Leadership Means Challenge

Looking back at those early days of leadership, it was all about being challenged. To step into the unknown. To give it a go. I was scared, nervous, unsure and I have learned along the way that that’s alright.

For the first time ever I had to lead a group of young people.
For the first time ever I had to come up with some sort of programme, ideas, creative thinking, something that would keep their interest and that they would enjoy.
For the first time ever I had to turn up and produce. It was on me.
For the first time ever I had to listen to others critique what I produced. I had to learn to take it on the chin, accept hard comments, be ready to listen and make any necessary changes.
For the first time ever I had to teach about Jesus, pray with young people, actually think about how to put  Christian truths across to a bunch of them.

I loved it. I was hooked. My leadership journey had begun. Those first few months have now been repeated many times in a number of different leadership roles.

Leadership means challenge.

Without challenge we don’t grow.
Without challenge we don’t learn.
Without challenge we don’t discover what we can and cannot do.
Without challenge we don’t make mistakes and mistakes are when we probably learn the most.
Without challenge we don’t progress.
Without challenge we don’t stay sharp. We may just settle, get bored, become mediocre.
Without challenge we don’t fulfil our potential. Or at least we aren’t being pushed to reach for it.

To be a leader, get ready to embrace the challenges. It may be uncomfortable because of the stretch, but it’s okay, just stick in, keep stretching, keep stepping up and you can become the leader that you have the ability and desire to become.

What challenge has grown you the most as a leader?

Check out It’s About People [19.2]

30 Days to…

June should be the gateway to the summer. Predictably then it’s cool, gloomy and raining. This can often be how many people feel as we approach the mid-point of 2010. How is the year going for you?

How about a challenge?
Something to keep you fresh?
30 days to…

…read the Gospel of Luke
…read ALL the Gospels
…serve on team somewhere in Xcel
…pray early every morning
believe God for a specific breakthrough
…meet up with some other Christians and talk about what God is doing in your life
…invite people into your world
…be at church each Sunday
…fast one day each week
…spend less and give more

Lean in to something. Just don’t do nothing.
Let’s not just say we put God first, let’s be a people who demonstrate it as well.
From what I’ve seen in my life, when I give God a little extra part of me, He never disappoints. I may think I’m missing out on other stuff but life still feels the richer for putting Him first.

What will you do during the next 30 days?

How To Walk Into Your Future…Pt3

Final instalment of the message I preached across Xcel Church recently as part of our Flash Forward Series…check out Pt1 & Pt2.

When it comes to walking into our futures, with God at the centre of that future, then we need to be walking into it in a certain manner.

Whatever your future may hold I hope that you will be different? You NEED to CHANGE

New years are opportunities for you to reflect but also look ahead and decide today that you will not be the same this time next year. That you will be closer to God, that you will have worked on your spiritual disciplines, that you will have changed in your relationship with God.

Hebrews 5:12-14
‘For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil’.

If you are expecting God to do great things with your life then you need to change, I need to change. Part of its God, part of its MY RESPONSIBILITY. We should be showing signs of growth and maturity.

Here are the difficult questions…
How are you changing?
Are you still needing to be taught the same things?
Why haven’t you moved on and started to pass on what you know to others?
What will you do to change this year?
How about a Personal Development Plan?
How about a Bible reading plan?

You cannot build a great life in a hurry. Too many people can live for a moment but we are called to live out a great life – to build for a lifetime, to leave a legacy. As a leader I have seen many people come & go – people who were full of potential but could not wait, could not build slowly.

Consistency = the state or quality of holding or sticking together and retaining shape- doing the right thing at the right time as often as you can – that’s what God is looking for. It can seem humdrum but its vital.

Matthew 7:24-27
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Building consistently & deliberately makes you strong, which means you will stand. Which means you will be around to take up the opportunities that God brings your way. Don’t be like some who are ALL FLASH BUT NO FORWARD.

Anyone can build something for a moment, look good for a moment but it seems that not everyone can be bothered to build something over the long haul. BE BOTHERED. You have more time than you think!!

Don’t know what you think your future will be but to become all that you want to become for God – make space for him to move in your world. You cannot live out your Christian walk on positive thinking, leadership development & motivational seminars alone – you need God to move in your life.

Put something in your way that only God can meet. Pastor Matthew Barnett calls it ‘miracle space’. Make some. Pray like your life depends on it. Believe. Fast. Don’t give up. Be expectant of God doing something.

Your future in God is there for the taking.
Make sure you do all you can to stay ‘locked on’ to that destiny and not miss out.

[Let me know what you think]

Picking Up The Pace

As we head into a new year, new decade and for Xcel Church a new building it is vital that to build on any momentum that is being created that we work hard to ‘keep up the pace’.

In Jeremiah 12:5 God challenges the prophet – if you have run with the men and got tired, how will you contend running with the horses? It’s a great picture of how God needs us to be ready for what is ahead. To always be working at upping the pace. If we think life is fast now, God only wants to make it faster.

