Adam McLane http://adammclane.com changing the world one blog post at a time since 2004 Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:04:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 It’s About Measurables http://adammclane.com/2014/11/24/measurables/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/24/measurables/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:04:27 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15860 “Ministry isn’t about numbers.” There’s some truth to this. But it’s also a cliche. It’s a mischaracterization of reality that is absolutely killing youth ministry. You can’t read the book of Acts and say… “Yeah, it’s not about numbers.” You can’t check your belief about hell and conclude, “It’s not about numbers.” You can’t check […]

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“Ministry isn’t about numbers.”

There’s some truth to this. But it’s also a cliche. It’s a mischaracterization of reality that is absolutely killing youth ministry. You can’t read the book of Acts and say… “Yeah, it’s not about numbers.” You can’t check your belief about hell and conclude, “It’s not about numbers.” You can’t check your ecclesiology and decide, “It’s not about numbers.”

And, you can’t look at current movements in non-profit funding and conclude it’s not about numbers.

The Lie That It’s Not About Numbers

Ministry isn’t about numbers like Thanksgiving isn’t about turkey and stuffing. Yeah, sure… without it it’ll happen. But it won’t be any good.

At it’s heart, ministry isn’t about numbers but it is about effectiveness. And you’ll never be effective until you measure stuff.

Whether it’s articulated to you or not you are held accountable, not just for the quality of your ministry, but by your ability to create an effective ministry that reaches an appropriate amount of students for the amount of money invested.

Here’s what I experience: Youth workers who are frustrated, burnt out, feeling misunderstood, and sold out to the idea of “ministry isn’t measurable, it’s about relationships.” But when I press them, when I say… “If you were a board member and you spent $50,000 last year and the only measurable outcome is a few testimonials shared, a wishy-washy leader who can’t cast a vision for what they are trying to do, and a mission trip video… what would you do?

Literally, what would you do? If you were in their shoes and you weren’t getting the data you needed… You’d take measurements for that leader. You’d count butts in seats, it’s a default when nothing else is defined as measurable. You’d give them the benefit of the doubt for that season. And you’d ask them, “Hey, in the next year we’d really like to see a stronger plan for what you are doing.” (See the previous paragraph for what happens next)

Here’s what I know: Youth workers avoid defining measurables because their biggest fear is being held accountable for their ministries failures and their second biggest fear is that someone else in youth ministry is going to say, “Your ministry is all about numbers.

This isn’t kindergarten. Failure is an option.

And you know what? Those who say it isn’t about numbers usually aren’t trying to earn your paycheck from your church. You feel me? 

A lot of youth workers have got a very mid-1990s, cavalier attitude, about youth ministry. We think it should be funded because it’s important. (well, whipty-doh!) We want it to be funded but we don’t want to have a fundable plan.

Drop the cliche and get comfortable with this: People fund things that are effective. You don’t do ministry because of numbers. But you do get a paycheck because of numbers. (A paycheck is a number, am I right?)

Measure Effectiveness

Want to get funded? (cough, or even a raise of COLA?) Want to keep your job? The plan is simple: Lead your ministry towards measurable effectiveness. (Here’s a starter list of what to measure)

Bottom line: Ministries that thrive– measure stuff to get more and more effective.

Effectiveness isn’t about avoiding failure but it is about dealing with failures.

You won’t know you’re doing something ineffective until you begin measuring stuff. That’s what professionals do.

Not measuring effectiveness?

You’ve got 5 weeks until January 1st.

Get on it.


A Path Appears by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunnWant to learn about what people are giving to, funding, and excited about? I recommend reading Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn’s book, A Path Appears. It isn’t about people giving to church. But it is about celebrating and funding NGOs and NPOs that are embracing evidence-based programs that improve the lives of people all around the world. It’s a book I think every church leader in America should read to better understand modern, responsible giving

 

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Yik Yak Threats Are a Bad Idea http://adammclane.com/2014/11/21/yik-yak-threats/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/21/yik-yak-threats/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:04:22 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15846 CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8 [Link to the above video – I appear in a phone interview talking about the situation at Torrey Pines High School and Yik Yak, in general.] Yik Yak has a problem. The harder they try to market themselves as an app for college […]

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CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8

[Link to the above video – I appear in a phone interview talking about the situation at Torrey Pines High School and Yik Yak, in general.]

