Re-Post :: “Leadership Lessons From the Stage” by Drew Pederson

My good friend and former student, Drew Pederson, posted this the other day following a drama he was in.  great leadership lessons.  You can find the original post and follow Drew’s thoughts over at www.drewism.me.

Lessons from the Stage

This past weekend I had the privilege of playing a small part in our church’s Christmas play. It was a perfect role for me as it mostly involved walking around and making goofy faces. But going through the process of rehearsing and putting on a play brought to mind a few leadership lessons that I thought it would be worth writing down and remembering.

The first thing that makes drama a wonderful training ground for leadership is that the whole process is a dance with uncertainty. You have a script, you’ve practiced your lines and blocking over and over but in the end when you get out on stage you get what you get.  If someone flubs a line or misses a cue you have to run with it and keep going. Being on stage gets you into a state of forced adaptability where you are expecting things to follow the script but you must be constantly vigilant for changes or deviations and be prepared to react to them and keep things moving. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all approach leadership the same way?

The next thing that jumped out to me is that even the best of us are nervous. As we stood around backstage waiting for the play to start a few of us were discussing how nervous we felt when one of our actors (who has more acting experience than the rest of the cast combined) spoke up and said “Everyone gets nervous.” I don’t know about anyone else but it was very comforting for me to realize/remember that even the best of the best get nervous right before the big moment. It’s natural, it’s normal and it can be a great motivator. Ultimately, by the time you’re getting nervous about going on stage it’s too late to do anything about it anyway so it’s best to just focus and get out there and let it rip.

The last thing that I thought was noteworthy was the value of the cast around you.  After we had finished and things had gone reasonably well I heard an exchange between two of the actors backstage where one was thanking the other for helping her out when she forgot a line on stage.  ”You knew exactly what to say to get me back on track.” Because she knew not only her own lines but those of the people she was interacting with in the play, she was able to feed the other actor just enough to jog their memory and get them back on track. It’s an incredible feeling to be working with a cast or band or team that you know and trust enough that you don’t fear making mistakes around each other because you know that someone will have your back and be able to cover for you. That sort of trust is only developed through hours of practicing together and is hardened by actually walking through the fire of doing something a few times together. This sort of instinctual teamwork takes ages to develop but it’s an incredibly sweet spot to be in when you finally get there.

I’d encourage anyone to take a short detour out of their comfort zone and onto a stage at some point. It’s a great learning experience and you might even get to have some fun doing it.

Tools of the Trade, Part 2 – The Software I Depend On

Last week I focused on the “hardware” I use on a regular basis in ministry.  This week I want to focus on the daily productivity software I use to “get the job done.”

Microsoft Office.  Why MS Office?  Well, #1, because our church has put it on all of our machines.  I use Word and Excel every day.  I actually use Google Drive documents as well as Open Office and iWorks on my MacBook Pro, too.  But, only MS Office on my Widows machine has Publisher.  And that’s reason #2.  It certainly is not the best desktop publishing program in the world, but it is what they’ve given us and I’ve found it capable to do most of what I need it to do if I play with it some.  Couldn’t live without it.

GMail.  Our church made the switch to having our email hosted by Google and I couldn’t be happier with the way my email stays synced in Outlook (if I’m in the office), on my phone and tablet, and if I open a browser to go look at my email.  Everything always in sync.  Beautiful.

G-Tasks.  With our switch to Google Apps, I have slowly started walking away from Outlook, using it only fo
r email right now (slowly trying to teach an old dog new tricks).  Google Tasks and the G-Tasks web and device app lets me always keep my to-do list in sync between my desktop, laptop, home computer, phone, tablet, etc.  Couldn’t live without that to-do list and it staying in sync everywhere.

Google Calendars.   Just like the move I made away from Outlook’s tasks, I’ve done the same with calendars. Google’s calendar allows me to keep several calendars all at once and view others. I can also give different levels of access to them to whomever I like. And once again, they all stay in sync everywhere.

