by Cary Van Kampen
Fall is my favorite season. Being raised on my parents’ Iowa farm I loved coming home from school to go out into the fields and help my dad by hauling in the wagon loads of grain. After months of performing the proper tasks at the appropriate stages of raising corn and soybeans, the fall tasks of harvesting were so rewarding to me to see the product of all our efforts and time.
There were a few learning stages for me as I worked through the years of harvest with my dad: learning how to drive in a field with a full wagon of grain so the wagon would stay level and not tip grain over the side; learning not only how to drive two wagons behind a tractor down the road, but also how to turn left on a highway with traffic.
The task I still love doing is unloading on the go. My dad would drive the combine down the rows of grain while I came beside him with a tractor and wagon, adjusting my speed and wagon location so we could auger out the grain from the combine’s hopper to the wagon without having to stop the combine. What a time saver!
Then came the day when my dad taught me how to drive the combine. My dad taught me more than driving a combine. He taught me how to run the combine. There are so many moving parts on the combine that my dad taught me the feel and noises of the different aspects of the combine. I could even hear a bearing going out before it became so hot and started a grain dust fire and feel when the rollers were working too hard, crushing the beans rather than just crushing the bean pods so the beans would fall out.
My dad taught me so much in steps and stages over the years during harvest. During one of the busiest times on a farm my dad would take time to teach me rather than just do it himself. What a great leadership lesson my dad understood! It took extra time in the beginning, but over time it paid great dividends for my dad and his farm. When I made mistakes he encouraged me to, “Keep at it, Son,” and talked about how those practical lessons also had many life and relationship applications.
My dad is a great father but he doesn’t even realize how he is a great leader and has taught me how to develop leadership in those around me. What are you & your leadership team doing in patiently teaching the younger generation how to be leaders? What are we doing by example for the younger generation to multiple themselves into others? Jesus talked about laborers needed for the harvest. I’m sure he knew there needed to leaders didn’t just lead by multiplied themselves so there will be a great harvest. How are you & your leadership team multiplying for the Kingdom’s harvest?
Do you have questions about Merge? We have a video that should answer (almost) all of your burning Merge questions!
Also, you could win an iPad simply by registering for Merge today (plus, you’ll get the best rate possible). For more information, including online registration, visit www.imnag.org/merge.
by Tom Jacobs
I’m always looking for peoples’ fresh ideas. Probably because I feel like I have so few of my own. This quest for freshness keeps me reading Scripture. (For instance, last month I read the book of Deuteronomy with this thought in mind: Moses wrote the entire book to prepare the nation of Israel for a new, really difficult, but very positive change. They were entering the Promised Land). I saw the book from a new, fresh perspective and it provided a great month of personal devotions.
The freshness search also draws me to blogs, tweets, posts, articles, etc. Recently, Cary VanKampen linked me with the Leadership Freak blog by Dan Rockwell. Here’s an excerpt from an interview Dan had with Soren Kaplan, author of the soon-to-be-released book, Leapfrogging:
”I asked Soren for a cure to fearful pessimism. He said, “It doesn’t matter what you do next as long as you do something and learn.” The worst thing you can do is sit and stew.”
As I consider the “Start” theme for August, Kaplan’s admonition really challenges me. Sometimes I tend to sit and stew rather than doing something and seeking to learn from it. Maybe you’re caught in a time where you feel paralyzed and don’t know what to do. Here are a few “start” suggestions:
- Write down a couple of questions about your situation, and then take the questions to the local coffee shop and consider the best answers to your questions.
- Ask God to lead you to the Scripture that speaks to your situation.
- Call a deep-thinking, spiritually mature friend to pray and discuss your situation.
- Drop what you’re doing and go serve or help someone else address their problem.
- Begin to organize the team you will need in order to accomplish the task at hand.
As Kaplan says, “It doesn’t matter what you do next as long as you do something and learn.” I would simply add, “Listen to the Holy Spirit as you do the next step and seek to learn from Him.”
Over the past few years, the E2 Conference and the Red Culture Leadership Conference have been incredible events to build momentum, train leaders, and develop healthy relationships throughout the Iowa Ministry Network.
E2 focused primarily on encouraging and equipping credentialed ministers, while the Red Culture Leadership Conference focused on resourcing student leaders.
By merging these two conferences together into one event, we are able to resource the local church’s entire leadership team in one weekend, so we encourage you to bring your entire team including children’s leaders, youth leaders, women’s leaders, church board members, potential leaders, staff pastors, and spouses!
We are so excited about this event that we have extended an invitation to area churches outside the Iowa Ministry Network. However, Iowa Ministry Network churches qualify for a special discounted registration rates detailed on this registration form. Registration for non-IMN churches is available here.
Complimentary childcare will be provided during all Merge sessions (including pre-labs). Please include children’s names, ages, and sessions during which you’ll need childcare with your registration form so we can plan ahead to have plenty of room for everyone!
A special lunch exclusively for women in ministry (female pastors and pastor’s wives) will meet at the gorgeous Toad Creek Country Club on Saturday at 11:00 AM for an additional $10. Please include the number of female pastors and pastor’s wives who will attend this lunch with your registration.
In the next week, you’ll be receiving a registration packet in the mail. If you don’t receive it, please call our office at (515)276.5493. In this registration packet, you will find posters, registration forms, and a concierge book with hotels, amenities, and lab descriptions. For downloadable posters, additional resources, and online registration (available soon), click here.
Our goal is to provide a shared experience and a common vocabulary to encourage and equip the spiritual leadership on the local level. We’re looking forward to seeing you and your leadership team September 28-29th at Merge!
by Tom Jacobs
It seems like life is full of transitions. In fact, life is transition. Here’s what I’ve discovered: Transition is better when you experience it with other people. Graduation is better when your family and friends are present. A wedding without witnesses isn’t even legal, let alone fun. I think the same thing is true in ministry. Transition is much more enjoyable with a team. In fact, I’m not sure we can experience healthy transition without a team.
The following are some tips for building a healthy, life-giving team:
- Intentional recruiting. Teams are not formed through bulletin announcements or invitations from the pulpit. Pray for God to lead you to potential leadership team members. Then meet with those individuals to invite them to pursue the vision with you.
- Strategic investment. Invest time, energy and resources in the lives of those that God has called onto your team. Your investment in these people will multiply your ministry. Team development requires a heavy investment but it pays big dividends in the church.
- Take advantage of IMN resources. The Acts 2 Journey still has room for your team. Make-up Discovery Sessions are available on May 15 at Life Church in North Liberty and May 22 at the IMN office from 6:30 to 9 pm. Contact the office to register your team. Sunstream is offering leadership team retreat options at a reduced rate. You can incorporate team building events on your retreat that can add value to your experience. Be sure to register your team for the Merge Conference September 28-29.
Let’s work together in 2012 to build great teams to help us leverage our transitions!
I hope you had the chance to take in the recently released movie, Seven Days in Utopia. If you didn’t, click here to view the website for the film.
The movie is based on the book, Golf’s Sacred Journey by David Cook. This is an excerpt from a review of the film:
Seven Days in Utopia follows the story of Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black), a talented young golfer set on making the pro tour. When his first big shot turns out to be a very public disaster, Luke escapes the pressures of the game and finds himself unexpectedly stranded in Utopia, Texas, home to eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall). But Johnny’s more than meets the eye, and his profound ways of looking at life force Luke to question not only his past choices, but his direction for the future.
Golf lovers will surely appreciate the story, but the message goes way beyond the game of golf. I’d encourage you to make plans to see the film in the theater or rent the DVD.
I had the opportunity to meet David Cook and spend a few days in Utopia, Texas, a couple of years ago. The gathering was based on the theme of Golf’s Sacred Journey and was a powerful time. Click here for a short message from David that will encourage you.
During my time with David and through a relationship with my friend and golf pro Dan Meinert, I was taught the process of SFT: see it, feel it, trust it.
David & Dan taught me that to hit a great golf shot, first I have to see it. I have to visualize the shot I want to hit before I “paint the picture” by making the shot. Any great artist sees the picture before painting the work of art. My focus needs to be the shot I will hit, not the obstacles in my way. As you minister today, you have to see where God would have you lead His people. Ask Him to give you the vision that’s necessary for you to minister.
Over time and with practice, I develop a feel for golf. There’s a distinct feel that my hands transfer to my brain when the sweet spot of the club contacts the ball in exactly the right way. In ministry, as I learn to hear God’s voice and obey Him, there’s an awesome feeling that is produced in me. I want to live day-to-day enjoying the feeling that comes from surrendering to my Lord & obeying His plan. For folks who’ve been taught that living by faith has to reject all human feelings, that’s hard. I’d challenge you to study the blessings of God that come from obedience. Part of God’s blessing is the sweet feeling that accompanies intimate relationship with Him!
When I see my shot before I hit it, as I develop a feel for the sweet spot, I can learn to trust. My friend Dan used to tell me, “Warren, you’ve practiced and prepared. Now I want you to step up to the ball and be an athlete – don’t think, just trust. Paint the picture!”
God has prepared you to fulfill His call on your life. Trust His preparation, stand on His word, live by faith in Jesus, and paint the picture!
by Tom Jacobs
Healthy churches are led by healthy leadership teams. As pastors and boards work well together, churches function more effectively in achieving their God-given mission. Therefore, it is imperative that qualified individuals are nominated (and eventually elected) to local church boards. These individuals will demonstrate a blend of character, competence, capacity, calling and chemistry. Following are some items to consider when nominating your future board members.
1. Pray. God has a plan for your church leadership. This is a spiritual process in which your church enters the process of discovering the will of God for your future leadership. Prayer should be an integral in every step of the process.
2. Follow your bylaws. It is imperative that you follow your bylaws in order for this process to be legitimate. If you feel that your current bylaws do not prescribe the best board nominating process, you must lead the church to consider changing the bylaws. It is best to consider a bylaw change prior to the nomination and election process, so that it is not influence by a specific election or an individual who has been nominated. Proposing changes can take time, but it is always best to follow the process. If you need assistance along these lines, contact our office.
3. Form your team. Your bylaws may prescribe a process of appointing a nominating committee. You may be allowed to simply charge your board with the responsibility of serving as a nominating committee. Whatever the case, you will want to have individuals on this committee who understand the leadership issues that the board will face.
4. Know what you’re looking for. The more qualified the board members, the more effective the board will be. Look for leaders who demonstrate Christ-like character, competence (the skill set to provide solid, spiritual leadership), capacity (do they have the time and emotional and relational reserves?), calling (does he/she believe this role is God’s will for his/her life?), and chemistry (will he/she be a good fit with the pastor and current board members?). A suggested Board Member Ministry Description can be found here.
5. Develop your list. Meet with your nominating committee to pray and discuss possible candidates. Prior to arriving at the meeting, produce a roster of eligible church members for the committee to review. Develop a list of candidates. If possible, place at least two names for each available position.
6. Determine the candidates’ willingness to be considered. This is typically done best via a phone call or personal visit. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a long conversation at this point. Simply ask the person to prayerfully consider the possibility. If he/she doesn’t give you an immediate answer, set a time to get back together in order to get their response.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2!