Yik Yak has a problem.

The harder they try to market themselves as an app for college students the more high schoolers they attract.

In fairness, they really have been a good digital citizen. 

They make it easy for law enforcement to contact them, they provide information to aid investigations when they receive a court order, and they went to great expense and effort to geofence off every middle and high school over the summer. They’ve even made it possible for school administrators to request geofencing or correct it.

And yet problems persist. The perception of anonymity gives some teenagers license to wreak havoc. Just like there were idiots who pulled the fire alarm every day at Hanau American High School when I was a junior in high school, the (child of) that same idiot will make threats on Yik Yak.

“You Are So Dumb”

You-are-dumb-you-are-really-dumb-fo-realIn the words of a great American, Antoine Dodson, I say this: If you think you can post an anonymous threat on Yik Yak and get away with it… You are so dumb.

Here’s What You Need to Know

All of the so-called anonymous and ephemeral apps point directly back to you. (Yik Yak, Snapchat, Whisper, Secret, etc) The only people that thinks things disappear or are anonymous are the users.

So if you are using these apps and thinking it’s all private or secure or anonymous, recognize that this is merely a perception.

There is no such thing as privacy or anonymity online, only the perception of privacy or anonymity. 

Here’s Some Reasons Yik Yak Threats Are a Bad Idea

  • To create an account you need a valid email address. Oops. 
  • Even if you use a fake or “anonymous” email address to create an account, the IP address associated with your account points back to you. (Learn about IPv6 — “Every device on the Internet is assigned an IP address for identification and location definition.”) Oops. 
  • Most people are too lazy for that so they login with their Facebook account. Oops. 
  • With Yik Yak specifically, the app simply won’t work if you don’t have the GPS on your phone activated for the app. (Location Services for Apple Users) So while a Yak posted my only show you a general area it’s posted from, the app recorded your exact location when you posted. Oops. 
  • When you post an image to something like Whisper or Snapchat… the image itself has TONS of metadata that points directly to your device and location. Oops. 
  • The data network on your phone is constantly pinging your location back to your service provider. Actually, the GPS on most phones actually works even if you have data turned off. In other words, if that phone is on, it’s logging your location within about 10 feet. Oops.
  • The cellular network on your phone connects to nearby towers each time you make or receive a call or send a text. While not as accurate as the GPS, it establishes that you are within a general area. Oops. 
  • Let’s say you think you are slick and use a VPN. Wanna know what? Your phone logs that you used that VPN. So if a threat came through a VPN and your phone used the same VPN? Oops. 

And do you know how hard it is to get all of that information? Not that hard if you are law enforcement. A court order, subpoena, or search warrant is all that’s needed. A little paperwork and the signature of a judge.

So, let’s say you make a threat about a school on an “anonymous” app. Within about two weeks you’ll discover that what you thought was anonymous was anything but that.

Far from putting on winter gloves and pulling the fire alarm in 1993, an online threat posted to Yik Yak or another so-called anonymous app leaves a digital footprint that easily establishes your guilt. All of this data is admissible in court. And all of this data will prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you did it.

 

Yes! I agree that it’s weird that I have to write this. It feels kind of obvious. But then again… every day a new story emerges of someone doing it. So, I guess this post really is needed.

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A Leg to Stand On http://adammclane.com/2014/11/20/leg-stand/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/20/leg-stand/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:27:21 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15841 Our high school small groups have a confidentiality rule. So I can’t get into the specifics of what happened last night, but I want to share something that happened last night in general terms. Brian, our high school pastor, kicked it off by asking one of our college-aged volunteers to come up and share a conversation they’d […]

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Our high school small groups have a confidentiality rule. So I can’t get into the specifics of what happened last night, but I want to share something that happened last night in general terms.

