Replace Yourself

January 7, 2013 — 2 Comments

Passing the baton to a future leader

I love teaching and speaking to preteens. It’s one of the best parts of my job and something that I feel like I’m actually good at. That’s why it’s so hard for me to hand off those responsibilities to others.

I really admire pastors like Bill Hybels and John Piper, who have created a strategy to appoint a successor. I love hearing both of these men speak, but I think their legacy will be way they finish their current positions and pass the baton. I’m looking forward to watching that transition.

If you’re in a position of leadership, you need a strategy to replace yourself. You owe it to those that follow you and those that lead alongside you. At 29, I’m not looking to retire from ministry, but I still want to appoint leaders that can lead our preteen ministry.

Here are a few things to consider as you work to replace yourself:

Vision, Vision, Vision

Creating a strategy to replace yourself will sustain the vision that been set for your ministry. If the ministry is built on your personality, then it will fall in the absence of your personality. We’ve all seen this happen to churches. However, a strategy to replace yourself works to appoint a leader that understands the vision and will carry it on into the future. If the vision for your ministry means anything to you, do everything to make sure it sticks without you.

Replacements may or may not be better than you

Remember the movie The Replacements? A bunch of washed-up football players take over the NFL when the real players go on strike. It was obvious that these replacement players were not on the same level as the professionals, but in the end they had all improved dramatically.

You might stumble across that prodigy that can step in and do your job with ease, but that’s not likely. When looking for a replacement, look for someone who has natural abilities that will shine in your ministry. But, more importantly, look for someone who is teachable. Pass on everything you know and give them room to grow. In the end, the replacement may just do more than you could’ve ever done.

Start Small

A strategy for replacing yourself begins with delegation. Face it; hardly anyone is naturally great at delegation. It takes discipline. I’m not where near where I would like to be, but the steps we’ve taken have been refreshing. As much as I love teaching and speaking, I’m finding real joy in watching others fill those roles.

This past Sunday was a big Sunday for our preteen ministry. I was so excited about the challenge that we were laying out for our preteens. I wanted to teach the lesson so badly, but I didn’t. Instead, I stood in the back of the room and watched other leaders do an amazing job of engaging the preteens and presenting God’s Word. I was like a proud parent watching their 16-year old kid drive off for the first time.

What’s your strategy to replace yourself?
What are you currently doing that you could empower another leader to do?


#GiveGod12: Day One

December 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

Day OneThe #GiveGod12 movement officially launched today, 12/12/12. If you missed it, check out last week’s post on #GiveGod12

Get the #GiveGod12 Reading Plan

Watch the first video from #GiveGod12

This movement is all about committing to spend time with God. People of all ages and denominations are taking 12 minutes today to get in Scripture, pray, and connect with God. Some might take more time and some might give less, but it’s all about committing a time to meet with God.

I’m so excited about this movement and seeing what God does in me and in others. As I thought about how I would #GiveGod12 during the next 12 days, I wanted to spend those 12 minutes doing something special. I decided to keep a regular time with God and His word, but to also take an extra 12 minutes to do something that I don’t normally get the change to do.

My #GiveGod12: Day One

Today, I spent 12 minutes praying for the volunteers and leaders in our preteen ministry. I got the chance to pray for each of them specifically by name. We have a couple of really exciting weeks coming up in our preteens ministry, so it was so fun to ask God to use our leaders in a big way.

Looking forward to Day Two!

Preteen Worship & Spaghetti

December 11, 2012 — 1 Comment

Preteen Worship & SpaghettiAbout 10 years ago, I ate spaghetti with Charlie Hall.

Mr. Hall was leading a night of worship at the church where I was working, and several of the staff and worship volunteers had dinner with the band before the service. The spaghetti wasn’t that good, but the conversation was great.

I was expecting the band to share about how to engage an audience, how to make transitions during worship, or how to have dynamics in your worship set. But that never came up. Instead, they spent the entire dinner talking about how important it is that you worship while you’re leading worship. The point was that if you’ll just devote yourself to worship while on stage, then others would follow in worship. Your focus on Christ would lead others to point their focus and worship to Him.

As we have been evaluating the worship in our preteen ministry and planning for the future, this conversation has really been echoing in my head. We have some awesome worship leaders that connect with our preteens, but, to be honest, I haven’t really set them up to win. I haven’t devoted nearly enough time or resources to help them just worship.

We plan out teaching time and small group time several weeks in advance. We spend time and money on equipping our large group teachers and small group leaders to win big. I don’t want to take away from that focus or emphasis, but I’m realizing that we have neglected a major opportunity to connect with preteens through worship. It’s just a part of our service, but I want it to be so much more!

In the weeks ahead, I really want to think through and brainstorm how we can create a better environment for preteens to worship. Ultimately, I want it to be a setting that helps the worship leader worship. I want it to be a setting that helps the small group leaders to worship. My prayer is that preteens will follow this example and experience worship in a deeper way.

Want to help? Shoot me a comment or email with answers to the following questions. I’m really interested in hearing from others and getting ideas on worship in preteen ministry.

  • How do you connect with preteens in worship?

  • What does the worship (musical) portion of your service look like?

  • What songs are currently best connecting with preteens?

  • What elements (band, lights, Scripture reading, drama, video, etc) do you use to help in the worship environment? How do you use them and how often do you use them?

  • How do you train & equip your worship leader for the task of leading preteens?

Give God 12I love this time of year as we wait for Christmas. It reminds me of the thousands of years spent waiting for the Messiah to come, and then the joy that came with His birth. The term Immanuel means “God with us,” and this is what Christmas is all about. Jesus came as God in the flesh to be with us.

God made such an effort to be with us, but what are we doing to be with Him?

In thinking about how will I answer that question, I’ve chosen to participate in Give God 12. I want to also challenge you to participate.

The idea of Give God 12 came from Gregg Johnson, founder of J12. It has been around for a number of years, and it has effectively challenged preteens to spent consistent time with God.

The challenge is to give God 12 minutes every day. That time is to be spent praying, reading/meditating on His word, worshipping, and journaling to connect with God. It’s not about spending exactly 12 minutes doing these things, but it is about being faithful spending time with God

On December 12, 2012, Give God 12 will launch as a global movement.

This will be a date to renew our commitment to spending time with God and connecting with Him. Many of us waiver on our commitment to personal time with God, so 12/12/12 will be a reset to get us back on track.

After hearing the heart of this movement and its simple strategy, I’m encouraging everyone else to consider taking the Give God 12 challenge. If you’re a parent or preteen leader, think about how you can challenge your students to Give God 12!

Check out Give God 12 for tips and resources on how to be involved. Gregg Johnson and Stephen Hibdon will also be posting 12 Days of Christmas videos starting next Wednesday. Be sure to use the hashtag #GiveGod12 to show your support.

Get ready for an awesome movement that draws preteens and families closer to God!