Archive for August, 2006

T.D. Jakes – Excellence at Every Level – Priceless

When I have leaders meetings, I like to discuss some, teach some and play all or a portion of a killer leadership video. My pick tonight was T.D. Jakes at the 2004 Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Below are the notes I typed up for my leaders beforehand. There are some nuggets in there that are priceless, that truly change my life. The line-up for my next leaders meeting is Tim Sanders at the Catalyst conference when he taught on an abundance vs. scarcity mindset. I wish I could remember the year. That might help in locating it.

In the society that we live in today, excitement is infectious and contagious and we are never going to be able to draw the people that God would have us draw if we look bored, defeated and sorry to be in the house of God.

T.D. Jakes, “My leadership book is the Bible. I believe it’s the best leadership book in the world.”

The LORD answered Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” Exodus 17:5-9

Every leader must have a personal encounter with God. You cannot take people where you have not been.

We miss who we can be by emulating other people. Are you going to be an original or a cheap copy of a great original?

You have to have a personal encounter of God – develop your own flavor, your own style of delivery and be comfortable in your own skin.

Are you willing to take the risk to be different? Nobody is attracted to ordinary and average. And if you are willing to be different, I want to warn you leaders are always controversial. Followers fit in. Leaders are controversial. Don’t be different for the sake of being different. The goal is to function independently of what others think or say about you to the point that you earn the right to be a leader…and to be comfortable in your own skin enough to know that you have seen something face to face with God that is important enough that you do not allow face to face with people to intimidate what God has placed inside of you.

Moses is fully persuaded of the power of God being with him and on his side. You need to be fully persuaded that what God gave you works. You have to have confidence in your own giftings. You have to know that God has given you what it takes to accomplish what he has sent you to do. Until you have confidence in your own giftings, you’re not ready to face Pharaoh. Do not despise the day of small beginnings. Sometimes God puts you in a small setting so you can practice your gifts. Bloom where you are planted and learn what you’re supposed to learn in the season that you’re in.

When block layers go to build a wall, they don’t set out to build a wall, but lay a course. Whether you are to lay one course or ten courses, you only can do it one course at a time.

If your leadership style doesn’t change as God sends more people into your congregation you will asphyxiate the growth of your church. You will stop it. It will be your fault.

When God got ready to change Israel, he didn’t talk to a nation, he talked to one person. The change begins with you in ever leadership situation. Until you assume the responsibility that God sent you into that situation to change it rather than to complain about it, you don’t earn the right to be a leader. Leaders don’t whimper, they don’t cry, they don’t complain…leaders make changes. Develop a list of the top ten changes that you are going to do in your area of ministry.

Three different moves that Moses makes in the exodus text

1. Moses starts out with the people in the trenches.
It’s where you inspire with your influence using a hands-on style of leadership – a family style of pasturing where you can’t commission people to go for you, you must go yourself. It’s at this point you are branding a church. Branding: What is it about your ministry that is distinctively and uniquely different? No one can determine or do that for you, Jesus did that himself. He infected, inspired and trained twelve men.

There are no bad people, just misplaced people. Putting people in wrong places is an injustice to them and an injustice to you. Be watchful of criticizing people who are at another stage or on another course than you

God wouldn’t give me a chair if he didn’t have a person to sit in it. No more empty seats.

Learning to lay the next course requires a paradigm shift in my leadership style in order to take it to the next level. Moses knew to make the shift when the people started bickering, murmuring and complaining. Moses walked with them and then he walked in front of them.

2. Moses moves in front of the people instead of walking with them.
The stage of separation. I’m no longer involved with the murmuring and complaining that are going on in the congregation. You don’t allow the bickering to become the focus of your ministry. Instead keep on doing what God told you to do.

You must wean the congregation from being totally dependent upon you for everything. It cannot be where they have to have you for everything. Weaning them from their dependency on you makes them eligible to have a personal experience with God so that they can reproduce. This place of weaning is as hard on the leader as the people. Most leaders need to be needed and draw validation and affirmation from it. This co-dependency will cut off your growth until you wean yourself off your need to have your hands on everything.

Good leadership anticipates problems. Good leadership develops solutions for those problems. That’s how you got saved, God anticipated problems. What plan do you have for the problems you will face? Any problem that you don’t conquer, will conquer you.

