Category: Big Picture

Big Picture, Incoherent Ramblings

2018 In Review

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I have been blogging for almost 2 full years. First of all, let me say that if you’re hanging in there with me, thank you so much. I cannot describe how much it means to me to have people who click to read my incoherent ramblings.

My goal in starting this blog was to help you grow as a leader. Sometimes, that growth comes in growing and developing others around you (student leaders, in my case). Sometimes, that growth comes when you expand your own leadership influence. But, in the end, every keystroke I make is intended to help you grow.

So, once again, thank you for joining me.

Now, I’m going to get a little numbers nerdy.

In 2017, when I started my blog, I wrote a total of 28,010 words. Take Time to Say Thank You registered the most views. And August was my most viewed month, averaging 14 views per day.

In 2018 I wrote a total of around 32,750 (depending on the final word count of this post). 3 Fundraising Tips registered the most views. And November was my most viewed month, averaging 10 views per day.

Because the “view” stats can be superficially inflated (redesigning my site registers as views), I usually measure visitors instead. In 2018, I surpassed my 2017 visitor number in early November, so more people are at least clicking.

Facebook is my biggest traffic driver. Because of this, if you haven’t liked 3QL on Facebook, you can click here and do that right now! Also, if you ever read a post that is helpful to you, please share it.

Email subscribes have gone up 25% in 2018. I know everyone processes content differently, but email is the most consistent way to make sure you receive the 3QL posts. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the email goes out at 10am Central with a new post for the day.

Finally, one last thing. Of course I want 3QL to reach more people in 2019. Of course, I would love to surpass my 2018 visitor total in the summer of 2019. But the truth of the matter is this: I will continue what I’m doing for one person that engages. I intend to grow as a leader and I want you to do the same. Along the way, if other people join us, that’s great. But for now, let’s expand our leadership influence.

I’m going to take a couple weeks off and will pick back up in January 2019. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Big Picture

Make 2019 The Best Yet

Make 2019 the Best Yet
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What was your biggest takeaway from 2017? Yes, that’s right, not 2018, but what did you learn from the effort you put forth in 2017?

Do you have a formal review process to check over at the end of a year? Do you have an informal one? Do you have a place where you right down lessons you learned and tweaks you wanted to make in 2018?

If you do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let me know what you use and how you track/evaluate a year.

But if I were to be completely honest (and why wouldn’t I be honest?), I can barely remember November 2018, much less anything from 2017. Today let’s finish 2018 with a bang and kick off 2019 with some momentum.

As you look back at 2018, here are three questions to help you evaluate the year. You can go as deep and detailed as you want, or you can stick with general bullet points that can be reread in minutes come December 2019.

  1. What We Did. Again, you can spend hours filling this out, but what if you stepped back and looked at where you started in January and maybe listed out a few mileposts along the way. We’re not looking for evaluation at this level, but more just testing your memory, so include a couple of misses as well as some successes.
  2. What Worked. Once you have listed out the what, ask yourself what went well. Hopefully something you did was successful, so celebrate it! What made it work? Looking back, can you describe what made the difference? If you had a significant event or turning point in your ministry, emphasize that. For me, I was able to attend HORIZONext in April, and walked away with a great idea for Senior Recognition in 2018 and 2019. That milestone helped me make strides for the Fall, so it is definitely something I want to remember. Pick a few things, and celebrate what went well.
  3. What to Do Differently. Here, you get to dream. No year is the same, but if you could repeat 2018, what would you keep the same, and what would you do differently? Maybe back-to-back-to-back red bull themed lock ins were not a wise decision. So, what would you have done differently? Be honest, but also be a little wishful on your part. If you wished you would have spent more money on an event, that’s okay.

So, there you go. You’ve evaluated 2018, and guess what? You’re ready to set some goals for 2019 by allowing 2018 to inform your direction for 2019. You may not like resolutions, but the truth is we all feel a little surge of optimism and excitement come January 1, so capitalize on it for your ministry and get ready for a great 2019!

 

This post originally appeared on the Horizon Resources blog, but I thought it was worth posting here as well.

