October 25, 2014

Life is Like Whitewater: 5 Strategies for How to Ride

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 3.56.03 PMOne of my very short-term mentors is Kevin McCarthy. While I was still on the pastoral staff at Clear Creek Community Church, Kevin came in to consult with us. He modeled what expert facilitation looked like and spoke with great skill about organizational vision. One of his books is the On-Purpose Person and this post is taken from it. Kevin skillfully summarizes what I am calling five strategies for making it through life:

Imagine your life to be like a boat on a river of time. You captain your vessel. Some stretches of the river are smooth and quiet; other parts are turbulent with rapids. Most of the river is an endless converging and mixing of currents and conditions that inevitably move you along. The river exists, but its flow is indifferent to your presence. The harsh reality of ‘the real world’ inevitably hits us. How we deal with it matters. I’ve given the responses nicknames: floaters, fighters, fleers, flitters, and navigators.

Strategy #1: Floaters

  • Passively resign themselves to accept the river in its present condition
  • Aimlessly go along for the ride
  • Are unwilling to accept responsibility for altering their experience
  • Complain the whole time about how unfair the world is

Strategy #2: Fighters

  • Fight the forces of nature
  • Glory in ‘victories’ from time to time
  • Tout the virtues of perseverance and commitment
  • Fail to realize how little control they possess
  • Suffer from burnout, stress, and exhaustion because their strategy is futile

Strategy #3: Fleers

  • Check out of all responsibility and flee the flow of society
  • Fall into self-indulgent behaviors
  • Retreat from society in order to cope with their fear

Strategy #4: Flitters

  • Jump from job to job, person to person, or place to place
  • Are always searching but rarely finding what they’re looking for in life
  • Are masters at starting over but rarely take root
  • Feel productive because of their busyness, but never gain traction

We may all be floaters, fighters, fleers, or flitters to some degree, but these actions should be a technique, not a way of life. Navigating life and appropriately using these methods is the point. Strategy #5: Navigators

  • Know the flow, navigate to go
  • Accept the river and its ever-changing conditions
  • Are not resigned to futile determinism
  • Have not foolishly tried to change nature’s course
  • Do not run away
  • Do not panic

The difference between the floaters/fighters//fleers/flitters and the navigators is knowing the river, equipping oneself, and harnessing these resources to work with the flow of water or time. In a couple of words, it’s “lifelong learning.”

Each of us owns unique knowledge and life experiences. Add to this our talents, strengths, and gifts and gird it all with purpose, and we gain a powerful and potent combination. When times get tough, we captain ourselves as best we can or we get a more experienced navigator to guide us. This is why so many people today turn to life coaches to help them accelerate their personal growth and professional development. Coaches are like river guides for life. They bring their perspectives and experience to the situation for our benefit.

This last year, I began my first Personal Vision Cohort–a group of 15-20 people spending 12 months working diligently on finding and aligning their call from God. If you want to follow along with tools and learnings from this cohort, just look for the the keyword “younique.” Check #younique out on twitter or type it in the search box. It’s going to be a fun year!

October 18, 2014

Using Social Media as a Christ Follower: One Principle and Three Questions

social media enough book

After taking LifeWay Christian Stores through a vision process, I not only shop there often, I go with a different mindset. Their mission is passionately engaging believers on their journey of faith. The big idea is to be an oasis-outfitter. A place that feels at the same time like a refreshing oasis and an REI outfitter, for your spiritual life.

Because I’m a father to Abby, my 15-year old daughter, I recently  picked up a new piece of equipment: a book by Kate Conner titled,  Enough: 10 Things we Should be Telling our Teenage Girls.

Here is a takeaway that I think brings immediate value to any Christian using social media.

ONE PRINCIPLE

Conner argues that the answer to problems with social media don’t center around removing social media itself. Rather it involves the commitment to:

Take the good, leave the rest.

She cites 1 Thess. 5:21: “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Here is where her words grabbed me:

  • Take the enjoyment, leave the addiction
  • Take the communication, leave the isolation
  • Take the inspiration and leave the jealously

Good stuff. And remember what Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

THREE QUESTIONS

1. What story am I telling?

If you look at the ongoing communication of social media what is the dominant theme and meaning of your life. What are you all about? Travel? Parenting? Sports? Work? Criticism? Food?

2. If I went back and read all of my social media statuses, would I recognize me?

Conner emphasizes that our heat-of-the-moment selves are not our best selves.

3. If I want back and read all of my social media statuses would I know I was a Christian? 

Great questions to bring clarity to your life. What questions would you add?

October 10, 2014

10 Compelling Church Mission Statements (from the Last 10 that I Facilitated)

church mission as compassIt’s exciting to lead a growing team of navigators at Auxano these days. Thirteen years ago I dreamed about the idea that I could actually spend a 40-hour work week just helping church leaders work on things like mission, vision and values. Now we have 8 staff navigators, and a dozen part-time guys who have served over 150 churches in 2014.

