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Seven Reasons Pastors Ought to Get Together

Today I had the privilege of joining in with a local Pastors’ gathering hosted by Christ Church of the Valley and Shepherd of the Hills Church. I led a roundtable discussion on the topic, The Internal Battles of Even the Best Pastors.

Pastors Gathering at the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference, 2011

Pastors Gathering at the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference, 2011

One of the issues we talked about was the huge need for Pastors to minister to one another. We tend to avoid this because we’re busy doing our own thing at our own church. Most Pastors struggle with self-inflicted isolation and we all hurt as a result. There are issues Pastors face that they can’t always explain to a congregation or even their spouse. So we need one another.

I often issue the challenge for Pastors to adopt another Pastor or two and intentionally minister to them. That can be as simple as picking up the phone and calling them once every few weeks and having prayer with them about whatever the might be facing. It’s vital that Pastors meet with one another and lean on each other. Why?

  1. Because even though we speak to crowds on the weekends and make visits and calls all week long, we still tend toward isolation. Yep, we’re a bit dumb and ought to know better, but we spend too much time alone.
  2. Because we can learn from the experiences of others, including the mistakes of others, which is far less costly than making all of our own mistakes. Somebody has been through what you’ve been through.
  3. Because we are more real when we work on a relationship with each other. There’s something less mystical about all the other Pastors out there once you get to know them. We’re all a little insecure, not just you.
  4. Because prayer changes things. It works. It’s an active force. God promised to respond to prayer, so His leaders need to pray with and for one another.
  5. Because the other guy needs it. Does the thought of “opening up” or “reaching out for help” give you a funny feeling? That’s okay, the other guy needs your help, and you’ll need his sooner than you realize.
  6. Because other Pastors will laugh at your jokes when everyone else (even your wife) just rolls their eyes.
  7. Because “iron sharpens iron.” Everybody needs a friend, and who better than other people in the trenches?

Want an opportunity to meet up with other Pastors? Join our meetup group. Our first meeting is this Friday at the Refinery at Saddleback Church at 10:30 a.m. PST but we hope to set up meetups all over the country.

Want me to come and speak to your gathering of leaders and/or Pastors? Drop me a line.

Influence Is Great, But To What End?

I like the word “influence” as you probably do too. I want more of it. It’s why Christians are left on earth after being saved and not drafted instantly into heave – so we can influence others to follow Christ. But I see a trend within our culture of downsizing the value of influence.

We now assume that if a lot of people follow you on Twitter or if you hit the limit of “friends” on Facebook, you have influence. Really? If a Hollywood celebrity has 5 million followers on a social network and sends and update that they are prepping for tonight’s show, millions of people will read that update, and then they’re going to… go on with life.

Being popular isn’t bad. Some people with large followings use the power of that influence to get people to vote, to build clean water wells in third world countries, or to save another dog from being euthanized. All good causes and worthy uses of actual influence.

Recommended Reading: One of the best books available on this subject is John Maxwell’s Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others (aff)

Within Christianity, we need to understand that our influence can matter for eternity. I can show you a picture of my day at the beach and brighten your moment. I can get you to give for clean wells and you’ll change someone’s health situation. But I can also tell you about Jesus and His willingness to forgive all of our sins on the basis of His death, burial, and resurrection, and I can change your eternity.

I’m glad you want more influence. If you’re a Christian, you need to realize that you are not your own. You are bought with a price, so your influence belongs to God. Therefore the end of it is an eternal purpose. Even if you’re not a believer, you still decide whether your popularity will be squandered in frivolity or used to change your world somehow.

I just wonder if we realize what a gold mine influence is. I want more of it, but I want God to be the One to decide I’m ready for it. I want to prove faithful in the little things and trust God to expand my influence so that eternity is impacted and heaven is filled.

You probably want more influence too… but to what end?

Get Ready for Radicalis 2011

Radicalis 2011

Get ready. I’m going to be posting about Radicalis 2011 quite a bit between now and February. Why?

Because It’s an Awesome Conference for Pastors and Staff Teams

It’s like 14 conferences rolled into one, with plenary sessions and inspirational speakers. Our guests will include Pete Wilson, Dave Gibbons, Matt Carter, Shawn Lovejoy, and Steven Furtick.