Google Reader.  Several years ago I wasted all kinds of time bouncing from website to website, blog to blog to see if there was anything that was of interest to me.  A good friend told me to start using Google Reader to pull in all of the content I was trying to read every day.  What an amazing time saver.  If there’s a blog that I want to see regularly, I subscribe in Google Read and it always gets delivered to me.  I can scan all those blogs every day and if there’s something that interests me, I read it.  I can file it away for later under Google’s labels that allow me to search.  I can stare it to read later.  Now I can get all kinds of great content delivered to me and chose whether or not it is important enough for me to read.  An amazing time saver that allows me to keep learning and growing.

Google Talk.  Google’s instant chat program works great for quick chats back and forth between colleagues, friends, other leaders, and missionaries around the world.

Google Chrome.  I still like Mozilla Firefox but most of my web browsing is done in Chrome.  It is so simple, so fast, so intuitive.  The tabs are great (I know, everyone else is doing it now, too).  I love being able to “pin” tabs so that they always open every time I open the browser.  Another huge time saver.  And you can sync your browser across computers and other Google Chrome browsers.  When I log into Chrome at home, all of my bookmarks from my office PC’s Chrome browser show up there.  Same with my MacBook.  Google is getting even better with the sync, too.  What you have open on one machine will automatically be open when you pop your browser open on your phone, tablet, at home, etc.

Evernote. If you don’t use Evernote, you are missing one of the greatest productivity tools out there.  Think note pad, filing system, web clipper – all wrapped up in one.  It is the best place out there to take notes, copy notes and file notes.  Searching is so simple.  Tagging is equally simple.  You create as many different notebooks as you’d like.  The place your stuff in them.  I keep notebooks in Evernote for IT stuff I do here at the church, my Middle School Ministry, High School Ministry, staff meetings, illustrations, message ideas, quotes, personal stuff.  The potential is endless.  Best part – it’s free . . . at least up to 60MB per month of info uploaded.  You can pay if you want more.  Share our notebooks with family and colleagues.  if you’re not using Evernote, give it a try. You’ll never go back.  Oh yeah, and it syncs to all of your devices, too – apps for iOS, Android, mac, Windows.

Tweetdeck. My Twitter client of choice, it manages all three of my Twitter accounts (this one, my @leadership__101, and our student ministry’s @aucyouth).  There are hosts of twitter clients out there.  A friend got me started on Tweetdeck and it works well for me.

Dropbox. Cloud storage that syncs and couldn’t be easier to use.  I find myself using cloud storage more and more.  Also using Box and Google Drive.  Of all of them, I prefer Dropbox and it’s simplicity.

WordPress. All of my blogs (this one, leadership 101, our student ministry, etc) run through WordPress.  It works well, is simple, has free options, has apps for all of your devices so you can edit from anywhere.  Need a website or just want to blog, WordPress is the simplest way to go.

Next time I’ll discuss some of the software I use for ministry specific tasks.  In the meantime, what software/apps do you use to be more productive that I’m missing?

Tools of the Trade – The Hardware I Use

Every now and then I see folks post the tools they use to “get the job done” in ministry.  For some reason I always find myself gravitating to these posts to see if there are any tools that I’m missing that could enhance the ministry.  I figured that I would throw the stuff I use out there.  Maybe this will help you.  Maybe you can comment and suggest better tools for me to use.  The goal: To help each other do what we’ve been called to do and do it well.  This will be a series of three posts over the next couple of weeks covering hardware, general productivity software & apps, and specific ministry software.

