If you don't know what living missionally is... we'll have to get to that another time.
But for those of you who do, I just had another one of those experiences that reminded me that it's a lot easier to talk about living missionally than it is to actually live missionally.
I'm right in the middle of preparing a talk for our small group leaders about missional discipleship and making our small groups missional when I get a phone call from a friend who volunteers with the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center.
My heart sank as I thought to myself, "How can I get out of this?" The last thing that I want to do right now is spend the next six hours trying to figure out housing for a pregnant teenager or put my severely limited pastoral skills to the test as I try to walk through a situation so difficult I can barely comprehend it with someone who I have almost nothing in common.
Turns out she just need to get in touch with a housemate of mine and didn't have his number, but reflecting on the situation reminded me once again that it's a lot easier and a lot more fun to teach people about living missionally than it is to actually go out and do it.
You are best advantaged as a leader when you spend time with people who think differently than you.
When I was young, Charlie Renfro mentored me, and he thought big. He kept coming in and asking me, "What you working on big?"
Programming Culture, Ministry Environments
There is a way in which your church is nothing but a series of environments. Every single week your environments are being evaluated.
If you have not clarified the win in every single environment, your people will come up with their own definition of a win.
One point of clarification: We are unapologetically an attractional model. We will do anything to attract people because I have never seen an empty seat make a profession of faith in Christ. I think it's very much a New Testament model. So people say, "You're appealing to a consumer mentality." And I say, "Yes, I am, because every human I have met is a consumer." But before you get all spiritual, that's what Jesus did. They did not follow Jesus because of his teaching. You don't. They certainly didn't. He attracted crowds because he healed them. Yes, there were some moving moments and people listened, but the thing that attracted the crowd was the miracles. If I could do in the moment miracles, I would, but I can't, so we have moving lights and a band. I don't care. I don't apologize, whatever it takes to get people to come and come back. The win in my service is that an unchurched man between the ages of 25 and 55 comes, likes it enough to leave and come back next week with a friend.
Ultimately, we want people to fall in love with Jesus, but you can't make people fall in love. All you can do is arrange the date.
With that in mind, we stood back and asked the question, "What's an irresistable ministry environment for middle schoolers, high schoolers, young adults, small groups, etc." And then we asked more generally the question, "What's an irresistable ministry environment in general.
Here's the three we came up with. You might not like our three. You may not care about our three. I don't care. I just want to prod you to go home and come up with your own with your team. Every single ministry environment you create is being evaluated. You know why people don't come back to your church? They didn't think there was something worth coming back for. You owe it to your staff and you owe it to your team, because in your staff you have created some sort of environmental or programming culture.
- An appealing setting
- Setting - the physical environment
- Settings create first impressions.
- An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins.
You have worked in your church for so long there are things you do not see anymore. We have to figure out how to get fresh eyes on our ministry environments so we see our physical environments how outsiders see them.
- Every physical environment communicates something.
There are no neutral environments. A pastor friend of mine put Harleys in the lobby. The guys stuck around and hung out.
You walk in this room you feel like you're in a concert hall.
- Clean - We were expecting you, and we're glad you're here. Your campus, if it's not clean, it communicates we weren't expecting anybody new.
- Organized - We're serious about what we're doing. The eMyth, the first book I took my staff through, it's a book on franchising, "A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what they are doing."
- Safe - Communicates that you value other people's children as you value your own.
- Design, decor, and attention to detail communicates what and who you value most.
When you walk through the halls of this church, you get the impression this church values children. We want parents to think we love little Johnny. Johnny doesn't notice any of that stuff. Johnny only cares whether there are goldfish. If there are goldfish, he's in.
I visited a really large church four years ago. It had a great auditorium. I talked them into giving me a tour of the children's area. It was awful.
- Design, decor, and attention to detail communicates whether or not you are expecting guests.
You need a parking lot attendant. I don't are how big or small your church is. It communicates you were expecting guests.
- Periodically, we all need fresh eyes on our ministry environments.
There are two kinds of people in the world. People who see a mess and people do not see a mess. And you are one or the other. If you do not see a mess, you need someone who does. When you go home, look in the backseat of your car, and if you'd have to move a bunch of stuff around for someone to sit there, you might need someone else's eyes on your ministry environments.
- Are your ministry settings appealing to your target audience?
- Does the design, decor, and attention to detail of your environments reflect what and who is most important to you?
- What's starting to look tired?
- An Engaging Presentation
- Engaging presentations are central to the success of our mission
- Presenting the gospel is a primary responsibility of the church.
- "Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" is the unique responsibility of the Church.
- To engage is to capture one's attention. It's not just what you say. We're all speaking truth. You have to present it in an interesting way.
- Information doesn't have to be unique or new, the presentation has to be good. You don't go to a restaurant and get upset because they don't have unique meats.
- Generally speaking, it's the presentation that makes information interesting.
David beats Goliath every time. There are always 10 commandments. And they have the book at home. You have to make it interesting. You don't have to come up with unique information. You shouldn't come up with unique information
An audience's attention span is directly related to the the interest of the presentation.
The reason comedians are funny is that they don't say anything unique. They just say common things in a funny way.
- Engaging presentations require engaging presenters or an engaging means of presentations.
We look for great presenters and great content creators. We have people who are great at presenters but cannot create good content. We have people who are great content creators but are not good presenters. We take people we're not even sure we want around children... that's an exaggeration, give them a script, and they love getting up there and teaching kids. We have teachers who are great content creators but don't want to present because they do it all week long.
If we want great presentations, we've got to find great presenters. If you're in charge of the children's ministry, you might not be a great presenter, you just have to find one. No matter what it takes, if someone gets up in front of a group of kids, we want them to love the Bible more not less. Typically youth ministries teach what three things: The Bible is boring, God is boring, Church is boring.
Every Sunday we spend millions and billions of dollars on creating services, but we're undermining our mission by not having engaging messages.
