of not being fed. They don't know how to develop a point or connect people with the message. They feel that just because they open up the bible and can talk about a scripture it should be good enough. But I'm not getting into that with this post.

As a pastor or ministry leader how do you feed yourself? How do you get "fed" spiritually?

Obviously you can't sit and hear your own message on Sunday's. You need to make sure that your own spiritual refrigerator is full.

Daily Bible Reading
Don't just read to study for your message. Read to be in communion with God. There are various yearly Bible Reading plans that will help you continually stay in the word. I would also say don't just read to read but journal as well.

Listen To Other Pastors
With the availability of many pastors who now have their messages podcasted for free there is no excuse. I subscribe to about seven church podcast specifically to feed myself spiritually. I listen to the podcast messages from North Point Ministries, National Community Church, Community Christian Church, Flamingo Road Church, Newspring, Pine Ridge Church, Elevation Church, Revolution Church and I listen to each of these for specific reasons as well the fact that each are excellent communicators.

Read Spiritual Books
I'm not talking about leadership books or business books here. I'm talking about a book written to challenge or grow you spiritually. Whether it is a classic or the latest off the book shelf, add some books of this type to your spiritual diet.

I'd like to know how you are keeping your spiritual refrigerator full as a ministry leader?

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Evolve Conference

If you are perhaps a church planter like me, and budget wise can't fit all the wonderful conferences in your financial folder, then I have the perfect answer. Follow along with all the bloggers out there. I have found it to be a great resource to get vital information.

Right now I am compiling a public feed of all the bloggers blogging from the Evolve Conference hosted by Shawn Lovejoy of Mountain Lake Church. You can also check out more from them at

You can view it by clicking [here] or by clicking on any of the feeds below. Spread the word...stumbleit...digg it...bookmark it. Get the word out...and let's be a resource to church planters everywhere.

RSS readers you may need to click over to the post to view.

How To Develop A Creative Team

It is said that ministry can be lonely. I say that it is only as lonely as you make it. Ministry done in a team environment can not only be productive but can be fun and highly creative. With the development of a creative team you can begin to reap the results without the loneliness.

In this post I want to give you some ideas on how to put together a creative team. In the second part I will give you some ideas of what to do with your creative team.

There are some dynamics that you will have to deal with as you begin to put together your creative team. Some of the dynamics might be: size of church, number of paid staff, number of volunteers, and type of ministry. No matter what the dynamics may be do not use any as your excuse not to have a creative team.

Let's look at some practical ways to develop your team and then in our next post we will deal with exactly what the creative team will be doing.

Mid to Large Size Church - Your team will more than likely be made up of your teaching team and/or staff. Depending on your size this could be made up of different people from the various departments in your church. It could be a mixture of your sr./lead pastor, children's, youth, worship, creative arts, young adults, etc. Potentially the people from this team should be creative and teach or be part of the elements that make up creative areas of your church.

Small to Mid Size Church - Your team on this size could be made up of the lead, youth and children's pastor's as well as your worship leader.

Just Beginning to Small Size Church - Your team may be made up of any of your core team that make up teaching areas of your church or are people who you see a creative edge in.

Departmental - As a department in your church don't let size or staff shake you in your quest to be creative. Put together a team of your core leader/volunteers.

How We Did It
At a previous church of 350 I was on staff at as the youth pastor in 2007, I didn't let not having a staff stand in the way of being creative. The children's pastor and I began meeting together on a weekly basis to create and brainstorm our messages and series. It was some of the most highly creative material I had ever put out.

Doing ministry as a team can can make your church a highly creative environments. Don't let anything stand in your way. Stand tuned to see some practical ways creativity can drive your team.

Let us hear from you: Do you have a creative team? Who makes up your team? List some practical examples. What's keeping your from having a creative team?

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

What I Love About

In one of my previous posts called "What I Hate About" I asked the question, what do you dislike about the 21st century church?

Let's flip that question with this post:

What do you love about the 21st century church?

I'm going to leave my response in the first comment of this post so RSS readers make sure you click over to read my response and leave your own.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Preaching Calendar - Your Time

I'm not sure I have done this with a post but with this one I want to give you, the readers and ministry leaders across the world, the stage.

This post is about your tips, your strategies, your time to shine with comments geared around Developing a Preaching Calendar.

Don't be shy click on the post a comment and give some wisdom and strategy for everyone. Write it like you shine.

Make Sure You Read Every Post In This Series
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 8

"Teamwork makes the dream work."

"Together everyone achieves more".

These are two quotes I often hear most when someone is talking about a team. Yet when it comes to developing a preaching calendar and even the messages it is the most highly underused as well as underrated method. To save yourself time, enhance your creativity, and have messages that are highly packed with content it is a must that you begin creating your preaching calendar with a team.

Why Is That?
Maybe it's pride. I know many pastors that are afraid to share the spotlight or think that the people they hired are not up to their level of communication.

Maybe it's a lack of ability. Some pastors may not understand or can handle leading a creative process like this.

Whatever the reason they pale in the benefits that can be had if you begin to create in a team environment.

Saves Time
When you have several people working on the same task you can save more time. Let's say you give everyone a month to come up with all the ideas for messages and series over the coming year. Not only will you come into the planning meeting with a ton of ideas but laying out the year will be even faster.

Enhances Creativity
When others are working off each other, ideas are tweaked and improved until the original product is so much greater in quality.

Better Content
Having the team organizing and creating brings more minds to the final product. The ideas will be greater. The theology will be tighter. In all things the final product content will be much higher than you doing it alone.

Truthfully we could go on and on about the benefits of creating in a team environment. Let's stop and get down to some practicality.

Put It In Process
Let's say that in October you have your meeting to lay out the calendar for the upcoming year. All through August and September your team can be looking and creating individually message/series topics in preparation for the planning meeting. Roughly, these would include a title/topic/big idea. If they wanted they could include a list of messages for a series.

On the date of the meeting everyone comes in with their ideas on 3x5 cards. All of the ideas are then thrown out on the table and the process of whittling down and piecing them into the calendar begins. Since you have already put in holidays as we already discussed this process should just flow.

Once you have your series and your time line down you can then begin to work on each more individually.

Where Does God Fit
I can already hear the argument coming. "Doesn't this take God out of the equation?"

Are you kidding me? Are we still arguing that same point.

If this process and everything along the way is bathed in prayer and our trust and faith is in God throughout the process then God is the one that is orchestrating it all.

God is the God of yesterday, today and forever. He knows who is going to walk into your building in July and exactly what message they need to hear and lay it on yours and your teams heart in October of the previous year. Let's get over this whole point and realize that God is in charge.

You can successfully begin to implement the steps and advice we have laid out in this series and begin to reap the benefits of having a preaching calendar.

Make Sure You Read Every Post In This Series
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What I Hate About

As I continue down this path of launching Life Church in the Corpus Christi area I'm always filled with lots of thoughts and questions to ponder. I really feel I want to open up the floor to you, the readers, to voice your thoughts.

Question: What do you hate dislike about the 21st century church?

For's mainly:
  • a loss of focus -many churches have become clubs and inward in focus and aren't missional any more.
  • a lack of leadership - leading a church in the 21st century as a pastor is very multi-dimensional...a lot of pastors think it is only about praying and studying the word
What about you??????

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 7

Now that you have your calender scheduled it is important to create momentum before you go into your major events. Whether it is launching a new series or a stand-alone holiday series, the weeks leading up to that event should targeted on your schedule to create momentum.

Plan Back From Your Message/Series
Make sure as you are scheduling you add in announcement time, marketing time, tie-in events, web events and messages devoted to the up-coming messages. In fact, include anything you can think of that could possibly garner you momentum.

If you plan to teach in series, the week leading up to, as well as each message, should be slowly inching you forward as a locomotive until you are reaching a critical mass. Maybe series aren't for you but you plan some certain message events around major holidays. The same steps could be taken in each.

Use Momentum to Reach the Lost
Why do we need momentum? A growing church is a church that is alive. It is one that, I believe, is adding new believers. Momentum is what can keep people as well as attract people. Momentum, as it is built, will spread like a wildfire.

