The Real Reason Why Change Rarely Works

3 Lessons On Change and Transition

I’ll admit, as a leader it’s quite easy to get caught up with a vision.

It’s natural because as leader’s we’re encouraged to look out for opportunities and then take the lead in making things happen. But sometimes we find ourselves alone out front and wonder what happened to the people we’re leading? Why aren’t they with us?

Do You Like To Fish?

Take a scenario of a group of people going fishing on a lake. Typical leaders get the vision, jump in the boat and are off to fish straight away. But the rest of the group may take a different approach. As the leaders look back, they find that half the people are still on the river bank.

Some are still prepping their fishing gear. Some are just starting to launch their boats. Others are on the water but are heading in the opposite direction. Some are going in circles, and still others haven’t yet even decided if they feel like fishing after all. That’s when you realize that only leading from the front doesn’t always help facilitate the transition.

A metal toggle switch with plate reading Change and Same, flipped into the Same position, illustrating the decision to work toward changing or improving your situation in life

We have a choice to change or remain the same.

John Maxwell in his book Winning with People admits that patience is not one his strengths. He says:

When I was younger I constantly cast vision for the people in my organization and then left them behind – not a good thing for a leader.

In the past sixteen years, Mars Hill experienced many changes.  But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that during the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process whereas leaders we simply dropped the ball. Here are three humbling lessons learned:

Here We GROW Again – Easter 2015 People Reaching People #PRP

On Sunday, March 15, 2015, the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago celebrated Friends’ Day.

We had our largest attendance this year. Every seat, including two overflows were filled to capacity. I believe God gave us a glimpse of how Easter 2015 will be. Therefore, we’re adding a Saturday service for our members so we can free up space for our guests attending Easter Sunday.

Easter Flyer 2015

People Reaching People

At Mars Hill, our theme for 2015 is People Reaching People #PRP.  That means we’re encouraged to stretch ourselves and do different things to reach people.  We have to be open to new ideas, take some risks as we prepare for the overflow that God is sending us.

As pastor, I am asking our members to attend our Saturday Easter service (April 4th) at 5PM.  It will be very similar to our Sunday services and CHILDCARE WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ALL.  It’s casual so come as you are.

If you attend Saturday’s service and will attend Easter Sunday, we ask three things of you:

  1. Wear your Mars Hill T-shirt,
  2. Sit in the section for Mars Hill members, and if necessary,
  3. Be ready to give up your seat and go to the overflow or our cafe.

It’s all about reaching people this year so we have to be willing to make sacrifices.

If you are bringing guests on Easter Sunday and you need to sit with them, don’t wear a t-shirt because it is more important that our guests feel comfortable.

Easter Weekend Schedule:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

5PM – Live Worship Experience – Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago
5PM – **NEW Online Worship Experience** (Yep, it’s almost here)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

8AM – Live Worship Experience
8AM – **NEW Online Worship Experience**
10:30AM – Live Worship Experience
10:30AM – **NEW Online Worship Experience**

Remember, It’s all about People Reaching People #PRP.

The One Thing You Must Do When a Crisis Comes

I will never forget a couple who attended Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago for five years. They almost never missed a week. They would walk in, hear the message and the music, and walk back out.

Week after week, in and out. They never met anybody. They never established any friendships. They never got involved in ministry. They never joined. They never built a network of support.

After about five years, they went through one of those horrendous, gut wrenching, devastating crises, that shattered their world. The kind that knocks you against the wall and leaves you gasping for breath just trying to hold on.


The real tragedy was, there was nobody there to help them. They had never taken the time to get to know anyone. They had never built any relationships. They had never been there for anybody else in a crisis, and nobody was there for their crisis. That’s sad. Because it’s completely unnecessary.

They could have taken the time before the storm to establish a few key relationships that would have been there to strengthen them when they were going through tough times. So, what do you do when you’re going through one of those horrendous, gut wrenching, devastating crises that shatters your world? Drop your pride and accept help from others.

It All Goes Back In The Box

I love the game Monopoly.  Not the online game…the real board game – the old school version.

The game Monopoly was originally created to highlight the pitfalls of greed, consumerism and the world banking system. Winning the game means having a monopoly – all the pieces, all of the properties, and all of the money. The only way to do that? Bankrupt all of the other players.  As good as it feels to bankrupt everyone, when the game is over, everything goes back in the box.



Life is like a game of Monopoly. You strategize, take risks, and wheel and deal to improve your position. But when the game is over, all the pieces go back in the box. When the game of life is over, your body is placed in the grave. Only eternal investments will follow you into eternity.

To get the most out of life, you must arrange your priorities around what matters most. A life that focuses on temporary prizes will result in disappointment when the game is over.  Consider today’s post as an invitation to join me on a journey to study the life of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21).

Be a friend and bring a friend to Mars Hill Baptist Church (8AM or 10:30AM) on Sunday, February 22, 2014.

