Out of the Archives 2 (Excited to be Invited)

“People are Excited to be Invited”

Sitting here in starbucks working on leadership track development, about to shift gears to meet with some of our male pastors to brainstorm the Total Man Retreat for 2011. So in the few minutes I have before they get here, I want to share with you my experience with inviting people to church. I do and have always loved the opportunities to share the love of Jesus with people. Really get in deep conversation about it and lead them to a relationship with Him. However that doesn’t always happen in every conversation we have with people who we would want to come to church. Many times you have time to merely invite people. We use a tool at harvest called an invite card. Its a business card type of an invitation. It has the information for our campuses on it, and leaves a blank place we can put your name and number. I use these all the time.

My experience with inviting people to church is simple. People are excited to be invited. I haven’t invited anyone to church yet that was antagonistic to me, or rejected me. They don’t always come but I have never been treated badly when I have invited someone to come to church. Its a compliment to someone to be invited somewhere. I say this just to encourage everyone, the normal everyday person, no matter what the “experts” say, are not antagonistic towards the church, or to those who would invite them. I think sometimes people “experts” make these sweeping statements about how people view the church, that are based on pop culture, but I encourage you to ask the next person who says something like that, “How many people have you invited to church, and how did they respond?” Usually the extreme silence gives you the answer.

So, here are some easy practical ways to invite people to church or engage them in a conversation about Christ.

1. Change your thinking: From they don’t want to hear, and don’t want to be invited, to, They are excited to be invited.

I believe that most people would at least try church out if they were invited to go. What are you losing to Invite them?

2. Just invite them.

Be friendly, look for a time in the conversation before you go separate ways to invite them to come to church with you.

3. Be available for a conversation.

Slow down a bit and be available to talk. When you are in a public place don’t be glued to your phone, look up and engage people. People want, and love to talk. Be available for the conversation and the opportunity will present itself to invite them to church.

4. Use a tool to help you.

If you have something like an invite card, use it. It provides you with something to give, it helps you give them information that will keep you connected.

5. Look for opportunities to do something Kind for someone.

This always creates an open door to talk about Jesus or invite them to church, because they want to know why you did that for them.

6. look outside your family, and close friends.

What’s wrong with inviting someone you have met for the first time? Remember they are excited to be invited!


Ethnolinguistic map of Uganda.

Image via Wikipedia

As I sit here at the watoto village called Subi I realize the difference between talk and action.  It is clear that much of the church world can talk with the best of them.  We have a tendancy to tell about the things we are going to do, or cast vision about what we should do, but There is a significant difference between talk and action.  We all know this, but when you are in Uganda and you see the results of acting on what you say it is an eye opening experience.

It seems to be this simple for the Skinners.  Uganda has an orphan and Widow problem, we are going to do something about it, lets take them in.  Now what ever that means in terms of practically building facilities, raising leaders, creating a philosophy is merely steps of action on the way to doing something about the problem.

James said, I’ll show you my faith by my works.  Yes we must talk, we must share, we must cast vision, but at some point for things to change, action has to be taken, and if we just keep it simple the “way” to do it will become clear, as long as we are committed to ACTION!

Walk, Stand, Sit

Psalm 1:1 (NKJ) Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

I want to draw your attention to 3 words in this passage. Walk, stand, and sit. Who are you receiving counsel from? Who’s path are you walking in? Who’s seat are you sitting in?

As a Christian (a follower of Jesus) our spiritual growth and development depends on our associations. Don’t misunderstand me to say that we can’t have any relationships with the lost, how will we reach them if not?

This is another issue. This is the issue of close relationships, those that advise us, those that we walk together with. These close relationships should be reserved, for faith filled, godly people who believe God wholeheartedly.

When we surround ourselves with people who speak into our lives who are cynical, ungodly, and sinful there is a spiritual digression that takes place. You start by walking, but if it’s with the ungodly, it won’t be long before you’re standing. If you stand in the path of sinners you will soon be sitting in the seat of the scornful (mocker, doubter, cynic)

In order to reach out to those who need Jesus, we must be spiritually established and strong (blessed). Then we can make a difference in their lives.

Don’t allow the slow spiritual digression of wrong associations stop you in your tracks and ultimately wondering if God is even real.

Surround yourself with the church, and go on an all out evangelistic lifestyle, that will bring spiritual progress to the life of others. Get them to sit with you in the seat of faith, to stand with you in the path of the righteous, and finally lead them to walk with the Godly.

That’s the way Christianity works.


Confrontation a Leadership Requirement…Written Notes

So many people look at confrontation as a negative thing. There’s a big difference between confrontation and conflict. If we’re effective at confronting issues and people, then we can avoid a lot of conflict. Confrontation is merely, directly addressing things that need to change in order to teach and train those who are being confronted. This is not a negative, but very much a positive. So here are some thoughts about it.

