Dad-wrestling

1. “I’m babysitting my kids tonight.”

When they are your kids, it’s not called “babysitting,” it’s called “parenting.” I mean no offense to all of the young ladies who take their jobs very seriously and who also enable couples like me and Rhonda to have important date nights without the kids. But, just keeping it real here, the job of “babysitting” is ordinarily a part-time job young girls do to raise money they can use to have fun. “Parenting” though, is an extraordinary full-time job adults do to raise children God can use to make a difference. Changing one word in this statement communicates to your buddies and your wife that you refuse to be ordinary and that you see the importance of your full-time job as a parent: “I’m parenting my kids tonight.”

2. “Don’t talk to your mother like that.”

What about tweaking that reprimand into something that also more communicates that you and your wife are a united team? “Don’t talk to my wife like that.” When my Dad said this to me, I knew I had crossed an important line that should never be crossed. The relationship between a father and a mother is the primary relationship in the home. All of the other relationships in our homes will thrive when our marriages are strong and when our kids understand that our love for each other is anything but ordinary.

3. “I have to go home.”

This is an ordinary way to announce to your coworkers or friends that you “have to” go home. What if we tweaked it so as to communicate that we “get to” go home? “I get to go home.” One is ordinary and communicates more of a tone of obligation; the other is more extraordinary and communicates that we view it a privilege to be with our wife and kids.

4. “No, I’ll play with you later.”

Wise parents told me and Rhonda to enjoy every moment with our kids because “it flies by.” They spoke truth. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding Ashton in my arms in that hospital room in Abilene, Texas and signing “How sweet it is to be loved by you.” Now, one of my favorite memories is of dancing with her to that song at her wedding. Yes, take it from this now-wiser parent: the time we have with our children does fly by, so don’t be ordinary and say, “I’ll play with you later”; be extraordinary and say, “Yes, I’ll play with you now.”

Dancing with my daughter Ashton at her wedding

Dancing with my daughter Ashton at her wedding last year.

5. “I’m so disappointed in you.”

Too many adult children in this world carry wounds inflicted, not just by what was said to them, but also by what was NOT said to them. Too many of you have wounds caused, not just by too many hurtful words, but also by too few helpful words. You grew up knowing that your Dad was disappointed in you, but not knowing he was proud of you. Fathers, this is not about creating arrogant narcissists who grow up believing they are God’s gift to this world. Not at all! This is me challenging you to seek out opportunities to speak words into your children’s souls that will empower them with the confidence and security found in knowing that you are so proud to be their father, that you love them, and that you wouldn’t trade them for all of the other children in the world. Be an extraordinary father and say, “I’m so proud of you.” 

©2015 Arron Chambers

Why Christian College?

May 21, 2015 — 1 Comment

bible-studyr

I’m working on an article for The Christian Standard magazine and I have some questions for both young people who attend Christian Colleges and for their parents.

I’ll pose my questions in the form of surveys:

For students at Christian College:

 

For Parents of Christian College Students:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost 3 years ago, my family approached some of the leaders in our community with the vision to build a playground for our community. It was a vision for an inclusive playground where kids of all abilities can plan together. That vision now has a name, Aven’s Village, and–with your help–can be one step closer to becoming a reality.

Here’s a post explaining Aven’s Village in more detail: Our Great Work.

Well, today we are a finalist (out of over 4,000 nominees!) for a $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance!!!!

This is a press release on this exciting opportunity.

Votes Needed to Help Greeley’s All-Inclusive Playground
Aven’s Village win $25,000

Aven and Brandy Mondy

Aven and Brandy Mondy

Greeley, Colorado – Aven’s Village All Inclusive Playground and Journey Church Pastor Arron Chambers were recently notified that the Aven’s Village cause made it to the nationwide 200 causes selected to be in the running for a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist® grant. Only the top voting 40 causes will each win a $25,000 prize in this exciting community challenge. The 200 causes have until June 3rd to rally votes for their cause and anyone voting is allowed up to ten votes per day starting today. On June 16, the top 40 vote-receiving causes will be announced on the Facebook app and each of those top 40 will receive a $25,000 grant.

Voting for Aven’s Village is easy. Starting today, visit Vote for Aven’s Village and vote. Use your 10 daily votes to help Aven’s Village. Then, share, tweet and post for friends to vote too!

Visit again each day until June 3 and vote for Aven’s Village. If Aven’s Village wins, money raised through this grant will be applied toward an amazing sensory garden in the playground.

