The Belonging Co Conference Notes #TBCOconference

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Leadership Co Notes

Henry Seeley 

It’s less about information and more about Importation. What does God want to do in our hearts? Digest this spiritually. 

Not following a list of rules or guidelines from someone else’s growth. This leads to insecure leaders. Imitate another model or blueprint. What God has done here might not work there. 

Churches in Nashville met on Sunday morning but there were a group of musicians that are gone on the weekend and need a new model. The thing that agitates you is the thing you’re often anointed for. You see that it needs to change and can change. The greatest ministry comes at the greatest cost. If you want to do something significant in the kingdom of God there is a cost. The cost is everything. You can’t have the fruit without the cost. You wouldn’t know what to do with the fruit. What people do with free stuff, they view it as worthless. 

Social media can be the absolute best and worst for us. We ask, “How do we make what we have, look like what they have?” This leads to an empty shell. What if instead we press into God and see what He has for us! Be secure in who you are and what God has called you to or else you’ll spend your life trying to live up to another person’s expectations. 

The church has operated out of insecurity. You’ll never dictate culture if you’re too busy trying to imitate it. The church try’s to do a church version of the world. We have the presence of God and the world is missing it. Why would I show up when there is something better somewhere else? Because of the presence of God. 

Don’t be afraid of doing things well. Express worship through your gifts. If the Holy Spirit says thank you for your preparation but I’m going this way. The team needs to be prepared to be u prepared. The end goal is not a service time or creative element the end goal is tuning into what God wants to do. Don’t let your plan get in the way of His presence. Don’t be offended if Holy Spirit takes the service another direction. It’s not your time. The most important thing you can do is to make space for the presence of God. 

The method is getting on your face before God. The method is in the secret place where the Spirit speaks. If you’re not dealing with your insecurities you aren’t secure enough to follow the presence of God. Your security doesn’t line in your notes. If you’re insecure and believe your security is where you lead the song then you won’t be secure enough to step into what you’re really called for. No one realizes they have insecurities. There are things God wants to do with each of us. Insecurity is a thief that will rob from you. Rob your joy, your relationships, your calling. What if we were so secure we realized we didn’t build the church but God built the church. Insecure leaders build empires, secure leaders build the kingdom. 

You are never elevated beyond serving. Jesus whole goal was to serve. Jesus didn’t talk leadership but being a servant. When we feel elevated beyond the people and do not serve the people we hurt the church. If I don’t show up to serve then I’ve lost Jesus. Have people around us who are not yes people or insecure but can come to us and point out what they are seeing. You can’t be the best leader in isolation. What sucks about this is you have to be vulnerable. The grace of God is evident in our lives when we allow others to speak into our lives. Not leading from top-down but arm in arm. No one’s position is less or greater. We understand the mandate in the position and confidently link arms and march forward. What if we realized our mandate was to build the kingdom? If someone leaves our church that’s not a backward step. 

Secure leaders know how to deal with offense and disappointment. How you deal with this will make the difference. What do you do when you have a Judas in your midst? Do you shove them out? Jesus never changed His posture with Judas. When you feel betrayed realize Jesus never shunned Judas, He invited him to the table. Jesus never lost sight of His calling and the opportunity to be brought close. There was always grace available, even to the last point. Do you spend your energy and focus on the one or two and lose sight of what you’re really called to be doing? Be a leader who knows how to love even when you’ve been offended. 

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Alex Seeley

We have a generation coming who has a growing disdain for the church. The primary wound in our society is rejection. They feel already rejected. Identity crisis is taking place. We can not do church how we always have. Jesus is the cornerstone. The essence of a pure Gospel is love. Known as disciples if we love. Love those who are resistant to our love. Love those who oppose you. Love beyond the betrayal. Love unconditionally. It’s easy to love those who are easy to love. It’s easy to love those who serve you. 

This next generation is looking for a virtual un-church. Done with coming in to receive just formation. They are done with cleaning up to be accepted. What they want is the truth in love, to call them up to what God has called them to be. Not a seeker-sensitive church but a church that attracts seekers by offering living water. Not a motivational speech but a transformation in the Holy Spirit that breaks addictions and causes transformation. 

We are in a spiritual battlefield and you need to understand what the battle looks like in your town. Don’t practice a relationship with Holy Spirit on the stage, meet Him in the quiet place. The ministry is not to build your name or platform or even to do what you feel called to do. It’s not to behave and then you can belong. True love says you have a place at the table before you believe or before you behave. 

The antidote to rejection is love. Jesus attracted every sphere of influence because His love source came from God. Have a full revelation of His love. Rejection begets more rejection. Jesus lived without agenda or need to be loved. 

This agape love that is the antidote to rejection is not encountered through intellectual or motivation but the power of the Holy Spirit and experienced in presence. 

You carry a 3 part of the Holy Spirit: Presence, Power and the Prophetic. 

Miracles, Signs, and Wonders. 

The mega-church without God’s spirit: It’s very interesting to see what man can build. 

Bring the presence of the Almighty Jesus. Not satisfied with a good program unless someone is set free and delivered. I don’t know what it is but I sense his presence. Break fear and addiction. 

Know what it is to encounter the presence of God. Not just extra songs because we try to manufacture presence. You can have His presence without the music even starting. It’s the presence you are carrying. 

Power of God moves where you can’t take credit. 

Presence is getting out of the way and following the movement of God. 

People don’t want to be entertained, they want to go home different. This is not about me providing your breakthrough but giving God time to breakthrough each individual. My words are nothing. 

Not the love for what I have to share or the love for our program but a love for the people. 

The world needs to see the opposite of what it’s currently seeing. Love those who curse you. Go the extra mile. Flip what is expected. Jesus was able to love beyond everything because He didn’t entrust everyone with His heart but He gave His full heart to God. It doesn’t say to entrust one another but to love. Love beyond the betrayal. Love even when it costs you. Do you want to be right or in right relationship? Jesus didn’t have to prove Himself. Jesus didn’t even bring his best friend, John, into the offense by talking about Judas. Love covers even when you’re going to be betrayed. The disciples didn’t know who was the betrayer because Jesus never brought anyone into that offense. Jesus loves fully. His love is pure. He called Peter to build the church and even after the offense and betrayal, He redeems. Though my trust was broken, Jesus love is so much stronger than the broken relationship. 

So why are we so hard on our people? We are called to love beyond. We can shift a generation from being offended to a saint who is called to die for the cause of Christ. Are we building churches that are prepared for persecution? You don’t die for someone you are just being entertained by. 

Q&A 

Paul Bergin

Banning Liebscher – Jesus Culture Founder 

What’s the biggest issue in the church? 

Wrong definition of success. It’s not a number but the presence of God. Creating structures that crest immature believers. American consumerism crept into the church to make things as easy as possible. Businesses eliminate struggle to gain business. When you’re a leader with insecurity you need people to show up for you to feel better. When you remove the struggle you create immature believers. There is a struggle involved in the community. 

What are we doing to respond to this struggle?

Jesus called us to lay down our lives. We are not preparing our church for persecution. We are raising children who don’t understand discipline and how to wait and therefore are offended by everything. Butterfly analogy of opening the cocoon. It will look good but it won’t fulfill its calling. The goal is growing mature people that become a large church in Jesus name. 

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Be more patient and not look for greener grass. When you extract yourself from something difficult you lose an opportunity for refinement. 

Slow down and focus on internal health. Make sure what’s driving you is actually healthy. 

Know when you are in a preparation session. A season of refinement. Don’t short circuit the refinement process. The enemy will take you out. 

The goal is the journey, not the destination. Have joy in the journey. Don’t keep yourself busy with the excuse of ministry. 

There’s a difference between Anointing over your life. Word over your life. Authority or appointed over your life. David has to wait. 

Meet with your team to encourage. People generally know their mistakes and failures. Atop and celebrate what God is doing. You’re worth more than what you can do here. Your value doesn’t come through your efforts. Excellence is not perfectionism. It’s giving your best to God. You’re thinking too highly of yourself if you think your successes will build the church. 

When the church is a polished performance people either see right through it or they don’t relate. 

Life is but an interruption of eternity. 

