Studying MMA will make you a Better Person.

I was there to witness the Renaissance of Martial Arts, the birth of modern-day MMA. I was just coming of a hand injury sparring with Riddick Bowe which brought the heartbreak of an injury release from my promotional rights contract with Don King. I moved back to Seattle and was invited to come train at AMC (The first “Intentional MMA” gym in the US). The UFC was functioning but it was really a show about competing styles.

Satoru Sayama’s (tiger mask) inspiration was starting to leak into the US and AMC had a few guys that had already fought in Pancrase, and Shooto but no one really knew what they were doing yet.  You had The UFC, Shooto, Pankration, Vale Tudo, Luta Livre and Pancrase as outlets to fight, but no one was quit sure how to train (Generally everyone had a single foundational style as a base and they were just pasting on other skills as they could)… the Sport was born before the competency of its athletes caught up.

Seattle was a true melting pot of martial arts at the time and AMC had produced a number of Muay Thai & Kick Boxing Champions but It was Matt “The Wizard”Hume that was pressing into the NHB, MMA, Pankration concept.

I don’t know how intentional it was at the time, but Matt scheme in fighting was truly unique, He refused to allow any of our individual expertise to own the day, or the fight. Matt insisted upon the “Medici Effect” (although I’m not sure the term had yet been coined) “The Medici Effect” is the idea taken from the wealthy Medici family, whose patronage brought poets, philosophers, scientists, painters and other artisans from around Europe to Florence, Italy, between the 13th and 17th centuries. Bringing these talented people together and allowing them to collaborate is believed to have kicked off the Renaissance period, a period of human history marked by great innovation.

The new rule of fighting was not how do we conform to a style, but how do we become a more complete fighter? We learned to always look for inspiration from other styles or experts. We were constantly reminded to ask; why we did what we did, as opposed to assume it was correct. Fighting became beautifully liquid, for anytime you added a treasure of action you had to then question your previous reactions. We deconstructed all the movements, rhythms, angles, approaches and constructs of each style, as we were seeking to fit them into a sport that they weren’t originally intended. We looked at every training option as an option because it was about the outcome and not the existing model

There was a new excitement about the martial arts, not just the styles, but the history and culture of the styles. We now felt as though what we thought was once mundane information, might now hold a the keys to unlock a previously untapped potential. The argument of what was best style, was as irrelevant as asking what is better, music or painting? Learning to understand one art, can bring a greater beauty to the other. The new conversation became what can we use from each style to make something new? How can we turn the puzzle pieces to find a fit?  Can we somehow create a more beautiful picture?

It has been 20 years and Mixed Martial Arts continues to expand its reach in seeking inspiration from around the globe and into history. Creativity is the new normal and a necessity in becoming the best.

Study today’s Greats such as , Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson, Tony FergusonJoanna Jedrzejczyk, & Cristiane Justino Venâncio (Cyborg)…. The list goes on and on. They are all innovators in the sport with many crossing over and finding success in other venues because of their refusal to be constrained by unhelpful boundaries.

Take a look at your life, your business, and your dreams. Have you bridled you potential or are you open to innovation and inspiration.

I want to challenge you to start doing 3 things today…

#1: Create a team of Innovative inspiration! This might be a virtual team that is build listening to Podcast such as the Fourhourworkweek.com. You might find your mentors reading books like Tools of Titans or The Medici Effect. Or you might find them in networking with others that share the similar passions.

#2: Start journaling, I don’t mean like “dear diary” although that is okay, But start waking up  and writing down your thoughts on your dreams, and what you can do, explore, or delete to achieve them. Or take a moment before you go to bed and jot down your successes, challenges or new thoughts from the day.

#3: Look outside you preconceived ideas for inspiration and innovation. Look around you with an open mind, Challenge your methods, and the models that you may have let previously constrain you. Look to innovate and be a creator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rising above Fear and Cowardice

“Most of us live two lives. The life we live, and the un-lived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” ~ Steven Pressfield

fear

If your anything like me you are fascinated by Victory and Success. I look at people who seem to walk in a perpetual state of success and I think how do they do that? I read and listen to some of the most successful “Life Coaches” or motivators such as  Stephen Covey, to Anthony Robbins to Tim Ferriss to Mark Devine, the list goes on and on…and I think wow! What insight. What do I lack, what presupposition or habits do I have that keep me from living within this success. There are moments where I am a rock and the courage shines forth like lightning and then there are other times where it vanishes like smoke.

