Running

If you want to move further faster in your leadership, then you not only need to overcome the obstacles that are ahead of you, but you also need to submit the obstacles that are within you.

The way that you lead is deeply affected by your life experiences – and not always in a positive way:

  • For example, when you know that you’ve done a great job on an assignment, do you strive to tell others overtly or subtly? Do you care whether or not you’re praised and encouraged for it? Why is that anyway?
  • Or, when you know that you have done a poor job on a project, what’s going on inside of you? Do you avoid others? Do you rationalize? Why is that?

Here are five questions that every leader must ask themselves to overcome the obstacles that are preventing them from moving further faster:

  1. What are the experiences that have shaped your life?
  2. Are there any patterns underneath your current behaviours that disturb you about yourself?
  3. What are the things in your life that you are holding onto tightly?
  4. What would it look like if you let those things go and surrendered them to God?
  5. Are there any hidden patterns or addictions in your life that are hindering you from moving further faster?

“The freedom question, then, is not whether we can do whatever we want but whether we can do what we most deeply want.” – Gerald May, The Awakened Heart

Back in May 2013, I was featured on Rick Howerton’s Blog with NavPress for a four day interview on “Small Groups or Mid-Size Communities?” He has since joined the staff at Lifeway, and thus the previous posts have gone away. Here’s the last post:

4. What does a mid-size group meeting look like and how often do these groups meet?

Imagine how it would feel like if you belonged to a community…

  • Where love was a verb and was characterized by action, rather than shallow words that didn’t do or mean anything?
  • Where blessing each other wasn’t a second thought, but it was a normal part of our daily schedule?
  • Where apathy and indifference wasn’t the normal attitude, but we were all filled with passion, filled with God’s Spirit, filled with his strength, and where everything we did was towards serving one another and Jesus?

Can you see this? Can you imagine this sort of community? Can you taste it?

I mean, just imagine what it would feel like to belong to a community where no one had any need? Where the community was more about giving to one another, than taking from one another? Just imagine if you belonged to a community that did not just meet each other’s needs, but also the needs of the outsider…of the stranger?

This is what mid-size communities are all about.

Continue Reading…

Back in May 2013, I was featured on Rick Howerton’s Blog with NavPress for a four day interview on “Small Groups or Mid-Size Communities?” He has since joined the staff at Lifeway, and thus the previous posts have gone away. Here’s the third post:

3. What aspects of group life did you think you would lose by moving from small groups to mid-size groups that you found remained in tact?

There is a wide spectrum of how churches are currently doing mid-size communities of 20-50 people. On the one side of the spectrum, the mid-size community is like a mid-week church gathering with worship, teaching, and prayer – it’s just lay led, rather than staff led. On the other side, the mid-size community functions as the church – sort of like a house church model, with a monthly celebration where all the mid-size communities come together for corporate worship. There is also another spectrum that runs parallel to the above spectrum, let’s call it the missional engagement spectrum. On the one side, there are mid-size communities with a shared mission. On the other side, there are mid-size communities of missionaries.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m Canadian and I love to keep peace, but after all of my research on mid-size communities, I wanted to see if there was a model that embraced the both/and. What would it look like if we created a model that drew from the strengths of small groups and the strengths of medium sized gatherings? Using questions like this one, I developed a different model where mid-size communities would meet every other week, and smaller groups of individuals would meet in the off weeks.

Continue Reading…

Back in May 2013, I was featured on Rick Howerton’s Blog with NavPress for a four day interview on “Small Groups or Mid-Size Communities?” He has since joined the staff at Lifeway, and thus the previous posts have gone away. Here’s the second post:

2. When you met with your leadership team, especially your senior pastor to consider the move from small groups to mid-size groups, what questions arose (and/or what conversation took place) that drove your church to move to mid-size groups?

Well, first of all, I try not to use the phrase “mid-size groups,” since most people like to create acronyms and this movement would become…well, let’s just say that the Asians would like the flavor of it. But getting back to your question, my senior pastor and the leadership team knew about the problem, as I mentioned in the previous post. The statistics showed that our small group system was good, but not great. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, our small group system was so successful, that we even hosted our own small group conference with Willow Creek’s Bill Donahue. This conference happened even before small group conferences were popular. However, as our church continued to grow, the percentage of individuals in small groups didn’t. There were spikes here and there, but no sustained growth.

Since the senior leadership knew about the problem, they were open to suggestions, but the ideas had to be well thought-out and processed through before any trigger could be pulled. After all, small groups had been such a powerful part of many our church members’ spiritual journeys.

The change management process was long and arduous, but it was well worth it. I could have done my research, written up a proposal, and brought it straight to the senior leadership, but I decided to take the better approach. This approach involved praxis, extensive conversation, and collaboration amongst staff, key lay leaders, and the unconnected in our church. Continue Reading…

Back in May 2013, I was featured on Rick Howerton’s Blog with NavPress for a four day interview on “Small Groups or Mid-Size Communities?” He has since joined the staff at Lifeway, and thus the previous posts have gone away. Here’s the first post:

1. What were you trying to accomplish in your small groups that was not being achieved and why do you think the smallness of group life was keeping you from accomplishing that?

If someone were to tell you that 25% of their church was in some form of community life (i.e. small group or mid-week programming), how would you react? Other than a slight, “Yeah, that’s pretty typical” response, you probably wouldn’t think much of it. Well, what if someone were to tell you that their church had grown by 31% over the past 10 years, but that the number of people engaged in community remained the same? You’d probably think that was pathetic, and move on to learn from someone else.

That was the case at my church, and I was hired to do something about it.

Being a learner, entrepreneur, and systems thinker, I quickly learned and piloted every small group technique and method under the sun (not all at the same time though – I’m not that crazy). I wanted to experience the astronomical growth that the books promised me. I tried everything from a semester model to a sermon-based group model. I even launched new groups every month, in addition to piloting online groups. Sure, I saw growth and new people getting connected regardless of the method that I used, but there was always a bottleneck and people who didn’t want to join. The growth wasn’t exponential, it was additional – and that wasn’t good enough for me.

Continue Reading…