This is simply brilliant.

It’s called a musicless music video.

It’s a parody video, of course, of the original “Dancing In The Streets” homage featuring Mick Jagger and David Bowie:

I didn’t initially realize it was a parody, though. It felt like someone had leaked old school, behind-the-scenes footage of the two pop legends. The guy who created it (Mario Wienerroither) says he did it “not because he hates music… he loves sound.” His YouTube channel will likely become exceedingly popular as he adds more videos to the few already on it.

It feels like yet another of the everyday parables around us.

mickjaggerOften in ministry we feel we’re sending across a certain message that we’ve spent time creating and producing. Equally as often, people in today’s culture are quick to look past the surface and try to understand what’s “behind the music.” Three things I’ve learned:

  • Let them look without being defensive. Did you play the original video to compare the two? I did, and I shared them both because my first response after watching the “raw footage” (even though it ended up being a parody) was to seek out the legitimate version. The same thing will play out in ministry – even a parody accusation of who you are from a potential critic gives that person a reason to be exposed to who you really are. If you’re being genuine behind-the-scenes in ministry and people see it, they will be more inclined to go searching for what you’re intending to share
  • Let the actual music sink in. I watched these videos and quickly moved on to other things. Guess what song I was humming in the back of my head? It offers another interesting lesson – God can use anything through the backdoor (including your failures, false positives or improvisation) to tell people everything he wants to experience through the front door.
  • Let the whole thing be funny: I have to imagine someone in Mick Jagger’s or David Bowie’s team will eventually hear about this and show it to them. Do you expect either man to curl up in a corner and cry over it, or to say, “That’s brilliant!” I’m reminded of countless times when I’ve learned that dying to my ego in a particular situation was better for the Kingdom of God overall, whether new leadership emerged or everything became less dependent on me. Be willing to be silenced so that others can start singing.

What would the musicless music video of your life communicate?

Uncommon Wisdom from the Other Side by Tony MylesIn my book Uncommon Wisdom From The Other Side,” I wrote a chapter devoted to “Authority, Credibility and the Temptation to Fake Both.” The core concept is when you don’t have credibility, you really only have three options:

  • You excuse it, saying, “Nobody is perfect. Give me some grace.”
  • You fake it, saying, “My life is perfect. Give me some recognition.”
  • You own it, saying, “My life is imperfect. Give me some accountability.”

What’s your takeaway?

“Please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help.”

Have you ever heard something like this?

Perhaps it was a situation involving a peer in ministry. Maybe you’ve had to do the hard work of sharing it with someone else. It just might be that someone has shared it with you.

How can we be become better at talking about disqualifying behavior in ministry?

PM_FB_400x400Today the Acts 29 Network removed Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from its membership. According to a public statement:

“It is with deep sorrow that the Acts 29 Network announces its decision to remove Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from membership in the network. Mark and the Elders of Mars Hill have been informed of the decision, along with the reasons for removal. It is our conviction that the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network. In taking this action, our prayer is that it will encourage the leadership of Mars Hill to respond in a distinctive and godly manner so that the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored.”

Christianity Today shared a detailed summary of what has led up to this decision. 

Jonathan Merritt offered a different posture toward the whole topic.

Relevant Magazine highlighted the news, adding in the context of some of Driscoll’s old-school blogging banter.

Another blog further listed the letter that was shared with Mark:


As the Board of Acts 29, we are grateful to God for the leadership, courage, and generosity of both you and Mars Hill in not only founding the network but also sustaining it through the transition to this board three years ago. The very act of giving away your authority over the network was one of humility and grace, and for that we are grateful.

Over the past three years, our board and network have been the recipients of countless shots and dozens of fires directly linked to you and what we consider ungodly and disqualifying behavior. We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior.

In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming. We now have to take another course of action.

Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction.

