Friday, July 31, 2009

rush hour 3

I was watching Rush Hour 3 last night with some friends, and for some reason the DVD froze right in the middle of the fight scene between Lee and his brother on the Eiffel Tower. So... basically I have no clue how the movie ends. If you enjoy being a spoiler, I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

relevant student ministry

In September of 2005 6 students sat in my living room for the first ever Grace Community Church "youth group" time. Taylor Hughes, Austin Hughes, Lauren Grizzard, Clark Davis, Claire Davis, and myself. Parker and Jeremy came occasionally because they were a little older, but those were the core six. Now just four years later over 100 students gather at Remix every week. The only explanation for that is God.

I just got back from my last trip with Relevant Student Ministry. Four years ago this time Grace hadn't even started, and my view of God and ministry was so small. My last four years have truly been the best four years a high school student could experience, and I'm so incredibly thankful for all of the opportunities Grace has given students to plug-in and serve.

I ran across a journal entry from June 8, 2008 today, here it is: "We're down to about 40 kids a week now in Remix. We've gotta gain the momentum back. Please bless that God, and help make our hearts pure."

Obviously ministry is much more than numbers, but now I know that God answered that prayer. The fact is that God knew what He was doing with the six of us four years ago. It was a huge step for us to leave established youth ministries and come to something with 6 people, but God had a bigger plan in mind than any of us could even begin to imagine. My hope is that God will continue to raise up leaders at Grace who aren't satisfied with where the movement of Christ is in our city. The numbers have absolutely nothing to do with God's presence, but I hope SO BADLY that our student ministry never becomes a place that values complacency. Too many student ministries are content with maintaining their comfort with their church friends. Relevant is about connecting with students who aren't there yet. Hopefully that's what it will always be about. I'm going to miss Remix next year!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

keep people informed: asg seven

As you begin to execute your already big vision, make sure you keep people informed along the way. This is probably my biggest weakness, and it hurt me in big ways. I'm really good at working things out in my head, getting a plan together, and starting work. The problem is you begin moving a fully loaded ship forward without giving the crew and passengers time to get ready. We've all heard the mutiny stories that take place on ships, and I'd bet a lot of them happened because a captain tried to move the ship without informing the crew.

Get someone on your team who GETS the vision and understands your mental direction who can put everything together in outline form. Make sure this person has skill sets that are opposite of yours. For me, I need someone who can think about small details. You may need someone different. The reason this is important is so you can walk someone through your plan before going public. If it's a person that's opposite of you, they can think about the aspects of the plan you haven't even thought of. I can't tell you how many times I tried to move something forward before getting buy-in from key people, and as a result the ship ended up going in reverse.

After you talk through your plan with the key person, then inform the rest of your team, and eventually the entire school or organization. You need to give people a little bit of time to get ready for the newness of your idea, and also to gain momentum before moving forward. While this is true, in school world the year goes by SUPER QUICK! Especially in hind-sight! So you don't have time to waste! Do the planning for the entire year during the summer if possible.

Keep people informed. Test your ideas before pushing them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

creating systems for worship teams

For any organization to maximize its potential, GREAT systems have to be in place. You can have poor systems and still reach your potential, but your potential will just not be very potent.

One of the most important areas of church world is the worship team. If a church wants to maximize the potential of their worship environment, then it obviously makes sense that a GREAT system would have to be in place. The problem is this: the system builder types are typically not on the worship team. Usually the worship team consists of extremely abstract/creative people and people who simply want to help setup and tear down stuff. Both are vital to the team, but neither are especially gifted at building systems.

The temptation is to just let the worship environment take care of itself, because after all, creative ideas are probably flourishing already. However, creative ideas are not a system. If your goal is to maximize potential, you need a great system; which means you need a system builder. You need someone who can sit down and figure out how to get every part of the worship team on the same page; someone who can build a framework in which the creative ideas can be executed. Every second of the worship time needs to have been thought through with an ultimate purpose in mind.

The reality is that most worship leader positions are filled based on musicianship and vocal ability, not on LEADING ability. There are multiple types of leading that must be done in order to truly LEAD worship, and I would argue that the majority of it takes place behind the scenes on Monday and Tuesday, not on stage Sunday. So, if you are going to really take your church somewhere in terms of worship, you need a system in place. What that ultimately means is that you need a leader in your worship area... in addition to an artist.

Systems can be hard to build for a group of abstract/unstructured people, but ultimately there needs to be a great one to maximize your potential. You need structure to succeed, which also means you need a structured person on the team.

Monday, July 6, 2009

apologize for mistakes: asg six

Even if you are making a conscious decision to do what's right and not intentionally take advantage of your position, there will be instances where your integrity is questioned. In those moments, apologize for your mistakes. Chances are you made one even if you don't know what it is.

Don't, however, allow anyone to wrongfully accuse you of anything. Be nice and apologize for the misunderstanding, but defend yourself if you feel you have done nothing wrong. Remember, if your character is questioned, your influence is soon to disappear.

**Also as a side note, a good way to formally apologize for mistakes is through a letter. It shows you are sincere and puts your side on paper so it can't be lost later in a "he said, she said" argument.

Apologize for mistakes. Protect your character.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

short and sweet communication

The last couple weeks I've had to send out a few messages to get the word out about some summer events for Relevant Student Ministry. What I realized after sending them is that a lot of people don't actually read anything beyond the 1st paragraph. The same COULD be true about blogging world as well.

Here's something I'm experimenting with: Put the information at the top of your news emails, and put the conversationalized greeting stuff after the info. That way they will get the necessary info regardless of how long they spend on your email.

I've gotten 3 messages today from different groups I'm in on Facebook, and all 3 of them were long and started with "Hey! Hope you're having a great summer. Just wanted to let you in on..... bla bla bla...." THEN, somewhere in the middle of a paragraph they threw in their info. I don't think that system works.

Shorten your messages and put your info at the top.