How to Fix Unintentional Hurts

How to Fix Unintentional Hurts

Months back an incredibly talented artist/photographer/filmmaker/leader named Trevor Wentt hosted an event at the church where I was on staff called Imago. You honestly should take the time to watch the entire Imago film; it will impact your perspective. Part of this special event was an interactive response where worshippers could reflect on their own insecurities and their own redemption by writing it out on chalk boards. In this brand-new facility that we had just completed a few months prior, we hung up chalk boards using 3M hooks. Good idea, right? Nope. The night of worship went off without a hitch. It was beautiful, meaningful, transformative. Then there was the clean-up the next day. Trevor and I started peeling off the 3M hooks from the wall, carefully pulling the tabs per the instructions. Wouldn’t you know it… paint and drywall came off, too. Every single hook damaged the wall. I was mortified. The walls were in terrible shape. The Creative Team had tried to use the right thing (temporary hooks) but ended up damaging the walls. That afternoon, I drove to Lowe’s and bought some drywall repair and touch-up paint, and got to work. About halfway through the process of repairing the walls, I looked at the tub of putty I was using. 3M. Wait a minute. 3M? Aren’t they the same ones that made the hooks that tore up the walls? Yes, indeed. My first thought was, “This is brilliant marketing. Let’s sell ’em something that isn’t supposed to tear up walls but actually does, and then let’s sell ’em something to repair the walls.” But that’s negative...
Diagnose Your Leadership Health

Diagnose Your Leadership Health

I remember sitting at my desk, staring at the computer screen with my email pulled up. I was about to reply to another set of “urgent” messages, but the cursor just kept blinking. My head was swimming, and my chest felt tight. I felt like I could puke or pass out or both. I literally could not move. Sitting next to my computer was a notepad where I’d jotted down the things I needed to get done that day. It was 4pm and I’d not even gotten half-way done. I knew my wife was waiting at home with a two-year old and an infant, needing me to be done for the day. I also knew that my to-do list needed to be finished yesterday to stay on-time and on-target. And here I was, sitting at my desk, doing… nothing. I was stuck. Have you ever experienced a season of ministry like this? The to-do list is growing, the tasks seem insurmountable, the pressure to be a rockstar spouse and parent is intense, and it just feels… hopeless. In fact, get stuck long enough in a season like this and you’ll transition from being stressed out to being totally unhealthy. Here are three indicators your leadership health may be in trouble: You don’t “have time” for your spiritual development. Whenever your schedule and to-do list have gotten so out-of-control that you cannot take regular time for prayer and reading the Word, it’s time to press pause. There is nothing more important–especially as a leader–than for you to be investing in your relationship with Jesus. Yes, you should be able to use...
Don’t Find Yourself a Cheerleader

Don’t Find Yourself a Cheerleader

In our “everyone’s a winner” culture, there are very few things that will hamstring your leadership more than having too many cheerleaders on the sideline of life. The quality of lyrics in pop music has declined drastically over the last decade. I’m sure that each generation has bemoaned the youngsters’ music since the beginning of time; yet I am certain that we have reached a new zenith in lyrical absurdity. Driving down the road with my wife, I heard this pop artist named Omi (or is it OMI?) sing, “Oh, I think I found myself a cheerleader, she is always right there when I need her.” As ridiculous as the song and the lyrics are, this guy makes a point. Most people want a cheerleader–someone to make you feel great about yourself at just the right moment. Our family went to a high school homecoming football game recently, and had to sit on the visitor side. Schools are smart. They schedule a significantly weaker opponent for the homecoming game so they can look incredible. The plan worked. At the end of the first quarter, the home team was up 21-0. On the first play of the second quarter, the home team ran 40 yards for another score. Then. The away team cheerleaders came out and started their cheer: “We are the best. We are the best. We are the best because we are better than all the rest. Go team!” I couldn’t help but chuckle. I’m looking at the scoreboard. Now 28-0. The away team was very clearly not the best. They were tanking. They were struggling to catch their...
Big Announcement!

