Leadership

What’s Your One?

I love the topics on self development & personal growth. When I say love them, it’s not just like an occasional hobby but a daily habit. Not ONE day goes by that I don't watch, listen, or read something that betters, teaches, or inspires me in some way. But it wasn’t always like that.

I was blessed to have parents and a mentor instruct me and model a life of self development and personal growth. At a very young age they taught me Dr. John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid: Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. They taught me that learning was not just in a classroom. They taught me not to depend solely on anyone else for MY growth, but to go after it on my own and I am forever be grateful to them for that.

This blog is not necessarily for the person who already has their five year growth plan outlined or list of the next 20 books they want to read, but rather the person who knows they should be growing, wants to grow but doesn't know where to start. Honestly, it can be overwhelming with all the resources available today. I did some quick searches and here is what I found:

-There are 260,251 book titles on Amazon when I searched ‘self development’.

-There are 2,930,000 videos on YouTube when I search ‘personal growth’.

That’s not including podcasts, life coaches, conferences, leadership programs, etc…

I don’t want you to misinterpret what I’m about to say. I’m all about having vision and goals for your life. When starting something new, it’s ok to start small and with one thing at a time. It’s like a person who never goes to the gym, all of a sudden they show up on January 1st expecting to lift a crazy heavy amount. It doesn't work like that. You grow into it.

If your the type of person that gets easily overwhelmed, I would like for you to consider the following: just focusing on one. That’s either one podcast, one chapter, one class, one goal, one hour, one day, one step forward.

When I started picking up the habit of reading books, honestly I set myself up to win. How? I picked books about my favorite subjects, by my favorite authors, and the shortest books I could find. Why? Just so I could finish one book. And then I would begin another and another.

Similarly, when I began keeping my personal planner, I did not plan out months in advance but often times one week or even one day. I was young, it was new, other than school and church, I didn’t have much going on. But I knew it wouldn't always be like that. So I would write down what I was going to do tomorrow or when I had an upcoming test. I included events we had coming up at church and then services I was invited to speak at. Next thing you know I’m planning and reading more and more.

What’s your one? What’s one thing you can start doing right now that will move you forward in the right direction?

I have always found it interesting how some people say, “I just don't have enough time.” As if some people get more hours in a day than others. Equally interesting, it’s funny how people have time for NETFLIX but not for their NEXT STEP. Nothing against Netflix, I enjoy a good tv show as well, but can you imagine what would happen if we took the time we spent on lesser important things and focused them on things that really did matter? Imagine how many books, courses, or videos we could have completed? Imagine how much further you would be in accomplishing your goal. Time management and productivity is another passion of mine. But here is the summary: Don’t be so focused on two or three years from now that you miss out on TODAY.

When I skim through the Bible I see the the theme of TODAY throughout the scriptures beginning from page one. Two examples: Creation happened day by day and in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray for our daily bread. Could God have created everything in one moment? Of course. Could He provide for our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread? Yes! I really believe that He is trying to teach us something, which is: Today matters. It’s ok to start with one. You can break this into smaller pieces. Things that last often were made or built over time.

Psalm 119:105 includes the statement: "...Your word is a LAMP to my feet," not a spotlight. The difference? The spotlight reaches and shows you the end and long distance. A lamp doesn’t. A lamp shows you only your next step.

Again if you already have a rhythm for self development and personal growth then keep at it. If you don’t and are ready to take responsibility for it, what’s your one? What one goal do you want to work on? What’s one podcast you can start listening to? What’s one speaker you would like to learn more from? What’s one subject that you would like to grow in? Start with one but don't stay there.

What happens as you make these small (one) wins? They begin to add up. One win plus another win plus another win is how momentum and forward movement is produced.

Don’t fear learning or attempting new things, fear being the same person you are today exactly one year from now. A long time ago, I committed to not allowing that to happen to me. I refuse to stay the same person when it comes to my knowledge and skill. To this day, although I love reading and taking in more information than ever before, I still catch myself at times focusing on my one. I read one chapter a day, I watch one video from youtube, I sign up for one webinar, etc…

So now it’s up to you. What’s your one?

