People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

It’s simple…but oh so important to remember…

It’s a principle true in leadership and life

People don’t know what they don’t know

It’s hard to hold an employee accountable for something they never knew

You can’t expect your spouse to remember things you never told him or her

It’s hard to be disappointed no one comforted you in your pain if they didn’t know you were hurting

Your child can’t live up to a standard you never set

People don’t know what they don’t know

If you want them to know…don’t assume they do…tell them

Stained Glass Windows: A Story of God’s Providence from Daniel Doss

My good friend Daniel Doss gets real and vulnerable to share how his popular song “Stained Glass Windows” became a song. (Daniel helped plant Grace Community Church as our first worship pastor.) If you’ve ever struggled to understand the hand of God, watch this:

To download the song, click HERE.

Thank you Daniel!

Guest Post: 11 Year-Old Mallory Fundora

Here’s a guest post from 11 year-old Mallory Fundora. Mallory and her family are active members of Grace Community Church. I love her vision and passion. She reminds me of Isaiah 11:6 “and a little child will lead them”. Be inspired…

Here are the words of Mallory Fundora:

In October 2011 I sat down to write my Christmas list for my parents, I looked around my room and I realized there was nothing I needed, nothing I wanted. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about the children in Africa, and how they weren’t going to get Christmas presents, and there was a lot of things that they needed. So, I sent my mom an email with my Christmas list, one thing on it, to help Africa.

See, in August of 2010 the Ugandan Orphan Children’s Choir came to my church to perform, and I got to meet the children, and they were amazing. They were so loving, and just wanted to hug me and hold my hand. My mom had also started doing work for a couple of organizations that helped in Uganda, so she had taught me about the children there.

The day after I sent the email my Mom and I sat down and talked about what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to help. I contacted Amazima Ministries and Project Have Hope and I told them what I wanted to do, and I asked them how I could best help them. That is how Project Yesu was born. My goals at first were simple, I wanted to raise $600 to sponsor 2 children, one from Amazima and one from Project Have Hope. When you sponsor a child, it pays for food, medicine and sends them to school. I also decided I wanted to send Christmas cards to the children in Uganda, I mean who doesn’t like to get a card, it makes you smile. So I drew two different card designs and I contacted a local printing company and asked them if they would donate the printing of 650 cards, they did.

So I started to tell people about Project Yesu, and my mom helped me start a blog so people could read about it. I met with my Children’s pastor and asked if our youth group could help me with the cards, because I wanted them to be personal, so I needed a lot of help to write out 650 cards. I also spoke to my youth group, and told them about Project Yesu and about the children in Uganda and asked them to help me raise money. Every week I set up a booth at my church to tell people about my project, and the word spread.

In only 8 weeks I raised over $2,400 and I was able to sponsor 7 children. It was way more then I had originally planned on and it was great. I got to meet some wonderful people, and tell them my story. I was invited to go to WAYFM a Christian radio station because they learned about my project, and I was even on TV. The NBC station out of Nasvhille did a story on Project Yesu.

I read a quote one day from Mahatma Ghandi that said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. That’s what I want to do, I want to be the change, I want to make a difference, I want to help people. Everyone thinks kids are selfish or that we’re just kids and we can’t do anything like this. I want to show people what a difference one person can make. If someone, because they heard about me, or met me, decides that they can be a change too, then it will spread from me, to that person, to another person and so on. Kids have good ideas, and you know what? We don’t know all the reasons why it won’t work, we just know we what we want to do.

I know with Project Yesu, I am making a difference, not only in the lives of the seven children in Uganda who now have food, medicine and can go to school. But I am making a difference in the lives of my family, my friends, my teachers and even people I have never met before.

I want Project Yesu to continue to spread and grow, and to do that I need people like you, who are reading this post to spread the word and to help me. My goals for 2012 is to raise $4,500 – who knows maybe I’ll double that this year or even triple that and be able to help more and more children in Uganda. I plan to travel to Uganda in December of 2012 to hand deliver the Christmas cards to the children, to meet my sponsored children and to love on the children of Uganda who have changed my life.

If you want to know more about Project Yesu, or how you can help you can find me on Facebook – or go to my site

I am selling T-shirts and wristbands to raise funds, and I am also looking for families, groups, classrooms or anyone to be a part of the “Be The Change” campaign by collecting coins to donate towards Project Yesu.

So I have accepted the challenge to be the change…. Will you?

A Christmas Newsletter from the Edmondson Family 2011

Merry Christmas!

It has been a great year for the Edmondson’s.

We spent our first full year in our downtown condo. We love it. When weather and schedules cooperate, we walk downtown at night and through the campus of Austin Peay State University (our Alma mater and the fastest growing university in our state). We even dine on campus some nights. You can’t beat $14 for all you can eat for two of us! :) We love sitting on our front porch, which overlooks the river walk. At Christmas time, we can see the lights and hear the music. It’s been a great change of pace for these new empty-nesters.

Did I mention I haven’t mowed a lawn in over a year?

