Archives For Leadership

Sabbatical-Week1

It’s been quiet here on the blog for a few weeks. Preparing for a sabbatical is a lot of work! But now, after a week of rest, I’m starting to unwind and think a little more clearly.  My pace of life has been wide open for a long time, and this break has come at the perfect time for me. It’s hard for me to slow down and not hurry, but I love what John Ortberg says, “Hurry is not about a disordered schedule, it is about a disordered heart.”

This first week my focus has been on rest. I’ve read a few books about the Sabbath and rest. In the book Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul by Lance Witt, he shares the following troubling statistics

Today’s troubling statistics on pastors paint a bleak picture.

  • 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America.
  • 80% of pastors and 85% of their spouses feel discouraged in their roles.
  • 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.
  • Over 50% of pastors are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could but have no other way of making a living.
  • Over 50% of pastors’ wives feel that their husband entering ministry was the most destructive thing to ever happen to their families.
  • 30% of pastors said they had either been in an ongoing affair or had a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner.
  • 71% of pastors stated they were burned out, and they battle depression beyond fatigue on a weekly and even a daily basis.
  • One out of every ten ministers will actually retire as a minister.

This really gets my attention, because I don’t want to become another statistic. I want to be a healthy pastor and leader, and I want to be a great husband and father.  At first, my plan for this sabbatical was going to be a lot of studying and reading and planning for the future. But after talking with the elders at Cornerstone, they really encouraged me to rest and to just simply listen to God.  Already, after just one week, I have found myself smiling more, laughing more, and I feel much less anxiety and stress.

Eugene Peterson shares

If we are going to take sabbaticals, let them be real sabbaticals: a willed passivity in order to be restored to alert receptivity to spirit-prayer, silence, solitude, worship…The original intent of sabbath is a time to be silent and listen to God, not attend lectures; a time to be in solitude and be with God, not “interact” with fatigued peers. If help is to be given to the pastor in midcourse, it is not going to come by infusion of intellect but by renewal of spirit.

The most enjoying part of this time has been the discussions with my family about our rhythm of life. I am thankful to our church for allowing me time to recharge. I am looking forward to getting back in September and preaching, but I’m truly excited about the next three weeks with my family.

Seven Years

June 18, 2014 — 3 Comments

preachingIt is hard to believe how my life has changed over these past seven years. Today, seven years ago, I started full-time as pastor of Cornerstone. For the 12 years before that, I worked as a mechanical engineer crash testing airplane seats and designing weight lifting equipment. That seems like a distant memory now, and I can honestly say I’m doing what God has called me to do.

Over the past seven years, I have seen my children grow and mature in the Lord, with all three putting their faith and trust in Christ. I have seen our church grow and mature in the Lord, with many people serving in our community and around the world.  And I have seen myself grow and mature. When I started, I was a young 33 years old with my only experience in ministry as a part-time youth minister. Now, after seven years, I am finally starting to see myself as a pastor.

I have learned much about myself and about leadership. It has not been an easy journey. In fact, it has been much harder than I would have ever imagined. I serve an amazing church, and the congregation has been incredibly supportive and caring. But I have also experienced many critics along the way, and they have taught me the importance of having a tender heart and thick skin. I quickly realized that my natural leadership abilities were not enough. I had to learn to depend on God and I even went back to seminary to earn my Master’s Degree in Christian Leadership.

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn is to give away ministry. I am naturally a doer, so Ephesians 4:11-12 has been a constant reminder for me to equip and empower others. I have learned that I can’t do everything, and that I need to learn a rhythm of life that can sustain me for a fruitful life of ministry. Before I was hired, the church changed our by-laws to ensure that I would receive a one-month sabbatical every three years.

With the pace of life over these past seven years, I have not taken advantage of that time to replenish and refresh my soul. So this August, after seven years, I will finally be taking a month-long sabbatical to work on my relationship to my God and my family. I am excited to slow down, and I am excited to spend extended time in study and prayer. I am making plans to work on getting back into shape, and I am also making plans to disconnect from all church work during the month. It is already exciting to see people step up, and I am thankful for the opportunity. My goal is to be able to be in ministry for the rest of my life, and the Biblical principle of sabbath and rest cannot be ignored. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next seven years!

mile·stone
/ˈmīlˌstōn/
Noun: An action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

This has been a summer of milestones for both me and my family. As an engineer, I became very familiar with Gantt Charts and milestones. Managing projects, budgets, resources, and timelines was a common task, but we were always able to celebrate significant milestones along the way. So in that same spirit, I want to take a break from my normal blogging to celebrate a blogging milestone.

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 40th birthday, and this week on my blog I hit both 1000 posts and 1000 comments. I didn’t plan it that way, but it’s pretty cool that I hit the 1000 post/comment milestone at the same time. I started blogging in July of 2006, so if you look through the archives, you will find seven years of my thoughts about faith, life, and technology. My posts aren’t as frequent as they used to be, but I am still here after more than a half a million page views on FaithEngineer.com. I appreciate the online community that has grown from this site, and I look forward to many more posts and comments.

Thanks for stopping by the blog and letting me share my thoughts! Keep on sharing your thoughts and please feel free to leave comments on any of my posts! 

Blog-Stats

Finished!

May 30, 2013 — 3 Comments

Let me share a little of my past with you.

I started serving in part-time youth ministry in 1996. By 2000, I was hooked and I felt God calling me into ministry. Over the next two years, I went through the license and ordination process for our local Southern Baptist Association, and was officially licensed and ordained as a minister. In 2002, I felt that the next step should be to start working on my seminary degree, so I started online at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

After just taking a couple of classes over the first two semesters, I realized that working a full-time job, serving as a part-time youth minister, and parenting two small children (Drew wasn’t here yet) was a recipe for disaster. I was spread too thin, and I simply couldn’t do everything that was required of me. So I walked away from seminary with no plan to return. I kept serving in youth ministry, and I continued to grow in faith and confidence in ministry. In 2007, God really changed my plans and I started full-time as pastor of Cornerstone Community Church.

Two years ago, in 2011, I started thinking about finishing up my seminary degree. I did some checking, found a scholarship, and re-enrolled. And now, I am proud and extremely happy to say that I finished my Master’s Degree!  I received a M.A.R. in Christian Leadership this month. It has been a tough year and a half balancing family demands with school and ministry. I’ve written more papers and read more than I ever did in Engineering, but it feels great to be done.

A few people have asked me why I decided to go back. My biggest reason is that I felt I needed to grow my knowledge and skill. I have had some natural leadership ability, but as our church has grown, I have been stretched far beyond my ability. It has been a sink or swim opportunity, and although I’m trusting God to keep me afloat, I have a responsibility to do everything I can to preach, teach, and lead effectively. I’m thankful for Liberty Online. They have allowed me to continue in ministry and still go back to school. Now, I’ve got some catching up to do on my reading. I can actually start reading books that I want to read again.

liberty-banner

 

Chick-fil-a-Slide-2013

 

For the last few years, I have taken part in the Chick-fil-A Leadercast. A unique group of leaders have come together to host this simulcast in our own community. We have a great cross-section of church leaders, educational leaders, and business leaders coming together to learn leadership lessons. This year, it’s on May 10th and will be held at the Crossroads Institute in Galax. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the Crossroads website. This is a great event, and we have a great time together. Check out the video below for a sample of what you will see.

picture1On Tuesday November 14th, I’ll be facilitating a leadership meeting at The Crossroads Institute. I’ll be taking a group through Andy Stanley’s excellent DVD study on Becoming a Great Staff. This is a great opportunity for pastors, business leaders, and local civic and educational leaders to come together and learn from each other.

We’ll meet at 11:30am at The Higher Education Center for the Crossroads Institute. It is located at 208 Cranberry Road in Galax, and lunch will be available for $5 a plate. If you know of anyone else who might be interested in attending, encourage them to call 276-236-0391 or email registration@crossroadsva.org to register.

Here is more information for the workshop.

 

What makes a great team or a great staff? What causes people to look at your organization and think, “Now there’s a team that knows how to work together”? The answers to these questions are found in one simple habit that every leader and organization can embrace immediately.

Together, we will go through a video session by Andy Stanley who will help explain how to build a culture of trust in your organization. Using real-life examples, he uncovers several best practices (and several not-so-great practices) for becoming a great team.

I’m in the process of writing a research paper on the life of Billy Graham. I have read several books about his life and ministry, and I am constantly amazed at what God has done through his life. I also had the privilege of attending one of his last crusades held in Charlotte. He encountered criticism from both liberals and conservatives, yet he held strong to his convictions and preached boldly. I am thankful for men like Billy Graham who have shown us the power of the Gospel. This video is just one small example of what happens when the Gospel is preached. Lives are changed for eternity. That is why I am in the ministry.

Larry Osborne: ‘We’ve Confused Leadership With Discipleship’

http://www.exponential.org/2012/07/larry-osborne-weve-confused-leadership-with-discipleship/

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