Friday, October 29, 2010

TOP 5 / reasons staff members leave a church

We have all heard this when a staff member leaves our team..."God is calling me away." Trust me, I am a pastor who serves from the 2nd chair, not in the lead pastor role. There are reasons staff members change churches. Yes, God does call people away and most of the time God uses "holy discontent" to help people make moves in different directions. Making a ministry move is not a bad thing. I know church members/leaders take it personally. The question many people wonder is...WHY DID THEY LEAVE "US"...WHAT IS WRONG WITH "US? If you want the truth here goes...there are many more unhealthy churches than healthy churches out there. Here are my TOP 5 reasons I see staff members make ministry moves. Please let me know what you think...
  1. Disconnection from the "church">> so many times staff members leave because they just do not connect with the vision and direction of their current church.
  2. Lack of support >> when leaders lack support from the lead pastor or overal church leadership...when they have an insufficient budget...when they have no hope of ever getting needed space in a facility. Yep those three will do it. When staff members don't feel supported many times they leave.
  3. Chasing THE LADDER  >> many times it is just this simple...sometimes staff members are not given the freedom to move into other ministry areas in their current church. Staff members have to make moves in order to go in a new direction...focus on their passion...have more influence. I hate the ministry "ladder" but we know it exists.
  4. Burnout >> when leaders place ministry ahead of everything else burnout is on the horizon. So many times staff people leave because they are have been beaten down by the system, wrong priorities, and lack of balance.
  5. Maturity >> This happens when a staff leader discovers who they are and who they are not. That powerful combination leads many staff members to new adventures.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

LEADERSHIP = making adjustments

The strategist makes a plan but leaders make adjustments. I spend every Saturday watching the Tennessee Volunteers. I have been watching the Vols since I was in 7th grade so I am pretty passionate about the team and I am fascinated by many correlations I see in how coaches lead teams and how ministry leaders lead volunteers. This year the Vols come into the game with great strategy and for the first half they play great. When the other team makes adjustments during halftime our team falls apart (our record is 2-5). We have a young team and young coaching staff and neither seem to make adjustments well.

This week it dawned on me that leadership is not just about crafting great strategy. At the core of leadership is the ability to make adjustments when circumstances change.
Leadership is the ability to make the strategy/plan become a reality in the midst of a constantly changing environment we like to call "the real world." Leaders have to be willing to make adjustments and I promise, your leadership ability will be evaluated by how your adjustments help of hinder your team's ability to accomplish the goal. What I see all too often are leaders who love their plan so much that they ignore the need to make adjustments to the plan. The problem is that your plan will never include the challenges that only God knows are coming. Choosing to not make adjustments just leads to frustration, poor results, and fractured volunteer teams. Being humble enough to admit that your strategy, your plan may not be perfect and making the needed adjustments just reveals that you are the kind of leader people will follow. Go ahead and be a leader...have the courage to make adjustments and lead your team to make a difference.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

why PRAY with our kids?

I could not help but laugh when I saw this. I needed this when I was a kid growing up (we prayed no matter what and no matter where we were...sometimes it got a little odd!). You have to check this video out. The video got me thinking...Why do we as a family pray before we eat? Not because we have too. Not because we want to "make God happy" that is never earned. I just want my kids and our family to have times when we pause and remember God is in control. Why just pray at meals? Pray before you leave in long trips. Pray before your kids go to bed. Pray when you kids are having a hard time. Praying with your kids is a great opportunity to show them what it means to pause and acknowledge God is in control. Check out this video and enjoy a good laugh!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teens...thanks for SERVING NOW