 

Joey Salazar is a passionate and fervent minister of the Gospel. Called into ministry at a very young age, he has committed his life to passionately delivering God’s word to both youth and adults from various walks of life. With his ability to communicate in both English and Spanish, Joey challenges hearers with a creative, upfront, and anointed message. Joey has graduated from multiple ministry internships including: Impact Now and Ignite. He studied Bible Institute at Southeastern Spanish District, and has served in different roles in ministry including: Assistant Pastor, Media Director, Internship Assistant Director, Graphic Artist, Musician, Youth Pastor, and Evangelist. He currently serves as Executive Pastor at Journey Church under the leadership of Pastors JJ and Liz Vasquez. Journey's mission is simple: Jesus should be accessible to anyone. He also serves as Executive Director with Next Gen, a movement designed to mentor and coach the next generation of church leaders. Joey is currently writing his first book, which will be available in the Fall of 2017. Joey, along with his beautiful wife, Zerelys, and both children, Joely and Joziah, reside in Orlando, FL.

Harvest

This year we experienced a GREAT EASTER WEEKEND! One thing I have learned about ministry around here, is that EASTER Weekend is a HUGE deal for us!  It is an opportunity for us to REACH PEOPLE we have never reached and tell them about Jesus.

However, with that grace of reaching people and seeing hundreds attend our services and ministry comes the high price of stewardship and responsibility.  The Bible teaches:

·      To whom much has been given, much is required - Luke 12:48

·      God gives the amount of the talent - it is our job to multiply the talent - Matthew 25:15

The Bible states that “he gave to each according to his own ability” - meaning if God has given us this type of influence, favor, and grace, He is affirming our ability.

I have learned that after Easter Weekend - comes the WORK!

I want to share with you some quotes I read recently from a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick.  I don't think it was by coincidence that I thought on these things. He preached a message on John 4:34-38, where Jesus is talking about the HARVEST.  He is telling His disciples that the HARVEST is ready.

Here are some notes I gathered:

·      The HARVEST is hard.

·      Sometimes you have to go through things that other people will walk around.

·      If God gives you what you are praying for, you might lose a few friends.

·      Reaping ain't easy.

·      You can't reap what you don't recognize.  Harvest is a problem if you're not ready to reap.

·      Harvest is a problem if you're not willing to increase your capacity.

·      The harvest is often hidden in the things you hate.

I grew up in Itasca Texas and I remember when the corn fields or the cotton fields were ready, you would see the combines and workers working all day and night to pull in the harvest. There is a season to pull in the harvest because if you don't, you could lose your crop! I know the excitement of Easter Weekend has passed, but now comes the true test of commitment and stewardship - HARVESTING what God sent us.

So how does that look like for us?

·      Get to the know the people attending our services

·      Making phone calls to first time guests

·      Following up with saved people

·      Assimilating new people into the Serve Team

·      Stepping up our personal spiritual game to meet the demands of the season

HARVEST is a blessing, but it is also hard work. Don't be fooled into thinking we can stop now. WE CAN'T STOP. Eternity depends on it.  Families are in need of it. People are looking for it. A city is waiting for it.

Let's go get the HARVEST!

"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest?' Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for HARVEST!" - John 4:35

Abram Gomez is the Executive Pastor of Cross Church, formerly known as Valley International Christian Center, in San Benito, TX. He serves under the leadership of Bishop Jaime Loya and helps in leading the 2,500-member congregation. Abram is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Church Ministries. He recently earned  his Master’s Degree in Human Services Counseling with a specialization in Executive Leadership from Liberty University. Abram is the founder and director of Next Gen, a movement designed to mentor Next Generation Church Leaders. Abram recently received approval as a team member and representative for Nation 2 Nation University, a video-based ministerial school offering two and four year degrees.  His teaching is a part of the curriculum including Youth Ministry, Church Administration and Church Growth. Occasionally, Abram writes for Valley Christian Magazine, a regional periodical that covers the entire valley.  He and his wife, Rebecca, reside in Harlingen along with their precious daughter Isabella and son Jude.

Among the Sirens

Take a step with me. Close your eyes it's Monday morning. You're sitting in traffic sipping your coffee and already begin to have the wheels in your head start to spin of what you need to do today. What you will eat, and how much sleep you'll get all while the radio plays and the phone rings? We develop that cycle of tunnel vision of what the week will bring without seeing what’s around us and the blessings of what is to come with every morning we wake of the week. All of a sudden, you hear in the distance the muffled sound of an ambulance coming towards you and the lights and sirens fly by as you swerve out of the way. In an instant you forget all those thoughts crowding your head of what is to come and be done on your schedule.

