Saturday, November 21, 2009

My 10 Big Rocks for Life

There are fundamental tenets to life I've landed on at this point in my life. When I feel stressed or off course, I come back to these truths. As I look in our world, it's clear that others have other principles they seem to have chosen. I'm curious, what are yours? Have you identified them? Except for #1, these are not in any particular order:

1. There is a God. Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be, and the Bible is inerrant in its truths. Once I believe this, it changes everything.

2. It's not about here. Here meaning the 70-80 years on average we get to live. Once I believe #1, I believe I'm going to live forever. 70-80 years here vs. eternal is nothing, zip, 0.

3. Four Friends... Do the people I surround myself with help me in these 10 Big Rocks for Life or guide me off course? Do they encourage me? Do they challenge me? Who I surround myself with matters. My wife is my best friend and makes me a better man.

4. Lifetime Learner... I want to grow and learn. The more I can learn the more I can embrace change, lead well, and fulfill my God-given purpose. What's the alternative? Rely on my high school Algebra class to get me by? Part of who we become is what we read, who we're learning from, and what we listen to. I need to choose wisely.

5. My best days are ahead of me. Looking in the rear view mirror of life doesn't seem to help anyone. There's always the next mountain to climb with the new knowledge of experience. My 21 year old body is not needed.

6. Excellence- If you're going to do it, do it well. It's easy for me to get spread thin which leads to "winging it" or giving something my leftovers. That's normal. Excellence? Not so normal.

7. Self awareness. The more I know myself, the more I can do something about it. To stick my head in the sand about my own weaknesses, fears, or bad habits just hurts me. Therapists rock. Good, trustworthy friends that will give me candid feedback are helpful. I need to be a student of me.

8. It's not about money. The love of money simply makes me less effective, more selfish to hold onto it, more fearful to lose it, and is a false foundation. Retirement is not in my vocabulary. I want to be a contributing, used up sponge when I die.

9. Control what I can control. Obsessing about things outside my control just frustrate me, get me spinning, and I don't get anything done. I need to learn to be content with the place I'm at today and be responsible for what I've been given to this point in my life.

10. Maximize others because it's about others. Helping other people find Hope, purpose, and Big Rocks in their lives energizes me. We were all meant for more and to be part of God's story. How can I serve others whether in the workplace, in my home, or in my community?

Could there be one or two rocks missing? Sure. Do I have days where I fail to focus on the big rocks and make mistakes? Absolutely. Can I get up tomorrow and try again? In Sarah Palin's words..."You betcha..."

What principles will you live your life by in the next 5 years? 10, 20 years?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 Things I've Learned About Church Online

On the brink of launching to our weekend crowd in a few days (November 15th, 6:30 & 8:30 EST), here are 10 things I've learned in these five and a half months:

1. There's a ton I still don't know. I think this would be true for all online church leaders. This is still the bleeding edge trend and there isn't a 25 year old Denomination of Online Churches (thank goodness).

2. Criticism will come. The foundation of how we do church is being shaken. It doesn't set well with a few of those who think you have to attend a physical church to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. (For the record, I'm a huge fan of different churches for different people... the physical church building will continue as a great option for millions) There are valid questions to ponder.

3. The burden of a pastor. My Dad's been a pastor for 40+ years. While my title is Online Church Director, I still feel the weight of the scores of people that will come with needs, questions, and real pain in their lives. I'm reminded you can only lead people where you've been. I have a whole new appreciation for my leaders and my Dad.

4. The unity amongst other Online Churches is inspiring. I am so appreciative of the support from the pioneers ahead of us... The open hand of support and conversations with Life Church and Liquid Church were particularly helpful and motivating. I look forward to the opportunity to meet more of these leaders and find ways of how we can work and learn together. I pray for them often.

5. It's important to identify your audience. Are you primarily serving your current congregation so they can watch services while they're away? Is it for English speaking people only? National? Global? (to name a few) Our programming will continue to need to be evaluated to align with our target audience.

6. New rules for volunteer teams. We already have volunteers outside our of state and country which is incredibile! How do you empower, train, lead, and screen them appropriately? This is certainly a work in progress.... :)

7. Partnering with the right development team was critical. Working for a technology company, I have a whole new appreciation for AspireOne. They were able to shift strategy mid-stream to meet the new challenges and opportunities technology brought. They owned this project as if it were their own site.

8. Most people don't get it. I'm met regularly with a tilted head and crumpled forehead as I try to explain the strategy of Online Church. I think we'll see the light come on more each month that passes. It's a whole new mission field.

9. There are people who "play" church regardless of the location. Checking the box of going to church isn't the church. Going through the motions of taking communion while thinking about what you're going to do when you get home misses its purpose. One's heart determines whether or not they did church or not, online or not. The greatest examples of "being the church" have no walls and typically happen outside of an hour weekend service.

10. God is not afraid of the cloud. (Cloud meaning the internet) God can move through the internet, a fish net, or a New Jersey Net if He wants. It's quite a feeling "knowing" the stories of life change are coming. I can't wait to see what He is going to do....

I'm sure we'll make some mistakes along the way but we'll keep falling forward. Let the ride begin!