Monthly Archives: March 2014

It’s Time to Clean Out the Garage

Messy Garage

Every couple of years we go through a painful exercise at our house; we clean out the garage. There is a defect in our garage in that it will never stay clean for very long. Whenever we get a new piece of furniture, we put the old furniture in the garage. Every time we get a lovely gift that we have no idea what to do with, it goes in the garage. Every time my beautiful wife decides to change the décor of a room, all of the old décor goes in the garage. When the garage gets so full we can’t lift the door, we know it’s time to clean it out again.
When it’s time to clean the garage the family tends to find someplace else to be because they know just how unpleasant I can be during this task. First I drag everything out of the garage and lay it on the front lawn. (The neighbors love this.) Then I make three piles. Pile one is the stuff we want to keep. (My goal is for this to be the smallest pile.) Pile two is the stuff we want to give away. (We don’t even bother with garage sales anymore. It’s too humiliating dickering over $0.25 for an old coat hanger.) Pile three is the stuff we want to throw away. Once the piles are made, I put pile one back in the garage and get rid of piles two and three.

Is it time for a garage-style cleanup in your ministry? You have been accumulating tasks and responsibilities for years, and it’s time to give some stuff away and to dump some stuff entirely. Take some time to do this exercise:

  • List everything you do for the church. Do you mow the lawn? Fold the bulletins? Follow-up with the visitors? Preach?
  • Which of the things on the list can only you do? Be honest. There are some things that only you can do, but very few.
  • Which of the things on the list can you give to someone else? Begin making a secondary list of people to whom you can begin giving ministry tasks.
  • Which of the things on the list should be stopped entirely? When I made this list, I realized that no one should be preaching on Sunday nights. It was an abysmal service that people attended out of duty, so we did away with it. What can you do away with?

    Geoff Surratt has more than 27 years of ministry experience in a variety of roles in local churches and works frequently with other churches across the country in strategic planning and staff development. Geoff is the author of several books, including The Multisite Church Revolution and 10 Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing. He is now the managing director of Exponential and a freelance church catalyst and encourager.

    – See more at: Send Network


    arrow maze

    My good friend Bob Bouwer was having lunch with the campus pastor of COMMUNITY a while ago when he said, “Everyday at the top of my journal I write these three letters: E (emotional), P (physical) and S (spiritual) and then give myself a 1-10 rating.” He went on to explain how this daily routine of rigorous self-evaluation helps keep him in a healthy place.

    As I heard Bob talk I was inspired to do the same; but to use a tool that is a regular part of our coaching of leaders at COMMUNITY and explained on page 120 of Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement. We refer to this tool as “checking your RPM’S.” This tool is based on Luke 2:52 that says, “Jesus grew in wisdom (mental) and stature (physical), and in favor with God (spiritual) and men (relational).” So for the last week on a daily bais I have put at the top of my journal these four letters: R (relational), P (physicial), M (mental) and S (spiritual) and given myself a 1-10 rating. I am already convinced that using this tool on a daily basis, rather than just during coaching sessions may be one of the most powerful self-leadership tools around. I would strongly encourage you to try it for yourself. Let me briefly explain each of these and give you a few questions to ask in your own daily self-evaluation.

    RELATIONAL: Our relational world typically includes the people with whom we interact on a regular basis: our immediate family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and small group members. Here are some questions you can ask yourself.
     How are my relationships at home?
     What about my marriage, dating, or family life is going well? What’s not going so well? What would I like to change?
     Who do I consider my closest friend? How is God using that relationship to grow me?
     What are my relationships at work like?
     Which of my relationships give me energy and life? Which are the most challenging or draining?

    PHYSICAL: Our physical well-being is often the most overlooked aspect of a leaders life. Yet diet, exercise, sleep, and rest are all vital to our ability to lead effectively. If we are serious about developing as a whole person, we have to take seriously our physical well-being. Here are some good questions to ask:
     Am I getting enough rest?
     How is my current energy level?
     What am I doing to maintain good health when it comes to exercise and eating habits?
     Is there anything about my physical health that I’d like to change?

    MENTAL: Another often-overlooked aspect is the development of our minds. In order for us to stay sharp and be lifelong learners, we need to be challenged. Here are some questions we can ask to see if we are developing mentally:
     What have I been learning lately?
     How am I applying what I am learning?
     What magazines, books, or websites do I read or access?
     What thoughts have been dominating my mind? Are they drawing me closer to God? Are they pulling me away from him?

    SPIRITUAL: It is also imperative that we discover and act on whatever it is that helps us grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus. Here are some questions we can ask to see how we are developing spiritually:
     How would I describe my relationship with Christ right now?
     What does it look like when I am feeling closely connected to God?
     Which spiritual disciplines seem to help me draw closer to Jesus? Prayer? Journaling? Worship? Solitude?
     Who is holding me accountable to practicing these disciplines?
     What has God been saying to me lately through his Word? The Holy Spirit? Other Christ followers? Prayer?

    The longer I am in leadership the more I am convinced that the most important leadership we can offer is self-leadership. Use this tool everyday and lead yourself!

    Dave Ferguson is a Lead Pastor and Spiritual Entrepreneur with Community Christian Church and the NewThing Network.