Inside MyVictory Podcasts

Are Your Excuses Getting the Best of You?

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Mind Craft - Part 3

Excuses are deadly. They justify staying where you are, validate mediocrity, and are ultimately selfish. When the going gets tough, we so easily submit to excuses and remain stuck within our circumstances.

You simply cannot succeed and make excuses at the same time. How can we overcome this defeated mindset in order to accomplish the amazing things God has planned for us?

Pre-orders for Mind Craft will be available shortly, so stay tuned!

Are You Limiting God?

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Mind Craft - Part 2

Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."

How does that work? How is the almighty God able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask" but only according to the power within us? Can we really limit God?

In Mark 6, Jesus was not able to do miracles in His hometown due to the people's expectations of Him. Are your expectations of God limiting the ways He can move in your life as well?

If we want our lives to change, our patterns of thought must be altered. No more excuses, no more "buts." Your time is now.

Pre-orders for Mind Craft will be available soon, so stay tuned!

How Do We Expand Our Heart Thinking?

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Mind Craft - Part 1

One of Solomon's most famous Proverbs is, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Although it sounds like he may literally be addressing your physical organ, there is much more depth to this passage.

Later on in the book of Proverbs, Solomon addresses the heart again and says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is." Our heart pumps blood to our body and has no ability to think, so obviously, Solomon must have been referring to something other than our physical organ.

Mind Craft discusses this "heart thinking;" something completely different than what occurs in our mind and spirit. Our heart thinking builds a fence line, and God will only farm to that fence line. How do we expand that fence line - our subconscious thoughts - in order to experience the fullness of God's plans for our lives?

Pre-orders for Mind Craft will be available soon, so stay tuned!

Do You Trust God With What's Next?

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Proving Ground - Part 4

God has big plans for your life but there are tests along the way to fulfilling His promises. In our last week of the Proving Ground series, we are taking a look at two tests that will determine your level of trust in God; a key to overcoming anything.

Today is our last installment of the Proving Ground series. Here is a recap of the first 7 tests:

  1. The Test of Small Things
  2. The Motivation Test
  3. The Credibility Test
  4. The Wilderness Test
  5. The Authority Test
  6. The Warfare Test
  7. The Offence Test

8. The Test of Time

Many people live on the sidelines of life as if waiting to be called into the game. But life is a continual unfolding of opportunities. In order to make the most of these, it is important that we prepare. You must ask:

What do I pay attention to?  vs.  What grabs my attention?

If you take the time to plan, you can list out what you will pay attention to and that will help you focus when things come along and grab your attention.

Focus on your why - Why am I here? What is my purpose? What is my problem to solve? When you have clear answers to those questions, you can prioritize your time.

In the Bible, great leaders learned to think both short-term and long-term. They learned to trust God even when it meant waiting. In order for us to do this, we must understand that there is purpose in these seasons of waiting. As James said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." There is purpose in every season and knowing that allows me to think both long-term and short-term at the same time.

9. The Lordship Test

For centuries, theologians have debated how to balance our free will with the sovereignty of God. In Proving Ground, Gerald addressed this topic very well. He said that trying to pick either free will or sovereignty is a "dumb dichotomy." It is not one or the other, it is both.

God's will is that we would will His will. So while we take comfort that God is in control, we must take great honour and pride in the fact that we have an opportunity to carry out His plans and purposes here on earth. Passing the Lordship Test brings us to believe that God is always right.

Proving Ground Within the Church

It doesn't matter where we are and what we are currently doing, we each have to pass these nine tests continually. God is not concerned with how many people attend your church; He is looking for us to be faithful with what we have. He is moved by the individual lives that are changed with the gospel we share. Why? Because the church is the hope of the world and we have a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

If you have enjoyed this series, we would highly recommend you purchase your own copy of Proving Ground. If you'd like to purchase one, you can find it here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Will You Choose to Be An Overcomer?

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Proving Ground - Part 3

Do you find yourself questioning the authority of those in your life? Do you struggle to see yourself as God sees you? Do you find yourself becoming easily offended? All of these things have the tendency to test us. How do we overcome these trials?

We are tackling tests 5, 6, and & 7 from Proving Ground by Kevin Gerald today. Here is a recap of the first 4:

  1. The Test of Small Things
  2. The Motivation Test
  3. The Credibility Test
  4. The Wilderness Test

5. The Authority Test

As Christians, it is important for us to remember that when authority fails or when we disagree with their direction, God is looking at our response. The ability to respond properly and without rebellion is the purpose of this test.

The right response can never include a physical or verbal attack. The right response can never include a demonstration of anger or hostility. The right response can never stir up strife by rallying support for your position.

When you disagree, the right response includes challenging the process without challenging the authority of the leader. We must be public raving fans and honest private critics.

Often when delegating tasks, it's easy for us to blame failure on the person whom we have delegated the job to. But as leaders, we must take responsibility for every failure and give credit for every win. Delegation never relieves you of responsibility.

6. The Warfare Test

The fight for our future is more internal than external. In the book, Gerald says, "The greatest enemy of your future is not what happens, but it's how you see yourself when it happens."