Jeremy and Mary had a beach wedding in May. It was a beautiful day surrounded by close friends and immediate family. It was the most special wedding I’ve ever performed. The happy couple…they really are very happy together…live in downtown Nashville, where they, too, overlook the river, as well as Titans stadium. Jeremy has proven to be a hard worker and is doing well in his new career in marketing and social media. Jeremy and Mary love Pete Wilson‘s Cross Point Church in Nashville and are active in their community group.

Nate has a year left at Moody Bible Institute. He will graduate a semester early next December and then plans to attend seminary. We are exploring those options now. Nate spent the summer studying with Moody in Europe. He experienced Germany, Italy and Switzerland and made memories that will last a lifetime. He is blessed to work with Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens at Soul City Church in Chicago, where they have given him multiple opportunities to serve. Nate did the music and production for a Christmas album this year. It’s free. I wrote about it HERE.

It’s a blessing to know your children continue to love the body of Christ and remain active in church when they leave home. I’m thankful for those who are investing in them.

Cheryl and I remain extremely busy in ministry and life. We joke that we truly live an “abundant” life. We aren’t still long, but God is giving us incredible opportunities for Kingdom-influence during this season. This year our ministry opportunities have grown within Grace and beyond. We do not want to waste a minute of what God wants to do with our life!

This Christmas, I realize I’m blessed far beyond what I deserve. I’m happily married to my best friend, we have children who honor Christ with their life, and we have enough material things that we have plenty to share with others. This has been a good year.

There have been years it was harder to write those words, but I’m just old enough to know, whether good seasons or bad, God is in control, He has a plan, and all things truly do work for an ultimate good.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Are Your Children a Bridge or a Wedge in Your Marriage?

Are your children a bridge or a wedge in your marriage?


Many parents allow children to be a wedge between them. They have separate discipline policies, differing goals for the children, and different methods of communicating with the children. They talk negatively to the children about the other parent and force the children to take sides between the parents. Some parents use the children as a tool to get even with the other parent. Other parents use the children as an excuse for a bad marriage.


Cheryl and I used our children to bridge our relationship. Obviously couples talk about children naturally, so we used that time to dream together, plan for our parenting, and escape for our personal time. Our two boys became a glue that continually brought us back together. We never gave our boys an answer on major issues until we talked about it together first. We refused to let our boys pit one of us against the other. We didn’t always agree at first, but our boys didn’t know it at the time and it forced us to come together on a decision, which in turn helped strengthen our marriage.

Are your children a bridge or a wedge in your marriage?

Parenting By Grace: Revised

Cheryl and I attempted to implement grace parenting in our home. Our boys are now grown, but we are beginning to see some fruit from our methods and our heart is to help others learn from things we did wrong and things we did right. Grace parenting is one thing I believe we did right. Grace parenting attempts to raise children the way God parents us…by grace. If God leads us by grace, shouldn’t we lead our children by grace? I read in the Scriptures that grace teaches, graces protect, grace encourages, and grace redeems. Oh, the power of grace. (Aren’t you glad we are not under the law…but grace?)

This does not mean that we let our children do whatever they want to do. It doesn’t mean there were no rules in my house. (My boys would say Amen to that. :) ) It doesn’t mean we release them to sin, or even that we expect them to sin. The apostle Paul dealt with these same concerns regarding grace living. (Romans 6:1-2) To the contrary, I actually believe grace parenting has led to a stronger walk with the Lord for each of the boys. They are now young men, honoring Christ (and their parents) with their lives.

These are some steps that helped us think through this concept of parenting by grace. Consider them for your own family and see if they are appropriate, recognizing that each child is unique and may require a different approach in some areas.

Here is our parenting model, Parenting by Grace:

Set clear boundaries – Children need to know what is expected of them and what the limits are in the home. They will test these, when they do, enforce the boundaries, but do it with grace. One of these boundaries for us was respect. My boys could speak openly and honestly about anything with us, but I expected them to respect Cheryl and me.

Recognize the individuality of the child – Some children require more structure than others do. Make sure the boundaries set are appropriate for the needs of the child. One of our boys needed more structure than the other boy. His boundaries had to be more defined. He also needed illustrations to help explain to him the boundaries. The other boy just needed a clear destination…a path for him…he would get there in his own way.

Major on the majors, not the minors – There should be some items, which everyone understands are non-negotiable items. We tend to let these be moral or Biblical issues, such as lying, cheating, disrespect, etc. If the issue affects the child’s character, then it is a major issue. These major issues are handled sternly and thoroughly, but still with love. The minor issues, issues, which do not affect the child’s character, are not to be ignored, but they can be handled less severely. This will eliminate much of the “nagging” children often feel parents do.

Consider the heart – We always tried to determine the reasons behind our boy’s actions before deciding on discipline. A pure heart was always treated differently from a rebellious heart. Remember you are trying to mould a character for life. Scripture says that we should monitor and protect the heart above everything else. (Proverbs 4:23) If your child’s heart is pure and wants to do the right thing, instructing them in the way they should go may be better than harsh discipline. If their heart is bent on rebellion that should be handled much stricter.

