Team Tuesday: Better Than Me

When building teams leaders can’t be the best at everything on the team.  If the leaders is the best at everything they don’t have a team, they have helpers.  Looking around the staff table I know am greatly encouraged by the fact that we have a variety of gifts and skills present.  I am also relieved that I don’t have to try to be the best at everything.

Let’s look to football to see how this plays out. The Quarterback is not the best tackler on the the team. The leading scorer is often the kicker.  That’s a dude who is able on focusing on one thing and trying to do it really well.  The Coach isn’t even playing but he responsible to makes sure that he has the best people in the roles that they need to be in.

Teams are much better when leaders are willing to let other people shine, and celebrate their wins.

Multiply Monday: Leaders and Opportunities

I recently read A Multi-Site Road Trip.  This book was essentially a tour of several different churches that are implementing Multi-Site methodology into their church.  There were many great lessons to be learned and it is a book that I plan to go back to over the next year.

Today I wanted to share one quote with you from Wayne Cordiero at New Hope in Hawaii:

“Our goal for satellites is not necessarily to add locations,” explains Wayne. “It is to develop new leaders. It is to edge these emerging leaders into their own teaching, where one day we can release them as stand-alone churches. When young leaders go out with this model, they have time to build relationships, develop teams, think about evangelism projects, do community outreach, and build leaders,” he says.

One of the key elements of multi-site church is raising up leaders.  I’m a firm believer that the church will never have too many leaders.  The key is willingness in current leaders to train people and then release people.  At Creekside we have talked a lot about being a sending church.  We send thousands of dollars to missions projects every year.  But we also need to send people.  One of the ways that we can send people is through campus launches.

But it starts with multiplying leaders.  So as we launch the Lynnwood Campus, we are looking for people who want to grow as leaders or become leaders.  But we are also looking for people who want to lead the next campus.  Lynnwood can’t be the end.

When Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses” he didn’t stop at Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.  He left it pretty open when he said to the ends of the earth.

The only way that the church is going to faithfully carry out it’s mission is by sending out leaders who are called by God to specific communities.  Maybe Jesus is calling us by saying, “You will be my witnesses to Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Everett, Lake Stevens, and on and on.

But we need to multiply leaders in order to keep multiplying opportunities.

Listurday! 04/12/14

I want to share the links that I have found interesting over the past week. Enjoy.

This video is just to make you happy.  A 17 year old records the Abbey Road B-Side.  So great!

Theology Thursday: Election

I have personally gone back and forth on the whole Calvinism-Arminianism debate. I was initially put off from this conversation by people that I went to Bible college with who were so focused on being right about their stands on either side that they didn’t care about people.

I believe that God is sovereign and has a plan for creation, humanity and all of history. I believe that God the Father sent Jesus to die for the sins of the world and that all who confess their need for forgiveness of sins and out their trust in Jesus are brought into the family of God.

Calvinists and Arminians can agree so far. Where things get sticky is when we start to ask questions about the nature of who is this grace for, the whole world or the elect?

The question that I have been wrestling with in my own journey is the idea of election. Because if you hold to an unconditional election, this leads to a limited atonement (that Jesus only died for the elect people). This also leads to perseverance of the saints (the elect will never fall away).

And these two issues I keep coming back to over and over again because I can’t reconcile John 3:16, “God so loved the world . . .” with the idea of limited atonement. I also can’t reconcile the idea of perseverance of the saints with the warnings and examples in the Old and New Testaments of people who fell out of covenant relationship with God or fell away from the community of faith.

So I’ve been working through these issues on my own. And I began to realize that when Paul talks about election, he always uses the plural you (you all). And when he talks about salvation the community is elected in Christ.

This led me to start thinking about the idea of corporate election. And I asked around and did some research, and it turns out I’m not crazy.

If we hold the idea of Corporate election we can see that:
1. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. (1 Pet 1:19)
2. God has a sovereign plan to rescue humans from sin. (1 Pet 1:18-19)
3. God has had this plan for all of eternity (to send Jesus). (1 Pet 1:20-21; Rev 13:8)
4. God has elected a means to tell the world about Jesus (the church). (1 Pet 2:9)
5. Individuals are grafted into God’s plan by putting their faith in Jesus. (Romans 11, this passage is interesting because it talks about some from Israel [the elect people of ] rejecting God and specifically Jesus and now Gentiles are warned to continue in faith or they will be cut out [Rom 11:22-24]. Why would Paul warn people to persevere in faith is the elect will alway persevere in faith?)
6. The church will persevere through all persecution and through history because it is God’s elected plan.
7. Warnings of falling away from faith are real warnings. Our faith in Jesus needs to be living and active. (Heb 6:4-12)
8. Individuals in the church all have a part to play (1 Cor 12-14).
9. We recognize that individuals are saved but not just for themselves, they are saved as part of the community for good works (Eph 2:10)
10. Works then show the world that your faith in Jesus is alive (James 2:14-26)

I know this is a really long post but this shift in thinking about election has helped me make sense of God’s sovereign plan of salvation in Christ alone, the church being God’s chosen means to tell the world about what Jesus has done, and individual response and responsibility to place their faith in Jesus.

If you would like to read more this wiki article is really helpful.