Nothing compares to the energy and passion of teenagers serving inside the local church. When we launched Grace Community 5 years ago we decided that we would leverage the leadership ability of teenagers. 5 years later when I look around at the volunteer leadership at GCC teens rise to the top. I am always blow away by their passion and dedication when we give them significant opportunities to make a difference. Here are a few reasons we think it is drastically important to give teens the chance to serve now...
  • When teens serve now they grow in their relationship with Christ...faster // there is just something significant that happens in the heart when we serve, our faith is tested!
  • When teens serve now they have more adult mentors investing in their life // we think every teen needs 5 adults who know and encourage small group leader is not enough.
  • When teens serve now they connect to the CHURCH not just our student ministry. // student ministries will never be able to replace what happens when all generations gather to serve God through this thing we call church.
  • When teens serve now they discover ways to use their talents and abilities for the Kingdom of God // that might just help them have a head start when they head to college
  • When teens serve now they discover they are NEEDED in the local church // they find a place to belong not just attend

Monday, October 25, 2010

what a COLLEGE STUDENT is looking for at your church!

At Grace Community Church we have been working hard to process what college ministry should look like in our context. (big thanks to Brandon Reed who leads our college and high school ministries) I also know that every student pastor out there is trying to figure out how to best set up students to have a smooth transition into college life. Our team at RELEVANT Student Ministry has been so blessed to be able to watch tons of our students leave our ministry and then find spiritual family in their new college setting. Today I wanted to ask one of them, Grant Caldwell a student at the University of Tennessee, what he was looking for in a church when he left for college. Check this out...


Going off to college can be such a huge change in your life. Most of the new stuff you can prepare for though. You visit the college, you apply to it, you pick out the new furniture for your dorm. You have a feel for what you are getting thrown into. One thing that you’re not ready for though, and there really isn’t any way to prepare for, is a new church. Most of the time you don’t think about the change until it’s your last Sunday at your own church. These are four things that I looked at the most when I got to try out churches in Knoxville…

Worship >> I realized it after I got to college: I got spoiled by the music at Grace and Remix. Worship is such a big part of my morning at church. It prepares me for the message and gets me connected with God, and most of the time it’s the first indication of how the service is going to be. I’m not a hymns type of guy. You can check this out online before, most churches will tell you if it is a contemporary or traditional church.

Pastor >> This might be an obvious one to list, but sometimes its one that can be overlooked too. Leave a church one Sunday without getting anything out of the message and you’ll completely understand. It’s something that never happened to me at Grace, but it’s happened a couple times since moving up here. It’s a bad feeling. Find a preaching style that matches up with your learning style. This ultimately ends up being one of the most important things to me.

Atmosphere >> This is sort of a big category, but I group everything not part of the service as its atmosphere. This includes how welcome the members make me feel, how formal the church is, and even the setup when you walk in the doors. Every church has its own personality, and its important to find one that fits you. Grace has helped me feel comfortable in jeans at church, and if that’s the case for you too, be looking for it in your new church.

Serve >> Teaching at Cross Street was one of the best parts of my Sundays, and it was one of the first things I looked for in a church up here. For me, this led me to look at smaller church plants that would give me the chance to serve earlier.

You’ll eventually find a church that suits you. An easy way to find them is by getting involved with an on campus ministry- BCM, Campus Crusades for Christ, Navigators, Younglife. Get connected with upperclassmen with similar views and they will point you in the right direction with churches.

Friday, October 22, 2010

TOP 5 / books I have read in 2010

There were some great books that came out this year and some older stuff I have had to catch up on. It was hard to nail down just 5 books and I may currently be reading one that should be on this list but hey, this is a LIST POST so here goes. This are my the TOP 5 favorite reads this year...
  1. Linchpin by Seth Godin // great book that helps define what kind of leaders will shape organizations in the future
  2. Parenting Beyond Your Capcity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof // amazing read about how the family and church can partner for greater impact!
  3. Church in the Making by Ben Arment // never read a better book focused on church planting...this is a must read for any pastor. First book to help me understand what happened through our church plant 5 years ago at Grace Community Church.
  4. Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni // want to know how to lead a better meeting...this book will help. In fact get every Lencioni book and read it ASAP!
  5. Slow Fade by Reggie Joiner, Chuck Bomar, and Abbie Smith // this book inspired our Family Ministry team to totally rethink how we reach college students and pushed us to restructure our staff.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Change is needed if an organization is going to be healthy. If you lead a church / ministry / non-profit then you have to be the change agent for your team. On their own people will avoid change...they will not ask for change...when change comes they will be frustrated with the change and talk about how great things used to be before the change. The fact still remains the same, HEALTHY ORGANIZATIONS embrace change and if you are the leader your responsibility is to lead the change process. When it comes to implementing change we have 2 options, reactionary change or intentional change.

