I wanted to jump back and expound upon a point that I made in Tuesday's WholeHearted post:
"Be Patient: You can't make too many changes too fast without trouble and when you do make changes it is imperative that people understand why the changes are necessary. This isn't a ministry principal – it's a life principal. More on this later."
People in ministry have a tendency to want to go fast. I remember when I first went into the ministry I wanted to go to a church that is like we are now but over time I have come to recognize that I wasn't prepared to lead in that type of environment. One of the things I often tell Pastor's as we're talking about the growth that we've experienced at Hyde Park is this:
"Ministry is like a cruise ship – not a Ferrari." Here's what I mean:
Everybody wants to drive the Ferrari – it's sharp, it's exclusive (not many can own one), it's fast and let's face it, it's just plain cool. Another hot thing about a Ferrari is that it has the ability to turn on a dime because of it's crafting and engineering.
The downside of a Ferrari is that it only holds 2 people.
Cruise ships are cool. They are fun, have great food and take people on amazing adventures in exotic places. Cruise Ships can house thousands of people at one time. The downside of a cruise ship is that it doesn't turn very fast – it takes BIG, WIDE turns that no one even realizes is happening. As a matter of fact, I noticed that one morning the sun is rising on my left but on the next morning it arose on my right because the ship turned since the previous morning. If a cruise ship turns too quickly the ride would be too rough and people are likely to get sick.
Ministry in an established church isn't like the flashy Ferrari but has much more in common with the huge cruise ship. You might wish you were driving the fast car that can immediately change directions but if you want to make a big turn with bunches of people and not make them sick you need to remember what you're "driving".
One last point: The ship still turns but does so in a deliberate way that attempts to not throw people overboard (even though it may occasionally let them walk the plank )
I even made Dr. Evil think…
Hopefully you checked out yesterday's post (if not you should read it here first). Your comments were great! Some of you were public, others private but I am so thankful for your interaction.
Here are the other 5 "be's" that have helped me to stay on track through the years as a leader in God's church.
- Be accountable: Who has permission to speak into your life when it is obvious something is out of whack? Who knows you like that? Being a stage personality (no matter how many people's lives you are speaking into) can be dangerous. Remember what I said yesterday, DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID! You need a few people who you can let your guard down with but make sure that they are as strong or stronger than you are as otherwise you may have a yes man doing a strong man's job – you don't want someone that you can push around. It's too easy to fall… make sure there is someone there to keep that from happening. Please be diligent about this.
- Be Challenged: Most everything you do is a challenge to others – who is challenging you? Read books, blogs and listen to preachers other than your own – keep fresh water flowing into your heart and Spirit. Be a learner but not a follower and remember, what works somewhere else might not work in your context. Maybe what you see that could work just isn't for now. 11 years ago I was told that what I currently do would not work in our region.
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit: The power of the Holy Spirit in your life will bring a boldness into your ministry that does not reek of puffed-up arrogance. You will never have enough of His Spirit – you will never be filled if you aren't spending quality time in the presence of God.
- Be creative: God is so amazingly creative!! Look at our world – seen any wonders lately? The mountains… the ocean… the tropics… glaciers… Wow! Why are WE at times so boring? We have believed the lie that excellence is not a priority.
- Be Dangerous: We not only have the Living God on our side, we have the power of the Living God living INSIDE of us!!! What are we afraid of? God's church shouldn't be a safe-haven for scared, separatist believers but rather it should be a dangerous place that JESUS uses to bring light and life into the darkness that fills our region.
As I said in yesterday's post, this list is not in order nor is it exhaustive – we could probably add stuff all day long. Which one would you add? Bring it?
Hyde Park is a lot different than it was 11 years ago. Now I know, some think it's awesome – a few argue that they aren't happy with the direction. One thing that we should all be able to agree on is that together we have touched a lot of people for the cause of Jesus Christ. For that we should all be thankful – honestly, I love you all regardless of your opinion.
Through the years as changes have come I have found myself adapting to the challenges of Pastoring in a fast moving, growing church. If you asked me what I would say to someone entering a position like mine has been at Hyde Park I would share the list below. This list has helped me to stay grounded that I might live out what I believe God has called me to – now matter how quickly the landscape changed (by the way: these are not in order of importance):
- Be prayed up: to lead it is imperative that you have a game-plan, a map that shows you the direction that you are to lead in – DIRECTION COMES FROM JESUS! Vision from God for your ministry (not someone else's that you've adapted from their blog or website) is the beginning of leadership. When I pray for and about my ministry I ask God for a Spiritual covering, Spiritual Guidance and Spiritual eyes. I remember many times thanking God in advance for what I believed in faith that He was going to do only to watch Him do that exact thing later. Be prayed up.
- Be excellent: to be excellent you must first define what excellence looks like. I have encouraged other church leaders not to define excellence by looking at sister churches (because unfortunately that may be setting the bar low). You must be excellent at what you do if you expect excellence from others.
- Be Patient: You can't make too many changes too fast without trouble and when you do make changes it is imperative that people understand why the changes are necessary. This isn't a ministry principal – it's a life principal. More on this later.