Hardware

  • Desktop Computer – Dell OptiPlex 390 (Core i3 w/ 8 GB RAM, running Windows 7 Professional).  This is my main office PC.  I use it because our church uses Windows machines.  I find it works well for my daily work.
  • Laptop Computer – 13″ MacBook Pro (2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo w/ 4 GB RAM, running OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion).  I jumped into the world of Macs about three years ago.  It is fast, was much thinner and lighter than comparable Windows machines back then, and did things like video editing so much easier.  I use it for traveling, at home, around the church, in meetings, and of course I still use it for all of my video editing work.  I am actually planning to upgrade this machine in the coming months to a newer 13″ MacBook Pro.
  • Motorola Droid 2 phone.  So i really wanted to move into the world of the iPhone two years ago.  But as a Verizon Wireless customer for many years, I simply got tired of waiting for Apple to release an iPhone on Verizon (which they finally did about 3-4 months after I stopped waiting).  So I went with the Droid 2.  I really like the Android platform and have thoroughly enjoyed this phone.  However, I am looking forward to upgrading some time over the next few weeks as I renew my contract.  Looking seriously at the Motorola Droid Razr M or Motorola Droid Razr HD.  I just can’t move to an iPhone now that I’ve experienced the Android OS.
  • HTC Flyer 7″ tablet.  Yes, this is also on the Android operating system.  I planned to get an iPad but just didn’t want something that big.  All of my friends tried convincing me that I did want one that size, but after playing with several, as beautiful as they were, I just didn’t want a tablet that big.  I wanted something smaller around 7″.  Loving the Android OS on my phone, getting an Android tablet was a no-brainer.  The 7″ format is perfect for preaching from (about the same size as a half sheet of paper which is what I used before), reading from on my Kindle app, using at meetings, and hitting up a website when there’s no laptop around.  It’s WiFi only which is all I need since our church and house are all WiFi enabled as are most places I’d go to sit and chill for a bit.
  • iPod Classic.  Gotta be able to have music for youth events and when I need to relax.  160 GB.  Plenty of room for that without all of the extra stuff that my phone and tablet handle for me.

Those are the five main pieces of hardware that I use as tools for ministry.  Yes – I am an equal-opportunity-OS-user (2 Apple products, 2 Android products, 1 Windows product).  My motto – use what works and works well for you.  What about you?  What are you using that I’ve missed? Or why are you using something different?

