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Busy with ThanksLiving

Sunset Buildings

It has been a long time since I have posted a new blog post as of this posting today. The reason? I have truly been busy with ThanksLiving.

What is ThanksLiving? It is truly living every day with thankfulness. My life is truly packed with so much of thankfulness I have just been making sure I stay appreciative. Does this mean everything has worked completely the way I want it to go all the time? No way. Does it mean nothing negative has taken place? No way. Does it mean I have had no struggles? No way. What it does mean is that I have chosen daily to commit myself to staying Thankful, and mindful for all that God has given me even during the hard times.

I recently ran into this story that I think says it the best of what I have chosen to do and the result it has had. Enjoy.

There was a small business owner whose clothing store was threatened with extinction. A national chain store had moved in and acquired all the properties on his block. This one particular businessman refused to sell.

“Alright then, we’ll build around you and put you out of business,” the new competitors said.

The day came when the small merchant found himself hemmed in with a new department store stretching out on both sides of his little retail shop. The competitor’s banners announced, “Grand Opening!” The merchant countered with a banner that stretched across the entire width of his store. It read, “Main Entrance.”

Three ways going pro helps kids grow spiritually

Guest post: Dawn Farris is the Director of Children’s Ministries at New Testament Christian Church, Keokuk, IA. You can find out more about her at her blog or follow her on twitter @whosthefarris

helping kids go pro

To really grow, we have to let God work inside of us. I mean, we can try to do it on our own, and we can try with all our might, but in reality, it must be God who moves and works in us to bring about change.

To help kids to learn to rely on Jesus to help them grow spiritually rather than striving to “be good” on their own, teach them to go “pro” by using these three simple concepts based on the acronym PRO.

1) Pray—Begin by asking God to seek your heart and show you where He wants to work. As He reveals any areas that may need to change, confess them to Him and . . .

2) Repent—More than just changing our actions, repentance involves a change of mind trusting God’s way over ours. True repentance is the action that shows a change of our hearts and minds from our way to God’s way which means we will. . .

3) Obey—We want our kids to learn that to grow we have to obey God’s will and follow His Spirit and His ways. Spiritual growth will come when as our hearts learn that obedience is a gift of love and should be the first choice of those who belong to Jesus.

We all know that few of our students will go pro in their favorite sport, but by using a phrase they already relate to, we can help them learn through prayer, repentance and obedience how to go pro in their spiritual growth with the Lord.

5 Steps to becoming a mentor

Mentor word cloud

Here is a mentoring post that Andy Partington who is the Minister to Preschoolers and Children at First Baptist Minden, Louisiana wrote on mentoring. You can find out more about him at

As you march up the ladder of ministerial success, take some time and think of how you got there. Sure there were lots of victories. You picked up some valuable lessons from hard knocks. And along the way you picked up some great anecdotes, illustrations, and connections.

Isn’t it time to pass some of that wisdom along? Paul talks about mentoring as a father and son relationship.“11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12)

We all bring a bag of tricks to the table–a wheelhouse of good ideas that are just begging to be shared with future generations or with our peers trying to minister in their own areas of life. Are you ready to take someone under your wing and become a mentor? Well, here are five things to do as you decide to share your expertise.

1. Make a list of your strengths and experiences you bless someone’s life with. Start here. After all, you can’t really invest in someone without pinpointing what it is you’ll be sharing. You may just be surprised as you make your list. It’s possible you’ll find some strengths you didn’t know you had.

2. Determine how much time you have to give. I get it. You’re really busy. It’s always good to know your schedule and evaluate how much time you can give. Time can never be saved or redeemed. But it can be invested. And what better investment is there than pouring yourself into others?

3. Pray for and choose someone you want to be with and reach out to them. Let God identify just the right person to mentor. Perhaps you see someone struggling. Maybe someone has reached out to you for advice. Look for a teachable spirit and someone who you actually like. Mentoring is a relationship. So, it will help to actually like the person.

4. If you “connect” initiate some regular time together until your protégé has what they need. Mentoring time doesn’t always have to be a formal meeting. Spend some time together and enjoy a few laughs. Take your mentee along with you as you work. You’ll find that if you connect, it’s easier to talk and you’ll be on your way to sharing your life’s story, wisdom, and passion.

5. Then let them go. Every little bird gets kicked out of the nest in order to fly. Once you’ve passed on everything you can, it’s time to let them work on their own. Hopefully, they’ll be equipped to mentor someone else and pay it forward.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the ins and outs of mentoring. Let me hear if you have some other great pointers to get out there and start mentoring.

Dear Son, A fathers advice on being a man

Dear Son book

Men are much more likely to give up on life than women. One indicator of this is the large gender difference in suicide rates—men are four times more likely than women to drop out of life. At the time of this review being written, case in point is that Robin Williams has just committed suicide.

