Category Archives: “How To”

How To Mess Up A Wedding

Kimberly ScottI’ve had 2 rather embarrassing moments in my life. One involved walking into a pole in front of my entire 5th grade class and the other involved a gangsta rapper named Bubba Sparxxx and a wedding.  

Let me explain.

First of all, I am married to the king of systems and operations. My husband, Tim, is very type A and is always on time and usually too early. It was very atypical that we were running 5 minutes late to a formal military wedding that was 10 minutes away, but even worse was the fact that Tim was officiating. After going through clearance we realized that we had to ride a shuttle to the location and that put us another 10 minutes behind. 

When we arrived, we were met by a very anxious and angry groom standing alone in a parking lot full of cars. Turns out we were not 15 minutes late. We were 1 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES late! The entire wedding party and attendees were already seated waiting for the Pastor to show up. (He accidentally put in the wrong time in his phone.) Normally I would secretly savor this moment because it’s usually me that makes us a little late.

We walked into the most hostile environment and although I had never met these people, I was ushered up to the front row with the family like a lamb to the slaughter.  The tension was palpable, and I wanted to die.

Hang on, there’s more.

I was seated next to an aunt of the bride and she made it known by her expression that she was disgusted by our tardiness.  Imagine Cruella de Vil meets menopausal Judge Judy. My husband launches into the ceremony flustered and confused. After officiating hundreds of weddings in his 40+ year career, he floundered the vows and gave the groom a new name.  

I’m not even finished. Standby.

During the sacred sand ceremony somebody’s phone rings. And not just a nice telephone ring. The ring tone played loud and clear, “BOOTY BOOTY BOOTY BOOTY ROCKIN’ EVERYWHERE! I FOUND YOU, MS. NEW BOOTY! GET IT TOGETHER AND BRING IT BACK TO ME!” You can imagine the relief I felt that somebody else was contributing to the chaos of this glorious event, until I realized that it was coming from my phone. That’s right, my teenage daughter thought it would be hilarious to change my ring tone. (Thank you very much, Shara. You are grounded for life.) The chorus played 3 times before I realized it was my phone and could turn it off. 

Here’s the deal. We messed up in a huge way but learned a few things in the process:

  1. NEVER trust your child with your cell phone. No explanation necessary.
  2. You are human, not a robot.  There will be times you fail in epic ways but you must pick yourself up, dust your feet off and start over.
  3. Fail Forward. James 3:2 says, “we all stumble in many things…”   Learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them if possible but give yourself grace if you do. God uses our failures to cultivate and develop our character and purpose.
  4. Remember that people better relate to your failures than your success. The best leadership example is an authentic one, so use the heck out of your stories for illustrations!  You will be able to laugh with those who empathize and understand them. 
  5. Give grace to those you lead. Our teams and staff have tough days, too. They have families and distractions that can create the perfect storm. Show them grace and encourage them along the way.

Of the five suggestions above, which one do you feel you need to work on with yourself and with those you lead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Mess Up Your Sunday

Lori WilhiteStep 1. Hit the snooze button 5 times. Even better, forget to set your alarm altogether. Nothing gets your Sunday off on the right foot more than rushing around the house like a crazy person. That 9 minutes of extra sleep is sure to make everything better.

Step 2. Avoid doing laundry during the week so that most of your clothes are dirty. When you stand in your closet on Sunday morning staring at empty hangers and mismatched items, you’ll be so happy your laundry baskets are overstuffed. Clean jeans and a wrinkle-free shirt are overrated. 

Step 3. Pick a fight with the kid who gets into the car barefoot after you’ve asked him to put his shoes on 4 times. Allow the arguing to continue as the kids pester each other in the back seat. Make sure to yell things like “Keep your hands to yourself!” “Use your inside voices!” and the ever popular, “Stop talking! Everyone is on a talking time out!”

Step 4. Pull into the church parking lot. Take a deep breath. Plaster a smile on your face. Pretend that World War III didn’t just break out in your mini-van.

It is pretty easy to mess up our Sunday mornings. But how can we NOT mess up our Sundays?

While I can’t help you with the alarm clock, the laundry, or kids being kids, there is one thing that could transform your Sunday mornings.