Give multiple chances and forgive easily – God has given Cheryl and me so many chances. Shouldn’t we do the same for our children…especially if we want to model the heart of God for our children? After punishment is decided upon, make sure the child understands why they are being punished. You may not be able to fully explain at the time, but go back to the child afterwards to make sure you have not broken their spirit or closed their heart to you. They should always know that you love them, that you would never forsake them, even when they have done something wrong. They should never question your commitment to them in your anger. Give love liberally, just as God gives it to us.

If your children are living within the boundaries, then be a “fun” parent – Let them enjoy having a good time with you. We wanted our boys to honestly be able to say they lived in a fun house, while at the same time we wanted to witness their character being molded into the image of Christ. We laughed so much in our house and under this model, there were rarely days where life was no fun in our home, even during some of the most stressful times in our lives as parents.

Our boys quickly learned the concept of grace as they grew in our home. They understood that we were holding them to high standards, but that we would extend to them lots of grace.

How are you being intentional with your parenting? Let others learn from you.

(This is a revised post from a few years ago. My boys are now out of the house.)

Building a House

The wise woman builds her house…

(Proverbs 14:1)

If you want to build a house…

It takes a plan…

It takes diligence…

It requires the right materials…

It takes time…

It involves sleepless nights…

It requires discipline…

It’s not done in front of the television or computer…

It’s not cheap…

It will stretch your heart…in various directions…

It will not always make you the popular parent…

It will require sacrifice…

It’s not easy…


Its rewards last for generations…


Are you building your house?

What else does building a house require?

(To see my personal parenting model, click HERE.)

7 Ways I Gain Influence with My Team

John Maxwell says leadership is influence. If that’s true, then how does a leader develop that influence with the people he or she leads?

Here’s how I gain influence with my team:

Treat people professionally and with respect – I expect to be treated likewise, but for me to demand it without displaying it doesn’t build influence, it fosters control. (I wrote a post about that HERE)

Take risks on people and give opportunities to fail (or succeed) – Several on our staff started their ministry career with us…in large roles. I like placing faith in people. If a team member comes to me with a dream, I’ll try to help them attain it. The risk is almost always worth the return.

Recognize and reward efforts – I try to find ways to invest in our team, based on the individual needs and desires of the team member. I’ve been known to be creative in rewarding a team member for doing exceptional work. I’m also not afraid to single out exceptional work for individual recognition.

Allow them to know me personally – I’m transparent. I try to be clear about my weaknesses and own my mistakes. I’m also not afraid to be the brunt of the jokes.

Be approachable – I return phone calls and emails to my team quickly. They can get in touch with me and on my schedule before anyone other than my family. I keep the door open when I’m in the office and welcome walk-ins. (I have candy in my office too!)

Be consistent and reliable – I keep lots of lists so I don’t forget things I’ve committed to do. I have an Evernote folder with each team member’s name on it for things relative to them specifically. I don’t make many promises, but I try to honor my commitments, even when it’s costly at times. If I tell a team member I’ll do something, I make it a priority in my schedule until it’s accomplished.

Help others achieve personal success – I love to learn a team member’s goals and help them achieve it.

Keep in mind, I’m not perfect and this is not an attempt to brag about my performance. As with all my posts, I’m trying to be helpful in developing your leadership. If you read this blog regularly you know that one way I improve what I do is that I annually ask my team to evaluate me. (You can find out about that HERE and the consulting I offer in that area HERE.)

Of course, my team is free to comment on this post as well, so that should humble me. :) Most of what I’ve learned in leadership came from doing the wrong things first. I think it’s vital to a healthy team that the leader be continually conscious of his or her need for influence and ways to improve upon it.

You may also want to read my post 12 Ways to Keep an Organization Small

What would you add to my list?

The 5th Type of Mentor

I’m updating a post. Yesterday I posted 4 types of mentors. Read it HERE (updated of course). I can’t believe I missed one…or that no one else caught my obvious error.

I grew up without a close relationship with my father. I missed the investment a father makes in the life of his son. As a result, I’ve tried my best to invest in my sons, but I guess because it wasn’t a great part of my story I missed it.

There is another kind of mentor.

The 5th type of mentor is:

Relational – It’s probably the best kind. It’s the way I am with my two boys. They can call me anytime for advice. They can get through my crazy schedule when no one else (except Cheryl) can. They hold my heart and my desire for their personal success in their hand. I mentored them because they are part of me. A relational mentor relationship happens with someone to whom you are related. It’s the most Biblical kind of mentoring. I hope it’s been a part of your life.

Isn’t that the best kind of mentor?

Do you have a relational mentor in your life? Share that with me here. I promise I’ll be encouraged!

He Who Loves You, Watches Over You

One of the greatest feelings as a parent has to be watching your children sleep….

Knowing they are safe….resting…under your care…

I never got tired of knowing my boys were safe in their beds at night. It was a great time of day.

I wonder if God feels that way…

I wonder if God gets a charge out of watching over His children as they sleep…

I wonder if He smiles when He sees a child drift into dream land…

I’m reminded of these verses:

“He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)

When you are sound asleep, God is on watch…like a proud dad!

As you go to bed tonight, capture the moment, imagine the emotion God has as He watches His child fall asleep.