1. One of the major differences between successful and non successful people is their willingness to confront. Successful leaders are willing, to have the tough conversations, in order to see real change, and forward progress.

2. If you want to lead you have to confront. Confronting is taking a person from where they are to where they need to be. Thats called leadership. To be an effective leader you must embrace confrontation.

3. Avoiding confrontation is just delaying and ensuring a major conflict. Things that need to be confronted but go unchecked ultimately turn into major conflict, and are much harder to deal with than they would have been if the leaders would have confronted them early.

4. You can do it! And do it right. Go into it with their best interest in mind and they will love you for it. If the purpose of your confrontation is to help the person being confronted then it will go well, and they will ultimately love you, for caring enough to confront them.

5. Jesus was a great confronter.
Woman at the well, he lovingly but directly confronted her issues.
The acusers of the adulterous woman and the woman herself, he confronted them for their religious hypocrisy then confronted her sin.
Peter, He confronted peter for his denial.
James and johns power play, He confronted Mary and James and John directly for there attempt at seizing power.

We know it needs to be done, so how do we do it? Here are ten ways to do it.


1. Admit it needs to be done. Don’t avoid it because its awkward. If it needs to be done, then do it.

2. Do it in the right time. Timing is everything. Don’t do it in front of others and embarrass someone, don’t hit them while they are down, be considerate of their state of mind when you confront.

3. Pray going in. Always pray before confronting and don’t take it lightly.

4. Use it as a teaching moment. Its not about who’s right, or who’s wrong, its not just about pointing out faults. Its about teaching them, and helping them grow.

5. Be positive and caring, John Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.” its true. Be positive and caring, make it clear you love them, and care about their life.

6. No hinting or beating around the bush. Get straight to the point. You can lay a foundation, and ground work for what needs to be said, and many times that is necessary, but don’t hint, or assume they get it. Be direct, come to the point, just say it. If you are not direct you will confuse them and the situation will get worse.

7. Tell them what their getting right. Don’t just point out their faults, but let them know you see the great things they are doing well, and this is just an opportunity to teach them to do even greater things.

8. Act the same to them, let them know you see past it. After the confrontation is over, don’t be awkward around them. Deal with it, forgive it, and move on.

9. Don’t take forever. Get it done. Confrontation doesn’t have to take too long. I realize that there are some situations that need more time, and if its that big a deal, there probably needs to be some counseling. If it’s just a correction, it should only take a few minutes.

10. Don’t make it a bigger deal than it is. No Drama, Minimize, don’t maximize. Don’t let it have a life of its own. Its just a correction, its not the end of the world.

So there are my thoughts on confrontation. Hope it helps.

Leadership in Parenting

Not long ago I wrote about getting your kids to talk to you.  Instead of asking questions all the time, sometime the best way to get them talking is to do something they enjoy and just listen.  Invariably they will open up and start talking.  The conversations that happen in this dynamic are truly Phenomenal, and lead to great interactions and opportunities for you as a parent to give guidance.

Always remember.  Any kind of effective leadership is intentional.  To be effective it has to be on purpose.  It doesn’t happen by osmosis.  This is true especially in your family and definitely with your children.  Spend time with your kids.  Have fun with your kids.  Allow them time to express themselves.  Play to their strengths and let them know you love them and are proud of them.  Make these kind of deposits in their lives and their response will be revolutionary.  Here is something I have started doing with my 9 year old, Sydney.  She is very creative and funny.  This is all her I just helped with the editing.  I can’t even tell you the fun we had doing this, and the great conversations and meaningful experiences we had as a result.

Camp Rock 2, the place to talk

Well, that was the cheesiest movie ever, so why did I like it so much?  The same reason I like a lot of those shows, cause my nine year old daughter does. One of the most effective tools as a parent is to do things your kids enjoy. So much of the time we make kids come into our world if they want to interact with us, whether they like it or not, whether its fun for them or not. I know that we can’t always just play around and its good for our kids to see the real side of things at times, but the truth is we should definitely be comfortable doing things they enjoy.

I’ve found that trying to get your kids to talk to you by asking, “so how was your day?”  or “What did you do today?”  You will get answers like, “great,” or “nothing.”  Try this, go hang out with them, doing something they like, and they will start talking and opening up to you like never before, and when they do, be ready for it.  Those are times that can be real valuable to your child, and to you as a parent.  So if I have to sit through movies where they break out into song every few minutes and have the cheesiest themes, I am more than willing to do that to connect withe the coolest kid I know, Sydney Kate Gadberry, and who knows, I may secretly like the Jonas Brothers.

Next Generation….

OK, I’ve had it…Sound mad don’t I? Not really, I just hear so much talk about how bad the Next generation is coming up. It May be true for some, but I know a lot of young people who are productive, who care about life, who care about the important things. It will not be some political plan, some technology, some process or ideology that ushers in the next great thing, or the next great leadership movement. It will be the leaders of this next generation. The young people so many love to hate today.

