Author Archives: Lane Corley
The number one answer to the question, “What is the current greatest challenge in your life and ministry?” on our Louisiana church planting growth reports is some version of Time Management. Everyone seems to struggle with time these days, but church planters deal with the added pressures of usually a second or third job, young children at home, clock ticking on outside funding, little to no administrative assistance, continuing education demands, etc., etc. A few thoughts from my failures of time management as a church planter and small church leader:
1. Learn the discipline of turning it off and going home.
The last two church plants I’ve been a part of, centered ministry around our home. The church office, the church phone, the church leadership meetings, the church supplies were all based at my address for the first 12-18 months. This made it extremely hard for me to ever turn off work. Coupled with the fact that it is never all done in ministry. Two ideas I had to get used to: 1) I will not get it all done everyday. 2) To be effective tomorrow, I need to turn it off and do something else today. The quicker you’re OK with these two ideas, the better off you and your family will be.
2. Develop a weekly schedule and stick to it.
Young pastors and church planters get in trouble with time management issues many times because we fail to create the accountability of a weekly rhythm and schedule. THIS STRUGGLE IS REAL!!! A friend of mine in ministry likes to say, “Winging it is not a good strategy.” But many of us wing it when it comes to our weekly rhythms. Your schedule should have flexibility in it because much great ministry happens in the interruptions and spontaneous opportunities, but creating a basic framework for time spent is a necessity. If you start this early, as you add staff and expectations of a growing congregation, you will be better prepared to say no and yes to added responsibilities and interruptions. It will also be beneficial for staff and congregation to know when they can expect to find an open door to your office and when they can call you without interrupting something important. A schedule will also help you make sure you are balancing your time with planting / pastoring priorities – i.e. Evangelism, Discipleship, Leadership Development, Community Engagement, etc.
3. Develop a system for To Do’s, Daily Scheduling, and Keeping up with Contacts.
Whether its Outlook, iCal, Google Cal, Google Docs, an old school Planner system, develop some tools that you can use in keeping the to do’s, appointments, and contacts handy at all times. And the technology out there is amazing in regards to personal productivity. Develop something that works for you and utilize it.
I’ve started accounts with so many different task management and scheduling services online that I’ve lost count. I finally developed my own tool that I print out and fill out each morning or the night before and return to throughout the day. Check it out HERE.
It’s to do’s, appointments on one page. On the back I list contacts throughout the day, with the goal of 20 contacts everyday, which is important to my work and a challenge for my introverted self. This helps me stay organized and focused and goal oriented throughout the day. (An editable Google Doc is HERE. Or Download a Word Doc Here – To Do_s – Editable – to create your own).
What do you use to keep organized and focused? What works well for you in time management? What tips and lessons learned can you share?
Next week I’ll share some lessons learned on managing preaching as a bivocational planter.
We’re hearing a lot about FOMO these days or Fear Of Missing Out. Evidently Social Media is leading us to be consumed with what others are doing, instead of what we are doing. Studies show that up to 75% of young adults experience this. Oxford has even added this acronym to its English dictionary. Definition:
Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.
Evangelical Christians of old suffered from another form of this, but it actually has added benefit to your life and the life of others. Try FOOMO. Fear Of OTHERS Missing Out. Specifically, the fear of others missing out on the promises of God in Christ.
“I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my own flesh and blood.” Romans 9:3
“because we know the fear of the Lord, we seek to persuade people.” 2 Corinthians 5:11
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
“We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, striving with all His energy working powerfully within me.” Colossians 1:28-2
What if we were consumed with the fear that friends, relatives, associates, neighbors were separated from God and it was up to us to help them bridge that gap. This is the anxiety that leads to obedience to God’s commission for our lives and the salvation and spiritual maturity of others.
Experts say FOMO is driven by what we give attention to. Giving too much attention to social media = mis-allocating attention. Let’s try giving more attention to the needs of others and especially their need to connect with Christ this week.
