Yesterday I gave you the first four attitudes that help to keep me on the growing edge: humility, positivity, expectancy, and generosity. Here are the final three, plus a personal story...
Perseverance – no matter how many times I fail, I try, try again. I used an old phrase with my kids hundreds of times as I raised them. I used it whenever they tried something and failed. When they would come to me and announce that something did not work, or that they had failed at something, I would say, “Try, try again!” It became somewhat of a joke between me and them. It’s no joke today. They know that failure is not the end, just a redirection of effort. They have succeeded in many things because they just keep trying. I grow when I look failure in the face and declare, “Try, try, again!” As a 200church pastor, my attitude of perseverance helps me look forward to the next Sunday!
Appreciation – I move toward those who are different from me, appreciating and learning from our differences. When I say attitude of appreciation, I mean for those who are different from me. Small people say, “I wouldn't do it that way!” Big people say, "I've never done it that way, I'll have to give it a try!" I want to appreciate people who are different from me, and who do things different from me. I also want to learn from them.
Excellence – Some days my best is not as good as other days, but I’ll do my best today. To have an attitude of excellence is to appreciate what God has given you to do today. It is to expect that you are going to be human, not superhuman; good, not perfect; giving your best, not someone else’s. Excellence is more about not giving up, always improving, and staying vertical. It’s not setting the world record, but maybe your personal best. Pursuing excellence won’t make you perfect, but it will keep you growing.
I can learn from anyone! I am in Rochester, NY on vacation this week. My heart was warmed and I felt right at home yesterday when I got yelled at by a Rochesterian. I pulled the wrong way into a gas station and got reamed out by the guy trying to exit. “What’s wrong with you! Why do you have to make my life miserable! You idiot!” he screamed. In what was likely the first time I’ve ever done this, I rolled down my window and yelled back, “Look at the IOWA license plate Pal and give me a break!”
He averted his gaze and I rolled up my window, thinking he might be giving me at least half a break, when even through the closed window I heard him shout, “What’s the matter, can’t they read in Iowa?!” I chuckled to myself as I pulled up to the pump. I can learn from this guy, I thought. I can be gracious and kind and prefer others better than myself. It’s more fun actually.
If I had it to do over again, I’d pull into the same exit, but this time just bump his fender a little, maybe his driver’s door so he couldn't get out. That would fix him! I’ll give him “miserable”! Think I wouldn't? I’ll keep you wondering… When in Rochester…
On Wednesday’s podcast, Episode 21, we talked about what we learned at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast. When you graduate, whether from high school or college, you have a choice to make: will I continue learning, or am I done? It wasn’t long after I finished college, and stopped writing papers and taking tests, that I realized I had better become a lifelong learner if I was to survive the real world.
Some people say attitude is everything. It may not be everything, but it sure is something! As I reflected on my years of learning, often the hard way, but also with intentionality, I thought of seven attitudes that helped me to stay on a growth track. Here they are:
Humility – I don’t know it all and can learn from anyone. An attitude of humility opens your mind to receive the good things others have, whether from a conversation, lecture, book, podcast, etc. If I am proud I think I know it all. Proud people do not listen. Humble people have failed and know they need help. They can learn from anyone, and do. Humility is a great attitude for a pastor to practice.
Positivity – Life is going to get better, if it kills me! I have always said that my life motto is: “Life gets better.” At some point in the past ten years, I’ve found out that it doesn’t always get better… in the short term. Sometimes it gets harder. But the hardness actually helps me to get better, if I have a positive response. My attitude of positivity allows me to keep moving forward, and to see the best in others, the blessings in failure, and the meaning in the toughest circumstances. Positivity helps me to grow.
Expectancy – something good is right around the corner. In my 200church, I ask God to do something wonderful on a Sunday, when we meet corporately for worship. I ask the Holy Spirit to change us, me first! I have learned to expect God to send people my way, people who help me, and people I can help. I know that in the tough times and the lonely times he is there, and I ask for his help. I am asking right now that he will use this blog post to encourage another 200church pastor. I expect he will.
