5 Ways to Show People You’re Authentic

We were at a department store recently looking at some shirts in the men’s department on sale. After over 10 years in retail, including as a buyer, I love nice clothes, but I’m cheap when it comes to spending money on myself. When I can find a good bargain I’m excited. I saw a shirt I really liked, but I quickly knew it wasn’t for me. A decade ago, it might have been an okay style for me, but today, someone would think I should be acting my age.

The dilemma for me these days, as I shop for clothes, is to find clothes that are stylish, but age appropriate. One method I use is to consider what my boys would say is “cool”, but what would not embarrass them. That’s usually a good indicator.

It got me thinking, however, about a more important issue. I was reminded that the image a person portrays can be huge in determining people’s perception of the leader. In a day when authenticity is valued by all, but especially the younger generation, I want to be “perceived” as being authentic. I want people I’m attempting to lead to take me serious as a leader.

Here are 5 ways to help people perceive you are authentic:

Dress your age – This is a biggie for me and my goal these days. I’m 48. There are some “cool” styles that aren’t cool for 48 year olds. Knowing the difference is huge. Each season of life seems to have it’s own style. Dress within yours. If you aren’t sure, ask some people around you whom you trust. (Again, my boys help me.)

Admit your mistakes – Take responsibility for the things you’ve done wrong or when a project that goes wrong was your idea. Own up to your bad decisions. If you pass blame or refuse to own up to a problem you’ll be perceived as a weak and pretend leader.

Be honest – Don’t exaggerate who you are, your position, influence, or knowledge. Don’t pretend your church or organization is bigger than it really is. Tell the truth about you and the organization you lead. People can usually spot a phony and dismiss your influence in their life.

Don’t try to impress others – The harder you try the less they seem to be impressed. Be yourself, not who you wish you were. You do the best you of anyone.

Be a good listener – Be slower to speak. Don’t always have the answer. Even when you do, sometimes back off and let someone else take the lead. You show people you’re real if you act like they are…and that it is worth hearing what they have to say.

What else would you add?

10 Elements of a Great Downtown

Cheryl and I love to travel. We’ve always enjoyed great downtowns, so usually when we visit a new city that’s the first place we head. We love it so much we even moved downtown when we became empty-nesters. When we moved to Lexington, KY recently, we looked for a place as close to downtown as we could find. We found a “downtown feel” less than a mile to downtown.

Recently we were on vacation and visited numerous different downtown cities in the upper Midwest. As Cheryl and I compared cities, we made a list of our favorite attributes of a downtown area.

Here are 10 elements of a great downtown:

Ample parking – We prefer free, but it needs to be plentiful and for at least 2 hours. We’ll stop, eat, and spend if we can find it.

Bicycle racks – Bicycle racks are almost a symbol to us of what to expect in a downtown. If people can ride their bike, park it and shop, you’ll attract a young, active crowd. They love downtowns and keep it vibrant.

Outdoor seating – People love to people watch. (Okay, maybe I’m alone, but I don’t thinks so.) Downtowns are perfect places to sit for a while and relax. It is one thing that separates downtowns from other more commercial retail developments.

Restaurants – A great downtown has several choices of locally owned, unique restaurants.

Gift shops – Okay, this is not for me, but I’m not carrying the checkbook. Places to shop and find unique items will keep her shopping and me nicely parked on a bench.

Benches – How is she going to shop ver long if I don’t have a place to sit? Benches downtowns…benches!

Churches – We love the steeples and the architecture of downtown churches. It also shows the community still believes in their downtown. The more churches, the more people are coming to downtown on a frequent basis.

Flowers and trees – The best downtowns have found ways to build in nature spaces.

Downtown living – If it is a great downtown, people will want to live there.

Grocery market – To sustain downtown living, a place to buy basic essentials needs to be in walking distance. It doesn’t have to be where people buy everything they consume, but it should include the staples.

Do you love downtowns? Where is your favorite? What elements do you look for in a downtown?

Arizona Pastor Arrested for Home Bible Study

I’ve updated this post, thought about taking it down, but I still want more information. I think there may be more for this story.

Fox News reposted that a pastor doing a home Bible study in Phoenix was arrested recently. The report says he was “essentially arrested because the bible study was at a private house .. and that essentially, it’s a church. Since they weren’t zoned for church, they were told they were breaking the rules.”

You can read the full Fox News report HERE.

What do you think?

  • Is there more to this story?
  • Is this a sign of things to come?
  • Is this an isolated incident?
  • What should be our response?

Hopefully you know this is a church leadership blog more than anything. I don’t use this to share political thoughts. This story, however, has my attention.

What do you think?

Update: Read the comments here and on my Facebook (Facebook.com/ ronaldedmondson). There may be more to this story.

7 Times “First” is the Hardest

In my experience, some things are so difficult the first time that people seldom see a second time.

