Monday, May 30, 2011

Thoughts on Developing Training

This week for Camp of Champions' staff training I'll be leading no less than 14 different training pieces.  Each one averages about 45 minutes in length.  The topics are all over the board, but pertain to ministry, camp, children, etc.

I'm going to post this now, before the training happens, just in case it's all a train-wreck.  But here are some thoughts and tips for how to develop training en mass.
  • Start with a blank piece of paper.  You can do a little research and study and prep, but really early in the process get your thoughts down on paper.  Thanks to Do the Work by Steven Pressfield for this idea.
  • Start with the Bible.  It's not going to happen for all of my trainings, but I would ask you: How can you work passages of Scripture into anything and everything you're teaching?
  • Mix it up.  Move from a whiteboard to a projector to nothing... and then back to a whiteboard.
  • Tackle your preparations in bite-size chunks.  I probably would have gone crazy had I tried to develop all 14 training pieces in one day.  But spreading them out and dabbling with thoughts in each one over the last month has made the whole process enjoyable.

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    What's in a fast?

    I fasted once.  It was toward the tail-end of being in high school.  It was a full three days off by myself.

    Super-spiritual huh?

    But the problem was, it wasn't super-spiritual.  I'm not even sure it was quasi-spiritual.  Reflecting back, I can't think of one lasting (or even short-term!) spiritual benefit that I derived from that time.

    However, I've fasted twice this year (just skipping breakfast and lunch) and seen some huge spiritual benefits.  Here are some reasons why:
    • I fasted with other people.  Both times there was a group of 6 to 10 other people that were also forgoing food for a set amount of time.  The accountability and camaraderie were very helpful.
    • During each fast I had specific prayer requests in mind.  That way, any hunger I felt caused me to seek God in prayer.  (And I get hungry on normal days, so I was seeking God early and often on these days!)
    • I found the consistency of my prayers continued on later days when I went back to eating.  Just one day started to develop the habit of constant prayer in my life.
    I remember after my three day fast I decided I probably wouldn't ever do it again.  But now that I've done these shorter fasts with the purpose of developing my prayer life, I plan on repeating them.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Good to Great Discussion Questions

    For a printable version of the questions in this post:  CLICK HERE for a PDF.

    A while back the COCUSA full-time staff team read Good to Great by Jim Collins.  I was in charge of coming up with discussion questions to help guide our thoughts as we met to discuss each chapter.  I'm posting them here for all present and future CEOs to read.

    Every Chapter: What is the best quote, line, or point from this chapter? And why?

    Chapter 1: What would Good to Great mean for your organization? If your organization is currently at mediocre, good, or even very good, what would it look like for it to be great?

    Chapter 2:  Describe a Level 5 Leader in your own words.
    If it's true that Level 5 leaders are essential to greatness: What's one thing you can do to become more like a Level 5 leader?

    Chapter 3:  What steps do we need to take to get the right people at our organization?
    What challenges are there in getting the wrong people off the bus? Or getting the right people into different seats?
    Where are the biggest opportunities? How can we focus on them?
    What does this mean for your board of directors?

    Chapter 4:  Are their any brutal facts our organization needs to confront? (OR What is the 'elephant in the room' that no one wants to ask about?)
    How can we create a climate where truth is heard?

    Chapter 5:  Explain your organization in as simple of terms as possible.
    What's your organizations collective passion? What makes you tick?
    What can your organization do better than anyone else?
    If you could pick one thing that would keep your organization's resource engine running the best, what would it be?

    Chapter 6:  Where is our organization on a "fun to unwieldy ball of disorganized stuff" continuum? (Scale of 1 to 10)
    Create a stop doing list for your organization: Write down 1 to 3 things you would like to stop because you truly feel fall outside of your organization's scope.
    Do we have any "We vs. Them" battles in our organization? Where? How can we get rid of it?

    Chapter 7:  When it comes to technology, where do you feel your organization is 'lagging behind'? Or positively: What technology does your organization need to fully embrace in order to accelerate your momentum?
    Are there any technologies that are directly tied to the big picture things we do?

    Chapter 8:  What would stop our flywheel from spinning? How can we avoid that?

    Chapter 9:  What would Good to Great mean for your organization? If your organization is currently at mediocre, good, or even very good, what would it look like for it to be great?
    Read the last paragraph, what do you agree with? What do you disagree with? Why?

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    How I Read It: Why We Love the Church

    A few thoughts after finishing Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck:

    Quotable: I finished this book awhile ago and continue coming back to this quote: "At the end of my life I want my friends and family to remember me as someone who battled for the gospel, who tried to mortify sin in my life, who fought hard for life, and who contended earnestly for the faith. Not just as a nice guy who occasionally noticed the splendor of the mountains God created, while otherwise just trying to enjoy myself, manage my schedule, and work on my short game." (p102)

    LOL: On page 66 Kluck offers a description of how painful unplanned testimony services can be. It was hilarious to say the least.