If you are the senior leader of the church and you're not an engaging communicator, you have to find them. You don't have to talk all of the time. That's a model. Don't spend one more day of your life boring people with a book that has the potential to change your life.
The churches making a difference are the ones that have decided it's not about a personality, it's about getting it done.
- Is your culture characterized by a relentless commitment to engaging presentations at every level of the organization?
- Does your system allow you to put your best presenters in your most strategic presentation environments?
- Are your presenters evaluted and coached?
- Does your system create opportunites for your best content creators to partner with your presenters?
- Helpful Content
It's not just was it true, was it helpful?
- Helpful = Useful
- Helpful content is content that directly addresses thinking and living.
Every message should help someone think differently or live differently.
- Content should be stage-of-life specific.
All Scripture is equally inspired, but it is not all equally relevant to every age and stage of life.
We have 7 things we try to teach to our middle school and high school students. That's what every camp and every group and everything does.
You don't have time to teach the whole Bible. You will die first, and people will leave your church. You would have to teach such large chunks of it you wouldn't get anything out of it. Ask what people need to know. If you want to teach verse by verse, fine, but it's got to be helpful.
- Information that does not address a felt need is perceived as irrelevant.
It may not be irrelevant, but if it does not touch on a felt need, it seems irrelevant.
- Information that isn't perceived as useful is perceived as irrelevant.
- Is your content helpful?
- Do your content creators and communicators understand that the goals are renewed minds and changed behaviors?
- Is your content age and stage-of-life specific?
Of every enviornment, program, and production, ask:
- Was the context appealing?
- Was the presentation engaging?
- Was the content helpful?
You have to define the win.
AS: Leaning into what your strengths are means you have to give stuff away. How has what you do or don't do changed over the years?
CG: I really believe that the more effective you want to become as a leader, the fewer things you do. In the early years, I was the only staff member, so I did everything. It was the greatest day when someone else cared if the toilet overflowed.
I wanted to do everything and kept my hands in it. For example, we were the campus pastors at the pastors we preached at for too long. People kept trying to free me up until finally I listened.
If I ask you about your church or organization and you can tell me everything, you're probably leading ineffectively.
AS: Someone asked me what my most important leadership lesson is. Recognizing my strengths and delegating my weaknesses. I wish I had done that earlier. I think there was a lot of guilt there. If I don't want to take out the trash, no one should take it out. But when I learned to delegate what I didn't like and wasn't good at.
I used to do all of our small group training because I wanted to get it started right because it was central to what we did. There is something to putting your time into those central place.
The hardest thing for me was giving up the senior pastor of our largest campus pastor role.
CG: It's not that we're not leading, we're leading through people, and that's even harder.
AS: Then you become the custodian of culture. You're not doing a lot, but you pay attention to where things are going wrong.
CG: And you might sense those problems before someone else does.
AS: But I can't go in and re-own the responsibility. I'll go to one of our churches and something will bother me. I'll go to the senior leader and ask if something bothered him. If it bothers him, then it doesn't have to bother me. But if it doesn't bother him, if I think it's a four and everyone else thinks its an 8, then I have to do some retooling and some re-vision cast.
CG: How has your week changed?
AS: As your church grows and your family changes stage, you have to change your schedule.
I used to preach 2-3 times on Sunday and at 1 of our evening services. I generally take Monday off. I might start back in on Monday afternoon. Tuesday is staff meetings all day. It's almost 100% staff. I used to have lots of lunches, I don't do that. I exercise M, W, F. That's important. Our health is part of our ministry. If you're the point leader, your physical health is part of our ministry. Wednesday is nothing but a study day. Thursday is a study day. Friday is the day I will schedule time I want to spend time with, elders, friends, a few people who want to meet. Saturday, my brain is starting to lean into speaking. We have never done anything on Saturday night for 20 years if I'm preaching on Sunday.
CG: I've been to counseling two different times for being a workaholic. I've found a managable schedule now. It changes with the
Saturday, all day soccer games and kids stuff, 1-2 services saturday night, so I get to the church by 2:30 . Saturday is family night at the church, so my whole family comes. The family parties on while I preach. I want them to associate being at church having a lot of fun.
I usually preach on Sundays twice, but if I like the video on Saturday night, I'll let it run on Sunday.
I have two set meetings on Mondays. I do all of the paperwork and everything with my assistant on Monday, and then I shift into sermon prep on Monday afternoon.
Tuesday is full on message prep all day.
By Wednesday I'm finishing up the message and I go into do our videos, and every week I go in and do a bunch of videos for campuses, churches, etc.
Every day I try to leave by 3:45 to go to the gym. Ministry is never, ever done, so if I put an artificial barrier on my day, it forces me to be efficient. I believe I get more done. I'm home by 5:15 every night.
Thursday is the day I meet with whomever I want to.
Friday is usually my day off.
We meet Monday mornings with our key leaders, and we meet with our board or key leaders as needed throughout the year.
That's the template, so people ask, "When are you a pastor?" This guy ended his life, and I called his wife. There was a guy struggling with his marriage.
You can't get too big to just pastor people.
AS: I primarily pastor my staff. We probably feel the weight to pastor a similar amount of people as a single site, single congregation pastor. It's just that we have larger staff.
CG: I was raised that the church come first, but I've found that I have to keep myself spiritually healthy and my marriage healthy.
AS: I used to ask Sandra every now and again, just, "How am I doing?"
CG: I ask Amy all of the time, "What are the three things I do that are the biggest blessing to you? What are the three things I do that could use work?"
It's easy for us to lie to ourselves. When we've lied long enough, it's easy to believe it's true.
When I ask people how many of you battle with significant self-deception, something like 3% raise their hands. But when I ask who knows someone who's a good singer, or good manager, or good communicator, but they're not, all kinds of hands go up.
A lot of us are self-deceived, and many of us are self-deceived to the point we don't realize it.
