Friday, August 29, 2008

must read, Five Dysfunctions of a Team

About a year ago Chad Rowland told me about this book. I heard Patrick Lencioni speak at Catalyst last year, loved his talk, and bought the book. Until 2 weeks ago it has been sitting in my about to read pile of books in my office. I picked it up just a few days ago and could not stop reading. I know some of you read this a long time ago! I was a late adopter on this one. The book rocked how I view conflict, goals, and teamwork in the work setting. As I read the book it gave me a chance to think on the past year here at GCC. This is going to be a must read for people on my family ministry team (yea, if you already work with me go ahead and buy it) because this is the kind of team we are going to work toward. This will not ruin the book for you BUT healthy tams do the following things...

1. They trust each other.
2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas.
3. They commit to decisions and plans of action.
4. They hold each other accountable for delivering on those plan.
5. They focus on achievement of collective results.

This is the kind of team I want to be on and lead. So go to Amazon and order this thing! Thanks to Chad and Ron for working to create a team that works like this at GCC. I look back on the year and understand why we do some of the things we do as a team.

Hope everybody has a great LONG weekend! Go Vols!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


so sorry on my last post (job titles)..I forgot to spell check and it was a mess. As you know if you read this I am spelling impaired!

Have a great Week!

investing in our families...

One of the innovations we are implementing this fall at GCC is the FAMILY PACK that is produced by 252 Basics ( Basically this is a monthly tool that helps take what we do at church with kids home so their parents can invest in their kids. We have 10 families using them right now and we will have one more test group use it next month before we launch in October. Chelsea and I have been talking with Kozbi about Honor all month while each Sunday she experiences it again in Cross Street. We have loved it. It helps us remember each week that we are the biggest influence in our daughter's faith journey. I am really getting excited about how God would use this in our church. As parents we need tools that hep us know how to invest in our kids. Business seems to rob of us this time and a guide helps make it a priority. Kids need to see us living real Faith in Jesus. This tool is going to be amazing. For you GCC folks, look for it to be released in October for your family!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

job titles...

People love job titles. They like those words that define what they do and what they offer. "I do this or that at my job." Titles seem to define our worth at work. I have a sweet title that no one but those of us at GCC understand. It is always fun to get to say this is my job and then get to explain it to people. People also like job descriptions. That neat framework that lets them in on what they do at work. It is very nice to have one but mine always seems to be changing because I am changing and what needs to be done in my organization keeps changing. CHANGE! Wow it never goes away. These job titles and job descriptions just seem pointless unless you are an administrator and you need them for your organizational chart that you love. All of us have to know what area we are leading but after that we just need to start finding out how we can make our organizations better. The question I keep coming back to is, what can I do today to make Grace Community Church better? On Sundays it is, what can I do to help someone else have a great experience? What if we all strived to be the best we can be in our areas of responsibility then just began to serve and step up to make our churches better places for be people to experience? We need to offer more to our work/church/ family than what we can write down on a job description of put in a title. Lets just go for it and serve. I hope we can keep empowering staff and volunteers to serve with the kind of spirit that finds the need and then works to fulfill the need even if it is not in their JOB DESCRIPTION.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Success is so fun! Winning is fun and Nacho said, "I wanna WIIIIIIIIN" (yes I like Nacho Libre way to much) Everyone likes to win, be on the winning team, and reap the rewards of winning. It is exciting to win but at the same time it can be so distracting. Success so many times takes us away from what matters most. It seems to distract us from the process that brought success in the first place. The question is how do we handle the good times? Jesus taught the way of humility. He also warned about the dangers of making success a god (idol) in our lives. Money, influence, numbers, profit all beg us to worship them and not the maker, God. Jesus understood the danger success could bring. Just some thoughts about success...

Success tempts us to stop working on it /// yes, it calls us to rest in the past. It begs us to protect what has been done. I calls us to be prideful in the success itself. There is the danger to think our way is the best way and stop learning, looking and listening to others. The answer is to never stop working on it. Success gives us the chance to dream new dreams, improve, and get better.

Success makes us CHANGE RESISTANCE /// so many times success leads us to not take risks! "If it aint broke don't fix" it leads so many times to not risk when risk is needed. It is alomost like we want to wall up what has been done and protect it. Success should be the launching point to chang what need to be changed to continue to move forward.

