Aaron Summers

Committee Member Dies; M.E. Sites Boring Meeting as Cause

In Leadership on October 18, 2016 at 7:45 am


After years of sitting in staff meetings, board meetings, committee meetings, and ministry meetings it dawned on me that it would be great if there were a tool to help these things move along.  Those that carry no agenda are killing the corporate and religious world.  To gather people together with no direction is like drinking from a fire hose!  Many meetings I have attended over the years have an agenda, but it still seems disjointed at times.  Aren’t there a few basic tenets for every meeting that help everyone know what’s going on without getting derailed so easily?

Here are 6 steps to a better staff meeting:


Building a sense of friendship among your staff/employees is critical to the health and strength of your organization.  During this time, you as the leader create an atmosphere of checking the pulse of everyone present.  Asking questions about family, life, and leisure activities builds relationships.  One morning I discovered during check-in, that one staff member was having a really rough morning.  While they were not excused from the meeting, I paid attention to not call them out or attempt to draw too much from them during the meeting.  Another time, I realized a great joy had happened in their life and was able to bring that to light for all to enjoy together.  If we rush to our seats and dive right in we miss the social needs we all have.


This is a time that we can begin to warm-up.  Whomever is in charge of the calendar requests will present them to the group for approval.  Your structure may delegate this responsibility solely to one person.  However, if time has taught me anything, it is that awareness of events is valuable.  How many times have you seen things double up?  How many times have you witnessed the light bulb moment when a staff member forgot to add an item and now is reminded?  These moments are regular for many.  When attendees discuss the requests it helps maintain focus on the direction.  Having your team warm-up through this will generate better discussion later in the meeting when it really counts.


There is a theory of communication called the Rule of Seven.  With all the noise in our lives, it takes several communications before anyone hears what is going on.  This begins with the leadership.  I have said many times that when we are sick of saying it the people are just catching on.  We must continue to communicate in different ways while keeping the basic message the same.  This is a time when we, as a church staff,

  • Go over the publicly addressed announcements because not everything will be heard
  • Decide what is to be prepped for video announcements
  • Share what needs to be on social media
  • Discuss anything that is organization-wide.

I choose not to dive into individual areas during this time because it isolates the one and alienates everyone else.  We all lead busy lives as we lead our teams.  If checking email and catching up on Clash of Clans or Words with Friends is an option during this time then something needs to change.


There is a vision.  The leader has been charged to set it but not forget it.  Gaining response from your attendees will give priceless breadth to your decision-making.  Every person in the room will have a different background and perspective.  Drawing on the collective nature, the leader can present ideas and thoughts for the next quarter, year, or decade.  Considering these things together provides buy-in and unity.  Too often, leaders believe they have to make every decision without input.  We have been taught, at times modelled, that to ask for help is a sign of weakness, ignorance, and insufficiency.  I completely disagree.  I do not have all the answers.  The Bible speaks of 3 cords are not easily broken.  We can refer to this in relation to group discussion.  While the responsibility rests in the leader, there is no shame in garnering the strength of many.


In our meetings, we are always reviewing what the people are doing together.  I would ask, “What are we doing together?”  Building strength by working together builds longevity. These times of collaboration should, over time, involve the following:

  • Projects related to church vision and organization
  • Projects related to community ministry
  • Book Studies
  • Video Teachings
  • Something fun

The point is that the staff need to work together on projects and learning opportunities for the benefit of the church and themselves.


At the end of the meeting, there should be a time of sharing and prayer.  This is not to spiritualize what just happened, but to pray for one another.  Learning to share our needs, hurts, and joys with each other echoes what Scripture teaches.  Meetings do not have to be “of the devil”.  They can be times of joy, laughter, efficiency, and vision!

Hubris of the High Office

In Politics on September 6, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word hubris.

