#tcgwky

Guest Post, Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

#tcgwky – Round 2, Fight!

28 Jul , 2017  

#TCGWKY = The comparison game will kill you.

This journal series was co-written with Pastor Corey Gibson. See what he says about #TCGWKY in Round 1, Fight! of the series.

In just the last few years, I’ve been in three distinctly different seasons of life and ministry. I’ve been in the role of leading a ministry that was “small”, I’ve been in the wilderness of transition, and I’ve been in the driver’s seat of a nationally recognized movement. The idea that the spirit of comparison is exclusive, or even stronger, in any season is just as rich of a lie as that destructive sirens’ promise that better grass exists. When I worked with a small ministry, I wanted to be in a bigger one. When I was in transition, I just wanted to be wanted, the way I felt everyone else who had a platform was… wanted. And when I had somehow “arrived” into my dream position, piloting a ministry that had influenced me for years, I was still just as empty and green as I had ever been. Shades of inadequacy and hues of envy colored the way I viewed everything.

I have watched friends fall at my left side and brothers abandon calling at my right hand. And in my most vulnerable moments, I can tell you that the same spirit has not just come nigh my dwelling, she has kissed my ear on my own couch as I gaze into an iPhone wondering when I will ever “matter”. She has taken my place in bed, next to my wife, while I pace through hallways and try to develop ideas like adding rungs onto a proverbial ladder. I’ve read enough books, listened to enough podcasts, and heck even preached enough sermons about not comparing peoples highlight reels to your life. It’s easy to say “Amen” to, but seemingly impossible to escape.

I chased success like some mythical white beast, that was always just far enough from my hands that I would never really reach it. I found myself constantly pursuing something other than the pursuer, and you simply can’t live like that. All in all, I found myself subscribed to the idea that working harder was the answer. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, but my every movement became about proving

something to someone. I didn’t care much who it was, but I had an intrinsic need for validation that was achingly insufficient – all because my life didn’t look like the Instagram feeds that I had idolized. All because twitter followers somehow eluded me but migrated to everyone else. Because I couldn’t for the life of me gain a blue check on Facebook. Because I only got to speak at four camps per summer, and not ten.

There’s a reason it feels like you are always chasing… running and gasping for each breath, holding your ribs in exhaustion. Because comparison NEVER wants to you to know satisfaction. No matter how big the ministry, how influential your social clout, how perfect your airbrushed photos are, there will always be another dying star that vies for your attention. And if we do not make a conscious choice to abdicate comparison’s power of our life we will make our spiritual dwelling in the slums of rejection.

Why? Because comparison and rejection are winning dance partners, and our western-progressive-Christian minds are the ballroom. A month ago, I found myself back in this place of transition. This time not just in employment, but in calling, in residence, in economic status, what felt like every aspect of life. At the pinnacle of this change, I laid in bed one night for hours listening to the same song on repeat. “I’d rather see your stars explode” by a band called Slaves. (If you’re some hyper-purist, don’t listen, they aren’t even remotely a Christian band). But I lay there incessantly hitting “play again” all for a three-line bridge towards the end of the song where the singer says, “I’m gonna show what I’ve got left. You haven’t even seen my best. Just wait.” Somehow without me even noticing, years’ worth of rejection began surfacing and I found myself weeping, gritting my teeth and bitterly declaring those three lines of lyrics over and over again

All of that to say this, the comparison had made me believe that I would never live without being in someone else’s shadow. A predecessor, a successor, an illegitimate idol who fits into skinny jeans better than I ever have hopes for, the list goes on…

That night I made a decision that the world would see my best. No matter what it took. I persuaded my own heart to trust that I still had something left inside to offer. The only way we kill comparison is regaining security in our God-given identity. Mine is different than yours. And it’s different than my wife’s. It’s different than the pastor with 12,000 followers and it’s different than the guy’s who preaches in a living room for 12 people. We must come to a place where we unashamedly embrace our differences, where we celebrate the favor of God on our friends and on our rivals, where we cancel our premium subscription to Satan’s lies and rejoice in who we are as children of God. I’m more and more convinced daily that genuine revival and comparison cannot cohabitate. The reason is, revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die.

Revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die. Click To Tweet

-Johnathan Key

Johnathan is a national speaker and church consultant with a passion for training leaders to “make things better. always.” With 13 years experience in ministry, Johnathan now travels spreading fires and coaching pastors, leaders, and volunteers to understand that revival is a choice. He is a husband to Andrea, Dad to Israel, and Unashamed Skylanders collector. Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Leadership, Mind Dumps, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection

After Spring Break Mind Dump

6 Apr , 2016  

mind_dump

PERSONAL LIFE

  1. Have spent most of the last year focused on me and Jesus.. The Lord has been redefining some key things in my life such as Hope, Faith, Surrender and Joy. Cannot express in the right words how important this season has been to my life and ministry. Times just listening to podcasts, studying scripture and times of prayer/worship.
  2. For me community is everything… it keeps me out of my head (thinking negatively) and keeps me focus on what matters most – God & His people. “Community is only built when you intentional invest in others and have a give/take mentality.”
  3. Was grateful to be apart of my cousin’s wedding. Also for the time to travel and spend time in TN & GA with family and Friends

