Set the Pace 04 How Do You Eat An Elephant

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
How indeed!

The answer to the old question “how do you eat an elephant” is one bite at a time. Which means some tasks are just big tasks and just take time. Building a church, setting up a new business, losing weight, changing the direction of a church. All of these tasks take time. But if your job is eating an elephant, then don’t just settle and decide “well, it has to take time” – maybe you can shave some seconds off the eating, and do it quicker.

  • Maybe you can persuade other people to help you eat it. However long it takes to eat an elephant, it will take less time if the eating task is shared. If you raise up other people to help, and build community, things will always take less time. It might be that there is someone around you that is an exceptionally fast eater and loves elephant! Give that task to them!
  • Maybe you can practise eating and become a quicker eater. Maybe you can learn some new skills and techniques that let you eat quicker. What can you learn about your task, who can you learn it from?
  • Maybe you can eat more than one part at a time! When we started Guildford as our second church, something amazing happened – we started learning how to pastor twice as fast as before! We had twice the problems, twice the situations, twice the pace! Everything doubled and it was a time of great acceleration for us – instead of there being a miracle in one church, we could have a miracle in two. Instead of dealing with some new guests, we had double the number of new guests. Now, we have a family of churches and they are all growing. We are learning so much. If we had waited to “finish” Dagenham, get a building, build a large team, have a million pound turnover before starting our second church, then we would still be moving at a slower pace there. If you are waiting for the test market and testing and learning for too long, other markets will get away from you. And what if you could learn from all the other markets.
  • Maybe you need to develop more discipline and eat when you don’t feel like eating. So many people just do what they feel like. You will not always feel like working, like serving others, like exercising. You will not always be motivated. You have to develop the character to do things out of a sense of discipline and routine, not out of motivation. While some people are hunting motivation, a disciplined person can change the world without feeling like it..
  • Work out what actions and times and styles are best for eating and get more ate! Have a sense of reflection about your pace-setting and running things, and work out what works best and do more of that. You should be measuring things and putting more energy, staff, effort and money into the things that work the best for you!
  • You are the leader, you should be the one deciding how long a task should take, and how fast it should be done. One of the main tasks of leadership is to set priorities. What things need to urgently be “eaten” and what things can be left to tomorrow, next week, next year – or indeed never have to be done. If your task is to eat an elephant, probably best not to have a cheeseburger and chips beforehand. Sometimes we cannot do the things we should be doing because we cannot stop doing things that just do not matter.
  • You need to be unafraid of failure. You have to develop a sense of persistence. You need to continually remind yourself of your dream and vision. You need to work on your team and make sure they can handle the pace. You need to inspire people to work together.

Do these things and you will win! You will complete every task, and it will be awesome!

Dealing With Worry 01: What is Worry?

Image result for strangulation

Welcome to the Dream Academy. We are here to help you walk in your dreams through motivation, teaching, inspiration and challenge.

Today is #teachingtuesday, and we are going to start a series on dealing with worry. Worry is one of the biggest dream-killers that exists. You need to learn how to identify and deal with worry.

The English word worry actually has its roots in the word “strangle”, which is one of the most powerful descriptions of what worry does to you – it strangles the life out of you. It sucks the life and peace and joy out of you and stops you from moving forward and walking in your dreams.

Worry can easily become an obsession in your life – you look at a situation, a problem, a fear, and you obsess over it, you look at every aspect of it, you analyse every potential situation that could happen, and you end up making mountains out of molehills.

Worry is not just in your mind though, it starts to affect your body. You start to get hot-and-bothered, you start to feel sick. Even if the chances of something happening is next to nothing, we can still worry about it to the point that we cannot function. This is something we have to function.

Worry is a force of destruction. It will mess up your mind and body. It is not healthy. It is not something we should be permitting in your life.

One of the things I want to teach you about in this #teachingtuesday series is how to tell the difference between worry and faith. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will speak to us about something – for example, the Holy Spirit might tell you that one of your children is facing a problem. That’s not worry, that’s the witness of the Spirit. You have to listen to the Comforter when He tells you there is a problem, so you can bring the Word of God in prayer to that problem; and you have to realize that is not worry – worry never brings the Word of God into a situation and has no comfort. Some people are so anxious that even the witness of the Spirit is turned into worry by their mind, rather than turned into prayer in the Spirit.

The opposite of worry is hope. When you have hope, in God, in your ability to win, in your future, then you start to feel at ease. Sometimes hope and worry exist in our mind together at the same time, and that can be hard to deal with. We will spend some time learning how to control our thinking and deal with worry forever.

