Jun
28

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

 
Jun
26

God, How Do You Define Success?

 

Hey Friends,

Do you ever ask God this question: How do you define success? This is a question that I ask Him on a regular basis. It is too easy for us to get off track, or at least it is easy for me to get off. If you are just one degree off course in a journey by the end you can miss the mark by miles. So, I ask the Lord. I have found that I can also easily justify what I want and miss what He wants. For these and many other reasons, I regularly ask the question.

Now that we know the question, what is the answer? I recently read a great book by Terry Crist called, Awakened To Destiny. In the book Terry defines success by six things:

1.      Knowing God

2.      Understanding yourself

3.      Discovering your purpose

4.      Fulfilling your potential

5.      Serving others

6.      Enjoying the journey

As you look at the list do you see anything missing? I like the list! It is specific and yet it is different for each of us. Reread the list and rate yourself on how well you’re doing on each one.

Each of the six issues is a part of a journey, not a destination. Who has arrived at anyone one of them? Without any question I want to succeed for Jesus. I want to make Him proud and live with honor for, and to, Him. Let’s be real, we have some stiff opposition. This is not an easy deal. I have to fight my flesh, the world, and the devil. We are opposed at every turn.

  • Are you ready to succeed?
  • Are you winning now?
  • How can we pray for you and help you succeed and live to hear, “Well Done?”

Praying for you,

Pastor Chris

 
Jun
25

A Sense of Urgency

 

Hey Friends,

Let me ask you a question: Has the Church lost its sense of urgency? As I read the New Testament I hear a serious sense of urgency from the Apostles and first century saints. They lived and believed Jesus could come back any day. They also cared deeply for the souls of those in their generation. Are we to live and be the same? I think the answer is a resounding YES! Don’t you?

If we live, witness, and talk to nonbelievers without any urgency why should they have any? The Apostle Paul went door to door with tears. The people God has placed around us, our personal mission field, should know without any doubt we are concerned and we are burdened with their salvation.

I try to live with that sense of mega urgency daily. Here is what I do:

  1. I pray daily for a burden for the lost. I ask the Lord to breathe a burden on my heart, the same that He carried.
  2. I ask for a glimpse of hell. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said if his soldiers could see hell for five seconds they would get on fire for souls. We need to remember hell is real and some of our family and friends are going there.
  3. I now realize I won’t live forever here. When we are young we think we will live forever. Now at 51 and after doing more funerals than I care to count, I realize our days are numbered here. So, I have a greater sense of urgency. “Work while it is day for night comes when no man will work.” ~Jesus
  4. Daily I remember the Bema Seat of Judgment. Christ was clear in His teaching that all of His followers will be judged for what we did for Him and with all that He gave us. This knowledge pushed Paul to do more than the rest of the disciples. It does it for me also. I want to hear, “Well done…” I want rewards in heaven and to rule and reign with Him. This requires I live and serve well. The same is true for you.

So, with all that said, how’s your sense of urgency? Ask the Lord to move on your heart and mind. The Church in America has to wake up before it is too late.

Just a thought.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
Jun
21

So, You Want To Be A Writer or Speaker!

Hey Friends,

I got a direct message from a twitter follower and he asked me a question.

I want to be an author, what do I need to do?

If you think you might want to be a speaker or author, the earlier you start the better. Two areas you need to dive into right now:

Number 1. Is piling up content. The more the better.

I have been filing for over 20 years. Every sermon I hear, every good quote, illustration, outline, chapter of a book, or article in a magazine I fill it. Today I have 11 file cabinets full of content. For a speaker or writer or anyone who has something to say content is king. If I were starting today I would digitize all files. It is much easier if you start that way. For me to do it today would cost over 20,000 $ and take 2 years, and I’m still trying to do it. If my files were electronic more people could use them. Start today collecting content. It is never too early.

 

Number 2. Who will listen to you? Who will help get you book or message out?

I would start building a social network. I learned this lesson much later than I wish I had. When I completed my first book: “The Climb of Your Life” I realized I did not have anywhere to sell it or anyone to help get it out. My only outlet was Faith Promise Church. Now you’re reading my blog, I twitter, I have a full facebook page and need to convert it to a fan page. 5000 friends is Max.

I would suggest you pick up the book #Platform by @Michaelhyatt   It is a great resource for “Anyone who has something to say or sell.”

In today’s market having a great product is a place to start but it is not the end of the race. There are many people that can help you, but beware, you can spend a lot of money and get no results. Trust me in this: After attempting to start a conference ministry to help Church leaders and getting my book off the ground I have accrued considerable debt.

There is a black hole out there you can pour money into with zero R.O.I.

Hope this helps. Many of us believe God has given us something to say and social networking is the way to go. Remember networking is a two way street. If you want help from other than be ready to give help to whomever you can.

Just some thoughts,

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
Jun
20

Why Do You Stay?

Hey Friends,

Thanks for the great input to Monday’s question. Today I have another question. If you have been at your Church for 7 years or longer, Why do you stay?  I have come to the conclusion that the average church member stays at a Church for about 6-7 years. This can be a good thing or not so much. This question is for those “Long term” members.

