Tag: seth godin

The Linchpin

My pastor, Ron Edmondson, often says that we as a church staff need to be at the point where, if any of our staff members disappeared tomorrow, we could carry on without missing a beat.  I’ve heard him say that a lot, and I almost saw it put into practice in my own life just a few months ago.

I was stuck in London because of a volcano.

I was stuck in London because of a volcano.

I put that sentence in there twice so you would know it wasn’t a typo.  I mentioned it in my post HERE, and you can read the Guardian’s article HERE.  Welcome to my life.

Based on my original flight schedule, I was planning on being back ~a week earlier than our upcoming small group launch, but this volcano was threatening my on-time arrival.  Needless to say, I was a little concerned.  About as concerned as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (as we say in the South).

I was talking back and forth with our staff, updating them on our lack of progress, and beginning to think about the possibility of pushing back our small groups launch.  Then Ron dropped this bomb in my lap via email:

I hate that you can’t be there, but we have to be prepared enough that we don’t revolve around one of us being there or not being there.  Something could always happen like this and the ministry must go on… There are some things just out of our control.

Basically, what I heard was, “You’re dispensable.”  Mark my words: our staff could’ve pulled this event off, and it would’ve been awesome.  I have no doubt.  But hearing that was difficult.  Why?

Not because I want to be important, or need to feel powerful.  Or because I’m narcissistic and think that the ministry has to revolve around me, and I have to be in the spotlight.  Honestly, I’m not a spotlight guy…I’m content spending my hours in the background.  But here’s why it bothered me:

I want to be a linchpin.

A linchpin* is a fastener that secures the add-on at the business end of a tractor.  It’s a small piece, but without it, you can’t do much with your tractor, and your tools will continually fall off.  It’s an irreplaceable piece of equipment that allows more work to be done more efficiently.

And that’s what I’m working to do in my current position at Grace Community Church.

I want to be doing meaningful, Kingdom-building work in a way that fits my gifting…with all of my might.  I want to innovate, create, encourage, and train in such a way that, if I disappeared tomorrow, it would be noticed.  And I say that with every ounce of humility I can muster.  I want to become indispensable.

I feel that if I’m not working to become indispensable, I’m not serving the Church well.  I’m just doing a job, punching the clock, and doing mediocre work.  My good friend Matt Harmer rightly warns that

Being average is contagious.

I just can’t see how God is pleased with mediocre, half-hearted work.

And I’m convinced that if you’re not working to become a linchpin, you need to start working differently.  Or find a new job.

Ever been caught in the trap of mediocre work?

Is God ever pleased with half-hearted mediocrity?

*I read Seth Godin’s Linchpin when it was released earlier this year, so I don’t claim creative rights to this idea…though the story is most definitely mine.


Follow Friday

I’m convinced that Twitter and social networking are operating on the cutting edge of society.  Not necessarily the platform itself, but the opportunities it opens up for the spread of ideas.  What used to take hours to reach the print is now being spun out in real time.  What you used to have to wait for the evening news to see, you can now see instantly wherever you are.  What used to take months to get to to the print press as a book is now updated daily.

But social media is so large, now, that it can be tough to find those people that you’d like to follow.

For a while now, Twitter users have been promoting their friends using the hashtag #FF (which stands for Follow Friday).  Basically, on Friday, you mention a few people that you enjoy following on Twitter, and encourage others to follow them, too.  (by the way, if you need a crash course on the language of Twitter, read mine HERE)  Here’s an example:

It’s kind of like Facebook’s “Suggest” button.  Mike suggests that people follow these Twitterers.  Make sense?

I’m taking this concept one step further.  I’ve been on Twitter now for about 2.5 years, and have stumbled upon some great leaders.  To save you the time of reading their updates and visiting their blogs to see if they’re worth following, I’m handpicking the best of the best.

Not on Twitter?  No worries. Even if you don’t use Twitter, you can follow people on Twitter. Just open up a Google Reader account, and subscribe to their RSS Twitter feed. (that sentence lose you? Don’t fear. My explanation of Google Reader is HERE)

Each week, I’ll present a different crop of Twitterers that you need to be following.  This week, I give you 5 people who are influencing me right now.  You should follow them…immediately.

5 people influencing me:

Seth Godin – Seth Godin is a entrepreneur, author, and speaker.  And he’s a marketing genius.  His books are helping shape the way I think about leadership and influence. Follow him on Twitter, @ThisIsSethsBlog and find him on his website HERE.

Matt Chandler – Pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, TX.  I often listen to Matt’s sermons when I run…which means I laugh, I’m convicted, and when I’m done running, I have pages worth of notes in my head.  My small group is also going through his Philippians study.  Follow him on Twitter, @mattchandler74

Michael Hyatt – Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael is a prolific blogger (blog HERE) and Twitterer.  His content is consistently helpful and insightful for me in my area of leadership.  With my love of leading and writing, I don’t miss one of his posts.  Follow him on Twitter, @michaelhyatt

John Burke – Pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. His book No Perfect People Allowed will mess you up. Follow him on Twitter, @johnburke_, though he’s not a prolific Twitterer.

Rick Warren – To be honest, when the Purpose Driven Life craze was in full swing, I was not on that bandwagon.  Not because I had anything against it…I just hadn’t bought in yet.  Or read it.  Which explains why I hadn’t bought in.  On top of that, early in my ministry career, Rick Warren was lumped into a category of pastors who were seeker-friendly at the expense of the Gospel.  I’ve learned that that category is far from fair with Rick.  His short Twitter updates strike to the heart. Follow him on Twitter, @rickwarren

Who’s influencing you?


Challenging the Status Quo

Our culture works hard to prevent change. We have long had systems and organizations and standards designed to dissuade people from challenging the status quo. We enforce our systems and call whoever is crazy enough to challenge them a heretic. And society enforces the standards at the stake, either literally or figuratively. – Tribes, Seth Godin, p. 73

Are you a part of an organization that embraces change?  That encourages people who challenge the system?

If not, then be ready to welcome irrelevance and ineffectiveness.


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