As a player-coach, I still lead a few processes myself for training purposes or to work with churches specifically that I feel called to. Here are 10 that I have recently worked with in facilitating the mission articulation.

1.  Making much of Jesus, because Jesus changes everything (in process)

Austin Stone, Austin, TX (Kevin Peck, lead pastor)

2.  Connecting people with God, through authentic relationships to serve communities (in process)

- Newbreak Church, San Diego, CA (Mike Quinn, lead pastor)

3.  Passionately engaging believers on their journey of faith 

LifeWay Christian Stores, Nashville, TN (Tim Vineyard, president)

4.  Inviting the striving to something really real (in process)

- The Bridge Bible Church, Bakersfield, CS (Jeff Gowling, senior pastor)

5.  Rescuing one another from cultural Christianity to follow Jesus every day

- Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas, TX. (Jeff Warren, senior pastor)

6. Promoting the discovery of Jesus through sports

Upward Sports, Spartanburg, SC (Caz McCaslin, president)

7. Helping one another trade a checklist faith for real life with Jesus

First Baptist Concord, Knoxville, TN (John Avant, lead pastor)

8. Equipping multiplying leaders with reproducible systems to plant more healthy churches

Launch Group, Atlanta, GA (Mac Lake, lead architect)

9. Imperfect people, risking it all to make Jesus real one life at a time

- Salem Lutheran, Tomball, TX (Tim Niekerk, senior pastor)

10. Inviting the distracted and disinterested to realize their role in God’s story

- Mountain Park Community Church, Phoenix, AZ (Allan Fuller, lead pastor)

September 15, 2014

Latest TeamUP Resource Now Available

It’s that time of year again…

The time when the faint whispers of Autumn are found in loud roars from the gridiron, and when the first colors of Fall are worn on every player’s jersey and in each fan’s heart.

It’s football time in America, when an offseason of practice and preparation gives way to team excellence and execution. It’s no different at your church.   Do you have a game-plan?

Introducing Fall’s most important playbook for church leaders:

TeamUP: Top 10 Exercises for Great Team Moments

As a reader of this blog, I am offering you free, access to our next TeamUP tool designed for creating winning team moments at your church. Simply click on the image below.

Tweet or Instagram your game-changing TeamUp moment over the next two weeks using#auxanoteamup, and receive additional bonus content.

The top two most creative, and engaging posts by October 1, will get their own one-hour Skype call hosted by me for a staff meeting with your team. This call will focus on any one area where your church needs break-thru.

What are you waiting for?  Break-out the team colors, and break-thru with TeamUP this Fall.

TopTenfinal

It’s time for visionary team execution for God’s Kingdom. 

 

July 28, 2014

Choose Your Fuel: Vision, Hype, Busyness or a Building Project

Mike Gammill is one of our Lead Navigators at Auxano. He recently completed a campaign with San Marcos Community Church in San Marcos, TX. The Vision Clarity impact and unique Campaign story will inspire you.

In the summer of 2013, San Marcos Community Church was in the church plant doldrums. As a twelve-year-old plant they really weren’t a “plant” anymore, but their base of mission and worship was still a leased facility. They did own land a couple of streets over. They owned a building too, but it was a metal prefab building and was, literally, in storage. Their dreams of permanent place were in storage too.

Twelve years in, the church had hit a plateau and energy was on the decline. “Trying to put on Saul’s armor” were the words the Senior Pastor used when we talked about most of the solutions available to him. He resonated with our Vision Clarity process, because we started with understanding their unique God-given ministry DNA, and then, from there, navigated them through growth obstacles with vision instead of hype, busyness…or a building project.

We started their seven-month vision clarity process in September of that year. The Senior Pastor quickly made a tough decision that paid dividends in spades: he consolidated all weekly ministry programs into a weekly prayer gathering. This prayer gathering became the central nervous system to a revival that broke out shortly after. Church attendance began to increase and a second service was added. Giving began to increase and the Holy Spirit challenged leadership to step up their commitment to – literally – lay the foundation for their permanent facility.

Then, in November, the call came from their landlord that could have disrupted everything. They had 90 days to find a new place to worship (the state of Texas was turning the building into a highway). Rather than seeing this as an obstacle, church leadership saw this as leading from the Holy Spirit. In addition to finding a new place to live, the time had clearly come to launch a capital campaign in the next three months. They needed to raise capital to construct and occupy a permanent church in San Marcos, Texas, a city where it’s easier to open a bar than a church.

The Holy Spirit inspired urgency, along with an increasingly healthy centralized prayer gathering that helped them to overcome a too-short time frame. On Palm Sunday 2014, the congregation made commitments that totaled over 2.5x their 2013 budget. General giving also increased over 30%. In the end, they blew past their goals and greatly increased the generosity level of the church. All this, and their mortgage in 2015 may be less than their lease was in 2014.

Meanwhile, God demonstrated his faithfulness when he led the church to relocate to a nearby dance hall and bar that had closed its doors. When God builds his church, nothing can stand in the way.