Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What I've learned so far...

I've been in Youth Ministry now for about 10 years. In my decade of ministering to teenagers I've learned a few things. Some of what I've learned came from the classroom, but most has come through experience. A few of these things were picked up very early in my career, while some have emerged quite recently. So, here's what I've learned so far...

- Even in the smallest of churches, you cannot please everyone all the time.
- Negativity will never make anything better. (So stop complaining and get to work)
- Leaders do not make excuses. They make things happen!
- Honesty is always better than the alternative.
- If you take a risk and fail, you won't live with the regret of not taking the risk.
- If you never take a risk your life will be boring.
- Stretch yourself and never stop learning.
- Make it a goal to be better next year than you are this year.
- A seminary degree will only get your foot in the door.
- Your competency will get you where you want to be.
- If you're not passionate about seeing lives changed...get another job.
- Your spiritual maturity is your own responsibility.
- Your pastor is really a good guy. Stop being so hard on him.
- Don't name your youth ministry. That died in the 90's.
- If you want to be the head guy, become a pastor or start a church.
- Realize that you will never get the recognition you think you deserve.
- Your family takes priority over anything at church.
- We are in the business of makeing SERVANTS, not SEMINARIANS.
- A good leader will always go ONE-ON-ONE with difficult conversations.

I'm sure there are other things I could add to this list, but this is all I got right now. I will add more stuff as it comes to me.

A Kiss from Kate

I love this picture of my daughter, Kate. She's 15 months old and such a little lady. Check out the full story behind this pic on Jennifer's blog.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sailing and Leadership

I have a sailboat exactly like the one in this picture. It's called a Sunfish. I bought my boat about 5 years ago. It's old, beaten up and rusty, but my sailboat is a lot of fun! I love to go sailing on Canyon Lake. Most people say Canyon is the best sailing lake in Texas because the surrounding terrain creates a wind tunnel effect perfect for sailing. And trust me, it doesn't take much wind to get this tiny boat moving.

Yesterday I was thinking about sailing. I haven't been in about a year. The nice weather we're having coupled with the winds of springtime are giving me the urge to get out on the lake. I have also been thinking about leadership. I've been thinking about my own leadership ability and how I can become a better leader.

Being a leader is a lot like sailing. Here's why:

  • In sailing you always have to be contemplating your next step. If you want to get from one point to the next you have got to make a plan. This is especially true when sailing to a point that is into the direction of the wind. You must use the process of "tacking" whereby you travel in a zig-zag pattern. Most of the time in sailing it is impossible to travel from one point to the next in a straight line. You must plot a course.
  • Sailing is almost always done as a team. There are some boats that can be sailed solo (like my Sunfish), but even these boats can go faster and are more easily sailed with more than one person. The captain of a sailboat must be able to give orders quickly and see problems that need to be addressed.
  • The captain must make sure that everyone on the team knows their role on the boat. Sometimes these roles can change. Team members must be flexible enough to change roles and pick up the slack where there is need.
  • The gifts and abilities of team members must be evaluated before they are placed in a specific role. Last year I took my 3-year-old son out for a day of sailing. He enjoyed being on the water and seeing the "big sail", but wasn't very good at tightening up the sail or switching sides quickly to balance out the boat. (He's 3) Sailing my boat is much easier with a buddy who can control the sail and move quickly while I steer the ship.
  • When there is trouble the captain must stay calm and focused. I have flipped my boat several times. It's a small boat. A quick gust of wind can easily capsize my boat if I am slow to react to it. Each time this has happened I simply remain calm and work with my partner to "right the ship". There is simply no time to get scared or frustrated or angry. You have got to move quickly if you don't want to continue treading water.

Man, this makes me want to go sailing. Anybody want to come?