I know that all we hear about is the negative on everything, partially because the media stokes that fire, and partially because we buy the smoke. However There are some great young leaders coming up. Oh there not in Hollywood, they are not even visible to you and I, but they are there and they have some thoughts.

My Daughter is one of those. Guess what, My daughter is not in to drugs, My daughter is not caught up in things that are illegal or self destructive. Now hold on before you judge me for being prideful, which, alright I’m a little guilty of, She isn’t perfect, and she tries my patience on a consistent basis, just by being a teenager, I try hers as well.

Taylor turned 15 today, she is, and I can’t say this without partiality, one of the best kids I know. She really wants to change the world. She cares about people, she cares about her relationship with Jesus and allowing Him to use her life, and their are tons like her. Volunteering, using their gifts and talents, and time to help others.

I think our future looks bright! I love it that my daughter wants to change the world. That can sound kind of idealistic to us over 40 crowd. I must still be idealistic too then cause I’m trying to change the world as well. So Taylor is going with me to Cambodia this year, and we will do our best to help others together, and by the way, that’s how you change the world. So all you young people out there, we believe in you, we see potential in you, and we are depending on your leadership and enthusiasm in the future to help change the world.

I have people ask me all the time how did you get your daughter to think like that, to be like that. I use to say, just the grace of God, but the truth is a little more specific than that.

1. I spend time involved in her life, and listening, cultivating and supporting her dreams and talents.

2. I surround her with dreamers. I have lots of friends who are big thinkers, and world shakers and I get her around them and let her listen and naturally they speak into her life.

3. She is planted in a great church and has great Pastors and pastoral figures speaking into her life, and helping to encourage and support her.

4. We Talk, talk, talk about everything.

5. I have listened to parents who have gone before me, and employed their advice.

6. She has the most incredible down to earth yet faith filled mother on the planet.

7. She surrounds herself with friends who are full on committed to Christ and she creates friendships with kids who she is reaching out to for Christ.

I can hear someone saying right now, well she’s still young and she could mess up. Yep, and probably will, Thank God for His Grace and the knowledge that His dreams for her do not hinge on my imperfections, her mothers, her leaders or hers, but rather on His perfection.

So Thank God for Taylor and her generation….Can’t wait to see how the world changes.


20 years…

As I sit here this morning reflecting on life,  and my  place in the world, (sounds deep right) what else are you gonna due when you wake up this early on Sunday morning.  I think  of last Tuesday August 12.  Last tuesday was a marker in my life.  A twenty year marker.  As of last tuesday, my wonderful wife Janae and I have been married for 20 years.  I know, I know we look way to young for that, at least thats what we tell ourselves.  We got married when we were 19, now i wouldn’t change this, but I don’t necessarily recommend it.

We were talking the other about what this means, all that we’ve gone through, the ups and downs, the extremely good times, and the extremely bad times.  A lot can happen over 20 years.  There have been times we have been so mad at each other we just wanted to give up, and quit on marriage.  There have been times when we had such difficulty that we couldn’t imagine how we would have made it without each other.  There have been such great times we have been elated to be together.

God has truly blessed us, by surrounding us with people who give us great examples of how to last.  He has taught us through his word, about what a great marriage really is, and how it works.

How do you do 20 years?  Love, no not that fuzzy feeling stuff we call love, but true love.  Love that considers the other person more than self, love that wants the success of the other, love the supersedes frustration, anger, or discontentment.

How do you do it?  communicate, talk to each other, my wife, even if she is the one im mad at is the first person I turn to, I am the same for her.  We are partners.  It doesn’t hurt that Janae is the greatest person I know, and has more true love and care and wisdom in her little pinky then the majority of people i’ve met in life.

How do you do it?  Believe in each other.  Realize that God has gifted each of you, that He has a purpose for each of you, and has put you together to realize that purpose, not the least of which is to train your children to become great people.  Support one another.  My greates cheerleader is Janae, and I’m hers.

How do you do it?  don’t let anger rule in your house.  Care more about unity than you do about making your point.  Remember you are parnters not enemy combatents.

How?  Most importantly Keep Jesus at the center of your life.  Not a side note, not thing we do, but truly our relationship with Jesus is what holds us together. Oh, to some 20 years is nothing, they’ve got 40, 50, even 60 years and we are striving for that.  We love each other more now than we ever have, we understand each other now, more than ever, I would never want to llive my life without her, she is my life.  To us 20 years is a great mark, and we’re ready for 100 more.  We are partners, our family is a team, and we are going somehwhere.  We focus on thriving, not surviving, and we realize nothing is so bad, that we can’t overcome it with God’s help.

I love Janae Gadberry, and I truly believe that God gave her to me as a gift, to help my life unfold according to his plan, and I hope that i’ve been that same gift to her.

So there you have it….twenty years…Its been fun, but the best is yet to come!