My Hope for the Church After the Election

I’m writing this post during the days leading up to our 2016 Presidential Election. You’ll be reading this, at the earliest, the morning after you hear the results. In what feels like the most polarizing and hopeless election in a lifetime, I am truly believing for a unifying and hopeful future in the Church. Regardless of who won last night, here are 3 things I’m believing for the Church in America after the election.

1. Eternity will become our today

Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God more than anything, and your citizenship in that Kingdom still trumps (pun intended) your citizenship as an American. I believe how we view our short time as ambassadors in the world will be given an eternal perspective. 

One of my favorite quotes from N.T. Wright is, "Jesus' resurrection is the beginning of God's new project, not to snatch people away from earth to heaven, but to colonize earth with the life of heaven."

The love of God makes your today matter for eternity. I believe the Church will live and lead from this place.

(This is our focus at Mission Church the next 3 weeks. Join the conversation.)

2. Jesus will become more central

Do you remember that time in the Bible when Jesus asked the government to align with his mission and ministry? Wait…He didn’t! And for 2,000 years, governments have not become more aligned with the man who commissioned the Church.

I see values of Christ represented in both political parties. I do. However, as political systems, policies and parties continue their trend, the church will be absent of issues to align with. And finally the church will be left with the only thing that should have remained the only thing: Jesus. I am believing this to be the beginning of a focusing on the centrality of Christ in our lives, in our homes and in our churches.

3. The Holy Spirit will become our dependency

The Spirit of God is always right around the corner from prayer, unity and desperation. As Jesus becomes more central, His Spirit will become more familiar. As the Spirit becomes more familiar to us, we will recognize our need for His power, comfort and guidance.

The spiritual temperature of the Church is coolest in the global west, aligning with centuries of dependency on a seemingly thriving government. As dependency decreases on both sides of the party line, I believe the Church will increase our dependency on the Spirit of God.

And with all that said this post could be applied to 2012, 2008, 2004, etc... Today always feels more urgent than yesterday. Know tomorrow will first be sifted through the hands of God.

@@Hey Church, let's stop debating the issues of our time and start displaying the issue of all time: Jesus.@@

How to Work With Your Spouse (And Love It!)

I’ve worked with my spouse now for 9 years. When people hear we work together, they make either a face or a noise. What they are failing to hide is the phrase “ooh, that must be rough”. And while I understand where they’re coming from, my experience has been far more rewarding than challenging.

Here is what has worked for my wife and I.

Common Calling

If either of you wouldn’t play your role or do your job for free, I wouldn’t recommend working together. What works for us and causes us to extend large amounts of grace to one another is that we both know the other person is deeply called to their role. Work can cause stress, and stress affects relationships. Our marriage has the added understanding of the deep meaning our jobs are to us. That being said, we share a deeper calling...

Family First

God has called us to one another and to our kids before our church. There isn’t a formula for this one. You either prioritize your job or your family more. It’s that simple. And there have been times we have failed in this area. But we take our kids to school and pick them up. We coach their soccer teams. We eat our meals together. And we leave our work at the office. If the kids are up, our phones are down.

Recognizable Roles

You cannot blur the lines of spouse and coworker. You need to set rules, patterns and boundaries for who you are to one another in certain moments. Our hard (and obvious) rule is when we’re home we’re spouse when we’re at work we’re coworkers. However, when those lines need to get crossed, something must be in place to request and grant permission to cross that line. For instance, if my wife needs to discuss work at home in the evening, she’ll say, “Hey, can we discuss work really quick?” Or I may need to step into her office and say, “Hey, I’m putting on my husband hat here for a minute…”. You must make who you are bringing to a moment clear and recognizable.

Individual Interests

You already share a home, a family and a workplace. You need to find your unique individual interests. We rarely workout together. We split our sabbath day in half and spend that time alone. My wife will go out and be social while I stay home and re-energize by being alone. We have different TV shows we watch, different friends we keep, different moments we share with our kids. Not everything we do is shared. And we have to be intentional about this because we share 50 more hours together a week than the average couple.

And after all of that advice, my best advice is be willing to break all the rules. I still take moments to flirt with my wife at work. We still allow pivotal ministry moments to disrupt our evenings. We still take work hours to clear up a personal conflict. And we still invite our kids into the beautiful mess of ministry.

