Today, our Leadership Team will be driving home from our annual staff retreat. This is one of the highlights every year for our leadership staff. This retreat is purely a fun retreat. The Leadership Team brings their whole family, and we stay at the lake for two to three days hanging out, eating good, boating, swimming and sea-dooing it up. Relationships are strengthened, memories are built, kids have fun and our staff relaxes and laughs like crazy. I firmly believe that great teams work hard and play hard. This is one of those times that we play hard. Pastor friends, I encourage you to take some time during the summer when things aren't as busy at the church to have some fun with your team. I believe one of the reasons that we have staff who have been at People's Church for years is because we take time to have a blast together. WORK HARD AND PLAY HARD!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
6. Not taking care of myself: The first two to three years of People's Church were very demanding and exhausting. We began with 65 people on grand opening Sunday. I was on the setup and teardown team every Sunday. Tiffany and I were constantly entertaining new families in our home. I carried a portion of the weekly administrative load. I called every first-time guest. Tiffany and I and the only other staff member we had dropped off a gift to every first-time guest’s home (sometimes this was a 30 to 40 minute drive one way to one home). I taught the new member class once a month. I was studying and preaching every Sunday. I didn't receive any type of salary from the church for almost a year and didn't receive a full-time salary for almost two years. On top of starting a new church, I was traveling full-time as an evangelist/speaker around America to make ends meet personally and for the church. The early days of People’s Church were a grueling season for me and my wife. If I had it all over again, here are some things I would do differently to take better care of myself.
1. I would have eaten better: Even though I've always worked out consistently, I picked up weight during hectic seasons. At one point, I got to 207 pounds. Today, I'm around 190 pounds. I must admit that I love food and have a tendency to eat unhealthy food when the pressure is on. Now, I'm a lot more aware of what I'm putting into my body and how much I weigh. I realize that I have to take care of my body to make it for the long haul.
2. I would have taken a salary quicker: I made a decision to hire a worship pastor, kid’s pastor, youth pastor and secretary before I received a salary. It was an older and more seasoned local pastor friend who rebuked me and told me to begin receiving a salary from the church. He told me if I would trust God, God would bless the church and finances. He was right, and I wish I would have trusted God earlier. This would have allowed me to spend more time working on People's Church instead of focusing so much time on the evangelistic ministry. I also would have been more rested!
3. I would have taken more time off in the early days: I was preaching 15 to 20 Sundays in a row at People's Church on top of all of the traveling I was doing around the United States as an evangelist. I really did think that the church wouldn't survive or at least thrive unless I preached almost every Sunday. This was faulty and unhealthy thinking on my part. I now realize that I am the primary teacher at People's Church, but I don't have to or need to teach every Sunday for the church to survive or thrive.
Monday, June 28, 2010
1. We had a great weekend in the Cooper house. There was a lot of relaxing, playing and fun.
2. I began my weekend on Thursday night by taking my gorgeous wife on a date. (My weekend begins Thursday night because I’m off on Friday) :) We went out to eat and talked.
3. I cheered and screamed at the TV, but the USA soccer team still lost on Saturday. Bummer!
4. We had a really good Sunday at PC. Lots of changed lives.
5. I taught a vision message titled Unstoppable Vision. If you missed Sunday, I encourage you to go to www.peopleschurch.tv and listen to the message. You will learn why we do what we do. It’s a must-listen-to message for every person who calls People’s Church home! The audio should be up later today, and you should be able to watch it by tomorrow.
6. We’ve been promoting the Millwood School outreach on July 10 from 8AM to 4PM. We will be going to Millwood to do painting, minor construction and clean up. This is a great way for us to make a difference in the lives of kids, teachers and our community. Please email email@example.com today to sign up.
7. We’ve been telling you about it for weeks, and now its here. This Sunday, July 4, in all 3 experiences is the Pyrotechnic Explosion Spectacular. Yes, my friends, we are having fireworks in the auditorium this Sunday along with an incredible performance. You don’t want to miss this!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
5. Not being comfortable in my own skin: Over the years, I have felt guilty for the way that I'm wired, and it's affected me emotionally and mentally. I'm a pastor, and I'm more of an introvert. I'm a pastor, and I would rather be by myself than with people. I'm a pastor, and I'm a task-driven person. I absolutely love people, care about people and am thrilled to pastor the wonderful people at People's Church, but I can't deny the above statements. In the past, when I've been around pastors who are extroverts and love to be around people all day, I have felt like something was wrong with me. I've wrestled with God in prayer over this matter. I've talked to my wife about it. It's been a process for God to deal with my heart and make me comfortable with the way He has created me.
