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April 14th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Code: Reworking our Values

Pastor Steven Furtick sent me an interesting book called The Orange Code, How ING Direct Succeeded by Being a Rebel with a Cause.

The book shows clearly how to connect emotion and passion to your values. After visiting Elevation Church, I saw Pastor Steven’s version of the Code (or the values) for Elevation Church. He inspired me to rework our values and connect them more directly with our cause.

I’ll share with you a few of them a day throughout this week.

1)    We are faith-filled, big thinking, bet-the-farm risk takers. We’ll never insult God with small thinking and safe living.

2)    We are all about the “capital C” Church! The local church is the hope of the world and we know we can accomplish infinitely more together than apart.

3)    We are spiritual contributors not spiritual consumers. The church does not exist for us. We are the church and we exist for the world.

4)    We give up things we love for things we love even more. It’s an honor to sacrifice for Christ and His church.

5)    We wholeheartedly reject the label mega-church. We are a micro-church with a mega-vision.

How often do you revisit the values for your church?

22 comments

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February 5th, 2010

by Guest Blogger

Guest: Vince Antonucci

Today our guest blogger is Vince Antonucci, author of “Guerrilla Lovers: How to Change the World with Revolutionary Compassion” and a great example of someone who is willing to do things that aren’t being done, to reach those who aren’t being reached.  Vince is currently starting a church on the Vegas Strip, but I asked him to tell us a story from his book of when he started a church service in a bar.  Here’s Vince:

When we started the service in the bar, one of our people, Samantha, couldn’t help but notice the pregnant bartender. It turns out that she was an ex-stripper.  Apparently, there’s not much call for pregnant strippers, so she had to find a new job, which is why she started bartending at this pub.  But feeling like a guerrilla lover, not only couldn’t Samantha help but notice her, she also couldn’t help but start talking to her each week, and she couldn’t help but begin praying about how she could ambush this lady with God’s love. The answer God gave her was… a party.

She began sharing her idea with some of the other Forefront women and everyone quickly jumped on board. They had to act fast, because the bartender was only a few weeks away from her due date.  So Samantha and a few other ladies from our church went shopping and bought a boat load of baby-shower presents. Samantha called the bar manager and asked her to call the pregnant bartender in an hour early pretending it was really busy and they “needed extra help.” The manager complied and the bartender came rushing in … to a nearly empty bar, except for five women and a table full of presents and food, and a huge, “Surprise!!!”

She stopped in her tracks and just stared, not quite able to comprehend what was happening. When she finally got it she was even more stunned. She couldn’t understand why people she didn’t know would throw her a party. And not only were these people virtually strangers, they were Christians. Aren’t Christians against strippers, against bartenders, against women who get pregnant outside of marriage, and against parties? She was confused, and grateful, and pretty much speechless. Samantha says, “I think she had that feeling you get when you don’t know God or that He loves you, but then you discover for the first time that maybe he does. I think she felt that.”

And, by the way, that’s a great example of a guerrilla lover ambush, and I’m convinced that it’s the way we can have a real impact on people and the world.

14 comments

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January 28th, 2010

by Guest Blogger

Guest: Scott Williams

Diversity Drives Innovation

By Scott Williams BigIsTheNewSmall.com

What is Innovation?  Innovation is defined simply as the act of introducing something new.  I appreciate organizations that value innovation.  I’m an adamant believer that if a ministry, organization, group, or leadership team wants to be a driving force in the area of innovation, they must be diverse.  If you have a bunch of guys and gals sitting around the table that all look alike, think alike and have similar life experiences, it’s only a matter of time before their new innovative ideas are merely recycled ideas.  By recycled I mean more of the same.

Diversity as it relates to innovation does not only apply to ethnic diversity; however in my opinion ethnic diversity is always crucial.   I love having an ethnically diverse team, as each team member brings their unique cultural and life experiences to daily discussions.  These discussions and interactions ultimately drive innovation.  If an organization wants to attract the brightest and most innovative minds in the world, they must make sure that all the faces at the leadership table don’t look the same.

It doesn’t matter if the entity is for-profit, not-for-profit or a religious institution.   A diverse leadership team helps to create synergy, productivity, and the ability to serve a diverse world.  Over time, that diverse group of leaders may need to be shuffled around, because long-term familiarity can also result in more of the same.

Diversity is different, change is good, innovation is new and Diversity Drives Innovation.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts!

11 comments

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January 27th, 2010

by Guest Blogger

Guest: Allyson Evans

It’s All About Relationships

My daughter was explaining to me how she MUST be on the cheer squad because this particular team is going to win the State Championship again next year.  Now, this is the same squad that consistently has girl drama and weekly battles between the team members.  I assured her that ten years from now when she looks back on her life to reference the things that shaped her into a wonderful adult role model, she would not include being on a State Championship squad… or attending a particular school or having a particular experience.  Instead, her list would include the relationships she has with her family, her interactions with friends, teachers, coaches, mentors and most importantly, her relationship with Jesus.  It’s not what we’ve experienced that determines who we are, it’s the relationships we’ve cultivated.

