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Hang in there – you may not be done yet

Posted on 13. Oct, 2015 by .


I’m constantly looking at resumes and candidates for ministry positions. After looking at what must be thousands of resumes, I’ve learned a thing or two. Want to know what one things stands out almost more than ANYTHING else on a resume?


Most of the resumes I look at are often filled with 12-18 month stints at this thing or another thing. Yes, sometimes we have “that” experience. The time where that curveball came out of nowhere and everything changed. It happens – but not as often as we like to think it does. Resumes with more than one job for less than two years makes you less likely to be hired for the job you really want. When I see resumes with employments that lasted less than 18 months, I usually have a few thoughts that come to mind. They may not be true, but I think them nonetheless.… Read the rest

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One of my most valuable minsitry resources

Posted on 08. Oct, 2015 by .


There are a number of resources that have helped me get to where I am today. Some of them are books, many of them are key relationships and a handful of them have been an event or conference. However, it is undeniable that the Orange Conference has had a significant impact on me as a leader and the ministry to families, students and kids at Gateway Church. The staff don’t go to a lot of conferences, but they all know that the NextGen team usually sends a group to Orange every year. It isn’t really questioned because the influence of Orange is being seen all year long in the way we impact the Next Generation.

I understand the hangups. I hear them ALL THE TIME.

  • Listen, Orange isn’t just curriculum. If you’re opting out of Orange because you don’t use Orange curriculum, you’re missing the point.
  • Orange isn’t just about “North Point Style” mega churches. If you’re opting out of Orange because you don’t feel like your church is “that kind of church,” you’re missing the point.
  • Orange isn’t about a style or current trend. If you’re opting out of Orange because you’re church embraces tradition and the sacred, you’re missing the point.

Orange has helped me think about our strategy and approach. Orange has helped me think about the end – where we’re hoping to go with ministry to kids, students and families and figure out how to embrace a strategy where the Next Generation wins.

What Orange has helped me with most is in the area of relationships. I’ve met so many amazing people who are now on my favorites list on my phone. People who have come into town to help me with ministry roadblocks and people who have just been a friend to me through the challenges and difficulties of ministry.… Read the rest

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Chromebook Challenge Update: Power

Posted on 01. Oct, 2015 by .


So I’m about 14 days into my 30 day Chromebook challenge. I thought I’d give an update and next week I’ll provide some details on what tools I’m using. However, I had a situation this week that was worth nothing and I felt I needed to make an announcement.

I’m a chromebook cheater.

There, I said it. For three hours yesterday, I used my Macbook Pro (which has since come back from the shop). Now before you give up on me, let me share what happened and what I learned from the situation.… Read the rest

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Avoiding the Inevitable

Posted on 28. Sep, 2015 by .


A few Sunday’s ago, I lost pretty hard.

It was a particularly busy weekend. There was a lot going on and my scheduled that Sunday was pretty hectic. I had agreed to be the communicator in Middle School and High School the entire month, so that was keeping me pretty busy. It usually meant I was spending a lot of time during the week preparing the weekend message and the day of involved last minute run-throughs, getting comfortable with the content before the service.

About 10 minutes prior to our 9:30 service start time, I get a text from our preschool large group director. There’s an issue with ProPresenter. The sound file isn’t playing correctly. It’s not a critical piece of the program, but a small detail that would add to the experience. All the other people who edit ProPresenter were occupied or perplexed as to why the sound file isn’t playing correctly. I actually was free for 10 minutes, so I walked over to see if I could help. Interestingly, I couldn’t get the sound file to play either. However, in my effort to fix the issue, the entire system crashed. After restarting ProPresenter twice and rebooting the computer, nothing was working the way it was supposed to. I couldn’t even comprehend what was going on. I looked at the tech volunteer and said, “You’re going to have to wing it.” I looked at the time, it had been 12 minutes and I was supposed to be on stage 2 minutes ago. Oops!… Read the rest

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You need to find a coach

Posted on 23. Sep, 2015 by .


A few months ago, I wrote about my recent expereinces with a counselor. The money we’ve spent in counseling has been the best the best investment we’ve made in our family in a decade. One thing I’ve learned in almost 20 years of ministry is that ministry can crush your soul. Okay, that sounds a little extreme. However, I meet fellow student and children’s pastors every week and the common story is the hurts and frustrations inflicted by ministry. For the sake of your physical, emotional and spiritual help; and for the sake of your family, go find a counselor.

