Spending Time w/ One of America’s Great Pastors – Part 2

October 8, 2010

On Wednesday, I posted the first 5 of my Actionable Learnings from my time with Robert Morris, Pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, TX. Here are my second 5 Learnings… Enjoy.

Learning #6: Our job as a pastor is to continually be asking, “How can I help?”

I love this perspective, especially in light of the context he said it in which is helping his staff. When you see someone carrying a burden of some kind, simply stopping to ask the question, “How can I help?” is how we pastor them.

Learning #7: Givers don’t want attention, but they do want to be appreciated. We must stop ignoring the gift of giving in the Body of Christ. It’s in the same list as teacher and miracles.

Learning #8: 3 Things about a pastor that you’re going to have to decide if you like, because they’re probably not going to change:

1) Their Friends,

2) Their Vision, &

3) Their Government.

What a great filter for new people coming into a church. Who do the leaders watch, learn from and hang with? What is their vision? And How are they committed to running the business of the church? Phenomenal.

Learning #9: The greatest temptation in the ministry in the next 5 to 10 years is Burnout. It’s a major reason pastors are falling morally, because they’re looking for an escape from the stress and pace of their life and they are turning to illegitimate escapes.

Great perspective and warning. It makes me so thankful for the precedence of Sabbath and days off and rest that we’ve got in place as a church. It also motivates me to teaching every pastor I come in contact with. What a major need in the ministry today. (Click here for the link to a talk I did recently on Margin)

Learning #10: A Personal Challenge to Pastors: Don’t exhibit God in your churches, let people experience Him. The greatest tool of evangelism today is the Presence of God in our worship services. Don’t compromise the presence of God and preaching of the Word. Your opinion won’t change anybody’s life, but the Presence and Power of God in your church will.

That’s what I’m talking about!

I’m definitely leaving this time with one of America’s great leaders encouraged, inspired and challenged to keep pushing into the great and unique thing that God is doing at Next Level Church.

Thanks again to Pastor Robert, Gateway Church, Billy Hornsby and the ARC for making this opportunity possible.


Spending Time with One of America’s Great Pastors

October 6, 2010

On Monday of this week, I got to spend a few hours with a select group of about 15 guys with Robert Morris, Pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, TX. Gateway is one of the America’s largest and fastest growing churches. Here are 10 learnings from my up close and personal time with Pastor Robert.

(Principle is in regular font. My thoughts are in italics. BTW, Special thanks to Billy Hornsby and the ARC for this rare and unique opportunity… I’ll share the first 5 Learnings today & the second 5 on Friday. Stay tuned…)

Learning #1: One of the roots of immorality is bitterness. If we don’t dig bitterness out of our heart, it can eventually lead to immorality.

Gosh, that’s good stuff. I’ve never heard anyone apply that scripture like that before.

Learning #2: So often when we see a leader we admire, we want to ask “How” they did or do what they do. Instead, we should be asking “Why” they do what they do and “What” God did in them to allow them to do what they’re doing today.

This is a great reminder that any leader that God uses greatly, He first breaks in a great way. Robert has paid a huge price to be where he is today and to lead at the level he’s leading at today.

Learning #3: Concerning Brokenness: “One of the best things that ever happened to me was that I saw myself for who I actually was.”

I can’t help but think of how many leaders never slow down long enough or embrace the breaking that God is doing in their heart to actually see themselves for who they truly are. Instead, we push and plow through in the name of productivity and forfeit the very work of God in our hearts that will establish our leadership long-term.

Learning #4: 3 Things that are important to 45 year old Executives:

1) Time. If you are unorganized and unstructured in your services, business people aren’t gonna like it.

2) Dress. You can be casual without being sloppy. There is a huge difference.

3) The Building. Successful people want to see a vision for excellence in everything you do. Your building has to match your city.

Great stuff right here. All intangibles to reaching successful business people in our communities.

Learning #5: Man looks at the outward. In reference to I Samuel 16:7 which says, “Man looks at the outward, but God looks at the heart. So often we preach and teach the second part, but fail to see the first part. When it comes to reaching people for Christ, never forget that they ARE looking at “the outside” of how we do what we do in our churches.

Brilliant. It is the intangibles that give us permission to influence many of the people in our city we’re called to reach. We must not overlook them.