As we lead the next generation, it is crucial that, as the church, we help connect young people in relationships that are meaningful and move them down the path in their spiritual development.  We must show parents the importance of their role as spiritual leaders to their children and encourage them to deepen those relationships.  We should provide tools and resources for families, so they are equipped to lead Christ centered homes. Parents will begin to see for themselves that they can leverage their influence to help their children choose a strong circle of friends, a wise mentor and a bold accountability partner.  The kids who come from these homes will be sure of who God is, certain of who they are in Christ, and convinced they can impact the world.

If the church and family truly operate with that sort of focus on the emerging generation, what will our world look like in ten years?

So what are some of the ways you are leading the next generation?

4 comments

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January 26th, 2010

by Guest Blogger

Guest: Kendra Golden

Broken and Poured Out

Recently I felt led to reread the accounts of Jesus’ last supper. In both Matthew’s and Mark’s versions, the last supper is in the same chapter as the woman anointing Jesus with perfume. This time when I read them, the parallels between her story and the last supper leaped off the pages.

The woman broke her jar and poured out all of her perfume. She poured out everything that was of value to her—both her past savings and her future earning potential. Breaking her jar effectively eliminated her option of being able to return to keeping any for herself. She gave everything she had—past, present, and future—to Him. Jesus said that people would remember her remarkable love forever.

Then at the last supper, those same words appeared again: Broken and poured out. This time when I read Jesus saying, “Do this in remembrance of me,” I didn’t see him referring just to crackers and grape juice. He was beckoning me to do what He was doing: to be broken and poured out. Go all in. Hold nothing in reserve. Completely relinquish control. That’s what would truly commemorate what Jesus did. Not cherishing a ritual, but being a memorial. To live my life broken and poured out.

I realized He’s been whispering this to me for some time. For years, my husband’s favorite verse has been from John 6. Jesus had just finished teaching, “Eat my flesh. Drink my blood. Live like I’m showing you.” Everyone left—except the Twelve. Verses 68-69 hold Peter’s profound response: “Where else would we go? You’re the Christ.”

So that’s it then. Although I’m still discovering what that looks like, now I have no other options. I must live broken and poured out. And I may be wrong, but I suspect that’s a calling that may apply to all of us.

What would “broken and poured out” look like in your life?

12 comments

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January 25th, 2010

by Guest Blogger

Guest: Scott Rodgers

Attitude Isn’t Everything, But…

I read a book titled ‘Attitude Is Everything’.  I didn’t believe it. Now, many years later, I still don’t believe it. I believe attitude is the critical starting point. Our attitude, positive or negative, dramatically affects our experience and our outcome.

A positive attitude is like wearing TAG body spray; everyone wants to get close to you.  A negative attitude is like going three days without a shower; no one wants to get close to you.

Some observations I’ve made about those with a positive attitude:

  1. They have a Positive Presence. They non-verbally communicate positivity.  They have energy, look excited, and their posture says, “I’m glad to be here.”
  2. They take a Positive Approach. They think first of how we can before why we can’t. Their world view is can do.  Even when facing the impossible, those with a positive attitude believe in the possibilities.
  3. They give a Positive Response. They’re teachable.  They own the results without making excuses.  Their first response is, “thanks for the feedback.”

Attitude isn’t everything, but it is something that can’t be ignored. I’ve struggled with a bad attitude more often than I’d like to admit.  Am I alone?  What do you do to keep a positive attitude?

15 comments

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October 15th, 2009

by Guest Blogger

Guest - Cari Kelley

What’s an administrative assistant doing on a leadership blog?

While my team is GREAT about telling me how important I am to them and how much they appreciate all I do, I still find myself questioning my worth because I’m almost 40 and I don’t have one of the “important” jobs.  I just do all the boring stuff so that “they” can do the real ministry.  True?  No, of course not.  Nine days out of ten I remember, but that one day…

I need to remember that God equipped ME to do these things, and do them well.  I remind myself of these things:

  • Recognize the importance and need for support in ministry.  Leaders cannot do it all without being supported administratively and prayerfully.
  • Never underestimate the necessity of the “menial” tasks.  Without administrative support, the paper would pile up, neglected; no one would answer the phone calls of people with questions or needs; ministry leaders would have tons of ideas that were never executed—in short, business would come to a screeching halt.
  • Lead UP.  Higher level leadership has altitude…they see the big picture, but you can see things that they may never see.  Don’t be afraid to offer your perspective.

19 comments

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October 14th, 2009

by Guest Blogger

Guest - Cindy Beall

Is Your Heart Grateful?

Teaching gratitude to my sons has proven to be one of the most difficult tasks I’ve faced as their mother. 

They are such blessed little boys.  They have parents who are still married and crazy about each other.  They never have to think about their next meal.  They have friends out the wazoo vying for their attention on a daily basis.  And when they need new clothes, we are able to get them. 

Boys sure are tough on blue jeans, if you know what I’m sayin’.

But I think the greatest thing I’ve learned is that teaching them gratitude has to be modeled by their teacher.  I must model my gratitude by expressing on a daily basis how thankful I am for the life I live and for those who live this life with me.

A difficult task it is but a necessary one.  An absolutely necessary one.

The song I Will Not Forget You by 100 Portraits is one that resonates in my heart as I live this life I’ve been given.  I hope it does in yours, too.

A grateful heart I bring, a thankful prayer I pray, a wild dance I dance before you.  A loud song I sing, a huge bell I ring, a life of praise I live before you.

Now, put on your dancin’ shoes and get at it.

10 comments

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