Archives For Leadership

Note to self

May 31, 2014 — Leave a comment

On my thirty-second birthday, I thought of some things that my future self might tell me on this day. These are the things I’d like my life to reflect during the next 32 years and beyond.


  1. You’re not that important.
  2. Pray. Be passionate and persistent…especially when you don’t feel like it.
  3. Celebrate often. It’s too tempting to press on to the next thing, the next day, the next marker. Take time to celebrate with those you love; this is where memories are made.
  4. Eat your greens. Seriously, they’re delicious.
  5. Brush your teeth. This is especially important after eating your greens.
  6. Take the long view. Reacting in the moment to the moment is seldom the best move.
  7. Give more than you take…especially when it comes to those who you work and live with.
  8. Be quiet.
  9. Your critics are not your enemies.
  10. People are stronger than you think. Sometimes they need someone to help expand awareness of their capacity.
  11. Ask great questions.
  12. Fear is a bad reason to make big decisions.
  13. Just because you have a thought, that doesn’t mean you should express it.
  14. Failure doesn’t have to be fatal.
  15. The most frustrating reactions people will have to your thoughts and ideas are often founded in their fear of change…or your lack of ability to communicate. Learn to navigate these.
  16. Create space to be alone. You need it.
  17. Give two people permission to tell you what they really think and what you really need to hear. This should include your wife and someone who has nothing riding on your reaction.
  18. Seek out different perspectives. Find people more tactical and relational than you. Engage those with more experience and those with none.
  19. Do not sacrifice your family for the sake of your job. It should be the other way around.
  20. Words are powerful. Don’t be a jerk with them.
  21. What your kids see in you they will repeat.
  22. Don’t be so hard on yourself (see number 1).
  23. Your wife chooses you every day. Don’t ever make her regret that choice.
  24. It’s the little things that are often the most valuable. Be faithful in them.
  25. The relationship you’ll have with your kids tomorrow depends on what you invest in them today.
  26. You are positioned to be more generous with your time, energy, and money than you think you are.
  27. Tell those you love that you love them. Often.
  28. Tell your real-life heroes why they’re your heroes while you have opportunity to do so. Be specific.
  29. Choose optimism. You’ll live happier. Also: make friends with realists—you’re going to need them.
  30. Go on adventures. Work trips don’t count.
  31. There’s always more to learn.
  32. You haven’t had your best ideas or experiences yet.

“…Be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires.”

1 Kings 2:2b-3a

original image: Vyacheslav Argenberg on Flickr

original image: Vyacheslav Argenberg on Flickr


Only be strong and courageous! (Joshua 1:18b)

What happens when we finally receive what we’ve been waiting for…when what for so long seemed impossible is now made real? How should we live when it seems we have made it to the place our journey has been preparing us for all along?

The story of the book of Joshua is one where the children of Israel are at long last taking ownership of land in fulfillment of a generations-old promise of God. Their season of living out the Promise is one of challenge: a different way of living than they had ever experienced (and maybe one they never even anticipated) is now required.A new level of strength, courage, and submission to the leadership of God and his agents will be vital.

What can we learn from their experiences? What might we uncover about our own relationship with God and his desire to lead us into deeper faith and active obedience?

Join us throughout the new church year as we step in and out of the story of the Book of Joshua and discover strength, courage, leadership, and faith for today.


May 25, 2014 — Leave a comment

image: “Binoculars” by Peter Miller on Flickr


Today was “Vison Sunday” at SLW—not that “vision” is contained just to this one day each year, but it’s the Sunday when we take some time to celebrate God’s faithfulness over the past year and get a glimpse of what’s to come. As part of that, we hosted our Local Church Conference. What follows are the personal reflections given as part of my report this year:

If 2013-2014 could be summed up in a single word as far as life at SLW is concerned, I’m pretty sure we would all agree “transition” would say it nicely: Senior leadership transition, adjustments in various ministry environments, celebrating the Alsdorfs’ move to church planting in Meadville, and identifying new interim (and searching for permanent) ministry team members are just a few of the things we’ve navigated together.
Transition is never easy, but ours has been one of the smoothest seasons of leadership and ministry transition I have ever seen. As I have shared with others, though this is a testimony of God’s grace, faithfulness, and favor to us… it is also evidence of your gracious spirit and desire to lean into “next” with one another. Additionally, it speaks volumes about the caliber of our senior leaders: Pastors Shawn & Beth finished well, but that is only half the story—Pastor Jesse started well and has led our ministry team with a focus, determination, and grace which has allowed God to use us as a church for amazing things.

Continue Reading…

Image courtesy: Leo Reynolds @Flickr

In the last post, I shared how a drive past an Air Force ‘boneyard’ reminded me of how we can ‘sit-and-bake’ away our purpose when we were meant for so much more. You can read that post here.

Simply being aware of the danger of allowing ourselves to fall into disrepair is helpful, but one of the most frustrating things we can face is trying to get a handle on just what our purpose is and how to fulfill it. How do we know what it looks like to live out what God has for us? The reality is Scripture is full of explicit direction on what a follower of Jesus should do… flowing, of course, out of who we are in Him.

I like the explicit instruction–it’s relatively easy to boil those things down to legalistic, oversimplified check-list items (when they were intended to be so much more) and feel like I’m somehow earning my keep in this relationship.

But then there are aspects of this life of a follower which are so basic, so foundational to who we are meant to be, that they’re just kind of a ‘given.’ They’re reminders of the truth that what we do is rooted in who we are. In Hebrews 5, among discussion about Jesus, His obedience, and the need for us to grow in obedience, we see this: