5 Truths about Parenting and Leadership

Truths about Parenting and LeadershipI happen to be both a parent and a ministry leader. Ironically, I spent four years in graduate school to learn more about being a pastor, but had zero preparation for the more important job. Still, there is a lot in common with the ministry and parenting hats that I wear. In my almost eight years of parenting, I’ve discovered that there is a good deal of overlap when it comes to the principles involved in parenting and leadership. Here are five truths that apply to both parenting and to leadership.

We learn how to make good decisions partly by making bad decisions.

One of the hardest things for me to do as a parent is to allow my kids to make a bad decision. This doesn’t mean that we don’t step in as parents when we need to, but there are times when parents need to allow their kids to navigate a situation on their own. The same is true when it comes to leading a team. The staff and leaders you lead won’t learn how to make decisions on their own if you always do it for them.

We become good at something by trying it before we know what we’re doing.

Skills are developed through practice. Whether it’s cracking an egg, riding a bike, or using a computer, good parents encourage their kids through the early, painful steps of learning how to do something. Kids don’t need to be told how to do every step; they need a reassuring smile and someone they trust who will tell them, “Let’s try it again; don’t give up.” When you think about it, that’s what great leaders and bosses do, too.Continue Reading

Five Reasons Why Preachers Should Talk About Money and Possessions

Money and PossessionsThere are few topics that make a preacher uneasy like talking about money does. I get it; it’s difficult to talk about money without sounding like you either A) are being judgmental or legalistic or B) are desperate to raise some cash for the church budget.

As a result, many pastors only talk about money and possessions in broad, general terms, or they shy away from the topic of money altogether. To avoid hitting the topic head-on seems so much easier than sweating through a sermon about money, possessions, and generosity. In fact, it’s easy to convince ourselves that a laid-back approach to the topic of finances is pastoral and compassionate.

This approach, however, is actually very unpastoral.

Finances, money, and possessions are very much on the minds of those who listen to your messages. If you’re like most preachers, every week you try to find a way to relate biblical truth to the real, day-to-day lives of those who fill your church each weekend. So why would we skip over the topic of money when it plays such a huge part in the lives of just about everyone you hears you preach? In fact, I would guess that there are times when people zone out of your message because they are so stressed about money and the bills they aren’t sure they’ll be able to pay that week.

So, here are five reasons why preachers should talk about money and possessions:

1) Discipleship and spiritual formation are tied to how we handle money.

As the saying goes, “Show me a person’s checkbook and I can tell you what they care about.” One of the hardest areas — if not the hardest area — to honor God in is with our finances. How we handle money reveals what we value. And to a certain extent, how we handle money reveals our devotion to Jesus. It’s not just about giving, either. What we do with our “disposable” income and how much debt we have says a lot about our self-control, patience, and what we believe is most important in life. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).Continue Reading

10 Lessons From a Year of Assimilation

Multiethnic People with Startup Business Talking in a CafeOn Monday I shared about a change in my life a little over a year ago as I transitioned from being a youth pastor in to a position at our church that combined the leadership responsibility for small groups, assimilation, and guest services into one role. In reality, I had next to zero practical experience for this new position, other than having led small groups for teenagers as a youth pastor. When it comes to assimilation—the practice of helping people become connected into the local church—I’ve learned a ton in the past year, mostly from others who have been willing to put down in book form what they know as well as from my own mistakes. Here are some of those lessons:

1) Assimilation is a weird church term to anyone who has never led or worked in a church.

This is true especially for those who are Star Trek fans (resistance is futile). And as much as I love systems—my pre-ministry background is in mathematics—it’s a really impersonal term. Assimilation is about helping people connect with your church, so about two weeks into my new position I asked if I could change my job title from “Pastor of Small Groups and Assimilation” to “Small Groups and Connection Pastor.”Continue Reading