Lessons Learned From Cycling About Aging In Ministry – Part 4

Back on Monday I began writing about some of the lessons I had learned about aging in ministry while out on a bike ride with a good friend in Lancaster.  Today I conclude those thoughts with part four, and focus on two final thoughts that came to me that day.
We All Go Through Seasons and Can’t Expect To Always Ride the Same Way
I returned to cycling back in 1997ish.  I rode a bunch in high school and a little in college but then stepped away for a while.  At the nice young age of about 29-30, a friend of mine, Walt, informed me that instead of driving to the shore with his family and ours,for the week, he was going to ride down. I asked if he was riding a bike there (about 60-65 miles).  He said, “yes.”  I didn’t know Walt to ride regularly so I asked him if he did.  He said he hadn’t ridden much in about 5 years but thought it was going to be a nice week and was going to give it a shot.  Being young and foolish and still in decent shape, I told him I’d ride with him.  We both made it without much trouble.  It was a great and my door back into  the wonderful world of cycling.  Fast forward about fifteen years.  I can’t just jump on a bike after a year or even a month or two off and throw down 60 miles. It doesn’t work that way any more.  A Similar reality manifests itself even throughout a normal season.  Some days you can ride longer and harder.  Other days you just don’t have the time or the energy.  As I’ve gotten older as a cyclist, I’ve realized that I need to stop beating myself up for not being able to do what I once was used to or even what I was able to do last week.  We all go through seasons and we should fool ourselves into thinking that we don’t change with the seasons.
The same is true as we get older in ministry.  I simply cannot run at the same pace I used to when I was 20.  Not as far.  Not as long.  Not as fast.  And that’s OK.  They key is learning to read and understand the seasons we are in so that we can properly pace ourselves and still get to the finish line.  There are always seasons that are crazy and hectic in ministry, certainly there are in youth ministry.  And there are some that get that way for your family, too.  We need to learn to read them and run them properly.  For instance, I’m learning that I can run in ministry at an almost full-out sprint for about 4-6 weeks straight.  But after that, I need to rest, take it slower, exhale for a week or two or three before I can pick up the pace again.  So I build those seasons into our calendar – slower ministry times or vacations follow fast-paced, leave-it-all-on-the-table periods of ministry.  In fact, our youth calendar is just now hitting a slower pace after the start of the new year and before the holiday schedule begins to consume life again.  As I settle in for a few weeks while I recover and prepare for the next sprint, I will head off for a few days of vacation with my son and my brothers and then a week with my wife.  Seasons require run-walk-run-rest . . . We weren’t designed to sprint the entire race anyway, and as we get older in ministry we need to learn how to read and manage these seasons well if we are to keep from burning out.
The Right Accessories Make Riding Better
OK, moment of complete honesty: cycling clothes are not flattering, especially on guys, especially on older guys, especially on guys who are ripped.  Spandex is not flattering on most people.  But, if you want to ride better and longer and with a lot less pain, discomfort and other side effects, you’ll ride in those spandex cycling short with the padding, you’ll wear a goofy helmet to protect yourself, and you’ll wear those weird shirts so you can actually stuff things like snacks into those pockets so you can easily access them while riding.  Can you ride without the right clothes?  Yes.  Can you ride better (overall better) with them? Yes.
What are we “putting on” as we grow older in ministry?  Are we “putting on” God’s Word? The Fruit of the Spirit?  or are we still comfortable in trying to do it all in our own strength?  I know, we’re never supposed to do it in our own strength regardless of our age.  But let’s be honest.  When we’re younger, we have a tendency to start out that direction.  We’re young – we can make this happen.  Hopefully as we’re growing older in ministry, we’re maturing as well.  And part of that maturity process involves seeing that we really need more and more time in the Word, that we need to walk in the Spirit, that we need Him to fill us every day, that we need to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit.  It doesn’t just happen and without it, we won’t be able to minister well and there’ll be more “pain.”  As we grow older we are hopefully learning to put on the right stuff so we can serve, shepherd, lead better.
Well, that’s what I came up with during that ride with Jeff out there in Lancaster.  That day taught me a few valuable lessons about aging as a cyclist but helped remind me of even more valuable things as I continue to grow older serving our God.  The goal is to finish well.
What lessons have you learned about aging in ministry?

Lessons Learned From Cycling About Aging In Ministry – Part 3

Yesterday I spent some time talking about my bike and some of the reminders it has lent me concerning aging in ministry.  As I look at the next two parallels that came to mind on that August ride with Jeff, the first one beckons back to the bike itself.
Stop Looking To Always Upgrade Your Ride & Enjoy The One You Have
I mentioned yesterday that the Cannondale that I am currently riding is about 15-20 years old.  Now, I am like most guys.  I like toys.  I read Bicycling magazine every month.  I go to bike shops.  Yes, I drool over those sweet carbon frames that weigh less than the jeans I’m wearing today.  My eyes get big when I see these new, sleek, gorgeous, shiny bikes.  I sit and think about how I can come up with $3000 or more to buy a new bike – one that is certainly more bike than I need. But, they’re so sweet. Lust is always a problem for guys.  And I’m not even talking about women.  We lust and we covet new stuff, new toys, new gadgets.  We tend to like stuff.  And in that sin we tend to forget to be grateful for the things that God has provided.  I don’t need a $3000 bike (after all, $2000 would really buy just about what I want).  My Cannondale is perfectly fine and a huge improvement over the steel-framed Trek I had.  And the wheels I have – they’re good, too.  So are the Shimano 105 components.  I really don’t need $1000 wheels and Dura-Ace equipment (if you’re not into cycling, just ignore the tech talk).
Why is it that even in ministry, we tend to always think the grass is greener somewhere else (someone once said the reason the grass looks greener is because there’s a lot more manure spread there)?  Why do we always think that, especially as we get older, that we better make some moves to “move up” before it’s too late?  Maybe we need to learn and practice contentment.  Maybe we need to bloom where we’re planted.  Maybe we need to let God move when He wants to move, and otherwise stay put and enjoy the ride He has put us on.  Let’s stop looking to always upgrade.  You know, every upgrade costs something – time, energy and money.
Having Someone Riding With You Who Knows The Way Is Helpful
I lived in Lancaster for a year and a half.  I didn’t do much exploring during that time.  I was too busy finishing up schooling to be out riding a bike around.  So as much as I love riding in Lancaster because it is so peaceful, I really have no idea where I am going out there unless I’m on a major road.  I could mount my phone to the handlebars and get the GPS going.  But riding with someone who knows where he is going is much more helpful.
As those of us who are getting older in ministry, we have an obligation to help show the way to those behind us who are younger.  On the other hand, we need to be engaged with someone who is older than us and has gone before us and can help us figure out where we’re going.  I think it behooves us to always find ourselves being mentored and mentoring at the same time.
Well, tomorrow is my day off so I won’t be posting the fourth part of these lessons.  But look for them on Friday as I try to unpack the parallels between cycling and aging in ministry by looking at ::
Seasons and Accessories