I want to talk about creating a culture of self-awareness, or a culture of high-feedback.
Those who don't know don't know they don't know.
Many of us are very self-deceived. The higher you rise in any organization, the more difficult it will be to get people tell you the truth, especially in church world, because nobody lies in church world.
In where I come from in the south they say, "Well bless your heart." What they really mean is, "You're an idiot."
The problems you don't know about are the problems you can't fix.
My wife told me after several years, "Craig, put down the box." I was like, "What are you talking about?" When I spoke I looked like I was carrying a box.
Because we're so full of love, we rarely create a culture of truthful feedback.
Three Principles of Self-Deceptions
- We as leaders have a limitless capacity for self-deception.
Perhaps the greatest example in Scripture is with Bathsheba and David. Nathan tells the story about a rich man stealing a poor man's lamb. David is indignant, and Nathan tells him he's the rich man.
- The longer we believe the lies, the harder it is to hear the truth.
Psalms 36:2 - For in his own eyes he flatters himself to much to detect or hate his sin.
I really believed I was good at interpersonal communications. People told me I was warm and friendly on stage but not in person. People over and over tried to tell me lovingly, but I just wouldn't listen. One day, my small group members re-enacted the way I treated people. Finally I saw it. So I got coaching on how to do it better.
There are a lot of you who very likely have had someone in your organization trying to tell you something about your leadership, and you're not listening.
That's especially true in the younger generation. We have not told the emerging generation the truth. You have to work extra hard to be coachable, to posture yourself in a position where you want to learn.
- The leader's lack of self-awareness is the leader's barrier.
I used to think I was good at delegating. I was good at delegating tasks, not delegating authority. Delegating tasks creates followers. Delegating authority creates leaders.
So often in the church world we're quick to issue blame for any of our problems, not enough money, they don't serve, wrong location, etc.
I've trained myself to never say, they won't. Anytime I hear another leader say, "They won't," I stop and correct them and say, "I have not led them to."
Uncovering the Truth about You
Psalms 139:23-24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.
I used to use a lot of edgy humor in my messages. I kept getting complaints, but I just chalked it up to stuffy, legalistic church people. Finally one guy just asked me to pray. I half-heartedly said I would. I prayed about it, and the next Sunday my oldest daughter had her first Sunday in big people's church. I looked over at her about to tell an off-color joke.
Proverbs 15:31-32 - He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
The more I tend to believe that I'm right, the more likely I might be wrong. Just like Peter says he's never going to deny Jesus like everyone else.
- Build a team that craves and gives helpful feedback.
If you're a senior leader, it starts with you. I get feedback after my first message. I get feedback before my first message. We build this into our entire process. It's in our hiring process. We have people prepare a 10 minute talk for 10 minutes and then give them feedback. We want to see how they receive feedback. We have them give the other candidates feedback.
If you're a senior leader, people are afraid of you. You have to go ask for feedback specifically
- Implement annual 360° evaluations for every team member.
I think we need to have anonymous feedback. It needs to be anonymous, because that's when the truth really comes out. It's so helpful, and it's so incredibly painful.
I had two consecutive years where people said I was disengaged from the staff, that I was more concerns with mentoring other senior pastors. For two years many leaders in our organization said I was distracted. Even though my heart was still in LifeChurch, my head was divided.
It's one of the most painful and most helpful things I have ever done.
James 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
What have others been trying to say to you or show you? What has God been trying to say or show you that you've been too proud to listen to.
Some of the most common things I see:
- You're a workaholic. Give your family some attention. When my youngest daughter was three years old, God rang my bell, she said, "Daddy, you don't live here. You live up at the church." My wife asked if we could have a meal without me typing on my phone.
- Some of you will do what I did years back. I became a full-time pastor, and a part-time follower of Christ. I'd pray when I prayed publicly. I'd study when I was preparing for a sermon. My self-worth was based on last week's numbers.
- Some of you are looking at some things you should not be looking at. You're telling yourself it's not a big deal. You're not telling anybody. But your sin will find you out.
Some of you need to go repent to your spouse or your children. If we build big churches and lose our children, that is a failure. The more I humble myself and listen to God, the more broken I am, the better my relationship with my spouse is, the better my family is, and the better my church is.
There are so many people who continue to fight against the truth, when it's the truth that will set you free.
Personally if there's some part of your life God is trying to show you is not where it should be, don't fight against it, embrace it.
The local church should be the greatest place in the world to work. My goal is to make working at North Point the best job that you ever have.
I think every local church should be like that. We have shared values and mission. We have a 2,000 year history. The inner workings of the local church should be extraordinary.
One of the reasons we chose this topic is we want local churches to get healthier so that we can do our ministry well.
This is the one thing we have to get. It is the thing. And it's clearly taught in Scripture, one of the few leadership lessons there.
If you want to be great in God's kingdom, you use your service for the sake of other people. Jesus washes their feet to show them that when you're in authority, you use your authority to benefit all of those who are below you, who are less resourced, less talented, less powerful than you. The more you have, the more potential you have to serve those who have less. They got it because He washed their feet. That was the end of the ego trip for their disciples.
- Healthy and productive staff cultures are characterized by mutual submission.
I'm here to serve you, and you're here to serve me, and the more you have, the more responsibility you have to be a servant.
- The message of mutual submission: I'm here to facilitate your success regardless of where either of us shows up on an organizational chart.
- The assumption of mutual submission: While our responsibilities differ, we are both essential to the success of this enterprise.
There are no non-essential personell in your enterprise. If there are, you've hired incorrectly. All of us are equally essential for the success of the organization.
- The question of mutual submission asks, "What can I do to help?"
This is a game changer. People think they're there to help you, the leader. And you know why they think that? Because you're leading like a gentile. Senior pastors, walk into your student ministries office and ask, "What can I do to help?"