 

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” ~Muhammad Ali

As I’ve studied these men and their wisdom it brought me back to something familiar but somehow foreign… I know that in learning, the moment of owning a concept making it your own, is when the opportunity  and capacity for action occurs. So today I want to take what been soaking into my soul and to turn these principles so you might see them again  but maybe in a way that might affect spark something in you.

Today I want to look at a verse of scripture… Now don’t run.  If you look at this your see that this is for you no matter your belief or view of the bible. You might just find something beautiful  and useful here. You see conquering fear, success isn’t a secret. These are universal concepts that are understood by many. The secret is allowing your heart to grasp them.  That’s our goal today.

Now I have to sheepishly admit that as  a Christian man, a husband, father, former pro fighter and  Pastor, I’ve held on to a  bible verse as a lucky rabbit foot for much of my Christian life. But the problem is I was given this verse early on and thought I understood it, because I was familiar with it. I would get it out when scared and rub it like Aladdin’s lamp hoping for a plume of courage to come rolling out. Unfortunately knowing the verse and understanding it, are not the same. It’s like saying I grew up with a mother and sister and therefore I understand woman, Yikes. Seeing something all the time doesn’t mean you understand it.

Sometimes it is only in pain that our hearts are awakened to take a new look at something. Recently I’ve been taking  time to re-examine my heart, my life, my motivation and my character and I’ve come back to this verse and asked what does it really mean can it help or have I failed its gift?Or is there principles within it that if I grasp will re-establish my courage.

So lets look at the verse. It comes from a personal letter from Paul (the mentor, teacher, life coach of Timothy) to Timothy. A young man placed in charge of a multiple house churches in the city of Ephesus this was a city where the churches and culture were being torn apart from within. Paul wants Timothy to step up and quash the squabbling to bring a message that brings unity within the people.  This has to be a tremendously hard time for this young man as he dealt with timidity, anxiety, social pressures and personal stresses. In the letter we see this charge.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

Yes, your probably familiar… That was my problem also.

First off the  KJV (above)  I have to say takes some liberties (as all translators must) in trying to capture the meaning that maybe aren’t helpful to us today. It is easy to lose the realization of plasticity or words and miss the most literal or conceptual translation.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

Lets start by looking at  “the Spirit” (There is no definitive article in Greek and therefore can and probably should be translated as “a spirit” not “the Spirit”(most modern versions use “a” were the NIV takes spirit out all together as says “we were not made timid”).

The Greek word here is transliterated as pneuma: and means spirit, inner life, self, disposition, state of mind,  spirit being or power. 

So this is less about a spirit being given us or implanted in us (Holy Spirit) and more about who, or how we are made to be, what are very nature is.. Lets keep going.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

The word “Fear” here comes from the Greek word transliterated as Deilia. This should be translated as “cowardice” and not “fear“. Let me explain the difference. Fear is what leads to Cowardice. Fear is an emotion that leads to the flight or fight response. Cowardice is the response of flight or shutting down. In studying the etymology (origin of the Word) of cowardice its roots comes from french and latin meaning “one with a tail” or “to turn tail”.

There is no shame in fear, When I fought I always felt fear, but knew it was a helpful tool to prepare me for the battle I was committed to.  When we feel fear in our relationships our dreams and think oh no there is something wrong!!! Fear is normal cowardice isn’t your weren’t made to run or cower but to stand!

“Fear is like fire. You can make it work for you: it can warm you in the winter, cook your food when you’re hungry, give you light when you are in the dark, and produce energy. Let it go out of control and it can hurt you, even kill you… Fear is a friend of exceptional people.”
~ Cus D’Amato

So thus far it might be better said.” we weren’t created as cowards, our inner nature isn’t designed to flee or turn from fear or discomfort. But we have been designed and given”…?”

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

The word the KJV translates as “power” (transliterated as dynamis) Where we get dynamite but even more pointedly the word dynamic . This word expresses an outward action or effect. It is normally used to try to express the ability to perform a particular activity, a specific capability. But ability falls short of what it means. For this word doesn’t express the aptitude but the actual expression. It isn’t a feeling or untapped potential. I think it might be presented most accurately as we are given the Do or Doing within us.