Generosity – If I give to others, I will never run out. My attitude of generosity helps me to grow in faith. When I give something away, I have to believe God will bless the other person, and continue to provide for me. The more I give the more I grow. The less I give the less I receive from God and others. My attitude of generosity keeps me on the growing edge.
Look for the rest of the article, and the story of my encounter with road rage, and how I grew from it... tomorrow!
We had a great time on May 10th at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast. This event was held in Atlanta, but our local Chamber of Commerce hosted a simulcast site right in our town at the brand new Events Center. It was top-notch! The speakers this year were Andy Stanley, David Allen, Henry Cloud, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, John Maxwell, Condoleezza Rice, and more.
In this podcast Jonny and I tell you some of the lessons and principles we learned from this great group of speakers/trainers. One lesson I share from John Maxwell is this - you have to decide, as a leader, if you want to influence people more than you want to entertain them. You must decide, will you be a leader, or a clown? Clowns entertain people, while leaders influence people.
While leaders can be entertaining at times, influence is a much better outcome than entertainment. Especially as pastors, when we want to influence people with biblical truth that's life changing.
In the podcast we talk about different leadership events. Going to a leadership event, if it's a one day seminar or a multiple day leadership conference, allows you the time and opportunity to think things you might not have otherwise thunk. This is critical as a leader. You are putting out all the time, and once in a while you need to be in a position to think something new, novel, stretching, and helpful.
Leadership events are, as Jonny said, mind exercise. They help you think about leadership more and differently. Thinking about leadership as 200church pastors and leaders simply helps us to grow as people, pastors, and leaders and makes us more aware of the decisions we make, and how they might affect the people we lead. At 200churches we really believe that your leadership, no matter the size of your church, matters HUGE in the Kingdom of God!
We hope you enjoy the podcast and are encouraged to continue to grow in your leadership. You can subscribe to The 200churches Podcast in iTunes by clicking the link in the right column, or the link at the top of our podcast page! You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter through the links at the top of this page.
Here are some links to the leadership events we talked about:
Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
The Catalyst Conference
The Chick-fil-A Leadercast
Maximum Impact Club
The past twenty-five years has seen the greatest cultural upheaval ever in the American Church. From dress to music, from preaching style to worship aesthetics, from programming to technology, from modern to postmodern – it’s been absolutely crazy!
Many smaller churches have changed with the culture, without changing their theology or commitment to truth. These churches have continued to make an impact in their communities. They have developed new programs to reach new people. They have amputated ineffective, worn out programs and ministries. Their youth and children’s ministries are full and active. That have stayed contextualized to their communities and are relevant ministries spreading the Gospel to their neighborhoods.
Other smaller churches have resisted change. They are committed to the fundamentals of the faith: hymns, suits, ties, dresses, their favorite Bible version, Sunday evening services, pulpit furniture with high back thron… I mean chairs, conservative everything, organs, the same curriculum they used forty years ago, etc. etc. The youngest couple in their church has been married for 35 years. They have no youth or children’s ministries. They have become irrelevant to their communities and are no longer able to share the Gospel with their neighbors. They will soon be gone.
Yet other smaller churches are somewhere in between. They are afraid to let go of much of the old, even as they are trying to embrace the new. Their leadership is still all over 50, and they are hesitant to let the next generation onto the boards and committees. The jury is still out as to whether they will yet be relevant in their communities in five to ten years.
Where is your church at? Last week we had “Robert” on the podcast. He is a next generation leader. He thinks differently. I don’t always understand him. Sometimes I’m concerned by some of his positions. But he and all those his age are the future leaders of our churches, unless we keep them out. Unless we hold them at arm’s length. Unless we simply refuse to engage them in discussion and block them from positions of influence in our churches. Then Robert and all his friends will simply leave. And our churches will last for as long as all of us can live. Then they’ll close.
How are you doing in your church in terms of engaging the next generation? If you and I don’t, who will?
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