Category Archive: leadership development

Is The Next Generation Ready?

 

Hey Friends,

Earlier this week I wrote on passing the baton to the next generation. Now let’s flip the coin over and ask another question: Is the next generation ready to receive the baton?

First let me say you do not have to be 60 to be spiritual. The disciples Jesus picked were mostly young. Peter had only been saved less than four years when he preached the message on the day of Pentecost. Pretty amazing! Three things young adults have to do to receive the baton:

  1. Give honor and respect to the current generation. Do you think Joshua tried to push Moses aside so he could lead? “Come on Moses, you are 120 years old! Are you going to die?” We all know this did not happen. The Scripture is clear about respecting the grey-headed. I Tim. 3 starts out with dealing with older saints. They have great wisdom we need to draw out. Only experience gives wisdom. If you want to get help for your marriage, ask someone married for 50 years!!!
  2. Be patient. I Tim. 5:22 warns about raising up a young leader too quickly and the problems that can cause. Be patient, show respect, and be ready when the baton is placed into your hands. Rehoboam should have listened to the older counselors of his father. If he had, the Nation would not have split.
  3. Be ready to learn. (I Tim. 2:15)  At 25 years old, I knew it all. Today, after 30 years in the ministry I’m not sure what the questions are. Younger leaders need to be humble enough to learn from the aged. They have fought the good fight and are still in the game. They know a lot.

For the Church to continue it must pass the baton. To miss the pass is to kill the Church. There are more churches closing their doors in America than ever before. They missed the pass. We are called to raise up the next generation. Ask the Lord to give you a heart for the next generation.

I had to adjust my attitude about the next generation. Drew Wells of  The Lead Block helped me see how I must reach out to them and love them. I will forever be grateful for his friendship and leadership. He is a young leader making a difference.

Hope this helps.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Wrong Assumptions Can Kill You

 

Hey Friends,

If you are like me in any way you have, and continue to make, wrong assumptions. When we lead, minister, or serve with wrong assumptions we can get the wrong results. I spent all day Wednesday with a great leader and consultant, Dan Novak. He has a PhD in leadership and is a great man of God. He added much value to me and Faith Promise. We have used him several times at Faith Promise and he always helps us. I can recommend him without reservation.

Before he spent the day with me he interviewed two focus groups made up of staff members. I didn’t know he was going to do that but it proved invaluable. As Dan unpacked how some of the staff viewed things I was surprised. I was surprised because I thought everyone understood my heart as the leader. Wrong assumption! This is not their fault, but mine.

I know what’s going on in my head but no one else does. After 28 years of marriage you would think I would have learned this lesson by now! Not a smart man. Dan pointed out some things I know to do, but need to improve on.

Things like:

  • Listening WELL! This is a gift and an art and I’m not great at it.
  • Sharing with people how I arrive at decisions. This shows my heart and trains new leaders at the same time.
  • Making sure everyone FEELS heard in a decision.
  • Being present when you’re present.
  • Not forgetting as senior leader my voice counts more than I realize! Being careful of hallway conversations and quickly being negative about an idea or question.
  • The expert can be wrong. I can crush creativity and young leaders by quickly telling them an idea will not work…
  • As a leader gets older he or she (Me) thinks they can quit filtering what they say with kindness. Being older is not a license to be ugly.

We all judge ourselves by our intentions and everyone else judges us by our actions. They can be very different.

Lest you think the day was negative, it was not. We talked strategy, vision, process and many other things. This list above shows areas I need to work on. I asked Dan in to discuss the overall health of Faith Promise. He said of all the organizations he has worked with, we are at the top in health. As the lead shepherd it is my job to make sure the Church and its leadership are healthy.

I asked Dan if the staff could be healthy and the membership not be healthy. He said that was not very possible. We will set a date for next year and see if our great health has improved. The healthier we are the stronger the Body will be.

The thought for the day is: Let people see your heart.