People who lead through REACTIONARY CHANGE...
  • Make changes only when people complain about what the organization does or does not do
  • Delay implementing change until there is no other option
  • Try to limit the power of other people on their team to make needed changes
  • Resist the best ideas because too many people might not like the change
  • Move forward with change only when they as a leader is completely stressed by current circumstances
Implementing change as a reaction to circumstances many times leads us to compromise our mission and values as an organization. We change or refuse to change due to circumstances and complaints rather than for long term heath.

Leaders who lead through INTENTIONAL CHANGE...
  • See what is coming and change to prepare for what is next in the future of the organization
  • Filter ideas for change through the mission, strategy, and values of the organization
  • Empower other leaders in the organization to implement change when needed to bring health to the team
  • Implement change even when there is a risk the change may not work (you never know many times until you try!)
  • Embrace a culture of change through the entire organization...change is allowed and encouraged!
As a leader, how are you LEADING when it comes to change? Are you being intentional or are you simply reacting?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

THE GOOD FIGHT / what are we fighting for AT HOME?

Tonight we start THE GOOD FIGHT series at Relevant Student Ministry. One thing we know is that every family fights. When it comes to teens and parents we know that fighting goes to another level. The next three weeks we are going to try to help teens choose what they fight about at home. What if teens (and parents!) started fight for a better relationship with each other instead of fighting for control. Home can be a difficult place for teenagers but our prayer is that during the next three weeks we can help them know how to fight with purpose at home...fight for what matters most...fight for honor. Parents, God gave you your teenage son or daughter. Teens, God gave you your parents. Now what are we going to do?

If you are a parents at Grace Community Church you can follow along with the series on our iTunes podcast or by our parent updates on The next three weeks are a potential game changer for your home.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the HOME - CHURCH sync

We are constantly trying to sync what happens at home and church at Grace Community Church. Why keep parents in the loop with what is being talked about at church? We do it because what is talked about at home...modeled at home...lived out at home is just as important as what happens at church. This month my 7 year old is talking about the virtue of initiative in Cross Street. This is one of those months where we have been able to talk about the virtue as a family every day. Initiative is one of those things that parents GRIPE about together when talking about their kids. It has been fun to watch my girls challenge me on things they see that need to be done. It has also given me a chance to encourage my girls to see what needs to be done on their own...AND TAKE ACTION. So thankful for a preschool and children's ministry that empowers me as a Dad. I am thankful for God Time Cards that help guide us through discussing the virtue during the week. I'm thankful for a family experience every month that allows our family to have fun and learn together. I'm thankful for being kept in the loop by weekly emails about what will be talked about in my girls' small groups. Never forget that what happens at home is just as important as what we do on Sunday mornings!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is God actually using our FRUSTRATION?

