*** Found on Pinterest.
Last week my 13 year old son tried out for his middle school’s baseball team. He didn’t make the cut. As a father, this saddens me, but I know it’s a part of growing up and a valid life lesson for him.
I gave him the “Michael Jordan got cut from his basketball team” speech. I also shared how when I was in elementary school, I auditioned for chorus and didn’t make it. They told me I couldn’t sing. I went on to get a vocal scholarship to college and graduate with a degree in music.
“God never calls us to do something we’re capable of. God calls us to do things that are beyond our ability so He gets all the credit.” – Mark Batterson
Everyone faces challenges – it’s how we respond to those challenges that is the true testimony of our faith and where the rubber meets the road in our lives. I don’t know who I’m talking to today, but maybe you’re one day away from throwing in the towel. Maybe you’ve written your resignation letter.
“We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in two years, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years!” – Mark Batterson
I would encourage you to pray and seek God for His leading. Don’t run away from a tough circumstance (or Board of Deacons or Elders) to greener pastures. Water the grass where you are. Plant your stake in the ground and resolve to not move until God makes it clear that it is His will.
“Sometimes the power of prayer is the power to carry on. It doesn’t always change your circumstances, but it gives you the strength to walk through them.” – Mark Batterson
Too often we give up and quit right before a major breakthrough in our ministry.
“If we had a larger vision of what God wanted to accomplish in us and through us, our petty problems would cease to exist because they would cease to be important.” – Mark Batterson
Read this last quote from Mark Batterson and just see if God speaks to your heart:
“You are only one prayer away from a dream fulfilled, a promise kept, or a miracle performed.” – Mark Batterson
I’m praying for you. I’m praying that God would pull you up out of the pit of despair, anger, frustration, brokenness, burnout, and hurt. I’m praying that you would be encouraged, inspired and hell-bent on chasing hard after God and His mission in your community.
I’m here for you. Many are counting on you. So – Don’t quit! We need you.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. – Proverbs 16:3
I’ve heard it for a decade now and I’ve had enough. I remember ten years ago in 2006, leading worship at my church in Dallas and we had a guest speaker that day: David Murrow, the author of Why Men Hate Going to Church. Since I knew the author was preaching that morning, I chose “Beautiful One” by Tim Hughes as a worship song. I just knew he’d love it. He didn’t. He actually referenced it in his message and talked about how men can’t connect to God with songs like that. I wholeheartedly disagree.
I think it’s safe to say that no lost person connects to God through song. They just sit back and watch and try to figure out what is happening in the moment.
However, if someone (male of female) has had a genuine encounter with the Living God – they sing, sometimes loud.
How do I know? I’ve witnessed it numerous times over 22 years of ministry and 40 years of life. I’ve seen and heard it in my local church and most recently, I have witnessed it in two very different environments.
First, I do prison ministry. I’ve been in prisons with a room full of tattooed, hardcore men (some with teardrop tattoos signifying they’ve killed someone) that are singing to the top of their lungs. They unashamedly worship our great God and Savior knowing the consequences and that some other prisoners may see this as a sign of weakness or make fun of them. Time and again, these men blow me away with their passion for God and love for worship music. Have you ever been led in worship by a praise band and choir made up of prisoners? I highly recommend it. They will rock your world.
I know what some of you are thinking: “Those guys have hit bottom – Of course they sing out to God.” Hold on. Secondly, I attend an invitation only men’s worship night that is held in a mansion-of-a-house in Charlotte on Monday nights. In this room are people like Executive Coaches, Life Coaches, ER doctors, a pediatrician, an orthopedic surgeon, an attorney and the list goes on and on.
These guys fill the living room and kitchen at the host’s home with sweet music as the pediatrician leads songs on an acoustic guitar. Are these men at the end of their ropes? Yes! In a different, but similar way. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
We’re all desperate for and dependent upon God. When we realize our need for Jesus, we cry out to Him. We lift our voices and shout, “Hosanna!”
So if you tell me men don’t sing, I’d ask you to come visit the imprisoned, sick, poor, along with the wealthy, prestigious, and influential leaders of our community and just be a fly on the wall. I think you’d walk away with your thoughts on the matter changed. We serve a powerful, amazing Creator God and He is worthy of unending praise.