Love you and I pray you know it.

Pastor Chris

 

Is Your Church Healthy?

Hey Friends,

This week I have been reading another great book: #TheAdvantage, by Patrick Lencioni. The theme of the book is organizational health. This topic could not be more important for the Church in the 21st Century. If you have never read a book by him you are missing it. I have learned much from him.

Lencioni said, “The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.” Churches, like most companies, have certain things they measure and manage. Health is not on most leader’s radar.

Everyone would agree that a healthy Church is far more effective than those that are unhealthy. Healthy companies are far more likely to grow, keep employees, and make the bottom line increase. This is a concept most Churches need to consider, study, work at, and make a priority. Healthy Churches will reach more people, have more committed members, and be in a position to please the Lord in more respects.

Lencioni went on to say, “The health of an organization provides the context for strategy, finance, marketing, technology, and everything else that happens within it, which is why it is the single greatest factor determining an organization’s success. More than talent. More than knowledge. More than innovation.”

The question I want to leave you with is: can we humble ourselves enough to determine if the organizations we lead are really healthy or not? We will ignore this issue to our own peril. Just as each of us realize that we will be better off if we stay healthy, the same is true with the groups we lead.

It is easy to ignore this and keep on going. The fact is that the Church will never achieve its full potential if it is not healthy.

Time to start checking the vital signs! What do you think are the vital signs for the Church?

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Are You The Right Person To Ask?

 

Hey Friends,

Hope you had a great Memorial Day holiday. My family and I had a great day and some fun in the sun.

Something I have learned over 30 years of ministry is, ask the right people the right questions and you get the right answers. Some of that can be hard; I know it is for me.

Something I just realized is that I seem to ask the right questions at the wrong time. I have lived with an assumption and I’m not sure it is right. If the numbers are going up and to the right and we are baptizing people, I think all is well at the Church.  I love riding the wave that God creates. I love when the Church is growing and people are being saved. So, I rarely ask questions like: are we healthy, is everything OK, are we doing the right things in the ministry…?

When all is well (Church attendance increasing) I live at 5,000 ft., pray,  preach and cast vision. When the wave crests and we slow in our growth I get out of the plane and start kicking the tires and asking questions. Somehow I think the questions need to be asked sooner! What do you think?

Can the Church be healthy and not grow? Can the Church be growing and not be healthy? Before you say, “numbers don’t matter,” read the book of Numbers and the book of Acts. Numbers matter! As a matter of fact, everyone counts and should be counted. That is how I read the Word.

With that said, numbers are not the only thing that matter! What do you think are the marks of a healthy Church? I would love some input. I guess you can tell I’ve gotten out of the plane and I’m asking questions.

At Faith Promise we have had some serious space limitations for the last few years. We are now doing 13 services in 5 locations. We now are expanding our Pellissippi Campus and in January we will have more seats.  In preparation I am asking questions about health so we can be ready for the next wave that Jesus generates for His Church.

I love Church growth. I love to win souls. I love life transformation and restoration. Is that not the reason Jesus came? How do you see it?

I think I’m asking the right questions. Are you the right person to ask?

Just a thought…

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

How Long Can The Leader Feel The Pulse?

Hey Friends,

This weekend I was walking through the Word when I reread a story we have all studied: Absalom’s rebellion against his father, King David. I am not going to retell the whole story but you can read it in 2 Sam. 13-19. There are many facets and angles to the story, but this time I read it from a leadership perspective.

King David was a man after God’s own heart. He was a superb leader and built a great dynasty. In the middle of his reign after he was well established as the King and Leader of Israel, his son “stole” the hearts of the people away from David. The people loved David and yet he was usurped by his son. How could this happen? I know this – if it can happen to him it can happen to any of us!!!

After David allowed his banished son to return to Jerusalem, he began a slow steady revolt right under everyone’s noses. For four years Absalom would stay at the gates of the city and tell people if he were King they would get justice. He would be an ear for the downtrodden and misused. Sounds like a presidential race and political promises. The only problem is that David was not up for reelection. He was King for life unless someone stole the crown.

