Friday, October 27, 2006

Artistic Leadership

There is a certain artistic flare that is the signature and calling card that accompanies every leader through the large and small tasks of leadership. Artistic flare separates and identifies leaders; it is your brand, your feel, the vibe and buzz that you create, and is visible among the every day details and in the wildly conceptual.

The problem with art is that it is hard to qualitify and measure. There is a gallery close to where I live that keeps a steady rotation of mixed media, canvas, photography, and even some writing of local artists to showcase and sell their work. It is a small little gallery that I find myself wandering into every week or so to take a quick look.

As the summer was turning to fall and I was doing some writing in the park I decided to take a break and walk into the gallery. Among that day’s selection of art was only one piece that just mildly interested me and held my attention for only a moment. Objectively, I could admire the time, technique, and color used in each of the pieces but…and this is a big but…what it didn’t do was make me feel. And because it didn’t make me feel it didn’t make me buy. The same is true for a dancer; you can teach most anyone to raise their right arm and move their feet in the right sequence but if there is no feel and vibe attached to the movement its not dancing; its simply choreography.

But that’s not to say that the choreography won’t fool anyone. And what I am definitely not saying is that, just because I didn’t feel and buy the art, that nobody else would. Somebody will. In fact, everyone buys something. If everyone bought the same art we could easily mass produce and sell it at any big blue and yellow maze that doubles as your ‘storage solution’ store.

Your art and your leadership will only be attractive to some. Your leadership success and failure is not dependant on your perfected time and technique but on the flare and vibe that you add to it. Some of us paint eccentrically in forms and shapes that inspire contemplation. Some of us paint real-life stills that reflect reality and insist on response. Some of us paint the future, other the past, and some just dance!

Focus on your genre.
Your medium.
Your style.
Make me feel your leadership.
It will connect.
And people will buy.
What is your vibe? Your leadership art and style?

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Free Links For Sale

Happy Thursday everyone! Steve, I'd like to offer you an online hug! Do you feel loved?
Some new stuff posted by my very own personal alter-ego.

Also, a great question and discussion going on at Jabin's blog; anyone who has ever been broken and loves Jesus now might be interested. Go add your disagreement.
Leo, I still miss you.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How Many People Do You Know?

If you hadn’t noticed or have been living under a rock or somewhere near Manitoba and are boldly holding onto long distance phone plans and Canada Post then you likely might not have noticed that it seems that whole world is connected via the internet. And, I suppose, by the simple fact that you are reading this you would already know this and don’t live in the flat wasteland. The words and sentences that follow are ones that I am unsure of how much I actually agree with and, to some degree, even care about. You may even notice a contradiction or un-correlated correlation when it comes to the role of proximity in relationships. It’s there. Anyhow…

There are many people writing the score for a tune that sounds something like this; “People are connected today like never before – proximity and geography are no longer!”
And it’s true. And so wrong. Or at least not too accurate.

Even in the world wide café of internet, msn, myspace, forums, chat rooms, blogs, youtube, limewire, or whatever where constant connection with other people is the norm; physical proximity to each other still holds the strongest links for deep relationship. There is popular speculation circulating among church futurists and marketers alike that suggests that everyone in the world will be linked via technology and that this linkage will radically alter how people know and are known. And, though it is true that many millions of people have formed weak links to each other through a variety of online sources, it is not true that it is going to radically change (in the near future) how humans connect to each other in meaningful ways.

Consider these words of psychologist Robin Dunbar; despite the fact that the worlds’ population is migrating to the cities and living shoulder to shoulder with each other “we still know only about the same number of people as our long-distant ancestors did when they roamed the plains of the American Midwest or the Savannah of Eastern Africa.” Read that again. If that is true, it is incredible!

Our own built in OS (operating system), the brain, is only capable of managing so many “links” at any given time. We were built with a capacity to only have so many relationships with so many people. The ceiling on these links is not limitless; the implication suggesting that the most significant links will still be the ones where human-to-human interaction is regular, in person, and online. Technology has played a role in adding to the frequency of these strong links but has not significantly created many more strong links.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Silly Church People

Ok - so, what?

