In “Spiritual Transformation,” Dr. Dallas Willard shares…
“To think of God rightly, as God is, one cannot help but lapse into worship; and worship is the single most powerful force in completing and sustaining the spiritual formation of the whole person. Worship naturally arises from thinking rightly about God on the basis of revealed truth confirmed in experience. We say flatly: worship is at once the overall character of the renovated thought life and the only safe place for any human being to stand.”
I’ve been way to busy and the first thing to go has been a sense of daily worship, followed close behind by a bad attitude and spirit that I only do a poor job of hiding. My mind has simply wandered into the world of performance, getting it done… and in doing so I miss it altogether.
Maybe you struggle with the same thing?
I need to slow down mind, body and soul and worship. I need to keep God the Father, the Son our Savior and the Holy Spirit central to a daily, even in-the-moment lifestyle of worship.
Let’s encourage one another to worship well. #heartsoulmindstrength #encourageencourageencourage
How do you keep from getting caught up in the merry madness? Here are 5 ways to take back the holidays and put the “Merry” back in Christmas…
1) Declare your intentions. It’s not too late. Talk about your desire to avoid the mayhem with your spouse, kids, lead team, co-workers, etc. Ask them for input into how, together, you can avoid the overkill that so often accompanies what one classic song describes as, “The most wonderful time of the year.”
2) Plan on doing (and spending) less and experiencing more. This doesn’t mean taking a page out of the “Christmas with the Cranks” playbook with an all-out boycott. It does mean choosing to say “No” to some otherwise festive events that, collectively, only serve to bring out the “bah-humbug” in all of us. And, why not opt for more thoughtful and less expensive gifts for your loved-ones and friends? This may just start a trend everyone will be grateful for and happy to follow.
3) Eat less, exercise (and sleep) more. Determine to enjoy your favorite holiday foods in moderation and to stay active. And, no, “Black Friday” didn’t count as aerobic exercise. Get the rest you need by going to bed a little earlier and, when that rare opportunity presents itself, take a “power nap.” Why wait until the New Year to resolve and start living healthier?
4) Serve together. What if you gathered your family or small group and traded a day looking for a parking space and standing in crowded lines shopping for an afternoon volunteering at a homeless shelter or evening caroling at a nursing home? Do this with no other agenda than to be a blessing to others.
5) Hit the “pause” button often. No, we can’t always drop everything for the day or even several hours. Still, be intentional about some 15-30 minute moments of reflection. Make a list of all the people and the things you are most thankful for. Read the Christmas story (Luke 2) slowly and reflect on what “Immanuel, God with us” really means to you.
You don’t have to settle for merely surviving Christmas. Determine to take back this holiday season and discover again the true reasons for the season.
What if you and your church staff loved your work and office culture? (I would love for you to find out!)
What if the team culture you created was
sparked creativity, facilitated relational
connectivity and increased morale almost as
much as overall team productivity?
What if there was no plan to “get back to normal” after COVID when it comes to working from the office? What if there was a better way to do and be church leaders when it comes to our work/office policies and expectations? What about encouraging ample days off, vacations, and more?
This is what is sometimes known as a Flex & ROW model can bring to your ministry team. It has actually been around in various forms for quite a while and, thankfully, is finding its way to where it is needed most… church life and leadership!
“Flex” simply stands for flexibility.
It means no more “9-5” office requirements. It means understanding that ministry has never fit that fixed timeframe and is anything but confined to an office. It means permission and encouragement to be where and when people need connection, both members of the local church and especially people in the community we should all be trying to connect with for Christ.
“ROW” stands for Results Oriented Workplace.
In other words, there are no “points” for showing up and occupying space for any length of time. This is about relational results as priority. However, when a team is motivated, even the mundane gets done with some healthy motivation.
It’s hard to believe that so many churches still
insist on a Monday – Friday (in addition to
Sunday and all church-related events) model
for leading ministry!
Set hours in confined space has always missed the point…
Flex & ROW is all about two results that we will unpack in the next couple of posts: health and relationships. It’s interesting just how much the two fuel one another!
I would love to help you and your
team move to this model in 2021!
Having helped my own ministry teams shift to this and encouraging it’s principles for many years as a coach, I have seen what this can do for church leaders who embrace ministry in a new and life-giving way. By the way, I LOVE OUR LEADERS (Elders) for having the boldness and wisdom to embrace this!
Of course, it takes some explaining and some painting of pictures that, let’s face it, someone else is often more effective at painting. Again, I would love to come alongside you! We used https://careynieuwhof.com/start-here/ and his “High Impact Workplace” course to guide us and I would recommend you get in on it as well as the High Impact Leader!
Why does this matter?
Because we are called to
fulfill Jesus’ Great
Commission and live out
His Great Commandments
and this call can’t be
confined to “9-5.”
Hope to hear from you soon. Email me at email@example.com and let’s set up a time to talk about the possibilities!
You need a break. Your volunteers need a break. God took a break. He even made it a law and called it Sabbath. Jesus modeled this same concept, getting away to be with the Father to renew His soul, recenter and stay in step with His will time and again.
How can we take breaks that add not only to our health, but to that of our volunteers and overall ministry? How can we take advantage of the annual cultural realities of summer and Christmas breaks when a large portion of people take vacations and are a little bit “checked out” of normal routines?
This is where the 5R Strategy can help you and your team take full advantage of taking a break! Here are the nuts and bolts of the 5R Strategy:
REST- We all need it and it’s a
During this scheduled time leaders and teams should celebrate the fact that little to nothing is being done by anyone. Plan for it. Put it on the calendar. REST is the thing that makes all the other things even possible! Get excited about it! It flows with the rhythm of western culture to take advantage of this over the summer and then around the New Year. Call it a “power pause” or an “off-season.” All the best teams have one.