    I'm Still Wondering: I agreed with 90% of this book.  (Which to be honest surprised me.  I thought I would disagree with more of it.)  I agreed with their lifting up the local church. I agreed with their view on 'the church at Starbucks crowd.' It was great for me to read DeYoung's well researched chapters.

    But there is this ten percent or less that still bugs me: The church isn't a building. The church is not a service. So many times throughout the book there was not a distinction between people following Jesus (read: THE CHURCH) and services, buildings or organizations. So I'm left still wondering: I'll praise the church (the body of Christ) along with the authors, but why be in praise of institutions and organized religion? Because Biblically, those aren't the church.

    2011 Personal Impact Ranking:
    1. Fight Clubs by Jonathan Dodson*
    2. Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck* #
    3. The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis
    4. Humility by CJ Mahaney*
    5. Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
    6. Crazy Love by Francis Chan*
    7. The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott*
    *I own these books, let me know if you want to borrow them. I'd love to share.
    # This book, however, has scribbles all over the cover thanks to one of my Sons of Thunder.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    BOOR May 2010: A Seth Godin Special

    This month's edition of my Best Of Online Reading features several posts by Seth Godin.  I have no idea how one person can write so many quality posts in one month.  But he did and I'm passing them all on.  He must have had his Wheaties for breakfast throughout last May.  Here's the titles (linked to the original post) plus a quote to hopefully intrigue you. 
    • Where do you find good ideas?  "Do you often find ideas that change everything in a windowless conference room?"
    • Sentences, paragraphs and chapters  "Finding people to rearrange the chapters, to criticize the very arc of what you're building, to give you substantive feedback on your strategy--that's insanely valuable and rare."
    • The circles (no more strangers)   "Or consider a non-profit looking to generate more donations. Is it better to embrace the core donor base and work with them to host small parties with their friends to spread the word, or would hiring a PR firm to get a bunch of articles placed pay off more efficiently?"
    • Hardly worth the effort   "The last ten percent is the signal we look for, the way we communicate care and expertise and professionalism."
    • We're the same, we're the same, we're...   "After all, if everything is the same, why not buy what's cheap and close?"
    Another plus about all of these posts is they are short and sweet.  So if any of the titles or quotes intrigued you, click and read!

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Inspire Me: That's My King

    I watched this video about half a dozen times around Easter weekend, and liked it more every time.  Be inspired by Jesus.

    PS. Depending on how you're subscribing you may have to click through to view it in a browser.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Making Disciples of our Boys, The Big Picture

    This is the first one of these I've published.  I'm not sure how it will work on my blog, but I wanted something that captured my mind a little more than a bulleted list of points.

    Because raising your kids to follow Jesus is a big deal.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Happy Easter?

    I recently had the following interaction and I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  I would appreciate you (yes you!) giving me some input.

    One morning I was outside with my wife and kids playing in the yard.  An older gentlemen slowly walks by.  You should know that this gentlemen walks by quite often (and he uses a cane, which is awesome).  I'm guessing we're on a route that he walks daily in order to get his exercise.  We've had some small talk usually surrounding our crazy boys and his grandson. 

    I've thought on multiple occasions that we should: reach out to this guy / start a deeper conversation / share the Gospel / see how we can meet his needs.  But as of yet (and to my own shame) I had not done that.

    Well on this particular morning we have our usual small talk, and as he turns to go he says "Happy Easter."  Then after a few more steps he calls out "He is risen!"

    That's it.  That's the interaction that's currently puzzling me.  What do you think?

    First off, I think it's awesome that he's probably a follower of Jesus.  But secondly, I can't help but see the irony that he was probably feeling the need to reach out/start a deep conversation/share the gospel with ME. 

    What's up with that?  Why do I always have to "get to know someone" before I bring Jesus into the conversation?  (In this case, congratulations to this gentlemen for bringing the risen Savior up way before I did.)

    Your thoughts?

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Simplicity in Three Circles

    There are so many possible things you can do each day.  It's not truly infinite, but practically speaking for a single human being, the options available to you are limitless.  How do you decide what to do with your day?  How do you decide what to do with your life?

    You can narrow it down slightly by choosing to glorify God and make disciples of Jesus.  (1 Corinthians 10:31 and Matthew 28:18-20) But even then there are probably still thousands of options available to you.  How do you decide what to do with your day?  How do you decide what to do with your life?

    I ask these questions because recently my wife and I had a great conversation about where we should spend our time and invest our energy and resources.  We asked ourselves this question: Who are the three groups of people God has called us to strategically  invest in?

    What about you?  Could you narrow it down to three?  This doesn't mean you ignore everyone else.  It means that you put the majority of your efforts and resources towards these three groups.

    This wasn't some ground-breaking idea.  Nor did it cause us to completely re-arrange our schedule.  What it did do was give us focus and clarity, as well as permission to breathe.

    Who were those groups?  I pictured three circles, and my wife saw them as three trunks of the same tree, but regardless our groups were the same:  We believe God has called us to strategically invest in the people of 1) our family, 2) Camp of Champions USA and 3) Pekin Bible Church.

    What about you?