So put your ear plugs in and buckle up because some men are going to lift Him up loudly. Will you be one?
He (Jesus) answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” – Luke 19:40
The picture above is from a year ago. That’s how long I’ve been contemplating this post. I’m constantly watching friends like Carlos Whittaker and others, including Jon Acuff encourage others to hustle. I have no problem with that. I’m extremely driven, ambitious and have a stong work ethic.
As a matter of fact, I just purchased and began reading my friend, Brad Lomenick’s book H3 Leadership: Humble. Hungry. Hustle. I love Brad’s quote: “Leadership is more than hard work, it is habitual work.”
However, in the hustle and bustle of 21st Century life, I often wonder if we hustle too much or too often. I wonder if we take time to be still, be quiet, think, meditate, and hear that still, small voice of the Living God. I wonder if we stop to smell the roses and take in the beauty of a sunset or sunrise. I wonder if we appreciate the little things in life and thank God for family and friends.
Do we savor the good times in life and mourn the tough seasons that will inevitably come?
My exhortation and encouragement to you my friends is to take time to Sabbath. Take time to pray. Take time to think. Take time to rest. I’ve said for years that we should work hard and play hard. If you focus only on “hustle,” you will just work hard. Take time to enjoy God and being in His Presence.
Remember the story of Mary and Martha and make sure you’re not too busy hustling that you miss out on an opportunity to worship and adore the Savior.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:10
Later this month I’ll be attending the XP-Seminar in Dallas, TX with some very good friends of mine.
This is THE place for executive pastors and church leaders to learn, network and hangout.
The dates are February 17-18. You can enroll HERE. Today is the last day for special pricing.
This years seminar with be featuring Mel McGowan From the Magic Kingdom: Lessons Learned from Disney
A former Disney Imagineer brings vital insight to church design.
Mel McGowan is the President and Founder of Visioneering Studios. This firm is a national “Envision.Design.Build. firm” with offices around the country. Mel had a decade-long tenure with the Walt Disney Company, helping to design the renovation and expansion ofCalifornia Adventure at the California Disney Resort. He also has a background in film and urban design—and continues to work on many civic designs around the country. He brings a rich perspective on “sustainable Christ-centered community” and has written Design Intervention: Revolutionizing Sacred Space.
In Exodus, God gave His people complete instructions for designing and building a tabernacle. From specifying the colors of linen to the dimensions of each alter, God cared about the details of that environment and His connection to the people inside. God still seeks relationship with His creation, and our gathering places can still reflect it—if we’ll consider a Design Intervention. From the Old Testament temple to today’s most innovative building, churches create effective environments by using their unique story to share The Story. Design Intervention is a global journey through this revolution in sacred space.
Author of more than 60 books, Gene Getz says …
David Fletcher has been helping Executive Pastors for over a decade through XPastor.org. I love what he is doing through the keynotes and workshops—and I had a great time a couple of years ago when I was a speaker. To learn and grow, this is a fantastic place.
I’ve also seen first hand the results of his own leadership where he serves at the local church level and in helping train leaders in cross-cultural situations—which has added to his ability to structure a dynamic learning environment regardless of the societal factors. Don’t miss this opportunity!!
Tim Samuel, CFO of Bridgeway Community Church says …
The Seminar enables me to create future opportunities. Daniel Rolfe’s talk last year helped shape my 2015.
It connects me with church leaders from around the country so that I can innovate and save money for my local church.
Clint Smith, XP of of NORTHchurch says …
The XP-Seminar has had a huge impact on my leadership and development as a person, as well as an executive pastor. Years ago, when I began the journey as an XP in my late twenties, it provided the networking, mentoring and insight that I needed to grow in this demanding role. I continue to attend the Seminar to increase my knowledge in church law, HR, staff development, budgeting and so much more. The relationships I have built through XPastor grow every time I attend.
This year I will be teaching a workshop entitled, “Raising Up Leaders—Coaching and Development.” As a 10+ year veteran as an XP, this is still my favorite part of the job. I believe in this seminar and what it represents and would love to give back any way I can.