We have this culture that somehow took an OT paradigm that has been abandoned and replaced with NT language. We took this OT prophet, priest, and king, and we force it on the local church, and it's nonsense. There are no especially anointed people. The word anointed only shows up a couple of times in the NT, and it refers to Jesus. The other times it says we're all anointed because we have the Holy Spirit.
The NT could not be clearer, we're not a kingdom. We're a body. There are noticeable parts and not noticeable parts, but none of them are special. In the local church, if you're a good talker, they put you in charge. People say, "Oh, Andy, you're so great." And I'm like no. It's a gift. Somebody gave it to me, and somebody can take it.
We teach it, and believe it, and then we turn right around and grab this OT paradigm and force it on the local church.
IF you want to know if the pastor's anointed, it's not on stage, go home with him or her.
This hurts the local church. It's not just unbiblical, it's anti-NT. It attracts a bunch of sycophants and sets the pastor up for a fall. If you foster that in your church, you will not have a healthy staff culture. You're going to churn and churn staff until you get enough insecure people around you that feel good about yourself. You're trying to make yourself a prophet, priest, or king.
The more spiritual you are, you should be the greatest servant in your organization.
If you embrace mutual submission, and you model it, and this trickles down through your staff, you will unleash people's gifts and talent. They'll stop caring about making you happy and start caring about doing things with excellence.
God doesn't care how many people you can gather or how well you can teach if you don't have love.
- Best Practices
- Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.
Symbolic Leadership: I can't do everything for everyone, but I'm not going to miss an opportunity to something for someone.
We take the ridiculous thinking that if you can't do something for everyone don't do it for everyone that we learned from the lunch lady who wouldn't give you an extra cookie because she would have to give one to everyone into the rest of our lives.
Do you know how you leverage your resources? Anytime you can do something for someone you do. People won't be jealous, they'll copy you.
- Systematize top-down service.
It's one thing to randomly buy someone a paper cutter, but you have to systematize this. When I meet with our leadership team of 14 people at the beginning of the year, I ask them for 2 or 3 things I can do to help them. Every year our groups person asks for two messages on groups. With my high school team, I spend a day developing bottom lines. For our Global X guy, I do one or two trips a year. I can't do everything for everyone, but every single year, I ask what I can do in our organization to.
- Create and maintain a organizational pace.
- Without margin, there is no room to serve beyond a job description.
People will not loan their talent and resources to other departments if they have no margin. If I don't have margin, I can't serve my staff.
- Without margin, we seek first our kingdoms.
You work all day and your family misses you.
Show me an overworked staff, and I'll show you turf wars and politics.
If you walk into someone's office and you're greatest fear is they're actually going to have an answer, you can't
We always shut down the entire organization the Sunday after Christmas. We have no worship services. It is light at the end of the tunnel for the entire organization. Do you know how hard it is to get volunteers to staff a children's ministry the Sunday after Christmas?
- Celebrate and reward mutual submission when you see it.
Tip: What's rewarded is repeated.
You have to make a big deal out of it.
- Confront your ego.
What's most important? Building a great organization or creating a name for yourself?
If you really view your staff as a supporting cast for your name and your ministry and what God is doing through you because you're the guy, then I dare you next week to sit them all down and tell them. God has called me, and you are all hired help to help me what God has called me to do. If you can't do that, then you're leading like a Gentile.
Do I want to build a great church, or do I want to build a name for myself? You may build a name for yourself in the pursuit of building a great church, but the moment you flip that switch, the sharpest leaders in the organization will start looking for the door.
- Drop the term loyalty from your vocabulary.
You will never create a culture of mutual submission with loyalty as a core value.
Tip: If you has to ask for it, demand it, or have people sign a document pledging it, you are the one with a loyalty problem, not them.
Albert Speer, who was high up in Hitler's organization but was not responsible directly for any of the atrocities, he saw the whole thing, Hitler's evolution, he said,
There is a special trap for every holder of power, whether the director of a company, the head of the state, or the ruler of a dictatorship. His favor is so desireable to his subordinates that they will sue for it by every means possible. Servility becomes endemic among his entourage, who compete among themselves in their show of devotion. This in turn exercises a sway upon the ruler who becomes corrupted in his turn.
The key to the quality of the man in power is how he reacts to this situation. I have observed a number of industrialists and military men who knew how to fend off this danger. Where power has been exercised over generations, a kind of hereditary incorruptibility grows up. Only a few individuals among those around Hitler, such as Fritz Todt, withstood the temptation to sycophancy. Hitler himself put up no visible resistance to the evolution of a court.
-Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs by Albert Speer, p. 83
If God has gifted you, God is going to use you, and people are going to respond. And some of them know how to respond appropriately. But others will respond in a way that can change you.
It was the question God the Father and Jesus asked of the world, "What can I do to help?" We have the privilege of serving God and his people.
How do our values impact our culture.
When you walk in here you say, "Man, I like this place. I like being here." When you walk into a restaurant, you say you like the feeling. Maybe you walk in somewhere else and you don't like it.
And it's not just the aesthetic, the colors on the walls.
When we started LifeChurch, it was in a 2 car garage with mirrors on the walls. We had nothing you would think of when you think of normal church. We had two borrowed speakers, one mic and mic stand, and an overhead projector. This environment was so bad. Our overhead transparency flipper, his name was Jerome, and he got a finger shot off in a drug deal gone bad. Jerome would be worshipping and forget to flip the song, and all of the sudden you'd see his hand there, and you could see people looking up at the garage door counting fingers.
It was nothing you would think of when you think of excellence and church. But the first week there were 40 people, and certainly they were all Christians, but I was committed to evangelism, and so I made a call for people to accept Christ. 7 people raised their hands, and there were tears.
It was a very healthy culture.
Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created.
The number one force that shapes your culture is your values.
What we value determines what we do. What we believe determines how we behave.
