The Heart and Attitude for a Great Event

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1.  Know the why behind the what.

a lot of the time we focus on what we need to do and how we need to do it, not realizing the real motivation for those who are working with us is the why.  
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?  
WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE IN THIS? WHAT IS THE VISION FOR THIS?  
WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES THAT WE WANT?

How do we clarify and reiterate the why?  Analogies, & explanations.  

This is not a waste of time but rather the best use of our time.  

Most people will retain what and how to do something more readily if they know the WHY.

2.  Clarify and Communicate

If we are not clear with our vision, people will create their own for our event.

. -Andy Stanley

Can it be clarified in simple terms? How many steps are there?  
Are there any hidden meanings?  
Are their any assumptions?

Communication is mutual understanding. Talking and listening are conversation.  You have communicated when both parties understand the same thing.

3.  Same Page meetings

Have meetings with each dept involved seperately and together on a regular consistant basis, leading up to the event.

Have a time line that includes everything.  Start from the date of the event and walk backwards, include a dead day.

Use the tools at your disposal.  email, facebook groups, text groups etc.

Keep everyone in the loop.  

Nothing is lost by keeping everyone in the loop but everything can be lost of a significant person is out of the loop.

4.  Create the Wow Factor

Wow is the unexpected positives.  
people leave saying wow, I never expected that to happen at this event.

Over and above excellence always translates to Care.  

5.  Finishing well is more important than starting well.

Most organizations do ok with the pre planning and pulling off of events, where they fail is finishing strong.  

Once the high point of the event is over, the air goes out and we all go our seperate ways, and there is a lot left to do.  

Especially in church things where follow up, and finishing up can be the most important.

Your team can lose morale at this point, and not perform well the next time as a result.

Start as a team, run as a team, finish as a team.

6.  Keep notes and debrief

Keep notes on everything you do start to finish. You can refer back to it and not have to repeat every time, and you can know what you need to change.  Its amazing what you can forget in this process.

Take the time after an event to talk over what was good, what was great, what was not so good and what was bad.

Evaluate, think solutions, keep record of it for the next time.

7.  Excellence is an attitude.

Using what you have to the best of your ability.

Excellence never says thats good enough.

Excellence always says, what more can we do, how can we make it better?

8.  Create a basic system that is general to all events, that can be specified for each event.

No reason to reinvent the wheel with every event. Good systems can be the difference between success and failure

Everybody Loves a Gift

This morning as I sit in the cafe of my hotel here in Rwanda, I think about all the gifted people Ive met in the last two weeks. This trip is almost over and as always I am moving into that contemplative mode. I am thinking about what I have seen, what we have done, those we have encountered and the wonderful relationships that God has allowed me the opportunity to continue or begin.

As I think about all this one of the things that popped into my head was a question. Why does God give us gifts? By gifts I mean, talents, abilities, skills, propensities, and certain personalities, or even spiritual gifts, that we read about in the Bible.

I have come to a conclusion: The gifts are given to us, but not for us.

I have met artists on this trip, one in particular who has become a very good friend, and I look forward to our continued developing relationship. His Name is Ludigo http://www.ludigocreations.org He is truly a gifted individual, not just as an artists but also with an entrepreneurial mind. He was telling me that much of the art world is moving to more of a cause minded approach, which he says is an antidote to the natural insecurity that many artists deal with. It gets the focus off the gift or the art and on to the cause, which gives more meaning to the gift itself and more confidence and creativity to the artist.

I love this concept, and it reinforces my conclusion that God gives gifts to us, but not for us. Do we get pleasure in employing our gifts? Yes. The pleasure however should be in the reception of the gift by someone else not merely in the gift itself or what it does for us.

This mistake is made in the church all the time. We can make the mistake of putting the focus on the gifted not the gift giver. We make the mistake of putting emphasis on the gifted and not the purpose of the gift.

The gift is not our purpose, it is merely a tool to express our purpose. I think we avoid all these mis steps if we understand, God gave gifts to us, for others. Not for us to set around and rave about the gifts but to use those gifts to make a difference in the lives of others.

Don’t misunderstand me, we should take huge delight in the gifts God has given us and enjoy them to the fullest, but never lend to the gifts some kind of virtue.

Remember if you are gifted it is what it implies. You were given something. You can’t take pride in something you were given, you didn’t earn it, and you didn’t create it, so the proper response to it is to be grateful for it, and be intentional in using it.

