Consistency is EVERYTHING!

Guess what?  Overnight success is a BIG FAT LIE.  It is a myth and does not exist!  Success only happens when we do the right things consistently over an extended period of time… If you have ever read Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great” he calls this the Flywheel concept.  That at first it is extremely difficult to push the lever and get the flywheel moving, but if you keep pushing soon momentum will take over.

I am convinced most people never live their dreams because they don’t have the grit to stay committed to the process.  Commitment without a time limit leads to a Dream without a height limit.  Most people have great ideas and great dreams, but most people never see those ideas and dreams manifest into reality because they don’t have the resolve to see them through.  Dreams and ideas are easy.  Everyone has dreams. Yet very few people actually live their dreams. Why? Because very few people are willing to stay consistent long enough to see results.  A farmer doesn’t plant seeds and then after a week gets mad because they haven’t sprouted immediately so he ignores them and then goes and plants something else.  No he understands it takes time for things to grow and during that process he waters them, fertilizes them, and is constantly removing the weeds so those plants can flourish.  We must do that with our dreams, ideas, and our organizations.

Is it hard? You better believe it is hard.  You have to hustle in those moments of waiting, you have to have faith, and you must be disciplined to stay committed to the process.  Dreams without discipline are just fantasies and too many people are living fantasies when we were intended to turn those dreams into realities.

So how do we stay committed during the process?

1. Know where you want to end up.

It is important to picture what your dream would look like completed.  Picture the end result… If the book was completed what would the cover look like, if the storefront was up and running how would it be laid out with all its products, if the website was running how would it function, what would your logo be, how would your week run if you were working your dream Full Time, design the house you want to build, or what is your perfect clothing size? Whatever your dream is start picturing the dream completed so that you have a target in mind.

2. Set Goals.

Goals are meant to be steps that lead to your dreams.  Now that you know where you are heading start figuring out your first steps and give yourself a deadline to accomplish them.  Create a list of 5 or so goals and give yourself 4 to 8 weeks to accomplish them.  When you start attacking your goals in small chunks and in short spurts of time you become less overwhelmed and you naturally create momentum for yourself.

3. Figure out where you need to grow.

There are certain areas you will need to grow in to see your goals accomplished.  Be honest with yourself and come up with a few things you need to develop to fulfill your goals you just set for yourself.  Maybe you need to develop discipline to stay focused and use your time wisely, maybe you need to recruit a team and you need to work on vision casting, or maybe you need work on being more organized so you can accomplish your tasks with everything else you are working on.  Do an honest assessment of yourself every time you set new goals and watch your goals get accomplished and leadership increase.

4. Do NOT Quit.

Just make the commitment now that you are committed to the process.  Quiting is NOT an option and you ARE going to stay committed to the process.

Do the right things, the right way, consistently, and watch the growth happen in your organization and your life!

The Two Most Important Jobs a Leader Has!

Morale & Momentum michael s carlton

There are many things that a leader must keep track of when it comes to running an organization.  Some are large responsibilities and some smaller day to day tasks, but there are two things that I believe are absolutely the most important for a leader to focus on which is Morale & Momentum.  As a leader our main goal has to be to keep Morale up and Momentum going in our organization.  Other areas may be important, but if morale is down and if you have no momentum then everything else is meaningless.

So lets discuss how we keep morale up and momentum going in our organizations…

KEEPING MORALE UP

1. Value your team. You know that it is impossible for your organization to be successful without your team (if not you need to understand that), but does your team know that? As leaders many times we suffer from this complex where we just assume everyone knows how we feel or what we think.  As a leader always assume that no one knows how you feel and with that mind set always over communicate the value in your team members and watch how you gain tremendous value in your organization.

2. Serve your team. Leadership is not about us but the people we lead and we must spend our energy inspiring and empowering them.  As leaders we must spend our time developing the leaders in our organizations.  Spend time with them, supply them with the resources they need, send them to conferences, and listen to their needs, their struggles, and help them lead through them.  We serve our team not the other way around!

3. Celebrate your team. As the leader we don’t need the credit we have the title and that should be enough.  You elevate and celebrate every team member and never take the credit for yourself.  Listen to me when we celebrate others and not ourselves it builds loyalty, trust, and commodore that money can NEVER buy!

KEEPING MOMENTUM GOING

1. Communicate where you are going.  We need to be consistent with communicating to our team the vision of our organization and where we are going. People want to be apart of something bigger than themselves and they want to work hard for an organization that is making a difference.  Dream with your team and dream beyond the realm of rationality.  Dreaming creates excitement and excitement builds momentum.

2. Communicate your values constantly.  When team understands where we are going then they need to understand why we do what we do.  To get our organizations to go in the same direction then we must communicate the WHY behind the WHERE.  You need to create and physically write down a list of 5-10  team values.  After you create these values we must communicate them frequently to our team.  An African proverb says it best “If you want to run fast, run alone; if you want to run far, run together.” We must run together as a team and the only way you do that is to clearly understand the values of our organizations.

3. Strategically plan your calendar.  As church leaders we always know their higher attended Sundays than other Sundays and we must use this knowledge to our advantage.  Don’t just create a killer Sunday service for you high attended Sundays, but create a killer service that is followed by a very relatable series. Your large Sundays need to domino into each other and that only happens by planning your calendar in a way that helps them flow together. If a large group of people accept Jesus at large attended Sunday service their next logical question is “whats next?” and as the church we have to help them answer that.  Look at a speaking calendar a lot like someones journey of personal spiritual growth so you can help your people walk through those stages of spiritual growth.
*A side note always plan your best series in your lowest attended months to help domino into the next large Sunday.

4. Celebrate the wins. Celebrate the wins publicly and celebrate them often.  Nothing creates momentum in our teams better than seeing the fruit of God moving in our organizations!

Remember we can do everything right, but if morale is down and momentum is at a halt then everything else is vain.  Make these two things your number one focus as a leader and I know you will see the benefits in your organization!

I HATE the word Delegate!

Blog Photo

Ok Ok… I may be slightly over exaggerating, but I really really dislike that term.  I mean I understand the concept of using this word to describe leading in your organization.  The reality of this is 100% true. You can not do it all by yourself!  But the problem with the word “delegate” is in most leaders minds whether that is consciously or subconsciously it means to assign tasks. Many leaders hear delegate and think it means removing things off of their plate.  While this may be partially true.  If this is your motivation it creates micromanaging leaders who are only assigning tasks instead of authority.

Micromanaging is just as ineffective as being a lone ranger leader and doing everything yourself. What we have to do as leaders is not “delegate” but “empower” the people on our team.  Something happens in your mind when you start telling yourself you are going to empower people.  You no longer assign just a task, but you start assigning authority and that builds leaders.  A task creates a busy employee, but authority creates empowered leaders! We must understand duplication is the only thing that leads to multiplication.  If you want to multiply the growth in your organization then you must duplicate yourself as a leader.

Now I am going to be 100% honest with you it’s way more difficult up front to empower than to delegate.  It’s easier to just micromanage a task and have it done exactly the way you want it done, but it will grossly limit your organizations growth and potential in the long run.

So how do we empower the leaders on our team and set them up to succeed?  John Maxwell said, “if someone can do it at 80% as well as you then let them do it”. But I like how Craig Groeschel says it a little better, “if they can do it at 50 to 60% as well as you but with momentum then let them do it. This will  let them grow into it and one day they’ll surpass you”.

So we need to discover our team members potential, empower them with authority, and also we need to set them up to succeed. Here is 4 ways to empower your team so that they will achieve success.

1. Be Clear With Your Expectations.
When you’re transferring authority you are not assigning a task, but an area of responsibility.  With that you have to be crystal clear on their responsibilities, your expectations, and the fact that you will be giving them feedback along the way. You cannot over communicate these things upfront.  The more clear you are on your expectations the less confusion they have, the less anxiety they develop, and the more confidently they will move forward.

2. We Champion Their Ideas.
When you empower someone they are going to think out of the box and differently than you and as long as they still align with the vision of your Church then you must encourage that. There is no greater feeling as leader when your team is dreaming and working on their own accord.  There is nothing like seeing your team rally the people they lead to accomplish a project or an event.  We must encourage that drive. We do that when we constantly champion their ideas and give them permission to run with their ideas.

