What’s the Most Important Thing You Need to Get Done Today?

200549504-001Good–at least you know what you need to do…

Now go ahead, get it done already.
No distractions. Stay focused. 

What’s the SECOND most important thing that you need to get done?
No distractions. Stay focused.

Now, what’s the THIRD most important thing you need to get done today?
…You know what to do by now.
No distractions. Stay focused. 

If you can finish your THREE most important things today, you’re a beast.

Now spend the rest of your day creating and innovating. After all, that what we need most to plant healthy churches.

We tend to spend the majority of our time working on things that aren’t critical to our mission. I can’t tell you what they are. But you must be ruthless in getting things done to make space for creativity and innovation.

This might help and this might encourage you.

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How to Make Prayer For Others a Priority

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

Maybe we miss it because it’s so obvious–praying.

When you’re planting a church it seems obvious that you would want to pray for the people who are going to serve and love.

But Launch season is crazy. You are pushing yourself and your team to the limit. And so it’s easy to say you’re praying without really doing it.

No, your project is utterly dependent on God and therefore you must submit it to him in prayer. Moreover, you want to ensure that you’re helping your team pray.

Here are 5 creative ways to make prayer a priority for your and your team.

  • Ask everyone on your launch team to write down the names of 5 people to pray for.
  • Host prayer walks in your community.
  • Gather your team together for 1 hour prayer services (or more) in the weeks prior to launch.
  • Start a 24/7 prayer experience. I’ve known churches to arrange 24 hour prayer on the site of the location where they will launch.
  • Ask members of your team to pray for specific neighborhoods in the community.

What are some ways you’ve built prayer into the rhythm of launch?

I’ve written about Paul’s prayers here. I’ve tried to help you see that church planting must begin with prayer here.

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What Does A Win Look Like?

We church planters and ministry team leaders are a naturally competitive bunch. I’ve spoken to dozens of you and most of you are quite competitive. We like to take on big challenges and we like to win. wins

So if we like to win it makes sense that we need to be clear about what a win looks like.  We need to do the hard work of spending time and energy talking with our team, praying and writing down what a win looks like. Because unless you know what you’re trying to accomplish it’s going to be challenging to accomplish anything. You’ll simply spend a lot of time and energy pursuing things that don’t matter.

You might call a win a goal or an objective. It doesn’t matter. What matters is you know what you’re trying to accomplish and why.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you determine the wins for you’re project:

Have I really heard God from about my wins? I am not advocating you make up wins. In fact, quite the opposite. I want your wins to be the wins God has set for you and your project. I would urge you to spend time in prayer, fasting, reading scripture, journaling–whatever you need to do to hear from God.

What is the long-term win? I recently attend the launch team meeting of a NewThing church and heard the lead planter spend lots of time talking about long-term wins. He asked his team to focus on one win: life transformation. That’s what it’s all about–people encountering Jesus and being transformed by an encounter with the living God. He admitted this was going to look different for each person. But it was what they would consider a win.

What is the short-term win(s)? It’s useful to spend some time determining your goals for this week, this month, this year etc. When you clarify goals you and out some details around them you have a better chance of achieving them.

Will these wins empower and equip others? There is danger is setting wins. If you make them about you and your church you’ve committed a sin and that doesn’t honor God. I am advocating that you put all of your wins through the filter of helping people. Your wins should empower people toward Kingdom impact, not simply grow your church.

Will my wins bring honor and glory to God? The point here is to always to remain humble in clarifying the wins. After all, it’s not about you. But you knew that right.

Am I trying to be too clever in clarifying my wins? Not everything needs to be original. You needn’t spend time recreating the wheel. Your wins might be the wins of other churches. That’s perfectly legitimate.

How will I communicate what a win looks like to my team? Unless your team know what a win looks like they will simply pursue whatever seems reasonable in the moment. This will produce sideways energy and little impact.

How will I celebrate our wins? When you do win it’s OK to spike the ball or do a dance. Ensure you and your team are celebrating the wins when you achieve them.

There’s another reason we need to clarify what a win looks like. Because we are competitive we tend to create unrealistic expectations for ourselves and for our team. Unrealistic expectations can lead you and your church plant to an early demise. I’ve seen it. I know planters who are dealing with it right now.

Clarifying the win will help you avoid unrealistic expectations.

What about you? Have you written down your wins? Have you communicated them to your team? How do you celebrate your wins? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.

I’ve written about goals here and here and this might also help.

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NewThing Online Training with Hugh Halter — A Righteous Brood

What does it look like to be on mission with your family?

