Retirada Estratégica

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Cada uno de nosotros queremos avanzar. Ya sea para alcanzar metas personales, o metas que como compañía nos hemos fijado, todos deseamos avanzar. Algunas veces, para poder avanzar debemos hacer uso de algo conocido como retirada estratégica.

Cuando le gente piensa en retirarse en una cierta área, lo considera como el resultado de algún tipo de pérdida o derrota.

  • Puedes optar por retirarte de una empresa o negocio porque las cosas no resultaron de la manera en que esperabas.
  • Puedes optar por retirarte de una relación porque tomó una dirección en la que no te sentiste cómodo.
  • Puedes optar por retirarte de un proyecto escolar después de darte cuenta de que terminaría en fracaso.

Todas estas son formas de retirada. Pero, ¿podría existir alguna otra manera? ¿Podría haber una manera de retirarse que no esté únicamente definida como una pérdida, sino que incluso pudiera prepararte para el futuro?

¡Absolutamente! Esto es lo que yo llamo retirada estratégica.

Retirada estratégica es el arte de retirarse de manera que te puedas preparar para el éxito futuro.

Mientras que algún tipo de pérdida o derrota podría preceder a una retirada estratégica, el elemento que en realidad define a este tipo de retirada es la manera en la que “te retiras”, de modo que puedas tener la mayor oportunidad posible de tener éxito en el futuro.

Cuando comenzamos la iglesia Ciudad de Vida, una de las primeras cosas que hicimos fue comenzar una reunión de oración semanal. ¡Las reuniones eran geniales! Nos congregábamos en un parque local cada semana y orábamos por nuestra ciudad. Esta reunión creció hasta alcanzar las 60 personas, que era un número increíble para el tamaño de nuestra iglesia.

Poco tiempo después de haber comenzado la iglesia, decidí cambiar el formato de la reunión de oración y darle un pequeño giro. ¡Fue un desastre! La reunión terminó con una asistencia de 10 personas. Decidí re configurar la reunión una vez más y regresarla a como estaba antes, ¿el único problema? La reunión nunca volvió a ser como antes… Y la asistencia iba de las 12 a las 30 personas en un buen día.

Tuve que pensar fuertemente durante esos días. Y, junto a mi esposa y algunos otros, decidimos hacer una retirada estratégica.

Tomamos la decisión de cancelar completamente esa reunión, mientras que al mismo tiempo decidimos hacer dos cosas. Primero, decidimos poner nuestro enfoque principal en los grupos pequeños que se reunían durante la semana. Eliminar una de nuestras dos reuniones nocturnas semanales, nos permitiría dedicar el 100% de nuestros esfuerzos en la construcción de un área en lugar de dos. Segundo, decidimos convertir la reunión de oración semanal que yo dirigía en un grupo pequeño de oración dirigida por líderes voluntarios de nuestra iglesia.

Para nosotros, está fue la mejor decisión que pudimos haber tomado. Al pensar sobre la necesidad de una retirada, y luego al figurar cuál sería la mejor manera de emplearla, estábamos eligiendo aproximarnos a nuestra retirada de una manera estratégica.

Muy a menudo, nos retiramos sin tomar el tiempo para procesar las consecuencias de nuestra retirada. Elige pensar sobre tu retirada de una manera estratégica, de modo que dicha retirada te prepare para el mayor éxito posible en tu futuro.

Strategic Retreat

Strategic Retreat
Strategic Retreat

Every single one of us wants to advance. Whether that is the desire to advance in personal goals or company goals, we all desire to advance. Sometimes, in order to advance, we must use something known as strategic retreat.

When people think about retreating in a certain area, they typically consider it as a result of some type of loss or defeat.

  • You might choose to pull back from a business venture because things didn’t turn out the way you hoped.
  • You might choose to pull back from a relationship because it turned in a direction you weren’t comfortable with.
  • You might choose to pull back from a school project after realizing that it will end in failure.

All of these are forms of retreat.

But, could there be a better way? Could there be a way to retreat that is not solely defined as a loss, but might set you up for the future?

Absolutely! This is what I call strategic retreat.

