5 Steps for Achieving Goals

It’s a brand new year!   Happy New Year!

And by now, one month has almost passed for 2018.

You’ve had time to work on some goals, and opportunities to do something different this year over these past few weeks.  Hopefully, you have taken steps in the right direction towards the changes you want to see!

But if you haven’t, it’s okay.  We have all been there. But, we don’t have to stay there!

I have learned a secret:  if nothing changes, nothing changes.

In other words, if we do not intentionally change something we do daily or weekly, the results we are receiving will not change.  If we do not change our routines or habits that could aid in accomplishing our goals, we will be standing at the end of the year wondering where did the time go?

Here are some things to ponder:

·      Time is going to continue to press forward.

·      Being busy is not an excuse.

·      It is not going to happen overnight.

I have learned from my own personal experience that if I want to achieve my goals for the year, then I need to create actionable steps and habits in my weekly schedule to give me the results I want to see!

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

Here are 5 steps for you to accomplish your goals:

1.  Decide what you want.

I know it may sound simple, but this practice is to help bring some clarity to your own soul.  What is it that you want to accomplish this year?

·      Do you want to go back to school?

·      Do you want to buy a home?

·      Do you want to try a new career?

·      Do you want to read more books?

·      Do you want to get into the best physical shape of your life?

·      Do you want more of God in your life?

Give yourself a fair chance to win.  You cannot hit a target that has not been identified.

2.  Write it down.

Right?  Again, another simple practice, but lots of people never take the time down to write down what they want to accomplish.

Did you know that people who write down their goals on paper (or digital format) are more than likely to accomplish their goals?  It’s true!  Great men and women have practiced writing down thoughts and ideas for hundreds of years.

Even the books and letters of the Bible are here today because the authors WROTE IT DOWN!

“When you write things down, they sometimes take you places you hadn’t planned.” – Melanie Benjamin

Pull out a sheet of paper.  Buy a journal.  Open your laptop.  Use the notes feature on your iPhone.  

3.  Share it with someone.

Okay, I know this makes you a bit vulnerable to others.  You are sharing things with someone that might be a bit personal.  But, I would encourage you to share your goals with someone you trust and someone that believes in you.  Also, if it’s really private, then use discretion.

The goal here is not to spread TMI (too much information), but to create a healthy accountability for you.  When others know what we desire to do or should be doing, it helps us to strive for the prize.

As long as you keep it private, you may not feel the healthy “pressure” to make it happen.  And here’s the bonus:  it’s not for them, but it’s for YOU!

4.  Schedule it into your calendar.

Let’s say you desire to read more books this year.  Okay, what books specifically?  And when you have selected your books, which book will you read first?  And once you have your first book, what part of the day or which days will you schedule some reading time?

I know – not all are scheduled people.  But the point here is to say that if it’s not on the schedule, it doesn’t exist.  If we don’t create space to achieve the habit required to meet the goal, we will not reach the goal.  Plain and simple.

You are worth it.  

You may not feel like those small changes in your daily routine are making a difference, but trust me, they do!  Small changes daily are magnified over time.

5.  Review periodically.

Now, here is where discipline really comes in – at the end of the month or every quarter, review your progress.

Personally, I check my personal and professional goals every month.  I want to know how I am doing.

Just like we check the scoreboard at football games to know who is winning, your year needs a scoreboard to know if you are down or up.  If you are down, make adjustments.  If you are up, keep doing what you are doing.  

You can either make progress or make excuses, but you cannot do both.

Now, get out there and go win!

Define Your Vision with Values

In recent decades, we have seen the emergence of books, seminars and conferences that bring secular leadership principles to the church setting.  Additionally, more and more civic and business leaders are becoming active in their local churches, exerting a corporate influence on church leadership.  This has undoubtedly been a blessing to the kingdom of God.  It has fostered a spirit of excellence and professionalism in the body of Christ that represents the kingdom well.

While secular leadership and church leadership share many sound ideas, they flow out of starkly different visions.  The jargon of each idea highlights opposite purposes: “gains” vs. “grace”, “success” vs. “salvations”, “profits” vs. “praise”, “losses” vs. “longsuffering” – you get the idea.  So, before we talk about vision, we need to talk about values.  Vision is what we do.  Values are who we are.  No matter how great the vision is or how clear we can communicate it, if we don’t embrace the correct values, then we cannot expect God to prosper our work. Here are a few virtues that should define your vision. 