Here is a statement that bugs me when church people ask/state it; "We want something different, but we don't know what it is.?"

What are these people really asking?
How many times do, when we change and go different, do the same people say the same things?
Are these people the same people all the time?
What do I do now?

Friday, October 13, 2006

"And the greatest of these..."

Two questions:
1) What are the most important questions asked in the Bible? Which is the greatest?

2) Are the questions asked in the New Testament greater then the ones asked in the Old Testament?

I'll be away from my computer for most of the weekend; looking forward to your thoughts.
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tattoo Soup

My favorite quote of the entire week goes to an unnammed source:
"Just because all of your tattoo's are spelled right doesn't make you an intellect."

Speaking of intellect - some ideas on marketing, Jesus, church, and leadership in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, add this blog to your bloglines, and I'd appreciate if some of you would stop agreeing with me.

New songs "up" by East Van punk roark kids - Living with Lions.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Top Ten Memories of Youth Ministry

The last couple of weeks has been a lot of fun recounting my top ten most favorite youth ministry memories. There seems to be so much negative media and thought about ministry these days that I think it would be really cool to hear and read some of your top ministry memories over the last number of years. Our past sets us in the direction of our future. Thanks for reading - hope you enjoyed - and enjoy remembering!

#10 Shared Crises
#9 I love watching leadership development turn into developed leaders!
#8 Team Chemistry
#7 Shared Experience
#6 Building Great Teams!
#5 Shared Space
#4 People are getting married! Congrats to all!
#3 Eclectic Learning Environments
#2 I am at home ministring with people that I love.
#1 Together, our life is ministry.

What do you think?

Favorite YM Memory #1

I’ve said it piles of times before and I am quite certain I will continue to say it; “I absolutely love doing ministry together with the people I love.”

Youth ministry is hard. It can be thankless, the hours are all over the place, teenagers have emotions like yo-yo’s, some parents have expectations that are maybe too high, events can bomb, leaders can let you down, and there always seems to be someone who has a brighter, flashier, and funnier youth ministry down the road.

On the other hand…

Youth ministry is very rewarding. It is appreciated by many people, the hours you work are the ones you choose, teenagers emotions hold a great capacity for discovering Jesus, some parents will be so grateful that you have come along side of them, events can be amazing, leaders will rise to the challenge, and there will still be a brighter, flashier, funnier youth ministry down the road.

Balancing the good, the bad, and the ugly can be a tiresome task while taking a great toll on a person emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. In fact, two years into this I wrote a resignation letter that outlined how I felt and why I had to leave…I still thank Jesus that I never went through with that.


Because I have an amazing ministry partner – my wife. Honestly, it would have been the longest five years of my life if Candace wasn’t so passionate about youth ministry; she is the brains, the prayer, and the passion behind this whole operation! Together, our life is ministry. It has been a lot of fun figuring out how we minister together and what works for us and what doesn’t; we have built memories and friendships and have been used by God in ways that we would never have ever imagined. Candace, I know that you’ll read this, I love you.

Thank-you Jesus for five amazing years of youth ministry; we will follow you into the years ahead.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Great Day

To the Canadians - Merry Giving Thanks Day!
And to the gun totters – Happy Columbus Day!

Candace and I had a great day today – lots to give thanks for. We woke up and went for a walk in the cool and crisp morning air before sitting on a Starbucks patio. Once our pumpkin lattes had been drunk we set off for breakfast – waffles, eggs, and peaches. So good! From there we loaded our climbing stuff and made our way into one of our favorite climbing areas near the town of Hope. The forest and the rock was absolutely amazing today…lots of color and the friction was great! Once we had finished climbing we laid down beside each other on the forest floor and had a nap under a large boulder – it was one of those quiet moments of celebration that is enjoyed by couples who are head over heals in love. Amazing. Now that we are home we are waiting for a couple of our close friends to come over to make pizza and then watch a movie. I love life.