3. We Help Them Grow Through Feedback.
We must let our team members know that we desire for them to be the very best they can be and that growth happens through feedback.  Feedback is a great thing, but only if they understand the motive behind it and if it is given in small chunks.  Many times as leaders we like to go over a list of all the things to work on, but too much feedback can actually cause them to feel defeated.  The relationship with your team members is a process and we grow one step at a time.  Think long term with your team members.

4. Celebrate Them!
You need to see the wins and celebrate the wins that your team is accomplishing.  Lavish your team members with praise publicly and privately as they continue to knock it out of the park.  Nothing builds confidence and encourages more initiative in your team than when their leader celebrates them!

Duplication is the ONLY thing that leads to multiplication. Empower your team and watch your organization not just see addition to its growth, but multiplication to its growth.   Empowering leaders attract leaders!

 

4 ways to create a healthy culture

Culture is vital…I mean EXTREMELY vital to the success of your church or organization.  A great vision can be destroyed by an unhealthy culture.  I have heard it said like this, “Culture will eat vision for breakfast”.

So what is culture?  Culture is when what you say and what you do line up.  Culture is what people feel and experience in your church or organization. For example: I don’t want to just tell people I value them and that I love them,  I want people to feel and experience value and love.  That understanding goes beyond words, but is a set of values that are discovered through actions.

4 ways to create a healthy culture

1. You must clarify what you value.

A good way to do this is to ask yourself what do we want to be known for when people describe our church or organization?

Make a list of the things you want people to say about your organization.  This list is how you develop and clarify your values and when your values are lived out it creates your culture.

At Bloom it was our desire that we create a culture that “Every Person Matters”!  That every person that attends our services whether they’re new or not  feels welcomed and loved.  That we show they matter by honoring them every week by putting forth our best.  Every person can be a part of a Lifegroup and every person can go through the process and get plugged in and start serving.

2. Quit talking about it and start doing it.

The culture you desire will never exist in the future if you don’t model it in the present.  Culture starts with the leader.  When we identify what our values are we immediately start modeling those values.  Culture is not built upon excuses, but expectations.  What are your expectations for yourself, for your staff, and for your volunteers?

If our staff or volunteers are not living out our culture it is either because we as the leaders are not modeling it, we have not clarified exactly what we desire, or we are ignoring teachable moments to train and build our team.

3. Understand it takes time

Culture is not built in a matter of days, but a matter of months.  You have to be consistent with your values even when you think no one is getting it.  Because when we continue to model, clarify, and teach your values they will eventually get it and they will start to live out that culture!  It takes time and discipline to build lasting values.

4. Celebrate the wins

People will repeat what gets celebrated.  Encourage and celebrate your team.  Too many leaders are on the lookout to give correction and not enough are on the lookout to give affirmation. Give a public shoutout to someone who goes above and beyond, celebrate them on social media, send them a card, or give them a small gift. I promise you that when you celebrate wins the wins will multiply inside your organization and build a healthy culture.

Here is what you need to understand… Culture is the fuel for momentum and the heartbeat of your vision.  If you want to see your organization move forward and see your vision fulfilled you must build a healthy culture!

3 Questions to discover your Vision

MP3 Version at the bottom

I get asked by many pastors and leaders a lot the “HOW” question.  How are you growing? How do you get more people to attend your church? How do you grow your client base? How do you grow your organization?

With Leaders we are obsessed with the “HOW” because we want that next level, we want that growth, we want that expansion, but that CANNOT be our first question we ask!

The first question that has to be answered is the “WHY”.  Why do you do what you do? What is going to separate you from every other organization? What is your vision? What does this look like?

You cannot just have a blanket statement or a generic answer like “Well I am called to pastor a Church”. Ok that is great, but what does that Church look like? Having a generic answer without being able to answer the why is like someone saying they want to be a writer.  Thats great but what are you going to write about?  Are you going to write biographies, teaching materials, or romance novels?  Are you going to write books or blog posts?

You have to get more specific with your calling.  There is so much uniqueness with people and you have the ability to impact those people that will connect with your heart, but first you have to ask the “WHY” question because that’s your Vision.

3 Questions that help you discover your Vision

1. What am I just naturally good at?

Ask yourself what are you or what is your organization just naturally good at? Now this question is not answered by what you think you should be good at?  See many times we find ourselves playing the clone game where we look at other organizations and try to be carbon copies.  It doesn’t work that way.

So ask yourself what are we gifted at? Where are we excellent or heading that way?

2. What am I passionate about?

You have to enjoy what you are doing or you’re wasting what is already precious time in a very short life.  Do NOT pursue something because it is a good idea, but pursue something because you’re passionate about it!  Good ideas will never fulfill you and they will never give you the resolve to be successful.  John Maxwell said perfectly “Passion provides the fuel in a person’s life to keep them going!”.  If you are not passionate about something you will burn out and quit!

3. What will work?

Now I know you may think that is the million dollar answer, but you should know the demographic or market well enough that you can see where the needs are not currently being met.  If you don’t have that understanding you have not put in the due diligence to succeed because success takes a TON OF WORK. Understand the people you are trying to reach and see where their needs are not being met and thats how you reach a group of people who are not currently getting their needs mets.

When these three answers come together it is like magic.  That is the vision!

Like the Bible says “Without vision the people will perish” or as other translations say “run wild”.  If you do not answer the “WHY” your organization will run away from you and you will be left picking up the pieces.

You MUST answer the “WHY” before the “HOW”!

Building The Altar Moments In Life

Life is a fickle beast.  It has its ups and its downs.  It has its joys and it has its tears.  We are on the ride of our lives in this theme park filled with emotional roller coasters.  We humans are skin and bones that wraps an emotional soul.

Emotions can be a great thing as it forces us to look in the mirror and truly be honest.  No more fake facades and no half meaning smiles.  Just raw emotions.  It can cause us to love someone deeply, to feel immense pain for someone, to have a passion for life, or to realize that we are hurting.  Most importantly emotions if we allow them can draw us into a place of complete awe, adoration and to be completely captivated and dependent upon our Savior.

The sad thing is that I see so many people become ashamed of their emotional state.  People who think that unless they are perfect they are considered a weak believer or even in sin.  However I feel like if we can identify our emotions it can bring us the greatest healing, hope, and strength.  David was the greatest example of that in the book of Psalms in one instance he would be crying out how the world was crashing all around him, but towards the end of those passages he would conclude that though he is weak his God is strong and will rescue him.  I heard a quote once that said “it’s ok to sit on the pity pot just don’t stay there long enough to get a ring around your butt!”

There is nothing wrong with identifying and feeling our emotions.  Where that becomes dangerous is when we stay in our emotions and don’t look to our God for strength.

So how do you find strength in God? YOU REMEMBER!

6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – JOSHUA 4:6-7

I love these verses! God does a great miracle and Joshua tells them to build a memorial an altar.  He says when the generations of people who come after us see this memorial they will REMEMBER the great miracle our God did today.  When they may be filled with doubt or stress may the remember a time when God rescued His people.  When they are filled with an overwhelming emotion may they remember when God held back the overwhelming waters of the Jordan river and allowed us to walk into the promise land. May they REMEMBER!

We must build the altar moments in our lives.  It’s those moments that make us realize exactly what Paul meant when he said “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is not my strength that gives me peace it is the strength of my saviour and it is when I can remember all the times he has already been faithful in my life.

Build the altar moments and REMEMBER!

Do Kings really do that?

So I am reading in 1 Samuel this week and I’m reading in chapter 10 where Samuel anoints Saul King of Israel.  Later in that chapter Samuel calls all Israel together and proclaims that Saul will be their King.  So now the people of Israel get what they have been crying to God for and that is a King just like everybody else.