A Breakdown of the Process
Let me break it down with a series. Let's say you planned a new series to begin on Easter. Since Easter is one of the most attended weekends for a church you are going to target a series that is evangelistic. Let's call our series Renovate - Rebuilding Our View Of Life. We'll go for five weeks and our whole series will be geared around Romans 12:1-2. For Easter day we are going to start out with message called "A New Plan". This message will tie in strongly with what Christ did for us and will set the stage for the series by leading in with the new plan God began with Jesus dying on the cross for us.

This is where you have to begin to get disciplined in your planning. Set a goal with your lead team on the impact you would like to happen and then get your whole congregation on board to reach the goal through prayer and action. Three months out you should have all your details lined out for the series with your momentum plan. One to two months out you should have graphics and marketing materials finished and ready to send to print. Three weeks out you could have a video announcement series graphic made leading up to the series. Three to four weeks out you should start in-church bulletins on the series as well as get promo materials into the hands of every member to begin handing out. Three weeks out a whole message could be developed on reaching out. During the week leading up to Easter you could plan an outreach community event and develop a stage set designed for the series. The first day of the series really emphasis to everyone to come back next week as you continue. Even get more promo materials.

The Results
Can I just tell you that if you were to plan and go all out like this there is not way for you to "not" see any results. If you can get your people behind your marketing you will begin to see unchurched people come through your doors. Stack this on top of doing another series, and then other series and you can see that momentum begin to build and build and build.

Catch up with all of the parts of this series:
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Friday, February 08, 2008

Asking About The Preaching Calendar

With six parts down in our "Preaching Calendar" I thought it might be prudent before we finished to ask if you had any questions pertaining to this subject.

I think a bonus post is in order that may be focused on any questions you may have. So....ASK AWAY.

Leave a comment with your question.

Make Sure You Read Every Post In This Series
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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 6

Creating a great message series is not just about great information, creating a great message series is about creating a message that sticks. When it comes to branding your message series your series must be memorable, simplistic, and drive home your point.

The Bones of A Series
Every series has some unique elements that will make it a series that stands out: an idea, a series title, a series tag line, message titles, and message ideas.

Every message always begins with an idea. This idea is founded on a principle extrapolated from Scripture. This idea can be boiled down into a memorable statement which will drive all the content of the series.

The best series titles are creative, relevant, and drive the memory point months down the road. Your title when heard 6 months later should trigger exactly what the message was about. Relevant titles should tap into pop culture to create a new message. The best titles have 1 to 3 words MAX.

A series tag line takes your idea and makes the series title come alive. It sets the pace and tells what principle or point you are trying to make with your series.

Your message titles and ideas are, on a micro level, what your series title and ideas are. Your message titles break down all of the elements of your series big idea and bring it all together. The ideas are really the points you are trying to make each week, again on a micro series level.

A good 3 to 5 week series begins with a intro message, has one to three ideas that hammer your main idea in the middle, and then wraps up with a great practical how to apply it conclusion.

The types of series that you create will vary and have a good mixture through the year. Some should be based around felt needs inherent in your area. Others should be totally evangelistic in approach. Some should be geared around the values of your church.

[Keep on the lookout for a future series on branding messages series]

Developing The Schedule
With an understanding of the series lets begin looking at some elements in working your calendar.

The best series run 4 to 5 weeks. Any longer and your audience can get lost or begin to wane. Longer than 5 can work if put together right. When it comes to scheduling your calendar it is important to take into effect all the holidays. Prime on your calendar is Easter and Christmas. These two are traditionally the two times of the year when "everyone" goes to church. You should begin a series on Easter. Begin when the majority of people are coming and use the series to keep them coming back. The same is true of Christmas.

Once those are in place you can begin to piece the rest of your calendar together. Summer time usually has people on vacation so the best types of series have stand alone messages in them. Stand alone messages are easier to get your staff involved in as well.

For momentum we usually developed our series around the months of the year. Doing this allowed us to focus all of our energy and creativity in monthly rhythms. Our people were also able to focus on inviting others from 12 to 14 times a year depending on the layout of the schedule. You can see part of our year [here].

