Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Leadership Lesson from Lincoln: Listen to and Value Others

Hey everyone.....this is Ronnie, the creative worship arts pastor at PCC. I thought I would share an article I read some time ago about one of the great presidents of the United States...Abraham Lincoln. As leaders we could learn a great deal from the leadership style of the man that led during one of the turning points in our nation's history.

"Lincoln led by listening. A leader must not only have the skill to share their ideas, but to cultivate the ideas of others. This often includes the quality of empathy.

Lincoln took the time to cultivate personal relationships with his subordinates so he could learn from them. He showed them respect even when their opinions differed and he made it clear that he valued their opinions. Lincoln's emphasis on soliciting the ideas of others and his concern for them is illustrated well in a story that Paul Johnson records in his book Heroes .

“After the fall of Richmond, the Confederate capital, and on the same day Robert E. Lee finally surrendered, Lincoln went to see his secretary of state, with whom he often disagreed, and whom he did not particularly like. Seward had somehow contrived to break both his arm and his jaw. Lincoln found him not only bedridden but unable to move his head. Without a moment’s hesitation, the president stretched out at full length on the bed and, resting on his elbow, brought his face near Seward’s, and they held an urgent, whispered conversation on the next steps the administration should take. Then Lincoln talked quietly to the agonized man until he drifted off to sleep.”

Johnson concludes, “Lincoln could easily have used the excuse of Seward’s incapacity to avoid consulting him at all. But that was not his way. He invariably did the right thing, however easily it might have been avoided. Of how many other great men might this be said?”

Lincoln found time for individuals."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the day after submerge.2010

we kicked the night off with our very own underground drum line. they were going so crazy that we couldn't even keep them in focus. WAY COOL!

the house was PACKED! [500+]
so proud of our underground staff for the countless hours of hard work to make this possible!
so proud of our underground students for blowing this event up!
thank you God for allowing us to experience this!

God will cast our sins and shortcomings to the bottom of the ocean floor... a place we can't go to, and a place He won't go to. He forgives our sins, so we can forget them. we wrote them down, and watched them vanish because of His love!
79 decisions to follow JESUS!!!

grab the glue, because your face is about to get rocked off!

thank you ABANDON for partnering with pcc and underground fellowship for our BIGGEST event yet.

the beatles came out for an ENCORE!

can you pick out the newbie?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


hey there, this is matthew, the student ministries guy here at pcc. one of the biggest underground events EVER will take place on wednesday of this week. submerge is slotted to be a high energy / high impact night. hours of planning and preparation have been geared toward this event, and we are anticipating an incredible night.

a few of the highlights will be: a student led drum line, some fall-out-of-your-seat funny skits, some crazy games & giveaways [including an ipod touch], and a rock your face off band: ABANDON. but if you had to nail down one reason that submerge has been created, it is so our friends can be introduced to the message of God's redeeming love for them.

what i want to throw out into the blogosphere today is this: big events are great opportunities for the lost to be found. no doubt, Jesus lived out a tight-nit kind of relational evangelism... but He was also into the big event setting [feeding thousands, and stuff like that]. so there should be no shame in creating over the top events for the glory of God. the key is to stay true to the purpose. when mapping out one of these big events, simply remember that the main thing is not some crazy giveaway or a goofy skit. the main thing is the message of God's love for His creation. Jesus made a habit of taking the time to tell of God's love to the crowds that gathered around Him. we should do the same. so, create some time for those unforgettable fun moments... but don't you dare forget what the people who came need the most!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Guest Bloggers

I'm taking some time off this week so two of my team members will be guest blogging regarding all things about life and ministry here at PCC. Ronnie Jordan is the Creative Worship Arts Director at PCC and Matthew Davis is the Student Ministries Pastor. I'm sure you'll enjoying hearing from these guys this week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hiring Myths

I'm in the process of hiring new staff here at PCC and I'm working hard on learning as much as I can about how to develop a strong hiring system that attracts and finds superior talent time and time again. I've made a lot of mistakes along the way when it comes to hiring and here are some stupid myths I mistakenly believed in the past:

1. The best applicants / interviewers make the best employees. Wrong! I've discovered that its usually the exact opposite. People who interview best are usually those who have done it most. Hmmmm. They know how to tell you what you want to hear.