When kids are little they will jump over hurdles to get to you but when they grow up they will rarely put in the effort. 

Do your kids know they can interrupt at any point because they are more important than a ministry. 

Advice for planning a church?

Enjoy the journey. Look fondly in this season. Focus on building a culture more than a crowd. Ask, would you go to this if you weren’t leading this? Build what you would like to attend. Core values. Authenticity. Presence. You have to build a community. Be okay with unmet needs. Deep value in maturing believers. Find identity in Jesus. Fully engaged and fully alive in their calling. 

In most church planing models the launch date is the goal. You’ve got a whole life ahead to be looking forward to. 

If you have to build X ministry so people won’t leave then you’re building the church for people and not for God. 

What are you doing to engage the broader city? 

Build people. If the individual is equipped and ready then what comes out of them will engage the city. You contribute to the family you lead in the city. What’s in the hearts of your people? 

How does the church deal with people in the church who deal with homosexuality? 

Everyone is welcome in the house of God. We preach the truth to all. We don’t preach on a single sin but on bringing Jesus into the room. Jesus let the rich young ruler make the decision and didn’t chase after him. He preached the truth in love. Let the Holy Spirit do the work. 

We have a lot of grace for sins we understand but not sins that we don’t understand. This is set aside as the pet peeve sin. 

Complicated issue but not biblically complicated. Layers with laws being passed, people who don’t take the word as the final authority, people in the church who don’t think you’re correct in theology, and people experimenting. You need to know who you’re talking with. Do you allow people to serve who struggle with sin? Restore the identity of Christ. Stop identifying people by their sin. Gluten. Liar. Etc. battle in identity. Stop labeling stop identifying and love people. 

How do you seek God in the secret place? 

Drive, worship, pray. The word of God. Open the word and keep reading until God speaks. 

Constant dialog all day with Holy Spirit. Times of intercession prayer. Reading the Word. 

It’s a relationship. Some relationships are very structured and others are more rigid. You need to be coming to the Lord in this season. 

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Release of Awe and Wonder tonight!

Banning Liebscher

Prayer for Natalie – Prophet of Hope 

1 Samuel 1

God has plans and purposes for your life, for your family, for your city, for your church, and for your sphere of influence. He invites you to partner with Him to see that happen. You are most fully alive in that partnership. 

God speaks a word to Hannah. Everything changed for her. It brought her to a place of faith. God plants a seed. He wants to get us to a place of faith. John 15:7 abide in Christ and His words abide in you. Draw close to Jesus and have His words abide. 

There’s a difference between hearing a word and listening to a word. Allowing the word to abide in you. 

Pregnancy test illustration. That second line changes everything. When the word of the Lord comes it changes everything. In the natural, ready or not the baby is coming. In the spiritual side, you need to learn how to carry the word of the Lord. You need to abide and nurture the word. 

You don’t need a fresh word you need to know what to do with the one you’ve got. When you begin to learn to carry the word, faith begins to manifest in your life. 

Big bucks!

His word comes not just to encourage but to ignite the faith inside of us. Faith looks like something. 

Faith manifests in preparation. 

In the church, we complicate things Jesus made simple. Simple and homespun. By faith, Noah prepared an ark. Hebrews 11. When the Lord speaks to you, your life will be different afterward. When the Lord speaks to you, it should cause you to prepare if you believe Him. If someone says they are coming over we believe them and prepare. We believe people more than we believe in God. A lack of preparation communicates a lack of value. 

The widow and Elisha. Oil and a jar. 2 Kings 4:5-6. There is not another vessel so the oil stopped. The principle, not a law. The level of outpouring in your life is linked to your preparation. 

This is what your life should look like: Building arks and gathering vessels. If you hear a word about filling stadiums, start inviting people into your living room. Take a speaking class. What simple step can I do to prepare? 

Faith manifests in the proclamation. 

What comes out of your mouth matters. 

The power of life and death is in your tongue. How careless are you about what’s coming out of your mouth? 

Not scared but sober. To understand the power and responsibility. If you’re careless it can result in disaster. My words are either partnering with God and His plans and purposes or undermining God and His plans and purposes. 

An angel appears to Zachariah and out of his mouth unbelief comes. The angel mutes him for nine months. This isn’t a punishment but a help. 

Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. Sometimes the best thing you can do is go on mute. Unbelief is on your heart and coming out of your mouth. Unbelief is a belief in the wrong thing. Are you more connected with your circumstances than the word of the Lord?  

Faith is not acting like theirs not a mountain in front of us. Faith is saying there’s a greater reality than the mountain. There may be cancer but there’s a higher name than cancer. Connect my heart to the hire name than reality. There may be depression but there’s a hire name. This is why it’s so important to god His word in your heart. 

Are you Spirit-led or feelings led? You will be feelings led if your life is not anchored to scripture. 

What we do now, is put people in a Jesus time out. How’d it go…feelings? No, Jesus time out. What does Jesus say? 

When the word of the Lord comes you no longer have permission to say anything else. Have the discipline to stop talking when you’re not speaking His word. When God’s word is in your heart, it’s coming out of your heart. When His word is full in your heart your circumstances won’t dictate your heart. 

Shove so much word in your heart that when my life pulls up to the train stop and life tries to get in, there’s no room to get in. 

Is what’s coming out of my mouth circumstances, social media, toxic? Repent and stop allowing unbelief to come out of your heart. 

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Alex Seeley

God is not obligated to fulfill your potential. You have the responsibility to nurture the seed. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT

Don’t lose heart. Let Jesus do the work so we can be the person he called us to be. 

Will you finish like John or Judas?

C.S. Lewis — ‘For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however, you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.’ 

A saint is set apart. We talk differently and look differently. The enemy will try to hinder your call, to weight you down so you don’t finish the race. 

We let our heart grow calicos. We let our heart get tangled up in things of the world. 

King Saul and King David. Both appointed. Same spirit. Both start at the age of 30. Both have a kingdom for 49 years. The difference was their heart. The one who died with honor was David. The one who took himself out of the game was Saul. The difference was their heart. 

David was far from perfect but he did say he was sorry and repented. 

“Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” 1 Samuel 9:21 NLT

Saul felt disqualified. He saw himself small in his own eyes. God called him big. We must believe God and take Him at His word. When God calls us we must say, “Here I am Lord.”

We can not sustain the race with a one time encounter. We have to allow God to refine us into the likeness of Christ. 

“So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?” And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.” 1 Samuel 10:22-23 NLT

Saul was hiding behind his baggage. We need a generation that is resolved to know who they are in Christ. It doesn’t matter what your baggage is or how you feel on the inside. You must stand tall on both the inside and the outside. 

You can tell a person who carries themselves tall on the inside. God doesn’t need you a head taller on the outside. It’s not popularity. Insecurity is so prevalent in this next generation. God called you unique. God is waiting on you to arise. 

David was different. He was the 8th option. There’s one more but he’s just the youngest. There’s a reason for David to be insecure but he doesn’t come in with insecurity because of his anointing. David went back to being a shepherd because he didn’t need the title to define who he was. He was fully secure because his position in Christ is on the inside. 

David delivers sandwiches to his brothers. A secure heart just obeys. Not doing the work to be noticed but know who they are and what they are called to do. Whatever is asked of me, I will serve unto the Lord. 

Saul was given the title. 

“David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers.” 1 Samuel 17:22 NLT

David left his baggage and ran to the battle lines marked out for him. David knew he was born to take down the enemy. He didn’t need a crown to act. He knew he was a king on the inside. 

We are all in a race. We give an account to God on what He called us to do. No excuses before God. I want to hear well done good and faithful SERVANT. Not well done good and faithful pastor or well done good and faithful king. 

You are in training now. We need to fight private battles before taking the stage. We want the spotlight without the testing. It’s for your good to fight private battles before public battles. Our confidence is in the Lord. It’s not arrogance to be confident in the things of God, it’s actually your responsibility. Arrogance is bent in insecurity but confidence is bathed in humility. 

So many of us waver on the opinion of man. You can listen to the option of man and shrink back or you can stand firm in God’s authority. 

