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The last couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of meeting regularly with a pastor from Uganda. His name is George.

Pastor George is staying at a homeless shelter–and he is thrilled. He is so excited, saying that he has a bed to sleep on, and sheets and blankets to keep him warm.  What stood out most to me from what he shared was his excitement over having running water.  I sat there quietly and thought, “we are so blessed in the United States, and we take these blessing for granted.”  I then started thinking about how I complain or whine about such small things.

Also, George told me about the church he serves.  He mentioned that his church is purchasing a truck so that the church can go out into the public and so George can preach the Gospel.   He said they will park the truck in a park or on a street–once he receives the government’s permission to park there.  George said he plans to put speakers on the truck, and he’ll put chairs out for people to sit down and listen as he speaks.

George isn’t waiting for people to come to him.  He isn’t saying, “come to my church”.  He is going out into the world. If I am not mistaken, that is what the Bible tells us to do. (Go ahead and look it up.  Don’t take my word for it.)

So what about you?  Are you sitting at church and complaining about no one coming to your church, or are you going outside the four walls of your location to get the word out?

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I love to play golf!

You get to know a lot about the people you hang out with in one round of golf.  This had me thinking, if I was going to interview someone for a position at my company, I would take them to play golf.

One thing I would search for in hiring a person would be integrity.  When playing golf, I see people move the ball from where it originally landed. They want a better lie. Some do it on every shot they take. When they are putting, they give themself a gimme, when it really isn’t. Then, at the end of the hole, they give a score for you to put down and it is no where close to what they actually shot.

Another thing I observe is their temperament.  In golf you see someone’s real character. How do they handle it when things aren’t going so well? Are they cursing, throwing their clubs, braking their clubs.  Do they pout and just quit?   When things are going great are they rubbing it in your face that you sucked on that hole?

How well do they communicate?  Are they interrupting you or talking to you when you are swinging?  Do they get distracted and lose their ball because they are talking so much they aren’t focused?  Do they give positive input on what could possibly help your swing?

These are a few things I would check out on our round of golf–or your next job interview.

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Does the media tell us the truth or do they have their own agenda? The answer is, I don’t know. I want to believe with all of my heart that they do report accurately. It seems today that whatever network you listen to puts their own spin on the story though.

For example, when I listen to a politician speak or listen to a debate, afterwards the figure heads get on and tell us what these ladies or gentlemen just said. Lots of times, I say to myself, “that’s not what I just heard”.  So, the people who don’t hear this debate get to hear the spin of what the media organization wants you to hear.

I remember when the Iraq war first broke out and there was a Iraqi news reporter in Iraq called “Baghdad Bob” and I thought he was hilarious. He was saying that Iraq was kicking the U.S.’s tail. He was wanting the people to not know what was going on, when in reality things were looking bad. How could this guy get away with that and actually have people believe him?

Now, I wonder how many Baghdad Bob’s we have in our media outlets? We believe what we hear or read.  Has it always been this way?  No, it couldn’t have been.  I know Vietnam wasn’t like this, other presidential elections weren’t like this either, or were they? When did this change or has it always been like this?

The thing that frustrates me the most is that we (people) don’t take the time to research the facts for ourselves. We just take their word. Some journalists or reporters are telling us the truth and some are not.

Don’t believe everything you read or hear on the news.

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Remarkable Part 2

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Remarkable!  This is the word that is now stuck in my head.  Whenever I go shopping, to a restaurant, or even to church, I am in search of what they do that might be remarkable.

In my last post, I talked about a place which I consider remarkable.  Another place that I believe is remarkable is a church. The church is called LifeChurch.tv.  First, LifeChurch does so many things really well:  Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel’s messages, their worship, the atmosphere, their stewardship.

But this is what is remarkable to me:  the church gives its resources away for free.  This means everything:  adult messages and message outlines, graphics, kids and youth curriculum, you name it.  Everything.  Church pastors and other people from around the world can download these materials for free from a site called Open. No catches or gimmicks–it is all available free of charge.

LifeChurch also has a free app for your web based phones called YouVersion.   With YouVersion, you can have the Bible–in practically every translation there is–on your smart phone.   YouVersion offers a variety of reading plans,including plans for reading the entire Bible in a year, or a plan for “Parenting by Design”.  My favorite thing about the YouVersion app is that it offers an audio tab that allows me to listen to the Bible as I drive.

As I watch sermons on TV, I notice someone almost always says you can “get this message” for a certain price.  I know a lot of pastors have made a great living from selling resources, and I am not judging them.   I have heard that YouVersion has been downloaded more than 38 million times, and that number increases daily.  Imagine if they sold the app for 99 cents. They could have, yet they chose to be remarkable and make a paradigm shift by giving stuff away for free.

Amazing, or as Seth Godin would say, “Remarkable.”


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Remarkable (Credo House)

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I have been reading Seth Godin’s book “Purple Cow” again. Yes, I said again, because I needed the reminder.   He mentions in the book that very good is the enemy of remarkable, and I agree. When we are good at doing something, we get content and quit striving to be remarkable at what we do.

During my time re-reading this book, whenever I would visit a company, store or eating establishment, I would think:  is this remarkable? Unfortunately, most places I visited weren’t very good at all.

I did find one remarkable place in Edmond, Oklahoma, and it is called the Credo House.  While the Credo House is a coffee shop, it is also much more.  It is a place where I can study about God, I could have a small group meeting with friends, and I could participate in their classes. The things I can do here are endless.

I was thinking about its location.  It is hard to find.  Everyone doesn’t pass it everyday, but people are finding it.  Why?  Because it is remarkable.  When something is remarkable, people will find it.

Oh, and there are a couple of things that I did find remarkable while reading this book, and I will talk about them at a later time.

Is your business very good? Or is it Remarkable?



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Are you a buffalo?

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I once heard a story about leadership that forever changed my life.

It goes like this: there is a lead buffalo in every herd. The lead buffalo makes all the decisions. Everyone follows the lead buffalo without asking any questions.  According to the story, when Indians hunted buffalo, they would seek out the lead buffalo.  The hunters knew that if they forced the lead buffalo over a cliff, the other buffalo would follow their leader right over the edge of the cliff.   If the hunters shot the lead buffalo, the other buffalo would stop moving.  Without their leader, they didn’t know what to do, thus making them easy targets.

You could say that “buffalo leadership” is heavy-handed.  As a buffalo leader, you make all of the decisions, without seeking any input from others.   This leaves no room for development of the team.   The buffalo leadership style can be summed up this way:  simply “do as I do”, and don’t ask any questions or give any feedback.

Compare the buffalo to geese.  Geese fly in a V-shaped formation, and the leader helps the other geese by deflecting the wind, making it easier for them to fly for longer distances. Also, the geese take turns being the leader.  Thus, there isn’t just one goose making all of the decisions and taking all of the risk–they all have a part.   One cool thing about the geese is that they are not quiet.  You can hear the geese cheering on the leader, giving their support and encouragement.  “You can do it; we have faith in you. Go for it!”

This sounds like a fun environment where everyone is able to give input and ultimately participate in obtaining their goal.

Unfortunately, I hear stories of a lot of leaders who lead their organization using the “Buffalo Style”.  They don’t want to teach others because they are afraid someone else will be able to do their job better than them.  Someone else may get the credit.  It is all about them; quick to take credit, and also very quick to displace blame or point fingers.

What kind of leadership style do you have?

Are you a buffalo or a goose?

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Brian Dyson, the former COO of Coca-Cola, delivered the commencement address at Georgia Tech in 1996. In it he gave a simile that explained the distinctions of what is most important in life:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them–work, family, health, friends, and spirit–and you are keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls–family, health, friends, and spirit–are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
It is time–really, past time–to identify the most important priorities of my life.
What about your life?
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One of my favorite books is Good to Great by Jim Collins.

He has a quote that I use all of the time. “Are you on the right seat of the bus?”

I have been thinking about that statement quite a bit lately. What if
you were hired and you were on the right seat of the bus and all of a
sudden the bus driver changed?

The new bus driver may take a different route. The bus driver may not drive as fast or may drive too fast. The bus driver may fall asleep. So you decide you want off the bus because you don’t want to change bus drivers.

Now, I’m wondering if it is about the right seat on the bus or about the
bus driver.

What happens when the bus driver changes?

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What if your income came from tips like a waiter or waitress does?

Would a cashier at the store act differently if they were paid according to how well they served their customer?

This made me think about serving.  If I am greeting, being an usher, on the hospitality team, on the parking team or guest services, would I get a tip for serving my guest?  Would I exceed their expectations?  Don’t get confused, I am not looking for compensation.  I just wonder if we applied the same “work” principles to serving, would our level of excellence increase?

I think about the waitress I had last week. She made eye contact with my entire family. She spoke to all of us and it didn’t feel forced or fake, she was sincere.
She answered our questions, dealt with my kids not behaving perfectly, took care of me after I was inconvenienced by not having something on the menu.  This was all with a smile on her face. She chose to be happy and serve us like we were the only people in the restaurant.

Wouldn’t you want your church staff and volunteers to serve as if they were getting a tip for their service?

I know we volunteer our time in some of these roles. But, would we get a tip for our service? Or would they go complain about the awful customer service
they received?  They came in to hear God’s word and left thinking “if they hate their position why don’t they leave?” Don’t tell me you haven’t said that before about someone you have experienced
in the business world.

So, my question to you is how are you serving your guests?

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Five Senses

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Someone recently asked me what I look for on the Welcome Team at my church. I instantly think of the 5 senses, hearing, sight, touch, smell, & taste.  Here is why:

o   Hearing: I prefer music for outside and inside the lobby, not too loud & hard, but an upbeat music. This helps with the excitement. Also, love to hear people being greeted and made to feel welcome, like they are a part of the family.

o   Sight: What does the building look like? Is it clean, even on the outside?  Is the trash full, are there cigarette butts on the ground, is it dusty, are there handwritten signs?  And the list could go on and on. Does it have proper signing? Where are the restrooms, kids area, information area, auditorium? Are there pictures telling a story of the church?

o   Touch: I prefer to put something in our guests hands that lead to action, for example bulletins, or as we call them talk notes. They can help an attender follow along with the message and gives them something tangible to refer to when they leave.

o   Smell: When you walk in the building you want to have a good scent, such as the smell of fresh coffee or flowers.  Also important to keep the restrooms clean and smelling good.

o   Taste: Snacks and drinks definitely help people feel comfortable.

NOTE: If you have more than one service make sure you repeat this for every service.

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