Brian, our high school pastor, kicked it off by asking one of our college-aged volunteers to come up and share a conversation they’d had. The gist was that Brian was celebrating that she had come to him with her questions… questions spurred on by her taking the initiative to read the Bible and write down her questions.

His point was to encourage students to keep reading this year’s framing content from the Simple Truth Bible. But when we got into our small group time the guys said something like, “Is that what we’re doing tonight? Asking questions?

My co-leader and I did the exact same thing when they said that… folded up the nice little paper we were given as the nights lesson and put it away. “Yup, if you have questions… let’s go.”

A Leg to Stand On

Over the next hour or so a room full of high school sophomores asked us really, really hard questions. As I’ve said over and over again lately… we can’t forget that high school students are reading Shakespeare, Plato, Twain, Hemingway, and other classic literature. (Um, when was the last time you read the classics?) They are being challenged to think deeply, to unleash their intellectual minds, and to ask hard questions of the text.

But at church, [church at large, not Journey] we have a movement underway that assumes the audience knows nothing and regularly dumb things down to an irreducible minimum level of intellectual understanding. In short… we take things which really aren’t that simple and try to make them simple, for a head nod and an amen and a box checked.

Last night was a reminder that students, if given the space, have really good, important, and honest questions. I was asked questions last night about things that I’d never even thought of!

But I’ll tell you what: As these guys were asking and going from rabbit hole to rabbit hole of theological and biblical questions I was happy to have a leg to stand on

See, I’ve done plenty of personal and group Bible study. I’ve taught the Bible for years. I’ve read way too many theology books. And I’ve heard approximately 2.5 million sermons.

But in that moment, when the questions were flying, I was relying on formal education and training.

I’m convinced that youth workers, paid and volunteer, need the rigors of formal education and training.

It’ll stretch you and deepen your own faith. And it’ll prepare you for the random (but very important) questions of students in your ministry.

  • That means churches need to invest in formal education.
  • That means they have to pay people right when they’ve been properly trained.
  • That means they need to encourage (and expect) formal education for lay leaders.
  • That means they need to stop dumbing down the Gospel or theology or Bible teaching to an irreducible “felt need.”
  • That means they need to posture themselves as a place of exploration and discovery.

Can I Ask That Student SQUAREI didn’t write this post with this in mind, but it came to mind as I was writing. If you’re looking to get students asking questions and exploring deeper stuff… I highly recommend checking out Can I Ask That? from our friends at Fuller Youth Institute. We are selling a ton of it on our website.

 

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Hump Day Realities http://adammclane.com/2014/11/19/hump-day-realities/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/19/hump-day-realities/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:38:40 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15838 You know it’s only Wednesday when… Kristen put her morning coffee in a travel mug so she could drink coffee in the shower. I put the half & half in the kitchen cupboard where the cups go. Breathe in, breathe out. The weekend is coming. 

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You know it’s only Wednesday when…

  • Kristen put her morning coffee in a travel mug so she could drink coffee in the shower.
  • I put the half & half in the kitchen cupboard where the cups go.

Breathe in, breathe out.

The weekend is coming. 

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Start-up Success: Big Heart, Big Ears, Tiny Head http://adammclane.com/2014/11/18/start-up-succues/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/18/start-up-succues/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:21:31 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15832 The Youth Cartel is my second start-up. My first, Youth Ministry Exchange, had acquisition in its DNA from it’s day one. Launched in 2005 and sold in 2008 we wanted to acquire as many users as possible, as quickly as possible. We wanted as much activity as we could get, as quickly as possible. The “why” of […]

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The Youth Cartel is my second start-up.

My first, Youth Ministry Exchange, had acquisition in its DNA from it’s day one. Launched in 2005 and sold in 2008 we wanted to acquire as many users as possible, as quickly as possible. We wanted as much activity as we could get, as quickly as possible. The “why” of that was simple. Get big and sell quick.

It was all heart and balls. 

We had no idea what we were doing.

And, my hope, was that we’d build it up and sell it rather quickly. Literally, that took 3 years. At the end of 3 years we’d grown like crazy, nearly collapsed because of the insanity of our structure, and regrouped enough to sell it.

Personally, as an owner, I learned a ton with YMX. I made some terrible mistakes along the way. But in those 3 years I got an MBA from the business school of life, kept it all legal, kept all our documentation, and managed to grow it enough to sell. We didn’t get rich off selling it. But we took something that we started for less than $100 in capital investment and sold it to a subsidiary of one of the largest media companies in the world.

Not bad for a first try!

A lot is different about the Cartel. But in a ton of ways, we’ve picked up from the lessons of YMX and built upon that success. Because of YMX I had a clue about structuring the business side, was a lot faster to keep the right documentation, and all of that.

One core difference between YMX and the Cartel is one of acquisition. We never built YMX to last because we had a short-term goal of building it up and selling it. The flip side is that, since the beginning, the Cartel has been designed to be “it” for Marko and I. We’re not interested in a 3-4 year build up to acquisition. Instead, we’re looking at how to build something that’ll last and be significant for a long period of time. We think we’re offering something that folks in ministry to adolescents need now and will always need.

The Garage

The Cartel is just about ready to outgrow it’s “garage” phase. American culture has a fascination with small businesses that got started in a garage. Companies like HP, Apple, and Microsoft had their earliest years in a garage. Our team is dispersed… so it’s more accurate to say the Cartel is in a Living Room phase. But, several hours per week I am quite literally in our garage working away. So I know that while it’s romantic to think of a start-up working out of a garage, in the moment it’s far from sexy. It’s sometimes 120 degrees in the garage. It’s always full of cob webs. And you just have to get used to people walking by and staring at you. “No, this isn’t a meth lab. We have a business license. Yes, the UPS truck really does have to come every day… sorry if it is loud.”

The point is sharing all of this is simply this: I’ve learned some things along the way. Not very many people can say they’ve bootstrapped two start-ups… and both of them have worked out.

3 Lessons for Those Thinking About Starting Up

Here’s 3 things I’ve learned from two successful start-ups that I think are universally transferable.

  1. Big Heart – You have to love what you are doing. You. have. to. love. it. But beyond love, you have to have a heart for what you are creating and the people whom you are creating for. Having a big heart means saying yes to the right things. And it also means saying yes to the wrong things sometimes because you need to make some sacrifices in order to pay the bills. I can’t tell you how many times with both YMX and the Cartel that we’ve had to go back to the heart of the matter. “What in the world are we doing right now?” To make it, you have to love what you’re doing, the people you are serving, and the vision for what you’re trying to do. Starting up ain’t easy. There are going to be times where you have to will it to succeed… and that comes only from the heart.
  2. Big Ears - If you’re “all heart” you are screwed. I can’t tell you how many start-up businesses and non-profits that I’ve seen fail because they started with all heart but were completely deaf. The earliest phases of starting up, you’ll hear from your friends. People will be super encouraging. They will love what you are doing. They will buy something or invest a little. But you need to be really careful with that because if you aren’t careful you can start listening to the wrong people. If you are really going to make it you need a big heart and big ears. What I mean by big ears is: You need to listen better than anyone you know. You need to listen to the advice of experts. You need to listen when someone tells you that you need help. You need to listen to that little voice that asks, “Um, think I need a license to do this?” Listening will save you so much pain when it comes to creating your start-up. But I find that having big ears goes further than just the operational side of things. You need to have big ears to really listen to what your target audience needs from you. Often times they’ll tell you they want something but really don’t. And the only way you’ll know what to do is to listen with big ears.
  3. Tiny Head – Starting-up is going to feel arrogant and selfish. Not because it necessarily is, but it takes some amount of brashness to strike out on your own and seek to make your ideas a reality. But you need to understand that if this thing you are creating is going to make it, it’ll be grow out of your humility and struggle where you are arrogant. This is particularly true beyond the initial start-up time of getting things going. Once you’ve launched and things start moving fast… if you’ve got a big head, it’ll be an anchor dragging you down. You have to constantly hold onto the heart part of your start-up but let go of your desire/need to make every decision. The best start-up leaders hold firmly to the heart of the organization but loosely to “how we get there” bits. Big head is death, tiny head is life.

These are 3 things I think you can take to the bank. Did you find this helpful? 

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Haiti Vision Trip 2015 http://adammclane.com/2014/11/17/haiti-vision-trip-2015/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/17/haiti-vision-trip-2015/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 18:28:28 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15827 I made my first trip to Haiti in February 2010, shortly after the earthquake that devastated much of Port-au-prince and it’s sister city Carrefour. In that first trip, amidst all of the devastation and loss of life, my life was forever changed by the undeniable sense that God was at work in Haiti’s darkest hour. […]

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I made my first trip to Haiti in February 2010, shortly after the earthquake that devastated much of Port-au-prince and it’s sister city Carrefour. In that first trip, amidst all of the devastation and loss of life, my life was forever changed by the undeniable sense that God was at work in Haiti’s darkest hour.

Over and over again the people I met with had a simple message: Do not forget about us. 

On the long journey back to Santo Domingo and flight home to San Diego I made a very simple promise to God: I won’t forget.

Over the past 5 years I’ve been back to Haiti several times. As I wrote about last spring, the work in Haiti has shifted from the immediate relief efforts and rebuilding to forming long-term, healthy partnerships to support the movement of God that was unleashed with the earthquake. (see all of my posts on Haiti)

Over the past 3 years we (The Youth Cartel) have been proud to partner with Praying Pelican Missions as we’ve sought to activate churches, young adults, families, and youth groups to come and partner with the local church on the mission field.  There’s a lot of chatter about the problems of short-term missions. And, quite frankly, there are a lot of unhealthy short-term mission trip opportunities out there.

That’s why Marko and I have taken so much time and gone so slowly, examining and re-examining PPM’s philosophy and on-the-ground actions. We’re sensitive to the reality that many mission trips do indeed “pimp the poor” or turn mission trips into “poverty tourism.” And, while it’s impossible to always be perfect, we’ve found PPM’s way of doing short-term missions to be great for North American participants while actually helping further the ministry of the local church in places they serve. (see When Helping Helps)

For me, the health that I’ve seen in PPMs work in Haiti is marked by their development and investment in local leaders. As you’d expect, when they first started working in Haiti they partnered with some people but trips were largely run and overseen by Americans. But as time has gone on it’s been awesome to see that leadership transfer over to Haitians. Local church leaders are hosting and leading teams, they are developing new partnerships with more and more churches, and they are behind the scenes doing everything from accounting to overseeing the various teams operationally. I think this symbolizes the health and vision of PPMs work there. They don’t just want to bring down North Americans for the sake of the North American experience. They also want to see their work more holistically, so it’s not just Good News for your team… but Good News for everything PPM touches. (From the bus drivers to the cooks to the part-time summer staff to the full-time staff to the pastors that they partner with.)

Your Invitation

I’m headed back to Haiti this April 11-14th and I’d like you to consider going with me. Together we’ll have the opportunity to visit with a whole bunch of PPMs church partners all around the Port-au-Prince area. (And as last years vision trip team learned… maybe even to a church partner on the other side of the island!)

Specifically, I am inviting you to come on the vision trip if…

  • You are considering a short-term trip to Haiti with PPM
  • You have a heart for Haiti and are interested in what it might look like to bring a team
  • You’ve heard about Praying Pelican and you’d like to check them out for yourself
  • You’re a ministry leader and you’ve had a bad international short-term missions experience and you need to cleanse your palette
  • You’ve felt called to minister in Haiti but are not sure where to start

Here’s how it works

We’ll arrive in Port-au-Prince on April 11th. You’ll book and pay for your own flight, but we’ll pick you up. (The new airport in Port-au-Prince is really nice!) We’ll get you oriented to Haiti, we’ll meet our hosts, and we’ll probably meet with 1-2 pastors. Sunday we’ll experience church in Haiti and then spend some time meeting other partners. All day Monday we’ll continue meeting with ministry partners and seeing the work PPM is doing. And Tuesday we’ll fly home.

