Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Music

There are 7,957 verses in the New Testament.  As best as I can tell about 20 have something to do with singing, songs or music.

That's only .2 %  (That's a decimal before the number two.)

Compare .2% with the percent of time that the average church spends worrying about music for Sunday morning.

Or how many people have left a church because of music?

I'm not even saying we should relegate music to a .2% role.  There is also plenty of Old Testament scripture about singing.  But in many ways the New Testament is a handbook for the church.  I guess I'm just saying we shouldn't elevate music to the 50+% role that it seems to currently occupy.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Keeping sane during busy seasons

Here's a few tips on how to stay sane when things get busy:

1) Control your email.  You're in charge of your inbox, not the other way round.  The busier I am, the more I limit my access to email.  I know it feels like you're doing more when you respond to everything as soon as it comes in, but the reality is you're interrupting more important work.

2) Realize when a "B" job is going to be just as sufficient as an "A+".  I'm sure most teachers cringe at this idea, but the reality is that I could give a "C-" effort in lawn care this summer, and everything is going to be okay.  There are plenty of places to put your best effort, and you should do so in those places.  But you don't need to put your best effort everywhere, and saving yourself for what counts is important.

3) Similar to #2, recognize when things can be deferred until after the busy season.  You need to become an expert in realizing what needs to get done NOW and what, while still important, can wait until next month.

4) Keep a sabbath and guard family time.  This will probably mean hiding your phone and computer when you're at home.  When you're at work, work hard.  You may even need to put in extra time during a busy run.  But when you're away from work, leave it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What are you getting paid today?

Did you earn it?

It's easy when you're young and getting paid pennies (hopefully not literally but maybe so).  You know that if you put an hour of work in you'll get a set amount.  Or if you mow this sized lawn you'll get paid a specific amount back.

But many of us, specifically in ministry, can lose sight of what we're getting paid today.  We have a salary.  We probably have some benefits.  But we just see that separate from our work as a bi weekly or monthly paycheck.

For a short amount of time it might be separate.  But not if you don't take your work seriously.

So do this: Use your yearly income, plus benefits to figure out your daily pay.
[(Salary + benefits)/52/5 is one way to get you there.]

Whatever that amount is... Will you earn it today?  Could you look your boss/board/congregation in the eye and tell them, "Yes, today I fully earned what you paid me."

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Small church, big impact

Despite it's relatively small size, I am amazed how generously my home church supports the work I do at Camp of Champions USA.

With an average Sunday morning attendance of less than 100, the church (as an organization and as the people in it), provides nearly $500 a month in support of my ministry.

I'm tempted to call up a friend in ministry who is a member at a large (500+ people) church and ask what their monthly support is from that group.

But instead of doing that I'll just praise my own church.  Way to go guys! (It's even crazier when you consider I'm one of about 20 or so supported missionaries.)


Monday, April 13, 2015

Seasons change

The time has come to change my posting schedule.  I'm not particularly enthusiastic about doing this, but seasons change.

For the last while I've pretty well stuck to a Monday/Thursday posting schedule.  It's been great for me.  (I'd still recommend it for you.)  Committing to writing a certain amount each week is a great way to help you develop ideas and improve your communication skills.

But that season is over for now.  For the foreseeable future, I'm going to move this blog to an "as I'm inspired" posting schedule.  It could mean I post more... (I was going to do this 2 weeks ago and then had a small spurt of blog ideas)... I expect it will mean less.

Regardless, thanks for reading so far and I look forward to our continued dialogue in the future.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

When to call it quits

I think everyone organization should start preparing to quit.  Now.  Here's how:

Write a detailed explanation of your main program* or any program and how it's working.
Date this explanation.
At the bottom of the page write, "Is this still working?  If not, quit it or remake it immediately."
Make at least five copies of this letter and stuff them into five envelopes.
Write "Open in 2025, Open in 2035, Open in 2045, etc" on the outside of the five envelopes.
Put these envelopes in a conspicuous place so whoever is at your organization in ten years, twenty years, etc. can follow the advice inside.

Would we see so many ineffective programs and ministries if we followed this plan to quit?


*For churches, you might just write about any program, since the main "program" of the church is followers of Jesus seeking to make disciples... you probably should not quit that.

Monday, April 6, 2015

You Should Vote

So tomorrow is an election day in my municipality.  It may or may not be in yours.  But if it is, you should vote.

It's sad the amount of people who do not vote even in the "big elections" that include the presidency or congress.

It's sad to the point of being unbelievable how few people vote in local elections.   Sure city councils, small-town mayors, and school boards aren't very exciting races.  But in a very real way you have more chance to impact the outcome than in any other election.

You could change the world around you by voting, and that might just start changing things elsewhere too.

So go do it!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ways we should be more like Espen

Espen, my third son, turns five today.  Here's a few things we could all learn from him:

Hold a few things close.  Espen's always trucking around with a snuggle animal and a bedtime blanket.  Usually there is a favorite toy of the week included in his arms too.  He doesn't hold everything close, because that is impossible, but a few things are worth holding on to.

Know when to relax.  If we don't have plans to leave the house, Espen is in his pajamas.  And if we come back from somewhere, so long as it's not nice enough to play outside, he's asking if he can change back into his pajamas no matter the time of day.  Sometimes you need to just kick up your feet and relax.

Always greet people joyfully.  I've seen him pick a visiting relative out of a crowd, yell that person's name, and run across the room to give them a hug.  In general, most of us seem ashamed to be excited to see someone.  If we're excited there's nothing wrong with showing it.

Thanks Espen.  Happy Birthday!