Obedience. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).  Obedience is not solely our duty to Him, it is also our expression of love for Him.  We must be people of God before doing the work of God.  Google “obedience” and you’ll find this definition: submission to another’s authority. Don't ever forget that!  We are under His command.  “Dreaming is free” is a catchy phrase, but we are not free to dream our own dream.  Our vision should center on God’s – “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9)”.  Our pursuit is obedience, before results. 

Compassion.  In ministry, passion alone is not enough.  Visionaries see needs – and it compels them.  God pointed Moses to the captivity of Israel.  David came to an army overpowered by fear.  Esther saw a nation in exile.  Jesus paid the sins of a helpless humanity.  None of them were concerned with success or fame, it was compassion that drove them. 

Relationships.  Spiritual leadership requires more than solely responsibilities.  It requires relationships.  Jesus called the twelve, “disciples”, but eventually he called them “friends”.  In other words, you must love on the people you lead.  And those relationships should deepen over time.  Ministry doesn’t serve clients.  It serves God’s children.  

Authority.  Authority is not the same as power.  The Pharisees were inferior to Christ in power, yet they abused the little power they had.  Jesus on the other hand, had all the power in the world.  He could have demanded that people follow.  In fact, He could have forced them.  But what had people in awe of Christ was His authority.  “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.” Power usually gets results through fear.  Authority gets results through love.  In business, employees fear losing their jobs if they don’t submit to leadership.  In ministry, people love the benefits of following a godly leader.

How do you want to produce results?  Love overcomes fear.  The greatest commandment is love.  God is love.  Let your vision be defined by love.  Entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, Robert Clancy puts it this way, “Great leaders may be found at the top of the mountain looking back upon their challenges, but the greatest leaders are often found at the foot of the mountain still helping others reach the summit.”

- Pastor Chali 

Chali Martinez is passionate about spreading the transformational gospel of Jesus Christ.  His unique speaking style blends passion, humor, and clarity and has made Pastor Chali a highly solicited international speaker.  Having accepted the call to ministry at age 16, Chali now has over 20 years of ministerial experience having served as a singer, songwriter, evangelist, and youth pastor.  In 2013 Chali and his lovely wife Carla founded Vital Church in McAllen, Texas, now one of the fastest growing churches in South Texas and where they currently serve as lead pastors.  Chali and Carla are the proud parents of two young boys, Dante and Luca. 

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.

5 Things I've Learned Being A Pastor

1. Your work is never done

2. You can't do it alone

3. Build a strong team around you

4. You can say no

5. Never stop learning.

The more you learn, the better your team gets. Being a Pastor is totally different then being a leader in a ministry. As a leader you oversee one ministry. As a pastor you oversee the whole ministry. I have been a Pastor for two years and it been an amazing and difficult journey.

No one ever explains how difficult it was going to be or that there were going to be days that you feel you can't do it. Perhaps there are days that you just want to give up. But God always reminds me "I chose you and I didn't make a mistake." I wouldn't change anything I have gone through as a Pastor. Everything I have gone through has only made me stronger.

Before joining tribe a year ago, I felt like I was in a boat and I did not know which direction to go. When my wife and I joined tribe we didn't know what we were getting into but we knew God had a plan. We learned a lot. Not only did we try to figure out which direction God was leading, but also how to lead and mentor other people. There were ways that the Tribe helped to guide us and communicate with us and I started using those ways and resources with our church.

The most important thing I've learned is that you are never alone. There are other pastors and leaders that feel the same way I did. I didn't just get help but I was able to make new friends and mentors. More importantly, my wife and I continue to be part of a family that continues to grow. We ain't Tribe, We are family.


Hello my name is George Zapata Jr. Two years ago I became the Senior Pastor at New Wine Church in La Feria, Texas. I was previously served as Music Pastor. Education 2005-2006 Dallas Baptist University 2001 San Antonio College CNS. 