This is a question I have pondered for the last few years. I believe answering this can add great value to Churches adding and keeping key core members that add great value to any ministry.

Maybe 7 is the number of completion? There are many reasons why people leave a Church but only one is the right answer: “God is leading me somewhere else.” There is no doubt He leads us. Strange it is about every 7 years!

As you read this blog, what is your track record at the Church or Churches you have been a part of?

Why have you left?

Or better yet why have you stayed?

Knowing the answer will help me a lot. What do you think?

Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a time to leave a local Church. I think some that leave are not being led by the Lord, but there are other reasons. What do you think they are? For a Church to remain strong and vibrant it must be able to keep Core members. They know the vision and the DNA of the Church.

Love so feedback on this issue. I think  this is more important than most people realize.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
Jun
18

Can Trusting God Make You Lazy???

Hey Friends,

Before you think me a heretic please hear me out! This is a question I have been pondering for the last few weeks. Let me explain. I know that without the Lord I can do nothing. (Jn.15) I know we are utterly dependent and totally at God’s mercy. With that said, He has called us to do our part!

As a pastor, I prepare messages to be delivered to the Church or some other group. It is possible be lazy in preparation and just ask God to move?

The same question can be asked of anyone that does anything for the Lord in His Kingdom. Is it possible for the Church to get lax in preparation and in service and say we are asking God to move?

Again, I have been asking myself this question as it relates to my work. So, I thought I would ask you. Is it possible to over-spiritualize something and allow yourself to be lazy?

I think it is. God has called us to give Him our best offering. We are to pour our lives out to Him as a drink offering. He said, “Whatever your hands find to do, do …”??? __________________   “Heartily as unto the Lord.”

God expects us to give Him our best. When it comes to the Church and serving the saints we should be at our maximum ability. Let’s not be lazy and blame it on God. I think the best plan is to work like it all depends on you and pray like it all depends on God. Lives, souls, families, eternity, and the Church hang in the balance.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Just a question.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

P.S. I was on vacation last week and I appreciate too the love and help on getting the word out on TBN interview.

 
Jun
04

2012 Some Mountains to Climb at Faith Promise

Hey Friends,

I have asked a lot of hard questions in the last few weeks; please do not misunderstand my questions as depression or discouragement. I have never been more excited about the future of FP than I am right now. We have had almost 18 rocking years as a Church and they will serve as a launching pad for the future. Our best and brightest days are right now and in the future. I am beyond excited and thrilled.

With all that said, we are facing some tall mountains! This year is a year of expanding our largest campus. This is the campus where about 60% of our weekend attendance worships. The expansion has already created some problems, but nothing like it will in the second half of the year. The reason I am so excited is that FP always rises to the challenge or mountain that is in front of us. What a great group of people to lead!

In the fall we will have to add some additional services to handle the crowds on the Pellissippi campus. We will ask many attenders to move to some of our other campuses. I can’t wait to see how the Lord will move and how FP will climb the mountains.

Just in case anyone was wondering, let me share where we are today. Our worship attendance is at an all-time high for the summer and our average attendance for 2012 is well over 2011. Our offerings have never been higher. Money is coming in each week for the pledges on the Miracle Offering and the morale of the staff and leaders is stellar. We are poised and prepared for the challenges that we face.

We are preparing for more seats and even a new leadership development track to be ready for the next wave of revival and new souls God will bring to us. Remember for the last two years the Pellissippi campus has been at capacity and our growth has been in the other campuses.

I know the future of so much is called into question today. The economy, presidential election, and so many other things, but I believe God has placed us right where we are for such a time as this to win the lost and make a difference.

Get ready – the mountains are about to move!

Love ya,

Pastor Chris

 
May
31

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

 
May
29

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

 
May
28

Memorial Day

 

Hey Friends,

Today is a great holiday! Most people get off work, it is hot outside, we get to enjoy the sun, and we remember those who gave their lives for us. Much of what we enjoy, the many freedoms, somebody fought and died for so we could have them. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those warriors and their families. So much was sacrificed so we could live free and worship as we see fit. Thank you, Vets, for your time given to our country.

For Christ followers every day is Memorial Day. Every day for us is a celebration of the resurrection. Every baptism we witness or every time we eat the Lords’ Supper we are celebrating Memorial Day. Isaiah called the Christ the Dread Champion. He was, and is, the Ultimate Warrior. He did not fight for one nation but for all mankind. He fought alone and for each of us.

He bled and died for each of us. He was tortured and cruelly murdered, executed for our crimes. He not only fought hell and its hordes, but He fought the grave. Alone, He won for us! For you and me He walked out of hell and the grave. He is to be worshiped, celebrated, venerated, and remembered for His sacrifice. Yes, for each of us every day is Memorial Day.

You and I get to live and live forever because of His sacrifice. Today as we remember the American soldiers and enjoy the freedom they won for us, let us also remember the ultimate Vet, the Lord Jesus. His death won our freedom eternally.

Have a great holiday.

Love ya,

Pastor Chris