QUESTION – You said at a recent church planter’s forum that every six months you evaluate everything you personally do or think and then make changes in order to streamline things. What changes have you made in the past six months that have helped you? – Jessie in Gainesville, Florida
ANSWER – As you know my greatest commodity in life is not money…but time. If I could pay $1000 to add another hour to my life I would. With that in mind I do constantly re-evaluate everything I do in life in order to streamline things and bring me closer to my personal God-given goals. Some things are spiritual…some things are practical…some things are mental…all things are up for review! Anyway Jessie, here’s your list:
1. I stopped planning my life around television. I’ve never been a big fan of prime time television…even less now since everthing is CSI-wannabes, reality shows or 24/Heroes crap…however, I found myself in front of the tube glazed over watching hours of substandard junk. Now I only watch three hours of television a week during primetime… Tuesdays at 9:00 PM (Deadliest Catch), Wednesdays at 10:00 PM (LOST) and Sundays at 8:00 PM (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition). All three of these shows my wife also loves…so we watch them together. There are a few other shows I enjoy (Scrubs, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, The Office and Jericho), but I download them through iTunes so I can see them at my convenience.
2. I dumped a bunch of podcasts. At one time I was downloading up to 30 podcasts a week. That was insane, filled up my hard drive and made me feel pressured to listen to…or watch…them all. I only have five podcasts these days…none are video. The National New Church, Catalyst and Relevant Magazine podcasts keep me up-to-date with the church leadership world. The Imago Dei and Mosaic podcasts feed me spiritually each week because Erwin McManus and Riock McKinley are my pastors.
3. I stopped hyping Sundays. Every week I was hyping the upcoming Sunday on my church’s blog and email newsletter. Week in and week out it was the same “I’m so stoked about this coming Sunday, you guys won’t want to miss it, it’s going to be the best Sunday in our history” stuff. By and large, people from unchurched backgrounds (which is the majority of Compass Point’s people) are turned off by the constant high-pressure, carnival barker sales pitch just to promote attendance on Sunday. After a while they just block it out because it starts to sound like a broken record. Also, you start running out of ideas on how to top yourself from last week. I stopped hyping the service and started spending my time making sure that the sermon was good, meaty stuff from week to week. Quality causes excitement, excitement causes word-of-mouth and word-of-mouth causes people to show up! I don’t hype Sundays anymore…I let our people do it.
4. I started using a Blackberry and a Macbook. Now I can answer emails on the fly with my Blackberry and I no longer have to put up with stupid software crap (or lockups or crashes) with a Mac. I’m better connected..and the setup (through Bluetooth and wi-fi) is much more simple!
5. I stopped trying to be a mega-church pastor. This is probably the greatest change I’ve made in my life and my way of thinking. I’m a shepherd…not a CEO. I am not impressed by mega-church guys or huge churches. Don’t get me wrong…they are reaching people for Christ…God bless them…but that is not me. I have a huge vision to reach thusands for Christ…just not all under the same roof…or with me preaching to all of them. I love being connected to people…I love hospital visits….I love knowing my folks by name…I love being accessible. I also love the idea of planting a bunch of churches that will reach people for Christ. When…and if…Compass Point hits 500+ people on Sundays…we’lll train up a new pastor…and send him out with 100 folks to start something new in our community. I’m not called to be a mega-church pastor…I’m called to be a catalyst to launch a dozen, niche-reaching area churches through Compass Point.