Month: May 2012

Hows and whys

Last week I spend a whole bunch of time with someone I’m interviewing for a position on my team. There is something I heard him say several times that resonated with me, something that I know I forget from time to time. He spoke about often about the hows and whys and how often during training and on boarding volunteers, we spend a significant amount of time talking about all the “Hows” of ministry. How to connect with a student. How to lead a small group. How to follow up with a parent. How to do one thing and how not to do another. Honestly, a lot of training has to be about the “Hows.”

However, we must take care not to neglect the Why. Why’s without Hows are just ideas and theories and Hows without Whys are just tasks. But when you link a bunch of Hows with a Why, you build context. You create reason and significance for the task. When you clearly communicate the Why, you tap into passion and vision. Few people are wired to enjoy completing task simply for the sake of completing tasks, but when you connect the Why behind the task, then you create the motivation needed to not only complete the task but you create room for excellence and innovation because it’s not just about the task anymore.

The other thing I feel we need to pay attention to is that over time, people forget the Why.

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Promoting Parent Cue

For years now, I’ve been transitioning Gateway into a family friendly church. It’s not that Gateway wasn’t family friendly before I got here, but we’ve been working hard to create intentional opportunities where families are equipped and encouraged and handed tools that empower them to lead their kids on a journey of faith. We’ve got a lot of things in the works right now and will be unveiling some stuff later this year, but a big win has been the Parent Cue app.

Since we use Orange Curriculum (My First Look, 252 Basics and XP3) it makes the Parent Cue app a no brainer for equipping parents. We simply communicate to parents that they need to download the app and now they can better connect with the content their kids get every weekend.

Here’s the video we produced to promote the Parent Cue App. It’s AMAZING!

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How do you know the Bible isn’t just propaganda?

Yesterday I posted about the series we’re doing at Gateway called, “Who do you Know?” It’s a great series that tackles big questions the most Christ Followers ask and pretty much every seeker is asking. Last Sunday, we started the series off with, “How do you know the Bible isn’t just propaganda?” It was probably the best message I’ve ever experienced that set up a case for the truth and dependability of the Bible. You should watch it below.

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Eric Trap Interview with Eric Bryant… Today!

Just a heads up to all my friends. Today at 2:00 PM CST, I’ll be over at doing a video interview about The Eric Trap. You can watch it live at his site. I’m excited and you should be too, I’m giving away several copies of the book to those who are watching/participating.

Eric Bryant is a co-worker of mine. He’s the Campus Pastor of our South Campus and he leads our Central Austin geography. He’s an incredible leader who came to our team 18 months ago after serving at Mosaic Church in LA for more than a decade. In addition to the value Eric brings to Gateway, Eric has great influence in the church around the country and beyond. Be sure to check out his site and tune in at 2:00!

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The best of Gateway

I celebrated my 4 year anniversary at Gateway a few weeks ago. More than ever before, I’m so grateful to be at this church. I’ve been at three churches since being in ministry and usually by year four, things were changing and I found myself looking for a new opportunity. Gateway is different thought. I’m at year four and I’m looking forward to the next 10 years here. I love my church!

Last Sunday Gateway started a new series called, “How Do You Know?” I think that this series represents some of what makes Gateway so amazing! It’s a creative series asking the questions that most people really struggle with. Questions like:

How do you know the Bible isn’t just propaganda?
How do you know God cares?
How do you know that Jesus is the only way?
How do you know you’re right with God?

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Don’t raise well rounded, well educated and happy kids

I’ve been working alongside parents now for fifteen years, but I’ve only done this from the perspective of actually being a parent for the last five. Having kids of your own certainly changes your perspective. We all have hopes and dreams for what our kids will grow up to be. Every time we host a child dedication class, we ask the question, “What does parenting success look like to you?” We also ask another question that hits the same issue from a different angle asking, “If you could pass only one thing to your child by the time they become an adult, what would that thing be?” I know that we put parents on the spot with these questions, but I’m amazed how often parents give answers like, “I want my son to be happy” or “I wan’t my kids to be successful” or even, “I want my child to have respect for all people.” I’m not going to say that these are wrong things, but if these is the greatest hope this generation of parents have for their kids… well there’s no wonder we’re seeing moral and spiritual decay. My goal is that by the end of the baptism class, I’ve either convinced them or at least built a case for wanting an authentic relationship with Jesus for their kids.

I absolutely loved Craig Groeschel’s talk at Orange this year. He essentially communicated many of the philosophical and strategy positions behind Orange, but from his own personal perspective and experience. His shocking statement was that we should not aim to raise well rounded, highly educated and happy children. That’s what our culture communicates as a need, but this doesn’t line up with the scriptures.

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I’m not so comfortable with the mess

One of my top 3 ministry gifts is administration. I love systems, processes and project plans. I love to set goals, strive to make them happen and help others move the ball forward. I actually enjoy coming into an area of chaos and bring order and structure so that growth can actually happen. These are my gifts and I work very hard to make this happen. I probably work too hard in fact. I spend a significant amount of time offsite because I don’t like being interrupted so much. I just need some peace and quite while I get stuff done. Although I think that my philosophy and approach is good, I’m confident that God wants to mess up my neat and structured little world.

As much as I prefer schedules and order, the real work of ministry doesn’t always happen that way. It happens at inconvenient times and beacons us to get personally involved, sometimes in uncomfortable ways. It’s funny how I’ve been experiencing this a little more lately.

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Four years and counting

Yesterday I celebrated my fourth year of coming on staff at Gateway Church in Austin, TX. I vividly remember driving from the Orange Conference in Atlanta with my little family and my car fully packed halfway across the country. Not only was excited about moving to a new city and taking on a new job that was fresh and exciting, but I was amazed how God seemingly directed events on a major scale to move me into a job that was exactly what I needed and exactly the right time. 12 months earlier, I’m not sure how I would have felt about this kind of role, but as God had been shaping my heart for a different strategy for ministry in recent months, God provided an opportunity to do what he was preparing me for. I have a pretty cool story of how God called me to each church/ministry I’ve been a part of and Gateway was no exception. I know that God called me to this church.

The past four years have been very rewarding, but not without challenges.

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