By the time David was warned, Absalom was already marching with David’s army at his command. He was coming to kill David and become the King. He had already crowned himself King. David knew he was beaten and he fled from his son. As I meditated on the story some questions came to mind:

  • How did King David get so disconnected from his people?
  • Did David see it and ignore it because it was his son?
  • Did no one warn the King of the uprising?
  • Where were David’s trusted men?
  • Was David so confident that nothing could happen to his leadership?
  • Can this happen today?
  • How can I stay connected with the church I lead so this will not ever happen to me?
  • If the devil were to try to divide you and your people, how would he do it?
  • What would the signs be if you were becoming disconnected?

I think that this is a very important issue for each of us and we should all have our ear to the ground and our fingers on the pulse of the organizations we lead.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s keep asking the right questions to the right people and we will get all the information we need to keep growing, learning and leading well.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Trying To Add Value

Hey Friends,

I had a thought while praying for you this morning. Since the new book went on sale last week my first book has started selling again. I am going to offer everyone both books for $20.00. Everybody loves a deal, especially at Christmas. So here it is, just for you.

My chief aim and goal is to help people achieve their full potential placed in them by the Lord. Both of these books are designed to do just that. Since most people just got the book last weekend few have finished it, but those that have already have sent great endorsements and testimonies.

I have worked and prayed over the new book for many years. It was and is a labor of love. It is my prayer as you read the book that you will have a clear plan for your personal and family growth for 2012.

Thanks for helping me get the word out. “Everything you hand finds to do, do it heartily for the Lord.”

Praying for you.

Love ya

Pastor Chris

 

Extraordinary Favor Requires Extreme Faith

 

Hey Friends,

We all want God’s favor to rush over us like a raging river! There is only one problem with God answering our prayers – we will have to have our faith increased to match the new challenges! Having our faith increased requires gut-wrenching prayer and some stressful situations. When we are in a position that requires faith and there is nothing we can do about it, it is uncomfortable. We do not like uncomfortable!

Being in a position of faith puts us in a place of utter dependence and total desperation. We realize and recognize that we are not in control. As I look back over almost 30 years of ministry, the things I asked God for years ago look small today. I can promise you they were not small then! As God continues to pour His favor on me I have to have more faith.

In the last few weeks I have been in crisis mode. Josh Whitehead, our Executive Pastor, showed me the budget for Faith Promise for 2012. Let me bottom line it for you – a 21% increase! $3,000.00 dollars a day more. The increase is due to the launching of the North Knox Campus in March and the expanded Pellissippi campus. Gut Punch!  What do I do? This is huge… a time of stress, freaking out, etc., then time to remember all God has done.

Expanded Favor Requires Extreme Faith!

We all want His blessings, favor, Hand, and increase of so many things, but what of the feeling and the faith required? This is why so many shrink back at the blessing of the Lord.

As I write this blog I have just finished my prayer time. I am asking the Lord for a million dollar month this December. December is a great giving month, but 1,000,000.00? Extreme! This is what we need to finish the year and be in shape for 2012. So, I need extreme faith for all that we are asking the Lord to do.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Would you pray with me and agree for God to move? In what area do you need favor and then faith? To have one, the other is required!

How do you see it?

Love Ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. I would love some help getting the word out about the new book.

 

Tunnel Vision Can Kill You!

Hey Friends,

It has been almost three weeks since I wrote a blog. I left the info about my upcoming book up so we could get the word out. I believe the new book, The Plan of Your Life: Managing What Matters Most, will add value to whoever reads it. The copies will be available the first weekend of December.

Let me give you an odd kind of thought today: Tunnel vision can kill you. Two weeks ago Josh Whitehead and I went to Austin, TX on a fact-finding mission. We met with leaders from Celebration Church and Austin Stone Church. It was very informative and helpful.