Honestly, I've been this way since I was a kid. In middle school and high school, I didn't want to go to parties or big events. I was content and happy to be by myself or with one or two friends. I've been wired this way for as long as I can remember, but I felt like a pastor should be wired differently.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, talking with my wife and meeting other pastors who are wired like me, I have embraced the fact that God made me this way and called me to pastor because He has a specific work He wants to accomplish through me. I've embraced the fact that God knew the way He created me before He called me to pastor, so obviously He wants to use my personality type to advance His Kingdom. Embracing the way that God has made me has been freeing for me emotionally and mentally. Pastor friend, I want to encourage you to be you! The compare game will suck the life out of you. Nobody can beat you being you!
NUMBER 6 NEXT WEEK!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
3. Holding My Team Back: 3 years ago or so, I was telling our team that they had to quit being doers and start being leaders. Though I would teach this to our team every week in staff meeting, down deep inside I didn't like this change, and it showed up in my speech and actions outside of staff meeting. I believe in hard work, and I wanted our team busy doing the ministry even though I told them in staff meeting to release the ministry to others. I know some of the team had to be confused during this season because I was teaching them how to develop leaders and release ministry, and then, I would talk to them one-on-one a few days later and drill them about why THEY weren't getting stuff done. I confess, I held back our team for a season. This was a tough transition for me as leader to release our staff to be leaders and not doers.
4. A Heart Full Of Religion: Yes, when I started People's Church 8 years ago, my heart was full of religion. I didn't realize that I had become a legalistic, nasty and mean-spirited preacher. I loved tradition and minor doctrinal positions more than I did people. I had a doctrinal pride because I thought I was right and everybody else was surely wrong. I would cling to my opinion of the Bible more than what the Bible actually said and emphasized. The early days of my preaching were more condescending than uplifting because my heart was full of religion. I was critical of other Bible-believing churches that didn't do it like we did it and didn't believe like we believed. I was critical of some churches’ methods of reaching people for Christ. Yes, I'm even guilty of being critical of a pastor that I've never met. I didn't know his heart, motives, prayer life or lifestyle, and yet, I would sit in judgment of his methods of reaching his community for Christ. Because I didn't understand why some churches used out of the box methods to reach people for Christ, I thought they were wrong, compromising and worldly. I would even tell my wife, "We will never do what that church does." I'm grateful that God set me free from religion. The absolutely funny thing is that some of the very things I said we would never do to reach people for Christ, we now do! I'M FREE, thank God Almighty that I'm FREE INDEED!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
1. Hiring people too fast: One of the biggest things that make People's Church tick is our staff. I have an incredible team, but picking the right team has been an area I've grown in over the years. I've made the mistake of hiring a person without getting a reference from their current employer. I've made the mistake of having one interview and hiring a person on the spot. I've made the mistake of hiring people without letting some of my team interview them. I've made the mistake of hiring people without any input from my team. I've made the mistake of hiring people without testing them so I could know something about their personality type and skill set. I've made the mistake of hiring people when I had red flags in my heart about them. I've made the mistake of hiring people because I felt pressure to get the positioned filled. I've made the mistake of overlooking some negative things because a person was so gifted in a certain area. I've learned the hard way that one of the biggest things that will cost an organization or church time and money is hiring the wrong people. One of the biggest things that will keep an organization from moving forward is having the wrong staff or a lot of staff turnover because you've made the wrong hires. I have made this mistake more than once and have learned that the old saying is so true, "Hire slow and fire fast."
2. Doing too much: I've held on to certain areas of ministry too long, became fatigued and stopped the church from reaching its full potential because of it. An example of this is I directly oversaw the entire staff for too long, and it wiped me out. I'm no different from 90 percent of leaders. I like control, and it's tough to release things to others because I want things done a certain way. This is a huge mistake rooted in insecurity, pride and a lack of truly understanding what leadership is all about. Thank the Lord that I now have an Executive Team made up of 3 godly men who oversee People's Church. These three men are my only direct reports. My day-to-day work life is much more manageable, and these men have taken People's Church to a whole new level that I could never achieve by myself. We are also poised to go to the next level because I've released ministry and responsibility to these men. Doing too much is a huge mistake: Pastor, you can't do all the weddings, funerals, hospital calls, visit all the sick, preach 52 Sundays and 52 Wednesday nights, manage accounts receivable and payable, answer the phone, return all phone calls that come into the office and print the bulletin. Doing too much is a recipe for burnout, does not release others into their area of giftedness, and holds the church back from reaching its full potential.
