Gather your team to join them live via webcast from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm CST, as they talk about each speaker, show video clips, and explain the unique features of this year’s event.
This webcast will also feature a teaching session with Dr. Henry Cloud—one of this year's Summit speakers—on The Leader's Family: Source of Stress or Source of Strength. This is a great opportunity to envision others about the purpose of the event, the caliber of the speakers, and to begin recruiting a team to attend the Summit at the satellite location nearest you on August 11-12, 2011.
The below note is written by a pastor in Japan, Yasuki Myamoto. Last year, Yamato Calvary Church in Yamato City hosted the Global Leadership Summit and 450 people attended. Less than 1% of total population is reported as Christian and the country is known among the missionaries as “one of the most difficult to share the Gospel” country in the world.
We are still in the stage of rescue operation being carried by professional people and volunteers who would like go there and help as soon as possible but told not to go until organized logistics are set up. Emergency vehicles are only permitted to drive on the roads leading to disaster areas at this stage.
It is frustrating but we need to be patient at this stage.
One of my church members took 30 hours before she was able to talk to her parents briefly on the phone. They are safe but the house was collapsed. (We are not sure yet how all the churches are in that area because of communication problem).
My wife cannot come back home from her work because public transport is reducing their service due to planned blackout (from area to area we will rotate black out so that we can save the electric power for disaster areas)that will last we are told until the end of April. Even in Tokyo our daily life is being affected by this disaster.
I'd appreciate just keep praying for our country specially right now is our nuclear power plant one of them is facing serious trouble. Our worst fear is nuclear leaks. They have been controlling them but are on thin ice.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Years ago I had an opportunity to go to the desert to seek guidance from God.
It wasn't the exactly the Egyptian wilderness of the Desert Fathers of ancient days. It was…well… a California state park, complete with groomed trails, guides, and tourists in Hawaiian shirts and sandals. But ever since my wife Corinne and I had arrived in the Golden State for a much-needed vacation, I had the uncanny sense that I was supposed to take a side trip into the desert. I wondered if God might speak to me in some way—a sort of “burning bush” that might guide my choices at a very confusing crossroads.
I arrived in the park and walked the path, taking in rock formations, the sky, the desert vibe, letting my thoughts percolate. After a while the trail led up a hill and toward the top I could make out a shape like a cross. This is it, I thought. I hiked up the rest of the way full of expectation, senses heightened. Something significant was here.
I clambered up the hill, anticipation growing with every step. I reached the crest, and the vista of the desert land opened up gloriously before me. I approached what turned out to be a cross-shaped sign, and the message came into view:
I laughed at myself and my overblown expectations. It had been posted by the Park Service for the safety of the tourists!
But then I thought further… maybe there’s a message for me here anyway.
I had followed one career path, one chosen ministry, for decades. Recently the terrain had changedsignificantly, leaving me uncertain how to proceed. For months I had been mulling over the unsettling idea of diverting from the path I had followed for so long. Compounding the angst of the moment, Corinne was now wrestling with some serious health issues. So here at the top of the hill, my encounter with this wooden sign seemed like more than a coincidence. I decided to follow the metaphor with my feet. I stayed on the trail. I hiked back down, and continued further on. The path narrowed, becoming rockier, increasingly dry and desolate, like the surface of the moon. Nothing could grow here.Off in the distance, the trail wound up another hill, far steeper, positively treacherous. I stopped and looked carefully at the scene.
And somewhere inside I sensed God’s voice saying, No matter how narrow and desolate your path toward the future may seem now, no matter how rocky and fraught with dangers,
please…. Stay On The Trail.
And I listened. My spirit resonated.
Several years later, by God’s grace I’m still on the path, staying the course that He has carved out for me, as He continues, step by step, to provide in surprising, unforeseen ways. And my flimsy faith is slowly growing into something that might just survive even when the trail is narrowest and the terrain most rocky.
And, so far as I can see and imagine, as Robert Frost might say…
“…that has made all the difference.”
Good Shepherd, Perfect Guide,
As we travel on, help us see Your navigating hand, Your guidance and provision…the perfection of Your vision. We submit our every hope to You. Align us with Your Spirit, and hear our longing as we ask, O Lord, for wisdom.
Recently, our team has been considering what might happen if God’s people and churches started listening for God’s quiet whispers--and then acting on what they hear. Hoping to spark conversation and encourage people to listen for God’s promptings, we’ve just released a two-minute video.
We humbly ask if you might: 1. Watch the video. 2. If you like it, share it! We encourage you to post the video to your blog, your facebook page, or your twitter feed-- between March 15 and March 25. Together, we’re hoping to elevate the truth that listening, hearing, and responding to God’s whispers is not only one of life’s greatest joys, but will change the world. By: WCA (@wcagls) DoesGodWhisper.com
Church leaders often unintentionally neglect the health of their own souls in their busyness caring for the souls of others. If this is true for you, you're jeopardizing not only your own spiritual health, but your effectiveness as a leader—because the soul health of the leader has a significant impact on the spiritual transformation of those you're leading. Here are some common symptoms of the soul.
When your own soul has been neglected, what tends to emerge? We often hear:
Stronger Temptation to Sin
Feelings of Desperation
A Judgmental Attitude
Lack of Desire for God.
On other days, when our souls are thriving from a deepening life with God, we find:
Sign up for The LIFT Project. The class begins with a self-assessment on the current state of your own soul and a general understanding of soul health. Assigned work includes interaction with written materials and video teaching from Dallas Willard, Bill Hybels, Lance Witt, Mindy Caliguire, Juanita Rasmus, and Wayne Cordiero.
Last week our team spent time with Henry Cloud planning for the upcoming Transformation Intensive and discussing ways that we can help churches improve their culture.
In his book Necessary Endings, Henry defines pruning as the process of proactive endings. He says, “The hoarder mentality thrives in garages, but in business and people’s lives, as well” (p. 180).
Henry challenges us with this principle from John 15:2. Growing doesn’t always mean taking on more. You may have to ask “Which one am I willing to give up to have the other one?” Is it time for you to look at your ministry and identify ways for pruning to take place so that the ministry can grow?
Are there good things that need to stop so your can focus your energy and resources on something that is more strategic to your mission?
Is there a staff member that has a toxic attitude and although you’ve talked to them about it many times and given them time to improve, they are not?
Do you have programs that you believed would really serve your congregation and for whatever reason they just aren’t effective?
In the words from Henry’s book, “How well are you maximizing where you are right now and how ready are you to do what is necessary to get to the next place. Sometimes that depends on ending some of what is happening today” (p. 250).
You may also be interested in The LIFT Project, which offers an e-learning course on "A Leader's Soul." The course will cover stories and theories on how to keep a soul healthy while pouring into the hearts and lives of others
Are you really making a difference? Every ministry leader wants to make an impact. But how do we know if the things we are doing actually make a difference? Through REVEAL research, we've identified some key findings about church effectiveness.
On Tuesday, March 8, 2011--at 12 noon CST, Willow Creek Association (WCA) president Jim Mellado will engage with church leaders across the country, for a conversation about what makes a truly effective church.
Jim will be joined by host Mindy Caliguire to talk about the characteristics of churches that are truly helping people move toward full, Christ-centered living. You’ll also learn how the WCA is working to help you maximize the transformative power of your church.
I have spent the past week pouring over our church’s 2011 REVEAL survey results. I believe that within them is information that will be helpful as we continue to live out our mission.
For my past twenty five years of ministry I have pursued two passions: first, helping those who are far from Christ understand there is a community of people who can help them find their way to Him, and second, helping the already-convinced grow in depth and intimacy with God.
The first pursuit has seemed easier to measure than the second. We have strategically surveyed our weekend attenders to determine how often they attended church prior to attending CedarCreek. For the past 15 years, 45% of responders have consistently answered “less than once a month,” which has helped us quantify our mission of reaching spiritually restless and unchurched people. In addition, our baptism wall is filled with pictures and personal stories of conversion from young and old, many of who had little or no church experience, and who encountered Jesus via CedarCreek Church. This is my favorite place in our building. What an exciting and humbling experience to be a part of.
The second pursuit is equally important. Jesus was clear that we are to create disciples that understand and live in obedience to our King and his mission. But this passion is much more difficult to measure. How can one really know the spiritual temperature of another?
It can be so easy to mask, fake, cover and hide the broken realities of our internal world. And if you are like me, you have spent hours debating, wrestling with, and burdened by the mandate to help the already convinced move forward spiritually.
One encouraging discovery REVEAL identified was how willing the people at CedarCreek are to “give their life away.” This reminds me of the catalytic importance of inspiring and challenging people to give their time and resources away for the good of transforming their city for the sake of God.
That is the reason why this weekend; we are hosting Gary Haugen, President ofInternational Justice Mission (...you may remember Gary from his incredible message at the Global Leadership Summit). He is not a pastor. He spends most of his time in the professional world freeing people from the injustice of sex trafficking. And even though most of our people may never get close to the work that the International Justice Mission does, Gary’s story is an inspiring example of how God can use us when we give our life to Him.
I believe our people deeply want to be connected with God’s mission. I believe they intellectually buy into the mission Jesus invites us into within the Great Commission. However, sometimes they need new voices to inspire and challenge them to take one more step forward. Gary has an amazing story of God’s redemptive work. He is an inspiring example of what it means to give your life away, even under the threat of death. Our prayer is that he challenges our people to take one more step towards putting Christ at the center of their life in all they do.
Who is it you need to invite to challenge and inspire your people to give their life away?
