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6/25/13

CUSTOMER OR OWNER?

I've been a pastor for almost 33 years.  I've had the opportunity to pastor thousands of people over that period of time.  After seeing all shapes and sizes and personality types, I've realized their are basically two types of church members: OWNERS & CUSTOMERS.

What's the difference?  Simple...

               CUSTOMERS                                                                           OWNERS
*Are there to be served by the owners                             *Are there to serve the customers
*Are concerned that their experience is good                   *Are concerned that the customers' experience
                                                                                            is good
*Have no loyalty to this place                                           *Have total loyalty to this place
*Tied to quality of the product                                          *Tied to quality of the relationships
*Tendency to voice complaints                                         *Tendency to fix problems
*Refers to church as "They"                                             *Refers to church as "We"
*Main concern is what "I want"                                       * Main concern is what "they need"
*Consumer                                                                       *Producer
*Asks "What do you have for me/mine?"                        *Asks "What can we do for them/theirs?"
*Taker                                                                              *Giver
*If absent, would not be missed                                       *If absent, would leave a void
*Important part of the crowd                                            *Imperative part of the team

All in all, where do you see yourself?  Are you a CUSTOMER or a OWNER?  The answer to that question is more important than you think and says volumes about your maturity and value to the Kingdom of God.

6/24/13

VACATE & RECREATE

Susan & I just returned from a week off.  We ventured into the Great Smokey Mountains and then a few days in Nashville.  We saw some of God's "showing off" with a beautiful part of this world, had a little adventure white-water rafting and visited a city we'd only heard about.  We VACATED & RECREATED.

Sometimes we miss the necessity of those two things.  Sometimes, you just need to "get out of Dodge".  I think that's even more important for a pastor.  I find as long as I can be found, work will find me.  I got lots of emails and texts telling about situations and what I needed to do while I was gone.  Everyone's expectations.  But, "I'm in Tennessee" got me off the hook.  It's necessary to get away physically, emotionally and mentally.

But, we didn't just get away...we played.  We recreated.  We hiked, we rafted, we explored, we enjoyed beauty, we re-connected with one another and did things outside the norm.  Recreation.  We overuse that word without realizing what we're saying.  We "re-created" ourselves.  God created us.  But, the world tears us apart.  Sometimes, we need the creative process in our lives all over again.

I believe that was God's idea when he set up the Sabbath...a day of re-creation on a weekly basis.  But, sometimes we need an extended stay for the re-creation process to be fulfilled.  I hope you take advantage of that opportunity this summer and come back re-charged, re-juvenated and ready to go.

6/10/13

STUFF HAPPENS

STUFF HAPPENS
LIFE NEVER TURNS OUT THE WAY YOU PLAN IT
BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
IF IT CAN GO WRONG, IT WILL
MURPHY'S LAW RULES

Stupid stuff happens that shouldn't happen.  Some are devastating.  Some are painful.  Some are just inconvenient.

Right now, I'm sitting in Panama City Beach, Florida, expecting 125 students and sponsors to roll in any minute.  ONLY PROBLEM:  They're stuck on the side of the road in Covington, Louisiana.  FUN.

Why?  Because we live in a fallen, sin-soaked world where stupid things happen.  It's frustrating.  But, it's our world.  It's the only one we've got.

6/4/13

I DON'T UNDERSTAND...BUT I SHOULD

It breaks my heart when I see couples, but especially women, who struggle with infertility.  It can be the most devastating thing in a person's life.  I partly have problems understanding because I'm a man.  Although that desire to have children is real in men, it is totally different in women.  So many women feel like less than a whole woman when they face fertility issues.  Again, I'm not a woman and will never completely comprehend how that would make a woman feel, so I won't even try to address it.

My point is, even though I don't understand it, I should.  That same desire that God built into women to bear children is built into each one of us who call ourselves a Child of God.  We were created to reproduce spiritually.  We were created to "give birth" to new Children of God.  We were created to bring new disciples into the world.  And, if we aren't or can't or don't, that should stir some emotions in us.

Paul called Timothy his son.  Not a physical son....a spiritual one.  How many "spiritual kids" do you have?  Do you want more?  Do you take as much joy seeing a new believer "born-again" as you did seeing your physical children born?  Spiritually, are you childless?  Does that in any way bother you?  It should.  If you're having spiritual fertility issues, it should be a cause for concern.  If it's not, ask God to stir your heart and make you want to make kids for His Kingdom.

6/3/13

IT'S MONDAY

OK, it's pretty easy to be a Monday Hater.  It's just...MONDAY.  Kinda rhymes with MUNDANE.  Same idea.  For me, Monday isn't coming off a great weekend, it's following up the start of my week and the biggest day.  For most folks, your week builds to a climax.  For pastors we start off our week (on Sunday) on all cylinders, then, splat, down to earth with Monday.

Maybe that's why most pastors resign on Mondays.  Nope.  Didn't make that up.  Fact.  It's a little like sky-diving, knowing your parachute is going to fail to deploy.  You love Sundays so much, you jump anyway.  But, then there's always the Monday landing.  For me, Mondays usually mean staff meetings, followed by Strategic Leadership Meeting, followed by lunch (sometimes a meeting), followed by an occasional Creative Team meeting, some individual meetings and ending with a Service-Planning meeting.  (Who said this job isn't sexy?)  Oh yeah, one more meeting this evening.  And you thought your Mondays were bad.

Lots of pastors take Mondays off.  I always took my cues from something I heard a pastor say, "I don't want to feel that bad on my day off".  Ditto.

"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it'.  Mondays get a bad rap.  For all their faults, I wouldn't want to live without them.  They are a very nice buffer between Sunday and Tuesday.