3 Solid Reasons Why You Should Go To Church

Some believe the local church is dead and that her best days are behind her. The church is not dead, its alive. Her best days are now and ahead. I believe, as Bill Hybels says, “the local church is the hope of the world.”

I grew up attending church. Many of my earliest memories are times spent at the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago, with church people, or in church services. So when I meet people who aren’t regular attenders it’s a surprise to find that sometimes they don’t know why you might be a part of it.

Go to church

Why go to church? What’s the benefit of attending regularly? When you understand the “why” it makes it easier to understand the “when” and “where.”

How Digital Discipleship Changes The Game

Spiritual growth is not automatic. If it were, every person who is born again would progress along a certain path and at some point automatically “arrive” spiritually. Instead, just like physical growth, spiritual growth is a gradual process of development.

If you’ve been at Mars Hill Baptist Church long, you know how important  practical teaching is to our church.  Our goal is simple.  We begin by identifying what is important for people to know.  Practical teaching reveals where we are and where we need to go.  We want the message to come alive so we added REWIND.

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REWIND is weekly email designed for us to look back to Sunday’s message and allow God’s Spirit to prompt us in areas that need to change in our lives (before we shelve the thoughts in the archives of our mind).  There are three sections to it:

New Series – “All Things New”

God designed us in such a way that we are really just a big bundle of appetites, expectations, and desires.  Appetites include security, an appetite for love, an appetite to be respected, to be cherished, and to feel successful.  God designed to have appetites, but each one of our appetites creates tension. The reason you feel tension in your life, is because one or more of your appetites are clamoring for MORE.

Your ability or inability to manage your appetites will determine the direction of your life.  That’s why I decided to begin 2015 with a new series called “All Things New.” On Sunday, January 4, 2015 (8AM or 10:30AM), I’m kicking off this series discussing the tension you face in your pursuit of MORE. Together we’ll look at the Story of Jacob and Esau and discover how uncontrolled appetites can lead to destruction (Genesis 25). Grab a friend and meet us at Mars Hill Baptist Church. You’ll leave stronger, better, and wiser.

Humbling Leadership Lessons In Change & Transition – Pt. 3

Humility increases our appreciation for God. To respect God’s majesty, we must compare ourself to his greatness. When we look at creation, we often feel small by comparison. To feel small is a healthy way to get back to reality, but God does not want us to dwell on our smallness. Humility means proper respect for God, not self-depreciation.

In 2011 saw some exciting changes at the Mars Hill Baptist Church. But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that in the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process where as leaders we simply dropped the ball. During this three-part series, my purpose was to share three humbling lessons learned. If you missed reading Part 1 and Part 2, you can read them HERE and HERE.


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(Sanctuary Renovation – 2011)

So, what did I learn?

50 Years Later…We’re Just Getting Started

I love history!  It gives you an opportunity to learn about your past and stand on the shoulders of giants.  What’s more exciting than learning history is MAKING history.  That’s exactly what we’re doing at the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago.  We’re celebrating our 50th Anniversary with events planned throughout 2013.

Celebrating Something Old – Our Past

I serve an amazing church filled with amazing people (Ok, I’m biased). The Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago is celebrating her 50th year in ministry.  On February 24, 2013, we celebrated “Something Old” by taking a trip down memory lane.  We paid tribute to our founding Pastor & 1st Lady, Rev. Dr. Clarence E. Stowers, Sr., & Margaret Stowers along with our founding members.  Together, we laughed, cried, and learned about our glorious past.


Our 17 Founding Members

Celebrating Something New – Our Present

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to  prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

On Saturday, April 20, 2013, we opened “The Gallery.”  Ylandus Roundy came up with the concept of “The Gallery.”  On display were various pictures, artifacts, clothing, and other items depicting my life.  The idea was to showcase the man behind the message and show that I’m more than a pastor, teacher, and leader.  Many members came and were pleasantly surprised by the many facets of my life.  I want to thank our staff, Ylandus Roundy, and Bert Parker for representing Mars Hill well.

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Snapshot from “The Gallery”

Humbling Leadership Lessons In Change and Transition – Pt. 2

I am surprised and humbled by the overwhelming response to this week’s post, “Humbling Lessons In Change & Transition.”  If you missed it, you can read it HERE.

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 (Sanctuary renovation – 2011)

In 2011, I shared some new and exciting changes at Mars Hill Baptist Church.  But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that in the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process where as leaders we simply dropped the ball.  I believe you can learn a lot from your failures if you’re willing to admit and learn from them.

Renovation 3

(Sanctuary renovation – 2011)

First, I learned  how buildings house memories.  Therefore, it is wise not to erase their significance. Parents have introduced their children to the church and sat Sunday after Sunday in the pews together. Others have said goodbye to loved ones and those last few words in that place were significant.  In addition to learning the significance of buildings, I also learned how change can happen quickly but, transition often follows more slowly.