Why I Love Cleaning Up Trash In Our Sanctuary…



First let me just say I’m not 100% sure what my congregation is doing while I’m talking… But it appears they are having a trash party! Where is it coming from?

Are they bringing it from home? Do they grab a bag of trash from a dumpster somewhere and “make it rain” while I’m pouring my guts out? I mean the stage lights are bright. I can’t see anything. So for all I know… They’re having a blast!

And we have a rather large sanctuary and crowd. So by the time they are headed out to lunch… I’d imagine they have to walk on top of it all! I’m convinced I’ll find a body in the pile one day!

I’m kidding. They really aren’t bad at all! Just your normal wear and tear from people being in the building! And our people love and respect our building. So they mostly pick up after themselves. Just little things are missed. 

Whatever the case may be… I LOVE IT!

Here’s why:

1. It’s a quick reminder of why I do what I do?

I felt called to serve people. And not when it’s convenient for me. All the time. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day actions of running a church. Going from meeting to meeting. Planning. Strategizing. Counseling. Growing leaders. 

Stopping for an hour to pick up trash is a reminder that God didn’t call me to sit behind my desk and crunch out great sermons… But to love and serve the people he has chosen for us. 

2. I get to read all the funny notes people are writing on the bulletins!

There is nothing more humbling then to think people are taking great notes only to realize they are making lunch plans with their husbands! 

You’ll learn a lot about yourself. If you thought you did an awesome job that week… Think again! If you were wondering if you shouldn’t  have worn that outfit… I guarantee the answer is written out there. 

And seriously… The greatest information comes from the “Youth” section! They are downright mean and hilarious at the same time. 

Disclaimer: If you’re a sensitive person, stay away from the trash! You’ve got to know who you are before you venture down that road!

3. I take the time to pray over everyone who sits in those seats. 

I may not know all of their names. Or even know all of their faces… But you can count on the fact that I’m praying over them. Each person who comes in that sanctuary is dealing with something. Big or small… It doesn’t matter. 

I love walking up and down the rows asking God to simply meet the needs of the people. The people I love and care deeply about. 

That they may find comfort or peace. Healing or restoration of a marriage. Financial freedom or that a son or daughter would stop rebelling. Whatever the case may be… The people who sit in our seats have been covered in prayer. 

I know this may not work for every Pastor or Leader who reads this… But let me challenge you today. 

Remember why you started. And as the job grows… make time to get back to that reason.

Love people. Serve people. 

You’re no better than anyone else! And you’re people will be grateful!

10 Lessons I Have Learned in My First 2 Years as Lead Pastor!

This Sunday will be 2 years since I took over as the Lead Pastor of Glad Tidings Church. It has been an incredible journey of transitioning an older church into a new generation! There is a rich 80 year old history here that we indeed honor… But if the church wants to be around for another 80 years, a lot had to change. So the church did something they had never done before… Hired a 31 year old Pastor… Give him 500 people and said lets move forward… And that is indeed what we have done!

I have learned a lot of lessons the past few years… Some are good. Some I learned the hard way. There are many… But here are 10 you need to know if you are starting on this journey as well!

1. It doesn’t matter how talented to are… You can’t do it alone. 

You can’t spend all day long strategizing on how to move the church you lead forward… And thats not a bad thing. But are you  spending JUST AS LONG in prayer? You may be good at a lot of things, Communicating, Strategizing, Planning, etc… But you will never take the church to a place that you haven’t gone to yourself. You need God. HE is the one who makes his church grow! If you try it alone, it will certainly lead to burnout.

2. Your Spouse is the single greatest asset you have. 

I would not be in Ministry today if it weren’t for my wife. I would have quit a long time ago. It’s tough. But she has been by my side the entire time. Encouraging me. Supporting me. Laughing and Crying with me. And most importantly Praying for me. She knows more than anyone else the emotional turmoil I go through and silently spends time with God on my behalf. Thats huge! You must have that support system at home.

3. You’re going to feel like giving up… Don’t!

I have felt like throwing in the towel many times within the past two years. Wondering if people are even paying attention to what I am saying. Dealing with the same battles over and over. People trying to point out what they think is wrong with everything. It wears on you. You want to quit… But for every person that is hard to deal with… There is someone else who comes to the knowledge of Christ for the first time… And that makes it worth it.  When times are tough… Don’t quit. Look around. There is good everywhere!

4. Nothing is more important than the people you serve.

Nothing! They are the reason you are where you are. You have been given an assignment to lead people. And its hard to lead people who don’t know you! Get to know the people you serve. Take them to lunch. Hear their story. Take off your mask and allow people to know you. The real you. That is the very reason I started blogging. There is no way I will able to personally take everyone out in our congregation. But this is a platform for them to see me. Get to know me. And it has already made a huge difference in my relationships with others.