MINISTRY LIFE

  1. Have some speaking engagements in April and May. Right now, I am accepting more speaking engagements, so if you or anyone you know are in need of a speaker for this Summer or Fall let me know.
  2. I’ve had some solid interviews with some great larger churches. More interviews are being scheduled with other churches. Also working with recruiting agencies to help streamline this process and find a good fit for me. Hopefully, prayerfully, and Lord willingly I will have a new church family/home by the end of May. The waiting is such the hardest part of the search process.
  3. You can join me in praying for God’s best during this process. I have some pretty cool friends and family members who are super supportive and making sure to reach out to me during this time.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

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Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

8 THINGS THAT KILL US AS LEADERS

11 Feb , 2015  

chadveach:

1. YOU CAN’T TELL ME NOTHIN
“Pride is the only disease that makes everyone else sick besides the person that has it.”

2. SO INSECURRRR
I know a leader that used to walk into a room and say to himself “everyone here loves me and wants me here”……………… until he was convinced of it.

Sometimes you gotta convince yourself of the truth until you believe it!
#selftalk

3. UNRESOLVED ISSUES
“Sin won’t destroy your life… but silent sin will.”

If you keep sweeping stuff under the rug and not dealing with the issues of life, eventually that stuff will catch up with you.

These are the things that can slow you down in seasons when you should be running hard after what’s in your heart.

4. CAN’T CONTROL YO TONGUE
“Who can control the tongue?” – James

Nothing opens and closes doors for you like the words coming out of your mouth.
#ifyoudonthaveanythingnicetosay #dontsayanythingatall

5. BELIEVE YOUR OWN HYPE
The worst leader is the one who’s more loyal to their gift than what they are a part of.

The leader who’s impressed with themselves is rarely impressed with others.

I’m always listening to the leader who raves about the gifting of others!

6. OPPORTUNISTIC
Don’t ever become the “looking for the next great opportunity” leader.

These leaders are always looking for the #landofopportunity because they’re convinced if they get there… then things will really take off. It never does 🙁

Stay faithful where you’re at and watch God blow you away.

7. CAN’T STIR IT UP
Don’t go stale.
Don’t go dull.
Don’t get routined.
Don’t fall asleep on the job.

Stir up the gift of God within you! Stir up your faith!

8. UNGRATEFUL
To say thank you is to admit that someone else provided this…

Can’t think of anything that pleases God more than the “attitude of gratitude.”

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Leadership, That'll Preach Sayings

5 Things

3 Jul , 2014  

From chadveach blog:

“5 things that God requires of people who lead in the church…”
(as written by Paul, see 1 Timothy 3)

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1. Spiritual Preparedness
– BE READY. AT ALL TIMES.
In other words, leadership doesn’t come with a punch card. You don’t clock in and out.
Jesus was known for doing more work outside the church than in it.
Gods looking for people who STAY READY!

2. Self Control
– RESTRAINT. SOBER MINDED.
In other words, if you can’t control your tongue, emotions, temper, spending and eyes… how can God trust you with His people?
Self control (meekness) is like the San Antonio Spurs… underrated, overlooked… but CHAMPIONSHIP MATERIAL.

3. Social Graciousness
– COMMON SENSE. COMMON COURTESY.
In other words, how we treat people matters to God.
Socially, you should be able to do well in any environment.
Paul did. Jesus did. Why can’t we?
Often times what separates a good leader from a great leader is behavior.
#allaboutthatsocialgraceboss

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4. Domestic Order
– HOME LIFE. WHAT REALLY MATTERS LIFE.
In other words, if you can’t take care of HOME, why would God trust you with CHURCH?
God is not a God of confusion. How confusing to have someone represent God who’s home life is a disaster… but their church life is #DOMINATING.
God is stoked when our home life matters to us as much as it matters to Him!!!!!!

5. Holy Living
– SET APART. A GRADE ABOVE.
In other words, God asks us to be set apart… because He is set apart.
Holy living looks different to each person. I’ve learned you have to live by “your own convictions”, not anothers.
I would suggest that you look into the bible to find out what the standard of HOLINESS truly is…
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Leadership

Tag Team Ministry

28 Sep , 2011  

When my brother and I were younger (and even now, somewhat) we were avid Wrestling fans. We (and our cousins too) would imitate all the legends… I mean Sting, Ric Flair, Randy Savage (RIP), Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. We were totally obsessed. And if I can be honest, it was through the grace of God and a praying mother that we are still alive from performing some of the dangerous moves we would see on tv or at live events here in Atlanta.

Disclaimer: When the TV Screen says “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME”… it literally means that! Word to the wise!!!

Some of our classic matches, the ones that were memorable and dear to use is when we would create or imitate a Stable with our cousins and friends. Now a stable in wrestling terms means a team/group united in vision. My stable was called D-Pac and my brother’s was called Threat. I know… silly, but work with me. My team was united in vision, that as their leader, I was going to become the World Heavyweight Champion and as a team, we were going to become the Tag Team Champions… and YES, for those of you wondering – our team won. Success! I knew that if I wanted to accomplish my goals and become the World Heavyweight Champion and Tag Champs, I was going to have to surround myself with some people, who understood the importance of allying and working together. Some of the most dominant, creative and talented wrestlers were apart of tag teams or stables. As a matter of fact, majority of them improved and were better because of this “elite” group of men uniting for their championship goal.
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This gets me thinking… what if our ministries were like this? Where we as the leader of the team [Student Pastor/Young Adult Pastor] would develop our teams appropriately to accomplish one goal… yet not our goal, but Jesus’ goal. What if we fashion our ministries to work as a team and we really start tag teaming on Satan. What if our World Heavyweight Championship match was Preaching Jesus with authority and passion to this lost generation. And our Tag Team Championship match was teaming up with parents to nurture their students.

All wrestling aside… we are in an epic struggle [battle] were the familiar faces of our generation are fading away & lost. And if the statistics are true, only 4% of this generation will be Bible-believing Christians willing to stand firm on their faith in Jesus. We need leaders, who will get out of the way, stop trying to do ministry alone and team up with other people/ministries and fight [contend] for these young people. Leaders that will get before God and beg him to send them men & women who have His vision, His heart, and His grace so that His Kingdom is built, Jesus’ name glorified and people set free to live abundantly.

3 simple things to remember… Pray for a Team, Build the Team, Invest in the Team

Pray For A Team: Carve out time to wholeheartedly pray and seek God for the leaders who would be on your team. Begin searching for those who would add to the team, making it better.
Build The team:
When God reveals the leaders for this team, begin to place them in the right area. Look for their gifts & talents. Ask them about their passions!
Invest In The Team:
Pour into them your time, resources, prayers, and energy… making sure they are well nourished. – *more information

Throughout the Bible, God always used team ministry to further his Kingdom… Adam/Eve, Moses/Aaron, Joshua/Caleb, Elijah/Elisha/Jehu, Jesus & His Disciples (and even with the 12, Jesus still had an inner team of 3 with Peter, James, John) Paul/Silas, Barnabas, Timothy and so on. We were not called into ministry to act alone. I’m not talking about so-called “Youth Pastor friends” you only see when the latest “Big” conference is in town… but an authentic relationship with people in YOUR ministry that are willing to sacrifice and dig the trenches with you in your community.

Look at what Solomon had to say about being alone in ministry & life:

7 I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: 8 a solitary person, completely alone-no children, no family, no friends-yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, “Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?” More smoke. A bad business. 9 It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. 10 And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! 11 Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. 12 By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 MSG

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Leadership

INVEST In Your Team

13 Sep , 2010  

Over the next few blogs, I will outline 5 things I have learned in leadership. These key things have help shape my “philosophy” in youth ministry and overall leadership especially in the church.

  1. Seek GRACE not Title
  2. PASSION Over Production
  3. Wait At HIS Feet – Listening
  4. The “Conference HIGH” Will Leave You Wounded
  5. INVEST In Your Team

INVEST In Your Team

You have a group of people who have the same heart as you do for youth ministry. They all have great personalities and characteristics. Some are artistic/creative while others are thinkers. Some are funny and some are serious. They’re willing, motivated and eager for the challenge ahead…. Now, what? INVEST in them! If you can see yourself doing life with them, invest in them. If you see yourself working with them for the next 5-10 years, invest in them.

This to me is definitely on my top leadership philosophy. Too often Youth/Young Adult Pastors try to do it all by themselves and be the lone ranger… which is very dangerous in ministry! A great leader is as only as great as the team/people around them. I wholeheartedly believe in Team ministry. I am willing to invest in the men/women around me to effectively leverage the individual gifts God has given us to expand His Kingdom. When I want to cultivate my team, I am willing to go out of my way to nourish them. Just as Jesus was the nourishment [resource/substance] for the world.

This is 100% modeled by Jesus with his disciples, especially Peter, James, and John…. How many times did Jesus use simple parables to show them the Kingdom of Heaven? Or how about how many times did Jesus invite Peter & the Sons of Thunder (James & John) to intimate fellowships/journeys with him? These weren’t just times of play and innocent chatter, it was the very moments that shaped these men lives after Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Jesus used everyday moments to teach and invest in His follower’s life. If you want your teams to be successful even to the point to where you are not there… invest in them. Invest your time, energy, money, resource, wisdom and knowledge. Often times you will never know the effect of your investment on them until you aren’t there and they MUST step up to the plate.

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