Over the last couple of years I have had the great opportunity to meet and talk with church planters from all over the United States. From being at Exponential in Orlando, Florida to the church planters boot camp that I was a part of at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. I have heard of many different vision statements and mission statements as well as processes to discipleship to marketing for events. I have heard church planters address the need for authentic worship and the need for fund raising. I have heard church planters talk about their ideas of being missional and of being leaders. But there is one thing that I have not heard people really talk about. That church planting means work.
It means that there are going to be days that you are meeting people way into the evening while your family is at home. It means that there are going to be days that you are painting and building different things for the needs of the church to get going. It means that you will be the one that is carrying the burden for finances and for the health of the people on your team. It means that you are going to actually going to have to get your hands dirty and maybe even get a couple of blisters. But it is work, hard work, sometimes back breaking work. But it is so worth it!
Proverbs 21:5 (NLT) 5 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
It has been one of those seasons in life where more and more that we are reading or hearing about another individual that has fallen in a position of leadership. In some cases they are things that just down right tick you off or shock you. Whether it is Sandusky and his abuse of his position that lead to the abuse of young boys, Sullivan being a sheriff and a person that is to protect and serve, not enslave through addiction and abuse. The thing that amazes me is that each of these men were at the top of their game, they were seen as men that were top notch in their area of leadership. So it really challenges me to say, “What about me?” What if my life, my career, my family, were all to become majorly successful? How would I handle it?
As I was reading through, “The Five Levels of Leadership” by John Maxwell a quote by Henry Ford really made think.
“More men are failures on account of success than on account of failures. They beat their way over a dozen obstacles; overcome a host of difficulties, sacrifice and sweat. They make the impossible the possible; then along comes a little success, and it tumbles them from their perch. They let up. They slip and over they go. Nobody can count the number of people who have been halted and beaten by recognition and reward!”
So many times we have seen great men and women take a tumble; why is that? Unfortunately, I believe it is because they start believing it is all about them. They believe because of their accomplishments they can begin to relax in the areas of importance when it comes to character and discipline. A couple of verses in the bible that I cling to daily is this;
Proverbs 30: 8&9, “First, help me never to lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”
The more and I lead and watch other leaders around me I always come back to remember that “God is God and I am not him”. I always want to be a person that is satisfied with who I am in Jesus Christ. Because let’s be honest each one of us could very easily be the next person that tumbles and falls. May we each take the time every day to pray Proverbs 30:8&9 over our lives.
Every Monday brings a new set of celebrations and challenges. We are able to celebrate all that we saw Jesus do through the ministry of Elevation Christian Church. Then walk through the challenges of being a leader of a church start and especially one that is calling the Devil on his junk. As we walk through our series “Five Lies of the Devil”. So I want to share with you some of the things that we have to celebrate from this Sunday:
- We had four people say yes to Jesus in our two gatherings. I can never stop getting excited about that.
- We had two families share with us how much there kids love coming to church. My sister shared with me that her son put going to church on his favorite thing to do list for the last year. LOVE IT!
- We had new people added to our music teams and they are doing an amazing job.
- One individual said that this is the first time that He has felt accepted at a church.
- We had 175 people come to our two gatherings. That is our largest attendance since our launch weekend.
So with all that what would be the challenges? The challenge comes from the enemy in the area of doubt. The challenge also comes in the form of trying to make sure that everything is done RIGHT NOW. The challenge comes from the comments that are not positive. The challenge comes from just feeling tired and dealing with the monday morning holy hangover. But I am excited to say that I am currently reading through Joshua and my life verse is staring me in the face.
Joshua 1:9 (NLT) “This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I pray that each and every one of the church leaders today is able to remember that we are commanded to be courageous and to remember that we don’t go alone.
I had the great opportunity to speak to the students at Colorado Christian University at their chapel. It was truly an amazing day listening to them sing and worship as well as being able to share with them about the biblical discipleship process that is in the bible. There were two things that God really continues to rock my world with when it comes to being a church that is about making disciples that make disciples.
That relationship is so important. I believe that as I read through the bible I see God constantly talking about our relationship with Him and our relationship with each other. In fact I love how in Romans 4:13 puts it “Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was not based on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.” (emphasis mine) We are not put into a right relationship with God not because of what we do but because of what He has done and because of His grace it is all about the faith that I put in Him. My goal is not to be a guy that follows the rules but one that is growing more and more in a relationship with my Heavenly Father. Relationship matters with God and it enables my other relationships to be what they can be because of Him.
The other thing that is just kicking me in the teeth is that I have a responsibility to LISTEN. That I have been called to listen to my Father and what he wants in my life.
Proverbs 1:23 (NLT) “Come here and listen to me! I’ll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you and make you wise.”
I don’t know about you but I have allowed so much noise in my life. I am the guy that loves to twitter, check my facebook, receive email, and read blogs. I have over the last couple of weeks really made the effort to make my time with God exactly that time for me to hear from Him. The phone is left some where else the T.V. is not on and I try as much as I can with three kids to be alone. I want to hear from Him.
I also want to be a person that listens to the people that God has placed in my life. I want to be able to hear from the people that don’t know Jesus and be able to hear where they are at with Him. I want to be the disciple that is listening to the people around me so that I can guide them closer to Jesus. The bible says:
Proverbs 12:15 (NLT) “Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.”
We can hear in the words that people say what they feel about Jesus. We can hear where they have been hurt. We can hear what their hopes and dreams are but, we have to be willing to listen. I encourage you this weekend to take some time to listen to God and to listen to those around you. I promise you it will not be a waste of time. You might just hear something special.
It is almost a year now since my family and I left Northern California and moved back to Colorado to start Elevation Christian Church. There are tons of things that I wish I would have known before we started this adventure and there are tons of things that I am still learning every week. But the things that we have learned over the last year we would have never experienced if we would have never stepped out on faith.
We left last year in the middle of my daughters junior year, my sons sophomore year, and our youngest’s seventh grade year. Not the best time to move kids. But I have been able to watch God grow these kids in ways that I would have never imagined. It would have never happened if we had not stepped out in faith.
My wife has had to deal with conversations like, “I am not sure that we are going to be able to pay that this month.” Or, “The money is going to be there I just believe it.” All moms and wives know the pressure you feel to make sure your kids are taken care of and the bills are paid. I know that for her this has been an amazing growing opportunity to see God show up and provide. We would have never experienced this had we not stepped out on faith.
I have taken jobs and tried things that I never would have probably taken in the past. I have had the privilege to have conversations with guys and gals that I knew a long time ago about who Jesus is and what He has done and is doing in my life. I have had to learn how to lead in areas that I thought I was already prepared to lead, which I am not. I have learned that all of the Lead Pastors that I have served under were amazing men and that I was prepared by each one of them to do what I am doing today. But I would have never experienced this if I had not stepped out in faith.
I think this goes very well with this time of the year. There was a young girl that stepped out in faith a couple thousand years ago when an angel appeared to her and let her know that she was going to have a very special baby. This is how she responded, ” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant , and I am willing to accept whatever He wants.” Luke 1:39a What a way to respond to God when He called her to step out in faith.
The question that I have for you is, “What is Jesus calling you to do so that you step out in faith?” You will never be able to experience the amazing things that He has for you until you do. STEP OUT IN FAITH!
I am so excited to say that we have had an awesome last couple of weeks meeting on Sunday mornings. Over the last 7 months we had been meeting on Monday nights once a month and then eventually twice a month. So to take the step of meeting weekly has been an awesome undertaking as well as amazing opportunity to see God at work. Here are some things that I experienced today:
- We have an amazing team of people that are taking the mission of “Developing relational environments where people can become followers of Jesus” to a Sunday morning.
- Lives are being impacted by the Gospel. We are seeing people come face to face with Jesus in amazing ways.
- The “Sex, Money, Power: A Man Series” GRUNT. Is being used to enable men to see specific areas of life through the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit. We have been told of miracles in marriages being restored, Fathers seeing the need to lead spiritually in their homes, and hearts being softened to take deep steps in following Jesus.
- That taking care of the custodians in the school we meet at is not an add on but a ministry that is breaking down barriers to the Gospel.
