Leadership 101 Thoughts

troy —  April 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

Over the next couple weeks I will be throwing out some thoughts on leadership.  I of course have a lot of different thoughts so this will be simply me throwing out whatever thought comes to me at the point of writing.  They will be somewhat random, straight to the point and hopefully helpful for you – although you may be the one that should be writing these instead of me.

Todays thought comes from the apostle Paul and understanding a bit about his ministry.  For me, one of the biggest things that pops out about his leadership is the fact that he “lived among” those he served.  See Acts 20:17-21 for an example.  You can also see this phraseology throughout the book of 1 Thessalonians.

You might say Paul’s leadership was “down to earth” and there is a beauty to leading this way.  He didn’t lead from a position, he led from his life – that’s a big difference and one that is critical for working in college ministry.  In Acts 20:17-21 alone we see those he led could attest to at least the following things:

1. his humility.  Can we look at those we lead and say to them that they can attest to our humility?

2. his compassion for them as human beings. Do we actually love people or just say we do?

3. his own trials in life.  Do we allow those we lead into even the difficult aspects of our lives?

4. his commitment to speaking truth. Do we love people enough to tell them the truth?

5. his consistency between public and private settings.  Are we consistent in character regardless of where we are?

6. his unchanging message.  Are we committed to telling everyone about the gospel?

It seems as though Paul could answer all these positively, which is partly what made him such a powerful leader.  I hope we are able to do the same.

Tips For Email

troy —  April 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of emails and managing them can be quite a headache for me.  I pastor a church and run a couple of organizations so I happen to have a few different email accounts.  I use Mail for Mac to manage all of them, so they all come to one place and are put into their appropriate account folders, but it can still be overwhelming for me.  Some of this is due to the number of emails I may get, but it also has to do with my personality.

I manage them in a number of different ways but there are a few different things I do that has really helped me to stay on top of them (which may or may not work for you).  Nobody seems to talk about these things, so I thought I would throw some tips out that I’ve adapted and have shared with staff/interns/friends that have asked:

1. Respond to Colossae Church email first.  Even though I get a lot of email for other organizations I lead or for speaking requests/details, the church I pastor is my first ministry responsibility.  So, before I go to other accounts I do my best to make sure I am all caught up on getting back to the people in my church or those inquiring about our church.

2. I have a personal account.  I have my close friends and family email me on this account specifically.  I don’t create different compartments to my life (my life is my ministry and my ministry is my life), but there are certain people – like my wife! – that I have email me to a specific account versus others.

3. Nothing left to do.  When I respond to an email I make sure I have nothing else to do after I send it.  For instance, if I’m setting up a meeting with someone, I may issue dates/times, but then leave it up to them to get back to me.  Or, I may ask them to give me some dates/times.  Or, if I need to research something or check my calendar or do anything else I make sure I do all of that before I respond to the email.  Whatever the case, I know that when I send it off I have been faithful with everything I need to do and have nothing more to follow up on.   This free’s my mind AND my to-do-list!

4. I don’t save or manage them.  Because I don’t have anything to do after I respond, I delete my emails from my inbox once I send it off.  They are still in “trash” and not permanently deleted but they truly are out of sight and out of mind.  Getting through my inbox is tough enough, I don’t need to manage every other folder too – that totally stresses me out.

5. I utilize other staff a lot.  When another staff person can respond to something better than I can, I pass it along.  We have discussed what to do in different circumstances – and many times they do it without me ever seeing an email – but if I pass an email along to them I delete it after doing so.  They know I do this so it’s on them to follow through.  This again free’s my mind and my to-do-list.

Have any other practical tips you can offer?

