The Secret of a Successful Church


The keys of success

Chances are if you read my blog you attend a church or have some affiliation with a church. Whether you’re a pastor, deacon, elder, lay person or just an attendee we all have important roles in the overall picture that is God’s great plan.

God has given each individual a purpose, defined or undefined, that plays an important role in His great plan.  Some folks come to understand their purpose while others have carried theirs out and not even known it.  Either way, we’ll all play our designed role one way or another and there is no one role that is more important than the next in God’s eyes.

Now I know that some of you might have decided to stop reading after that last statement because you believe that I’m crazy or delusional.

“How can a pastor be as important as a volunteer usher?”

“How can a musician be as important as a nursery worker?”

Ask any pastor and if he’s honest (and let’s hope that he is) he’ll tell you the secret to success in church ministry: “You are only as good or successful as the volunteers that you have.”

Truer words have never been spoken.  I’ve seen it first hand.  I’ve witnessed it week in and week out at the church that I attend.  You truly are only as successful as the volunteers that you have.

In conversations that I’ve had with people throughout the years I often get asked “What can I do? I’m just a nobody.”  First off, you’re not a nobody. God designed you for a reason. There are plenty of ways that you can serve at churches and quite frankly all volunteer positions are the most important because you are the first people who visitors see.  The impression you give, the friendliness you invoke and the words that you speak are the first interaction that any visitor has with the church that you’re at.  From the parking teams to the greeters and from the nursery workers to the ushers the experience you give will make or break whether a visitor stays or goes.  I know you think I’m crazy, but it’s true.

I have a friend who visited a large and local church and his experience his wife and he had in the first 10 minutes was shocking.  He tried to find a seat in a full, roped off auditorium and couldn’t find one.  He then removed the ropes and tried to sit down, but was approached by a yelling usher not to sit there.  Experiences like that can determine whether someone stays or not.  What if my friend wasn’t saved like I know he is? What if that one gesture turned a lost person away from God forever?  Awful, I know. I almost don’t even want to think about it, but things happen like this all over, so believe me when I say that volunteers are important!

If you’ve been struggling trying to figure out what it is exactly that God wants you to do might I suggest just starting with the small things and being faithful through serving in whatever capacity that your local church needs.  And as you’re faithful in the small things God will see fit to bless you with larger responsibilities.

If you’re a member of a smaller church and you can’t seem to figure out how to reach more people effectively, might I suggest to start by looking into your volunteers and make sure everyone is serving in the right place.  Sometimes you have good people in the wrong spot and they could be used more effectively somewhere else.

Hopefully we all have the mindset that church isn’t a competition to see who has the most members, but it’s a way to expand the gift of salvation to the community and the world.  I promise you that if you sat down with your local pastors in the community they would tell exactly as I said earlier that volunteers are The Secret of a Successful Church.


Imperfection is Beautiful



I was asked to write my thoughts on the following topic.  If you have a topic you’d like to hear my thoughts on you can email me at and share your thoughts there


Believe this or not I’m not perfect. I know, I know, that’s hard to comprehend and I apologize for letting you all down, but it’s true.  Matter of fact I am far from perfect, like far, far away from perfect.  I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I’m not proud of, nor would I want anyone to know the details of said events, but did you know that it’s those imperfections that shape you into who you are today?

Imperfections, in my eyes, are some of the most attractive things about people. I’ve had a saying that I created that I’ve used for years and I believe it to be quote profound: “To forget your past is to ignore who you were.” What I mean by that is that is that your past only shapes you, it doesn’t define you.

Everyone’s past is completely different.  Each of us have chosen the paths that we’ve traveled and even though we may have intended it to go one way, it probably wound up in another direction.  Some paths led to good things, others to bad things, but the great part is that it’s not where you’ve been, but where you end up that matters and we all have a say-so as to where we end up to a degree. Our choices ultimately direct our paths and we have to take ownership in that, but know that just because we have a history of imperfections doesn’t mean that God won’t use us.  As a matter of fact God uses those imperfections to His advantage.

Let take a look at some biblical leaders that God used who made some bad choices in their life.

1) Moses: Moses was a man who had a list of imperfections and bad choices yet God still chose Moses to lead His people out from under Pharaoh.  Without getting in to great detail here are just a couple of things that Moses dealt with.  Moses witnessed a man beating one of his brethren (person of same nationality) and decided to kill him and then bury him in the sand.  Not only that Moses made sure no one was looking when he did which suggests slight premeditation.  On top of that Moses admits that he was slow with his speech or inadequate.  Even knowing all of this, God still chose him and Moses was still willing.