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” ~Tony Robbins

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

The word “love” is translated from Agapeo, In my language studies the greatest difference in this word and Phileo  (“brother love”) isn’t in regards to the depth of affection that one feels but the action of commitment toward the emotion. If we make our decision based upon only ourselves we will allow the emotions of the moment to rule our actions. If we live for something greater that ourselves. If our lives are directed by more than just our momentary satisfaction, if we can  see past the moment of fear and choose to act in love and not cowardice.

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”
― George Lucas

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

This last word transliterated “sōphronismos” is a tough one and the KJV translates as a “sound mind“, other version use “sound judgment. This term has such nuances as to be translated as rational, intellectually sound, without illusion, purposeful, moderate, prudent, modest, restrained, and disciplined.

It was a word that was used  in Stoicism, as a cardinal virtue. I think of it as your courage is to be used not recklessly, or without intent ,but with purpose and intellect. Our courage should have laser focus. We might say today; That our courage, our heart should reflect our drive and commitment to our mission our calling and our charge above fear above our emotion and above our comfort.

I’ve rewritten this text  in a way that speaks to my heart and hopefully reflect the intent of the text, Maybe it will speak to yours as well

“We weren’t created as cowards, our inner nature isn’t designed to flee or turn from fear or discomfort.  We have been designed and given the ability and capability to act, and do. Cowardice is defeated and fear overwhelmed when our hearts are directed outside ourselves, when our minds are focused, and directed by just goals, a clear mission, and a powerful calling”. 

This verse isn’t about hoping God will give you something to take away your fear or discomfort. or that he will stir up in you the strength to succeed. It’s a reminder that all you need is in already in you. Take the step, commit yourself, be the Champion you were  made to be.

Your dreams are waiting.

Doug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rhythm and Flow in Fighting & Life

Have you ever seen a great dancer without Rhythm? Me neither.  Of course that is a rhetorical question, for it is the music that directs and allows for the dancer to create beauty within its boundaries. It is the music which frames the potential for the dancer to visually and kinesthetically demonstrate the auditory boundaries of the music.

What frames the potential in fighting and in life. What allows for you to have effective rhythm, to move beautifully to have rhythm in your life?

Before we answer this lets look at music and dance a little closer. I will try to make this as simple as I can. A dancer seeks to move within the boundaries called Tempo this is the set unchangeable part of music.

Tempo generally ranges from what is called Largo that is 40-60 BPM to Prestissimo which is 200+ BPM. Hip Hop is around 80-115 BPM and Techno is 120-160 BPM

 

Within the Tempo they can move on the whole notes half note or quarter notes. for different effect but they have to stay within the tempo.

The artist (creative) part of dance is to recognize the Emotion of the music represented by Lyrics, Chords, and or Genre (major chords are generally happier or lighter;  and minor chords are generally darker or sad). Then the dancer tells a story with their movement that reflects the emotions set within the tempo.

In fighting  and life you don’t have the external boundaries of music to set your rhythmic bounds.  But you do have boundaries, there is a tempo with which to to move…so what is  that defines our rythem ?

Your mission, your environment and your resistance (opponent)

In fighting this is the starts very simple; The Mission is Victory, one fight at a time one round at a time one moment at a time. This is the tempo you hold on to above all else. It is the belief in it that allows you to climb into the ring, to endure a hard camp and to sacrifice time from anything that keeps you from it.

Environment can’t be changed so it forces you to conform and create within it bounds to reach the mission. It is the chords within the tempo that forces the story to be expressed differently. For a fighter it is the speed, the traction and the size of the ring or cage that determines the width of his stance, the speed of his footwork, or ability to post up, or control posture in the ring.

The resistance (or opponent) are like lyrics within the song. As the dancer you don’t get to write them but, how you move within it allows you to tells the story.  A fighter adapts to the resistance according to the environment to achieve the mission. He or she changes their angle of attack. The speed of their movement, their distance held because the understand the rhythm.

You hear great leaders and motivators talking about Rhythm in life. Watch a fighter and they will teach you what it looks like

Wake up every morning and set your heart and mind on the Mission. (influence , joy, health, right relationships)

Identify your environmental factors that will effect your daily movement with the pursuit of the Missions.. (sickness, relational conflict, deadlines, outward demands and distractions)

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” 
― John C. Maxwell

Now adapt to the Resistance, Who or what is your greatest opponent? Is it you? be honest? Is it you current career path? A toxic person in your life? Spend extra time in meditation or Prayer, Journal, work out, set time aside for those that you love. Eliminate things or people that eat your time and draw you down.

