Friday, July 28, 2006

Tiger's Dad Understands "Community"

Remember that Quotable Golf book that I mentioned a few posts ago? I read some more while I "manned the store" (our garage sale) today. Here's one from Tiger Woods' Dad, Earl.

"Involving minorities in the game of golf has financial, political and social implications. But the bottom line is simple: the more people who play the game, the fewer problems we'll have in the world because the game itself teaches people so much about themselves and others."

What he is describing is really the dynamic of "golden rule communalism"; he desires golf to be the fertile ground wherein the world meets together and treats each other with decency and respect. The problem is that while he understands the standard or idyllic utopia, he is looking in the wrong place. Golf does not hold the secret to world peace. God and a relationship with him is the only thing that will bring a better world ... even one without golf!

I haven't sold my clubs,

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Who's Who of Mike Mentors

How have I become the leader that I am? It is only through the grace of God and the involvment of key leaders in my life. These leaders are my mentors. They have demonstrated what exactly the godly life should look like.

Maxwell defines a mentor this way:
"A mentor is a person who embodies the characteristics that you admire, and is willing to help you develop those characteristics in yourself, so you can achieve your goals and ambitions."

These people hit the top of my list; they are not the only people to have had impact in my life, nor are the lists of investments complete. These three men represent a smattering/sampling of the influencers in my short life.
1. Dad --> faithfulness, service in local church, problem-solving, parenting, the "fix-it yourself for less" mentality

2. Jim Ellerson --> faithfulness, use of sense of humor in teaching, spiritual sensitivity, passion for young people

3. Dr. Howard Bixby --> leadership skills, revitalizing the declining church, holding people accountable to Biblical exhortation, the importance of connection in the SS class

So who are your mentors? Share your top three and the qualities that they shared/exhibited. Why not ask your kids to think through this question and send thank-you notes to the influencers in their lives. This project probably works best with 7th -12th graders. Tell me how it works out!

Mentoring youth for Christ in WNY because someone(s) mentored me,

Being a Successful People Developer

We have been working through the whole gamut of leadership issues here at WyBC. Thanks to a series of leadership seminars given in the nick of time by our missionary Dan Woodard, we have been talking with a new set of vocabulary. We have begun to discuss team roles, effectiveness, goals, and project ownership. We regularly confront each other on "fog" -- phrases, statements, words that cloud the real meaning of communication.

We are endeavoring to reknit our leadership teams and restore their level 5 (personhood) leadership in the eyes of the congregation. (the five levels from John Maxwell's, Developing the leader Within You: 1. position/rights; 2. permission/relationships; 3. production/results; 4. people development/reproduction; 5. personhood/respect) I have been realizing that in order to get the men up to level five, I need to be striving for level five! Level four means that I need to be helping to reproduce and mature the men. Here are some great statements about people on that level of leadership:

A successful people developer:
  1. Realizes that people are his most valuable asset. Not buildings, bucks, brooches or books!
  2. Places a priority on developing people. Not programs or documents!
  3. Becomes a model for others to follow. Not just in public or official life!
  4. Pours leadership into the top 20 percent of his people. Not waiting for them to come to me and ask for help!
  5. Exposes key leaders to growth opportunities. Not doing it, learning it, keeping it all to myself!
  6. Is able to attract other winners/producers to the common goal. Not allowing people to be consumers or dependent on me!
  7. Surrounds himself with an inner core that complements his leadership. Not just people who think and act like I do!

The list above is taken from Maxwell's book. I have added the italicized personalizations on the end. They are my weaknesses. These are the things that I tend to substitute for good ministry or people development. I believe that my "job" as a pastor is described quite well in Ephesians 4:11-13:

11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

So, I continue to press on, trying to improve my leadership. Actually this blogsite is one of those ways taht I can share at level 5. Thanks for engaging in careful thought and reflection on the life of excellenec that God has called us to live! Thanks for sharpening my iron with yours. I appreciate you!

I would love to hear about your leadership growth. Everyone has both leadership and followership opportunities -- think beyond official positions. Will you share some key thoughts taht have helped you grow this week? Looking forward to hearing from you!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Going out in High Summer Style

Someone asked the question, why does it seem like the really hot weather hits during VBS week? Answer: so that we can play great water games outside! Heather (orange shirt) is waitiing her turn in the bucket brigade relay race. She is behind her leader, Jacquelyn. J'lyn is one of the teens going with us this summer to Lamoka. This will be her third season. She wants to be a missionary! :) Yes!
Here we are at the end of the week. Yes and still smiling. Sue made it through the week after having to threaten Jack -- " If you don't behave better tomorrow you will have to leave Silly Chilies (preschool goup) and go up with Daddy." Enough said; Jack made it through the rest of the week! The Faith Factor T-shirt os from last year's Youth Seminars. It generated some discussion with adults and kids alike. Most thought I had been on the TV show -- hah! My challenge would have been to lock me in a hot 4x4 cell with one of the trustees! :D Very scary stuff! Yet there is no place for fear in ministry, so push on!
Here is the parting shot of the Friday group. We averaged in the mid 50's, with high 30's of helpers and staff. I just talked with another sister church member in the area and she said that they had to cancel their VBS due to a lack of help. Praise God for all of the great workers that we have! Guide to the Paris people; Mike = upper left corner, Sue = kneeling, third row left side, Jack = fourth from left front row (striped shirt), Scott = just left of middle, 2nd row of standers, navy shirt, mouth open (yelling queso!), Heather = 6th in from right in first row of standers, orange shirt, Lauren = first on the right, front row of sitters, pink shirt.

We all survived and had a great time. We had an ice cream social to wrap the whole thing up on Friday night and invited parents and families. It went really well. We even got a jump start on the cleanup before we headed home. Saturday I even got to go golfing! (1st of the season)

Many thanks to all who helped and especially to my organized director, Ginny! I just got to do what I do best -- ham it up in the opening and closing! We had two salvation decisions that I know of for the week and both of them were followed by significant spiritual interest and questions. I see that interest as the first fruits of genuine decisions! Praise the Lord! (please pray for Kohl and Kara).

Serving in Summer,
Mike Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

Winding Down -- Day 4

The Silly Chilies (preschoolers) taking a break on Day 4 to review their lessons and talk with their leaders. Yes, that is Jack and Sue in the lower right hand corner. Sue has decided that she is much more comfortable playing the piano than teaching the pequitos (little ones).
Another shot of me leading the closing program for the day. Notice that I have shed that really neat, but really hot poncho! The kids are singing great -- sorry no audio on this post!
Another one of great groups. This one has 3:10 ratio, still really great! They look like their having fun! They range in ages from 1st grade to 5th grade. Ryan (front row right) lost his front tooth on Wednesday at VBS! How much more fiesta can we stand? One more day!

Pastor Miguel Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rain, Rain, ... Who Cares

Record rainfall amounts in Wyoming Cty, NY did not dampen spirits for day three of VBS Fiesta! A couple of scooters, a giant tactile ball and a dry gym was just what the game director ordered.
In the Hot Bible Adventures, Laurie (aka Levi) is looking for a few good fishermen to follow instructions. Each day the children are engaged in an interactive and exciting Bible story highlighting the Bible idea. Today's was "Jesus is our leader".
These kids are part of the preschool program. They make a group called Pablo's Silly Chilies. They are excited, no fired up about Jesus. Everyday as the teachers say the Bible idea, the kids respond with Viva! (Life!). Yes that is Jack's bottom in the left of the picture -- he didn't want to cooperate with the photographer!