The very thing you are called to do you will be attacked in. David’s brother attacked him. When you do what’s right in God’s eyes you will be attacked but when you are confident in your calling you move forward. David didn’t engage in the battle with his brother. That’s fighting the wrong battle. 

David remembered the victories of the past. Some of us remember what we should be forgetting and forget what we should be remembering. Remember when the word of the Lord is spoken. Prepare your heart. Remember God did it then and will do it again. I’m not a product of my sin, I’m a new creation and now I run the race. 

Saul saw the circumstances big. Insecurity begets insecurity and toxicity. A secure leader cheers people on because it brings glory to the Lord. 

You come with weapons of the world but I come in the name of God. No force on this earth is greater than God. Saul saw the problem and David saw God as the solution. We don’t fight with things of the world but with divine power to demolish strongholds. 

David knew how to repent. Saul only knew how to say I’ve sinned and I’m sorry. I’m sorry is when you accidentally bump someone in the elevator not when you have broken the heart of God. Repentance is the way to breakthrough. Godly sorrow that causes change. Sorry is in the moment. Look into someone’s eyes. When rebellion is in the heart they don’t look in your eyes. “Look in my eyes are their naughties in your heart.” Dear Jesus, I repent. Take the naughties out and put the good things in. Sorry is behavior modification. Sorry is a statement that doesn’t require a response. 

Godly sorry brings repentance that leads to salvation and no regret but worldly sorry brings death. 

Psalm 51:10-12

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”

Living in perpetual rebellion took Saul out. God would rather your obedience than your sacrifice. Half obedience is disobedience. No shortcuts. Obedience increases your authority. 

When David was corrected he asked God for a new heart. He begged God please don’t take your presence because it’s the only thing sustaining me. 

Willie Wonka leaving his legacy to a child. No one has seen the kingdom realm. Looking for a successor that he could trust his dream with. One was entitled one wanted to be famous. One was rebellious. But Charlie who was the least likely to be picked and the one who broke the rules and tried to hide it. The other children took themselves out. They broke the rules. They signed a contract. They were given a gobstopper but it was a test to see the heart. Charlie gave up his opportunity to be rich and gave his gobstopper. So shines a good deed in a weary world. You did what was right so it’s all yours. 

Banning Liebscher 

God’s heart for you is to be fully alive and fully free. The job description of Jesus is giving life to the full. The enemy wants you in bondage. His primary weapon of choice is lies. Lies to separate you from the truth. Connect to truth equals freedom. Lies separate and lead to bondage. 

“so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT

1 Kings 19 Elijah coming off Mt Carmel. After this great victory, he then begins lies. 

3 lies we still wrestle with today: 

He believed the lie that God abandoned him. Not that he became a full-blown atheist but a situational atheist. God is not in this situation. God has the whole world in his hands but not this situation. God exists just not in our finances or marriage. 

He believed the lie that the situation was hopeless. Elijah sat down. He stopped moving forward. 

He believed the lie that he was all alone. That there were no more people with him. 

How is it that Elijah a man of God is believing God and then the next moment is believing a lie. A profound victory with a whole nation turning back to God and then believes lies. The enemy is looking for a foothold to place a lie. 

Elijah was worn down and worn out and dropped his guard. When you’re worn out you drop your guard and the enemy steps in with a foothold. Boxing 101. Touch their head to keep their guard. The enemy is trying to get you to drop your guard for just a second. 

Above all else, guard your heart. Everything you do flows from it. The enemy wants you to drop your guard. He will plant lies that take root. 

Combat medics. 

Care under fire. Care at the scene where both under hostile fire. Tourniquet on major bleed. Quickly assess what matters. You could be fixing his shoulder when he’s bleeding out. Assess quickly the major bleeds. You can deal with other things later but above all else right now guard your heart. When going through difficult times guard your heart. Don’t allow the enemy to gain access with lies. 

When we are worn down we drop the guard. Sometimes a lot is coming at us. A cat on the u-haul season. A lot of stuff happening right now. 

Sometimes we drop our guard because we think a season is going to be over but it’s not over. In boxing, they prepare for 5 rounds but it goes 7 and they are not prepared for the later rounds. 

Sometimes you drop your guard because you just keep getting hit in the same place. When it rains it pours. 

We have to get a lot better at figuring out what we are believing. Lies operate in darkness. They get power in the shadows. Do we stop long enough to check under the house? What’s going on in my eternal world? 

How do you keep your guard up in life?

Don’t underestimate the power of a meal and a nap. 

God’s going to meet face to face with Elijah but he provided a meal and a nap. The physical and spiritual are connected. Figure out what your meal and a nap is. If you’re worn out you don’t need to fast. You don’t need to get up early and pray. You need a nap. Elijah believed lies because he’s tired. 

Always keep one foot in the water. 

Navy Seals thrive in the water when others can’t. America special forces book. Sea, Air, Land. If I can retreat to water, it’s where I’m most comfortable and confident. The enemy can’t follow me into water. Water is where I thrive and where you die. In the presence of God, you must retreat. I may feel powerless here but in the presence of God, I have oxygen and lies die. Retreat to the presence. In the presence is joy and strength. I feel weak here but in Christ I have joy. You have to have a default mode to retreat to the presence of God. You can find his presence anywhere at any time. Turn your heart and affections to God. In your presence, lies and discouragement dies. 

Who you show up with matters. 

Elijah has a servant with him who he left and went a days journey to complain about being alone. Pity parties are a party of one. Our guard drops when we disconnect from the community. Who you show up with matters. It’s just me and Jesus when it comes to salvation but after walking through that door he introduces you to your family. “We’ve given it our best and it’s just not working.” Giving it your best is not enough, it’s not healthy. My marriage has health and blessing not because I brought my best but because I got the best of others and brought it in. We are strong because who you show up with matters. I may get whooped once but why would I show up again when I’ve got friends. Make phone calls and don’t go at it alone. The most discouraged people are those who get isolated. Our guard drops when we disconnect from community. Those alone are wide open to deception and the devil gets a foothold. Community matters. 

Toby Mac

A story and the integrity to back it up. 

The edge of your seat posture. Today I GET to…

It has to be a priority when small or it won’t be a priority when big. Be faithful with the little things. 

A gift God gave me to turn eyes to him. 

Building a team. Pray, “God will you surround me with people who love you more than I do so that I can be inspired by them and grow.” 

It’s our job to empower others and let them thrive. Step into the mirror. I can’t do this. I’m not strong enough but God has given me you, the secret sauce. 

Not just a Christian but someone who loves the Lord. If you dare to call Him your Lord there’s only one position for you and that’s a servant. Servants main job is to wait on the Lord’s request. When you hear it, act. 

Nate and Joanna Lampa

When you love someone you fall in love with what they love. Where is God looking? What matters to God matters to you. 

God loves the wild ones and the church needs them. 

When you approach the broken and marginalized remember God is already there. 

God loves you right where you are at. 

Write your whole life in one sentence. 

Ryan Lampa

Without a true north, it’s really hard to navigate. 

Is your five dollar program going to take away my depression or addictions? No. I just want to be your friend. 

God, I’m missing something. Will you just show me how to love? 

There’s only one tried and true way to help someone in the margins. Introduce them to the creator. 

The scale at which you do these things. Don’t start with building a nonprofit. Start by feeding one two or three. Don’t start a board of directors, grab your friends. 

Feed the hungry. Drinks to the thirst. Clothes to those who need clothes. Welcome strangers. 

In obeying these statutes, remember Jesus prayer for all of us. Be as intimate with each other as God is with His father. 

When you focus on things of the spirit the things of the world fall away. 

The blood of the lamb and the word of your testimony. 

Danny Gokey

Make space for God in your heart. It starts with a hunger. What do you need to release to make room for God? 

Some of the best things that can happen in your life is a shut door. 

Failure to a believer is really transition. God uses it. 

Are you hungry and available? 

Better than I found it. 

If our public life doesn’t match our public life it will all come crashing down. 

Mark Maxwell

Your mission field isn’t just on the other side of the world, it’s feet from your house. Be expectant for God to move each and every day. 

What is your definition of success? 

