When we operate as insecure leaders, we believe in the lie of scarcity - scarcity of volunteers, resources or ministry opportunities. When another ministry gets the accolades for a job well done, how does that sit with you? Do you celebrate with a joyful heart, or do you harbor resentment?Read More
When we officially launched The Hill 4 months ago, I could never fully imagine all God would do in such a short amount of time. The road to the launch of The Hill was one marked with pain, joy, doubt, assurance, loss and gain.
When we “planned” what our infant church would be, God worked details our small dreams never saw coming…a merger, a building, dear people. He also opened doors, we never knocked on and asked us to walk through them. It’s through the process of starting The Hill that I saw my husband adapt his vision to meet God entirely with where His vision was to take us.
These last four months have been a time of healing and restoration. I have come to love the families God has given us. They've been so good to us, beyond what we deserve.
Today we shared some incredible news about the next steps we feel confident that God is asking our church to take. Once again, God opened a door we didn’t know to knock on, and the result is a partnership merger with a local church. The Hill Memphis and Grace Crossing Church will together become Grace Hill Church. We believe we can accomplish infinitely more together than we can apart.
Because that’s what it should be about for any body of believers - reaching the lost, reaching the unfound. Local churches in your area are not the enemy or the competition. I am so thankful God has put in our paths churches who believe the capital “C” church is way more important than the little “c” church.
June 26 we will celebrate together in our first service. We will honor the God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
He has been so good to us. May His hand and His blessing be with us in this next step.
On Sunday, grace is expected.
On Monday, grace is a surprise.
Jesus isn't just a Sunday Savior.
Jesus is an Everyday Emmanuel.
If you don't know someone's last name, don't share the gospel. The gospel is an intimate conversation.
Monday is coming and everyone is watching.
What is you existing culture?
What would we like it to be?
1. We want everyone to behave like they're here for a purpose. Like they have a mission. It's about people and results.
2. 100% for each other. Are you willing to risk your reputation on the performance of your teammates?
3. We're serious about growth - ours and yours. What are you learning?
4. We're careful with our words.
5. Let others in your life and plans.
How do you empower others? We live like Jesus - we serve.
1. Be ready
Not a new
idea but a new approach
2. Be brief
Take 5 minutes. What and why and how it fits
3. Be smart
Know the questions and objections
4. Be passionate
Passion can be refreshing or overwhelming
Passion doesn't transfer as well as substance
Being smart without being passionate is boring. Being passionate without being smart is exhausting.
5. Be flexible
When you won't bend, most of your ideas break
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
If I will find my identity in my relationship with God, I'll survive the holy hangover of Monday.
Religion kills, relationships bring life.
If the Lord is your shepherd, your ministry has everything it needs right now.
If you can't be thankful for managing the $500 budget you'll never be entrusted with the $5 million budget
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters
We will not create great environments unless we experience great environments ourselves.
Places here we get nourished
He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.
When we get dehydrated spiritually, we will start using people instead of leading people.
When we get spiritually exhausted, we will stop doing what is right and start doing what is easy.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
When we begin to see the greatness of God, we'll become fearless in our decisions.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You annoying my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Don't focus on the talkers. Focus on the table.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
If goodness and love will follow us all the days of our life, why can't we believe the best is yet to come?
Our own self doubt
The "glass ceiling"
Door to entry
Finding family balance
Tips for Balance:
Embrace seasons: ask, Am I thriving?
Offer yourself grace
Embrace the awkward
Tips for leading women on your team:
Ensure collaborative work environments
Offer equal opportunity (give titles to women equivalent to men the titles men have)
Manage personalities, not genders
Take more time
Call out their gifting
Embrace the ministry of emotion
Invite them to the table of leadership
Lend your confidence
Excelling as women in leadership:
Stay in your lane. Avoid the comparison lane
Don't be entitled
Lead with confidence
Represent. Be excellent
Manage emotions: thick skin and soft heart
Serve without an agenda
Refine the message: craft core truths into engaging, relevant and memorable experiences
How we communicate the the message is just as important as what we communicate.
Simplify: what is the bare, core essentials you need to teach?
What do I want this child or student to become?
Say What Matters
Look at the felt needs.
Is this really helpful or relevant to this season of life?
Your ministry can die on the alter of your personal preference. -Jessica Bealer
Say It Clearer
We have the opportunity to say things in a way that can make a good impression, a bad impression or no impression at all.
The clearer we make the message the easier it till be to hand it off to parents and others to repeat it.
How are we being consistent with our values to make it clearer?