Aven’s Village is an all-inclusive playground planned for Island Grove Regional Park. It will be the first of its kind in this area and will serve people of all abilities. Its namesake, Aven Mondy, is just 6 years old and confined to a wheelchair. Currently, her family drives more than an hour to the nearest all-inclusive playground.

“Receiving $25,000 will get us even closer to our financial goals and bring the dream of amazing playground to our area,” said Arron Chambers, pastor of Journey Christian Church and local project champion. “We need everyone’s votes and everyone asking friends to vote using the State Farm® Facebook app. With your votes, we can win.”

Almost 4,000 submissions were received through State Farm Neighborhood Assist®, a youth-led philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a group of 30 students who are passionate about social responsibility, reviewed the submissions and selected the top 200 finalists based on criteria they created: the Aven’s Village project being one of the 200 finalists.

According to Chambers, “Every dollar raised for this project goes right into its construction—helping area people with disabilities have access to an amazing universally accessible playground.”

Thanks for helping us to make the dream of Aven’s Village a reality.

To vote for Aven’s Village: Vote for Aven’s Village

To donate to Aven’s Village: GoFundMe for Aven’s Village

 

10. “Always wear clean underwear. You never know when you’ll be in an accident.” (I think about this almost every time I leave the house.)

9. “Eat everything your host sets before you.” (All well and good until that missions trip to Guatemala!)

8. “Brothers don’t hit each other.” (Unless, we hit each other every time she left the house!)

7. “Act like you belong.” (When you find yourself in a situation in which you feel completely out-of-place, under-dressed, under-qualified, and generally out-of-your-league.)

6. “Good boys don’t pass gas at the dinner table.” (I was often a bad boy…just sayin’.)

5. “Treat everybody with respect.” (Especially, the more vulnerable in our world.)

4. “Don’t forget that older people have a lot to teach us. Get to know them, don’t forget that they’ve lived full lives, and listen to their stories. You’ll learn a lot.” (My Mom worked at an Assisted Living Facility for over 20 years. She loved her residents and loved to have them share their stories with me. I once met a sweet shriveled up little lady who was one of the original Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.)

3. “Don’t chew with your mouth open.” (To which I would often reply, “But it’s SEE food!”  Get it? “See food.” You’re just like my Mom!)

2. “The most important thing you can do in life is love and serve Jesus.” (Mom always told us that we really belong to God…she and Dad were only raising us for Him.)

1. “Remember who you are.” (Which served as both a burden and a blessing.)

Me and my Mom, Linda Chambers

Me and my Mom, Linda Chambers

I love you, Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

©2015 Arron Chambers

  

I  was honored with the opportunity to partner with Geoff Surratt for a couple of workshops yesterday at the 2015 Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

I was asked to share my notes from our breakout, “Building a Team from Scratch.” 

I’m proud of the team we’ve built at Journey Christian Church. When I came to Journey seven years ago, we only had a three full-time staff members. Now we’re blessed to have a much larger staff, which grows every year. I’ve either hired or supervised the hiring of all of our current staff–full and part time. Through this experience and over the past twenty plus years of ministry, I’ve learned a lot about building a team from scratch. I’ve arranged them in 6 E’s.

Here you go:

6 E’s of Building a Team from Scratch

Enlistment

1) Go after people you know.

2) Go after people you like

3) Go after winners (not just someone looking for a job).

4) Go after a good fit for YOU & your team.

The DISC Personality test is a great tool for assessing potential staff members and for assessing their compatability with you and your team.

5) Go after special generalists. (not necessarily the perfect fit for the job, but the perfect fit for the team). 

6) Go after team players.

or 7) Raise up all of the above.

When it comes to enlistment, we invest a lot of time in working to ensure that new team members fit our culture.

Here are a few distinctives of our culture:

1) All leaders are to reproduce themselves.

2) You don’t have to earn trust, you arrive with it.

3) We are not a policy driven church.

4) We eat with sinners.

5) Enjoy the journey, but don’t enjoy it alone.

6) Your first ministry is to your family.

7) Failure is not the unpardonable sin.

8) We don’t do micromanagement.

Envision

It’s not all about money, it’s also about vision.

Six of our staff members are part-time and we are blessed with a lot of great volunteers.

Legend has it that Shackleton posted an advertisement in a London paper, stating: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.” Shackleton received more than 5,000 applications for places on the expedition. 