This is how I see God’s need to calm our storms. Leaders, in Zechariah 2:5 it states, "And I myself will be a fire around it and I declares the lord will be its glory within"

No matter how packed our schedules can be or the worries weighing down our shoulders, there is a God who will be a wall around you and protect you in whatever battles we face even when our mind is crowded.  We forget this sometimes, and that is when He will come and be the glory within. He will protect you like sirens that warn you of what is approaching your way.

When we find ourselves overwhelmed or unable to handle the tasks we face in “you name it” ministry, our careers, college, etc. and we need a reminder of the protection, we have of our lord we can look to. No matter the aches or routines of everyone around, just like the sirens that symbolize a fast approaching comfort to someone in need we have a God who is with us everyday and through every "To Do List." He will be the force of glory always approaching to bring comfort for you. Sometimes we need to look in that rear view mirror and hear the sounds God sends to say He is with us and is by our side.

Things that stick out to me from each level:

1. Your job title - this is when you initially get the promotion. You don't have the skills yet to lead. Your co-workers follow because they feel they have to.

This leads to you not getting the best of people.

2. You will see the switch of them following because they want too.

Relationships are made and formed. This is the foundation of the bond you make with your co-workers. If you antagonize your co-workers, you can't influence them. You need to LISTEN WELL, OBSERVE, and LEARN THE ATTIUDES OF SERVANTHOOD. Start to grow beyond your title.

3. You will be an effective leader because you produce by example and show creditability. Always model what you want to see.

We will always attract workers who reflect who we are.

*Momentum is a leaders best friend.

4. This is a people development level. When you increase their capacity you increase yours.

A. Recruitment is the key

B. Bring the right people to the right spot. Successful leaders put people in the right spot

C. Equip well

5. They will follow you.

You earn respect for what you have accomplished. It takes time and will always be an on going process.

My name is Morgan Putbrese and I am twenty years old. I attend Cross Church (Mcallen campus). I have experience serving in the youth ministry. I am an EMT here in the Rio Grande Valley and I am currently going to school for my Paramedic certification. 

You Aren't Called to Be Average

When I look at society at large and those who lead it, there is one blaring question: Where are the Christians in places of prominence who are leading our society? Yes, there are certainly Christians in some positions of leadership in various arenas—but when it comes to leading, creating, and influencing culture, we are lagging behind the world. Which leads us to ask the question: why?

As Christians we are empowered by the grace of God, and God’s very Spirit resides inside of us—so why are we as a church often found imitating the world’s methods rather than leading?

Consider this account of Daniel:

Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. —Daniel 6:3 NIV

First things first—notice this is in the Old Testament, meaning Jesus had not yet made us clean and paved the way for the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our hearts. That means Daniel did this under an inferior covenant! That is astounding.

Next, notice it doesn’t say, “God distinguished Daniel.” Every major Bible translation says that it was Daniel who “distinguished himself.” The Message Bible states it this way:

But Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other vice-regents and governors that the king decided to put him in charge of the whole kingdom. —Daniel 6:3 MSG

How did Daniel do it? He had exceptional qualities because he was a man who was connected with God. It should be no different for anyone who has the Spirit of God living inside them. In fact, it should be better. He did all this under the old covenant, which we are no longer under. Hebrews 8:6 tells us that because of Jesus, “the new covenant is established on better promises.”

The New American Standard Bible says, “Daniel began distinguishing himself…because he possessed an extraordinary spirit.” The word extraordinary means “to go beyond the norm, to break out of the status quo, to exceed the common measure.”

As a people filled with God’s Spirit and empowered by His grace, under a new and better covenant than even Daniel had, we are called to rule in life. But don’t take my word for it. Look at Paul’s words to the Roman church. He says:

“All who receive God’s abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ.” —Romans 5:17 TEV

As a believer, you are not called to just get by. You are not called to blend into the crowd. Nothing of the sort. You are called to rule in life. God made you to be extraordinary—and He’s placed His Spirit inside you to set you apart!