2) Paul: Paul was a persecutor of Christians, not to mention his job was to kill those who were against his beliefs.  God spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus, a revelation so to speak, and blinded him for three days and eventually led him to Ananias and the rest is history.  The conversion of Paul found in Acts 9 is a huge deal as to show that God can change the “chief of sinners” to the “chief of missionaries.”

I know that I only listed a couple of examples, but I chose two of the largest figures for this reason: if you think the sin you’ve once committed can or is hindering you from being used by God, you’re wrong.  God has the power to use anyone in any way regardless of your past or future mistakes. All He asks is that you be willing to serve and He will use you and bless you in away that you never thought possible.  Always remember that imperfections only show that you’ve tried and been unsuccessful and in God’s eye’s imperfection is beautiful.

In the Blink of an Eye



What is the most valuable thing you possess? Most would jump right to money, others to various other assets or valuables like properties, cars or even sports memorabilia. If you’d of asked me this question 10 years ago I probably would have answered the same way, but 5 years ago God changed my heart and mind and since then my evaluation of things has been completely different.

Next weekend my beautiful, energetic, stubborn princess Sophie will turn 4-years-old and just about 3 short weeks after that we’ll be welcoming our 3rd child, a son named Gavin.  On top of all of that I have son turning 7 in June and my wife and I will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary.  I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment, as is my wife, but Mary and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

You see, when Joey was born my outlook on life was a little skewed in the wrong direction.  Mary and I were still newly wed and like most newly weds weren’t rich by any means.  Money was tight and I had a stint where I was jobless so ultimately our stress levels were elevated as well.  There were times we thought we couldn’t make it and we asked for help, but we always had just what we needed, stress and all.  I remember during those times that I’d get up in the middle of the night and I’d sneak into Joey’s room (he must have been one and a half or so) and I’d just watch him sleep.  Seeing him would take all of my stresses away and help me realize that everything was going to be OK even in my darkest hour.  I knew this because we had been through a bible study that said that God wouldn’t put anything on us that we couldn’t handle. This promise made me learn to cling to Him.  Even before Joey was born I was certain I didn’t want to be a father because I thought I couldn’t handle it, that i wasn’t good enough, but I saw how important it was to my wife Mary that I gave it a try.  From the moment he was born I was hooked and I knew that everything would be OK.  Things came full circle in that moment as I stared at joey in the middle of the night and I knew from there on out that we’d be OK and that God would provide, come what may.

Here I stand today, 33 years old wondering where time went.  It seems as if Joey was just born a year or so ago, let alone Sophie turning 4 and Gavin about to be born.  Time has proven to be the most elusive thing in my life as I can never have enough of it.  As I work each day from 8am-5pm with an hour commute each way, I always feel that I just don’t have enough time.  But I decided a couple of years ago that the time I do have I plan on making the most of it.  I’ve decided that I’ll always be there for my kids and that quality is much better than quantity in most cases.

So today, if you asked me the same question this blog started with, I’d answer this way:

“There are 3 things that are most valuable to me: 1) my family 2) time 3) photos and memories. There is nothing, other than God that is more valuable to me.  No price that you could pay would change my mind. I’ve learned in 5 short years that life isn’t measured by the depth of your pockets, but by the strength of your legacy within your family and children.  So you if you know me, then I am the richest man in the world. My wealth is not defined by man or anyone but it’s defined by me and therefore I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. Would I do it all over again? As many times as I could because this life we live will be over in the blink of an eye.”

Showing Love vs Saying I Love You


Couple_CellAbout a week ago, I sat at a local restaurant eating some Chinese food when I looked across the restaurant at a young couple that walked in hand in hand, bubbling over in love.  You could tell that they were newly weds by their actions and they didn’t care how they acted as their love spoke louder than any reaction from the disgruntled customers.  They stood in line, placed their orders goo-goo-ing and ga-ga-ing from start to finish.  They got their food and drinks and made their way to their booth  right across from me.  They sat down, said prayer of blessing and started to eat.  Not 30 seconds after they started both pulled out their smart phones and never took their eyes off of them.  They sat in silence as they ate and scrolled through their phones.

I was pretty taken back by this as I observed them.  Not once did the other make eye contact, speak a word or do anything in communication with the other.  I just couldn’t believe it, nor could I get past it.  Once each finished their meal, they got up and were all giddy again as they walked out of the restaurant.