While at the airport I tried to play a game on my iPad. I am not a “gamer” so I did not do very well. The game was Flight Control. I challenged Josh to try to best my high score – not a very difficult feat. He did, so I have been trying to replace his score. The game is about attempting to land planes. While playing I noticed something the game does. As you focus on several planes landing on one portion of the screen, it will send another from a part of the screen you are not watching. If you have tunnel vision you will crash and the game is over.

In the real world this means focusing on several things to the exclusion of other things. As a leader, you might be focused on fixing a problem in one area while another pops up and you do not notice. With the game you just hit reset and then try again. In real life, leadership is not that easy. There is not a reset button for a crashed family or business.

Without much effort you can crash your family, ministry, small group, church, or business. We all see this from time to time. A leader is not paying attention and problems arise without being dealt with, and very soon…CRASH!

Are your eyes wide open and is your antenna up? Beware of tunnel focus. It is so easy to do. In the church world the enemy is waiting for an open door to attack! Be ready and live on full alert.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 

Second Book Finally Out! HELP!

Hey Friends,

Well, after years of work and prayer, my second book is about to be here. We had almost 10,000 copies of the first book, The Climb of Your Life:Reaching the Peak of Your Potential, out and it is still selling. Now, we have the second book: The Plan of Your Life: Managing What Matters Most!  This book will help hundreds of thousands of people grow closer to Jesus. The bottom line of the book is helping people create a personal growth plan in the five most important areas of their lives.

I am so fired up about its potential for the Kingdom of God. The book was written as a story, in a creative way to hold the reader’s attention while helping him or her to grow. The first 5,000 copies will be at Faith Promise the first weekend in December. I am now pre-selling them. You can purchase them on this website or at Faith Promise.

This book will not only help you, but anyone you give it to. I encourage you to give it as Christmas gifts or stocking suffers. This is a gift that will keep giving for the rest of eternity.

So, here is how can you HELP:

1. Pray for the book to “Grow Legs” and get into the hands of hundreds of thousands that will benefit from it.

2. Get a copy for yourself, read it and write a testimony to be added to this website.

3. Get a copy for friends and family. Christmas is the perfect time!

4. Help me get the word out by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media you have access to. You can link to this site and get the word out.

5. Give me other ideas of how to spread the word.

Thanks in advance for your help and prayers. Together we can continue to add value to so many others.

Love and appreciate you,

Pastor Chris

P.S. Nobody makes a huge difference unless a lot of people want him or her to do so. We are better together!

 

Growth Changes Everything

Hey Friends,

As you already realize, I love growth! I love it personally, spiritually and ministerially. I love to see the Church grow. There is one problem with growth – IT CHANGES EVERYTHING!

I love what Larry Osborne said in his book, Sticky Teams: “Never forget, growth changes everything. A storefront church, a midsized church, a large church, and a megachurch aren’t simply bigger versions of the same thing. They are completely different animals. They have little in common, especially relationally, organizationally, and structurally.”

I used to think you just added more chairs or services and now I realize that growth causes major restructuring in the organization. Most pastors are so focused on the spiritual that we miss the required recalibration to sustain the growth and additional people. Without realizing it, many of us have hamstrung our ministries due to organizational mismanagement. Not on purpose, nor is it sin; its just not the proper structure or governance.

It is amazing that what used to work at 500, now is a barrier at 1,200. This is what I call the danger zone. Things have to change and yet no one really wants them to. We like it how it is. We like the relationships we have fostered and the reporting structure. We like it and we enjoyed watching the growth.

This leads me to a question: Which do you like more – how it is now or the vision God has given you to accomplish? You did not think it was going to be that easy, did you? If we are vision-driven then the goals and the outcome will drive our organization, not necessarily what we like.

Right now, what is holding you back from going to the next level? There is no question that change is a basic requirement. Are you ready?

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris