I read three Seth Godin books this summer, including Tribes (which I read for the third time).  Seth is definitely in my head.  No one I’m reading is provoking me to think as much as Seth.  And even more importantly, no one is provoking me to act as much as Seth.

Poke the Box served as the catalyst for two new ideas, both of which I’m actively pursuing.

And Linchpin is golden, clarifying, must read material for anyone interested in doing work that matters (which is the only work that will be rewarded, according to Godin, in the new/present economy).  Many of Godin’s core values, though presented in the contexts of business and art, resonates clearly with a Biblical worldview.

I found myself applying the book both to myself, as well as to my staff team, and, as a result of reading the book, am even more resolved to create and lead effective, creative, lasting, and truly valuable human connections.

Here’s the matrix we’ll use as we build our staff team over the next seven years.  Much of this was directly inspired by Godin’s Linchpin.

Build around Staff who Create Value.

We will hire and build around those with responsibility as a primary strength.  They will take ownership beyond their immediate ministry area and thrive on making improvements.   They will act swiftly and freely to solve problems
Their passion for transformed lives and communities will drive them.  Creativity and freedom will characterize their work.  They will willingly try new methods, even if they require more effort, because of their lovefor people.  They will let go of what isn’t working, grateful for the lessons that come from “failures.”
Beyond this, they will increasingly create value in the community by initiating and developing strong relational connections others.  Ministry, for our staff, will be a personal, not merely professional commitment.

blessed to bless

On Sunday morning I experienced one of the most powerful moments in my 7+ years of pastoral ministry at Emmaus: I got to represent Christ and speak words of blessing over some of the outstanding men of our community.

While each blessing was unique, and while each wife and child we named has their own story, this was the core of what I was led to pray over each man:
“I anoint you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to fulfill the ministry God has given to you: to be a Christian husband/father/son.
May you receive the blessing of God to be a blessing to your home.  
May you willingly sacrifice for your family:
May you intentionally speak words of blessing and affirmation over your family: 
And may you faithfully pray for your family:
May you take ownership of your household.
May you fight for those God has entrusted to you. 
May you be a good shepherd.  
In Christ’s Name,

sabbatical :: august

We spent the third and final month of our sabbatical in Nicaragua.  This was the month when life really slowed down.  This was the place where we discovered a whole new depth of stillness.  It was here – with the quiet pre-dawn risings, the warm early mornings,  the clear, wild ocean, and the cleansing evening rains – that we prayed long, slept deep, and laughed and laughed.  We tasted new flavors, explored new places, read good books, and played.

We played.  
We didn’t systematically work through the pain of the past, as we planned.  But healing welled up within as the five of us swam in the ocean, chased sand crabs, and spent day after slow long day together.  
And we feel full.  We feel quiet inside.  An old stillness long pushed aside by urgency and sadness returned and made itself comfortable again.  

We’re really, really thankful.  And we’re super excited to begin another long season of sharing life and discovering Jesus with our community at Emmaus.