I Wish I Had Time To Write About This

I’ve started a new blog on tumblr: I Wish I Had Time to Write About This

Random thoughts on everything under the sun, usually only 3 or 4 sentences. Check it out if you are so inclined.

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On Saying Goodbye and Starting Again

Life is a series of goodbyes. We say goodbye to childhood friends and childhood places, first girlfriends and High School fun. As we get a little older, our friends move on to other jobs or churches. Our kids grow up and leave the house. Older still, and we have to permanently say goodbye. Life is a long road and it both narrows and expands as we progress.

This is the post that did not want to be written, even though I wanted to write it. As my friend DB remarked, once you say goodbye, it makes it real in a way you were pretending you didn’t have to admit. And this is a real issue. Almost everyone I know has left a ministry assignment at least once in their lives. We all say goodbye, either from leaving or being left behind. We don’t always get to say everything we want to.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

What The Church Can Learn About Change From ‘Gamer’ Culture

Photographer: ZeroCoolGS
Electronic Arts Booth at the 2005 Game Convention
I know I talk a lot about change and Christianity. Because, well, like it or not, it’s here. You can change or be left behind. But I never advocate change for the sake of change. We are in the middle of intense cultural transformation. I want to see the church lead the way, because I believe we know The Way. My concern, and why I keep beating this drum, is this: if we keep fighting for an illusion of past cultural significance, influence, and glory—that doesn’t even matter!—we’ll miss what does matter: people who need Jesus.

Forewarned is forearmed

I’m going to make a giant logical leap in this post. I am going to take an article about ‘Gamer’ culture and apply it to church culture.
Why?
Because I believe the cultural challenges we face as church people are not all that different than cultural challenges faced in other areas of life and spheres of influence.
I am hoping that by showing the futile energy being spent on an outdated paradigm in ‘Gamer’ culture—and that being something most readers don’t relate to or care about (and thus, have no pre-built defenses)—I can then help you see that the same scenario (an outdated paradigm and the futile energy being spent on it) is at work in the church today.
I am hoping that this very real-life analogy will jar some into understanding who otherwise couldn’t get there.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Troubleshooting People

As techs we are good at troubleshooting. It’s what makes us good at our jobs. Fixing problems and making it work is our speciality. We’re gear-heads, after all. People are something different. Often an enigma. While no one would question our IQ, some have doubts about our EQ. The very qualities that make us so good at technical tasks can be the very things that make it hard for us to work with people. This is no secret.

But what if we could use our technical prowess to unlock the power in relationships?
Keep thinking! Continue reading.

The NO Conundrum

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”
Tony Blair

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
Steve Jobs

Like everyone else, I have found it easier to say yes—and avoid the relationship turmoil—than to say no (At least, if you care about the person). Consistently making these hard calls is the make or break leadership lesson we all face.

But I also recognize that our culture values the leader who doesn’t take no for an answer.
There is definitely a tension between being a leader who says no, and being a leader who accepts no. Culturally, we embrace one and reject the other.
When the vision is clear, we say no to anything that dilutes our focus.
When the vision is clear, we work any angle we can to avoid a no that stands in the way of our goal.
Accepting no is viewed as weak and quitting.
Saying no is viewed as strong and focused.

Just this past week, I had to walk through two situations where I had to tell people no. Their responses illustrate this tension very well. And though this tension may be real, I wonder if we have thought through the consequences of our actions.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.