Engage Conference Highlights

Thursday and Friday of last week, my wife and I attended the Engage Conference. To put it simply it was a Church of God conference focusing on a new generation of churches. It was awesome to be around so many leaders of churches that are doing tremendous things to reach people where they are. Here are a few nuggets that I got out of the conference:

1)      Clarify the vision

2)      Too many churches are being lead by the sin of preference rather than the Great Commission

3)      The Speed of the Team is the speed of the organization.

  1. Sometimes we have to change the game (post coming soon)

4)      As the leader grows, so does the team

5)      Do not substitute what you need from God with what you do for God (a daily relationship for the ministry)

6)      Most Christians know more than they practice, but people are still always looking for something new. See John 13:34

7)      Leaders often know what needs to be done, but they often need permission to do it

8)      A man of God without a vision with suffer less conflict than the one with a vision

9)      False prophets always sought the approval of people rather than God (see 8)

10)   “There will always be a decision to make after the decision was made,” Raymond Culpepper, General Overseer, Church of God

 

10 Blogs I Read Almost Daily

I love to read. So, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite blogs. I don’t necessarily agree with all these guys doctrinally, but there is no doubt that God is doing tremendous things through them.

  1. Steven Furtick (Pastor of Elevation Church)
  2. Ed Stetzer (Church Planting Expert)
  3. Perry Noble (Pastor of NewSpring Church)
  4. Dino Rizzo (Pastor Healing Place Church)
  5. Church Relevance (awesome blog about relevancy in the church)
  6. Catalystspace (The Blog for the Catalyst Conference)
  7. Stuff Christians Like
  8. Desiring God (John Piper)
  9. Impel Ministry (some ORU grads created this blog, good content)
  10. MOMENTUM 21 (YAY)

 

PS. I would love to hear what some of you are reading

The Pentecostal Movement in the 21st Century

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Louisiana Church of God Prayer Conference. The messages stirred me to begin thinking about what the current trends are in the Pentecostal movement. I realize that this term can take on a very large group of people. My definition for the sake of this article will be, “churches that historically believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the initial evidence is speaking in tongues.”

  • There seems to be a resurgence amongst the “initial evidence” camps because of the current trend that is not focusing on the initial evidence. I personally feel that devaluing the initial evidence of Holy Spirit baptism is not beneficial to the movement. Speaking in tongues is what makes us Pentecostal (to say it plainly).
  • Despite the resurgence, there seems to be a “quieting” of Pentecostal churches. Extreme emotional displays of praise are not emphasized as regularly in Pentecostal preaching. Although, preaching ABOUT emotional struggles is still preached.
  • Relevance and Mission seem to be a strong focus in the Pentecostal movement. There seems to be a focus on how we can continue to preach the Full Gospel message in the modern context. This has been difficult for some.
  • I see relevance being replaced by authenticity. Why? People are beginning to be turned off by the “wanna be cool” people. If you are cutting edge, be cutting edge! People want to see faith lived out in a real context, not necessarily your spiked hair (I can say this because I spike up my hair sometimes).
  • Praise and Worship- I see praise and worship always changing with particular demographics. There will always be some who prefer a certain style over the other. Southern Gospel will probably not be a dominant force in the next 20-30 years (it’s not now).
  • Holiness preaching was replaced with love. I see a balance coming from the younger ranks. The coined phrases are “surrender” and “devoted follower of Jesus.” Check out some of your younger ministers in the movement. You will see that they do value radical commitment to Christ. They just don’t think you have to look like Whistler’s mother to be holy.

This is by NO means an exhaustive list. Some of you may disagree with my statements. I want to know what YOU think. What are the trends in the Pentecostal movement. What is the next Big Thing?

How will holiness be emphasized in the next generation?

Will we still emphasize speaking in tongues?

How will our praise and worship change?

Pastoring from Facebook

One of the great privileges of being a pastor in the 21st century is the myriad of ways one can communicate with members. Never in the history of man has communication easier than it is today. In a single click from a phone or computer, I can connect with thousands of people. I realize that the internet can be damaging to people’s spiritual lives, but it can also be one of the greatest tools of both discipleship and evangelism. Here are a few reasons why I choose to pastor from Facebook:

1. I can easily keep in touch, comfort and encourage church members and others who share their life situations on their FB pages. Many people are just more comfortable sharing a difficult situation on Facebook than they are calling the office to request prayer.

2. I can start and participate in discussions on my passions, which are disciple making strategies and organizational change. My FB page connects me with all sorts of people. When I find something interesting in what I am reading, I put up some quotes on my wall, and it appears magically everywhere. Those who find it interesting comment, those who do not just ignore it.