Monday, June 21, 2010
1. It was a super fun weekend in the Cooper house.
2. I got to celebrate my birthday and Father's Day on the same day this year. That's right, yesterday was my 35th birthday.
3. Church was great. There were a lot of people who gave their lives to Christ.
4. I was deeply moved watching men commit their lives to Christ.
5. I'm very grateful to God that so many men call People's Church home.
6. One of our first-time guests told me that he couldn't believe how many young adults attend our church. I'm grateful to God that we are reaching so many young adults!
7. The Power For Life team performed crazy feats of strength. My favorite was the fire on the bricks and watching him smash the bricks.
8. We had a great summertime attendance.
9. 9 dads won the 9 grand prizes that we gave away (flat screen HDTV's, recliners & Bass Pro Shop gift cards).
10. I challenged, encouraged and inspired men to be godly men and leaders. I called forth the greatness that's already inside of them.
11. I came home after church to a special lunch. My wife made me a New York Strip with awesome toppings like mushrooms and cheese, baked potato, corn & salad.
12. Tiffany also made one of my favorite desserts, dump cake. Man, that was awesome stuff! I put ice cream on top of the cake.
13. Thanks, Tiffany, for making my birthday and Father's Day special. You know how to make me happy, feed me! :) Love you, sweetie!
14. I told the church that I have an important message to share with them this coming up Sunday, June 27. I'm teaching a message on vision. It's titled Unstoppable Vision! This is a must-attend Sunday. I will be sharing my heart and the direction of People's Church.
15. The heat is on in Oklahoma! Mid to high 90's all week. I think I'm going to lie out and get a suntan. NOT! :)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I just took three Sundays in a row off from teaching at People's Church. I was on vacation the first two Sundays, and the third Sunday I led the services but didn't teach. Let me give you some insight to why I don't preach every Sunday, and why I don't think any pastor should teach every Sunday.
Sermons on the weekends are not just 30-minute talks. A 30-minute message drains as much emotional energy as the average 8-hour workday. If a pastor has to speak more than once each weekend, the emotional drain is multiplied, and if there is not a break from speaking, significant emotional and physical health is often compromised. Over the last seven years, People's Church has had a multiple service schedule. We have had 2, 3, 4, 5 and currently 3 services on Sundays. We will be adding a 4th service in the near future. On top of studying and preaching Sundays, most senior pastors are responsible for staff, budgets, hiring, releasing staff, buying land, building new facilities, ministries, outreach, care, weddings, funerals, missions, creating momentum, sustaining momentum, etc. The bottom line is the buck normally stops with the senior pastor no matter how many people may be on staff and oversee the various areas of ministry. This schedule can destroy a senior pastor’s health, emotions, family and spiritual vitality if they don't take time away from preaching and leading (and especially preaching).
The leaders of People's Church understand the importance of having and keeping a healthy pastor. We made a decision several years ago to disperse the preaching load. This year, I will preach 38 Sundays at People's Church. That comes out to an average of a little bit more than 3 out of 4 weekends each month. The remaining Sundays, our teaching team (Chris Smith & Troy Martin) teach God's Word. We occasionally have other staff speak as well. We also bring in another pastor or an evangelist once or twice a year.
I am not complaining about my job because I love what I do, but I am being raw and real about the reality of a senior pastor’s schedule. Pastors who speak more than 40 weekends a year with multiple weekend services are headed for burnout. There may be a handful of Superman pastors who can do this long-term, but there is a long list of those who have tried and have ended up losing their families, their health, or worse, their own spiritual vitality. I do not want to be on that list. I miss People's Church when I am gone, but I know that I am not the only person who is called and gifted to teach Scripture. I believe in the power of team, and I believe the church is strongest when a multitude of voices are heard on Sundays.
I am running a marathon and want to be an old pastor who finishes the race well rather than a young, foolish one, who is convinced that the church won't make it and thrive if I don't teach 52 Sundays a year.
Thanks, Pastor Brady Boyd, for the inspiration and for some of the content for this blog post!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
This is a must-attend event every year at People's Church! Your dad and entire family will love it! We celebrate and honor dads BIG time at People's Church! Check out this short video of all that will be happening this Sunday at People's Church at 9AM, 10:30AM & 12PM! GET READY!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Our Creative Arts Team put on another spectacular performance for our church during the Conversations series. Check out this short video of the live performance that accompanied my message Living on a Prayer.