I sat there, still in shock and thought to myself, “That’s not me.  I’m not that guy and my wife and I don’t act that way.” Then I took a closer look at my life and I decided to be honest with myself.  I started to look through every action and I began to find times where I had done this either to my wife, family or friends. I immediately became disgusted with myself. I started to think of all the things that i could have potentially missed because I was worried about a Facebook post or Tweet that I might have missed.  Sad, just sad.

Let me say this, I’m not scolding anyone. If anything, I’m admitting my own short-comings here, but I want to encourage everyone: put down your phone when you’re with the ones that you love.  Life is too short to miss out on the blessings of the greatest things which are usually right in front of us. I want my wife to know that I love her, not because I proclaim it through a blog or social media post, but because I show her by paying attention to her.  By knowing what she needs and wants because I’ve listened to her our relationship will only strengthen.

I want my kids to know that I love them because daddy takes the time to play tickle monster with them. I want them to be successful in the sports that they want to participate in because daddy took the time to practice with them so they’ll get better. I want them to succeed in school because daddy took the time to help them with their homework.

My point is that we can say “I love you” all day, but if we don’t show our love then our words mean nothing.  The old saying “actions speak louder than words” ring 100% true in this case and I never want anyone that I know, especially my wife, kids and family to ever think that they’re not important to me.

I challenge you all to put down your phones or whatever it is that can prohibit you from investing time in your loved ones because life is way too short.  We all need to make the best of our limited time leaving no guess-work that our loved ones are more important than anything.  It’s time to show our love instead of just saying it.

Compassion for a Stranger


Smiley-in-frownsI work for a sales engineering firm (it’s as boring as it sounds) and from time to time we have some of our product reps come by and take us out to eat.  It’s a perk that most office-bound employees enjoy.  On this particular day we ventured out to a locally popular burger joint and had lunch.  As we waited in line to place our groups order we all took notice to the cashier and her noticeably unhappy face.  As she took orders her less than sunny disposition never changed and it even spilled over into her monotone voice.  A couple of folks started talking about her, making up their own story in their minds with a comical twist.  Others would make faces at her as she turned to shout out their order.  She made it obvious that she didn’t want to be there and you could tell she didn’t really care.

Where others went immediately to negative thoughts and poking fun at her, my mind went a different route.  I could tell that her actions weren’t out of hate for her job, but something had happened.  I’m a guy that judges character pretty well and this time I knew I was right.  I stepped forward to start to place our groups order and I knew that I had to say something and I did.

“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but notice the sad look on your face. I’ve seen it before.”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“I said I’ve seen that look before.”

“How could you? I’ve never seen you here before and I certainly don’t know you.”

“What I mean is that I know that look because I’ve seen it in the mirror before.  I’ve made that face plenty of times.  That’s a face of loss.  Did you lose someone recently?”

The girl immediately started to cry, placing her face into her hands.  Everyone around us began to stare at us. Even the folks in my group began to peer our way.

“How did you know? Did someone say something to you?”

“No ma’am.  I just know that look.  I lost my grandpa a few years back and I had that look on my face for a bit.  I just know how it feels to lose someone.”

The girl looked back at her boss and said, “I’m going on break.”  He nodded back.

“Do you mind if I ask you a question or two, I mean, if you don’t mind?”

“Sure thing, just let me finish our groups order and I’ll be right there.”

We talked for about 10 minutes.  She told me about how she lost her mom years ago and how she moved in with her aunt.  She had lived there 3 years and then found out that her aunt had cancer.  After an up-hill battle, she lost her life about 4 days ago. She’s 17, no parents, no family. She’s alone and on her own.  I told her that I was sorry and that I can’t imagine dealing with everything that she’s going through.  I began to explain how I dealt with the loss of my grandfather and how I was able to move on.  The key part wasn’t surrounding myself  with good things or people, but with God. I explained the gospel, what it meant and how to accept it.  She didn’t come to Jesus then and there, but she knew I wasn’t joking.  She said she could tell I was serious.  I gave her the number to a local church where she was from and informed her that I knew the singles pastor there.  I told her to look him up and continue the conversation with him because he could do more explaining than the time that we had.  She thanked me and went back to work.

Her name was Mariah and I hadn’t thought about her for a while, other than a couple of days after I spoke to her. Until today.  My friend emailed me to tell me that she accepted Christ today.  He’d been counseling her and today was her day of salvation.

