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one prayer

i love this vision...what would you pray if you had just "one prayer" for your church...churches from all across america and around the world are going to participate this summer in the "one prayer" summer sermon series - imagine, the Body of Christ, coming together, from across the denominations, around the world, and receiving instruction from other leaders...

readers of my blog...i'd love to hear your input, if you were a pastor (or are a pastor) post a comment and let me know what "one prayer" you'd pray for your church and let me know if your church is or would participate (then check out craig's video below)...btw, this reminds me, for some reason, of the promise keepers event in 1996 that brought 39,000 pastors from around the world (i was there) to the atl to unite, receive instruction, pray for one another, humble themselves and repent to one another for division and prejudice, and commit to walk in unity - Kingdom of God come!

how cool is this?

last friday night we ran into coach richt at a dawg baseball game - also saw stafford there and i gotta say, they were both really approachable and patient with the crowd. of course, both my kids got their uga ball caps autographed by richt and my son got stafford's autograph as well. i left feeling really good because we stomped the vols (and won the series 2-1), my kids met richt and stafford, we made enjoyed the crowd around us...then i came across this tonight...

coach richt is heading to the middle east to encourage our troops...let them know we're praying for them; and, coach some flag football against weiss and tuberville - how cool is that? gotta love the fact that he's a humble, God-loving, family-oriented man
...
he's a big reason why i'm a bulldog fan (and the fact that over half my life has been spent in georgia!)...

so, this is what it's going to be like

came across this post from anthony that will challenge church leaders...

in essence, there are two key holidays that churches use to build from (Easter and Christmas...I would include Mother's Day, but he didn't) - and the question is...

Will they experience a weekend on par with your Easter service? Or will they find a bait-and-switch sucker punch waiting for them this week?

having served on staff in both small and large services, i must say, i was challenged by that quote - why? because i know the honest answer...

having said that, let me reference a quote from craig that puts into perspective some of what those in ministry have to go through...i dont' normally excerpt directly from other posts, but i feel this one warrents it (props to craig for a great series of posts he's doing right now)...

Pastors, your life is different.

I used to fight for the normal life. One of my mentors told me that as long as I strive for normal, I’ll fail. He encouraged me to embrace the differences of ministry and learn to flourish within those differences. (Living the balanced life will likely be impossible.)

Pastor, here are just a few ways your life is different:

  • You prepare new messages every week for the same crowd. (I can’t think of any other profession who does this without the help of curriculum or speech writers.)
  • You do what many managers or business owners do. (The short list includes: maintaining the building, building new facilities, hiring, training and firing staff, overseeing the budget, raising money, recruiting and leading volunteers, etc.)
  • You shepherd the flock. You might counsel someone who is suicidal, meet with a couple who is about to divorce, do a funeral and a wedding before your preach on the weekend.
  • You are rarely “off duty.” Like the doctor who might be on call one weekend a month, you are almost always “on call.”
  • Though your hours are flexible, they are generally long and unusual. You work many nights, weekends and most holidays.
  • You have the pressure of life in the “fish bowl.”
  • Your role creates many social obligations.
  • No matter how much you do, your ministry is never “finished.”

Some resent the differences. Some embrace them. I choose to embrace the differences and strive to follow Christ as my model instead of the culture’s cry for balanced living.

in the words of bill o'reilly, "what say ye?"

they said it...

heard this quote in church planters school a few weeks ago...

"it's easier to give birth than raise the dead"

any thoughts?

ps - the person who can guess the context of this quote will win the grand prize...
comment below...

before i start...