I attended Radicalis 2010 and that’s where the conversation began that eventually brought me here to Saddleback to be on staff. It was an amazing week and I can’t wait for February 22-25.

One of the things I’m going to be doing is networking with bloggers and social media enthusiasts who would like to help us promote the conference in exchange for some sweet swag and giveaways. Soon I’ll be posting banners you can display proudly on your blog, and if you’re into Twitter (psht, of course you are, right?), you can tweet for us – something like…

Enhance each member of your team’s role at Radicalis 2011 at Saddleback. via @radicalsonly
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Be a moving force for serving God in your community and in the world. Attend Radicalis 2011.
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Be a part of planting new ministries and churches! Come to Radicalis 2011 at Saddleback.
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Gain fresh insight from @RickWarren, Saddleback Team, and leading pastors and church planters at Radicalis 2011.
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Learn a process and build relationships with other leaders for expanding your vision and ministry at Radicalis 2011.
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Build momentum and fuel progress in your ministry by attending Radicalis 2011! via @radicalsonly
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Say yes to becoming all God created you to be! Join us at Radicalis 2011! via @radicalsonly
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Say yes to building a health church with your ministry team at Radicalis 2011! via @radicalsonly
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More later on Radicalis 2011, but don’t forget to check out the new site, just made live yesterday.

You Can Lead by Fear or Lead by Love

LeadershipOne of my favorite spots to hang out on the weekends is the green room, backstage at Saddleback. It’s not just that some kind volunteers stock it with hot Thai food, it’s the conversations that happen there. I learn about leadership by listening to other leaders.

This past Sunday, I was sitting around with David Chrzan, Dave Greene, and Todd Olthoff, fellow Pastors at the church, and Dave Greene shared a principle I’d never really thought about before. You can lead by fear, or you can lead by love. In other words, you can make decisions for people that are motivated either by your fear of losing control, or by your passion to see others grow.

I began thinking about how I’ve seen decisions made within the churches I’ve led. I’ve seen decisions made out of fear…

  • Don’t let anybody spend money without the approval of _____.
  • Don’t let anybody start a ministry without the permission of _____.
  • Don’t let anybody use the _____ because they might not take care of it.

We lead by fear when we make decisions designed to protect ourselves, our turf, or the status quo. We don’t want to upset anyone. We don’t want to lose the perceived “control” we think we have. Or we don’t want anyone else getting the glory.

Unfortunately, we don’t see fear-based leading for what it is. Instead, we see ourselves as protectors of a cause. If I let them give the kids candy, they’ll put fingerprints on the walls… and doesn’t God despise messy walls?

I’ve also seen decisions made out of love. I watched Terri and a few other ladies start a food pantry that cost money, took time, and brought people on our campus that were sometimes tough to know how to help, but it was started out of love, and God blessed it.

I’ve watched Joni challenge people to give away shoes even though it was a lot of work on a Saturday, and even though some people took advantage of our generosity, because she loved people.

I’ve watched Angie put her body through all kinds of difficulties to bring Sam into the world, in spite of the cost, in spite of all the doctor visits, because she loves the kids God had in mind for us.

When we lead out of love, we forget about ourselves, our turf, and our glory, and we start thinking in terms of:

  • How can I help _____ grow spiritually?
  • How can I help _____ escape a destructive lifestyle?
  • How can we see more people come to Jesus in spite of the cost, the mess, and the work?

You can lead out of fear, or you can lead out of love. I hope we’ll choose love.

Check Your Blind Spots

I’ve recently been introduced to the video library of The Soderquist Center, a leadership training institution formed in the legacy of retired Walmart Executive Don Soderquist. I caught this one today, a short skit illustrating the problem with our leadership blind spots…

‘LeaderSkilz’ – Emotional Intelligence from The Soderquist Center on Vimeo.

The problem with blind spots is… we don’t see them. That’s why they’re blind spots. It hurts sometimes to have pointed out to us the shortcomings we didn’t realize we had, but there’s no fixing what we can’t identify. I would ask what your blind spots are, but you probably don’t know, so I’ll just encourage you to ask someone who would – start with your spouse…