Ben Arment says in his book, Church in the Making, "God uses frustration to shape a vision." His idea is that God actually uses our frustrations in ministry to shape us for a future only He can see clearly.  When it comes to being frustrated I may be an expert. For years I served with passion in the student ministries I led only to be overcome by a sea of frustration after my Sunday morning experience and "staff meeting" where everyone else in the room seemed to be just fine with the weekend. I was not OK. I knew there was a different way. I knew God was birthing something different in my heart, but I also grew tired of being frustrated. I grew weary of trying to fix broken environments and programs. I wondered what was next. Little did I know at the time that God was using all that frustration to show me who I was as a leader. What I had to learn was how to lead in the mist of frustration! I had to learn how to trust God. Many preschool, youth, and children's pastors out there are frustrated. You are not sure if you can head back into staff meeting again this week. I just want to remind you today that God may be trying to shape a vision in your heart as you face the frustration. You job title, your ministry role, your position on the team does not define the leader God has called you to be. If you are stuck in a cycle of frustration remember...
  • Guard your heart // don't get bitter...make sure you heart and mind are resting in Christ.
  • Watch your mouth // make sure you publicly support your leadership even when you are frustrated. Public support leads to private influence. (thanks Andy Stanley!)
  • Make it better // work to be part of the solution. If you are frustrated then LEAD...the worse that can happen is you get fired and that may be the best thing that could ever happen!
  • Don't stop dreaming // the future is in God's hands, not in the hands of your current organization. God wants to use you to advance the Kingdom of God and you won't be in this place of frustration forever. Never stop learning, questioning, challenging, and dreaming!

Friday, October 15, 2010

TOP 5 / magazines I am reading

On Fridays I am going to start my TOP 5 series. Thanks for the idea to Ben Reed. Everybody loves a list...ok maybe it is just me that likes a list. Today's TOP 5 are the five magazines I am reading right now that really have my attention. With so much online content I have had to limit what magazines I subscribe to. These 5 are my favorites, there are other I like but these have my full attention. Check our my TOP 5 and feel free to comment on Facebook or the blog and let me know your TOP 5.
  • Collide // // one of my passions is creating environments where people can connect with God. Collide is dedicated to creatives who form environments inside the church. Great resource!
  • RELEVANT // // This magazine has helped me wrap my arms around "culture" better than any other tool out there. Music, movies, social movements, you name it...RELEVANT has been there trying to help readers process and understand what is going on. Every student and college ministry leader out there needs to be reading this.
  • K Magazine // // As a Family Pastor who has been immersed in student ministry for the past 10 years this magazine helps me get my arms around what is happening in children's ministry. Very progressive, love what these guys are doing!
  • Neue // // Fantastic view into the world of CHURCH MINISTRY as a whole and what is coming next for those of us who lead inside the church.
  • Fortune // // This is where the leadership nerd in me comes out. I love the view of the business world I get from Fortune. I know some of you would kick yourself in the head if you had to read it but I really enjoy learning from leaders outside our ministry bubble.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

a fresh perepsctive for PARENTS

Sometimes parents just need a fresh perspective...a new voice...a new idea and sometimes that voice comes from the most unexpected place. This past year at Orange 2010 we had the chance to hear from Rev Run...yes Run DMC Rev Run. Rev is a dad and he opened up his life for all of us to watch on MTV a few years ago. Rev is a Christ follower and has chosen to use his influence to help families live better lives. Check out this interview and get ready for a refreshing perspective on parenting...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PLEASE save us from our...PHONES

I catch a ton of grief from my friends about how much I am on my phone. I know I am not alone. We are more connected and more distracted from the present than ever. I have to constantly fight to be IN THE MOMENT. At any moment of the day I can be responding to a ministry email or watching a funny video a friend told me about on my flipping phone. Microsoft nailed it with this new commercial about their new Windows Phone...check it out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