3. FB provides a connection between all sorts of people who reflect the complexity of my interests. I find it very interesting to be a link between such diverse kinds of people.

4. It gives me the opportunity to connect with other ministers. I don’t like to call people, but with FB, I can keep in contact with many of my fellow ministers for encouragement and support. It is also good to see when God is moving at another church.

Creative Thinking vs. Critical Thinking

“All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination, Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth.” – Napoleon Hill

Today’s world no longer needs people who simply have critical thinking skills. It needs people who have the ability to think creatively. I am not saying we need to do away with critical thinking. I believe the two are complementary. In many ways, creative thinking can be considered divergent thinking. It is the process by which we generate new ideas, imagine possibilities, and find relationships among seemingly unrelated concepts. Therefore, Critical Thinking would be the convergent process where we narrow down which of those new ideas will work best given realistic constraints and resources.

Many people have the ability to determine through a critical analysis there IS a problem. How many people actually have the ability to solve the problem? As you continue in your leadership journey, seek to be a problem solver, a creative thinker. Do you have any strategies that may help other think creatively?

Breaking Leadership Barriers-Familiarity

“We have a tendency to lead from what we know.” The problem for me is that what I have experienced and where I want to go are two different places. As much as I value where I have come from and the experience and knowledge I gained from said experiences. My desire in leadership is not to replicate those past experiences or places, but to lead into the unknown.

This may be difficult for some. We want to be comfortable. We want to keep everyone happy. Sometimes the direction we are heading is not the direction some people want to go. For me, I’m leaving the place I was and headed into a place where I can see the vision fulfilled.

The Israelites got comfortable in Egypt. The journey to the Promise Land was difficult. At times, they desired to turn back. Their leader pushed them forward. He gave them the *MOMENTUM they needed. He (Moses) continued to receive DIRECTION; His direction came from God. He never gave up. Leader! I cannot promise you that as you lead into the unknown the people won’t want to turn back. I promise you this, going forward to fulfill the vision is better than Egypt! DON’T TURN BACK!

For the businessperson, find new innovative ways to reach customers. Try new things and adjust your organization accordingly.

For the pastor, leave traditional mindsets and old-line ways to fulfill the mission of THE CHURCH. Make disciples. If your current system is not allowing you to make disciples or pushes them away. It is not of God.

For the mom or dad, if your current way of discipline is not working…try something new. Sometimes spankings or time out just won’t cut it.

For those of you who feel like you are stuck in a rut. Every boss wants to look good! To gain influence in your career or office keep in mind that you are working for someone else. Help to fulfill his or her vision and you will find that you will be giving more opportunities to see yours fulfilled.

* Our next blog will be “Characteristics of Momentum-21 Leaders”

Settling for “Good Enough”

Burger King or McDonald’s? Applebee’s or Chili’s? Target or Wal-Mart? We are inundated with decisions everyday as Americans. The myriad of choices we have in our consumer driven economy has made us accustomed to making small decision without thinking much. In the life of the leader some questions are not as simple as, “I’ll take a number 3 with a Diet Coke.” In making those decisions, we often worry whether or not the decision we made is the right one.

In a study, Barry Schwartz observed decision-making among college students during their senior year. Based on answers to questions regarding their job-hunting strategies and career decisions, he divided the students into two groups: “maximizers” who consider every possible option and “satisficers” who look until they find an option that is good enough.

Who ended up on the higher end? Typically, the maximizers ended up with better paying jobs. However, they were not the most satisfied in their decision. In Schwartz’s view, it’s better to settle for “good enough” most of the time. Lower expectations and fewer regrets will make people who settle happier. He believes considering every option is almost never necessary, and should be reserved for the most important life decisions. Ultimately, it’s more important to maximize happiness than options.

Is Schwartz correct in his view? Does this line up Biblically? Are successful leaders those who simply settle for “good enough?”

Who ended up on the higher end? Typically, the maximizers ended up with better paying jobs. However, they were not the most satisfied in their decision. In Schwartz’s view, it’s better to settle for “good enough” most of the time. Lower expectations and fewer regrets will make people who settle happier. He believes considering every option is almost never necessary, and should be reserved for the most important life decisions. Ultimately, it’s more important to maximize happiness than options.

Is Schwartz correct in his view? Does this line up Biblically? Are successful leaders those who simply settle for “good enough?”

What They Don’t Talk About in Seminary

Video interview from the C3 Creative Church Conference 2010 at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. Ed Young, Jr. interviews his Father, Ed Young, Sr., pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, TX as they discuss different leadership issues that we never talk about in seminary.

What They Don\’t Talk About in Seminary