Now, you understand what creates rhythm, be creative within in. Allow who your identity your personality, your uniqueness to come out. Be an artist within the tempo. Dance, soar and glide.

Be the Champion you were made to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innovating Discipleship by Will Mancini (Book Review)

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So anyone that knows me knows that I am practically a junkie when it comes to ministry development and organization. I remember when I first got my hands on Church Unique. I was immediately a fan and wondered why this wasn’t  prerequisite reading for anyone that is considering launching a church or for that matter overseeing any sort of ministry. It is truly that good a book, however if your not a structure and development junkie like me. You may find it a bit overwhelming because there just seems like so much that needs to be done.

The latest book by Will Mancini, Innovatiing Discipleship seems to have hit the perfect balance in my estimation.

At 94 pages long this book is a quick read. When you dig in, you notice almost immediately that this could have easily been a two or three hundred page book. But this is a practitioners book that has had the fluff stripped away. There are no long introductory narratives or puffed up stories of his consulting success. Mancini, Get straight to the nuts and bolts of bringing vision clarity.  He uses a great equation

1+2+4+16= ∞

One Whiteboard Drawing

defined by 

Two Vision Decisions

reveals 

Four Paths to the Future

that provide

Sixteen Super Questions

for

Limitless Ministry Innovation

In his book Mancini takes the idea of you can date the model but should marry the Mission 10 steps further. He show you how to clarify and define the mission, then how to develop a model that will get you there. Some of the things that I love about the book are the fact that the vision and footwork are left to the reader. Mancini isn’t trying to sell or pitch the latest ministry model or set of buzz words. What he does so well is showing us some of our fatal flaw in ministry design, such as our lack of clarity about results, as well as our low competency in ministry design, to name a few. He then takes you through a fantastically simple diagnostics tool utilizing seven elements in our pattern of engagements. At this point in Innovation Discipleship you should be looking intentionally forward and Mancini helps us in defining our destination and fine tuning our trajectory,

My only critique of the book is that in the beginning Mancini states that the average pastor is looking for more of the same thing the same way. In other words we want to do the same thing we always do and experience greater results. Although I agree that this is what is probably being said verbally as well as what is being expressed in actionable terms. I think most pastors really don’t know what are the right steps to take or they would, I think that there a huge population that dreams of the incredible effect that they could have in their community. But because they aren’t sure how to climb that mountain. that sit and do more of the same.  I do think that Will knows and expresses that later in the book but when you first start reading you may feel a little sting. But that very well may be intentional.

So if you are looking for a great book to get you and your church moving again, if you are looking to re-ignite your passion for ministry, or if you are looking for a truly practical guide to getting your church un-stuck, this is it

At $5.99 for the Kindle or $8.99 for the paperback you can’t go wrong.

Get your’s on amazon here.

Is the Church like a Car Dealership? Should it be?

So, I have been out of full-time vocational ministry for few minutes now.  While I have been taking some time away to pray and consider what it is that God wants to do with me, I have resolved to taking a “tent making” position selling cars. It has been a fascinating journey to say the least. The car business is an industry full of men with incredible charisma as well as incredible pain. Many of these men are full of disdain for the ideas of God, while some are desperately hoping that God will somehow show up and to rescue them from their circumstance.   And then there are a few others that have found a way to find peace in their circumstance and they strain to walk in the storm with Jesus. But one thing we all have in common: if we come to work and don’t perform, we don’t eat.  It is in this industry that I had an interesting revelation of sorts.

Recently, I attended a conference on “Mastering the Phone” for new and follow up car sales.  I have to say, all I could think  was “Ahhhh the church needs this so bad!! what have we been doing all this time?!” Allow me to explain…  In the car world, there are many ways to buy a car.  First (and the most popular way) is to drive around and look at lots full of cars. When you do this (pull up onto a car lot), the likelihood that you will buy a car is around 17%.  It turns out that this is the hardest way for a salesperson to sell a car (no prior interaction, no establishment of trust or really understanding of need). The second way to buy a car is to research (look around online, call a dealership) and then go in.  If this is the route you take, what ever dealership you end up, the likelihood that you buy increases to 45-50%.  The reason for the increase is that you have done your research, established a little re-pore and feel more comfortable with making a commitment. Or if you have been taken care of in the past and were happy with your last purchase,  you then call your previous salesperson back and share thoughts, hopes and intentions  At that point, the likelihood increases to 70%. It is pretty easy to see by these statistics that owning phone skills is critical to being a successful salesperson and having a successful dealership, overall.

In this “Mastering the Phone” training, the instructor went over all of these imperatives (phone skills, actions and their importance) and then to demonstrate his point about the ineffectiveness of the phone skills in the industry, he proceeded to call around to the surrounding dealerships while he had the phone system piped into the conference room and show us just how horrible sales people were at pre-qualifying clientele.  In addition, no one bothered to offer help in understanding choices in vehicles, or to bring a positive perspective in the potential for treating them well on their perspective trade in.

Not only was I dying because frankly, the sales people were horrible, but I couldn’t help but see similarities in the Church. All the sales guys just hoped that the customers would come in for the big show, then they could get the “ether” (power of the experience going) and sell a car.

So I assume I might be losing some of you already for making the evil comparison of church development, and business development; but please hear me out. When people are coming to church, are we really just wanting to give them the attractional show, or is there something more that we have to provide; the idea of family and community, of care and of support. Normally we give them the big show, ask them to fill out a visitors card, then maybe we offer direction to the visitors center where we give them a free CD or a book. We stuff some brochures with limited ministry information into a gift bag, and then if they are lucky enough to be there during our small groups push, we will give them some of that as well.

After the initial visit, if you are super progressive, you send them a starbucks card in a thank you note and invite them back via email. Maybe after that you will have someone call to check out an orientation class or a new members class. But for the most part that’s it. Oh yeah, there is the stuff in the bulletin that they may look at again if they like the big show. Am I touching a nerve?

So as I listened to this trainer talk about providing the right information on the phone and website (80% of all car buyers look at your web first before they buy) I couldn’t help but think; The Church can do better. It seemed to me that we have been acting like people’s first interaction with the Church is at the service. I couldn’t help but ask; Are we are totally swinging and missing on our initial interaction? We know that most people will check out the web or call first for information before they come in? I had to check my hypothesis, So I decided I will get on-line to the “You’re New” section of some of the prominent churches in the area to see what they had posted there (for those that had them) and then I would give them a call to see how the “first touch” people did.

So here is what I found, most websites seems to be set up for the normal weekly attender. Many have stepped up and have some sort of “Your New” or “First Time” section but when you look at them with a critical eye, really they all say here is what you can expect at the big show. There is no place to interact… Its basically equivalent to the Used Car salesman saying  “Yeee haw! come on down folks we have all sorts of great cars & trucks. We will even have some balloons and coffee for ya. Go ahead and bring your kids we have a little area for them to play too.”

What would happen if we had an about you section for first time visitors? Single, Married, Children, Do they have special needs as far as parking or accessibility? Here are a list of our ministries: what would you like information on the first day? What if we allowed them to sign up to have someone meet them before service, show them how to check in their kids, explain about what might be happening that day, Communion, Special services, Get them a bible if they would like one (Or show them what app on their phone your church is going by) Buy them a cup of coffee and give them a tour, maybe we could even explain the values of small groups and give them some options in attending (maybe even introduce them to small group leaders if you have an area of interaction). You could go so far with this… You could have families sign up to have visitors sit with them or invite them to lunch later.

The possibilities are really endless. If you had people signing up to come in, you could even create the script for your designated integration specialist depending on there circumstance. They might even call and say something like “you know, I understand you might be nervous attending the first time alone and that is 100% normal. What many of our first time guests do to feel more comfortable is to invite a friend, Is there anyone you can think of that you would like to invite, or that you would like me to reach out to for you?

As I called a around the local churches, here is what I found: half had automated recordings. If you are looking for service times and directions please hit #1. The other half were quick and short with sharing service times and directions.

So I have to ask If your receptionist/ministry director/pastor answered the phone and heard someone say, “hey I’m shopping churches and wondered what time you service is this weekend?” What would your “first touch” person say? Would they say ” Our service times are at…” or, would they say

“Wow, you picked a great weekend to come in!”

“With your permission I’d like to ask you a few questions so that I can get you all the information you need to have a fantastic experience?”

Then would they help to assess the needs of the perspective attender and make sure that the right people had their name and information? Would he or she not only be able to answer questions about the mens, women, singles, youth ministries, etc… but be able to effectively promote these groups as well?