When you face a challenge or setback, how do you see yourself? How do you respond? A breakthrough champion is not one who has a life free from adversity; they are overcomers.

The key ingredient to being a champion is choosing to be a champion. Our inner strength is built up when we face adversity and overcome it. You must see your self as God sees you because He sees you as a champion.

Putting yourself down doesn't lift God up. Shrinking back from adversity doesn't make Him happy because it is impossible to please Him without faith. Faith requires us to press on beyond what we can see or what we can feel and to instead lean on Him and what He sees and says.

People who hesitate in making a choice to be a champion are people who are looking at their own weaknesses. They see all of their failures and shortcomings, but overcomers see God's strength in their weakness.

7. The Offence Test

Jesus lived from a place of knowing who He was and not allowing Himself to be defined by what people said about Him. In order to become like this, we must realize that feelings of offence are unavoidable. The key is in what you do with that feeling.

You have to push past the feeling and choose to forgive - choose to overlook the offence so that you don't get bogged down by it.

There are three relationship principles that help us avoid the offence trap.

  1. Accurately define your role in the relationship. If the roles are unclear, those involved are more vulnerable to offence. If tension exists in a relationship, then chances are good that someone involved is not considering or respecting roles.
  2. Assume the best about others. When you feel a sense of offence, step back and ask yourself, "Why would this person intentionally try to hurt me?" If you're being honest, they probably weren't intending to hurt you. Asking yourself this question gives others the benefit of the doubt and helps you avoid the risk of judging them falsely.
  3. Don't meddle. Avoid involving yourself in other people's affairs unless you are invited. This prevents you from carrying a third-hand offence that isn't yours to carry.

Gerald claims that the number one reason people live offended is due to unfulfilled expectations. This includes expectations that are often unspoken, unmet, or unrealistic. When dealing with this, label the expectation. Ask yourself, "Why am I offended? What was my expectation?" When the expectation is labelled, we can more easily communicate the expectation to the other person and either alter our expectation or they can more easily change theirs.

Solomon said it is to one's glory to overlook an offence. When we are trapped in the muck and mire of bitterness and unforgiveness, we are hindered from moving forward. Our mission is too great to be sidetracked by something as small as an offence. Why? Because the church is the hope of the world and we have a vision to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

We would highly encourage all of our listeners to purchase their own copy of Proving Ground as we discuss this book together. If you'd like to purchase one, you can find them here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Are You Willing to Change?

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Proving Ground - Part 2

In order to reach the next level in your life, change is inevitable. We can't progress if we are stuck in our old ways. If you want to reach the next level, it's time that you implement some healthy habits into your routine.

We are picking up where we left off last week with our Proving Ground series. Here's a recap of the first two tests Kevin Gerald discusses in the book:

  1. The Test of Small Things - This test comes to prove a leader’s potential for greater opportunities.
  2. The Motivation Test - You could be doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, so this test challenges the why behind what you do.

Let's dive into the next two!

3. The Credibility Test

This test will prove that you maintain integrity, refusing to compromise ethics and morals in pressured circumstances.

Credibility is a combination of what you do, who you are, and how others view you. Gaining and maintaining credibility is what opens the door to a leader's next opportunity. Even Jesus had to build credibility.

Earning credibility requires competence, including the skills needed for the role you're playing as well as the appropriate knowledge and the right kind of habits. Competence is credibility based on what a leader can do today. So how can today's leaders maintain competence for tomorrow?

More than ever before, it is vital that today's leaders are good self-developers. You have to equip yourself so that you can remain competent. Yesterday's success may be applauded, respected, or honoured, but competence is credibility based on what you can do today. This credibility is earned by performance, not respect, love, honesty, courage, or other important virtues.

Leaders commonly fall into the negativity trap, seeing only problems and not solutions. In Proving Ground, Gerald lists six questions a leader can ask themselves to avoid negativity:

  1. What do I think about the most?
  2. How do I respond to problems or difficulties?
  3. What do I do when I hear negative feedback?
  4. How comfortable am I with failure or defeat?
  5. What kind of people do I get along well with?
  6. How do I respond to positive information?

Our sphere of influence is enlarged when we pass the credibility test.

4. The Wilderness Test

When you’re in a drought or dry season, this test will prove your potential to make the changes necessary to enter the level of maturity and prosperity in your life.

One strong characteristic of the wilderness is a lifestyle of routine. The way out of the wilderness requires change and breaking the status quo. Our tendency as leaders is to shrink back from making the necessary changes because it is easier to become comfortable with habits of routine.

We cannot have progress without change. Not all changes lead to progress, but all progress requires change. We have to push past the fear of change and learn to embrace change as a positive thing.

Just like a desert lacks the resources to provide life and vitality, a dry mind and spirit lack the ability to provide those things that bring growth. I have to personally worship God. I have to read the Bible to feed my faith. I have to pray and connect with God. I have to feed my mind with knowledge by reading books and listening to podcasts.

The church at Pentecost had to change in order to move forward. What motivated them was a strong faith in the future. In Philippians 3, Paul says, "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

"Pressing on" is the key to getting out of the wilderness. Paul's motivation for pressing on was the prize of doing God's calling; the vision to bring Jesus to a hopeless world. To build His church. Because the church is the hope of the world and we have a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

We would highly encourage all of our listeners to purchase their own copy of Proving Ground as we discuss this book together. If you'd like to purchase one, you can find them here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Are You Prepared For the Next Level?

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Proving Ground - Part 1

Testing always precedes promotion. We aren't able to move to the next level that God has for us without experiencing some degree of a trial. Are you prepared for the tests that are coming your way?

Recently we were introduced to a book by Pastor Kevin Gerald called Proving Ground. This book has been very timely for us and, while simple in its approach, it is a great reminder of the fact that testing precedes promotion.

There is a big difference between God testing us and the devil tempting us. The purpose of a test is to prove a product or to prove what you have already learned. Sin, on the other hand, is a device used to cause you to stumble and sin.

James 1:13 says, "no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone." When God tests you, it is always for your benefit. When you battle temptation it is always for your destruction.

God will sometimes allow temptation and use it as a test to prove us, much like what happened in the wilderness when the devil tempted Jesus. God used this to prove and propel Jesus into His ministry.

Let's start discussing the tests described in Proving Ground.

1. The Test of Small Things

This test comes to prove a leader's potential for greater opportunities.

In the book, Gerald says, "We cannot get to where we want to go tomorrow if we are always trying to bypass our today." We all have the tendency to want to bypass practice for game-day, but you don't become the champion in the ring; you become a champion in the gym. It's how you prepare that makes a difference.

Sometimes I test my leaders myself by giving them small tasks just to see how they will react and what their attitude will reveal. How they react will show me whether or not they are ready for something bigger.

If you as a leader are disciplined in growing yourself, it is inevitable that you will outgrow what you are leading right now. What you are overseeing now will suddenly feel too small and you will be in search of something bigger. Raise up leaders, grow your team, and invest in them even when you are tempted to begin investing elsewhere. Having the patience to finish well will better prepare you for what's next.

2. The Motivation Test

You could be doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, so this test challenges the why behind what you do.

Jesus taught us that there are two ways to see what is within a person's heart:

a) By the words they speak (Matthew 12:34).

b) By the way they spend their money (Matthew 6:21).

Both of these things help us to determine the motives of others as well as the motives of ourselves.

Motives are tested when we don't feel appreciated or wanted. One of the most common motives for a leader is the desire to please people. However, a leader who seeks only to please his followers will compromise the organization's goals to keep the peace and the organization will stop growing. It's a fine line, but Solomon said it this way in Proverbs 29:25, "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." In other words, our ultimate motivation should be to please God, not man.

There are seasons where we find ourselves giving more than we are receiving. In order to get through these times, begin asking yourself a series of motives questions; What are you doing this for? Who are you doing this for? Why did you start doing this in the first place? When you started, did you expect it to be easy?

The best way to keep a check on your motives is through prayer. If we constantly cast all of our cares on God and lean into Him, He will make our paths straight.

I like what Gerald said in his book; "the definition of a motive is the compelling force behind our actions." For me, the compelling force behind my actions is Jesus. What He did for me personally causes me to want to share that hope with others. What He commanded me to do - to go into all the world and preach the gospel - gives me a lifelong mission to fight for.

I have seen the effect He has on my life and it keeps me going - regardless of opposition - because the church is the hope of the world, and we have a vision to reach every available person, at every available time, bu every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

We would highly encourage all of our listeners to purchase their own copy of Proving Ground as we discuss this book together. If you'd like to purchase one, you can find them here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

What I've Learned From Past Projects

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Project Management - Part 5

We hope you have enjoyed this past series on Project Management! To wrap things up, I am sharing some of my personal experiences when it comes to managing projects and goals. My team and I have accomplished some great things but we have also learned some tough lessons along the way.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

4 Deadly Project Killers

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Project Management - Part 3

Projects can be messy. We set ambitious goals and work with a variety of people with different personalities to achieve our objectives, so something is bound to go sideways. How can you prepare yourself to avoid giving up?

So far, we have discussed firstly, being specific and clear in defining the project with yourself and then with your team. Secondly, we talked about setting goals, which is the "what" you want to accomplish by "when", and then working with the right people on your team to define objectives. It's important to delegate the tasks to the right people and set a deadline for each. Let's pick up with point number 6!

6. Beware of any Project Killers

There are a lot of things that can sideline a project. For me, I have found that I can categorize my project killers into the 4 D's.

Distractions

A great question to ask yourself when opportunities arise is, "Will this opportunity benefit the big picture of the organization and its vision, or is it a distraction?"

Discouragement

Every leader is going to battle discouragement. It's inevitable. Usually, it happens when we are disappointed over a failed expectation.

Divisions

It is very rare that a project doesn't involve conflict. Recognize the symptoms and take the time you and your team need to rest, recreate, refuel, and refire with the vision.

Disengagement

If I feel myself or the team disengaging from God, people, or the vision, I know that there is a problem most likely due to losing focus.

Avoiding the Deadly D's

Visions leaks so it is important to continually reiterate the vision throughout the project, not just at the beginning or when the 4 D's raise their ugly heads.

I tell my team all of the time to not just bring me problems, but also solutions. We want to be solution focused, not just problem focused.

I think there are two main areas of responsibility for a project manager:

  1. Resource your team with everything they will need to get the job done.
  2. Learn to communicate with your team. A project manager's primary function is to communicate and bridge the communication between all the different personalities involved.

Spiritually, we must keep our heads in the game and our hearts pliable towards the Lord in the multiple projects and diversity of team players day to day. As a pastor, I remind myself often that Christ is the head of the church and that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. I must surrender daily to God's lead, rely on His strength, seek His wisdom from the Word, and cast all my cares on Him because He cares for me. I also remind myself that the church is the hope of the world, and Jesus gave us a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

2 Crucial Components to Accomplishing Your Projects

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Project Management - Part 2

So, you are ready to begin planning and executing your big project. But who are you going to work on it with? When are you going to have it finished by? These questions are vital to the progress of any mission. Today we are diving into the necessities of these questions.

Last week we talked about goals and objectives of our projects. Goals are generally set by the leader and are what we want to accomplish. Objectives are then how we will go about accomplishing the goal and it's a good idea to involve your team in setting these. Now, let's pick up on point number 4.

4. Build your team.

It is important to position the right people in the right places. Last week we talked about involving your team in the process of setting objectives but it is important to note that the effectiveness of this process is based on the people you select. As Jim Collins said in his book, Good to Great, you need the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Not everyone needs to be in the discussions on objectives for your goal. In fact, meetings of that nature tend to be more effective with fewer people.

Once you have identified your project and defined your goals, you need to determine the "right people." These people aren't necessarily going to follow your Org Chart or be your best friends. The right people are the most qualified because of skill, experience, and a proven track record of success in the area in which you have set your goals.

It is important to choose your people as early as possible. The more notice you can give your team, the more time they can invest in doing the project in the right way.

Intentionally Broadening Your Leadership Base

If a leader can be intentional about where they are going and with whom they are going with, they can be more effective. Without planning ahead, we as leaders can often forfeit great opportunities.

In order to build a great team, you need to train them and involve them on every level. Leaders can only follow leaders who know where they are going and you can only be confident in where you are going if you intentionally plan ahead. Plan for tomorrow's projects and train tomorrow's leaders today.

5. Create a Deadline

It's amazing how many times we talk through a project, get clarity on the expectations, but then fail to set a due date. This can lead to enormous frustrations due to failed expectations.

I think one of the best ways to help your team see the effectiveness of deadlines it to break down the tasks into stages and set deadlines for each stage. Knowing how long each stage takes to complete will assist you in keeping the project on track and keeps your team motivated as well.

Team Huddles

To improve communication between team members, I would suggest holding frequent "huddles" as opposed to long meetings. Call your team together and brief them on updates to keep everyone involved and maintain forward movement. It also creates accountability with deadlines because each person is accountable to the group, not just the leader or themselves.

Now, you might be a bit overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with team management. But just keep at it. We all learn best by doing and you will learn the dynamics of yourself as a leader and of your team if you keep moving forward. When something isn't working, tweak it. We have discussed general principles so adjust them to what suits you and your team best. Project management is important for us as leaders, because the church is the hope of the world, and we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

3 Steps to Starting Any Project

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Project Management - Part 1

As leaders, we are constantly starting and finishing a variety of projects. However, the church is an event-driven business. How do we manage our projects without getting stuck in the rut of our weekly programs?

At one of our past All-Staff days, I discussed with our team eight of the necessary components for planning projects. Today, we are going to tackle three of those.

1. Identify your project.

In this stage, it is very important to be specific for a couple of reasons.

The more specific you get with your team, the easier it is for them to follow your instructions and go to work with clear expectations. The leader benefits personally because it brings clarity to their thinking. It is also much easier to follow through on the project when the details have been thought out.

As a young leader, I discovered that taking time to plan may take some effort initially, but in the long run, having a clearly defined project saves time, money, and a lot of headaches once the project has launched.

2. Define goals and objectives.

Your goals are the “what” of the project. The objectives are the “how” of accomplishing that goal. When working to accomplish something with my team, I would inform them of the goal and then ask them, “How do you think we can accomplish this?” Allowing them to brainstorm and be apart of the process of setting objectives will boost their involvement and motivation in carrying out those objectives.

3. Delegate tasks.

Let’s be real, as the leader you can’t do everything yourself. Delegating is a part of giving your team ownership over the project and efficiently completing all of your objectives. It will save you time and allow your team to work together.

Why do Church Projects Fumble?

Church projects can get caught in any one of these points. We often aren’t clear in describing projects and objectives to our teams or ourselves. Sometimes we skip involving our team in laying out objectives or we don’t delegate the specific tasks to our team members to get done.

Skipping any of these steps will cause us to drop the ball. Churches are event-driven organizations that exist to put on weekly programs. We can easily find ourselves in the rut of the weekly grind and ignore the big projects.

With all of this project management to handle, reaching people for Jesus can be somewhat more complicated, but it is more important then ever before. Amidst a lost and uncertain generation, the church is the hope of the world and we have a vision to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

 

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Creativity in the Church

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Josh Hoffmann, our service programming director, joins Pastor Gene on the podcast today. Josh handles a lot of the creative elements that take place during our Sunday services. He and the media team work hard to keep our content relevant and engaging. Tune in as he and Gene discuss all things creativity!

As Christians, we have the greatest story to share; the gospel of Jesus Christ. It can be difficult to spread the news of Jesus when there are so many conflicting influences within out society. This is what makes creativity within the church absolutely crucial. Without engaging and relevant material, we are just another voice. We need fresh ideas in order to grab people's attention.

Josh and his team are working to do just that. They strive to create new, impacting, and intriguing content for our Sunday services and social media throughout the week. Anyone can be creative and Josh and Gene are diving deep into what that looks like.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

A Look Into Streets Alive

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We are excited to have Pastor Julie Kissick on the podcast today! She and her husband Ken run an outreach mission called Streets Alive here in Lethbridge and are making a great impact on our community. They work to restore the lives of the broken with dignity and re-establish lives that have been damaged due to addictions and homelessness. We can all learn so much from their ministry.

Streets Alive has been operating in Lethbridge since 1989. It began with three women with hearts to help people and now has multiple programs including a P.I.N. (People In Need) Bank, a Learning Centre, a Mobile Help Unit, and many more.

Pastor Ken and Julie seek to uplift people and give them the support they need in order to flourish. Their team believes in restoring people’s dignity and that recovery is real possibility for everyone. To learn more about their ministry, listen to today’s episode and then check out their website here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Insights into Church Social Media

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Does your church struggle with reaching people through social media? Jen Tribble joins Pastor Gene on today’s podcast. She has become our marketing guru and is doing an amazing job with coordinating our social media content.

Social media can be a daunting thing. What content gains the most engagement? When are posts most effective? While it can be tricky, it is one of the most efficient ways to spread a message within this generation, and we have the most important message of all; the hope of Jesus Christ!

Jen has stepped up to take on the task of coordinating our social media department. She has spent the past few months researching and integrating some new strategies for content creation and posting schedules. These strategies are allowing us to tell our story with relevancy in order to reach a wide variety of people. Tune in to learn about how she is doing it!

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Are You Ready to March Off the Map?

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Marching Off the Map - Part 5

Are you ready to take the next step in reaching Generation Z?

Ministry and Generation Z

Generation Z has proved to be a challenging feat within the world of ministry. Technology is being introduced so rapidly and people's lives are changing so fast that our ability to invent new things outpaces the rate we can civilize them.

Kevin Kelly says, "These days it takes us a decade after a technology appears to develop a social consensus on what it means and what etiquette we need to tame it." If this is true, we need to prepare people, not just in their ability to adjust to the times and technologies but in their morals as well. Generation Z ministry is a big one, a necessary one, and a challenging one. 

Generation Y vs. Generation Z

Generation Y and Generation Z are two very different groups of people. As pastors and leaders, we cannot afford to lump them into the same category anymore. The biggest difference we need to be aware of is that we are no longer their greatest source of information. Therefore, we need to provide them with context for the content they are constantly absorbing.

Parental Shifts

One of the biggest changes I see necessary for parents is learning how to contextualize the information our kids have access to. Our job is to help our kids discern what is truthful and what is not and how to apply that information to their lives. It requires us to dig a bit deeper into relationship because trust is not automatic.

I think the pressure we feel as an older generation is to try to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. But I don't think that is nearly as important as understanding the people of the day. They are looking for a place to belong, to connect, for someone who believes in them. We can build those relationships if we are real rather than cool and if we care rather than just knowing better.

Let's Get Started

I hope you are ready to create new maps to reach every available person, by every available means, at every available time. Let's start with loving others. If we focus on others and seek to love, encourage, and help them, we will be well on our way to reaching every available person.

Jesus had this focus and He told us to have the same - love your neighbour. His truths are timeless and they work, even with Generation Z.

If you haven't picked up a copy of Marching Off the Map yet, we hope you will grab one soon! It has profoundly affected us and has caused us to rethink our methods at every level. We need to continually relook at the way we do things and its effectiveness because we carry the most important message in the history of the world and it's too important to miscommunicate. The truth is the church is the hope of the world for every generation and we’re on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Revamping the Bible College

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Marching Off the Map - Part 4

Marching Off the Map has our heads spinning with ideas for improving the Bible College. We want to make it more effective than ever to reach the next generation of leaders. From online and virtual classes to internships, we can't wait to share with you what we have in mind.

40-50% of recent education majors have quit after their first year of work. According to Tim Elmore, we have three choices:

  1. Yell at the wind.
  2. Surrender to the wind.
  3. Adjust the sails.

At Victory Bible College, we are adjusting our sails to meet the needs of our students. The education system of old has got to go and we have begun making plans for aggressive changes. We really are marching off the map.

This book has caused us to shift our thinking a lot. One of my biggest revelations was the distinct difference Elmore made between the Millenials and Generation Y. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out Millenials yet here we are with a new generation on our hands already. We really have no time to waste. They are here now, in our churches, entering our Bible colleges, and soon to be entering our workplaces. 

Restructuring Online Classes

VBC has offered in-class and online courses for years. In beginning this time of revamping, the online classes and website need a facelift. Online classes are effective for students today because they want to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. However, long lecture-style classes over the web hinder other ways people learn. Our presentation of each session needs to be rethought in order to make them more enticing to the students who will be a part of them.

Altering the In-Class Experience

Our classroom approach is in need of an overhaul. Students today aren't learning through just lectures so we need to adjust in order to better suit the way they learn. We are seeking to make the classroom a place for application and discussion while supplying information and material online. Creativity is huge and visual stimuli has come to be expected by Generation Z.

Killing the Campus Mentality

Our focus on the idea of a "campus" needs to change. I think the days of having the right facility and an attractive campus in the right location are behind us. Students have access to thousands of courses on their devices at home so they are not apt to spend fortunes on a degree they may or may not use. So as colleges, I feel we need to kill the campus and move classrooms into our churches, pursuing virtual classes that students across the globe can join and internships within the local church.

Our Approach

I don't want to reveal too much too soon because we are still in the initial phases of planning but we are working on a three-fold approach to education.

  1. Internships - This will allow our churches to raise young leaders locally. Students can learn "on the job" in a practical way, giving them ownership of the content.
  2. Updated Online Courses - Over the next five years, we are looking to give the current VBC online courses a considerable facelift. This would involve making them shorter, more interactive, and applying some different classroom techniques.
  3. Virtual Classes - This will allow students to have the classroom experience from anywhere around the world, complete with live interactions between the teacher and other students. By doing a virtual class, we can build relationships between students from all over which would strengthen our mission moving forward.

In 1 Corinthians 4:15, Paul says, "There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up." If the church can take this approach in caring for people and abandon the lecture method, the future is bright! I think the church could reposition itself as the center of hope within each community, not a place to receive a lecture, but authentic relationship. The church needs to become the hope of the world for every generation, on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Leading Generation Z

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Marching Off the Map - Part 3

Leading this up and coming generation can be a very daunting task. Parenting especially is vastly different than it was 10 years ago. For the sake of our children, it is crucial that we learn the best approach. On this episode, we are comparing some tactics for best reaching our kids and youth.

Connect, don't control.

These days, we as parents have become very good at protecting our kids but have lacked when it comes to preparing them. We govern their actions, schedules, and relationships to the point where we are no longer doing them any good. Studies show that parents who over-program their children's lives tend to breed children who rebel as teens. To counter this, we need to work on connecting with our kids, building deep relationships that are able to bear the truth when needed.

Achievement, not simply participation.

One of my pet peeves is participation awards. Not just because I am competitive, but because I feel that in an attempt to make people happy, we end up making it worse. According to the American Psychologist Association, healthy and robust self-esteem actually comes from achievement, not merely affirmation. So, in our attempts to protect our children's self-esteem, we are actually creating a new "at risk" child; middle class, affluent kids who are depressed because they never really achieved anything. Let's not assume that simply telling our children that they are special and awesome will build their self-esteem, but instead give them opportunities to work at becoming amazing!

Expose, don't impose.

Elmore says, "Imposing rules and behaviours on this generation carries negative baggage." But we've always found rules and imposed behaviours a favourite default in parenting. It can often be safer, cleaner, and easier for all of us, not just parents. When our children feel forced to do something, they don't take ownership of it and we are simply modifying their current behaviour without affecting their heart.

Make things enticing for your kids so they actually want to participate. In doing so, they will learn more effectively because they will own it. This works in every avenue of life; parenting, managing, leading, etc.

Jesus used this technique. He never imposed truth on people but instead exposed them to it by asking questions and leading them down a path of self-discovery so they could own the answers themselves.

Describe, don't prescribe.

We as parents have the tendency to map everything out for our kids. We are somewhat removing the need for kids to use their own imaginations and creativity. Elmore says, "Instead of prescribing what they should do next, try 'describing.' Describe an outcome or goal, and let them figure out how to reach it with their own ingenuity."

Be real, not "cool."

I think we are a generation of parents who are trying too hard to be cool. We so desperately want to be our kids' friends that, in doing so, we lose ourselves a bit and ultimately we lose them too.

Today's parents have strayed from the authoritarian approach of their parents in an effort to be different. We think that if we can be just like our kids, we will be liked by our kids. So, we try to dress like them, act like them, listen to the same music, watch the same movies and the list goes on. But in reality, grown adults can barely pull this off without being laughable.

Our kids aren't looking to us to be cool, but want us to be authentic. I'd encourage parents to relax and learn to laugh at yourself. Be self-aware, genuinely listen, speak in a tone that is believable, and don't focus on being cool; focus on being real.

People are searching for something or someone real. That's what I love about the Bible. It doesn't "sugarcoat" life, but depicts the raw and real aspects of it. I think it is time for the church to be real, unafraid to discuss some ugliness of this life. Authenticity is why our slogan, "No Perfect People," has had so much traction. The church needs to get where people are really living and reach them there because they need real hope. The church really is the hope of the world, and for every generation, we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

Who Are Today's New Natives?

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Marching Off the Map - Part 2

Generation Y and Z are two very different groups of people. They have been influenced by different societies and, therefore, view things diversely. Today we are pulling apart the differences between Y and Z to determine how we can educate each generation effectively.

What began in academic circles as Generation Y has now been broken down into two separate groupings; Generation Y and Generation Z. Y individuals are those deemed "millennials," born between 1990 and 2010 and Z is the generation born after 9/11. Let's compare the two.

Generation Y

  • Grew up in a strong economy with high self-esteem.
  • Watches YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix.
  • Worried about growing their status and "likes" on social media.

Generation Z

  • Growing up in a time of recession, terrorism, racial violence, volatility, and complexity.
  • Doesn't want to be tracked so prefer Snapchat over Facebook because messages disappear.
  • Want to co-create, live stream and help make up the activity as they participate.
  • Worried about the economy and world ecology.

7 Shifts Between Generation Y and Z

Elmore discusses seven major shifts between Generation Y and Generation Z. Our challenge as pastors, parents, and educators is navigating these changes. Some of them are subtle while others are quite big. Regardless, it is vital that we as leaders make ourselves aware of them.

1. Confidence is morphing into caution.

People who grew up between 1990 and 2000 had very different childhoods than those who grew up between 2005 and 2015. The economy in the 90's was expanding whereas the past ten years have been marked with economic recession. The headlines have been constantly filled with terrorism and racial unrest since the fateful day of 9/11, nevermind the increase in gender confusion and other social debates.

2. Idealism is morphing into pragmatism.

Ten years ago, it was reportedly easy for Generation Y to get what they wanted. Today, money is a bit tighter and there's been an increase in multi-generational households. Many are forced to think practically and ahead, and optimism has shifted to cynicism.

3. From aggressively pursuing further education to hacking one.

Generation Z watched Generation Y become paralyzed with student loans and debt. So, instead of applying to multiple universities in search of a liberal art education, Generation Z has started to combine university classes with online certificates and real-world experience.

4. Spending money is morphing into saving money.

Generation Y has been known to spend money boldly and with few boundaries. In contrast, Generation Z's reality is forcing them to think ahead and prepare. This isn't necessarily bad though; it could help them in the future.

5. Consuming media is shifting to creating media.

Today, young teens prefer to create media posts as opposed to only consuming them. They desire interactive experiences where they can actually participate in their content's outcome.

6. Viral messages on social media are becoming vanishing messages.

Younger kids have witnessed the downsides of being tracked on social media by their parent's, teachers and future employers, now preferring messaging that evaporates, like Snapchat.

7. Standard text messages have now become icon messages.

Kids now choose to send emojis in place of words. They have strong filters and want content to be shared and understood rapidly.

Elmore's Suggestions for Connecting with Generation Z

Elmore suggests seven things we should do to connect with this upcoming generation. Here are a few that stood out to me.

  1. Keep it short. - Remember, Generation Z has a very short attention span. While they are capable of paying attention for long periods of time, the key is to engage them within 6-8 seconds.
  2. Feed their curiosity. - They want to discover new content and pass it on. So, we need to build a hunger for interesting facts and relay why the information is important to know.
  3. Give them ownership. - Students support what they help create. They'll value something they've discovered more than what's given to them without their effort.
  4. Offer them a cause. - Most kids want to do something important. They want to be a part of something meaningful, not hypothetical.

The deeper we dig into Elmore's book, the deeper we want to go in reaching this generation. This is not a "next year" thing nor a change in our vision, it's a reality check. Our move forward begins with our commitment. Why? Because the church is the hope of the world, and for every generation, we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

How Do You March Off a Map?

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Marching Off the Map - Part 1

The truth is, our modern school system simply isn't as effective as it could be. Students are disengaged and disinterested in learning. How can we as leaders, educators, pastors, and communicators better influence the generation we are trying to lead?

Welcome to the first episode of our Marching Off the Map series. For the next five weeks, Pastor Gene and I will be breaking down this insightful book written by Tim Elmore. We have found this book to be a much-needed roadmap for 21st-century educators, parents, coaches, and youth leaders. We would encourage all of our listeners to pick up a copy! You can order one here.

In Chapter 2, Elmore writes about three societies that anthropologist Margaret Mead describes in her works.

1. The Post-Figurative Society

Mead described this era as one that lasted for many centuries. Adults had already determined how life would be for their children, often deciding who they would marry, where they would work, what they would do and even how their children would continue the customs within their society.  This perpetuated the customs of the past resulting in very little change or innovation.

Careers were largely agriculturally based with many people farming crops or livestock. The critical element that differentiated you within this society was physical strength so the youth were heavily relied upon.

