Since our meeting last week, we had an intense Advance weekend. For Gatewayers, this is a weekend where we discuss how we’re going to play our part in seeing the church raised up out of the culture. This year the theme for Advance was ‘yield.’ What does God want me to personally yield (John 12:24) and what kind of yield does God want to have through me (2 Cor. 9:6-9)?
For me, one area God is hitting me on is yielding my agenda for my life, my agenda for Gateway, my agenda for my neighbors… and trust that God’s agenda is far better. I’m struggling with the tension of what’s my responsibility and what’s God’s responsibility. I don’t have that fully resolved.
So, what is God showing you that you need to yield?
What kind of yield is God wanting to produce through you in the next 6-12 months?
What’s your next step with either type of ‘yielding’?
This week we’re talking about training. If we’re going to do anything for any length of time and have some degree of success, we have to train for it.
Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
2 Questions this week:
1. What are you doing to train in these areas of your life so that you won’t be ‘disqualified?’ You could think in terms of resources, relationships or experiences in each of these areas.
1. Spiritual – connection with God, scripture, prayer, worship, etc.
2. Emotional – time and space to process how your feeling
3. Intellectual – stretching your thinking, challenging you to grow professionally, etc.
4. Social –meeting new people, keeping a balance between social and solitude
5. Physical – staying active, caring for your body, etc.
6. Sexual – purity, and if married growing in your love for your spouse
2. Do you have a person (or people) in each of these areas who serve as your personal ‘board of directors’? Or put another way, these people form ‘Team Charles’ and are encouraging me, rooting me on, challenging me. It could be the same person or you may have different people you’ve asked to keep you accountable or someone you can lean into for wisdom. If not, consider asking someone (or multiple people) to walk with you in each of these areas. Share who’s on your ‘Team’ with your RP’s or what your next step is to form your team.
This week, we’re talking about what could take us off course or even ‘out of the race.’ We’re going to focus in on Satan’s attack plan for you. Read 1 Peter 5:6-9:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
A wise person once asked me to consider Satan’s attack plan for me. If I was really effective doing what God called me to do, Satan’s going to come after me. So I had to put myself in Satan’s shoes and say, “If I was going to bring down Charles, here’s what I’d do… Going after him in these areas would destroy his trust in God, his family and the work he’s doing at Gateway.”
So here are three questions to process with your Running Partners:
1. What’s the attack plan Satan would put together to come after you at this stage in your life?
2. What specific steps are you taking to go on the offensive and be prepared for the attacks?
3. How can your RP’s help you be prepared?
I’m starting a spiritual journey with a group of ‘running partners’ over the next 3 months to go deeper in community and spiritual growth. But before you start running, it helps to know where you are so you can get your bearings and see if you’re headed in the right direction. This week we’ll be diving into our anchor passage, Hebrews 12:1-3:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Consider these questions:
1. Do you feel like you’re in it alone or that you have a few others in your life cheering you on? How do you hope this changes or improves over the next few weeks?
2. What is an area of sin or struggle that gets you tangled up that you need encouragement from your Running Partners to throw off so you experience freedom?
3. What opposition do you run into regularly as you run the race that has been marked out for you? How can your RP’s help you in this area of opposition?
4. How does what Jesus did through his life and death reset your perspective on running the race so you don’t grow weary and lose heart?
As you share these with your spiritual running partners, write down what each person says and commit to pray for them. Look for ways to encourage each other before you meet again (email, text, phone call, lunch).
At the Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybles shared how he was recently challenged to make the next 5 years the best stretch in his career. That would be huge since he has a history of great accomplishments. But his comments challenged me to consider what I’m doing to make the next 12 months the best year ever. What am I doing to make it the best in my run as a husband, father, and leader? I need to start work on that plan… tomorrow.
How quickly do we stop doing the things we started to do? Whether it’s daily exercise, reading to our kids every night, taking intentional steps of spiritual growth, or whatever it was you committed to sticking to do… It seems that before long the things we said we were going to do, just drop off our radar because life gets crazy. I’ve realized that a big part of what I must do, is just to continue doing what I said I’d do. Consistency is a key to building trust and over time, making progress. In the words of Dory the fish with the short-term memory problem from Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming!”
Do you have an ‘escape plan’ for when you’re feeling tempted? Ted Beasley, recently spoke at Gateway Church and challenged us to write a letter to our ‘future selves’ that we could pull out in the event we are feeling tempted. What would you say to yourself to avoid going down a path of regret and devastating impact. It’s a great exercise that may just save your life and the lives of those you love. Write your future self a message in a bottle today!
Doing announcements today at our Sunday service, I was reminded that our message has to be simple. Here are some of the questions I wrestled with while determining what to communicate:
1. How many different places am I pointing people for next steps? I should point them to one place – like our homepage www.gatewaychurch.com.
2. What’s most important? I can’t expect thousands of people to remember lot’s of different next steps. If they only remember 1 thing to do, what is most important so they stay in the flow of information?
3. Is the next step I point people to ready to deliver when they show up? The information posted there should be accurate and deliver the product we are ‘selling.’
Simplicity is key!
Just got my dog back from 14 days of focused training at Triple Crown Dog Academy. Here is their ‘big 3’ for dogs. I also think it applies to people, but that’s for later discussion:
1. Timing – a dog has 1.3 seconds to either associate their behavior with a positive or negative outcome. Otherwise whatever you do to reinforce their behavior doesn’t make sense to them.
2. Consistency – be clear: ‘black and white’ in your training. Be 100% consistent so your dog feels safe and trusting within very well defined rules.
3. Motivation – communicate with praise and rewards when your dog is doing good. Communicate with corrections when they make mistakes or break the clearly defined rules. Both praise and correction should be motivational.
In staff meeting this week I shared a summary of Ken Blanchard’s book Raving Fans. We discussed how to not just serve the people God brings to our church, but to create ‘raving fans’ of the mission Jesus has us on. Here are 10 principles from the book to create a raving fan:
1. Focus on people and relationships!
2. If past performance has taught your customers that you don’t care, do the hard work to repair/regain trust.
3. Create systems that reinforce Raving Fan service.
4. Think of ways to provided ‘unexpected’ service.
5. Don’t just focus on satisfying your customers. They’ll only stay with you until something better comes along. Create Raving Fans!
6. Be consistent! Consistency is critical. It communicates reliability. It’s also the antidote to resistance.
7. Spy on your customers.
8. Create a Raving Fan Index for your internal and external customers and only promote those individuals that provide Raving Fan Service.
9. Determine how many Raving Fans you currently have and set targets for improvement using the 1% rule (improve by 1% each week and by the end of the year you’ll improve 50%).
10. Know who your internal and external customers are.