The 19 Project: An Update

2 great things have happened this week…

Firstly, my book ’19’ will be released on the 27th October. This is a book for leaders of all ages but very much to those beginning on their leadership journey. I was 19 when I was given my first introduction to leadership, becoming the leader of the local church youth group.

Now, 28 years later, I am still leading in local church, and I am passing on what I have learned along the way. Things I know any young leader will need to learn so they can still be leading in 25 years time.

Secondly, the website The 19 Project is live. Very much coming from the premise of the book and my desire to help resource and raise the  next generation of young leaders, my hope is the site will become a hub of useful articles, free resource and eventually offer access to live Q&A’s, training material, connection with other leaders, and much more.

You can join The 19 Project and help to shape it for the future. It’s free. When you do this, you will be able to download a free chapter of the book, pre-order it at a discounted rate and take a quick survey to provide some initial feedback on the site.

Thanks for the support along the way. Not sure what is going to happen with this site but why not come over to The 19 Project now and stay in touch with all that is happening over there. You can find me on Facebook too. Click on the links below…

The 19 Project Website

The 19 Project Facebook

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Lead Well: Work on Our Character

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. [Proverbs 6:12-19]

Nobody wants to be known as someone with bad character, yet this is the state many of us find ourselves in, if only for the lack of a little focus and intentionality. Such a state  brings calamity, demotion and in reality means people don’t want to hang around us.

Good character is not our default position.
Good character comes through purposeful design.

Think about it. We are inherently selfish. We give most of our attention to ourselves. We want to make sure we have what we want, not just what we need. We will bump people out of the way to make a way. We expect as much as possible for as little as possible. We praise and curse with the same mouth. The list of our character flaws is probably endless.

I have learned this lesson by getting it right and getting it wrong. Through awkward conversations and times of confrontation by people who care for me. I have discovered that to lead well in life is to be watchful and protective of the right kind of character. And such watchfulness takes concentration and effort. Start by avoiding the list of those things which don’t look good from Gods point of view…

Pride.
Lying.
Killing people.
Scheming.
Quick to do wrong things.
False witness towards others.
Bringing discord.

Then remember how Jesus took the standard higher on many of these in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6 & 7. Let’s be honest, we all have our weaknesses, those unredeemed aspects of our personality which we can use to quickly blame our words and actions on.

Instead let’s be those who are different. Living by design. Who lead well. Are above reproach. Live a life worthy of the calling to which you are called. Honour God in all things. Watch. Be alert. Sin and temptation are always at the door. Stay focused on Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him. Don’t allow yourself to drift. Hold fast your confession of faith. Do not be afraid. Repent quickly.

Build Church: Look for the Right Signs of Health

We measure the wrong things sometimes. We look at what we have or what we don’t have and use them as the measure. Such a method is not wrong except what we end up with may just be a bunch of numbers which in reality don’t mean very much.

Success in building church can be very subjective but it has to be about more than bums on seats. It’s even got to be more than hands raised in response to a salvation prayer.

We have to look for the right signs health.

Metrics have their place but they should never just be for collection. They can however, prompt the right kind of conversations as a representation of what’s happening physically with people. How many are turning up to things, to Sundays? How often are they coming? How many salvations? How many baptisms? How many in Groups? Or doing the Growth Track, Alpha or any other think we could probably have a count for.

The other stuff can be more problematic and harder to define, yet possibly more important. Instead of recording how many did something, these measures represent spiritual vitality, a persons walk with Jesus and how they live it out.

Some of the following can help us discover what’s really happening inside the person, after all, attendance doesn’t necessarily mean growth. You would hope for some correlation but its not always guaranteed.

Stories of changed lives.
Hearing how people are moving one step further in their walk with God.
Discovering the way people take their Christian faith into the world in which they live.
Helping people discover and use their spiritual gifts.
Seeing disciples making disciples. People are bringing people to help them meet Jesus.

I think these fit better with the definition God would give to success. It is less about achievement and more about who we are as we achieve. Geared more round the growth of our character, becoming more like Jesus and the spiritual leadership we demonstrate every day.

You may have a different view and add other things to this list. I would love to hear what you think.

Lead Well: Embrace the WHOLE Process

Before we became Christians life was complete. Or at least we assumed so.

We were seemingly ‘whole’ without realising we were in fact incomplete, broken. We were spiritually dead, not understanding we had been created to be alive to God. A paradigm shift was needed, as it is impossible to know we are spiritually dead when we are spiritually dead.

We fill life with anything other than God in the hope those things will complete us, fill us, satisfy us. We place huge amounts of energy and behaviour into the pursuit of what should make us whole. But when we have them, we crave just a little bit more so will then be satisfied, again.

Yet, something seems to be missing. We can’t put our finger on it but we ask questions like, ‘Is this it?’ ‘Is there more than this?’ The promise of our deepest needs being met by all that the world has to offer is found to be untrue. The picture we think is real begins to show some cracks.

Then we encounter God. Our spiritual antenna begins to receive a signal and how we perceive everything starts to change. For the first time we question. We start on a journey where we have to acknowledge that nothing truly satisfies except God alone.