We tell you this out of love for you, Mars Hill, Acts 29, and most significantly, the cause of Christ, and we would be irresponsible and deeply unloving not to do so in a clear and unequivocal manner. Again, we want you to know that we are eternally thankful for what you as a man and Mars Hill as a church have meant to our network. However, that cannot dissuade us from action. Instead, it gives added significance and importance to our decision. We hope and pray that you see this decision as the action of men who love you deeply and want you to walk in the light—for your good, the good of your family, and the honor of your Savior.

Shortly after sending this, we will be informing the members of Acts 29, your Board of Advisors and Accountability, and your elders, as well as putting out a public statement on the Acts 29 website. It brings us no joy to move forward in this direction, and we trust that the Lord will be at work in all of this.

In sorrow and with hope,

The Board of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network

Matt Chandler
Darrin Patrick
Steve Timmis
Eric Mason
John Bryson
Bruce Wesley
Leonce Crump

Before you post a comment, can I share a perspective (and the reason I’m even adding to this conversation)?

excess-baggage-300x1801We all have baggage with our thoughts on this.

It could be any of the following:

  • As aforementioned, you or someone you care about has been on the receiving end or dispensing end of a situation like this.
  • You’re not a “Marc Driscoll fan.”
  • You are a “Marc Driscoll fan.”
  • The idea of church action steps or administration is general is a sore subject for you.
  • This smells too much like the last big thing we talked about regarding ___________ and how everyone flipped out over it.

I’ve been around the edges of this, as you probably have, too. I was once an interim pastor for a season in a church where the senior pastor was removed. There was another youth ministry role I came into right after leadership had been suddenly let go.

So… here’s what I’d really like to know from you (because I need to learn this, too).

talkHow do we talk about this together?

Again, you’ll be more tempted to share your baggage than wrestle with that question. Maybe that’s okay, or maybe we can just wrestle over this question in its purity. What do you think?

And for that matter, what is disqualifying behavior in ministry?

Maybe if we handle this appropriately we can better address why nobody wants to be around Christians anymore?



evil-heart2I’ve just relaunched our student leadership program and it’s been a ton of fun. This is a program designed to help students lead within the ministry. I would encourage you to start something for your students that would allow them to lead in some capacity. I’m definitely not saying you need a traditional leadership program, but it would benefit your youth ministry a lot to have something where students can take some ownership for the ministry.

In the last few weeks I’ve been having a lot of conversations with student leaders concerning the heart of a leader. Because the bible says in Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. It’s important that I make sure my students understand that you lead from the heart, and the condition of your heart effects the way you lead.

In Christian culture today you have a lot of people who want to lead, be famous and have influence. We’ve taken on this mentality that says “if I’m going to do something for God, I need it to be big and I need everyone to know about it.” I believe it stems from the condition of our hearts. Now, I don’t think God has any problem with us leading, having influence or fame. I think it’s hard to not have all three at some level when you are leading, but the condition of your heart determines wether you use it to glorify God or self.

I want my student leaders to understand that protecting their heart and continuing to allow Jesus to change their heart is an ongoing process. I want them to be like David. It seems like David understood this concept best. In Psalm 51:50 He writes “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. David was always asking God to do something that had to do with heart, mind and spirit. David was more concerned with who he was becoming then what he was doing. Here are a few areas that David struggled in and I believe these areas stemmed from the condition of his heart.  

  1. Compromise: Having the ability to compromise your beliefs for selfish gain is an issue of the heart. Left unchecked could wreak havoc in a ministry, and destroy your credibility as a leader worth following.
  2. Abandon: The ability to abandon your beliefs for selfish gain is an issue of the heart. Left unchecked you could fall for the lie that says “In order to obtain more influence, you must somewhat abandon your beliefs, and come to the middle of the road on certain issues.” This is a lie that unfortunately a lot of people fall for.
  3. Manipulate: The ability to manipulate for selfish gain is a condition of the heart. Left unchecked and you could lead others down the wrong road for a good cause. Probably one of the most hurtful things you can do to someone.

