Wednesday, July 29

LIFT STUDENT CAMP 2009

Just wanted to give all of you an idea on where I have been. Presently I am at Sr. High camp with our amazing church kids. I was a student pastor for 7 years (a long time ago) and although i don;t have the horses to keep up with the teens any longer I sure do love being around them. This is a special group of students with us at camp this year and as I watch them I see amazing God potential in each of them. Without a doubt these students are going to do great things that will bring God glory. I will return to regular blogging on August 3rd. Until then I invite you to check out our church at www.gsbc.net or on facebook at GRANITE UNITED!

Wednesday, July 22

It's About FREAKING Time

GUEST BLOGGER: Court Holloway, United Staff

Being a Pastor @ Granite is a privilege... actually an honor. Being so young and having very little experience prior to being @ Granite, there has been a learning curve. Anyone on our leadership team, you know what I am saying!

Here is the deal. There comes a point when you finally execute on something, you just exclaim "It's about FREAKING time" and realize it wasn't nearly as TOUGH as you thought it would be, it had a much BIGGER pay off than you expected, and it ultimately pointed more people to JESUS than you imagined. Those "It's About FREAKING Time" moments stick with you, especially when you realize the confusion or conflict your lack of execution caused.

So how do we kill off these "It's About FREAKING Time" situations? Here are some thoughts:

1.) Make a habit of ASKING GOD to mold your HEART and ATTITUDE to be receptive.
2.) Listen to your BOSS/Pastor/Leader the FIRST TIME. (Hebrews 13:17)
3.) Ask for clarification if you don't understand.
4.) Try to implement immediately. Keep your LEADER up to date on progress.
5.) Take it as FAR AS YOU CAN & Involve OTHERS.
6.) Listen to your Leader the FIRST TIME... wait did I say that already?
7.) *add your own here* I haven't written a book on this so there has got be a ton I left off.

Peace. Follow me @courtholloway on TWITTER *SHAMELESS PLUG*

Tuesday, July 21

LEADERSHIP MINDSET

I have learned that there is a differences in the MINDSETS of successful leaders as opposed to leaders who accept the status quo. Successful leaders realize that that LIFE IS SHORT, ETERNITY IS LONG and the STAKES ARE WAY TO HIGH TO PLAY GAMES WHEN IT COMES TO ETERNITY. I have also learned that the successful leaders MINDSET is VISION DRIVEN/FUTURE LOOKING. Moses one of God's amazing leaders in the Bible embraced this particular MINDSET and it led him in becoming one of God's choice leaders. If you know much about Moses' story you would realize that physically speaking Moses walked away from a life of fame and riches to follow the DREAM GOD HAD BURNED IN HIS HEART. The world would say that Moses sacrificed EVERYTHING for NOTHING. But when Moses turned his back on the pleasures and wealth of the world, he told us that he had SACRIFICED NOTHING FOR EVERYTHING!

As leaders I want to encourage us to keep our eyes fixed and focused on what matters most, ETERNITY, and GOD'S GLORY. Let's not sell out for the temporary highs of the world, but let's commit to living and doing ministry for the stuff that lasts forever! Very few of us, if any of us, have heard people at the end of their lives who wished they had worked more, or made more money, but we have heard people wish that they had taken their faith more seriously, and their families. I have spoken to many older church leaders who also looked back on their ministries and wished they hadn't wasted so much time on "ministry junk" that just didn't matter. Let's look to Moses and work towards adapting a MINDSET that realizes that when we sacrifice the temporary for the eternal we have really sacrificed nothing at all!

Hebrews 11:26, "He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward."


Monday, July 20

FAITH vs. FEAR

As a leader it is important to remember that the archenemy of FAITH is FEAR. Over and over again in the Gospels you see Jesus getting in the disciples faces asking them why they were so FEARFUL and where was their FAITH! I pray as leaders that we understand that God cannot and will not operate in and through us when we live in a state of FEAR. As a matter of fact the Bible says that FEAR PARALYZES II Samuel 4:1. I meet so many leaders who COULD OF, SHOULD OF, but DIDN'T and the common denominator was that they allowed FEAR to control and dictate how big they allowed God to be in their lives and ministries. As MINISTRY LEADERS our focus should always remain on the Lord and not on man. And if our focus and FAITH is on and in the Lord then we can do ministry in confidence because the Bible says,

Jeremiah 10:6, "Lord, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power." NLT

The reason there are so many dead churches is because their leaders have been paralyzed by FEAR, and not energized by FAITH. Let's take some time to do a little inventory and ask ourselves, how much FAITH is actually required with the ministry I am currently doing? If not much FAITH is required in the steps you are currently taking, it may be that FEAR is bigger than you realize. My prayer is that all of us, beginning with myslef, will constantly operate in the realm of FAITH, so that we can all experience the power of God!

Wednesday, July 15

LEADERSHIP MATTERS

I've said it before and I'll say it again, LEADERSHIP MATTERS. As leaders we are called to meet people WHERE THEY ARE and then take them to where GOD WANTS THEM TO BE. As leaders we are not called to please everyone, but we are called to please THE ONE who gave His life. When we do ministry for an audience of one we can be confident that although not everyone will want to join the team, God will bless! It's His promise. The truth is many churches fail because of WEAK and APOLOGETIC LEADERS. God has called us to live above both those. Yes, we are called to walk humbly before the Lord, but we are also called to get out in front of people and LEAD them on God's behalf. We must guard against being full of pride but we need to walk in confidence before people. How does a leader gain that confidence? When the leader HEARS FROM GOD! When we hear from God then we do not have to back down from leading but we do need to figure out how to take people along with us. If we do not plan how to bring people along we will be filled with vision and enthusiasm but we will take no kingdom ground. So I hope this helps all understand that LEADERSHIP MATTERS. So what are doing to develop your leadership skills?

Thursday, July 9

SMALL THINGS MATTER

It's been said not to SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF, but I have found that in ministry its the SMALL STUFF, THE LITTLE THINGS that matter. People love it when we remember their names, take an interest in their kids, and to remember a birthday is like hitting a walk off homerun in Fenway Park! In the day of CHURCH COMMUNITY BUILDER, FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, and TWITTER we can be more connected and should be more connected to people than ever. And to do the LITTLE THINGS takes very LITTLE TIME, but makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE. In my previous post I talked about how ministry is all about people, and that we should make people are priority, well remember this its the little things that let people know we are PAYING ATTENTION, AND THAT THEY MATTER TO US. Bottom line its the big things people expect us to catch, but little things well thats taking ministry to a HOLE NUTHA LEVEL.

Monday, July 6

ITS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE

MINISTRY is all about PEOPLE. I know that seems like it should go without saying, but trust me if we're not careful to keep the main thing the main thing, then a lot of other things will force themselves before people. What kind of things you ask? Things like...
  • TRADITIONS - Sure we have pushed back from being OLD SCHOOL, but we need to guard against clinging to NEW TRADITIONS. We must always be willing to challenge what we are doing with what we should be doing.
  • CREATIVITY - Don't get me wrong, although I am not a CREATIVE GENIUS (sorry Ed Young I really want to be) I do love creativity. But if we are not careful we will lose what God has called us to communicate trying to be overly creative. I believe the true result of CREATIVITY is when we have nailed the truth God has called us to unpack.
  • MINISTRY MEETINGS - Leadership development is absolutely crucial to a churches success. However if we spend all out time talking ministry strategies, then we will actually never minister. We need to make sure we keep a proper balance when it comes to ministry meetings and ministry. How many hours do we spend doing each? It may be a good idea to keep a couple weeks worth of logging the hours spent in each area?.
Bottom line is Jesus is all about PEOPLE. He came to be a people ( I know, go with it), He lived among the people, He served people, He gave His life for people, I think you get the point. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE. Yesterday at our church family fun day we were reminded once again its all about people! GRANITE let's never forget the DREAM OF JESUS IS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE.

Friday, July 3

Stolen from my facebook friend Ed Young without permission, THANKS ED!

Purity for Politicians...

...and purity for pastors, priests, poets and all people.

By now you've probably heard the sad and disappointing news of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's affair. It's a story that is sure to be in the headlines for the next several days. But after the hype of the news channels and tabloids, newspapers and magazines, the reality is that a marriage, and a family, hangs in the balance. And this story has caused me to think about my own marriage and the marriages of the people I meet every day.

Over the years, Lisa and I have been asked countless questions by thousands of people about our marriage. But one of the most important questions we've been asked is how we keep our marriage pure. So years ago I wrote out:

The 10 Commandments of Purity

1. I shall have no other human relationship before Lisa, including our children.
2. I shall remember our date night and keep it holy.
3. I shall honor Lisa on anniversaries and special days so that I may live long in the land the Lord has given me.
4. I shall not take the covenant of marriage in vain.
5. I shall not ride in a car or eat in a restaurant alone with a member of the opposite sex.
6. I shall not travel alone.
7. I shall not counsel a woman with the doors closed.
8. I shall not share the details of our marriage with others.
9. I shall not watch, read or expose myself to sexually explicit shows, books, websites, etc.
10. I shall remember the implications of committing adultery.

No matter who you are, I challenge you to make these your own. Follow them in your marriage every day. They may seem extreme. But something that has extreme consequences calls for extreme action.

Remember, everyone deals with temptation. It's what you do
before facing temptation to stay pure that determines what happens in the face of it. You have to protect your marriage. So do I. Because failing to do so can result in heartache - for ourselves, our families and most importantly, our God.

This issue is bigger than only calling for purity for politicians. We need to call for purity as politicians, pastors, priests, poets and as
all people.

Wednesday, July 1

STOLEN from PERRY NOBLE!

This post was too good not to share, it is stolen without permission from Perry Noble. Sorry Perry I will buy you a steak dinner should we ever get to hang out!

Will I Preach Jesus?

In Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus is very clear to His disciples the purpose of preaching and leading is to proclaim His name…and that if anyone denies His name that He will deny them- pretty serious stuff.

I remember a time several years ago where I nearly lost my focus. I would find a cool video idea or a cool song idea or a sermon prop idea and try my best to revolve the sermon around a concept rather than scripture.

I actually thought I could give really great lessons in morality and not preach Jesus because His name seemed to constantly offend people—then God rocked my world, slapped my face, got my attention and helped me to understand that Jesus, and ONLY Jesus, is the game changer.

“Cool and cute” will impress people….but Christ will CHANGE them!

I could teach people get out of debt, have great sex with their spouse, get over anger issues, and become greater people; however, if I do all of that without pointing them to the Gospel and sharing Jesus with them I have rescued them from Hell on Earth and damned them to Hell in eternity.

(And do not misunderstand the paragraph above as me taking shots at teaching the practical…I am not against that at all…but when our goal is simply to be practical and avoid the controversial that the Gospel will cause…we have a problem!)

I try to be a student of growing churches…and the thing I see across the board in nearly every church that is experiencing growth is that they are preaching Jesus…that there is a dependence upon the Spirit and not just systems…

And the Spirit will ALWAYS lead us to proclaim the name of Jesus!

When our agenda in the church becomes anything except for Jesus (insert whatever you wish here—political preferences, home schooling, recycling, the list goes on and on) then we are proclaiming another Savior…which is dangerous and heretical!

I Corinthians 15:1-8 is where Paul says THIS is the most important thing we can preach…we NEVER go wrong by lifting up Christ.