Posts Tagged ‘ Leadership ’

Constant state of Reflection and Learning…

magnifying glassI have taken a small break from blogging lately to reflect and analyze many aspects of my life.  I am a husband, a Daddy, and a pastor of a new church.  Each one of these responsibilities brings it’s own set of responsibilities and challenges.  I’ll spare you (and me) the details of how tough I’ve realized it must be to be married to me.  My wife is my greatest supporter and cheerleader…and I have realized how much more of my time and love she needs.  My kids are growing up faster than I want them too!  I have not figured out how to slow down time…so I have been pondering ways to enjoy each day and be the best dad I can be.  

As far as being a church planter/pastor/creative paradox for Awestruck Church is concerned, I am discovering how much I have to learn!  Our church is 9 months old and every week is a learning experience.  I am learning the balance between entertainment and engagement.  I am learning the difference b/n what I want and what God wants.  (His way always works out better by the way)  I am learning the difference b/n being a “boss” and being a leader.  I am learning how to lead within my strengths and surround myself with people that pick up the slack of my weaknesses.  

As a leader (in any area of work or business) it is crucial that we constantly evaluate who we are and how we can improve.  Reading books, blogs, and going to conferences are great things!  I am learning that I can learn and be inspired by others, but simply copying and pasting others techniques into my life is detrimental to my personal progress.  Times of quiet reflection and (painfully) honest discussions with God produce the greatest results in my journey of becoming the greatest Husband, Daddy and pastor that I can be.  God created me with a purpose…I am committed to tenaciously chasing it with all that I am!

Dragging vs Flying

On our recent trip to Topsail Island we stopped in one of the oversized bargain beach stores.  You know the stores that sell everything from Bikini Girl Beach Towels to lighters shaped like guns?  While browsing we decided it would be fun to fly kites on the beach, a little father son bonding time.  I bought Micah a classic cheapo piece of vinyl with a string attached for only $4.  I, however, was convinced that I needed the more expensive “sport kite” which promised to preform aerial acrobatics with ease!  I couldn’t wait to show off my skills.

Once both kites were assembled and ready for action we headed out on the sand.  Micah’s simple, classic kite went up with ease and maintained a great flight pattern for long periods of time.  Mine, well…not so much!  I spent the good portion of an hour attempting to get it air born only to watch my efforts (and my mood) crash and burn into the beach sand.  I ended up dragging my kite instead of flying it.

What I learned was to stick with what you know if you want to fly.  As a leader I am learning very important lessons about who I am, and more importantly who I am NOT.  We often get swindled by the fancy packaging and promotion that alters our view of “success”.  This leads to us dragging instead of flying.  Be you, don’t try to get in over your head.  I am learning my identity as a pastor and it is helping me to put people around me that are talented in the areas I am weak.  I want to constantly grow and learn as a leader, but I will always be me.  If the leader doesn’t know themselves it leads to the church/organization dragging as well.  What good does it do to obtain all the fancy and impressive ways if all you do is drag them around?  You were meant to fly high and achieve great things, but only when you work within the parameters of who God created you to be.  Are you a leader that Flies or are you just dragging around?

I’m not Burnt Out…Yet

Shut DownIt seems crazy to be gone for a second weekend just 15 weeks into starting our new church.  It goes against everything I’ve ever learned about church and ministry as a whole.  I’ve always worked in systems that revolved around the Pastor, which meant that if he wasn’t there then things didn’t run as normal.  I have also learned the hard way how negatively that affects the man God calls to lead the church.  

I decided when we started Awestruck Church that I would be gone from church once every 8 weeks.  I also encourage my leadership to do the same thing.  Why you might ask?  To avoid Burn Out!  I plan on doing this for the rest of my life and I feel like I need to put some things in place right now that allow me to stay fresh and excited about being the pastor of Awestruck.  I want the people at Awestruck to hear great teaching from the incredible leaders on our team.  I want them to miss me when I’m gone, but I don’t want the success or failure of our church to weigh on my shoulders!  God has assembled an awesome team of Leaders at our church.  I am so blessed to be able to get away and trust them with the Sunday morning worship experience.  What God is doing in our church is so much bigger than I am capable of doing on my own.  Why should I be so prideful to think if I’m not there then He can’t work?  I am a pastor learning what it means to break away from the business of God and rest in His presence.

Continuing to Unpack (Catalyst 08)

A Golf tournament and frustrating sermon prep have helped me to continue the break down process from the Catalyst Conference.  I played in a captain’s choice tourney this morning with 3 guys that I thought would carry our team to victory.  Each one of them is above average as a golfer and as a team we should have finished with a ton of Birdies, BUT we didn’t!  My evaluation of what happened: our focus was not on winning!  We laughed, joked and had a great time, but at the end of the day we were only 2 under…that is pathetic.  I did not finish my sermon until just little bit ago.  I am usually finished by Tuesday!  In the rush and frustration of not being done, little things about our service started piling up and I got mad!  I mean I was really pissed off?  I typically just handle things and strive under pressure, but tonight I found myself in a different state of mind.  My evaluation: some of the team lost focus and as the leader I chose to dump my frustration with myself onto their situation.  

