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Do These 3 Selfish Leadership Motivations Describe You?

More Better Different

I wish I could remember who it was, but years ago someone told me that accumulation and success has a cycle.




This is true among the rich, but–stay tuned–it also has application for leaders.

Here’s how it looks when it comes to wealth. As soon as you see it, you’ll recognize this pattern immediately. Each motivation surfaces as you become more successful and gain access to greater resources. Which is something many leaders do.

Let’s just use cars as an example.

More. When one car is no longer sufficient, the aspiring guy buys two. Life is just so much easier and better with two, or three.

Better. Two well-used minivans are, well, so suburban. Because more won’t do anymore, he upgrades to an SUV and a german-engineered sedan.

Different.  Eventually, even the wealthy notice there are an ‘abundance’ of SUVs and german engineered cars on the road. So the cycle moves to another level. What better than to fly to Germany, tour the Porsche factory, have your vehicle custom delivered, try it out on the Autobahn and fly home while your Porsche is shipped back with you? (Seriously…Porsche offers this.) There. Now you’ll have a different, rare, unique and exclusive experience to talk to your colleagues about over lunch.

See the cycle?

And before you slam the crazy rich who like cars, just realize most of us live this out daily. (If you haven’t seen Andy Stanley’s Comparison Trap series on how comparison hurts us, you should…)

From starter homes (do we really want to raise our teens in this starter home?) to your appliances (note the rise of commercial grade appliances in custom kitchens, even when most people have no idea how to cook anymore), to that pair of shoes you got from that website none of your friends have discovered yet. If you haven’t fallen prey to the more/better/different cycle in some way, kudos to you. Most of us aren’t that fortunate.

But this also surfaces in leadership.

Keep reading this post…

Stoked About Sunday?

So it’s tempting as we head into the weekend to say things like "so stoked about Sunday" or "so pumped about our next (fill in the blank for the service or event here). 

But why are we stoked?

Are we excited:

  • because we’re speaking?
  • because we organized the event?
  • because we’re trying to get or we have momentum?
  • because we’re trying something new?
  • because we did a killer job planning it?
  • because we just like the things we create?

I know that’s a tad cynical, but honesty is a good policy.  Many of us who have led ministries or events have had some of those thoughts (or all of the above). Personally, I think I’ve been guilty of all of the above.  

There is one reason to be stoked about Sunday: because Jesus Christ is risen and interacting with people He loves.  

You can phrase it differently, or maybe even better.  But the bottom line is the same. He is the one who draws people to Himself. 

Now I’m still excited about a great band, some intriguing video, and a message that I hope inspires and helps people. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

But Jesus is the deal.  The only deal.  The only One worth doing this (or anything) for. 

The more I keep that front and centre, the more there’s actually something to be stoked about. 

What Happened Christmas Eve

So we rolled with our Christmas Eve services and I think our Service Programming team (the sweet team that creates our services) did a great job straddling the tension between giving people what they want and delivering what people need.  As last week’s post pointed out, Christmas is an especially tough service to plan.

So what did we do (many of you were asking)?

  • We opened the service with Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll.  The band did a great job, and people hung in the tension of liking what they were hearing but realizing this really wasn’t Christmas music.
  • We had a ‘producer’ interrupt the band two minutes in the song and tell them they couldn’t play it because people had come for Christmas.
  • The band then regrouped, and starting playing Rock and Roll again, only this time subbing in Christmas lyrics.
  • I got up, cut them off and told them they had to play real Christmas music (at one of the services, people started calling out for more Zeppelin)…welcomed everyone and launched into some Christmas tunes.
  • Musically, we then did some rearranged Christmas carols (like Chris Tomlin’s version of Angels We Have Heard on High).  We brought out some dancers who did a couple of kid versions of some Christmas songs to actions, and closed the service with Robbie Seay Band’s Go Outside and O Holy Night.
  • The message was simple and fairly short (20 minutes).  Everyone got an invitation that was handwritten by someone at Connexus.  It simply said “My name is _______ and I want you to know that you are invited to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ”.  My message was simply that Christmas is the greatest interruption in human history accompanied by the greatest invitation in human history.  We invited people to respond to the invitation.

