Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Apologies

My sincere apologies for being away most of the last two months. It’s been busy, and all of the sudden, one or two weeks turned into June and July.

 

To catch you up:

My company’s conference was held April 30-May 2, 2014. Over 6,000 family ministry teams gathered here in Atlanta to hear how to “Say YES to the Next Generation.”

OC14 highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to Clarkesville, TN, to visit some of my very best friends for Memorial Weekend. One of my favorite places to hit is their farmers market.

Dickens family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father passed away in June. It was a very hard loss for my family, but we know he is in heaven and are grateful he is no longer in any pain.

Dad Photo Highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I attended my company’s first summer of High School Camp. A couple thousand students and leaders descended on Panama City Beach and Wilderness at the Smokies to learn how to listen to the positive and wise “Voices” around them.

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I bought a Prius! It’s been mine for a week now, and I’m having a lot more fun driving than usual. (More details coming soon on this process!)

Prius 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I had several friends drop in and out of town over the last few weeks from Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas. They kept me pretty busy, and laughing!

 

So, that’s been my summer so far. How’s yours going?

Hard to believe it’s almost over, but looking forward to the fun things I have on my calendar for the fall!

 


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Orange Tour Registration Opens Today!

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com

Say YES to the Next Generation

Save $40 per person off the regular price for TODAY ONLY! Pay only $49 per person (lunch provided)

OR, register for both the Orange Tour and 2015 Orange Conference at the same time and save! Pay only $259 today only—a combined savings of $149 per person off of the regular rates.

 

When you “Say YES to the Next Generation,” this year’s theme, it means you say yes to tension, collaboration and debate. There are important questions church leaders wrestle with every week. In fact, many of the questions in ministry are tricky to navigate. This year’s Orange Tour will help attendees discover the best way to answer these questions.

Tour stops for 2014 include Atlanta, Ga., Minneapolis, Minn., Seattle, Wash., Windomar, Calif., Lancaster, Penn., Washington D.C., Detroit, Mich., Indianapolis, Ind., Kansas City, Kan., Charlotte, N.C., Austin, Texas, Dallas, Texas, and Tampa, Fla.

For more information, please visit OrangeTour.org.

If you want some convincing, read Rob Cizek’s article about 7 Things Your Team will get from the Orange Tour at: http://bit.ly/1jKmVLP


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The Orange Conference Live Stream—It’s FREE!

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Over 6,000 of you will be joining us in Atlanta next week! And while we’d love for everyone reading this to be here in person, we realize that’s not always possible. So, we’d like to offer you the next best thing: tune in online! FOR FREE! You’ll be able to see on- and off-stage action, including session streaming, speaker interviews, mayhem and hi-jinx, resource updates and giveaways—and maybe even win a ticket to OC15!

Be sure to RSVP for the Live Stream to receive additional information and special offers. We will not spam you, or sell your info. That’s just rude.

And don’t forget to invite your friends to watch with you!

A full Live Stream schedule will be posted just prior to the conference on this blog.

And if you’re super excited about the Live Stream, but tend to get a little distracted, text “LIVE” to 404-445-2198. We’ll send you text updates about what’s happening, reminders and important info. But we promise not to message you like a sixth grade girl at a One Direction concert.

The Orange Conference, a conference for entire family ministry teams, will be held April 30–May 2, 2014, in Atlanta. Over 5,000 key influencers—senior, next gen, student, children’s and preschool leaders—will gather to experience the power of “Yes,” and learn new insights into influencing the faith and character of the next generation. For more information, please visit www.TheOrangeConference.com.

 

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM ORANGE LEADERS.


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Wondering in the Wilderness This Easter

454435323The past few months I’ve been reading my favorite part of the Bible, Exodus through Joshua. I am slightly obsessed with the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, to their wandering in the wilderness and then long-awaited entrance into the Promised Land. It’s been quite a comfort to me over the years, as I draw so many parallels to my own life. I am following a reading plan, but I find myself skipping days just to intentionally draw out my time with these books. I sort of drink them in, dragging through the Introductions, skimming through all the footnotes, and re-reading certain sections. It may seem strange, as most Christians are drawn to the New Testament with Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s great work. Maybe I’m just old school. ;)

In fact, a couple of young Jehovah’s Witness boys knocked on my door last summer, and tried to talk to me about Jesus. I told them I was a Christian and followed Jesus. I’m sure people use all sort of methods to cut the conversation short, including that one. But they persisted a bit, asking me my favorite book of the Bible. I don’t know if they were testing my resolve or just curious, but when I told them Exodus, they didn’t really know what to do next. They stood there for a minute and then said goodbye. True story.

