TRC Pastors Council

After 12 years of working together with my Board of Elders, it was unanimously agreed, we needed to make some modifications to our internal structure at The Rock Church.  The decision was made to redesign our by-laws and make a new team called the Pastor’s Council.

The team will be composed of three distinct areas: Spiritual, Pastoral and Corporate.  Each council member has a particular expertise in one of those areas, but also has God-given gifting in each area. Their purpose will be to give advice, wisdom, council and help Melinda and I get those connected to The Rock Church moving toward a bright future of Connecting People to LIFE!  I am most excited about this team.

As our old structure passes away I am excited to see old stereotypes, stigmas and criticisms fade into history. This new team truly defines the reality that it’s a new era, dawn and day at The Rock Church.

TRC Advisory Board

Prior to my good friend and Pastor, Wendell Smith, passing away he made a recommendation to Melinda and I regarding the leadership structure of The Rock Church.  Our current structure was adequate, but Pastor Wendell was always looking for the best system.  We are calling it the TRC Advisory Board.  At present Pastor Kevin and Sheila Gerald and Dr. Dave and Christine Martin compose 2 of the 3 Advisory positions.

This team is personally invested in the vision of Melinda and I.  They see to it we are living out what God has put within.  Their role includes meeting with our Pastor’s Council and Board of Directors annually.  They will speak at The Rock Church annually as a great encouragement to our vision and mission.  In the event of tragedy their role is to help our teams (staff, council and board of directors) navigate the rough waters.  Gonna be a super addition to the team at The Rock Church.

I’m super pumped about this team.  These people are dear to my heart and have walked with Melinda and I for a long enough time to really know us.  They have world renowned ministries and TRC’s best interests in mind, at all times.

So excited for all of their visits this year.

The Future is as Bright as the Promises of God.


1.  Enlarge your tent. Expand your plans so you personal life, ministry and investments work toward the enlargement of God’s Kingdom.

2.  Expand you view of God. We serve a God who is able to do far more than we can imagine.

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

3.  Increase your faith.

  • about what God can do through you to increase the qualitative and quantitative advancement of His Kingdom.
  • God can use you to expand!  Jesus prayed to be used in this capacity.

Matthew 6:10 (NLT)  May your Kingdom come soon.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

4.  Enlarge your influence. Don’t get discouraged!, be encouraged about the seeds you are sewing, you are going to increase at just the right time.

Galatians 6:6-10 (NLT)  Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.  Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Have the confidence to demonstrate the Spirits’ power, through prayer, ministry of the Word, God’s authority and God’s promises.

5.  Be confident Christ will build His church in quantity and quality.

  • Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18,19)
  • Be optimistic about the way that the Lord will expand His kingdom and righteousness throughout the world as the waters cover the sea. Paul assured us that everyone would know the gospel as he had been promised. (Rom. 15:19-21)

6.  Extend the ministry of the gospel to the hurting, lonely and overlooked people of the world!

Mark 2:17 (NLT) When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Pray, Give and work toward winning more people through the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

7.  Stretch your commitments to new areas.

  • Set a higher bar for your serving others, giving resources, sharing the message!
  • Believe the Lord will multiply you when you stretch.

8.  Plan for multiplication! Stop expecting things to not go your way, instead, release your inner planner for greater things to happen to you!

Matthew 13:31 (NLT)

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field.

9.  Get optimistic about the great commission. People respond better to encouraging attitudes instead of discouraging attitudes.

Philippians 2:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

10.  Teach, preach and use your speech to share what God CAN do.

  • In Spite of the bad news in the world, God CAN do greater things!

Romans 8:28-29 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

“The future is as bright as the promises of God.”

The Law of Reciprocity

This last Sunday I talked of reciprocity.  For some strange reason I couldn’t enunciate the word, so thank you to those who chipped in and helped; nevertheless, articulating the concept is much more easier.  The Law of Reciprocity when you break it down practically means, to me, “I go First!”  In your life reciprocity is practically applied as going first.  Often times we wait for the right set of circumstances, other times I think we wait and don’t know why.  I want to encourage you to go first.

  • be the first to ask for forgiveness.
  • be the first to give of your self.
  • be the first help someone get what they want.
  • be the first to offer prayer for another.
  • be the first to give an encouraging word.
  • be the first to go out of the way.
  • be the first to open the doors.
  • be the first to be bold.
  • be the first to give your money.
  • be the first to make the phone call.
  • be the first.