Would they say something to the effect:  “It is really important to us as a family that you feel comfortable on your first visit; would you mind sharing some of your likes and dislikes at the previous church(es) you attended?”

Do you see how this changes things? What If you were right in the middle of a capital campaign and the person was complaining about “the other churches just talked about giving money” would the person that answered the phone know how to walk them through your churches financial stewardship responsibilities in a way that was palatable, or maybe even exciting?

Of course, I haven’t even touched on the incredible follow up calls and systems that could be put in place…  Truly, the possibilities are amazing for narrowing some of the cracks that people slip through.  Although the idea of growing the church is attractive, the idea of affecting those that are having a hard time connecting should be so much more attractive.  I believe that we can do much better in gathering the sheep without a shepherd than we have in the past.

At this point you are probably either fully convinced that I should just stick to selling cars (ouch) because God grows the church and there is no place for secular techniques. Or, maybe you are thinking we might just be able to do things better, and in which case, your mind is probably roaring ahead.

If you would like to roar ahead with me, I am going to work on putting together some information to try to help the church  be more effective with their perspective visitors.  I would love your input or at least some people to bounce ideas off of. If you are one of those people comment below and we will connect and see where God takes this.

Is it Better to Teach or Preach

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So, I guess I should start by saying that this is a real question… I would really like to hear your opinions and thoughts.

So here is my history in a nutshell. When I first started attending Church, I went to a church that although the Pastor taught book by book, he really wasn’t a teacher (he would say he was though). He was a full-fledged Preacher, when you left church you were motivated and enthused. You left passionate about God and the Church and you generally felt full of Faith. At this point this was my only experience and I loved it.

A few years later I moved to Tucson Arizona and plugged right into another Church that taught verse by verse and line by line through the Bible. Well I found my experience very different to say the least. I was no longer sitting under a preacher that stirred your heart and emotion but found myself sitting under a teacher that was an exegetical surgeon. The Bible itself became a treasure chest of wisdom as I learned how to study and apply the Word myself.

Don’t get me wrong in thinking that one was better or worse. I feel amazingly blessed to have had both. I think I needed them both when I had them. And although I the first was an amazing orator, there was no way I could leave his teaching and pass it on to others. Gosh I remember him giving stirring messages on more than one occasion on one word!!! Who does that?

On the other hand, when I moved to Tucson I found myself taking copious notes and emailing them to friends. Although this Pastor maybe lacked passion in his presentation. He more than made up for it in making the message clear, graspable and reproducible. He was a scripture interprets scripture guy and if I heard it once I heard it a million times, “context, context, context”. It was his teaching that really exemplified the teach a man to fish feed him for a lifetime saying.

Here is the catch though, although my personal preference is to sit under a “teacher” It seems like the preachers are growing the large churches and making a difference at least short-term in a way that most of the teachers aren’t. Do you think that culturally what we need are the preachers to inspire and build community. To boldly proclaim the Gospel and attract the masses. Or do you think that we need teachers that maybe don’t attract the masses but develop disciples that are able to sit down with a friend at a coffee shop and to explain about God’s redemption using the Word of God (I am obviously stereo typing here to make a point, this isn’t exclusive teaching church but maybe more probable).

I know that the easy answer is we need Pastors that do both… But even these men drift one way or another. Some of my favorite orators can do both but lean one way or another. Take Mark Driscoll for example, I think Mark leans a little more preacher than teacher say maybe 60/40 Preacher Same with a guy like John Piper. While I think Matt Chandler is opposite leaning to say 60/40 Teacher. Tim Keller is one that is close to dead center 50/50 , but most pastors lean way more one way or the other. I love guys like Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Judah Smith, John MacArthur, and Rick Warren to name a few. These are all amazing Pastors but I think they may lean one way a little heavy or another when they speak.

Is there a right or wrong here or it just preferential? Should pastors know where they lack and try to supplement through ancillary programs. Or is this just part of the age-old attraction vs discipleship argument?

So is your Pastor a Teacher of Preacher? here is a test… Take a pad of paper to church on sunday or pull up your churches latest podcast and take notes. Now can you take your note open your bible and give  that message in a way that makes sense to a friend, It’s okay to fumble through a not have the cool jokes witty one liners, But can you take the basic message utilizing the text of the Bible and reproduce it to friend?

