As many of you know, I have met weekly for the past 3 years with Dr. Hardy Clemons for mentoring. We have talked about anything and everything and I can't tell you how incredibly valuable it has been to me as a pastor, husband, father, and follower of Christ. In this short clip I asked Hardy that if he could share 1 piece of advice with a young pastor what would it be.
In the coming weeks I want to share some of my time with this great leader in the church with you. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post with any questions that you might like for me to ask him.
I have to warn you that the video quality is horrible and the audio even worse (I used my $1.99 video app for the original iPhone without 3G or video). Hardy and his wife, Ardelle, will also be a part of our discussion panel at Segue this week if you want to join us on Monday night at Tripoint at 8pm or live on the web at www.SegueSA.com/live. We will be discussing dating, sex, and marriage.
I heard a rumor from a friend that Nelson Searcy of Journey Metro Church in New York City read a book a day. I thought that with all that he did with Journey Church and Church Leader Insights that it couldn't be done. When I heard that he was doing a webinar through CLI about How to Read More, I had to jump in. It turns out it's true, he does read a book a week. If he offers this webinar again, I encourage you to jump in and hear his plan for reading. I won't give away everything that I learned, but I will share a couple of things that stood out to me. The first is that I don't have a plan. I always have a few books on the shelf that I'm wanting to read, but I don't lay out a time line or think about what book I will read next. I pick up a book until I finish it or get bored with it and then when I feel like picking up another book, I do. I can read so much more and be more effective in my learning if I set goals and lay out a plan. This really was the key take away. The other interesting perspective that I took away was how he sized up a book. He said that he will pick up a book, read the back, read the inside cover, and then the Table of Contents. At that point he decides whether he will read the whole book word for word or pick a couple of chapters to focus on. He also sets a time restrictions like this book is worth an hour of my time or I want to really focus on this and read it very closely throughout the week. I'm looking forward to applying Nelson's system to my reading plan and hopefully increase my reading this year! What is your plan for reading? How do you decide what you will read? How much time a day to you spend reading?
If you live in San Antonio, I'm sure you know or have heard about The Justin Graves Band. You see a picture above taken by Eric Gay with Justin getting to jam with Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. I have had the privilege of partnering with Justin in ministry many times in many places over the past 10 years or so. Justin has a unique ability to lead people of all ages and backgrounds in worship. I've watched him lead both 8 year olds and 80 year olds in meaningful worship experiences. If you are not familiar with his music make sure to check out his music at www.JustinGravesMusic.com. If you are familiar with his music, I want to encourage you to check out his ministry page at www.JustinGravesMinistries.com and consider giving to support his ministry through music. Justin, Michelle, and Gabi have been great friends to Katie, Emery, and me; and we look forward to both continuing to do ministry together as well as deepening our friendship in the years to come.
About 2 years ago my friend Jaime Puente suggested this book to me. I quickly bought it on Amazon and read it in a few days. It fascinated me primarily because I've only worked in established and traditional churches. As I look at some of the fastest growing churches they are primarily new church plants and rarely established churches experiencing resurgence. While there are hundreds, probably thousands of dying churches in America, there are also many who are experiencing resurgence. In this book Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson study some of these churches and what makes them unique in their resurgence. The reality was very common: a willingness to change. We have all heard the saying that if you keep doing the same thing you are going to keep getting the same results. I don't know where you see that more than in the church. We must be willing to change! This is a great book if you are a part of an established congregation or considering serving in one.
So I have an addiction to lights and fog. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning every time I get to order a new light, fog machine, or controller. When I'm having a bad day, there's nothing like fogging up the Student Center, pumping some good music, and going crazy with the lights. I think it might be a sickness, but either way it's an addiction.
The reality in ministry is that stage lighting is expensive and often excessive. I'm a visual person, so I love lights and video. Video seems to be a necessity where lights are a bonus. I want to suggest a couple connections though that might be able to help you enhance your stage lighting in your ministry area.
First, I buy everything through Go Direct Music. Give them a call and ask for Shawn Miller. He will give you an incredible ministry discount on any Sound, Lighting, or Video equipment that you need that will beat any price you will get anywhere. He also has sold me on Eliminator lighting. I have to warn you that Elimator is CHEAP and probably won't last very long. The truth is I like that because I'm ready to get something new every couple of years. I've found that it's the best bang for the buck though. I've filled our Student Center with their small LED lights which can give you any color and give off no heat! I also love their intelligent scanners which are incredible for effect and very cost effective (I bought 8 scanners for the same price that I bought 1 Elation scanner for and the Elation scanner broke 1st). Eliminator seems to be on the same quality level of American DJ and Chauvet but at a much lower price.
As far as a console goes, I've fallen in love with the Elation Computer Software. All you have to do is download the software on to your computer and connect the box through USB. You can control as many lights as you want and gives you great color control with the LED lights as well as patterns and GOBO options on the intells.
If you have any questions or want to talk lights, please leave or send me a message. I'd love to help you pick out some affordable lighting options for your venue.
I'm always interested to see the list of who the fastest growing churches are every year in Outreach Magazine. As I read about these churches I love to see what makes them unique and what I can learn from their tremendous growth. I also love reading all things Ed Stetzer who helps to lead this research. I remember reading an article about Austin Stone Community Church after making the list and their pastor, Matt Carter, saying that they should have been listed as one of the "crappiest church in assimilating growth." While it's interesting to check these churches out, it's also important to maintain perspective and know that while they grew a lot this past year that doesn't necessarily mean that they have it all figured out and that we should just copy them. While I don't think numbers are everything, they are very important. I heard Rick Warren share his response to a pastor who told him he doesn't count attendance... he asked him if he counted the offering. Numbers are important and I desire to be a part of a church and ministries that take growth seriously. I will be eager to hear your thoughts when it comes to church growth.
