Starting a New Job
Over the last 7 years, God has taken our family on an adventure. That adventure included 4 job changes, and a total of 6 moves from apartments and houses. As God led through all that change, we made several mistakes. In the ups and downs, I’ve learned a few things about starting a new job. Here are three things to do in your first 6 weeks that will help you win in the long run.

1. Listen & Learn

The truth rarely comes out in interviews. Interviews are everyone best impressions. So when you begin something new, it’s important that you listen to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you create a vision and plan for your role. Be careful not to mistake gossip for the truth about the organization.

2. Establish Relationships

Get face-to-face time with anyone and everyone. As a “newbie,” people probably recognize your face but that doesn’t mean they know you or much less trust you. Have coffee or lunch with as many volunteers, parents, staff members, etc. as possible. Share about yourself, but spend more time listening to their stories and their hearts. Invest time in them so that they will invest in you as a leader.

3. Serve, Serve, Serve

One of the worst things to do when starting a new job is to sit idle. There is always hype about a new hire, so they’re expecting to see a lot of action. This is what tempts many newcomers to starting blowing things up and making tons of change in their first month. Not a good idea.

Making major change immediately only alienates you from the people you’re leading. It’s like telling them that everything they’ve been doing is trash and you’re the garbage man. Even if that is true, it’s not the best way to start.

Instead, find ways to help with what is currently happening. Roll up your sleeves and start serving. First, serving helps you gain respect of those you’re leading. Second, serving on the frontline gives you a much better perspective on what needs to change. In your first 6 weeks, Serve, Serve, Serve!

What did you do in your first 6 weeks that helped you the most?

Black Friday 2012
I don’t do Black Friday shopping. I went out in the madness once, but that was all it took for me to swear it off forever. That being said, I decided the 50% off microwave was too good to pass up. So, I went shopping on Thanksgiving night.

I stood in line with 75-80 other people at the Sears in El Dorado, AR. As we waited, I listened to everyone talk about the deals on TVs. As I stood there, I thought, “Oh good, they’re not here for the microwaves!” (I really was dumb for standing in line to wait on a microwave, but that’s another story for another time.)

The doors opened promptly at 8:00 pm as advertised, and the people rushed in towards the electronics department. They were all after the big screen TVs they had seen in the advertisements. Instead of finding discounted televisions, they found a 20-something store manager telling them that this particular store does not have the advertised TVs!

Uh Oh.

Those people were MAD. There were a several unrepeatable words used and the angry mob slowly stormed out. After 75-80 people walked into the store, there were now only about 10 of us left.

Those people were angry because they were victims of false advertising. The paper ad clearly had pictures of TVs, the discounted price of the TVs, and it said, “Sale begins at 8 pm!” Most people who read that would reason that there would be discount TVs available to purchase at 8 pm, but there were no TVs. That’s false advertising.

It turns out that Sears has different types of stores that carry different varieties of items. This particular store was in a smaller market, so they did not carry the full line of TVs listed in the advertisement. I felt bad for the store manager because blame clearly belonged to higher management at Sears, but those people felt lied to and used. I understand their feelings.

The lesson here is to think about what you’re advertising. In ministry, we are constantly advertising. We talk about our church and our ministry in everyday conversations. We give a sales pitch every time we recruit a new a new leader. We advertise to parents about all the things we’re doing on Sundays or Wednesday with their kids.

Stop and think:
Is your advertisement about the ministry truthful or is it what you wish were true?

No one likes to be the victim of false advertising. I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve made promises to volunteers and parents that I just couldn’t keep. I got them in the door with that promise, but then I had to apologize when I really couldn’t deliver the goods.

We have to be careful not to oversell our ministry or ourselves. When we do, it only ends up disappointing others. You don’t have to put out a 4-page ad about all that is wrong with your church. Find ways to highlight what you do well. Use those things to recruit new leaders and connect with parents.

Making Vision Stick

November 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

Making Vision Stick

The bottom line behind this quote is responsibility. It is the leaders responsibility to cast vision and make it stick, not the follower. If the people you’re leading don’t get the vision or direction you’re headed, how can you increase their understanding of the vision?

How do you cast vision and make it stick for volunteers?

How do you cast vision and make it stick for parents?

How do you cast vision and make it stick for children/preteens/students?

books that helped in ministry

7 Practices of Effective Ministry

Strategy. I was handed this book when I was just a part-time intern during college, but I have kept at least two copies in my office ever since. I’m always passing 7 Practices of Effective Ministry on to other ministry leaders! This book is all about strategy—why we do what we do. It has helped me to be intentional in ministry and keep focused on the end goal.

Holy Discontent

Passion. I don’t remember where I picked up this book, but I’ll never forget reading it. Holy Discontent gives some great examples of how God ignites a passion in our hearts that will not go away. It is that issue or cause that keeps you awake at night and calls you into the fight. Hybels labels it our “holy discontent.” The insights of this book have helped me discern God’s call on my life and challenged me to pursue that passion with everything.

Next Generation Leader/Making Vision Stick

Leadership. These two books are made to be read together. Next Generation Leader gives a great blueprint for strong leadership. The tips given in this book are designed to develop a long-lasting leader. Reading this book on leadership with Making Vision Stick really has helped me to survive in ministry and navigate through tough changes.

Let the Nations Be Glad

Perspective. I love John Piper and his zeal for Christ. Let the Nations Be Glad provides a great perspective for any Christian, but especially those in vocational ministry. The book can be summed up from Piper’s quote of the Westminster Confession of Faith: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Even when ministry gets hard and distracting, it is great to know and understand that God created me to glorify and enjoy Him!