The unpack is this, it is not enough to just have the right people on your team.  The value is added when the people have the focus and drive to accomplish the vision!  Also, as the leader it is vital for me to constantly be on top of my responsibilities in order to keep others motivated and focused on the vision.  I cannot lead others effectively in their role when I am playing catch up on mine!  Catalyst filled my head and my heart with info and zeal, today God used golf and lack of prep to begin showing me how it plays out?

Catalyst 08

I have just arrived home from Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, Ga as I type this.  What an amazing experience.  It challenged me to no end with all the speakers, worship, and the time I spent with some amazing guys.  Leadership is not an easy task!  Catalyst reminded me of the great calling that has been placed on my life as the pastor of Awestruck.  My wife asked me which speaker or talk stood out, and I don’t know that I can place my finger on one particular person.  I can say that the combination of the knowledge and inspiration I was flooded with over the past two days has me in a bit of tailspin right now.  The main insight I walked away with is this:  Everything hinges on leadership!  I have been called to lead, but not necessarily take all the responsibility on my own shoulders.  Great leaders guide their organization in a way that keeps every aspect moving forward by placing the right people in the right place, and then communicating and leading the right people.  Don’t know that I can even make full sense of that statement yet, but I plan to unpack it and begin to let it impact Awestruck in the very near future.  

A very big thank you to Mike for allowing me and Steggy the opportunity to be at Catalyst!  I enjoyed our time together.  You always challenge me to think outside my own comfortable box.  Thanks so much for everything.

IIWTP Part 3…I Can’t Do it Myself

If I were the pastor…I would not micromanage the originality and personality out of my staff.  I have seen this way too many times.  Some pastors feel the need to oversee every aspect of every ministry in the church.  I have been very guilty of this with the people gracious enough to volunteer in my past ministries.  As a result, you end up with a bunch of leaders that conform to what the Pastor wants done and your best leaders usually leave.  True leaders in a church have been gifted by God to do what the pastor can’t.  I believe that is why God gives pastors a staff.  The church staff are more than the support system for the pastor’s plans, they are originators and pioneers of great new ideas that lead the church closer to the vision that God has given the pastor.  (That statement might be worth reading a few more times before continuing.)

Now that I am the pastor, I will do everything I can to empower and encourage my leaders to function in the gifts and talents they possess.  A statement that I hear all the time at my house is “I can do it myself”.  If you have young kids then you understand this.  They want to do everything with no help.  If we try to help them it often leads to a tears and some sort of tantrum?  As a pastor I am learning to get past the “I can do it myself” mentality!  There are some things that I could do, but not with the level of excellence as someone on my team who has more passion and skill than I do in that task.  I am learning to lead my leaders and set them free to accomplish great things.  They know the vision and purpose of Awestruck, and they have a desire to see our church become all that God wants us to be.  My leadership team is making huge things happen right now as a result of me taking my hands and plans out of what I have trusted them to do.  I hope to never micromanage them to the place of becoming miniature Josh’s.  My desire is to see them do what they do best, and as a result our church will reach our greatest potential.

Called to Lead…Learning to Trust

I was listening to a message by Mark Driscoll the other day and he said something that really peaked my interest.  I can’t remember it word for word, but the theme of his statement is what penetrated my heart.  You can give all the resources and money to a person that is not qualified to lead and regardless of how much they have, they will fail.  On the other hand, it has been proven that people that are called to lead will succeed regardless of their resources because they will find a way to make it happen.  I began to think back over my life and my 10 years of full time ministry through this filter over the past few days.  Many times I have survived on nothing with no one around me to help.  Many times I have seen great things take place out of a simple and seemingly scarce plan.  I have lead large groups and small, each with great outcomes.  I have failed more times than I can count along the way, but each time I got back up and learned how not to make the same mistakes.  

After reflecting on Driscoll’s statements I would say that God has called and equipped me to be a leader!  I would add one very important fact from my own experience to his statement.  I have never made something out of nothing without God coming through and providing a way.  Whenever I am following his perfect plan for me, He always comes through in mighty ways.  Today was one of those days.  It seems that God has always taken me to a place of total dependence before He comes through to rescue me.  He has never rescued me only to put me back where I started.  Every time He provides the way it is always more spectacular and grandiose than I could have ever imagined.  Much larger than my simple ways could ever comprehend.  Giving me everything I need and all the things that I would have never known to ask for!  His ways are mighty and his favor makes me stand in Awe!