Peacefully In Pain

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Have you ever been at place in life that you became so frustrated with the way everything was going and felt like giving up? It seemed like no matter what you did everything was leading to a dead end? You raised your hands in worship, you served whole heartedly, and yet nothing was changing?  I have been in that place for what felt like years and so many times I came close to quitting. I was so concerned that my external problems were not being changed that, I failed to realize that internally a garden full of his fruits were being planted. God was teaching me how to not just endure the rain but to dance in it. Here are some ways to find peace and joy in the midst of pain.

Dance in the rain

 

I love dancing. I love the fact that no matter what is going on for those few minutes I am free. We often find ourselves dancing only when we are happy though. When is the last time you were upset and decided, “You know what, I am going to moonwalk my way out of this problem”? It’s probably non existent. Why? Because doing something that is joyful contradicts what our emotions are telling us. “You’re sad, go listen to sad music”. In Romans 5:3 Paul encourages us to “rejoice in our sufferings”. If you are anything similar to me when you read this you probably made a sarcastic comment like “Oh yeah! Let’s be excited that we are in pain…” When we begin to stand in the truth of who Jesus is and realize what he has already done for us, the way we look at our circumstance changes. When the is rain pouring down on us we dance because, we know after the rain comes a rainbow.

Follow the way

 

We often can become so anxious and worried when we are in the midst of a season that requires us to be still and know who is in control. Why? Because we aren’t able to see what’s next in our journey. For someone like me who loves knowing what is next, that idea is downright terrifying. I struggle with enjoying the adventure because my eyes are always set on my hand made map and trying to figure out how I will arrive at my destination. Can I share a little secret with you?  It was in the place of frustration that I was able to find freedom. I had to surrender what I thought was the right way in order to realize the way; Jesus. In John 14:5-6 Thomas is having a conversation with Jesus and asks him how will he know the way to his destination? Jesus replies with the most epic answer known to man and tells him “ I am the way, the truth and the life”. Thomas continues on in the story and is still confused but honestly I don’t blame him. I would have been too. Once I began to understand this verse the way I saw what i was going through drastically changed. I realized that I didn’t have to worry whether I would make the right move because, my eyes were now fixated on him. I trusted him like never because I knew my God wasn’t going to let me fail.

Love where you are

 

There are some lyrics from a spoken word by a rapper named Ruslan in which he says “What if I was more present in the moment that’s surrounding? Cause the present, is where the presences of my God is found in. So I gotta be more present.” In the day and age we live in we are always focused on the future. Our minds begin to drift and we ponder on what our dreams and lives will look like ten years from now. We get so caught up on what God will do that we lose sight on what he is doing now. A few years ago we were dreaming of the moment where we would be in the spot we are in today and what it would be like. Unfortunately we are missing out because we now we are looking even further ahead. It’s a toxic cycle that could keep us from soaking in all God’s goodness.

 

My prayer for us is that we would walk in freedom rather than in anxiety. That as we continue on with our journey’s that we would begin to slow down and breathe in the breath of heaven that will sustain us. That we would fall deeper in love with Jesus than ever before. Love you all!

                                                                                                             – Giovanni

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Freedom from Overcommitment

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The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul”. – Lysa TerKeurst

I will be the first to admit that I have gotten used to living a life that is marked by jumping from one activity to the next. Gym, shower, work, catch up with friends, study, dinner, repeat—with hardly a moment to take a breath in between. The occasions where it has become abundantly clear to me that this pattern does not work have not been peaceful “aha” moments. The revelation that I’ve accepted too much on my plate has come in moments where I’ve felt over stretched, worn out, and frustrated. When we’re constantly buried under the schedule we’ve chosen to keep, it’s easy get accustomed to this feeling of being overcommitted and mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. So how does this all change?

