Live Notes from Preaching Lab

Bruxy Cavey - Teaching Pastor (Meeting House)

Relentlessness of schedule repeating itself every week. 
No extensions on prep for Sunday
Peculiar to be in a position to teach people about who Jesus is.
Preaching is like a bad first date - just straight talking.
How do we give people cues to enter into the conversations?
    how do you communicate that?
One of the best things we can do is remember that everything in scripture points to Jesus. 
In Jesus we get to see how God is like
When we preach we need to start and end with Jesus

He is our headline

The word of God is a person before it is a book

the message gets written down
we go to the book to learn about who Jesus is
I approach scripture wit the faith that it all points to Jesus

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” - Jesus
Teach them to obey everything that I have commanded. - Jesus
Its a weird thing to have your own personal faith linked to your job. 
Are you being paid to be a good Christian? 

If you answer with doubts what does that say?

We relate to Christ through the body of Christ

our relationships help create authentic accountability

We don’t just preach Jesus we leak Jesus

Fruit of the Spirit

Important when preaching
Who we are to be and to help people become who they need to be.
Meditate on Gal. 5
"God help this take root in me that I can show it when I preach."

Sometimes we cloak angry tones in preaching under the umbrella of passion. Anger is not one of the Fruit of the Spirit

Can you hear this preaching speaking about anything else? If it is still angry then it clearly isn’t passion

If we preach and show passion through angry rage speak that isn’t Christian passion or veil of holiness.
How do these things leak out so that people experience Christ through us?


I have had some requests regarding what books I have been reading lately. I made a goal of reading one hundred books (#100BookChallenge is the hashtag I have been using), this year. I am almost at a quarter of the year and I am a couple books behind, but I have a couple on the go as we speak. 

Here is my completed list as of Monday, April 11, 2016 

1. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (Book Review)

2. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof (Book Review)

3. Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World by Rich Wilkerson 

We never stop to consider that the “us” we’re trying to get them to like isn’t really “us” at all. They are imposters, characters we’re playing. We don’t realize that if we wear the mask for too long, we might never be able to take it off
— Sandcastle Kings
In order to convey Jesus’ love to others, we must be willing to be the voice of Jesus and speak the Word of God to people. As we do this, we will fully experience the compassion of Jesus flowing through us.
— Judah Smith

6. In The Skin Of A Lion - Michael Ondaatje 

7. H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle. - Brad Lomenick 

This is one of the best leadership books I have read for ministry leaders. We have introduced it into our summer staff reading list as a result of its practical suggestions to implement the leadership principles it covers. (Blog Post: Maintaining Faith Habits)

8. Win Every Week: How to Help Every Parent and Every Small Group Leader Win Every Week (You Lead Series Book 1) by Reggie Joiner

Most parents and leaders don’t want more information—they want better information. Most parents and leaders don’t want more responsibility—they want deeper relationships.
— Reggie Joiner
Do young people feel like they can ask big and tough questions about God in our community? And if not, how can we create more safe places so that they can? So if you know a young person whose big questions about God are causing them to drift from their faith, then I would say, how do you make sure they stay in the conversation? Whether it’s in small group, whether that’s in ongoing one-on-one mentoring with an adult at your church … because if we don’t provide venues for conversation to happen, then they’re going to have conversations in other places and come to conclusions we wish they wouldn’t come to.
— Carey Nieuwhof
Ultimately, the key to doing your best work in the least amount of time is to find those times that you do specific activities best, and do as much of those activities in that time period as possible.
— Claire Diaz-Ortiz
Moment Making is not for the weak at heart. Sometimes our moments crash and burn at the speed of a fighter jet plummeting toward earth in a fireball. At that velocity, sometimes there is nothing else you can do besides eject, but if you can hold on, sometimes you are presented with an even more incredible moment than what you thought was possible.
— Carlos Whittaker
The perfect equilibrium of two different ways of looking at the world: the need to talk about yourself, compared with the need to let people talk about what was happening around them. One could never have existed without the other. That balance, or battle, had created Twitter. A tool that could be used by corporate titans and teens, by celebrities and nobodies, by government officials and revolutionaries. A place where people with fundamentally different views of the world, like Jack and Ev, could converse.
— Nick Bilton
Ego affected them all: Noah, Jack, Ev, and Biz. They were all driven by it. For Noah ego became a tool for reflection, for trying to understand whom he had wronged in the past and how he could be a better person in the future. For Jack it had the opposite effect, causing him to obsess over who had wronged him in the past and how he could return to the spotlight in the future. And what better way to achieve this goal than to eclipse other people’s egos?
— Nick Bilton


This is a companion book to number 9 on this list. It is well worth the read and I would recommend ministry leaders to read this and then work through the volunteer version as a team. 