I want to encourage you if you have gifts in your life, use them. Don’t sit on them, don’t sideline them, don’t avoid them. Use them, but, in using them do so with the understanding that they were given to you for others, for the kingdom of God, for the church, for the community, for expressing the purpose of God in and through your life.

Everyone likes a gift, so give yours out and make someones day.

30th birthday

Was like. 

Last night, what I would guess was around 20,000 people gathered to celebrate 30 years of Watoto church ministry. 

To try to describe this would sound at best like sheer exaggeration, and at worst inarticulate, however I will try to let you in in one of the greatest experiences of my life. 

A night filled with beautiful, passionate voices, and skilled traditional, as well as modern dance weaving a story throughout the night of the burden, vision, and fulfillment of a dream given to Gary and Marylin Skinner who, when receiving it must have been overwhelmed by it, while not being able to see in full what has actually become of it.   A dream that has fought cultural, spiritual, and economic battles to exist, and might I say has come through in victory on the other side. A dream that is consistantly and continually giving a hand up spiritually, economically and culturally to an amazing city of Kampala and Nation of Uganda. 

Everything about the beginnings of this, it’s place in history, the nationality of its leaders, the dream itself screams “this wil never work!”  Yet 30 years later to call it a success would be to underestimate it on every level. 

The stories as told through music, media, readings, narration and the fact that the story tellers are not acting out the life if another, rather were telling their very own story. The sincerity and authenticity of that left me in tears most of the night. 

Stories of the most graphic unspeakable horrors that can be perpetrated on one human being to another. They didn’t stop there but went on to finish the stories with the hope and forgiveness that only Jesus Christ can bring in any circumstance. 

I want to give specific examples but it would be impossible because one would lead to another and another and another. Stories of devastation followed by hope and forgiveness. I guess you should have been there. 

All this was capped off with Israel Houghton leading one of the best worship sets I’ve ever heard and what must have been 20,000 people singing, dancing, rejoicing in our great God and Savior Jesus Christ in a unity I have rarely felt anywhere, ever and the energy level was off the charts. To tell the truth the rapture of the church would having been fitting at the end of that night. Just another level. It was all culminated in a song befitting these victorious Ugandans and their understanding of the testimony God has given them. “I am not forgotten”

I am not forgotten 
God knows my name 
He knows my name

And I will praise Him for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Light in the darkness
The father to the fatherless 
Strength in my weakness
He knows my Name

At the very end the combined Watoto children’s choir and the Watoto church choir which must have been 250-300 people strong. Sang a song about rising from the ashes, and as they sang hundreds of floating lanterns rose from the back of the stage and filled the night sky, leaving us with a visual affirmation of a people who have and are rising from the darkness carrying a great light. THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

We left their last night lifted, strengthened, refreshed, convicted, and empowered. 

Let me just say this, without being presumptuous, for the sake of the spiritual hunger in your church, for an opportunity to make a difference in the world, for perspective and hope, do yourself a favor and get connected to Gary and Marylin Skinner and Watoto church. So many ways to get involved, so much benefit to your church in eternal, purposeful ways. 

I love the church, and Watoto church like all of us is not perfect, but are what I believe Is one of the best examples of what God intends for the church to be. 

The idea that #wecandosomething is the way they live every single day. 

http://www.watoto.com
http://www.watotochurch.com

Uganda

Today was our first full day in Uganda, and it was an excellent time. We woke this morning and had breakfast with some of the team here and just talked about what God was doing in our lives.

We then had the good fortune of being able to visit the bulrushes the ministry to rescued babies by Watoto church. One of the most unique ministries I’ve seen in the world.

A ministry that truly rescues babies from trash heaps, public toilets, some who’ve been buried alive and others who were picked out for sacrifice to whatever god would demand such a thing.

Babies who were unloved and unwanted, for whatever reason. There is hope for such children in Uganda because of a special place called Watoto. Watoto this year is celebrating some significant landmarks. 40 year marriage anniversary of the senior Pastors Gary and Marylin Skinner, there 30th year as a church, and the 20th year committed to child care ministries.

Watoto is one of the great churches in the world! We are so excited as a church and as Global reach for Justice to be partnering with such an amazing church and vision.

The team of this great church are compelled and compelling people. I am stirred with passion every time I get around them. Their culture of compassion exudes from their very pours. They love God and love people, and I believe they are one of the great innovators of our day.