What are you doing to develop yourself as a leader? Not the volunteers you lead or the people involved in your ministry...YOU. So many times we are so focused on serving others that we forget to make a plan to develop our own heart, leadership ability, ministry direction. If you want a healthy organization and you are the leader you better seek out personal health. Jesus asked his followers what good it was to gain the entire world but loose your soul. I wonder how many of us are dying on the inside, and I wonder how many of us would be in a better place if we had a personal development plan. For those of you leading kids, teens, or college students/ministries I hope you will check out YouLead this month. YouLead is a development plan for people serving the next generation and trying to think orange at the same time. This month it is totally free and wide open for a test drive. I hope you will check it out with me and let me know what you think. While I am talking about it here are 5 strategies I am using to maintain my personal health as a leader...
  • I am IN COMMUNITY >> I am in a community group and I have accountability with several guys on my staff at church. We need people in our lives who are not looking to us for spiritual direction. I also make sure I am going to the worship service as much as possible at church. I know it can get hectic when you are doing ministry with kids or teens but we need to be a part of church not just work at church!
  • I am READING >> I am always reading, always have a book I am tracking with, always trying to read other blogs. When I read I am being influenced by other leaders.
  • I go to CONFERENCES >> I am a conference guy. I love learning from other people doing ministry. I use conference time to connect with other leaders, refocus, and evaluated.
  • I give God SPACE >> I work hard to block out time to be with God daily. I know that should be normal but I am shocked at how many leaders are on autopilot with their time with God. My prayer time and Bible reading are a big deal to me personally and the people I lead.
  • I go HOME >> time with my family helps me stay focused and what matters most. I am a husband and dad first...leader at work second.

Monday, October 11, 2010

a quick look @ Cross Street LIVE...

We broke in a  new set this week at Cross Street Live and added live video during the event...LIVE VIDEO is such a big help! We loved it. Just wanted to post three quick shots I got from our tech booth. So proud of our stage crew, tech team, dancers, worship leaders, and actors. October was an amazing family experience for Grace Community Church! Check out these shots...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why we do do a FAMILY EXPERIENCE...

2 years ago we launched a FX (family experience, we call it Cross Street Live) here at Grace Community Church. When it comes to partnering with parents...setting them up to be an influence at home...I think it is one of the best moves we have made. A family experience is a worship service where kids and parents worship together. We are getting ready for Cross Street Live this week and it got me thinking about why we do this experience for families.
  • We think it is a big deal for parents and kids to worship together each month.
  • We think it is a  big deal for kids and parents to laugh and learn at the same time.
  • We love creating conversation starters in the HOME...I promise, kids talk about our FX with their parents.
  • We get to help parents understand our virtue of the month.
  • We get to provide a MUST ATTEND EVENT for families...we kind of like to think it is better than Disney World! HA!
  • We get to empower actors to tell some amazing stories! We really love our actors!
  • We love having FUN.
Just go you can get a glimpse of some of the things we do check out this picture of the CSL NEWS TEAM and our promo video for this month.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This week we announced we are going multi-site and launching our second campus at Kenwood High in early 2011. We gave out these Kenwood bracelets as a simple REMINDER for people to think and pray about this adventure over the next several months. This week we saw this post on Facebook from a teacher who attends Grace Community...

"I think it was very cool to see all of my Rossview High kids who go to Grace Community Church wearing their KENWOOD bracelets to school today! I was wearing mine and got to share our good news with lots of people!"

The implications are huge. Teens excited about what their church is doing. A local teacher spreading the news about our mission at Kenwood. The fact that people are so excited about this new challenge. The FB post reminded me about the power helping people have reminders...small tools that help people connect with the mission. For us it was a small wristband but it can easily be a video, a Facebook post, a magnet for the fridge, and card in the mail, or a discussion in small group. When it comes to accomplishing a specific mission people need reminders to focus, pray, share, think, and dream. Prayer is powerful. Why not help people have REMINDERS to do just pray!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10 reasons you should register for the ORANGE CONFERENCE