You cannot fully separate marriage and ministry. And you shouldn’t. @@Full-time ministry with your spouse should be exhilarating, not exhausting.@@

Fatherhood & Leadership

I’ve been a father for almost 8 years, which is almost the exact same amount of time I’ve had a leadership role within the Church. With Father’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking about being a father – how it is influencing my life and impacting my leadership.

Fatherhood has taught me a lot about leadership. Here are 3 key learnings:

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

My most captivating moments as a parent seem to be when I’m making my kids laugh. I seem to grab their full attention and create a desire for even more connection in these moments. In order to make my kids laugh, I can’t take myself too seriously. I have to be willing to let them see this real side of me. These aren’t teaching or formative moments. But they seem to be relatable, trust-building, connected moments.

Similarly in leadership, don’t take your role or responsibility so seriously that you can’t crack a joke. People may be relying on you, on any given day, to provide the only comic relief they will encounter. Be a leader who loosens the tie and unbuttons the top button to provide a laugh. There are moments when the best offering of a leader is a good laugh. 

Don’t Lead Everyone The Same Way

My kids are currently 3, 5 and 7 years old. They are at totally different phases of their development, even though they are only 4 years apart. They need unique encouragement, guidance, motivation and discipline based on their age and personality. 

Similarly, if you lead a team, everyone on that team must be led uniquely. What motivates one person won’t motivate another. Constructive feedback looks different to different people. We must learn the ins and outs of our team and lead each person uniquely to maximize their impact and the collective impact. @@Leadership (like fatherhood) is more like directing an orchestra than an army.@@

Don’t Miss Moments

There are these moments I have as a father that are too often missed. Moments when growth happens right in front of my very eyes and I let the moment pass. Every time a former struggle is conquered, a new skill is learned, a new trait is formed, and so many more – there is a moment to step into and call out exactly what you just witnessed in your child. It’s a moment of tremendous encouragement, learning and development, and I don’t always show up for these.

Similarly, there are moments on our teams that we miss as leaders. We expect growth, so we often neglect to call it out when we see it. I believe we diminish the potential for future growth when we don’t take the time to step into the small moments of failure, struggle, growth and development.

Any fathers out there? What has being a father taught you about leadership?

3 Rhythms To Achieve Balance In Life & Leadership

Balance is a myth. Rhythm is the reality.
— Léonce Crump Jr.

We’re all trying to achieve balance, but no one really even knows what that is. We aim for balance in our lives, in our leadership and in our churches. But perhaps it’s not balance we need. Perhaps it is rhythm.

@@Perhaps it's not balance we need. Perhaps it's rhythm.@@

When it comes to my personal life and leadership, here are 3 rhythms I use (borrowed from Rick Warren):

Divert Daily

You need your daily space. When a few days pile up and you haven’t had quiet time, you can feel the fatigue begin to set in. This can be your devotional and prayer time. This can be exercise. This can simply be quiet and uninterrupted space. 

Todd Henry has said when we avoid quiet spaces in our lives, creative inversion begins to set in to our leadership. Creative inversion is when the space we have for output of ideas and vision far exceeds our space for the input of ideas and vision.

We must divert daily.

Withdraw Weekly

I’ve posted about the importance of a rest routine before. There’s a problem church leaders have with bringing our work home with us, because for most of us, the line between work and life is really blurry. But you need a day to sabbath and recharge. Your sabbath is to rest the parts of you that you love God with: heart, soul, mind and strength. If you aren’t resting these parts of you on a weekly basis, you will slowly lose patience, creativity and decision-making ability as a leader.

We must withdraw weekly.

Abandon Annually

Every leader needs 2-4 weeks a year to leave their post as the leader. When we do this, we allow for healing in our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical lives. Throughout a calendar year, there is a chipping-away at all of these parts of you. Without a concentrated and extended period of time, you cannot heal to full strength as a leader. 

This is also the space where God affirms and brings into focus His vision for your next run as a leader. At Mission we say "what got you here, won’t get you there." This time away is your time assess what you need to stop, start and continue as a leader to take you to the next level.

We must abandon annually.

If you’re looking for balance in your life and leadership, try to focus on these rhythms. 

What are the rhythms that sustain you as a leader?