Thursday, September 13, 2007


One of my recent prayers has been this: "Lord, I want to be teachable." Walking into this new situation, it is tempting to assume that you have all the answers and know how things should change.

Getting started as the new pastor at an established church however, I have realized the great need to first absorb things like a sponge. As I observe and learn, reserving judgments helps me to maintain a teachable spirit.

For anyone expecting me to immediately make sweeping changes at First Wesleyan Church, they may have to wait a little while. Instead, I am trying to get to know people. I am becoming a student of culture. I am asking lots of questions.

In conversations I am often floating out bits of philosophy to see how people respond. Some things need to be dealt with immediately, and that's what we've been doing. And we do know the ultimate goal: to become a church after God's heart, actively serving our community and bringing people to Jesus. But to accomplish that goal, our first priority is getting to know each other. And then...TOGETHER...we will figure out exactly how we're going to get where we're going.

In a recent article by Angie Ward, she wrote: "In addition to looking at ministry competence, one of the questions we continue to ask about potential candidates is whether or not they have it—that innate passion to keep learning and growing. It is much easier to fill in gaps in education than gaps in character. Teachability can't be taught.

Teachability is not determined by age, but increased age means an increased chances that bad habits and character traits are more permanently ingrained.

Neither is teachability directly related to giftedness. Again, there may be an inverse relationship: the more talented the leader, the more difficult it will be for her to be teachable because she may have been able to coast on giftedness. Give me a humble, teachable leader any day over the most talented pastor on the planet.

Teachability requires repeated long, hard looks in the mirror. It means constantly evaluating your effectiveness and developing new skills to meet the challenges in your current situation. It requires asking, "Am I the bottleneck here?" and having the courage to make changes if the answer comes back "Yes." It involves looking at your previous track record and recognizing that a history of repeated failures or bad experiences may reflect solely on yourself.

And it requires a commitment to grow in the context of community by letting others speak into your life. The teachable leader creates a culture where others can see the specks in their eyes because their leader is willing to pull the beam out of his own eye first. It is only when we are willing to learn from our mistakes that we will reduce the likelihood of repeating them."
Leader's Insight: It's Not My Fault
Why short-tenure leaders are doomed to repeat their excuses
by Angie Ward

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


You wouldn't believe how much food people brought to us Sunday night at the "Pounding". Actually it was more like a pummeling!

In the is often a demonstration of love. So let me just say...we are feeling VERY loved!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

new sunday series

I am so excited about Sunday. For the very first teaching series at First Wesleyan Church in Tuscaloosa we're tackling some "First Questions".

September 9 "Where's the Power?"
September 16 "What Makes a Church Great?"
September 23 "What's Wrong with Jesus?"
September 30 "Will You Come With Us?"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

getting started at first

How do you know it's time to update your blog? When you come back from lunch and find a note from someone asking you when you're going to get to it.

Okay, so here it is...

Last week on Tuesday, the moving truck arrived at our home in Lansing and they shoved everything we own onto it. It disappeared over the horizon and we hoped and prayed that we would see it again someday a week later! We couldn't wait to get rolling so we took off at supper time and drove half of the trip to Alabama and made it pretty close to Louisville, Kentucky on the Indiana side. Wednesday night we pulled into Tuscaloosa with thoughts of Chick-Fil-A and Bama football on our minds.

The next few days involved getting the house ready for all of our stuff to arrive. Tracy started cleaning. The previous owners had left the house in pretty good shape. But there is a difference between "clean" and "tracy-clean".

I treated the yard for ants as the family began to get acquainted to Southern "Wildlife". The first night in our house, I noticed the scurrying creatures out in the garage. I was hesitant to tell Tracy, but she found them for herself soon enough. Cockroaches don't bother me quite so much, but my beautiful wife draws the line when a bug is big enough that a toddler with a saddle could ride it down the driveway.

We also have begun to meet some of the neighbors. Marcy across the street gave us the low-down on the nearby rattlesnake and scorpion population. The neigborhood is great with lots of children around the age of our kids, Kate and Seth. One of the neighbors even said he might come to church this Sunday! That's what it's all about!

The food has been amazing. I believe that the people of First Wesleyan have a goal. They have decided to fatten us up with the most wonderful food you could imagine. I'm really going to have to thrash out some serious miles on the bicycle to make up for the recent mass consumption of goodies. And the best is yet to come. Sunday night they're throwing an old-fashioned potluck and POUNDING to fill our cabinets. Our 7 year old Seth had never heard of a pounding and it sounded rather frightening to him. But we told him to leave his boxing gloves at home. All he needs for this event is an appetite.

This past Sunday was a great day for worship. Most people didn't know that we were going to be around this weekend. At the end of the service I slipped onto the platform and said a few words of greeting. We closed with a powerful time of prayer. There are exciting days ahead at First Wesleyan Church. You can sense the enthusiasm. There is an electricity that we believe is the Spirit of God preparing us for a season of great impact.

Oh, by the way. Our moving truck DID arrive yesterday so now we have actual furniture. The kids loved sleeping on camping cots and sitting on folding chairs, but last night I slept in a real bed...and it was VERY good! Now we just have to navigate our way through the maze of boxes stacked in every room.