So all is good right, but then I start reading in chapter 11 and something just stands out to me.  At the beginning of chapter 11 the King of Ammon has marched his armies to a town called Jabesh-Gilead to over take it and the messengers of Jabesh run to the town where Saul is staying to tell him what is going on. This is what stood out to me verse 5 says…

5 Saul had been plowing a field with his oxen, and when he returned to town, he asked, “What’s the matter? Why is everyone crying?” So they told him about the message from Jabesh.

Saul had been plowing in a field? What!?!  When was the last time you read a story about a King plowing in a field?  The story gets even better the bible says that the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul and rallied up an army together and they completely destroyed the Ammonite army.  Then AFTER the victory Samuel said,

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us all go to Gilgal to renew the kingdom.” 15 So they all went to Gilgal, and in a solemn ceremony before the Lord they made Saul king. Then they offered peace offerings to the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites were filled with joy.

Even though Saul had already been anointed King and he was already proclaimed King the people didn’t recognize that he was their King. It wasn’t until AFTER Saul won that great battle and AFTER the people saw that he was willing to fight and die for them that they recognized him as their king.

So many times we receive a calling and anointing from God, but we expect to walk right into that calling without the hard work of plowing the fields, without the pain of battle, and without showing people that our motives are sincere. Reaching our dreams can be a strenuous process, but it is in the midst of our process that we become the reflection of Jesus. A that is when we give God all the glory through the fulfillment of our dreams.

So don’t skip the fields and don’t miss the battle, because that’s where you become genuine.

Go Home & Trust Me

46 As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick.47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die. 48 Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” 49 The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” 50 Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!”And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.

“Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” I think Jesus asks that same question to many people today.

Usually our answer is “Yes Jesus I believe you” but… first I need to see the miracles to truly believe you.

That’s not faith!  That’s not trust!  How would any of your relationships thrive in life if you constantly second guessed them and had no trust or faith in them.  That is exactly the way we treat God.  We tell God he is a liar by never truly embracing and believing His promises for our lives. God desire to show you His miracles and wonders, but He cannot show you favor until you completely trust His promises.

“And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.” The man left without any miracles taking place and still he believed. Jesus never personally went to his home or laid a hand on his son and the man still believed in the words Jesus spoke to him.

Go home and trust in the promises of God and you will see that miracles are fueled by a faith that believes in the promises of God even before they are fulfilled.  God will not be made a liar so take comfort in that.

Ruins or Restoration

But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” -Nehemiah 2:17 NLT

When I read the story of Nehemiah I always wonder why it took someone from the outside to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Someone that heard the news of Jerusalem from someone else. Nehemiah didn’t even see the ruins with his own eyes when he headed out on this journey. The people that were living in Jerusalem had been living in that rubble and in their instability for years and they did nothing.

Were they ok with destruction and the lack of defense?
Did they not think it was an issue?
Did they think it was someone else’s job?
Did they get used to the destruction?
Was it a normal way of life?

The same problem lies in the way we interact in our communities today. People go through life feeling alone, unloved, hurting, depressed, miserable, feeling like mistakes or accidents. They live life in ruins as they crumbled to the pressures of life and we ignore their broken hearts. We have been so used to see pain that we either ignore it, are calloused to it, or we think it is someone else’s job. We have been given an even greater gift than Nehemiah received from his king. We have been given the gift of life that comes from Jesus. Our salvation is not something to be hoarded but shared!

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.
They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work. -Nehemiah 2:18 NLT

Don’t Be An “if” Person

14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Yesterday I heard someone talking about the “if” in 2 Chronicles 7:14 and it really got me thinking and praying about it.  Why did God say “if” my people?  Does he think we will not humble ourselves and pray? Does he think we won’t make the time or we are not really praying with meaning?  Does he think that we will not have enough faith or that prayer is just some quick routine we just do. That “if” really bothers me because I don’t ever want to get caught in the “if” crowd.

I want to pray and fast so passionately and fervently that God must listen.  I want to bang on heavens door with so much expectation that God has to use me.  I want God to know that every part of me is His to be used for His will and purpose and I want Him to know that I trust every promise that is found in the Scriptures.

 Matthew 7:7 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 21:21  21 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

God will not be made a liar.  Pray the promises of God with expectation and watch the hand of God move in your life.