Five First Day Priorities

First Monday of 2016 = first day back in the office.

Here are 5 things I did to help me set off on the right footing:

Catch up with my Lead Pastor over a coffee. Most important thing today. No agenda as such but a great opportunity to set ourselves up for the year. The first four weeks of the year can often set the rhythm for the rest of the year. Setting the right focus and agenda will have a big impact on how I approach my role. I need to know what’s important as it influences my other conversations.

Reminding myself about what I am responsible for.  I have written before about giving myself permission to be an Executive Pastor. Every now and then I need to remind myself. I am in this role for a reason. Knowing the heart of my Lead Pastor and what he wants to see helps to remind me why I am doing what I do.

De-clutter. Clear the space. Get rid of the paper off the desk. Create an environment which will help the thinking process. We actually rearranged the office.

Check the metrics. Start getting the right information in front of me ready for future conversations. Metrics don’t run things but they do demonstrate some progress. How do we know if we are heading in the right direction if we don’t know where we are coming from?

Get some BIG questions written down. What should we be doing? Ultimately it’s all about reaching people for our incredible Saviour, extending the kingdom and building local church. So it’s important to ask the right kind of questions ~ where should our energies be put? What is a win? The right questions can help with our thinking, which helps keep us focused.

And now to relax. It’s too easy to be overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, but after a full day, learning to relax with family and friends is vital. Plus good food helps too.

How about you? How did your first day back go?


Loving What You Do

To be honest I’m stuck in the whole ‘are we in?‘ thinking at moment. Together, fully committed and engaged in what God is doing, we can be a part of something great.

We can put our energies in to building many things but there is no greater reward than to put our energies in to what God is building. I am a firm believer that if we are about building Gods House, He will build our house.

It’s not just about being on a team, although it might be.

It’s not just about being in church every moment. although it might be.

It’s not just about giving everything, although it might be.

Jesus served. So I will serve. Jesus identified with the church. So I will identify myself with the church. Jesus gave. So I will give.

I am always mindful that this can seem a very simplistic approach, especially amidst all the challenges of life. We need to put our energies into some things. I am not saying that we shouldn’t do that. Of course we should. Family. Work. Friends. Space. It’s when those take our best and our first that we may have to consider our priorities are skewed.

Seek first the kingdom…and all these things will be added to you [Matthew 6:33]

Here’s a Monday challenge….don’t think it won’t work. Don’t dismiss what God is up to by trying to work it out in your own mind. Instead, lets learn to trust Him.

Think about this…what if it did work? 

Think about this…what if it did work and we chose not to be a part of it?

Are you in?

What’s Your Sunday Score?

Here’s a dangerous blog.

How would you score Sunday in Church? If you were giving it a mark out of 10, what would it be? What was your highlight of the weekend? How could things be made better?

As I shared a couple of weeks ago, every Monday in the office we have a quick meeting to look back over the weekend at Xcel Church ~ from Friday night to Sunday. The highs, the lows, what went well, the stories about lives being impacted, as well as any challenges and very importantly, how we can make things better for next weekend.

It’s kind of like a score.

A score with purpose. One that comes from a desire to make the experience that people have the best experience possible.

Here’s the next question. What score would you give yourself? What could you have done, individually, to help make the experience people have at Church the best experience possible? Did we give our very best for God this Sunday?

I love this quote by Theodore Roosevlet which I think sums up what I am trying to say…

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Let’s not just get our scorecard out and shout ‘seven’ aka Len Goodman. Instead let’s just make sure we are doing everything that we can do ourselves, in the arena, on the teams, bringing our best, spending ourselves for the most worthy of all causes.

What Do Winning Teams Have?

In this final part of TEAM CHURCH series I spoke about 2 qualities that winning teams have. Qualities that are not special skills, not just found in world-class players, qualities that can be the difference between winning or losing. Qualities that are more easily caught than taught.


It’s a craving
It’s something inside of you
You have to fill it
It can make you feel uncomfortable
If you are hungry & not able to fill that hunger you can get agitated
you were created to meet your hunger

If you have a big enough passion for something it’s amazing how you will find a way to do it. How is your hunger/passion for God? Is it strong enough to keep you going when others say stop?

The right hunger…

Is powerful
Makes you do things that you might not normally do
It’s attractive
It’s contagious
It’s inspirational
It requires faith

You need the Holy Spirit in your life to create a hunger for God that can help you be ALL these things.

Hunger/Passion creates MOMENTUM

The trouble with momentum…
It’s difficult to actually get some
You have to start doing something first to create any
It’s easily lost if you don’t keep control of it

Was really concerned that I didn’t overdo the emphasis on Massive March and the focus on growth too much. After all, in my opinion growth is the by-product of you & I living out a God-filled life – one that is hungry for the things of God, not the trappings of the world, one that is moving forward in God and not stagnant. If we live this way – we are attractive, contagious and inspirational – who wouldnt want to find out why our life is like that?

For more thoughts check here, here, here and here. Tell me what you think.

The Final Installment

This Sunday we conclude our Team Church series. The Team Church adventure continues.

Calling all Xcel Darlington. We are in Central Hall this week so let’s pack it out. Let’s ALL be there. Ready to break some records, to have some fun, to continue the Xcel Darlington journey.

Winning teams display certain qualities. They cannot be taught. One is a choice. One is created. Together they can keep a team moving forward, overcoming obstacles and collecting victories along the way. Want to know what they are…well I’ll tell you…


Get the message out. Make a call. Tell everyone you know. Let’s get everyone to Xcel Darlington this Sunday and together we can make God famous. It’s going to be fun. Are you in? Who will you bring?

All this talk of team church launches us into MASSIVE MARCH. A month of breakthrough and growth. Of dialogue. Declaring the Gospel. Starting conversations and seeing new people at Xcel Darlington. Together, each one of us playing our small part, we can make a huge difference!!

Church is Serious [Day 14]

In my opinion the Team Church theme is shaking things up. Challenging peoples expectations of what Church is actually about. Hopefully that’s a good thing.

There needs to be a recognition that Church is a serious business. More than that it takes serious people. Not intense people but people serious about making the Church experience all it should be.

What changes are you making to stay serious about God and serious about building His church?

Team Church: Part 2

(Still laughing to self at attempts last Sunday to lead the Team Church cry)

Day 7…
Amidst some family time the day involved final thoughts on tomorrows message. Continuing the TEAM CHURCH theme.

Teams are everywhere. Teams are incredibly powerful. To achieve any sense of greatness we must be willing to work with others. Getting behind that common cause, laying down our own ideas and agendas to see the vision come to pass.

Teams must be TENACIOUS
Teams must be ENLARGING
Teams must be ADAPTABLE

Pastor John spoke about this at Aycliffe last Sunday evening, so I am taking the words and adding my own twist. We are Xcel Church but Xcel Darlington’s journey has only just begun. It’s a challenge to all of us to be on team, play our part and be willing to do ‘whatever’ it takes.

Don’t allow yourself to be the person who only speaks a good game. Actions often speak louder. As we unpack these thoughts – are you ready for the challenge? Are you ready to make it happen? To win something? To get on the pitch, get in the action and work alongside others to make a difference for God in your town?

Sign up below…

Teams Need Leaders

In my preparation for Sunday’s message I came across this. Probably won’t preach this thought but just loved the passion, the belief, the energy. Like it or not…teams need leaders. Winning teams have great leaders.

They inspire.
They instill belief.
They see potential.
They can help a team become more than they think they can be.

Do you think we should have the same passion for the local Church?