Till The Soil

Till The Soil

“Till The Soil”

There are so many times in ministry & life that we need to mix it up, we need to change the way we do things.

If we never change-up what we are doing then how will we ever prepare those in our churches for what God wants to plant in their lives.

To many times we continue to do what worked “back in the day” and get into a huge rut.

We make it extremely difficult to see growth when we do the same thing the same way. We stay in that rut and the ground stays hard. We must constantly be preparing the soil and if we don’t do that with our programming, calendar, volunteers, music, worship flow, etc then the ground will just get hard and be almost impossible to plant anything in.

Technology is constantly changing and mixing it up. As soon as one new product comes out, it changes and something else comes out. Same thing with Facebook, Instagram & other social media platforms.

These constant changes can cause people to complain and be upset at first, but soon realize it is so much better with the changes that have been made.

If the world around us is tilling the soul, then why aren’t more churches changing things up as well?

Be constantly thinking of ways to till the soil in your ministries. I have found that when we do this it causes our people to desire to come back the next week because they never know what they are going to get.

I will give you a few examples below of what we have done in our ministry, but I think you need to come up with a few on your own as well.

As you are planning out your services & looking forward in your ministry calendar ask the question – “What do we need to do to TILL THE SOIL?”

Examples:

  • Move your music set around
  • Move your announcements
  • Change your walk-in set up
  • During teaching time have worship songs that break up your teaching many times throughout the talk
  • Testimonies (Live & interviews)
  • New stage set up
  • Do chairs in different way
  • Don’t use chairs
  • Do a talk show type set up
  • Greeter team go further away from church into parking lot
  • Complete video service
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    Tia Coleman

    missouri-duck-boat-accident-tia-coleman-family-kids-husband-tragedy

    I can not imagine going through the pain that Tia Coleman is going through.  Tia lost everything, she lost 9 family members including her 3 children, her husband in the recent duck-boat incident in Branson, Missouri.

    She mentions in an interview that when they found her husband he was holding all 3 of her children, that he was doing exactly what he said he would do. Always try to protect his family.

    When asked about returning to her home in Indiana, Coleman said, “I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Since I’ve had a home, it’s always been filled with little feet and laughter.”

    When asked if she could find a reason for what happened, she leaned on her walk with the Lord.

    “It’s not a thinking matter for me. I tried it,” she said. “It’s something I can’t comprehend, I can’t explain. I don’t have the capacity to understand it. The only thing is, God must have something for me because there’s no way I should be here.”

    When we hear of tragedies like this, it is completely heart breaking and we try to understand and we truly can not.

    Our Message is loudest when we hurt the most

    What we see in Tia Coleman is exactly that, a loud message.  The media has picked up on her message and is helping to broadcast her message even louder.  Her message is being amplified – Because of loss? Yes – Because its heartbreaking? Yes.

    The main reason her message is loud is because of her response.  Her response is not the typical response – we don’t see Tia blaming the company, she is not throwing stones at the boat captain, not blaming the weather, no – She is relying on her faith in Jesus, and this sadly, is rare.  Her response is so powerful in such a tremendous loss.

    2 Corinthians 4:7-11

    7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

    Paul is talking about those who have a personal relationship with Jesus, showing that we are jars of clay that can break so easily on the outside.  Saying that, we will have hard times, life will definitely hit hard and it will be like we are being struck down.  When it comes to these times in life, we can not do it alone and if we try it will leave us being crushed.

    Verse 10 says – We always carry Jesus – When we rely on Jesus during these times in life we are not crushed, because He is living in and through us.  We are able to rely on Him – yes we will still hurt and have pain, but we are not in despair, we are not abandoned, and we will not be destroyed.

    Your message is loudest when you hurt the most

     

    My Top 5 Leadership Podcasts

    Podcasts have become one of the biggest sources of information for today’s leaders. They are filled with insight, in-depth discussions and advice from some of today’s biggest influencers.

    These are a few of the podcasts I listen to on a weekly basis. As a leader we need to be continuously learning and leaning into different influencers. These podcasts are a mix of Technology, Business & Christian living that I have found to really shape my leadership.

    If you’re already a podcast listener, find room in your schedule to give these top leadership podcasts a chance. If you’re not, let them be your a way to turn downtime in the car or at the gym into a source of new knowledge and motivation to lead in a better way.

    1. Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

    2. Social Media Church Podcast

    3. 5 Leadership Questions: A leadership Podcast

    4. Catalyst Podcast

    5. Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

    Bonus Podcasts for those who need just one more:

    6. Coaching For Leaders

    Next Blog: Dealing with critics

    My Top 5 Leadership Blogs

    As leaders, we know it’s crucial to continually be learning and developing ourselves so we can continue to grow in our leadership. I love the moment when I’m able to hear from a dynamic speaker, connecting with others at a conference, or sharing insights on leadership with my team.

    However, we have organizations & ministries to run and teams to lead, so we can’t always get away (as much as we would like to!). That’s where blogs, podcasts & leadership videos come in!

    Consider these next five bloggers some key reading on the subject of professional, ministerial and often personal—leadership. These are some of my go to bloggers that I go to during the week, these constantly are changing (I’ll update). I also find it helpful to look outside the realm of Christian leaders to learn from, and gain a different perspective. Visit them for a shot of leadership when you’re in the trenches looking for some inspiration.

    1. Michael HyattMichael S. Hyatt is an author, blogger, speaker, and the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

    Read: Stay fit while traveling

    2. Brad Lomenick – Brad is a leadership consultant, speaker, founder of BLINC, and author of The Catalyst Leader and H3 Leadership.Writes about leadership, the next generation, creativity, social media and personal growth.

    Read: Young influencers list June 2018

    3. Vanderbloemen Search Group blog on church staffing, pastor search, and church leadership best practices.

    Read: How to determine if a staff member is a poor fit

    4. Leadership FreakBusy leaders don’t have unlimited time on their hands. That’s why Dan Rockwell keeps his blog posts short and impactful—and no more than 300 words each.

    Read: Might be a Psycho Employee If

    5. Lolly DaskalWith more than thirty years of experience with some of the world’s largest and most successful companies, Daskal is one of today’s most sought-after executive leadership coaches and leadership consultants.

    Read: The 12 Most-Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves

    My Next blog: My top leadership podcasts.

    Overcomer – Elizabeth Gaddis

    Want to introduce an overcomer –Elizabeth Gaddis

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    This past year was very tough for Elizabeth and her family.  She grew up at Second Baptist Church, and as a student in Highschool she started leading worship in the student ministry. She has really grown in her leading and as a true worshipper of Christ with her life.  As a worship leader she is one of the most authentic and amazing worshippers I’ve ever been around. I want to share her story of this past year, this truly is an amazing woman of God.

    Harvey

    In August as she was away at school in Nashville she had to sit and watch Hurricane harvey wreak havoc on Houston, and her home.  These posts from her Instagram are heartbreaking.

     

    Anxiety

    After Harvey she had a serious bout with Anxiety and fought this for some time. She prayed and has worked hard to overcome this with prayer and scripture.

    Vocal Rest

    She then was diagnosed with cysts on her vocal chords, which has placed her on vocal rest for this past year. Will have to have surgery soon to get these cysts removed, with a long recovery.

    Overcome

    Through everything she’s been through this year – she continues to worship with her life.  She knew that she would not be on stage leading music this year at camp, so she decided to come and lead a condo of girls.  Wanting to se

    rve in any capacity she can!  Her heart is amazing for Christ, she doesn’t care about the lights or the stage. She cares about bringing glory to His name no matter where or what is happening in her life.  This is a picture of her worshipping from the crowd surrounded by the teenagers that she chose to pour into all week.

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    Here is a song she wrote during Harvey –

     

    I always thought I’d show my kids this room

    I always thought that Gran’s piano would be tuned someday

    And I’d sit on that bench and sing of things that always stay

     

    Like baby pictures

    And grandfather clocks

    Favorite dishes

    And old dusty college year books

     

    These memories now rotten

    Overnight they leave but aren’t forgotten

    Oh how we will grieve these losses

    Our baby pictures

     

    I always thought I’d get to say goodbye

    I always had this picture in my mind

    Of how I’d walk down that hall without a single thing left behind

     

    Like baby pictures

    And grandfather clocks

    Our favorite dishes

    And old dusty college year books

     

    These memories now rotten

    Overnight they leave but aren’t forgotten

    Oh how we will grieve these losses

    Our baby pictures

     

    Breathe

    Just breathe

    Breathe

    Just breathe

    It’s all being made alive

     

     

     

     

    Engagement Pictures

    Engagement Pictures

    Engagement PictureAs I scroll through my social media feed I am very encouraged  to see powerful photos of life happening!  Some of the best are the pictures of a family photo session, as they are all laughing and looking right into the eyes of their loved ones.  Love seeing a father  holding their kid high in the air as their precious kid is smiling looking into their fathers eyes.  A newly engaged couple doing an engagement photo shoot is almost always a joyful session.  As the newly engaged couples looking intently into each others

    View More: http://kristenbrookephotography.pass.us/padgett-fameyes, showing the excitement about their life together.  These pictures are so captivating because it is rare to see this in our everyday life outside of social media.

    The engagement pictures that are starting to really stick out to me are the ones where we are totally disengaged from life.  The ones where we walk into a restaurant and their is a family and each kid has an iPad with headphones on while the parents are on the phones at same time, and no one is talking or smiling.  When kids are trying to get the parents attention and we are on our phones and we “can’t hear them.”  When people walk all around with their heads down not engaging with anyone. them Disengaged

    I am not saying I have this figured out, but it is something that I do work on and try to engage with people as much as I can.  I find this to be very fun and exciting to see the reaction of people when you start to actually talk to them.  I believe that for us to be as effective as we can for Christ, this is a way to open the door to someones heart.  Since we are called to we make a difference in this life then we need to engage others face to face.

    Breakfast

    People are not prepared for you to talk to them, they don’t know what to do when you are in an elevator with them and they are starring down at their phone, and you ask them how they are doing?

    When your waiting in line at the coffee shop or grocery store and you have a conversation with the people in line.  You never know what will happen when we start to engage with the people God puts in our path, or even our own family.  When you look at the engagement pictures of people without devices vs the ones with devices look how much happier they look.  It truly is heartbreaking at times to see so many people missing what is around them for the device in front of them.

    There is no doubt that we need human interaction.  Not only could this change someones day for the better, it could change their life for eternity.   I challenge you to leave your phone in your pocket or at your house and go out into the world and have some real engagement.

    Erika = Bold = Woman of God = My wife!

    Erika = Bold = Woman of God = My wife!
    bold
    bōld/
    adjective
    1. 1.
      (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

    Most people know my wife as a mommy,  as “Michael’s wife,” the girl who does Crossfit, or the lady who sits in the back of the room when Michael is preaching.  All of these things are true, but what no one knows is her passion for Jesus and for others meeting Him.

    I have seen her grow so much in the last 7 years of marriage, but nothing like what I have seen God do in her life this year.  She has formed a passion for our entire neighborhood – meeting, knowing and inviting all of our neighbors over to our house.  When someone moves in, she is greeting them and introducing herself to them.  She has formed amazing friendships with people from her Crossfit Gym and loved on many of them in so many ways.  She reads the Word to our kids in the morning daily.  I could go on and on about this amazing women of God.

    One of the most powerful things I have every seen her do happened this past Sunday.  As I was on Instagram and I saw a dear friend of ours had posted about Erika.  Erika and I had been talking all day and she not once mentioned this moment she had in church that morning.  So, completely blown away I came out of our room and said “Uhhh Hellllo, you were not going to tell me about this?” She said “Oh yea, it was awesome.”

    So many times we sit in church and go through the motions, if you read the post from Bailey, you see that Erika didn’t just sit and let things happen.  She heard, she moved, and God used her!  God is continuing to form in my wife boldness –showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous. She is as real as they come and changes lives daily without telling, posting or bragging about any of it.  I am challenged by her daily, and love her so much!

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    In His Presence

    In His Presence
    As Erika and I have been praying over sweet Copelyn the song “In His Presence” by Elevation Worship just continues to be so true for us.
    We all will have days or seasons that are very difficult for us, we at times may feel very alone, scared and helpless.  At those times is when we need to be remembered that we are in His Presence
    In His Presence – 
    Here I lay my burdens down
    Lose my worries in Your love
    Casting every care on You
    I have carried them enough
    We’re not alone
    Here within His love
    Emmanuel
    He is still with us
    When the world becomes too much
    Near the cross I will remain
    Until every fear is stilled
    At the mention of Your name
    We’re not alone
    Here within His love
    Emmanuel
    He is still with us
    We’re not alone
    Here within His love
    Emmanuel
    He is still with us
    Mercy is falling, falling
    Lift up your hands receive it now
    Here in the presence of the Lord
    Mercy is falling, falling
    Lift up your hands receive it now
    Here in the presence of the Lord
    I know your past is broken
    You can move on it’s over now
    Here in the presence of the Lord
    I know your past is broken
    You can move on it’s over now
    Here in

     

    Scariest day yet as a father –

    Scariest day yet as a father –

    Jan 7th 2018 –

    Our 16mth old daughter Copelyn had to go to an ER Clinic that morning due to high fever of 104. They released her and said she had an ear infection and told us we can pick up her RX and let her rest.

    Erika takes her home while I am at church with our two other kids. She lays her down and then starts to hear some noises coming from Copelyn’s room. She goes in and Cope is not responding at all and is very limp. She then calls our friend Sherry (ER Nurse) and Sherry tells her to call 911 immediately!

    At the same time this is happening we are on our way home from church & stop to pick up the RX. We get home and Erika runs out holding Copelyn and crying hysterically and tells me she’s not responding and she’s called 911.

    I quickly get out of car and take Cope from Erika and have her run across the street to our neighbor who is a police officer – with no luck.

    Copelyn is still not responding – as I’m holding her and praying over her our friend (Sherry, who Erika had called earlier) all of a sudden drives up and takes Cope from my arms and starts to work on her (I had no idea how she even knew where we lived or how she knew) I was in shock, but so thankful.

    She then tells us to leave and she will watch our other kids as we drive to Texas Children’s Hospital before the ambulance arrives.

    Copelyn is still very non responsive the whole drive with her eyes rolled back into her head. It’s a horrible feeling seeing her this way with your wife holding her crying.

    We get to the hospital and they immediately start working on her and they tell us these are “febrile seizures.” She then has another seizure at the hospital – which was again horrible, but we were glad to be at the hospital when it happened. This seizure caused the ER team to run many tests.

    All the blood work came back clear and after hours of being at the hospital they discharged us and asked us to watch her very closely. They asked us to work hard to keep the fever as low as possible to avoid anymore seizures.

    As we have been home she is acting more normal, although her fever has gotten to as high as 105 again. We are praying over her and seeing progress in her.

    These few days have been hard on us as we’ve seen our daughter in a way that we never want to see again. It’s truly horrible – although we are so thankful for all the prayers / hospital visits / friends, family and neighbors watching our other kids while we were with Copelyn.

    I want to shed light on these febrile seizures.

    These are absolutely horrible, but a little more common than we first expected.

    This is the best link I can find on them. Please take time to learn about these Fever/Febrile Seizures.