If you are a teacher, empowered by God’s grace, you should inspire students in a way that makes others marvel and ask you what you are doing differently. If you are in business, you should be ahead of the market, at the cutting edge of innovation. If you are an artist, others should look to you for creative ideas, wanting to replicate the originality of your work. The same principle applies if you’re a musician, researcher, athlete, scientist, politician, police officer, flight attendant, or stay-at-home mom, or if you’re in the media, the military, or any other arena of life.

Again, remember the words of Paul in Romans—our mandate as Christians is to rule. Like Daniel, we are to distinguish ourselves by God’s empowering presence on our lives.

It’s time the world looked to the church for inspiration and not the other way around. It’s time we begin living our lives with such a degree of excellence that we move into positions of influence in every arena of society. Not only do I believe this is possible—I believe it is a part of our calling—it’s God’s mandate on us as His followers. May we recognize our God-given identity as sons and daughters, rely on His empowering grace, and in a world of average, begin to distinguish ourselves for God’s glory.

 

John Bevere and his wife Lisa are the founders of Messenger International. A minister and best-selling author, John delivers messages of uncompromising truth with boldness and passion. His desire is to support the local church and resource leaders regardless of location, language, or financial position. To this end, his resources have been translated into over 90 languages, and millions of copies have been given away to pastors and leaders worldwide. When he’s home, John tries to convince Lisa to take up golf and spends time with his four sons, daughter-in-law, and grandbabies.

Keys for an Effective Ministry Leadership Team

It was said best by John C. Maxwell, “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team”. The importance of that quote dug deep into my mindset as I sat at my computer for days on end trying to think of original and genuine words to speak about. I realized shortly after seeing that quote just how important it is to have a good team that is in sync with the goal. What is the ultimate goal by the way? All our goals may be worded differently but they should all ultimately lead to serving God. Why? Why should they? Because we must be sure that our goals align with God’s will for us. If they contradict the Word and character of God, they will not bring us happiness. Moving towards a focused group of leadership, our ministry should reflect the Word of God. The following keys will help you to have an effective leadership team:

1.     Creating a Team

We must pick out a solid group of individuals who understand the importance of their role in the church. Individuals who have a consistent and growing relationship with God, and are willing to be servants. John 13:12-15 states, “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you”.

2.     Staying Organized

Having an organized system is extremely important. Mostly because once we start digging into the next couple of keys for an effective team we need to have our vision clear as opposed to chaotic. In addition, the roles everyone oversees should be very simple to remember in order to refrain from mistakes. The best way to do this is to be patient with new leaders. Train them by setting an example, and by always being organized and prompt. There are methods such as keeping a planner, google calendar, and other applications that are helpful tools when it comes to staying organized. 1 Corinthians 14:10 states, “But all things should be done decently and in order.”

3.     Staying Focused

Writing down what the team values within the church, what is not working, and what they wish to see changed and done differently are very important steps. Everybody sees things with a different perspective, so being open minded allows room for improvement. Whatever your team’s goal may be, examine it carefully and be sure that the main purpose is leading back to Christ. We must be still and consult the Lord before we move forward. Seeking His guidance in any decision that needs to be made in our lives will allow us to make wise choices wile submitting to his will as opposed to being impulsive. Not only will we be fascinated by reaching our destination but we will also enjoy the journey. Habakkuk 2:2 states, “And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it”.

4.     Staying Faithful                       

It is known that “faith can move mountains”. Well I come to you as a living testimony that it sure can. We as a team need to have enough faith for our entire church. If we don’t, how could we expect anybody else to? We are leading. We are setting an example. Not only through our words, but our actions as well. We need to show our church members and youth that we serve a mighty God! A God who accomplishes the impossible. A God who is never-failing, trustworthy, faithful, loving, and always has our best interest in mind. If we truly believe that we weren’t made to live mediocre lives, then we can be an inspiration to those around us as well, and with that comes humility. The Lord’s will always exceeds our own, and we need to be sure that we have humble hearts that are ready to receive all the blessings God has in store for us. Times will get difficult and trials will come our way, but we must remain faithful because there may be a single moment that we live on faith alone, and someone is watching and learning how to do the same. That is a true Christ-seeking leader that has the ability to change someone’s life simply through their character. 2 Chronicles 15:7 states, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded”.

