Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who needs planning...

You gotta make sure that in your position known to those on your team. When you run a program or some other kind of event, peeps need to know what is happening. One of the most important parts of that process is letting them know when it is going to start and end. If your team is uncertain of when stuff is going to get over, then they are more apt to get lethargic early and give up. And when it comes to relationships and effectiveness on all fronts, which will totally mess stuff up for you. John Wooden used to take two hours to plan a practice that would last for less a period of time than the planning session. It was important for him to let his team know his expectations so they could give him their best effort up to the end. If the players did not know when the practice was going to end, as many coaches did not, then he knew his boys would not give it their all and always hold something back.

For youth pastors this is touchy. Take camps for instance. If you take your group up to a summer camp that starts on Sunday and will end on Saturday, watch how peeps respond on Friday nite and Saturday morning. It’s like camp is already over for some of them – both kids and leaders. But if you can keep your leaders in the game and help them understand the importance of running to the last second, the event will be good up to the end. How do you do this? Wow, over many years of doing the wrong stuff and learning under Cobb, we found out how to get the most out of every second of every event. It is exhausting beyond belief, but worth it for those under your leadership.

Do you plan well… or at all? I would strongly suggest that in whatever field you work, when you are given the opportunity to lead that you do your best to plan ahead. By doing this you tell your team that you respect their time and they will work harder because they know you are working harder as well. When peeps feel like stuff is thrown together, they do not feel appreciated. And we have to continually remind our teams that they are the reason we lead… for them.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Write that down...

I ran into one of my former church ministry students the other day and she proceeded to tell me about one of the stories that I told to the junior high group some seven or so years ago. And to tell you the truth, until that moment I had totally forgotten about that particular story. But as soon as she recounted it I remembered it and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Not the story itself, but that she could remember it and that she was able to apply my experience to her life then and it stuck with her until now.

Then she asked me, as many a student does, if I made up my stories. And the great part about it is that I don’t! All my stories are my own. As much stuff as I steal from other youth peeps I know that the stories that I tell about my life and apply them to my messages, my stories are true and are my own. In fact, I count it as a blessing and a compliment that peeps do not believe the stuff that has happened to me.

And the sweeter part about my stories is that now a lot of them that I tell today now involve my time with the peeps in my ministry, both kids and leaders. And I know that as I continue to do ministry I will continue to have more stories, as I am always looking for the teaching moment in my life to apply to myself and pass on to others. So, when you are out and about, chillin and doing ministry and life, never forget stuff. Write it down – I do… all the time. I go home and remind myself on paper of the moments in my days that speak to me. You will be surprised how much you can bless and help others with the stuff in your life. So, tomorrow or today even, look at your day as a series of lessons that God may just have you give to others.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just shut up for a second...

I ran into one of my friends from a long time ago. We were both excited to see one another and of course had a million things that each of us wanted to share. I was sooo tempted to talk forever and let him know all the good stuff that was going on in my life. But then I remembered what John Maxwell said about listening to others. Leaders learn to listen intently and actively. And so I did what did not come natural to me. I listened to him and asked questions and had a genuine and sincere interest in what had been going on in his life for the past several years. When we were done catching up about an hour later, I would have to say he dominated the conversation with about eighty percent of the words. And I must say, I was much more satisfied with learning about him than I would have been telling my story. I mean, I already know MY story. I gained much by listening to his.

I guess my question today is, When is the last time you listened sincerely to someone else’s story? I mean really listened and cared and took a genuine interest in his or her life? You will be surprised all you can learn from others. Whether they are younger, older, smarter, whatever. I would challenge each of us to hold our tongue next time we are in conversation. Try it… it’s harder than you think. We are usually just waiting for our turn to talk. But true leaders take a real interest in others and want to know their stories, for no reason more than simply knowing who they are leading.

Slacking off...

The sign of a good leader is one who chooses not to slack off when others are not watching. When I am around my staff and they do their best, I expect it. However, it is when no one is around that leaders do the hard work. For example, one of the best leaders that came up through our program was a young dude who worked tirelessly to get stuff done. When everyone was gone and the church was locked up, he always found a way to get in and do some more work. Now, this guy had special gifts and talents that others did not, but he never took for granted that ministry came pretty easy to him. He was getting program stuff ready or preparing a message. Sometimes he was just in there praying or cleaning, or helping someone else do stuff that they would not be able to hack because they were out of time. This guy was never out of time. Sure he was busy, but he never used that as an excuse. He overcame the obstacle and worked hard always.

John Wooden says that we should not compare ourselves to anyone else when it comes to our ability. This guy was the epitome of that. He was really good at some stuff and not so good at others. I am the same way. There are about three parts of ministry and team stuff that I am really good at. The rest of it can be done better by someone else. And that is the challenge with leadership. You have to constantly be on the look-out for those who will fit well within your team. When you can find others that are better than you – and lead them – you will be well on your way to successful mentorship, ministry, and leadership in whatever area you are in.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

MO question of the day: Sooo, has anyone already broken a Resolution for this year??? Do tell :)

MO question of the day: Sooo, has anyone already broken a Resolution for this year??? Do tell :)

Answer here

Easy answers...

I was reading a blog by my good friend and confidant and was very interested in his view of New Year’s resolutions. He said that they are never as easy as we would view them or hope them to be. You know; losing weight, quit smoking, etc. I immediately thought to myself that maybe it was that easy. I was in disagreement with him until I realized the reason I felt that way was because I have the accountability he was talking about. I guess the reason I feel that I reach more of my goals than many of my friends is simply because I have them. It is funny, because I miss more of my goals than I fulfill. This was disturbing to me for a long time. I was like, why even have goals if I am just going to miss them, you know??? It was mad frustrating. Then I talked to a mentor.

He asked me how many of my goals I actually hit during a year. It was an astonishing horrible 40% or so. I couldn’t believe that I was so bad at hitting my goals. But my mentor assured me that the more goals I set, and the harder I make them, the better I will get as a person. So I guess I am wondering the same about each of you. I have peeps in my life who keep me accountable to my goals. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to them because I know I have to tell them that I missed a goal. But then I realize that the goals that I do hit are because of my responsibility to me and those who pour time and energy into me. Do you set goals? Who keeps you accountable? How are you going to make this year better than the last?