5 Ways to Reach Millennials

Recently, I’ve heard people coining this word, “millennial.” It’s a word that hasn’t been used unless you are in the classes of social studies, but I’m not here to give a detailed explanation of what a millennial is. To make a long definition short, I believe a millennial is someone living in today’s generation. Not just someone, but a youth, young person. You would think that everyone talks so highly of millennials, however everywhere I step, they talk so down about this generation. I feel like a lot of people today have lost hope for our future and destiny.

Believe it or not, the generation of today, are the world changers for tomorrow. We cannot disown the youth of today. We cannot do away with who God created.  If He hasn’t called you, He’s called them! As a youth director, part of a local church, and a tutor that is part of a public school I’d like to share with you 5 practical ways to help reach today’s generation.

1.     You have to believe for their future and not their past.

If you were to put yourself in the mind of a teenager, you’d always have someone remind you of your struggles and flaws, and never remind you of where your going. Often times I hear young people in the secular world who have people that they trust in their lives always look down on them. They say that they will never amount to anything because of what they’ve done or did. Where is the hope we have for them? If you work in the school system and or your local church and you’re heavily involved with youth, you need to be able to believe the best for them, not the worst. Students need to hear where they are going, not where they’ve been. That’s a mistake our world has. They remind them of their past, but as a leader you need to be able to remind them of their glorious future. Speak life for their future, and speak death to their past.

2.     You have to relate, not resist.  

Being involved in both youth ministry and education is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do. I once heard one of my professors quote during school, “in order for you to teach middle school or high school, you have to be able to relate to the students.” A lot of time we don’t understand what students go through because we don’t have the time to relate to them. In order for you to reach the next generation you have to relate to them. Don’t resist them just because they don’t meet your expectation for your leadership group. Don’t resist them just because they don’t know God’s word yet. Until you relate to them about what they go through, where they’ve come from, where they’ve been, you’ll then understand who they were, and who they will become. Don’t ever neglect them because you cant relate. Once you spend enough time with them, you’ll understand the potential they carry for your life and theirs.

3.     You have to have compassion, and not curse.  

It amazes me how many people will try to curse this generation. When nobody else is looking, people will speak death to someone they don’t even know, someone they can’t even understand. or someone who never did wrong. Where is the compassion this generation needs? We need to have compassion for those who are hurting, those who are wounded, those who are coming from broken families and broken pasts. If we are the hands and feet of Jesus, then compassion needs to be in our actions for this generation. Instead of cursing them, start being more compassionate for them.

4.     You have to build relationships, not rituals.

A lot of times we develop rituals to avoid the students that God has put in our life. What do I mean by rituals? We start doing things over and over again to avoid our relationship with those that God has called us to mentor and steward. I’m not saying to throw everything away and avoid your family. What I’m saying is you need to be able to balance your students and others into your life. If you are the youth pastor, youth leader, youth director for your church, please be there for them! They need you and they want to learn from you! One thing I love to do with my girlfriend, when we get the opportunity to, is to spend time with some students and invest in what we believe will be the hope of our future. We've learned to balance them into our lives. We've learned to treat them like family. We've learned to love them unconditionally just like Jesus would and did. That’s one method that I use that was taught to me by my former youth pastor. He always took the time to spend time with me, invest in me, and speak into my ministry. That’s what our students and this generation need. They want a great relationship with you. They want to be loved by you. Don’t ignore what God has called you to care for.

5.     You have to have faith for them, not fear.  

The bible clearly states that “God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but love, power and a sound mind.”  I know sometimes reaching out towards the generation of today comes with great fear. Fear can be the who, what, where, when and why. Who are we going to reach, what are we going to do, where can we do this, and why are we doing this? Don’t ever allow the enemy to put fear in your life, when God has called you to have faith for the millennials of today. Believe in them and have faith in them like God is does. We are the only way they can see Jesus. You be the light for them. You be the hope for them. It doesn’t matter how much faith you have, as long as you have faith God will use what you have and turn it into plenty.

I pray and hope that these 5 points bless you and your ministry. Our generation needs us. They want to be more like Jesus. What better way than to be in their life! Be blessed. 


Ryan De La Rosa serves under the ministry of Pastors Bill & Anne Moore at Livingway Family Church. Ryan oversees the youth ministry of Livingway Family Church in the Harlingen Campus as the youth director.  He is also a tutor with IDEA public schools in Brownsville, Texas. Ryan's goal is to see a generation filled with the Holy Spirit and know who Jesus is.


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.

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.


Confession – I do not have a “favorite” team in the NBA. 

The last team that I considered my favorite was the Charlotte Hornets when Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Alonzo Mourning were together.  Since then, I have followed the league, but I have never really given my allegiance to any one team.  However, if I had to choose which team I had an affinity for in the NBA, it would have to be the San Antonio Spurs.  I have always liked their organization and approach to the game. 

The Spurs just recently won the NBA Championship a few days ago. It was amazing.  Their style of play, the teamwork on the court, and their submission to their coach impressed me as an individual and as a pastor.  Needless to say, I wrote down several things about the Spurs that I think we could all learn from as leaders and learners.  From body language on the court to interviews after the game, here are a few of my personal #SpursLeadershipLessons I would like to share with you: 

1.  The leader sets the tone.  Tim Duncan is the main star on the team.  It was commented during one of the games how he has really been the leading example for the entire team on how they follow and play for their coach.  Always remember that as leaders, you will set the tone for the rest of the team.  If you want to see something, you must become that something you want to see. 

2.  Listening is a developed skill.  After watching ESPN, it was repeated several times at how the Spurs players listen to Coach Popovich without fail.  During game time, they did not question his court side decision making.  It was even said that, “everyone in a Spurs uniform understands that Coach Popovich has nothing but the best interests in mind for his players.”  Remember, we have two ears and one mouth.

3.  Attitude is everything.  One thing I observed was how the Spurs players displayed great attitude throughout the series with their Coach.  At one point, Coach Popovich corrected a player and got in his face.  He benched him, and moments later, that same player was cheering his teammates on.  Others in that same scenario would have pouted or been disgruntled.  What separates the great ones from the good ones is attitude.  It has been said that attitude determines altitude.

4.  You must love what you do.  From the coaches to the players, there is a sincere love for the game among the Spurs organization.  Not just the cameras or flashy dunks, but the game itself.  In ministry, you have to love what you are doing and called to do.  Appreciate where the Church has been and where the Church is going.  Most importantly, love God and love people.

5.  Remain teachable.  As a learner, one of my favorite moments during the series was when it was pointed out at how Tony Parker approached Coach Popovich.  The commentator noted that he looked like a high school player with his coach.  I love that!  Even after all the fame and glory, players like Tony have realized that teachers and coaches are there for a reason.  We don’t know everything.

Here are a few more final nuggets I wrote down concerning the Spurs:

·      They have a unique humility about themselves.

·      You have to be able to coach your best player.

·      These guys have gotten over themselves a long time ago.

·      Spurs had more assists.

·      They constantly sacrifice for the guy next to them.

·      Tim Duncan said the reason why Coach Popovich has been successful was because of “his ability to change with the game and to change his team with the game.”

What I’ve Learned in My First 3 Years of Youth Ministry

I recently celebrated my 3rd year of serving in youth ministry at Word In Season International.  I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in communications and moved from Kingsville to Harlingen three years ago accepting a job offer at KVEO; a local T.V. station in Brownsville, TX. 

That same year I married my beautiful wife, began attending WISI church, and later became the youth director.   After seven months of being faithful to the ministry the opportunity came up to become full time staff at WISI church.  My wife and I knew we couldn’t pass this up because it was God’s plan for us.   So much has happened in just 3 years, but we have seen God’s hand upon us the entire time.  I have gained greatly in these 3 years, here are a few things.

1.   Always Honor

Without honor nothing can happen.  Jesus showed us this when he goes into his hometown.  He could not perform any miracles because the people never honored him.  I believe we must be better at honoring those whom have gone before us.  It is important to honor your Pastor who placed you on the platform you were given.  He entrusted you to lead, so we must lead with honor.  Remember; if you never honor, you will never receive honor. 

2.   Stay Hungry

No matter the length of time in your leadership role, we must always stay hungry.  Always be hungry for the things of God. Remember the hunger that is within you will be contagious to those around you.  If a few students catch that hunger, and become as hungry as you are things must change.   When we took over our youth ministry it had about twenty students; we invested time into our core team of about ten students who were just as hungry to see God do something fresh and new.  We continue to increase in hunger, and in numbers of students.  Stay hungry, never come to a point in your life where you think you’ve seen and heard it all. 

