Archive for Observations

A Tribute to Carrie Fisher and Prozac

She knew something was off kilter when she woke up a night to find she was in the middle of a busy street in Mexico City in only a nightgown. She had no recollection of how she got there from Los Angeles.

In therapy, she discovered she was severely bi-polar. Without medication extreme levels of bipolarity can end in tragedy as hers could have. The medication that worked best for her was Prozac. The two of them started a lifelong healing “relationship” that lasted until her end.

Like highly creative people can sometimes be, Carrie was a little quirky. Some called her “High maintenance.” At times her creativity was maybe even more than just a tad quirky. Her request was that her cremated remains be inside a giant green and white plastic capsule identical of her good “friend” Prozac.

What does the life of Carrie Fisher have to say to those of us who are carriers of the “Kindness of God that brings a radical life change.” (Rom. 2:4) Is there room in my church and my life for those who are highly creative but are pegged as simply odd with no understanding of the life-giving deposits they can bring.

Over the past twenty-plus years, I’ve been around the church about as much as anyone I know. I’ve spoken at hundreds of weekend services, etc.

As I see it, we need lots of Carrie’s to show up, to challenge us to think and live differently than we’ve grown used to, as ineffective as the status quo may be.

I want the Carrie Fisher’s of the world today to come into my church and feel 100% loved, encouraged and accepted with no questions asked. God will deal with all the details with his power they need for life change to happen. Our assignment is to love regardless.

“Our calling is to accept everyone, even if we don’t necessarily approve of the way they live.”

People are looking for change like never before in history. They don’t want to turn over a new leaf. They are hungry for an entirely new tree! Radical life change is what everyone is looking for, even if they can’t express their need in those words. Let’s keep in mind that all change comes down to this: Only God can change any human life.

“God, we invite you to send us the scads of “Carrie’s” you want in your family. Here are our heart and our hands. Use them oh God, to bring your life change to the ends of the world you’ve given us.”

My Favorite Mistakes of 2016

As each year ends, I like to look back at both my successes and misses. Both of them help me to adjust my trajectory moving forward.

I find that leaders must make some significant mistakes if they hope to make spiritual progress. I’m skeptical of the leader who doesn’t have a limp, or who are fearful of the whiplash that’d come from living transparently.

I like to share my mistakes with others, even to weave them into a weekend service message, in the hope that others in my life will realize that sometimes theirs aren’t all that unusual. In fact, sometimes theirs are better and funnier than mine.

Here a few from this year to mull over.

 

  • Not enough margin for failure

I tend to see “Margin” as the part of life that allows me to live in “Balance.” I no longer believe in the concept of balance. That word comes from physical matters such as walking. If you tape the walk of someone, then play it back in slow motion, you might surprise at just how “unbalanced” balance is. Just as one leg comes to the end of its forward stride, it looks like we are about to fall forward. Then at the last second, the other leg comes forward. Step after step this is repeated, as we move forward.

In short, my thinking has been akin to “Either goes for a win, or don’t try at all.” To fail in ministry can sometimes bring finances stresses.

If you are the pastor of a church of any size, and tick people off, for necessary reasons or not, chances are some will withdraw their financial support. We have to do what we have to do. Just make sure you must do it and make the call to change comes out of necessity, not your personal anger.

Most of the heroes of the faith in Scripture went through large trials. I’ve noticed that the majority of the biblical characters went through great trials. The trials weren’t so much a surprise as for where they came from – sometimes from God alone, but sometimes brought most of it on themselves.

Without their failures and some of the suffering of it, I’m not sure we’d have the famous “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews chapter 11.

  • Didn’t move into the future wilder and far riskier

If you are a leader, you may have been told in one way or another, that you’ve been too wild and dangerous. Some who look up to us want an absolute guarantee that they will not be a challenge with possible failure. If you model by testing others, you will make some feel uncomfortable. Without saying a thing leaders send a message that how they live is how their followers ought to live as well. Some critics in your world of influence may interpret “Failure” as real failure instead of seeing some of the spiritual parts that come with following God.

“Not wild enough?” you ask. “I thought great models of leadership were “Mature” and had few missteps.”

I don’t want to be a killjoy about your 2017, but if you insist on playing life safely, you won’t make much progress this year.

  • Didn’t ask for help

When I don’t ask for help or decide not to wait for it, bad things tend to happen.

