Monthly Archive for September, 2012

Managing the Tension

A few years ago, Andy Stanley gave a talk about managing tension.  Basically he said that every church, organization, and life has tension.  As it pertains to the church world, the tension can be about a number of things: younger generation vs. older, music styles, seeker sensitive vs. deepening the believer, etc.  He said that the problem is when you focus on one area, another gets neglected and the people in that area feel undervalued.  He said it was our job as leaders to manage the tension.

For the past two years at Bethel, the tension shifted from outreach to strengthening our core.  Now this doesn’t mean we stopped telling people about Jesus or stopped doing outreaches, but it meant we were less intentional about those things.  The shift happened when a core of our staff and congregation took a vision God had given them and planted the One Life Network.  So out of necessity the tension that had been about the outward focus snapped back and became inward.

We started by focusing on the church debt.  We knew if we paid that off, we’d have the opportunity to do more things.  Chuck Elliott and Keith Robinson joined our staff as the high school pastor and young adult/teaching pastor respectively.  Over the last two years it’s felt a little bit like those cartoons where the dam starts leaking and when they plug the hole with their finger, another leak springs.  By the end of the bit, the character has fingers, toes, elbows, and nose blocking holes.  A lot of what we’ve had to do as a staff is plug holes.  It was overwhelming at times, but God has brought us through.

Today we launched Project: Connection.  Effectively moving the tension back from focusing on ourselves to focusing outward.  With that will come some battles, but the feeling I got from people after church was, “We have to do this!” Project: Connection is about building Bethel strong so we can connect with people who come in our building, but also empowering our congregation to start reaching out in their community, neighborhoods, and to the ends of the earth.  Today was a great Sunday and people are ready.

Managing tension is never easy because it involves change and probably means someone isn’t going to get their way.  But in the words of Reggie Joiner, “When you change, something has to die, and someone gets angry.”  These last two years have been good, but I’m really looking forward to going for great.

Lord, as we plan these next few years, we submit them to You.  You’ve taken us here and put this on our hearts, so carry us through.  We’ve already seen from today that there will be attacks from the enemy.  May we never forget that You can take care of all that.  You are God and You’re in control.  We trust you with these things Jesus.  Take over.  Give us wisdom in how to manage this tension in a way that will exponentially increase Your Kingdom.  Amen.

Street Lethal 6-11-12 Part 2

The one in which Andy and I discuss liar’s on America’s Got Talent, E3 talk, worst jobs, weird job interviews, Harry Carey stops by for a job interview and we also learn who Mel Tillis is.  And as a special treat for our podcasters Harry Carey sings a duet with Harry Carey at the end of the show.  Cubs win!

Street Lethal 6-11-12 Part 1

The one in which Chuck and Chris discuss what not to do on television in front of millions of viewers, why you shouldn’t cheer for your child, buying fireworks, and where best to sell a bear if you find one.