3.   Stay Humble

Preaching is fun, especially when your students and others are giving you shout outs on social media or sharing your notes. But don’t get caught up in the mix. Stay focused on the purpose of discipleship.   I learned that leading students is not about what you say from the pulpit; instead it’s the time you spent on the phone talking through a tough time, sending a text of encouragement, attending a game/event they are participating in, or having lunch etc.  This will keep you humble at all times.  Always remember we are doing ministry because Jesus has allowed us to.  Continuing to stay humble and God will continue to lift you up; after all he knows exactly where he needs you.  Humbleness speaks loudly of a person. 

4.   Stay Focused

Always read, always pray, always worship.  Stay focused all day every day.  Whenever your focus is on Jesus, it will be difficult to get distracted with what’s going on around us.  There are times as leaders that we may feel unaccomplished, but if we stay focused on Jesus and not on other ministries around us, but firm in running your race, you will find a blessing.  At times, we tend to lose focus because we have access to everyone’s social media and we can see what everyone else is doing.  But remember these things, don’t compare, don’t compete and don’t complain; God has called you to something specific that no one else was called to do.  Stay focused on fulfilling that calling, stay focused on Jesus and everything else will fall into place. 

5.   Don’t quit

“If you don’t quit you’ll win” - Chad Veach 

In three years, I have experienced great ups, and downs.  Students have come and gone.  Ministry is not for the weak, it is for the strong.  Like all battles, if you work harder than your opponent (the enemy) you will win! Don’t quit. The only way to be successful in the win is to be persistent in your growth and be relentless where God has placed you.  A friend of mine said this, “We have accomplished so much because we have outlasted other leaders who quit.”  Hang on my friend; keep pushing forward and always trusting in God because through him all the things you are praying for will come.  The things you believe God to do will happen if you just keep on keeping on; run your race.


Noe Longoria is a passionate young leader who possesses the great combination of both influence and example. Starting with only a few students in their youth ministry a couple of years ago, today he leads a vibrant & growing youth ministry at Word In Season International in Harlingen, TX (www.wisichurch.org). He and his lovely wife, Maria are committed to winning, building, and sending students for Jesus Christ. 


Leader: Set The Atmosphere.

Shortly after I completed my ministerial internship I had the opportunity to serve on staff at Ignite Life Center in Gainesville, Florida. For a season there I was responsible for opening the church, turning on equipment, putting the batteries in the microphones, etc… And I was also responsible for turning on the air conditioner (or heater) in preparation for our services.

I wish I could tell you that I carried out my responsibilities perfectly every weekend, but I didn’t. For different reasons there were times I forgot to recharge the batteries through out the week and now didn’t have batteries for Sunday, or I overlooked turning on one piece of equipment and it would affect the sound, but the worse thing was when I would either forgot to or get to church late and not turn on the AC/ heater. Let me tell you, the few times that happened people noticed. 

Now I don’t know if you have thanked God recently for your AC/heater but you should. lol just kidding (no but really) Just this past week our central air here at our house stopped working for like only 3 hours and dude I thought I was going to die. I seriously thought about siting in my car with the AC on until the AC repairman arrived; no lie. lol

Why? Because you feel it. If it’s winter and you don’t turn on the heater in time, you feel the cold. If it’s summer and you forget to turn on the AC, you feel the heat (especially here in south Texas).

And when I would accidently turn on the AC/heater late on a Sunday mornings back in Gainesville, people felt it. And there was nothing I could do to change that. And sure we would still have service, but it was different.

Today as I look back at those experiences, under the lens of leadership, I submit to you that we as leaders set the atmosphere for what happens in our services. Yes God is God and He can and will do whatever He wants. But what we do as leaders before services kicks off also matters. And now I’m talking about much more than your AC/heater being on, I’m referring to your spiritual life and service preparation.  

How you pray throughout the week, how you develop your sermon/ lesson, how you practice your instrument, how you live and treat others, how you plan your services and get things ready & so much more.

I believe our God deserves the best, and not only Him but the people we serve on a weekly basis.