What I loved about the service this year was how the opener surprised people, caught them off guard and got them engaged in the first few minutes.  It was a bridge for people with little church background, and in many ways, modeled the message.  We interrupted the song…God interrupted history… we handed out a personal invitation…so did God.  We hoped it would work, but as usual, you don’t know until it’s all happening live.  I loved the kids’ dance too because it helped the kids stay engaged and gave the younger kids music they loved.  Plus it helped families see that we sink some significant time and resources into families.

I was so thrilled with our community…we asked people to invite friends and family and they did.  Being a portable church is hard and when you can’t even meet where you normally meet for Christmas services, it makes it even more difficult for a crowd to find you Christmas eve.  But our Christmas eve attendance has doubled in the last two years and was up 50% from last year alone – all because people told their friends.  We’ll plan for over 1000 attenders next year.

So that was Christmas.  If you were at Connexus, what did you think?  If you weren’t, please share some thoughts or share what your church did.  We’re always learning and would love to hear.

What I Learned About Church from Bono – Transcendence

U2 is the biggest band in the world, and their latest 360 degree Tour makes you aware of that. 

Constructing what many believe to be the biggest stage set in concert history, their stage is gigantic.  Check out this video for a tour of the set.  I’m pretty sure that at the Rogers Center, they needed to open the roof because the set didn’t fit in the stadium.

There’s a theological word for something that big: transcendence – something that is magnificent, huge, incomparable. 

And that is in the nature of God.  God is transcendent.  He’s bigger than we can comprehend. 

Most of us want to be part of something bigger than we are.  We want to worship.  If we don’t worship God, we’ll worship money, or work, or family, or a rock band.  We’ll find something that is bigger than us to bow down to.

And while U2 isn’t worthy of anyone’s worship, their concert was transcendent.  You knew you were dealing with the biggest band in the world.

Now wait for the final post Monday…because the temptation would be to think that proving you’re the biggest band in the world was their goal – it wasn’t.

But it leads me to a question: in what ways are we doing church that points to a God who is transcendent? Sometimes church can be so banal, so mundane, that you would have a hard time believeing anything supernatural or bigger than us is involved.

In the music we use, the way the band plays, the way the preacher points to God, in the things that are happening in church, in what ways does that show the insider and the outsider that we are part of something far bigger than ourselves?

That’s transcendence.  And people are drawn to transcendence.

Great Ideas

I love getting around leaders who make me think.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to be at the North Point staff meeting where Reggie Joiner spoke. 

After serving at North Point for over 10 years, Reggie left the staff there to devote all of his time to ReThink.  As part of that move, he's traveled the country meeting church leaders.  Yesterday, he shared some of his learnings.  Here are a few highlights that got me thinking:

  • People who are anti-mega church tend to be the people who already go to church.  That hit me pretty hard.  Obviously, large churches do a pretty good job of attracting unchurched people.  Church people find large churches too big.  I'll chew on that one awhile.
  • Maybe the job of the communicator is not to resolve tension, but to create it so that people leave having to wrestle with what was said.  I love that!  I think that happens a bit already in good preaching, but what would happen if we made that a goal?  In family ministry, we say that what happens at home is as or more important than what happens at church.  Maybe that's true of big church (when adults gather) too.  
  • You can tell people they are significant, but until you give them something significant to do, they won't feel significant. Okay, that's just way too true. It made me think – maybe the problem of burnout in churches is not that we have given people too much to do, maybe it's that we've given people too many insignificant things to do. 

What do you think?  Do we need to create more tension – more wrestling, in preaching?  Do we ask people to do things that are not really significant?  Is there anything wrong with a large church?

PS. If you want more stuff like this, you might want to get down to this conference where this kind of sharp thinking will be all over the place.

Your Favourite Christmas Music, Please…

Okay, this will just be fun for a Friday.  It's pretty much officially Christmas season.

What's your favourite Christmas music? I'd love everyone to weigh in one:

  • Your favourite current Christmas CD
  • Your all time favourite Christmas CD
  • Your favourite Christmas song to sing on Christmas Eve

Here's mine:

  • Current: Relient K – Let it Snow Baby, Let It Reindeer
  • All Time:  Charlie Brown's Christmas (love Vince Guiraldi)
  • Church: O Come All Ye Faithful (O Come Let Us Adore Him) – Passion (as in Louie Giglio) version

There we go.  Can't wait to hear yours.