This is the last of the series of posts I have done talking about the three things that have most affected my life and ministry as a result of being part of Infuse. Those three posts.
1. Three things I learned from Infuse: Introduction
2. Three things I learned from Infuse: Ask good questions
3. Three things I learned from Infuse: Staff Level Volunteers
4. Three things I learned from Infuse: Thankfulness
The greatest thing I have learned from Infuse is the discipline of thankfulness. In life and ministry few things will destroy you like a lack of gratitude. Life is tough. Working in ministry can be thankless. The result is that we are tempted to see only the things that are frustrating and everything we see and do is based on that frustration. A lack of gratefulness taints all we do.
Francis Shaeffer says it better than I ever could:
The beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is the lack of a thankful heart.
Tim Keller says:
Worry is not believing God will get it right Bitterness is thinking God got it wrong.
One of the traps the enemy uses to marginalize leaders is envy. If I only had a bigger building. If I only had more staff. If I only had a bigger budget. The reality is that no matter how we don’t like to admit it none of us are immune from these thoughts. I know that I have struggled with each of these at different points in ministry. I remember having a conversation with a kids pastor who had less kids than we had and had 3 staff members to help. I left the call with this overwhelming feeling of frustration and discouragement. I remember actually breaking out a calculator adding up how many kids we had and what my staff to kids ratio should be.
It was on an Infuse call I asked Jim Wideman at what point is it reasonable to get help. Our church had grown and our kids ministry nearly tripled in a few months. Jim said I could use some help that having at least an assistant seemed reasonable but help never came like I expected it.
One of the greatest things I got out of Infuse was a good ole fashion verbal butt woopen from Bro Jim. I went to a “Spend-a-week” Conference with Bro Jim and I didn’t even say Hi to him. I never asked a question and I never waited to speak to anyone. I always felt I would be bothering him or other speakers at a conference. I have learned that isn’t true at all and honestly it’s changed everything.
CS Lewis says “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
I decided that I was going to get over myself and grow. Here is where we have add a disclaimer we have to know why we want to grow. If you are talking to Reggie Joiner because you want to impress him. Do you need affirmation Reggie that you can and should only find in Christ or do you want to learn from Reggie because you want to be a more capable servant.
Over five years ago I signed up for Infuse. It was something new. Not a lot of people were doing coaching at the time. I didn’t really know what to expect. I remember contacting my friend Kenny and talking with him about it. We both decided to do it. It would turn out to be and answer to prayer that I prayed 10 years earlier asking God to send someone across my path that could help me avoid stupid mistakes in ministry. Through it God used helped to clarify my life mission.
If you are asking what is Infuse? Great question. Infuse is a 6 month coaching program like no other. You get to personally connect with Jim Wideman who has led Children’s and Youth Ministry for more than 30 years. Infuse is part discipleship part conference part facebook. If you are in kids and youth ministry I would strongly urge you to consider Infuse. It’s all the best parts of a conference for 6 months rather than 3 days.
Over the next few days I am going to talk about the three things that I have learned from Infuse.
1. Ask good questions
2. Staff level volunteers
3. Practice Thankfulness
Everyone is a leader. The first and most important person we each lead is ourselves. Those who lead themselves well often end up leading others. To lead others well you must learn how to identify and bolster the strengths of those you lead. In the Effective Executive, Drucker address the concept of leading others well by recognizing and developing the strengths they posses.
When leading people in your organization in such a way that you develop their strengths Drucker prescribes four basic rules.
1. Create a job that can be done. Far to many organizations and churches create a job that only a genius can fill and only a savant can accomplish. We want the perfect person sometimes to our own fault.
Drucker says He knows that the test of organization is not genius. It is its capacity to make common people achieve uncommon performance.
Drucker, Peter F. (2009-10-06). The Effective Executive (Harperbusiness Essentials) (p. 80). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
2. The job needs to be demanding and big. This does not contradict point one but is a further clarification of it. If you want uncommon people to do uncommon things to use and develop their strengths that will only happen through intentional clarity. You don’t grow someones strengths by being vague and grandiose but by creating a position that forces them to grow and learn in the confines of organizational and positional clarity.