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’s The Real Reason Why I Am Online?

Honestly, I do not understand why most pastors and church leaders do not leverage technology for the Glory of God. Pastors, church leaders, and faithful church attendees who see social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn as evil are missing a great opportunity to reach people far from God.


Are you sitting?

Here’s something that’ll blow your mind…

Christianity was, in a very real sense, the first technologically driven religion.

Intrigued? Angry? Frustrated?  Read on…

Are You a Dealer of Hope?

Heard this somewhere:

Don’t press timid people to be bold – Give them hope and they will be bold.

Boldness follows hope. Hope is facing the future believing you’ll win. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Timid people don’t believe they can win. People who believe they can win keep working to win.

10 Ways to Build Hope:

  1. Believe in them more than they believe in themselves.
  2. Do things that matter. Never complete bland tasks; always achieve meaningful vision.
  3. Remember past successes. “Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent,” Mignon McLaughlin.
  4. Smile.
  5. Pat people on the back.
  6. Celebrate small wins, every day. Small wins create big wins.
  7. Celebrate effort; it keeps people moving forward.
  8. Praise often; correct occasionally.
  9. Focus on strengths more than weaknesses.
  10. Help people rest and renew.
People who give others hope inspire people to be bold.

The One Thing You Can Do To Make A Difference

I need your help!

I’m noticing a disturbing trend on my Facebook timeline. It’s filled with negativity, sexually suggested dancing, fistfights, & bizarre/demonic criminal behavior. It appears people are in despair & perhaps have lost hope. Facebook and other social media outlets are the places people gather to mingle and converse. They are today’s wells….the gathering place for people to catch up on what’s happening. If Jesus were here today, he’d log on to Facebook.


A Tribute To My Wife – Happy Anniversary!

I would like to think it was easy to be married to me for 21 years but my wife’s commitment to be with me drew her into a life of many challenges. Don’t misunderstand, we’ve been blessed in many ways and we’ve had many good years together. Yet the life of a Pastor (or being married to him) is not easy. Shortly into married life, as I was still training for ministry, I became a co-pastor and we enjoyed a brief time in ministry. Then the opportunity came to transition to senior pastor in May 1999.  We are still here and Mars Hill has grown exponentially.

Marriage Pic

June 27, 1992
Jackson, Mississippi

When You’re Out Of Options…

What do you do when you’ve run out of options?  We all have times when we feel we have no options. However, we can learn how to face these crises by remembering the children of Israel.

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.” – Exodus 14:21 NIV

Moses knew that the way of victory was through trusting the Lord (Hebrews 11:29). Note his three commands (Exodus 13:13-31): “Fear not” for God is on your side; “stand still,” for you cannot win this battle in your own strength; “see the salvation of the Lord,” for He will fight for you. It is important that we stand still before we “go forward” (Exodus 14:15), for unless we are standing by faith, we can never walk by faith. Moses lifted his rod, and God began to work.

out of options

The children of Israel faced a stormy sea to the front and Egyptian soldiers to the rear.  Talk about having no options…they truly had no way out! But, if you’ll remember, God led them from desperation to complete victory.  The believer cannot go ahead in the strength of Christ until he has learned to stand still in his own helplessness. God can then place Himself between us and our circumstances and wonderfully deliver.

So what’s the point:

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t.

There is no lasting defeat for children of God; He always gives us the option of allowing Him to lead us, teach us, and build our faith. If He parted the Red Sea for the people of faith, then through faith, no situation is hopeless.

Again I ask, What do you do when you’re out of options?


Mars Hill Baptist Church: A Great Place Filled With Great People

On Sunday, January 13, 2013, the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago launched “Water Sunday.”  It’s part of our global outreach strategy to make Christ know to the “uttermost parts of the world.”  I want to personally thank Shauntai Stowers, my wife and leader of our Women of Worth Ministry for leading this initiative.  They did an outstanding job leading and organizing this initiative.

The lack of safe water and adequate sanitation worldwide is a crisis.  This crisis steals the lives of 5,500 people each day – more than war, natural disasters, AIDS or hunger. This crisis rarely makes the headlines – it is today’s silent killer.

Water Sunday1

We challenged our members & guests to skip their regularly purchased beverages and have water instead. And then for four weeks, take the money that they would normally spend on soda, coffee, tea, etc. and put it in one of these water bottles labeled “Water Mission Sunday.”

We had an OVERWHELMING response! 

Water Sunday4

Over a thousand adults & children decided to partner with us and provide safe drinking water to people in developing & devastated countries.  I’m proud of our members & guests who provided water bottles for everyone.

Water Sunday2

If you were not able to attend Sunday’s services or want additional bottles, you can pick them up Wednesday, January 16, 2013 during Diggin’ Deeper (7PM). We’re asking that you return your bottles on Sunday, February 10th filled with your sacrificial offering of at least $10.

Thank you Mars Hill & friends…you are great people!

Can You Help Me Solve a Problem?

Every day, close to 1 billion people wake up to another day without safe drinking water. Children are sick and weak. There is a constant struggle to find the most basic of human needs. Generations of poverty grip millions and won’t let go. The lack of safe water and adequate sanitation worldwide is a crisis.

As a result, the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago is happy to a announce…”Water Missions Sunday (January 13, 2013)

Our Partner

Water Missions International (WMI) is a nonprofit Christian engineering ministry providing sustainable safe water solutions to people in developing and devastated countries. WMI implements safe water projects in 9 countries: Haiti, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Peru, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Indonesia.


The Problem

Approximately 884 million people around the world lack access to safe water. Waterborne illnesses result in the deaths of nearly 1.5 million children every year. By partnering with WMI, Mars Hill Baptist Church will be a part of the solution.

Our Response

On Sunday, January 13, 2013, we’re challenging you to skip your regularly purchased beverages and have water instead. And then for four weeks, take the money that you would normally spend on soda, coffee, tea, etc. and put it in one of these water bottles labeled “Water Mission Sunday.”

Should you decide to partner with us, the water bottles will be provided by Mars Hill. Please be sure to pick one up on the day of our launch, returning it on Sunday, February 10th filled with your sacrificial offering of at least $10.


This endeavor will help us fulfill one of our 2013 goals, Global Outreach. As well, it will fall in line with our Year End Special Offering.

Mark your calendars, “WATER MISSION SUNDAY”, launching Sunday, January 13th and continuing on through Sunday, February 10th. Please join us in this great endeavor! Your sacrifice will provide one person safe water for life!

The One Thing Wise People Never Do

Today’s TV shows don’t compare to “old-school” TV shows.  If you were to search the gazillion cable channels, what you will find are reality shows depicting sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

lone ranger

Growing up, one of my favorite “old school” TV shows was the Lone Ranger.  He was a fictional character, a masked ex-Texas Ranger who, with his Native American companion, Tonto, fights injustice in the American Old West.  Although I loved the show, I was somewhat puzzled by the show’s title – The Lone Ranger.  He wasn’t alone he had Tonto.

Go figure.

If the Lone Ranger had Tonto assisting him, why do most people try to figure out life’s problems on their own?  Why do some insist on taking the “Lone Ranger” approach to solving life’s most difficult challenges?  Since life’s filled with many twists and turns, it’s wise to recruit other wise people to help you conquer life’s challenges.

Wise People Never Attack Difficult Problems Alone

One of the greatest resources we have is the people God places in our lives.  If you ask around, I’d be willing to suggest that someone in your circle has “been there, done that.”  I can’t imagine going after a problem without the advice of the wise men & women God has placed around me.  The next time you’re faced with a difficult problem, don’t attempt to solve it alone.  Instead, ask: “Who can I recruit to help me solve this problem.

Who’s your Tonto?

Guest Post: 10 Ways to Become a Plastic Church

Every now and then I run across great information that MUST BE shared with my readers.  I subscribe to Church Leaders, a blog dedicated to helping leaders lead better everyday.  Today’s article by Chad Missildine, Pastor with in Fort Worth, Texas is SO GOOD that I had to share it with you.

What is a Plastic Church?

A Plastic Church is a church that looks like church from the outside: building, services, staff, etc. Who knows, there may even be a steeple! On the inside, however, the Plastic Church barely resembles a church at all. No real community of believers, no prayer, no real concern for people, no application of Scripture in real life, no transformation. These are all signs of a real, authentic church. Could you have a Plastic Church or be on your way?

A plastic church looks like church from the outside, but inside there’s no real community.

Here are 10 Ways to Become a Plastic Church: