My random, sometimes insightful thoughts on life, God, family, and everything else

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The Chaos of Baltimore!

Wow! Here’s what I am struggling to grasp: Why in the world are we seeing so many of these types of ‘protests’ all over our 150427+bmore+fire+660 country these days? Sure, a significant part of it is ginned up by political operatives and race-baiting profiteers who want to line their own pockets. But, let’s be honest, for this type of thing to happen multiple times in different locations across the nation there has to be something systemically wrong in our country and specifically in our urban communities.

Now, I am no politician (thank God!) nor am I a philosopher, but I am both a preacher of the truth and a student of the human condition. So, my thoughts on this are based in those two things, the truth of the Word of God brought to bear on hurt within the human condition. Here are the systemic problems I see:

Lack of leadership: John Maxwell wisely once said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership, everything.” It’s tempting to qualify that statement and say, “Well, almost everything, but not EVERYTHING!”. But, think about the course of human history, even in the midst of humanities darkest, most desperate moments, great leadership was transcendent. The problem is we have far to many people who want the power of ‘leadership’ but abandon the responsibility that it takes to be a real leader.

If a king is fair, he makes his country strong,
but if he takes gifts dishonestly, he tears his country down. – Prov 29:4 NCV

Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers. – Prov 11:14 NLT

Unclear Vision: Vision is a picture of what the future could be and should be. In far to many of our urban and even suburban areas there is no vision or at best cloudy vision of what the future holds. Vision provides hope, it gives a reason for working hard, it tells us that better days are ahead. Today we are being told by some of our ‘leaders’ that this is as good as it’s ever going to get, this is just reality. Many of our urban citizens (regardless of ethnicity) wake up everyday with no hope in their hearts, no dreams for the future. When the most lucrative future for young men is to join a gang, sell drugs, or simply become a thug of some sort…there is no hope!

Where there is no vision a people perish. – Prov 29:18 KJV

Rampant Abuse: In our world abuse has become as commonplace as fast-food restaurants. I know that many of these ‘protests’ are blamed on police abuse, and there may be some of that for sure, as authority unchecked is often authority abused. But, humanity as a whole has an unbelievable propensity for evil against other human beings. Just look at the amount of physically abused women, children, and elderly that we see all of the time. How about the rampant sexual abuse, don’t believe it? Ask yourself when was the last time you were ‘shocked’ to hear that a teacher had sex with one of her students. Exactly, something that was preposterous just a decade or so ago has become so common that when we hear it we shake our heads and roll our eyes, but that is about it. When the value of another human being is weighted only by the usefulness they provide to another we are in a dangerous place.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves – Phi 2:3 NIV

Familial Decay: When I saw this video today http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=684859 (warning: it does have some ‘bleeped’ out language) I was both thankful and dismayed. Thankful because a mom cared for her son so much that she would go to any lengths to keep him from making a potentially life shattering decision. Dismayed because I saw no father alongside her. Now, it may have been that the dad was at work, but more often than not we see that adult males (I refuse to call them Men) simply refuse to live up to their responsibilities of being a husband and father, abandoning the mother of their children and their children. The only male role models they have are the adult males in their neighborhood who live off of others, profit from others addictions, or are held captive by their own demons. Fathers are just as essential as Mothers!

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. – Prov 1:8 NIV

Maybe your initial reaction to all of this is anger, can I challenge you on that? Maybe instead of anger or disgust, you take a minute and ask God to give you some perspective. Now, don’t for a moment think that I condone or in some twisted way believe that the violence is in any way justified, it’s not. In fact, it’s sin. But as Paul says;

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. – Rom 5:20

Instead let’s ask ourselves some hard questions. How can we lead better, what can we do to give vision/hope, how can we help the abused heal and the abusers reform, and what can we do to rebuild the family? You see I believe that it’s easy to criticize, but it’s far harder to critically think about how you can make a difference.

Just my two cents,

Dave

Why do we like superheroes so much?