Strategic retreat is the art of pulling back in order to set yourself up for future success.

While some type of loss or defeat might precede a strategic retreat, the defining element of this type of retreat is the manner in which you retreat, in order to have the greatest possible chance of success in the future.

When we started CityLife Church, one of the first things we did was begin a weekly prayer meeting. The meeting was great! We gathered in a local park every week and prayed for our city. This meeting grew to about 60 people, which was incredible number for our size of church.

A little while after starting the church, I decided to change the format of the prayer meeting into something else. It was a disaster! The meeting ended up being attended by 10 people by the end. I decided to reconfigure the meeting once more and return it to what it was before. The only problem? The meeting never returned to what it was…we would run anywhere from 12 people to 30 people on a good day.

I had to do some hard thinking during those days. I, along with my wife and a few others, decided to use a strategic retreat.

We decided to completely cancel that meeting, while at the same time choosing to do two things. First, we decided to put our primary focus on small groups that met during the week. By eliminating one of two weeknight meetings, it would allow us to devote 100% of our efforts into building one area, instead of two. Second, we decided to turn the weekly prayer meeting that I led into a prayer small group that was led by lay people (volunteer leaders) in our church.

For us, this was the best decision we could have made. By thinking through the need to retreat, then figuring out how best to employ the retreat, we were choosing to approach our retreat in a strategic manner.

Too often, we retreat without taking the time to process the consequences of our retreat. Choose to think through your retreat in a strategic manner, in order to set yourself up for your best possible success in the future!

Poverty of Heart

Poverty of Heart
Darkness

I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the craziness going on in our world.  Bear with me on this post, as it’s a little bit longer than normal!

We’re in the middle of an election season where many view the race as a choice between the two least bad candidates.

We’re experiencing tragic shootings, regardless of fault, that seem to be ripping our country apart.

We have the scourge of terrorism affecting us here in the United States and in many countries around the world. Over 100 incidents have occurred in the month of September.

I tend to pay quite a bit of attention to what’s going on in the world, whether it be politics, international news, or other things. With that comes a healthy dose of people’s opinions about why all of these things are happening.

One of the most used arguments for the way things are in the world has to do with what I call poverty of circumstance. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed terrorism on poverty, calling it the “root cause”.

The argument basically goes like this: Because “x” person grew up in “y” circumstances, it led them to take “z” action.

Now, this may be partially true. There has always been the “nature vs. nurture” argument for why people do what they do. People’s external influences play a large role in determining who a person becomes.

While all of that may be true, it ignores the most basic truth: Every human being is born with poverty of heart

No matter whether someone is rich or poor, educated or uneducated, from North America or Asia, black or white, or any other defining characteristic, we are ALL born with poverty of heart.

Psalm 51:5 says, “For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.”

Romans 3:23 states, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

Now, track with me here. In today’s world, there is much debate between cause and correlation.

Cause simply means that one thing causes another to happen. Correlation simply means that two things happen (together), but one is not necessarily the cause of the other.

So, in most arguments, people believe that poverty of circumstance CAUSES all sorts of evil in the world. Others would argue that there is a correlation between the two, meaning that we tend to see poverty of circumstance in the same places (or people) where evil is perpetrated.

I would differ with both of those viewpoints and add a third. I will call this one context.

I believe that it’s important to understand the context in which someone becomes the person they are, without making that circumstance out to be the cause or a direct correlation.

Let’s use terrorism as an example. If someone can be rich or poor and become a terrorist, it would be hard to say that terrorism is caused by poverty. Also, we would have a hard time making a correlation between the two, because rich and poor are distinctly different, while leading to the same result (terrorism).

But, what is worth taking a look at is context. What is the person’s context (their influences, beliefs, circumstances, etc.) that contribute to making the person who they are? And, most importantly, how does that context play into the poverty of heart that already exists inside of that person?

I believe the main cause for all of the evil in the world, no matter where it’s found or who commits it, is poverty of heart. There is no greater cause than a heart that is desirous of doing wrong. Now, the context for each person’s evil actions is different and may have some amount of influence on that particular person. But, it is not the primary influence.