Stay tuned for the second 5 take aways coming on Friday…


Flight Patterns

September 25, 2010

One of my favorite times of my entire month is my Men’s Connection Group that meets on the last Saturday of the month at the NLC Warehouse at 9 am. There are several reasons why:

First, I love the honest & open communication from the heart that these guys bring. They’re there for 1 reason: to pursue honest & real friendship with other guys who are trying to honor God with their whole lives.

Second, because the pace is relaxed. There’s no rush, simply easy flow.

And third, because it’s perfect for guys to get in my flight pattern. As our church gets bigger, it’s just not humanly possible for me to spend time w/ everybody who wants to spend 1 on 1 time w/ me. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to trust me. ( The extravert in me loves hanging with people!!!) But I’ve learned that I can’t be everything I need to be to my wife and my boys and to my staff & the church if I’m spread too thin.

That’s why my Men’s Connection Group is so awesome!!! It is a smaller environment where I get to be “up close & personal” w/ the men of NLC every single month!

So, if you’re looking to connect w/ some other guys ( and me) who are serious about their relationship w/ God, then this is a great way for us to fly together.

For more info, e-mail Chelsie@NextLevelChurch.com & let us know you’re coming.


Margin Regained: (Notes for the LIVE Conference Call)

September 23, 2010

Margin Regained:

If I could say anything to Pastors who are stressed out, overworked & living out of control schedules this is what would I say…

1.  No one else is gonna fight for your schedule, if you don’t.

2.  It’s more important than you think.

A.  It is affecting you.

– You’re not getting your best thoughts & productivity.

B.  It is affecting your family.

C.  It is affecting your church.

3.  5 Quick Tips for Building Margin:

  • Think Large Blocks of Time.
  • Get ahead on Message Prep. (Article on ARC Blog)
  • Protect your Sabbath.
  • Learn how to say NO without excuse.
  • Refuse to feel guilty.

We’re Talking Margin Tomorrow – LIVE

September 22, 2010

Tomorrow, Thursday, September 23rd, @ 11am EDT, we’re talking about Margin on a LIVE, FREE 30-45 minute Conference Call with the ARC.

I would love for you to be apart. Here’s how:

  • Call 888-350-0075 tomorrow at 11 am EDT then enter the code 7479514.

By the way, if you’ve missed it, the last few posts have been all about the idea of margin. Feel free to take a look before tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to hanging with you tomorrow…


Margin Drains

September 20, 2010

Thursday, September 23rd, @ 11 am EDT, I’ll be hosting a Live, FREE Conference Call with the ARC. So, leading up to it I thought it would be good to prime the pump a little bit by talking about Margin, which is the subject we’ll be talking about this Thursday.

Today I want to talk briefly about Margin Drains:

1.  Violating the Sabbath. Nothing will drain you like a lack of a day off. But this one is a subtle one. The enemy of our souls love to get us so busy that we have to violate our sabbath. It’s like changing the oil in your car. Don’t do it for 5,000 miles and nothing will happen. Don’t do it for 10,000 miles and no one will notice, still. Don’t do it for 25,000 miles and your car will breakdown on the side of the road.

The same is true with our Sabbath, we can neglect it for quite a while with seemingly little or no consequences, but eventually it will catch up with us and bite us.

2.  Schedule Creep. Put simply, adding without subtracting can eat your lunch. As your church grows, so will it’s calendar. If you don’t strategically subtract from it, you’ll end up running yourself ragged.

3.  Not having Pre-Determined Boundaries. Plain and simple, if we don’t set our boundaries, someone else will. The problem for most of us is that because we’ve not pre-decided on what we will and won’t do, we end up allowing the emotion or pressure of the moment to dictate our commitments and obligations, and we pay the price.

4.  Our Inability to say no. This is a tough one, because we all want people to like us. But if we don’t learn the art (& it is definitely an art) to saying no to people, we’ll be at their mercy to the detriment of our own margin.

And here’s the thing about saying no, we have to learn the art of saying no, without excuse. This is killer hard. Because we feel the pressure to have a “good” or “legitimate” excuse. But there’s something powerfully mature about  being able to say no with no because. Just Thanks, but no. That’s a tough one.


To be apart of the Conference Call:

  • Call 888-350-0075 on Thursday at 11 am EDT then enter the code 7479514 .

Marginless Results:

September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 23rd @ 11 am EDT, I’m leading a FREE conference call for any and all pastors. (Details at the bottom) In preparation for that, we’ve been talking about an extremely overlooked topic in ministry circles: Margin.

Today we’re going to look at the results of a Marginless existence.

