Archives For Greg’s Favorites

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Where to begin? For the past year, I’ve been speaking, writing, consulting and serving as the Editor of Christian Media Magazine. But as many of you know, my heart is in the local church. In a way that can only be described as a God-thing, God brought me and Pastor Derwin Gray together to talk. I found out they had been praying for a Campus Pastor for their Rock Hill campus and you know I had previously served as a Campus Pastor at a multisite church. I, too, had been praying for a Campus Pastor position. God got us connected and the rest is history.

What you may not know is that Transformation Church is located in my home state of South Carolina, where I grew up and spent the first 24 years of my life. The church is located near the South Carolina/North Carolina line and is considered a suburb of Charlotte, NC. If you looked at a map of where my family and I are moving to, you would see it’s right in the middle of both my wife’s and my families. My wife has sisters in North Carolina. My entire family is in South Carolina and my wife’s parents live in Georgia. This is truly a homecoming and we praise God!

Now let me tell you about why I’m pumped to be a part of the team at Transformation Church. You may not know it, but I’m very picky and waited on God to lead us to the right fit. Here’s the scoop on TC from their website:

Derwin L. Gray is the founding and lead Pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community with two campuses in South Carolina (Indian Land and Rock Hill), both just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church (TC) was recognized as the 2nd fastest-growing church by percentage in America for 2010 by Outreach magazine. In 2011 and 2012, TC was again recognized again as one of the top 100 fastest-growing churches in America.

TheGrayFam

You may be thinking, “I’ve heard of Derwin Gray.” Maybe you’ve seen the Evangelism Linebacker video? Derwin played in the NFL, where he met Christ. Derwin is also a best-selling author, speaker and champion for diversity and multi-ethnic ministry (which is what his next book is about). If you want to hear some more of his heart and story, listen to THIS message he preached a month ago for Rick Warren at Saddleback.

Greg and Thomas

 

Why am I passionate about this opportunity? Because it’s a chance to be a part of a God-movement and serve a multi-ethnic church that values diversity. My best friend (Thomas Rose – seen above) for 21 years is black and we have done a lot over the years to try to break down racial walls. When I worshiped at Transformation Church recently, I was moved to tears at both campuses to see the mix of people and races worshiping together. It truly was something to see and I praise God that I will see this regularly soon. I also pray I will never take it for granted as this is not the norm. 90% of churches in America are segregated on Sunday morning. Let’s do something about that! I wrote about this years ago HERE.

To see what the music is like at Transformation Church, watch THIS. To see an amazing day of baptisms and see what God is up to, watch THIS.

What’s next? First, I praise God for how He orchestrated this whole thing. It truly was a God-thing and a story that I’ll share in the future. Also pray for my family and me as we move, sell our house, find a new home, my kids change schools and I start my new role as Campus Pastor at the TC Rock Hill Campus. Pray that God would have His hand on my ministry and we would see many changed lives and much fruit. Pray for my kids as they move and make new friends. Now that you heard what God is doing in the Carolinas through Transformation Church, please pray for Pastor Derwin and the amazing staff that I will be joining. Pray we make much of Jesus. It’s all for His glory and His renown.

I’ll be blogging more in the future about my beginning a new role and settling in. God bless you guys and gals. I thank God!

My best friend, Thomas Rose, is a worship leader in Nashville and also has a band called The Rose Factor. Here is their video of “Oceans” by Hillsong United. Let this arrangement and the graphics that go with it inspire you. Maybe consider adding a click track to the video and using it as a video track at your church? Go for it! Worship God with this beautiful song.

I wrote about The Digital Age last week and gave you a glimpse into one of their rehearsals. Today, I want to share with you the lyric video to their song “Break Every Chain.” May you worship with this today and possibly explore using the video in your own worship setting in the future. Have a great day!

N symbol in Arabic

I’ve been overwhelmed with graphic images of dead children in Iraq and men being crucified in Syria by ISIS. I didn’t ask to see them – they just appeared in my Facebook news feed. I’m at a loss for words. I’ve been losing sleep. Yesterday, God led me to read Hebrews 11, specifically the last part:

There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

I’m praying for the persecuted and ask that you join me in prayer. You can also voice your outrage on social media and to your Senator and Congressman. Let’s pray that God would intervene and stop this genocide.

