Working From Home Without Losing Your Mind

7 weeks ago, everything changed! Schools went virtual. Most work places went virtual. Restaurants closed. Stores closed. Life kind of shut down, and we began to realize that everything we have been told could not be remotely done is now having to be remotely done.

I like most of you began working from my home office. Two kids interrupting my zoom calls and assisting the wife in the homeschooling department as much as possible. Also, a dog who is so attached to me that he wants to jump into my lap while I work. It’s been interesting.

I have had to learn to work with a tv close by. With my son’s video games not too far away, and so many other distractions right in front of me.

I have finally gotten into a rhtyhm and I believe I have found out how to work from home without losing my mind! Praise God 🙂

1. Get up before everyone else

Listen, it is much easier to fall into the “sleeping in” trap when working from home. In fact, last week I stayed up super late to catch up on ESPN’s documentary, “The last dance.” I am ashamed that I fell behind so don’t judge me. I stayed up until 1:00 AM catching up. I was exhausted the next morning so I slept in, but found that my morning was not near as productive as other mornings. I learned my lesson.

When I get up before everyone else, I make my breakfast and get the chance to read. I spend time with God first through a YouVersion Bible reading plan and then I briefly journal a few thoughts. Then, I read all of the news happening around us for that day. I feel so much better when the kids get up, and I my mind is in gear.

Mornings are important to your leadership (even if you do not recognize it). Trust me, you lead better when your day starts the right way.

2. Have a work space

I tried the living room. I tried the kitchen. I finally got comfortable sitting in my home office. Sounds dumb that I did not start there, but the internet was not as strong in that part of the house. We now have a wifi booster since I am using it every day.

Before I get off track, here is the point: You need a space that is yours. At the office, you have your space and you need that at home to be at your best. There are way too many distractions in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom.

Find a place that you can retreat to.

3. Get a shower and get dressed

Don’t fall into the pajamas trap and be that zoom call employee who isn’t ready and looks like you just rolled out of bed.

Get up. Get a shower. Treat it like a work day, and on a normal work day, you get a shower, brush your teeth, and comb your hair (at least I hope you do).

4. Start a schedule with your kids and stick to it

Our kids started with a schedule, and it is noticeably different in my productivity when we stick to their schedule.

My kids are 8 and 6 so they need me quite a bit still for school. So sticking them to a schedule gives me some allotted time for myself to be productive and get tasks done.

There have been days where the schedule goes out the window, and I feel less productive. My son plays fort nite for 5 hours, and my daughter watches every episode of Jesse from the Disney channel that exists. Those days may be fun to some, but they are not ideal.

5. Take breaks

This is a game changer. It is a beautiful thing about home. At the office, I get less breaks, but at home, I get some “recharging breaks” that are incredible.

Take a walk

Take your kids for a ride on the bikes.

Take a 30 minute power nap (not longer).

Eat lunch with your family.

Whatever takes your mind off of work and gives you the energy to get back to it in 30 minutes or so.

This has worked wonders for my mind. I love it and hope to do more of this when I get back into the office.

These are some tips that have helped me, but I would LOVE to hear from you. How are you staying sane while working from home? Let me know in the comments below.

Leaders: Your attitude is a difference maker

I am convinced that those that we lead need our attitude way more than they need our education, knowledge, or ability.

Attitude is not a personality trait, it is a decision that we make every single day. Regardless of your position, you can affect the climate of your team with the attitude that you bring every single day.

So, what kind of attitude should we bring to the table each day. Glad you asked 🙂 Here are some of the traits of the attitude that your team needs from you:

1. Hope filled

Few things inspire people more than hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that the future is brighter than the present.

This is why so many people are attracted to the Christian faith, because it brings a great deal of hope.

So think about your organization and those that you lead. Do you lead with hope or do you lead with doom and gloom?

2. Forward thinking

Have you ever been caravanning and the person in front of you has no idea where they are going. They turn around time and time again and seem to intentionally do it in like the most impossible place to turn around? It is frustrating and confusing. In fact, it makes me want to go my own route and figure things out on my own.

It works the exact same way in leadership of a business, church, or organization.

People want to follow someone who knows where they are going, not someone who is confused and spends most of their time pivoting, turning around, and questioning their direction.

So, how can you get better at this leaders?

Well for starters, spend a lot of time praying about direction and vision. Spend time on your strategy, mission, and values.

Your people do not need to look at you and question you are headed. If they do, they probably won’t be following you.

3. Can do

Have you ever followed those leaders that believe no mountain is too high for them? They can either be very frustrating or super intriguing.

There is a balance. Don’t be stupid and go after something you cannot achieve no matter what happens, but leaders, you have to be willing to take risks.

Risks inspire people (seriously).

I am a leader in a church so that is my world. When we look at other mega churches out there, I think one of the reasons that they are growing is that they are not afraid to take some risks in their church.

If your vision can be done with you only, it is not big enough.

You need some faith in your leadership.