Survival Skills for Managing Moral Failures Among Your Leaders
Paul has been an XP and SP, serving in ministry for decades. He has served with some of the most noted pastors in the nation. Paul has been a noted contributor to the XPastor world, giving mentoring to many upcoming XPs. Currently he is the XP of Springhill Presbyterian Church in Bozeman, Montana and earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Dallas Seminary.
There are two types of skills that help manage moral failures on your team: tangible and intangible. Tangible skills are the organizational decisions and processes that must be followed to have success. But there are intangible skills that many people ignore, to their later dismay.
Golden Buildings and the Architect-Client Process
Bruce Woody will share some of their “golden projects.” These are the church buildings that have special merit—things that architects really hit a home run for and with the client. Look for lots of concrete illustrations of the client-architecture process and its results.
This is a “tour de force” of great architecture. Bruce is the President and CEO of HH Architects.
SCOTUS on Marriage—Legal Considerations For Your Church
The majority opinion of the Supreme Court of the United Stated held that “The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.” This was the Oberfefell v. Hodges case, argued on April 28 and decided on June 26, 2015.
In response, one Senior Pastor said, “Our church will never do any kind of marriage again—go to the Justice of the Peace.” An Executive Pastor said, “We won’t rent out our facility to any outside group.” Some changed the constitutions of their church to address the issue and others have done nothing. This imperative presentation contains material that you must consider as you audit your church policies and practices.
Every year, David Middlebrook and Matt Anthony from The Church Law Group bring the XP-Seminar imperative topics from the field of law, HR, safety, fiduciary responsibility and much more. This will be a growing time and invariably you will take away homework and a full to-do list.
The Constant of Change and a Track for Lead Pastors
You asked for Mike to return again! We heard from him, Mr. “Lightning in a Bottle,” at the 2014 XP-Seminar about his transition to EvFree Fullerton and the resulting phenomenal growth. But you wanted more of Mike. In 2015, he spoke on being a catalyst and directional leadership. This year he will address The Constant of Change–giving us a continued insight into a dynamic leader.
On Thursday afternoon, Mike will lead a workshop only for Senior Pastors/Lead Pastors. Before becoming the Lead Pastor of EvFree Fullerton, he served as the teaching pastor at Rock Harbor Church and Mariners Church. XPs, this is a prime opportunity to bring your SP! Read about the SP track.
The New SP and XP Team
Two years ago, Jon became the new SP of Maple Grove Church. He soon added XP Jim Hobbs to the team. Let’s learn the “start-up lessons” from Jon about his experience. You never know when you will get a new SP or join a new team. His observations and perspective will give insights to new and experienced XPs and SPs. Read Jon’s story of when he was a Campus Pastor to gain some perspective on his prior ministry.
Our emcee this year will be Eddie Park. On a 4-year learning gig at EvFree Fullerton with David Fletcher, he is an Assistant Executive Pastor overseeing church business and operations. Eddie provides church-wide strategic leadership and oversees EvFree’s internship program, along with developing skills in teaching and communication.
Eddie is an information addict, avid life-hacker, and leadership junkie. His passion is to change lives and organizations with the highest level of Christian leadership.
At the 2015 seminar, I was exposed to some of the most experienced church leaders from all over the nation. I never thought I would ever be prepared for senior leadership until I came to the seminar and received the invaluable wisdom and resources provided by David Fletcher, the speakers, and participants. ~Eddie Park
We will feature a short ride with a case study on church leadership issues. To the point. Clear. Impactful. Horse not provided.
On each afternoon, we have three sets of workshops led by some of thebest church leaders from North America—people who are coming up with innovative solutions to practical ministry. Hear from your peers! The workshop leaders are church leaders who speak from their amazing areas of expertise. They talk to you as “one skilled leader to another.”
“Thank you so much for the obvious work that was put into the conference. It was my first time attending and it was very beneficial.”
“On our flight home, my XP said to me, ‘So was the conference worth it for you?’ I answered, ‘Yes it was.’ He agreed as well.”
