Becoming Legendary Don't drown in the Quo

June 24, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — John Jones @ 5:40 pm

Questions to ask before doing a Capital Campaign

Are churches asking the right questions when they embark on a capital campaign that will ask their congregants to give more than they are used to giving? I think some churches do, but I’ve been involved in several that didn’t ask. So, this article is dedicated to posing questions that I think churches need to ask before they set up a new church design.

  1. What is the motivation behind building more buildings or doing massive renovations to the existing building?
  2. Has the church leadership gotten buy-in from the opinion leaders at the church?
  3. Does the church design fit in with what is really needed for the congregation?
  4. How will the church pitch and “sell” the vision of a new set of buildings?
  5. How much debt will the church capital campaign cause?
  6. Can the church handle carrying so much debt?
  7. Does the majority of the church want to do a capital campaign?
  8. Has the church done its research as to which architectural firm they will use to drive this campaign?
  9. Has the church leadership “taken the temperature” of their people concerning this campaign?
  10. Will the church use 3D animations to ‘show and tell’ what the future church design will look like to the members?
  11. Who will be the point people for selling this vision?
  12. What changes or buildings are really needed?
  13. What does the church leadership believe is going to happen because they build new buildings?
  14. How will the church leadership handle dissenters and laggards in the church during this campaign?
  15. Why do this at all?
  16. How much extra time and effort will this capital campaign require from the leadership and from the lay leaders of the church?
  17. Will this capital campaign be set up to be done in stages?
  18. How much prayer has gone into the decision to build more buildings?
  19. Is God pressing this process or is a work of man?

 

Okay, I have a bunch more, but I think these will be good starters for any congregation seeking to build anew. Thanks for reading. Good luck in your projects.

February 5, 2016

Young Legends: Sparta versus Pre-K

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Jones @ 5:24 pm

How can you prepare someone to be a legend?

Can you tell if your child is going to be legendary when he/she grows up?

What can you do to produce and develop legends from a young age?

I think about how the Spartans of old would begin developing their kids for legend status from the moment their babies came out of the womb – I consider the difficult tasks they pressed onto their children so they could see if fear or fire would win the days.  The fearful were usually dealt with severely and the brave were celebrated.  The Spartans built fighting machines who would stand next to their brothers in war and who would win battles against foes they should never have defeated.  The Spartan armies are legendary but whenever I think of their harsh teaching methods I wonder if that style should ever be copied.

I get the pleasure of working for a Lubbock Pre K (and Lubbock Kindergarten) and after seeing how they run the school as a training ground for kids, I am struck by the thoughts, “Could these children become legends after attending a private school like this?” and “Does it even matter if they become legendary?”

This Pre K in Lubbock does not treat their children harshly.  This Pre K does not drop near impossible tasks onto the paths of their students.  This Lubbock private school does not just celebrate the fearless and forget the fearful.  This school is not even aiming to make legends – at least not in the traditional sense.  This Christian school is there to educate students and to help develop them into Christian disciples (as most private Christian schools do).  They do this with compassion and care for each young person who signs up to be a part of their population.  The teachers and administrators model justice and love and help the kids follow in their footsteps.

You see the stark difference here, don’t you?

The Spartan model versus the American Pre-K through 12th grade model leads me to wonder – what would be better?

It’s true that Spartans were tough and nearly unstoppable as warriors.  It’s also true that there are many kids in our current culture being brought up as entitled, Youtube addicts.  But does this make the Spartan way the better way?

I would admit that most public schools are churning out lazy techno-heads, but I make the argument that private Christian schools which actually promote an active Christianity are making more legends than would a Spartan way.  Following Jesus is no joke – Just look at Paul and/or the martyrs to see that you have to be extremely tough.  You have to accept rejection and external hate as a way of life.  You have to die to what you want to do and accept God’s will without negotiation.  You even have to be willing to turn your back on how this world does its thing and suffer to the death for the truth of the Gospel.

This Lubbock Pre-K and Kindergarten (as well as all the others in the U.S.) are making legends  as they show children how to slowly grab hold of the Jesus model for making legends – one of self-sacrifice and supernatural power.  I have seen proof of their success in my nephew who went has taken on this sort of Christianity.  I have seen evidence of serious discipleship from his friends who grew up at the same school.