If you are not used to preaching in a series format and want to begin, I would suggest scheduling, plan and develop around 4 or 5 in a year to start and then add more the next year. Again, this really is about owning what you are doing and making it work for you.

Catch up with all of the parts of this series:
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tyranny Of The Now

How many of you out there are like me? You are working hard for a better future, while continuing to move forward out of your past.

Only one problem...THE TYRANNY OF THE NOW.

Now slaps you in the face. Now says the bill is due yesterday what are you going to do. Now says "I know what God's promises say, BUT I have this need NOW."

Now seems to be very uncaring, unforgiving, matter of fact...NOW is just...well...NOW!

That's where I am right now. Now doesn't seem to be caring. It really doesn't care how hard I'm working or that I'm trying to improve. It wakes up with me every morning and is there when I'm trying to go to sleep.

I'm not sure if I'm sounding kind of fickle right now but I know I have got to move past it. I also can't pretend that now is going to go away either.

All I do know is that Psalm 121:1-2 is ringing true to me right now.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Lord, those are Your words. My help comes from You. You are our only way out.

The only way to escape is to hold tight to His promises. Keep the faith no matter what. No matter what the situation looks like. No matter how hard it may seem. It says it right there, "my help will come from the LORD".

Here's the catch...God works through people. We are His hands and His feet. How many people around you are going through the now and you may not be listening? He has blessed us and equipped us to make a difference in the world around us. Are you listening and being aware? You could be the help for someone's NOW.

And if you are going through the encouraged. God is for you and has not left you. He cares for you and loves you. I know that sometimes doesn't change the NOW...but hold on to Him. He is your source and your strength.

Sorry I high-jacked my blog everyone...but I needed a little encouragement tonight. The tyranny is about to stop for the Lord is on my side.

How are you facing the tyranny of the NOW?

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 5

After all the foundational topics which are practical to developing your one year preaching calendar, now is the time to actually get down to making your schedule. First up on your agenda before you start anything is to Schedule Before You Schedule.

To help you get started you should utilize two tools.

First, print out each month of the year on separate pages. For me that is the frugal way. You could also purchase a calendar or even a planner if you want.

Second, create an excel spreadsheet file that you can begin to log all of your information on. Click [here] to see a sample of mine from 06. Currently, I put the following headings on mine: Date, Series Title, Message Title, Topic, Big Idea, Speaker, Scripture Reference, Creative Elements, and Major Announcements.

Remember, this is your calendar to own. You could also add a giving idea, music set, stage design, etc... You can best create this in any way that will help you throughout the year. I would suggest at this stage though to keep it fairly simple. You can always come back and do some more planning in the weeks and months prior to each weekend.

As you begin to do your actual scheduling the first things that should be included are all the major events and major holidays for the year. These should be ministry specific as well.

Some of the major holidays to include are ones that fall on Sundays or are major events in the year; Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, holidays that create three day weekends. There are even other events that have become almost national unwritten holidays like the Superbowl. For a youth ministry you should look at your local school schedule. Look at the beginning and end of school, Christmas and spring break, and any other dates that would be of major importance.

The second thing you should schedule is your personal time off. This may be hard for some of you but you should really target only speaking a max of 40 Sunday's out of the year. As a youth/children pastor you should target the same amount as well. This will keep you fresh as well as your audience fresh. I know we want to believe that our people love to hear us all the time but they should get a break from hearing us.

A good breakdown would be taking four consecutive weeks off in the summer and then space out the rest through the year. These are great times you can get your team to speak.

In a nutshell your schedule before you schedule should include: Major Holidays On The Calendar, Monday Holidays, Natural Vacation Days, Secular Holidays, Christian Holidays, Your Personal Time Off, Weekly Sabbath, Study Time, Creative Thinking Time, Conferences, Vacation.

Tomorrow, I'm going to give some pratical advice on branding your messages to begin finishing up your calendar.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 4

Although you can't live life looking in the rear view mirror, it is important that you look back over your past year before you begin to schedule this next year.

This might be a little tip within this point but one thing to help you be organized so that you are able to look back would be to create an excel file that lists out every series and message you preach through the year. In this file log in what was the major point, scriptures, topic, creative elements, who the speaker was, in fact put down as much information that will help you as you begin to look back.

