The one surprising reason you should go to a conference

Stewardship. Leaders should attend training conferences because we are not just volunteers or leaders we are stewards. When you realize that you are a steward of the time and influence God has given you it changes how you use your time. It’s not your own. I love how the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism draws this point out so vividly. It says What is our only comfort in life and death? The answer is “That we are not our own but belong body and soul to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. When we realize that we are not owners but stewards it changes events like these from have to, to want to.

If you are not growing. If you are not pushing yourself spiritually or academically then you are being a poor steward. The trap that is so easy to fall into I have many times is thinking that your ministry is yours. You do what you do for the glory of God. You occupy until He returns. You are a steward of the gifts, talents and abilities you have been given. You do not possess talent you are a steward of the gifts God has entrusted to you.

So go to conferences, read books, go back to school, have lunch with someone who is a mentor to you. Steward the gift don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you are owed something because you own it.

Effective Leaders Make Decisions

decisions

A decision is a judgment. It is a choice between alternatives. It is rarely a choice between right and wrong. It is at best a choice between “almost right” and “probably wrong”—but much more often a choice between two courses of action neither of which is provably more nearly right than the other.
Peter Drucker

One of the things I never anticipated as a Bible College student and as a young 21 year old entering the ministry was the enormous amount of decisions I would have to make. Small decisions based on what type of paper to use for a craft, to large ones such as how to advise people facing a crisis.

The problem with most decisions is what Peter touches on in this first quote from his book “The Effective Executive”. 

Most decisions you will have to make in life are not clear. They are not right vs. wrong they are not good vs. bad. They are usually between almost right and probably right. In leading others you need experience, intuition and trust. Experience and intuition combine to help you get things almost right most of the time. Trust in your team and ultimately in Christ will help you make good decisions most of the time.

Executives are not paid for doing things they like to do. They are paid for getting the right things done—most of all in their specific task, the making of effective decisions.
Peter Drucker

Leading is easy deciding is hard. Everyone wants to be a leader and to some extent everyone is a leader.

What makes you effective in whatever environment you lead in is how effectively do you make decisions. Effective leaders not only make effective decisions but they train others to do the same. Decision making that is shared is always more effective than decision processes that are exclusive and ideas that are horde.

It becomes clear that a decision requires courage as much as it requires judgment. There is no inherent reason why medicines should taste horrible—but effective ones usually do. Similarly, there is no inherent reason why decisions should be distasteful—but most effective ones are.

Peter Drucker

If you lead long enough you will find yourself making lots of difficult decisions. I am not a type A personality so making hard decisions are not fun for me. I have had to make my fair share of difficult decisions over the past few years and many of them of been positive some don’t seem to be as positive. I thought I would share a few different keys to making good decision in hard situations.

1. Know the bible. The bible is full of wisdom for you, but more than that, it is a lens to see the world. When you understand your bible many things that seem hard from the outside are made clear by submitting your life to the Word of God.

2. Pray often – Prayer is us exchanging our weakness for his strength. You want strength to make good decisions? Pray. Exchange your lack for his sufficiency.

3. Listen to those closet to you. They care about you enough to speak the truth.

4. Listen to those who gain nothing from your relationship with them they are often the most honest. Don’t dismiss people because they are “strange” or are on the cultural fringes. They have nothing to gain or lose by speaking out so they often do so with much more honesty and clarity than we give them credit for.

5. Give the credit take the blame. No matter how a decision turns out. Always take the blame and give the credit to others.

No matter how many decisions you have made that have not turned out well. Learn from those mistakes embrace them and keep going keep deciding keep glorifying God in all things.

Weekend Reading 3-20-2015

freely-10077

What Books I’m Reading

Culture Making by Andy Crouch

Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower

What Blog Posts I’m Reading now

Pastors keep a close watch on your life and illustrations by Jared Wilson – Love Jared’s candor and his desire for preaching to be both practical and trans-formative. If you preach to any age group check out this post.

Teaching kids about Prayer and Fasting by Dale Hudson – Great post on the practical ways you can help kids connect with God and be apart of a church wide time of prayer and fasting.

Mom’s Need Theology Too by Christina Fox – While books with practical tips are useful for some things, the hope they provide can be short-lived. In truth, it is in theology, in our study of who God is and what he has done, that gives us the real hope, real wisdom, and real peace that we need in our lives — the kind that lasts. It’s theology — knowing God — that anchors us in the chaos of motherhood.

God Doesn’t Need Your Help by Jared Wilson –  Love this quote – “I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of.” Boom.

Freely: High Quality Free Christian Photos by Church Mag –  A new Source for free high quality photos need I say more.

Pablo: Create engaging social media images in 30 seconds or less by Church Mag – love this.

Creative ways to communicate to kids: Self Interview

Communication

Kids are the best critics because they haven’t learned the subtle art of not offending others with brutal honesty. When you are boring they will call you on it. I remember one time I thought the lesson was going well. The kids were a bit non-responsive I figured they were tired…until one of the kids I was teaching stood up cupped his mouth with his hands and said “This is boring!” Ouch. It’s moments like that has forced me as someone who has communicated to kids for the past 18 years to always be looking for creative ways to communicate to kids. To give them truth in ways they aren’t always expecting. The keep the “This is boring” kids on the edge of their seats.

One of the ways we have done that over the years is called the “Self-Interview.” Basically you write a script and play both parts. The kids love this because they are on to your game they feel that they know something you don’t. They feel like they have insider info and pay closer attention.

Why parents should pray more than anything they do

praying parent

There are few things more powerful and more profound a parent can do for their kids than pray for them.

“Men ought always to pray.” Luke 18:1
“I will that men pray everywhere.” 1 Timothy 2:1

I have a question to offer you. It is contained in three words, DO YOU PRAY? The question is one that none but you can answer. Whether you attend public worship or not, your minister knows. Whether you have family prayers or not your relations know. But whether you pray in private or not, is a matter between yourself and God.

All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of the life of an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.

This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God, “They cry unto him day and night.” Luke 18:1. The Holy Spirit who makes them new creatures, works in them a feeling of adoption, and makes the cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15. The Lord Jesus, when he quickens them, gives them a voice and a tongue, and says to them, “Be dumb no more.” God has no dumb children. It is as much a part of their new nature to pray, as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They cannot do other wise than they do. They must pray.
– JC Ryle

Prayer is not simply a good Idea for parents it’s absolutely essential. Bishop Ryle’s point is well taken.