For many church planters, being a on mission with your church plant is separate from being on mission with your family. It shouldn’t be, according to church planter and missiologist, Hugh Halter. Hughhalter

Halter provided our NewThing tribe some insight and training around this topic in talk entitled: ‘A Righteous Brood,’ How to Making Your Family the Front Line of Mission.

Here are some of the points that Hugh made:

Be On Mission With Your Family. So many church planters are getting killed at home according to Hugh. We’re not doing well in figuring out what it looks like to be on mission with our families. And if we going to be on Jesus mission our families need to be part of it. We can’t start missional churches unless we are on mission with our families. We must make this a priority.

The story of the gospel is the story of our families. Hugh shared the challenges of raising his son Ryan who has epilepsy. The fact is life is messy and things happen and we do have so little time. But the story at home is the real story of the gospel in our lives. When people see that we don’t have it all together, that we all struggle, then the gospel becomes a bit more real for them. Moms and Dads have a special opportunity to disciple our children when we’re on mission. We have a unique opportunity to help our kids see that the gospel is worth them giving up their lives for.

Build the church. Not your church–Jesus’ church. God is building his church through you and me and the people around us. Therefore we need to focus on developing people. Broken hurting people are the people God is using to build the church. The way to build the church is to build disciples who build other disciples.

Everyone is a missionary on mission. Help people begin to see themselves as part-time missionaries. Then offer them practical ways to make margin in their lives for mission by identifying the places where they spend their time. We can help people see that their time at the gym, or watching their kids sports can be a time of mission. Being on mission isn’t an add-on or something else we do. It’s how we do life.

Some questions you might want to ask yourself and/or your staff:

  1. What does it look like for you to think of yourself as a part-time missionary?
  2. How have you helped your family be on mission with you?
  3. What does it look like for you to be more intentional about making space in your calendar to be relationally available to the people around you?

Once a month NewThing gathers together for exclusive training that we call NewThing Online. It’s a great opportunity for our tribe to hear from thought leaders and practitioners to grow into the leaders God has created us to be. If you’d like more information about these talks or NewThing, let me know.

Check out Missio to learn more about Hugh and his work and to get a copy of the Ebook.

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How to Become an Advocate for the Local

Local: of, relating to, or characteristic of a particular place : not general or widespread.

Advocate: one that supports or promotes the interests of another.

I love Starbucks coffee. I also love at working and meeting people at Starbucks.

LocalBut as much as I love Starbucks, I’d rather hangout at a local coffee shop. The coffee will be richer, the music just a bit cooler, and the people will be a bit friendlier. Besides, I am always more productive at a local place–well, it sure feels that way.

There’s a couple of great coffee places in Kansas City. (I recommend the Quay in Rivermarket.) And now that I am transitioning back to the Chicago suburbs, I am looking for any local coffee shops. Unfortunately there aren’t many options.

See, I value the local. I suspect you do as well. In our over-marketed, hyper-consumer society there is something rich and pure about the local experience. We want that unique experience the local provides. My experience as Starbucks will always be the same no matter where I am. My experience in a local coffee shop will always be unique.

That’s why I urge church planters to become the chief advocates for their local community. We talk about contextualizing the gospel message to the community that God calls us to plant a church.  And one way to do that is to promote the interests of others. Taking up the cause of someone else is another way to serve them, isn’t it?

 We an opportunity to serve people in our community by becoming advocates for the local.

So what would it look like for you to patron all of the local businesses, to advocate for local causes and events, to advocate for the local public schools?

There are lots of things for you to advocate in your community if you think about it:

  1. The music scene.
  2. Art fairs.
  3. Teen crisis centers.
  4. Pubs and eateries.
  5. food co-ops.
  6. Boys and girls clubs.
  7. Sports leagues.
  8. Owner operated coffee shots.
  9. Volunteer programs at the local school.
  10. Public school teachers.
  11. Library and literacy events.
  12. Community block parties.
  13. Safe children programs.
  14. After school programs for teens.
  15. Races, 5Ks, 10Ks and other sporting events.

I am sure this will get you thinking…

Now be careful here. I am not saying that you become the chief marketer in your community. Leave that to the local chamber of commerce. And I’d advise you to stay out of anything that is political or divisive in the community. There are plenty of people fighting for causes.

Advocacy is different. It’s ultimately about serving the agenda of others.

The church has a unique opportunity to serve the community by promoting the general interests of the community. And that’s a great way to contextualize the gospel.

What about you? What are some ways you can become the local advocate of your community?

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