This is important for a variety of reasons but mainly to see where there might be gaps in what you are preaching. It can let you know if you emphasized one certain area to much or whether you didn't hit an area at all.

If you ever read Rick Warren's, "The Purpose Driven Church", you will know that he highlights from scripture the five main purposes every church should aim at fulfilling: Evangelism, Fellowship, Worship, Ministry, Discipleship.

These five purposes could be a guide for what you are communicating to your church. As you prayerfully look back and see that you didn't emphasize evangelism and that your church has not been very outward motivated, then as you set out to plan this next year that may be an area to preach on.

Start going forward by taking a look back on your year as you begin to lay the foundation for the coming year.

How has looking back helped you?

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 3

Most church communicators do a good job of communication but is "good" enough. Planning out what you are doing through the year can lead to your church or ministry experiencing greater impact in relation to the content you produce.

I know that often sounds a little manufactured or mechanical. There is a huge segment of church speakers that believe "you must wait upon the Lord" to get the message for that weekend. And I honestly don't want to take anything away from that.

The point I want to make in this is that planning can take "waiting" to an even higher level.

Planning your year can:
  • Focus Your Thoughts - Whenever I know what my upcoming messages are my mind goes to work on looking for illustrations/scriptures etc... I really see it as partnering with the Holy Spirit through life as a communicator. Often times I will find an illustration to an upcoming message when I'm watching a movie or reading a magazine/newspaper. If you know you got a certain series coming up on a certain topic, you can spend some extra time reading through all the Scriptures references for that topic.
  • Allow Others To Input - I think this is the most highly under-used area of message development. God is a relational God and when we develop our messages with others we get a message that relates to people. Many pastors have seen the benefit of adding a creative team to add more elements to the message. "The successful company is not the one with the most brains, but the most brains acting in concert." Peter Drucker, Management guru
  • Save Prep Time - How much time is wasted trying to figure out "what" your going to preach? With a plan you can streamline right into your preparation with the necessary tools.
How has planning ahead helped you???

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Get Started

Thought this might be good for someone out there that is contemplating making a move. Maybe it is a move to do something you have never done before but know it will take you to the next level. Maybe fear has parallelized you into doing nothing for so long. Maybe taking a risk frightens you.

For me, I picture the finish line of life being the day I stand before Jesus and hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant"!

Something to ponder: Is it possible that you won't hear those words unless you are "serving"?

So to all of you who are stuck in a rut or know you need to make a move I say one thing to you:

"You can’t win the race, if you stand behind the starting line."

What is that one thing you need to do next that you have been putting off?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 2

With these first few posts I want to set a little foundation before we start getting into the practicalities of developing a preaching calendar.

I think one of the first challenges is that some people get stuck on in developing a one year plan is that they feel it takes God out of the equation. These are the people who think that they must seek God this week for the "Word" He wants to speak to their church. They believe that they must walk by faith and hear from God.

This may sound a little brash, but I think you are actually walking in less faith. Don't get me wrong, I didn't say no faith. I think it takes some bold faith to sit down and plan out a year seeking God for what He wants you to speak about 12 months from now.

I do believe it all comes down to the organizational aspect of it. Many pastors are challenged on that side and get stuck in the tyranny of the next week. When you are in that routine it is hard to put the brakes on and plan for a whole year much less seven days.

Can we establish at least one thing though? Isn't it possible that God can work through one man or a team to lay it on their heart what He needs them to say in 12 months? Doesn't God see the 12 months from now and who is going to be listening and what they need to hear?

Of course the answer is yes. So lets lay down the whole faith excuse and really say that we are either unorganized or not disciplined enough to do it.

"Hold on Jason...what happens if I get to October and feel God is changing it?" Then you call an audible and go with it.

Friends it is about faith and as a communicator it is about relationship with God and hearing Him speak.

As a little side note: I'm not saying you are writing your message one year out. Just laying out a plan which we will get more into in other posts.

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For more on a message plan you can read - Message Prep System and Advice to a Young Communicator