I first noticed hubris in the high office years ago.  I was 10.  My dad was with PATCO and was fired when the group went on strike for better benefits.  What is wrong with hubris?  Isn’t there a certain degree of it required to serve in such a prominent leadership role?  A certain amount of confidence must be evident to lead a rebellion, demand independence in the Western Hemisphere, make purchases such as the Louisiana Purchase, engage in world wars, conflicted conflicts, and reign down fire on the Taliban.  But there are those who go too far.  Those who engaged in affairs, subjugated laws, infected the Oval Office with immorality and created a debt load only God could actually pay off.

My friends there is a hubris that is accepted and there is the hubris of the high office that will kill my grandchildren…maybe even my children.

The post-war (WWII) abundance was fun but the returning GI’s had no jobs and the women were enjoying their freedom to work.  Soon we found ourselves in a “conflict” that we were not ready to win.  Dropping money casually in the billions.  On June 25, 1940, congress approved a new debt ceiling of $49 Billion.  When LBJ came to office in 1963 our debt was $308 Billion.  As of September 2016 we are bumping up to $20 TRILLION!  That is 118% a year if my math is correct.

A few reasons why this has occurred include:

I am no political pundit, but even I can see that there has to be an end at some point or the end will be of America.  Hezekiah was having a difficult time in the high office of Israel and Isaiah came to speak to him.  There was a word from God he needed to hear.  Hezekiah had been entertaining the diplomats from Babylon.  He had showed off everything in the capital, including the temple and the treasury!    Isaiah explains the ridiculous decision that revealing everything was.  He went on to say that Hezekiah’s children would wind up eunuchs (castrated males) in service to a foreign king.  Note the king’s response:

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”

What?  Yes, you read that correctly.  As long as Hezekiah wasn’t going to suffer this awful problem it was just fine with him.

Isn’t that how it seems things have been for a while now?  We will keep inflating – expanding – while the prospect and hope for our children deflates and shrinks.  What can we do?

  1. Register to vote.
  2. Research
  3. Vote
    1. for a better future.
    2. for a fiscally conservative candidate all the way to your local mayor and city council.
  4. Hold those in office accountable.
  5. Repeat as often as you can

The hubris of the high office, if left unchecked, can wreck us all.  We, the constituents have the power of the vote.  Make use of it wisely.

Are You Handcuffing God?

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm


“Of course not!”

That is probably your first response.  It would be mine, too.  First, why in the world would I want to do that.  Second, how in the world would that be possible.  Yet, I believe we all too often do this very thing and never realize it.

How does one handcuff a deity?  Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?  So now we consider that if God is all-powerful how could he ever be handcuffed?  Unless, it was in the design of things from the start.  God’s design has been that if we trust his process and obey his procedures then His presence would be provided.

Adam and Eve had the perfect setup.  They had the perfect environment, perfect marriage, and perfect relationship with God.  He established a process and procedural code.  If they would trust, when not understanding, obey, even when it seemed odd, then the perfect setup would have continued.  They didn’t.  Eden didn’t.  Welcome to the land of the sinful nature!

As Israel came on to the scene hundreds of years later, God established a process (sacrificial system) and procedures (law).  If they would have simply trusted and obeyed things would never have gotten out of control.  When you read Judges you understand.

We find ourselves in Isaiah 7 and the prophet is speaking to Ahaz.  He is pleading with him to trust and obey what God has already established.

Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.

Essentially, Isaiah is telling the king that unless he will trust and obey, God will allow a pagan nation to be his tool of discipline.  It will not matter the allies, horses, or army.

Handcuffing God is not about God becoming weak or impotent.  Handcuffing God refers to our lack of faith in the process and plan, and ultimately the heart, of God.  Without a certain level of trust, we set into motion things that God CHOOSES to not stop, as if he were handcuffed from doing so.

So the next time you consider your difficulty, or find yourself in a jam, or are just anxious about your future, ask yourself, “Am I handcuffing God by my lack of trust and obedience?”

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