Networking kills. Young artist lose focus. False indicator of success. Contradicts the creator who is all about giving and not taking. Whoever wants to be great must be a servant. 

Serving is where you are successful. 

Anybody can be great because anybody can serve. Martin Luther King. 

Serving erases the fear of failure.

Serving creates a sense of purpose. 

Serving creates value for you and others. 

Serving creates a provision. 

Serving changes the world because it changes others. 

The world call is karma, the Bible calls it planting and harvesting.

Life moves pretty fast. Don’t miss the moments. 

Psalm 90. Redeem the time. Make every conversation count. 

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Robert Madu

Do you have an expectation to hear God’s word? Someone once said this was the best message you ever preached but maybe this was just the best message you ever listened to.

Mark 5:21-43

Almost titles this message ”Get Up” but because of verse 40-41 ”Get Out”

“The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.” Mark 5:40 NLT

You know those people who light up a room when they leave the room. 

Jesus made them all leave. He kicked them out. Those who laughed, He kicked out. 

What if the power of the miracle isn’t just in the miracle itself but in the atmosphere of the environment. Check your environment and tell some things to get out. 

Once you peel back the layers you see that none of us live in the autonomy of me, myself, and I. We are connected. 

You do you and I do me doesn’t work. You doing you affects me. 

These two stories of Jairus and the woman suffering from blood are connected. He is a ruler in the synagogues she isn’t even allowed in. He is rich and she is broke. He is named and respected. She is not. They are both hit with something neither of them can’t handle. 

When you can’t handle it, throw up your hands and know that surely He can handle it. 

They both had to push people away do get to Jesus. Do something they didn’t have to do before to get something they have never received. You want God to show up like Amazon prime but sometimes you have to push something out of the way. They are pushing because desperate people do desperate things. 

God will often use desperation to push you into your destiny. Desperation is the door that breakthrough walks through. Desperation brought them both to the feet of Jesus. 

Jairus is desperate because his daughter IS dying. The 12-year-old dying daughter and the woman was bleeding for 12 years. If this were a movie both would walk out of the hospital very differently. In life, you can be so preoccupied with your promise or problems that you are oblivious to others. You need to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12. 

”Biblical Blues Clues” 12

Jacob had 12 sons

12 tribes of Israel 

A breastplate with 12 stones on the priest

Jesus taught in the temple at the age of 12

Jesus chose 12 disciples

The number of Gods power and authority. 

Everything is under the power and authority of Jesus. He can handle whatever the world is throwing at you. 

It is your awareness of Gids authority in your life that will determine what you receive from Him. Tie your faith to the anchor of God’s authority. You need an awareness of God’s authority. He is the ultimate authority. 

Jesus calming the storm. They marveled at His authority and said you of little faith. They shouldn’t have woken Jesus up they should have curled up and taken a nap with confidence in His authority. An awareness of His authority problem. 

When you trust God as the authority you can sleep at night because He’s in charge. 

Jairus got a house call from Jesus because he was aware of Gods authority. The woman knew Jesus authority and knew she only needed to touch His coat. 

The centurion soldier knew Jesus had authority without even showing up. He knew God’s power. 

”You don’t have a faith problem, you have an awareness of God’s authority issue.”

If you don’t believe the speaker has authority you doubt their word. Example of customer service, can I speak to your manager. Can I speak to has the power to change the situation? 

I hope you get so annoyed when the devil is messing with you and your family and say that you need to speak to the one who is in charge. The one with authority. 

The moment she touched the hem of His garment she was healed. This interruption comes after being filled with the joy when Jesus says He will go to Jairus daughter. This was an emergency and Jairus was waiting on Jesus. The woman broke the law by being unclean and touching Jesus. Jesus stops and talks to her. Jairus is waiting. She told him the whole story. Jairus is waiting. He watched her get her miracle and waited. 

What do you do when you watch someone get a miracle while you are waiting on a miracle. Celebrate. Don’t be jealous. Know God is still in the blessing business. He did it for them and He can do it for me. Not always in the same way. Stop comparing yourself to other people. 

Jairus wanted healing and got a resurrection. But remember what he had to go through. His daughter died. They came and said it was time to quit and give up on the dream God gave them. Watch out for these people. 

Jesus says don’t be afraid just believe. Don’t stay here, it’s not over till I say it is. Sometimes God will let it go from bad to worse so that you stop trying to lead God and allow Him to lead you.

They arrived at the house and the people laughed. Jesus said to get out. Say to your insecurity to get out. 

To be continued tomorrow!

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6 Ways to Fall in Love With Youth Ministry Again

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You had a discouraging meeting… a bad day… a frustrating week… a dry season. You find yourself taking deeper sighs than usual and you know things are less than okay. While you used to be excited for the next thing in youth ministry, today you find ourself dreading even walking in the building.

It might be time for you to polish your resume or maybe it’s just time to change your thinking. There’s still hope, so let’s rekindle the love you once had. Here are 6 ways to fall back in love with youth ministry.

Remember Your Calling. 

It’s easy and natural to focus on the negative, but it’s hard to quit something you know God has called you to do. Take a step back and reflect on your life story. See how God has worked to get you to this point so far and lean into His faithfulness. “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name” (John 15:16, NLT).

Use Your Vacation And Days Off.

Maybe the reason you’re feeling so tired is that you ARE tired. Open up your calendar and mark off some days to find rest. Find a day in the near future to have a sabbatical day of rest and reflection. If your circumstances make this impossible, remember you control your calendar. Stop scheduling early morning and late-night meetings. Don’t work through lunch. Ask if you can spend a few hours a week working at the local coffee shop. The world will keep spinning if you skip a week of breakfast meetings or late-night Bible studies. Even Jesus stepped away from the crowd from time to time.

Adjust Your Expectations. 

Jesus explains, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NLT). Youth ministry can be full of high highs and low lows. When you are in the valley, resist becoming overly critical or bitter by humbly counting your blessings and considering trials pure joy. Step back for a minute and check yourself.

Shake It Up

My mentor and friend Jim Wideman says, “A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out.” Maybe you aren’t feeling it anymore because it’s become too predictable and stale. Rearrange or organize your office. Bring in a guest speaker. Start a new book. Hang out with people in (or outside) the trenches. Sharpen your ax and study to show yourself approved. Find a healthy way to vent or start a new hobby. Work on the ministry you want and not just in the ministry you have.

Celebrate And Remember

Just like it’s difficult to hear from God with a dusty Bible, it’s hard to fall out of love with the youth ministry you are celebrating. Stop working on the next big thing, and celebrate what God is doing at this moment. Take a trip down memory lane next year by placing personal milestones on your calendar and set yearly reoccurring celebrations such as baptisms and movements of God. Remember your priorities and publicly celebrate when your small group leaders are working towards making disciples. Dream of what youth ministry could be and begin praying over the vision God brings.

Don’t Go At It Alone.

We were created for community. The writer of Romans tells us, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:4-5 NLT). If you are losing your love for ministry, it might be because you are failing to equip the church to do the work of ministry and instead relying on your gifting alone. Check-in with your leaders and meet up with your students to see what they can be doing to build and support the church. Get feedback and stop trying to read minds. Meet with your supervisor and let them know both your needs and your struggles.

Don’t allow today to just be another long day in your youth ministry journey. Do something today to light a small spark to ignite a fire in your heart for the ministry God has entrusted you with.

It’s Personal AND Starting Now Book Reviews and Giveaways

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5 Questions You Should Answer to Give Every Child and Teenager Hope

What if knowing the answers to five simple questions could give a kid hope? Orange has released a new book called “It’s Personal”, for leaders and volunteers, exploring those five questions through the lens of Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus.

In a generation where too many kids feel invisible and ignored, you may be the best chance a kid has to really feel known. 

“Jesus never got so busy trying to save everyone that He didn’t stop to help someone.” – Reggie Joiner

Jesus was on the most important mission anyone has ever been called to yet he stopped to talk with a tax collector and shared a meal in his house. This book has helped me to slow down and love people how Jesus loves people. Jump in a hammock, open the book and allow Jesus to convict you on how you might be approaching ministry.