As we finish this series this Sunday on Halloween I am excited to all our families dress up for church and have fun as a team. It will be a great lead into Novembers series “NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED” I am so pumped to see what happens next.
One of the things that I have been really working at is listening to people as the talk to me. Now you may be thinking well duh that is what you are suppose to do aren’t you? Yes when someone is talking to you the goal is to listen, but there are so many times that I am catching myself thinking of what I need to say while they are talking. So now you know what I mean by listening. I need to listen all the way through what the person is sharing and then try to decide what I need to say. I believe that this is a tool that everyone needs to be able to master if they expect to be a leader when it comes to knowing where people are at in their spiritual walk.
“The secret is to work less as individuals and more as a team. As a coach, I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven.” by Knute Rockne
This is a quote that I have had on my desk top for the last couple of weeks. I believe that this is a quote that I think that many church leaders really need to chew on for awhile. Unfortunately I believe that many people see the pastor of the church as the paid player in the game and that he is the one to get everything done. This is why I believe that so many churches are struggling to reach the people that are already attending their churches. So I think that we need to get back to some basics, we need to work together as a team we need to delegate off to capable leaders to work together so that people would be able to feel loved and cared for in the body of Christ, the church. We need to play the best players that God has provided to us as the church team.
Why do I say this? I say this because Moses experienced the same thing and was given some amazing advice from his father in-law.
The question that I have for you as a leader is: “What are you doing to prepare the men around you to shoulder the load for taking care of Gods people?” We need to be able to identify the leaders that we have and get them into the game to get them into the place where they can lead more people in a growing relationship with Jesus. How are you building the team?
So for the leaders of church teams there are a couple of things we should always keep in mind. Our main goal is to prepare the team to be ready to get in the game. It is the goal of parents, small group leaders, class teachers, and the staff of the church to work together to prepare the team for the game. We are to be the ones that coach with a willing heart for the benefit of the team not for our benefit. So the question that I have is; “What are you doing to prepare your team to do to get in the game?” How are you as the coach ensuring that your team is ready for the game?
Here is the quote that has been stuck in my mind for the last week,
“A really great man is one who makes others feel great”. by G.K. Chesterton.
This quote has really been going at it in my mind. I think because of the different relationships and people that are in my life. I pray everyday since Michelle has come into my life that as her husband that I am making her feel great. That everyday since each one of the kids came into this world on loan to there mother and I that we are making them feel great. I pray that every day that my family, father, mother, brothers, and sister are being made feel great because of who I am. I even pray that as I walk into to new relationships people that I have only known for fifteen minutes feel great.
What I really want people to feel great about is not me or even what I do, but about the Jesus in me. I continue to walk through the verses after Jesus has washed His disciples feet where he says:
There are many days that I look into the faces of my children and wonder what large waves will they face? What are the areas of their life will they feel are crashing around them like the large waves on a beach?
One of those areas that I constantly pray is not when it comes to the relationship that I have with their mother. A statistic that I have heard and read over the last couple of months is that 40% of children wake up every day without their father in their home. I believe one of the things that God has called me to be in this life is a husband. Not husband that sits back and just does what he wants, or that I feel is best for me, but a husband that seeks to be the husband that my wife needs and that God wants for her.
Malachi 2:15 (NLT) “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”
The greatest wave that could possibly hit the lives of my children would be if I would not be the husband that God has called me to be to the wife that God has loaned to me for this life. It is a daily prayer of mine that men will begin to step up and be the men that their families need. That we will actually lead in our homes the way that we lead in the office, that we will take as much pride in our families as we do in our paychecks, and that our wives will be treated as amazing gifts from God and not objects that are to be used and traded in. I pray that today that men will get the guts or whatever word that you choose to lead and love their families. So that they will not feel the wave of a broken family come crashing around them.
I am so excited about getting ready to plant a church in Aurora, CO and that I am able to work with Stadia in this amazing endeavor. One of the things that comes with starting this church is the opportunity to go to a church planters boot camp in Post Falls, Idaho. I will get to spend 8 days in Idaho working and training under the experience of those that have been a part of an amazing ministry called Real Life Ministries. A church that is serving over 8,000 people as well as planting churches in different areas of the Northwest. Jim Putnam is the pastor and also the author of “Church is a Team Sport” and also a wrestler so he must be Godly. I am praying that as I am there that God will continue to grow the vision that he has already placed inside me for Elevation Christian Church. That I will seek to be the man that God wants for this church. That I will always remember that I need to be a learner so that I can be a leader.