I didn’t think I was going to do this when I first started this blog, but I’m going to have to give the legend-preparation award to Private Christian Schools.  They develop warriors who do battle in this world and in a world beyond this one.  That’s a pretty big deal to me…

 

August 12, 2015

Embracing the Suck: Legends endure

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — John Jones @ 7:10 pm

perseverance

By John Jones

When I write that legends endure, I am not commenting on their ability to leave a deep, immovable footprint on culture.  I do think to be remembered throughout generations and across multiple cultures as an enduring memory of the human spirit is a characteristic of being legendary, but when I write the word ENDURE here, I mean more that would-be legends, when faced with great difficulties while they live, have to struggle well and battle hard against overwhelming odds.  Legends are hit hard with seemingly insurmountable things and they have to press in with all they have to simply survive them, much less overcome them.

This endurance, which might also be synonymous with the word/meaning of perseverance, can often be the most crucial piece of what the word legend means.

There are some people who achieve greatness according to the masses, but they may never really face extremely difficult things and thus would not qualify as legendary to me.  Just because someone has huge talent and the ability to crush every opponent would not get them into my Hall of Legends – they need to have a resume which includes trials so fierce and storms so much bigger than them.  And if they have those sorts of trials and are able to push through those most severe of times, using whatever means necessary, they are truly legendary.

To endure great struggle is a sign of a true champion – it proves they will not give up or give in no matter what.  Even as the earth gives way underneath them, they carry on.  Or maybe they just survive it.  I know some legends in the making who are enduring physical sicknesses, mental illnesses, and crippling losses/tragedies and all they can do is hold on for dear life.  They are not weak because they can only just make it through.  These legends in the making are not soft because they have been forced to admit that what they are facing in this life is bigger than them.  Just because they curl up in a ball and cry out with unceasing tears for help – for a hand – for a miracle – does not disqualify them.  In fact, it makes them stand out to me.

No matter how bad they want to stop the fight – to throw in the towel – to stop breathing – they “embrace the suck” and do whatever they can to grind out the days, the minutes and the milliseconds.

Some supposed legends never face this sort of struggle – they are always applauded and the storms never seem to hit them – They never have to endure such pain and suffering.  And while I am so happy for them that their lives are without the severe times, it keeps them from having the necessary quality of endurance I require.

To those legends in the making who are undergoing such trials, I cheer you on because your ability to even hang on for one more day means you are special.  And to my little Lubbock SEO friend and to my friend at Dream Taxi and to my friend who is doing MCAT prep to become someone who helps others (you all know who you are), I know you are not probably ever going to be legends.  But I want to thank you for being examples of endurance and perseverance.  You are legendary to me.  Your struggle is legendary even if your memories don’t long endure to the people of this earth…

Keep holding on hard to God and putting days behind you – May you soon rise above these trials and become more than you ever thought possible.

July 14, 2015

Rising from the Ashes?

I'd rather not...

I’d rather not…

Let’s get something straight – Just because I dumped my anti-depressants 5 months ago, gave up my consistently bad decision making, stopped being so completely compulsive, quit picking fights with gang members at bars, and overall feel 1000% better than I did when I had a pressurized perfectionist achievement-freak nervous breakdown from five years ago that led me to act like the deeply depressed Kirsten Dunst from the movie Melancholia does not mean I am ready to be compared to a Phoenix rising up from some stupid mythological ashes.

(I hate when people say that junk by the way – “He/she rose from the ashes like a Phoenix” – All to describe some sort of Comeback from devastation.  That kind of crap might spew out of the mouths of ESPN anchors and from the pens of terribly limited historians, but it is stupid.  I don’t want to be compared to a freaky looking mythological creature who did who knows what from that point on.  Seriously, do you know what the original Phoenix did after it rose from those proverbial ashes?  It probably flew around a while, took a poop on some people’s heads, and then landed in some bar where it murdered the people who would not keep serving it alcohol.  That stupid Phoenix never won the Nobel Prize after rising out of those ashes – it pretty much just rose out and poof – gone.  How about we just say that someone hit a really rough patch but was not destroyed by it – then they did some pretty amazing things to become self-sufficient again?)

Anyway, back to me, the non-Phoenix – I am doing better since hitting a life wall at light speed, but I am not cured and I am not sure I want to be.  The limitations I inherited from my nervous system implosion have actually served to humble me, grant me wise perspective, and keep me from trying to be come badass while living on this silly planet.  I like my job writing about extended stay housing (read corporate housing), short term furnished apartments, tanning salons, media whores, famous rockers, addictions, fictional people, and would-be legends.  I also like my new therapist who doesn’t put up with my crap and I like my boss who trusts me to do my best.

I’m not perfect.  I’m not a legend myself.  I’ll never be.

But God says that I am loved and that I will rise up with Him someday.  Not rise like a Phoenix.  More like a trampolined, floating survivor who doesn’t need his own comeback, because my Higher Power has already trademarked the ultimate Comeback!!!

It’s Tuesday and I am thankful.

You?

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