PS – Favorite youth ministry memory number uno is dropping like a pound of bling tomorrow. Bring sexy back!
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Friday, October 06, 2006

Nepal in Motion

My friend Cody went to Nepal and found his way to Mt. Everest...he has footage to prove it! Honestly, as I was watching the short short film he made of it I could not help but know that I was in the presence of God. Follow this link and download the movie he made - stunning photo's and footage. Well done Cody!

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Favorite YM Memory #2

Sequoiadendron giganteum, the largest living thing on Earth, begins life looking very much like a blade of grass. And honestly, it is a miracle that this little one-inch tall “tree” has even made it this far – in fact, it is only a tiny fraction of 1% that it will even make it this far. Too much sun will kill it. Too much rain will kill it. Soil temperature and moisture must be optimal. Elevation plays its part. Availability of nutrients makes or breaks the deal.

"Of those few seeds that do germinate naturally in an open forest where conditions are close to ideal, only a very small percentage will survive. Giant sequoias normally develop an extensive root system very early in their careers - within the first two years of growth, the root system begins to branch out more and more thickly, and as the tree grows larger, it is this lateral development just beneath the soil surface that continues most strongly. Eventually the roots of the larger trees reach out one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet, and in some cases may reach out more than two hundred feet. This means that some large sequoias extend their area of influence throughout some four square acres of forest land!!!"

Did you get that?! One large sequoias having an influence of up to four square acres! More importantly, have you ever seen just one tree in a forest? No. The more influence these trees begin to have over an area the more their roots will be intertwined with the roots of the other trees around them! Amazing!

Every now and again I get phone calls from pastors in churches offering me really cool positions with more money then I make now asking me to move away; I always ask them the same thing – “Why are you trying to uproot me?” My favorite youth ministry memory is much much more then a memory – it is also a present reality: I am home ministering together with the people I love. These are my roots.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006


Just got the newish Desperation Band CD - these guys rock! If you do music in your youth ministries and churches I would highly recommend that this CD makes it into your collection. Comes with DVD and chord charts. This from inside the cover:
Desperation is the united efforts of the student ministries at New Life Church. We believe that the local church is God's chosen vehicle for creating change. Change happens locally, it happens when people act where they are with what they have. Change happens gradually. It occurs when people do a series of little things over a long period of time.

Go pick this up!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Listen to this...

OK - I just posted a few minutes ago, however, I came across this great article that I think everyone who teaches, sells, or markets anything should read. In fact, I would call it a must read. If its new to you - great! If it simply confirms a suspicion - pat yourself on the back. If you've been working this way for ages and ages now - you might consider teaching us a seminar.

So...after you have read the previous should most definitely read today's thought from marketer and liar Seth Godin.

Favorite YM Memory #3

I have always found that school was very easy; there was nothing that ever really seemed that hard or proved to be too difficult to have to really apply myself. I was the guy who, while everyone else was studying hard to get a C, was out skateboarding and getting an A. True, if I had only studied I might have been at the head of my class, but then, who at the head of their class got to shred the g-nar that often? Exactly. School was easy.

An education, on the other hand, has been a lot more difficult. School was a bit like a communicable sexual disease; it makes you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you have the urge to pass it on. An education, though maybe just as communicable, cleverly puts you in the place where your only escape is to think.

And this has been one of the best memories I have from five years of youth ministry; a lead pastor who has created an eclectic learning environment that has allowed me to learn in the way that works best for me. I was given a book budget and was expected to read, write, learn, and dialogue – part of my official job position focus is to blog. My budget and expectation for learning ballooned to include traveling to places I never thought I would…all for the set purpose of learning and being mentored.

Thank you to everyone who I have been privileged to share great conversations with whether in the realm of the internerd blog-o-sphere, telephone, or in person. Thank you to everyone who has recommend great books for me to read and learn from. No thanks to those who have recommended crappy books! Thank you to everyone who has been enough of a push-over to allow me to force my way into your schedule…your wisdom has shaped me. Thank you to everyone who has challenged and tested me, to everyone who has helped me when I needed help, and to everyone who have gently pointed me in the right direction when I was clearly headed the wrong way. Each of you, and many many others, have shaped part of who I am and have etched your way into my top ten memories.
Grace and Peace,