Be Prepared

What would you do if an extra 30 people showed up this weekend? What about 300?

This past weekend I attended GenCon. For those of you not familiar, it’s a convention for board gamers – actually, it’s the main board game convention in the states. In other words, it’s a total geek fest. That may sound like a niche event that only a few would attend, but estimates were that there would be 50,000 people in attendance.

Prepared for an increase? »

4 Steps to Discipling your Child

Tomorrow our public schools will resume for students. That means that there is a season of change among many homes in our area – and it also means that it is the perfect time to be implementing changes in your home schedule.

This is the prefect time for parents to become more intentional in the discipleship of our children. I know that may sound like just one more thing to do on an already over-flowing to do list, but there could not be a more imperative time.

I won’t say that discipleship is an easy road, but getting started is simple.

Know your Role

Before I jump into the steps, let me talk about being a parent first.
A Path to Discipleship »

Letting go

Some say that it is for the vast riches, others some say its the schedule, and still more claim its the lack of criticism…

Ok, nobody says any of that about ministry but it is still a job that we fall in love with – it is a joy. That joy, however, also makes it hard to let go. We teach youth or children because we love doing it. We play silly games or spend time hanging out with kids because it is a passion.

But that passion also makes it hard to let go. Leaders of ministries can easily get caught up in the doing of tasks (because we love them) and forget that we’re really called to encourage and equip. Sure, servant leaders also do, but every time we give ourselves over to doing, we’re limiting our ability to see God work through others.

Often I fear delegating for two reasons: I love to do that task and I want it done a certain way. Often it is both of those at the same time. Chances are, you’re the same way – not delegating because you’re afraid they won’t do it the way that you want.

You’re probably right.

But you should hand over the task anyhow. When you delegate you generally wind up with two possibilities (success and failure) and both a great outcomes.

If they fail it gives you a chance to help them learn. First, they learn how that task can not be accomplished. Secondly, you have a chance to show them how to respond with grace in difficult situations. Failure can often be one of the best teaching and learning moments all around if you handle it as a learning situation rather than a situation of panic.

If they succeed they have the joy of accomplishing what you’ve asked of them. More so, you generally learn the biggest lesson – God has you. I have so many stories where I have reluctantly handed off a task only to see it come back bigger and better than I could expect. When you hand off authority as well as responsibilities you’ll be amazed at what can happen.

Getting Buyin

A few months ago we bought a new (to us) car. For the first few months everything seemed fine but eventually I began to notice that there was a slight tremor in the steering wheel, not always, just sometimes. My first hope was that if I ignored it the tremor would go away – or perhaps the whole thing was just in my imagination. But, the more I drove, the more it became obvious that there was a problem – not always, just at certain speeds.

If you’ve been around cars long enough you know that this means that something wasn’t lining up quite right and the problem could be something minor, like a tire out of balance, or something major, like a bent frame. When the wheels on the car don’t line up with the road properly it becomes difficult to steer, harder to stop, and it causes unnatural wear on different parts of the car. Over time, ignoring these problems can lead to huge repair bills.

As leaders we can experience similar problems with team members. When members of our teams don’t line up with where we are going it becomes difficult to move forward, harder to implement change, and can cause unnatural wear on other team members and the organization. These problems can be caused by something as small as not lining up with a decision we’ve made or as large as not lining up with the vision of the organization.
Effective Teams are Committed »

The Importance of a Break

There are certain seasons in out lives that are extremely busy, seasons where it is difficult to find time to step away, but even in those times it is important to break from routine. As leaders, we set the pace and it is very easy for us to set the pace at a level that is unsustainable. Yet, there’s a tension that the tasks of the day still need to be done.

The answer is simple. Trust your team.
Equip them and set them free.

During the summer I over see a day camp that runs 12 hours a day Monday through Friday. I also have responsibilities at church on Sundays. A schedule like this, if not controlled, can very easily lead to burn out. My leaders are just as bought in to the mission of the camp as I and would gladly follow my example of a pace that leads them to burn out as well.

So, while I can’t take a weekday off each week, I do make sure I take off when I can. I also set the example of what’s important. My staff knows that my family expects that I’ll leave at 5:30, so barring an extreme emergency, I leave at 5:30 – even if that means leaving things undone.

Stepping away for a break can strengthen your team as well. It gives them the opportunity to gain the experience of making decisions on their own building their confidence and helping you learn to trust them even more.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but I think we forget that breaks also help us step out of the monotony and gain a clear perspective. In other words, taking a break makes us, and our team, more productive.

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