Accomplish Things You Never Dreamed Possible

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV

Imaginary dialogue between a husband and a wife:

“Honey, let’s get that box out of the attic.”

“What box?”

“You know we packed up that list of dreams we never could accomplish and all the things we’ve tried at and failed…”

“What do you want to do that for? Aren’t you tired of failing?”

“Sure I am, but look at this verse I just found. Here, read it.”

“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’ That’s pretty neat. So if we can’t do it, then He can.”

“Right, that’s what I thought. All those things we have tried before, but have never been able to get done on our own, and those things we were afraid to try…still have a possibility with God.”

“Because God is able to do what we cannot. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We must decrease so that He can increase. He can overcome the struggles of our life, when we place our trust in Him.”

“That’s right…Go ahead. Preach Sister.”

“Okay, God is at His best when we come to the place in our journey where we recognize that we can do nothing without Him. He is ready to assist us when we will give Him the glory. When we give Him our tired, worn out selves, and humble before His mighty throne, He will wrap us with His tender, yet powerful arms and carry us beyond the limits of our imagination.”

“Exactly, I couldn’t have said it any better.”

“Alright then, now we’re getting somewhere. Help me get down that list.”

Could you make a list of dreams, or things you’ve tried at and failed at before? What has been impossible for you?

Go ahead and make the list, then give it to God.   (For further clarification, you may want to read this POST or this POST)

Happy Vacation To Cheryl And Me

We have had a great week. We are hitting four states in 8 days, starting in New Mexico at the annual Balloon Festival (see these pictures) then heading to Colorado, then Utah, and now Arizona. We’ll be home Saturday in time for church on Sunday. I’ll try to post more pictures later.

Thanks for all the Twitter/Facebook suggestions of places to visit. I had numerous invites from other pastors to meet for coffee or visit, but this trip was packed with Cheryl time. Frankly, we needed this time together. We’ve both been pretty stretched lately with our time. Hopefully I can connect with some of you at a conference soon. (I’m going to Story later this month. Are you?)


Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 4

As you can tell from the title, this is part four of the leadership perception survey I conducted last month on this blog.  I will share a couple more posts next week to finish this series, one with some thoughts and observations and some of the pertinent statistics, and one about the two open-ended questions in the survey.  Here are the last two closed-ended questions.

Leadership today

Are the qualities to be a successful leader today different than they were 20 years ago?

Yes – 40%
No – 60%

job satisfaction

Does the quality of the leader play a major factor in job satisfaction?

Yes – 99.5%
No – 0.5%

Do you think perception matters in the field of leadership and the people a leader attempts to lead?

Which makes me think of another question, is a person a leader if he or she “attempts” to lead? To be a leader must one have people who follow?

Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 3

Part 3 results of the leadership perception survey I conducted last month. Check this blog for more information about this survey.

which gender

Which gender makes a better leader in your opinion?

  • Men – 15%
  • Women – 0%
  • Depends on the position – 85%

positions for genders

Are there certain leadership positions a man can do better than a woman or a woman better than a man?

  • Yes 53%
  • No 16%
  • I don’t like this question, but yes. 24%
  • I don’t like this question, but no. 7%

Best development

What is the best way to develop leaders in an organization? (Multiple answers allowed)

  • Education/Training – 36%
  • Modeling – 61%
  • Delegation – 19%
  • Assigning Responsibility – 37%
  • Other – 11%

How good would you be

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, how good of a leader are you or do you think you would be? (Whether or not you are currently leading)

  • 1 – 2%
  • 2 – 2%
  • 3 – 35%
  • 4 – 56%
  • 5 – 7%

I would love to hear your thoughts. Any surprises here in this series so far. In case you’ve missed any of this survey, click HERE for the original post, or HERE for part 1 or HERE for part 2.

Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 2

Part 2 of the results of my recent Leadership Perception Survey.

best leader

True or False, the leader is usually the smartest person in the organization.

  • True  5%
  • False 95%

socializeShould the leader socialize outside of work with those who report to him or her?

  • Yes 84%
  • No 16%

current leader

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, how well is the current leader doing leading your organization?
  • 1 – 6%
  • 2 – 13%
  • 3 – 39%
  • 4 – 34%
  • 5 – 8%

could you do better?Do you think you could do a better job leading than the person you report to now?

  • Yes  33.3%
  • No 33.3%
  • Not applicable  33.3%

Leadership Perception Survey Results, Part 1

Over the next few days I will share some of the results of the Leadership Perception Survey I posted recently on my blog. Just so you know, there is no hidden agenda here. Several have asked. I simply believe perception of a situation matters, sometimes as much as reality. In leadership, we must always be aware of another person’s perception and realize that not everyone thinks as we do. That doesn’t mean perception has to alter what we do, certainly not if we are doing the right thing, but perception can play a factor in success and may alter the strategy we use to accomplish our vision. Have you ever heard of marketing? Successful marketing revolves around perception. Understanding other people’s perception is a part of successful leadership also.

Without commentary, here are the first few graphics.

Question: Are you currently a leader?

  • Yes 76%
  • No 24%

How many total people report to you:

  • 0  22%
  • 1-10 52%
  • 11-25  9%
  • 26-100 15%
  • 100+  2%

Should the leader be entitled to more vacation or other benefits that the people he or she leads, just because of position?

  • Yes  27%
  • No  73%

Should a leader have a bigger office than the people he or she leads?

  • Yes   30%
  • No   70%

Stay tuned for more results.