I think at times this is a good question for a Pastor to ask… Are your messages simple enough to pass on? Do you feel so much pressure to perform and entertain that you are missing the structure to develop your people. And on the other hand. Are your sermons just a theological class that lack any personal connection or enough passion to be believable or contagious?

Pastors, I would love to hear how you maintain both if you feel like you have a good balance?

Or if anyone wants to share a link to some of your favorite teachers I’d love to take a listen.

No More Ministry Silos!!! (Developing Congruence & interdependence in Ministry)

So I have been reading The Accidental Creative: How to be brilliant at a moments notice. And let me say it is a great book. Author Todd Henry tortures you through the first four chapters, revealing so many familiar time, energy, and creativity misappropriations, it makes you a little bitter (haha). But in the remainder of the book he really starts to unpack some great practical ways the stimulate your creative abilities… love it!!!

Here is one of the key concepts that really hit me, The idea of Intelligent adjacency.

This is a concept that you see used in retail management, It means placing complimentary items next to each other, like toothbrushes and toothpaste, so that  when a customer finds one item, the proximity of the complimentary item makes it more likely they will buy both…Of course we have all see it every time we walk into the store.

What Todd does then is talk about an assortment of ideas in which you can use intellectual adjacency (grouping intellectually similar ideas and task together to your advantage)… Things like scheduling meetings back to back so you don’t have idle time in between where you won’t really be able to really engage in any significant productivity. (he brings great ideas to the table, I just don’t want to give them all away… So go get the book!!!

As I was contemplating all the great ideas as well as all the time and creative energy I’ve wasted in my life (boooo). I started thinking about how all of this applies to ministry. Certainly there is much to learn about grouping activities into intellectual streams and leveraging our time, but I can’t help but think there is a different type adjacency that we could develop.  What about conceptual adjacency.

Consider this, one of the biggest complaints by those that work in the Church is Silos.  How often do you hear “We are all working on developing our own Silos. Everyone is just working on their own ministry.” And although there may be successes, It is only short sighted. Usually the church as a whole suffers. There are a number of different potential causes and dysfunctions that can attribute to the Silo Crisis, however I think one of the main culprits  is a lack of conceptual adjacency.

Here is what I mean. lets reconsider the toothpaste isle. But instead of dental hygiene products lets bring in our ministries… Men’s, Women’s, Small groups, Outreach, Mission’s, Youth, Teaching, Discipleship, Greeting the list goes on and on.

So what fits together? (Try grabbing a paper and mapping these out) In order to really do this well, your going to have to wrestle though the idea of conceptual adjacency. Consider some of the issues that you may run into while stocking you ministry isles. Say your wanting to get involved with Treasures (a Fantastic Ministry to the women in the adult entertainment industry). Where does this go, By outreach or by Women’s ministry. By Outreach this becomes something that you do, an activity or event.Place it  by the Women’s Ministry it’s part of who you area integration into the DNA of the women’s ministry. The adjacent association brings identity to who and what you are. What lies closest to your proclamation ministry; is it Discipleship? Are you an equipping  Church? Or maybe it’s Greeting, are you are hospitality Church? Then again maybe it’s mercy ministries, are you a Social Justice Church.

Your conceptual adjacency will help to align your ministries by your deepest perceived purpose and relations. This will help bring clarity to your staff and to your members.  Assuming you do this well, you will eliminate confusion and frustration that occurs so often when you see a church promoting a ministry in word, but in reality it’s conceptual adjacency is far from its intuitive place. Imagine if you walked into the supermarket looking for a toothbrush. You go into the toothpaste isle and where you would perceive that you would find a toothbrush you find candy. You go to the manager; “What gives here? They explain that they placed candy next to toothpaste to fight against tooth decay. They placed the toothbrushes next to the coffee to scrub away stains and the mouthwash next to garlic to help with bad breath…Is this wrong? Or is this just a store that has developed its rule of  adjacency through a reactionary concept? I think it would be different and confusing for awhile but over time you would understand the product placement by embracing the underlying concept. Is your underlying ministry concept bring confusion to your staff or members?

I’m not even saying that there is a right or wrong here.  What I am saying is that if you can start to understand your current conceptual adjacency that you are operating under. If you can communicate this adjacency to your staff and members; you will start to see interrelationship within your ministries and how a interdependence and congruency can be developed.

love your thoughts,

Blessings