We have to be intentional

When we are seeking God’s will for our lives by spending time with Him in the word and in prayer, we can be more aware of where God is leading us. The knowledge of where God is leading us can help us to ask and answer the following question: “Is this opportunity in line with the direction in which God is leading me?” We can find ourselves feeling as though we are going in fruitless circles when we are not being intentional about where we are spending our time. We must be intentional if we are going to walk in our purpose.

We have to prioritize

What has been most difficult for me is accepting that sometimes we have to say no to good opportunities so that we can say yes to great opportunities. I think it’s easy to say no to things that are clearly not for us. But what about those times when an opportunity comes along that sounds good in itself? In these cases, we must go back to being intentional about how we are stewarding our time—when we say yes to one thing, we are simultaneously saying no to something else. The author, Lysa TerKeurst, eloquently expresses this idea by stating, “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.” When we look at our schedules, we should frequently assess whether we have the time and energy to devote to our priorities.

We can’t be afraid to say no

The desire to please others may make it difficult for us to say no to those opportunities that are good in nature but not right for us for whatever reason. Colossians 3:23 serves as a reminder that whatever we do in life should be done for God and not for men. In those times where we find it challenging to say no, we can be encouraged by reminding ourselves that our obedience is to God and not to our friends, family, or coworkers. When we’ve taken the time to be intentional about spending time with the Lord and have devoted time to stewarding our priorities, we can find peace in knowing that our no can provide someone else with the opportunity to say yes.

Be fruitful

Ultimately, it is up to each one of us to decide if we are going to allow our schedules to run us or if we are going to run our schedules. We are all accountable for the way we steward our time. For those who feel overwhelmed by the demands of life, the good news is that Jesus offers us rest if we will run to him (Matthew 11:28). Nothing is too big for Him. Take a moment to rest in the fact that we do not have to work to earn His acceptance; we’ve already been accepted. God has not called us to live busy lives; he has called us to lives that are fruitful!

 

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)

– Chantia

10 Signs You May Be Losing Passion

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Steve Jobs once said, “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” 

Passion is the fuel that drives our lives. It gives us the momentum to move forward when everyone else accepts where they are. It’s a boost for the soul, when life becomes idle. Passion takes you places that information can’t. Passion can’t be taught, it’s only recognized from within and then owned.

Ministry takes passion. And not just a normal amount of passion (if there is such a thing) but it takes a lot of passion to fulfill the calling and mandate that God has put on your church. Passion will have you going out of your way to reach someone in need, it has you up at night wondering how to make your ministry better, it celebrates the victories, but then immediately looks at the next challenge.

If we plan to last in ministry, we need passion. You could say passion is prerequisite to preservation. You won’t make it to what’s next unless you have passion for the now. David said this about passion,

Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. – Psalm 69:9 (NLT)

So we can agree passion is incredibly important to pushing ahead in our lives. Here’s some signs that you may be losing passion. At some point, every single one of us has dealt with at least one of these. The good news is, we serve the most passionate human being that ever lived, Jesus. Passion for His Father fueled Him, even in the darkest of times. So as we look at these 10 signs, let us not lose sight of the one who can reignite our passion in a moment.

  1. Prayer becomes more difficult than usual

    Prayer is such a vital part of following Jesus and leading other people too Him. While there is a healthy difficulty to prayer, you can tell your losing passion when it becomes harder than normal to pray. Thankfully, the Bible shows us even when we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit of God prays for us (Romans 8:26).

  2. You struggle to receive from weekly services

    I can tell someone is losing passion when they sit through church service and aren’t moved like they once were. When worship begins, does your heart still beat with excitement and anticipation? Is your soul refreshed when you sit under teaching? Do you still marvel and celebrate, like really celebrate, when someone turns to Jesus?

  3. Bible reading becomes a burden or unimportant

    Plain and simple, the Bible is never meant to be a book of obligation. It’s not a box to check off your list, it’s an opportunity to meet with a living God who cares deeply for your soul. Tip: if Bible reading has got you bored, go back to particular passages that you know will turn your heart back towards the devotion you once had. And even then, if you struggle to read your Bible, it’s okay. Look for someone to help you see something that you might have missed.