Twice in the past couple of years, I needed help with simple moving – once a desk and later a sign on the sidewalk. Both times I could have gotten help. In fact, others volunteered to help me if I could just wait a few minutes till they arrived.

In my impatience a commercial from years ago captured It featured a Bandolero akin to revolutionary Pancho Villa. Ammunition belts crisscrossed his chest, and he gripped a six-shooter in each hand. His line was epic – “I don’t need no stinking help!” That could have been my slogan more often than not. After all, why wait when I can do it quickly by yourself.

I didn’t hold on, and I paid a huge penalty. Both of these weren’t your normal crashes. I dove headfirst into a wall once and onto the with the other.

When I severely broke my upper arm, I was in such pain that when the EMTs showed up, I passed out twice from the severe pain. With the other, it was my foot that broke two places. Both breaks were unusually severe according to the ortho doctors. The nurses got to know me so well on the many visits they knew me on a first-name basis.

Each break took me out of at least some commission for six months.

Even when I was finally “Healed” in the words of the ortho doctor put it, the bones were obviously not lined up. The ortho doctor declared “Basically cured” and that was as close it comes in their world.

God usually transforms the goofball blunders I make to sew his wisdom into the soil of my heart.

  • Sometimes I didn’t stop when God stopped

Scripture and people’s testimonies convey this same truth. All things eventually come to an end. One day each of us will breathe our last. As an insurance sales friend puts it, “The latest stats still indicate that the worldwide mortality rate hovers right around 100%.”

All things come to an end. Even what starts out to be exciting, is useful and fun will one day come to an end. As a Swedish missionary says, “Fire tends to go out eventually. Plan and train others according to that truth.”

Are you thinking about starting or building a mega something? Don’t look at the initial costs. It’s even more important to be in touch with the reality of money, and people power you’ll need further down the path.

Believers will inherit the challenge to sustain the mega-facilities or programs you started. Will they rejoice in what you are doing, or will they put your picture on their dartboard as a practice target?

It ‘s hard to get an accurate bead on “Real reality” when our default line is, “God told us to do thus and such.”

It has been easy for me to confuse enthusiasm with wise, thought through spiritual direction.

Like never in life, I’m committing to two vital convictions.

  1. I will find at least one experienced coach/mentor in life. Most of being a great coach come from finding a person who is willing to open their calendar to you and who has made enough significant mistakes that they can share their discoveries.
  2. For the rest of my life, I intend to be all about training several people who can replace me they have my same vision and heart. I want them to continue all the parts of the vision God sponsored.

I want them to be far more successful than me. Most leaders make training far too complicated matter, to the point of their being nearly impossible to pull it off by most leaders. “But I want to produce high-quality disciples. Let’s just do it the way Jesus did. Let’s just bring them along as we live life and do outreach and ministry this year.

During college, Inter Varsity Fellowship trained me to lead in light of the short duration of students’ availability in college. As a leader, I had two years of relationship till they began to have super jammed schedule with internships or possible training for a job.

Let’s adopt those two key words in the New Year.

  • Didn’t adequately express my love and appreciation to friends who had made a difference in my life

This year four friends passed. Three of them were completely unexpected. They weren’t obviously sick before they passed.

The year before I lost 5.

As you scan the list above maybe, you can relate to one or two. I hope the encouragement there will help you. If not, then just pray for me as a mistake-riddled person in 2017. I vow to make new and even better mistakes in the coming 12 months!

Steve Sjogren

Kindness.com

Are You Greedy For Life?

As I write this, baseball’s World Series is happening between two teams that have not been a part of the “Big Show” in many years. Tonight, either the Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians will win and be named the best team in baseball for the 2016 season.

The Today Show featured a woman named “Nana” as her family calls her. Nana turned is 104 this year. She said who would have thought this is how her life would turn out.

Quit quitting.

As usually happens when people live in old age, “What has been the secret to your long life?” She smiled and said it’s about love, friends, and family. Her granddaughter said she’d thought it through and had an answer too.

“At age 90 Nana thought she was about done with life. She had lived many wonderful years, but her husband of many decades was gone. Most of her friends and many of the relatives she was close to had passed away. But then something happened that steered in a new direction. Nana looked at her life and extended family and all the events she wanted to be a part of before she passed away. There were graduations. There were marriages and births and careers all her offspring we still going to experience. In other words, she was going to live long enough to be part of some crucial goals to which she felt called.

