Eliminating Busyness

31 08 2011

I finally have a bit of time to write and it’s only fitting that it comes the week we are teaching on “eliminating busyness” in HSM. The reason I have time right now is not because I have mastered the ability to eliminate busyness or have figured out what it takes to slow down in life. I have time because one of the apprentices is teaching. Plain and simple, I have time in my schedule because I’m not writing a message. Granted I’m writing this in between two meetings and feel very rushed as I type, so I’m going to try and take a bit of my own advice on this one.

I’ve had a hurrying problem my whole life. When we were interviewing at our last church, the senior pastor asked Amanda what my biggest struggle was and she said, “Steve gets too busy.” Sure it made me sound good at the time but busyness has led to exhaustion and frustration over the last 5-6 years of full time ministry (I’ve also learned that busyness doesn’t really “add” to your marriage).

To take a page out of John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted, I understand the need to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry” from my life. It doesn’t mean I’ve completely gotten the hang of it though. Here are some ways to work toward eliminating busyness and hurry from your life that have helped me in the past (some of these are inspired by Ortberg’s chapter on slowing):

1. Slow down– Put yourself in situations where you literally have to wait. Force yourself to take the long route, stand in the line with the most people, or even do something crazy like drive 5 mph UNDER the speed limit! In his book, John Ortberg stated that researches have not found any correlation between productivity and hurry. We make ourselves so busy and then feel like we have to hurry all the time and in reality we aren’t accomplishing anything any quicker.

2. SHHHH!– Find some time to be alone and quiet. There are a lot of things in our world that try to grab our attention and there are times where we just flat out need to avoid them.

3. Set a time to leave– If I tell myself that no matter what else comes up, I’m leaving the office at 6pm then I work harder up until that time. If I don’t do this I keep putting things off until later and end up staying in the office way too long.

4. Learn to say NO– We told our HSers this past week how much power there is in the word “no.” Unfortunately, a lot of us have lost the ability to use this beautiful two letter word and tend to over commit to WAY too much.

5. Rest– We need it for our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Set apart time in your day to just REST. Be still for a bit and don’t feel guilty about it.

7 thoughts about JHighers

4 02 2011

Seriously, Junior Highers are crazy. It’s been about two years since I last led a JHigh program and I’d have to say I didn’t miss it a bit… until last Saturday. Jayme Foulk and our Junior High Team took over 200 students and staff to Mt. Hermon for JHM’s annual Winter Camp and they ROCKED it. I took my two interns up for the day to learn how to run a camp, to learn about who Junior Highers are (the future of the High School Ministry), and to spend some quality time investing in them. I didn’t realize how big of an impact the day would have on the three of us. I thought I’d share a few things that Junior Highers taught us just from being themselves.

1. Junior Highers are accepting. One of the first things my interns talked about on the way home was how refreshing it was to be able to walk up to a student and talk to them without having to win them over first. When you want to spend time with them they love you. You have to be very cautious with High Schoolers or else you might ruin your opportunity to say “hi” to them. Acceptance truly is refreshing and all we had to do was be present with the students.

2. Junior Highers are curious. They want to know what’s going on with you, your wife, your parents, and your dog, even though they’ve never met any of them. They have a thirst for life and knowledge and understanding. Yes, this can get annoying, but they genuinely care because they want to get to know you. This leads into our next two:

3. Junior Highers have a GINORMOUS desire for relationships. Junior Highers are curious and accepting because they desperately want to be accepted. They want to be involved in what is going on and want to be connected with someone. With all the change and inconsistencies in their lives a consistent, real relationship means the world to them.  I think this is true for most people, it’s just a lot more noticeable with JHighers.

4. Junior Highers are genuine and sincere. I don’t really think they know anything different. They are authentic and sort of just wear their heart on their sleeve. There is a sort of innocence in a Junior High student that they haven’t figured out how to hide yet. This can be tricky because some of the older ones are getting to the “too cool” High School stage. However, if you have the opportunity to meet a student that hasn’t gotten there yet, they’ll definitely let you into their life. Talk about refreshing. I wish we could all be as open and honest as an 11-14 year old.

5. Junior Highers are awkward. I don’t really know what this taught me. I mean, we all knew this already. I guess I had a little bit of compassion stir up and that led to what I learned. I don’t know how you could feel like you wouldn’t go to war for an awkward Junior Higher. I’m sure Jesus had some of the same emotions when he said in Matthew 19, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

6. Junior Highers know how to have fun. 3 Rockstars, 2 Monsters, 6 Candy Bars, and a bag of Sour Patch Kids. BOOM. This may not be the best description of why or how junior highers know how to have fun, but who doesn’t want to party with a person who calls that their midnight snack? My interns were shocked by how much fun they had and I honestly believe it was because they got to be crazy (and not so intelligent) kids again. Basketball in the rain? Awesome. Full contact steal the bacon? Bring it. Ice cream pie eating contest? Yes sir.

7. Junior Highers know how to worship. This video speaks for itself. (Click the link)


Our team learned a ton from our time at camp and are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with Junior Highers and Cornerstone’s JHigh staff.

“Right the Future” Parts 1 and 2

1 02 2011

Videos for our “Write the Future” series called “Right the Future”. A little play on words. We get to see Jordan’s amazing creativity once again. And yes, we are driving a Delorean.

Part 1

Part 2


The Story Part 2

17 12 2010

Part 2 of the Story. I love seeing students read the story of Jesus’ birth and put into action how they envision it playing out today.

A retweet reminder about relevance…

14 12 2010

Andy Stanley constantly asks the question, “What are we doing that no one else has tried before?” If you take a look at how North Point services are ran, Andy’s teaching style (we’re on a first name basis because we met once), and some of the risks they take, it’s not hard to see how important and foundational this question is. I think this philosophy definitely pours out into their Sunday morning program. Check out this video for example:

I’m sure most of you have already seen this video and if you haven’t you’re probably replaying the last song again. After watching this last week, I had to share it with the world (or at least with the people who follow me on Twitter and facebook). There is one friend that I knew would really enjoy this particular video. He works in the music industry in LA and really knows what’s going on in the world of social media and entertainment. After pointing the video out to him he retweeted this video that had “North Point Community Church” written all over it. My good buddy isn’t really a church goer and I’m not sure if he would call himself a Christ follower.

BUT, he thought this was cool and interesting and relevant enough to share it with the people in his circle of influence. The church has tendencies to slip away from being relevant. We are afraid to try something new because it differs from what we have done before. It drives me crazy when people get upset about a church that plays a secular song in the service or does something like North Point did because “it doesn’t glorify God” or because “it brings the world into the church.”

Isn’t that exactly what Jesus wants us to do? Does he not want the world learning God’s truth? God wants the church in the world and I hope you know He wants the world in the church. Just because something is relevant does not automatically put it in the “not-spiritual” category. You don’t have to risk one to do the other, they CAN coexist. If that makes one person notice the church and check it out, then it was well worth it.

I appreciate what North Point does and I get excited when my friends who don’t normally step into a church see relevance in what we are doing. I hope we challenge ourselves to ask these questions, to take risks, and to long for those absent in our community and creatively provide ways for them to experience God.