The thing that I want student leaders to know is that we are all capable of doing any of those three things. And so it’s not enough for my student leaders to just know how to speak, plan an event and be relational. They need to understand that we lead from our hearts and out of it is who we are. You can only fake being someone you’re not for a short time, before the real you shows up. My goal is to not just help them do, but also help them be.


Hope it helps,


Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.50.39 AMJesus announced the Kingdom (or literally, God’s reign) being at hand in Mark 1:14-15. At it’s core, this is simply saying, “You are now seeing God’s reign firsthand in the life of a human being.” According to Jesus, this is the good news (or “gospel”) he declares for the world to believe in. Jesus was the perfect example of a human being showing the world what God’s reign looks like, 100% of the time.

I think it’s safe to say that leaders in the Church want (or at least verbally express) the people they lead to have God reign in their lives. This may be worded in a number of different ways. Leaders say they want people to:

  • “Be on fire.”
  • “Surrender their lives.”
  • “Live for the Kingdom.”
  • “Be gospel-centered.”

Whatever language is used, the desire is to see God reigning supreme in a persons life. As it should be.

Okay, so here are 3 questions I think every leader who has this desire should ask themselves:

  1. How am I allowing people to see God’s reign in my life, firsthand? (following Jesus’ example)
  2. What boundaries do I need to set up so that I am not trying to reign in people’s lives? (avoiding a Messiah/power complex)
  3. Who is seeking God’s reign in their life and who do I know that can learn from that person? (cultivating discipleship)

Random Randomness

 —  August 4, 2014 — 3 Comments


Just some stuff floating around my mind and my life…

- Inadvertently “stepped in it” a little bit on a facebook thread yesterday, which I rarely do. Made me realize why I stay off Facebook threads!

- Today, almost 500 junior highers (including my wife) loaded up the busses and headed to camp. I can’t join them until Wednesday, and I’m kinda surprised at the odd mixture of guilt and remorse I’m already feeling for not being able to be there the whole time.

- Have you seen Guardians Of The Galaxy? IMHO it’s the best comic book movie yet! Not a comic book movie fan? Don’t need to be; the humor alone is worth the price of admission.

- As I type this, I’m at the mechanic about to drop $3,500 in car repairs. My dad always said, “The cheapest car to drive is the one already sitting in your driveway.” I’m questioning that wisdom today.

- We barely have our Manila youth ministry launched and have been put on notice that both our Buenos Aires and Hong Kong campuses are ready to roll, too! A little momentum goes a long, long way.

Someone actually did this.

It’s called “The Infinite Cat Project.”

infinite_catFirst of all, I hate cats.

Hang on… “hate” is a strong word.

Allow me to clarify.

I hate cats.

For all the reasons that have already been covered by stand-up comics, as well as the fact that when I was eleven a cat attacked me.

I’ll tell you what, though… he did catch some amazing air when I defended myself.

Allow me to clarify.

I hate cats.

That said…

this is brilliant, right?

It got me thinking…

what is something I’m up to that someone else hates?

How can I get them to look at it from another angle and end up saying, “This is brilliant, right?”

What is that “thing” for you?

How could you share it from a new, creative angle and gain a new hearing?

10397027_812420915457057_1526065733405536655_oLast week I had the privilege of emceeing Challenge, the national conference for EFCA students. There were about 4500 students and 1000 youth workers. The energy was high, the students were dialed in to learning and serving, and the adult leaders were committed shepherds…I was encouraged and impressed. These “6 Things I Learned About Youth Ministry While Emceeing a Conference” are not brand new, but they rose to the top of my learning as good reminders of why and how I do what I do as a youth worker. These 5 things are mirrored in youth ministry but were amplified in a way that helped sharpen me in my ministry. I hope they do the same for you.