Note: Not everyone wants, needs or even can take a break. Some basic functions simply must go on. Be intentional about communicating with those serving these needs. How can they get a break and their function continue to go forward in a healthy way?
RETHINK – We all need a fresh
“If you’re always working in it, you can’t work on it.” (Andy Stanley)
It helps to get away in order to see things clearly and creatively. Do this both individually and as a team, preferably off-site. Take a close look and ask the tough questions that will lead to being and doing better in your area. Another word for this is REVIEW. It’s simply asking the question, “How can we make it better?”
REWORK – It only works when
we are working it.
Times change. Things change. Culture changes. We better change our methods accordingly. While staying true to timeless principles and our vision/values, we must meet the culture we are trying to reach and people we are trying to serve where they are at. And, these are all moving targets! CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. IT WILL EITHER HAPPEN TO YOU OR THROUGH YOU. How can we rework our methods to better connect with and serve those we are trying to reach?
RECRUIT – Expanding our teams
expands our influence!
Healthy teams are actively mentoring new members and revolving them in a purposed way. Why? Because disciples make disciples and servants make servants! Besides, some active positions will need filled, old positions removed and new positions added.
The 5-R Break will allow for this to be done in a thoughtful way. Who are you investing in? How are they learning and growing?
RELAUNCH – We all need new
Whether it’s like a “Grand Reopening” or a more simple, understated re-start, there’s just something good about beginning again that brings a sense of excitement and momentum to everyone! Plan, prepare, promote and then relaunch it together!
There’s one more BONUS “R” to add that is central to all the others, RELATIONSHIP.
Healthy RELATIONSHIPS are at
the center of great teams.
Not only should every strategic step in the strategy focus on this, but if there are unhealthy relationships, there is now time to “go there” and work it out. Are all relationships good? Then, use this time for some extra team bonding!
Last but not least is PRAYER!
This is vital to the 5R Strategy. Nothing will take the place of being in step with the Holy Spirit and His unique leading for your life and the team culture you influence, putting the right people in the right places for the right season.
5R Summary – Do all teams need to go through each step each time?
No, probably not. However, most will need to focus on a few of the steps that will be strategic to their team health in their area of service before moving forward again with a sense of renewed energy and direction.
This group exists to #encourageencourageencourage the local pastor, their families and teams in 4 essential areas… heart, soul, mind and strength.
Every post focuses on one of these aspects… the heart is for family, the soul is all about spiritual growth in Christ, the mind is about teachability and growth as a leader and strength is about getting and staying healthy physically.
We have never needed to lead in
community more than today.
Let’s face it, we are all living and leading in a new normal. Let’s make the new normal look more like a collaborative effort than ever before!
I need you. You need me. We need each other and this is a good thing, even a “God-thing!”
The voices we listen to seep into our minds and then mold our attitude, perspective, and find their way into our conversations and then inform our decisions and, ultimately, our actions.
Are you in an echo chamber of our own voice or very small circle of voices? Would you say that your own biblical world view has been challenged, stretched or grown through this season?
I’ll ask it again, who are you listening to through this unsettled season of crisis?
The way of fools seems right to
them, but the wise listen to advice.
Here are some voices I have been listening to and recommend to you, not because I agree 100% with everything being said, but because I want to be challenged, stretched and to grow as a follower of Jesus and leader in His Church…
This guest blog post comes at just the right time. Share this hope-building perspective on prayer from Pastor Steve Rennick with someone today!
When I came to Christ on my 14th birthday my first pastor told me, “Steve, you’ll never make it on your own. You have to read 5 chapters of your bible every day. You have to kneel beside your bed and pray out loud every day. You have to attend church every time the doors are open. And you have to lean into our youth group. Do you hear me, Steve? You’ll never make it on your own.”
Those were (and still are) sage words of wisdom. I took them to heart. And, my pastor was right. I would not have made it on my own.
Today, some 40+ years later, I still cannot make it on my own. After bible college and seminary — following years of youth ministry, overseas missionary work in rural East Africa, and leading a large multi-service & church-planting congregation — now more than ever…
I cannot make it on my own.
To my surprise God is bringing some “new” prayer partners into my life. At a time when I needed it most I stumbled onto a prayer thought to have been written (or inspired by) Saint Patrick of Ireland.
Pat’s life is an amazing odyssey (kidnapped, human trafficked, converted to Christ, escaped, called back to his captors with the Gospel) which is worthy of your time to read. However, his heart-felt prayer has helped me even more than his life story!
Today, Pat has become one of my
His prayer helps me to pray in the awareness of the living presence of Jesus. I hope he and his prayer might help you, too.
Here is my own “adaptation” of what is popularly known as “The Breastplate Prayer” of St. Patrick of Ireland.
“I Arise Today” … an adaptation of “The Breastplate Prayer” by Saint Patrick
I arise today through the …
Strength of heaven,
Light of sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today through …
God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’sway to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me.
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude,
Christ shield me today.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I get up,
Christ in the heart of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouth of all who speak of me,
Christ in the eye of all who see me,
Christ in the ear of all who hear me.
I arise today … through …
the mighty strength of Christ.
May you also arise today through and in the mighty strength of Christ!
The longer I have lived and led the more I realize that I don’t often even know the things I don’t know. You know?
Great leaders have always championed learning. Check out some of the suggested learning leader resources below for a few examples to help stretch you! (You don’t have to agree with everyone. But, you would be amiss not to learn from them.)