Should You Have That Hard Conversation? Two Questions To Help You Decide

Your friend has made some decisions that is putting a strain on your friendship. Your spouse continually cuts you down in public and you can feel the bitterness growing. Your child is continuing to act out and you want to get to the heart of the issue. A co-worker or employee is not carrying his weight and you need to have a hard conversation. Whether with a friend, a spouse, a child, or a co-worker, conflict is inevitable.

When dealing with conflict, our approach embodies one of two people: the Truth Teller or the Peacemaker. Often an individual has a tendency towards one of these two, but depending on the day, the person, or the situation, he may change his approach. When healthy, both of these individuals are driven by Godly motivation, but when unhealthy, both of these individuals are driven out of a selfish motivation. One of the most important things we can do as we enter conflict is to inspect our hearts and assure that our motivation is in the right place. Here are two questions that will help.

(more…)

The Perfect Community Group And What To Do When You Don’t Find It

The “perfect” Community Group looks different for each person, but below is what it looks like for me:

(If you rushed for time or just don’t care what my version of a perfect Community Group is, there is no shame in skipping this section. You can just look at the candid shot I took from my perfect Community Group below and then skip to “Why You Will Never Find The Perfect Community Group”)

This is not my Community Group…Stock Small Group pictures are the worst!

The group would meet in my neighborhood within walking distance. As our family walked down the road, we would drop our kids off with a great babysitter who would have a kid’s version of our group lesson prepared. We would then walk down the street two more houses to where the adults would meet. There we would have dinner and fellowship. Once we finished, we would jump into discussion that would be led each week by a different person who was a wellspring of wisdom and knowledge, but was able to make the application simple and practical. The discussion would find the perfect balance between serious and light-hearted; it would include tears of joy, sadness, and laughter. It would be relatable for people at all places in their spiritual walk, there would be no awkward pauses and every person’s comments would resonate with someone. After an amazing discussion, the group would then share personal and specific prayer requests that were transparent and meaningful. We would also pray for those in our life who did not know Jesus and could benefit from a group like ours. As the meeting time finished, the group would linger because everyone wanted to spend more time with one another.

(more…)

6 Reasons Why I Love This D-Group Model

Over the last two years, our church has started doing Discipleship Groups (D-Groups). This is a gender specific, closed, group of 3-5 people who gather for a season of accelerated spiritual transformation (see a quick explanation here). Through my ten years of attending similar groups, this is by far the best model that I have ever been a part of. Below are six reasons why I love this model and how it has impacted my walk with Christ!

(more…)

Discipleship Group Explained In One Picture

If you asked ten churches how they do discipleship groups, you would get ten different answers. Everyone does it differently. Some emphasize theology while others emphasize spiritual disciplines. Some churches include heavy homework (reading, memorizing, etc.) and others are more relaxed.

We have learned a lot from the Replicate Ministries model of Discipleship Groups (D-Groups). These are gender-specific, closed groups of 3-5 people that meet for 12-18 months for a season of accelerated spiritual transformation. Below is a picture that our Next Steps Team developed that explains how this group works.

(more…)

3 Key Guidelines To Successfully Following Up With Guests

Over the last seven years, one of the most important responsibilities I have had is helping people move from attending our service to becoming faithful members of our church. As I have developed a Guest Follow Up system for our church, I have tried a lot of different approaches. Many of these approaches have not been my best ideas, but thankfully, a midst many underwhelming solutions, there have been three principles that I have discovered along the way that have greatly improved how we follow up with guests.

(more…)

3 Reasons That Life Change Happens Best In Circles, Not Rows

If you spend any time on our church website or social media you will see a common phrase: “Life change happens best in circles, not rows.” This is a catchy saying that speaks to how God has designed us to live in community with fellow believers. As someone who spent the first eighteen years of his life not attending a group and the last decade spending nearly every week in one, I can truly attest to how special biblical community really is. Despite being in many different types of Community Groups (co-ed, men-only, college, young adult, multi-generational, married with kids) I have seen each group include three unique moments.

(more…)

4 Reasons Why Guest Services Is Crucial To Sunday Mornings

Over the last two years, I have had the privilege of leading our Guest Services ministry at our church. In the last year, we have grown significantly with many of those new people not being involved in a church in 5+ years. As I have led our assimilation class, when guests share about their experience and why they decided to join our church, most people mention the impact Guest Services had on them. From my conversations with our guests, here are four of the biggest reasons why Guest Services plays a crucial role on Sunday mornings.

(more…)

5 Ways To Regain Control Of Your Workweek

When I was nine years old, I attended a summer camp called King’ Camp, where I rode horses for the first time. At the end of the week, our counselors took us on a trail ride around the property. After a week of practicing, I rode the trail with as much confidence as Will Smith in his box office hit (or miss), Wild Wild West. This nine-year old’s swagger came to an abrupt halt as I rounded the last corner and the horse saw the barn. Much like a runner who sees the finish line, the horse went into a dead sprint. I immediately went from casually and confidently holding on with one hand to having a death grip on the reins. No matter how loud I yelled “Woah” and pulled back, the horse was full-steam ahead. I had lost control. The joy ride was over and now I was just holding on for dear life.

Our workweek can fill a lot like this. At one point we were in control of our schedule, our to-do list got done, and we had some breathing room, but at some point along the way we lost control of our workweek and it gained control of us. Much like the Somalian pirate in Captain Phillips, our schedule looks at us and says, “I am the captain now.”

As I felt myself losing control of my workweek, I took five simple steps to regain control. These aren’t silver bullets nor are they a magic potion that gives you more hours for your workweek, but they do help you maximize your time. Most of these principles can be applied regardless if you have full control of your schedule or not. If you don’t think you can make the change due to a boss, have a meeting with him/her and ask if you can start doing one of these practices.

(more…)

How To Increase Your Productivity: Why Faster Isn’t Always Better

If a genie gave you the ability to work 20% faster, could you finally get your business to the next level? If those difficult tasks you had could be resolved with the click of one Staples EASY button, could you finally get your inbox to zero or your to-do list complete? If you could execute tasks quicker and more efficiently could you make the big moves that you have been dreaming about?

The myth about productivity is that if we had more time or if we could work quicker, we could accomplish everything we need to. But what if efficiency is not the most important factor for our productivity?

Consider if I went to go see the Celtics-Lakers game in Boston. It doesn’t matter how fast I drive or how quickly I got to Boston Garden, if the game was actually played in Los Angeles. A quick pace is only as helpful as a clear direction. In our work week, we have to know what our goals are and what responsibilities will contribute the most to accomplishing those goals. This is why productivity is about priority, not pace.

(more…)

7 Barriers That Prevent Leaders From Empowering Others

In previous posts, I wrote about what empowerment is and why it is so important in leadership. Even with this clarity, there are barriers that prevent our conviction from being implemented in our ministry/organization. Below are seven barriers that prevent leaders from empowering others to help with projects, programs, processes, and people. Over my decade of ministry, I have allowed each one of these barriers to prevent me from empowering others, thus robbing them of the opportunity to use their gifts and leaving me exhausted.

(more…)