I am absolutely convinced that when you’ve helped enough people get what they want from life, you’ll get what you want.  That’s the Law of Reciprocity.

Another way to define it is similar to The Golden Rule, treat others as you’d like to be treated.  The golden rule works from a position of going first.  It implies that before people will treat you how you’d like you must treat them how you’d like them to treat you.

Same thing with giving to God.  I often hear a lot of people get hung up on giving, but it’s nothing different than the Golden Rule. You take the first step to live generously then the Lord blesses you accordingly so you can continue to live generously.  It’s the law of reciprocity, you move, then, He moves.  You move.  He moves.

You should live today going first.   I think you’ll be amazed at what is reciprocated in your life.


12 “I Wish I Could Do Over’s” in Twelves Years.

I think every leader has historicity they wish they could do over.  Life is not a video game, there is no reset button, and often it’s only time that reveals all lessons.  I am the type of leader who reflects.  And when I see clearly what I did not see when I should have seen it then I change, go back, do what I can, and leave the rest to God.  Here are twelve do overs I’d do if I could.

Let’s start off easy and then ratchet it up.

1.  If I could I’d like a do over on the purple chairs we chose when we built the new building.  Ok, you might love the purple chairs, and hey, they looked good in the color pallet and architectural design.  Eight years later it’s a lot of purple!

2.   If I could I’d like a do over for the three times I preached a message on Sunday with my fly down!  Yep, that’s pretty embarrassing.

Ok, now more serious do overs.

3.  If I could I’d like a do over around our Mission to Mexico, we could have had a much bigger impact.  Looking back, my pain and grief from losing my parent’s was harder than I realized at the time.  We did a GREAT thing down there, and built ONE amazing school.  And we could have seized the giant God moment and built many schools.  I was focused on fulfilling Mom and Dad’s vision, but what could have been if I would have totally seen the momentum Jesus had given us?  I believe we could have advanced the impact around the entire country.  That’s not to say we couldn’t still today, but what might have been if I’d had a little more healing from my loss?  I totally honor and appreciate what we did accomplish in the city of Puerto Vallarta, and there is sometimes a hunger to go back and take it up a notch.

4.  If I could I’d like a do over to allow my team and myself to recognize Jesus was with us in the first 2 years.  I often called our growth the first two years after the plane crash “sympathy growth.” Meaning, I thought people were mostly coming to pay respects to my deceased parents, TRC’s founding pastors.  However, I look back on it very differently today.  Our church exploded with 50+% growth for 2+ years!!!  Jesus was saving lives through the culture, message and momentum of TRC.  Frankly, growth like that is seldom heard of and very special, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I couldn’t see the beauty through my grieving/processing the loss of my parents.  Something special happened in ’00-’03 and it was all awesome.

5.  If I could I’d like a do over on praying more and administrating less.  My experience as a young Lead Pastor was rooted in administration.  It’s what I did for my parents along with Youth Pastoring.  It was hard those early years to turn the corner.  Administration came easy to me, but the weighty matter of prayer was a harder discipline.  A journal helped me a lot to be consistent and focused in prayer.  I’ve certainly not perfected it yet, but I’m thankful for my journals filled with my heart of prayer, petitions, people, goals and dreams.  I’ve got more to learn, but if I could, I’d do the prayer vs. administration thing over again.  I’ve learned great lessons and continue to discipline myself to be a prayer warrior, and it’s one of the most valuable things in my life today.

6.  If I could I’d like a do over on understanding the complexities of who I needed to be, as a leader, when we moved from our small building at 1405 to our new building at 16891.  If I could’ve understood how to release more leaders we would have been more successful.  I’ve found the necessity of getting out of the way of “stuff” today, but if I could have understood delegation, leading, vision casting, empowering others and giving more of the ministry away in ’05 like I have now in 2012 I could have released some great leaders in our church.

7.  If I could I’d like a do over on letting it hurt too much.  In ’06 or ’07 there was a time I was attacked by a hater publicly.  This particular preacher preached a message about TRC and me for 2 weeks in his church.  It was malicious.  He said awful things, untrue things.  I was devastated.  I wanted to quit.  I let it get to me, as a result, I let other haters get to me.  I let it hurt too much.  Anytime a leader let’s it hurt too much their confidence will be shaken. If I could go back I would have ignored it.  I would have kept doing what I was called to do.  That one attack affected me for along time, and it wasn’t until I got my confidence back through Jesus in who I was called to be in Christ that I forgave and moved from that season.  I learned my identity in Christ is my most important asset to nurture.