This large rate of men giving up according to the author, Dear Son: A Fathers Advice On Being A Man, points to a profound lack of effective mentoring of men, especially in the church. Dave Bruskas seeks to fill in this gap with this book. Two decades ago, Dave lost his only infant son to a congenital heart defect. That devastating loss fueled his desire to provide effective mentoring to young men. Dear Son has the guidance and insights Dave would have given his son if he had lived through the milestones of growing up: from first dates to first jobs, from weddings to births, from friendships to funerals.

He encourages his readers to be courageous fathers, husbands, church members, citizens, and brothers. “The hope for our cities, countries, and world lies in the hearts of young men loving and serving women and children instead of using and abusing them.” He also reminds them that they can be “perfectly and totally loved” in a broken world of imperfect fathers.

Dear Son has heartfelt wisdom for life’s journey, especially for guys—and for those who want to strengthen them. This book is a challenge for all of us to make sure we are asking ourselves the hard questions and being held accountable to the mentoring that should be taking place. Lastly, Keep our eyes on Jesus, as He is truly the Father to all of us and will never disappoint or leave any of us. Allow Him to mentor us as well, for there is no better.

*(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Tyndale House Publishers. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)*

Long distance mentoring

I have had the opportunity of having some incredible mentors through my life. I actually would have to give credit to most any great that I may do today to the mentors God has allowed me to have in my life time.

I have mentors that seem to fall under 1 of 3 categories. I will briefly explain the 3 types and will tackle the long distance mentor today.

1. Mentors that live close. The name of this mentor pretty much says it all. This would be a mentor who lives in the same city, town, etc. One who you can easily and readily set up a time for coffee and go and be mentored.

2. The unbeknown to me mentor. This is the mentor who doesn’t even know they are your mentor. You watch them from afar, you read their books, listen to their podcast, watch them on t.v., listen to their sermons, and other creative ways to reap the goodies that they share.

Then the mentor that we are talking about today…

3. The long distance mentor. This mentoring will take some definite intentionality. Here is a mentoring relationship that I have probably had the most of during my life. But due to this being the main type for me I have developed some ideas and found some tools that aid on making it profitable.

A. Have a cheat sheet ready every time you meet. This will be a document that you record down what you talk about, what the mentor shares with you, resources they may bring up, ideas, anything. You must make sure you review this each time before you meet with them so that you always show that you want to be a good steward of their time with you.

A few tools that I have used and/or using with my long distance mentors would include:

Day One. This is a journal app for my iPad, iPhone and my MacBook Pro. It has a search feature that allows me to enter a word and then it will pull those places that word is used. So in each header, I name it so. Example Mentoring time with _______. Now I want to pull up every time I met with them I would enter their name and WA-la, there they would be.

Evernote. I use this in so many ways I can not even explain without writing a book.

DropBox. Here is an area that my mentor and I can swap materials back and forth. Edit them together, enter items for the other to read before we meet again and for them to be notified when an item has been entered or changed.

Group Skype. I use to use just skype but occasionally in my Kidology Coaching times I pull my students together for a video chat and group skype is the tool I use for them as well as my mentoring time. Whatever you may use, I feel it is the responsibility of the one being mentored to prep in advance with questions to be addressed during the mentoring time.

There’s more, but to keep this from becoming too long I will stop there. What do you use for long distance mentoring?

Discovering the answers to question number 2

Continuing on with my answers for the questions that I wrote about in this blog post and here was the first post with answer to question number 1.

Now question #2: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe some one who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
Answer: : I have made a couple post over this question on one of those people who have influenced, inspired, and impacted my life. See one of those post:
here. Let me elaborate a little more here as well why Karl Bastian is one of those who have impacted my life and leadership in such a powerful way. Bottom line – he has always believed in me.

This believing in me has carried a ton of great influence with me. Karl has always been one of those who believes the best in people. He is always finding ways to encourage people and empower them to be the best that they can be. I always know I have his support and he has since day one always made himself available to for me even way back when that was not the popular thing to do. Karl still lived it out. If I was to list the ways he has helped me out or ways he has invested in me, I would create the longest blog post in history.

So there is my answer on this question of someone who has inspired and impacted me, my great friend Karl Bastian.

Making disciples…what if…

I had just watched this video at Life2getherblog and thought it was good to add here and see what your thoughts are.

What if Making Disciples Looked Like this

I only added the link instead of embedding the video this time because it would not stop automatically playing when you would come to my blog. That drove me nuts so I took the video out and kept only the link. Do click on it and watch the video because it is a good video.

Thanks Coach

As I am reflecting on my present and past mentors I have recognized some common threads that connect them all. I thought I would share some of them with everyone. Maybe you would add in some common threads from your mentors past and present that I may have left out here.

They knew what they wanted to do. It is hard to get others to do what you want if you don’t know what you want.