2. The Co-Figurative Society

This society was created during the Renaissance, otherwise known as the Age of Enlightenment. As a whole, society began to question its traditions, customs, and way of life. Reason ruled the day as opposed to physical strength. This levelled the playing field between the young and old.

Parents and their children were involved in making the decision of who the child would marry, where they would live, and what their career would be. Everyone had to adjust to change and new innovations, communications, and traditions.

The Renaissance birthed the Industrial Revolution during which new inventions were created to improve efficiency. Science and industry began to control society and access to machinery is what set people apart.

3. The Pre-Figurative Society

The Pre-Figurative Society is what Mead suggests we are living in now. Change is happening so rapidly that adults have almost nothing to offer the next generation in terms of how to deal with new realities. The youth often understand the changes sooner than most adults; they adapt to new technology and innovations far before we do. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for adults to lead the young and can cause leaders to feel irrelevant.

The critical element that differentiates individuals in our society is our minds. That's how most of us make our living and get things done. Mead wrote in her book People and Places: A Book for Young Readers, "In the modern world we have invented ways of speeding up invention, and people’s lives change so fast that a person is born into one kind of world, grows up in another, and by the time his children are growing up, lives in still a different world.

Our Schooling System

In my opinion, we need a new system for educating our students. The evidence for this need is everywhere yet we as a society are too slow in making those changes.

Horace Mann developed the school system we base our current system off of, however, he did so in the 1830's! His design was meant to prepare children for their factory careers. For example, the stereotypical school bell that we have all listened to at some point was first created to mimic a bell meant for shift work in a factory. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a bell, it is a good illustration to show how archaic our education system presently is. Maybe we could look at redesigning the system to better prepare our students for today's world?

6 Radical Ideas for Redesign

At the end of the second chapter, Elmore suggests six radical ideas for redesigning the system:

  1. Experience instead of test scores.
  2. Homework during the day rather than at night.
  3. Open book tests.
  4. Use of images to help retention.
  5. Creativity over compliance.
  6. Teachers in the role of interpreter rather than informer.

These ideas allow us to think differently, to alter our methods by focusing on our results. What if we started with a clean slate and asked ourselves, "If Horace Mann was alive today, what would he do to revamp the current failing school system?"

This is not just an educational issue but a problem we have in churches as well. We are in the education and communication business and our message is the most important one that the world needs to hear.

The message never changes but the methods must be constantly evolving. It may be uncomfortable but it is a necessity in order to keep moving the church forward. Why? Because for every generation, we know that the church is the hope of the world and we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches that unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in diving deeper into Marching Off the Map, buy your own copy here! We highly recommend it.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.

10 Characteristics of a Pioneer - Part 4

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Changing Our Methods and Finding the Right Team

Are you afraid to change the methods by which you reach people? Is your team committed to your vision? Learn how change and the right team are vital to being a pioneer.

Here we are with the last episode of our pioneering series. If you want to listen to the last three, click the "Inside MyVictory Podcasts" tab above. Here is a review of the previous characteristics:

  1. The pioneer is about risk. The settler is about routine.
  2. Pioneers often don't fit in.
  3. Pioneers are dreamers.
  4. Pioneers are willing to go where they have never been, to do what they have never done.
  5. Pioneers are willing to put up with what is less than ideal.
  6. Pioneers always want to go further.
  7. Pioneers are resilient, resourceful, and tenacious.
  8. Pioneers cultivate the tough land.

Alright, let's dive into the final two factors of a pioneer.

9. Pioneers are willing to fight for what they believe.

Hebrews 11:33 describes heroes of the faith as men and women "who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions." Pioneers don't just roll over and play dead when adversity comes their way. In fact, they expect challenges. They know anything good is worth a fight.

I think many of us shrink back from a fight because we value peace over progress. Conflict isn't comfortable, but when we view all conflict as bad, we often don't move forward. Certain conflict is actually necessary and should be expected because, as pioneers, we are in uncharted territory.

We also have the tendency to refuse change. But we have to value the outcome more than our current practices and be willing to modify how we do things. Pioneering in today's ever-shifting culture requires courage and uncompromising commitment.

10. Pioneers are always others-oriented.

By definition, leadership must be others-oriented. Great leaders are noted for their ability to work with teams. To become others oriented, leaders must invest themselves in developing their team's personal and corporate growth.

Pioneers know that their vision is simply too big to accomplish on their own. They must recruit and train a team to help them. In order to recruit the right people, you must clearly define the problem that needs to be solved. Those willing to aid in solving that problem are worthy team members.

In my early ministry, I became focused on the outcome instead of the methods. When I discovered something that worked I stuck with it, and when it was no longer effective, I changed. I am still trying to change and adapt for the outcome. I need to see souls saved and lives changed, or what's the point? After all, the church is the hope of the world and we are on a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches that unchurched people love to attend.

Episode Resources

If you are interested in learning more about pioneers, we would encourage you to grab a copy of Marching Off the Map by Tim Elmore. You can find it here.

If you have questions you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please email leadership@myvictory.ca.