Aaron Summers

4 Steps to Alignment in Your Organization

In Leadership on October 21, 2014 at 7:47 am


I noticed that the steering wheel of my vehicle had started shaking a little more each week than it had in times past.  First, I checked the pressure to make sure that everything was aired up properly.  I checked the tires themselves for unusual signs of wear to determine if the problem is internal or external.  I noted that the tires had unusual wear and took it to the tire shop for repairs.  The main problem was that the car was out of alignment.  Consequently, I also needed to get new tires because of the wear.  Once wear patterns emerge it would be difficult to maintain alignment.  The shop could put it back in alignment, but the awkward tire could recreate the problem.  Money and time would have been wasted.

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

Organizational alignment is critical to moving forward together.  Like a rowing team, if one part/member is not rowing or rowing in the wrong direction it creates havoc.  Once out of alignment, it creates other hazards like the example above of blown tires, wrecks, and more.  If caught early enough the damage would be minimal and not much would need to be done other than simple alignment.  However, if the problem has been present for a while then other costs are going to come into play.

Getting your organization into alignment is much like a country song I heard back in the 90’s, Meet in the Middle by Diamond Rio.  The leadership and body need to come together into alignment.  If the body of the organization has a vision, mission, and values set but the leadership does not follow then the group can veer off course.  The opposite is true also.  If the leadership is of one mind but the group is of another then it will also veer off course. Through proper strategic planning, both parties can come into alignment.  Like tires, the left and right side must work together in order for the car to drive properly.

How do you do this?

  1. Decide on vision, mission, and core values for the organization. There are great resources available to every group on the web.  Search for these key terms and begin researching for your organization.
  2. Create job descriptions of the work force that have a purpose which lines up with those decisions and have duties and responsibilities that match up to the purpose. Each job needs a clear purpose and the assign tasks that lead to the fulfillment of that purpose.
  3. Set smart goals each year for the group and for the leadership.
  4. Evaluate and adjust as necessary. Sometimes simple alignment is needed.  However, if left unchecked then other repairs might be necessary such as new tires, u-joints, shocks, struts, or springs.

Getting into the shop for alignment is never convenient and rarely cheap.  However, this cost is less than a new car especially when the whole car is not the problem.

5 Ways to Defend Against #YOLO

In Gospel Living on October 15, 2014 at 7:49 am


I love college and fantasy football!  On Wednesday, I check to see if I have a fantasy player for Thursday’s game and then check the status again early Sunday morning.  Each Saturday I get up and look over the schedule for the day to see which games I am going to watch, DVR, or just follow on the Champ Drive App.  With that said, I believe football is becoming a problem.  Not for me, but in the way defense is shrugged off like an old musty garment no one cares to wash, care for, and wear.  Through the first six weeks, the NFL is averaging 24.2 points/team/game.  The FBS teams are averaging 30.2 points/team/game.  Last weekend Baylor and TCU combined for 119 points and over 1200 yards of rushing!

Where’s the defense?

I know what you are going to say: low scores are boring.  While I would tend to agree from a fantasy perspective, the game is designed to have both offense and defense.  In a mad rush for offense, our culture has created this monster!  We don’t defend.  We just outscore you.  Really?

Where is the balance?

Gone are the days of the Iron Curtain, Dog Pound, and Black Shirts of Nebraska.  What happened to the motto “Defense wins championships”?   We overprotect the QB by deriding defense-men if they even look at him too harshly.  We have stripped the DB’s of any ability to make the receivers nervous.  It’s all about the offense.  High scores create high ratings.  We watch to see if the other team can score again before the clock runs out instead of whether the defense makes a stop.

What about your life?  Are you all about the offense?  With the advent of #yolo, we see one more step toward a purely offensive, hedonistic lifestyle in our culture.  Who cares about control?  Who cares about consequences?  Like the player who was berated for smiling and laughing after a loss because he did not seem to have any concern.  Do you have any defense in your life?  Are there any processes in place that stop you from stupidity?  Here are 5 ways to rebuild your defense:

  1. Prayer – coming clean before God and letting the Spirit infuse you with control allows for a more controlled life.
  2. Small Groups – getting in a small group creates a level of assistance through accountability.
  3. Worship – sacrificing a portion of your beloved weekend to worship God with other believers allows for a recharge.
  4. Service – giving back through missions and ministries requires time management and control.  Like defense, it is required to win.
  5. Money – when we learn to give 10% to the church we exercise control.  If the highest paid players are always on offense, then defense will struggle.  Balancing finances will bring about a stronger unit for your life as well.

The  Lord  demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness. Proverbs 16:11

7 Items You Need to Change the World

In Gospel Living on October 13, 2014 at 9:55 am


The first time I traveled overseas was an interesting journey.  I had been appointed by the Tennessee Baptist Convention to be a Summer missionary to the Philippines.  There were several things I needed in order to go and I couldn’t wait until the last minute.  Between school and work schedules I carved out time to go to Memphis (90 miles).  I had to get shots, papers, a passport, and other travel necessities.  Of course, it wasn’t just one trip.  After several shots and a hand cramp from filling out papers, I returned to school.  I had 2 sore arms and leg the next day.  The TBC arranged all my travel plans. I was ready to go!

A few years later, I was organizing an overseas trip and became aware of all the fine details of travel.  Of course, 9/11 had happened, which changed a lot.  Yet, there were many things I was thankful to have handled on earlier trips that we now had to do.  We had a list of shots.  We all had passports.  We decided on the travel itinerary.  We applied for visas.  We registered with the IMB and State Department.  All of this was necessary for safety and proof of identity.

Nehemiah was going through the same ordeal as he prepared to travel out of country to go to Jerusalem.

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request. I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah.  And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. When I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the king’s letters to them. The king, I should add, had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me.

As we boarded each flight we produced the necessary documents.  As we arrived in Niger, we had several documents to produce in order to go through customs and be allowed entrance to the country.  Without the proper documentation, we would have been stuck and likely been sent away or detained!

If we, as followers of Christ are going to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission we are going to travel internationally.  Over 6,000 people groups have yet to adequately hear the Gospel.  If we don’t go, then who will?  We must take up the mantle and go to the ends of the earth until the whole world hears!

What do you need?

  1. Passport
  2. Money
  3. Sending Church or Church Group Going
  4. Flight
  5. Visas and Travel Insurance
  6. Shots
  7. Register with State Department (depending on country)

Many other items are just comfort things.  If you want to seriously be part of changing the world, pray up and get your passport!


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