3. Moses goes above the people to a place of elevation.
You cannot fight today’s problem with yesterday’s weapon. New levels bring new devils, but greater is He who that is in you than he who is in the world. There is a reason they call you the watchman on the wall. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve always been. Delegate the responsibility to someone else. If you are still doing what you used to do, you are stunting your own growth. The more Moses raises his hands, the more the enemy is defeated in the valley…and Moses isn’t fighting in the valley, Joshua is. Find the Joshua’s in the church. To him who much is given, much is required. You are a limited resource. You need some Joshua’s who can run things in your absence.

You need to have some support ministries who go up on the hill with you and lift your hands up. Definition of weariness: to have your sense of pleasure exhausted. Moses hands got tired, but Aaron and Hur were called to stand up under him. Moses had his hands up, Joshua had his hands on, Aaron and Hur had their hands under. Jesus had Peter, James and John. When Moses lowered his hands, Joshua was starting to lose the battle.

You will understand what you are called to do by what you can’t stand. And until you take that complaining, frustrating and agonizing feeling and turn it to something productive, your church will not be what it ought to be.



I’ve taken five bags of trash out of my office and it still doesn’t look good…better…but not good. What are you supposed to do with all the “stuff” anyway? Oh well, I tried. In honor of my attempt I went out and bought three pair of Nikes to replace the ones that reek from getting wet and nasty one too many times at the two weeks of camp and a mission trip this summer. Youth ministry jobs should come with a summer shoe allowance.

…And suddenly I felt very old

I looked at what it would take to get my Masters degree at Bethel on Thursday. I think I could handle the course work, but felt really old amongst the 20 somethings walking around campus. It kind of felt like going into a middle school lunch room for the first time as an adult.

Back to Reality

It’s been a GREAT summer…a long summer, but a GREAT summer. I officially closed the door on summer after our mission trip picture party on Monday night and then proceeded to take Wednesday through Saturday off. I didn’t do a whole lot of anything except rest, which was good and hard at the same time. I think I slept more in those four days than I did the entire summer.

While I closed the door on summer, there are a memories I won’t soon forget. Gulfport ones are below in no particular order.

Shopping for clothes with Andrew, Becky and Garrett for Rickey, the homeless man, we met in Gulfport. In particular, the finger nail clippers and the sleeping bag decisions.

Watching Dalton be out of his comfort zone, but choosing to continually pushing through it to help people in need.

Talking with Kelsey outside the church one night in Gulfport.

Becky talking about how people shouldn’t have so much fun painting as she, Peyton, Craig and Kelsey had that day.

Jerrod as he bounced through the food line to help the next person carry their stuff.

Hilary leading the trim painting team out underneath the tent.

Evan doing one of the many things he does best…helping out wherever he is needed most. Up until the last day when his eyes looked a little glazed over from fatigue, you would have no clue that he spent the previous week working in blazing hot Mexico.

Meeting Pastor Harper and his wife.

The upstairs of the church after we painted the dark paneling and laid new carpet. It looked sweet.

The two quiet times we spent at the beach just talking with Jesus.

Looking for an adapter all night long to get the trailer lights to work that was connected to the 15 passenger van.

Austin Brooks when he got to cook.

Austin Patterson when he helped load the trailer.

Watching Chris do the trip with two of her sons.

Grocery shopping with students each day. Pushing four carts through the store at Wal-Mart with them. Trying to find taco shells (especially given that I hate tacos).

Trista making sno-cones (or as they call it Gulfport…sno-balls).

Kaela handing out hotdogs with a huge grin on her face.

Gabby asking if she could clean the bathrooms.

Jeremy showing one of the students how to use a power tool.

Andrew and Dave singing in the sanctuary.

Walking along the beach one morning with a handful of students. It wasn’t even 7 a.m. yet and it was already blazing hot by the Gulf. Seeing strung out VHS tapes and other family memorabilia near the edge of the water. Seeing chicken bone after chicken bone on the beach as well (evidently railroad cars of chickens were at the docks when the storm hit).

The snapshots we have of…
Craig at the church.
Neil and Grant.
Austin at the airport.
Jeremy and the guys exhausted on their air mattresses,

Just Chillin’

The last three days have been nice…real nice. Spent Tuesday up at the lake with Chantellle. Today at Manowe with Roxanne. It feels good to stop and just breathe deep.

Leadership Summit

Once again the leadership summit was amazing. My favorite session, probably because I once was a business geek, was the harvard professor and Jim Collins. That was until Wayne Corderio took the stage. Here are my notes, typos and all.

Wayne: Praying and praying for no rain for his outdoor service. It rains and he talks to God about his frustration that he didn’t hold it back.
God: “Wayne, you want the absence of rain, more than you want the presence of God.”
Judy: Ouch…been there, done that.