It’s not about getting busier. It’s about becoming smarter in our work. 2010 can be your year. The moment you have been dreaming of may appear. Be ready for it.

Don’t lose pace with what is happening around you…
PROCRASTINATION, ASSUMPTION and things CUTTING IN ON YOU could mean you get ELIMINATED from what God has for you.

Keep upping the pace…
PREPARATION for the life you want, ACTION to move you, thinking how you can increase your CAPACITY can put you in the place where God may ELEVATE you.

What goals will you set for yourself in 2010?
How can you make sure that you ‘run the race’ well in 2010?

This is not the pre-game warm up. This is the game. As Bill Hybels says in his book Axiom – ‘what life are you waiting for?’

Book Review: Tribes by Seth Godin

51mTG68Tj7L._SL160_AA115_ Reading a book by Seth Godin always challenges the thinking process. I am definitely challenged. For as much as the author says some may not like the book, the way it is written – I love the style. It’s somewhat like a bunch of random thoughts on a subject, simple thoughts but extremely profound.

When I read I am always looking at how it can help. I am looking for some nuggets that open up new opportunities, new thoughts for bringing change. This book has certainly done that. So:thinking Church for a moment: the ‘tribe’ that I Pastor as part of Xcel Church and the movement we have the potential to make..here’s what made me think…

The Anatomy of a Movement: motivate, connect, leverage. [Don’t just do the third]
What is the ‘status quo’ when it comes to Church? How can we change that? [That gives us the chance to be remarkable]
If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader. It’s the discomfort that creates the leverage that makes leadership worthwhile.
‘Lean in, back off BUT don’t do nothing. Leaders choose to not do nothing. [This has pushed me already. What do I do? I must ‘lean in’ to it more]
The art of leadership is understanding what you CAN’T compromise on.

The book has made me question: what is the vacuum that we could fill?
It will take INITIATIVE.
It will take STANDING AGAINST THE RESISTANCE that those who love the STATUS QUO will bring.
It means doing things that others are NOT DOING.
It often takes a SUBTLE TWIST on an old-favourite.
It takes BRAVERY.

I hope I’m not wrong in my understanding of the theme of this book:
anyone can lead. everyone should lead. anyone can bring change. few do though because of the fear & resistance. playing it safe is just as risky, if not moreso than taking a risk.

For Xcel Darlo: Come on – we cannot afford to play it safe.
[What can we do? Where can we go? Who can we reach?]

Leaders: you should read this book. Get your copy here.

I’m no expert reviewer but here are my thoughts on other Seth Godin books
The Dip
Meatball Sundae

More Thoughts, Ideas & Challenges

Continuing to lay out some ideas for you to get involved in….check out Challenges #1 & #2

Challenge #3
Fast. Join me in fasting at least ONE day each week during June (that’s 4 times). Fasting will not kill you. It might be hard the first time but the spiritual aspects of this cannot be underestimated. Somethings only change with prayer & fasting.

Challenge #4
Get involved in your community. I am excited about the opportunity of partnering with Brian McAnaney and his team that go out feeding the homeless each week. From Wednesday 3rd June he will be in Darlington. What a great opportunity to connect with people and share your story with another. I am committed to be there in June…WILL YOU?

Don’t forget to let u sknow what YOU will be doing…

90 Days…Review Week 2

Another 7 days in. Thanks for sharing the journey with me. When you spend time with God He certainly has the tendency to prod and poke you on things that matter.

Day 8…keep moving forward
Day 9…starting the days right
Day 10…watch who is around you
Day 11…don’t procrastinate
Day 12…asking for the right thing
Day 13…thank you for the Cross
Day 14…team church, are you a serious player?

The next 7 days will be tricky as I am away with the family but will do my best to not slack on the disciplines. Might not get to post my thoughts until Friday.

Fresh Year, Fresh Goals, Fresh Ideas

Just a few days of the year left and I am beginning to kick into gear for a fantastic 2009. So here’s my immediate thoughts…need to do the right things first, get some quality time with God, make the year one of purpose and one that is immensely fruitful.

Thought I would share my thoughts for 2009. You have to have a plan. The old adage ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ is so true…with that ringing in my ears I have goals and ideas for various areas of my life which I will share over the next few days.

I guess posting them in a blog is the ultimate in accountability. Spiritual goals are often the easiest to think about. Read what Mark Batterson wrote on his blog that those who have been Christians for say 25 years should have 25 years experience but unfortunately many have 1 years experience repeated 25 times.

To make sure I don’t repeat stuff and I progress in my walk with God in 2009 I include the following goals…

1. Read my Bible through in the first 6 months (started).
2. Fast more – determined to fast at least 10% of the year.
3. 40 days early prayer from next Monday – praying for some particular things including Xcel Darlington and the people who are part of it.

There will be more. I am however determined to stay as close to God as possible. What are you doing this year to help mature your relationship with God?