The wrong drawer – again

I know where my pants are…

Now that I have your attention.

You see, I keep all of my pants in the 4th (lower) drawer of my dresser. I’ve kept them there for as long as I can remember. Even as a kid, I kept my pants in the 4th drawer. It must have been something passed down from generation to generation I suppose….good people keep their pants in the 4th drawer.

And every single day of my life I open the 3rd drawer first to get my pants.

Every. Time.

It happened last week. It happened yesterday. It always happens.


This got me to thinking about all of the other wrong drawers I open in my life…these are a little more serious.

  • How I get agitated in a verbal conflict, even though I really want to remain cool.
  • How I lose control of my schedule, even though I know better.
  • How I speak to people, yet they hear it in another way.

Sometimes there is a great distance between what we intend to happen and what actually happens. We all do things we don’t want to do. And sometimes that’s because we let our automatic responses take over.

What’s this got to do with you starting new things?

My drawer issue has taught me to be beware of the simple (and seemingly inconsequential) mistakes I am making. It’s taught me that the automatic part of my brain is powerful and I need to beware of it.

I bet you have an automatic brain to.

This is the first time I’ve ever wasted this much time thinking about my drawer issue. But if it helps you ponder your automatic responses, then I am willing to look like an idiot.


A new church means a new story

I am stoked!

Ted Coniaris, Downers Grove Information Meeting February 26, 2017

I attended our Downers Grove information meeting yesterday. It was a great opportunity to get people into the room and tell them about the start of a new church in Downers Grove in January of 2018.

As Ted Coniaris (the campus pastor of Downers Grove) spoke, I was reminded about how wonderful a new church really is. I have attended dozens of information meetings about new churches. And every time, I am reminded that the start of a new church is the start of a new story.

Not just any kind of story – it’s a story that God has been writing since the dawn of time and it’s a story that He will continue to write. When you say yes to starting or being part of a church plant, you are saying yes to a new thing that God is doing in that community. It’s the start of a new story for that community.

Think about the implications of this: how often do you get to start something that will change people’s eternities? When you are part of a new church you truly do get a front row seat to see God do His thing. You get to be part of changing lives and possibly generations because when someone finds their way back to God the transformation reverberates out to their family, friends, neighbors, community and even the world. This is how we restore things to the way God intended them to be.

Oh yeah – there is one other reason to join a church plant. This will be an opportunity for God to do a new thing in your life. Mission gives life and the more you’re willing to be part of what God is doing, the more opportunity you give him to renew and refine you. It’s truly an opportunity for God to write the next chapter of your story.

Go HERE for more information about our Downer’s Grove launch and how you can be part of it.

woulda, coulda and shouldas don’t count

Much of the wisdom my father tried to impart to me in my life is only finally starting to make sense. I suppose this is what happens to most men as they age. Suddenly, the realize their fathers weren’t complete idiots.

One of my Dad’s favorite lessons was that woulda, coulda and shoulda doesn’t count in life.

My Dad told me this not long after I resolved to quit the soccer team after the coach started making me play goalie. If you stop playing soccer now, you’ll never play again. He was right and I played – and can still play.

My Dad told me this after I almost didn’t invite my brother Mike to my wedding. It’s a long story but I didn’t want him there. My Dad convinced me and now that Mike is gone, I am really glad he came to my wedding.

My Dad told me this when I had decided to join the Army. He thought it was insane but he knew if I didn’t, I would always regret it. He was right.

What my Dad meant by woulda, coulda and shoulda thinking was that regret never helps. And it always causes trouble.

We know this but it’s hard to keep at it. If you’re like me, regret seems so easy to wallow in.

Let’s you and I make a pact right now – no woulda, couldas and shouldas anymore.

  • Trying is better than not trying.
  • Failing is better than never trying at all.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

You know all of the cliches. Use whatever one gets you moving again. I just want to get you moving again.

My Dad wasn’t the wisest man in the world. My Dad was never super-successful in business. He made some huge mistakes and at the end of his life, confessed his myriad regrets.

But this lesson has stuck with me fall of these years. And I am glad for it.

Regret is dangerous.

Remember, woulda, coulda and shouldas don’t count.

10 ways you can have more time – really!

Good leaders have time.

This is another way of saying that a good leader is not driven by their schedule. Rather, a good leader drives their schedule. It’s a simple idea that can have a profound impact on the way we live and lead. 

