Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ray Jones is the primary writer of a new journal - Will You Worship? Read his newest blog on leadership. I was privileged to help with the project for the past 18 months. More about Ray, the WYW vision and the journal is coming soon.

To be great for God first we must be great with God. I am not the first to say that so don't quote me. The Will You Worship? worship coaching journal (offically released in mid-January) begins at the place where God influences us most - alone with Him.

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

John Maxwell said it years ago. Leadership is influence. But since the Maxwell leadership revolution began we have fallen into the trap of making leadership we try to do. We guys are particularly guilty of wanting to be the alpha male in the room. We know what really needs to be done and we secretly view ourselves as the smartest guy in the room. The only thing missing is a group (preferably very large) of willing followers who recognize our greatness.

If leadership is something you do than you may spend your life waiting to be noticed. You may dream about being elevated to the right platform. But if leadership is who you are - then your job starts today on the real platform. God has moved you into a neighborhood and that includes where you live, work, and play. That neighborhood is the greatest platform to influence in the history of the world.

The real question might not be, What would Jesus do? but Who would Jesus be? Jesus influenced by being Jesus not doing Jesus: The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish (John 1:14 MSG). How about that for leadership?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tebow is Changing the Conversation - Listen!

52 million people went to church in America last Sunday according to researcher David T. Olson. Today 106 million people will spend an average of 6 hours exposed to ESPN media. They will hear the name "Tebow" a few 100 times and I am glad. ESPN speaks the heart language of America. And it is amazing to watch two parts of culture (faith and sports) collide in Tim Tebow's story.

I listened to Colin Cowherd's podcast from yesterday and was impressed as he discussed his theology of miracles. He has swallowed the Tebow Kool-Aid (me too), not so much as a NFL quarterback, but as a person of faith. In the long haul that is where I want the discussion to go. How about you? Truth is I don't like sticking my neck out for another person's faith any more than I like doing it for their throwing motion. This conversation, however, must continue.

Here is why what is happening is great. The discussion of faith, miracles and yes, Christianity has left our comfortable home court of the local church and landed at ESPN (and many other media outlets). ESPN is where people go in mass on a daily basis. The conversation might feel more awkward at times - but isn't that where it has the most potential?

The overall attendance numbers in our churches are in a state of decline. We love the safety and security of home court advantage but the crowds are smaller than ever. We preach with little opposition because our fan base makes up the majority of the crowd. Results? Well, that is up to God. Right? At best we may decide to preach louder or tougher in order to win those to Jesus who aren't listening anyway.

All of us need to shut-up for a season. Then we need to listen, ask great questions and learn how other people think. We have an unusual opportunity to learn and apply relevant principles of influence for Christ that are as old as the Bible. Let’s seize the day and continue the conversations. What do you think?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Reasons Vol Fans will Know More about Derek Dooley Soon

Face the facts Vol fans. Derek Dooley was no one's first choice for head coach including AD Mike Hamilton. Timing was everything for Dooley. Given better circumstances, Dooley would not even have made Hamilton’s short list.

Dooley inherited a Volunteer football program that was decimated. Even the most zealous fan did not expect much last year. But it is football time in Tennessee and time to turn the page. If Tennessee is going to be an SEC football power this decade then the stage is set for a next step in 2011. If Dooley is a keeper we will see improvement. No fearless predictions except . . . we will know more soon. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. A Favorable 2011 Schedule – Eight home games including Montana ,Buffalo,  and Middle Tennessee feels nice (we hope). With any level of talent you have 6 wins - so the challenge is to overcome a typical SEC gauntlet. However, Georgia, LSU, and South Carolina are in Knoxville.

2. A Solid Recruiting Class - Under the circumstances, a Rival's recruiting class ranked 13th is acceptable. DeAnthony Arnett (WR - Michigan) and Marlin Love (RB - Florida) leads a group of 12 - 4 star recruits that proves the Vols have national recruiting potential.

3. A Young Starting QB with Experience - True freshman Tyler Bray was impressive in 2010 (18 TD's - 10 INT’s). If he continues the natural maturing process and proves to be the real deal, Derek Dooley might look like the real deal soon thereafter.

4. Another Year in Dooley’s System – Besides the departure of defensive line coach Chuck Smith and strength coach, Benny Wylie everything stays the same on the Vol football staff. That means a lot to a program that saw three head coaches and wholesale chaos the previous three years. Three recruiting classes and two spring practices should give fans a read on the relevance of Derek Dooley football in the SEC.

5. No Pressure – An energized Vol fan base will enter 2011 with realistic expectations after the Fulmer and Kiffin train wrecks. No visions of SEC Championship games or BCS invites should be dancing in fans’ heads yet. Eight wins, one against Florida, LSU, or Alabama, and a bowl one step up from the Music City Bowl should cause the Gatorade to flow in Knoxville. What's your Vol win total prediction in 2011?