8.  If I could I’d like a do over on volume.  There was a stretch of time where I removed myself from the control of the audio presentation, by choice.  I let the engineers determine the decibel levels of the sound, wanting to release their gifts.  Looking back today, I paid too high of price for that in people being frustrated with our worship experience.  Today, our current team has really managed to create a full sound without it being a loud sound.  I love where our sound is at today.  Andy our team lead, George, Linda, Daniel and the others are so helpful every week in getting it where it needs to be.  In fact, we get a lot of complements on our sound volume today.  That’s awesome.

9.  If I could I’d like a do over on being a better leader when it came to my insecurities.  Sometimes my insecurities would hurt people I loved very much.  Because of my insecurities I couldn’t understand what some people meant by what they said or the intentions of their actions.  Consequently, I reacted.  In a lot of ways leadership is tough because the leader has to read between the lines, and I just didn’t read between the lines very well.  I didn’t see their love or heart for Melinda and I or TRC; instead, my insecurities blurred my vision.  When a leader can’t see something there is no honor.  In the end, without honor people leave your life.  So yeah, I wish I had some do overs with some people I love very much, and still care deeply about today.

10.  If I could I’d like a do over on making this statement publicly at a Team LIFE meeting, “I’m not very good at making disciples.”  In essence and at the time it was part true, in that, my system wasn’t very good.  I struggled to put into print and practice, systematically, what it would take to fulfill Eph 4:11-12.  I didn’t get the system to the right people and ask the right questions, so I’d like to do that over.  However, I’d like to retract that statement because when I look around The Rock Church at people who’ve met Jesus at The Rock Church, sat under the messages, served the vision and grown in Christ because of it I am utterly amazed.  There are many who’ve been around TRC for 20, 10 or 5 years, even less than that, and they love Jesus, want to do ministry and are incredible at birthing and making disciples.  There are incredible disciples of Jesus at The Rock Church!  And yes, we built a great system in 2011, and it’s working marvelously today!  Thanks Todd.

11.  If I could I’d like a do over on how I handled the economic pressure in 2009 thru the first part of 2011.  On one hand I was given, by the Lord, the faith to be delivered and carried through.  On the other hand I lived in the red zone too often.  The red zone is like that primal state “survival of the fittest.”  It’s like the bus is bearing down and you just stepped off the curb in front of it.  Instead of thinking you just react to the moment.  Instinct takes over, there is no rationale or thought cue.  When in the red it’s hard to see reality clearly because you are still breathing, the only goal of the red, to stay alive.  When I moved from the mental red zone to clarity for the first time in many months I realized I was overweight, unhealthy, burnt up, a bit narcissistic, and my type A personality was running down my most beloved team members.  On that first clear day it was so nice to see the man I believed I was, even if he was a mere shadow of God’s best.  So yeah, if I could do a couple years in the red zone over again I would.  Clear is way better. I owe a lot of clarity to my coach Shandel.  She asked, “Jeff, Do you believe God knows about your situations?”  I said, “Of course.” So Jeff, “Do you think He cares?”  I answered, “Absolutely.”  She then said, “Well then, suffer well.”  And in that moment my entire focus changed!  I knew He had me, He cared and it would be ok.  And it has been OK ever since.

12.  If I could I’d like a do over on believing God for big, Audacious Faith!  For many years I only attempted what I thought I could achieve.  Mostly, I did this because of the healing taking place in my heart.  I’d lost much with the death of mom and dad, and it’s only a natural reaction to protect in circumstances such as death.  However, it hindered my dreams.  Dreams are the God-sized components where there is no way you can do it, and the fear of loss can dwarf dreaming.  Dr. Sam Chand helped me see how important it would be to dream again.  To let go of the fear of loss, and launch into the deep with God.   God’s vision for The Rock Church is way bigger than mine.  I can’t contain, control or manage it.  But He can.  He can send the laborers and beautiful people to lead and I can encourage them to stay the course and do it for Jesus!  Under the authority of Jesus there is ample room for God’s best people on Team LIFE, and we are gonna do some big stuff my friends, in the next 12.

  • Well, my heart is out there, check.
  • I’ve taken some risk in order to bring healing and understanding, check.
  • I’m hopeful good comes from authenticity, check.
  • In the form of more restored relationships and lives to The Rock Church than in history, time will tell!

Stay tuned for more twelves this week, as I think of them.