For a FREE sample: https://thnkor.ng/ItsPersonal

To enter to win a copy: https://kingsumo.com/g/3tttyr/its-personal-starting-now-giveaway 

Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Tl6Scy 

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Starting Now: A 30-Day Guide to Becoming Who You Want to Be in College

College is hard. This book can help. Give the incoming college freshman in your life this guide to help them become WHO they want to be after high school.

In college they’re not kids, but they’re not quite adults, either. They still need guidance and support as they navigate the tricky transition to adulthood. Be on their team!

“Becoming WHO you want to be is something you can make a decision to do every. single. day.” – StartingNow

Even attending a Christian University while knowing my calling was hard. I can’t even imagine trying to figure things out in this day and age. Starting Now is a devotional every college student needs as they step out and begin this new journey!

For a FREE sample: http://bit.ly/2XSfRY7

To enter to win a copy: https://kingsumo.com/g/3tttyr/its-personal-starting-now-giveaway 

Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/31vkswK

#ItsPersonal #StartingNow #thinkorange #leadsmall #leadership #kidmin #youthmin

4 Fundamental Questions to Improve Your Faithfulness

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If you ask someone who sleeps in on Sunday morning why they avoid church, many will point to the hypocrisy or lack of faithfulness in church members. Are you part of the problem? Here are 4 questions for you to reflect on as you work on growing the fruit of faithfulness.

Are you faithful to God? When no one is looking, are you still committed to being trustworthy? If no one were to ever find out, would you still walk the right path? In John 14:23, Jesus says, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” Being faithful to God means walking by the Spirit even when the flesh is telling you something different. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”

Are you faithful to making disciples? Jesus called us to love God and love others. How are you doing at pointing everyone in your life to Jesus? James 1:22 speaks truth when it says, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” Are you applying what you learn? Are you faithful with the calling God has placed on your life? 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”

Are you faithful in your stewardship? Who or what is the lord of your life? Are you being a good manager of what God has given to you? Do you work as if you are working for the Lord? In the parable of the three servants, Jesus describes faithful stewardship when He said, “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” (Matthew 25:21). And Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.”

Are you faithful in your relationships? Do you honor God in the way you treat those closest to you? Are you working and living for the Lord? Colossians 3:18-23 addresses the family when it says:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Which area do you need to focus on as we start a new week?

You Will Love to Laugh and Learn with Your Team

Don’t you just love quality time with your friends filled with laughter and deep insights? With 15 stops all across the country, Orange Tour is an opportunity you’ll kick yourself if you miss. This one-day event will end with you and your team feeling inspired and equipped to make disciples of the next generation!

At Orange Tour Your Team Will Laugh

It’s so life-giving to relax for a minute and simply laugh with your team. Ministry can be full of deep and difficult conversations and during your programming, it’s hard to step back and just enjoy being present. Take a day to be blessed with shared memories and deeper more personal relationships. 

The Visionary Training Will Stick

You know how you say something a thousand times but it fails to stick until another person says the exact same thing? Well, Orange Tour might be what your team needs to create a common language with intentional vision. With speakers like Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivey, Jon Acuff, Kara Powell, and Kellen Moore, you know your team will walk away with top-notch training. And don’t forget, with this being a regional event, you will also have access to a network of orange thinkers from your part of the country! 

And Best of All, It’s Affordable

This one-day local event means your conference experience is affordable! You can gather your whole team for an opportunity to experience Orange at just a fraction of the cost. And if sending your team even for the tour is out of your price range, consider doing what I did and invite them if they pay their way. 

An Orange Event is coming to a city near you! Registration is now open, pay only $99!

Originally shared on the Orange Leaders Blog at http://orangeblogs.org/orangeleaders/2019/07/12/will-love-laugh-learn-team/

How to Make Your SGL Training Unforgettable

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Your small group leaders are busy. You’re busy. And the job that God calls us to as leaders in the church requires us to be ready and to lead well. 

It can be difficult to know precisely how to give leaders what they are needing. What if there was an affordable option where you could bring every small group leader in your ministry to a night of fun and training? 

Lead Small Night is where your SGL’s can talk leader-to-leader about the practical ways to impact the lives of kids and students at every phase. 

At Lead Small Night, you’ll learn:

  • How to help every kid and teenager feel known
  • How to lead better conversations with kids and teenagers
  • How to implement the Lead Small Principles that help you become a successful small group leader
  • How to do something small in order to make a big impact

Lead Small Night is a two-hour event that takes place across the country prior to the Orange Tour. 

For only $25 per person, you can help small group leaders do small group better. Sign up now! https://orangetour.org/leadsmallnight/ 

So the Next Generation Will Know Book Review and Giveaway

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Are you ready to answer the difficult questions students are asking? 

“What scientific proof do you have that God exists?” 

“Why should I believe in miracles?” 

“If evolution is true, why should I believe in God?” 

“Why should I trust something on ‘faith’ when I could use ‘reason’?” 

“Why should I trust what you or my pastor has to say about Christianity?” 

“How is believing in God any different from believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny?” 

“Why does science seem to contradict the claims of Christianity?” 

“Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow so much evil in the world?” 

“How can I be sure Jesus really rose from the grave?” 

“If Christianity is true, why are so many Christians hypocrites?” 

“Why is the history of Christianity filled with so much violence?” 

“Why should I care about any of this to begin with?” 

In the book, “So the Next Generation Will Know” Sean McDowell teaches how to explain what is true to a generation seeking answers. The percentage of teens who identify as atheist is continuing to grow and Sean writes to help parents, youth workers, and Christian educators recognize the challenges students are facing. 

“According to one study at UCLA, 52 percent of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college, but only 29 percent continued frequent church attendance by their junior year.”

Sean points out how most young people abandon their Christian faith while they are still at home with their parents. We have an opportunity to answer skepticism with intellectual responses but we must be prepared. 

We need to be ready to answer students most difficult questions if we want to help them track down the truth and trust Jesus.

“A problem well defined is half-solved.” – Sean’s Father

For a chance to win this book, click the contest link here: https://kingsumo.com/g/ipbstq/so-the-next-generation-will-know-book-giveaway

70 Powerful Leadership Quotes from “Rock Stars”

70 Powerful Leadership Quotes

Rock Stars: Inspiring a Team of Unstoppable Volunteers

“There is great power in your words. In over to BE a rock star, you need to FEEL LIKE a rock star. In order to be a rock star, someone else needs to believe you are.” – Tina Houser

“The volunteers God has entrusted you with are not just warm bodies or job titles, they are children of God first.” – Corey Jones

“Would my team say I cared more for them as a person than I do for them in the role they fulfill?” – Corey Jones

“Who on your team would be serving better in a different role?” – Corey Jones

“A healthy family is often growing numerically and their relationships are growing in depth.” – Corey Jones

“Do I know the people on my team better today than I did last week?” – Corey Jones

“Developing a vibrant, life-changing children’s ministry requires a clear picture of where God is calling you to lead your team and how to get there.” – Butch Hunter

“Finally, remember, the temperature of your ministry is always a degree or two below you. When you’re running hot, your team is running warm.” – Butch Hunter

“Take video footage of your leaders in action, splice it together with a narrator who talks about how you’re all moving towards the vision together.” – Butch Hunter

“When you’re preparing to cast vision, think about how you can invite people to join a team working towards a common goal.” – Steven Knight

“Think about what your volunteers want. They want to serve. They want to roll up their sleeves and get to work. They don’t show up to be underutilized. They’re ready to go.” – Steven Knight

“The effectiveness of blanket calls for volunteers always lags behind personal communication.” – Beth Howe

“Volunteering for ministry serving—like tithing or gathering for corporate worship—should be seen as a mark of discipleship. When approaching with a pure motive, serving is a sign of spiritual maturity.” – Beth Howe

“Volunteers will stick when they see their leaders following the example of Jesus as servants.” – Erica Holloway

“Leaders must help their volunteers succeed in the midst of very busy, extremely demanding schedules.” – Erica Holloway

“The ability to be out ‘guilt free’ goes a long way in maintaining glittery volunteers for the long haul.” – Erica Holloway