A friend of mine has a bridge smack dab in the middle of her drive to church. It is a cool, wooden bridge that looks like a dam constructed by pack of beavers. They have dubbed it “The Dam-Bridge of Forgiveness.” I love it.

Their family rule: By the time you get to the bridge, everyone has to forgive and get their hearts ready for church.

We don’t have dam-bridges here in Vegas because we don’t have much water here! But we do have a tangle of concrete called an interchange halfway to church. When our wheels hit our “Bridge of Forgiveness” over the interchange, all of the “I’m sorrys” need to be said, forgiveness should be offered, and hearts get ready to love and serve others. We turn the music up, start the dance party, and get ready for church. Yeah, that’s one way we can not mess up our Sundays.

What about you? What do you do to make sure your Sundays don’t get messed up?

How To Mess Up A Funeral

Stephanie ShouseWe had only been at our small country church for a few months when we had our first funeral. Per that church’s tradition, the funeral was held in the sanctuary while the bereavement dinner was prepared in the basement fellowship hall. I was not required to participate in the funeral service, so I volunteered to help with the meal preparation.

Now, I must be honest. The kitchen is not my favorite place to be, but I felt obligated to serve in this way since I was the sole pastor’s wife. And since my culinary reputation had not yet followed me to my new ministry, the women were happy to put me to work. Being from the south I was put in charge of brewing the sweet tea. Placing several pots of water on the stove, I turned the burners on high and walked away. 

Suddenly the smoke alarm went off, alerting us to the fact that something was not right in the kitchen! I never even noticed that I had turned on the wrong burner, eventually melting someone’s “antique tupperware” container! Panic filled my heart as the screech of the alarm filled the building. Frantically, the women rushed to open the doors while I desperately waved a dish towel at the smoke alarm, willing it to be silent. Several ushers from the funeral upstairs came running, ready to save the day, crushing my hopes that the alarm had gone unnoticed by the funeral guests.

Finally, the chaos passed, the service continued and the women kindly, but firmly, escorted me from the kitchen. As the family and friends of the deceased made their way into the fellowship hall I held my breath, hoping no one would point out who had actually started the fire. But to no avail. Everyone was anxious to tell what happened and who was responsible. From that day on, I was known as the preacher’s wife who almost burned down the church!

Looking back, I used to feel embarrassed at my shortcomings in the cooking department. But then God pointed out a very encouraging truth: I was not called to do it all! In that small church I was responsible for many jobs but preparing meals was no longer one of them! Thanks, God, for taking that off my plate!

What jobs are you trying to do that someone else could do better? What weaknesses do you have that you can be thankful for because they free you up to focus on your strengths?

How To Mess Up Your Vacation

Brandi WilsonStep 1. After an incredibly exhausting season of ministry, plan a perfect time away for your family to a place you are all excited to go. Use your calendar to mark down the days with a big, fat X to build anticipation for your family. Excitement and rest are both high on your list.

Step 2. Become informed that a request has been made of your husband to speak at an event extremely close to the same place you’ll be vacationing during the exact same week.

Step 3. Debate. Debate. Debate. In the end, accept speaking engagement with the thought process that the honorarium your husband will make will actually cover the cost of your perfect vacation (even though you know in your gut you already have money saved to cover the cost of the vacation). A “yes” answer is given. Neglect to think through all the details of your “yes”.

Step 4. Start to get bitter you have to work on your vacation. Begin dreading the prep that the event will require. Get mad at yourself for being dumb and making a work commitment during your family vacation. Fulfill the commitment with a positive attitude but ultimately regret the time it took away from your family vacation.

Obviously, this is a scenario my family has recently walked through. And unfortunately it’s a mistake we have made more than once.

We were replaying this scenario to our neighbors, who also happen to be pastors, when my friend said “Oh, you turned your vacation into a trip!! We always work hard to define if travel is a vacation, a trip or a visit.”

Often times these terms are used interchangeably but clarification of what each represents has been so helpful for my family.

Vacation –  Time away from work with the intention of resting. Rest can look different for each family. For us, we almost always choose the beach for vacation. Some might enjoy sight-seeing, taking tours, trying new restaurants. Whatever feels like rest for you. For us, vacation means a whole lot of nothing. And definitely no work.