This past Monday I had the privilege of co-teaching with my sister at Segue. She taught the ladies while I taught the guys. We shared the same basic outline, here it is:
Goin’ All The Way: Finding the One
New Theory: Find The One, then the two
We must first be right in our relationship with God before we can think about being in a right relationship with someone else. When we begin to understand that God is our number 1 and our future or current spouse is our number 2, our relationships will be revolutionized.
How to find The One?
Galations 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
It doesn’t sound very nice but it is. When we want to live for Christ, we must die to ourselves.
How to fall in love with The One?
When we begin a dating relationship it always seems to consume our lives. We make the time to get to know that person. Our relationship with God should consume our lives in an even greater way. Great ways to do that:
1. Read the Word 2. Pray 3. Be adventurous and creative 4. Learn everything there is to learn about Him 5. Talk with others about Him (Community)
Becoming the Two as you Prepare for your Two
1. Let the past go!
Romans 8:1-2- “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
1Corinthians 5:17- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is anew creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
You are NOT who you were. Let it go!
2. Be ready to lead you wife and family as a man of God should (be ready now… don’t wait.)
Be ready to lead with love!
3. Start Praying for Him/Her Now
1:46 Challenge --> Read 1 Cor 13:4-6 (love chapter) and pray for him/her every day.
4. Surround yourself in Accountability and Community
Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Going after The One
The best way you can do that is to focus in on the One that really matters. Fix your eyes on Him... He will work it out.
We all quote Jeremiah 29:11, but we leave out the best part v12-14:
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. --> Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you and I will restore...”
Prayer Activity: Take some time, spread out and surrender. Ask Him to be Your One. Pray that He would make you fall in love with Him.
I just listened to the Church Leader Insights podcast with Nelson Searcy. This month's podcast was a great conversation between Nelson and a ministry hero of mine in Perry Noble. The interview is about 15 minutes. Take the time to click here and listen to the podcast today.
This past Monday, I had the incredible opportunity to teach together with my sister at Segue. She spoke to the ladies while I spoke to the guys about "Finding the 1" (Notes will be posted soon). It's been so fun to watch her ministry grow and develop and I cannot wait to see how God continues to use her through her writing and teaching in the coming years. I can't encourage you enough to take the time to check out here blog: www.thekisers.blogspot.com. Also, if you're a pastor or youth pastor and you're looking for someone to come and speak to your ladies or girls groups, you need to send Becky a message.
You can also read her husband (my brother-in-law) Chris' blog at www.christopherjkiser.blogspot.com. Chris doesn't blog as regularly, but his posts are solid and thought provoking. The majority of his blogs are spiritual but he also knows more about politics than anyone I know. I would love to see him blog a little about where Faith and Politics collide.
This morning when I logged into the Rockbridge Seminary website this video was posted and was a great reminder not only of the great need currently in Haiti, but around the world. I will let the video speak for itself, but the vision that God has given Rick Warren in the P.E.A.C.E. plan can, will, and is changing the world. Where is God calling you to go? Who is God calling you to lead?
I'm continually amazed by everything that I can do online! Tonight I ordered dinner from Outback Steakhouse online and there was a guy that immediately walked out to my car with the food in a bag the moment I arrived. I'm constantly amazed by how so many organizations are maximizing the internet to further their goals. As I consider the possibilities when it comes to the church, I'm overwhelmed by the potential. When it comes to Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, Worship, Missions (my Rick Warren Purposes plug), etc. the possibilities are endless!
Have you ever thought about broadcasting one of your services or events but thought it was too complicated or expensive? I thought the same thing until about 18 months ago when I discovered Mogulus.com which is now Livestream. I found out that it's really not that complicated and that I can even use my built in computer camera to broadcast live. I have even heard recently that you can broadcast live video from your iPhone using UStream, but I haven't tried it yet. I'll let you know soon though! Anyways, using Livestream has been incredibly effective for our college ministry as we've had up to 75 viewers at one time and on any given Monday have viewers form 5-6 different countries around the world. We've also used it in our Youth Ministry during the summer when we created Pulse TV. If you're looking to laugh there are some great On-Demand videos. Don't expect much or any spiritual content on that page though. It's been incredible to see how God has used this FREE resource that is really incredibly easy to use. I hope you'll give it a try!I also hope you'll tune into Segue on Monday nights at 8pm CST by clicking here.
If you haven't already seen the article, here is the link to the article in the San Antonio Express News about the Trinity Baptist Church iPhone App. It was fun getting to connect with Abe Levy from the Express News on this article.
Ever thought about sharing a podcast for your church or just doing one yourself? If you're like me you've wanted to but thought it was too complicated. Recently I heard about a FREE website, Buzzsprout, where you can host podcasts very easily and simply upload them to iTunes. My Dad has actually begun uploading his podcasts here from Splendora Countryside UMC. About a year ago we tried doing a Podcast for our Student Ministry. You can check out the archives here. We used iWeb to as our platform, but it's not near as easy to use as Buzzsprout. What can it hurt to try it out, it's FREE!
Do you need a website for your ministry or thinking about getting a new one? Consider Clover sites! I've never seen such quality websites like the ones the Clover provides anywhere near the price that they offer. For a $1,000 setup fee and $20/month you can have a fully functional professional website for your ministry. You can easily display your calendar and media (videos, pictures, and podcast files) on your site as well as clearly communicating the mission and activities within your ministry. Even if you have a great website, I encourage you to take 5 minutes and get to know Clover and share this info with a friend who might need a new and affordable website for their ministry. Click here to find out more about Clover Sites.