Turn off Social Media and get started by doing one of these this week:
- Invite a friend to church this weekend.
- Get to know a new neighbor.
- Spend focused time in prayer for your Friends, Relatives, Associates Neighbors to know God.
- Volunteer at local schools or neighborhood centers.
- Start a Bible Study or book club in your home and invite those who are far from God.
- Share your faith journey with someone over coffee or lunch.
- Give away a copy of the Bible or a book that’s helped you grow.
- Look for a project that you and your family could do to bless someone to need.
- Don’t go alone. Invite someone along that might could use a listening ear or time away from their routine today.
He was born 8 days after the very first service of our first church plant in South Louisiana, which started in an un-air conditioned fire station.
- Because his dad’s a church planter, until he was four we would drive past a fire station and he would yell “church” and when we drove by a steepled church building he would yell “space ship.”
- Because his dad’s a church planter, the first time we attended a church besides ours on Sunday, he asked where their fire truck was and why their chairs were so long (pews).
- Because his dad’s a church planter, he likes to hang out in coffee shops and has great bedside manner in hospitals.
- Because his dad’s a church planter, he doesn’t have as much as many kids in our area, but never complains.
- Because his dad’s a church planter, he doesn’t know that you shouldn’t wear shorts to church or that you shouldn’t be close friends with people of another race or class.
- Because his dad’s a church planter, he knows who Rick Warren & John Piper are, & asked every Friday morning, “Do we have a Block Party this weekend?”
- Because his dad’s a church planter, he doesn’t know what it means to be a part of a mega youth group or ride on a bus to camp.
- Because his dad’s a church planter, he knows his way around Pro Presenter and online kids curriculum.
- Because his dad’s a church planter, he’s handled a lot of pressure to be the good kid, pray out loud, help with the nursery, etc., etc.
Proud of Jack. Grateful for his friendship and partnership in this ministry. It’s not always easy to be a church planters kid. Praying for Jack and all our church planting kids out there.
Updating my “What I’m Reading” Page today. Here’s a list of ome of my favs from this years reading list on Ministry and Leadership. I’ll share a few favs in History and Biography next Friday.
1. Reaching the Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art by Peyton Jones. Challenging book that pushes against some of what makes modern ministry comfortable instead of urgent. Love Peyton Jones. Gave away a couple of boxes of this book this summer to our church planters and partners in Louisiana.
2. Everyone’s a Genius: Unleashing Creativity for the Sake of the World by Alan Briggs. This book will challenge your excuses and as a leader, make you believe again in the people around you to accomplish big things. Grateful for Alan. This is his third book and all three have made me think and are books I keep picking up to remember the insights gleaned.
3. Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations by Jimmy Scroggins, Steve Wright, Bennett Leslee. This book gives great encouragement and a simple how to for those wanting to be consistent witnesses. Also has some great insights on church multiplication.
4. Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World by James Emery White. I have three kids that are Gen Z, so I was interested in this book. I was a little disappointed that it was really more about ministry in today’s world than insight into Gen Z. However, the insights are great. But don’t expect a plan for how to raise and think like your Gen Z kids.
5. Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus Into the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt. No one writes and speaks clearer about how to take the deep work of the Gospel into everyday life than Jeff Vanderstelt. Must read.
6. The Church as Movement: Starting and Sustaining Missional-Incarnational Communities by J.R. Woodward and Dan White Jr. Very technical work on Missional communities. Every chapter is one to savor and work on. Would be a great book to mentor a future church planter through. Some other insights and my fav quotes here.
7. Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It by Alvin Reid. Reid’s latest book will encourage you as a witness for Christ. Shorter in length than his textbook The Evangelism Handbook, which I recommend you read as well, this book is very personal, borrowing from personal stories of witnessing encounters of Reid and others. Some of my fav quotes here.
8. Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck. Another book that you’ll want to revisit every year as you tweek systems and processes in your church. A few insights and quotes here.
Got any good recommends?
Let’s connect over on Goodreads as well and interact around what we’re reading.
Wow! It’s been a busy summer! Great stuff, including celebrating 200 churches planted by Louisiana Baptist churches since 2010. Check out the above vid for some great quotes and highlights from the celebration. Here’s a few notes about the 200 plants:
- 200 Church Plants since 2010
- New Churches have been Planted in 91 different Louisiana Cities and Towns
- New Churches have been Planted in 25 different Louisiana Associations
- New Churches have been planted among 13 different people groups:
– 60 African-American
– 11 Asian
– 2 African Language
– 27 Hispanic
– 14 Multi-Ethnic by Design
- New Churches also include 21 Multi-Site developments and 25 RePlants
Great to be a part of this movement in Louisiana and across North America.
Alvin Reid’s latest book, Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, is a great read that will encourage you as a witness for Christ. Shorter in length than his textbook The Evangelism Handbook, which I recommend you read as well, this book is very personal, borrowing from personal stories of witnessing encounters of Reid and others. Jesus desires for us to be His witnesses (see Mark 4:19, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out will help you in this pursuit as a believer.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book to wet your appetite:
- In our mastery of fellowship with the saints, we’ve lost a burden for a friendship with sinners.
- Lost people are more amazed at our silence than offended at our message.
- The only “failure” in witnessing is the failure to witness, and even when that happens God still loves you.
- Daily prayer: “God, give me today (1) an opportunity to speak with someone about Jesus; (2) the wisdom to see it; and (3) the courage to take it.”
- living for Jesus is not hard, it’s impossible! That’s why God gave us his Son to save us, his Spirit to live within us, his Word to guide us, and his church to encourage us.
- You can’t evangelize effectively on a consistent basis without prayer.
- if you know someone really closely for years and never speak about Jesus, you are speaking about him: you are saying with your lack of words he is no big deal.
Right now you can buy a box of 20 for $5 each from Lifeway.com. Grab a box for your church, small group, etc. I’m giving away a couple of boxes at our Louisiana Church Planting Network gatherings this summer. Also, our church is also giving this book away on Sunday’s this summer.
“through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus”
“those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ”
“There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus”
Galatians 3:26-28 (CSB)
Relationship, so we’re loved and accepted.
Divine Presence, for when we need help that’s beyond ourselves.
Family, so that we’re never alone or abandoned
Thank you Father, for making us sons and daughters, for giving us the promise of your presence, and for making us part of your great family. Let us live that others may know you, feel your presence, and desire to become a part of your great kingdom.
Our Louisiana Baptists State Missions Offering, the Georgia Barnette Offering, is a great spark for missions all over Louisiana. In 2016, we received $1.58 million for the offering and this money is already at work across our state in 2017. Here’s some of the current expenditures:
- $15k in scholarships for ministerial students.
- $20k to help new churches and missions centers with equipment needs.
- $159k in church planting and compassion ministry funding for over 100 projects currently in years 1-3.
- $34k in funding for the Mission Builder program providing construction resources for churches across Louisiana.
- $18k for church planting networking and training for non-english language groups in Louisiana.
- $8k for African-American church planting development.
- $6k for Men’s, Women’s, and Kids Missions training and networking.
- $90k for special evangelism projects including Prison outreach and evangelistic event support
- $85k for Collegiate Ministry, including the brand new Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
- $30k for the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Extension at Angola State Penitentiary.
- $9k for ESL (English as a Second Language), Multi-housing, and Chaplaincy training and projects across Louisiana.
- $7k for Disaster Relief Training and Projects.
- $150k for the Here For You Media campaign.
Still around $927k to be distributed over the next eight months. It’s always a lot of fun to watch the Georgia Barnette offering at work! Find out more about the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering at GeorgiaBarnette.org. Promotional material for the 2017 Offering will be available in July. Watch for opportunities to give through your church this Fall. Let’s be faithful to provide this spark for missions in Louisiana!