Almost Isn’t Good Enough: Wayne Elsey’s New Book

As a leader, there are two qualities that really I value in other people, drive & selflessness. In most circles, these two words seem contradictory & rarely used in the same sentence. However, both of those words describe my good friend, Wayne Elsey. Wayne is the Founder & CEO of Soles4Souls. His drive has lead Soles4Souls to become one of the fastest growing non-profits in the country, but his attitude reflects total selflessness.  A few months ago, I interviewed Wayne in my leadership series. You can read it HERE.

This week, I had the opportunity to celebrate another milestone with Wayne, the release of his new book Almost Isn’t Good Enough After checking it out, I realized this book is unique. I can’t classify it as an inspirational, leadership, or business book because it incorporates all of those categories. Opening with Wayne’s story and; motivation to start Soles4Souls, the book goes on to share the principles that have driven the organization to where it is today. Each chapter highlights a principle that can drive your organization to fulfilling its overall mission.

The thing I love about Wayne and this book is the fact that, in the end, it all comes back to making a difference in the lives of others. Last night, Wayne told me that if this book could impact just one person to do something impactful, he’ll consider it a win. I know he genuinely means that.

The book officially releases December 26, which by way is the anniversary of Wayne’s calling to start Soles4Souls. Here is the cool part: For every copy sold, you will provide 10 pairs of shoes to a people group that you choose. So, buy 1 copy and give 10 kids their first ever pair of shoes. Buy 5 copies for you and your friends and provide a whole village with shoes. It’s a beautiful thing.

I would encourage you to pre-order your copy HERE. From now until December 26th, you can purchase 2 for $20 or 5 for $45.

This book is a powerful resource for every pastor, nonprofit leader, professor or business leader. At the same time, it is a must read for anyone who thinks they can’t do something to change the world. It’s a book that I would share with 50 year old CEOs and 18 year old college students.

Are you familiar with the work of Soles4Souls?

In honor of Wayne’s heart for good non-profit organizations, name one non-profit you are impressed with these days.

Growing Service in Your Kids at Christmas


Tim Elmore is an incredible leader. He has one of the best understandings of how to reach the next generation of anyone one I know.  I recently had dinner with Tim and can attest to this man’s incredible heart for people.  I’m blessed to have Tim share his thoughts with us here today as a guest post.

In our recent work with students, Growing Leaders has drawn some interesting conclusions. We have seen a shift take place among the young people in Generation Y. (The kids born in the 80s are different than the kids born since then.) The research is in a new book called: Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future.

One of the shifts we’ve uncovered is that kids have moved from “activists” (who want to change the world) to “slack-tivists.” They still want to change the world — but sort of. They often don’t really want to work hard or make sacrifices. They’d rather sign a petition on a website, get a wristband and then return to a video game or YouTube. They’re more self-absorbed than their earlier counterparts. So, how do we grow a heart for service in our kids today?

Try this.

In preparation for Christmas, prepare a list of Saturday chores to give to your kids. The list can include items that need to be done prior to the holidays — setting up decorations, cleaning rooms, preparing desserts, whatever. Obviously, include items that are age-appropriate.

Without telling them, hide an envelope with money in it, tickets to a ballgame or the movies, and put it where they’ll find it if they do their chores very thoroughly. For instance, if you ask them to clean the sofa, you may hide ten dollars under the cushions. They’ll see it only if they have worked hard and carefully. In other words, the reward comes when they have served well. Winners are the ones who work with excellence. Hopefully everyone will win.

Afterward, talk about how Jesus came at Christmas two thousand years ago. He said, “to serve, not to be served” (Matthew 20:28). Have a conversation about how Christmas really is about serving — God serving us and people serving each other.

“With good will serve each other, as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord…” (Ephesians 6:7-8)

Join us tomorrow at Greg Surratt’s blog as we discuss ways to develop perspective in your kids (and maybe yourself!) during the holidays.

Tim Elmore

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You can follow Tim Elmore’s personal blog at http://blog.growingleaders.com, and learn more about developing the next generation in his latest book: Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future.