Why? Vision is powerful. So many people are longing for so much more. Don’t just hire people. Call people to join you on an important mission.

The vision…

1) Must be clear

2) Must be compelling

3) Must be communicated

4) Must be a committment.

Equipping

1) Tools

2) Training

3) Team Members 

Do what you can to give your team members the staff and volunteers they need to do what God has called them to do.

4) Time to Try

It’s important to give your team opportunities to use the tools they have and the tools you’ve given them.

Empower

1) With resources

2) With information (about what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how what’s happening will help us to fulfill God’s plan for us.)

3) With opportunities.

4) With authority

5) With rest (We give our full-time staff a sabbattical day each month.)

Entrusting

There’s nothing worse than having all responsibility but no authority. Give your team the responsibility AND the authority to do their job and then trust them to get it done.

Trusting is easier for all involved when you…

1) Tell them what you want them to do.

2) Equip them to do what you want them to do.

3) Release them to do what you want them to do.

4) Support them as they do what you want them to do.

Encouragement

I’ve found the best encouragements are specific. (eg. “Great job yesterday! is not a meaningful as “Great job with your lesson yesterday morning. It was well-prepared and very impactful.”)

1) Write it.

2) Speak it privately.

3) Speak it publically.

4) Invest in it (bonuses, meals out, days off, etc.)

©2015 Arron Chambers

As I reflected on last Sunday (Easter) and this Sunday (the week after Easter). This list came to mind.

Here are 10 Reasons to Come Back to Church This Sunday

10. Not as crowded, so you’ll have an easier time finding a parking space, a seat, and a doughnut in the cafe.

keep-calm-there-s-parking-available9. You’ll immediately lose your “Creaster” status (a person who only comes to church on Christmas and Easter…get it?  Christmas + Easter= Creaster).

353-christmas-bunny8. The Pastor may start to learn your name and not have to refer to you as, “Brother,” “Sister,” or “Brocephus.”

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7. You’ll hear a sermon on something other than the resurrection or birth of Jesus. (I’m starting a series entitled, Journey to the Ends of the Earth.)

to-the-ends-of-the-earth

6. You won’t have to “answer” that true–but slightly annoying–Easter “jingle” a gazillion times, “He is Risen!” to which you have to respond “He is risen indeed!” immediately or risk being branded a Pagan or worse….an Oakland Raiders Fan!

Oakland Raiders v San Diego Chargers

5. You’ll get the chance to take “regular” communion and not the kind of communion you need a degree in engineering to enjoy.

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4. You’ll make your Mom happy, because when she asks you on Sunday afternoon, “Did you go to church this morning?” you’ll be able to say, “Yes!”

smiling-woman-on-telephone

3. You’ll discover that the coffee is still free.

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2. Peeps! No…not those Peeps! You’ll get the chance to get to know some of the amazing and interesting people (aka Peeps!) you met last week and start to build lasting and meaningful relationships. Just don’t try to eat them or put them in the microwave for 45 seconds! :)
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1. You won’t get hit in the head with a beach ball! (It’s a Journey & Mosaic thing, you wouldn’t understand!)
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I was reading through a book a wrote back in 2007 entitled, Scripture to Live By (which is now free on Kindle). It’s one of my favorite books because it included chapters written by some of my favorite authors. I ended each chapter with a devotional thought. Here’s a chapter written by Bob Russell on the power of generosity.

What do you do with all that money?

By Bob Russell

Bob Russell

Bob Russell

A year ago I met a multi-millionaire named Paul J. Meyer. Many call him the most generous man alive. When Paul was sixteen years old his strict, uncompromising father kicked him out of the house and told him not to come back. He lived as a homeless young man and for several months slept in a tent.

But Paul was determined to make the most of his life, and soon he had a job with an insurance company collecting monthly payments. That wasn’t a very glamorous job, but it was a job. He was so faithful in his assigned task that eventually he was given an opportunity to sell insurance.

By the time he was thirty years old the ambitious, determined Paul J. Meyer became the National Salesman of the Year for his company. He then began teaching sales seminars and has since written numerous training courses and invested wisely making millions.

But years ago the Lord touched his heart and Paul became convinced that there was something better to do with his money than just accumulate more and more. He began giving huge amounts away. He discovered that it was indeed, “More blessed to give than to receive.” He loved the joy and sense of satisfaction he got from helping others.

Today Paul J. Meyer is in his 70s and gives away more than 90 percent of what he earns. He’s incredibly generous with worthy causes and has put more than 500 kids through college.