  4. You talk to the same people at church

    There are plenty of new people coming to your church every week. The goal is not to just see and fellowship with the same people you always see, but to meet others. Especially if you’re leading in ministry, your next great volunteer could be sitting in your seats right now, but if you’re only talking to people you know, you’ll miss them.

  5. Serving is only based on a schedule

    We use a scheduling program here at our church for our volunteers. I’ve noticed people losing passion when they only have a heart to serve if they’re on the schedule. The truth is there is not clocking out with Jesus, there is no moment where we aren’t available to Him. Passion isn’t something we can turn on and off. It’s present every moment.

  6. You expect to be noticed or seen

    When Jesus called us to ministry it wasn’t so we could be seen. Sadly, the longer we’re involved, the easier it can be to desire recognition. Of course when other honor us it’s great, but we can’t forget who this is really about. He’s not here to make me look good, I’m here to make Him look good, and if someone doesn’t see me, that’s okay.

  7. You stop changing and getting better

    The aim of our life, not just our ministries, is to get better and keep changing. There is a danger to remaining the same, even after following Jesus for years, we should always be longing to become more and more like Him. Every single day.

8. You’re not connected

It’s our goal every week to get our people connected. To our growth track, to small groups, or to volunteering. If we have steps for our people to take, we have to make sure we ourself are taking those steps. Ask yourself, “Am I connected to a group of people I can journey with?” Or is it just the people I serve with every Sunday.

9. There’s a lack of transparency

I’ll never forget how real I was when I first got saved. I didn’t care who I talked to, I was spilling my stuff out all the time. I just wanted to get as much help as I could, and desired to know how to follow Jesus. Now that we’re Christian, are we still learning how to follow Jesus? Or do we think we’ve got it down.

10. You question your calling too much

Passion helps you embrace where you are, and also pushes you to where you need to be. Similar to the Apostle Paul’s writings Philippians 3 and 4, where he says he’s content, but still pushing ahead. The problem is when we lack passion, we question things that God has already spoken to us about. We’ll sit and question if we’re really doing what we should be doing. It’s okay to assess where you are, but if you spend too much time questioning what you’re doing, you’ll most likely never get anything done.

While these 10 signs can be hard to acknowledge, they’re not insurmountable. With the help of the Holy Spirit, these signs can be just reminders to get us back to our knees and back to the basics of following Jesus. We never want to stop growing, and we never want to stop becoming more and more like God’s design for our lives.

We love you, we’re praying for you, we believe in you. You can get your passion back, right here. Right now.

Rest Up

“But he would withdraw to desolate places and prayed”

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So many times throughout Jesus’s ministry he would leave everything he was doing and went to simply be with the Father. Have you ever wondered why he chose to do that? Or did you do what a lot of us have done and just read it without getting the significance of what Jesus was actually doing? I am guilty of being in that category and it wasn’t until recently that i got a revelation and was transformed by why Jesus rested.

Ministry can become not just physically draining but emotionally as well. So often we think,“I just have to keep pushing forward, keep grinding, trust the process!” but God never intended us to live with an “I got this” mentality. Jesus spent time resting and praying because he knew he couldn’t carry on and fulfill the mission without spending time in his Father’s presence.

In John 6:38 Jesus tells his disciples “For i have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Notice how Jesus states that it is not his own will, but rather the Father’s will. See because if it was his own will then he could have done it on his own strength, but it was his Father’s will so he had to rest in his strength.  

Here are a few reasons why resting and praying is absolutely important to fulfilling the mission.

  1. He wants to bring you rest

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28‭-‬29 ESV

So many times throughout our days we catch ourselves becoming physically exhausted and what is the one thing we always resort to? Removal. We remove ourselves from our current situations and go to a place of quietness where we can be still and not move a muscle. Our body might be getting the rest it needs but are our souls? The beautiful thing about Jesus is that all he asks of us it to do one thing, Come. He invites us to step into his presence where only he can bring the rest and peace our souls desperately desire.