Where can you learn? Who can you learn from? Take the time today to think about someone that you can you can learn from.
I have been reading a lot lately both the bible as well as other books. But as I was reading there was one story that I thought was very amazing. In fact I was able to watch it be played out in a creative way in the TV show “Kings”. The show “Kings” was written to in a new and modern way paralell the story of King David. In fact my family and I really had a great time seeing how they would modernize the story of course there were things that we weren’t sure about but it made a great show. But it did a great job of showing how David struggled to follow King Saul and still honor who he as a Godly man.
Just like in the following verses:
I love books and I have to say that I am a Barnes and Nobles junkie. I am an addict! Hi my name is Scott and it has been two weeks since I have bought my last book. But this summer I found an author that I would highly recommend. His name is Jon Gordon I have read three books of his that I feel are quite encouraging the titles of these books are “The Energy Bus,” “The No Complaining Rule,” and “Training Camp”. Jon Gordon has put together three books that should be read by parents, teachers, leader, and pastors. They are all in story form and they all teach about areas of life that we need to develop and improve not only our relationships but ourselves. Both my wife and daughter Danielle are reading or have read some of these books and have been greatly challenged by them.
I would like to really encourage people to share the book “Training Camp” with the men in their lives. It is a great story about a football player and his quest to become great at what he is doing in life. But during this quest he is challenged and eventually enters into a relationship with a much wiser and older man that mentors him. I believe that this story is one that will enable each man to become more then he is today and enable him to grow in areas of his life that will not just make him better but his wife, his kids, and those that are around him.
Each and everyone of us needs to go to “Training Camp”!
Pastor Steven Furtick recently blogged about church growth. I have to say that I have really enjoyed getting to know Steven and watching how God is doing amazing things through him and the church that he pastors. So I want you to check out what he has to say about church growth.
Just click on the link below and check out what he says.
EveryOne needs to grow (leadership development)
This is an area that I think we need to make a priority as we want to be a church that is enabling people to do ministry and lead others to Christ. That as we look around at the people that Jesus brings into this church body we could have the next Steven Spielberg (movie), the next John Elway (Bronco reference is important, sport), the next Dave Matthews, or Kanye West (music), the next Barrack Obama (politics) right there with us. When I talk about leadership development I am not just talking about the business leader idea all though that is important as well but that every believer is called to be a leader in an area where God has gifted them. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the body of Christ was equipping and releasing people to lead in areas of culture instead of trying to just fight it. Wouldn’t be awesome if we were encouraging our children that being a leader in theatre was just as great a calling as going to a foreign country. (Come on I have been to Hollywood, that can be pretty foreign) It is my deepest prayer that we will be encouraging and equipping people to be leaders in various areas of life.
Hebrews 6:1-3 (Msg) ”So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God;  baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment.  God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it!”
I love the way that this is put, “Grow up in Christ”. I pray that we get people to the place where they are able to say, “Let’s get on with it!” That the people in the church are not grown ups acting like children, crying out feed me to the pastors of the church. YOU NEED TO GROW UP! But they are seeking out Jesus Christ and seeking to be His child on their own. Let’s get on with being the leaders, developers, and people that are setting the pace for reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Where do you see Jesus asking you to “Get on with it!” in your life?
I have to say that as I read and devour other leaders information I am always encourage by Perry Noble. My wife says that I have a pastor crush on him, that is not true! I just respect a leader that says the way it is and does not make apologies for it. But today’s Blog that Perry posted really encouraged me as a leader and as person that really loves being in ministry and leading in the church. SO for those of you that might be feeling a little discouraged or not sure of the call that has been placed on your life the go to the following link and read.
My prayer for you is that you don’t allow other people to steal your joy, your vision, and the strength that comes from following the Lords call to LEAD.
Tell me what you think about this BLOG.