I don’t have much more to say than this: I didn’t write this to gloat or anything like that.  I’m writing this to encourage you to have compassion, not just for your friends and family, but for everyone that you meet.  A kind word in passing, a simple hello or even an observation can eventually make a life changing impact on someone.  We may never know the long-lasting impact we can have on people, so we should treat every moment, with every person as a mission from God to spread His word and message.  It just might change a life.  I only knew about this because I pointed her to my friends church.

We are called to be ambassadors for Christ.  We are called to spread the good news of God.  May we all have compassion for everyone that we meet.  You never know what it can lead to.  In this case, it was heaven…

Coming to Grips with Aging…


traxSo today, it hit me: I’m getting older. While I was working I was listening to some John Mayer and his song “Stop this Train” came on.  I’ve listened to it countless times, but it’s meaning never really “struck me,” so to speak, until today.

“Dude, you getting older and there ain’t squat you can do about it.”

Obviously, that’s a complete paraphrase of the lyrics and message, but it’s a dead on interpretation on the song.  This train of life will continuously roll on, braking for no one, and won’t reach its final destination until it runs out track.  Such is life. We can’t stop it. We can only hope to direct which track our train will take.  Honestly, I’ve known this truth all along its just taken a while for me to accept it.

I was an athletic kid excelling in just about every sport that I played with the exception of golf.  I always sucked at golf no matter how many balls I hit or rounds I played. Just awful. Anyways, I was considered a natural in the big 3 never really having to work too hard as improvement came with the standard reps that we received in scheduled practice. Those were the days because now I can pull a muscle if I sneeze just right.  The difference between now and then is astronomical. I used to be able to play any sport without warming up. I used to eat whatever I wanted and it never affected me at all.  Now, before we play ultimate Frisbee I look like Richard Simmons on an extended warmup, minus the short shorts and sweat bands.  I have the same issues with food too.  I can just smell a homemade chocolate chip cookie and my butt starts to swell.  It’s quite ridiculous actually.  Obviously I’m exaggerating, but that’s how I feel: things just aren’t the same.

As I’ve analyzed these changes I realize there’s really not much I can do about it other than the obvious:

1) Eat right

2) Exercise

3) Practice and so on and so forth…

…but I have noticed some things that have helped me cope.

If you’ve ever listened to the song in its entirety have you ever noticed the one thing that’s missing from the lyrics? Other than the mention of his dad (parents) he doesn’t mention family or friends. That may not be his intention or meaning, but for me, that is the one key thing that makes everything worth it.  My family is also the drive I need to strive to be better.  Yeah, I get that it doesn’t exactly pull all my thoughts together, but hang with me for a second and I’ll explain.  What I mean is that through all of my changes, physical and so forth, the one constant is my family which makes this whole journey worth it, good or bad.

As my life has progressed I’ve made some good choices and some bad ones.  I’ve done good things and bad things.  My family has been along for the ride. They have stuck by me from beginning to end.  They’ve seen the good me and they’ve seen the bad me, but through it all they’ve loved me and through them I’m Coming to Grips with Aging…

The One Way Street of Conformity



My son Joey is a ball of energy. He’s a 6-year-old boy full of life, love and wonderment and his energetic self is moving 90 mph constantly.  He’s creative, intelligent, witty and at this point in his life, he’s influenced easily.  He love’s people and also being the center of attention (get that from daddy), but when no one is paying attention he tends to just do what others are doing to fit in.

This is a common thing that people of all ages struggle with.  I found myself doing the same when I was his age and even when I was in high school to a degree.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to fit in and be accepted, but changing who we are to conform to be like others isn’t what needs to happen, nor is it what we’re created to do.

When God made the earth he made sure to separate things: light from dark, land from sea and so on and so forth, but even those that were similar in likeness still had their distinct differences.  We were made to be individuals, to have differences, to be free creatures with the ability to make up our minds for ourselves.  God never intended us to be slaves of conformity, but rather orchestrators of individuality.  Christ knows the very number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7) meaning He crafted us individually.  He’s a God of details and each of us have differences to make us who we are, even twins, but Christ’s intentions were for us to be individuals with a central cause or one commonality: a relationship with him.

We are not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) meaning not to be as the world is, but new through a relationship through Christ in order to draw others to Him.

As we go through our routine’s today I pray that we’ll seek to change the world through our individuality in Christ and not be swayed by the one way street of conformity.