Saturday, September 23, 2006

Team Management Tools

Confession: I'm kind of a tool junkie. I love new tools that help me do what I do better. Near-Time is the newest tool I've implemented in tech team management. You can check out our new site here.

The only thing is I'm not a tool buff. I don't really know everything out there, so I can get hooked pretty easy. What hooked me about Near-Time? The "Events" tab. The volunteers can now see all our tech-supported events in a true calendar view, and they can collaborate with me in planning those events.

Anyway, if you visit our space, I'd appreciate your feedback on how I could serve my volunteers better with the information posted (all you lurking Covenant Life volunteers, speak up). Keep in mind that the site is almost brand new, and that we'll mostly be using it for scheduling volunteers for events.

Maybe this will give you some inspiration to try web tools for your own teams, too!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Let the Young Man Lead

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." -- 1 Timothy 4:12"

I know that I say this over and over and over, but I love working with high schoolers. And, believe it or not, I don't love it because they love working with me.

To demonstrate, I recently had a conversation with a young man on the sound team. He wants to take a bunch of the teens on the tech teams and have bi-monthly training sessions to get them more familiar with all the equipment throughout the church. As we talked about it, he said that I wouldn't need to train very often because he wanted to keep it fun. Ouch! I guess I'm living up to my nickname: The Black Hole of Fun!

So, I don't love working with high schoolers because they love hanging with uncool me. I love working with high schoolers because Covenant Life Church is their church. Yes, it's my church, too. But Covenant Life will soon really become their church. Soon, they will be the small group leaders. They will be the decision makers. They will be the primary financial provision. They will be my pastors.

I count it one of the highest privileges of my role here to position young men to love serving the Savior.

For those of you who have been tempted to judge the guy I mentioned earlier, that's actually a misrepresentation of his thoughts. It was a funny moment when he said it and a good soundbite. I'm grateful for my friend who jokes I'm not fun. He wants to lead and train his peers. He will actually be leading his parents this next year.

Tonight I was honored to work with another of our young leaders. He is heading up the small tech crew for the high school chapels every Wednesday morning, and leading the sound crew for our weekly Alpha meetings every Wednesday nights. He is also considering spending two months as a specialized trainer for our new monitor board operators that are going to start in the month of October.

Why do I go on about this? I go on about it because older folks like me (I'm 30) can be tempted to despise youth in leadership. I can be tempted to withhold respect because they don't make the same decisions I would make or because they make a mistake that I wouldn't make. I can be tempted to, given my current position of leadership, fearfully and selfishly refuse to give them leadership opportunities, so that they can grow.

Paul commands Timothy to not let anyone despise him. Timothy is supposed to correct those who don't respect him.

I challenge everyone one of us to make it our goal to free even our youngest leaders from that responsibility.

Let the young man lead!

Photo Credit: Steve Bailey

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Blogging Silence, Busy Savior

When I have the most to write about, I have the least time to write.

Covenant Life's new fall schedule launched a few weeks ago, and I'm finding blogging time to be... well, let me rephrase that... I'm not finding blogging time, period.

But that means one very good thing: our Savior, Jesus Christ, is busy doing good for his people here at Covenant Life. Consider what He is doing here, recognizing that these are only the things the technical teams are supporting (and not even all of them):
  • High School Chapel is back in business with a band, graphics, and teaching.
  • Family Room, a marriage and parenting training context, began last night.
  • CLC College is coming soon.
  • 21 fresh volunteers from ServFest are finally locking in to roles on the teams.
  • We are gearing up for our "new year." The one-year serving commitment for all new and continuing volunteers begins in October.
  • I'm hiring an assistant! (Maybe the blogging will return soon.)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Room to Grow

Photo Credit: //Jacob

Every year the Covenant Life staff has evaluations. Each supervisor evaluates his employees and each employee evaluates his supervisor. On Friday, I had my evaluation from Corby Megorden, our church administrator.

I wanted to share my weaknesses that he identified and goals he chose for my next year. If any of you have recommendations for materials to help me to grow, please send suggestions my way!

Here are my weaknesses:
  • Dave may need to recruit a strong leader -- the breadth of the teams may limit his effectiveness as time goes on.
  • At times, Dave will wait too long to communicate a concern or a need.
  • Dave should "drop in" more to communicate with Corby.
  • Dave will need to grow in delegation in order to utilize his future admin assistant.
  • Dave can demonstrate self-sufficiency by not coming in a timely fashion with concerns or burdens.
Here are his goals for me, which are closely tied to the weaknesses:
  • Hire and fully employ an assistant.
  • ID assistant leaders to help lead and care for teams
  • More informal communication
  • Bring concerns to light more quickly.
Any resource recommendations? Or things you've learned in these areas?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Volume of the Family Stereo

I'm not a pastor. And whenever I think I'd like to be a pastor, I just think about one or two of the more difficult conversations I've had in my non-pastoral job. It will suffice to say that those thoughts make me ever so grateful for the men that lead our church.

I had one of those more difficult conversations today. Thankfully, it wasn't difficult because of the person on the other end of the phone line. It was difficult because she had been affected negatively by something for which I was responsible. The effect was significant enough to bring her to tears when it happened and then again as she told me about it.

Two Sundays ago, she was standing in the back of our sanctuary holding her 15-month old baby. As the band transitioned to the last song, something happened that made the volume increase significantly. Then, her right ear began to hurt. The pain quickly worsened as time progressed. She had to leave the room. As she battled her own pain, she thought about her baby. What was he feeling? Did this hurt him as well?

The tears came. And, thankfully, so did one of our pastors, who happened to be walking through the lobby at the time. He listened to and cared for her. He also let me know what happened, so that I could talk to her.

When we spoke, I found out that she had a genetic hearing disorder. Her hearing in her right ear was failing. Most likely, the volume didn't change significantly, but it increased just enough to cross the threshold of her already weakened capacity.

As we talked, she very humbly asked questions about our decisions on volume level, and listened carefully while I explained our research and thoughts about it (read more here from a former post on our specifics). Not surprisingly, since she is a godly woman, she was grateful to hear that we take our sound level seriously and that we wanted to make sure that no one was being hurt by attending worship.

She agreed that changing the entire worship context just for her wouldn't make sense. She has decided to wear earplugs during worship, given her condition and the possible pain that could result. Although that isn't her preference, and it isn't mine either, I think it is the best solution. But I'm still grieved that she had to experience this.

One of our pastors reminded me that these kinds of conversations are so critical to church life because Covenant Life Church is not a meeting facility. It's a family. As one of the leaders in our "home," it's important that I know who's listening to the family stereo.
Photo Credit: SugaShane

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Cross-Wisdom vs. World-Wisdom

Our senior pastor continued Covenant Life Church's series on 1 Corinthians this morning. He spoke from 1 Corinthians 1:17-25 on wisdom. You will be able to listen to the message soon.

Main Idea: Cross-wisdom and human wisdom are completely incompatible.
  1. God's cross-wisdom contradicts human wisdom.
  2. God's cross-wisdom can't be reconciled with human wisdom.
  3. God's cross-wisdom triumphs over human wisdom.
The most applicable quote to our conversations on God-media is this:
"Reshape the gospel to impress a perishing world, and you're going to hand that perishing world emptiness."
We also had a unique picture of God's wisdom shown to us through interlaced testimonies. Six people shared parts of their own stories live. Watch the IMAG footage, and let me know what you think. I'll admit up front that the execution is far from perfect, but I think this type of testimonial is fresh way to share stories in person. Let me know if you agree.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Church Website Redesign

I must have missed the memo that this is the week for redesigning websites. Thankfully I coincidentally changed mine as well.

Check out the new and improved Covenant Life Website.

Thanks, Ryan James, for making our site so much nicer on the eyes!

Playing Favorites

This is the third post in a four-part series. Read part 1 and part 2 first.

This my Flock browser menu. Flock has made so many things easy, including choosing your favorite web pages. Just mark them with a yellow star!

Picking favorites is easy and harmless... for web pages. Picking favorites in church is just as easy, but not at all harmless.

Are you a musician or an evangelist? Do you prefer to write or speak? Do you love kids or the poor or the elderly? How does this affect where you serve in the church?

If you're like me, you are serving in the areas where you are most gifted and most passionate. I hope that is true for you. And if you're like me, you believe that your area of ministry is very important. You're right. But if you're proud like me, you are probably tempted to raise the importance of that ministry over the significance of the gospel.

In last Sunday's message on unity in the church, Joshua Harris encouraged Covenant Life: "Distrust your favorites." Why? The believers in Corinth were dividing over their most beloved orators, and we too can be tempted to foster disunity through choosing "favorite" ministries or pastors.

Joshua's main point was this:
Unity is maintained when individuals refuse to allow any other preference, priority, ambition or affiliation to be more important than what Jesus has done in his substitutionary death for them.
For those of us in media ministry, I ask this question: Does your affiliation with media or technology ever become more important to you than the cross of Christ?
  • When you are working with a pastor who is late in getting you message notes, are you more aware of your brotherhood in Jesus Christ than his lack of preparation?
  • When the guitar player wants to turn his amplifier up and you want to turn it down, do you remember that the price required to pay for your sins are just as great as the price required for his sins?
  • When a volunteer that used to work alongside you decides to serve in a new ministry, do you rejoice that he is continuing the to send the glorious gospel to the world, just in a different way?
  • When you think of that church down the street, what pops into your head: your superiority in media excellence, or your gratefulness for their partnership in spreading the one great message of history?
We all have different preferences. We all have different favorites. We all have different desires, hopes, goals. Yet we have only one Savior, Jesus Christ.

What favorite things about your ministry or your church threaten to dethrone Christ from his reign in your heart?