Think about the difference between the synagogues run by the Pharisees and the party at Matthew's house run by Jesus. Their priorities were reflected in what they did. Jesus said he came to seek and save the lost, that the healthy didn't need a doctor but the sick.
Think about the customer service you get at Chik-fil-a. Here are their values.
- Putting customers first
- Drive to continually improve
There is another organization that in front of everyone all of the time says, "here's what we do." In the chirch word, what we value determines what we do.
- If we value tradition, we'll focus more on the present then the past.
- If we value relevance, we'll wear skinny jeans and lots of hair product.
- If we value evangelism, we'll focus on people outside of the church.
Show me a healthy organization, and it will have clearly articulated values. Show me an unhealthy organization, it will not have values. If we need to change. Change our values first
- Determine honestly what your actions say you value.
- Your actions may say you value the status quote.
- Your actions may say you value the building. Don't run in the building. Don't bring drinks in.
- Your leadership may value being in control.
- Your actions may say you value generosity, or missions, or diversity... or the handbell ministry
- There is often a big difference between what you claim to value and what you do. The difference between what you claim to value and what you do is the pain.
- Your values may say you value evangelism, but you're really interested in keeping Christians happy. You say you value excellence, but there are three typos in the bulletin.
- Early in my ministry, I kept saying we valued small groups, but I was not in a small group. Our groups were horrible because my actions were inconsistent with the value.
- Identify the values God has put within you (or your leadership team).
- There are certain things God has burdened you with. You can't do church like Andy because Andy values one thing, and you value something else. I used to try to copy everyone else. I liked Willow Creek, so I tried to be Bill Hybels, and that didn't work. So I started liking Rick Warren, but he does everything on purpose. I"m way to accidental. Then I tried to be Joel Osteen, but I have way to badd of attitude.
- What do you passionately love? What makes your heart leap with joy? What breaks your heart or makes you righteously angry?
- I grew up in church but didn't understand the Gospel. I got a free Gideon NT in college, so I started reading in Matthew, and Ephesians 2:8-9 saved me. I was saved by the Word of God, by a free Bible, so when people tell me I should sell the YouVersion Bible app, I say "No, I got saved by a free Bible!" Then I met a guy who came on the YouVersion staff who was saved by a YouVersion app. I love that.
- I filled in for a friend at his church, and the church secretary told me I needed to preach a good sermon because they had a visitor... a rare occurrence. This lady wasn't dressed so well, and she came up to greet me before service. The deacon stepped in front of me and asked her if that was the best she could do for God. She turned around and walked out.
- If you look at what I do and what I love, everything points to evangelism because I grew up in church and didn't understand the Gospel. My church will always have an evangelistic bent. Discipleship is great. Worship is important.
- Narrow them down to 10 or fewer values.
If everything is important to you, nothing is important to you. I like 7 better than ten. I like 5 better than 7.
- Once you've clearly defined your values, describe them in short, life giving statements.
- If you can't tweet your values, they're too long
- If they don't move you emotionally, they're too dry.
- If they don't create passion within you, get some new values.
- Instead of saying, "We value evangelism," We say, "We'll do anything short of sin to reach people for Christ. To reach people no one else is reaching, we have to do things no one else is doing."
Therefore, we're not going to do what everyone else is doing. That's why we'll do church online.
- We say we're spiritual contributors, not spiritual consumers. This gets planted deep within my heart.
- We don't say we value generosity, we say that we will lead the way with irrational generosity.
- We love unity, but we say, "We're all about the capital C church, the local church is the hope of the world, and we know we can accomplish more together than apart."
- We don't recruit volunteers, we release leaders, because volunteers do good things, leaders change the world.
- Say them over and over and over again until they become a part of the people.
- Shape your culture and build your people around your values.
- Lead toward your values as if your future depends on it, because it does.
- Vision leaks, and values drift over time.
- Hire and recruit for your values. I would take a B- player with the same values over an A+ leader with different values.
- You may want to take a separate set of organizational values for your team. Behavioral values, not just what we believe, but how we behave. Ask what behavior the 10 top leaders within your organization have in common:
- Great work ethic
- Sense of humor
- Culturally relevant
- We design our interview questions around these values.
- Remove people with distinctly different values.
- If there are people on your team who are going to be miserable because they have radically different values, help that person find some place they're going to flourish. That's cancer to our organization, and it's not fair to them either.
- If you can't change the values above you, do everybody a favor, leave, and speak honorably of where you came from.
- If you don't like where you're going, change directions.
One of the most painful times in LifeChurch, between years 11 and 13, I felt like I was losing the church I loved. There was gossip and rumors. There was layers upon layers, poor communication, high staff turnover, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I just finally got to the place where I felt the best years were behind me. I spoke at a leadership conference and felt like a huge hypocrite, I sat down afterwards, put my head in my hands, and God spoke to me, "Quit whining. You're sharp. Fix it." That's kinda the way my dad would talk to me or a coach would talk to me. Those words were so meaningful to me. God was saying to me, "You've got everything you need to do everything I've called you to do. Leaders lead, and that's what you need to do."
Churches don't divide because of theology. They divide because systems get out of whack.
Every organization has a culture. A culture is a set of unwritten rules that determine how an organization runs, the values, practices, etc.
The longer you are there, the less aware you are of your organization's culture. If you work with a healthy, clearly defined culture, then you know how energizing it can be.
If you've ever worked for an unhealthy culture, you know how draining it is.
These 5 statements are the framework for everything we're going to talk about today. 5 indisputable truths about organizational culture.
- Leaders shape organizational culture whether they intend to or not.
- If you have have been at your current church for two years or less, you can still remember when you came to that church, and you walked in and you began to pick up on the personality of that church, and there were things you liked or didn't like. You were aware of how your predecessor shaped the organizational culture.
- But if you've been there 5 years or more, those are your problems.
- Every leader is doing something intentionally or unintentionally to shape the organizational culture.
