Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leadership Opportunity

Well I know that yesterday I twittered that today I would share with you a great leadership opportunity so here it goes. Last year I took my whole SMT (Senior Management Team) to the leadership intensive training at GCC (Granger Community Church) called Leadership Live May 6-7, 2009. The only thing that I can say about it is WOW! We had been outside observers and fans of GCC and their ministry for a couple of years, so when we saw the opportunity to spend 2 days with their top leaders in a small intimate setting we said lets make it happen. All I can say is that it was worth every penny that we spent. Here we are a year later still talking about and using the principles that we learned from the Team at GCC.

So what is the offer you may ask? Well here is the deal. I heard that there were a few spots still available for this years Leadership Live. (Which I was shocked by) and so I wanted to help some guys out who would like to go but the finances are a bit of a problem. So here is what I am offering. I would like to pay $200 toward anyone that would like to go to this 2 day leadership training. The total cost for the trip is $1500 and I know that $200 does not seem like a lot but I can tell you that if you have any money set aside for leadership training this is where you should spend it.

This is what I can tell you from my personal experience about Leadership Live:
  • The GCC team is the most honest down to earth (real guys) I have ever rubbed shoulders with.
  • They share both the successes and failures of ministry (don't you hate going to conferences where everything is great and you feel like all your stuff sucks)
  • This is not a conference it is real people sitting around a table talking about how to expand the Kingdom of God.
  • This is not just for large churches. (we are only church of 400 and we learned stuff that is going to help us over the next 5 years)
  • The Systems and leadership structure that they share are extremely practical and useful for any size church.
  • This is not a 2 day event and then it is over. (The GCC team has made themselves available to our staff when we have needed them since Leadership Live)
  • Where else can you get one on one face time with 5 key leaders of a growing ministry for a round table discussion.
  • I do not know of any other training event that I have been to where the idea of Excellence was displayed better. (from the accommodations, to the food, to all off the little things that just made it over the top)
Guys I could go on and on. I feel like the guy from the Hair Club for Men. "I am not just a fan, I am a client". Well I am not just a fan of GCC but God has used this ministry in a huge way in my life personally and in the life of Relevant Church and things are different because of it. Last year like I said we took our SMT to last year to Leadership Live and then took 20 key volunteers to Innovate in September and things have not been the same since.

So if this sounds like something that you would like to do go to WiredChurches.com and Sign up. Just mention my name and GCC will let me know that you signed up.

FYI: I am not getting a kick back from GCC for this I really believe in leaders learning from great leaders. Trust me I have been to a ton of conferences and seminars and not one of them compares to the tools that I received from Leadership Live.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"I was Blind but now I can See"

Well I am sitting here in my office in Ybor sipping some coffee while listening to the rosters in Ybor crow. Boy I love Ybor!! Where else can you look out of your window and see skyscrapers and listen to rosters at the same time. LOL. But seriously this has been an amazing week. Sunday was incredible with so many of you joining us for the Hope Epidemic and Easter. My prayer is that you have been able to share that hope with someone else this week.

I have heard some incredible stories about the hope epidemic this week and also have heard that some of you are struggling a bit. So I wanted to give you a few pointers.
  • Be natural. (Just walk up to someone and say "hey I just wanted to give you a little hope today")
  • Don't tell them it is from a church (many people think it is just religious propaganda then)
  • You may have to instruct them to look inside cause most people won't think that there is $5 inside. LOL
  • Be creative
Here is a story that I heard this week. I thought you might enjoy it:

Someone from Relevant gave their Hope Envelope to a cashier at a grocery store and then about an hour later someone from Relevant went into the same store and saw the envelope sitting on the cash register so the person enquired about it. The cashier said oh some lady gave it to me about an hour ago, it is just some church thing I think, I haven't even opened it yet. The person from relevant said "I kind of know about that Hope Epidemic and I think it is worth opening. So the Cashier opened the envelope and saw the $5 then he started running around the front of the store telling everyone the he got $5. The person from relevant said it was priceless. That is what the Hope Epidemic is all about. If you have a story of how you shared Hope this week go to HopeEpidemic.com and submit your story. Let's make this viral.