So, I have a confession to make, I love superhero movies! In fact, Marvel StudiosI have passed on my love of tough guys/gals and the battle against evil to both of my daughters (and I am slowly pulling my wife in as well)! Part of my love for superheroes began when I was only a child visiting my grandparents lake house, and I discovered a cash of comic books that my uncle’s had left decades earlier. On rainy days I would read through the adventures of Captain America, Sgt. Fury, The Green Berets, Superman, Spider Man, The Flash…well you get the picture. There were probably over 100 old comics and I read each of them many, many times. As a young boy with three sisters, these stories ‘spoke’ to my inner adventurer, they stoked the flames of bold decisive action, fights against overwhelming odds, and victory even when defeat seemed imminent! They served as my escape from the dolls, dresses, and drama.

Several years ago when Marvel began the rebirth of superhero flicks, I became, well ecstatic! With the advances in CGI and video I knew that this new generation of films would bring some of my old favorites to life like never before, and along with millions of others, I wasn’t disappointed. These movies have made billions of dollars and literally create a feeding frenzy whenever the newest one is set to come out…WHY? I mean, really ask yourself why? Besides the cool graphics, what really draws people to the movies. If you think about it, only a handful of the actors are really well known, often times the story lines are somewhat predictable (evil has big victory, good seems almost defeated, miraculous effort by one good inspires other good, good wins the day, evil gets what’s coming to them), but people still flock to watch every installment…why?

The answer is certainly multi-faceted, and if I were a psychologist I could probably write a book or two on it diving deeply into the psyche of the human mind (many have btw…yawn), but I like to keep things simple! I believe that we love superheroes because they represent things and do things that we wish we could do and get away with. Such as, confront evil head on and take it out. We long to be able to ‘tell off’ the person who is causing us and those we love problems, but we are either too scared to do so or we fear what the repercussions may be. We long to be able to have abilities that overcome our problems instead of feeling trapped by them. We wish we could have a secret identity to do what needs to be done without it all coming back on us, and we long for adventure, even danger in our daily routine.

Now, I know that at this point you are expecting me to throw some Bible verses at you telling you how Jesus is far more than a superhero, which is WAY beyond truth, but I think you already know that. And, I’m going to assume that if you know that, you more than likely also ‘KNOW’ Him, so let me tell you something about yourself, or rather let God tell you something about yourself:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? …No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. – Romans 8:28-31,37 NLT

You may not be a superhero, but here is what God says you are:

  • Loved
  • Called
  • Known
  • Chosen
  • Son/Daughter
  • Positioned
  • Glorified
  • Victorious

Personally, I think that’s way better than being a superhero! But, I’m still pretty pumped about the next one coming out on May 1st, what can I say, I’m hooked.

Live strong today,

Dave

“So, what’s going on with the building project?”

This is a question that I have been asked a few times recently, so I thought it would be good to put my answer down here so that those of you who have thought of asking it, but just haven’t had the chance can here it first hand as well.

First, as you all know we have accomplished several things so far:

  • A complete survey, sampling, and analysis of the property to prove that the site is safe and buildable
  • The complete reconstruction of the drive through
  • The exterior work on our current building
  • Repaving and widening of Emerson Rd (this was in cooperation with the Arbor Homes subdivision across the street), yes we did that, the City of Greenwood required it as a stipulation to building
  • Reconstruct all of the drainage ditches and water runoff areas
  • Expansion of the Infant Nursery
  • Began the expansion and moving of the pond
    • This part has been sporadic because of the rainfall and the wetness of the ground. Part of the process is building up the pad for the building with the dirt that will be removed, and wet dirt does not lead to solid compaction. So, pray for a dry spell so that this work can be finished.

All of this has been paid for with cash on hand, and has not required us to get any type of loan. However, we have been working diligently over the last 12+ months in getting ready for this next phase where a substantial loan would be necessary.

In fact, before we even began the MOMENTUM process we sat down with several financial people and presented our numbers (attendance, giving, childcare income) and we were told that our finances looked great, and that getting a loan for the size we were talking would not be difficult at all, especially given all the growth opportunities around us. So, our plan was to get the loan at the outset and then do everything at once, but as we began that process we were made aware that our financial books needed some significant work so that they were ‘bank ready’. At that point we hired an accounting firm to come in and work with us on getting everything set up, and actually go back a couple of years to make sure everything was up to speed.

This process started last Spring and just wrapped up in late 2014. We certainly did not want to move forward with any major financial obligations without making sure that everything was accounted for down to the last nickel. We now have pristine looking, bank approved financial books that will help us do an even better job of stewarding all of the resources that God so generously blesses us with through your faithful giving.

As 2014 was wrapping up we felt confident to allow the firm, who was working with the banks on our behalf, to re-engage the banks with our loan package. We began to receive responses from the banks in February, and continued until late March. Although their responses were enthusiastic, and positive regarding our financial position, they all want to see another 9-12 months of this trend before they are willing to consider it. In laymen’s terms, the banks want to see 24-36 months of what we have experienced over the last 18 months financially before they are willing to even consider giving us the full loan amount.

This of course puts us in a difficult position. If we wait another 9-12 months and then re-engage the banks there is no guarantee that even at that point they will approve the loan, but if they did, that would mean it will be almost 2 years from now before we could get into the building. At the rate of growth we are currently experiencing we just don’t have that much time. Not to mention what will happen once Worthsville Rd is opened back up…whenever that may be! So, needless to say the Elders and I have been praying, talking with people who know more than we do, and meeting together to try and determine what our best course of action will be.

Here is what I can tell you with absolute certainty; this whole process began because we wanted to see more people and families experience the life changing reality of Jesus Christ; because we believe that God is far from done using Friendship as an effective and influential church; and we don’t want a building, or lack of one, to hinder the MOMENTUM that God is building. All of those things are still true today, and I’m still committed to seeing God do great things through us, the only question is how that will look given some of the hurdles that we are currently experiencing.

So, two things: First, as we get more information we will set up a time to bring the entire body into the conversation for what we should do next. Second, be praying for God to give all of us an intensely clear direction and protect us from moving out of His plan.

I’m not exactly sure what God has up his sleeve…but I’m pretty excited about it!!!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

We all remember what we wanted to be when we were growing up, a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, fireman, etc… We all remember because it was really our first big dream. For some of us we wanted to be that because our mom or dad was one, or someone we idolized was. Others wanted to be that because we looked up to them, felt like they were people who made a difference, who made an impact in others lives.

I remember several years ago (1999) Monster.com came out with a tremendous ad campaign with children sharing ‘their dreams’.

At that point in time I was just 5 years removed from college and although I thought the commercial was funny, the power of the commercial was somewhat lost on me. Now, fifteen plus years later, and hundreds of conversations with people just like you I realize that this commercial isn’t so much funny as it is sad. To think about all of the people in our world whose dreams have become nothing more than a cherished memory of childhood, and thought of as a naive childhood fantasy. How incredibly sad!

The Bible, however, teaches that childhood dreams are not something to simply be dismissed, but to be celebrated! A child isn’t tainted with the disease of what we call reality and therefore can see things with a clarity that escapes most adults. By the time we are ‘grown up’ we know better, we are seasoned, we are more mature…we are cynical, jaded, and realists! Our innocence and trust has eroded away as the years slipped by, leaving us with the inability to believe in anything that we cannot taste, touch, feel, or see and our imagination, dreams, and faith dissipate into the vast nothingness of adulthood.

I think it’s time for us to rekindle our dreams and passions to pursue all that God has for us.  Jesus said;

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. – Luke18:17 NLT

The Bible tells us that God has incredible plans for your life (Jer 29:11; 1 Cor 2:9) but those plans, although promised to you, will never become reality until you are willing to reach out, take them, and pursue them. Much like needing to have the faith of a child is necessary for salvation, believing that our Heavenly Father wants good and not evil for us takes a child like trust of our divine parent. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, the world will tell you that it’s unrealistic. Yes, it may take longer than you planned. BUT, Yes, God can be trusted!

So, what did you want to be when you grew up…it’s not too late!

Dave

Just Say No!

Logo-no-just-say-no-480I am old enough to remember the anti-drug and alcohol campaign that touted and launched this iconic saying. Even as I watched these commercials as a preteen and teen I realized that even though the commercials themselves were more than ‘lame’ (80’s throwback reference) the power of the statement really did make an impact. I mean I started saying no to my teachers, my coaches, my parents…I may have taken that out of context, and it most definitely got me in trouble!

As I’ve grown older, gained more experience, and grown a touch more mature, I’ve realized there is incredible power in that little two-letter word.  I’ve also learned that if I’m going to be able to say ‘yes’ to the things in my life that are really important, I’m going to need to learn how to say ‘no’ to the things that are less important. Now, this isn’t to say that things others are asking me to do are bad, in fact, many if not all of them are very good, but it’s not what is best for me.

Over the years I’ve gleaned from some masters in the art of saying no, and I’ve taken some of the best ‘no’s’ I’ve received over the years and incorporated them into my own personal repertoire, but for the sake of time and space I’ve boiled down some of the best, so without further ado:

Dave’s Top Five Ways To Say No With A Smile!

  1. I would love to, however, my schedule simply doesn’t allow me the time to do that.
  2. Thanks so much for thinking of me, as awesome as it may be, I cannot do that.
  3. I am so sorry, but that is just not something that I can do at this point.
  4. Unfortunately, do to my other commitments, I must decline. However, (so-and-so) might be a perfect fit.
  5. Thank you so much for the offer, but in an effort to honor my time with my family, I cannot take you up on it.

I’d love to hear some of your great ‘no’s’ in the comments, just maybe I’ll steal one for my own personal collection!

And hey, don’t feel bad about saying ‘no’, they won’t have to give an account for how you used the time God gave you…but you will!

Dave

Living an unscripted life!

Do you ever feel as if your life is about as predictable as a bad ‘B’ movie?Unscripted_Web You know the type of movies I’m talking about right? You know who the villain is in the first 5 minutes, or you know that ‘so-so’ is going to end up with ‘so-so’, or the fact that the guy who says ‘let’s split up and search for them’ is the first one to bite the bullet!

What’s amazing is that is the exact opposite of how God wants and intends for you to live your life. Jesus said that his desire was to give you a “…rich and satisfying life” (Jn 10:10) yet so many of us have settle for safe and predictable. I think that it’s time for all of us who claim to know Christ and want to live like Christ to flip the script and start living the way God intended.

Our reason’s for not letting loose tends to revolve around things like what others will think of us, how will it all turn out, what if I fall flat on my face?  Well, think about this, Jesus was never in a hurry, rarely did what was expected, and often didn’t do what people wanted, yet he is the most influential person in human history! If you want to live a life of impact, a life that makes a difference you cannot just go with the flow and be like everyone else. You’ve got to be willing to ‘go off script’ and break away from the safe and predictable.

I’d like to personally invite you to be my guest this Sunday as we launch this brand new series simply called “Unscripted”, and if you do come, make sure to say “Hi”!

Dave

PS: Here’s a trailer video our amazing Creative Team put together for the series:

Loneliness Could Kill You!

10711128_10153081704355801_8493759256406455593_nI came across a recent study, that given a message I just preached a couple of weeks ago (Connecting), peaked my interest.  In the study (as reported here) researches determined the following:

…loneliness and isolation are as damaging as obesity. The impact of loneliness has also been likened to smoking 15 cigarettes a day or excessive drinking.

and

…people who said they were lonely, felt socially isolated or lived alone, had a 30 percent increased likelihood of death.

Whoa!  Who would have thought that loneliness was that bad for you…wait…hang on a second, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard something about being alone somewhere before, now where was that…

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him. – Genesis 2:18

Oh, yeah that’s right, now I remember!  God literally created us to long for relationships, both horizontal and vertical, human and divine.  The three most essential connections for a meaning-filled life are:

  1. Connecting to Christ (restoring our relationship with God)
  2. Connecting to His Church (embracing a mission bigger than ourselves)
  3. Connecting with other Christians (enjoying life with others who are headed in the same direction)

At Friendship Church we believe that these connections are absolutely necessary and do everything we can to help you become relationally satisfied.  As apart of this passion we have created small groups that you can connect with throughout the week so that you can connect with other people going through the same things you are, so you can grow deeper in your faith, and so that you can begin to establish a great support group around you.

Our next round of small groups kicks off after Easter, are you in?

Dave

The Obligatory St. Patrick’s Day Post!

Photo by Ed MoritaToday is of course the day that people drink green beer, wear green face/body paint, and usually end up doing really stupid things.  Why do we do this…well to honor a man who gave his life to reaching people for Christ of course!  Makes total sense to me.