Today is the day! Today you can register your team for the Orange Conference and they are running a one day special for those of you who sign up TODAY (240 per person, CRAZY GOOD!). We know there are tons of options out there for your conference time but I think this is one your should hit. Our team at Grace Community has been a part of this conference since the first year and have watched it get better year after year. I thought today I would talk about my top 10 reasons you should go to Orange 2011...
  1. Orange 11 will be an entire week for you to process the Orange Strategy // there is something incredible about 4,000 people processing a strategy together!
  2. Your entire family ministry team can come TOGETHER // I know it is hard to think about hitting a conference with your preschool pastor (our preschool pastor is cool!) but this is one conference that everyone from the college pastor to the preschool pastor will connect with.
  3. Amazing worship experience // this conference gives leaders time to slow down and connect with our God.
  4. Breakouts that you will really want to go to // great breakout leaders leading great breakout topics, every year the choices get better!
  5. If you drink coffee (I am a Diet Mt. Dew guy) you get free coffee from Land of a Thousand Hills!
  6. Great main stage speakers // the Orange team makes sure and gets communicators who are thinking Orange to be on the main stage. Great lineup this year.
  7. Volunteers will thrive at Orange 11 // every time we take one of our volunteer leaders they grow so much! Great conference to take volunteers to if you are ready to THINK ORANGE with your team.
  8. Fun // if you come to Orange 11 and don't have fun then you have a problem. 2 words...LANNY DONAHO! Where there is Lanny there will be fun!
  9. Networking // Orange 11 will give you a chance to connect with other leaders thinking orange. Tweet Ups, lunches, and the bloggers lounge are always great places to connect.
  10. The Grace Community team is going to Orange // I would not pump a conference I was not taking my team to. We love the orange conference, we are going, and we hope to see you there!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Want to THINK ORANGE? Get ready for some much needed CONFLICT

The Orange Conference is one of those experiences that every leader who serves kids, teens, or college students need to check out. I don't say that about many conference experiences but the Orange Conference is just different. It is the only places I have ever seen where pastors, youth pastors, preschool directors, college pastors and children's pastors come together in one room united behind one cause. Thousands of people processing how we can lead this generation to Christ and partner with the family simultaneously. The Orange Conference is an experience that can help your team process these ideas. Last year we had the chance to hear from Nancy Ortberg talk about why conflict is healthy and needed if we are going to have mature leadership teams. I promise...leading your ministry team to THINK ORANGE will bring some needed and healthy conflict. Check out what Nancy had to say about conflict from Orange 2010. This is from my blog last year...

This morning Nancy Ortberg talked about the power of team here at The Orange Conference. There is nothing more important than leading our team when it comes to leadership in our churches. There is also nothing that frustrates all of us more than leading our team. Why...because we want to make it work but what we find when we lead is HUMANITY which leads to STRUGGLE because none of us are PERFECT! That is the beauty of teamwork. Working with a team leads us to serve, to be vulnerable, to be real if we want teamwork to happen. Here are some some of the thoughts Nancy had about what people on teams need...

People on a team have to be given opportunities.

  • We have to empower team members opportunities that center around their giftedness not ONLY what has to be done. These kind of opportunities help people thrive.
People need challenges
  • Every team will move toward stagnation.
  • Healthy conflict is a needed for the health and vibrancy of the team.
  • In order to do conflict well you have to give people the chance to get messy with conflict. Conflict management is learned!
People need an environment of relationships
  • People want and need to be known by their leaders!
  • People have to know us…we have to be open and vulnerable.
  • Relationships lead our churches to be the unstoppable force in the community!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thinking ORANGE...multi-site style

What is our team dreaming about these days when it comes to THINKING ORANGE? Multi-site ministry is what has consumed our team for several months. Today at Grace Community Church we announced that in early 2011 we will open our second campus at Kenwood High School in north Clarksville. (It really feels good to finally be able to type that!) Our family ministry team is so excited about introducing the orange strategy to an entire new community in our city. We have been learning from other churches about muti-site for years and now it is our time to step out in faith. We have learned tons of lessons from launching our Rossview Campus and I have served on a staff with a multi-site stratagy but we are going into this with a BLANK SLATE. We are rethinking everything, praying hard, trusting God, and planning like crazy. We have seen the orange process shape lives in our first location and we can't wait to see what God does in this next adventure.

Would love to hear from you orange leaders out there...what advice would you give us as we begin this journey?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

yea...we have made a few mistakes!

