Saturday, April 28, 2012

Three Wolves and a Moon

The 2012 Orange Conference – which wrapped up yesterday – was inspiring, challenging and refreshing.  Each year I am glad that I invested the time to be a part of this continuing conversation on how to reach a next generation.

There are lots of important thoughts I could post from the wisdom I gained from leaders such as Andy Stanley, Craig Groschel and Jeff Henderson – but before I do I thought I’d post a blog on the amazing Three Wolves and a Moon T-Shirt.

Before Orange 21012 I was clueless about the power of the Three Wolves and a Moon T-Shirt – but now I have achieved enlightenment.  My shirt is on order so I’ve yet to have a personal testimony – but I can point you to the more than 2,000 testimonies posted as user reviews on Amazon.  Before reading any further spend a few minutes reading some of the testimonials by clicking: Three Wolves and  a Moon Testimonies.

Amazing isn’t it?

Now whether or not you agree with the dubious mystical powers of a shirt to make you fly and grow bones (among other things) we can all agree on the power of social media.  The Three Wolves and a Moon T-Shirt has to be one of the ugliest fashion statements ever made.  Stacy and Clinton (What Not To Wear) would surely toss this shirt aside (with a few witty comments).  But because social media has an amazing power to go viral this shirt has exploded.  Be honest – if you read the reviews you are a little tempted to order one right now aren’t you.

Go ahead – but beware of the awesome powers of the Three Wolves and a Moon T-Shirt.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Honest Tweets

A lot of the people I follow on Twitter are pastors of churches that I admire.   I find their tweets encouraging, inspiring and often filled with wisdom.  The ability to have a glimpse (@140 characters a pop) into what they are thinking is one of the things I love most about twitter (the other is constant updates on Clemson athletics).

But recently I’ve noted that – at least according to Twitter – none of these pastors or churches seem to ever have anything go wrong.  They always have “the best staffs ever assembled.”  Their attendance always “far exceeds their expectations.”  Each Sunday is “absolutely amazing” and “record breaking.”

It makes me wonder if we have become addicted to success and where that addition might lead us.

Just once I’d love to see a tweet or a Facebook post that reads: 

  • Planned for 300 people but only 40 showed up (and half of those were staff) #didnotwork” 
  • “Conflict filled staff meeting today and I did a lousy job of leading us through it #conflictavoider”
  • “Very average worship service today – just couldn’t seem to get people engaged #deadworshipSunday”
  • “Attendance today (the Sunday after Easter) was half of what it was last week (lot’s of churches will have a chance to say that this Sunday) #wheredideveryonego?”

I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t be constantly striving to do our very best.  Each and every Sunday we have an opportunity and a responsibility to make Jesus famous.  I take that very seriously and expect that from our team.  And I’m not suggesting that God isn’t constantly on the move doing amazing things in His churches, building awesome staffs and drawing more and more people to Him.  He is! And when that happens we should celebrate it and testify to it (even by tweet or post).

But let’s get honest. Sometimes we swing and miss.  Sometimes we lose a game along the way.   Magic Johnson (who I had the privilege of hearing speak last night – and he was truly magical - pun intended) had a career shooting percentage of 52%.  That means he missed 48% of the shots he took.  18 times in the playoffs Michael Jordan (who Magic said last night was the greatest to play the game) took a game winning shot as time was running out.  He made half of them.  He missed half of them.

So how come we never tweet:  “No one responded to the invitation at the end of today’s message #awkward”

Can you imagine Jesus tweeting?

  • “Spent the afternoon with the 12 – these guys are clueless and I’m starting to worry about Judas #willtheyeverget it?”
  • “Great conversation with rich young ruler, gave an invitation, he declined #evangelismfail”
  • “Preached in Nazareth this morning – made the congregation furious #avoidthemob”
  • “Healed 10 lepers – received 1 thanks #wherearetheother9”
  • “Awesome crowd for bread and fishstravaganza – but many turned back at hard teaching #justhereforthefreemeal”

Here’s the good news I’ve discovered – every time I feel as if it was an “average” (and that’s being kind) Sunday I discover that the Holy Spirit was at work.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked at a worship leader after a service that didn’t go off as planned and agreed that at least we survived and no tried to throw us off a cliff (that was Jesus’ experience in Nazareth).  In almost every instance someone approaches us (usually right at that moment because God’s timing is perfect) to let us know how God used the service to touch his or her heart.

If we are going to post and tweet let’s share when we hit the game winning shot AND when we toss up a brick.  Share it confident that God is on the move working in hearts either way.

Oh and by the way – last Sunday (Easter) we had an awesome crowd at Mountaintop (still checking but maybe a record).  I promise I’ll let you know how many are back this Sunday!

Just to be honest!