“To effectively equip believers to utilize their gifts, leaders need to make intentional preparation, invest in relationships, and provide continual evaluation for their teams. Helping volunteers find their best fit in ministry service is crucial for the church community as a whole, but also for each individual’s personal flourishing and long-term spiritual health.” – Dawn Gentry

“Personal relationships establish a foundation of pastoral care for everyone on your team.” – Dawn Gentry

“Be understanding and flexible, recognize the need for them to try a new assignment rather than getting buried indefinitely in the old one.” – Dawn Gentry

“No matter how big or small your ministry is, there are things everyone serving in your ministry area needs to know. So what are those things?” – Shayla Hale

“Orientation lets you begin to equip your team. It establishes you as the shepherd of your leaders. Orientation gets your volunteers ready for a great adventure.” – Shayla Hale

“Your volunteers influence a child’s foundational faith beliefs, and they should understand the gravity and honor of their position.” – Brittany Nelson

“Share stories or specific examples of how God moved in the lives of the children in your ministry over the past year and remind volunteers that they play a part in a child’s story of faith.” – Brittany Nelson

“Shadow leading is a successful training method and can solve more problems than simply a shortness of trained volunteers.” – Susan Magouirk

“Training leaders are your best teachers, but every your best teachers are not all cut out to be training leaders.” – Susan Magouirk

“Creative teachers take what they have and make it the best it can be for their students.” – Susan Magouirk

“Volunteers who feel unnecessary, tend to be short-term volunteers.” – Susan Magouirk

“When using technology, think about users experience and remember, if it’s not easy to use, it’s not going to be used.” – Patrick Miller

“Creating smaller learning objectives leads to higher information retention. This concept of breaking topics down into smaller chunks is called microlearning.” – Patrick Miller

“You have been given the opportunity to train volunteers even when they’re not sitting in from of you.” – Patrick Miller

“Simple truth is that you are just stronger together than you are alone.” – Tammy Jones

“A team will accomplish more together, prevent leader burnout, and multiply the results.” – Tammy Jones

“A good team leader is one who supports, encourages, and equips the other team members. Praise them when they have done a good job and show them grace when things go wrong.” – Tammy Jones

“Vol-Staff (n.), short for Volunteer-Staff. This term is used to identify kidmin volunteers who function at such a high level of buy-in and responsibility, that they are treated as a vital part of the department staff, yet without financial pay.” – Sherry Chester

“Volunteers are assets, totally worth the time and investment; help them become who God has called them to be.” – Sherry Chester

“There is a stark difference between unity and agreement. Agreement is mental acknowledgment of a mutual understanding. Unity goes way beyond mental understanding to a yielding of ones self will.” – Sherry Chester

“Mature Vol-staff believe all authority comes from God. They walk in unity knowing God is in control; therefore, they trust with ease.” – Sherry Chester

“Your choice to appreciate your volunteers reminds them that they are not alone as they serve, that God sees them and you see them, and this provides strength for them to continue to serve.” – Jamie Lane

“When you take the time to give specific feedback and appreciation to your volunteer, you foster growth in them.” – Jamie Lane

“If you say you’re going to be there, be there. Work ahead. Be organized. Be on time. These things seem simple, but when trying to gain respect from an older generation, these things must be done with excellence.” – Stacy Marks

“There is a generation of kids living without grandparents. You must lean into the relationships kids can have with the volunteers in your ministry that they might not have on a regular basis in their nuclear family. It will make the next generation stronger and our churches stronger as the family of God ministers to each other.” – Stacy Marks

“It’s an amazing thing to behold when teenagers are empowered and given the platform to lead other kids.” – Josh Zello

“Let’s envision together a ministry where teenagers can be treasured by kids, tethered to a Gospel community, and taught to discern and live out their own personal callings.” – Josh Zello

“A Gospel community can be life changing (or even life saving) for teenagers. Your kids’ ministry can be a safe place for not only the kids who sit under you, but also the younger leaders who serve beside you.” – Josh Zello

“Trust them beyond what even they think they’re capable of.” – Josh Zello

“Your church is filled with leaders you haven’t found yet. Many of these leaders don’t know that leadership capacity is within them. Many of these leaders don’t know their gifting or how to live it out to build up the Church.” – Josh Zello

“Often, you’re burdened in children’s ministry for workers. But if you train up the kids themselves to have servants’ hearts, then there will be so many fewer needs.” – Rachael Groll

“Consider which kids God might be laying on your heart to serve within your ministry.” – Rachael Groll

“The role of a helper is often marginalized when it should be lifted up in your ministry.” – Joe Mally

“As you recruit for the helping positions remember not to phone it in and just fill the spot. Instead, seek individuals who have the gift of service.” – Joe Mally

“When you ask adults who had the most influence on their life, most of the time it’s the individual who took the time to get to know them. Encourage your volunteers to seek out these connections.” – Joe Mally

“Each person on the team needs to know what’s going on in your ministry so your ‘who will you communicate with’ is very important.” – Rob Livingston

“It’s important to reach your volunteers in a way they understand and in the 21st century you have various avenues you can take.” – Rob Livingston

“You would be crazy (to) not use the technology most are carrying around in their pocket to help you communicate with your volunteers.” – Rob Livingston

“The bottom line when it comes to communication is you must do it in such a way that all your volunteers can understand.” – Rob Livingston

“Cancellations are part of ministry. Even the most committed volunteers get sick, or someone’s plans change and they need to call off. The best thing you can do is remain positive, anticipate cancellations, and build steps into your program that put you in control rather than letting the cancellations control you (and your Saturday night plans).” – Becky Rydman

“The Dream Team is a perfect ‘yes’ for those who have a desire to be on the team, yet need to make a more flexible commitment.” – Becky Rydman

“Leaders who schedule in on-call positions take control of cancellations.” – Becky Rydman

“The consistency for such a long period of time is great for kids.” – Terrie Sitzes

“Yes, pray. You’re not picking out your clothes for the day; you’re investing in volunteers’ time, children’s hearts, and your sanity all together. You need prayer.” – Terrie Sitzes

“Pray that God will send you the workers you need so that your ministry is filled with willing, eager, enthusiastic volunteers and the right scheduling will be possible!” – Terrie Sitzes

“The third grade public school students is the same third grader in your classroom. He has the same needs to be known and to have consistent leadership.” – Joy Canupp

“Rotating volunteers often results in glorified babysitting situations. Weekly volunteers invest on a deeper level and typically get to the heart of why and what they teach the children.” – Joy Canupp

“Knowing these benefits and others will give you the ‘why’ that you need to share as you make the transition and ask people for larger time commitments.” – Joy Canupp

“If you’re going to attempt ‘over appreciation’ efforts, do that with your volunteers who are most invested and on the front lines with your children every single week.” – Joy Canupp

“Start writing a bunch of ‘What if…’ questions. ‘What if we cut Sunday school during the summer?’ ‘What if we combined some age groups?’ ‘What if I used the teens more for volunteers?” – Amber Kreider]

“Temporary change can provide rest for volunteers, excitement for kids, and a new perspective for you. Or maybe you’ll drastically change something in your ministry to accommodate your changing culture in the summer, and find it to be so successful you’ll adapt it all year.” – Amber Kreider

“You have to always be aware of who the Lord brings across your path and why.” – Connie Lackey

“As you journey with your volunteers, you come to know them on a personal level and build relationships.” – Connie Lackey

“You love the Lord with all your heart, minds, and souls, but sometimes you get so busy preparing, scheduling, practicing, doing life, that you put God in your pocket.” – Connie Lackey

Don’t be Afraid of Doubt, Embrace It

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How do you react when your child or friend expresses doubt? Do you see this as a step in the disciple-making process or does your heart sink and fear take over?

During the week after Easter in our elementary and preteen services, we took a look at how Thomas wrestled with doubt. Through this story we can see how asking questions is a great thing. Asking questions can lead to understanding, which can lead to knowledge, which can lead to more questions, understanding, and knowledge. As you are walking someone through the discipleship process remember these truths from Thomas.

Thomas expressed his doubt. When the disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus, he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side” (John 20:25). Thomas had doubts and questions about what the disciples were saying they saw but he didn’t keep those doubts hidden. When someone is open and honest with you, celebrate their honesty and the fact that they are seeking to understand.

