The best way to make yourself irreplaceable.

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Everyone wants to know their work matters. We want to feel a part of a team. We want to contribute something that is unique. We want to be thought of as irreplaceable. These are not improper aspirations but how we achieve them matters.

Here is how you become irreplaceable

  1. Know your leader’s vision for the church and organization.
  2. Know what you leader is looking for in other leaders.
  3. Know what your job is.
  4. Begin training someone to replace you as soon as you know 1-3

The biggest mistake we make in making ourselves irreplaceable is thinking that we are irreplaceable or failing to understand that we will be replaced. If you lead in any capacity you need to understand two things you will not be doing what you are doing forever so 1. You can replace yourself and leave a legacy or 2. Do not replace yourself and leave a mess.

We all struggle with insecurity to a greater or lesser degree. It is often those insecurities that keep us from giving to others what we know about what we do. We fail to turn over key components of our job because we are afraid of being replaced. When we lead with such a protectionist mindset we fail to fully develop those we lead. We must give away to advance. We must empower others to do what we do and remove obstacles that hinder them from doing things better than even we were able to do.

If you begin your job day one striving to replace yourself you will never be replaced. The irony is the thing that actually makes you irreplaceable in whatever you do is by being really good at replacing yourself. Anyone can do a job but someone who can empower others to do their job better than they can do it themselves is truly valuable.

So start this week. Know your leader and identify your replacement and start making yourself irreplaceable.

Is excellence killing the church?

Why we need more good churches and fewer excellent ones.

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If you regularly attend church conferences you will no doubt hear the rallying cry for excellence in the church. In some ways this is a good thing. I am all for pastors working hard and doing all they can do to reach people with the greatest message ever told. Where excellence starts to kill the church is when we make our church a polished flawless exhibition that we invite people to be impressed by.

When the church takes its cue from the business world and perfects its processes so that it can extend its reach and solidify its brand we have lost our way.

When excellence drives us to be efficient with people so we can be innovative with problems we are no longer the church we are simple a 501c3.

Got questions about family ministry?

Join us for a twitter conversation August 13th

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So I had this random idea a couple of days ago to help push the family ministry conversation forward. I thought. What if we held a live twitter conversation with some of the sharpest minds in family ministry out there? And what if you in the Youth Pastor, Kids Pastor, Family ministry joined in with your thoughts and questions? So here is what we are going to do Tomorrow August 13th at 3pm EST we are going to hold a #asknextgen conversation on twitter.

Here is where you come in. We need you to engage and ask questions. You can chime in with your own questions, you can ask follow-up questions to questions asked by others. This is your opportunity to ask some of the brightest minds in family ministry a question you have always wanted. All you need to do is search out the hashtag #asknextgen and you will find the conversation. When you ask your question make sure you include the hashtag #asknextgen or you question or comment might be missed.

Looking for a way to make sure you don’t miss any of the action on Thursday? Use Tweetchat.com all you do is enter #asknextgen when prompted followed by your user name and password for twitter and you will be able to monitor the conversation, tweet, or respond to tweets all from one browser window.

So who will be on the #asknextgen panel?

3 ways pastors should engage the abortion issue

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With a string of videos coming out of the past few weeks showing Planned Parenthood for what it is. These things are unavoidable for us and the kids we minister to. We have to understand how to logically understand these events so we engage rather shut down. My friend Scott Klusendorf writes the following argument in his book The Case for Life

The SLED Defense of Life

Philosophically, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today. As Stephen Schwarz points out using the acronym SLED, differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant in the way that abortion advocates need them to be.

Size: Yes, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more valuable than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and I. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one valuable. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-valuable tissue mass to valuable human being? If the unborn are not already human and valuable, merely changing their location can’t make them so.

Degree of Dependency: If viability bestows human value, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal (and valuable) because they share a common human nature. Humans have value simply because of the kind of thing they are, not because of some acquired property they may gain or lose during their lifetimes.

Armed with that understanding what must we do with what we know to be true? What must we do?

Manly things I like about Group’s Kidmin Conference

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I remember the day it first dawned on me that being a man in children’s ministry was like being a rainbow unicorn in real life. I was at a Kids ministry conference at Willow Creek 15 years ago and I had to use the bathroom. Every bathroom but one, in the whole church had been converted to a women’s bathroom. It was at that painful moment, the realization came to me. I am not the average kids pastor. I have since found that I am not as rare as I felt in that moment in the halls of Willow Creek Community Church. The past 15 years we have seen more men see the value of ministry to kids, this is very heartening. So as a man what do I appreciate most about Group’s Kidmin conference (other than their very short lines for the men’s room?)

1. Their attention to ministry to whole person. – From opportunities to network to prayer/ministry rooms for pastors who need ministry. Group goes out of their way to minister to minsters. There are plenty of practical breakouts and how to’s but if we are not whole and we are not healthy in our relationship with God and others how we do ministry doesn’t really matter.

2. Humor – I love to laugh. Every year they have “The Skit Guys.” It’s rare that you go to a conference where the artists on stage tap into the inner Jr. High boy in every man. Believe me ladies there is a Jr. High boy in every man. They are hilarious and they are guys. From their Jr. High boy antics to serious vignettes I always leave refreshed and challenged.

3. Options – I don’t know if this is a guy thing but I love lots of options. I love learning in breakouts, in hall ways and after everything is over in restaurants. Group does a fantastic job of connecting people and creating intentional places to meet people like you on purpose (connect groups) or on accident (zorbe chairs).

This will be my third Kidmin Conference. I hope you join me. I would love to hang out talk Family Ministry, baseball or just stare off into space and say nothing because guys like that.