Big Announcement!

This, people. In case you can’t tell from the picture, my set up just came in the mail last Tuesday. Speaking of Tuesday’s… On Tuesday, November 3, I will be launching the Church Leadership Matters Podcast! This is a show where we discuss the things that matter to you because your leadership matters. Each episode of this church leadership podcast will be between 20-25 minutes and feature an interview with leaders from varying ministry backgrounds and experiences. The show will always conclude with a Leadership Lifelinewhich is a practical take away relevant to the topic that can help you and your ministry right away. The podcast will air every Tuesday at 9am and be available via iTunes (iTunes link to be posted at launch), Buzzsprout, and on the web home of the show: churchleadershipmatters.com. Best of all, you’ll never have to pull over or quit working to write down what you’re hearing in the show. Show notes will be available online, and the notes with the Leadership Lifeline can be delivered directly to your inbox so you can just enjoy listening. Finally, it’s important to me that you know who this podcast is for. It’s for you. Whether you’re the girl checking in kids on a Sunday morning or a mega church pastor, this podcast is designed to help you maximize your impact in whatever leadership capacity you serve. Don’t think that just because you aren’t on a staff that you aren’t a leader. Churches would be dead in the water without the brilliant leadership found on their volunteer teams. You can make an impact, and this podcast will help to maximize it. I hope you’re as excited as I am to learn from other great servants in the...
Why You’re Losing at Life But Winning at Work

Why You’re Losing at Life But Winning at Work

I had circled the date on my calendar for over a year. It was a huge landmark for my career. The next twelve months were going to build up to that day, and it was going take every ounce of my influence and effort and hustle to make it a reality. If I could make it happen, it was something I could hang my hat on. Truly, failure was not an option. I simply needed to surrender my life to achieve the goal. So I did. I leveraged everything I could towards my goal. And I won. It happened. I finished the project, and did it even better than expected. Then. Nothing. Have you been in that moment? Have you felt that when a project or event or goal became a fait accompli it seemed all that was left was an adrenaline hangover that threw you dangerously close to depression? Did you feel the guilt of success? Why does this happen? It happens when we choose to win at leadership but lose at life. These aren’t mutually exclusive things, to be certain. It is possible to be a successful leader and have a healthy life, hence this website and this post. However, there are times when a choice has to be made, and the sacrifice is steep: to win at leadership you’ll have to choose a losing game plan for life. Let’s have real talk for a minute. Are you ever going to regret winning with your spouse, kids, or health? No. Is there a chance that winning at your position could leave you unsatisfied? Most definitely. If you’re...
Make Time for God in the Grind

Make Time for God in the Grind

Our first three and a half years in church planting centered around the insanity of setting-up and tearing-down in a YMCA. For the first 18 months, my wife and I lived forty-five minutes away (thirty minutes if you drive like me), and every Sunday was physically draining. Set-up at 7am meant leaving at 6:15am which meant waking up around 5:30am. After stumbling into the building, we would roll out the cases of gear and methodically transform a gym into a worship center. Exercise rooms would become children’s spaces where they would hear and experience the truth of Jesus. It was incredible. The first couple of years, when I was leading worship weekly, the band would start to sound check at 7:45am and work out the kinks. A final team prayer came at 8:30am. Then at 9am, it was go time. Two identical services back-to-back. All of our spiritual, emotional, and physical efforts poured into each 75-minute service. Then the services were over. The YMCA opened at 1pm, and so… it was time to load everything back into cases. So the team hustled through the stretch and rolled the last case back into the closet just as we heard people stepping onto elliptical machines and the faint whir of a treadmill. Drive 45-minutes back home, eat some food, and it would be 2pm or later, and time for a nap. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. The Sunday morning experience for pastors and leaders is far more exhilarating-yet-draining than any church-goer could possibly know. Yet, my experience tells me that it’s not Sunday morning itself that’s the hardest part. It’s Monday morning. On...