Understanding the context is important, but it should never replace the simple belief that evil actions are produced from an evil heart. There is no greater cause of evil in the world than the evil that already exists inside a person’s heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

While we must work in society to have justice, we must never forget that no government or private institution has the power to change the human heart – only God can do that. While we try to alleviate poverty, we must not blame poverty for violence…we must do the hard work leading people with love to a changed heart.

For this reason, our hope must never be placed in political figures, business leaders, government directors, celebrities, or any other person or group.

Our hope must always be placed in Jesus!

In fact, I think part of the reason our political system has produced the two principal candidates we have is because for too long people on both the right and the left have looked to their political leaders as their saviors or America’s saviors.

Let me be clear: America doesn’t need a savior. America, while a great nation, does not need one political representative to somehow change the course of our nation. When we place our hope in one person to change whatever it is we want changed, we are already doomed.

The only thing that changes America is changed hearts of those who live in this country.

And, the only thing that changes people’s hearts is Jesus.

This is why the church is so important. There is no greater tool in Jesus’ toolbox than his church. While Jesus is the Instigator of change, he causes that change through the church.

So, what am I trying to say with this post? I’m probably saying quite a few things, but most of all, it’s this: The biggest problems we face in the world today are caused by poverty of heart. The greatest solution to poverty of heart is spreading the light and love of Jesus.

I encourage you to be as big a Jesus person as you can be in the world today. That is what people need. That is what our country needs. And, that is what this world is desperately longing for.

Creating Church Culture

Church Culture

Culture is one of those important things that exists in every church (and organization) that will have a huge impact on all that you do.  By culture, I am referencing those shared attributes that make up the unique identity of the church you lead. How do you go about creating church culture?

There are many component parts that make up your church. The list is endless:

  • Mission and Vision
  • Goals
  • Departments
  • Ministries and Teams
  • Volunteer development
  • Training
  • Leadership development
  • Administration
  • Systems and processes

I could go on!

Here’s an important truth about all of it: Your church culture is the most important factor in your success.

No joke! You could have the most incredible group of people. You might have an important vision as well. But, if your culture is not right, then everything else fails. Sam Chand says, “Culture—not vision or strategy—is the most powerful factor in any organization.”

And here’s a secret for you. Your church already has a culture whether you have planned for it or not. Wouldn’t it make more sense if you go about developing the culture you want to have, rather than simply existing what’s already there?

Culture has to do with the way that people relate to each other, the way that work gets done, the way that celebration happens (if at all). Culture is about how everyone journeys together to get to wherever your church is going.

I encourage you to take a first step today and simply do this: Look around. Before you can change anything, you need to grasp what your current cultural identity actually looks like. Watch how people interact together, pay attention to what happens in your different environments, and most of all, have someone examine the way that YOU lead. Your church is on a journey, and it’s important to understand the view while you’re on it.

After looking around, take a few moments and put into words what best describes the culture of your church. From there, you’re ready to get busy with the task of creating the culture you want to have in your church!

 

6 Maneras de Leer la Biblia y Aprovecharla al Máximo

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Leer la Biblia es una parte muy importante de nuestras vidas. Hoy, me gustaría darles 6 maneras de leer la palabra de Dios y aprovecharla al máximo. Estos pasos no son los únicos que puedes seguir, pero te serán de utilidad para vivir una vida constantemente impactada por la palabra de Dios. ¡Comencemos!

  1. Consigue un plan – Necesitas algún tipo de plan de lectura bíblica. La buena noticia es que hay millones de planes al alcance de todos. Consigue un plan y síguelo. Te recomiendo descargar la aplicación “YouVersion” disponible para teléfonos y tabletas Apple y Android.

  1. Lee regularmente  Leer la palabra de Dios diariamente es un patrón de vida que todos necesitamos. El hombre no puede vivir solo de un “verso-pan”. Así como tu cuerpo necesita comida diariamente, tu alma también necesita “comida espiritual” todos los días.