They are humble. They counted things in life more of an opportunity given to them rather than a privilege owed to them.

They are clear with people on what to do, not how to do it. They encouraged people to think, innovate, and be creative. They always had ways to create in people to be thinkers, problem solvers. The truly taught how to fish and not just give a fish.

They led by example. They pushed people hard. They demanded a lot of them. But no one would ever worked harder than they did.

They demand excellence, not perfection. They expected you to work as hard as they did and to be as committed to the goal. They wouldn’t expect you to do as much or as well as they did, just that you do as much and as well as you could.

They did their homework. Before starting a new challenge, they always tried to find out what others had tried that had succeeded or failed. They examined their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities . They gave themselves the best chance of winning by learning as much as they could at the beginning. They were always learning and always thinking.

They took care of their team. They knew everyone who worked for them as an individual. They would know their strengths and weaknesses, their aspirations, their fears. They always took the criticism from outside the group, but let each of them take the praise for what they contributed.

They had character. They were honest, truthful and dependable. When they would give their word, you always knew you could count on it. They wouldn’t cheat. They wouldn’t try to find the easy way out of a tough situation. They stood strong on principles. They were not inflexible, but there simply were limits that they wouldn’t cross.

I want to say thanks to all my mentors past and present for setting such great examples while pouring into my life the way each of you have. It challenges me to live the same way with those that I get to coach.

I Just Got Coached

I am a huge proponent of coaching, especially since I lead as a coach. I think everyone should have a coach, even coaches need coaches. And that is what happened to me today.

My wife and I have felt that we needed to tighten the belt and become better stewards than we already were with our finances. Part of that tightening we knew for us would come through our cell phone expenses. For about 3-4 months now, I have known that I should call AT&T, our cell phone provider, to see how they can advise us to cut our bill down. I also knew, since the cell phone industry is what they do and they were aware of what plans they had currently and which ones are on the horizon etc., that they were the ones to be able to give us some advice. Today was the day I finally did this. I called.

In just a matter of a few minutes, the support person I was talking with was able to recommend a change that actually resulted in my wife and I saving about 1/2 of our current bill. Not only that, it didn’t even require half of the drastic ideas my wife and I were dreading because we just did not have the same access to information or knowledge as the sales person.

So, I got coached today. I was helped from the sales person who had the experience, know how, willingness, and desire to see the result I was wanting to have as they walked me through this change. He asked a few questions, got our feedback, proposed suggestions, challenged us to think about things differently or see items in a different light, but all the while had our goals in mind not his own. This is s huge part of what coaching is. In just those few minutes he has now saved us a ton. My thanks to AT&T for the coaching you gave us today.

I hear from people many times that they may not have the money or the time for coaching. This was kind of like my thoughts with first contacting AT&T. How much more can they really save me that I can’t figure out on my own? Or that they will only try and line their pockets with my money and not have my interest in mind. I was wrong about them and often times people are wrong about coaching. It pays to have a coach. Who is yours?

Extracting Leadership Gold

Developing your top 10% of your team (you know the ones I am talking about already that always seem to be the armor bearers for you, the ones getting the results and helping the rest of team members in making forward progress, encouraging everyone and finding 3 solutions to every potential obstacle). Developing this team is not always done the same way as developing other parts of your team. I don’t want to spend a ton of time in this post focusing on all the reasons and factors that make the 10% your top results people. Instead I am just recognizing that we may have this kind of group and suggesting how to help bring the best out from them.

1. Start first with give them trust: Give them a lot of trust, let them see that you believe in them, don’t micromanage any project for them. Let them help you develop the large picture and claim some part of it and l then let them know that you are there and just periodically check in to show you are there, otherwise stay out of the way and see what they can produce.

2. Delegate to them: Once you’ve identified that they are committed as you think they are, delegate some task that has more importance than just everyday type task. Let them run with a task that may take a couple weeks or a month or so but remember that you still maintain responsibility for it, but you are giving them the reins to let them run with it. Giving them empowerment. Make sure you are delegating and not dumping on them. Delegating is giving out some responsibilities but still staying plugged in and following up etc. where as dumping is giving those same responsibilities out and cutting the strings.

3. Continually raise your bar of expectations and responsibilities. As their successful, keep adding slowly, this is key or you could push them right out of their success area. I have seen numerous times when people get promoted because the do great and then in the next spot they fail because their skill set is not what the new area needs. Keep them in their success areas. Keep them hungry and reward their efforts whenever possible. Challenging them will get them to push harder and extract their leadership gold by proper pressure. In the process it will open doors for a great mentoring relationship to be built.

4. Point them out: Let everyone else see and know that what they stand for is what you are looking for. Let them be a role model and/or mentor of other team members. They are not your favorites; but acknowledge their abilities to step-up and go above their ministry description.

This is not an exhaustive list, I know there are those of you who have things to add to this list. So, please do.

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