- If you love the organizational culture of your church, then your number 1 goal is to figure out why it has become what it has become, because if you don't know why it's working when it's working, you won't know what's not working when it breaks.
- If you hate your organizational culture, then you need to go home and look in the mirror, because you create your culture.
- Time in erodes awareness of.
- There are things in your house that don't look good, but you don't see them. If I came to your house I could point them out.
- The longer you are anywhere, the less aware of it you are.
- You need to build into your structure the information that comes with fresh eyes and fresh ears.
- I tell our new staff, "In three months, you're going to get an email from my office with a set of questions. We're not evaluating you. You're evaluating us. In a year, you're going to get another email. Because you see the problems." We ask these questions trying to see the insight that comes with fresh eyes.
- When there's a problem in the organization, there are three levels of blame:
- Human nature
- Systems - This is often the problem. If you are not aware of the culture you are shaping, you will try to make personnel changes that aren't needed.
- Healthy cultures attract and keep healthy people.
Don't you love healthy people? They're secure. They have ideas but can hear no. They're not always looking for more vacation time. Unhealthy people are a drain on your staff. I'm not saying they're not going to Heaven, you just don't want them on your staff. Have a ministry, don't hire a ministry. Unhealthy people wither and die in a healthy organization. People won't gossip with them. When they're critical, people will ask what's wrong with them.
- The culture of an organization impacts the long term productivity of an organization.
- This hasn't really been studied, but recently people have tried to take the squishy things and begun to measure them. Because business people, pastors, want things they can measure. So is it really worth it to create a productive culture?
- Yes. Healthy people love to lean into the future instead of dwelling on the past. Healthy people are problem solvers not problem creators. You'll do more with less resources.
- We're going to talk about goals. We're going to have push back. You are a corporation. You are an organization, so you should be organized.
- When your systems begin to break down, you're less healthy.
- Unhealthy cultures are slow to adapt to change.
- Unealthy cultures turn their back to the community and face each other... to gripe, moan, and infight.
- Healthy cultures turn their back to each other and face the community to be on mission, and they'll do anything they need to do to accomplish the mission.
- We need to have nimble organizations committed to the vision and mission, rather than doing things the way we've always done.
Creating and re-creating corporate culture rarely feels urgent. Besides, you can't fix it with a meeting, a memo, or a mandate. It's a bit like trying to pick up Jell-O or win an argument with your teenage daughter. One keeps slipping away. The other keeps changing the subject. For leaders, working on culture feels like going backwards. Why can't people just do their jobs and get along? The truth is, the good people in your organization want to do exactly that. They want to do their jobs and get along with the people they work with. While tinkering with your organization's culture is not glamorous, it is mission-critical.
We've all met that kid just out of college who's planning to change the world. He's full of life and energy. She's got a plan to solve every social ill.
If you haven't met that kid, you are that kid.
"Naiveté," we say. They'll be disabused of that notion soon enough. They'll see the world for what it is, and how hard it is to change.
But what if we let them keep their naiveté?
What if we were already busy changing the world? What if we brought all of our experience and wisdom and cynicism to bear on the task at hand? What if instead of telling them they can't do it we invited them to be a part of what we're already doing?
What if we taught them what we know and unleashed their boundless energy to go about the task?
What if we let them change the world?
Do you guys realize what just happened there?
You guys, we can't just do things like that. We can't say Gungor, awesome. Isn't Jesus great? Yeah!
Jesus is just in such a different category. I don't want my name in the same sentence as Jesus. I get caught up in this is awesome, that is awesome, oh yeah, Jesus is awesome.
I'm here, you're here, the musicians are up here all because of one being. We say that name Jesus all the time, but we can't let that name be common.
I want us to just stop right now and think about who He is who created us all and died for us all. I want to do something very sacred and just talk to him right now.
I just want to pray, to have still, quiet time.
I was looking at my notes from last year because that would be embarrassing if I gave the same talk again. Last year I told you the Trader Joe's story about how their refrigerators broke down right after we announced we had no meat for our outreach to serve thousands of meals.
So this year we're doing the same conference again, and the kitchen manager says to me we only have enough meat for one day. Half an hour after the staff meeting we get a call from Trader Joe's. They had a power outage.
We're like no way. It's just so nice to know he's with us, and he's leading us.
This last year there's just been miracle after miracle. I've never had a year where I've had so many miracles. I met with some guys just to type them out. We had the greatest time of celebration for hours. These crazy, crazy stories.
The thing is, even with all of the things that happened and all of these people we've been reaching out to. My ministry is in inner city San Francisco. On Sundays we sing for 10 minutes. I speak for 10 minutes, and then we go out for two hours to these apartment buildings and do outreach. And then we get back together after two hours and talk about what happened.
A couple of weeks ago my daughter called me. She's freaking out. She asked this guy to read his Bible when she visited him. She asked him to read Ephesians 1 and 2. And she goes back the next week and asks if he read it. He said this morning, I get this weird text message, and I pushed this button and the phone starts reading Ephesians 1 and 2.
These things just keep happening over and over and over.
But this thing is driving me crazy. The people still don't repent. It's just unbelievable. I wish I could say there's hundreds of people showing up who have turned from their addictions and we're going to baptize them right now. It's like two.
It's frustrating. It got me thinking about thinks. I'm seeing God work. God revealed to me at one point that I was worshipping revival more than I was worshipping Jesus.
The Bible doesn't promise revival. In 1 Timothy 4, he promises the opposite. He says people will be lovers of themselves and not teach sound doctrine.
He says go and make disciples. He doesn't say there will be revival. He says he will be with you.
There's this thrill of knowing we are walking with Jesus.
There's probably plenty of you in here that have had a discouraging year. As much as I've seen God do, it's been a discouraging year. I'm exhausted. But it's not about that.
Are you walking closely with Jesus? Are you living by faith?