  1. Lleva un diario de lo que Dios te habla  Leer es bueno, pero escribir sobre lo que has leído ¡es mejor! Ayuda a mejorar tu capacidad de retención y te proporciona un registro escrito de lo que Dios te está hablando. Esto me lleva a presentarte el siguiente paso.

  1. Regresa a revisar tu diario – De vez en cuando es una buena idea regresar y revisar lo que Dios te ha estado hablando. Por esta razón me encanta el programa “Evernote“. Copio y pego lo que leo directamente a “Evernote” y le agrego mis ideas y pensamientos mientras hago mi diario. Después, puedo fácilmente buscar mis notas por fecha, palabra clave, o por etiqueta. ¡Es muy bueno recordar las palabras de Dios para nosotros!

  1. Obtén un enfoque – He leído la biblia completamente alrededor de 20 veces en toda mi vida –y espero seguir leyéndola muchas veces mas. Un par de esas veces la he leído con un enfoque en particular. No hago esto todo el tiempo, pero de vez en cuando puede ser extremadamente útil. Un año leí la biblia enfocándome en la palabra/concepto “gracia”. Mis ojos se abrieron al increíble amor de Dios mientras leía la Biblia durante ese año a través de ese “filtro”.

  1. Cámbialo – De vez en cuando, cambia tu plan de lectura bíblica. Leer la biblia en una variedad de diferentes maneras mantendrá tu interésmantendrá tu enfoque, energizará tu comprensión y mucho mas.

 

Estas son tan solo 6 maneras en que podemos leer la biblia, pero ¡hay muchas mas! ¿Tienes algunas otras y te gustaría aportarlas? ¡Ten la libertad de agregarlas en los comentarios!

6 Ways to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth

Read the Bible
Read the Bible

A few weeks ago I shared with you a practical way to engage the word of God on a regular basis. Today, I’d like to give you 6 ways to read the Bible for all it’s worth. These steps aren’t everything you can do, but they will be helpful to you living a life of being impacted by God’s Word. Let’s begin!

  1. Get a plan – You need some type of Bible reading plan. The good news is that there are a million plans and they are easily available. You can get some here. Get a plan, and follow it. I recommend downloading the YouVersion app for both Apple and Android phones or tablets.
  2. Read regularly – Reading the Word of God daily is a pattern of life that we need. Man does not live by bread alone verse. You need regular food everyday. Your soul needs spiritual food every day.
  3. Journal what God speaks to you – This is what I mentioned a few weeks ago. Reading is good, but writing about what you have read is better! It improves memory retention and gives you a written record of what God is speaking to you. It leads me to the next step.
  4. Return and review your journal – From time to time, it’s a good idea to go back and review what God has spoken to you. For this reason, I love the program Evernote. I copy and paste what I read directly into Evernote and add in my thoughts during the journaling portion. I can easily search my notes by date, keyword, or tag. It’s good to be reminded of God’s words to us!
  5. Get a focus – I have read through the Bible around twenty times in my life. I will continue to do more. A couple of those times I have read through it with a particular focus. I don’t do this all the time, but every once in a while it can be extremely helpful. One year I read the Bible while focusing on the word/concept grace. My eyes were opened to God’s incredible love as I read the Bible that year through that filter.
  6. Change it up – From time to time, change your Bible reading plan. Reading the Bible a variety of different ways will keep your interest, maintain your focus, energize your comprehension, and much more.

These are just six ways! There are many more. Got some to add?

Feel free to add them in the comments!

Ear Tuning

Ear Tuning

As you have seen me post before, I love reading God’s Word in order to learn and grow in my relationship with Jesus. I detail about how to create a daily plan for reading the Bible HERE.

This week, I came across an interesting verse that I wanted to share with you:

Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.   Proverbs 2:2

As I read that verse it got me thinking about tuning an instrument. I’m a musician myself and play a variety of instruments. While the piano is an instrument that doesn’t need to be tuned on a daily basis, almost every other instrument is.

Every time I play the guitar I have to tune it first.

Every time I play the saxophone I make sure it is tuned.

And, every time an orchestra plays together, they all tune themselves to each other.

