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hmm... thoughts

4 Things Talent Can’t Overcome

Let me say this first– talent is overrated.

I’ll take someone driven, or visionary, or hard-working over just talented any day. I actually think we falsely label hard-workers or fast-learners or fail-fasters as talented all the time as a way to make ourselves feel better about our inadequacies.

That said, talent isn’t everything. In fact talent can lead to nothing quite easily!

Here are 4 things talent can’t overcome

  1. Laziness – It doesn’t matter how good you are at something, if you’re lazy and you don’t deliver on time or do the right things… you’ll fail every time.
  2. Bad timing –  This would be a horrible time to develop a talent on the accordion. Or get really good at writing code for the Palm Pilot. Success in the present age is about timing. It’s not good enough to be talented. You have to be talented at the things that people are looking for.
  3. Immaturity – Maturity brings the wisdom to know what to do with talent.
  4. Character flaws – No one cares how talented you are when you’re a jerk or a liar or if you step on kittens tails.

The other side of this coin is pretty fantastic. We all have something which could be labeled a talent. That’s the very nature of a free market society. I have skills/talents in one thing and you have talent/skills in another. So we trade goods. Or I trade your good for cash.

If we all had equal aptitude life would be pretty boring.

Categories
Church Leadership

5 Ways to Get Change Moving

You are crazy enough to think you can change the world.”

This was the negative criticism of my ministry nearly 10 years ago by an elder. I took it as a compliment.

When I read Revelation 2-3 I see that Jesus will not judge individual churches or communities of faith. That’s not what John saw. (Revelation 1:19) Instead,
I see Jesus judging entire towns based on both what they’ve done and where their hearts are collectively.
As we look forward to that future judgment, we as church leaders in each community cannot be satisfied with reaching 5%-10% of the population. A logical conclusion would be that how we are doing things will only result in reaching 5%-10% of the population going forward. Simply put, f we want to reach exponentially more we, collectively, must change.
Most people realize that. But they don’t actually know how to make change happen.

Here are 5 ways I make change happen:

  1. Present the facts, repeat them often, write them on the walls. Do your homework, get behind the evidence.
  2. Persistence. Be a bulldog. Don’t let the issue die. No isn’t an answer, it’s an opportunity to try a different approach.
  3. Stop the presses. If something is really important you need to stop everything else, at all cost. We can’t go on like this.
  4. Tell a great story. Remember, a well-told story is your most powerful weapon.
  5. Outwork everyone else. Know why everyone says hard work pays off? Because it does. You can’t ignore hard work.

 

Categories
Church Leadership

The Main Thing

focus-on-main-thing

Could you help me out? What’s the BIGGEST issue you are dealing with in your church right now? What’s keeping you up at night? DM or @ me.

Todd Rhodes tweeted this today. And his question perfectly emphasized what I’ve been thinking about the last few days. This Fall, I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to run around the country  for work and in the course of doing so sit down and chat with people from all walks of ministry life. Big churches. Little churches. Senior pastors. Volunteers. On fire. Burnt out. Rookies. Seasoned veterans. It seems like I’ve had a chance to get the pulse of a pretty good sample of people doing ministry today.

At some point in most of those conversations a single theme rang true: We need to spend less time on stuff that doesn’t really matter and focus more time on things that really change lives.

More specifically, ministry-people want/need/long to focus more intently on presenting Christ than anything else! They want to focus more on the “main thing” and less on stuff like building an amazing program.

It seems like the last 20-25 years of church ministry we elevated a ministry leaders value to “what else can you do?” as opposed to “are you a minister?” You’d hear things like “That person is a powerful leader of his staff.” “That woman runs the most efficient youth program in the world!” “He is an amazing worship leader.” On and on.

Those are all value statements about ministry program skills and not the “main thing.”

And people in full time ministry are pretty frustrated by it. We didn’t go into ministry to be valued by our skill set, did we?

I experience this all the time. People seek me out to talk about “how I can help their ministry” all the time. It’s because I have a skill and not because of who I am in Christ.

Certainly, it is nice to have skills that people seek out. (Don’t get me wrong!) But I’m often left wondering… “Do these people really think I’m all about social media, internet utilities, strategy, design?” I hope not. I hope they recognize that these are the means to an end. The reason I work so hard on these skills is to convey the most important message in human history! At the core of who I am is not a tech nerd. I want to be a nerd who passionately loves Jesus and wants to reach the lost. My skills are not my “main thing” and I shudder to think of others looking at me and thinking it’s my main thing.

To answer Todd’s question: I hope people lay in bed at night thinking about their ministry. I hope the Holy Spirit stirs them at 2:00 AM to innovate powerful things. But I also hope they aren’t wasting their time and sleep on stuff that isn’t the “main thing”.

Categories
hmm... thoughts

New Skills

A few times a weeks someone will introduce me by saying, “This is Adam, he’s a ____ [Joomla, WordPress, social media, start-up, online marketing, whatever else they think I’m good at, etc.] expert.” That makes me internally snort.

I’m completely self-taught. I don’t know the academically correct way to do just about anything. Poverty is the best trail to competence. All of my skills I owe to having to learn something in order to make something work. [Usually in a pinch] In all the things I’ve taught myself I have really been fortunate to find a friend willing to tutor me as I stumble to learn.

In the past month I’ve made the time to teach myself how to use Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Fireworks, and Adobe Dreamweaver. These are “big boy toys” for dreaming, designing, and implementing things in my web world. Between reading online tutorials and begging help from Dave, I’ve been able to increase my competency in these areas. I’m not an expert in using them…. but I can confidently get some small things done.

I don’t think I have a higher aptitude for learning new skills than the average person. But I do think that I have a higher than average willingness to add new things to my repertoire. While I fully recognize God has given me talents in this world… I think that the real talent He gave me was the ability to adapt and excel in new situations.

This is true in a lot of areas of life, isn’t it? There are people who say, “I don’t know but I will figure it out.” And there are people who say, “I don’t know and I don’t want to.