Team Tuesday

I love serving at Creekside Church. It’s amazing to see what Jesus is doing in our community. People are finding grace, hope and community. These are all happening as people are seeking after Jesus. It’s awesome!

One if the other reasons that I love serving at Creekside is because of the team that I get to work with. A team makes a tremendous difference in the environment. Team members encourage and challenge one another because they share the same mission and goals.

I have served in places, and talked with others who are currently in places, where they have a collection of employees but not a team. Everyone does what they are supposed to do but they are not unified. It’s hard to see that happening because church staff members, despite their different personalities and preferences, should be able to unite as a team around what Jesus has called them to do.

What keeps this from happening? Here are a few things:
1. No clear vision from Jesus
2. Guarded communication
3. No servant leadership from the top
4. People trying to focus on their area of expertise instead of the overall mission.
5. Trying to build a legacy without building a present
6. No taking time to goof around with team members
7. No shared decision making
8. Leaders don’t receive input from their team members
9. Refusal from leaders and team members to own mistakes

The list could go on but it might just make us all depressed. There are no perfect teams, and every team has areas where they can improve. But the question that we have to ask as leaders is do we want to be a great leader or do we want to be on a great team? You can try to do the first without the second but you will be frustrated. If you do the second part of that question first then the first part is more likely to come to pass.

Just some thoughts as I head into a Tuesday filled with opportunities to be with my team members at Creekside.

Multiply Monday

Creekside is launching a new campus in Lynnwood this Fall! Kathy and I are going to be leading this campus! We are really excited to see what Jesus is going to do over the next several years at Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and beyond as we trust Jesus and goes where he leads.

Why are we doing this? Because Jesus keeps bringing people to Creekside in Mountlake Terrace. We want to continue to grow our ability to help people discover, trust and love Jesus. So we are going to a multisite strategy to open up more space in MLT and to reach people in Lynnwood.

We don’t know where exactly we are going to meet but we do know that we are going to Lynnwood. Please be praying for wisdom and clarity on where Jesus wants us to establish this campus.

During this season of preparation I want to share with you things that I am learning. So on Mondays I want to take some time to talk about Multiplication.

Today Tony Morgan posted this interview with Warren Bird. It’s and interested video and it’s encouraging to see that Multisite is becoming more and more common and it is helping to facilitate more growth for churches.

9 Years at Creekside

Wow.  9 years is a long time.  It is 27% of my life so far.  It’s amazing to think about the journey that God has led Creekside and my family on.  When I started at Creekside as the youth pastor I really had no idea that my role would grow and change as much as it has.

Some highlights over the last 9 years.

1) moving into Mountlake Terrace

2) Watching Jordan teach himself drums using Rock Band

3) Watching Community Groups grow and become an integral part of our culture.

4) Leading different teams to Cofradia, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras and seeing how lives are impacted by love and generosity. And watching how serving changes the lives of those who serve.

5) Preaching. It’s an honor every time I get to share what God is teaching me through his word.  And I love helping people get to know Jesus better.

6) Most important, watching my kids come to love Jesus more and more.  It is an incredible blessing to see the impact that our kids leaders have first hand.  I do what I can to help Joss and Judah know Jesus more and more but it is nice to know that I am not alone in the process.

It’s been an amazing 9 years so far and to celebrate I am going to take a bunch of people on a mission trip to Roatan.

Building Anticipation for Christmas

I love Christmas time.  This is a significant change in my life.  I used to work at Long’s Drug where I was bombarded with all things Christmas from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve and I grew to resent all the things that surrounded Christmas.  

Over the last several years though I have begun to appreciate Christmas in a whole new way. Several things have gone into this. 

1) Having kids.  Christmas is better when you have kids of your own.  Their joy is contagious.  The opportunities to build new traditions with them, the times we get to talk about Jesus, the time with extended family.  All of these things are better with kids around.  

2) Simplifying Christmas gift giving. Instead of having to buy gifts for everyone in our extended family we have been doing the whole name exchange thing where you draw a name and buy a gift for one person.  It’s pretty awesome.  Takes the pressure off financially, in regards to time spent shopping, and eliminates the pressure of finding “the perfect gift” because most of the time people are really happy with a gift card. 

3) Christmas Missions Offering.  Because we have simplified how much we spend on gifts we are able to be more generous with our Christmas Missions Offering.  But Every year I am amazed by what God does through Creekside Church as we keep reaching after big goals that he puts on our heart and we get to see lives changed as we give our resources to helping people discover, trust and love Jesus Christ across the street and around the world.  Awesome!  When we take our eyes off of our selves and what we can get, and focus on Jesus and what he wants us to do Christmas gets way better. 

4) Anticipation Activities.  During December over the last several years I have been in the habit of watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition).  These movies came out in December and have always been find with getting me personally ready for Christmas.  This year though I created a Christmas Movie Film Festival (Or Advent Calendar).  Every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas we are going to be watching a different movie that is about Christmas, or takes place around Christmas time, i.e. Die Hard.  It has been pretty fun so far.  There are some movies to watch with the kids, some movies for grown ups.  And instead of just watching boring television we can give a purpose to what we are doing and build anticipation around Christmas.  Fun!

I’m writing this because I want to encourage you to not let Christmas just come and go and be filled with busy-ness.  Simplify, slow down, enjoy Christmas for what it is and do what you can to build anticipation and have fun as Christmas gets closer.