October 6, 2008

Hurricane Clarity

Picture_5_2
Weeks after IKE has wreaked havoc in Houston, I continue to reflect on the amazing phenomenon of clarity. People so long for clarity that an event like an impending hurricane actually creates a unique energy, focus, and even pleasure for people. I watched neighbors who generally don’t express passion or purpose in any vector of life, suddenly become filled with both. It is actually pleasurable to know that you are right where you need to be, doing exactly what you should be doing, even when there is a looming threat. Think about it. For a couple of days before IKE hit, people had 100% clarity and a total distraction-less life.

Shouldn’t everyday hint of the benefits of this kind of clarity?

October 5, 2008

Why I Like Larry Osborne

Picture_28
Over the last eighteen months I have interacted with Larry on several occasions, mostly through our connection as Leadership Network authors. I really enjoy time with Larry. Why? Because he doesn’t care. I mean he doesn’t care about propping up his ego. Its refreshing to see a large church pastor want to create learning environments at a conference rather than propagating a specific ministry model. Three weeks ago over dinner he told me that he was intentionally bringing in speakers who would present not just alternative but almost contradictory ways of methodology. Finally a conference for learning and not cloning! I am excited to be a presenter there.

The first Sticky Church conference is happening the next two days. It’s sold out this time, but keeping looking for the next offerings.

October 3, 2008

When the horse is dead, dismount!

I have been reminded many times this week that great leaders know how to stop things that aren’t great in the organization. I just heard this snippet from a message by Alf Halvorson in Bethlehem, PA:

If you are an Indian you bury a dead horse
If you are a church leader you might…

-Buy a stronger whip
-Change riders
-Appoint a committee to study the horse
-Visit other places to see how they ride dead horses
-Lower the standards so that dead horses can be included
-Reclassify the horse as “living impaired”
-Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse
-Harness several dead horses together to increase speed
-Show we need lighter riders through productivity studies
-Declare that dead horses require lower overhead and therefore contribute more to the bottom line

September 30, 2008

Sticky but not Contrived Part 3

Picture_14
I mentioned an innovative ministry a few posts ago named Wayfarer. I think their articulated values are pretty sticky- five motives that pulsate with deep meaning for this team. The five values are communicated with fifteen words. A few months after they articulated these, Dave Rhodes, one of their founders, was on a plane talking to a stranger about their ministry. In the brief interchange he shared their values and the the conversation continued to unfold to become one of their biggest ministry partnerships.

• Christ before Christianity

• Rhythm before Regimen

• Wrestle before Settle

• Go before Know

• We before Me

Read the descriptions of these values as well as their mission and aim here.

September 12, 2008

Sticky but not Contrived Part 2

In response to some comments, I have been reflecting further on stickiness.

One thing to keep in mind is how much the idea of “contrived” is a function of the particular micro-culture. I am amazed by how word-choice that strikes a chord in one community, may feel forced in another. For example, a Baptist Church in FL articulates their mission as, “Building relationships that bring people to dynamic life in Christ.” The boomer leaders near Tampa Bay love the idea “dynamic life” in their particular context. A Presbyterian church however, going through the same process, was turned off by the language of “dynamic life” and produced the following statement: “Renewing minds and redeeming lives with the steadfast love of Jesus Christ.” For this group the big idea of “loyal love” that runs through the Old Testament (Hebrew – hesed), is a relevant “ancient-future” articulation that drives their missional community. In addition, two prominent features of their locale make “steadfast” more sticky. First is their proximity to the famous Alamo in San Antonio. Second is their commitment to stay downtown when other churches moved to the suburbs, reflected by their value of “city transformation.” So imagine how one word, “steadfast” (a word that’s not that sexy) captures one of the weightiest concepts of God’s O.T. love as well as a giant piece of Texas state history within view of the church, as well as the most import decision in the church’s history.