Archive for November, 2010

@maurilio:

25

What’s Your Church’s First Message?

We all want to believe we are friendly. I’ve never been to a church that said, “we’re not friendly.” Well, I take that back. I once visited with a minister who said “we’re not a very friendly congregation.” And boy, he meant it. But usually churches I work with are evangelical protestant congregations with a heart for those outside the faith. Such churches want newcomers to feel welcomed and go through great lengths to create environments that say, “we’re glad you here.” But sometimes there’s a disconnect between what happens inside and what people see on the outside. Recently I saw this sign outside a church’s front door: In principle I don’t have a problem with a church not wanting people to eat, talk on the phone or even chew gum. Ok, I have a problem with not being able to chew gum at church. But should that be the…

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10

Fast Forward Deployment and Your Online Project

The social media revolution has forced traditional journalism to rethink its most basic premise: a well researched, well developed and thoroughly checked news story. We don’t want to wait for weeks or even days for a news story. We want it within hours of it breaking, minutes would be best.  Journalists have even coined a new name for it: fast forward journalism. It’s a fast, unstructured post, and with just the facts that are available at the moment, giving its audience enough information to get them up to speed. I believe online development needs its own fast forward approach. Not long ago I sat in a room filled with engineers working on a spec document for an online tool. We worked for a solid week. The engineers were trying to account for every potential user scenario and exception. I was fighting for simplicity and quick deployment. I had not given…

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16

Friendship Blinders Could Cost You a Lot

You probably have all the friends you “need” in life. Perhaps if you have even more of your share of close relationships and you cannot even manage the ones you have well. So, if you’re like most, you go on about your life with relational blinders on. No, you’re not rude or aloof, but you unconsciously developed the attitude that communicates, “while you might be a nice person, I’ve gotten all the friends I need.”  I wish you would reconsider. When you allow your story to intersect someone else’s story in a meaningful way something special happens. I believe God brings a new friendship into our lives sometimes for a short season, sometimes for a lifetime to enrich both lives. When we fail to seize the opportunity to engage someone new, to ask a second question that will lead into a longer, more meaningful conversation, and we retreat into our…

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6

Not All Blessings Are Created Equal

I didn’t grow up with thanksgiving day as a holiday. Christmas season in Brazil officially begins sometime in early November and goes on until January 6, Kings’ Day. Yes, that’s traditionally the day the Catholic church celebrates the Magi arriving in Bethlehem. But growing up,  Thanksgiving day celebration was relegated to a couple of children’s choirs singing at a local mall and a blip on the news. Brazilians are missing out, and as I stopped to take inventory of all my blessings today, something stood out on my list. This morning I joined several friends early and ran the Boulevard Bolt, a 5-mile race through Belle Meade Boulevard, my familiar running route. I rushed home and cooked a 22 lb turkey, 12 lbs of mash potato and lots of other goodies to celebrate with family and friends from far and near. As I prayed before the bounteous, tryptophan-laden and coma-inducing…

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11

Owning My Own Issues: A Confession

Yesterday was a very busy, challenging day for me. I don’t know if you can relate to the type of day that seems to be hard to get through. It’s the kind of day that you realize you might just have too many plates up in the air and that some might be crashing soon. There were too many loose ends, too much ambiguity in the projects I was involved in, and not enough joy to celebrate the victories. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? So this is not a “how to” blog. It’s just a confessional post. I’m going to own the responsibility for my crazy busy, joyless day. Maybe I’m over committed, or not sleeping enough, or not eating enough, or not eating enough of the right stuff, whatever. I’m not sure yet what the answer to my dilemma is, but I’m going to figure it out, and soon.…

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23

Before You Name or Rename Your Church

A lot goes in a name. And a whole lot goes into naming or re-naming a church. I remember when my friend Frank Santora from Danbury, CT, renamed his church. They went from Bright Clouds Ministries (not an Indian reservation) to Faith Church. Well that was a big win for them. I don’t think anyone in congregation complained; again, why would they? One of the frequent questions I get from church leaders has to do with their church’s name. But before you go out  and change your congregation’s name, here are a few thoughts to consider: Make sure you have a compelling reason to change the name. Name changes are traumatic. The older the congregation, the more emotional equity a name has. For example, it doesn’t make sense to be “Hunter Street Baptist Church” if you’re moving to Michigan Avenue. A name change is warranted here, or if your church…

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23

How Are You Wired for Creativity?

Part of my work at The A Group focus on helping leaders, speakers and authors with the creative part of their jobs. Several of my clients are pastors of large congregations and ministries and part of my work is to help them develop teaching series ideas, book topics, titles and creative concepts for their ministries. Some believe that the creative process is as mysterious as a muse who descends upon humans at her will to impart inspiration. I must say I’ve had a few inspirational moments over the years, but most of my best creative work comes through a process that is not as much magical, as it is intentional. I plan on writing more about the process in future posts, but before I can make any progress with a client, I need to understand his or her “creative style.” Usually most of my clients fit in one of or…

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12

Working with Generation Y: Getting More than I Bargain For

Every rule has its exception. In the past few days I have worked closely with few members of what a lot of experts have labeled the most “entitled” generation ever in the history of mankind. However, my experience has been nothing but positive. I’ve been working side by side with creative, hard working and competent young professionals.  Before you decide to fit everyone 20 year old in a high-maintenance and low-return box, consider this. Every person deserves to prove his or her own merit. It’s easy to label someone but hard to change one’s preconceived notions. Give them the benefit of the doubt, expect the best. Simply, treat them like you want to be treated. Give them guidance but let them perform. When you have young talented people working for you, let them be young. Point them in the direction you want them to go, but try not to micromanage.…

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10

3 Things You Should Consider When Planning Christmas

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Nearly all churches will have a special Christmas service. However, most will miss out on the opportunity that it offers. In this quick video, I talk about the 3 key considerations for a successful Christmas outreach. Is your church thinking strategically about your Christmas services? What should you be doing differently?

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19

What I learned from My Workout Buddies

In the past few months I have been working out at the Y with a couple of guys I’ve met in the weight room. They are not only younger than me, they’re also in better shape, and while some might find working out with people who can lift twice as much weight  as you a bit intimidating, I decided that I needed the challenge.  The right workout partner can help you push through psychological and physical barriers. So after months of hitting the gym hard with my bald friends, Chris and Christian, here’s a few things I’ve learned: 1. The early hard workouts sucked. No need for euphemisms here. They were hard and painful. At one point, I asked for my mommy. 2. I needed a change. I have been working out at gyms for decades. My routine had become, routine, very routine. I was not seeing much improvement because…

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