For thoughts on how you and your church can use social media, read THIS article by my friend Jason Ham from the UK. To read why I changed my Facebook profile picture to the one at the top of this post, go HERE.

I’m a fan of The Digital Age (the band). If you don’t know, The Digital Age is the David Crowder Band minus David Crowder. They make amazing music and they are true creatives. Their artistry, creativity and innovation inspires me.

This is a sneak peak into one of their rehearsals where they play and sing the cover song “Oceans” (by Hillsong United). I had never thought of having men sing a female song and I love what they do with it. Take a listen and watch the full video to be inspired today and give you new ideas for how to use this song in  your context.

Overview-Cover

Eric Bryant has a new project that just released called A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be.

Eric serves at Gateway Church in Austin, and previously he served at Mosaic in Los Angeles. His previous book is called Not Like Me: A Field Guide for Influencing a Diverse World (also known as Peppermint-Filled Pinatas).

Here’s more on the project from Eric:

We have the capacity for unlimited influence!

According to Jesus, no matter where we come from or what we’ve done or what limitations we may think we have, we actually can become live a transformed life and transform the lives of others. He promises that we can have a level of spiritual influence far beyond what we might imagine. We can bear fruit 30, 60, and even 100 times more than what was sown.

In the parable of the soils, Jesus explained that if we can avoid being like the first three soils, we could have a life that is described as fruitful. In other words, if we can learn to be receptive (hear God’s voice), tenacious (not give up on what we know we should do), and intentional (avoid distractions), we will be who we’ve always wanted to be.

Derived from Jesus’ parable of the soils, A Fruitful Life will help you with the following:

  • Discover your calling.
  • Make decisions using a grid for hearing God’s voice
  • Overcome the most painful moments of life.
  • Make progress in areas where you are most tempted.
  • Experience renewal and bring change to others.

 

Applying the Scriptures to our life and developing the skills derived from the parable of the soils really is life-changing.

I have seen God do remarkable things in my life, in the lives of others who went through this material in small groups, and in the lives of those who experienced the material in the context of a retreat or sermon series.

When we are spiritually receptive, tenacious, intentional, and proactive, we are in the right place for God to work in our lives and through our lives.

I think this message is more important now than ever. As a society we’ve moved from hunting to farming to working in factories into what is now called the Information Age. Seth Godin refers to this period as the time for artists to emerge.

I would like to think of this as the Age of Influence. Technology has given us the opportunity to influence people from across the planet the instant we post something online. The world is smaller and our opportunities are larger.

For a free download of the overview, go to A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be.

Be sure to go to the last chapter in the overview to discover how to sign up for a chance to win the entire series.

Check out this video with Eric sharing more on A Fruitful Life:

Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Known for their mottos: “no perfect people allowed” and “come as you are, but don’t stay that way.”

Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership. More on these opportunities can be found here.

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I’ll be in Kansas City this week speaking at and hanging out at the National Worship Leader Conference (NWLC). If you’re going to be there, come find me. I’m teaching on innovation and my new book on Thursday.

Then Saturday morning, I fly to San Antonio to consult with a church and do a secret shopper visit on Sunday. If you’d like to find out more about this service I do for churches, go here.

Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs crushed the Miami Heat for the third game in a row (including two on the road) to win the NBA Championship Title. I have pulled for Tim Duncan and the Spurs since Duncan came into the league. As I watched the game, I was inspired to write about leadership lessons that we can all learn from the well-coached San Antonio Spurs.

  1. Build, don’t buy.
    They say the Miami Heat is the best team money can buy. The San Antonio Spurs have chosen to build their team through the draft, recruiting good team players (not necessarily superstars). This resonates with my personal philosophy of ministry for the past 20 years. The first 11 years of ministry, I was a worship pastor. I recruited and built a worship team/band at every church I served. Yes, I had heard of churches that paid their band, but I didn’t agree with this philosophically. It takes very little leadership to show up and lead worship with a paid band.

    It takes true leadership to recruit, train and lead/build a team of musicians and shepherd them in a way that they grow spiritually and musically. I remember spending tons of times in local music stores, getting to know musicians and finding talent in our community. I’ve tried to mentor several worship leaders and teach them this crucial concept. It’s what I call “shaking the bushes.” I always say, “You have to go out and shake the bushes. Get to know the musicians in your city.” And to be blunt: You can’t do this if you sit in your office all day playing guitar.I was a guest on the Church Tech Weekly podcast last week and we went into great detail about leading, shepherding and being an equipper vs a doer. We were talking about the great shift that is taking place for technical directors that are now needed to be leaders and equippers and not doers who actually run equipment on Sundays. It was a great conversation that would benefit all church leaders to listen to, including Executive Pastors and Senior Pastors.