The problem is that most leaders (myself included) complain to have so little time. Our schedules are packed with events and meetings and things to do. We hop from one meeting to another as if being physically present is the point (it’s not). It seems to me most of us are overloaded, overburdened and overworked and we’re not sure why? All of this is evidence that our schedules are controlling us rather than us controlling our schedules.

This can have serious consequences. When feel a dearth of time, it stresses us out. We neglect our families and friends in an effort to catch-up. We become human doings in a maniacal effort to accomplish or agenda. When this happens we lose our edge as leaders and many of us risk burn-out.

What about you? Do you feel you ‘have time.’

I am trying to be a good leader and therefore still learning how to make time. I’ve been feeling stretched lately. I realized that I was allowing other people to control m schedule. That inspired me to research ways to better control my schedule.

Here’s what I am doing. Maybe it will help you.

  1. I schedule a weekly preview. Every Sunday (or early Monday) I schedule a few minutes to preview my calendar. I want to know which events and meetings I have I initiated and those I haven’t. I compare those to meetings and events that I haven’t. The more items I am initiating, the better.
  2. I prioritize. I try hard to determine what needs to be accomplished first and why. I go after the big things first.
  3. I determine whether I am responding or initiating? Am I being pushed or pulled into this meeting or event? Again, the more I am initiating the better. There will be times we need to address problems or new opportunities. But these must be less frequent.
  4. I identify the forces are driving my agenda and name them. If I am constantly being yanked into situations, I had better know by who why. If it’s a good reason, fine, if it’s not I need to renegotiate my time.
  5. I determine my boundaries? I need to maintain my boundaries. I need to tell people know when I can’t deliver what they’re asking. I need to say no to extra meetings or responsibility when I know I can’t deliver. You can’t do it for me.
  6. I clarify the why? I clarify the why as much as possible. Why am I doing this? Why are we doing this?
  7. I focus on the outcome? What am I trying to accomplish with this meeting or event? What is the organizer trying to accomplish? If I can’t answer these questions I less likely to say yes.
  8. I understand this is not winner take all. The fact is I have responsibilities and obligations. This means I don’t control all of my schedule. We can’t control everything. (This is a reality of the universe that some of us resist.) But there are parts of my schedule I can control.
  9. I leverage technology. I use as many tools as necessary to get the jobs done. Google Calendar and Todist get the job done for me.
  10. I am a time steward. I have 168 hours in the week. (So do you.) And it’s my responsibly to steward them well.

It’s clear that good leaders don’t react to circumstances or issues, they respond. I know that good leaders are proactive. They initiate action rather than wait for things to happen.  When you and I do these things we will finally control our schedules. And that’s how we can have more time to slow down a bit and take in all that life is offering us.

What about you? How do you have time?

Exciting news – Alan Hirsch, NewThing Movement Mentor

Ok I am excited!

I am really, really excited to have the incomparable Alan Hirsch join our NewThing team as our Movement Mentor.

Alan is a gift to the church and has a unique calling. He will continue in his roles with 100 movements and Forge, two outstanding organizations. In addition, he will now be speaking into NewThing and for that I am grateful.

Alan is the premiere thought leader on movement and church multiplication. His books have influenced so many of us to see the church as movement and shift paradigms to achieve it. His best known work, The Forgotten Ways is seminal and remains a clarion call for the church to embrace it’s true apostolic calling.

Some of the first books I read about movement were Alan’s. Much of his thinking has influenced me and challenged me. Later on I had the privilege of studying under him at Wheaton College.  I consider him a personal mentor and a dear friend and can’t wait to learn more from him.

Specifically, Alan will mentor our NewThing leaders about movement and help us start new networks through our Leading a Reproducing Network training. This will fuel our efforts get after the Jesus Mission by catalyzing more church planting all over the world.

Alan writes:

It’s exciting for me to announce that I am taking up a more formal role with the leadership of LARN and beyond that in the work of NewThing Network. In my opinion, NewThing is one of the healthiest and fastest growing multiplication movements in Western contexts. I genuinely love the team of big hearted and big vision leaders that together form the leadership of the movement. I have been working with them since close to its inception around ten years ago. I have written a book with Dave Ferguson and have directly and indirectly contributed to the vigor of the burgeoning network. It will be a joy to contribute even more directly in the future.

Can you tell, I am really excited to have him as part of our team!

If you’re ready to jump in with us, please contact NewThing here.

CLICK HERE for more about Alan Hirsch.
CLICK HERE for more about our LARN Training.