Don't Say It
Refine the message.
With children and students, we need to make sure we leave room for them to experience wonder, discovery and passion.
Sometimes we don't finish the equation for kids.
Say It Louder
Reinforce it, repeat it, find other angles and different ways to say it.
We have the best content, but we can't approach it like others think that way too.
The church is the hope of the world. Bill Hybels
The church saved my life.
1. Informed my conscience.
2. Instilled a sense of purpose.
3. Provides the context of lifelong friendships.
4. Served as a window into God's activity all over the world.
5. Taught me to be generous.
Don't attend a church that teaches your children to hate church.
Following Jesus will make your life better and make you better at life.
The church inspires us to embrace the one mandate that could change everything: Love your neighbor as yourself.
"I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevent it."
We spend so much time doing ministry that we forget to care for ourselves.
Are you going to last in ministry?
We train for long-tern leading the same way we train for a marathon.
Leaders tend to ignore the private side of their life…until it’s too late.
Hurry is the enemy of depth.
Signs your life might be out of balance:
leave a series of disappointments
excess time on easy or unproductive tasks
connections with Jesus or rare and lack depth
skimming in relationships
Proverbs 4:23- "Above all else guard your heart, for it affects everything you do."
Areas within a leader’s soul:
a driven person can often leave trail of bodies behind them.
1. Make authentic community a top priority
- Live on life community
- You have to seek out community
- It allows someone to question motive
2. Fast forward to life’s final scene
- relationships matter
- anyone can you do your job
1. Identify and track the rhythms of your time
- quit living in the guilt of being a nonmorning person
- time that is not budgeted flows to your like to do instead of your need to do
- time management is not about choosing between bad and good but between good and great
- every "yes" is a "no" to someone
- if you don’t control your time, others will.
Leaders need to be learners. When you stop learning, you stop leading.
1. Decide: Do I want to study, or do I want to skim?
2. Study for depth over prep
We are spiritual leaders not activity directors.
Lead and teach out of an overflow.
1. Know your fuel and empty gauges
2. Schedule solitude
- Need to be able to discern between the voice of God and the voice of others.
1. Take a day off and make it nonnegotiable
- God took a day off
- this is the antidote to busy
- We’re over connected outside and underconnected inside.
Called people have a strength from within - a perseverance and a passion
1. Be in touch with your own depravity
- “I am one decision away from tanking my calling."
2. Understand your own weaknesses
- anytime you compare, you lose
Anyone who has been in ministry for some time can attest to the fact that getting to service and big events at your church can be challenging. If you're someone who works with preschool or elementary, it can feel pretty impossible. The demands of the job and the tyranny of the urgent will sidetrack the best-laid plans. This fight has always been a struggle for me, some seasons worse than others. Here’s a few principles I’m preaching to myself right now.
There’s a Season for Everything
I’m terrible at not seeing the forest for the trees. Currently, I’m serving in a three-month-old church plant where there is no shortage of work to be done. We’ve got a big vision that requires a big commitment - a commitment that sometimes feels overwhelming. I have to remind myself constantly that we are a new church, and this is a season of new growth. There’s not a huge supply of workers right now because people are trying figure out if they’ll stick around our church.
This season at my church is one where I’m not able to get to a Good Friday service or our regular worship service, but there will never be another season like this - getting children’s ministry and family ministry off the ground. What a privilege to see the ministry happening around me from the very first most humble beginning! Perspective is half the battle.
Fight the Feeling
Here's what I know - the enemy is threatened when you are actively investing in the next generation. He doesn’t need another generation of Christ followers rising against him. So the enemy whispers to you, children ministry worker, whispers of insignificance and doubt. Whispers of worthless. Whispers that you’re missing out on something. If he can get you to listen and give into those whispers, he can keep you wrapped in bitterness making it impossible to serve faithfully and cheerfully the next generation.
Perry Noble said this quote at the Orange Conference in regards to depression, “It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way.” Speak those thoughts to someone you can trust. Don’t wrestle with them on your own. The enemy always loses a foothold when we speak our struggles into existence when we reach out for accountability.
Make a Plan
Just like kids need to feel like they have a place to belong with the kids and the leaders in your church, you as a leader need to have a place where you can feel like you belong. It may not mean you find that going to your worship service every week because of the season you’re in at your church. It may mean you find that in a small group context with couples or men and women. Maybe you go to a Saturday night service at another church in your area so that you can be an attendee - who says that just because you’re on staff at a church that you can’t take advantage of other wonderful churches in your area?