What’s the cost? Basically, you pay for getting to Port-au-Prince and we’ll take care of everything else. (Housing, food, transportation) When you register you’ll pay a small deposit ($100-$150) that will be refunded when you arrive. We do this just to make sure you show up!

Where will we sleep, eat, etc? Most likely, we’ll stay at a church and eat most of our meals there. The “worst case” scenario is that we’ll stay at a hotel. In all seriousness, staying at a local church is really a highlight for me and I prefer it over a hotel. It’ll be pretty basic. But you’ll have a comfortable place to sleep, showers, and great food. (That’s one thing about PPM… you are guaranteed to eat very well!)

Safety, etc? Yup, all of that is taken care of. We’ll go over those details with the team before we leave. Needless to say, we’ll keep you safe and the PPM team knows what to do if something goes wrong.

Interested?

Fill out the form below and we’ll follow-up with you.

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From the NFL to the Farm: Good News in the Neighborhood http://adammclane.com/2014/11/15/nfl-farm-good-news-neighborhood/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/15/nfl-farm-good-news-neighborhood/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 14:48:09 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15823 video not working? Here’s the original post I think we just had a little church, gang. That’s Good News in the Neighborhood, right there. Amen Jason Brown, amen.

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video not working? Here’s the original post

I think we just had a little church, gang.

That’s Good News in the Neighborhood, right there.

Amen Jason Brown, amen.

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Is Jesus for those who aren’t ever coming to church? http://adammclane.com/2014/11/14/jesus-church/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/14/jesus-church/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:17:02 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15818 “Who is Jesus for?” This is what has been on my mind lately. A lot. It is a question that is haunting because of it’s implications. And the more I express it to my friends the more I realize that I’m not alone in this question. And I’m finding it’s a dangerous question to ask. […]

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“Who is Jesus for?”

This is what has been on my mind lately. A lot. It is a question that is haunting because of it’s implications. And the more I express it to my friends the more I realize that I’m not alone in this question.

And I’m finding it’s a dangerous question to ask.

So– today– I want to start at the beginning. I want to explore a question at the very foundation of what it means to be a Christian.

Is Jesus for those who aren’t ever coming to church?

As I talked about last week in my talk at The Summit, we have enough data to know that a relatively static percentage of the population will be a part of a local church. (Whether formally or informally)

In other words, there is a chunk of the population who will never come to church. It’s not that they haven’t heard of church. It’s not that they don’t know where to find one. It’s not that they haven’t been or anything else. It’s that they aren’t going to go to church.

I don’t mean to say that they won’t ever go to church. Like, forever and ever in their whole life. But what I am saying is that there are a whole lot more people who know all about church but simply chose to not go and have no intention of ever becoming part of a local church.

There are a myriad reasons for this and volumes of books and articles about who these people are and their reasons. That’s not the point of this question.

The question is… is Jesus for those people? 

Let’s say that 20% of the population of the United States is the maximum reach of all the churches in our country. Does that mean that the reach of the Gospel is limited to 20% of the population?

See, it’s an important question. I bet if I asked most of my friends in ministry to name a percentage of the population that they’d describe as a “theologically appropriate percentage of reach for the message of Jesus Christ” that it’d be a big number.

  • Some would say that Jesus is for everyone. (100%)
  • Some would say 100% should hear but that Jesus is for everyone who responds to the message of Jesus. (whoever%)
  • Some would say 90%.
  • Some would say 50%.

But few would say the low percentage that it actually is.

Does following Jesus mean you have to be part of a church? That’s somewhat theologically rhetorical, right? We would all agree that being a Christ follower does not require involvement in a local church. To believe that would mean you believed in faith in Jesus PLUS the works of church attendance.

But, if you talk to people who work in churches, is the answer any different? You bet it is. They’ll say things like “Well, we all need community.” or “Hebrews talks about not giving up meeting together.” or “If you want to mature in Christ you need to be part of a community of believers.”

That’s stuff that people who work at churches should say. And why do they say that? Well, church works for them and a whole pile of people in their lives, so it’s true for them even if it’s not true for others. (Heck, even if they don’t really believe it they feel like they have to say it because a church pays their bills.)

But, if you talk to people who used to work in churches, the answer is often very different. Kristen and I chose to be part of a church. In some [but not all] ways “it still works for us.” And more importantly, it works for our kids. But I know lots of people who used to work in churches who are, at best, loosely affiliated with a church. Are they still Christians? Absolutely. They just acknowledge what another silent group of Christians have known all along… church isn’t for everyone and I don’t need a church to do ministry or be ministered to any more than I need to go on vacation to experience rest.

See, the longer I’m outside of traditional church employment the more I see that there is a big chunk of the population that truly loves Jesus– or is interested in having a relationship with Jesus, what we would describe as someone seeking after Jesus– but has no interest whatsoever in being part of a church. Ever. 

That leads to two important questions, one we’ve already asked, and another one. 

  1. Is Jesus for people who won’t go to church?
  2. Who are we equipping to minister to this tribe of people?

I’m legitimately asking these questions. Please feel free to respond in the comments. 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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To Settle or Sriracha? http://adammclane.com/2014/11/12/to-settle-or-sriracha/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/12/to-settle-or-sriracha/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 16:50:09 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15813 We’ve lived in San Diego for 6 years. Moving here from Detroit I had little doubt we’d get access to great Mexican food. Truth be told, Detroit was mostly lacking in ethnic food options, so moving somewhere with a lot of ethnic diversity was a big win. But a pleasant surprise in moving here has been […]

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We’ve lived in San Diego for 6 years.

Moving here from Detroit I had little doubt we’d get access to great Mexican food. Truth be told, Detroit was mostly lacking in ethnic food options, so moving somewhere with a lot of ethnic diversity was a big win.

But a pleasant surprise in moving here has been discovering the incredible food from Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam.

I’m in love with pho. (pronounce like the first half of the “f” word) Pho is a simple Vietnamese dish, the base is a bowl of hot vegetable broth and noodles. You flavor to your personal taste with a plate of veggie condiments and a cut of meat. I like raw beef, the thinly sliced steak is served raw but cooks in the hot broth at the table. I’ll let Anthony Bourdain explain to you why it’s one of the best foods in the world.

The star of the show, in my opinion, is rooster sauce. Formally known as Sriracha by Huy Fong Foods, rooster sauce helps you flavor relatively bland pho as hot & spicy as you’d like it.

Sriracha is a Thai chili sauce that is a perfect mix of flavor and heat. Yes, it’ll absolutely make everything it touches hot. But it’s full of flavor, too. A small streak of Sriracha in my bowl of pho is just enough to bring all of the other flavors, the broth, the meat, the basil, the fresh jalapeño, and the sprouts together.

Settling Into Mid-Life

I’m 38 years old.

When I was 19, half a lifetime ago, I remember my psychology professor at Moody explaining the mid-life crisis. “You start to approach 40 and you realize… life is half over… and it’s not turning out the way you’d hoped. And you panic.

And you know what? I can look around at some of my cohort, folks I graduated high school and college with, and think: Yeah, they are settling.

By your late 30s you’ve experienced some triumphant moments and tasted true failure, maybe even the depths of misery. Maybe a marriage didn’t work out? Maybe you screwed up professionally? Maybe you thought you could live like the soul-less cast of Friends into your mid-30s without ill-effect?

Plenty of people sail through their 20s without curve balls. But no one gets through 38 years of life easily.