But it’s true. I think it probably is my favorite book. Moses is my hero. He’s flawed and he’s perfect. I began reading that portion of the Bible during one of the hardest periods of my life, and I kept thinking of how much I was like the Israelites, quick to complain and in need of guidance. I found myself on a similar journey of both wondering and wandering, and completely dependent on the Lord for guidance and provision.

“When Pharoah finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.” (Exodus 13: 17-18a NLT)

There are so many ways God shows His love for me daily. But it was a revelation when I read that passage and really let it sink in. At that point in my life, and every time I’ve read it since, I realized how frustrated I can get with my own wondering.

I wonder when my time will come.

I wonder when my circumstance will change.

I wonder what’s next.

I wonder why someone has it better than me.

I wonder when it’ll get easier.

I wonder. I wonder. I wonder.

And in the process, I wander.

It is a clear demonstration of God’s patience and unfailing love for Him to lead me the roundabout way. It takes time. It takes sacrifice. It takes forgiveness—lots of forgiveness. And, knowing myself, I probably wouldn’t handle the shortest route all that well. I need time to be molded and shaped, as much as I love to jump in with both feet. So, once again, I realize that His timing is perfect despite my ability to see it at work most of the time.

When I stop to reflect and see how much I’ve changed over the years, I still feel sometimes that I am in the infant stages of development. I still see how far I have to go. I think, “Yes, exactly, how can I be ready for that? I’m not yet who I need to be.” And realistically, I know that will always be the case. I hope I never stop growing and learning. But it’s those times that put the wondering in perspective.

“The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and He provided light at night with a pillar of fire.” (Exodus 13: 21)

Goodness knows I wish I had a pillar. And I’ll admit to praying for neon signs. I’m just afraid sometimes I might miss the whisper. But that’s because I can sometimes forget that I do indeed have a pillar: Jesus. He is my guidepost. He is my light in the darkness. He goes ahead of me. I may not be able to speak face-to-face with Him, as Moses did with God, but His Word clearly communicates His character. As I wander, I have the time to discern His will. And I feel His love, through His people and the Bible.

We all have at least one Egypt. I have a bunch of them myself. I have those places and things that I’ve allowed to enslave me, despite the fact that I am a captive who has been set free. Some of them are a daily battle, some were left on the battlefield a long time ago. Some are yet to come. But I am not alone. I am never alone. He has promised to take this journey with me.

This Easter, as many others do, I reflect on Jesus and what He’s done for me. Every day I have the opportunity to open up the gifts of grace, mercy, love and salvation. They are my manna. They are what God provides to sustain me in my wandering. But there are some days that I feel more like a kid hunting for Easter eggs, not sure where to look but overjoyed in the discovery. And honestly, I’m thankful for both. One is ever-present and one is a genuine delight. Luckily, Jesus is so much more than one thing.

Right now, I’m in Deuteronomy, Moses’ last hurrah. He’s speaking to a new generation of Israelites, because the older died in the desert. So, he has to remind them of where they came from, tell them about where they’re going, and explain to them their lasting covenant with God. It reminds me of Easter. This weekend, from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday, communicates all three of those things. The person of Jesus, the Son of God, is the culmination of those things.

And despite who He is and what He’s already done, He’s still willing to lead me the roundabout way. I matter. Little ol’ me. He saved the world. He saved generations. And He saves me daily.

I need to remember that what Easter symbolizes can’t be confined to a day, or even a weekend. It’s a life-long journey. And it’s my privilege.

So, if you’re looking for me, I’m taking the long way around. I wonder where it’ll take me next.


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Social Ecclesia Conference Highlights

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 6.44.24 PMLast month, I attended a nifty new conference called Social Ecclesia with a few of my co-workers. The premise of the event is to help churches with their social media strategy. I think it’s a pretty great idea. These one-day mico-conferences are being held several times per year right now, and are well worth your time and effort if you are a church leader looking to learn more about developing a social approach to sharing the hope of the gospel.