  1. Bearing pure fruit.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 NIV

Often times we can easily forget that we are someone’s first encounter with Jesus, imagine if what they saw and tasted was the exact opposite of who he is? Jesus gave us a clear picture of how we are to bear pure fruit, remain in him. Fruit trees desperately need to be watered and cared for. Without it’s source of life then what we will see when it’s harvest time is going to be nothing but rotten fruit. The same goes for us believers. Constantly being in his presence allows you to not only display his image clearer but it allows him to purify those parts that have been tainted by life’s trials.

  1. Coming Undone

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

Want to know a little secret? Jesus knows every part of you the good, the bad,the ugly and all he wants to do is be with you. One of the many things i have learned since following Jesus is that i don’t have to put up a front when i am with him. We can get so caught up in trying to put up a great image of our lives as followers of Jesus. Have you ever checked your heart and wondered why you tend to do that? Is it fear of others seeing that we don’t have it all together? Or maybe you are subconsciously doing that in hopes God will give you a round of applause and a pat on the back? I’ve been there and let me tell you that we are only deceiving ourselves. The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that no matter what we do, God’s love and approval of us will never change.When we step into his presence we get to leave behind all the weight of the person we try to be and freely get to come undone before him. You get to say “here i am Lord, broken, bruised and i know you aren’t disappointed with me” Let me remind you that he is not disappointed with you. He is proud of you!

As we continue to fight the good fight and we continue to live out the Gospel, let us never miss a opportunity to rest and be with Him. All he wants to do is be with you.

Overcoming Anxiety

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It’s true that leading people can become stressful.

Many of us can say that we’ve experienced times in our life where we were excited and full of anticipation for the things God has in store for us, or the people we’re leading. When doubt seeps in, however, we are prone to feel anxious about what the future might hold. Anxiety is a feeling characterized by tension and worry, and it is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder. When I think of the ways feelings of anxiety have been present in my own life, I think of times when the enemy has morphed my hopeful anticipation for the future and turned it into fear or dread. Even for those of us who do not experience anxiety to the extent that it regularly interrupts our daily functioning, it is important to recognize when we feel anxious so that we can take authority over it.

3 Ways to Overcome Feelings of Anxiety

1. Remind Yourself that Jesus Has Already Overcome Anxiety

Philippians 4:6 tells us to be anxious about nothing but to pray and let our request be made known to God. Since God does not ask us to do anything that is not possible for us to do with his power, His command for us to not be anxious means that he has already made a way for us to overcome anxiety. Jesus overcame anxiety when he died on the cross and now we have the ability to walk in the freedom that he has already purchased for us.

Anxiety can make us doubt, back away from what we believe God is calling us to, or even cause us to avoid certain situations for fear that our worries might come to fruition. While anxiety causes us to retreat, faith and obedience lead us to walk into the future believing that God is faithful to fulfill his promises to us. Faith is often connected to obedience and the more we walk in obedience, the more we will be able to see our faith grow.

2. Meditate on the Things of God

Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:8 to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. What are you meditating on? Especially as a leaders, we should be assessing our thoughts and the meditation of our heart (Psalm 19:14) every single day. When thoughts enter our mind that are contrary to the things mentioned above, we have to surrender them to God. We should be intentional about filling our minds with things that are in line with God’s promises to us and not things that contradict these promises. We must be mindful about the music, movies, social media accounts, and friends we allow to have a presence in our lives. Each of these has the power to impact our thoughts whether it is in a positive way or a negative one.