Almost every instrument ends up out of tune after not using it…practically on a daily basis. Sometimes the instrument may be out of tune by a large amount, other times by a small amount. The amount doesn’t matter…it happens consistently and frequently.

The same is true with our “ears”.  

Not so much the physical ones, but the spiritual ones.

And the heart ones.

And the emotional ones.

This is why the author of this portion of Proverbs, King Solomon, used this word picture. He wanted to let us know that our ears consistently end up out of tune from wisdom.

Wisdom and understanding are things that are not far away, but we can easily get disconnected from them.

This is why the words tune and concentrate are used. A good musician must both tune the instrument and concentrate closely on the music in order to produce a quality performance.

We must constantly tune our ears and concentrate on what we are doing if we are to live a life connected to wisdom and understanding.

This needs to happen on a daily basis. And, it may even need to happen multiple times during a day.

I encourage you to stop yourself consistently before playing the music of your life, so that you can be sure that the words you say and actions you take are properly tuned to wisdom and filled with understanding.

Do you need an ear tuning today?

 

 

Grace In Your Church Staff

Years ago, I learned about a good pattern to follow when thinking about placing people in certain roles (whether paid or volunteer) inside of the church.

Bill Hybels taught me to look at 3 C’s:

Character, Competence, and Chemistry.

Another blog by Ron Edmondson added a fourth to the list: Culture.

With that in mind, there are moments when someone needs to be released from their role. It might have to do with any of those 4 C’s, but usually the most important one is Character.

Competence might be able to be taught, chemistry might be able to be worked on, and culture might get worked out, but character is entirely up to the individual.

I’ve noticed how, over the years, I’ve had conversations with people who believe someone should stay in their role, even when they have glaring character issues that are damaging themselves and others they influence through their role.

Let me make a side note: Different levels of character may be required by different roles. I require much more out of a person with a high level leadership role than I do out of someone who is just beginning. The problem I’m addressing is when the person’s character does not match the role they find themselves in.

I will hear things like, “We just need to work with that person” or “They’ll get better” or “Just give them time”. Now, there may be some very real issues with regards to character that CAN be worked on.

But, more often than not, the comments I hear basically mean this: “How can we be so judgmental and so lacking in grace?”

This could not be further from the truth. Grace is primarily used in the context of relationships, not just positions or roles that a person holds.

So often, we lack grace in the relational component with a person, while exercising grace in the positional component. This leads to high levels  of frustration, as we keep a person in a position that is damaging them and others, while at the same time being continuously frustrated, angry, or bitter about what the person is doing.

I’m inviting you to reverse the equation.

What if we decided to have more grace with people in the context of relationships while holding positions a little more lightly?

If I have had to remove a person (or if they removed themselves) from a position due to character issues, my hope has always been that grace will continue in the context of the relationship. But, there’s two problems that frequently present themselves:

  1. A person’s personal feelings and identity is tied to the position. In that situation, the person doesn’t feel like relationship can continue because their relationships were completely tied to their position. When they lose the position, they feel like the relationship is lost as well.
  2. A person has no concern for change, so when they leave the position, they also leave the relationship. I have seen this over and over again. What usually happens is that the person makes a decision to leave the church, because they have no desire to make any real changes in their lives. They then go on to repeat the same pattern over again in another place.

Now, there is not much I or you can do about #2. But there is a whole lot we can do about #1. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Make sure that the person you place in a certain role has the matching character for that role BEFORE entering into it.
  2. Continually provide opportunities for relationship building that are not directly related to a person’s position. Go out for coffee, have lunch, go bowling together…not to talk about their role, but to simply talk as people!
  3. Use words to continually affirm people according to WHO THEY ARE, not just WHAT THEY DO. So often we congratulate people on what their accomplishments are. That’s great! But we should also affirm the intrinsic value that everyone holds as God’s most incredible creation, regardless of what they do or don’t do.

Let’s make sure that in our leadership, we approach grace more as a relational concept than a positional concept. Positions can come and go, but life change only occurs in the context of relationships filled with grace.

Do you have any other ideas about how you can communicate grace more as relational concept in your church or organization?

Comment below!