2. The person responsible for doing the hiring knows exactly what they are looking for and what the job entails. Wrong again. Most pastors/managers doing the hiring don't even have written job descriptions or performance profiles. They fail to define the job and to describe the individuals personality, experiences and skills that will best accomplish stated goals and strategies.

3. You can't get references anymore. That's not true.

4. As the leader, I should do all the hiring by myself. It's more effective to build a multi-staff level involvement in the hiring process. Don't hire in a vacuum.

5. I can't make the process too hard or the best candidates will drop out. Don't believe it! The best applicants will rise to the occasion

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

6th Dimension of a Team

My friend and former professor, Earl Creps, shared his thoughts on team building this week. Earl and his wife Jan are now planting a church on the campus of Berkeley, CA. I thought it was a good read and wanted to pass it on to you. It's helping me as I rebuild the team here at PCC. Thanks Earl, for being a leader worth following.

Good teams are where you find them. And these days they are everywhere--at least in name.

For example, I've witnessed many churches transition to "team-based" ministry simply by applying the word as a suffix to their existing groups (e.g., "The Ushers" become "The Ushering Team").

This trend is indicative of just how easy it is to get a really important idea really wrong. In his classic book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni outlines the primary ways in which good intentions turn into bad teams. The five include:
1. absence of trust
2. fear of conflict
3. lack of commitment
4. avoidance of accountability
5. inattention to results,

As our church plant in Berkeley transitions from the resource-development phase to the team-building phase I am in the process of reconsidering all of these issues.

My conclusion is that Lencioni basically has it right, even if some of his conclusions are a bit more complicated to apply in the non-profit sector with its volunteer staffing.
However, at least one potential issue could be added to his list of five dysfunctions: the misplaced belief that my next team must be like (or unlike) my last team. This is the sixth dysfunction.

An effective pastor friend, for example, recently mentioned frustration with his inability to replicate a very positive 1980s staff experience in the groups he led in later decades, despite repeated attempts. I suspect he speaks for many others.

Looking back over my own experience, I feel very fortunate to have worked with some really great people in team settings, but only recently began to think about how radically different all of these groups were from each other.
My training taught me to beware of looking for teammates who were too much like me. And that's good advice. But no one ever warned me about two other temptations: (1) if my last team experience was positive, I may attempt to recreate it even if it does not apply, or; (2) if the preceding team environment turned out poorly I may overlook assets I need in my new situation just because they resemble some bad memories.
At first it seems easy to see why a new team should be quite distinct from the last. After all, the new task likely has requirements, goals, resources, and infrastructure that are unlike what I've experienced in the past. So putting together a completely new kind of team seems like the logical thing to do.

Until you try it. Then my last team easily becomes the standard of measurement by which I evaluate prospects and procedures for the new group.
Consequently, I can be blinded to the very people I need to recruit while bringing in those who remind me of my last positive experience. Working with those people can force me into the same pattern, substituting a sequel of my last leadership role for the fresh ways of working that are probably necessary to function in a new context.

All this to say that perhaps the first step in forming a new team is a funeral for the last one. Not that the relationships or the fruitfulness or the good memories are lost, but those things are deprived of excessive influence. Being informed by experience is fine. Being controlled by it is not.

A new team's life depends on a fresh start in which it is not compared to a group that no longer exists. In truth, our memories of the past can be as much mythology as history so their navigational value is questionable anyway.

So to build the next group, let the last one go. Pray for the laborers to be thrust into the harvest field. And ask the Holy Spirit for the discernment to see who they are and how to work with them in new ways.

Be a leader worth following,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Update

  • Yesterday was part 3 of our, We Fit series, and we looked at the importance of getting "Emotionally Fit".
  • Emotionally Fitness is characterized by peace.
  • Colossians 3:15 says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts."
  • The opposite of peace is stress. Too many of us have more stress than peace in our lives.
  • We had a great attendance in our services even though we had an ice storm begin at 11:30 before 3rd service.
  • Many came forward for prayer at the altar following all three services. I'm confident that we are going to hear great reports in response to our prayers.
  • I prayed for those in our church that lost loved ones in the Haiti earthquake.
  • Because of the kindness of those in of our church demonstrated yesterday in the special offering to Haiti, we are going to send a very generous offering to Convoy of Hope for relief efforts.
  • Today I'm feeling pretty exhausted. I've preached 10 times in the last 8 days. Need a day to recover.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help Haiti

By now I'm sure you've learned of the devastating earthquake the leveled the island nation of Haiti. My heart is so heavy with sadness for the people of Haiti today and the grief they currently suffer.

While viewing the horrific images online, instinctively I was compelled to get involved and help alleviate their suffering and pain.

Here's how we can respond at PCC to help Hait:

"The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective," says James. Tonight we are gathering for our all-church prayer meeting during our spiritual emphasis week. One of our church members will share a personal testimony of family members that are missionaries in Haiti. You don't to miss this story. We will have a special time of prayer for the people of Haiti.

Even though many of us are experiencing difficult economic times, we need to be generous and give toward relief efforts. This Sunday we will give a special offering for the people of Haiti. Please come prepared to give.

Cataclysmic events such as these remind me of the preeminent return of Christ. In response to his disciples asking for signs of his second coming, Jesus said, "For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains." (Mt. 24:3-14) Now is the time to share your faith with your friends and invite them to church. People need the hope and assurance that Jesus has to offer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

7 Habits of Highly Effective Losers

Dr. Colbert's new book, "I Can Do this Diet" offers up 7 Habits of Highly Effective Losers. For those of you trying to shed a few pounds this January, heed this advice:

1. Modify your food intake.

2. Increase your activity level.

3. Eat breakfast everyday.

4. Monitory your weight regularly.

5. Stay consistent with your eating.

6. Control your portion sizes and your environment.

7. Be accountable.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spiritual Emphasis Week @ PCC

Today we begin our first ever spiritual emphasis week at PCC. This promises to be a powerful week of prayer and fasting.

Here's the plan:

Monday - I will be going on a personal 24 hour prayer and fasting retreat. Please be in prayer for me as I seek God's vision for the next 12 months of ministry here at PCC.

Tuesday - The Staff and Elders will meet for a time of prayer. Please pray for the Leadership of PCC all day on Tuesday.

Wednesday - All-Church Prayer meeting at 7pm at PCC. (Youth will also have their service)

Thursday - All Church Prayer meeting at 7pm at PCC with a special emphasis for divine healing. If you need prayer for healing or know someone who does, please be sure to come Thursday night and bring your friends.

Friday - A Sacred Assembly at 7pm for the entire family. You don't want to miss this service.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Night Reflections

We had an awesome day at PCC. Below are some of the highlights from my perspective:
  • Early morning prayer with the volunteers set the tone for the entire day. We spread out through the auditorium and called out to God. He answered. Thanks to all those who come each week for early morning prayer.
  • Our new series, We Fit, is off to a great start. Today we talked about getting in shape physically. Hundreds made a commitment to honor God by taking better care of their bodies.
  • Our bodies house the presence of God - "temples of the Holy Spirit." Don't put anything in your body that would be harmful to you or the Spirit of God living in you.
  • Physical health also promotes spiritual strength. The converse is true too. A tired and worn down physical condition will set you up for a spiritual downfall.
  • God really moved in the 3rd service with a special word of encouragement for someone who was struggling with an eating disorder. I don't know who that was for but I'm praying for you this week!!!
  • Worship was crazy good - huge props to the Creative Worship Team for leading us into the presence of God. You guys rock!
  • We ran out of parking and seating in the 2nd service. Great attendance in 1st and 3rd services as well. All you second service attenders please consider going to 1st or 3rd next week and make room for our guests who don't know Jesus.
  • I announced that our 2009 financial reports were in and PCC grew by 33% in giving last year. What an amazing stat that reveals the blessing of God on this church. To grow by 33% in an down economy is just miraculous.
  • Also, $116,000 has been given towards our Christmas Offering. We decided to extend this special offering through January since many wanted to give a portion of their year end bonus or stock options/dividends that they will not receive until this month. Thanks for practicing radical generosity PCC.
  • Today begins our week of spiritual emphasis. Look for my blog post tomorrow for more info. This is going to be a powerful week of prayer and fasting for our church.

Friday, January 08, 2010

e100 Challenge

PCC is taking the E100 Challenge together in 2010.
Hundreds of PCCers made a commitment to read the Essential 100 stories of the Bible together during the next 100 days.

We have made a commitment to give God the first part of every day by spending time with him in Bible study and prayer. The Bible says that Abraham went early in the morning and stood in the Lord's presence. As we commit to get in God's presence and talk to Him, that will influence every other conversation we have throughout the day.

Hands down, the best decision you can make is to spend quality time with God every day and read His Word and pray. If you missed church on Sunday and want to take the e100 Challenge with us, please email me and we'll send you what you need to join us and get started today.

I'm looking forward to this journey and know that the benefits will be huge for us as individuals and corporately as a church family.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Gorilla Playing Phil Collins

My friend Jeff posted this on his blog. Thanks for the laugh Jeff. I really needed one after this week. Plus, I was a huge Phil Collins and Genesis fan.

Best Moments of 2009

*The Birth of William our fourth child and third son

*Celebrating 12 years of marriage to the love my life, Rebekah

*Morning Devotions around the breakfast table with my family

*Our family vacation to historic Williamsburg, VA

*Bringing home Holly (our puppy) on Christmas Eve

*Moving into our first facility

*Breaking the 2000 attendance barrier 3 times

*Baptizing my childhood teacher and a friend from the gym

*The success of our fall Community Groups

*The Back To School Outreach/Teacher Appreciation Day

*Losing 10 pounds and getting in shape

*Shooting a 6 point buck

*Teaching my first graduate level course at AGTS seminary

*Teaching my first undergraduate level course at Valley Forge Christian College

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lessons I'm Learning ...

This latest episode with my son Will shook me up pretty good. Here are a few lessons learned through this unnerving last couple of days:

1) Much of life is beyond my control. I'm somewhat of a control freak. But it's situations like this that remind me that God is the One that is ultimately in control. So whether it's my family, the church or ministry or the future - my trust is completely in God.

2) Adversity can foster intimacy. My wife and I are never closer than when we are going through a difficult time. It's the unexepected and unctrollable circumstances in life that bring you closest to those that you love.

3) Problems create perspective. Life gets simple and clear during challenging times. When you go through something like this, everything else that you think was such a big deal is put into perspective.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Pray for Will

If you were not aware, our newborn son, Will, was airlifted last night to Lehigh Valley Hospital with a severe case of RSV and pneumonia. He spent about 20 hours in the Pediatrict Itensive Care Unit where he received world-class care from the doctors and nurses.

I wanted to thank all of our friends (literally all over the world thanks to Twitter and Facebook) that have been praying for Will. His condition is now stabilized and he is improving.

Rebekah and I appreciate your prayers and emails of encouragement. We will continue to keep you posted regarding Will's condition. As always, circumstances such as these remind us that ultimately God is control. Our faith remains strong as we rest assured that God works all things for the good (Rom. 8:28).