20 Roles of a Pastor

As a pastor, sometimes it feels we wear a lot of hats. This is a random list I quickly put together of roles I sometimes get to play as a pastor:

  • Mediator
  • Counselor
  • Encourager
  • Teacher
  • Minister
  • Leader
  • Social media manager
  • Advocate
  • Rehabilitation Coordinator
  • Business Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Writer
  • Technologist
  • Data analyst
  • Public speaker
  • Theologian
  • Politician
  • Motivator
  • Comedian
  • ________________

Pastors, as you can tell, there are only 19…the next is yours…

What would you add to this list?

Five Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Ministers this Christmas

One of my goals in ministry is to help protect the minister and his or her family. Through this blog I reach hundreds of men and women who serve God in a vocational role.  My heart is heavy when I hear from those who are drowning with burnout and whose family is suffering.  Having been on both sides of the pulpit, as a pastor and a layperson, I have a unique view of the pastorate.  I previously wrote THIS POST and THIS POST about the issue.  I am very thankful to be serving in a healthy church, which encourages my family time, but I hope to encourage those who struggle to balance family and ministry.

With the Christmas season upon us, I thought I would share a few things you can do and a few things not to do for your pastor or minister to encourage them this year.  The reality is that the December calendar will be packed with Sunday school and small group socials, Christmas parties, and holiday open houses.  People in ministry have accepted a call of God to care for people.  Most ministers have a hard time saying no to people and can easily become overwhelmed with the never-ending demands of ministry. That’s especially true this month.  If a minister is not careful, he or she will spend so much time with others that their own family will feel neglected.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions:

DO:

  • Pray for them during the holidays (and always) – This is an especially stressful time for ministers
  • Let them off the hook from attending every social event – They simply can’t keep up
  • Invite them to your social, without an expectation that he or she will come – They will love knowing you thought of them
  • See if they have specific needs at the holidays – Many ministers, especially in smaller churches have a hard time financially at Christmas time
  • Encourage them – People in ministry get tons of critics. Find some time to encourage one.

DON’T

  • Expect them to be everywhere – It’s impossible
  • Be disappointed when they can’t make your event – It’s probably nothing personal
  • Make them feel guilty when they aren’t where you want them to be – They WILL take it personal and it will weigh heavy on their heart
  • Hold them to a higher standard than is realistic – They are simply human
  • Get upset when they don’t sing your favorite Christmas carol at church this season – Believe me…it happens…

Find ways this Christmas to support those who have accepted God’s call to ministry.  You would be amazed what a difference you can make in their life and the life of their family and you’ll be playing a part in Kingdom-building.

Pastors/Ministers, what else would you add to my list?  Do you feel especially stretched this time of year?

Bring Your Old Bible to Church for ReWord Day

We are recycling Bibles this Sunday at Grace Community Church. Recently during a staff retreat we were thinking of ways to encourage Bible reading. We realized as we were talking that many of us in the room have many Bibles that we never use. Not having one could never be a good excuse for the church staff not to read the Bible. The more we talked, the more we recognized that there were probably others in our church with multiple Bibles they no longer use. At the same time, we are always conscious of people in our church and community who have no Bibles.

What was the solution? Have a ReWord Bible Day! This Sunday we are encouraging everyone who has one to bring in an extra Bible…the one on the book shelf, in the night stand, or in the trunk of your car. (I have one there.) We will then get them to people who need a Bible. We love the thoughts of someone reading the Bible someone else has already read.

Do you have an extra Bible (or two) laying around your house? What are you going to do with it?

Characteristics of People Who Work at Grace Community Church

Recently I asked the staff what characteristics they think a person who is on staff at Grace Community Church should have. As we reflected on the list, we realized we see lots of these values in our volunteers also.

Here’s the list…

Motivated self starter

Servant leader

Trustworthy

Team player

Warrior Spirit

Flexible

Integrity

Grace-filled/Accepting

Personal Health

Accepting

Authentic

Enduring

Forward thinking

Excellence

Accessible

Steadfastness

You can read about the people who made this list, and are the team of Grace HERE.

