Too often we want the benefit OF a relationship without putting in the commitment TO the relationship.
Setting goals has not been one of my strengths. Even though study after study seems to indicate that those that do are more successful and achieve more than those that don’t, I have struggled every year to set goals. I wondered why that was so difficult for me. It came down to this:
I was overthinking it WAY too much and making it much more complicated than it has to be.
In my mind, I was thinking that I had to have the right formula, a certain number of actions points, perfectly formatted and equally bulleted actions steps, etc. I would often wonder what should I set goals for, and what categories should they be listed under. See what I mean. Overthinking.
Hello…Hello….is this thing on?…
Well, I had seriously considered shutting down the blog, but I held off just because I thought there might be a remote chance I would want to blog later on. This has always been a place where I’ve shared thoughts and ideas that are swimming in my head. So although it’s been a while, here’s the latest.
This morning I was reading through Hebrews 11:8-16. Some would call it the “Hall of Faith” because it goes through several lives of people in the Bible that lived and took action “by faith”. In fact, that phrase “by faith” appears 4 times in this short passage.
You can read the passage for yourself. While I’m always struck by the amount of faith each person had and acted on, in my mind, Abraham’s always stands out: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (v8)
That is incredible faith. It’s not just incredible, it’s dangerous. It’s the kind of faith that would make some look at you like you’ve lost it. Even other believers in Christ will think that of you. It’s not “prudent”. It’s not “wise”. I’m not throwing out wisdom and prudence. It’s just that so often faith seems to go against the grain of what would be deemed as wisdom and prudence.
Let me preface this post by saying that this is in no way meant to be an attempt to tear down church leadership nor is it directed at any church leadership in particular. Rather, this is a post to speak about the reality of being on a church staff, some retrospect in my own journey and to possibly be a voice for some church staff who have and are going through this reality. This Augusta 31st marks one year since my last day (for now) as a vocational church staff member. I’ve had some time over these past 9 months to process my experience as a full time church staff member, and it’s been particularly interesting during that time to view things as now we’re plugged into ministry and our church from a non-staff person’s perspective. Let me say that I believe fully that the local church is God’s Plan A and there is no other plan. I love the local church.
As Kim and I have become small group leaders at our church, it’s been so exciting to be able to meet together with a group of people each week and dig in to the Bible, get to know each other, and slowly be transparent about life….the good and the bad. It’s about being involved in Biblical community. Probably one of the best phrases I’ve heard to describe this is “doing life together.” That’s what small groups and Biblical community should be like. It’s about being real, being authentic and where appropriate, transparent….get the picture?
Now, here’s what I would say from my observation and experience over the years: A lot, if not most, church staff members (and their spouse if married) struggle with “doing life together” in Biblical community and small groups within the church they serve.
The start of a new day. Work projects are on the docket and are calling for attention. The temptation is to throw back some coffee and dive right on in.
This is my morning routine and struggle. Has been ever since I was a teenager. The distractions have changed, but the pull is that same. It’s that temptation to totally forego any time alone with God and dive right into work…or even Facebook or Twitter. Don’t hate. You know you’re there to. Continue reading
It’s that thing that you’ve been praying about for weeks, maybe months or years, that you REALLY want. If God would answer this prayer in a “Yes!”, life would be just that much better. Ever been there? I have. In fact, I’m there right now. I’m asking for something that I really hope the Lord will answer in the affirmative, but I’m trying my best to stay at the place of “God, I’m asking You to do this, but not my will, Your will.” Maybe you can relate. I think we all have been there on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. Some things small, some things life critical.
Back in August I shared the news here on the blog about a big transition that we were making in our lives as I was stepping out of “vocational ministry”. It was this time last year that we began to actively pray and plan towards our transition, and now, being on the flip side of it a year later, I’ve been thinking some back through that period of time.
If you do a search on “leaving vocational ministry”, you won’t find a whole lot of helpful insights and articles online. There are some, but I guess for one reason or another the topic is just not widely blogged about. One of the gems I did find was written by Ron Edmondson. You can read the full blog post on his blog, but I wanted to share his thoughts on when it is time to leave a ministry position, an organization, a job, etc. Not all of these were applicable to my own situation, but several of them were really helpful to me. Continue reading
I’m having to dust the cob webs off of this puppy as it has been so long since I posted anything. That’s what happens when things happen really fast, and you’re doing good just to hang on
Much has happened in the life of my family since my last blog post. Here’s the latest on the world of Jones and some commentary on it:
- In November we finally got a contract on our house in Aiken. We feel very blessed in that so many home sales fall through for one reason for another, but the sale of our home made it through. It ended up taking right at 6 months or so to sell which isn’t too bad at all.
- With a contract on our home, we started looking for a new house in North Augusta. We were wanting to move to North Augusta for a number of reasons including we love the place, wanted to get more central to the rest of the CSRA (for those outside of this area, that stands for the Central Savannah River Area and includes areas in both Georgia and SC), and wanted to be closer to our new church community at True North. So, we started looking around and didn’t find anything. We had pretty much began to think we would end up renting until the spring. We had two homes on a Sunday that we were scheduled to look at. The second house we went to look at was the one we ended up purchasing. We love the space and the location in North Augusta and are working right now on a number of remodeling projects.
- We ended up closing on both homes December 20th which as you can imagine had a number of challenges. Moving is hard enough. Moving during the Christmas season is borderline insanity. Yet, that’s the way it worked out, and we ended up making it through. We’re still wading through the boxes, but it’s getting less and less.
- Business is going well overall right now as we’re working with a number of previous and new clients. Excited for the coming months for both Alive Media and 4Thought.
- It’s been right at a year since we began praying and planning where we thought we were headed. This time last year, we began to put down on paper where we wanted to be in life a year from now. We were specific as we could be in some areas of that plan and general in others. The order in which things happened changed a bit, but it’s amazing to me to look back and see that almost every single one of those goals has been achieved. That’s a testament to the grace of God.
- My encouragement to you would be to not just have a goal in mind but to actually put it down on paper. Type it out, be specific as specific as you can, set out a plan of action and move forward in taking steps to accomplish it. Spend some time in prayer as you do that and ask God to give you wisdom and direction. Then, share your plan with a trusted friend or two that will 1. Keep it in confidence and 2. Be real with you and give you honest feedback both positive and negative.
- That’s it for now. Gotta go….there’s a box of stuff calling my name to be unpacked still. l8r
I was thrilled when I heard the news that my friend Gary Molander was writing a book. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Gary a number of times on the phone as well as admire his work for several years now. From those experiences I’ve learned that Gary has so much insight and wisdom for creatives that are on church staffs and/or are involved in creative media production and design. His book Pursuing Christ, Creating Art is one of those books that I find hard to put down. Honestly, I think for any church staffing a new creative position, they should be given a mac pro, Final Cut, Adobe Creative Suite and a copy of Gary’s book.
Here’s an update on things from the world of Jones:
- I’m about to enter my 4th full week of being on my own in my businesses. I’ve had several people ask me “how’s it going?” It’s going well as we’re still adapting to the new setup. I’ve been spending the first several weeks beginning to network more and do a lot of laying the ground work for business down the road. Still a ways to go on that, but I think that it will pay off. Not huge on the cash flow end of things but a necessity in building for the future.
- The rest of the time has been spent on finishing up on some existing projects that got put on the backburner because of the time demands in transitioning out of Cedar Creek. In other words, I’ve been playing catchup on those items. We’ve wrapped several projects this week so I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be posting about those here and on my facebook/twitter accounts.
- We’re also starting to piece together our video production equipment for shoots. The next step after that is to develop some script ideas and begin to move them from ideas to execution.
- I know it’s early on and there will be times where it will be difficult, but as I’ve been working for myself over the past month, I have no doubt that we made the right decision. I’ve been putting in a lot of hours (some late), trying to network more, dreaming a lot, working to meet deadlines….. and I’m really loving what I’m doing. It’s been a long time since I could honestly say that. I’m very thankful for that.
- The housing market in Aiken, like most places I believe, is REALLY slow right now so not a whole lot of action on our home selling. October offers a little more promise so we’ll see how things go. Really looking forward to selling our home and moving into that next phase of our ongoing transition
- Totally random: we’ve been doing the song below at church for the last month or so. Has really spoken to me and where we are. Good stuff.
- Excited for the days ahead.