To boot, she decided to live long enough to see the Indians go to the World Series and hopefully win.”

Be an “Adjust-er” and God will work through you.

I have read dozens—no exaggeration— books about the vital importance of setting goals. During college, I put together up a dozen goals that thrilled me. Each was a biggie. I didn’t realize it at the time, but only God they were only going to hit the target if God breathed on them.

Churches, relationships, careers are all fine and dandy areas where we can set very specific, measurable goals. But that’s only part of the picture in setting goals. Nana has hit the head of the nail with her new life goals—especially those that include relationships.

Relax.

Where are you with your goals these days? No matter where you are, even if you a sprite 103 compared to Nana, it’s probably time to think them through. Take to heart this truth—God has a lot more for you to experience. It’s not all about accomplishing this or that. It’s more than anything being you. It’s about you bringing the love and presence of God to shape many others—to draw them into a greater love for Jesus.

You and I will carry out the great plan of God as we commit to what he has in mind. Usually, that has more to do with us lightening more on ourselves and trying less.

Reaching Millennials (5 of 5)

5. Show a Willingness to Change

We will never be ready to embrace change. When we force the change, we will stir up resentment and anger. Why? Change usually happens when we aren’t enough prime for change. We can convince ourselves that proposed change needs to be close to perfect before we pull the trigger.

G.K. Chesterton was a Believer who often debated writer and atheist George Bernard Shaw during WWI. Once when Shaw was attacking the lack of love from Christians, Chesterton made the point that all Believers are on a journey and learning as we move forward.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” – G.K. Chesterton

A church that attracts the millennial generation is one that is teachable and willing to change, even when the details aren’t complete. If we wait till we have all the answers or even clear plan for success with change, we’ll likely never even start down the path.

The message the church sometimes sends, “When this or that happens, then we will be ready for the change.” Guess what – we will never be perfectly ready for a change. It’s understandable that the Old-timers in a congregation especially resist change. They’re dead set on avoiding the discomfort of getting out onto the thin branches.

I’ve heard ditty “The older you become, the wiser you will be.” For the most part, the truth is “The older you grow, the more careful you become.”

Take a risk. It’s almost a guarantee that we will raise the ire of some who are defensive about any tinkering with the church they seem to own. Those already here is their “Church family” as they see it, and you don’t want to mess with someone’s church family. Research, as well as experience, tells us that it’s not possible to be in the family of any sort that is larger than about a dozen. Anger that comes from the old guard stems from the fear that they will not be comfortable any longer – which might be partly accurate. They want to be part of the group they’ve grown close and the predictability. As well, they like being a big fish in a little pond.

If you want to help these folks, smile and show them patience. Point them to the fruit that is coming as God opens to people like them who were once new once upon a time.

When we embrace change with a smile on our faces, they will be more likely to cooperate with the new thing – the new atmosphere – that God is building.

Bonus Tip: Fun, fun, fun!

God has built into all of our hearts the desire to embrace life with joy. The Westminster Catechism nails it down in a sentence:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” — Westminster Catechism 1.1 & 1.2

Some in this generation have decided that to fit into the Christian world, they need to become angry. I know that was the message I heard from well-intentioned veteran Believers.

God’s presence creates an atmosphere that creates the best party imaginable. When we take ourselves too seriously, we destroy the feel of a party and can create a funeral service. I figured out that no one is looking for a funeral. They’ve had enough of that during their week.

When we take ourselves too seriously, we will likely kill the party that God wants to build. I’ve found there are ways to redo parts of the typical Sunday service. For example, at the end of worship, instead of going through the robotic words of, “Say hi to your neighbor” mix things up with non-religious ways to accomplish the same thing.

Try this – Turn to your neighbor and say, “I’m getting hungry. I hope doesn’t thing doesn’t run too long.” They will laugh and even with more enthusiasm connect with those around them.

A church with momentum has the feel of a party – the opposite of a funeral service. People are in a desperate search for healing and encouragement.