3. Challenge the Lies of the Enemy

An important question to enter into prayer with when we find ourselves feeling anxious is, “God, why am I feeling anxious?” Many times, I have found myself feeling worried but not being able to pinpoint exactly why I am feeling this way. At the root of anxiety exists a lie that we have begun to believe. It may be a belief that we are not capable or it may be doubt that God will actually meet our needs. Once we can uncover the lie that is causing us to feel anxious, we can challenge it with God’s truth. It is helpful to recall times in the past when God has enabled you to overcome a similar situation or similar thoughts. Remember his faithfulness in the past and bring it with you into the future.

Anxiety is real and it can be debilitating, but the good news is that Jesus is more powerful! Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Lean into God’s truth and He will prove himself faithful.We love you and we’re praying for you!

– Chantia

Momentum Killers (Part 2)

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At our last Passionate Youth Pastors gathering we were joined by Micahn Carter, pastor and founder of Together Church in Yakima, Washington. In his afternoon session, he gave us twelve momentum killers, things that kill the momentum in our ministries.

All of us know the exhilaration of watching something run by itself, or the feeling of pure momentum bringing growth and multiplication to what we’re doing. But within that, there are habits and some times unnoticed tendencies we allow that can actually kill the momentum we experience.

Last week we brought you the first six (which can be found HERE. Here are the other six things that we as leaders need to be on the look for.

7. UNWILLING TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY

We’re all guilty of thinking the way we’ve always done something, is the way it works. While there is truth in the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” method, there are seasons and shifts in our ministry that require us to think outside of the norm. It could be because we’ve plateaued in growth that we need to look at new opportunities to reach people, or it could be because it just doesn’t work. No matter what, we’ll lose momentum in our teams and mission if we just aren’t willing to change.

8. LETTING THE “NEW BIG” STAY BIG

Pastor Micahn made a great point about the “new big”. Every big event we have or new campus we launch, we have to bring our teams back to the understanding that there’s still more out there. As a youth pastor, I get caught up sometimes in celebrating a few hundred kids attending a service longer than I should. By all means, celebrate what the Lord does and never lose that gratitude and awe of what He’s done. But, when you line up one event next to one city, you realize there’s still hundreds of thousands of people right here in our city that don’t know Jesus. We’ve got to stay focused on the mission.

9. DISTRACTION

Distractions always play a part in our lives. Whether it’s the never-ending plethora of social media, or something as simple as watching television at the wrong time, distractions can easily hinder momentum. This also applies in terms of new opportunities. We can get distracted by what’s ahead that we forget about what we’re stewarding now.

Jesus said in Matthew 5, that our yes should be yes and our no should be no. In other words when we know what we’re called to, it’s easy to say no to anything that doesn’t match.

10. EGO

Ah the ego! Momentum is an attractive thing. Personally, there’s been times where I’ve gotten used to momentum that it built up more trust in my ability than in the Lord. Pastors and leaders should beware, as stated in point number 6, that we don’t feel we’re the source of momentum. The ego gets fed when we fall in love with what momentum does for us, and not for the people we’re trying to reach.

11. CHOOSING PREFERENCE OVER PURPOSE

Preference is defined as a great liking for one thing over another. It’s options. When we don’t like how something is run, we can easily leave and attach ourselves to something different. But when it comes to the call of God, your preference is not priority. We’ve only made it this far because of the purpose God has for our lives. And that purpose, by design, is often difficult. The moment we start looking for what’s easy and what doesn’t require much from us, we lose momentum.

12. CELEBRATING THE WRONG STUFF

This last one goes hard in every area of life. Celebration is so important in life and in ministry, but the direction of celebration can either attract us to our destiny or distract us from it. Momentum needs celebration, but again it needs to be in the right place. I personally don’t want to slow down to throw a party for something that can easily be a thank-you card. Keep it moving, and keep looking ahead!

We pray these twelve things have helped you as much as they’ve helped us. We love you, we’re praying for you, and we’ll see you next time at Passionate Pastors.

