Tuesday, May 27, 2014

9 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started

I have been in ministry for about 19 years and I will say it's been an amazing journey. I have served as a volunteer, intern, Jr. High Director, College Pastor, Student Ministries Pastor, Children's Pastor, and I currently pastor the church I planted about 6 years ago. It has truly been a wonderful time and journey.
That said, there are a few things I wish I really understood before I started:
  1. Motivations matter way more than people tend to acknowledge. Sifting through my motivations and then making sure I don't allow my impure motivations to drive my decisions takes a considerable amount of effort and intentionality - far more than I like to admit.
  2. Being alone is way more normal in leadership than people realize. Personally, I never really feel lonely, but I do feel alone. I almost never move in a direction without a team totally on board, but I am always "ahead" of the team in ways...which means I'm alone a lot.
  3. Making meaningful decisions on Sunday is ludicrous. My head feels like Jello after I teach three times. The only thing I should do when I get home on Sunday is eat and take a couch nap. I wait until Monday (at least) to decide anything.
  4. There should be no guilt for turning off your cell phone. Sometimes leaders often think they need to be accessible at all times. That's actually called having a messiah complex and, well, last time I checked Sabbath was not a suggestion.
  5. You will never regret not leading things others can lead. Unless you have the need to control things, letting others lead is freeing and empowering for others. And, if you don't let others lead things and fully back away, you never develop leaders.
  6. Some people are called to be in leadership, but everyone is called to be in submission. I have really come to understand and appreciate the beauty of submitting to those God has placed over me.
  7. Trust is only earned over time...and there are always people that will never trust you no matter what you do.
  8. Comparing yourself to other leaders is the worst thing you can do. This not only steals the joy of being yourself, but it will also hinder your effectiveness in ministry. God made us to be who we are for a reason, and organizing our ministries around who we are (in strength and weakness) is the only way to lead.
  9. Leadership is a personal thing, but don't take too much personally. Sometimes people bock at what you do, but sometimes it's them that's the problem not you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

3 Tricks To Managing Emails

If you're anything like me managing email is nothing less than burdensome. Add onto that Twitter DM's, Facebook messages, and text messages...at times there is just too much to respond to for a personality like mine. I've made some adjustments in the way I manage social media that has helped, but I have also learned a few "tricks" to managing email. Some of these may not apply to you or your context, but maybe you would get an idea or two that could help.

So, here are three quick "tricks" I use:

  1. Close the door.  When I respond to an email I make sure I don't have anything left for me to do when I click send.  If I don't have all the information I need to get back to the person, I wait until I do before replying.  This cuts way down on the back-and-forth emails that tend to be unnecessary.
  2. Hit the Delete button.  After I respond to an email I immediately delete it from my inbox.  I use Mail on my MacBook, so if I need something it's technically saved and retrievable.  But the bottom line is after I send the email I know I don't have anything left to follow up with.  In other words, I know if there is something to follow up on it's the other person.  My staff also knows that if I forward them something because they can better respond to it, it's deleted out of my inbox and therefore they are solely responsible to make sure the ball doesn't get dropped.
  3. Stop the Nonsense.  I think inner office email is largely a waste of time.  I just prefer to talk to people.  So, on our staff we don't communicate through email.  We actually talk to each other.  Even if we have a document to give feedback on (whatever that may be) we don't do so via email, but rather through Google Drive.  This helps cut down on the number of emails and helps all of us avoid the dreadful "reply-all" never ending trail of useless information.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Millennials And Money

We all grow up being told we "can do whatever we want to" if, in fact, "we work hard enough." As we grow, we think if we can just jump through the hoops of education then we will be prepared for the workforce.
But if that was true, why do companies have ongoing training programs?
The fact is a college degree is pretty much necessary for someone to get a full-time job. Even in the trade industry, there is usually some sort of schooling necessary before getting a job.
But to think that these things prepare you for the work you will be paid for is crazy. Sure, there is a foundation developed in ways. But just as seminary doesn't prep someone to pastor and lead a church, neither does a college-level degree prepare people to interact effectively in the marketplace. We all need to start somewhere.
This is where I find the rub to be in many cases. I find many college graduates thinking they should be paid more than they are making when they get out of school. Certainly not all, but a growing number it seems. In my discussions I have found a core thread that seems to lead to this conclusion: they have jumped through all the necessary hoops we have told them they needed to jump through and therefore feel like they deserve comfort.
But who can blame them? Most of them were raised with this mentality!
Well, I recently read an article that may bring some settling to this issue for some. There is something about seeing real-life numbers and this article surprised me a little. One of the topics hit in this article was the median income for Millennials. Here are 10 major cities in the U.S. and how much Millennials (people between the ages of 25-34) make on average in these cities:
  1. Raleigh, NC: $31,899
  2. San Diego, CA: $30,196
  3. Dallas, TX: $29,830
  4. Denver, CO: $32,422
  5. Boston, MA: $33,659
  6. San Francisco, CA: $36,119
  7. Chicago, IL: $30,061
  8. Austin, TX: $30,816
  9. New York, NY: $31,703
  10. Washington, D.C.: $42,226
Are you surprised by those numbers?