Tag: perspective

This is Why

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Sometime last year I read through Michael Hyatt’s book Free to Focus. One of the takeaways for me was to establish a startup/shutdown routine for my work days. Being that I love routine, I’m still doing it, for the most part.

One adjustment I’ve made is to start my day with reading. When I sit down in my office, I pick up a book and read a couple pages, writing down quotes I want to remember. It’s been a pretty fun way to kickstart my day.

The book I’m currently reading is Jesus on Leadership. I bought it on a whim when a friend said they were reading it for a class, and it’s been one of the best impulse buys I’ve made since that pack of gum at the grocery store. Maybe even better.

This week, I came across this line:

To equip the church is to prepare its members to perform their part of the mission.

Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership

And that’s why I want to develop leaders. I want to develop leaders, students and adults, who 1) are performing their part of the mission and 2) are developing others who are performing their part of the mission.

If you’re reading this, I’m writing this to you so that hopefully because of the dialogue we have, you can 1) perform your part of the mission and 2) develop others who are performing their part of the mission.

So, how are you performing your part of the mission? How are you developing others who are performing their part? Is there a step you need to take today?

I want you to grow because of the time I spend word vomiting my thoughts two mornings each week. Thank you for journeying with me. Let’s continue to grow our leadership influence.

Authenticity Wins

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I stink at social media. I have often said that Instagram is my favorite social media platform, but I very rarely ever post on it.

Why Instagram? I love the idea of a well taken photo. I’m not a photographer, and I rarely remember to take one when I need to do so, but it’s still such a fascinating premise.

Why do I rarely post on the ‘Gram? Because I worry that my posts won’t live up to the hype. I mean, really, who cares what I’m cooking for supper? Or who really wants to know what I did today? And if they want to know, do I trust them? And if I post myself cooking something on my Weber Kettle, will I get metaphorically roasted for doing something wrong? Worse still, if I post a picture of those ribs, what happens if they’re not good?

One thing I’ve learned through our recent cultural shift is this: authenticity wins.

On Instagram, that means this: people will “like” something authentic in my life. It doesn’t have to be polished and perfectly staged. And generic certainly doesn’t move the needle.

In leadership it means this: share your struggles. There are things you wrestle with. People want to see that. They want to know you’re trying your best, and that doesn’t always mean fully polished.

Full transparency: I almost erased this entire post to start over. Even when writing about authenticity and pulling the curtain back, I struggle with authenticity.

I wrestle with decisions. I wrestle with direction. I wrestle with vision, purpose, and direction. I debate things in my head all the time. I’m not advocating being wishy washy or flaky, but sometimes the best things we can do as leaders is open up to those around us-to show vulnerability.

Jesus showed vulnerability when he washed the feet of his disciples. His act of service didn’t make him less of a leader.

The same is true for us. Don’t turn into an Eye-ore, but don’t feel like you have to have everything together. You can do this. Just be real about it along the way.

3 Ongoing Conversations for Growth

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Have you ever driven somewhere only to think back on the journey and realize you had stopped paying attention? I hate to admit this, but one time on a trip I realized I didn’t remember driving through a town (sleep may have played a part, but it was a small town). I immediately pulled over and got out in an effort to wake myself up.

As I lead, there are three conversations I have with myself on a regular basis. They serve as my “get out and wake up” questions. I’m just over a year into my new position, and these questions continue to help me work through some of the changes we need to make. These are not the only conversations taking place, but they are key to moving forward.

  1. Where are we? It’s very difficult to do anything with success without knowing your starting point. Your starting point is where you are now. Learn to assess and discern where the ministry stands in relationship to the church, the leadership, the age and maturity of the group, the adults who are invested, and the history of how the ministry got to where it is. Trying to ask and answer the next questions are pointless without knowing your starting point. It would be like trying to hit a bullseye on a target that doesn’t exist—you have to have the space around the bullseye to know where to aim.
  2. Where can we be three years down the road? The reality in ministry, especially in youth ministry, is the landscape can change drastically in three years. By beginning to paint the picture of what can be down the road, you help clarify the changes that need to take place to get there. There’s also a tension in three years. Three years can feel like an eternity in youth ministry, but keep in mind you are moving forward. Sometimes you will get there before the three years, but if you can get there in a year, you’re not dreaming big enough.
  3. What steps get us there? Finally, once you start to establish the beginning and the goal, you get to fill in the middle. What changes do you start making now to help you get to the place you want to be? You don’t have to be there tomorrow, but you need to start taking steps toward your goal.

The bottom line when leading a ministry is relationships. None of these changes take place in a vacuum. Spend time building relationships and bringing others into the conversation. Genuinely listen to their input, and be willing to admit your own inadequacy in assessing. Get to know your leaders, your students, and your leadership. Continue to build a team and cast a strong vision. Seek out the Lord consistently, and listen to His guidance, and watch what God does through your ministry!

It’s Okay to Mourn

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One of the things we’ve started doing at my church is sending out a daily devotional written by a variety of staff and members. Earlier this week, I wrote the following and thought I would share it here as well.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

I was a bit of a rambunctious child. As I grew up, I grew out of it, but one lady would always remind me of the trouble I would get into. She watched me when I was little (before starting school), and I affectionately have referred to her as Nanny ever since. Her health slowly started fading over the past few years, and a few weeks ago she passed away.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time pondering her loss. I know she’s excited to be in God’s presence, but that certainly doesn’t soften the sadness on my end. And I think my sadness is okay.

In this verse, Jesus calls those who mourn “blessed”. I think learning to mourn is part of what makes us who we are. But our focus is not on the mourning, but on the comfort we find.

What are you mourning in this season? Maybe you have lost a loved one. Maybe you’re mourning missed opportunities. Maybe you’re mourning a loss of stability. Maybe you’re mourning something secret. My prayer for you, and for me, is we continue to find comfort and rest in Christ. We, as your church family, mourn with you, but we also hold to the promise of comfort. We are looking forward to taking steps to come back together where we can mourn and experience comfort together! 

Redundancy, Again

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There are a few topics here at 3QL that keep rising to the surface. The Redundancy of Leadership is one of those.

I love a good set of questions. The namesake of this blog, for example, are three questions we can ask ourselves over and over. As situations change around us, then our answers will change. But the questions stay the same.

I have another set of questions I use rather frequently: One Word, Jump, and Stick. I started using these questions to help students on our leadership trip evaluate and process what they had heard, then started using it at camp as a way for them to process the message each night. Now, they are a regular part of my personal Bible reading.

For me, good questions aren’t good because they make you think the first time. Good questions still make you think the 100th time.

And that’s the redundancy of leadership. Find those things that may be solid the first time, but withstand the long haul.

As leaders, we have to continually cast vision so people are on the same page. Sure, the initial cast is important, but just because I remember the vision doesn’t mean the people I lead will remember.

What calls for repeating in your sphere of influence today? What drum have you stopped beating in the midst of our current societal shift? What do you need to re-emphasize to those who hear your voice?

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