Momentum Killers (Part 1)

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Our last Passionate Youth Pastors gathering was by far one of greatest yet. Joining us from Yakima, Washington was pastor Micahn Carter. Pastor Micahn and his wife April pastor Together church, a multi-site, multi-cultural church started almost thirteen years ago. Pastor Micahn is an articulate communicator and is easily one of this generation’s upcoming voices. You can learn more about pastor Micahn and together church HERE.

After a day filled with powerful worship and plenty of soul-cleansing moments, pastor Micahn shared some practical tips about things that kill our momentum in ministry. We’ll list the first six of his twelve “Momentum Killers” here, and we’ll pray that they impact you as much as they did us. For more Passionate Pastors content visit our Passionate Pastors Youtube Channel .

  1. COMPLACENCY

    It’s quite dangerous to start treating things as common. Especially in leadership we can get so passionate about getting somewhere, and then becoming average because we’re there. Great leaders keep pushing and finding new motivation each and every step of the way.

  2. UPHOLDING CULTURE

    The health of your culture can determine the success of your ministry. Sure, some things can sneak by in a dysfunctional culture, but in the long run if we’re not all living out what we believe we’ll struggle.

  3. DISUNITY

    One of pastor Micahn’s key points was that we celebrate loyalty more than we should. People can be loyal and still be divided. Let’s not overlook dysfunction just because someone’s been with us a long time. “Loyalty is an immature sign of unity.” People can be in the same place and still no be connected. As Paul said, let’s aim to “maintain the unity”.

  4. UNWILLING TO TRANSITION TEAM MEMBERS

    Keep in line with number three, if someone is hurting the team, we have to know how to transition them. Plain and simple if they’re heart isn’t in it, you’ll notice. You wouldn’t pay to bring an empty piece of luggage with you on a trip, in the same way don’t pay to bring an empty team member towards where you want to go.

  5. NO DEPTH IN THE ROSTER

    Especially in youth ministry, we can get caught up thinking that we need to do everything. So we create the service flow, we teach others the service flow, we put on the pre-service music, then we run to the back to preach and then we follow up with everyone and so on… it’s crazy. A key part of leadership is empowering others to do more so we can keep building more!

  6. THINKING THAT YOU DID THIS

    Humility is a key part of what we do as leaders. Especially in church, we have to be careful to not assume that we are the reasons we are successful. The truth is we can’t control anything. We might plant, we might water, but it’s only God that gives increase. His grace is what empowers us to serve and ultimately point people to Him.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you’ll share some of these points with your teams. We’ll get you the other six momentum killers soon so stay locked and stay passionate! We LOVE YOU.

Let It Happen (Creative Ministry)

The world is naturally a creative place…

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The world is naturally a creative place. Breathed from a God who created everything from nothing, the world, and really life itself, is a place of possibility. It’s a blank canvas that can become anything we imagine it to be. It’s a place of purpose, a place that is for something. In other words, we’re not here to just consume, we’ve been created, intricately designed if you will, to create.

This is especially true today’s ministry world. The word with which we reach people has not changed, but the way we reach people has. We’re now almost completely digitalized, battling for screen time as people’s eyes continue to look down into their devices. If the church can grasp the possibilities of reaching people in a new way we’ll continue to see more people added to the kingdom of God.

For generations, creatives have been the source of so much progression in our world. Whether it’s a painting that brings tears to your eyes, a song that soothes you and brings peace to your soul, or a technological advancement that makes doing a task easier, people who operate in the fullness of their imagination and creativity, make the world a better place.

Of course, when we hear the word “imagination” or the phrase “make the world a better place” it’s immediately thrown into a category of statements that have been Hallmark-ized. But for anyone that calls themselves a Christian, creativity is deep within our faith and what we believe about life.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” – Genesis 2:18 (ESV)

The Creation story, according to Christianity, is one of great depth and beauty. After six days of making everything, God notices something about what He’s made. He notices that His beloved and prized possession, man, is alone.

God looked at what He had made, and saw that there was still something missing. To this day, I believe, God still sees life this way. He notices the areas of His people’s lives that are empty, and reveals Himself as the ultimate satisfaction and pleasure.

If we too are made in the image of God, we’re given this same type of heart for humanity. We’ve been given the ability to see something, and then creatively come up with a way to make that something better.

Inside of each and everyone of us, is creativity. I remember the first time I ever rapped before. I had never thought about rapping, or even considered having an interest in rap, but the first time I freestyled it just made sense. Inside of me used to be combinations of words that rhymed and syllable patterns that clicked, but out of fear and insecurity of what people thought, it never came out.

“Fear wins when you don’t even try.” – Unknown

We’ve all be given something. An idea, a dream, a conviction, a song, a poem, a painting, an invention, something, we’ve all been given something. Instead of fighting against it, and finding everywhere possible to get away from it, why not just let it happen?

I recently saw a movie where one scene wrecked me. I’m not talking watery eyes, but a full on bawl. It wasn’t a sad moment, it wasn’t an awesome victory, but the scene revealed to me a lot about life, and how all of us are looking for fulfillment. Deep you may say, but instead of telling myself, “It’s just a movie” or “What’s wrong with you?”, I just let it happen.

Even today recalling that scene in my mind brings so many ideas and snippets of passion that I know aren’t meant just for me. They’re meant to become something, something that others can benefit from.

In Let It Happen, a song by a group of singers and musicians called United Pursuit, the lyrics penetrate into my heart in a way that not a lot of other things can. These words show that we’ve been created to be creative. We’ve been made to love, made to live, and made to find beauty in everything. You may find them cliche overused in our broken world, but instead of classifying a feeling as fake or unrealistic, why not let God use that moment as a seed to grow in you something that was never there before?

You’re full of life now

You’re full of passion 

That’s how He made you 

Just let it happen

Just let it happen. In the end you’ll be glad you did.

The Curse of The Clog (Drano Ministry)

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Ministry is about people. Loving them, serving them, showing them Jesus and so much more. To effectively reach people, it takes a healthy team. Not an individual person, but a collective people. It takes work, communication, unity and a commonality amongst a team that pursues missions more than preference.

Personal preference can distort purity…

In the grind of ministry there are constant projects, meetings, deadlines, and assignments that all push the team closer to fulfilling the mandate of Jesus. To “Preach the Gospel in all the world to every creature.” (See Mark 16:15) When you think about it, everything we do while in ministry is just in hopes that one person would hear the story of Jesus and how much He loves them. The work is for Jesus, but that leads to an often easily missed question: is Jesus in the work? 

Do our meetings reflect Jesus, do our deadlines and the way we communicate with our teams reflect Jesus, do the way we work together reflect Jesus? If not there’s bound to be moments of discord and division. We are called to keep the main thing, the main thing. And that takes a team, not just an individual.

One common deficit to a healthy organization is missed deadlines. Missed opportunities to advance the mission. Like a clogged pipe, certain things that don’t happen can easily slow down or even stop the flow of the mission. Consider this:

A baker walks into a room full of young apprentices. He looks around the room and then starts sharing his vision with enthusiasm: “We’re going to make a cake!” He then assigns each individual to bring an ingredient. Eggs, flour, oil, butter, sugar and so on. Hours later everyone returns with their ingredient except for one person who shows up without the eggs. With smiles on their faces, the other apprentices are satisfied because they did their part. But the cake can not be made until all ingredients are there.

It’s in moments like this that often times we’ll check off our list because we brought our ingredient. But the mission was not to bring an ingredient, the mission was the make a cake. When we see others on our team holding up the flow, we can’t walk away and be satisfied with our share. Even though there’s other things happening, if one person is behind it will stop the flow of everyone else on the team.

Great leaders don’t cover their own assignments, they see all areas and contribute to helping each area prosper. With that in mind, there are ways to clear the clog in our teams. It can be tricky, and they may be some discomfort at first, but in the end we’ll experience more growth, more results, and more unity. Here’s a few tips to having Drano in your ministry.