Funerals don’t change people. They just make them even more miserable than the way they came in. Positive parties bring encouragement, joy, and even healing.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” —Plato

Sometimes a good way to start this change is to adopt a motto. Here’s one of mine –

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is… fun!” (2 Cor. 3:17, KJV)

Reaching Millennials (1 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (2 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (3 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (4 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (4 of 5)

4. Lead and Challenge New Behaviors

This generation isn’t just willing to be challenged – they nearly demand it. A significant part of their mentality is they want to make the world better than they found it, whether their focus is on the environment, or putting an end to bullying. They are just waiting for the call to action to jump into a life of influence, particularly when it comes to learning to love the people around them. Their requirement is that you take the role of a “Lead goose” in the V-formation. Where you go, they will follow. It’s a doing thing, not a talking one.

Call them to change the world with you, not for you.

Provide them with simple, doable tools that will get it done. One that I’ve seen work incredibly well is going into the community to reach out to those in need (I like that term versus “The weak” – using the first gives room for change. Just because they are needy now that’s not a category they will live in all their lives).

It’s easiest to begin outreach to these folks.

Even if your knees are shaking from fear, they will be thankful and show you their love.

Reaching out is as simple as bagging up some sacks of groceries. Recruit, a couple of friends. Find an area where people seem like they might need some food or know of a neighbor who does. I usually say, “Do you know of anyone around here who could use some groceries?” I learned to say it this way after blowing it by asking, “Are you poor?” Like I said above, even though I was goofy, they thanked me profusely. There is an excellent communication network among people in need – far better than suburbanites. If they need the groceries, they will let you know. Otherwise, they will point you down the street. When you connect with someone who needs the groceries, spend a little bit of time with them. Ask them if they could use some prayer. They will always have a prayer issue. Then pray on the spot. When millennial folks do this even once, they will be lit.

Coming soon: Part 5

Reaching Millennials (1 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (2 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (3 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (3 of 5)

3. Build an Accepting Community

Pastors who lead congregations that feel “Stuck” – no sense of momentum, resistance to any new idea or direction.

In conversations with dozens of pastors and leaders, I hear the same sentiments.

“We are a very loving congregation, but no matter what we do, we have no momentum.”

After sitting in on some of their services, it seems right that their group is loving. On the other hand, those congregations are usually dug in and unwilling to upset what is already there.

Sometimes I’ve followed up on a list of their recent visitors to ask how they felt in visiting the church and if they will likely return. More often than not they too picked up on the love between members, but they didn’t feel love aimed at them. One couple said they felt “invisible” among the people. Acceptance goes beyond the required, “Turn to your neighbor and say hi” at the end of the worship.

When you go into the community to bring God’s kindness, you send an invitation stop by and check it out. Ask yourself (and detractors who might put fear into the mix) by saying something like, “If we open the doors too widely, who knows what sorts of people would show up – and bring in their problems here.” It is easy to justify attitudes and situations that stink, and that will cocoon us from being soiled by new people.

I usually ask them, “‘I hear your concern.’ How about this question, ‘Who isn’t welcome here?’ Here’s another one that goes with the first. ‘How long does it take for someone to change? As far as I can tell, it’s God who does the heavy lifting when it comes to hearts breaking. Our job is to love them and accept them as they come to us.’ Remember – acceptance isn’t the same as approval.’”

Every couple of weeks, at the end of services I usually ask the congregation to invite some others out to lunch. Usually, three individuals or couples are easier than just two. The new person will be more likely to say yes to dinner with three than two.

I suggest they take the new people out to lunch on their dime and maybe get them a burrito “that’s as big are your head” to give them a touch of the generosity they need to show. It’s amazing what can happen over a 45-minute lunch, even at Taco Bell (if that’s more in line with your budget).

Coming soon:4-5

Reaching Millennials (1 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (2 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (2 of 5)

2. Outward Focus on Loving the City

Millennials are not just open to being outward toward the world around them; they are also open to the possibility of failure. Unlike most, they are willing to take the risk.

Possible failure isn’t something we naturally embrace at any age, but the younger we are, the less we are concerned with it. No matter the typical age of a congregation, if we hope to reach Millennials we need to take more risks. The tendency of established churches is to avoid danger in the least.

Risk-adverse churches will fail to draw the majority of Millennials. On the other hand, those that are willing to take a chance at possible failure are the ones that this generation will be magnetic to them.

Congregations that insist on playing it safe are the least likely to tinker with what they already have in place – what feels safe.

  • Their image
  • Money
  • Time
  • Enthusiasm

It doesn’t have to be that way forever. We can change to become a church that draws Millennials.

  • By investing money with less regard for what might happen
  • By talking/teaching about it without it bearing fruit
  • By recruiting many in the congregation
  • By training leaders who join up but don’t stick with it
  • By the current leaders begin to do what they want the rest of the flock to do
  • By being willing to look possibly dumb by the critics

To begin to reach regularly out a congregation needs simple and realistic tools that will allow them to get to work. Anyone wants to see a return from the seed they plant. Mainly they just need practical tools that will enable them to get to work.

An easy outreach project to begin with that is likely to succeed is the “One-dollar Carwash.”

  • Set up some sign holders/cheerleaders to draw cars.
  • Go to the trouble of getting professional vinyl signs – you will communicate excellence. In future outreaches, they will still look great.
  • Have an array of washers to do different parts of the car. The introverts don’t need to risk talking to drivers. We can do that by walking through some new doors. Put a couple of enthused, friendly outgoing people who find it easy to connect with drivers.
  • Put a “Designated Evangelist” in place to explain what you are doing. When they go to pay for the wash, tell them, “Oh, you don’t understand. We pay you for the privilege of serving you with this.”

I often ask if I can pray for them for ten seconds. Of the hundreds I have offered prayer to, only two have turned me down so far. That shows a bit of the spiritual hunger of most people. Sometimes people tear up. Of course, we get questions. The three most common are: “Where do you meet?”, “Do you have something for kids?” and, most telling, “How long do your services last?” (Gulp!) Most can’t imagine giving more than an hour to a service.

Coming soon:3-5

Reaching Millennials (1 of 5)

Reaching Millennials (1 of 5)

There is no magic to reaching the Millennial generation. On the other hand, if we hope to get them, we simply need to do and be what God’s word has called us to be about all along.

Sometimes working with Millennials is about as frustrating as trying to use Jello as a baseball. The truth is they are not just a gift to your church. They are even the strongest booster rocket you can desire.

They call us to think through what we want to see. As you look this over realize a couple of matters. These are descriptions of the sorts of churches that Millennials will consider joining.

As you read these over, resist the trap of “Cognitive dissonance” – that is, the tendency to assume the best about what we are doing, even when our image is far from reality. This confusion is more prevalent in the church world than any other.

When we begin to make changes those already in our church usually resist – even to the point of threatening to leave or even worse, to stir up others to leave because all of the sudden “My” church has changed to a different direction.

1. Be Generous with Money

In the eyes of many Millennials, the church seems to exist mainly to for self-perpetuation. More than their predecessors, they live out the line “Put your money where your mouth is.”

To reshape that assumption, let’s be known for our extravagant generosity. Let’s even go so far as to be willing to nearly “Squander” money on the world around us. All hyperbole aside, let’s drop any caution and now define ourselves as incredibly giving without being overly concerned with that self-interest mindset.

The Orthodox Jewish Bible uses the word “Generous” to describe one of the marks of the fruit of the Spirit in Ephesians chapter 5. When we show generosity, we establish credibility. As we go into the community to give away bottles of water at a stoplight, sometimes people ask how we can afford to pay for all of this.

“Oh, we pay for it out of our offerings. We can’t help but spend a lot of money in our community to bring the same love that Jesus showed in his day.”

“But how do you cover all the expenses your church needs if you give so much away?”

“We see the city is worth investing in – worth showing love by serving. We believe that if Jesus were walking around town today, he’d being doing this sort of thing.”

As we loosen our grip on funds, our reputation as a giving church will begin to spread like a life-giving tsunami. As it was with Jesus, when we get into the community “Advertising” will take care of bringing all the attention we need to notice and experience God’s tsunami, his love, attention, and acceptance, they will start to “Gossip the Gospel.”

When we start to flow with God’s generosity, we are merely opening the door for our people to do what has already been in their hearts.

When it comes to outreach to the needy, pantries are good, but don’t let that be the limit of your outreach. Sometimes those with the greatest needs can’t get to any pantry without a lot of difficulties. Jesus reached out to the poor in a variety of ways. The most common way Jesus reached out was to meet needs as he ran across them.