Now this is a simple introduction to the topic, and we will go in depth in the next few weeks in our dream academy. Consider this module 1. But the fact is some of you reading this cannot wait 4-8 weeks to learn more to deal with worry, because right now it is paralysing your mind. So let me give you the condensed version of how to deal with worry right now:

  1. Change what you are listening to. Words paint the pictures in your mind, so change what words you are hearing to change those pictures. Spend time listening to people who bring hope and life to you.
  2. The natural enemy of worry is love. The more you think about how much you are loved by God, by people, by friends and family, the more worry loses its ability to conquer you.
  3. A spoken word always beats a thought. When your thoughts lead you to a dark place, start talking light and life. Start saying how awesome you are, and how you are going to win and conquer and be a champion. Start speaking your dreams and you will walk in your dreams.

If you start to take that advice, you can deal with worry forever! But keep coming back and reading as we will unpack all this advice and give you some really practical help on how to deal with worry.

Three Things I Will Never Do

The hardest leadership lessons are lessons learned the hard way.  If you have been in leadership of people more than a year or so, you will have made mistakes.  That’s just a fact.  The worst mistakes are the ones we know we could have avoided – good advisors, wise mentors, experienced experts told us not to do a certain thing, and due to our zeal, our youthfulness, our inexperience – and let’s face it, our arrogance – we did it anyway, thinking we would be the exception to the rule.  And we weren’t. 

I’ve learned a few things this way – through difficult experience rather than through the wisdom of others.  And the truth is while it is not the most efficient and most useful way to learn, lessons learned through experience never leave you, and leave the deepest convictions in your soul.  As such, there are three things I will never do, because I have learned the hard way.  I am not going to share too much details about the situations, but just share the fact that these convictions stem out of difficult mistakes I made and had to face head on. 

THREE THINGS I WILL NEVER DO

3. I will never appoint an elder whose spouse is not happy with that appointment.  I was advised not to, a very wise mentor and friend, and one of the most experienced church planters and leaders I know told me not to.  But I did.  And it almost split the church in two.  All the warning signs were there, but in my zeal I ignored them.  But through that experience, I am now very cautious in appointing leaders.  Of course, you will never find the perfect leader – but if their own husband or wife are not happy with them taking the role, and you appoint them, you are asking for trouble.  That’s just a fact!

2. I will never permit someone to preach who doesn’t respect my vision and the vision of Tree of Life Church.  That’s just a fact – you cannot let someone into your pulpit who thinks you are doing something wrong by planting the church and holding the church.  This goes for worship leaders as well.  You are better off with a CD player or MP3 player than having a worship leader – no matter how talented – who doesn’t believe in your vision.  I have let people lead worship and preach to encourage them, because live worship is important to me and my values, to help raise a crowd.  All of it is in vain if the person disagrees with the vision.  That disagreement will come out from their leading and their being at the front, and you can’t argue with it that well with others because you put them in the front.  I’ve learned this the hard way, and I am never making that mistake again.

1. I will never compromise what I believe to satiate a carnal request.  A lot of Christians are carnal.  They make their decisions purely based on the flesh.  One lady came to us in the early days and told us our opening declarations were witchcraft.  I knew they weren’t, but I seriously considered stopping them just to make her more comfortable in the church.  Now there is nothing wrong with changing things in a church to make people feel more comfortable – but the declarations are a core part of our vision and values as a church.  I never did stop them and the lady left, but I have hundreds of testimonies of people who have been healed, delivered, encouraged, inspired due to those declarations.  Some times you just got to do what you got to do.

Decision Making as a Leader

You are in charge – so you make the decision.  Don’t worry who you upset or offend, do what is right.  It’s your vision, your pure, whole, beautiful vision.  Don’t let them make it a patchwork of their half-baked ideas they have never worked out for themselves.  

Do what you know to be right.  Make a decision with all the information you have to hand, and don’t worry about what you don’t know.  Ask God for wisdom.  He supplies generously without reproach.  Let the peace of God rule in your heart.

Don’t confer with people who have never been where you have.  Don’t let them put Saul’s armour on you to fight the battle you know you are called to fight (if Saul’s armour was that good, Saul would be wearing it).  Don’t let them push you around.

Do what you did when the problem was tiny.  It’s the same solution.

Trust God.  Trust yourself.  Trust your gut.  Trust that He will never let you down.  Trust your experience, God has let you end up at this point for a reason.  Trust who you are in Him.

Seek advice from wiser people, those who have been where you want to go.  Read Ephesians cover to cover.  Fast a day or two.  Open your mind to a new idea.  Read a book by a leader.  Flip a coin (doesn’t matter what the coin is – but when it was in the air, what did you WANT IT TO BE?)

Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong.  It will not be your only chance to do this.

Believe big.  Make a big decision.  Expect great results.