I could go on and on with stories of at risk women who’ve been helped and orphans who’ve been taken in and lifted to places and opportunities unavailable to them otherwise, or churches that have been planted and lives changed. The truth is Watoto church is an incredible extension of the hand of God in a beautiful nation, and what’s more they are a huge inspiration to the church at large. If you think your facing an impossible task read the history and bio of Watoto church and realize if God says to do it NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

I’m inspired to reach my community, region, nation for Jesus. I’m inspired to love people, beyond their problems and weaknesses. I’m inspired to give people and hand up and not insult their dignity by giving them a hand out. I am inspired to do what we can to effect positive change.

Tonight I go to bed happy to have held and fed little Ruth, who will live a fruitful life, fed, clothed, educated, cared for and most importantly loved. It was my honor and privilege to pray for her and declare the word of God over her life and I have no doubt God rescued her for great purpose. Now lets go about the business of rescuing all those around us who desperately need it.

God has not Forgotten You

In Mark 5 there are two intersecting accounts that equally reveal the power of God and the action that moves Him. Faith.

One is the story of a woman struggling for years.  Having lost all of her resources, left to accept her fate and die. She hears about Jesus and acts on her faith. She decides that if she touches Jesus he whole situation would change and she was right. She pressed through the crowd touched him and was made well.

When she touched Jesus he was on his way to Jairus house.

Jairus, a great leader in the community had a desperate situation,  his daughter was gravely ill. He was so distraught, his status meant nothing, his influence meant nothing, his wealth meant nothing.  When he saw Jesus he fell to the ground in front of him and asked, “will you heal my daughter?” Jesus said yes I will.

On his way there he was interrupted by the faith of the woman. After his encounter with the woman, Jairus servant arrived on the scene and told his master, “no need to bother the master further, your daughter is dead.”

The words were final, cold, and must have caught Jairus off guard as the truth of them settled on his heart.  “Dead”, that word is so harsh. Have you ever thought about what Jairus must have thought in that moment. His answer was on its way but seemingly too late. If only Jesus had not been interrupted, if he had not stopped, maybe his daughter would have lived. Why does the women get healed and his daughter die?  Did Jesus forget?  Did He not care? 

In that moment despair, grief, fear, anger, sadness and regret must have landed on him like a ton of bricks. Should he have just stayed with his daughter, was this foolish to run after Jesus hoping he could cure her, had his desperation drove him insane?  Why? Why? Why? 

He believed just like the lady, he humbled himself, he asked for help. What more could he have done? 

He felt alone, abandoned, shocked, and his whole world seemed to be unraveling right before his eyes.

Jesus must have seen the sheer terror on his face.  He arrested his thoughts and said with an uncanny confidence. “Jairus, don’t be afraid, only believe!” Only believe, as if to say it’s time to stop all the torrent of thoughts racing through his mind. Don’t doubt, don’t fear, don’t grieve, don’t be distracted, only believe.

Today if you feel alone, forgotten, isolated, disappointed, stop listening to the wrong voices, bring the crazy thoughts of doubt, fear, and discouragement to a screeching halt and Only believe. No matter how final things feel to you, nothing is final to God.

Help is on the way, He’s not late, He’s not forgotten you. It doesn’t matter how things feel or look, ONLY BELIEVE.

Just like Jesus rescued the daughter of Jairus he can and will rescue you.

Everyone Doing their Part

Today is an excellent day in Cambodia. The team did a work day at the hope center in Kampong Thom and Janae and I attended the new life staff retreat. We heard some great teaching and had the honor of teaching and praying over the staff.

This afternoon and evening the team are having a game time and ministry time with the orphans and attending and helping with an English class.

We will continue the retreat tonight. Believing God to truly use us to make a difference. Helps us to encourage and strengthen the church here in Cambodia.

Please continue to pray for the team. Thanks for the part you played in sending us.

The Church World Wide

I’ve said this many times but it rings as true today as much as ever. The church of Jesus Christ is alive and well and on the rise around the World.

As I told a room full of leaders and pastors in a village in Kampong Thom this morning it’s powerful to think that we have brothers and sisters all over this world because of our relationship with our father God through His Son Jesus.

The church is truly the expression of the love of Jesus. In all cultures, languages, and nations the church brings hope to the world.

I love Cambodia. The people here are so endearing, and full of faith, even in harsh circumstances.

Global Reach for Justice is doing what we can to make a difference in the world. James 1:27