I want to be a leader that is always trying something new. I want to be a leader that is never afraid to be aggressive. While I was playing football a parent once said to my dad “I think that Scott must have some pent up aggression, he plays the game so violently.” My dad was shocked at the comment because it was varsity tackle football, it wasn’t the YMCA flag football league. So he responded by saying “This is football that is the way that game is suppose to played.” One of the things that I pray never changes in me and I pray is passed on down to my kids is the ability to live life aggressively.
In the book “IT” by Craig Groeschel he makes this statement: “Aggressive leaders with IT are often dreaming, experimenting, and testing the limits. They don’t know what can’t be done and are willing to try things others think aren’t possible.” pg. 110
Why is that we are so afraid to try? Why is that we are always listening to that voice that says “Don’t you dare?” I pray that you try something, that you don’t take the easy way out, that you will be aggressive and be the leader.
What is one thing or one area that you feel that you can take a chance in?
I want you to know that I love visiting churches and seeing what God is doing in these different places. But I have to say that there are some funny things that happen along the way. Like last week while I was in Denver I was checking out a church building on a Thursday and when I walked in without even asking why I was there some one approached me. This woman walked up to me and asked “So are you here for the janitors job?”. Wow, what a question to ask someone. That was just one of those things that I love when it happens. Because it just reminds me that I don’t look like a pastor. Something that really doesn’t bother me all that much, OK it doesn’t bother me at all, in fact I appreciate it when someone says “I would have never known that you were a pastor because of what you look like.”
Well while I was there I noticed that there were a lot of churches doing a lot of things. But the question that I have is that really what Jesus wanted for His church? Does Jesus see that we are busy and he is excited about it. I am not sure. But I was reading a blog by Tony Morgan and I really appreciated the thoughts about church and what is going on. So if you get the chance then click on the name Tony Morgan and see what his thoughts are but really, I think that we need to just think about what is church about?
What should our churches be about when it comes growing in Christ?
So a couple of months ago my son and I are trying to do some shopping for the house for my wife. We needed a new kitchen trash can and I knew what type she wanted so Tyler and I head out. Just as we pull into the shopping area we see the picture above. The store is closing and they are having a massive sale to get rid of everything. My first thought is we are going to get the trash can for a deal! I will get my wife something that she wants and save money another thing that she likes to see. I am not a very good shopper. So we with great joy head into to the store for a bargain. But as we get a little closer we see another sign check this one out.
Tyler stopped stared at the picture for awhile and said, “That is just stupid!” They are closing a store but yet they are hiring people to let them go. As we walked into the store I was just as confused as he was. So me being the person that I am I asked one of the employees, “Why?” In his wisdom he said, “Don’t know.” They are actually letting me go next week. With that Tyler and I grabbed our trash can, got the bargain but walked to the car quietly. Once inside he asked, “What were they thinking? This guy is losing his job but, they are hiring someone else.”
This whole situation made me think of being involved in a church. We say that we are evangelistic but we don’t go out and reach our friends. We say that we care about each other but we are the first ones to talk behind someone’s back. We tell people that we are wanting them to join us in our family of believers but we don’t show them how. In the church world and the business world there are things that get done that are just NONSENSE.
So what are some solutions for what we do when we are part of the church:
- Don’t just talk about reaching out, do something! – pray with the grocery store employee
- Don’t get butt hurt when the church leadership doesn’t do things your way. Follow the leaders that God has put in place.
- Don’t talk behind someone’s back, get them,talk to them and be the brother or sister in Christ you were meant to be.
- Don’t just say come on and join, show them. Make it simple and meaningful – then repeat.
- Don’t just pray for God to send someone. Because if you have noticed the problem, then maybe you should just look in the mirror because God has sent someone. YOU!
Proverbs 11:3 “Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty”
Let’s get honest we are sending mixed messages to a world that is dying and going into an eternity without Jesus. What are some things that you can do right now, this very moment to present the gospel message? Let’s get the message straight.
Matthew 20:28 “For even I the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and give my life as a ransom for many.”
As we celebrate the Christmas season how are you going to serve others? What is your family going to do to share the Gospel Message?