Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

A Day at Chik-Fil-A

Our staff spent a day at the Chik-Fil-A headquarters in Atlanta, GA today. We spent some time in a training session with one of their top executives and took a tour of their corporate offices. The tour included the cafeteria (where they fed us lunch- incredible), a mini-museum of chik-Fil-A history, their fitness center and offices. We  got to visit Truett Cathy’s Office…

A replica of Willie Nelson (in Truett Cathy’s office)…

and a weird statue…

I’m not sure about the significance of the last two, but Mike did try to steal the recipe for the Chik-Fil-A sandwich…

The tour was fun, and it was good to experience the culture of servanthood and generosity that Chik-Fil-A exudes.  Here are some one liner takeaways from the session we spent on leadership…

  • Jesus was greatest leader in history.  He was a man of no reputation who led from influence, not position
  • Fish would be the last ones to discover water because they are surrounded by it.  We are rarely aware of how selfish our lives really are because it’s all around us.
  • My biggest leadership challenge will be overcoming my selfishness
  • It is always bad when we move from appreciating to expecting
  • Personally, we need to keep a running stream not a stagnant pool- we have to be a leader worth following
  • Only 1% of people have written self goals- I need to do this for my life
  • To become a “360 degree leader”, I must spend of my discretionary time 10% leading down, 50% in self leadership, 20% leading up and 20% leading across
  • When graduating from college, normally people focus on grades, resume and money
  • We should focus on talents (skills, knowlede, strengths), passions and adding value to an organization
  • Money should be the fruit of our labor not the object of it
  • Wanting to retire early proves you don’t like what you are doing
  • If you aren’t passionate about your job, your family suffers- you come home fully spent
  • Comparison is the thief of joy
  • “Do I want my kids working for him?” (the main question asked about a new Chik-Fil-A operator)
These are some great leadership lessons that I will be digesting for a long time.

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Customer Service

I had a terrible experience at Jackie’s doctor today.  She woke up with a terrible headache and couldn’t get out of bed.  They think it’s a viral infection, and they gave her some Lortab, so hopefully it will run it’s course soon.  The doctor is a really good doctor, but their office is run terribly.  So much so that I want Jackie to switch doctors after this experience.  When we walked up to the window, we were greeted with this…

I have never seen so many unprofessional signs and rules in my life.  Then I had to go to the bathroom and saw this…

Just in case we missed them at the front window, I guess.  And then when I left the bathroom on the other side of the door…

OK- I’m sure that all of these signs are a result of something that a patient did that created a problem for them.  But, is that really the best way to communicate all these things?  I felt on the defensive before I even talked to anyone.  On top of that, we got there at 10:30AM for an 11:00AM appointment because Jackie was in so much pain.  We waited until 12:00PM to see the doctor.  Not good.

Anyway, it was a good reminder to me about how you treat your “customers.”  I’m sure they feel that we are a captive audience and they don’t need to worry about it, but they are really underestimating the importance of treating people with respect and care.  I would not be surprised if their office is in decline.  We’ve often said that our volunteers at Athens Church are our most important “customers.”  They deserve to be treated, not with rules and unprofessional print outs, but with the level of respect and care that help them be the best that they can be.

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Every year, we have a mini-conference at North Point for all the Strategic Partners called n*rich.  It is a time of encouragement, training and idea sharing for all of our churches spread throughout the country.  I had a really great time catching up with everyone.  I always try to have a few “takeaways” when I attend things like this, so here’s mine…

1. The last session was done my Carlos Whittaker.  He runs the blog Ragamuffin Soul.  He casted some vision for how we as ministers can utilize the technologies of web 2.0 in ministry.  In fact, it’s the very reason I’m posting right now.  My goals are to keep up with 3 things…

He talked with us about how we can “cheat time” by using these tools because when we actually meet face to face with people we can have deeper conversations since we have been keeping up with each other through these tools. We don’t have to waste time with “what have you been up to.”  He also showed us how they can be used to connect with and appreciate our volunteers, teach people what we are learning and share our lives with people.  It was very compelling, and I’m going to give it a try.
2. Andy Stanley did our very first session on assumptions.  He said that our churches operate on a series of assumptions- some that we are aware of and some that we aren’t.  The example he gave for groups was that we assume “closed groups are more effective than open groups.”  It challenged me to spend some time thinking about my assumptions of Group Life and evaluate if they are correct or not.

3. In one of our round table discussions, Bryson Davis and Scott Mawdsley (married groups directors from North Point) joined us to share how they shepherd their leaders.  They mentioned that they use a free tool called Jott to make notes of their leader meetings.  I’m really excited about implementing this so that I can better document and keep track of what’s going on in our groups.

I’m really glad we went, and I think Group Life will be better at Athens Church because of it.

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A Great Video

On the Buckhead Church blog, Jeff posted this video and said “Each staff member in the video came up with their own way to interpret what Isaiah 53 meant to them.” It’s great. Take a look…

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Athens Egg Drop


Well, after months of planning, the Athens Egg Drop is in the books.  It was an amazing event.  A LOT of people came- I’m not sure how many. The event started at 10AM, and people started lining up at 8:30AM.  I could not believe how wave after wave of people kept coming.  I know we had 2,100 wristbands for kids, and we had to turn away hundreds of people just to keep things safe.  It was definitely successful in getting our name out into the community, and it was about as well organized as an event like this can be.  I think it’s safe to say that Athens has not seen anything like this in the past- especially from a church.  It will be interesting to see how many people give Athens Church a try tomorrow for Easter.  You can see pictures here.

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New Athens Church Videos


Mike and Courtney did an incredible job with these new videos. We are hoping they will help people get a taste for Athens Church when they visit our web site. Check them out…

Waumba Land


Extreme/Inside Out


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Good Eats, post #2


I had a lot of fun preaching yesterday. We were in part 3 of or current series Good Eats. You can dowload the mp3 of the talk here. I also got to fulfill one of my dreams and pretend to be a host on the food network. You can see that here.

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