I understand settling. I do. I know it’s easier to find a manageable job, a mortgage, and look forward to a bi-annual trip to Florida.

But I didn’t dream of that as a 16 year old. I didn’t wake up for work at 3:30 am and go to class until 9:00 pm so I could settle for less.

Screw the mid-life crisis. I’m not settling any more now than I did then.

I don’t want to be a greying dork in my 40s who buys a Corvette to look cool.

Settling might be for some, but it’s not for me.

The Fight for Spice

Over the past few years Huy Fong Foods, the maker of Sriracha sauce, has been in a fight for survival. Their plant in Irwindale, CA had been under attack as residents complained about the odor produced in the manufacture of the famed rooster sauce. In response to complaints the local government labeled them a public nuisance and reserved the power to force them to close their doors.

The plant has been there since 1986.

It wasn’t that they were doing anything new or different, though their sales have increased every year.

It’s that they had new neighbors.

See, the problem isn’t the success of Sriracha. The problem is that their community has become inundated with settlers with nothing else to do but complain about the smell.

Their lives in the suburbs are disturbed by the success of rooster sauce to the point that they wanted the plant closed. 

And you know who won? The spice.

This is the problem of the mid-life crisis: When you wake up and the smell of where you are living is making you crazy you need to know something important: The smell has always been there. 

Don’t blame others when you’ve settled for something less, that’s misplaced care.

Instead, go after the dreams you had in 1986.

Fight for your spice. 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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Undervaluing People in the Age of the Sawzall http://adammclane.com/2014/11/11/sawzall/ http://adammclane.com/2014/11/11/sawzall/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 16:24:27 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15808 One thing that irks me is undervaluing a persons abilities in an organization. Here’s how it works: A rising star gets hired for a starter role. They dominate it. They do a great job and even make their job look easy. A few years of domination go by. A role opens up in leadership of that […]

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One thing that irks me is undervaluing a persons abilities in an organization.

Here’s how it works:

  • A rising star gets hired for a starter role.
  • They dominate it. They do a great job and even make their job look easy.
  • A few years of domination go by.
  • A role opens up in leadership of that organization.
  • That person gets their hopes up that their dominance in their role will have drawn the attention of others.
  • They are passed over for that role.
  • They realize that they’ll always be seen as someone filling their current role.
  • They move on to another organization.
  • The original organization suffers twice. Once because they are no longer dominating at that one spot. Twice because they missed out on a rising star who was passionate about their organization but left feeling burned.

“We just don’t think of that person in that way.”

That’s what people say when you ask them about that rock star person in their organization. They got hired at a specific role, not as a “leader.” And so, in the people that matters’ eyes… they’ll always be that role. 

Sawzall

Kristen: “What’s that?”

Me: “What?”

Kristen: “That. What is that for?”

Me: “It’s a Sawzall. Everyone has one.”

Kristen: “Um, we don’t need that. We rent our house.”

Me: “But it’s the 75th Anniversary edition. It’s limited.”

Kristen: “…”

Me: “Think of it like a hope chest. One day we’ll own a house and you’ll want me to take down a wall. This will be the perfect tool.”

Kristen: “…”

Me: “Are you saying you want me to put it back?”

Kristen: “We came here for light bulbs.”

There is No Ceiling

Centuries ago you needed a lot of money to chase your dreams. That’s just not true today. Anyone can start a business with a laptop and about 45 minutes on LegalZoom.com. You can start a legit 501 3c in your spare time over a couple weeks. You don’t need an office, you don’t need a big staff, and you don’t even need a pile of special skills.

My advice for those who wake up to the reality that their organization “doesn’t look at them that way” is simple: Buy a Sawzall.

We used to have to wait for doors of opportunity to open. We used to spend decades positioning ourselves for the right moment.

But today? You don’t have to wait.

When all the doors around you are closed and locked to your dreams go buy a Sawzall and make your own door.

p.s. If someone wants to buy me a Sawzall for me for Christmas. I’d appreciate it. 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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