Doubt isn’t toxic to faith; unexpressed doubt is. – Kara Powell

Not all questions are answered right away. “Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them” (John 20:26). I’m sure Thomas would have loved to see Jesus walk in the room seconds after expressing his doubt, but he wrestled for eight days! Can you imagine being in Thomas’ shoes? Eight days of all your closest friends celebrating while you question. Eight days of wondering if the past couple years were a complete waste. Eight days of wondering if you would be arrested next because you followed some dead guy.

Jesus loves Thomas even in His doubt. Jesus didn’t reply to Thomas with anger, rather He offered proof and answers to his questions.

The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” He said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” John 20, 26b-27

Let’s stop viewing doubt or questions as the enemy to disciple-making. Instead, let’s celebrate when someone you love is expressing their doubts and opening themselves up to understanding and knowledge. Above all, let’s respond like Jesus and show love to all people.

It’s Personal Session Notes #OC19

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It’s personal when everyone who shows up cares about the faith of every kid.

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Everything in your church changes when relationships matter. 

Tom Shefchunas @Coachshef 

#tweetablejustnottrue

His church moves on through broken organizations and people.

Book: When Relationships Matter

If small groups become your primary answer, then that ultimate changes everything you do…eventually

Look at your checkbook and calendar. What does that reflect on your goal? Do you do a full message or set small group leaders up to have relationships. 

“At OC19, a MINISTRY PROOF is an exercise to prove a complex strategic statement by using self-evident, obvious, and “amenable” truths stacked together like Legos.”

My ministry has an effect on a kid who is not involved in ministry. 

One of the worse strategies is losing a kid who is in my ministry. 

I need to PERSONALLY pay attention to who is leaving my ministry. 

Some kids have to leave my ministry. (Move, 

Some kids/students/families choose to leave my ministry. 

As a steward of my ministry, I should find out why. 

It’s harder to leave people than a program. 

The more connected a kid/student is to a person (or people) at church the better chance we have to keep them. 

I personally can’t connect deeply enough to all my kids/students and I need people to help me. 

High-quality Christians make high-quality connections. 

The higher quality connections we make the more we can do for kids as and their faith. 

The best way to communicate and nurture the core aspects of our faith is within the context of a strong relationship. (AKA: Discipleship)

My primary goal needs to be to MAKE RELATIONSHIPS MATTER MORE. 

I need to leverage every resource I have to ensure that kids have quality relationships and that those relationships grow. 

I’ve got some things I need to change. 

If small groups become the primary answer, then that ultimately changes everything you do.

When we go “all in” on quality long-term groups – not only will it change everything you do – groups will become your answer to almost everything. 

I need to PERSONALLY pay attention to who is leaving my ministry. 

People leave ministry not people…harness the power of small groups. 

Text “imin” to 404.445.2198

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Do you know my name? 

Crystal Chiang @CrystalcChiang

Knowing someone’s name lets them know that they matter. 

Kids are always in a crowd, they just want to be seen. 

You know what’s it’s like when the barista gets your name right. 

You know what it feels like when a teacher takes the time to learn how to say your name…or when they don’t. 

When you get to know their name, you get the right to know more than their name. 

Who will know their name next? 

After high school, someone needs to know their name. We know what’s next and point them to what’s next. 

If we were honest though, it’s a long way from here to there. It’s a long way from now to what’s next. From high school ministry to college ministry. 

What happens when nobody knows their name? 

There are going to be days where they will wonder if the family of God is still a family for them. 

If stats are true we will lose 7 out of 10 in the transition from here to there. 

You might graduate from this roaster but you can’t graduation from this relationship.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped points towards and started walking with?

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Seen People See People

“There is a skill in learning to be present.” -Reggie Joiner

“No one person can no every person’s name in our ministry…Multiply the impact so every person can be seen.” Kara Powell

“What if we could recruit leaders who see the kids sitting on the back row. To see the kids who are so infrequently seen.” Kristen Ivey

Concept: If you give a popular kid 100% attention, he will feel 10% but if you give the unpopular kid that half that they usually feel it 100%

“The church should be different and not reinforcing the hierarchy.” Kara Powell

“Business is the enemy of spirituality.”

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Hear the voice of those who are not being heard. 

Danielle Strickland @djstrickland 

The desire in God’s heart is for connection.

There’s a divine strategy called ‘personal.’

What will you do with the king of Israel? Kiss the Son. Psalm 2

What am I going to do with the bigness? The magnitude? What am I going to do? I’m going to send a little baby and this personal shift will change everything. 

God has a name, love has a name. This proximity is a divine strategy. 

The desire in God’s heart is for connection.

He is no longer a slave to you, he is your brother. 

Tackle massive issues with the relationship. 

How do you perpetuate slavery if your brothers with the slave? Proximity changes everything. 

Sometimes you need to know their names. 

Moses and Elijah disappear and there is only Jesus.

Jesus goes down off the mountain of transfiguration and he encounters a father with a son in pain. Jesus said to bring the boy to me. If you had faith the size of the mustard seed tells the mountain to move. 

“You want to move something big, do something small.” Danielle Strickland

You want to actually change sexual slavery, why don’t you admit your porn addiction and get some help.

You want to dismantle slavery, be a brother.

If you want to do these massive things, then make it personal. Mustard seed faith, something small to change something big. 

First, you need to know their name, and then they need to know their names. You’re the one to tell them and it can change everything. 

Flowers were meant to bloom. What are the odds that her street name would

“I’m not a very good singer but I’ve never killed anyone before.”

Stop trying to move the mountain start using the mustard seed. That name, that relationship, that proximity will change everything. 

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Helping parents know they measure up

Kara Powell @KPowellFYI

The “Not Enough Monster”

The church tells us that we should be discipling our children, and we agree, but we don’t know how to do that. 

We feel overwhelmed, we don’t know where to start, so we do nothing. 

The not enough monster multiples. We call this shame. 

Guilt is feeling bad about what we do. Shame is about feeling bad about who we are.

This then affects our kids, and they began to not feel enough. Not strong enough, not brave enough, not spiritual enough. 

The rising rates of suicide, anxiety, and depression. Social media and technology show us all the ways we do not measure up. 

Before you would hear about the part you missed after the weekend. Now they see it unfolding in real time on social media without them. 

There is no better place to deflate the Not Enough monster than the church. 

They are enough, you are enough because Jesus makes us enough. Jesus transforms us. 

We are enough because Jesus makes us enough. This is good news. Parents should be flocking to us in the church. They should be hungry for the parent seminars but that’s not your experience. 

How do you reach the other 80%

4 of the ages of phases when parents most need to know they are enough because Jesus is enough: 6, 13, 18, 23 (these are the trapeze ages where they are in the air for the next phase). 

Ages 6: Kindergarten phase. 

New schedule, new school, new social opportunities, new sports. Juggling a lot of balls and feel bad when they drop balls and make mistakes. The church can come alongside them and let them know blowing a scheduled playdate is not a big deal. Even if it was a mistake, Jesus is bigger than our mistakes. 

Age 13

The average parent feels behind their teen when it comes to technology because they are. We can let parents know they are enough. You don’t have to be paranoid but you can be prudent. 

Age 18

As a parent, you see a clock in your mind at all time. Wonder if you’re doing enough to help navigate the new opportunities and new temptations. Wonder if you’ve been enough of a parent since birth to set them up on the best trajectory. Some parents will get smaller and withdraw saying it’s too late now. Other’s get big and try to control. To turn to parent into a project and make a lot of lists. Better laundry skills. Need the church to remind me that I am enough because Jesus makes me enough. 

Age 23

New independence. Vocational, relations and spiritual choices. Parents are proud but some are not so quick to brag. Some drop out of school, get debt, move back home. The relationship they dreamed of is not materializing. They text but don’t hear back. We as the church can come alongside the family and let them know the chapter is choppy but God is not done with the families story yet, you are enough because Jesus makes us enough. 

Youth leaders don’t feel enough. Feel unqualified to offer resources and feel like we are guessing. 