4. Views circumstances as opportunities

It is refreshing to view people who view a difficult circumstance as a opportunity rather than an obstacle.

It is refreshing when we view people as opportunities rather than obstacles.

Life is all about opportunities, not obstacles. Sure there are bumps in the road, but the way that we approach and view those bumps don’t have to be obstacles, they can be viewed as opportunities.

5. Do whatever it takes

I get frustrated when I hear things like, “we have never done it that way before.” Or, “that seems like way too much work.” Look, I want to do whatever it takes, and if something hard comes along that will reap some incredible results, you better believe we should go after it.

I think people want to be challenged to do more. To be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Think about this: What is keeping you from fulfilling the dream that is in your heart? Maybe it is starting another campus. Maybe it is purchasing a piece of property. Maybe it is starting another service or hiring a staff member. Whatever it is, if God placed it within you, you need to go after it and do whatever it takes.

Some of the toughest decisions that we make can lead to the biggest results we could ever experience.

So, leaders, what kind of attitude do you bring to the table every single day?

5 Things This Pandemic Has Taught Church Leaders

I write this in my home office as I just got off a call with our staff evaluating the plan to possibly reopen when the time comes.

We aren’t sure when we will re-Open, but we are drafting up a plan so that we will be ready when the time comes.

It got me thinking about my own leadership and what this pandemic has taught me. I bet it has taught you some of the same things…

1. Your online audience is a part of your church

Some churches already got this way before the pandemic. They viewed their online audience as part of the church. They welcomed their online viewers during the physical gathering, created virtual serve and group options, and connected with them.

Some churches already did that, but the majority didn’t.

The majority of churches use their online streaming as a means to get content into the hands of their church people who have to miss the physical gathering.

This pandemic has forced all churches (big and small) to recognize that online church is a thing and it is here to stay.

When things go back to normal, online church needs to be a part of your strategy.

Continue to engage your online audience. Continue to welcome them. Continue to connect with them through first time guest forms, live virtual hosts, and online prayer options.

All of the good creative online content that you have been doing, it needs to continue when the pandemic is over.

We have to start recognizing the online audience as a part of our church.

2. We aren’t in control as much as we thought we were.

This pandemic has taught me that I am not in control.

Now, if if I’m honest, I love to control things. I love to control my schedule, the tv, the gps, my house, my job, my kids (good luck) and pretty much everything else. I love control.

Well, control is cool until you lose it. 

Church leaders are good at working a stage. Crafting a sermon. Organizing a killer weekend service. We control a lot of this but now that everything is online and our programming is minimized, we realize how little control we have to begin with.

Church leader, you are not in control and that’s ok. You just need to know and cling to the one who is in control.

Run to Him.

3. People are more important than programs

Programming has been minimal lately. I mean every church has had to cut programs to some degree.

Our staff has made it a point to regularly call every person in our church as a routine “check up.” Now in our church, we have close to 2,000 people.

That’s a lot of phone calls and check ins.

But it’s well worth it.

This pace of spending more time calling people and less time programming has been a nice change.

Ministry is about people, not programs.

Hopefully after this is over, we don’t go back to over-programming but that we have the same focus and intensity for people as we do our programs.

4. We can be more creative and innovative than we care to admit

This pandemic has proved that your church (small or big) can be pretty creative.

Zoom calls for small groups? Who would have thought about that?

Virtual Easter?

Drive in church?

Online kids and students programming? 

The point is that you have been forced to be creative and innovative.

When things go back to normal, keep your creative and innovative personality.

5. Virtual work is possible for just about everyone

Meetings can be done online! In fact, online meetings tend to be more intentional and focused anyway.

Most of your responsibilities probably can be online.

I think that virtual work for church leaders is the way to go moving forward.

I don’t think you have to force 8-5 of office work time to your staff. Get your job done at a time that is convenient for you.

Those are just five things that I have learned. What have you learned during this pandemic? Comment below and let me know. 

Everyone is Busy!

busyEveryone is busy! (Say it out loud…Everyone is busy!)

Do you believe that?

I do. I mean when I speak to people and say “How are you doing,” they always say “busy!” It is the most used response at least in my experience.

So, I now believe that everyone is busy. Well, according to how they answer my simple, “how are you doing” question.

I am kind of tired of the expected answer, “I am busy.” The reason I am tired of it is because it makes me want to tell that person how busy I am. Especially when it is someone with less responsibilities than me. Right? Like my kids or the college students that I teach. When I ask them how they are doing, and they say, “busy”, it makes me want to sit them down and prove to them that I am busier than them. (Please tell me that I am not alone in this). It is true in the work place as well.

Everyone is busy. Students have assignments. Kids have homework and the pressure of extracurricular activities. Interns have responsibilities. Adults have work and family responsibilities.

Everyone is busy doing something. So, why do we always answer, “I am busy” if everyone is busy.

Here are a few things I am learning about busyness…

1. You are as busy as you chose to be!

Most of my busyness is my fault. I bet it is true of you as well.