Monday, June 14, 2010
1. I had some great time off with my family.
2. My family went to Rochester, NY to see my mom, sister, her husband and kids.
3. We had a great time in Rochester.
4. While we were in Rochester, we worshipped at The Father's House. This is a great church with great pastors. This is a multi-cultural church. It reminded us a lot of People's Church.
5. I finished the book The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team during the first part of my break. It was my second time to read the book, and it was just as good as the first time.
6. It takes me a couple of weeks to really unwind from work. I needed the speaking break because I was starting to feel fatigued mentally.
7. I'm very grateful for a great team who can run the church and teach and preach while I'm off. God has blessed PC with exceptional leadership.
8. One of the greatest things that pastors can do is build a trustworthy, competent and Godly team around themselves (paid or volunteer). This requires a lot of energy and investment, but it is totally worth it.
9. If you have teaching and preaching responsibilities at your church, you need to raise up a couple of other teachers so you can take some time off. I will do a blog post this week or next week on how to raise up other teachers.
10. I think it's funny when people think I should be at church and preach 52 weeks out of the year, but they're not at church 52 weeks out of the year. In the early days of our church, this used to bother me, and now I just smile at them and let them know they better get used to me taking time off. :)
11. DadFest 2010 is this Sunday! Muscle & classic cars will be all over the People's Church campus. The Power for Life Team will be performing crazy feats of strength. We will be giving away recliners, flat screen HDTV's and Bass Pro Shop gift cards. Dads, get to church early so you can enjoy the experience in one of the recliners. I will be teaching an encouraging and inspiring message. This is going to be a great day at PC! Start inviting everybody you know for DadFest 2010!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This entry was posted by Brian Rush, Executive Director of Creative Arts at People’s Church.
I have never really been a big fan of pain. For the most part, I don't know many people who are. What I have come to realize, though, is that the biggest payoff or return happens when I embrace the pain. In a physical workout, the growth happens in the last few reps when the muscle is torn and then has a chance to repair itself. If you're a runner, some of the most pain comes in the last leg of the run when you have to push yourself beyond what you really think you can do. Likewise, in leadership, a painful yet honest critique can make you better. Putting down old tools to learn completely new ones is not easy but is required to go to that next level. Failing can sometimes hurt, but it allows us to learn from it and not make that mistake again. If you want to grow, get better, make a difference, advance the ball and fulfill your God-given potential, it's going to HURT sometimes, and you’ve simply got to love every minute of it and embrace it :)
Wherever you are in the leadership spectrum, I encourage you to embrace the pain. For those who you lead, don't shy away from that conversation that needs to happen because you think it might be painful. The next time someone gives you an honest critique, don't take it personal. Instead, learn from it and become better. However it applies to your situation, remember...NO PAIN, NO GAIN!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
This entry was posted by Josh Brown, Executive Director of Operations at People’s Church.
Monday, my wife and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. I cannot believe it has already been seven years. God has truly blessed me with an amazing woman of God. I’m still not quite sure how I landed her :). In my quiet time on Monday, I was thanking God for all of the incredible things He has done in our lives over the past several years, and it caused me to think about the different seasons we have gone through. For example, we’ve had a season without kids, a season with kids, a season with both of us working, a season with just me working, a season without the OKC Thunder, a season with the OKC Thunder; you get the point. I was reminded that seasons will change, which will alter our lives in one way or another, but there are some things that should never change no matter what season we are in. Here’s a brief list of some of those “unchangables.” It’s always the season to:
- Love God and one another
- Operate with integrity
- Do your best
- Make honesty the only option
- Have a positive attitude
- Never cut corners
- Reach the lost at any cost
God, I pray you give us the wisdom to make necessary changes and the perseverance to stay the course on things that must never change. Amen.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
This entry was posted by Troy Martin, Executive Director of Ministries at People’s Church.
“If I only had _______________, then I would ______________________!”
If I only had their church budget, then I would ______________________.
If I only had their staff, then I would ______________________________.
If I only had their facility, then I would ____________________________.
If I only had their charisma or talent, then I would ___________________.
Attention pastors and leaders! Don’t allow yourself to play the “If I only had _______” game. It is a game of comparisons that is not healthy for you and your effectiveness in what God has called you to do. I have news for you…there will always be someone with a bigger budget, a better facility and more talent.
Here is the question to ask when tempted to play the game: “AM I BEING FAITHFUL WITH WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO ME?” God has uniquely created you with certain talents and a certain personality. He has blessed you with resources to get the job done, and He has placed you where He wants you to be!
