Wednesday, April 23, 2008

S.W.O.B. - Learning From Our Weaknesses

Today, I'm in an all-staff, all-day, all-mind-zapping, planning day! Yay...

Seriously, my mindset coming into this was not necessarily positive. I have been to school and classes and lectures and conferences and all-day events tend to drain me. Also, the overall outcome is usually boredom. We started the meeting with prayer and devotion (which was a great way to start this day), and then moved right on to an evaluation time.

Let me step back a few years. In 2006, I went to an awesome conference called Catalyst in Atlanta, GA. It is a conference packed full of great speakers (Christian and non-Christian) to help empower church leaders throughout the world. The line-up this year is pretty cool as well ( Anyway, in 2006, there was a speaker named Marcus Buckingham. And yes...he's British. Marcus is a businessman and spoke to us as if we were businessmen. He preached of using our weaknesses to make us strong. Today's society, he argued, is telling us differently. We use our strengths to make us stronger and we try to push our weaknesses aside and get over it. It's all about being better.

And so, today, I sit here amongst great people -- the staff of this church and we evaluate ourselves. We are using a formula called S.W.O.B. to help us be honest. That acronym (not the strep throat test) stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Barriers.
Then, we take four areas and apply them to this acronym: Mission, Worship, Spiritual Formation, and Community. The questions are how effective are we at these four areas. The presumption was that it would be easier to talk about our strengths than our weaknesses. Amazingly, we have been filling the board with weaknesses, while our strengths are overwhelmingly strong. Now, the easiest thing to do would be to draw the line at strengths and weaknesses and see that we have more weaknesses and hate ourselves and say we suck. The great thing is that Marcus Buckingham and this S.W.O.B. method allow for more than that. The opportunities allow us to look at our weaknesses and act on them. The barriers allow us to know what might get in our way. This doesn't mean it will, but it might.

I'm actually loving this. We are planting seeds as a leadership to build strength from our weaknesses. When we are honest with ourselves, we learn more about ourselves. Humility is more important than greatness. We will truly grow from this as a church, a staff, a people, a community, a city, a world, a Kingdom.

Pray for us for the rest of this day as we continue to dream, expect, and act. May you learn from your weaknesses to grow your strengths. We will always fall short, so let's not ignore that. Let's learn from it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Chick Flick Formula

Alright, I promised my wife I would post this, so here it is. It's nothing new; I've heard it used before. However, I told Sonia about it a month or so ago and she claimed I was insane and even had the tenacity to tell me I was wrong. :) Since then, she has not been able to prove her point and I have...multiple times.

Here's the deal...there's a formula when it comes to chick flicks. I have to admit that I can handle a good chick flick from time to time (as long as she watches Braveheart with me). However, it gets very predictable after time. Take the following list as an example.

In my opinion, for a movie to be a chick flick, it has to follow these guidelines and qualifications:

1) Two separate stories with bad relationships or botched relationships in the past.
2) By some freak accident, event, coincidence, etc., these two stories collide and it's love at first sight (even if they don't "show" it at first e.g. 10 Things I Hate About You).
3) Through time spent around each other, things start to click.
4) As they start to get close and you think nothing could go wrong (except for Meet the Parents), something goes wrong (Murphy's Law?).
5) They fight and split ways and spend the next few days or hours crying, splurging, drinking, etc.
6) An epiphany happens either through self-reflection or friends or mothers and the girl or guy has to go win the other back.
7) Cue the cheesy music and the couple reunites with tears in the eyes. The one who screwed up apologizes profusely and begs to take him/her back.
8) With jubilee, they embrace, make out, and go home and make babies...or something like that.

It happens again and again in chick flick after chick flick. I told Sonia about this and she agreed but decided to make it her mission to prove me wrong. Basically, still waiting...

I'm so putting this up on Wikipedia for the "Chick Flick Formula." I bet that wouldn't get edited at all...