Lessons Learned From Cycling About Aging In Ministry – Part 2

Yesterday I began writing about some of my thoughts about cycling and aging in ministry from a ride with a friend back in August.  As we rode along that day, we passed very few cars.  In fact, I’d guess that, with the exception of the one main road we crossed, I saw less cars on the rest of that ride than I see in the first half mile when I ride at home.  It is so much more relaxing riding out in Lancaster.  The one thing we did see more of than cars (or even Amish horses and buggies), were other cyclists.  One thing you should know about me and Jeff.  Neither of us ride the latest and greatest rigs.  In fact, they’re both pretty old.  Jeff rides an old steel LeMond with Campy equipment.  My ride is one I ended up snagging from one of our former pastors here at the church when he upgraded.  Its a 15-20 year old aluminum Cannondale.  Its got some corrosion going on under some of the paint, but it’s stiffer and snappier than my former steel Trek 370 of about the same age.  As I pushed along over the rolling hills on my Cannondale, some thoughts about equipment and ministry came to mind.
Cycling Requires Maintaining Your Equipment
To keep your bike going and in good riding shape, there is regular maintenance that you must keep up with.  Stuff like keeping your chain well lubed, making sure your tires are in good shape, keeping bearings greased, maintaining tire pressure, etc. In addition to the regular maintenance, riding an older frame that has some corrosion going on, it is imperative that I regularly check the frame for cracks or other problems that may arise.  Ignoring any of these regular checks could result in a major crash or accident.
The parallels in ministry are probably obvious.  We must maintain our relationship with the Lord.  We must be students of the Word.  We have to prioritize time in prayer with our Father.  In addition, we need to make periodic checks of our lives to make sure that there are no cracks that need attention.  Far too many youth workers have crashed and burned because they don’t check for those cracks.  Those cracks can be major such as lust or as “minor” as anger or an argumentative spirit or even a lack of maturity when it comes to what should be left unsaid or unpublished in the social media world.  Even those little cracks can cause catastrophic results.  personal leadership in this area of maintenance is essential for youth workers.
Sometimes Your Equipment Has To Change With You
When I got back into cycling about 16 or so years ago, I went out a bought a new road bike – my Trek 370. Being in my late-20s, I slowly upgraded that bike to reflect what I had hoped I would become as a cyclist.  I put on racing gears.  I got a handlebar stem that got me low and stretched out.  I thought I would be riding hundreds of miles a week and be in amazing shape.  It was quite the little fantasy world I was living in.  Youth ministry and it’s crazy schedule prohibited me from putting on hundreds of miles every week.  Living in the Northeast also keeps that from happening year round.  And then kids came along and fatherhood ate into saddle time.  I never did ride myself into the shape I had fantasized about.  And now 16 years later, in my mid-40s, my back is stiffer and my knees always ache.  I don’t want to push those stupid racing gears up a hill anymore tearing up my knees and my legs.  My back can’t handle that low, stretched-out position for all those miles anymore.  So when I got the Cannondale a year or so ago, I started making some changes to that as well.  First, a wider cassette in the rear to allow for easier gears when climbing hills.  The stiffer aluminum frame helps climbing as well. Next will be a compact crank. Second, a more upright stem to relieve some of the pressure on my back.  Fitting the bike better to where I really am at has actually helped me ride stronger now than I have in years.
As we age in ministry, we need to change.  Times change.  We change.  Culture changes.  Students change – often times from year to year.  Riding the same old programs, doing things the same way we’ve always done them just isn’t going to work.  Resting on what we studied and read fifteen years ago when we were in Bible college or seminary just doesn’t cut it.  Many leadership gurus will tell you that leaders are learners, and the moment you stop learning, you stop leading.  We can’t do what we did fifteen or twenty years ago.  Things have changed.  Hopefully you’ve changed, too.  Adjust. Keep learning.  make sure what you’re doing fits who you are today and the reality of the world you do ministry in today.
Tomorrow we’ll continue looking at some of these parallels between cycling and again in ministry that I discovered on that beautiful ride in August.

Lessons Learned From Cycling About Aging In Ministry

Back in August while my family and I were on vacation, we spent a day or two with some good friends out in Lancaster, PA.  Jeff and I took advantage of one afternoon and went out for about a 30 mile bike ride together through the beautiful and serene landscape that is Lancaster County – farms, rolling hills, covered bridges, hardly any traffic.  It was a great workout but, at the same time, a relaxing ride.
As I rode along, I enjoyed good conversation with a friend I don’t see nearly enough.  But there were also times of quiet as we just churned out the miles.  In those quiet moments I started thinking about everything that I loved about cycling.  At the same time I was thinking about ministry and I started seeing some life/ministry lessons that I could learn from my ride and from cycling in general.  So over the next several days, I will try to make some sense out of those thoughts that percolated in my mind that day as we rode along.
Cycling with friends is more fun than riding alone.
I usually ride alone.  But every now and then I ride with someone else – like Jeff on that beautiful day this past August, or with my wife (now that she’s messed up her knee and isn’t supposed to run), or my buddy, Wayne.  There’s nothing like rolling along and enjoying good conversation, laughing, and even struggling together up a climb.
Ministry is the same way.  It is much more fun when you do it with others.  I spent some of my very early years in youth ministry doing it alone.  Twenty-seven years later I couldn’t imagine ever doing ministry alone again.  The friendships, laughs, memories that are made with others as you serve together are priceless.  The struggles that you go through together make each of you stronger.  There is no room in ministry for Lone Rangers.  It is much better, much more fun doing youth ministry with others.  Don’t cheat yourself of that joy.
Tomorrow: Maintaining your equipment, and growing with your equipment.

7 Words of Encouragement to All of My Youthworker Friends

We all know the Monday-morning frustrations as youthworkers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re paid or you’re a volunteer. Mondays can be tough.  The weekends are long, usually laced with hours of teaching and other youth events, not to mention family and other obligations.  We’re tired come Monday morning but no matter how tired we are, our jobs still call on us to be there and to get to work. In the midst of the weariness, we can often go through long droughts wondering if we’re having any real impact in the lives of students.  Let’s face it – students don’t offer a lot of gratitude or encouragement all of the time.  We don’t always see a lot of fruit, either.  And I know, that’s not why any of us are in it.  We’re not in this gig because we want praise (at least that better not be the  reason we’re in it!).  But the reality of the weariness, coupled with the lack of fruit (not to even mention the sometimes upset parent or board member) can leave us with a feeling of despair wondering if all of the time and effort are worth it.