Buenos Noche,
Hasta la manana,
Pastor Miguel Posted by Picasa

VBS Day 2 -- The Fiesta in Full Swing

Oh look an associate pastor in authentic mexican garb! Leading singing, challenging young people, acting a little loco on stage and trying to reach the lost with the gospel. The poncho is an original wool one from Madrid Spain -- compliments of my Dad who stopped there on a Med cruise with the Navy (30+ yrs ago). It is extremely warm -- good for picking coffee beans with Juan Valdez, bad for VBS opening sessions!
One of our groups -- called families. The four tall people in the back are leaders. On Tues, their family was 5 kids. 4:5 are great ratios! The lady at the left, Valerie, is the adult or team leader. Laura and Brad are teens involved in the VBS program. The young lady in the pink hoody is Shelby -- a sixth grader who has been put in a jr. ledaer postion. The remainder of the group is 1st through 5th graders all mixed together. The crossection of gender/age makes for good learning!
Our opening and closing sessions are held in the auditorium. The banners above are from a Spanish Cinco de Mayo celebration in a NC public school. Thank goodness that we don't take this separation of church and state rabidly! 57 kids on Day 2!

Adios ala manana,
Pastor Miguel Posted by Picasa

VBS Fiesta! at Wyoming Baptist

If you have been wondering where I have been, I have been partying -- mexican style! We are almost through the week of VBS at WyBC and I thought you might like to see what has been happening here -- north of the border! Abuela Kemp is our director for VBS. She and I have worked together for at leats three VBS's. She has taken the charge and has run all of the administration of this year's program. It has been good for me to delegate it away and keep my mitts off of it! :) It's a leadership trait that I need to work on. This pic was snapped up on day one on a status check-up during one of our "pathways cross" in the gym.
You can see that the theme is a mexican Fiesta! Our snacks coordinator/director is getting into the theme with a little authentic mexican garb. Everyone has had a blast throwing around all of our spanish vocab (mine learned over 20 years ago) and wearing some elaborate sombreros.
Kristen, one of our teens who is involved in the VBS, led this little girl to a decision for Christ on Wed. using her EvangeCube! It all begins with buidling a relationship of caring on Monday and Tuesday! This little one continued to ask questions during the closing session that day. The spiritual sensitivity is super encouraging.

We are using Fiesta! by Group Publishing. They have several unique features which we have found useful -- even though it is not exclusively Baptist. We have added a stronger gospel presentation emphasis and used the creativity resources in the Group Pub material.

Check out the next post for more,
Pastor Miguel Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Character Matters

Joe Stowell rightly observes that there is a societal bent away from leaders of strong (moral) character. There is, as he puts it, a societal bent towards disconnecting lifestyle and leadership. This is simply not true. Stowell spends a whole section (Part Two) of his book (Shepherding the Church) on personhood -- the being, rather than doing of leadership.

I thought that you might enjoy some of the quotes/statements made about character in ch.6 alone:

"Character is about what and who I am at the very core of my being." p. 148
"Character is the critical mass of ministry." p. 148
"Character-- either good or bad -- impacts the life and legacy of the church." p.151
"Character is infinitely more startegic to effectiveness than credentials." p. 151
"Character is a means to glorify Christ through our lives, since it is His character -- the expression of our belief in Him -- that is reflected in our lives. Character makes a point about Him." p.151
"Character is what we will be held accountable for." p. 151
"Character is only forged through a growing, sincere relationship with Christ." p. 151-2
"Character is deepened and developed in crises. Character has value in a crisis." p. 152

Well said Joe, well said.

My goal is that Christ be seen through me. I must admit or confess that this has not always been the case. My children may not want to be involved with Christ if my discipline techniques are anything like Christ's. My wife might not have a growth spurt spiritually if she has to rely on my direct and intentional leadership in this area. But my goal is to become stronger and grow myself! Then I can transfer that character to my children and my wife.

Dear Father,
I have not caught all of the transfer of your character. I blow it often. You are the best example and mentor that a man could ever have, yet I have squandered much of the time that I should have been growing. Please forgive me for the times that you cringed ta the rot that I was spewing. I know that this saddens your heart. Help me to be more like you and demonstrate my faith and personal relationshipwith you. Make me the man that you want me to be. Help me to grow through the adversity instead of slump into my natural bents of self-preservation and self-protection.
I thank you,

Keep growing in character,