Tag: patterns

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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Leadership Journey

Never Assume

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We have all been there: we make a decision about someone (their willingness or unwillingness to do something), and then are surprised when they contradict our expectations. The surprise can be good or bad, but it is a surprise either way.

The reality is we can rarely know exactly how someone is going to respond, but for people with whom we have experience, we can anticipate a response. (Here’s a post about not letting someone’s character surprise you.)

Today, I want to go a little different route. Sometimes we compare ourselves to people around us as a way to denigrate our own creativity or ability. I have a youth minister friend who feels they are not as experienced or “good” as others in our circle, but the reality is their combination of experience, creativity, and passion makes them perfectly unique!

When we assume the people around us are doing the things we are doing, we are neglecting a simple truth: people are wired differently. What comes naturally to one, may not come naturally to another. But we will never know unless we ask.

There is something you do naturally that few people find easy, and there is something with which you struggle that other people may find easy. This is lived out in my children: one daughter loves to read and has to work in math, while the other has to work in reading and loves math.

I have two suggestions for you today: First, embrace your strength. What makes you, you? What comes naturally to you that other people have to struggle to accomplish?

Second, help someone else discover what they do naturally. There is someone in your list of contacts, who is walking through the day defeated because they do not realize they are naturally gifted at something. Take on a role to help them discover that today (or the rest of this week).

Make a difference in someone else’s life today.

 

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Leadership Journey

2 Key Traits for Student Leaders

2 keys
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Have you ever noticed some people look at situations differently than you?

A few years ago, I heard a radio personality talk about how science has proven women and men look at cleanliness differently. Women actually see dirt more easily than men. It’s not that they have some sort of super vision, but their awareness of filth is higher. This means as a husband, I need to adjust my standards of clean in order to be a blessing to my wife.

This happens in developing student leaders as well. So many times, as youth ministers, we fall into the trap of thinking a student has to meet a certain level of leadership ability in order to take on the mantle. But I would disagree.

In fact, as I have been working with student leaders more intensely over the past 3 years, I have noticed 2 criteria which are critical to developing successful student leaders.

1. OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE

I cannot think of a single situation where anyone has led without first making the most of an opportunity. In fact, without opportunity, nothing happens. Where there is no opportunity, there is no movement.

Opportunities are simple, but it may require you changing how you view situations. The old saying goes “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” While the intent behind the saying may be negative, the truth is opportunity opens up when we shift our perception.

Every time you meet with students, there is an opportunity for leadership. My question for you is: are you making the most of the opportunities around you to allow students to grow and develop as leaders.

2. WILLINGNESS TO SERVE

The other part of developing student leaders, and the most critical, is willingness. If a student is not willing to take intentional steps, any effort you exert will be diminished.

A student’s willingness to serve is imperative to their own development. But if you think about it, this concept is a no brainer.

As an adult, if you need to lose weight or cut back on salt, no one else can make that decision for you. It’s a decision you have to make. The people around you can provide opportunities, but it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities.

Students who are willing to serve, are more likely to grow as leaders. Students who are unwilling to serve will hit a ceiling of their own making.

The bottom line is this: if you can find a student who is willing to serve, give them an opportunity to serve and lead, and watch the impact they begin to make!

 

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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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