18. The Book of Matthew - The Bible

19. How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living - Rob Bell

20. Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360° Leader - Bill Hybels 

Please don’t miss this. If God has given you a kingdom vision, if you see it clearly and feel it deeply, you had better take responsibility for it. You had better give your life to it. That’s why God made you a leader. That’s your unique calling. That’s what you and I will be held accountable for someday.
— Bill Hybels

21. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

22. Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas 

23. Creating a Lead Small Culture: Make Your Church a Place Where Kids Belong
By Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elle Campbell 

(Blog Post: Someone & Somewhere)

24. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free by Tullian Tchividjian

Like Job’s friends, we prefer the safety of “if-then” conditionality. Suffering, however, often serves as an unwanted reminder that reality does not operate according to our preferences.
— Tullian Tchivdjian

25. by Brett Ullman

The noisy messages that are making up our choices, values, and belief systems allow us to do one thing very well—hide.
— Brett Ullman

What are you reading? 

What books would you recommend I read in the next few months?

I would love to hear what books have changed your leadership style, or have just made your life better for reading them. Leave me a note below, or send me a tweet.

Family Discipleship is Scary

I am super excited about my new role within the Children's MInistry at The Peoples Church. "Director of Family Discipleship" brings new opportunities and allows me to grow within my current responsibilities. It's exciting to think about how we can impact the family to grow the larger family of Christ. 

To be honest, the weight of that title is scary, but scary can be such a great thing when it comes to leadership. the unknown pushes and moves us forward and it drives us to be creative and innovative. the idea of the "family" is a big concept as the focus is no longer "just" kids, but the family as a unit. The new question is:

How do I move a family from a faith that is talked about on Sunday to a faith that brings the family unit closer together and how do they live it out together?

The first responsibility that I have is the focus around teaching. Some of the ways I will be teaching will be through curriculum development as well as through outside training events. We are excited to be using 252 Basics curriculum and the key will be training our volunteers in how to best use the curriculum so that it fulfils our kidmin goal of: 

Motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday.

Coming up in November, I will be teaching my first three classes geared towards parents and how they can pair with the kidmin team to achieve that  goal. These Tuesday nights include:

How to Mentor Your Own Children at Home.
A Land Flowing With Lip-gloss and Deodorant: Navigating Tween Life
Pop Culture Christians: Crucial Conversations 

The teaching component is exciting for me. I love to resource and create healthy conversations for the home to help the family's faith grow while spending time together no matter what the family unit may be. 

My new role is just beginning and I look forward to sharing how we plan to use leadership development and our summer camp model to strengthen our kidmin and youth ministry.



Session Notes From #GLS15 (Bill Hybels)

Today was day one of the Global Leadership Summit and it is amazing to take it all in from Willow Creek as everything unfolds. To start off the Summit Bill Hybels gave a great definition of leadership. 

Leadership is about moving people from “Here” to “There.”
— Bill Hybels

Leadership at its core is all about movement and as leaders in different stages of our leading life we all ask a different question. 

  • New leader: Can I do this? 
  • Experienced leader: Can I sustain this?
  • Veteran leader: Can I take this through the finish line. 

When you are a leader the stakes are high at each level and they made note that there was a number of leaders that at last years Summit were ready to through in the towel because the thought of moving people was becoming too much.

The power of the Summit is that it has the ability to turn that desire to run into a desire to return to our churches or organizations with a ferocious desire to lead others well from "Here" to "There." I have felt this way and the Summit when approached in the right way has a great ability to teach every leader that with the right amount of humility anyone can learn from anybody. This value of humility has been touched on for as long as I can remember at the Summit. 

In years past Bill Hybels has taught on 8 characteristics of leadership and they are as follows.

Casting Vision
Building Teams
Motivating & Inspiring
Solving Problems
Change management
Establishing Core Values
Allocating Resources
Developing Emerging Leaders
— Bill Hybels - 8 Characteristics of Leadership

By watching some leaders fail and some succeed the question becomes is there more to leadership than these eight qualities. He was handed a copy of The Intangibles of Leadership by Richard A. Davis (see link below) and another five intangibles of leadership began to present themselves. 

1) Grit

How is it that individuals with lesser talent can strive in a leadership environment? How is it that they are able to show levels of passion and perseverance that are of the charts? Research shows that The secret to top performance is unremitting, long-term tenacity. In other words great leaders have grit. One thing that sets a gritty person apart is that the expect to see and take on difficult tasks, but they believe that anything can be overcome. The great thing is if you don't think you have grit you can develop your grit level. 

