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.