The crazy thing is that with many things, if we will stick it out through the first time…or the first few times, it becomes much easier…even sometimes fun.

Here are 7 examples when the first time is the hardest:

Counseling – Some people resist counseling because of the stigma it has against it. I know married couples who go to counseling one time, then walk away from it and allow their marriage to continue to fall apart.  I’ll admit, as one who has done a fair amount of counseling, that the first counseling session is often awkward, boring, and doesn’t always seem helpful. The counselor is getting to know the person and vice versa. It’s a difficult process. Push through it and most people will say counseling improved the quality of their life.

Running or working out – I used to say I was a good “walker”. I ran some in school, but as an adult I just didn’t enjoy it much. I would try ever so often only to vow I would never try again. I couldn’t get past the part I hated about running…running. At some point, however, I decided to discipline myself and commit to running for 30 days, whether I felt like it or not. I can honestly say it’s become one of the best parts of my life.

Writing a blog post – The first one never seems good enough to push the “Publish” button. I procrastinated before I wrote my first blog post. Looking back, they were pretty weak, but the early days prepared me for today. (Some may say they are still weak, but people are reading…just saying. :) )

Public speaking – Fear of public speaking possibly never goes away completely. I’m not sure we should ever lose that nervous edge before we speak, because it keeps us humble and makes us try harder. It’s critical, however, to stumble through the nervousness of the first speech if we ever hope to build the confidence needed to be an effective public speaker.

Failure – No one likes to lose. We don’t like to face the embarrassment of personal failure. At times, especially after the first major failure, it can feel as if life will never be any better than it is today. When we fail in subsequent times, however, it is easier to remember that time does heal wounds and that we can begin again…many times more successfully than before the failure. Some of us have even become “experts” in the subject area, because of past experiences. It’s made us who we are today.

Leading change – Change causes friction in an organization. People resist change and often resist the leader who introduces it. It can be intimidating enough that many leaders resist implementing change. When a leader pushes through the resistance and is able to see benefits of healthy change, the leader is more prepared to be an agent of change in the future.

Million $ – Okay, I honestly don’t know what this one is like for the first time. I got close on paper once. I’ve been told though that the making the first million dollars is the hardest. I do understand how that could be. Success breeds success, but, depending on the task, landing that initial success can often prove daunting. Many give up before it’s time. It seems when we push through the obstacles and realize a victory, that future success…though never easy…becomes more confidently pursued.

That’s my list.

What are other times you can think of where the first time is the hardest?

Promoting Your Church on Facebook

This is a guest post from Michael Cornett, the founder of Church Website Design .Co, a Christian web design company that helps churches share the Gospel through websites and free social media training. Michael can be reached at support@churchwebsitedesign.co or on Twitter @Website4Church.

I believe in using social media for Kingdom purposes, having done online ministry for over 15 years. I’m thankful for the intentionality of ministries and Christian-based businesses helping us to do that well.

Here is how to Promote Your Church on Facebook:

Your church is having a great new band visit in a few weeks and you want to let everyone in your community on Facebook know about it. The problem: your Facebook Page only has 200 “likes.” The solution: create a Facebook page post ad—yes it’s a mouthful to say, but not too difficult to do.

Why should your church create a Facebook page post ad?

1) Share your post with thousands users
2) Target specific demographics with your ad
3) Gain new “likes”
4) Increase awareness of events, mission trips, etc.
5) Inexpensive way to advertise your church’s events

How can my church setup a Facebook page post ad?

First, sign into the Facebook account that is the administrator of your church’s Facebook page.

Once you have logged in, post a short, eye-catching post about the event your church would like to promote. This first step is very important because this post is what everyone will see, so spend some time creating a post that will entice users to click it.
Once you have made a post that you would like to promote, you can begin creating your ad. To get started, go to your home page and click Ads (left hand column).

 

Next Click Create an Ad (top right).

 

Under “Destination” choose the appropriate Page. Type->Facebook Ads, Story Type->Page Post Ad, Page Post Selection-> “the post you just created.” Under preview it will show your logo, church name, post, and allow users to like, comment, and share your post.

 

Know Your Church’s Target Audience

Facebook allows you to control exactly who sees your ads, which is an essential part of targeting the right users and controlling your church’s ad spend. For example: If your church is hosting a new Christian rock band, targeting church members and others within the community 60+ probably isn’t the best use of your money. Choose appropriate ages, gender, location, or even select to only show the ad to fans or friends of current fans.

Summary

Creating a Facebook Page Post Ad can be a great way to share your church’s message with a larger audience and if setup properly, will help gain new “likes” for your church Facebook Page. Setting up an ad is a fairly painless process, and if your ads are targeted to the correct demographic, can be very cost efficient. I would encourage all churches to try out a new Facebook Page Post Ad for your next event, mission trip, or even to promote your pastor’s latest sermon on podcast.