I think at the end when you see Jesus, I think you're going to be surprised. I think who God looks at and says, "Well done," will surprise you. "Man, you made those 8 disciples." And you're like, man, that's all I did. We're a church of 9. And he's going to say, "Well done. You followed my model."
You see it happening out there. More and more people are saying, man, I need to make disciples.
I got so excited about making disciples and started writing down all of these reasons to make disciples. But then I started thinking and I thought, "We probably don't want everyone in this room making disciples." Because some of you don't really act like Jesus. People don't look at your life and say you're just like Jesus or you remind me of Jesus, so why would we want more of you? What we want is Jesus right? What the world needs is Jesus. What we need is more of Jesus.
What Paul says in 1 Corintihans 11:1 is "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." But we know there are people in this room right now who are cheating on their spouses, so why would I tell you, "Go, duplicate yourselves." There are people in here who are greedy, arrogant. Man, some of you don't really love and know Jesus, so why would we multiply that? You see what I'm getting at? So we're supposed to be about Jesus, but maybe we've forgotten that it's about exalting Jesus and making our lives look more and more like him, being selfless and giving ourselves to other people, but if we're not doing that, why would you make a convert that's twice the son of hell that you are?
So look at yourself and ask yourself, "Who am I?" We need to judge ourselves. Are you becoming more and more like Christ, I hope so.
There are times I get so busy and focused on other things that I'm not looking at my life, and I'm not asking if I'm becoming more and more like Jesus. Look at my life as I learn more and more about Jesus.
Part of being like Christ is making disciples. Jesus says, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." He spends his whole life making disciples, gets nailed to a cross, rises, and says go and start making disciples. So as we follow his example, we live a life of disciple making.
The church has to get back to making this the primary thing, right. If I'm going to be a pastor, then I want to act like Jesus. That's the question. Does he remind you of Jesus. That's what I'm supposed to do. When's the last time you had someone look at you and say, "Follow me ,as I follow the example of Christ."
So why be disciple makers? Well, it's commanded. I should be able to close with that.
Imagine a person rising from the dead and saying every bit of authority on heaven and earth belongs to you. And he prefaces that by saying, "Go and make disciples."
I get concerned. Again, "Be hearers of the Word, right?" No, be doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves.
We're hearing tough messages, but what are we doing? Walking away sad isn't achieving something. That's what the rich young ruler did.
I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty. That's the last thing I want. Repent. Change.
I do it because I love the lost.
Paul says, "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ." RIght before that he says, whatever you do, eat or drink do it all to the glory of God, not to Jews or Greeks or the church of God, but I try to be all things to all people. Be imitators of me as I imitate Christ.
That's a weird thing to say. He's saying he's a people pleaser. He's trying to make everyone like him so that he might win some.
Let's admit it. I just want us to be honest. Don't you hate sharing your faith? Don't you hate it? Wouldn't you rather do just about anything than go up to a stranger and share your faith.
It doesn't make sense because based on what I know in Scripture this guy is going to spend eternity in hell because I don't want to talk to him about Jesus. I used to feel this as a pastor. I'm just so scared to talk to them about JEsus because I don't want them to reject me.
This pastor is telling me about this christmas program where people are spending 20 hours a week rehearsing. And I said, wouldn't that time be better spent just getting to know their neighbors? And he said, yes, but people won't do that.
That made sense to me then. Now I realize we don't change the system because it's hard.
Scripture says "Go, make disciples."
Paul tells Timothy not to be so scared. Paul asks for prayer from the Ephesians for boldness.
We do this also so that our people will experience God. Don't you want your people to experience God? That's one thing I can guarantee. I don't know if we will get that many people, but we will experience God. That's what Jesus says, he'll be with us when we're making disciples. He sends his Spirit so that we can make disciples.
This is it. This is the huge conclusion.
We've all heard the stats, right, how many of the kids walk away from the Lord when they turn 18. No one knows what the real number is, but let's go on what seems to be the low end: 60%. 60% of kids who grow up in church will ditch it at 18. I've got 5 kids, so if I played the odds, three of them will not walk with the Lord by the time they hit college? Are we okay with at?
When my daughter wasn't following the Lord, I prayed and balled my eyes out. SO I'm looking at the church, and my five kids and I'm saying, so three of them? We've got to have the experience God. We're raising disciple makers.
My daughter is experiencing God. The excitement on her face when she comes home after going out and trying to make disciples. MY daughter sees a homeless lady and asks if she can get her a cheeseburger, goes in gets a a double double and asks if she can sit and have lunch with her. So she sits down and starts laying out the Gospel to this lady, and the lady goes, "This is so weird. Two months ago this guy came up to me and started talking to me about Jesus, and I was thinking about him as you were walking up and this guy told me about this pastor moved to San Francisco and started this ministry." And my daughter goes, "Is his name Francis Chan? That's my dad." Is there any chance onEarth?
We have got to make disciples so that our kids follower our examples. We experience the presence of God. And our kids, we don't just keep them from all of the "bad people" they experience God. My daughter is going off today. I'm not scared anymore. I see how my daughter lives. I go wow, God. You love her. She's starting to experience you.
I don't know how we're going to get back there, how we say I'm just going to worship Jesus and become like Jesus and then just start talking to these people that I'm afraid to talk to. We've gotta get the church back to this.
We've got these people still coming back week after week who should be teachers who are saying, "You didn't feed me enough." I trained my daughter so that she can get her own job, have a family, not coming back asking for allowance. We've got to be training people and equipping people and saying go, start making disciples now.
That's my prayer. SOmehow we've got to get back to that. It starts with leaders. We ourselves don't go out and share the Gospel. We've got to get back to that.
We've got to do what they did in the Bible. They prayed and the earth shook. I worship the same God. But the issue isn't the earthquake. THe issue is they were filled with the Holy Spirit. I would like us to have a prayer just for power, that we would walk out of this room more courageous.
We've had a very full day, and there's nothing like a greek chick to come on at 5 to keep your mind off of dinner.
