goal setting

CRUSH Your 2018 Goals!

imgresHow can you not only meet, but exceed your goals for 2018?

Find a partner and use this GoalSettingGuide18 to help you discover your “Why?”… set your goals and then achieve them with confidence. This is a limited time offer so download it today and get on your way to realizing your goals for 2018!

You can do this! We can help.

Need a partner in life, ministry or organizational coaching? I would love to hear from you and discuss what a partnership might look like. Just let me know in the discussion feed below or email me at tompelt1@gmail.com and let’s get started!

Holiday Survival Guide

Unknown-3Let’s face it, the frenzy of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons seem to come earlier and move faster along with a “Christmas Wish” list that grows almost as long as the lines at the mall. Then there are the obligatory events, parties, concerts, fundraisers, year-end meetings, and a new year beckoning for us to be at our visionary and resolved best as leaders.

How do you keep from getting caught up in the merry madness? Here are 5 ways to survive the holidays, maybe even enjoy them again…

1) Declare your intentions now. Talk about your desire to avoid the mayhem this year with your spouse, kids, lead team, co-workers, etc. Ask them for input into how, together, you can avoid the overkill that so often accompanies what one classic song describes as, “The most wonderful time of the year.”

2) Plan on doing (and spending) less and experiencing more. This doesn’t mean taking a page out of the “Christmas with the Cranks” playbook with an all-out boycott. It does mean choosing to say “No” to some otherwise festive events that, collectively, only serve to bring out the “bah-humbug” in all of us. And, why not opt for more thoughtful and less expensive gifts for your loved-ones and friends? This may just start a trend everyone will be grateful for and happy to follow.

3) Eat less, exercise (and sleep) more. Determine to enjoy your favorite holiday foods in moderation and to stay active. And, no, “Black Friday” doesn’t count as aerobic exercise. Get the rest you need by going to bed a little earlier and, when that rare opportunity presents itself, take a “power nap.” Why wait until the New Year to resolve and live healthier?

4) Serve together. What if you gathered your family or small group and traded a day looking for a parking space and standing in crowded lines shopping for an afternoon volunteering at a homeless shelter or evening caroling at a nursing home? Do this with no other agenda than to be a blessing to others.

5) Hit the “pause” button often. No, we can’t always drop everything for several hours. Still, be intentional about some 15-30 minute moments of reflection daily, social media free! Make a list of all the people and the things you are most thankful for. Read the Christmas story (Luke 2) slowly and reflect on what “Immanuel, God with us” really means to you.

You don’t have to settle for merely surviving this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Determine to take back this holiday season and discover again the true reasons for the season.

Leading at Elevation Part 3

IMG_7330You’ve reached your goal, pulled off that event, launched that initiative and otherwise climbed that mountain as a team. Congratulations! Enjoy the view. Take in the moment. Give God glory and thank those who helped you get there. Now, how do you get down? What do you do with the fact that more than 2/3 of all injuries and deaths on peaks such as Mt. Everest happen on the descent?

Here are 4 suggestions for leading well on the way down…

Plan and prepare for coming down well before going up. Talk as a team about what it will look like after the goal is reached or event is over. What will it mean to the overall organization and the leadership team? What do you hope to accomplish and learn? What about the more practical matters… do we come down the same way we went up? Who will clean-up, tear-down, pack-up and otherwise “leave no trace” in order for the next expedition to launch? Don’t be caught off-guard by over-looking the age-old axiom… “What goes up, must come down.”

Take your time. Gravity has a way of encouraging a rapid descent. Resist the temptation to rush down and move on to the next “big thing.” You went up as a team, now come down as one. Watch your step. Be sure to monitor the descent… how is everyone doing along the way? What was their view from the “top?” How are they feeling as they come off the “high?” Divers know this reality in reverse as they explore the depths of the ocean… you can surface too quickly and become very ill, even die if you don’t take your time, giving your body time to adjust at every change in depth.

Leave no trace. If you packed it in, pack it out. Consider how your success will impact other teams, goals, events or initiatives. Talk about this with your team and other teams. Don’t clutter the route that others will be traveling and spaces others will be using. Do your part to clear the way, leave it as you found it or improve it when possible by cleaning up any other messes that may have been made by you or anyone else.

Unpack (and repack) together. Finally, debrief intentionally. Gather shortly after everyone has made it off the mountain. Ask questions, a lot of questions. Then, gain perspectives. Did we accomplish what we set out to accomplish? What went well? What didn’t? What surprises were there? What caught us off-guard or unprepared? How do we improve? How do all of these lessons help us pack for the next trip together?

Reaching great heights as a team is only half the journey. Come down off that mountain as well or better as you gained it’s summit and enjoyed it’s views.

5 Focuses For Aging Leaders

images-11If you are a leader who recognizes they aren’t as young as they used to be, yet hope to invest in Christ’s kingdom more than ever, this post is for you. Here are 5 Focuses For Aging Leaders…

1) Focus on going and growing. Sure, you’ve been around a little more than most, but you haven’t seen it all, let alone learned or experienced it. Dig even deeper into God’s Word. Practice prayer as never before. Read the latest stuff and refresh yourself on the classics. Go to conferences. Audit a class. Stay curious. Take some risks. Ask more questions. Whatever you do, never stop going and growing. You’ve got some kingdom adventure left in you yet!

2) Focus on keeping up. The message you preach is timeless, how you communicate it isn’t. Each generation learns, leads, gathers and grows in a slightly or even significantly different way than the previous. Ignore this and, while your message may remain constant, your methods may cause some of that message to get “lost in translation.” Keep up, not to be “in” but, rather, informed as to how the emerging generations develop their world view. No, don’t try to be something or someone you aren’t. Do be mindful of how people are processing the eternally lifesaving message you are communicating. Need some place to start? Check out Relevant Magazine for some challenging perspectives.

3) Focus on encouraging others. You aren’t the only leader a little unsure about who they are or how much they are contributing. Gather with others who share the same stage in life with you and process it together. Pour your hearts out and laugh your heads off. Get down in the dumps and lift each other up. Don’t isolate. The reclusive “sage” is more the fool if they keep themselves and all God has graciously given to themselves. Find some friends, young or old, and encourage, encourage, encourage!

4) Focus on passing it up. The realities of aging demand you become selective. Anything new you say “YES” to will mean a qualitative and quantitative “NO” to something you are already investing in. Learn to say “NO” to more so that the things, or more importantly, the people you say “YES” to get the very best of your investment.

5) Focus on passing it on. What have you learned (the hard way!)? How can your experiences serve to encourage and equip those coming behind you? It’s past time to pass it on. Whether one on one or with a group, purpose to share what God has done in and through you and your ministry… the good, the bad and the ugly (especially the ugly).  Paul challenged Timothy with this concept. He said, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

You are meant to count more than ever for Christ and His kingdom! Embrace each stage of the journey in life and leadership. Focus on how you can invest more than ever in bringing glory to God and the good of others.

31 Tips for 2016 – #16

Unknown-1Here is Tip #16 for Ministry Leaders in 2016…

Use plenty of “shortening” in the mix. 

“Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.” (Acts 20:9, NIV) Paul really knocked’em dead with that sermon! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Pastors and preachers are not known for being pithy. Guilty as charged. While there are many ingredients in the recipe for a powerful sermon, the “secret ingredient” may be as Shakespeare observed, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” (Hamlet)

Don’t kill Eutychus. Saying it shorter accomplishes 3 things…

It forces you to know your material better. If you know it well enough to say it, illustrate and apply it succinctly, you know it well. If you find yourself “circling the runway,” unable to land, you don’t. The more prepared we are, the less we feel the need to restate and ramble. Don’t blame this on the Spirit or anyone else. Be prepared and make the point.

It makes a statement of value. If time is one of our most valuable commodities, then wasting it is a crime. Create an expectation of respect for people by starting and ending on time. Any verbal presentation lasting more than 30 minutes better be engaging… or most have checked out. See Q Ideas or  Ted Talks for brilliantly brief examples.

Finally, it leaves people wanting more. Better to leave people feeling… “I could have heard more about that…” than, “C’mon. When will this guy be done?” Less is more.

Speaking of…

 

 

5 Ways to Live with Resolve

ResolvedWhat are your resolutions for the New Year? Just what does it mean to be resolved, anyway? According to Webster’s online dictionary it means, “fully committed to achieving a goal. As in, “Only the most resolved of explorers had any chance of finding the source of the Nile.” Synonyms include “bent (on or upon), bound, decisive, do-or-die, firm, hell-bent (on or upon), intent, out, purposeful, resolute, resolved, set, single-minded.” Does this describe your attitude going into 2016?

I’ve been learning a lot from the life of Daniel in preparation for a message series in January. Here are 5 Ways to Live with Resolve drawn from his journey…

“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” Daniel 1:8, NIV

1) Resolve to BE more. For Daniel it was less about doing and more about becoming. He knew that when the King saw what they would become as a result of following a plan and path of purity, he would take notice and the true God, Jehovah, would prove Lord over all.

The reality is, most of us are overdoing the wrong things and under-doing (valuing) the right things. Merely adding more things to our “To Do List” will definitely help us become more… more stressed and stretched than we were to begin with. For Daniel, less was more.

How might this apply to you. Perhaps making an “Un-do List” is a good place to begin?

2) There is never a “perfect time” to live a life of resolve. Daniel and his friends may have been in the King’s palace, but make no mistake, they were prisoners. They had been stolen away from their families and homes. Maybe they were just being fattened up for the kill? Maybe they should take advantage of any benefit offered to them, let alone go against the flow and take a risk by going against the royal plan. Then again, who could they really trust? Most of us would be looking to survive in this uncertain circumstance, not thrive.

Perhaps what this teaches is that the best time, the “perfect time” for resolve is what may seem like the worst time, the time of testing? Regardless, now is almost always the best time to begin.

3) You shouldn’t go it alone. Let’s face it, a life of resolve takes great resolve, and few of us have what it takes to make it alone. Actually, none of us do. But Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and they had one another. No doubt there were times when the “BBQ” of roast lamb & goat must have smelled pretty good, enticing them to give up and give in to the King’s menu. Which brings us to the next point…

4) There will be a test. This wouldn’t be the last test for Daniel and his friends. However, this testing would prove to accomplish two vital things…

Testing first reveals character. Why? Because it neither comfortable nor convenient. Most of us want resolution without revolution, transformation without change. However, it is only through difficult challenges and even tougher changes that character is then formed and reformed. 

5) The Lord’s favor is fundamental. Scripture is clear… God’s favor was on Daniel, and this made all the difference. In the end, the King would want to know the God of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,  and the entire Kingdom would hear of it.

How do you know that what you are resolving is in God’s favor? Like Daniel, it must be in line with His Word and motivated  by His glory. This inevitably works out for our good. However, this shouldn’t be our motivation. By grace, when our aim is His glory and the good of others, this will take care of itself in His way and time. The incredible life of Daniel testifies to this timeless truth.

Fast forward to the New Testament and the Apostle Paul makes a resolution that is tough to beat for Christians in the 21st century… “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, NIV

How is it that my life can point others to Jesus and His loving sacrifice, His victorious resurrection, His amazing grace? How can I become more like Him through both the successes and suffering that will come with another year?

May we all live a life of resolve that points others to the source of that resolve, the Savior, Jesus Christ.

31 Tips for 2016 – #4

Unknown-1Tip #4 for Ministry Leaders in 2016:

Practice what I call “3-2-1” conversation.

Whether it’s a planned meeting or chance greeting, be more intentional about not making it about you. Here’s how it works…

  • Determine to ask 3 questions that focus on who they are and what they are doing. Keep these questions open-ended (not “Yes” and “No” questions).
  • Follow-up on 2 things that seem important to them. Again, questions work well, here. “How does that work?” “What will that look like?” Or simply, “Tell me more about…”
  • Then, feel free to make 1 statement that makes sense given the subject at hand. It might even be about you. After all, they may not want it to be all about them, either.

Leaders almost always have an agenda, something to get done, a direction to steer things… and people. Avoid being too focused on your vision and more focussed on truly seeing the people right in front of you. Jesus was the master at this, answering questions with questions and making time by the roadside, at the well, and in the busy marketplace. People don’t get in the way of our vision… they are the vision as we reach the world for Jesus Christ!

Take the time to make it more about others in 2016 than ever. It’s as easy as “3-2-1.”  

 

 

31 Tips for 2016

Unknown-1Here is Tip #2 for ministry leaders in 2016…

Tip #2 – Don’t do it out of trend and don’t keep it out of tradition.

A few of you out there are part of teams that have visioned and planned for 2016 many months ago. Many may not be as forward thinking. Regardless, you would do well to put your best-laid plans to this simple test. Ask yourselves these two questions concerning events and any major initiatives you plan on leading people through…

Are we doing this because it’s the latest trend? This may look like the ongoing tendency to do whatever the nearest “mega-church” is doing. Or worse, the one we saw online with no regard to things like relevance to our unique culture and setting, stewardship, or biblical integrity, etc.

Are we doing this because “We’ve always done it… and always done it this way!?” This is code for pure tradition. Never mind that it has done little to nothing to reach the lost or grow disciples by any measurable metric in memory. It keeps the “saints” satisfied and the consecrated comfortable.

Of course, if it helps connect you to people in your culture, leads them to Jesus and grows them as disciples, whether trendy or traditional… then go for and/or keep it up! Otherwise, apply Tip #1 and just say “NO.”

 

31 Tips for 2016

Unknown-1.jpeg2016 is fast approaching and with it the promise and potential of a new year! Truth be told, it’s just another day on the calendar. Still, that day, January 1st represents another chance to be better and do things better as leaders. Of course, days have a funny way of adding up to a lifetime of life and leadership. Some of the following tips are targeted towards leaders in my field (pastoring), but can be applied to any and all who partner with people trying to realize a vision. And, no one can or will do any of these for you. It’s up to you to you to be different in 2016!

So, in no real order after No1 on the list, here is Tip #1 of 31 Tips for Ministry Leaders in 2016…

Tip #1 – NO! (Repeat after me, “NO!”) 

Why is this Tip#1? Because saying “No” to lesser things allows you to say a  great big “YES!” to greater things. 

While you may find yourself doing less, you will eventually become more effective for the kingdom of Christ and influential in the ways that matter most to those you lead and do life with. You will also be sharing the burden and blessing of leadership with someone who may just be better at being and doing that thing (or number of things) you need to let go of. Saying “NO!” can be a win-win.

Start by making an UN-Do List for 2016. Then, prioritize it, communicate it clearly to those it will impact. Then, walk with them through the transition of you no longer saying “Yes” to things that you probably shouldn’t have been doing to begin with.

The Promises of God

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“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV
The New Year is here and with it the hope and promise of God. This provides for us a sense of certainty in these uncertain times. Of course, we all make promises, sometimes calling them “resolutions.” I don’t know about you, but I have kept some and fallen woefully short on others. For example, even as I write I am sipping on a Diet Coke when I resolved last year to stop drinking dark colored sodas.
However, God keeps all His promises. Sometimes by saying “Yes!” and sometimes by saying “No” or just “Wait…” You see, even the “No” we receive today is only to provide a great big “YES!” for tomorrow. His promise to always protect and provide His children is fulfilled, not by depriving us of anything truly lasting and good, but by keeping us from settling for less than His best. What feels like an unanswered prayer, a “hurry up and wait” or even a “No!” is really the promise of God working out for our good and His glory.
What promises from God’s Word are you clinging to as the old year passes and 2015 begins? List 2-3 of those you will be counting on. Then, if you haven’t already, take the time to prioritize your own goals knowing that the promises of God will serve to fuel the faith needed to see them met and exceeded. Print out the 2015 Simple Goal Guide provided here…  SimpleGoalGuide
When it comes to the promises of God, this you can be sure of, “…they are “Yes” in Christ!” And you can say “Amen!” as day by day His promises are fulfilled in and through your life. The words of one of my favorite hymns reminds me, “Standing on the promises I cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail. By the living Word of God I shall prevail. Standing on the promises of God!” (Russel K Carter, 1849-1926)
Trust in the One who will keep His Word. He is Jesus, and His promises are “Yes!” in 2015.