Build Something Worth Building

Are you building something that has worth?

Building something of worth doesn’t happen just because you work at a church or volunteer at one. Building something of worth isn’t taking some good idea you hear at a conference and force it on your church with the ferocity of a hostage negotiator. Many Churches struggle with what it means to build something of worth. One of the reasons for this struggle is many churches have a warped view of worth. Often we equate success with worth. Often having the right people think highly of us equals worth. At times we actually think that becoming famous builds the kingdom of God when the weight of scripture goes out of its way to communicate that our job is not vine building and fruit-bearing but just being a stick that derives it’s life and produces fruit because of the vine it’s connected to. We need to understand what Jesus considers valuable.

When I am weak then I am strong –

2 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

To build something of worth, weakness is the way. The older I get the more I realize that what I thought was valuable 20 years ago is worthless. The more I know Christ the more I understand the gospel. The more I realize that Christ is my treasure. He is infinitely more valuable to me than anything. When I understand that I am free to not have to be the man I can make mistakes I can love those who take advantage of me, I can build in a way that checks my ego at the door because It’s not about me being remembered it’s about Christ getting all the glory. Being in the same church for over 17 years I have come to the understanding that if I left not long after I left I would be forgotten.  When we build our own kingdom we waste our strength building what we could never sustain. When we spend our lives glorifying God we pass to the young leaders God has entrusted to us to lead a rich heritage of faith that will outlive us.

Be a good branch –

John 15:1-5 
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

There is a misguided and if we are honest an exhausting truth that the bigger deal we become the broader our ability to make Jesus more famous. Are we supposed to work hard? Yes. But what we don’t get to do is determine what we want the outcomes to be. We are called to abide to be hidden with Christ. It’s very easy for us to get distracted by the promise of deeper truth or the desire to become Christian famous when all we are called to do is abide. Abide. Our ability to build something that produces fruit is not in how much how hard or how deeply we are connected to the vine but simply that we are connected. If you want to build something of worth and you should. Abide in Christ. What does it mean to abide? Trust Him. Talk to Him. Think about Him. Place your hopes and dreams in His infinite hands. Abide.

You don’t need another good idea –

Ephesians 3:7-9

7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,

Everyone likes a good idea. In fact, I think many of us are addicted to them. I know I am. When I get in trouble or something isn’t going right, attendance is below last year, giving is down. What do I do? Do I ask God for help? No, I go into my thought palace and try to find a good idea to help me out of the hole that I have most often dug for myself. Why do I try and come up with a good idea? Because many times a good idea works for a while. Until it doesn’t then we look for another good idea. We become good idea junkies. We go to conferences to get the next good idea to keep our church or our ministry going. What we fail to realize is good ideas are a by-product, not a source. Good ideas come for principle-based, gospel-centered, Christ exhausting ministries who exist to Glorify God for who he is not just for what he can do for them. Our ability to minister in whatever capacity we find ourselves in a work of grace. Recognize you are a great sinner, preach the riches of Christ because of the miracle of grace by which you have been saved. Do that and no matter what happens in your life you will build something bigger than you. You will build something that will outlast you…..something of worth.

Weakness produces humility, abiding produces dependence and principles sustain.

How do you want to build something of worth?

1. Make sure your life is hidden in Christ. (Col. 3:3)
2. Remember your weakness is a showcase for His glory
3. It’s our connectedness that makes us fruitful
4. Be principally based not idea driven
5. Make sure that you never forget that you are a great sinner who has a great Saviour.

Do those things and your impact may never be felt on twitter but it most definitely will be felt in eternity.

3 ideas to make church fun for kids.

fun

I am all for kids being grounded in the word. I regularly go over catechism questions with my kids because I want them to have a theological framework born out of a biblical world view. But I also believe church should be fun.  In kids and family ministry we generally fall into one of two categories biblically driven of fun fanatics. We have to continually fight to be what we are not. Fun is important because fun creates memories fun creates the containers that hold truth for a lifetime.

Here are a few things we are going to try to make things fun in Uptown.

CMLeaders Conference

photo (4)

The past two days have been incredible. It has been a steady flow of amazing content. I have been challenged in so many ways.

