Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 in Blog, Life |

What Does It Mean to Be Generous?

What Does It Mean to Be Generous?

If you haven’t already heard, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have pledged to give away 99% of their net worth to charitable causes over their lifetime.  If you’ve read about it already, you’ve likely also seen the wave of articles such as this one picking apart the couple’s generosity due to a variety of reasons, such as the tax benefits and the nature of the organization the money will be pledged to. When was the last time any of those writers gave away 99% of their net worth? Yes, there is truth in what they are writing.  Yes, there are clear advantages in the manner in which the Zuckerbergs are handling the donation.  Does any of that devalue the $45 billion that will be given to do good or the motivations of the givers? It brings to mind the question, “What does it mean to be generous?”  And in a culture that isn’t inherently generous, but rather quite consumeristic, I think we struggle with answering the question.  During this time of...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 21, 2015 in Blog, Kingdom |

How Do You Connect Good Deeds and Good News?

How Do You Connect Good Deeds and Good News?

This week I had the opportunity to facilitate one of the gatherings for our New Evangelism Paradigms Leadership Community.  Nine churches are journeying together for two years in a collaborative effort to develop new pathways to engage those far from God who will not be reached through a Sunday morning service.  This week’s gathering focused on how to make the connection between “good deeds” and the spreading of the Good News.  And despite popular sentiment to the contrary, conducting good deeds does not create an automatic link to God. You’ve probably heard a quote attributed to Francis of Assisi (despite the lack of any compelling evidence linking Francis to this particular quote): “Preach the Gospel at all times.  Use words when necessary.”  The idea expressed in the quote rests on the assumption that, when the people of God serve others through love and good deeds, those witnessing will directly link their benevolence to God. However, as my colleague and Externally Focused Church author, Eric Swanson, pointed out, left to themselves, people will...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Blog, Life |

Be a Daily Learner

Be a Daily Learner

I came across this quote in an article I read a few years ago: There is divine beauty in learning… To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. – Elie Wiesel The quote by itself is spot on.  But if you know the person it is attributed to, it becomes much more powerful.  From Elie Wiesel’s bio on the Elie Wiesel Foundation website: Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania, which is now part of Romania. He was fifteen years old when he and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945. When I was fifteen years old, my biggest concerns revolved around sports, acne, and my daily ability to corral my hair.  I...

Read More

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Blog, Life |

A Focus on Giving Thanks

A Focus on Giving Thanks

Is seems that so much of our culture is focused on the negative.  Even the people that are supposed to be carriers of positivity and peace appear to be much more interested in turmoil and strife.  You don’t have to spend much time in this atmosphere of malaise before you begin to feel its effects, seeping deep into your bones, robbing you of the joy and contentment that once shined brightly within you. It’s depressing. As difficult as it can be at times, we must make the choice to see the world through different lenses.  Our focus must be steady and sure, otherwise our gaze will drift and our resolve weaken.  Its no easy task to be ‘other than’ what appears all around us. But then things that really matter are seldom easy to attain. So in a month where more of us turn our attention toward things we’re thankful for, at least more than what seems usual, I’ve made the commitment to be intentionally thankful.  It’s part of an overall...

Read More

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in Blog, Kingdom |

Is Your Church Succession Ready?

Is Your Church Succession Ready?

One of the biggest issues facing a majority of churches in North America is pastoral succession.  The reality is that every pastor is an interim pastor.  Some will be replaced in the future, others will remain until the doors are closed, and some will be relieved of duty when Christ returns.  One of the critical questions becomes, “How prepared are you for your inevitable transition?” A recent survey co-sponsored by Leadership Network asked large churches (weekly attendance of 1,000 and higher): “How would you rate efforts at planning for the senior pastor’s eventual succession from this church, relative to where you feel that planning should be at this point?” A surprising 44% rate their succession preparation as either “poor” or “fair”—the bottom two choices out of five total options. Only 8% picked the top choice of “outstanding.” This mini-report, brought to you by Vanderbloemen Search Group, explores the current state of succession planning in large churches, as well as offers next steps you can take to improve your own succession...

Read More

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Blog, Life |

7 Deadly Assumptions #4: Others Understand Things the Way I Do – Leadership Network Blog

7 Deadly Assumptions #4: Others Understand Things the Way I Do – Leadership Network Blog

Our next Deadly Assumption in this series is the assumption that “others understand the issue the way that I do,” and it’s a killer when it comes to collaboration and strong strategic decision-making.  Deadly Assumption #4 was made famous a few years ago by the dynamic decision-making duo, Chip and Dan Heath.  In their book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, the Heath brothers wrote about a phenomenon called The Curse of Knowledge.  On the surface it doesn’t sound like much of a ‘curse’.  After all, who wouldn’t want to have knowledge?  But once you understand it, you realize the impact this assumption has on our decision making is anything but a blessing. In their book, the Heath Brothers give the illustration of a Stanford University graduate student in psychology named Elizabeth Newton who illustrated the curse of knowledge in 1990 by studying a simple game in which she assigned people to one of two roles: “tapper” or “listener.” Each tapper was asked to pick...

Read More