Personal Manifesto

I BELIEVE…

I am designed to be inquisitive at the core. I have to ask questions.

I have a deep-seated need to find answers. Usually because they lead me to ask more questions.

I am wholly analytical and am typically processing half a dozen different things at any given time. If I am actively speaking about one of those things, the processing drops to more like 3 items at once.

I feel most at home when I can be observing systems and poking holes in them. Once they’re proven to not be as water-tight as some might assume, I enjoy troubleshooting to improve said systems.

If there’s not a system in place, I assure you, I’m actively working internally to develop one- whether you like it or not. If there’s a very poor system designed, it’s even more frustrating to me than if there’s simply not one at all.

If I am having a conversation with you and I seem at all distracted, it’s not you, it’s me. I sometimes have to remember which conversation is taking place audibly and which ones are internal and for another time.

I don’t often speak but when I do it’s not to hear my own voice.

I need to be heard and acknowledged. Not affirmed as a person or my accomplishments applauded but my ideas validated.

I have a great distrust of “the system”. Schools are broken, the government is shot, and the institutional church drives more people away than it draws in.

I am compelled to fix everything. Everything.

I have a messiah complex. Not only do I feel the need to save everyone I meet, I feel personally responsible when I can’t.

I grew up experiencing my pastor father get run out of two churches and an attempted coup at a third by people who desired power and control more than they wanted the doctrines of grace.

I’ve seen relationships and families torn apart by not dealing with situations that are clearly unhealthy but could have been resolved if handled in time.

That brushing anything under the rug is only inviting the roaches to find a home.

That transparency leads to honesty and unity. Obfuscation leads to distrust and bitterness.

That the loudest person speaking is often heard first and most. But they rarely end up contributing anything of value to the situation.

That the first person to speak rarely considers the implications of their words before they speak. But they might- after the potential damage has been done.

That the person who doesn’t speak is too often stymied by fear. Fear of how others will react or fear of what might actually come out of their own mouths if given a chance.

The best way to lead is at the front of the line, ankle deep and hands dirty. Working together with those you’re over builds trust, accountability, and an appreciation of what’s being done.

That too many “leaders” sit on a horse in the back of the line barking out orders. Then they waste most of their time wondering why the underlings aren’t accomplishing their objectives or target goals aren’t being achieved.

I deeply despise centralizing power and control, in any capacity. The more we have of single individuals carrying large loads intended for more, the more we willingly set those individuals up to fail. Or sin. Or both.

That at our core, most of us are lazy and would rather do what we’re told needs done than do what must be done.

That a small team cannot do the work of ministry alone and was never intended to. But when we fail to train, we find that doing the ministry is all we do.

That our priorities are off if we spend more of our time running a church than we do making disciples. They are not the same thing.

That this is the single-most greatest cause of ministry burnout. Not that we did it too long, or too passionately, or with poor hearts, but that we did it exclusively.

That this generation and those coming desire deep, personal connection and do not want to be talked at or talked down to.

That there are only three institutions which still utilize large-body lecture formats to communicate. Government, universities, and churches.

That two of these are beginning to change. They realize that smaller assemblies communicate greater interest and care for the individual and provide greater interaction and retention for the participant.

That churches are always at least a decade behind any moving trend. Which is unfortunate, because churches used to lead the way in music, architecture, and art.

That people are more likely to understand, do, and teach what they experience, than what they are merely told.

That we should always work smarter, not harder. But that we should never replace the hard things with that which is easier.

That the heart of all believers should struggle with complacency and comfortably. We are not home yet and we should not be settled until we are.

That we should be less concerned with getting people through our doors and more concerned with taking the Door to people.

That one of the biggest tragedies in the church today is how we say “servanthood” and “volunteer” when we really mean “warm bodies”.

That congregations long to dream and build and design but have never been told how or that they’re even allowed. Instead, they become cogs in the wheel of the church machine.

That leaders are not found, they’re developed. Identifying some as potential leaders and marginalizing others implies the opposite.

Every single person has the capacity to lead if we only help them realize their importance. A baker does not instruct how to build a house, but the world still needs more people who can bake a mean snickerdoodle.

That leadership development boils down simply into three repetitive steps: Equip, Encourage, Empower. Do this successfully and you’ll have a leader who will do the same, and with great enthusiasm.

That the world is tired of hearing all of the things that Christians are against. It’s time we start telling them what we are for.

There is an overarching narrative written on each and every one of our hearts that we yearn to live out, to hear about, and to experience firsthand. The elements are simply Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration.

That this is the same story being told from beginning to end in the Bible and feature Jesus Christ as the Protagonist and Hero. Any attempt to understand it outside of this falls far short of the truth and will leave us feeling empty.

That every story written or portrayed on the screen of value in the secular world contains these same elements. Because there is no running away from or ignoring what is stitched into our very DNA.

That I hate sermons which only reference a generic God and never mention Jesus Christ. We know that even the Old Testament pointed always… always to Jesus, so why can’t we?

That in the end, there is only one thing which separates us from any other religion or faith on the planet. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the God-man himself.

That my hope does not lie in any single thing this world has to offer. My hope is in Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith and in the promise of a kingdom which will know no end.

Do I understand that not all of what I believe to be true is healthy? Yes. Do I live in constant dependence on God to draw the lines between cynicism and desire for real change? Absolutely. This is who I am. And I’m dealing with it. But I thought you should know.

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