When you grow grit in any area of your life it bleeds into the others.”

”Grit development demands difficulty”

”The arch-enemy of grit is ease.

These three quotes from Bill sum up grit development. It is not easy and it grows when you prevail over a difficult task. So the question is do you run away from hard times or do you push through and finish strong.  By the way you can take a grit assessment here to see your level of grit. I took it twice and got a 3.8 out of 5 each time. 

Grit matters in life. And it matters in leadership. Those with more of it will succeed more than those with less of it.

One thing that was mentioned was that  most elite leaders volunteer for extra work assignments and show steely determination to carry it out. Grit takes work to grow and develop but the pay-off is worth it. 

2) Self Awareness

The second intangible of leadership was self awareness and I really enjoyed what was said. The first realization was that every decision a leader makes can usually be traced back to past experiences in their life that affect how they view a possible solution to a problem. Past experiences become tethered to leadership decisions. The reason this can be a bad thing is that the leader that makes the decisions does not have the self awareness to realize their past experiences are hindering their leadership. 

The second topic covered was that all leaders have blind spots. Blind spots were defined as: 

Something someone believes they do well but everyone on the team knows it is not true.
— Bill Hybels

Most leaders have on average of 3.4 blind spots, but if you were to ask them what they are they would not be able to tell you what they are. That is why they are blind spots. However, everyone around you can probably tell you what they are. You can get help with your blind spots by asking your team what they might be, or someone that you have a deep relationship bond with i.e. spouse. 

Once you know what your blind spots you do have you can move them from being a blind spot into being a weakness that you are trying to improve. For me I want to move receiving feed back well from a blind spot into weakness so I picked up Sheila Heen's book Thanks For The Feedback (see link below). 

3) Resourcefulness

Resourceful leaders have the remarkable skill of leadership ability. They are able to roll up their sleeves and attack an issue  with an insurmountable force in order to get the job done.  

Resourcefulness demands that you fight your way forward and figure it out until you do.
— Bill Hybels

You can develop resourcefulness by placing yourself in confusing leadership situations that force you to take the situations that are dysfunctional and work at them until you figure it out. You can also determine whether your emerging leaders have leadership agility by creating short-term task forces to work on issues that will stretch their development.  

4) Self Sacrificing Love

2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
— 1 Samuel 22:2 New International Version (NIV)

Bill used this story of David to illustrate how powerful self sacrificing love is in regards to changing the people that you are leading. David is given the leftover leaders to carry out the mission God has given him and in the next few chapters is all about how David grew the leadership potential of those around them. He showed them how love creates a community and how love changes everything.  

Vision is not the core of leadership. Self sacrificing love will always be at the core of leadership.
— Bill Hybels

A little bit later three senior leaders broke through enemy lines to get water from the Bethlehem Well and and it was David’s greatest leadership moment. He realized his investment had paid off, his leadership, more importantly his love had transformed the men God had placed under his care. He remembered hearing the whispers of God who said, “I want you to love these guys.”

15 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 16 So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. 17 “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it.
— 2 Samuel 23:15-17

As a leader it is imperative to show your team love. When affirmation and love is communicated well it has a way of humanizing the workplace and it will be the level of love shown by the most senior of leaders that will drive the change of culture within your organization. 

5) Sense of Meaning: Knowing Your "White-Hot" Why

Simon Sinek in his book "Start With Why" says that most organizations can tell you what they do and most can tell you how they do what they do, but most organizations cannot tell you why they do what they do. 

What is your white-hot why? What is it that drives you to go to work everyday? This "why" will either fuel you as a leader or show you that your current "why" is not driving you to excellence. This should also move you as a leader towards improving yourself and those serving with you. In our children's ministry and youth ministry at The Peoples Church our "white-hot" why is: 

We want our kids to be motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday.

We make sure that everyone knows this. I have told our Summer Camp staff this very phrase more times than I can count because that is why we do summer camp and what we want every child to move towards. 

Step it up. Find your white hot why and turn over heaven and earth to achieve it.”
— Bill Hybels

The call towards better leadership was evident in the first session and the need for leaders to step it up because leadership matters. 

Your Dream - Sharing with Lead222 in Toronto

Last week I had the opportunity to lead the evening session for Lead222 SL (Servant Leadership) Trip that took place here in Toronto. I led the third session that was entitled Your Dream which was a part of a week long series.

Dream Wildly
Live Differently | Love Recklessly | Lead Courageously   

The goal of the session I was asked to lead the group through was to help them discover their dream. Discovering your dream in life whether long term or short term can be extremely difficult and it made me think a lot about my dream as my life moves forward. However, this was a great opportunity to talk with a bunch of youth about the the difference in dreams rooted in this world and dreams that are KINGDOM dreams. These are dreams that build up the kingdom rather than dreams that are rooted in the false truth of media and this world. Another thing I wanted to stress was that when you dream for the advancement of God's kingdom we embrace the uniqueness that in within each and everyone one of us. 

Here are my notes from the session that grew out of the amazing message outlines that Lead222 provided. 

I started with this quote from Biz Stone. 

Real opportunities in the world aren’t listed on job boards, and they don’t pop up in your in-box with the subject line: Great Opportunity Could Be Yours. Inventing your dream is the biggest step toward making it come true.
— Biz Stone from Things A Little Bird Told Me

I sometimes think that in the culture we live in today we expect everything to come in an instant. Whether it is our love of being connected to email, text, social media and our phone all day everyday I can see how we would expect our dreams to fall into our laps. However, our dreams take work, they take time to percolate and come to fruition and I think we have lost a little bit of patience with our love of always being connected. Our dreams are more like a work of art. I showed these three photos of some works of art I love. 

The first one is Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh painted in 1889. The sky in this paing keeps the viewer's eyes moving about the painting, following the curves and creating a visual dot to dot with the stars. I find that to be absolutely amazing. The second piece of art is Marko Djurdjević's variant cover to Thor #601. I just love this cover and I have a signed copy in my office. It is my favorite painted cover from Djurdjević. The last photo is a movie poster from Star Wars. It isn't the poster that I was referencing in the talk, but the movies themselves as a work of art.  

All these pieces of art started in the same place. They started as a blank canvas, piece of paper and were developed over time by the artist. Just like a piece of art our dreams need to be worked at over time and crafted so they develop into their full potential. 

I asked some of the youth that have helped us out in our ministry what they dreamed about for their life and the general consensus was that they dreamed about one of the following:

  • Money
  • Job
  • Success
  • Getting into the right school
  • Girlfriend/boyfriend
  • To change the world

The next question I asked them was:

What are you being asked to dream about?

Many times our dreams are not just our dreams. There are many people in our lives that try to speak into what our dreams should be and there is enough pressure from the media telling us what would make our lives complete.

we have to be careful where or who we take direction from when it comes to our dreams for the future. Proverbs tells us this:

Where there is no message from God, people don’t control themselves.
But blessed is the one who obeys wisdom’s instruction.
— Proverbs 29:18

Do we take the time to ask God to lead us towards our dreams? 

Are we patient enough to let God's plans come to fruition? 

What desires has God given you?

What gifts and talents has God placed in your life that you can see, or others have confirmed that you can use to create your kingdom dream? 

We started the evening singing worship songs and one song says,

You’ve never failed and you won’t start now.
— Oceans by Hillsong United

Have you ever shared your dream with someone and heard one or more of these statements,

  • That will never happen.
  • How would you ever make a living off that?
  • People just don't do that.
  • That's impossible.
  • It's just so unrealistic.

If you are going to dream a dream that will help build up the kingdom and change your life why not take a risk. When we step out and take a risk in faith we get the opportunity to discover courage and build a level of trust that up until this point seemed impossible. 

God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by His power that is working in us.
— Ephesians 3:20

Christ in us and working through us is how our biggest dreams will become kingdom builders. These are the dreams that not only change our life, but change the lives of those around us. They change things for the better. 

When we make room for instead of shunning it, the unknown can bring inspiration and originality.
— Ed Catnull in Creativity Inc.

When we step out into the unknown we get the opportunity to become creators of our own dreams. God is already at work in all of us and we need to allow Him to work through our gifts and talents so our dreams honor Him. Take Nehemiah for example. 

In chapter 1 Nehemiah is told the walls of Jerusalem have been destroyed and he is forced to think about his home town and what could be happening. Nehemiah takes the first step towards establishing a kingdom dream by going straight to God in prayer.

4 When I heard about these things, I sat down and wept. For several days I was very sad. I didn’t eat any food. And I prayed to the God of heaven.
— Nehemiah 1:4

Nehemiah goes straight to God for direction. Now Nehemiah wasn't an architect he was a cupbearer to the king. However, in Chapter 2 we see Nehemiah take a bold step towards his kingdom dream. 

4 The king said to me, “What do you want?”

I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 Then I answered the king, “Are you pleased with me, King Artaxerxes? If it pleases you, send me to Judah. Let me go to the city of Jerusalem. That’s where my people are buried. I want to rebuild it.”
— Nehemiah 2:4-5

Nehemiah makes his bold kingdom dream known, but only after seeking God and following his plans for him. God is about to work in and through Nehemiah to change everything his people knew. Go uses His creations to make himself known and it is through our actions and words that people will know how big our God truly is. 

