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Archive for November, 2007

Gift Cards

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Despite Seth Godin’s post about the evils of gift cards, I love to give and receive them. To me, it is a way to communicate that you know what the person likes but still give them the freedom to choose what they really want from that store. Today, I was on a quest to buy a Lowe’s gift card, two Best Buy gift cards and two Old Navy gift cards. I was all set for my trek around town until I remembered that I had seen some gift cards in pharmacies every now and then. So, I stopped at our local Rite Aid here in Watkinsville and found next to nothing. They had a few, but nothing I wanted. Just as I was about to give up, I remembered the CVS right across the street. Jackpot! I don’t know about your local CVS, but I have never seen so many gift cards in one place. They had a movable display broken up into 4 categories of literally dozens of stores and restaurants around town and around the country. There were cards from JC Penney, Old Navy, Circuit City, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Southwest Airlines, Spa Finder- you name it, they probably have it- there were well over 50 different cards. So, if you are a fan of giving gift cards, CVS may save you a lot of driving this holiday season.  By the way, if you are looking for a gift card to buy me, here you go. 🙂

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Passing the Torch

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The legend continues.  Fifteen years after his father dominated the Christian school scene by winning the state championship in reciting the books of the Bible the fastest, Tyler Jones begins his quest to achieve the same success.  Well, it’s a start anyway…

Westminster Christian Academy (where Tyler attends kindergarten) updated their web site and Tyler made the front page of scrolling pictures.  Who can resist that smirk or that sweaty head?

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Five Years

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I’ve reached the five year mark in full time vocational ministry, and I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned so far. Hopefully, this is just the beginning, and God plans to use me in this way for the rest of my life. If I were talking to someone who was just starting out, and they were asking my advise about ministry, these are the three things that I’d tell them…

1. Know Yourself.

I’ve met so many people in ministry who think they are good at something, and they aren’t. Most often this happens in a lead pastor or senior pastor role. For some reason, this is seen as the pinnacle of ministry, and many people aspire to the position. However, I’ve come to see that God has gifted very few people to work effectively in this role. This may be one of the big reasons so many church plants fail. There are many people in lead roles that would do so much better in an associate role. For me, I know that God has not gifted me to be a lead pastor, but I am gifted to work in a support role for men that God has gifted this way. It is very freeing to embrace how God has made you.

2. Do as little work yourself as possible.

It is our default to do everything ourselves. We think we can do it the best and so we kill ourselves to work on every detail of every project. I am beginning to understand that this is not good leadership. Training, empowering and overseeing other people to do the work of ministry is much better. It does two main things. First, it helps new leaders get experience. Apprenticing the leaders of tomorrow is a responsibility we need to take more seriously. The other thing it does is free us up to do the things that we really need to be doing. In my job, one of the best uses of my time is spent pouring into the lives of our group leaders. When I am taking care of the minutia of Group Life, all my time is sucked up into other things. I try to make it a practice now to constantly ask the question, “Who can I get to do this for me?”

3. Keep it simple.

This is an overall ministry practice that we are learning and becoming more convinced of every day. The biggest reason churches become ineffective is that they become too complex. When we try to do a lot of things, the quality of what we do goes down. Instead of asking “What can we add to make our ministry more effective?”, we need to be asking, “How can we make what we are doing right now more effective?” This is true for our churches as a whole and our individual ministries. It’s a question I’m beginning to ask about Group Life. Even three years in, new ideas are on the horizon. I must continue to stay committed to the simplicity of our model. It helps us stay focused and sharp.

I can’t wait to see what God teaches me in the next five years!

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One of the blogs I follow is Joshclark.com.  It’s the site that taught me how to get free stuff.  A little while ago, he wrote a post about Blingo.  I signed up under him, and so far I have won a $5 gift certificate to Fandango.  Below is what he wrote about it.  If it sounds good to you, sign up under me, and I will win whatever prizes you win.  You can do the same thing for your friends…

I don’t know about you, but I use Google several times a day. It’s my homepage, in fact.
Well, what if there were a way you could win stuff for doing something you already do anyway?

Meet Blingo.

A search engine powered by Google, but with a twist. Use their site to search and you still get the same Google search results, but each search is a chance to instantly win any of these prizes:

• Brand New Ford Escape or $20,000 cash
• $5,000 Cash
• Home Theatre Package or $2,500 cash
• $2,500 Cash
• $1,000 Cash Every Thursday
• $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate
• Fandango Movie Ticket

Simple as that. Just search like you normally do, but each time you have a chance at winning (up to 25 chances per day, though you can do more searches than that).  If you win, you’ll see a special screen instead of your search results.

Blingo Friends
You can also refer people to Blingo, and when they sign up under you they become one of your “Blingo Friends.” Then, if any one of them wins a prize, you get the same prize, even if it’s a new car.
People who sign up under you can still refer other people as their own Blingo Friends.

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Here is the promo for part 2 of the series, “overflow.”

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