  2. Failure is part of leadership. Get back up.
    The Spurs lost to the Heat in the NBA Finals last year. They used that failure to light a fire in their hearts and fuel their passion to get back and win it all. Tim Duncan said it lit a fire in all of them, which is easy to see as they are the #1 team in the league this year, with the best record in the NBA.

    In my new book on innovation and leadership, I talk about the role failure plays in innovation and the importance of progressing forward and getting back up after you fall down. The Spurs didn’t dwell in their loss. They didn’t let loss define them. They learned from it, grew from it and went back to work on how to overcome it. The fact that they are back in the Finals this year again, shows their dedication to excellence and a culture of winning. It’s also a tribute to their amazing coaching and team leaders that set the tone for the rest of the team.

  3. We, not me. It’s all about teamwork.
    If you’re a fan of good basketball (like me), then you can’t help but love and appreciate how the Spurs play the game. They are the most unselfish team in the league. They play team ball and constantly encourage one another. Their players are unselfish and teachable. They are passionate and engaged whether on the court or on the bench. When something good happens on the court, you can see the entire bench cheering the players on.

    Lebron James played a good game each night, but it wasn’t enough. He was one man playing a united team that was functioning on all cylinders. This philosophy of team ball and unselfish play comes straight from future Hall of Fame Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “Pop” is a great example of an excellent leader who has built something special that will go down in history. To see a short sample of their teamwork and the amount of passes that they do before taking a shot, take a look at this video.

  4. Be healthy. Promote balance.
    The Spurs are the most balanced team in the NBA. They are as good defensively as they are offensively. They shut down Lebron and the very talented Heat team for most of the Finals. They are also a team with depth – having there bench lead the league in scoring. Competence exists at all levels of their team (whether or not they’re coming off the bench). Do you have depth in your organization? Do you have balance?
  5. Be in it for the long-term. Longevity is key.
    Coach Popovich is the longest tenured coach, not only in the NBA (18 years), but in 4 major sports. He has built something magnificent. Tim Duncan has been with the Spurs for 17 years. Tim Duncan is the only player in NBA history to start for a Championship team in 3 different decades. Let that sink in!

    Duncan, Parker and Ginobili (the Spurs “Big Three”) have been together for over a decade. This year they passed the “Showtime” Lakers trio of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper as the second-most durable trio in NBA history.Too many leaders skip around. I wrote about long-term leadership in both of my leadership books. Dig your feet in, plant roots and build something to be proud of.

The Heat are great and very talented. They’ve won Championships and will probably win again, but if I’m building a team, I’m going to approach it the Spurs’ way. I think if we learn from what the Spurs value and teach, there is much to be gained. How are you building your team? What do you think we could learn from the Spurs?

Two Sundays ago my laptop crashed. It’s been in the shop for a week now and probably will be for another 2 weeks. I didn’t have access to my files and my blog, so I just took a break from blogging. It was nice and needed.

God is teaching me to slow down, be still and be ever dependent upon Him. I don’t know when I’ll blog again, but know I’m resting and being obedient.

Here’s a Scripture that I share in my new book Strange Leadership. I hope you’ll pray this with me this week:

SL prayer and Scripture

Greg and Tommy Royals 2014

Last night I took my son to see the Kansas City Royals play as a reward for all the hard work he’s doing in his treatment program and to have some special father/son time. I decided to be fully present and fully engaged, so I took two pictures of us with my phone (one before the game and one after) and the rest of the game, my phone was in my pocket.

There were two different Twitter chats going on Tuesday night. I simply scheduled a tweet via Buffer that said, “Sorry I missed tonight. You guys have fun.”

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Why do I mention this? Because it’s hard to be unplugged. I constantly struggle with being present and giving my full attention to my family when they need me. I think we all must be aware of the magnetic pull that mobile phones and social media has and set proper boundaries. So let me just encourage you today, friends. Tonight when you’re home with your family – put that phone down and be present!