...i have to decide first if i'll finish!

this is just one of those pet-peeve things of mine...why do i start something (or you) and then don't finish it? know what i mean? like, going through all my files and consolidating them...or, starting a page on the web (i.e., myspace, another blog, etc)?

so, i'm just processing out loud...i'm going to make a better effort at...before i first attempt something, i'm going to first decide if i'll finish it...

what about you?

the view from here...

i've spent the past three weeks traveling...i've been in birmingham, atlanta, statesboro, greenville and a few stops in between...from my travels, from my discussions, from my reading, from my networking...here's what i see that God is doing...in essence, the view from here...
  • God is connecting people - it begins here! people are what make ministry, make churches, make progress - God is connecting people because together we can make much more of a difference (see Deut 32:30)
  • resources are being made available - i've blogged about it before, it's nothing new - but more and more churches are opening up their resources, curriculum (which they developed and paid for), and personnel to be available to other ministries. i love this! this is the Body of Christ supplying to others as there is a need. (you've got to read this verse to better understand) - most recently, newspring in anderson, sc, had a one day conference called unleash - couldn't go? that's ok, they've posted video and pdf's online to resource people - love it!
  • the Kingdom of God is being realized by those in the marketplace and the ministry - there's a cooperative relationship developing between these two that is going to PROPEL the church into the future - here's an example where one of the key leaders is al weiss (president of worldwide operations for walt disney parks and resorts) - he's part of an aggressive effort to fund church planting in rapid growth communities (think northside of atlanta - where the residential growth has surpassed church growth and leaves a spiritual vacuum in the community - simply put, there aren't enough churches!)
  • aggressive is the word - timidity is "so yesterday" (to put it into modern vernacular) - leaders are realizing that moving forward requires the first part - MOVING! it's key and critical to live a life of risk - there is truth to the risk/reward paradigm - the higher the risk, the higher the reward

leadership blockages

been pondering this question for a day or so...

what are the blockages that hinder leadership?

below i've listed 5 that are easy to allow...
  1. lack of vision - easy enough - talked about it in this post - there's a ton of material available on the subject of vision...which leads to #2
  2. lack of learning - there's simply no reason to not be informed! there is too much information and too many resources available (many for free), to NOT be informed
  3. lack of exposure - being exposed to other models of leadership and leaders is key to perspective - let me explain...when you see a new model, you go back and evaluate your model (at least, hopefully you do) - that gives new perspective
  4. lack of passion - if you're not passionate, don't lead! (cause if you do...it won't be for long)
  5. lack of relationship - scripture is true when it says, "iron sharpens iron" - that means it takes relationships, to pound, forge and sometimes, put into the fire in order for you and i to continue to increase in capacity. we need relationship (first with God, then with others) - no iron can sharpen itself, it takes another!
so, what do you think are some blockages - i'd love to hear your feedback, i know there are many more...

critiquing vs. criticizing

tony wrote this post several weeks ago and it really resonated with me...this is me to the core - which is one of the reasons why i love my new job working with existing churches toward revitalization...anyway, here are four points from tony's blog that he got from an andy stanley talk - got that....andy to tony to rick to you.
  • "Change is preceded by challenge, and challenging the status quo is where leadership begins."
  • "As a leader, there is something in you that leans toward evaluating and critiquing everything you bump into organizationally."
  • "Deep in your heart you feel that if you were in charge, things would not only be different, they would be better."
  • "When you stop challenging, you have stopped leading and begun managing." And that's a problem!
One final thought...what if the resistance that is met because a volunteer is challenging evreything is really a leadership quality trying to arise and your system of leadership development won't allow for it to reach its potential?

5 levels of vision

some more notes and my own thoughts from the church planter's school...courtesy of joey from this church
  • no vision - just what it says...duh!
  • low vision - well, sorta what it says, more like "you-ain't-got-no-faith-vision"
  • wrong vision - borrowed vision (someone else's), more like "you-ain't-got-no-prayer-and-seeking-going-on-to-get-vision vision"
  • vague vision - little detail, more like "go-back-and-get-some-more-revelation-of-what-God-wants vision"
  • God vision - just what it says...duh!

you're dead

just got back from a church planters conference at this church (church of the highlands) - and marcus brown (from this church) shared this nugget of truth...

take your death sentence seriously

you can check out the backdrop from scripture here

my commentary -
when you take your death sentence seriously,
you won't take yourself so seriously
you rely on God