Could you work with a team like this?

When God Speaks: Answers from the Book of Job

We recently ended a series looking at the Biblical character of Job. I preached three times in this series, at the beginning and the two messages at the end of the series. Job is a complex, hard to understand book, because it forces us to wrestle with the struggles of the world. The dilemma Job faced was one we all face. How could a good, loving, all powerful God allow suffering as He does? Why doesn’t He provide us with more answers? At times, and I mean this with all due respect, God seems distant, hard to understand.

If you missed the other two sermons I shared, you can hear them HERE and HERE or watch them HERE and HERE.

This is the conclusion to the Job series.

We try each week to choose which of the three services works best. Due to recording difficulties, we captured video in one service and audio in another. Personally preferred the audio message, so you can listen to that one HERE.

Week of Thanksgiving: Who Helped You Grow Spiritually?

We are sharing a week of Thanksgivings; celebrating people who have made a difference in our life.  Read the previous two days HERE and HERE.

Today, let’s talk spiritual talk.

Who is the person who helped you most to grow spiritually?

Obviously, as with the other days, you could answer God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and of course those answers would be correct, but thankfully God uses other people in our life to make a difference.  He shapes our life through the influence of people.  So, in terms of your spiritual growth, who is the person who helped you or is helping you the most.

As I’ve done the previous days, I’ll go first.

I began to mature the most during my early to late twenties.  It was during the Promise Keeper days, when the large men’s gatherings were encouraging men to live bolder for Christ in their homes and communities. During that time it was popular to have an accountability partner, based on the principle in Proverbs 27, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  and I had numerous ones over the years.  Three of those, however, had the largest impact on my life spiritually. They are three men named Dennis Weiland, Steve Springer, and Keith Swift.  These three men met at my home one early morning a week for years.  They challenged me to want more of Christ and His Word.  They kept me searching the Scriptures for truth.  The discipline I have in my life now is greatly related to their influence.  Dennis now works with me at Grace Community Church and Steve and Keith are in other churches.  Our relationships have changed, but their impact on me remains the same.

Now your turn:

Who is the person/persons who helped you most to grow spiritually?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, pay tribute to them as a comment here.

A Week of Thanksgiving – People Who Helped You Professionally

Thanksgiving should be more than a day.

In the United States, we set aside one day a year to ceremonially show our appreciation for all we have been given.  No one would disagree that this practice shouldn’t be limited to just once day.  With that in mind, I thought I’d use part of my blog this week to share a little gratitude.  Throughout this week I’ll be sharing some things and people I’m thankful for in my life.

Today I want to talk about people who have had a huge impact on me professionally.  I’m a pastor now.  I haven’t always been one. I was in the business world for many years before God called me into ministry.  When I think of the process God used to prepare me for ministry, three men immediately come to mind.  There are many people along the way who have helped me, but these three made significant investments in my spiritual maturity and preparation for ministry.

Here are three people who helped me be where I am today professionally:

Dennis Newkirk – Dennis was my pastor during the greatest leap I took in spiritual development.  I once wrote about him in THIS POST.  He challenged me to desire more of Christ and to be like Him.

David Atchison - David was my first official mentor.  David was in ministry after a career in business and met me as a young man while I was in the business world, but wanting to serve Christ.  David’s friendship and counsel prepared me for the days ahead when God would call me out of the business world into ministry.

Larry Riley – Larry was a friend and served on the church staff where I attended as a layperson, before my call to ministry. Larry introduced me to the idea that church could be done differently to reach unchurched people.  I’m in my second church plant now, and it was through Larry’s initial encouragement that the initial seeds were planted in my heart that would eventually become Grace Community Church.

That’s my list (or at least part of the list…there are so many more).  What about you?  Who is someone who, without their investment in your life, you would not be where you are today professionally speaking? You don’t have to share three as I did…but share one person who made the difference.

Pay tribute to them by leaving a comment here. Who knows…they may see this and be encouraged greatly this Thanksgiving season.