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Lovett H. Weems, Jr. writes: It turns out that five seconds or less is all we need to realize we may have said something we will regret. Unfortunately, when we speak those words, we do not have an “undo send” button. We live with the consequences, sometimes forever. Peter Bregman cites a neuroscientist to explain what is going on in our brains when we react in ways we later regret. When something unsettling happens to us, the emotional response center of the brain immediately evokes emotion. That is not bad, except that emotion is not the source of our best decisions. There is something of a battle going on in the brain between the emotional and more rational. The solution offered by the neuroscientist is, “Take a breath. If you take a breath and delay your action, you give the prefrontal cortex time to control the emotional response.” No more than one or two seconds normally is sufficient. So whether communicating by email, texting, telephone, or in person, leaders keep in mind that every word carries with it the potential to build up or tear down, to enhance credibility or damage it. Leaders do not depend on a Gmail tool. They cultivate an internal “undo send” button that they use generously. // Read more here… How do you manage your live ‘filter’? Todd
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Leadership
Derik Hamby has an interesting post over at Associated Baptist Press about what happens when churches ‘jump the shark’.  (as Derik explains, that phrase refers to the time Fonzi, the star of the TV comedy “Happy Days,” jumped a shark (literally) and has served as an example of a TV show that tries something strange to boost sagging ratings.) Hamby starts with an old illustration when Baptist preacher J. Frank Norris baptized a rodeo cowboy and had the man’s horse stand in the back of the church (so the horse could watch his owner get baptized of course).  That would be an example of using something somewhat sensational to help ‘pack the pews’. More recently, Derik points out some current examples: 1.  Fellowship Church’s “Care Give Away Extravagana”.  Ed Young, Jr. gave away 13 cars on Mothers day. 2.  Another church who’s pastor preached about sex with a bed on stage and gave a daily sex challenge to couples. 3.  One church (according to Hamby) baptized children with a cannon shooting confetti over the crowd. 4.  Paige Patterson once came into a chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary dressed as General Patton on a hummer with guns. The whole premise of Hamby in the article is… “is this really necessary”?  Hamby makes a good point that the line here is very fuzzy and very easily crossed. When we cross the line, we look, as Derik puts it “very fake and quite silly”.  We need to make sure that as we strive to be culturally relevant, we don’t look fake and silly. In my fundamentalist tradition growing up; we tried to jump the shark all the time.  We would do contests all the time to increase attendance.  I remember being disappointed one time that I didn’t win the airplane ride that we were giving away.  Turns out some scoundrel invited more people that Sunday than I did. Some interesting questions for you as you start your week: 1.  What’s the most interesting form of ‘church shark jumping’ that you’ve ever witnessed? 2.  Do churches jump the shark because it’s the only way they can think of to gain more people or momentum? 3.  How could churches ‘jump the shark’ in a positive way and yet not look very fake and quite silly? I’d love to hear your responses! (You can read all of Derik Hamby’s post here at ABP) Todd
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Controversy
Another very negative media piece has hit the Dallas/Fort Worth airwaves.  The subject:  Pastor Ed Young, Jr. and Fellowship Church.  The issue:  private planes, lavish lifestyle… It’s round two in Ed Young vs. WFAA-TV. This time the issue is continued reporting on a private plane, when it’s traveled, how much it costs, and Ed’s Florida condo. Below is the report from WFAA, followed by a video post on Ed Young’s blog responding to the charges: My initial thoughts: 1.  If you’re a pastor/church and you lease a private plane, it’s better to be up front about it before having it broadcast on the local media outlet. 2.  The plane is paid for by ‘other resource streams’ not by church offerings.  Not sure what that means.  I thought it could be book/conference/resource sales, but Ed says he gives the ‘majority’ of that back to the church. 3.  I’m not sure how much of this Ed should respond to and how much he shouldn’t.  Should he respond about the days the plane was at resort cities?  Should he respond to the million dollar condo overlooking the marina in Miami?  I don’t know. 4.  Once these things are out there (especially via TV reports), about the only way to come clean is to come clean.  Financial records, flight records, deeds, reimbursement records, etc.  That’s, unfortunately, about the only thing that will clear this up after the accusations have been made public.  Also unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that FC or EY want to release those type of records.  That only makes things worse. 5.  Ed complains that no one has a problem when an entertainer or professional athlete or CEO uses private aircraft, but they do when a pastor uses one.  Yes, that’s true.  For good or for bad.  But this really shouldn’t surprise anyone…  The American public a stereotype of megachurch pastors and tv evangelists:  they take in a lot of money from people; and they keep a lot of money for themselves and live an extravegant lifestyle.  That’s what this is all about.  It’s not about private planes.  It’s about extravegance.  It’s about living large.  And it’s all about living large and not telling people how large you’re living.  That’s where Ed’s being attacked. 6.  That said, I’m not sure that most people (including fellow pastors) will buy the ‘we would have not been able to do all that we have done over the past years without utilizing private aircraft’ line.  He’s been able to speak to 200,000 church leaders because of private aircraft.  Wow.  How many could he have reached if he had flown commercially? Bottom line:  I really don’t care whether Ed has a condo or what transportation mode he uses to get there.  But I do think there is a lesson here for all churches… even (especially) smaller ones.  Financial accountability is crucial to being able to minister effectively in any community.  And the ability to legitimately explain the use of financial resources is imperative.  Fellowship and Ed may truly have financial accountability.  But the recent TV campaign against them is causing them a problem in having to legitimately explain the use of financial resources after the fact.  That… is not good. What lessons can your church learn from this?  What can you personally learn from this? Is this kind of thing even worth talking about? Todd
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Controversy
Do you agree or disagree with this statement from Jerry Falwell, Jr. (Jerry’s son… now president of Liberty University):  “If we all did as Jesus did when he helped the poor, we wouldn’t need the government” I realize this is just one sentence from a larger conversation Jerry Jr. had with USA Today (talking about social justice).  In the interview Jerry also said this: Pastors that preach economic and social justice are “are trying to twist the gospel to say the gospel supported socialism… Jesus taught that we should give to the poor and support widows, but he never said that we should elect a government that would take money from our neighbor’s hand and give it to the poor.” What do you think?  If we all did as Jesus did when he helped the poor, we wouldn’t need the government.  True or untrue? If it’s true… why aren’t churches stepping up to do this? I just left an elder’s prayer meeting this morning where we ‘prayed’ for people who needed work and money to make ends meet.  But, to be honest, we’ll never do more (or at least we haven’t in most cases in the past).  That’s a matter of personal responsibility and the unemployment system (government), right?  (insert sarcastic tone here). You see, I think it’s one thing to say that we wouldn’t need the government if we acted like Jesus.  It’s totally another thing to act like Jesus. Thoughts? Todd You can read more here.
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Controversy
It’s been a joke that I’ve heard for many years… Ed Young and his notorious Hummer.  But it’s not the Hummer that is causing Ed problems (at least locally) these days, it’s the alleged private jet that he’s not telling anyone about… Why do things need to become so complicated and non-transparent?  Why the need to set up so many companies and identities?  And why the skirting around questions when they are asked?  Many have fallen over such things.  I hope Ed is not the next. More here… Todd
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