I serve on the board of a national ministry with Paul J. Meyer but I hadn’t met him personally until last year when, during a participation activity, I found myself sitting between Paul J. Meyer and his lawyer/financial advisor. There were just three of us at the table for the next forty-five minutes.

When I began probing a little about his generosity, his financial advisor laughingly said, “It’s my job to make sure that Paul doesn’t give his money away faster than we take it in!” He said that several years ago the two of them took a week-long drive across the Midwest and Paul passed his business card out to ten different young people he’d just met saying, “Call this number and I’ll help put you through college.” But nine of the ten never called because they didn’t believe it was for real.

The accountant said, “We were stopped at a highway construction site and Meyer was intrigued with a young girl dressed in blue jeans, wearing a helmet, holding a stop sign. He leaned out the window and struck up a conversation with her.

“Why are you working on construction?”

She said, “I’m working my way through college”

He asked, “Can’t your parents help you?”

She answered, “No, they’re not in a position to help right now.”

He asked, “What do you want to be?”

“My dream is to become a nurse someday,” she replied.

Paul J. Meyer gave her his card and said, “Young lady, I’m in the business of making dreams come true. Next week you call this number and I’ll see that you have the money to go to college.”

The next week the financial advisor got a phone call and the girl on the other end of the line said, “Last week some little old man said he’d help pay my way through college if I called this number. Is that true?”

He happily replied, “Yes ma’am it is.”

As they told that story the faces of both lit up as they excitedly described how this young woman is now a nurse in a mid-western hospital because they had the resources to share with her.

Wouldn’t that be fun? Wouldn’t you love to have millions to give away to those in need? The thought occurred to me that maybe that’s why Paul J. Meyer has it to give away. The Bible says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV). But the real test is not what you’d do if you were a multi-millionaire, but what you are doing with what you have right now. One poet quipped, “It’s not what you’d do with a million if riches should ever be your lot, but what you’re doing right now with the dollar and a quarter you’ve got.”

Matthew 19:16-24

16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” 18“Which ones?” the man inquired.

   Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”

    20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

    21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

    23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

——

Once a good man came to Jesus with a difficult question: “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” This man was rich, young, and probably a “ruler” of a local synagogue. He was a believer of God—keeping all of the commandments of God—but he was yet to become a follower.

Believing in and following are two very different things.

This young wealthy man had an impressive temporal life full of great wealth, but he wanted even more. He wanted eternal life, too. He wasn’t asking too much—he just wanted one simple thing he could do to earn eternal life!

Isn’t that how we are? We want a magic pill that will allow us to lose in one week the weight we spent thirty years accumulating. We want one-minute solutions to life-long problems.

This man wanted easy eternal life. Anyone who knows the heart of God knows that it is absurd to think that we can do anything to earn eternal life, but Jesus plays along, answering his “simple” request with a “simple” answer: “Obey the commandments.”

To which the rich young ruler answers what Jesus knew he would answer: “I’ve kept all of these, what do I still lack?”

To which Jesus answers: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Greed is a powerful force.

Reality TV is evidence of the power of greed.

Every self-respecting reality TV show revolves around a proven formula: Offer people a million dollars and they will do almost anything to get it. They will eat rats, jump off buildings, lock themselves in a house with a bunch of strangers, sing, dance, survive on a deserted island, give up all privacy, embarrass themselves, lose weight, gain weight, and even marry a stranger.

Greed IS a powerful force and hard to walk away from, but there is a force much more powerful than greed and that force is: generosity.

Paul J. Meyer knows the power of generosity. He gave in to the power of giving and now he can’t—he won’t—walk away. When it appears that all everybody wants is to have more, all Paul wants is to give more. He can’t give his money away fast enough. Generosity has consumed him. He chose Jesus and walks behind Him with a smile on his face.

Jesus knows the power of generosity. Jesus is the embodiment of generosity. In his life he gave healing to hurting people, time to lonely people, wisdom to seekers, food to the hungry, sight to the blind, fish to the fishless, comfort to the inconsolable, hope to the hopeless, purpose to the lost, and mercy to the sinners. Then, in the greatest act of generosity, in His death He gave life to the dead. His generosity consumed Him, yet He still keeps on giving.

That’s the power of generosity.

Every day we need to decide what we are going to do. Will we give in to the power of generosity, or the power of greed?

Will we walk with Jesus smiling, or will we walk away—and alone—sad?—Arron Chambers

©2015 Arron Chambers