Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Big Move

A delayed flight has Peyton and I arriving in Akron at 1:00am tonight, but our spirits are not dampened! We're excited to see our Akron friends again, really excited to have a road trip with some of the best friends a guy could hope for, and for having a place in Jacksonville to call "home" and unpack our belongings.

We'll get a U-Haul truck tomorrow (Thursday), run a few errands, and get things organized for the load-in. Hopefully by Friday afternoon we're all loaded up and we can hit the road for Jacksonville. We'll drive straight through the night, and arrive at the house we're renting around mid-day on Saturday. Load-out should go fairly quickly (we'll take any help we can get!) and then we can get some much-needed sleep Saturday night. Sunday we'd like to do something fun on the water while Stephanie drives down with the rest of the kids. Dinner together Sunday evening, before Eric, Dave, and Anthony drive back to Ohio (through the night). Stephanie and I will run some errands on Monday (like getting our Florida drivers licenses) before heading back to ATL.

Swing by our new digs (we're at I-95 and 210) and say "Hey" if you're around this weekend. Carry a box, or just cheer and tell us how strong and manly we are!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Service Programming Director

It's with great fondness that Stephanie and I welcome Rob & Beth Lott to our budding staff family! We've known Rob since he was in junior high and we're still amazed at his ability win our hearts on and off the stage. Somehow, he won Beth's heart as well, (a great mystery to be further explored) and the two of them have been married for four years, now. Rob & Beth have been in Orlando and Tokyo for the last five years in various entertainment roles with Walt Disney, and Sea World. Rob's role in the church will be to make our environments irresistible, particularly Sunday mornings. While Rob will not be directly leading worship from the stage, he will be indirectly leading us in worship as he plans and executes the myriad details of creating foyer environments with excellence.

Rob & Beth are looking forward to joining us in Alpharetta for the next few weeks and then on to Jacksonville. (Right, guys?) Expect to see them active not only in the church, but in local community theatre as well. Get ready, Jacksonville!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Choosing to Cheat

We're two weeks past Leadership Summit, and I've enjoyed reading some of the buzz out there about Andy's talk at the Summit.

In case you missed out, Willow Creek sponsors a huge leadership training event each August in South Barrington, IL. Hundreds of churches around the world pick it up on satellite, and something like 70,000 people watch it live. This year, Andy chose to share his 'best leadership decision ever', also detailed in his book, "Choosing to Cheat."

It's a message desperately needed in our culture today. He essentially says that we're trading in our families for work, and that includes pastors. Some time ago he and Sandra settled on a 45-hour work week, and devotes the rest to family.

Now, I come from a really great, really healthy church. But, this was not the culture there! Our senior pastor worked 70+ hours a week, and the bar was clearly set for the rest of us. Everyone on ministry staff was expected to work 52-60 hours, and take only one day off each week. The idea there was that we never wanted to be "slackers"—our kingdom work was just as important as any business, and we would prove (by time in the office?) to be just as dedicated as anyone in the marketplace was to their job.

The problem with that mindset is that we were playing catch-up. We were always trying to "prove" that we were working hard, in fact harder than those in the marketplace. Andy's approach is pretty much the opposite. Andy figures that as church leaders we should be setting the standard, not following someone else's standard. As pastors, we should be spending adequate time shepherding our families, and challenging those in our church to do the same.

Besides the text messages coming from my former colleagues in Ohio, we at North Point have heard from lots of folks around the country that can't believe this is really true. "Does Andy really live this?" they want to know. Well, I'm a newbie at North Point, but in my five weeks here I have repeatedly seen Andy head out the door at 4pm. The whole staff takes two days off each week. Astonishing.

You ought to pick up a copy of the book, especially if you're struggling with balancing work and family. I'll tell you perhaps the most important way it fleshes out at North Point: as a pastor, you have to decide if the success of the church is dependent upon your effort or God's. Now, certainly God wants us to work hard, but he hasn't called us to love the church, but to love our wives. And He hasn't called us to build the church—that's his job. I really think this decision is yet another of Andy's that springs from his humility. Andy Stanley really believes that the success of North Point is because of something God has done, not because of what Andy has done.

What do you guys think? Is it okay for a pastor to work only 45 hours? Is it okay to "cheat" the congregation in order to spend more time with family?