Here are some of the notes I took away from the day.

Justin Wise

  • Authority in the social media age is determined by “who’s around” not “top down”
  • Media is interactive. It’s relational. Engage.
  • Just because people are seeing content doesn’t mean it’s working.
  • A new media culture values customization (iTunes, Netflix, DVR, Twitter, FB, etc.). You can tell when you put content in front of them that they don’t want. They check out.
  • Offline and online is blurred. Teens see social media as a regular part of life.
  • Social media is the new greeter at your church.
  • The FB generation doesn’t want to go to a church that works like a corporation. They want a flexible, interactive community with a cause.

Carrie Kintz at Focus on the Family

  • Van Gogh: I feel there is nothing more artistic that to love someone.
  • People are expressing their brokenness on social media because they don’t feel welcome at the church.
  • “We’re all stories in the end.” – Dr. Who
  • People who volunteer somewhere have happier lives. We are made to serve.
  • To feel loved we must feel known.
  • The church has hope. We need to share it more on social media. (Matt 5:14-16)
  • Don’t let disaster be the first time someone hears from you or your church.
  • Interact with your city’s hashtag.
  • Pray.

Matt McKee

  • Questions change the conversation.
  • How do we leverage social media for the sake of the Gospel?
  • Does the promise meet the practice? If it doesn’t, we fail. This is super important for churches to understand.
  • Online communication should drive offline conversations.
  • Church isn’t limited to an hour each week. Do you have a strategy for both?
  • Ask what problem are you solving?
  • Online presence: 70% interaction 20 content, 10 stats

Tony Morgan

  • Your communication doesn’t matter if you don’t know what a devoted follower looks like and can’t help move them there.
  • People can’t handle too many options. It gets confusing.
  • Increase church activity doesn’t equal spiritual growth.
  • Do your programs reach people outside the church or only satisfy insiders? Ask, “Which ministries is God blessing?”
  • Are your steps clearly communicated?
  • People are attracted to environments where life change is happening.
  • People generally go where they are invited.

Haley Veturis at Saddleback Church

  • Saddleback.com/weaps – their social media plan
  • 3 out of 4 Americans use social media
  • 2/3 of the global population uses social media
  • 13 hour sof video uploaded every minute on YouTube
  • 100K YouTube videos viewed per day
  • 3 million Tweets per day
  • 5 million minutes per day spent on FB
  • Saddleback social media strategy: Connect. Teach. Share.
  • Engage with the people you care about first. Educate community with great content from teachers and speaking pastors. Expose the community to ministry opps.
  • Follow your followers!
  • Go above and beyond when you can. (Disney does this well.)
  • Keep a pulse on the heartbeat of your community.
  • Empower others to be your advocates.
  • 5 Steps in 5 Minutes
  • 1. Identify a social media champion for your church.
  • 2. Check for consistency across channels.
  • 3. Identify your audience on each channel.
  • 4. Follow your followers.
  • 5. Unlink FB/Twitter accounts.

Dave Willis

  • Do people think your phone is your god because you never put it down?
  • Don’t use social media to impress people, use it to impact people.
  • Choose to be an encourager.
  • If you don’t intentionally pull away from social media periodically, then you’re living your life in a digital prison.
  • The impact of your influence will be determined by the effectiveness of your methods and the purity of your motives. Psalm 19:14
  • Criticism is the price of influence. (Luke 6:26, Rom 12:18)
  • Show respect, even to those who don’t deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but of yours.
  • The best way to build credibility with people is to consistently practice generosity.
  • Always be more interested in gaining followers for Jesus than you are in gaining followers for yourself.

James Andrews

  • The power has shifted from corporations and institutions to individuals and communities.
  • Customer service is the new PR. Effort matters.
  • Social media is the new main street.
  • Create conversations
  • Start with goals before tactics.
  • Be great listeners.
  • PR/Marketing role is to create, monitor, participate and filter
  • Influences and audience aren’t necessarily the same thing.
  • Be you.
  • Remember there are NO rules.
  • Don’t focus on numbers.
  • Convert social connections into real connections.
  • Give something back. Don’t just take.
  • Experiment continuously.
  • Make it easy for people to create data.
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