The legend of Patrick is quite verbose and exaggerated, but it’s important to note that the legend stems from a real man, who did real things.  Allow me to first get a few things out of the way.  Patrick was not Irish, he was more than likely Scottish.  He didn’t drive the snakes out of Ireland…as there were no snakes to drive out.  He probably didn’t use the three leaves of the Shamrock to teach about the Trinity.  And, Saint Patrick, is actually not considered a saint.

Patrick is embraced primarily in the Roman Catholic tradition but we have to remember that he lived very early on in the history of the church, 387-450/60’s AD, and the church at that time was still primarily Biblical in it’s approach.  In fact, the early church fathers Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine were still alive, so his message of salvation in Jesus Christ, his understanding of Mary, and his view of Biblical authority would be very similar to what we would call Evangelical.  So, even though he is claimed by Catholicism as a pseudo-saint, in reality he is someone that the entirety of Christendom can look up to, honor, and learn from.

So, what can we learn from this man?  First, I believe that we can learn that you don’t need a profound education to make a profound impact.  Patrick often called himself unlearned and simple, but it was just this thing that made him so effective in reaching the tribal Druid groups that inhabited Ireland.  Patrick wasn’t the first missionary to go to Ireland, he was just the first one to be effective!

Second, we can learn forgiveness.  Patrick was actually captured by a Druid Chieftain when he was 16 years old and made his slave.  In his autobiography, he states that he was certain that at any time he would be sacrificed to one of their Gods.  However, Patrick escaped and made his way back to his family.  After several years, Patrick had a dream that he believed was God’s way of telling him to go back and be a missionary to these people.  According to legend, yes I know, the Chieftain that was his master was one of his first converts.  Can you imagine going back to preach Christ to people who had not only enslaved you, but killed those you loved?

Finally, we can learn endurance.  This man dedicated his life to the work in Ireland, he had no hopes nor desire to ‘go back home’ and retire.  Ireland was his new home.  Almost daily, especially early on, he was faced with danger, ridicule, and rejection; but he refused to quit.  Some call this stubbornness other call it perseverance, you can call it whatever you want and I’d encourage you to emulate it!

So, tonight as you are enveloped in a sea of green ‘insert noun here’, just remember that there really was a guy named Patrick who loved Jesus and made a difference!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!

Why Racism, and Reverse Racism Can’t Coexist With The Bible!

I am well aware of this being a hot potato, but the truth of the Word of God should be able to bear some significant light, and hopefully change into the hearts of those who are willing to listen.

What is ‘Racism’?

Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed directed against someone of a different race* based upon the belief that ones own race is superior.

The belief that all members of each race* possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race* or races*.  (*emphasis added) Oxford Dictionary

I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to be a bigot to be a racist.  For example if you have ever said to yourself or to others, ‘all asians are good at math’, ‘all hispanics are hard workers’, ‘all african-americans are good athletes’, ‘all caucasians live in the suburbs’; you are, by definition, being racist.  Essentially, if you group people based upon their ethnic background, cultural context, or color of their skin, instead of their individual talents, abilities, gifts, and personality you are thereby ‘being racist’ because you are categorizing by race.

So, let’s first challenge this idea that their are such things as ‘Races’.  According to the dictionary Race is; a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.  Hmmmmm, now that IS interesting isn’t it?  If you have read your Bible, and you believe what it teaches then we are all descended from not only one, but two common ancestors.  According to Genesis 1-3, God created a male and a female, Adam and Eve, and all mankind originated in the two of them.  As the centuries waned on man abandoned God and his laws, so God sent a prophet/preacher in the man Noah to warn them of a global flood which would wipe out all of those who did not turn back to God.  Unfortunately, no one but Noah and his family believed God’s message and God did in fact wipe out all of creation and start over with Noah and his family.  So, all of humanity is related to Adam and Eve through Noah and his wife.  Therefore, there is only one race, the Human Race.

The entire idea of designation of races actually comes from a well known scientist named…Charles Darwin.  Yes, that is correct the author of Origin of Species was the individual that popularized and propagated the idea of one race being inferior or superior to another.  In fact, Darwin himself taught that the Australian Aborigine was actually THE missing link to apes.  That the Africans or negroids were less evolved than Asians or mongoloids, and that Europeans or caucasoids were at the top of the evolutionary scale.  The secondary title of his book is actually incredibly telling, ‘The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle of Life’.  Betcha didn’t learn that one in science class did ya!