Success can divert us from our mission /// so many times success distracts gives us false confidences that we are good at everything so we try to do everything. So many times we start trying to be good at things we are not good at because of past success. Success should enable us to continue to focus and get better at what we do the best. We get to focus on what we do best not diversify to the point of distracton.

Success lures us to be prideful /// does this need to b explained? We all know it and we all have to srtive to look, act , think, and live like Jesus. Apart from Him we can not live the life of humility we are called to. Success is not the enemy as long as it does not feul selfish pride!

I for sure do not have this idea figured out? Because I am driven, I strive for success in everything I do. I never want to fall into these traps but I find myself in them so man times. What keeps you on track? What traps have you seen with success?

Friday, August 22, 2008

remix, fantasy drafts, life...all good...

All week I ave been meaning to post and time has just got away. Today got to hit the golf ball and then we took the girls to Dunbar Cave to take some pictures. We need to get some 5 and 2 year old pictures in the book with these outfits before they outgrew them. The pictures turned out great and some of them are up on facebook. Kozbi is loving school and I got to go to my first open house last night. Loved the teacher and school. God has really blessed us with a great school for our kids to go to. The cookies in the cafeteria were great too.

Week 2 of REMIX was so incredible. We had more teens there than we have ever had and we were able to launch our lifegroups this week. We really think small group is where it is at. Our format each week is a gathering time that leads into small groups that we call lifegroups. Teen connect with an adult who will invest in their lives. It is not enough for a bunch of tens just to have a youth pastor they know from a distance. Teens need an adult living life one on one with them. Our lifegroup leaders become youth ministers to our teens. Tonight we got a call from one of our group leaders. Their girls called her asking for prayer, WEEK 1 of group. WOW, they called their lifegroup leader! That is what it is about. I have always wanted this to happen. You know, where our volunteers move into the role of ministers. It is so great to get to watch it happen. Oh yea, we started a new series called IF ONLY ( you can read about it at ) that deals with regret. We started the service out with our band covering When You Were Young by the Killers. They knocked it out of the park!

Watched the Titan 3rd preseason game. We are making progress. I am so ready for the season to start for the Vol and Titans. It is going to be a fun year. My first LIVE fantasy draft goes down on Saturday. It is gong to be fun. I have the #7 pick and we will see what is there. This league is my family league. it was the first place I ever tried this fantasy football thing. Do not worry, I do not take it too serious, just for fun for sure!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

sunday thoughts...

Sundays are odd...they end a week for me and they begin a week. Today was just a great day at church and we have a ton of great stuff coming this next week. Just wanted to get out some thoughts off my mind before I go crash for the night. is wild how people respond to creative moments in worship environments. Creativity allows us to surprise people, to catch them of guard and enforce the message for the day. Yes, it is all about the message, the goal of the day! Today at was a perfect example of creativity used well. We spent the day helping people grasp the need to COMMIT to community. We ended the service with the Sanctus Real Song, We Need Each Other and it was such a great way to end the service. Great job to the worship team, just amazing. This week at remix we launch a new series and our team is stoked about a song we will use to launch the series. We just hope it pushes the crowd in the right direction.It is fun to watch our student band get excited about doing a song. I think creativity gives people the chance to think outside the box to create, oh wow...we were made for that.

Hope...we had a small project done in our office this week. Just a small remodel of some space for a few of our team who needed better offices. I went in there today and it just looks great. It seems so small to upgrade office space but space helps people focus, dream and the space we work in sets the tone of the work we do. Small stuff like this just gives people freedom to dream and strive for excellence. It just says we care about the people that work there in that zone. Good call, it really looks good. Ron, you made the call to move on it and the project was a win! (Ron being pastor ron, that guy who talked today and did a great job just in case you missed it)

Dreams...I am so excited to see God bring to life so many dreams that we have around here at GCC. What is really cool is how God works out the things He places in our hearts. His plans so far this year have been so much better than what I thought they would be. There are so many exciting things coming this year and I am just learning to trust God to bring them to pass. I learn that all I can do is pray, listen, lead, and then trust God is going to do what He has inspired. God is in the middle of changing some of my plans to make His dream come true and it is good. What God does is always good. having it on Wednesdays. The fact that I can focus on kids ministry on Sunday mornings is blowing me away. I also get to give an entire day on Wednesday to student ministry. It is a good flow and we have had good feedback from parents. In our community right now Wednesday is a better night to do a student ministry gathering. Thrilled we took the risk to test it out.

Great movie...10,000 BC, wow you have to see this thing. Slow Start but great ending. Some really powerful leadership moments in the middle of a great story. Good times and my wife even liked it. She is the best wife ever! FOR REAL!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

who likes france?

We are not huge Olympic watchers but we have recorded some of the swimming and gymnastics for Koz to watch. This morning we were watching swimming and some preliminary rounds and one of the American swimmers got beat by a girl from France. I came back in the room and Koz was mad, really mad. She proceeded to tell me, "the girl from France won, I DO NOT LIKE FRANCE!" All I could muster as I laughed was. "who does?"

Chelsea and I have gotten pulled back into watching the games. It has been incredible to watch Michael Phelps dominate. The entire USA swim team is amazing. Hoping the basketball team can keep it up and bring the gold back. Now back to the girls, they really like watching it. Kelyn thinks she is a gymnast and just keeps running around the room jumping and falling. Kozbi is going to take gymnastics this fall so she is pumped.

Looking forward to week 2 of the Compass series at Grace and our new series in REMIX called IF ONLY. Good stuff coming this weekend and next Wednesday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


We had our first night of REMIX ( this week and all day I have been stuck on the idea that people have a deep need to belong. No matter if you create environments for adults or teens they all need to belong to Christ and belong to a group. The need is deep, it is real, and we create places so people can find connection and authentic relationships. This week we tried to drive home the idea that we have REMIX so that we can figure out what following Christ looks like TOGETHER. That word together is huge. Following Christ is not a solo act. Jesus never modeled a faith that was expressed in isolation apart from others. Read this...

16 As he was going along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were throwing a net into the sea because they were fishermen.
17 Jesus said to them, "Come, follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish."
18 They immediately left their nets and followed him.
19 As Jesus went on a little farther, he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat preparing their nets to go fishing.
20 He immediately called them, and they left their father Zebedee and the hired men in the boat and followed Jesus. Mark 1:16-20

It is amazing to me that Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to join a group of people who would follow after Him for the next three years. Yes, as soon as they followed after Jesus they were with others. These first followers were in a group. I cannot help but connect that with the work we do with students as we invite them to be a part of this movement called Christianity. We are calling them to belong to the most significant movement they can ever belong to. We are calling them to connect to truth, hope, love, peace, and faith that is found in Jesus and lived out in this group we call church, or youth ministry, or young life, or community group, or small group. It is TOGETHER.

I am thrilled I do not have to live life alone. I am thrilled I get to be a part of helping others belong. If you are out there and you are creating an group or environment for kids, adult, or teens keep striving. You are making a difference.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

changes were great...

A new projector, new coffee, new banners, new circle rugs in Cross Street, new volunteer shirts, and at the end of the day it was all worth it. There was a buzz in the air today at GCC and God was real at work in all our environments this Sunday. I am home watching the ESPN just thinking about it all. It is not the fact that we made changes that helped today. The fact is that changes help people see we are working on it. The changes helped to grab people's attention. We are trying to get better at what we do. We are trying to make GCC an environment you want to invite your neighbor too. There was a buzz today. If you did not get to come today this is a great podcast to go and listen too. If you want to know why we do what we do the next three weeks will help you get it. Go check it out.

Wednesday we launch REMIX for the fall season. it is going to be a crazy few day for me as we get back to it. We have a bunch of teens who are ready and it is going to be fun to see how our move to Wednesday goes. We had to try! I enjoyed being home with the girls today and I actually got to watch a ton of the golf tourney, wow that was good. I also got to play barbies and watch some of toy story, that is a good Sunday.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

why paint / why change

Environments have to change if they are going to keep the attention of your target audience. This week at GCC we are going to reveal all kinds of changes. God has allowed us to do some amazing things here in Clarksville but we know He is not done. We can never look back and rely on the past to ensure future success. Just because something worked in the past does not mean it is the best plan for today or tomorrow. It is wild when you take time to look at how Jesus healed people in the New Testament. He was constantly doing different things. He touches a man, he speaks, he puts mud in someone’s eyes and he never sets a pattern on how to speak healing into someone’s life. He never sets a pattern. With that said, we tend to find patterns, habits, plans, and do these things over and over because at some point it worked. Change forces us to take risk. Change forces us to think through what we do and why we do it. Change grabs the attention of the people who walk in our doors each week. When things stay the same, stagnant, we tend to pay less attention. Our team hopes the changes we have made help capture people’s attention. It was so wild to sit together and break down what we do with each age group and evaluate. When we finished we had ideas, we prayed, we made changes, and Sunday we get to see what happens. We just never want to settle or get in a rut. It is going to be fun to see what God does!