1. Recognize the signs

There are dashboard signs to people falling behind in their work. Whether it’s their attitude, or the quality of their work, it shouldn’t be hard to see the pipe starting to clog. Be aware when things start to back up and be prepared to address it.

2. Create long-term solutions

A tragedy to trying to clear the clog is temporary fixes. We try something easy to fix a problem that might have many layers. If your sink has been clogged before by something, after paying the price to fix it, you most likely won’t put that down the drain again.

3. Have a culture of teamwork 

Great teams know that if one person is behind, all of them are behind. It’s one thing to say you’re a team, it’s another thing to actually work as a team. Jesus did a lot with His team, and although it took a few years to solidify, His team is still growing and moving forward today.

4. Communicate…a lot

The easiest way to keep the drain clear is communicate. Send emails, texts, phone calls and so on. Try staff management softwares or apps like Basecamp or Trello, that can help keep everyone flowing. I believe that when it comes to sharing Jesus, we can’t over communicate. The should be true in our work.

There are plenty of other ways to keep workflow moving smooth, but for now think about these four things. Do you see the flow starting to clog? If so, it may be time to make some changes. The sooner we see the signs, the sooner we can become the solutions.

We love you, we’re praying for you, we’ll see you soon!

Getting The People Done

boss-fight-free-high-quality-stock-images-photos-photography-pins.jpg“Ministry is not about getting the job done, it’s about getting the people done.” Shaun Nepstad sat in our staff offices and shared this thought recently with our team here at Passionate Pastors. (His Passionate Pastor sessions can be found here: passionatepastors.com/videos) The statement rattled our thinking, because for so long many have assumed that to be an effective church we have to get stuff done.

Of course there’s truth to that, but it seems that more and more the church of the future isn’t focused on doing stuff as much as it’s focused on building people. After all, everything we do is so that people can encounter Jesus, so missing the people is missing the point. When Jesus called His original followers, He didn’t tell them that they’d get stuff done, until He first promised He’d make them into something great.

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:18-19 (ESV)

If we’re going to be a successful church we have to keep making people. Not just leading them, but intentionally building them and preparing them for what’s next. When it comes to building people and volunteers, here’s a three step process that we’ve seen success in.

1. RECRUIT

When we’re building teams, how we recruit people is so important. If we can’t give the vision behind why we’re asking someone to join a team, we’re simply asking them to do a job. Volunteering isn’t about getting people to do a job, it’s about getting people to fulfill their calling. Not our need, but their calling! Leading people to their calling is what we’re all about, so when we’re recruiting people we have to keep that in mind.

2. RETAIN

After we’ve recruited someone to join our team, how do we keep them there? It’s very common for people to join a team our of excitement and emotion, but if the structure of the team isn’t prepared to welcome them and give them a pathway for their life, they’ll leave. Team leaders should recognize often times it’s the pastor who got them there, but it’s now the team leader’s leadership and really stewardship that will keep them there. When you prepare to do your next push for volunteers, make sure your thinking about how they’re going to stay. What will being on this team do for them in the long run? What small group are they going to be in after they start serving? Who can they turn to when they have problems? How are they being appreciated, affirmed, and honored on a regular basis?

3. RELEASE

This is where things get difficult. The goal of our teams is to prepare people and then release them to move on to what’s next for their lives. Obviously this is not the case for each individual. Some take ten months to be released, others ten years, but the reality is we should see where we want to take them. We believe every time we meet with an individual we should know where we see them one day, and be confident in how we’re going to get them there. Jesus was a master at preparing His followers and then placing them where He saw them. This is when people know you care, when you start releasing them to greater things.

So next time you’re caught up in the list of things you’ve got to accomplish, remember that building people is a box that never gets checked. We’re always doing it, always putting effort into it, and always believing for more people to build! We love you, we believe in you and we’re praying for you!