Preaching to the Preacher (I Was Encouraged Today)

DSCF8439Sometimes I need to get away from the usual crowds, take over my pastor hat, and sit in the audience and glean. Today was one of those days and I am thankful for the blessing.

Cheryl and I are on vacation in the Southwest. First stop was Albuquerque, NM for the annual balloon festival. We spent Saturday looking at hundreds of beautiful hot air balloons and returned this morning for another look. We left in time to catch the middle service of a great church, Sagebrush Community Church. Pastor Todd Cook was ending a series called “Heart” and shared a message that encouraged us to be encouragers. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

I have to be honest. When I first sat and looked at the program for the day and saw that the speaker was going to talk about encouragement, I wasn’t too excited. I’m a strategy guy, not a touchy feely guy. I like purpose, drive, and conviction. I wouldn’t be the first person one would think of when it came to the topic of encouragement. (In my family that would be Cheryl or Jeremy.)

As I sat and listened to Todd, who is a gifted speaker and storyteller, I was personally convicted. You see, I’ve been so busy with my strategy and purpose-driven, stress-filled life lately, that I am afraid I have often forgotten my first calling. I am a pastor. I am to help people move from death to life, from heartache and despair to trust and obedience. That process often doesn’t begin with a strategy. It begins when one person befriends another person, invests in them, and ENCOURAGES him or her to walk in a new way. Lately I am not sure that has been as much of my focus as leading and managing a church. I received “encouragement” today to take a fresh look at how I approach my days.

I am not saying I am giving up my strategy. I am not wired that way and frankly God uses me in that setting. I will never be a Barnabas. I will never be as considerate and caring as my wife. She balances me that way, but I do need to slow down more. I do need to take more time with the smallest needs. I need to be more people-centered. After all, that is the ultimate purpose of my calling.

Thanks Todd for encouraging me today to be a better encourager. God used you greatly in this season of my life.

(By the way, I met Todd after the service, and even though he is pastor of a large church and preaches 5 services each weekend, he treated me so warmly. He certainly did not make me feel I was an interruption. In this too, he gave me a wonderful reminder and encouragement.  You can here his message from today HERE.)

What I’m Dreaming About These Days…

iStock_000009167921XSmallEarlier this week I was looking for an old file and ran across some notes from a “Dream Big” planning retreat we did as a staff at Grace Community Church in August of 2007.  We were almost 2 years old at that time and the assignment was to brainstorm about “the sky is the limit” and “money is not an obstacle” dreams the staff at the time had.  It was amazing to look at the list today and realize that much of the list is being accomplished or could be in a short amount of time. I realized it is time for us to dream big again!

To lead by example, here is what I’m currently dreaming and praying about:

Coaching network – I have long been interested in mentoring. The new “buzz” term appears to be coaching.  Call it what you want, but I am praying about ways that I can invest in others, both in our church and outside our church.  Look for something next year.

Book publishing – I have a few ideas floating around, but more importantly I have an edited Word document with 365 of my devotionals from Mustard Seed Ministry ready to publish.  I am weighing my options.

Grace Community Church– I cannot list all the big dreams here, mostly because they involve other people, but let me just say God is blowing my mind with possibilities.

What are you dreaming big about these days?

Grace Community Church Staff Blog Love

theGbwIn four years God has assembled an incredible team of staff people at Grace Community Church.  I am privileged to work with people I truly enjoy being around (most days)!  I love these people.  Some of them have some great blogs and I thought I would share them with you.

Click on the name to take you to their blog:  (I listed them I alphabetical order as they appear on the Grace website.)

Michael Bayne

Christy Crosby

Karen Grizzard

Rog Hill

Ben Reed

Brandon Reed

Chad Rowland

Katrina Watts

I am hoping this post will put some pressure on those who don’t currently blog…)

From Pastor To Dad (Reflections on A Day)

Today my role very quickly switched from pastor to dad. I was in a meeting preparing for a potential new ministry our church is considering. We were talking about the future, with big dreams of ministry and new ways of helping people. I love thinking Kingdom-building strategy.

I received a call that went straight to my voice mail. In consideration of those I was meeting with, I decided not to be interrupted. Then there was another call; then a text; then another. I decided I needed to figure out what was the urgency. Sadly, the news was tragic. One of my son Nate’s childhood friends had been killed in an auto accident this morning. The girl’s mother was one of Nate’s favorite teachers.

Nate and his friend Kathleen had been together since kindergarten. They were like brother and sister. They had remained in touch over the last month, both attending school away from home, and even talked within the last day or two. At the point when I got the message, my only concern was getting to Nate before he heard the news in passing. At that point, I was no longer a pastor in a meeting. I was a dad hurrying to comfort a son. Nothing else seemed to matter much the rest of the day.

It’s so hard to make sense of death and tragedy. There are more questions than answers tonight in so many minds. The phrase I heard continually today from Nate and others was, “I can’t wrap my mind around this.” There are no words to say. Eighteen is not supposed to be the age of death. I do know one thing, however. The truth of God’s Word is not altered, even after the tragic news of the day. God truly is close to the broken-hearted.

Nate and a large group of friends from his class were extremely close, but recently scattered to many different colleges. They will be home this weekend, for a very sad occasion, and, in many ways, it will be a reunion. Their coming together will honor their friendship, but also be a tribute to the memory of a good friend, who tragically left this earth too soon.

Please join me in praying for this family and the friends who mourn.