Andy Griffith Prepared to Die

I was saddened, as many Americans were, to hear of Andy Griffith’s death yesterday. The show after his name is still one of my favorite. I’ve seen every episode enough times to complete the lines.

I read where Andy was buried only 5 hours after his death, at the wishes of the family. What I liked most about what I read was this statement by his wife:

“Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord,” Griffith’s wife, Cindi, said in a statement on Tuesday. (Source)

Andy was prepared to die.

Are you?

Even in the best restaurants…

They still put napkins under a wobbly table.

They just use nicer napkins.

Recently I was made aware of a wealthy family took advantage of someone of lesser means. It was frustrating, because they were “legal” in their actions, but completely inflexible and hurtful in their actions.

I hate when that happens.

Shortly afterwards, Cheryl and I ate in a really nice restaurant. We were on vacation and treated ourselves to a great meal. It was one of those white tablecloth places where we had more than one waiter/waitress.

At the table next to us sat a nice, well-dressed couple, also enjoying a romantic evening. I could tell the couple, especially the man, were struggling with the rocking table. It wobbled whenever he leaned on it.

What did he do?

He leaned over, lifted the table slightly, and stuck a folded napkin underneath the leg. Problem solved.

The two stories working together reminded me:

While some of us may think we are better than others…when it comes to a wobbly table…we are all the same.

My mom used to say, “Everyone puts there pants on one leg at a time.”

I say, “Everyone fixes a wobbly table with a folded napkin.”

God says, “Don’t think you are better than you really are.” (Romans 12:3)

Have you been looking down others who have less than you?

Be honest. We can all be guilty of it at some level. God, continue to mold us into who you want us to be; seeing others as you see them.

7 Things I’ll Miss About Clarksville, Tennessee

I’ve lived in Clarksville, Tennessee all my life. So has Cheryl. I know that’s unusual at our age. Most people we know, especially in a military town have moved multiple times by now. It’s surprising to me too, because I never thought I’d stay past college. In fact, I went away when I started college, only to return and finish at our hometown Austin Peay State University.

Well, as much as I love my city, I’m moving.

If you haven’t heard, I’m in a ministry transition. I’ll be sharing more about that in the days to come, but we said goodbye this week. We have a few weeks of transition time, but for all practical purposes, our time here is done. We leave today for vacation and then we are basically just in and out for moving purposes.

There are some things I’m going to especially miss. (Every time I say that people remind me what Lexington has to offer. I understand that and we are excited about the new. You can be excited about new and still sad about the what you’re leaving.)

Here are 7 things I’ll miss about Clarksville:

Family – Being from here means we have lots of extended family here. Our family trees are both wide in this area. Our son and daughter-in-law are close by. Both our mothers are still here and we each have brothers and sisters in the area. We love them. We’ll miss seeing them whenever we want.

Friends – Our best friends live in Clarksville. Having been active in the community, serving in elected office, and pastoring a large church, I know lots of people. We will miss seeing so many friendly faces we already know and love.

Grace – Grace has been a miracle the last 7 years. God has brought so many wonderful people into our lives through this church. The staff are some of our best friends. We will miss worshipping, fellowshipping and serving with them.

Fort Campbell – Growing up in a military town is one of the greatest blessings in life. I’m patriotic, because I’ve lived among modern-day heroes. The soldiers and families here are dedicated, hard-working, and sacrificial. We will miss seeing all the uniforms and bumping into soldiers in restaurants and in the stores. Hooah!

First Baptist Church – My home church is where I was saved, discipled, and sent out for vocational ministry. My family still attends there. I’ll miss driving or running by and the good people I’ve known all my life. Many of my closest mentors are still in that church.

Downtown living – We’ve only done so for a year and a half, but we’ve loved every minute of it. Thankfully, we are planning to move to a fun walking area in Lexington, but we’ll miss the river walk, the downtown festivals and the art walks of Clarksville.

Austin Peay – We are both graduates and have supported the university and been friends with administrators, professors and students. Cheryl and I eat frequently on campus, I work out at the school’s fitness center, and I run through the campus almost everyday. We’ll miss the university that’s educated us and many in our family.

That’s just a start. I know it’s a short list but it represents so much more…so many faces…so many memories. Good times. (Mostly). We’ve invested much of our heart and lives here. We are going to miss you.

Goodbye Clarksville. We love you.

Just curious, what’s the longest you’ve lived in one city? Also how many different cities have some of you lived in?

Hug a Soldier!

Have you hugged a soldier today?

You may not be able to hug one, like I’ll be able to do at church today, but you can say a prayer for one (or many). You can thank God for those who gave the ultimate price for freedom. You can never forget that someone (many) died so that you can worship freely.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Thank you God, for freedom, to worship, to live, to know you!

Who are the soldiers, present or past, you are thankful for today?