- Be Humble: This one is hard, especially if you're a leader type person. Truth is, for many people who do what I do, God has given them the ability to stand before people to lead/perform/communicate and it takes a certain amount of confidence to actually do that. If you don't watch out your confidence will turn into pride. DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID EVERYONE OFFERS YOU ("you're SO great! God is using YOU so much! You have such an annointing! You're the reason we come here!") I repeat: do not drink the Kool-aid! It tastes really good but it is poisonous (not to mention that when you do you literally are stealing God's Glory). Whenever someone does this point them back to Jesus.
- Be a worshiper: no brainer, huh? One of the most dangerous things in the world is to become a "professional worshiper". Joe Pace once said, "God is more concerned with your private worship on Monday than He is is impressed with your public worship on Sunday. Read this:
21 "I hate, I despise your religious feasts;
I cannot stand your assemblies.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, [a]
I will have no regard for them. (We cannot buy God!)
23 Away with the noise of your songs! (Without the heart the most Theological of songs is noise to You, O God)
I will not listen to the music of your harps. (Amos 5:21-23 – NIV)
It is possible to "do" the actions that represent worship without truly worshiping. The actions of worship without the heart of worship in nothing more than meaningless ritual.
I'll share the rest of the list tomorrow. Your thoughts on any of the points are welcome!
Today was one of those days.
Normally when we use the phrase "one of those days" it is in reference to a day that just didn't turn out like we planned. Today definitely didn't turn out as I planned: it was much better.
Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that our God is the One who "…is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," We were reminded of this today at Hyde Park. Thank You, Jesus, for Your work within us.
I hope that you were in attendance – If you weren't here's what I would share about Sunday, July 24th, 2010:
- We had the privilege to see 12 people make a profession of faith today through baptism! Most were young people which is awesome! We have the opportunity to help these young people to live out their lives for Christ – thank You Lord!
- I will never forget the overheard conversation in which a mature believer "poo-poo'd" a number of young people being baptized as if their profession of faith meant less than the profession of an adult. I will never forget hearing the story of the great preacher D.L. Moody telling his wife how the services were one Sunday evening – he told her that 3 and a half were saved. The way I remember the story she replies, "3 adults and a child?" to which he replied, "3 young people and 1 adult – the adult has already lived half of his life". May we take seriously the call to lead our young people to be revolutionary followers of Jesus Christ!
- Our speaker today was Dr. Chris Schofield from the Baptist State Convention of NC. What an amazing and challenging message he brought to the body of Hyde Park. So thankful that he had the chance to speak to us today.
- The crowd at 10:30 was a "rowdy" bunch! They were cheering for the baptismal candidates as if they were at a football game or something. How dare they be so excited about something so important?!?
- As I said after the service was over, "Words cannot describe that 10:30 service – bunch of baptisms, passionate worship and God's presence clearly drawing ppl 2repent!"
Here's what some friends shared online about today:
- "Second service was completely amazing today! The Spirit was certainly moving. But it was a very melancholy day, as well, as I'm sure you felt it too. You will be sorely missed in our worship at HP! But we know that God is going to use you in a mighty way in the coming months. May His hand continue to rest on you and your beautiful family!"
- "God bless. may God be with you in this next part of your journey. thank you for pushing me when I didn't feel like being pushed. I love you and your family."
- "How does one discribe the might, merciful, ALL LOVING, Holy God, of the Christ followers. WE CANN'T BUT IT SHOWS UP IN WORSHIP! Today was a day of retrospect for many and a new beinging for a lot of BELIEVERS."
- "God You are higher than any other! Wow…HP church worshiped today! You let Jesus know today just how worthy He is!"
I know that this sounds like "hype" but it really was that kind of day!
- Music this morning: "Our God" (Passion), "Sing, Sing, Sing" (Tomlin), "Are You Washed" (PraiseHymns arrangement), "The Stand" (Hillsong), and at the invitation, "I will Rise".
- In the 2nd service, during "I will Rise" the congregation began to rise to their feet one by one… very powerful moment.
- VBS started tonite – looked like we had a pretty great crowd. Looking forward to a great week that will hopefully be marked by much life change.
One more weekend Hyde Park – the joy and pleasure has been mine. I love you.
My vacation week is sadly coming to an end. I have totally enjoyed a relaxing week with my family as we have just been "off" – no amusement parks or hurried schedules – lots of waves, water, reading, laughing, talking, iTunes and good food. For me, just what I needed.
My status update yesterday (my 1st since Sunday night) said, "Hey, I'm here – on the way to soak up some sun – I have been connected this week just choosing to be quiet as I prepare 2get LOUD". This week for me is a last chance to decompress before we start running (as the state convention told Donnie and I) "real hard and real fast for a while".
At the bottom you will see a mashup of where we started off our vacation, where we worshiped Sunday, what I read on vacation, my continued streak with fortune cookies and of course a beach pic. But before we get there I had to share how pumped I am about the weekend – WHY?!?
- My friend, Dr. Chris Schofield will be speaking Sunday morning! L-O-V-E this dude! Chris has been such an encouragement and inspiration to my ministry. God has used him to speak into my life on many occasions. When Schofield speaks my heart tends to tune in – hope yours does too.
- Baptism Sunday morning. Have you been baptized SINCE you believed? This Sunday morning during the 10:30 worship experience we will begin our service with believer's baptism. If you need to be baptized and have not arranged it with us let me know – it's not too late!
- VBS kicks off this Sunday night!! I hear that the stage looks awesome!
- Great songs to worship Jesus with Sunday – look forward to bringing those to you.
See you on Sunday!