Trip –  Traveling somewhere with the understanding work will be included. My husband and I just had the best trip to New York. We both agreed to speak at a conference in New Jersey. The conference was our first commitment, however, we built in some extra down time to explore New York. We had a blast together on our work trip. And even though it was enjoyable, it was different than a vacation because we went on the trip expecting to work.

Visit –  Usually involves going to see people you love. Visits are valuable because they often include extended family or community close to your heart. But even being surrounded by people you love doesn’t necessarily mean rest. 

All of these forms of travel have specific purposes. The key is in clarifying, maintaining and protecting expectations. You can’t go on a “trip” expecting a “vacation.”  You’ll come home frustrated and usually more tired than you were when you left.

What boundaries do you have to protect important family time like vacations?

 

“How To” Know You Are Power-Full When You Feel Power-Less

How ToListen, leading is not an easy task. It requires tons of effort, time, scheduling and stamina. It can keep us up at night. It can drain even the strongest of the strong. And it can cause a person who started out excited and passionate, to plummet into a place of complete and utter defeat.

Have you been there? I have. In fact, I’ve been in each of the above places. Leadership has given me some of the most rewarding moments in my life.  And leadership has thrown me some crazy curve balls—in fact, there were times I didn’t have the power to swing the bat, let alone hit the ball.

Maybe you’ve been in one of those places like I have. There were days, weeks and even seasons when I didn’t feel I had the strength nor the power to lead. I felt power-less. But the Bible reminded me that “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). So in moments when I feel power-less, it’s God who gives me what I need to get the job done—to lead with power, influence and strength.

Power, by definition, is the ability that you have to influence or direct others. So we are given power, in essence, to influence. Not to stronghold people. Not to pull rank. Not to bully or get our way. God empowers us to be able to influence and lead others by our example!

So although you may not feel you have power, you really do!  How do you know? Because God has put it inside of you. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and sound mind.” So let’s talk about how to know you are power-full even when you feel power-less.

1) There is Power in Your Position.

Senior pastor’s wife, worship leader, campus pastor’s wife, administrator, women’s ministry director and really ALL leadership positions in ministry are influential. While you may feel intimidated by your “title” or you compare yourself to someone who has a similar role, remember that you have been placed in this position for “such a time as this” to lead and influence those around you. Your position has power because God has given it to you!  Know that this power given to you is intended to build up, to encourage, to direct, to create unity, to teach, to love and to lead the vision—all of the same qualities that we see in the leadership of Jesus.  Jesus said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”  You have the power to lead. Why? Because Jesus said so! The more you believe it, the more you will walk in it.

2) There is Power in Your Prayer

Not convinced you have power? Then just take a minute and remind yourself of the many prayers that God has answered for you. James 5:16 states, “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Our prayers truly have power. And there’s something about being persistent and continually praying.  I’m not sure how everything works with God, but I do know this: When we pray, things happen. The results may not always be what we expect, but 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to continually “pray without ceasing”. When there is conflict in your leadership team—pray without ceasing. When your marriage is struggling because of your time at church—pray without ceasing. When you’re not sure of the next step in the direction of your ministry—pray without ceasing. Keep reminded that your prayers have great power.

3) There is Power in Your Perseverance

There have been a few definitive times in my years in ministry when I have been ready to throw in the towel. About seven years ago, I told my husband, Tim, that I was going to quit ministry and stop leading. It was too hard. People were too critical and opinionated. I didn’t have it in me to stay the course. I wasn’t willing to go through the tough moments anymore.  And then God spoke into my heart. He simply said, “If not you, then who? Linda, how can you stop when I’ve called you? How can you give up when there are still more to reach?”  And I realized in that brief moment that one of the most significant and powerful aspects of leading, was persevering. Through my example and ability to persevere, to keep going, to not stop, to continue on—I would show and influence others to do the same! It was an “a-ha” moment for me. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up.” We can’t give up because there is power is in our perseverance! Remember that changing course or changing direction is not giving up. Giving up is giving up. Keep going. God believes in you!!

What are some other ways how to know that you are power-full when you feel power-less? Please share with us!!