5.     Staying Committed, Diligent and Motivated

Before we even agree to be a leader, we need to make sure that we will commit. Regardless of how busy our lives can become; we cannot give up. If anything, we need to say no to things we may want to do but take us away from our duties of being a leader. This is the sacrifice of being committed to a task. If we want to see our church grow and accomplish our mission for that year, then we need to commit ourselves to the Lord. He will provide all our needs. We must not worry about anything but have faith that everything will work out for His glory. We must be diligent in our efforts. Any goal requires hard work for it to be achieved. Finally, we must stay motivated. We must ask ourselves why we are working so hard for our goal, and if our motives are selfish. We need to operate with healthy and selfless, hearts. Matthew 17:20 states. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

My name is Krista Isabel Cruz and I am twenty-two years old. I currently minister at Trinity Baptist Church, as the worship leader, children's minister and youth service assistant. I am a graduate of Texas A&M International University and will be attending Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California in the fall of 2017.

 

How to Lead an Effective Meeting

Over the years, I have coordinated LOTS of meetings.  Both small and great.  

I have learned that there is a skill behind a good, effective meeting.  Being able to coordinate and host a good meeting creates upscale potential for you to get recognized in your organization for your effectiveness.

If you are an administrative assistant, ministry director, or even a Pastor, here are a few thoughts on what is required for a good meeting:

· Plan ahead.  Do not wait until the day of.  Planning helps to prevent failure.  "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

· Have an agenda.  Take people's time seriously.  An agenda makes sure that you talk about the essential items, and that you remember.

· Create a set time.  Start on time, and end on time.  Don't let the meeting go on and on. Tell the people what time you want to end.  People will respect that.  You give them an outlet.  

· Decide on whether food is an option or not.  Think this ahead.  Some rooms or places may not allow food.  Are people going to be getting off of work to attend the meeting?  Is it during lunch?  Is food really necessary?  Again - ask the right questions.

· Media needs.  Decide whether or not you are going to need PowerPoint, graphics, or show a video.  Does the room have the technology for this (televisions, projector, screens)?  If they do, then I would conduct a test before the meeting.  It never fails - something may go wrong.  Loading takes time.  What's the wifi passcode?  Again, investigate to find answers.

· Music.  I would suggest to have a speaker or songs ready to fill in "awkward" quiet space if necessary.  Not all meetings require this, but it helps in certain settings.  Music helps to create energy, and lack of music can hinder the energy in the room.

· Send reminders leading up to the meeting.  People are busy.  People forget.  A friendly reminder takes nothing away from you, and people will be grateful.  Don't overdo it, but keep it cordial and gentle.

· Check the room.  If you are hosting the meeting outside of your typical sphere, I would recommend to go check it out in advance.  Notice the setting.  Where are the restrooms? Do you have access to control the air?  What is limited?  Any other potential distractions you should be aware of?

· Keep the conversation moving forward.  If you are the facilitator of the meeting, do your best to keep the focus of the meeting.  Remember why the meeting was called in the first place.  Don't allow sidebar conversations to highjack the meeting.  If people want to connect over other types of topics, they can do so after the meeting.

· Action points.  Meetings are meant to discuss a topic and go from there.  Action is generally required.  If there were action points discussed in the meeting, go over it in the summary at the end of the meeting.  What was decided upon?  Who is doing what? I would recommend to  send a follow up email to include a thank you, a summary, and the written action points.  I have done this repeatedly in the past, and it helps to document.

Meetings are often a part of work and business.  However, they do not have to be ineffective, nor do they need to be a waste of time and space.  

In whatever you do, do it well.

 

Abram Gomez is the Executive Pastor of Cross Church, formerly known as Valley International Christian Center, in San Benito, TX. He serves under the leadership of Bishop Jaime Loya and helps in leading the 2,500-member congregation. Abram is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Church Ministries. He recently earned  his Master’s Degree in Human Services Counseling with a specialization in Executive Leadership from Liberty University. Abram is the founder and director of Next Gen, a movement designed to mentor Next Generation Church Leaders. Abram recently received approval as a team member and representative for Nation 2 Nation University, a video-based ministerial school offering two and four year degrees.  His teaching is a part of the curriculum including Youth Ministry, Church Administration and Church Growth. Occasionally, Abram writes for Valley Christian Magazine, a regional periodical that covers the entire valley.  He and his wife, Rebecca, reside in Harlingen along with their precious daughter Isabella and son Jude.