Significance, acceptance, security. Other things may temporarily fill these needs but only God can truly provide them.

We become whole. By faith in the complete work of Jesus Christ we are made whole. Inviting Jesus into our lives is the beginning of a journey from ‘whole’ to what I am calling a another level of ‘whole’. From WHOLE 1.0 with our basic faith, to WHOLE 2.0 as we add to this basic faith.

The journey is a lifetime long. Our role is simply to be willing to participate in the process. The process of growing in character and more importantly, becoming more like Jesus.

At WHOLE 1.0 when life takes a bite out of us we may still endeavour to cram it with temporary fillers. As we grow and mature in our experience of Jesus our sense of WHOLENESS changes. When life takes a bite of us we discover new qualities come into play. We have hold of our basic faith and see that through life’s moments God is adding to us. We display the characteristics of someone who has embraced the process, moving to WHOLE 2.0

Would love to hear what you have learned on the journey from WHOLE 1.0 to WHOLE 2.0. How has God added to your basic faith so you are growing in character and becoming more like Jesus?

 

 

Walking With God: Examine Yourself

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” [‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭13:5‬ ‭ESV]‬‬

If we want a strong and healthy walk with God then it’s important that we make time to examine ourselves. Paul encourages us to do this in regard to our faith.

This is not a general observation. This is more than a look in the mirror and giving yourself a once over and declaring that you are ‘looking good’. I like to think this is more like a proper MOT.

I recently went to the Dr’s with a chest infection. I had my blood pressure taken, bloods done, ECG, chest x-ray and even an abdominal scan. All of these to discover if there was more than just an infection, maybe there was an underlying problem which had caused this.

Any purposeful examination has to go beneath the surface. Like a CT Scan that takes internal images, layer upon layer upon layer, giving the clearest picture possible of what’s happening on the inside. Can we be willing to do the same in our own lives?

There are 2 basic reasons why such natural examinations are important. To discover you are in good health or to discover you are in bad health. Then the right treatment can be prescribed. A spiritual examination will do the same.

We will remain strong in faith and strong in the Lord. And Paul prescribes 5 actions which may just help us…

Rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you [2 Corinthians 13v11‬ ‭ESV]

If we were to complete the right kind of self-examination today, what might we discover? What areas in our walk with God are not as healthy as they could be? What will do to improve them?

Kickstarter Project Nearly Done

book-headerSo at the beginning of the year I took the plunge and created a Kickstarter project with the aim of helping get my book published. There are just a few days left, so this is my final opportunity to say thank you to all those who have supported me and ask for others to possibly do the same.

Check out the video and hear about the heart behind the book and why I am so excited about it. You can support me for £10 (or more if you choose) and as a reward I’ll send you a proper copy of the book, rather than a download, if you prefer.

The challenge with a Kickstarter project is it’s all or nothing so I am hopeful that in the next 3 days I will hit the target and then the next step of making this book a reality can take place.  Check out all the updates too which let you know a little bit more of what the book is all about.

Be Willing to Learn from Others

In Genesis 18 we see Moses was doing a good job but the observation of Jethro was similar to what some of us maybe heard at school ‘could do better’.

He was getting the job done. He was making progress but the wisdom of Jethro brought insight to Moses he may never have seen. Sometimes we can be so busy doing what we do, we never consider there could be a better way.

Learn from Moses how we can always be learning and looking for ways to improve our leadership effectiveness…

Listen. 

Listen to the right people. 

Listen to the right people who have a desire to see you succeed. 

Act on what you have heard. 

Become a leader who is willing to release others. 

Become a beyond you leader. 

Be a leader who sees something in others which they may not see in themselves. 

I am thankful for a couple called Kevin & Tina Hudson who did this for me. Now I am trying to do the same for others. That’s the heart behind my book ’19’ which should be published later in the year.

When it comes to building a church, a business, a life even, then we have to be willing to learn from others and make changes if necessary.

What would you add to this?

17 Ways to Be BIGGER in 2017

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Towards the end of 2016 I wrote a two posts about how BIGGER was going to be my word for 2017. Check them out: Am I BIG Enough? and Jesus was the BIGGER Person.

I meant to follow that post with some thoughts as to where we could be BIGGER in 2017, so here goes.  Are we BIG enough in 2017 to…?

  1. Try something new
  2. Break with traditions
  3. Acknowledge you are not big enough & keep growing
  4. Be a carrier of the vision (of church, work, your life)
  5. Serve others
  6. Love the less loveable. Love your enemies
  7. Rely more on God than on my self
  8. Make new friends
  9. Ask every day for the Holy Spirit
  10. Remain humble
  11. Make room for God by letting go of other things
  12. Keep asking God to ‘change me’
  13. Forgive
  14. Repent
  15. Stop complaining about what I don’t have and be thankful for so much that I do have
  16. Be passionate
  17. Live ‘as if’ this is all true

17 things for 2017 where I know I could definitely grow, become the BIGGER person, make more room for all that God can do with all of these in my life.

What do you think? Would you add anything else?

Continue reading “17 Ways to Be BIGGER in 2017”