This coming week we launch REMIX on our new night. We moved the student environment to Wednesdays; yes, that was one of our risks this year. This week we spent an entire day painting the space we use each week. 15 teens came and helped paint all day and we knocked it out. Why waist time painting in a building we do not own? We paint because environment matters, it needs to be attractive. Teens deserve more than leftovers and we want to give them the best we can with the tools God has given us. Thanks to all of you who helped paint, you guys are amazing!

Monday, August 4, 2008

a little overwhelmed...

Just a little overwhelmed today, no not in a bad way in a good way. Just overwhelmed with God and what e is doing around me.

Overwhelmed at how God worked at Grace Community on Sunday. We just prayed and put together a service that would help people connect with Jesus and understand relevant student ministry and God showed up and rocked us all. The feedback from all of you that were there has been wild. I am so thankful that God's word penetrated our hearts. It was a really special day for me, to all of you who put up with me talking, THANKS.

Overwhelmed with how amazing our student band did Sunday. They went out there with hearts ready to lead and did a great job. Thanks to Duke, Daniel, Michael, and the tech team at GCC for supporting our remix band as they led. They did amazing, we have an amazing group of young worship leaders.

Overwhelmed as I looked out over the crowd in both services Sunday morning. I am not sure what was going on but I was shocked with amazement as I looked out and saw a room full of all ages and races worshiping as one. It is wild what God has done in three years here at GCC.

Overwhelmed that we get to launch year 2 of relevant student ministry. We start remix back on August 13 and I am so excited. God is putting all the pieces together for a wild year of ministry. God wants this thing to be special and he keeps bringing it all together. It is amazing what he can do.

Overwhelmed with the way Jesus loves us...I just can not figure all of this out. God is amazing.

Overwhelmed at the incredible people I get to work with each day. God has just put the right team together at GCC at the right time. It is so great to work with people you believe in! Chad, Ron, and staff...thanks for letting your family ministry team dream big dreams and supporting next generation ministry. It is so fun to watch this thing come together.

Overwhelmed with some of the dreams God is placing in our hearts for GCC, it is going to be wild. God keeps calling us to live by faith. We lean toward stability and God pulls us to risk it all for Him. He really does want the credit!

Overwhelmed with my beautiful wife and 2 daughters! WOW, they rock...

Overwhelmed that football season is here and the Titans first preseason game is Saturday!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

learning to ride a bike...

Been back in Clarksville since Monday and this is the first time I have been able to sit down and post anything. It has been a great week but a busy one at the same time. I get to speak Sunday in the gathering at GCC and our student band is leading. It has been a service that we get to craft from top to bottom and it is a sweet chance to help teens and parents understand what we do each week in our student environment. so excited about at God is going to do on Sunday. Really stoked about having our student band leading, they have worked hard this summer to get ready for fall and this is going to be a great chance for them to lead. August is going to be a great month here for GCC so if you are in town do not miss a week. We really feel God is going to do some amazing things.

I posted the picture of Koz because she is ready to ride a bike with no training wheels. As helped her I quickly figured out that it is really hard to explain how riding a bike works. I kept telling Koz, "just keep trying, it will all come together." The only way to learn to ride a bike is to get out there and practice. I know Koz is going to fall, make mistakes, get hurt, but soon she will figure it out and be going full speed. Last night as I thought about the bike riding time I thought about all of concepts of following Christ are like learning to ride a bike. You just have to get out there and live for Christ and figure it all out. Faith, prayer, trust, giving, evangelism, mentoring, being mentored, learning from the Bible just all have to be DONE. When it comes to living out our faith we just have to get out there and go for it. It will get messy but it is worth it. The great thing about following Christ is God came up with this thing called grace and by do we all need it. Koz has not figured out riding the bike yet but she is trying. I have not figured all of it out when it comes to following Christ but I think I am gonna keep trying. It is worth it.