I was reading John 9 in my Bible this morning and there is a story in this chapter about a man who was blind since birth who Jesus healed. After he was healed the religious leaders began to question him about his miraculous healing and here is what he said.
John 9:24-25 (NLT)
24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “Give glory to God by telling the truth, because we know Jesus is a sinner.” 25“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “
But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

This statement rocked my world this morning "I was blind and now I can see" SIMPLE AND TOO THE POINT He was basically saying until this Jesus guy came along he was helpless, hopeless, and in despair, but when Jesus entered his world He opened his eyes to see thing completely different. That is why Relevant exists and that is what the HopeEpidemic is all about. To impact the emerging culture with the reality of Christ. To clear the vision. You see when you are blind like the guy in the story and someone helps you to see for the first time you cannot help but tell someone about it. My prayer is that we would begin sharing our stories of how we were blind in certain areas and then we meet this guy Jesus and he opened our eyes to the truth.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Golly its Good Friday

Can you believe that it is already Good Friday and that this Sunday is going to be Easter? It seems like just yesterday that I was putting away my Christmas decorations and now I am prepping for summer vacation. Every year that I grow older I am amazed at how fast time seems to fly. One day I was 10 years old and the next day I have a 10 year old of my own and I wonder, "where did the time go?

This week Susie and I have been hanging out with my parents and our kids over here in Orlando at Universal Studios. I am now sitting here this morning on our last day reflecting a bit on our time here and to be honest I am sad and excited at the same time. I am sad because today we must pack up and head home. No more thrill rides that make me scream at the top of my lungs, no more all you can eat buffets where I don't care how much I eat cause I'm on vacation, no more staying up as late as possible just to catch a glimpse of the fireworks in the distance, no more completely uninterrupted time with the people that I love the most, my family. Not that all of those things cannot happen at home; but a lot of times they don't. Why? because time won't allow it.

This week I found myself excited while listening to my dad tell my son some of the same stories that I heard as a kid. He told them with the same excitement and passion that he shared them with me over 30 years ago when I was Anthony’s age. I watched my dad and mom ride the amusement park rides with my kids like they did with me when I was a kid still laughing like they were 30 years old again. But they are not and all I could do was keep hoping that this time would never end. It was that good. And as my parents drove away last night and I watched my son look out the window of his room and say, “we sure had a great time with Nana and Papa didn’t we dad” I was a bit overwhelmed. I kept saying to myself I HOPE we can do this again real soon, I HOPE that my mom and dad stay healthy. I HOPE, I HOPE, I HOPE.

All this hoping led me to the passage that I read last night in John 17 and all of the other accounts of the prayer of Jesus in the Garden just before he went to the cross. I kept reading over and over again all that Jesus was praying and this theme kept coming up. HOPE. Jesus was the giver of HOPE yet during this time He was asking for HOPE from His father. HOPE that this was the right choice, HOPE that His followers would be ok, HOPE that his followers would share His message with the world. Then I thought about Jesus human side and wondered if during His prayer to His father was He hoping for more time with those He loved so much like I was last night. Was He hoping for more laughs together, more meals together, more, memories? Probably. But he knew for them to have any eternal Hope that He would have to become their HOPE.

And so here I am at the close of another Holy week, so what do I do? I HOPE. HOPE for more time, more vacation, more food, and more fun. The problem is, all my hopes seem like dreams to me and I am tired of dreaming aren’t you. I want my HOPE to be a reality and I know that the only way for that to happen is for me to first find my HOPE in Jesus and then become His Agent of HOPE. I believe that Jesus wants His message of HOPE to become an epidemic that sweeps across our lives and transforms our world. I believe He wants it to become an epidemic -a HOPE EPIDEMIC. And this Sunday at Relevant Church we are going to launch that epidemic.

I want to encourage you to be here this week and to bring someone with you. We are about to launch into something BIG.

See you all Sunday,