Text “with” to 66866 for free resources for parents. 

Every parent and every person needs from you to remind them you are enough because Jesus makes you enough. 

The really good news is that Jesus is actually more than enough. Kara Powell

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Do you know where I live?

Carlos Whittaker @loswhit

Physically: Absolutely but more than that. 

Do you know where I live…

Physically, culturally, socially, emotionally

Jesus never ministered from a distance. 

We get to come around those we are ministering to, step in their homes, and get more personal with them. The more personal it gets the messier it gets. The more personal we get, the more holy it gets. 

It’s okay that you don’t look like everyone else, just hold my hand and everyone will know you belong. 

When we know where they live, they will open their hands. 

When we know their name, it opens their hearts. But when we know where they live, they will open their hands.

When you get personal, it gets risky. It takes a risk in order to rescue.

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Knowing me means knowing my context

Karl Vaters @KarlVaters 

Book: The Grasshopper Myth

If I took numbers off the table, would I call my church a healthy church? 

We seem like grasshoppers in our own eyes. 

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Influence is about leveraging small things. Influence is the new attendance.

#1 reason churches are growing, “The paster knows my name.” 

They want to be pastored by their pastor. 

Healthy large churches are pushing small groups and ministry teams because that’s where pastoring will get done. 

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Dr. Bernese King

@BerniceKing

How do we as leaders experience the everyday context of other people and develop empathy? -Reggie

Intentionality. You have to be intentional about connecting with people whose stories you don’t know. 

It’s really about following Jesus, for real.

Jesus dared to connect with people when it was prohibited. 

Compassion pushes you to what to do something, but not doing something first without understanding. 

Dare to take risks, even where it becomes uncomfortable. 

We have to look in the mirror and examine our own prejudices and seek to rid ourselves of them.

We need each other. We have to learn how to create a real relationship with brothers and sisters even when we don’t agree with each other.

The next generation isn’t bringing a lot of the biases that we had!

Light belongs where darkness is so there is no more darkness.

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When it’s personal to you

Doug Fields @DougFields ‏

When parenting became personal, it actually became more important to my ministry.

Leadership ultimately becomes powerful when your ministry becomes personal.

In our Christian subculture leaders ultimately becomes powerful when you build your platform, launch a podcast, go multi-site, or draw a crowd. 

Personal doesn’t happen from a distance. 

Jesus and the woman with an issue of blood.

Jesus turns his back on the crowd to care for one. The good shepherd will leave the 99 for the one. It seems outrageous until you’re the one. 

At this moment, Jesus makes eye contact and it becomes personal. The crowd was put on mute and she became the center of attention. 

Jesus called her “Daughter” making her feel like somebody. 

When leadership goes personal it restores confidence. 

The only one who could have thrown a stone didn’t pick one up. 

Ministry is messy. And sometimes the most beautiful and courageous kind of leadership is when we leave the crowd for the one.

What if our greatest ministry is not to more? What if it’s not about numbers. Jesus hung out with 12. What if the greatest leadership asset you have is to stop your world and love someone personally? 

Someone somewhere in your world is always in some type of pain.

Leadership ultimately becomes powerful when your ministry becomes personal.

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What you don’t know can hurt you.

Sam Collier @SamCollier

I haven’t always been self-aware, but at least I’m self-aware about not always having been self-aware.

3 lessons to help me grow and be a better leader.

1. You can’t talk to old people that way.

Has anyone ever gone to a debrief meeting ready to ‘say something?

2. Sometimes you just have to get out of the way. 

Don’t let your ego get in the way of someone else’s potential

3. You’re not allowed to teach your wife anything.

Blindspot: Something negative that you do that impacts other people or you that you don’t see. What are your blind spots? 

Don’t get so focused on your public image that you miss your personal issues.

Next Step:
Write down your blindspots.
Ask two leaders to speak into this. 

Dr. Deborah Tillman @DeborahLTillman

Connection really matters. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Connect before you go in there and try to correct.

God had called me to have a mindset to mend them, heart to love them, spirit to serve them.

Families need encouragement. You’ll never really know what your hug will do. 

People really need to know and feel that they are enough. So many people feel guilty and laced with fear and doubt and shame.

Stop building walls and start building bridges. 

“All of our families have a complexity that the church needs to help you navigate.” Dan Scott 

No more hiding in church.

Clay Scroggins @clayscroggins

Do you look back on a season in your life and think, ‘That’s when God was really using me?

My biggest fear going into ministry was that I would spend all of my time around Christians. 

Make it better. 

Take it personal. 

The longer we are in ministry the longer we drift into making it better and further away from taking it personally. 

How can we get these people to show up in the lives of all the people outside of the building? 

The world gets bigger when you begin to see more of the world. 

You’ll never change the way the community sees the church until you change the way the church sees the community.

What could we do to start understanding the people outside our building?

You take it personally when your connection with someone becomes personal.

The man let down through the roof. They didn’t give up. They didn’t turn down. 

“Turn down for what”

For what would you turn down? What cause? Nothing. Nothing would cause me to turn down. 

Mark 2:5 Jesus was moved not by what they believed but by what they did based on what they believed. 

That’s not our correlate missing. That is MY mission. 

Quick asking for likes and get your church to go and like other people’s posts. It’s not all about praying for the people inside our church it’s about going out and knowing what to pray for in our community. 

“If our goal is to be the hope for the world, we’ve got to stop hiding in our church.”

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Do you know what matters to me?

David Salyers @davidgsalyers

The difference between wisdom and knowledge. It’s not about what you know. This creates a culture of proving yourself. 

Knowledge is what we know, proving. Wisdom creates a culture of improving. 

Second-mile service is giving what people don’t expect.

Now we are more known for our services than our food. 

Our mission: To improve the story of the people we do business with. 

Prove it and Improve it.

Daddy Daughter Date Night. 99cent meals are great. Handwritten notes from your daughter are priceless. 

Do you know what I can do?

Gerald Fadayomi @GeraldFadayomi

This speaks to potential.

Do you know what I can do? I know that you are capable of and it’s so much more.

We love that lightbulb moment in the lives of a student where they realize what they can do because of the potential God placed in them.

Get out of our context and into their world. Show up at their game, in the school, in their Monday through Saturday.

What if we spent less time trying to get teenagers to show up in our church and instead trained small group leaders to show up in their lives.

We often speak into what we think students need and not into what they actually need.

They need positive attention.

What if we spent more time trying to get the student to show up to the church and spent more time getting volunteers to show up in their lives?

So often we speak to what we think students need and not to what they actually need.

Maybe they need someone to understand their identity so they don’t trade a part of themselves for something that won’t last.

Students will do more when they are invited to do more.

What would happen if we stopped doing ministry for students and started doing ministry with students?

Everybody Always

Bob Goff @bobgoff

If you get advice that rhymes, run! In order to give words of advice, you need to know scripture.

God needs people who know Scripture and will be available to people and speak to them in love.

The power of availability
If we’re going to be available we need to know why we are doing it. Why we do what we do.

If you’re leading young people for an applause join the circus.

Satan doesn’t need to destroy, he just needs to distract. You don’t want anything to distract you from Jesus.

You don’t want anything distracting you from Jesus. If this job ever gets between me and Jesus or me and you, I resign.

Don’t make people projects. People are people.

We ought to talk about people behind their back all the time. We just need to be talking about the right stuff.

You want to dazzle Jesus? Go be you.

If you’re messing up, don’t have a bible study, stop.

The world is full of crazy people, and guess what, you’re one of them.

You see a fin in the water…is it a dolphin or a shark?

It’s going to take a courage laden with faith and laden with obedience.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

There’s something beautiful that happens when you get personal.

Make it personal with your family.
Bob buried a note to his unborn daughter forgiving her of wrecking the car.

Your inheritance is my friends. I don’t tell them what to do, I tell them who they are.

The thing about marble so special and unique is what makes it the weakest. The thing that makes me unique, can also be my weakest point. We need to bring it back to Jesus.

“Coffee drinks me to wake up.”

The anchor room is as big as the engine room. Let that sink in.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Be available to people and let them know why we do what we do.

Give us the guts and the grace to be your people.