Coach John Wooden said, “Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” You can do it! Be faithful and work hard to build the Kingdom of God!
Monday, June 7, 2010
On Sunday, May 2, we wrapped up our Courageous series with a moving performance by our Creative Arts Team. They performed the OneRepublic song, Apologize, to go along with the message Courage To Forgive and did an awesome job! Check out this video.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
This entry was posted by Tiffany Cooper, Herbert's wife.
People’s Church celebrated 8 years as a church in May. I have been passionate about this church and my role as a pastor’s wife from day 1. Although I could compile a very long list of talking points, I thought I’d share 10 ways my life has been impacted as a pastor’s wife (PW).
- I get the most amazing view of what God is doing each week in the lives of people. I get to watch the transforming power of God at work in impossible situations.
- I have discovered my strengths and weaknesses through a new lens. Some of my strengths can become weaknesses as a PW if I’m not careful. Ouch!
- I get the best seat in the house when it comes to learning from a great leader, my husband. Dinner chats are intriguing as we talk about pastoring and leading. How many other women can say they are learning from the best? I know, I’m biasedJ
- I have had the privilege to develop friendships with truly incredible PW’s and their husbands. There is nothing like a friend who can understand your role.
- I get lots of extra love each week from our church family. They are so sweet to me and our children.
- I have experienced some challenging and some painful seasons of ministry, but I have always come out better and wiser. The discomfort is a small price to pay for more effectiveness.
- I have become a greater follower of Christ, a better example of Christ’s love to all people. My relationship with Christ is now free of religion. It’s about reaching people where they are.
- I made the adjustment to living my life in view of the public where every move and every word is judged. (Of course, I still have my slip-ups). Living my life in the fishbowl has moved from a small discomfort to completely normal.
- I have automatic credibility and a platform as a PW. I am thankful for this privilege to impact others’ lives. I do not take it lightly.
- I am honored to share this ministry journey with a man who is the same at home as he is in the church. He is the real deal, and I don’t take that for granted.
Being a pastor’s wife isn’t an ordinary life, and I like it that way. I’m right where I want to be. If you are a pastor, tell your wife that a PW from Oklahoma says hello. We’re all in this together!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
This entry was posted by Tiffany Cooper, Herbert's wife.
I love snack food, and trail mix is a favorite. However, lately I’ve noticed that the M&M’s are gone leaving only peanuts and raisins. That’s not good for a chocolate lover like me! Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize my kids were to blame, taking the best part while ignoring the rest.
It’s easy to do the same in ministry. Ignoring the unfavorable parts for what we like best. Unfortunately, if we want to continue enjoying the best parts, we need to also include the unfavorable parts too.
- If you want a healthy team/staff, you have to make the tough decisions, confront in love and lead.
- If you want a healthy church, you have to stay committed to the vision God has given you, doing what’s best for the whole and not the few who want the control.
- If you want your God-given dreams to happen, you have to work hard, work smart and work faithfully.
The “If you want” list could go on and on. We all have different gift mixes, different likes and different ministry situations, AND we all have things we would rather ignore. But if we commit to doing what is unfavorable, the results will allow us to do more of what is favorable…that’s the best part.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
This entry was posted by Tiffany Cooper, Herbert's wife.
In March, I met 5 other pastors’ wives in Las Vegas for a Leading and Loving It getaway. While there, I was approached by an Elvis impersonator. Let’s just say he didn’t measure up to my ideal Elvis. Sure, he had the hair and the clothes, but he wasn’t authentic.
In ministry, we can find ourselves trying to impersonate a particular pastor or church. It’s easy to think that what one person or organization does will translate the same for us. Ministry is not a one size fits all formula.
In our ambition to be “that person” or “that church,” we overlook many things. We forget:
- that we don’t know the whole story. We don’t know the price they paid to get where they are or the obstacles they have overcome. Are you ready to pay your own price?
- that their church model may not be the best fit for our church or our pastoral/leadership giftings.
- that they are seeing the fruits of 20 years in ministry. Give yourself permission to enjoy your season of ministry as you journey toward 20 years.
- that no 2 pastors or churches are the same. Know who you are. Know your church and your city.
Be true to all that God has placed in you. Seek counsel and mentorship from other pastors and churches, but don’t replace your God-given authenticity with an impersonation of them. Impersonations are void of authenticity, effectiveness and power. Be real. Be you. Live out your call, not a replica of another’s call.