Another often neglected relationship ministry leaders need in their life is a good coach. This summer, I began meeting with a life coach and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a personal experience of this type. I was on sabbatical this summer and my church offered to send me to a conference or pay for coaching and I selected coaching since there aren’t really many conference options in the summer. I’m about half-way through my sessions and I’m so pumped about the things we’re uncovering.

I went into this coaching relationship with a “problem.” … Read the rest

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Why you might consider a chromebook

Posted on 22. Sep, 2015 by .


I’ll be honest. I love my Macbook Pro. I switched to the Mac OS seven years ago and it’s been great, but I wasn’t a disgruntled Windows user either. I find that I’m not alone. Of the 40 people on staff at my church, at least 30 are sporting Macs. When I attend the average conference or gathering and everyone pulls out their computer, at least 70% are also Macs. It seems that it’s the ministry computer of choice. I understand why people like using a Mac, but I don’t completely understand why the church has unilaterally made the Mac the computer of choice.

Yes, I understand the reason why some staff needs to have a Mac. If you’re going to do serious video, image or document editing, you’re going to want a high powered machine with software designed for the Mac. However, I’d argue that this only accounts for 10-30% of the church staff. I also understand that there might even be a larger number of staff who may need access to specific software on occasional basis, but that alone doesn’t mean they need a more expensive computer just so they have access in the rare occasions they need it. This is why I’m intrigued by the Chromebook and here are some reasons why I think more churches should consider the chromebook as their default hardware:… Read the rest

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The chromebook challenge

Posted on 21. Sep, 2015 by .


When the chromebook hit the market a few years ago, I was intrigued. I can’t remember excatly why, but I bought two. I was curious how a $200 laptop would hold up to the everyday demands of the digital lifestyle and work. I was beyond impressed, but there wasn’t any way I was going to trade in my Macbook Pro for the Chromebook. Then last summer, the chromebook 2 came out and it was a new day. I bought the (then) new Samsung Chromebook 2 and actually kinda fell in love. I had ideas of doing a chromebook challenge, to see if I could go two weeks of using only the chromebook. Things got busy and I never had a chance, although I think I could have made a go at it.

Well, last week I turned my Macbook in to the Apple Store for a repair. I was told that it would take 3-4 days to repair. Several days later, I got the call that they would need to ship my computer off to have it repaired somewehre else. It would be abother 3-4 days. I wasn’t concerned because I did still have my Samsung Chromebook. So, I’ve decided that I’ll do my challenge now.… Read the rest

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How to calendar your minsitry year

Posted on 17. Sep, 2015 by .


I LOVE planning out a ministry year. Some people see it as a frustrating task or a necessary evil. I see it as an opportunity to refine our priorities and begin to get excited about the coming season. It’s also a great opportuity to get away with my team and work on something together. Typically, I schedule a two day offsite and we’ll dedicate half of one of the days to the caledar.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about what needs to happen before you put a single date one your calendar. Call it theoretical if you want, but doing these three things will help make the practical task of filling up the calendar with events far more purposeful. Anyone can put stuff on the calendar, so don’t make that your goal. So, if you haven’t read that post yet, do it now.

Okay, let’s talk about the tools and the process for planning out 12-18 months of ministry.… Read the rest

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Before you put it on the calendar

Posted on 16. Sep, 2015 by .


About six years ago, I revamped the process we use to do calendar planning for my ministry. Planning the calendar is something I look forward to because it’s time with my team to dream and explore what the coming year is going to look like. I also feel really uncomfortable when I don’t know what we’re doing six months out – so having 12-18 months worked out brings peace to my life.

Every Fall (usually), I take my team offsite and we hammer out the next 18 months of ministry planning. This allows us to know what we’re going to accomplish this year. We realize that once we get past 12 months, things get fuzzy. School schedules aren’t usually published, so we put stuff on the calendar, but review those “far out dates” again in January so we can solidify our plans.

How do we practically plan out and schedule our ministry year? More on that tomorrow. First, these three things need to be decided before you put a single event on the calendar.… Read the rest

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Aligning Momentum with your Strategy

Posted on 02. Sep, 2015 by .


Something amazing happened yesterday. We opened registration for Winter Camp 2016 and in just 24 short hours, nearly 200 kids were registered. To clarify, Winter Camp is still 4.5 months away and over half of the kids who will come signed up on the opening day of registration. But it wasn’t an accident. We simply aligned momentum with our strategy and then just watched it all happen.

Here’s what we did:… Read the rest

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