Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pick a Number . . . Any Number

UNLEASH is a new book written by Perry Noble, Lead Pastor of NewSpring Church.  I don't often blog about a particular book, but this book will take you on a challenging journey that will rock your world and the way you view it.  The following insert is just a sample of the way Perry encourages the reader to re-evaluate the way he or she thinks.

"Choose a number in your head—any number you want. Go!

What number did you pick? Nearly every time I do this experiment with people, they tell me a number in the ball- park of one to one hundred.

But why?

Why would we pick a number between one and one hundred when we have the option of choosing any number in the world? Why would we not pick 1,284,383?

For many of us, it’s a simple and sad answer: we’ve been programmed to focus on the small and the manageable. We do the same thing with spiritual matters. We focus on what’s normal when God has promised He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20, niv).

We all want our lives to count, to matter—and the good news is that God wants that for each one of us as well. The beginning of unleashing the life God wants for us is understanding that there is so much more in store for us than what we are currently experiencing."  Perry Noble, UNLEASH

This book will challenge what you assume is biblical, like, "God won't give you more than you can handle."  As it's title suggests, we are all bound by thoughts and junk that hinder us from experiencing the free and abundant life God created us to experience. (John 10:10)

My recommendation . . . get UNLEASH . . . study it with some friends . . .  wrestle with its thoughts . . . live life unleashed and help unleash others.  God didn't set us free from prison so we could go through life dragging a ball and chain.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else

I've always appreciated the insights of Patrick Lencioni as he has gone beyond finance, strategy and MBA analysis of organizations. He has focused on the environmental issues that hinder productivity and negatively affect those who engage with the organization.  I am in 100% agreement with his conclusion that organizational health trumps vision, strategy, finance and talent.  This is especially relevant when you are working with an organization that is defined by God as a Body.

Imagine being a smart, talented, rich person who is continually sick and plagued with chronic disabilities that must be overcome.  Compare that person with the less intelligent, less talented, less financially blessed person who is healthy, motivated and rarely experiences "sick days."  Who has the advantage?  

Here is a paragraph that caught my attention from Lencioni's most recent book, The Advantage - Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business."

"Becoming a healthy organization takes a little time. Unfortunately, many of the leaders I’ve worked with suffer from a chronic case of adrenaline addiction, seemingly hooked on the daily rush of activity and firefighting within their organizations. It’s as though they’re afraid to slow down and deal with issues that are critical but don’t seem particularly urgent. As simple as this may seem, it remains a serious obstacle for many dysfunctional organizations led by executives who don’t understand that old race-car drivers’ axiom: you have to slow down in order to go fast."  Patrick Lencioni - The Advantage 

Romans 12 gives us a description of a healthy body.  In fact, paying attention to the relational health of the church is even classified as a warning in verses 3 through 5.  In our zeal to do God's work we often neglect to be God's Body.  God wants us to be light  and salt  and to be known by our love for one another.  He will do great things through His church when it becomes healthy.

Vision, productivity and financial stability are the natural by-products of a healthy organizational environment.  Dysfunction, financial chaos, employee turnover and declining performance are the by-products of neglecting organizational health.

Check out Acts 2.  Devotion to God's Word . . . Devotion to each other . . . Devotion to prayer . . . Generosity toward each other . . . Praising . . . Positively impacting those outside the church.  How does this description of a healthy church match up with what is happening in your church?

ReFocused Ministry has a great assessment tool and consulting strategy to help restore organizational health to your church.  We also offer personal coaching, one-day realignment conferences and team building workshops.  Contact us, we would love to help you refocus.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Are You Ready? . . . Really, Are You Ready?

I'm preparing for a consult with a church in New Jersey this week.  In the pauses between projects I have been praying for this church and reflecting on the number of pastors and people I have encountered over the past several months who have acknowledged that their church or their personal life is stalled, stuck or even going backwards.

It is pretty common for people to say the existing church is not the transformational element in the culture that we read about in the Scriptures, yet little or nothing is done to address the problem.

"We're just not ready yet." has been the response I have heard from pastors as we discuss the potential of refocusing their church on God's plan and mission.  Individuals will admit their problems and even know what needs to happen, but they will respond with the same reality, "I'm just not ready yet."  Not ready to see God work?  Not ready to address or give up some sinful behavior?  Not ready to experience freedom and victory? Not ready . . . ?

I'm excited for those who not only acknowledge that God wants to do more than is currently happening, but are ready to address the issues and allow the Lord to show them great and mighty things about their future.

The question of the day: Are you ready?   It's been a battle since the beginning . . . don't be like the Corinthians.  God is always ready to bless His children and glorify His name.  What keeps you from addressing what you know is holding you or your church back.