Mistakes...yea we have made a few in our journey toward implementing the Orange Strategy at Grace Community Church. We feel like if we are not making mistakes we are not living by faith. Innovation always involves risk and our team is constantly processing what we need to do to be more effective. Let me break that down...we have made some big mistakes as we tried to THINK ORANGE. I know if you read my blog you hear me talk about youth ministry and family ministry but my role here at GCC allows me to serve with both our preschool and children's ministry almost every week. For our team one of our greatest mistakes was not creating a large group environment for our preschool ministry. We assumed it was not needed, that kids would not connect, that it would cause too much chaos, and it would be too difficult. WE MISSED IT. Last year we had a few amazing volunteers who took the challenge, gathered a team, and had our first preschool large group experience. From the first morning we tried it we were blown away. The kids loved it. Every kid left knowing the bottom line for the day. Every teacher/volunteer was thrilled. Parents were emailing our preschool director all week saying....THANKS! For three years we missed the opportunity to take our preschool ministry to the next level because we were scared it would not work and we doubted we could gather the volunteers. Now we can't imagine not having preschool large group time. Watching our preschoolers worship, dance, and interact with the Bible story is priceless. One of our biggest misses has become one of our most powerful environments at our church. Most of us who work with k-5 grade, teenagers, or college students can't imagine not having a worship experience for our ministries...why not start that journey with preschoolers. We learned it's a pretty big deal. Don't make our mistake!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Orange Week 2.0 / win free stuff from XP3 Students

What can make Orange Week 2.0 better...FREE STUFF. To celebrate the first day to register for The Orange Conference on October 5th, I am going to give away one of my favorite series from XP3 Students. The God View series shaped the lives of many of our students at Relevant Student Ministry last year. A.W. Tozer said, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." This series breaks this idea down and here's a breakdown of the sessions...

Session 1: Microscopic - Bottom Line: The most important thing about a person is what they think about when they think about God.

Session 2: Distorted - Bottom Line: How you view God determines both your expectations and your responses.

Session 3: Panoramic - Bottom Line: People who live with an ever-growing picture of God live amazing lives.

I want to give you the series for free. Included in the series are three message plans, small group notes, graphics, a video mover, and tools to connect with parents at home. To have a shot at winning post a comment and let me know what your favorite place to eat is...we will throw all the names in a hat and draw for a winner Oct. 5!!!


The environments for our kids and teens went to a new level when we embraced the power of COLLABORATION. When we collaborate we have a better shot at producing sticky environments for kids, teens, and college students. Collaboration means we choose to create and at the same time include the influence of other people on our team. Instead of creating in a vacuum it is so important to have other people on your team sharing ideas, providing feedback, and evaluating. I know that some of you are leading the most creative environments in your church. You are the ones pushing the envelope as you lead your next generation environments. Some of us are serving in churches where creativity flourishes. In my context we are trying to push the envelope in every are of the church when it comes to creativity and innovation in our environments. Our environments have so much to gain from collaboration. Planning and creating in isolation only holds our kid, teen, and college environment back. Here are ways we are trying to collaborate while we create for our family ministry environments...
  • In Aqua (our college ministry) we have built a creative team using people connected with the university we serve. Every element for our monthly gathering is processed through our creative team. I am amazed at what this team pulls of through collaboration.
  • We choose to partner with First Look, 252 Basics, and XP3 Students when it comes to curriculum in our family ministry environments. Every week we have the chance to be 10 steps ahead in the creative process because we work with the team at Orange.
  • When is comes to graphic design, web design, and print projects we have several amazing people we collaborate with. They make us look like we know what we are doing!
  • At RELEVANT (our teen environment) our staff works together with our worship team to process elements in the weekly gathering. We also work with our tech team at Grace Community to find new creative ways to mix up our venue.
  • At Cross Street Live (our family experience) we are able to bring creative minds together to lead and create from all over Grace Community Church. Our actors, tech crew, dance team, and production team all come together to make every month AMAZING.
In each of these environments one thing is consistent...these experiences are not created in a vacuum. If you really want to take the environments you lead to the next level move toward environment collaboration. Get more creative minds involved in the process!