Let me offer you seven words on this Monday afternoon: Don’t Stop. Don’t Give Up. Keep Going.

You are making a difference.  You are.

We never know when those notes or words of encouragement will come, or when the light will come on for a student, or when we will catch them “finally” getting it.  But those days will come and I promise you – you won’t want to miss them!

I received a really short email yesterday from a college student that simply made my year and reminded me of exactly what I’ve said above.  It is worth every ounce of energy and time that we pour into students.  You are impacting lives for Christ.  They are hearing you.  They need you in their lives.  Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Keep going.

As a way of encouragement to all of you who labor week in and week out, year after year, ministering to and shepherding students, let me share the note I received.  May it serve as a reminder and an encouragement to you to keep on keeping on.

Hey Rich,

I just wanted to say thank you for being a great teacher. I’m in some Bible studies here on campus and I’m realizing that everything I’m saying in discussion time is stuff that I’ve learned from you through Wednesday nights, ministry team meetings, missions trips, etc. So thanks for how big of an influence you’ve been in my life in preparing me for college and the self-discipline that comes along with that. I miss you and hope everything is going well at AUC!  :)

Thanks for loving students and serving them!  May God send you reminders this week of the ways in which you’re impacting those you serve.

A Renewed Perspective As We Start A New Year. Thanks tobyMac!

Just downloaded the new tobyMac album, Eye On It, from iTunes today.  As I was sitting, plugging away at the Task List for the day, a song near the end of the album caught my attention.  The song is “Steal My Show.” If you haven’t gotten the album yet, here is the song and the lyrics.

Another cold night
Another late flight
It’s almost show time, and diverse city is waitin’ on me
We got a packed house, the crowd is callin’ out
They want the beat to drop, but what we really need is You

(Chorus)
If You wanna steal my show, i’ll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can’t wait to watch You go-o-o-o
So take it away

So now the crowd is hype, that You showed up tonight
Anticipatin’, cravin’, somethin’ more than smoke and lights
So i’ll step out the way, I’ll give You center stage
Alright, Spotlight give ‘em what they came for

(Chorus)

When You arrive, we come to life
Our hearts collide, they’re beating in the same time
You’re comin’ through, all eyes on You
Our hearts collide they’re beating in the same time,
Beating in the same time

No matter who we are, no matter what we do
Every day we can chose to say

(Chorus)

My Life, my friends, my heart, It’s all yours, God, take it away, my dreams
my fears, my family, my career, take it away, It’s all yours, God
Take it away, take it away, It’s You I wanna live for

I got thinking about how much time we as youth leaders pour into planning meetings, planning events, trying to make sure that everything and every part of “the show” is just right.  And I don’t think the motives are usually wrong.  We want to see students coming.  We want to see students being introduced to the Lord.  We want to see students growing closer to the Lord.  After all, this is why we all do what we do – whether vocationally or voluntarily.  But I know, at least for me, I often get so caught up in “the show” and pulling it off that I forget to invite God (maybe its really that I don’t want to let Him) steal the show.  Pray for His blessing? Yup.  Work hard preparing? Yup. Invite Him to steal the show and throw it all out the window to do what He wants? Haven’t prayed that one in a long time.

Praying that God will help me learn this as I am preparing for a new year.

If You wanna steal my show, i’ll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can’t wait to watch You go-o-o-o
So take it away

My Life, my friends, my heart, It’s all yours, God, take it away, my dreams
my fears, my family, my career, take it away, It’s all yours, God
Take it away, take it away, It’s You I wanna live for

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Reading through Matthew I’m struck by the contrast of two men.

On the one hand we have Herod who is insecure, feels threatened by the thought of another potential leader emerging.

Then there’s John the Baptist who is secure, so humble and who exudes strength from that humility.

What kind of leader are you?  Are you a Herod or a John the Baptist?  One is concerned with and builds his kingdom while the other is concerned with and build The Kingdom.