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HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SUMMER

Summer

I just can’t believe it is already the middle of June.  Busy, busy, busy!!!  Every season has certain rhythms with summer being the time of vacations and trying to get away.  We must redeem even the summer time by taking full advantage of the opportunities that God gives us.  Are we doing that?  Are we taking full, complete, total advantage of the doors HE is opening?  What goals has God placed upon your heart for the next three to six months and what are you going to do to make them become a reality?

Please do not think I am talking about being busier because all of us are busy enough but we need to make sure we are doing the necessary things God has called us to do.  This is not about doing more, but rather, about doing the right things in the life rhythms we are already in.  Thom Rainer put it this way.  “God calls us to make a transformational impact on the world, not provide a carnival of frenetic activity for ourselves.”

This is one of the reasons I believe in a coaching/mentoring relationship so strongly.  All of us need a leader in our lives who helps us stay focused on the goals in front of us and how to best reach them.   The other day my coach said, “How will you maximize the summer instead of excusing the summer?”  Wow, that got me and caused me to wonder, “How could I maximize my time to help others to W.I.N. through evaluation?”  What are we doing well?  What do we need to improve?  What will we do different the next time?

Here are ways you can maximize your summer:

  • TAKE TIME TO INVEST IN OTHERS!  Who needs an encouraging call from you?  Who do you see that is struggling or could use a little tender loving care?  Which leader could use some mentoring in handling conflict, experiencing trials, facing discouragement or some other life issue?
  • DEVELOP A PLAN!  What changes do you need to make before the fall or the end of the year?  What strategies and processes need to be implemented now for them to become a reality in the future?  What organizational changes need to occur so people have more time for ministry instead of maintenance?
  • CONSIDER THE COST OF DOING NOTHING! What price are we willing to pay?  As you count the cost, every church must consider what they would rather have; the cost of an expanding God-sized vision or the cost of not gaining ground in obedience to Jesus’ command to make disciples?  Are we more in love with our comfort than God’s mission?
  • RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES!  What do you personally need to do to reflect, refresh, and regroup?  What book should you read?  What training should you get?  What leader should you talk to?  When and where should your next prayer retreat be?  What beach do you need to visit?  (Just saying!)
  • EVALUATE HOW WELL YOU ARE MAKING DISCIPLES!  What do we need to do to improve the spiritual development process in our church?  What can we do better to connect people in a way that helps them grow in Christ?  Is our process clear and easy to replicate?  How do we move people from being a disciple to becoming a disciple-maker?
  • FIND SOMEONE TO SHOW AND SHARE THE LOVE OF CHRIST WITH!  Who is in your circle of influence that needs Christ?  Who are you praying for that needs a personal relationship with Christ?   What are you doing to build a relationship with them to show them His love?  How and when will you share salvation with them?  If we are not careful we will be good neighbors without being good witnesses.  Remember this three phase approach: Listen to their Story, Share your Story, and then Tell His Story.
  • DON’T WASTE ANOTHER DAY!  The best time to plant a tree was thirty years ago but the next best time is today.  If you want to be where God wants you to be tomorrow you must start today.   What strategies do you have in place to help reach your goals?  What are the barriers or obstacles that you need to address in order to accomplish your mission? 

So, let me end by asking you again the same question my coach asked me, “How will you maximize the summer instead of excusing the summer away?”  

WALK THE TALK

Walk the Talk

As I was putting my thoughts down on paper this week, (ok, typing them on my laptop) I opened up twitter and saw this post by Ed Stetzer, “You cannot lead what you do not live.”  How true!  It was an affirmation on my heart of what God wanted me to write about.  The apostle Paul wrote it this way in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”  Leadership development is asking others to imitate us as we imitate Christ.  We should expect what we do not emulate.

As leaders, are we modeling to those following what we expect them to demonstrate in their lives?  We must model what living for Christ looks like before those who are looking to us for spiritual direction.  Dr. Dave DeVries says this about modeling, “To develop the leadership skills of others – a leader must intentionally model skills that will be a template for others to follow.”  Leaders must model discipleship because multiplication begins with leadership that is modeling the process of making disciples, maturing believers, and reproducing leaders.

Everyone can use more leaders!  The reality is that there are probably more leaders around than we realize.  Churches need to have a system in place to discover, develop, and deploy leaders.  While recruiting leaders is a viable option we must also concentrate on raising up leaders from within our churches.  Look for those in your church who are maturing in their spiritual walk, leading others to Christ, and reproducing other disciples.  This is the biblical standard for every follower of Christ and should be a prerequisite to leadership.

What if every leader in the church intentionally gave at least 10% of their time to raising up other leaders?  We must think people, not programs!  We need to spend time with potential leaders, allow them to walk alongside of us as we do ministry, and do life together.  It seems that we focus so much on the WHAT that the HOW gets overlooked.  The reality is that “Jesus” method on discipleship was relational followed up by action steps.  There needs to be a shift in many ministries from teaching to modeling.

There is an old adage that says, “Tell me and I’ll forget.  Show me and I may remember.  Involve me and I’ll understand.”  Rick Warren in Purpose Driven Church puts it this way, “Instead of trying to grow a church with programs, focus on growing people with a process.”  May I suggest to you that the process begins with a leader modeling what we are asking others to imitate.  Here are some thoughts about modeling:

  • If you want people with a servant’s heart, you must have a servant’s heart.
  • If you want others to disciple people, you must be discipling others.
  • If you want people to reach out to the lost, the last, and the least, you must personally be building relationships with unbelievers. 
  • If you want a praying church, you must be a man of prayer.
  • If you want a friendly church, you must be friendly.

 There must be a system, or process, for intentional mentoring by modeling in front of others what God expects from every one of His disciples.  Healthy leaders reproduce healthy leaders. They are passionate about discipling and mentoring emerging leaders. They keep looking for ways to raise up leaders and give away their ministry responsibilities to those whom they have trained.  They have a passion to be a Paul to young potential leaders who God has placed in their lives. 

Everyone needs a mentor who models to them what is expected of leaders.  Remember a mentor is someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there.  Developing leaders is vital to the future of any church and ministry.  Don’t forget that the Speed of the Leader = Speed of the Team!  It starts with the Lead Pastor and it cannot be delegated to someone else.