Leader, commit to setting an atmosphere in your local church, where the presence of God can reach, touch, and transform people’s lives. For it is for that reason that you and I have been called.

Thank you for serving how you do!

Joey Salazar



Meet With Your Team

Doing ministry is work.  Doing ministry alone is crazy.  Doing ministry with a team is important.

In my years of leadership, I have always sought out others to help me.  Jesus recruited 12 disciples.  Paul had traveling companions.  We need others as well.  One of the first things I did when I started youth pastoring was that I built a team around me.  The team became the backbone for the vision to be carried out.  I established a meeting rhythm.  I met with all my leaders and volunteers once a month on the first Tuesday of every month.  I also met with my CORE leaders after every youth service to go over what we felt we did great and what we felt we did poor.  To this day, I still have a monthly meeting rhythm with our leaders as an Executive Pastor.

If you have been given an opportunity to lead, it is essential to get others involved in the work.  However, it is even more important that you establish some type of healthy rhythm of meetings with your team.  Here is why meeting with your team is important:

1.  Meeting with your team helps you to cast vision on a consistent basis.  Vision leaks.  In other words, the team may be inspired in one moment, but then quickly forget what we are aiming for.  Distractions make way into our lives.  Busyness settles in.  Meeting with your team helps to apply a fresh coat of “vision” on the hearts of your team.  Constantly tell them where you are going.  Vision never gets old.  Meeting with your team twice a year is simply not enough. 

2.  Meeting with your team helps you to identify who is really committed.  One of the biggest reasons that I have heard leaders give for not meeting with their teams is that no one has time.  You may be thinking that everyone’s schedule is different.  You’re right.  However, my suggestion and advice:  if being on the team is important to them, then they will make time to be at the meeting.  Perhaps set up a monthly meeting.  Obviously, be realistic.  Keep it consistent.  Then, allow your team to display their faithfulness to your meetings.  Trust me – some will surprise you by their willingness and commitment.

3.  Meeting with your team helps you to impart the spirit that is in the House.  Whether you are a Pastor or Youth Leader, meeting with your leaders allows the culture and DNA of the church to be imparted to your team.  In my opinion, face time and presence cannot be replaced by technology.  Some things are caught.  Meetings allow the team to be together in one place with the mindset to receive inspiration, instruction, and information. 

4.  Meeting with your team helps you to go deeper with your teaching.  There were certain things Jesus told the disciples that He didn’t share with the crowds.  As a leader, when you meet with your teams, you will have the platform to share with them things you wouldn’t normally share with the crowd.  You give them a more behind the scenes look at ministry.  Also, you can sometimes go deeper with leadership teaching.  You can ask for more of a commitment from your leaders.  


Abram Gomez is the Executive Pastor at Valley International Christian Center in San Benito, TX. He serves under the leadership of Bishop Jaime Loya and helps in leading the 2000 member congregation.   Abram is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Church Ministries.  Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Human Services with a specialization in Executive Leadership from Liberty University.  Abram has served in various roles such a Church Planting, Life Groups Director, Youth Pastor, and Administrator to name a few.  He is also a contributing writer to Valley Christian Magazine, which reaches out to the entire region of the Rio Grande Valley.  He and his wife, Rebecca, reside in Harlingen along with their daughter Isabella.


Leadership.  Church.  Ministry.  Development.  Learning.  Growing. 

Welcome to NextGenRGV.

With a vision to want to help young church leaders in the Rio Grande Valley, and beyond, NextGenRGV is a website for those desiring resources and content to help them become better stewards of the grace of leadership entrusted to them from above.  I believe leadership is both an honor and a responsibility.  Scripture teaches us that to whom much has been given, much is required. 

Psalm 78:72 states, “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.”  Not only is heart and integrity required for effective leadership, but skill is also a necessary component to be successful leaders among the people.

Remember, you are a gift to those around you.  No one has walked upon the face of the earth like you, nor will anyone ever be you after you have departed from this world.  You are the first of you, and the last of you.  You have been uniquely crafted and equipped to do what you have been designed to fulfill.

Own it.  Maximize it.  Do it.

Our hope and prayers is that this website would be a blessing for your life.  Read, take notes, and be inspired.  Once again, thank you for your time.

Here to serve,

Abram Gomez & NextGenRGV Team