Here are a few of the things I love about CMLeaders so far.

1. Love that the whole thing is streaming.
2. Love the relaxed feel
3. Love the all general session format
4. I really like the fact the size of the conference is smaller.
5. Really liked the diversity of the speakers.

Here is what I think CMLeaders can do for next year.

1. Shorten the talks with a sharper focus and greater big idea feel
2. Create idea pods based on the big idea – where people can unpack the big ideas
3. Use video to stimulate conversation around the big ideas that are conveyed.

Overall love the feel and flow of the conference. Love Michael‘s heart and vision for a conference that addresses the issues of leaders in kidmin who lead other leaders. If you are looking for a conference to grow, challenge your leadership paradigms consider coming to CMLeaders next year.

Stop, Collaborate and listen

(above is a networking card designed by Donkey Design. I used this card in my session. Don-e and his team are fantastic. They are professionals. If you need great shirts at a good price check out his site. He does )

Stop collaborate and listen!

My story – I started out looking for help with VBS and lock ins and ended up with 4 friends I’ll have with me for life. – we were looking to partner

You will never collaborate if you don’t see the need – we are selfish aren’t we?

[Get to know me – give everyone business cards – say a 2 things about yourself that isn’t on that card]

  1. Give more than you take – started my blog to be to others what I wished I had when I started. The result of that simple decision is that God has given me the very people I prayed for years ago. But is started with me saying this is what I have to give.

[Activity – write down the best idea you have and your contact info next to it then pass it to the right]

1 Corinthians 4:15

15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

soapbox – nothing frustrates me more in kidmin than when people people take advantage of the community for their own self-interest. We don’t need more famous sons we need fathers –

  1. Involve God in the equation – We don’t need more good ideas we need God inspired ideas – 

[Pray for me – give everyone business cards – What is your biggest prayer that you need answered right now.]

David was a collaborative leader – from his years in the desert alone and with people who were lonely he learned mutual dependance.

1 David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader.2 And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and from the Lord our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well as to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us.3 Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.”4 All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

A God idea is not measured by it’s success but by our obedience to what God has asked us to do.

  1. True collaboration should produce something – There is nothing that brings me more joy than to know that when Gina’s kids ministry grows I had a part in that. No one needs to know but it helps me have a kingdom mindset
  • we produced the first ever interdenominational children’s ministry curriculum because there was not enough Easter Curriculum out there that elevates Christ.

Are you a curious leader or a fearful leader?

I am reading a book about leading teams this chapter on fear vs. curiosity got me thinking about how I lead and the importance of staying curious as a leader.

We often coach two very different kinds of leaders. The first is not curious and, I would say, is often driven by fear. Whenever observations and feedback are given, the uncurious leader responds with defensiveness and rationalizations. With these leaders there are no questions, only hurt silence, quiet passivity, or statements designed to protect themselves.

The second type of leader is curious. These leaders respond from a position of wanting to gather information and trying to understand. Whether it is negative feedback, a missed opportunity, or the future direction of the organization, this leader is interested and inquisitive, wondering not if this will be solved, but how.

So what is the connection between curiosity and fear? It seems that when one increases, the other decreases. Perhaps it is not a lack of curiosity that makes us fearful, but fear that prevents us from being curious. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The good news is that without solving the riddle of the chicken and the egg, I think we can tackle it from either end.

Fear produces poor leadership and poor leadership produces bad organizations.

Here are some questions I am asking my self to make sure I am not leading out of fear.

1. Am I asking more questions than I am answering?
2. Am I looking for input or vaildation?
3. Am I willing to take risks that will make me look foolish?
4. Do I filter ideas by thinking if this will get me in trouble or fired?
5. Am I approachable?
6. Can my team say anything to me without fear of reprisal from me?
7. Do I still find joy in the simple things?
8. Am I always looking for a better way to do something that works?
9. Am I empowering others to lead and giving them the space to fail so they can succeed?

Don’t lead out of fear. There are far to many leaders in to many churches that do this. We call it by other names but it’s core is fear. Lead couragously lead curiously. Build a team, take the blame share the glory.