How To Enjoy The View (PYP Recap)

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This past Tuesday we had the incredible honor to host our first Passionate Youth Pastors gathering of 2017. Passionate Youth Pastors is a free gathering to unite youth and young adult leaders from around the world. It’s a place where leaders and come together for worship, connection, and insightful teaching. For the past three years, two to three times a year we’ve been gathering as youth pastors to talk about life. Not just leadership and ministry, but also the condition of our hearts and our personal lives. Each time we’ve learned and we’ve been stretched but we always leave bigger than the way we came.

PYP has and always will be about three things:

Community – we believe in place where youth and young adult leaders can feel safe. An environment where titles don’t matter, and where the size of your heart is valued more than the size of your platform.

Connection – we believe in place where we don’t just do ministry together, but where we do life together. The essence of our existence isn’t always just what we do, but also who we do it with.

Collaboration – we believe in a place where leaders don’t compare and compete, but where leaders can celebrate and collaborate. We believe that collaboration is a fruit of community and connection, not a requirement for it.

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John Morgan was our guest this time and after about ten minutes the room was floored. While there were so many amazing moments from our past gathering (get caught up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6seI1Qkr5Q). I’m going to use this space to highlight one of pastor John’s thoughts. In his first session titled “Maintaining Passion for Ministry”, pastor John shared some insight out of Revelation 2:4 and forsaking your first love. I’d say each point resonated with everyone listening, there was one in particular that spoke to me:

MAKE SURE YOU ENJOY THE VIEW

It seems everything about our world is moving so fast. Culture teaches us that to truly be successful and accomplish something, you have to climb to the top. On some levels this can be true, I mean we all love progress and growth. But when you are so fixed on what’s the next level you may forget to notice what’s going on on the current level.

Plainly, the platform many of us are on now is not ours. We are building on someone else’s view. Let’s be honest, someone else came before us, and someone else planted seeds that we experience the growth of.

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There’s moments in ministry where you and I need to enjoy the place we’re at. I understand God is doing new things, moving you and I into the place and destiny He has designed for our lives. But even then, even while we’re moving we’ve got love where we’re at. The Apostle Paul said this in Philippians 3:14

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

But then a few moments later he add this in Philippians 4:11

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

Paul is dealing with the tension that many of us face today. We’re confident and hungry for what’s next in our life, but we’re learning (implying it’s a process) to find contentment in every situation we’re in. We may not be where we want to be, but we’ve got to learn to enjoy the view of where we’re at.

So of course, you and I need to stay fixed and focused on what God is doing and where He is leading us. At the same time, let’s stay content and in awe of where we’re at. I never want to be a leader that’s so focused on what God can do that I forget or devalue what He’s already done. We’ve got to find that equal balance, and be committed to enjoying the view!

Love you,

BH

 

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Seven Questions For Today’s Church Leader

“As for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd who follows You…” – Jeremiah 17:16 

Whether we realize it or not, today’s leaders are influenced and in a way, inundated with so much from our culture. We’re taught to chase success and status, to accumulate more stuff and more things that give us value. As the secular state of leadership shifts and changes, it’s important for leaders in the church to stay focused and in tune with biblical principles.

The words of Jeremiah are very practical and real to the modern day church leader. While everything around us tells us to speed up and go faster through life, God teaches that we shouldn’t hurry and that being a leader means we are also great followers. Following God means constantly being aware of where you’re at, but also believing in where He wants to take you.

Here are some questions I’ve been asking myself every month or so. I pray that through prayerful reflection, these questions would lead you to being more conscious and more dependent on God.

1. Is my calling sure?

In a simpler way, am I in my lane? It’s much easier for us to focus on what we’re doing, when we are fully convinced of why we’re doing it!

2. Is my vision clear?

It’s frustrating when you’re looking at something, but don’t know what you’re seeing.

3. Is my passion hot?

Every now and then it’s good to ask yourself: am I still here? You may be physically here, but what’s your soul’s condition?

4. Is my character submitted?

Plainly, I want to make sure I am becoming more and more like Jesus every day.

5. Is my pride subdued?

It’s easy to assume that Christian leaders don’t have pride, but we do. Checking on your pride is important in developing as a leader. I read somewhere that pride comes before something….

6. Is my pace sustainable? 

A lot of times we’re tempted to come out the gates sprinting. But ask yourself, can my character and passion sustain where I’m at?

7. Is my life developing?

I never want to get comfortable with where I’m at. As the apostle Paul said, I want to be content but at the same time I want to press toward the goal. Ask yourself, am I still developing? Does the word of God still wreck me? Am I still compassionate towards people?

When you and I can open our hearts and search ourselves, we’ll become that much more moldable and teachable. When your soul stays teachable, your spirit stays reachable.

Love you.

BH

The Importance of Isolation

I never liked sitting by myself. Remember when you were in school waiting in the lunch line? I was never focused on what food I was getting. Especially in elementary school, I mean when you’re that young you eat anything. No friends, the food I was going to consume for lunch was not the object of my attention, but rather where I was going to be sitting was more important. It didn’t matter where I sat, as long as I wasn’t sitting alone.

I used to think, “Weird people sit alone.”

Today it seems that this idea is changing. It’s normal to sit by yourself. That’s right my six-year old self was wrong. Weird people don’t sit alone, but “cool” people sit alone. Studies show that we actually spend more time eating alone than we ever have before. I think one of the most crucial aspects of community is gathering around the table and enjoying a meal. (I’ve written about this previously  http://billyheather.tumblr.com/post/155696107834/whos-at-your-table)

But don’t get me wrong my approach this morning is not to say we need to be away from people. We need people. Every single day. We need to talk to them, we need to listen to them, we need to love them. But I think there is an importance to healthy isolation.

I truly believe that there are moments in our lives when we need to take a step back and simply surrender to a moment of solitude. With so much going on around us, it seems we never are alone anymore. There’s a non-stop plethora of information coming into our minds every moment of every day.

Think about the last time you didn’t have anything to think about. Even when we’re not doing anything work-related or relationship-related, we still have these pieces of technology in our pockets to help us through moments of boredom. Isolating ourselves from the noise of the world is more difficult today than it ever has been before.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. – Luke 5:16

I’m encouraged when I read about Jesus withdrawing from people. I know that He loves them, and would eventually lay His life down for them. But just the thought of Jesus getting away from it all to be with His Father is awesome. These are those moments we can relate with Jesus because He too needed to take a break at times.
There is such thing as a healthy isolation. A moment when you can stop and simply surrender. This doesn’t have to be an epic hike into the wilderness. It can be something small and short. It can be a moment waiting at a red light, or while you’re on the bus. Or in between meetings at work. Where you plainly withdraw from the hustle and bustle of the world, and meet with God.
Life is about God-consciousness. Being aware that He’s here and that He wants to meet with you. I want my life to be more like Jesus’ life. The entirety of Jesus’ life. Everyone wants to preach and heal the sick and lead. But not everyone wants to love and withdraw themselves to spend alone time with God. We love the big platforms of Jesus’ life, but what about the sweet and tender moments of isolation? There’s inspiration and innovation in a healthy isolation.
Let’s be leaders who love the secret place as much as we love the public place.
BH