When I was here last time 2 years ago, we gave out about 10k keys, and it was one of the first times I had spoken about the A21 Campaign. We had one office in Greece then, we have 7 in different countries now, dozens of traffickers in jail, hundreds of girls rescued.
In July this year, like most people, I was glued to the TV watching the Olympics. And now my husband and I are actual resident aliens of the US. And so now I was watching this and realized most of the events I was watching Americans were competing in and Americans were winning.
I had to the opportunity to be in Sydney in 2000, and I was watching the 4x100 women's swimming relay, and the US should have won. They had the best team, but there was very sloppy baton passage. ANd then in Athens in 2004, it was the same thing in the women's 4x100 running relay. In 2008 there was a dropped baton in the 4x100 running relay. In 2012, we won gold, and I wrote to the Olympic relay and asked if we could have permission to show this footage.
You see the frustration of a baton exchange that didn't happen like it should have. What should have been a seamless exchange, all of those years of training of diet of discipline, it all came down to 1.9 seconds in the exchange circle. It didn't matter how fast any individual runner was running. That 1.9 seconds in a 20 meter exchange zone determines everything. It doesn't matter how fast any individual runs.
We are all a part of the Church of Jesus Christ in the year 2012. I watched the debate last night. This is one of the most pivotal moments. We are a generation of leaders alive in an exchange zone in the church. We have to decide if we're going to hand the baton off too late and be disqualified, if we're going to drop the baton, or if we're going to have a seamless exchange.
When we're talking about making, who's going to make the biggest church, the biggest ministry, it's all about understanding that it's all about handing the baton. We are part of history receiving the baton and handing it off. THat's what God has called us to do. It doesn't matter who's the biggest.
Hebrews 12: Therefor since wer are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangled.
We're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. This chapter goes on to talk about the great witnesses of the faith. We are just a part of it. Ultimately the goal of everything we are being mad into is that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to show you another text from the OT where the baton exchange did not happen well.
I wonder whether Joshua ultimately succeeded. Is this about the baton of faith going forward or is this about me and my ministry, me and my faith going forward. To me, Judges 2 is the saddest passage of Scripture.
The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him… After that whole generation died, another generation grew up who neither knew the lord nor what he had done for Israel.
He led a whole generation into the promised land, but what happened in the exchange zone. It doesn't matter how big what we build is if we don't hand it to the next generation. We don't have to stop it and start it all over again. We don't have to be lazy and sloppy in the exchange zone, we can actually do this in our generation. We can actually make the transition from one generation to the next without dropping the baton.
Remember that there is a great cloud of witnesses, that there are others who have come before us. If you don't know how to honor others who came before you, you will forget there are others to come after you. We need to make sure we are honoring the men and women of God.
To those of you in the little country town and not in the glossy pages of a Christian magazine or up on a platform, let me tell you you are on God's platform. You hold onto the baton every time you stick with that marriage a little bit longer, honor your senior leadership, work with those kids in that little country town, you hold onto the baton.
When you realize it's not about you, you submit yourself to the process so that God can make you the person you need to be.
You will reproduce what you are, not what you say. Far more is caught than taught.
My birth certificate says, "Unnamed." My social work report says, "Unwanted." I was sexually assaulted for four men several times a week for most weeks for twelve years of my life.
If I didn't deal with that, all I would have done is carry all of that into my leadership, and the last thing the Body of Christ needs is another wounded healer. When we carry our insecurities into our leadership, we are dropping the baton of faith. We transfer it from one generation of the leadership.
Let me tell you what the weight of this generation is:
I deserve something
I won't do anything unless I'm paid for it.
I'm not going to do anything unless there's a position and a title with it.
We pick and choose what batons we want.
When I was growing up, there was no popular Christian culture.
Nothing will kill you faster than a spotlight. God makes you who you need to be in places of anonymity and obscurity. THe greatest ministries on earth are made in anonymity and security, but we want to bypass that process.
Our tribalism will kill us. The most important thing is the baton of faith, the love that we have for one another. People don't care about our opinions. They want to know about the love, justice and mercy of God.
We only care about one thing, the name of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to carry the baton in my generation. It's time to lay aside the weights and the sins personally, denominationally, culturally.
Let us lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with perseverance.
Your talent will open the door but only your character will keep you in the room.
I utilize technology, but it does not control me or govern my sense of significance or value.
Let me put you all out of your misery right now. THere is only one love language. It's called die. Die to self. That is the only love language.
What's missing in the church are the words of Jesus in the garden saying, "No, I don't want to do this but nevertheless." When was the last time you got on your knees and said but nevertheless.
Do you remember when it was an honor to hold the baton of faith. Do you remember when it was like, Jesus it is an honor to carry the baton, but when you run into an exchange zone, I'm running full speed. The person I'm passing the baton to, there is a moment in that 1.9 seconds they have to be running full speed without the baton.
If you put yourself somewhere you have to keep yourself there. If God puts you somewhere, it's his job.
I can't put the baton into the hand of someone who isn't running. Some of you young men, your pastors are ready to give you so much more, but you're not ready yet. You just want the glory of leg 4 without running legs 1, 2, and 3.
We're obsessed with talent. Talent isn't enough. The devil is too strong and the world too hard, not stronger than Jesus, but too strong for a talented, gifted, unanointed leader.
Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel and said, surely, it must be the oldest. But God said, "no, it's not him. I don't care how talented he is." Have you got anyone else? "Yeah, there's this guy in the back water town looking after 20 kids with no one noticing." And God said, "I've been making him in the backside of the desert."
When God marks you, it's better than when men market you.
And he says finally, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
Here's the advice for this generation, for a generation obsessed with comparison and social media, it's not about you. It's about the baton of faith. Some of us seriously need to get off of the Facebook and get our faces in the book. We are more worried about how many people are following us on Twitter than are following Jesus.