23 November 2008

Quick Apology

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I am swamped with ordination paperwork, Charge Conference paperwork, and bringing on two new staff members. I promise to begin regular posts again on December 3rd.

05 November 2008

Are You Afraid of Being Amazing?

When I pre-ordered Mad Church Disease I had no idea that it would send shivers down my spine three months before Amazon.com shipped it to my office.

I downloaded a free chapter from MCD last month, but I didn't read it right away. In fact, I didn't read it until Tuesday morning at about 1:30am. The chapter, as a whole, is amazing and it really got me pumped for February when I can read the whole book!

As I was reading about "Processing Through Pain," Anne quoted Penelope Trunk as saying, "People are afraid of being amazing." (173) This statement leapt off the page at me, hit me square in the jaw, and then came back around and punched me in the nose!

I can't tell you how many times I have been afraid to be amazing. I don't even want to think about the missed opportunities in my life because I didn't want to "shine too much" or "stand out from the crowd." It makes me sick just thinking about it.

Penelope's statement brought up two questions:
1) Why are we so afraid of being amazing?
2) What would happen if we all unleashed the amazing-ness we have inside?

I believe that I have been afraid to be amazing because I have not wanted other people to feel bad about themselves in areas of ministry or life that I naturally excelled in. Even deeper, I think that I have also been reluctant to invest extra effort in some areas of ministry because I knew that the extra effort would move me beyond ordinary to extraordinary. Kinda self-defeating, huh?

If we truly unleashed the amazing-ness we have hard-wired into us from our Creator, we would tear down the walls of injustice, rid the world of life-threatening diseases, and bring "up there, down here" (as Mark Beeson likes to say). It would be awesome!

Are you afraid of being amazing? Why?

04 November 2008

Delivering on a Promise - Part 2

Continuing from earlier...

Key Learning #2: Sometimes we may need to create additional ministry opportunities when we are running short on volunteers.
  • As counter-intuitive as this may sound at first read, think about this. Is the role we are trying to fill too complex or time-intensive? Is the role we are trying to fill able to be taken on by someone with a full-time job, family, and possibly other community involvement? If yes, then try "chunking it" into smaller pieces.
  • By breaking up a ministry job description into two or even three smaller pieces, you may find that you have more than enough volunteers to fill those smaller roles when you could not find anyone willing to take on the whole enchilada.
  • Therefore, if you currently have 20 volunteer slots to fill and 15 people have already accepted the invitation to serve with you, but you just can't seem to get the last five filled. Perhaps you need to break the last five opportunities into 10 or 12 opportunities in order to make the ministry opportunities more manageable for people who could not commit to your previous job descriptions.
  • BTW, a great by-product of this method of "chunking" is more people serving in the church! And isn't that what ministry leaders should be doing anyway?

Ok, those are my top learnings! I know that KarlaR has some thoughts she would like to share, so maybe she will agree to guest blog later this week!

Delivering on a Promise - Part 1

I promised to post about my two key learnings from our Road Trip to Garland to sit at the feet of the Granger crew, so here I go!

Key Learning #1: Deleting certain words from our vocabulary will have profound effects on our ability to bring new people into ministry at University.
  • We must stop using the word "recruit" and start using the word "invite" when looking for new volunteers for ministry opportunities. The Armed Forces recruits, the Church invites. We are not looking for a bunch of people to sign up to give their lives away in exchange for a steady job and a paycheck. No, we are looking for a bunch of people to give their lives away in service to the kingdom of God in addition to their steady job and paycheck.
  • There are people in our church whom you already know that you could "tap" into service with a simple personal invitation. This practice of "shoulder-tapping" could double our current volunteer base within a year if everyone invited one new person into a ministry opportunity at our church.
  • We must stop using the word "help" - as in "We need help in the 3rd grade Sunday School room or there will be 8-year-olds running around the building recklessly!" These kinds of pleas for help result in minimal volunteer turnout, because (let's face it!) no one wants to jump on board a sinking ship. Using "help" to try and bring new people into your ministry often motivates people to serve for the wrong reasons - i.e. guilt, duty, obligation, etc.
  • As an alternative to "help," try to paint a picture of the opportunities available for people to serve using their God-given spiritual gifts. Using this approach generally begins to get people to think about what they can offer to the church with what they already possess - be that a love for children, a passion for the arts, or financial savvy.

More later!