leaders

Will You Choose to Be An Overcomer?

joshua-earle-234344-unsplash-copy.jpg

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.

4 Deadly Project Killers

stefan-stefancik-257625-unsplash-copy.jpg

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.

3 Steps to Starting Any Project

rawpixel-714362-unsplash-copy.jpg

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.

Are You Ready to March Off the Map?

ben-duchac-66002-unsplash-copy.jpg

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

27857944_1855484311152825_4661876689066921846_n-copy.jpg

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.