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

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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

The Irony of Insecurity

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When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to work on a construction crew. I helped roof houses for the most part but at times helped in framing a house, probably more clean up than anything.

I learned a very important fact however in this process. It was apparent that in order for the house to be built properly, the foundation had to be laid properly. Trying to frame a house on a foundation that had flaws or was not level was an impossability. Literally, when it is time to start framing if the foundation is not right, it has to be done again before anything is built on it.

The irony of insecurity is that its like building on a faulty foundation. Meaning, when you’re insecure its like a builder who is more concerned by the appearance of the house than the reality of the house. So let the chips fall where they may, as long as it looks good, its fine.

The problem is that when pressure, storms, someone living in the house comes, there are things far more important than appearnces. like safety, stability, strength, endurence. These things become incredibly important at this point, but if the foundation is faulty than the future of the home is in question. At some point it will come crumbling down, if the foundation isn’t fixed.

Insecurity in large part is an undue emphasis on appearnces. When we are insecure we function in pretend mode. Herein lies the irony. Insecurity causes us to pretend to be secure. We build on a faulty foundation. Our priorities are out of whack. Peoples opinions take first place in our lives, what it “looks” like becomes far more concerning to us than what it “is” like.

So we go about making the house look good. We put the right brick on it, we paint it pretty colors, we deck it out with the most current, trendy decor. Problem is, it is not what it appears to be. Once the family moves in and life gets started, cracks start showing up, things start breaking down.

Insecurity is a life built to look secure, but in reality is emotionally falling apart.

We look happy, but are truly sad. We look like, “the life of the party,” friends all around, but lack the security to have solid, lasting, vulnerable, loving relationships.

We look like we have it all together but have constant concern that someone is going to see the cracks.

We Look like we love mentoring that young upstart employee fresh out of college while fearing everyday they are going to take our spot, even to the point of subtly sabotaging them.

We look like our life is full, but it is a big gaping whole of emotional emptiness.

The reason I write about insecurity is because I think its terribly sad that people with such potential to be solid, secure, and confident, are raging fear mongers on the inside, and are getting in their own way, and keeping themselves from significance, and success.

So, put the breaks on. Get off this pretend ride. Tear this fake facade down, get rid of this faulty frame work, all the way down to the foundation, and start fresh.

How?

1. Realize your foundation should be laid based on the specs from the designer.

>God built you to know who you are, and to be someone unique and
special
>It’s in a relationship with Him that brings security, and confidence.
when you know the designer, you know the plan, and you don’t have to
pretend.

2. Listen to the builder.

>Its amazing how many people will hire a builder and then not listen
them.
>Out builder is Jesus Christ the son of God. When we know Him, and
listen to him, he puts us right with our designer and helps us apply
the plan in away that produces security and confidence, not in our
own ability but the ability of the builder to make a great product out
of the framework of our lives.

3. Stick with the plan.

>The plan is the Bible the word of God. Knowing the plan causes us
to be saturated with confidence, and security. Know that the plan is
flawless, and will ultimately give us the outcome that is best. A grand
palace of a life, not built on pretense or appearances but on a strong,
good foundation. Let the storms come, let life happen, the house will
be strong!

Worthless Treasure

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I love people. More than that, one of my favorite things to do as a leader is discover and develop the potential in a persons life. 

I truly care about the people I lead. I do my best (not always perfect at it) but I do try to invest in, care about and develop them to live a more fulfilled life. 

I’ve had the privilege for 25 years to occupy my life with this endeavor. At times I’ve had success and others times I’ve failed. 

Having had this many years working with people I have learned a few things. One thing I have seen over and over again is people, including myself, at times have failed to reach their potential because of insecurity. Insecurity buries potential beneath the rubble of fear. 

It is my contention that potential is like buried treasure inside each of us. It’s great to know you have wealth and treasure hidden away somewhere but it has very little value when it’s buried. To see the value in treasure you spend it or invest it or even save it for a later purpose but to simply bury it away and then claim to be wealthy is a farce. I submit to you the proof of the pudding is in the eating. 

Potential, our buried treasure, needs to be dug up and used, but we hide it away for fear it won’t be accepted. We bury it because we are afraid we will look foolish, or that someone will think that we are acting like we are better than them. 

The fear of the lack of people’s approval, the fear of rejection, the fear of losing everything, so we gain nothing by doing nothing. 

Layers and layers of insecurity burying the treasure, God given I might add, that gives our life value and meaning. 

So yes we have treasure, but it has no worth because it’s hidden. It’s worthless treasure. I can’t think of anything more sad. 

I encourage you get a shovel, take a risk and start throwing the dirt of insecurity off of your dream, dig it up, and start investing in life. I believe worth and value will flood your life and you will be confident to produce your potential, once you use your potential by clearing away the thief of insecurity.

The instability of Insecurity

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Insecurity creates an instability that is much like walking on sand. I was recently walking along the beach, what serenity the ocean always provides, and I love it.

We walked right beyond where the waves were coming in, because it was a bit cool. So we were walking on sand that had been patted down significantly from others walking on it.

It was hard, no give in it. It was like a solid surface. It was interesting though when we decided to venture out a little and get our feet wet.

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There was an immediate change in the surface we were walking on. The hard surface became immediately pliable and lacked stability. As a matter of fact if we weren’t careful the water could almost pull the footing right out from under us.

I have found insecurity to be much the same way. Insecurity is all about appearances. How do things look? How do they feel? On the outside things can appear great and much of the time our security is based, not on internal confidence but rather on, what other people think about us.

This is why when someone falls from greatness we are all shocked. “I can’t believe that would happen to them,” we say, because most of what we saw looked stable, but if we could see through all the pretense we would see the ground under them is not stable, but shifty. Add the right amount of pressure and it all comes tumbling down.

Jesus tells a story in the Gospels about a man who builds his house on the sand and one who builds on stone. Storms come to both their lives but the one with the real foundation, the stone foundation stood while the one on sand was completely destroyed.

Our foundation is the application of truth as opposed to the mere appearance of truth.

Insecurity is fear based on deceit. Lies that say “you will be rejected” or “you can’t trust anyone,” or “everyone is against you.” These lies force us to pretend, but in the end the truth comes out. Because the right amount of pressure will knock your pretend life born out of insecurity to the ground.

Stability and security are born out of confidence in the truth. Insecurity is about pretending. It’s not what something looks like that makes it stable it’s authenticity that is the foundation that can not be moved.

So…

1. Be real

Admit where things really are and make a plan to improve.

2. Be true

Drop the need for people approval and live to please God and His purpose for you

3. Be secure

Place your confidence In a loving father God who is generous and powerful

QUESTIONS:

1. How has insecurity created instability in your life or the life of someone close to you?

2. What are you doing about it?

3. How can I pray for you?