When we read our Bible correctly we see that God created humanity in His own image!  It doesn’t matter what your skin color is, what your ethnic background, or which continent your ancestors originally hailed from, YOU, as with all humanity, are made in the image of God!  There is only one race, the human race.  Your background neither makes you superior or inferior to another, God made you special, created you for purpose, and if you believe in Jesus Christ has destined you to reign with him in all eternity!

I think that it is high time that those who claim to know the Bible and love Jesus Christ take this bull by the horns and show the world how God intended it to be!

For further reading and scientific background check out this incredibly insightful article: Where Did The Races Come From?

I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus Christ as encouragement:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35 NIV

Dave

Free Agency and Church Staff!

colts-movingI am an unabashed fan of the NFL.  Since the day that the Mayflower trucks rolled out of the ingrate city of Baltimore (yeah, I said it!) to the current day I have been a Colts fan.  When we lived outside of the state of Indiana and the Colts weren’t particularly good I would often frequent sports bars so I could catch the game.  Then in year 5 of my absence from the greatest state in the world, came this new fangled thing called NFL Sunday Ticket (insert hallelujah chorus)!  I was now able to watch my team play each and every week, albeit with terrible announcers because quite frankly the Colts were fairly terrible.

So, when the NFL season is over, like all rabid fans, I begin to wonder what my beloved Colts will do during the off-season.  Today, March 10th, is the official beginning of what is called Free Agency, I’ll explain that knowing that some people reading this post have no idea to which I am referring to.  Free Agency is when veteran players contracts with their current team are up, they become a ‘free agent’, in essence they are now free to sign with whatever team will pay them the money they want.  Some teams (I’m looking at you Oakland) are typically overspending on players that are flashy and fancy, and they never quite work out.  Each and every year teams are lauded for making the ‘bold move’, for signing the ‘difference maker’, for catching the one person who could make them Super Bowl contenders.  The problem is, it RARELY works out that way.  Michael Schottey of Bleacher Report wrote a fantastic article yesterday that chronicled the teams that ‘won’ free agency the last several years and balanced that against their resulting record.  Suffice to say, it isn’t pretty (Winning Free Agency Hardly Equates To Winning Games).

Now, you might be wondering, “What in the world does this have to do with the church?”…well I’m so glad you asked!  For years and years the American church has been participating in it’s own brand of free agency.  One church signs another churches ‘star’ player and plugs them into their programs expecting blazing results and championship caliber play.  What happens more often than not is terrible friction, mediocre results, and an overall discomfort for the whole team.  If the senior leader is worth his salt then he can usually rectify the situation but it takes precious time and valuable energy to do so and it ends up being the church and the other staff who pays the price.  I’m not saying that it is never worth it to bring someone in from the outside, but you had better make sure it’s the right person you’re bringing in.  Otherwise, you will at best move sideways for a while and at worst your ministry may regress.

Many years ago I heard Rick Warren, pastor/founder of Saddleback Valley Community Church, say something like this, “Building your staff from within is always preferred when possible.”  That statement has resonated with me over the years and as I have thought about it more and more, it just makes sense!  The people in your church are already passionate about what you are doing.  They get your vision, they hear you talk each and every week, they are already known commodities.  You may be thinking about the ‘professional training’ that outside ‘free agents’ may have, and there is some truth to that.  But if I’ve learned anything about hiring staff over the last 20 years it’s this, you can teach people the ins and outs of ministry, but you can’t teach passion, you can’t force them to get the vision, and you can’t know someone you’ve never worked alongside of.

Of the 5 additional full/part time staff we have at Friendship all but one of them are homegrown.  This doesn’t mean that we will never hire from outside, in fact at some points you’ll need to, but I will say that when you hire from the inside the learning curve is much less steep and the failure rate is infinitesimal in comparison.

I thank God almost daily for the staff he has allowed us to assemble at Friendship.  They make what I do easier and a whole lot more fun.  Pastors, your staff can either make you or break you, make sure you choose wisely!

I’d love to hear back from you on this, even if you are not hiring in the ‘church’ world.  What has been your experience with this?

Dave