5. Don’t hire anyone who you wouldn’t want to spend time with on the weekend. No matter their talent level. 

You spend an insane amount of time at the church. Hosting events, setting up for big weekends, and not to mention the work week. If you don’t like the people you work with, it can be miserable. You need to find people that you gel with. And sometimes that means hiring someone a little less qualified. If they are teachable and likable… Grab them… They won’t be on the job market very long!

6. It’s not enough to be a great communicator… You must have business sense. 

You may be an incredible preacher, a loving pastor, and a great leader… But if you can’t read an Aging Report, Profit/Loss sheet, and run a proper Business Meeting… You are in trouble. And these aren’t the classes they teach you in seminary! You are expected to have a good idea of the way EVERYTHING is going in the organization. The buck stops with you. And yes… I have a Financial Admin. on staff, but I get reports every Wednesday so I am prepared to give an answer at any time.

7. People love the idea of change… until you change. 

People will stand with you as long as you don’t change the things that they want. The problem… People all want different things. So when you do change a schedule, or stop a program, or paint a room, its evidentable that someone is going to get mad. Yet you can’t let fear stop you from what you know needs to be done! I keep a quote in my office from Henry Ford… He said “If I would have asked everyone what they wanted… they would have said a faster horse!” He gave them a car. Something they didn’t even know existed. And that’s your job… To take people into a place they had no idea even existed.

8. You will be hurt by people who are hurting. Hold lightly to comments and forgive quickly. 

People will say mean things about you and your family. They will say hurtful things about your ministry and the way you lead. They will even make things up about you that are so far from the truth that is comical… But the fact is they ALL STING. No matter how you try to laugh them off… It hurts. And I had a hard time with this, and I am still working on it constantly.  The truth behind it all is they are hurt as well. Whether it’s by family, friends, job, or life circumstances… Their is something deeper going on within these people and it really has nothing to do with you. So I am on a journey to hold lightly to comments. Both good and bad! And to forgive quickly the hurt that I have experienced through the hurt of others!

9. You need a Mentor or 2 or 3. People who have been around longer and can keep you from making the same mistakes they did. 

This has been awesome for me. I find myself in the room with people that I never thought I would. A 2 time CNO of the U.S. Navy, A New York Times Best Selling Author, A guy who has successfully transitioned a church and is now sought out after all over the U.S. for help! I am truly blessed to be able to sit with these guys and learn so much about life and leadership. They have kept me from making many mistakes in this first 2 years. They have encouraged me to take risks. And they are quick to call me out on stupid things…  And for that I am grateful. You HAVE to have guys like this to walk with you.

10. You’ll never arrive! There will always be something to learn.

Leaders are learners. You will never fully arrive. The more you do… the more you realize you are clueless. You must be on a journey to grow. You just be willing to learn from anything and anyone. Keep your eyes open. There are lessons everywhere. 

This has been a wild 2 years. I am thankful for everyone I have met and all I have learned so far on this journey. But I realize now more than ever… I can’t do this alone… I desperately need God to walk with me. And I still have so much to learn.

What have you learned through leading others? I’d love to hear from you!

Apostle Paul, Bill Belichick, and You!


I’ve spent the better part of 14 years reading different leadership books, blogs, and magazines. I’ve heard 21 Irrefutable Laws and 7 habits all geared to make me a better leader and person.

They have all been very helpful. I continue to plow threw many books a year and listen to many podcasts on my way to and from work everyday. But I’ve learned more about leadership sitting on the beach in Outer Banks NC from former CNO of the US Navy, Admiral Vern Clark, then I’ve learned in all the other years combined.

The most valuable thing you have as a leader is your?????


If I’ve heard him say it once… I’ve heard him say it a million times. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge, wisdom, money, or power you have… If you do not have credibility with people, they will never really follow you.

This isn’t anything new…

Look at the Apostle Paul. After an incredible conversion on a dirt road to Demascus, it was three years before he began to preach. Why… Credibility! He had a reputation as a Christian Murderer. People didn’t know if they could trust him. He had to go through a process to show that he was committed to Christ. To rebuild his credibility.

Bill Belichick now 6 days out from his 6th Super Bowl isn’t answering questions about the game… But if his team cheated in the previous game. It isn’t his first time being accused either. He was previously found guilty of spying on other teams. Now Bill says he had no idea about the issue… But nobody really believes him! Why… He lost his credibility! Any time his name comes up with cheating… Everyone just assumes he did.

And then there’s you… And me… Where do we stand with the people we lead? With our family? And friends? Do we over commit and under deliver? Sure we all have good intentions. We truly do want to meet with everyone. We want to be at every baseball game. So we say YES… To everything. Only to have to go back and cancel. Or reschedule.

And there is so much more at stake them a rescheduled meeting… It’s our credibility.

So if you say yes, you’ll be there… Go!

If you commit to doing something… Do it!

If you don’t have credibility with the people in you life… If they can’t take you at your word… It’s going to be hard to accomplish anything.

Be credible!