It’s Jim Wideman’s Birthday Today!


One of the more moving things for me is going to funerals. Hearing everyone say such nice things about someone is important but It does little for the dead guy.  I think it’s a good idea to tell people how much they mean to you when they are still around to hear it. So with it being Jim Wideman’s birthday today let me tell you a few things I appreciate about Brother Jim:

1. He loves Jesus – His life is driven by that passion first. All the other loves in his lives find their place behind Jesus.
2. He raised a great family – Not an easy task but when you can be in the ministry for 30+ years and your wife still respects you and both your kids are passionate about Jesus. There is nothing greater
3. He taught me to practice thankfulness. There are many things I have learned from brother Jim but practicing thankfulness is something I do each day.
4. He loves the church more than his ministry. So many people out there use the church to build their ministry. Jim’s ministry is about building the church that is rare and beautiful.
5. He doesn’t believe his own bio. – He is humble and cares more about people than he does about extending his legacy.
6. He believes in me more than I believe in myself and everyone needs someone who does that.

I am so grateful beyond words to the whole Wideman family. Each of you have impacted my life in a different way. Y’all are a massive blessing to the Luce’s and countless others. Thank you and Happy Birthday Brother Jim and Roll Tide.

Make sure you stop by his facebook, blog or tweet him happy birthday if Brother Jim has impacted your life in any way let him know. 

The Lifecycle of good leadership

I posted a couple of posts here and here that were largely focused at younger leaders. I want to talk to some of us who have been around for a while.

After leading in the same church for a good stretch of time and meeting other leaders from around the country. I have started to notice a leadership trend of sorts that I don’t believe has been talked about much. It’s the lifecycle of a leader. Have you ever met a 50 year old person who is trying to act like they are 20 it’s weird and unnatural. I’m not saying you have to wear Hawaiian shirts because you are 50 it’s just weird because there are certain levels of maturity you expect from people at different points in their lives. Leadership is much the same way.

This is personal observation and I’m still working through it so bear with me. Here is my challenge to everyone who is leading someone out there know where God has you in your lifecycle of leadership don’t despise where you are but embrace it with an attitude of faith and obedience and God will use you where you are more than you will ever know.

1. Learning

  • When you are staring out don’t pretend you know everything because you don’t, actually I know that  I know less than I thought I knew when I started. Ask more questions than you answer.
  • Email, call, tweet, connect with leaders who are further down the road than you.
  • The moment you feel that you have arrived you are in trouble and you are the last one to know it.
  • It’s in this season that you need to observe grow, learn and formulate ideas, get big vision. In some ways we never move on from here.
  • Build your team lean into God more than you lean into anything else

2. Doing

  • This is where you start pulling your team together.
  • You start to put to action those things God place on your heart to do.
  • This is where you start to find your voice for your generation. This doesn’t mean that you are going to travel and speak it means that you are going to use the skills you have learned to reach your generation.
  • Every generation has a means God uses to reach them it’s our job to find that means and speak His message to Glorify him not us. In the doing phase you are applying what you have learned and are typically to busy to help others because you are in the thick of what God has called you to do.

3. Teaching

  • There is a point somewhere along the way that you start to share with others what you have learned and how you have seen God use what you have learned to bless other people and reach people.
  • You start to let go of things so that you can allow other to learn and do.
  • You impart to the next generation not the means that you used but the lessons you learned, the mistakes you made and victories you won.
  • You take the sum total of what you have learned and what you have done to help create a foundation for the next generation of leaders to build on using the methods and the means God has called them to use.

We need fathers who will step up and teach and we need more sons who will be quiet and listen. To much of leadership is about preferance not enough is about timeless principles. There is nothing more frustrating (for the leader and for those they are leading) than a leader operating outside of their where God has them, a young guy teaching untested theories as if they are gospel, older leaders blindly clinging to older methods and neglecting to pass on the principles behind the methods.

I can’t tell you where you are as a leader but you know. Embrace where you are, grow, learn, apply and give away. In the end everyone will forget who you are and God will get the glory, and that’s just how it’s supposed to be. 

What you build speaks louder than what you tweet.


What you build speaks louder than what you tweet.

I love twitter it’s a powerful tool and every kids pastor should be on twitter to learn and grow and share what they have learned. I have met some amazing children’s pastors that I would never have know if it wasn’t for twitter. For that I am grateful.

One of the things that concerns me with the advent of twitter and facebook is that people can gain a platform and become an expert without ever having built anything. Am I saying the only people that should say anything are those who have 2000 kids in their ministry? Absolutely not.

If I win you win!

Here’s the deal the good folks at Zonervan are doing a REtweet contest. They are giving away four copies of The Jesus Storybook Bible curriculum. I only need one copy for our church so if I win you win. Even if you don’t use the curriculum you will get 44 videos one for each story they are incredible.

How I’ll do this contest for an amazing resource is the 3 people who RT the following tweet the most will win a copy if I do.

RT @samluce Zonderkidz is releasing a new amazing resource based on The Jesus Storybook Bible #jsbcurriculum”

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Legacy Path: An Interview with Brian Haynes.

About a year ago I picked up a book called “Shift” it was Brian Haynes’ book written to church leaders explaining this idea of creating milestones. The basic idea was as church leaders you would use the big moments in the life of each family “Salvation”, “Baptism”, “Baby Dedication” etc. to partner with the parents and to equip parents to use those Milestones in the life of their kids to infuse the message and essence of the Gospel.

As a complement to “Shift” which was aimed largely at church leaders Brian has written his newest book called “Legacy Path” which is aimed largely at parents. If you are a parent or a ministry leader you are going to want to pick up a copy of this book. I so appreciate the discussion Brian has started and how he has challenged the though process of church leaders as to how we are going to empower parents to intentionally disciple their kids. Head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy for yourself and one to give away.

In the spirit of full discloser I was provided a free book and a book to give away. The questions listed below where not provided for me I came up with them and Brian graciously answered them for me. I was not paid by the publisher for this blog post.

1. I remember a tweet you tweeted where you said if everything is a milestone than nothing is. Could you unpack what you mean?

If I remember that correctly, the tweet was in response to ministry leaders who were designing strategies that sometimes included 30 or 40 milestones. I think too many milestones makes it impossible for the average parent to understand where to step next and can be overwhelming. I typically encourage ministry leaders to try and keep the process, strategy, or plansimple. An everyday, busy parent has to be able to read, understand, and apply the principles of the path without being overwhelmed. To make everything a milestone takes away from the most important ones. I decided to choose the milestones that I considered most important in the spiritual development of a person from infancy to adulthood without cluttering the strategy with extra.

2. Why did you choose the milestones you did?
This concept began in my mind as I was working on my D.Min project titled “TheIntegration of Church and Home.” As you can imagine I read every book and studied every model I could find to determine how a church might connect with the family to disciple the next generation. One of the books that I read by Jim Wideman and Otis Lebetter is called Spiritual Milestones: A Guide to Celebration your Children’s Spiritual Passages. In their book they detail a set of milestones that parents can use to celebrate with their children.
I began to ask myself this question: “What if the local church had a plan for discipleship that made sense for a family to practice?” My team began to explore Jim and Otis’s milestones and came to the conclusion that most of the milestones they identified would also work in our ministry context. Our big tweak to their idea was making it work in the preschool, children, student, and adult ministries at church so families would be encouraged and equipped to walk this common path of milestones at home. We changed a couple of the milestones to fit our context and theology but basically Jim influenced much of our thought around which milestones are important.

3. What in your mind is the essence of each milestone?
This question has a long answer. I will simply refer you to You will find a description of each milestone there as well as supporting resources foreach milestone.

4. In order for the milestone strategy to work, who needs to be the main champion of it?
This is a changing variable dependent upon staff structure, etc. in a local church. The best-case scenario is that the lead pastor champions the philosophy and theology of the path as part of the vision and mission of the church. He then empowers a spiritual formation pastor, family pastor, or discipleship pastor to oversee or champion the strategy from milestone 1 to 7. At the same time a Children’s pastor must champion milestones 1-3. A youth pastor should champion 4-6 and someone focused on adult discipleship should champion milestone 7. If you have the staff (paid or volunteer) you can meet consistently to develop alignment and ensure that you are helping people move along the path. This too has to be customized to fit your church.

5. From what I know of youth pastors and kids pastors, I would say kids pastors would love this and youth pastors would not. How would you overcome the objections of those in youth ministry?
I find two objections typically from youth pastors: (1) We can’t trust parents to disciple their kids and (2) If the parents did not start when their teenagers were children, their kids certainly will not listen to them now. On the first count, youth pastors are right to a degree. Some parents can’t be trusted to disciple their kids. This however, cannot be an excuse to ignore the theology of spiritual formation beginning with Dt. 6:4-9 in our practices. The only way to trust parents to disciple their kids is to equip them to do it. So the youth pastor has to overcome this trust obstacle by encouraging and equipping parents of teenagers. I know, not all of the kids’ parents come to church. So use your youth ministry to help them walk the path.When their parents are even a little engaged, reach out and overcome the obstacle by equipping.

It can also be true that parents of teenagers who have never trained their children spiritually will find resistances from their skeptical youth who wonder where all this is coming from. Youth pastors can overcome this obstacle by helping students understand the plight of a parent. I remember many times that our youth pastor had intentional talks with our students in mass about how their parents were going to ask them to participate in a weekly faith talk at home. He taught the kids about this parental responsibility and then asked the students to approach the whole idea with the understanding that their parent is trying out of love. “Give them your attention and give them some slack,” he suggested. Of course lots of kids said, “my parents won’t do that”and some of them were right. They get the best efforts of our youth pastors, leaders,volunteers, and they still walk the path.

6. Is the milestone strategy a principle to be tweaked or a formula to be followed?
I think the principle behind the milestone strategy is the important thing. Churches need to grapple with using family as a vehicle for discipleship. Each church should find away to mesh the theology of Dt.6:4-9 and Mt. 28:18-20 in their practice. Lots of modelsare emerging. If I were you, I would study them all. “Milestones” is just a plan to be
tweaked. The formula to follow is found in Dt. 6:4-9.

Thanks for making it all the way to end of this long post as a reward tweet the following for a chance to win a free copy of Legacy Milestones.

@samluce is giving away a copy of “Legacy Milestones” from @brian_haynes over at  #kidmin