We don’t forget that we are pastors, but sometimes forget that we are human. Don’t fry your circuits. The road to success and the road to a nervous breakdown are sometimes the very same road.

Sometimes the only way radical change happens is through radical pain. Sometimes when you are on the gurney going in, your heart is open and you’re willing to learn life long lessons. Don’t forget the lessons you learned when your belly was scraping the ground.
Illustration: Plane dropping from 32,000 feet and you’re trying to pull up. You’re paying real close attention.
Parameters, navigation beacons, price tags and set points need to change.
Illustration: Dismantled motorcycle engine. When he put it back together, looked the same but insides were totally different. I see what I have ahead for you and I need you to have more horse power.

1. You have to know what drains and fills your tank. Write it down. If drain becomes greater than input, alarms will go off – anxiety attack, then emotional breakdown, then nervous breakdown. It’s suicide when you have an increased drain and shut off your input.

What fills my tank – what am doing, who am I doing it with and where am I doing these things that when I do them I fill the most alive and I fill the fullest – might save your ministry and marriage.

2. Understand balance in life.
You can take the Holy Spirit out of half of the churches in the US and they will keep on going. Your family is your ministry. If an elder goes south, we keep going. If my spouse goes south, we DON’T keep going.

Principle of the folcrum. Move your heart toward where God is putting His finger on your life.

3. Learn to lead out of rest. Don’t violate the Sabbath rest, you’ll fry your circuits. We don’t mess up because we are evil, but because we are frail. Schedule my rest points. Birth activities out of rest. Genesis: evening then morning. Your day does not begin when you get up, but when you go to sleep. Learn to sleep in on the front side of the clock, not on the back side of the clock (11 a.m. to 3 a.m. – REM). Cooperate with the design of God. Otherwise, soul is gone, dead leader running.

4. Find a lighting rod. You need someone to talk to. You can vomit on and they ground it.

5. Discipline your daily devotions. Self-feeding program. – journal starter kit. Deuteronomy 17 – God required of the King to write and read the law daily.
Scripture (write the one that the Holy Spirit highlights (maybe a promise – Jeremiah 17)
(don’t make permanent decisions on temporary setbacks).
Prayer. Only one book God has promised to inspire. You don’t have the wisdom necessary when you begin – might have zeal, call, but don’t have the wisdom. His promises and instruction will save you a lifetime. Daily devotions will heal you from the inside and fill your tank, so that you can minister to others.

When the Olympics were in Atlanta they started a 119 day run with the torch. Run without the fire – comes in with extinguished wick – I don’t know but I made good time – the goal was not to get their in breakneck speed, but to protect the flame. Some running with an extinguished wick, but you are running fast. How do we reunite the torch, you have to reignite the flame. Come to me those who are weary.


AMAZING! Today was absolutely amazing! The entire team hit a new level today and pushed hard through the end of the last work day.
Here’s a little recap on what we’ve accomplished:
-Painted 6 of the 7 rooms on the second floor at the church here.
-Carpeted 6 of those 7 rooms, tiled one, carpeted the entire hallway and tiled the top landing before the hallway.
-Applied transitions in all the doorways to prevent the seams of the carpet from threading.
-Cleaned this building top to bottom, inside and out.
-Installed baseboard trim through all 7 of the rooms and the hallway. Trim that was all painted by our crew too.
-Cleared the entire basement of another church.
-Primed and painted that entire basement.
-Baked hundreds of cupcakes for VBS.
-Served over 200 hot dogs, around 30 lbs. of sloppy joes and countless chips, cookies and pop.
-Distributed over 4,000 pounds of food, canned goods and personal care items.
-Planned and led two VBS programs for kids that included worship, skits, crafts, games, memory verses and testimonies.

This has been an incredible trip and the kids finished well today! Pastor Tim here lined things up for us to actually get a chance to go swimming at a local Holiday Inn which was a great afternoon treat. Then later this evening we all enjoyed some Dairy Queen and a moonlit stop at the beach together.

Your kids have represented the church well, they’ve represented your families well and ultimately they’ve represented Jesus well! You should be proud of them! The pastors of the churches we’ve been working with could not stop saying great things about this team.

Tomorrow we will pack things up and do one last clean up of the church before hitting Gulfport’s waterpark on the way out of town. We will spend the evening in Birmingham and then catch our flight home on Saturday.

Thank you for your prayers! Thank you for your encouragement and comments! We really could not have done this without your help! Your prayers, your finances, your words are what have helped this team become what it is and we count it a blessing that you’ve been a part of this team alongside us!

This will likely be the last post until we get home, so be praying for our travel and we’ll see you all soon!