Archive for the 'leadership' Category

“The Story” Begins in January

I cannot wait to start a news series in January 2013 called, The Story. For the first several months of the new year we will basically take a chronological journey through the major stories of the Bible. If you know some Bible stories, but aren’t sure how they all fit together…or if you would love to read the Bible more often with your kids, but don’t feel very confident in doing so…then you have to participate in The Story with us.

Check out this video where I introduced our vision for the series with our Cedar Ridge leadership:

I Take that as a Compliment!

Sunday was my first back in worship services for a three weeks. After one of our services, a dear lady and leader in our church came up to me and said that she had discovered something about our church while I was gone. Immediately I was curious and asked her what it was. She responded, “I discovered while you were gone that if anything were to ever happen to you, nothing would happen to our church.”

That maybe one of the greatest ministry compliments I have ever received. That’s something I aspire to. How many church leaders have developed a large following and when they left there was just as large of an exodus. I love it that the ministry of Cedar Ridge Christian Church is not built on one person or even a group of people, but on the work of Jesus Christ with a whole lot of humble and authentic followers. Though all of us like to be indispensable to the people around us, the wisest thing is to create an environment that is prepared for your absence. You might as well face it, we will all be gone someday, for some reason. How will your family, your church, your group, your organization do without you. I’ve talked with our church staff often about working yourself out of a job. That makes some people uncomfortable. “What if they don’t need me? What about my job security?” The truth is if you’re preparing leaders in such a way that they can do what you do, then you’re truly indispensable.

Me and Tim Elmore

I’m a Tim Elmore fan. I enjoy his speaking and the books he has authored. We have used his Habitudes series as a part of our Leadership Development at Cedar Ridge. I got a chance to meet Tim last month at Life Church South Tulsa where he was talking about his new book, Generation iY. Thanks Tome Dawson for making introducing us.

Leadership Community

Here’s a little taste of the fun we had with our leaders at our November 7th Leadership Community.

Deliberate Simplicity

As a part of our on-going staff development, we’re usually reading a current title and discussing at our Monday morning staff meeting. We just finished reading the book, Deliberate Simplicity by Dave Browning. Browning is the founding pastor of the non-denominational, multi-site Christ the King Community Church.

Two thoughts our staff agreed were particularly applicable for Cedar Ridge:
1. We need to be more missional – that is intentional about outreach. Browning talks about an “arrows out” church. He asks the question, “is church a place you go to, or is church a place you go from?”

2. We also need to be cautious about creating so much programming that we unconsciously complicate discipleship. The sub-title of Browning’s book is How the Church Does More by Doing Less. He encourages churches to “uplug the extraneous” and become more intentional.

A couple of other thoughts I found interesting:
“The gap holding back most believers is not the gap between what they know and what they don’t know. It’s the gap between what they know and what they’re living…They are educated beyond their obedience.” Isn’t that the truth? Churches can be guility of operating with the idea that if we just impart more Bible knowledge, then we’ll have more mature Christ-followers. I wish it were that easy.

Browning also cites a survey taken in San Francisco that asked the question, “What do Christians do?” They received two primary answers: “They go to a lot of meetings” and “They are against things.” Ouch! If that’s the message the culture around us is hearing from us, we’re doing something wrong.

Kimber Serving as Senate Page

My daughter, Kimber, just got back home today, having served this week as a Page for the Oklahoma State Senate. She received an appointment from our own Senator Mike Mazzei. She had a great time, and learned a lot about our government process.
It has been a pleasure for me to get know Senator Mazzei by serving on his Pastors Counsel. I appreciate not only his strong faith, but his strong position reagarding our state being financially responsible. Senator Mazzei is currently the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

Leadership Community

We had our first Leadership Community today where we gathered all the leaders from our major ministries. Our goal was to celebrate and encourage a culture of leadership while at the same time giving us a venue to dialogue with our front-line leaders concerning vision and major church initiatives.

After a goofy “American Idol” spoof skit by our staff, we introduced our newest leaders. I then shared our vision and plans for our Sapulpa campus. We also allowed time for our ministry teams to gather and do specific training for their respective areas. I concluded my thoughts this way:

This is not just about starting a new campus, it’s about Cedar Ridge becoming a reproducing church. God willing and with his direction, we’ll reproduce another campus. Our expectation is that our Sapulpa campus will reproduce another campus. What that means for all of us, as key leaders at Cedar Ridge, is that we all have to reproduce. If we’re going to be a church that reproduces, it means we’re going to have to reproduce our leaders.

We had a great response to this first Leadership Community gathering. If you missed it, our plans are to do it on a quarterly basis. Thanks staff, for all your hard work. And a big “thanks” to Kyle for a great “Gloria Gaynor” impression.

Leaders Helping Leaders

The Elders at our church are doing the coolest thing. For about six years, we’ve used a resource by Alexander Strauch called, “Biblical Eldership” to train men for church leadership. Individuals make a year-long committment to some pretty intensive study and a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a “previous graduate.” We’ve had over twenty men complete the requirements and many of them have served or are serving as Elders at our church.

Occasionally, another church in our area will request help or guidance from our leadership. Just a few months ago, Town and Country Christian Church in Coweta, OK (John Catrett, minister) inquired about partnering with us in mininstry. To make a long story short, our Elders offered to take some of their men through our leadership process. They agreed and tonight five of our current and former Elders met individually with five men from their church to start the mentoring/training process. Who knows where it will lead, but I know that when church leaders get serious about growing as leaders, something good is going to happen.

I love it that our Elders see the kingdom as bigger than just Cedar Ridge.