  • Pray:
    This conference was prayed for like no other event I have ever been part of. When I was asked to take on the role of emcee I received a job description with direction and expectations. Prayer was in it multiple times, and not in a churchy way, but in a way of humility and expectation…”we cannot do this without prayer.” Leadership was asked to pray before entering into any work for the conference. So, if I was going to sit and work on a game idea for 30 minutes I prayed first. They weren’t being legalistic, they were being expectant…This is God’s. Let’s raise the level of prayer. This has changed the way I enter into any work I do.
  • Make Students the Stars:
    In the picture above you see me with a hand full of students on a couch. It’s an idea I pitched to the leadership asking them if I could bring students on stage every morning and run a 5 to 7 minutes small group recapping everything from the conference. This helped thread the theme throughout the entire week and it put peers on stage which was a huge win. When preparing for ministry nights I look for ways to put students on the stage in a way that makes them and Jesus look good (if I can find ways to have them communicate biblical truth to their peers I let them). How are you doing this in your ministry? I would love to hear in the comments below.
  • Every time I am behind the mic I am an influencer (and every time a student sees me off stage I am an influencer):
    Anyone in the spotlight has a measure of influence. I have heard professional athletes say, “I did not sign up to be a role model.” It does not matter if that is reason they signed up…people are watching (impressionable people). I am not comparing myself to a pro-athlete. I’m just saying there was a stewardship of leadership on and off the stage. Just like walking in the halls and teaching back in my church, I needed to be intentional with my time and words.
  • Get the rest you need:
    Sure, I need to take care of my body, but I need to be ready to engage in conversation at any moment. I need down time and I have never noticed it as much as I did this week. Without rest I am crabby, short, and impersonal. With rest I am ready, have more patience, and am more fun to be around. Rest = Readiness. When I am reseted I can focus on others better, when I am exhausted I focus on me more.
  • Every interaction has the potential to be special:
    I am not a big deal (I was there to serve), but students thought I was a big deal, so they thought it was a big deal, when I treated them like a big deal.
    I prayed with students.
    I interacted on social media with students.
    I jumped into small group conversations with students and their leaders.
    I ate with students.
    I leveraged my position to make their experience great. How can we do that in our ministry context? How are you making a big deal out of the students in your ministry?
  • I need others:
    When you are on stage or needed somewhere else, or on vacation, or whatever…who will be taking care of the other things (students, administration, the music, your leadership team, etc). If you do everything you are in danger of burning out and not letting others shine. Watching all the moving parts reminded me how important it is to nurture my volunteers and student leaders. Ministry nights are not about “ME,” there are built by “WE.” Together more can happen, multiplying is hard but worth it.


My buddy Matt, the youth pastor at our Irvine Campus, and I just returned from helping launch Saddleback’s first international youth ministry in Manila.

The week was filled with hype, hope, and hard work around the launch. In fact, we were talking so much about “Week 1″ that I finally felt compelled to remind them that we were launching a youth ministry, not just a one-time event. Brittany Hinzo, who helps me with our international stuff had delivered a beautiful little baby girl just a few days earlier so I used her as a launching pad.

“Remember how excited we all were to hear about Brittany’s new baby girl, Navy? Guys, anybody can have a baby! The reality is the birthing process is the easy part; anybody can do that. What’s tough is raising a baby! While I’m just as excited as you about the launch, and largely responsible for creating this excitement, I’m more concerned about week #2 and week #28 and week #84 than I am about week #1″

Youth workers are notorious for new ideas, big plans and fireworks. We love “having babies”! And we are often equally notorious for being terrible at raising them. We have programs we never should have birthed, we are neglecting the health of important things because we are excitedly birthing new things. etc.

We love to ask each other what we are doing that is new, fresh and exciting and rarely ask each other what things we have been doing faithfully for 5 or 6 years that are bearing good fruit.

So while I’m excited about the birth of Saddleback Student Ministry’s addition to the family in Manila, I realize that anybody can have a baby. Can we raise one? I hope so.