I have complained so much over the past few months about how busy I am with coaching t-ball. Guess who made the decision to coach? Me! Did they force me to? No. I made the choice to coach.

You are as busy right now as you chose to be. This can be fixed with using the word, “no.”

If you chose to be this busy, stop complaining about it (I am speaking to the choir on this one).

2. Busyness is normal and comes in seasons

I will have busier months than others. You will as well. My busiest times are the fall and the spring. That is when our church is busier. I lead our interns during those two semesters. I coach t-ball, and I teach in our college during those semesters. I work hard during those semesters understanding that I may take some more time over the summer.

Everyone goes through seasons of busyness, and that is okay. Busyness is not bad in and of itself.

If you never feel busy, you are probably not doing much that has value.

3. Stay busy doing the right thing! 

This is where I go wrong. I get so busy doing things that do not matter or things that I could easily delegate to someone else. Even things that I am not passionate about.

I am a 9 on the ennegram which means that I am a peace maker. That means that I will gladly take extra responsibilities off of other people if that makes them happier. When I do this, I become busier doing the wrong things.

Stay busy doing what you are called to do in this moment.

T- Ball! Listen, if I am honest, it is a pain in the tail. I hate it sometimes. I have to be at every practice and it has made me so busy.

But listen, my son is 5 and he loves me being out there with him! Our relationship has grown so much during this season, and I know I cannot coach him forever.

You know what I have had to tell myself? Josh, stop complaining about t-ball and enjoy the time out there with your son.

When you are busy, you can get focused on the tasks that you miss the moments.

Be busy doing what matters and what you are called to do in this season.

4. Use the time you complain about being busy as energy to be more productive

If we stopped talking about being busy, and used that energy to be more productive, we would be!

Be disciplined.

Be more productive.

Don’t complain to others about what they could complain to you about (Read it again, it makes sense, I promise).

I guarantee you that your spouse could explain to you about how busy they are.

I guarantee you that your co-worker could explain to you about how busy they are.

Instead, use your conversation to check up on one another. Use the time to ask about each other’s family. Use the time to strengthen the community you have with others instead of complaining about how busy you are.

This post was for me! 

Listen, I am learning this. So, this post was primarily for me, and I hope it challenged and encouraged you in the process.

 

 

 

 

3 Things Every Volunteer Wants Answered

Blog Pic - Questions Volunteers haveSo you want to attract and engage more volunteers?

Of course you do, who wouldn’t?

We all want volunteers, but so many leaders struggle with recruiting, keeping, and leading volunteers.

Why?

Here are a few reasons that I have seen:

  • Unclear expectations
  • Overwork
  • No team chemistry
  • Lack of purpose
  • Unclear on ramps

We all want more volunteers to serve with us, and I think answering the main questions that volunteers are asking will help you land volunteers as well as keep them for the long haul.

So, what questions do volunteers have? Here are the top four questions that all volunteers are asking:

1. What Is Expected Of Me?

Expectations are crucial.

The more that I speak with leaders, the more that I find leaders being frustrated with their volunteers because they are not meeting their expectations. As I dig in, I find that the expectations were never clearly communicated.

If you want to lose volunteers, don’t communicate clear expectations.

If you want to keep volunteers, find out what you expect and communicate that clearly to the volunteer.

Communicate clear arrival times, don’t assume they know.

Communicate exactly what the specific responsibility is for the position they are serving in.

Communicate how long you will need them and when they are free to go.

Communicate if you expect for them to attend a service and serve a service.

Communicate how often you will need them.

Communicate how you intend to schedule and communicate with them.

Don’t assume that they are “in the know” about the way you manage volunteers. This is new to them and unclear expectations will frustrate them to the point of them leaving your church.

2. How Long And How Often Do You Need Me?

Volunteers need clear on ramps and they need clear off ramps.

Long gone are the days of volunteers signing up to volunteer for life. It just doesn’t work that way.

I recommend asking them to volunteer for a semester or a year. Whatever your terms, communicate it with them up front.

Communicate if you need them every week. Be clear.

Communicate if you expect them to serve for the entire hour of your service or only part of the service.

3. Will I Meet People While Volunteering?

Most people are signing up to volunteer to meet new people. Some do it for the purpose and the mission of the church, but many are looking for community.

Create chemistry on your teams.

Create the culture that new people want to be a part of on your teams.

Welcome new people and work hard at assimilating them on to your team.

It will be very difficult to keep volunteers if they are not relationally connected to the team.

4. Will I Be Making A Difference? 

The last main question that volunteers have is about the difference that they will be making.

Volunteers want to be making a difference.

Volunteers don’t want to be holding a door in your lobby if they do not understand why they are doing it or if it is making a difference in the mission of the church.

Volunteers want to see that they are making a difference in the mission of your church, and if they don’t feel that they are making a difference, you will likely lose them.

I truly believe that if you answer these four questions clearly, you will easily be on ramping new volunteers as well as keeping volunteers for the long haul. 

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