I don’t know what it was as a little kid, but I was always fascinated with the high jump. There was something about elevating myself as high as I could over a bar. By the time I was in sixth grade, I was jumping heights over my head. Eventually I would jump almost 13” over my height, nearly 7'. I loved to jump. It gave me some of my most exhilarating moments in my athletic career—but it did more than that.
The high jump taught me about focus.
The challenge in the high jump is not just jumping high, it’s jumping high and peaking at just the right time and place in mid-air. If you peak too soon you come down on the bar and miss. If you peak too late, you hit the bar on the way up . . .miss again. The higher the bar gets, the less room for error. Everything must be aligned. The angle and speed of your approach, the take-off, the distance from the bar, your body position over the bar – it all has to work together seamlessly in one fluid motion to create the maximum lift at just the right time. In order to succeed in the high jump, you need focus obsession.
From beginning to end I would never take my eyes off of the bar. Everything around me disappeared. My entire focus turned to elevating my center of gravity to propel myself over the top of bar. For me, the bar was like an irresistible magnet causing everything work together to clear it.
Focus obsession simply doesn’t happen unless there is a crystal clear definition of success.
It’s true in the high jump and it’s true for your organization: all the alignment and adjustments that happen naturally do not happen unless people have a clear definition of what to focus on. What do people focus on in your organization? How is success defined?
Leaders love words like empowerment and autonomy. It’s what the experts say increases ownership and brings out the best in people. But I must admit as a leader, those words scare me sometimes. How do you ensure alignment and collaboration? How do you know that every effort is moving the organization closer to its mission? I’ve found the only way to do that is to build a team of people who have focus obsession because they know what it takes to succeed—and they love it. That’s when things like empowerment and autonomy truly come alive in a work culture and lead people toward a common goal without policies, rules, and hierarchy.
On Tuesday, March 8 at 12 noon CST,Jim Mellado will engage with church leaders across the country for a conversation via webcastabout what makes a truly effective church. (Click here and we’ll send you a reminder email with a direct link to the webcast.)
I remain firmly committed to doing our study/exegesis of texts that we preach, basing our sermons firmly on having dug deep into Scripture. Eugene Peterson says it well: “Exegesis doesn’t take charge of the text and impose superior knowledge to it; it enters the heart of the text and lets the text “read” us. Exegesis is an act of sustained humility. There is so much about this text I will never know.” (Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book). However, the following are ten questions to which I return over and over again – both for myself and our Teaching Team at New Life:
1. Is my “heart at rest?” This is a phrase out of the famous Lao Tsu poem “The Woodcarver“. It parallels Jesus’ time with the Father before His own preaching. This is about slowing down enough to ensure my life and teaching is flowing from the love of God.
2. Have I spent adequate time with the Father so that I am not preaching from a reflected sense of self? I want to get to the point each week where I am free from what the congregation will think or say about my sermon, that I am not looking for validation from others.
3. Have I allowed the text to go deep beneath my own iceberg? It is one thing, for example, to preach generally about not fearing, and another to take 1-2 hours wrestling with my present fears around security, the future, my children, etc. This involves giving room for the complexities and nuances of absorbing a text into our being.
4. Am I eager for a “live encounter” with people? It is a temptation to be so absorbed in the process of preparing the sermon that I run out of time to eagerly anticipate the “liveness” of the moment of bringing a Word from God to His people. This requires space to ponder implementation for the specific people before me, i.e. what skills, tools, and practical helps I can offer to put flesh on the message.
5. Am I living with integrity? It is easy to skimp on my own inner work under the pressure to deliver a message. I am referring to integrity with myself (Do I really want people to imitate me as I imitate Christ), others (especially your spouse and children, if applicable), and in your leadership (no skimming, lying, exaggerating).
6. Have I finished editing and simplifying the message? One of the most important, if not the most important decision in every sermon, is what are you not going to say. Less is almost always better.
7. Am I fighting or surrendering to God’s process in the birth of a sermon (“I got the kernel of revelation/truth!”), the death of the sermon (“This is going nowhere”), burial (“God I am waiting!”), and the resurrection of God’s Word for this particular weekend (“I never anticipated this is where I would end up”)?
8. Am I being prudent, thoughtful and honest in my preaching? Have I done a final review of every aspect of the message, especially my examples and illustrations? It is easy to be sloppy and communicate wrong things by what we fail to say.
9. Have I honored the principle of walking “two by two,” i.e., the power of community exegesis? I almost always try to have at least one other person in my life (often Geri) who can add perspective, insight and raise issues I have not seen. This almost always adds depth and clarity to my messages.
10. Is my life different as a result of this Word before I stand up? The message must pass through my own life first. Sadly, I am sometimes rocky, thorny soil distracted by the urgent demands of leadership in the church. Without exterior silence (in silence and solitude) and interior silence (time for my inner voices to be quieted), the sermon rarely passes through my heart.