Make a plan to make sure you are getting fed through other avenues and that you’re finding a community somewhere. Bitterness is a mean mistress that will creep up on you, affecting all aspects of your life. If you’re not okay, make sure you don’t stay that way!
If you work in children’s ministry how do you combat those feelings of “missing out” and insignificance?
I am a straight up chicken. I like to weigh my options, pro/con, assess the risk.
But, I also like to dream big, cast the net as far and wide as I can and do brand-new things. This personality combo sometimes leaves me feeling like I've got an angel on one shoulder reassuring me, "You got this!" along with a little devil on the other shoulder saying, "What are you thinking????"
One of our care values at The Hill that we adopted from Life Church says -
We are faith-filled, big-thinking, bet-the-farm risk takers. We'll never insult God with small thinking and safe living.
Easier said than done.
I'm good with taking big risks, but give me my back-up plans at least - you know the "in case this whole church thing doesn't work out, we'll just do this..." plan.
But, to be "all in" with church planting, you can't think like that. The moment there are back up plans and "get out of jail free" cards, you're doomed. You're no longer betting on God's plan and yourself. What you're saying is, "I don't really think this is going to work out, but God told me to do it so I'm giving it a try."
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. - Proverbs 3:5
Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. - Matthew 6:34
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. - 2 Timothy 1:7
If you are constantly weighing the risk, you'll end up missing God's reward. And sometimes that reward is simply knowing He is always there for you if you should fall.
When that little devil on my shoulder starts in with the "what ifs" the only thing that will drown him out is God's Word. And some days, I have to sit in His Word all day to make the voice stop because it's so loud and his words terrify and taunt me - failure. failure. failure.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
But if God cares for the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), how much more will He care for me?
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
When I read this verse, I get a little pep in my step. Honestly, to look back at people who may have hurt or harmed me and to be able to say, "Ha, you thought you got me, didn't you?" feels pretty good.
Genesis 50:20 is a verse I've clung to during this church planting season. But the other day, just as God would have it, He had me stumble upon the verse again in my Advent reading. This time, I took a longer look at the verse and the words spoken before them.
But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God?"
You see Joseph was speaking these words to his brothers. His brothers who had left him to die, who sold him as a slave and then told their father that Joseph was dead. Joseph had a right to be little angry, didn't he? So when God in His divine, perfect nature had them cross paths again, Joseph's brothers surely thought that Joseph with his power and prestige would use it to enact revenge upon them.
But, no. Am I in the place of God?
Sometimes, when I think about the people who have done hurtful things to me, I want them to pay. My flesh says, "an eye for an eye."
Thank God, He doesn't view me this way. Every sin, every misstep being an act that needs to be repaid.
It's not my place. God uses pain for His good, but if I'm caught in the trap of making other's pay I'll miss out on seeing that goodness. I'll miss out on seeing how God works - how he uses everything to His glory.
Jesus, took care of my past, present and future pain on the cross. He took my brokiness and made me whole. He didn't just do this for me - He did this also for all those who've hurt me. The same grace that covers me, covers my hurts and those who have inflicted the hurt.
What a Saviour!
I believe joy and sorrow go hand in hand. Without one, you can’t fully feel the other. This process of church planting for me has been both full of joy and sorrow.
The joy of knowing you’ve heard from God,
but the sorrow of knowing you’re moving on.
The joy of new beginnings and fresh starts,
but the sorrow of leaving behind what’s comfortable.
The joy of seeing a dream realized,
but the sorrow of another dream that will never be realized.
The joy of making new friends,
but the sorrow of leaving old friends.
The joy of living by faith,
but the sorrow of leaving stability.
The joy from doing a hard thing,
but the sorrow from doing a hard thing.
The joy of friends supporting you,
but the sorrow that comes from the naysayers.
The joy of seeing people come alive by the power of the gospel,
but the sorrow of knowing there’s still people walking in darkness.
Joy and sorrow have been wrapped up together tightly in this journey for me. The joy could only be made sweeter by the sorrow we’ve known along the way.
I’ve chosen to embrace the sorrow of the process, to fully feel it in the moment - to let the tears fall when they come. Pain demands to be felt, and I’ve chosen to feel the pain along the way.
But those moments of joy when they come, they are so much sweeter. Seeing our dreams, our prayers realized is sometimes too much to handle. Those precious moments overtake me. Kindness from people? Those moments send me weeping. Joy is felt all the more because I’ve taken the time to feel the pain of sorrow.
I wouldn’t trade the joy or the sorrow for anything.
“Weeping may lost for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Proverbs 30:5