Invest a given percentage of the congregation’s income back out into the community. A smart way to begin is to commit to percentage giving. If you already have required portions, you are expected to pay – tithes to the denomination, the denomination’s requirement to foreign missions, etc. You can negotiate those percentages.

Coming soon: 2 – 5

8.5 of My Favorite Mistakes of 2015

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”

– G. K. Chesterton

 

I take a bit of time at the end of each year to take an honest, deep look into how the year gone by has gone. I group these together as “Mistakes” that are as positive as possible – I try to see them as stepping stones going into the new year.

As much as I know that my memorable mistakes will lead to learning opportunities that will propel me into the coming year.

I tend to have short-term memory problems with what I learned in previous years. It is important that I take a to heart the AA saying that launches the 12 Steps.

“I choose to take a fearless, moral inventory” of how things have gone, where they are now, and where I hope they will go from here.

It is easy to fall into the opposite belief of the Chesterton quote above.

We can fall into the false belief that a successful life is built on the appearance of outward success. Jesus’ hand picked mentees, the Twelve, make it clear that God sees mistakes as key elements that will lead to personal growth and spiritual health.

Why call them my “Favorite” mistakes? These are the ones that have taught me the most over the past year. Without mistakes we won’t have traction we need in order to move forward. Mistakes are the rough surface that allows us to grip the wall in front of us.

Unless we make some great mistakes, we are destined to stay stuck in the ditch we’ve built from the false belief that perfection is the goal. The only difference between a ditch and a grave is the depth of each.

We tend to run from our mistakes – treat mistakes as though they were a sign of our incompetence.

We tend to hide our mistakes from our for fear they will categorize us as incompetent or immature. If others see our mistakes that draw that conclusion they need to rethink their view of an effective life versus one that only looks successful on the surface.

These are my “Favorite” mistakes of 2015. Believe it or not I had to pare my list down in order that this post won’t become too lengthy! As you read through these a button or two might connect with you and maybe even help you see more clearly about your life. Read More

Are You Really Outwardly Focused?

outward-focusedHave you noticed that the U.S. Church tends to go through trends every now and then? Books are written, conferences are held, programs come and go and the voices of experts in these areas rise to prominence.

When these trends flow, we are naturally excited about the possibility of these manifesting around us, We dream about what it would be like to walk in that reality right now, but the dream world and the real world aren’t one and same.

When there was a lot of hoopla about worship, I helped a church that was doing “Contemporary” worship but failed to connect with their community around them in Pasadena. They were baffled that they weren’t connecting with younger families, even through there was no shortage of those around them.

But I discovered that their worship song rotation included a number of Gaither Band songs. I like the Gaithers as much as the next person. I even have a song or two of theirs in my iTunes collection, but to call their songs contemporary is big stretch.

Currently the trend moving through the Church is a return to the importance of outreach, and I couldn’t be more enthused! As I see it, this is the core of any other practice. Jesus modeled outwardness above all else. Again the question boils down to “Are we really pulling off outreach, or are we just excited about the importance of it? Is it a goal we celebrate at conferences, or is it a current reality?”

What are we to do? Let’s live differently, strategically and begin to walk it out. As the motto of this site goes, “Making the dangerous doable.” Let’s move toward some dangerous but doable stuff together.

How do we pull that off? That’s a longer discussion than we can have today, and that’s exactly what this site is about. We will have scads of discussions here down the road, but today let’s kick it off with a couple of practical assignments.

  1. Commit to the work it will take. I’m lazy by nature, and I’m in good company. When we are lazy it is easy to fall prey to living in a fantasy world. Do what it takes to sweat. As the Army saying goes, “No one ever drown in sweat.”
  2. Resist the temptation to advertise until you’ve practiced it. If you are like me it’s tough to resist plugging a book you like even before you’ve finished reading it. If you are a visionary you’ve probably pulled that one off a time or two. It’s good to be enthused, just hold on to your hat until you have finished it. When you begin to reach out keep it on the quiet side at first. Don’t wave the flag more than your experience can support. Do outreach with a handful of others and as you learn and have fun, then begin to spontaneously share your stories one on one before you broadcast them to the entire congregation.
  3. Start small Great things have small beginnings. That’s biblical and that’s the pattern of church history. Small starts are not the mark of failure by any means, rather they are usually the mark of assembling a runway for God’s Spirit to land with his presence in a big way.