1.  Fragmented Thoughts. Ever noticed that when you’re stressed out and busy as heck, that your thoughts feel scattered and discombobulated? (yeah I totally just worked that word into this blog post!) I know it’s true for me. In fact, there are times when I’m running like crazy in my day that I actually say out loud, “What am I doing right now?”

Other times, we’ll lose our train of thought, right in the middle of a sentence or conversation with someone. Definitely a sure sign that we’re living marginless.

2.  Inability to Focus. When the margin is gone, so is the focus. We have some huge thing that’s gotta get done, and yet we can’t focus for anything! That’s from a lack of margin. Kill the margin, kill the focus. (Wait… what are we talking about right now?)

3.  Guilt. The problem with burning the candle at both ends is that eventually our subconscious catches up to us and starts making us feel guilty. “You should be sleeping more…” “You should be home more…” “You should be whatever…” Take it from me, guilt will suck the life out of you.

4.  An Inability to Rest. There is a dangerous place in all of our workaholism/marginless lifestyles and that is the inability to turn it off. We become addicted to progress, or completion or the to-do list, or the in-box, or the twitter feed. If you can’t shut it off, you’re living dangerously.

Margin restores balance to the force, Luke. It’s not an optional luxury for the lucky few. God created us to not function properly without it.


To be apart of the FREE Conference Call:

  • Call 888-350-0075 at 11 am EDT on Thursday, Sept. 23rd then enter the code 7479514.
  • NOTE: This is a new phone number & code.

Margin Defined…

September 15, 2010

In preparation for the Live, Free, Conference Call I’ll be hosting for the ARC on Thursday, September 23rd, We’re talking about Margin this week.

Today I want to give a working definition for the idea or concept of Margin. So here you go…

“The distance between where you are and your limits.”

The obvious illustration is the margins on a piece of paper. It’s the white space between the edge of the paper and that little red line. I love it. Even paper manufacturers knew that we (as kids) would be prone to push the limits in our lives, so they gave us a bright red line to basically scream:

“Hey kid, STOP! You’re gonna run out of paper and write on your desk and then your teacher is gonna yell at you and all your friends will make fun of you and you’ll feel like a stinkin’ idiot, so STOP!!!”

And yet… even with the wonderful red line, how often did we try and push the limits and write all the way to the edges?!?

Some things never change do they?

Unfortunately for many of us, (and especially those of us in ministry,) we don’t have little red lines anymore warning us that we’re pushing our limits. Consequently, we plunge ahead with commitments and e-mails and appointments and deadlines and stressful situations and little sleep. And more times than we’d like to admit, we end up writing on the desk somewhere and our marriage breaks down or our kids rebel, or we compromise morally, or we have a financial breakdown.

And all the kids in the world look over at our desk and say, “See, another one bites the dust.” And the moral authority of the message we proclaim becomes tainted or dilluted or compromised in some way.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We gotta get this figured out, & I’m convinced that margin is the answer to the problem.


To be apart of the Conference Call on Sept. 23rd @ 11 am EDT:

  • Call 312-878-0222 at 11 am EDT time to be on with us, then enter the code 327-645-673.

Ministry’s Margin-Less Reality

September 13, 2010

On Thursday, September 23rd, I’ll be hosting a 30-45 minute group conference call in conjunction with the ARC. The call is open to everyone and is completely FREE!

  • To be apart, simply call 312-878-0222 at 11 am EDT time to be on with us & then enter the code: 327-645-673.

During our time together, we’re going to be talking about a topic that I’m extremely passionate about:


In my opinion, margin in ministry could be one of the most overlooked ideas out there! Too many of us pastors are overworked, stressed out, & living out-of-control schedules and unfortunately, it’s taking it’s toll on us, our families, our marriages and our ministries.

So… leading up to Thursday, the 23rd, I want to prime our pump a bit with some thoughts about this whole under-discussed topic of Margin.

Tomorrow: Margin Defined…

Great Article on “Being Excellent” by Tony Schwartz

September 7, 2010

I’m always looking for content that is value-adding, & I was recently given a link to an article that I LOVED!!! It’s called, “Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything” written by a guy named Tony Schwartz. It’s FREE and you can read it here.

He’s principles come from his book that I’m actually reading right now called, “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.” It’s available at all kinds of bookstores and of course, on Amazon.com.

In a world of new titles and a million things to read, this book, (albeit nearly 300 pages long) is definitely worth reading.

I love what he’s got to say, especially in the article.