thinking out loud

…things that are on my mind, heart, and soul

Exponential (3): Big Ideas from Kem Meyer

One of my favorite sessions at Exponential was a workshop on communication led by Kem Meyer. Kem is the communications director at Granger Community Church and author of the book “Less Clutter, Less Noise: Beyond Bulletins, Brochures and Bake Sales.” She was an energetic communicator and shared some simple but impactful ideas about communication that have the potential to significantly alter the way I approach my own communication both personally and organizationally.

Kem’s big idea was this: it’s not our job to send the right message but to release the right response. And here are the three strategies she presented to move toward releasing the right response:

  • Check Your Ego
    • It’s less about what you say and more about your impact on others
    • Value people over issues and right messages (it is not about the what but the who)
  • Get an Image Consultant
    • Everyone needs a second set of eyes
    • Stop elevating insider language and holy dialect
  • Keep It Simple
    • If you want maximum response you need to minimize options
    • Think progressive dinner not pot luck
    • The more you say, the less is heard (consider communication liposuction)
    • Yahoo vs. Google
    • Teach people to drill into information (Drive people to the web – Calendar is key)

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Filed under: exponential, leadership

Exponential (2): Big Ideas from Louie Giglio

One of the most passionate communicators in the Church today is Louie Giglio. A major force already in the church based upon his leadership of the Passion movement, Giglio, at the age of 50, has entered the arena of church planting. Passion City Church began about 14 months ago in the Atlanta area and it was fun to hear Giglio talk about his experience as a newbie pastor.

Here are some of the big ideas from Giglio’s talk at Exponential:

  1. Sometimes God gets in the way to show us the way.
  2. What kind of church are you? I’m not sure sure yet? The Acts 2 church didn’t know what kind of church they were
  3. I don’t want to be a revolving door leader captivated by the latest language, book or fad.
  4. If we do not focus upon the Word of God, the empty tomb and the power of the Holy Spirit – where will the transformation come from?
  5. The words of God never fail their assignment.

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Filed under: exponential, leadership

Exponential: The Big Ideas

This week I have been participating in Exponential in Orlando. It has been a four day experience filled with all sorts of big ideas. I have never participated in Exponential before and purposely built it into my schedule because many of the speakers and presenters were people I have not heard from in a conference or seminar format before. As well, I really enjoyed having a ton of smaller workshops built into the mix of things where you could interact and learn from practitioners. While I am pretty sure this was a one time deal for me, it was a rich experience.

The theme of the event was “transformation: it starts in the heart of one.” I wanted to share some of the big ideas I heard that if taken to heart, embraced and practiced have the potential to unleash a fresh kingdom revolution. I am also grateful that I am staying in Florida for a few days to unwind, decompress and think through some of this stuff. My usual practice has been to jump right back into the work and this is the first time I can remember actually blocking out the time and space to process some of the stuff.

Batterson, Chandler, and Chan: Before the event started, I participated in a pre-conference seminar led by Mark Batterson, Matt Chandler and Francis Chan. I greatly appreciated the way these guys openly shared with us. Matt and Francis are going through some really challenging life situations right now and they were open and authentic with us.

“Most people have not made a decision to follow Christ; they have asked Christ to follow them.” (Batterson)

My take on this is that there is a big difference between asking Jesus to follow us into the world (into the places we live, work, play and learn) and actually following Jesus into the world. Many of us (myself included) are committed people of faith and we truly welcome and desire Jesus’ presence in our everyday life. We want to glorify God in our everyday, ordinary lives. But what would it look like if we actually asked Jesus to lead us into the world. Where do you want me to go today, Jesus? Where should I live, work, learn and play? What if we actually gave Jesus the permission to set the agenda for us as opposed to asking Jesus to bless our agendas?

Three big ideas from Matt Chandler:

  1. Whatever you are teaching, even if it is moral, right and true must come through the lens and centrality of the Gospel.
  2. The study of Scripture without the intention to apply its truths is a frightening thing.
  3. What you don’t like about your church is most likely what you don’t like about yourself.

Matt’s teaching was wrapped around the centrality of the Gospel. he talked about the Gospel on the ground (God, Humanity, Christ, Response) and the Gospel in the air (Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation). These are the two sides of the Gospel and both are found in the Scriptures. Matt reminded us that there is a time and place for both expressions of the Gospel and that we should allow the texts we are teaching on lead us toward the most appropriate expression. He also reminded us that most teachers/preachers lean more heavily toward one or the other approaches. I am definitely a Gospel in the air kind of guy and love the whole narrative of salvation history and its communal and missional dimensions. Be on the lookout for a few more Gospel on the ground messages.

Francis Chan dropped the biggest bomb on us. He told us that on Sunday we had announced to his congregation that he is stepping down from his role as pastor of Cornerstone, a church he founded 16 years ago. Francis and his wife have discerned a call to step out in faith and follow the leadership of the Spirit. They are unsure of where that might be although Francis believes it most likely will be into a large urban area like the inner city of LA. Kind of wild to consider walking away from a very successful church and ministry into the unknown to you but known at this point only by God. You can learn more about Francis’ transition here.

Three big ideas from Chan:

  1. If Jesus says to do something, we don’t actually do it – we just memorize it.
  2. If I arrived in America after being on an island with just a Bible, I don’t think the first thing I would do is to start a Sunday worship service.
  3. Do we as leaders calm people down or spur people on to love and good works?

Chan’s last statement reminded me of words I heard years ago from Michael Slaughter who described the task of leadership as finding a spark in people’s life and throwing gas on it. Ken Blanchard said something similar at Exponential with these words: “some churches say we can do, it you can help – others say you can do it, we can help.”

Those are just some of the big ideas I picked up from the pre-conference expereince. More to come in the days ahead.

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Filed under: exponential, Uncategorized

about me

my name is terry and i've been married to a great woman, patty for 29 years and we have four children, (ranging from 17-25) and an awesome grandson. i serve as lead pastor of christ community church of the south hills in pittsburgh, pa (lets go pens!). i am currently working on a book on worship with a working title of "a movable feast: a liturgy for our everyday, ordinary lives."