Giving up on balance

troy —  April 4, 2012 — 1 Comment

everyone talks about having balance in life and i’ve always tried to find that.  but i’m not sure i ever have.  sure, i have seasons that are more balanced than others i guess…seasons where all things are going smoothly and i’m not overwhelmed.  but i don’t think i can honestly say i have ever found THE balance.

in fact i question whether or not anyone can actually find the perfect balance.  first of all, life changes too much and too fast to keep up.  secondly, the idea of having balance in life is totally subjective.  what someone considers “balance” very well may be out of balance for another.  so i’m never quite sure what someone means when they say we have to “have balance.”

so i’ve come to a conclusion.  i’m giving up on trying to find balance.  instead, i’m taking one thing at a time, one day at a time, and simply trying to not be too far OUT of balance as i seek to steward all i’ve been entrusted with.

anyone with me?

New CollegeLeader Website

troy —  March 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but I am proud to say that our new CollegeLeader website is up and running!  It’s been over four years since we made any changes and we basically left it that way because we didn’t have an easy/affordable solution.  But, thanks to my friends over at Clover Sites, it is now possible.  Check out the site here.  Hope you find it helpful.

Okay, there is a lot of hype around this movie.  But there is a big part of me that doesn’t want to see it.  Why?  Well, it’s entirely selfish.  I have a friend that basically had a (and possibly the) lead role in this movie and at the last minute they chose someone different.  I’ll leave the details at that out of fear of too much hate mail, but the bottom line is I was secretly hoping it didn’t do well.

I know, that’s horrible.  And obviously it’s not the case.  It’s the hottest thing out there right now and possibly the hottest movie in the history of Hollywood.  Crazy!  I’m wrestling with whether or not I will see it.  The hype is sort of pushing me to go see it just to see what it’s all about, but I really don’t know much about it.  How about you?  What will you do?

Do you think there is value in it for college students?  If so, what/how?

Do you think it’s dangerous?  If so, how/why?

A couple weeks ago I did a webinar for the Southern Baptist Texas Convention (SBTC) on some key generational differences we need to recognize and keep in mind as we approach relationships with college age people.  These folks at SBTC are doing great work and really championing collegiate ministry in the churches they work with.  And because of their work, you too can listen in. I hope it’s helpful to you in your ministry.

Here is the video.  NOTE: After the introduction part you may need to turn up the volume a bit.  For whatever reason, probably because I did something wrong on my end, my voice is a bit lower.  But if you turn it up you can hear it just fine.

Interview From Last Week

troy —  December 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

Last week I was in Ventura speaking about and doing some interviews for an upcoming book I have coming out in the fall. I’ll let you in on that book more in the spring as it is completely different than anything I’ve written thus far. This interview however was about my thoughts on what churches are doing to engage “twenty-somethings” today, some of which we articulated in a book called The Slow Fade.

30k Foot View of God's Will

troy —  October 20, 2011 — Leave a comment

This morning I was writing for a resource called XP3College – it’s offered through ReThink and is designed as a practical tool for those that have read one of my previous books, The Slow Fade. Anyway, the conversation guide I was writing is 4 dialogs long and had to do with God’s will. I thought this could be encouraging for some readers here, so here are some things dialog two (of 4) talks about.

Everyone is interested in God’s will. We seek to know what He wants us to do in specific circumstances and the truth is, if we’re honest, seeking these things out can be quite frustrating sometimes. On another side, I know Christians that struggle with wondering if they are even in God’s will. They wonder if they make one decision over another if that would somehow remove them from God’s will. This core fear is what often drives them be stifled in making a decision in any direction.
We all have specific things we are praying about, but sometimes it helps to look at this topic from a 30,000 foot view. What do we know God wants and what do we know He is doing? Here are at least 3 things we know for sure:
  1. God is reconciling all things to Himself through Jesus (Colossians 1:19-20). God is restoring what is broken and this includes us.
  2. God is bringing Christians toward Christ-likeness (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8/ Philippians 1:6).
  3. God often finds it necessary to bring trial into our lives (1 Peter 1:6-7, 4:12-13).
So, if God is in anyway restoring brokenness within you, if God is in anyway changing you to be more like Christ and if there is any amount of pain in your life….you can be confident that you are in God’s will. I sincerely hope that is an encouragement to you…it was to me this morning as I wrote it. Kind of weird how that happens sometimes.