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Big Picture

Take Time to Unwind

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Years ago, I remember traveling over a holiday break with my new wife (the same one I have currently). I remember where we were exactly on the road to my hometown as I shared with her my passion about some ministry ideas I had recently discovered. It was a pivotal moment for me in my early ministry, and a topic about which I was extremely passionate.

This week, as we traveled again, our conversation was slightly different. Okay, not slightly. Instead of ministry theories, I was serenaded by my wife and daughters to the soundtrack of Annie. It is a hard knock life, after all, for our family in our fully functioning gas guzzler, but let’s save that thought for another time. We still talked about life and about ministry, but I wouldn’t trade my in-car-musical for the world.

Instead, my challenge to you this week is simple: unwind.

Not every moment this week has to be filled with a discussion about ministry or next steps or leadership development. Enjoy a conversation about sports, or weather, or life, or anything besides your roles and responsibilities this week.

Thanksgiving is only two days away, so mentally prepare yourself to be present with the people around you. Unplug from distractions and pay attention to those around you this week.

Not to get too agricultural on you, but even the best wheat field needs a break from being grazed to recover. The same is true for you and me.

Take a break this week, even if it’s for one day. It’s worth it, trust me.

 

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Big Picture, Leadership Journey

Connect with Other Leaders

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I got to spend the first part of my week at the Texas Baptist Youth Ministry Conclave in Arlington this week. For years I have always gone with the intent of connecting with friends and picking some insight up along the way.

This year, I was reminded why I enjoy connecting with other ministers.

I worked the booth for Horizon Camps and Resources, so I was able to interact with a variety of people. We gave away YooHoo (the official camp drink of Horizon Camps), but the better part was being able to reconnect with friends I have developed along the way.

One minister, in particular, I engage several times each year, but Tuesday I realized how much we had in common, and I was grateful for an opportunity to process some things together.

Today’s lesson is a simple one, but it’s this: connect with other leaders. If you are able to network regularly, keep it up! If you are one of the people who naturally engage with others, embrace that.

But, if you’re like me, I intentionally force myself to connect. Not because I think I am better, but because connections do not come easily for me.

Who are two leaders with whom you identify and respect? What would it take to call them up and invite them to coffee, or to do a video call if the distance is too great?

The truth is we pursue what is important to us. If growth is important, you will pursue it. If connection is important, you will pursue it. If relationship is important, you will pursue it. But, if your priorities are somewhere else, you will avoid the others out of necessity.

Make connecting with other leaders an intentional part of you life and priorities, and see what happens next.

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Big Picture, Incoherent Ramblings, Leadership Journey

Routines vs Ruts

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I have a dirt driveway. Well, part of it is dirt, and part is caliche. When it rains, the dirt turns to mud (obviously), and I avoid driving through the mud. Sounds simple right?

I avoid the mud for two reasons: I hate getting my suburban muddy and I hate having to drive through dried ruts (created from driving through mud in the first place).

Ruts can be annoying. The make the ride rougher, because I can never seem to find the right spot to drive through the rut.

But, ruts can be beneficial. When I’m driving down the dirt road leading to our house, I can tell which part of the run is the muddiest by looking at the ruts.

We all have ruts in our lives. I bet you didn’t see this one coming, right?

Not just ruts, though. We also have routines.

I have a specific routine when I park my suburban. I always back in. I have no solid reason or justification for it, I just prefer to avoid the ruts in my driveway when I’m starting my day. Not swerve around them, but bypass them altogether.

You have routines, too. It may be exercise, food choices, weekly schedules, the order you get ready in the morning. Routines give structure to what can often become a chaotic world.

Routines are good. They help us prepare for what comes next, because we know our routine. After completing Task A, our routine says it’s time to move to Task B. It’s simple.

Until a routine becomes a rut. What used to be simple and natural, now feels forced and rough.

Honestly, I think routines and ruts are both very natural, but I do not think they are both beneficial. Ruts mean the time to change has already passed; change now becomes necessary.

I have no secret weapon today, but let me challenge you to do something: take a sheet of paper (or open a note on your phone) and write down 4 things: first write down three routines you have; then write down one rut you find yourself trying to navigate.

Now, you’ve identified a rut. What do you need to do to get out of it? Who can help? What do you need to give up?

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