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine so others can see it. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will bring glory to your Father who is in heaven.
— Matthew 5:14-16

Martin Luther King Jr. gave us one of the most inspiring words when it comes to searching out your dream and taking steps to make that dream come true. 

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!
— Martin Luther King Jr.

He continued. 

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

You might be thinking that you could never have a dream that is as vivid as that, or your dream could never compare to the words spoken above. God works in all of us and Ephesians tells us how much God is capable of. 

20 God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. 21 Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.
— Ephesians 3:20-21

We need to trust that God is doing something bigger than us and something that is far bigger than our perspective. 

I closed with these words from Psalm 139.

God, see what is in my heart.
Know what is there.
Test me.
Know what I’m thinking.
24 See if there’s anything in my life you don’t like.
Help me live in the way that is always right.
— Psalm 139:23-24

Take some time this week to think through what God has placed in your heart for a kingdom dream in your life. Maybe it is for this week, the upcoming semester, this school year, or maybe it is something greater. 

Review and Look Back at "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - George J. Flynn

I truly struggle with leadership. I struggle living in the tension of wanting to be the person described at the beginning of Simon Sinek's "Leaders Eat Last," and the person who I know that is not perfect. It is the tension of leading others towards a vision and knowing that I screw up multiple times everyday. It is this tension that causes me to doubt my own leadership skills and drives me deep into these types of books.

First and foremost this book was great. I loved how it bounced between real world stories of leaders who lead well and others who I am glad I do not work for. The negative leaders were not bashed, but looked at as examples for how to create a work environment that is lacking both a circle of safety as well as a culture that does not promote innovation and creativity.

I also believe this was a great book for ministry leaders who work in environments that require a lot of community thinking, innovative ideas to lead others towards Christ and to equip those individuals in our congregation. The warning that Simon brings forward in regards to leading through dopamine highs only is truly transferable to ministry life. We get an energy boost through high attendance, new members, great one off events, and 500 new Likes or Shares this week on our social media pages. These quick shots of dopamine are great for moral at times, but they lack the long lasting effects of leading as many people to Christ as we can. The in depth look at leadership through the chemical releases in our body is one of the best parts to this book. It is an easy way to read the words on the page and implant your own experiences towards those feelings. It also makes the reader more aware of what chemical release is their primary driver. The scientific look at how trust and commitment are formed through the chemicals in our bodies was fascinating.

Too many of our environments in which we work today frustrate our natural inclinations to trust and cooperate” - Simon Sink

A huge chunk of this book is designed to illustrate the need for a circle of safety within your organization that allows the workers to become creative, innovative and open without fear of being replaced, down sized, or forced out.

A company of strong character will have a culture that promotes treating all people well, not just the ones who pay them or earn them money in the moment. In a culture of strong character, the people inside the company will feel protected by their leaders and feel their colleagues have their backs. In a culture of weak character, the people inside the company will feel that any protection they have comes primarily from their own ability to manage the politics, promote their own successes and watch their own backs...”

I truly believe this 100%. I cannot tell you the creative liberty I feel when I know that I can share openly and honestly around our table meetings. That freedom to do ministry in new ways helps us feel like we can impact the lives of our families in new and better ways. It makes me believe that the kids coming through our ministry will see Jesus come to life in their own life in new and meaningful ways. It all begins at that table and the circle of safety that in created within the organization. I love the meetings where new ideas come to life.

Leadership is about taking responsibility for lives and not numbers.” - Simon Sinek

There is a great section near the back of the book that looks at the differences between the generations that make up the work force.

Baby Boomers --------------- Generation X --------------- Generation Y

There is no blame placed for the lack of great working environments, but the look at the genetic make up of organizations based simple on the differences in these three generations of people shows that atmosphere's of unrealistic expectations, simple ignorance between generations, stereotypes that become labels that cannot be shaken and in some cases stubbornness becomes the norm. The key I think is to know the traits of an individual and not the traits that are labelled upon their generation.


I will end this look back with a quote that I found hit the nail on the head.

It is not the work we remember with fondness, but the camaraderie, how the group came together to get things done.”

Strong teams build strong ministries and in the words of Simon Sinek leadership is not a ticket to do less, but a responsibility to do more.

Leadership is always a commitment to human beings.” - Simon Sinek

5/5 and a must read for everyone who is a part of a team, and anyone who interacts with people on a regular basis.