Will You Give Me a Dollar

With each stop on the Giving Rocket tour, we’ve been continuing a social experiment and project called Will You Give Me a Dollar.  Basically, we are asking people we meet to give us a $1 bill for no particular reason at all.  The results and conversations have been amazing.

While this is a fun project, we’re learning some serious things and writing a book about those learnings. Here’s a little glimpse into the New York City dollar-asking experience. For a little more on the experience, visit the Dollar site.

Grace in the Old Testament

I recently finished reading Andy Stanley’s The Grace of God. Not only did I receive some tremendous encouragement and teaching, I thought the book would make for a great sermon series called “Grace in the Old Testament.” Most people don’t think of grace and the Old Testament together. In fact, some consider the Old Testament to be about the law and the New Testament to be about grace. But that’s a big mistake.

Here are a few title and subject ideas, inspired by various chapters in the book:

1. Grace in a Garden. God created an amazing environment that had just one rule – that’s something to consider about how God wants us to live. He gave humanity a purpose for living, a job, and company. Creation itself is a blessing and an act of grace.

2. Grace on Tablets of Stone. The ten commandments weren’t given to Israel until God had already established a relationship with His people.

3. Grace in the Belly of a Fish. The story of Jonah is really a story of grace. God gave Jonah a second chance, and the city of Nineveh a second chance. God isn’t interested in paying back people, but in bringing back people.

4. Grace for a Prostitute. In the story of Rahab, we see that God can punish sin but extend grace to the sinner.

5. Unending Grace. The life of David shows us that grace has no limit.

Have you ever preached on grace exclusively from the Old Testament? Maybe it’s time to give it a try.

Jeff Foxworthy Wants You To Preach Better Sermons

Have you heard about Preach Better Sermons, a FREE online event with Andy Stanley, Dr. Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, Perry Noble, Jud Wilhite, Vanable Moody and Jeff Foxworthy.  It’s happening on March 15 from 1-4 EST.  All of these communicators will be sharing practical information on preparation and delivery, all to help you become a better communicator.

Check out this short video with Jeff Henderson and Jeff Foxworthy, and be sure to register for the event.

Jeff Foxworthy Wants You to Preach Better Sermons from Preaching Rocket on Vimeo.

You Can’t Lead From Behind Your Desk

In 2006, when I was doing the leg-work that would lead to the launch of a brand new church, I spent a lot of time creating strategies and systems. I wrote every word on our website. I drew up some pretty charts.  I created a darn good strategic plan.

And all of those things, while foundational, did not directly result in one person joining our launch team or showing up to our grand opening service. Nobody ever showed up at church with a print out of something from our website claiming that our doctrinal statement on heaven is what drew them in.

A computer screen is my comfort zone. And I like my desk. I’d be perfectly happy behind a closed door surrounded by books and connected to blogs. Such is the life of an introvert.

But my introverted personality quickly turned into a relational obstacle, and I failed to realize this important lesson: Leadership involves people, not just paper.

While strategies are helpful (in fact, I believe they are essential) I allowed myself to get lost in them and missed the bigger picture.

Musicians are not going to be developed via twitter. You can put out a twitter APB for bass players, and someone may respond. But frequent calls for help is a sign that there isn’t a culture built on relationship and mission.

You cannot make disciples via Facebook. You can find out what vampire you are most like, or join the pirate army in the fight against the Sith Lords or maybe even discuss that obscure Old Testament passage in the One Hundred Million Christians Strong Studying the Old Testament Group, but for all the social that Facebook brings to media, life isn’t going to happen there. It might be a window into life, but it’s not real life.

If we are going to make a difference, it’s going to involve conversations. We’re going have to push back from our desks, leave the confines of our keyboards, and go out there and talk to people.

Maybe it’s time to stop creating sending status updates looking for musicians and go listen to some bands play. Maybe we should stop sending emails to groups of ten people hoping for one response and take someone for a cup of coffee.

I cannot force myself into being an extrovert. But If I want to be an effective leader, I’ve got to lead where people are. And that’s not from behind my desk.

How Do You Create a System in the Church

Here’s a simple system for creating a system. (Ironic, isn’t it?)

1. Start with the end. Just like in communicating, start with the end. What do you want people to do, feel, or thing? What’s the desired outcome? If you can’t define a clear win, how will you know if the system works?

2. Get some people together. You can create a system on your own, but if it’s going to involve other people, you’re wise to involve them in the process. It’s hard for people to buy in to a process they didn’t help create.

3. Talk. Get out of the office and turn off the phones. Capture thoughts on a dry erase board or a sheet of paper. capture thoughts. Argue, debate and discuss.

4. Write it down. I’m convinced that God wrote the 10 Commandments on tablets of stone because Moses would have gotten them wrong if he tried to remember. If you want people to be on the same page, put some words on an actual page.  And if you’d rather start with 100+ templates instead of 100+ blank pages, grab Docs and Forms.

5. Review. Systems aren’t eternal – they evolve and change over time, Review them on a regular basis.