The regular enrollment rate is $750. Includes books and lunches—but not lodging. Overview of all rates:
- Enroll by February 1 for $675–save $75
- Enroll two or more from your church for $600 each–save $300 and more!
We will again be at the Hilton Dallas/Park Cities.
I hope to see you there! If you’re going, let me know and we’ll grab some time together.
Sunday night I, like many of you, watched Peyton Manning (Quarterback of the Denver Broncos) make history. Not only did Peyton win the AFC Championship, he becomes the first QB in the NFL to go to multiple Super Bowls with multiple teams. Not only that, he has been to 4 Super Bowls with 4 different head coaches. Wow! As I celebrated his achievement and performance, I reflected on what makes Peyton so special and what we, as pastors and leaders, can learn from him.
- Passion: Peyton Manning’s passion for the game of football is evident. He loves to play and though he may look serious (with his game face on), he’s having a blast on the field. We, as leaders in the Church, should have passion as well.
Danger: When being a pastor becomes your identity and you are, as Craig Groeschel once said, “A full-time pastor and a part-time disciple.”
- Commitment: Who knows the countless hours Peyton Manning has spent studying film, practicing with his offensive line and receivers, working out and strengthening his arm and body? Peyton is committed to the game of football. He doesn’t do anything halfway. He’s all-in. If you pastor a congregation, you should be committed to that church and to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
Danger: When you don’t have a life outside the church. You need to be an engaged and committed husband and father. You need to have hobbies. You need to learn to laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously (read this).
- Driven: Any fan of the game can see that Peyton is a driven athlete. He’s extremely competitive and can’t stand to lose. For Peyton, his goal every year is a Super Bowl championship. It’s Super Bowl champs or bust. We, as pastors, need to be driven by the mission of the Church, specifically the Great Commission. We should always be looking to reach more people with the gospel.
Danger: When we make attendance, budgets and baptism numbers the end all, be all. We have to see people as precious in God’s sight and not targets. Build relationships with people. Don’t use them to increase your metrics. Also be on the alert of becoming or enabling a work-a-holic atmosphere. Keep manageable office hours and don’t neglect your family.
- Excellence: Peyton Manning is the poster-child for excellence in the NFL. He holds too many records to list. He excels at everything he does. As leaders, we need to lead with excellence (that’s what my next book is about). We need to show we care about our calling, our career and our churches. Lead courageously. Lead well.
Danger: When we confuse excellence with perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect church.
- Didn’t quit: Peyton injured his neck last year and his foot this year and could have retired from the game and would have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He didn’t need to ever play again and he could have gone on to other things, but instead he had multiple neck surgeries, went through extensive physical therapy and rehab and worked hard to get back to the game he so desperately loves. He didn’t give up when most would have, like when his team, the Indianapolis Colts, released him and doubted his ability to play at an elite level post-surgery. Too many pastors quit right before a major breakthrough in their ministry. As I have stated in both of my books, I’m a big believer in longterm ministry. I think you need to plant roots in a community and give your life to something significant.
Danger: When you don’t know when to step down. Too many pastors don’t have a plan for a successful succession. Dr. Gene Getz modeled this for me years ago and has been a hero of mine for a long time. I also encourage you to check out my friend William Vanderbloemen’s book Next: Pastoral Succession That Works.
- High Standards: Peyton expects greatness from himself and his team. For two decades of ministry leadership, I have expected a lot from myself and from others (my staff and volunteers). I don’t think it’s wrong to ask for commitment and excellence from your team.
Danger: We must be people of grace. We must have grace for ourselves when we fail. We must have grace for others when they let us down.
- Character: Peyton Manning is known for being a class-act. He’s a good person on the field and off. He’s not involved in scandals, suspensions or problems with the law (like many other athletes.) As leaders, we need to be men and women of character.
Danger: When the public self and the private self don’t line up. If you’re an amazing preacher at church, but a horrible husband and father and/or addict at home – you need to repent and seek help. Go to counseling and confide in another pastor that you trust. Pastors need friends they can be real with.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord… – Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
What lessons do you think you can learn from an athlete like Peyton Manning?