Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Blessings of God never cease to amaze me!!!  I am blown away at the opportunities that I have sometimes, and the fact that God allows me to serve in His kingdom in this way astonish me.
I get to do some pretty cool things as a Kids Pastor.  I get to be there when the "light" pops on in a kids head about Jesus' love, and I often get to lead them through the first few steps of their journey with God.  I get to stand beside families who may be struggling and provide encouragement to kids who might be having a rough time. For the first time this year, I got to help a family through the loss of a grandfather by conducting the memorial service.  I get to sit in waiting rooms with nervous parents as their "baby" has tests run to make sure "everything will be alright".  
Why did God Choose Me?  Why am I hearing doing what I love and getting the chance to do some really fun stuff when so many ministers and ministries struggle???  
I honestly don't know,  I can only thank God for every moment He allows me to serve Him.  It is an honor to serve such a Great God!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Finishing Strong

Watched a very interesting football game last night.  Living in the Dallas Metro area, it seems as if the only team in America is the Dallas Cowboys. Personally, I am a Pittsburgh fan and I really can't stand the Cowboys all that much.  I was however, cheering for them to win last night (not because I wanted them to win as much as I wanted their opponent to lose!).  The end of this game got me to thinking about a leadership principle that I often don't even consider- "Finishing Strong".  
I usually don't put much thought into finishing strong right now because I still consider myself to be relatively young.  I have been in full time ministry for a little over 8 years, and "Lord Willing" I plan to have several more great years ahead of me in ministry, but I realized last night that the choices I am making right now and the habits I am forming will determine wether or not I "Finish Strong".
Just in case you didn't catch the game last night, the cowboys failed to win because of a breakdown in a very fundamental area of the game, Tackling.  They simply failed to tackle in the final crucial moments of a game.  Having never played football, I can't imagine how difficult it is to tackle a 260 lb. running back who is charging full steam ahead, but I do know that tackling is something that players are taught when they first begin to play the game.
It became very obvious last night that the Cowboys didn't prepare to win that game.  That Preparation should have begun way back in August when they were in Training camp.  They might have cost themselves a chance at the playoffs because of their inability to tackle at the end of the game.
I don't want to be like that, I want to make sure that I am prepared to Finish Strong, and the time to do that is right now, not later.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It is amazing to me the amount of work that can be done in the short window of time before a holiday or a vacation.  I read a study several years ago that was pretty amazing.  Some scientist actually did research on the productivity of employees during the days leading up to a vacation verses the "normal" work days in an employees year.  It was something like 5 times the amount of work can be done in these few days leading up to a vacation.  I can see it in my own life, this week (I am out of the office most of the next two weeks for holidays and vacation): I have gotten kids church written for the next three weeks, done research on some activities we are doing next summer, laid out the new structure for our ministry (when we move into our new facility and totally change the way we do ministry), and had several valuable meetings.  It is crazy how much can be accomplished when it has to be accomplished.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This was a post that I wrote for our Hope Fellowship Blog: you can find it here.

I am sitting here in my office listening to the fire alarm go off every fifteen minutes, the pounding of the sledge hammers knocking down walls (it feels like my office wall is the one they are trying to knock down), and the buzzing of drills and other power tools working steadily to construct our new auditor. Hope Fellowship is certainly in a time of physical transition. It seems as though every day I come in there is something new and some change to the structure. Change can be very inconvenient, it is almost always messy (most of you only get to see it on the weekend when it has been “cleaned” thoroughly), and it is never easy! The only thing that keeps us going is the promise of the future.
It has been my experience that our journey with Christ is very similar. Each of us has a promise that we have received from God. God has incredible plans for our lives, He tells us in Jeremiah that He has plans to give us a future and a hope. You have probably received a “promise” from God. A promise for a future that looks so different from where you are at now, that you probably have no idea how it is going to happen. Before we can see the payoff of these “promises” (when it actually comes to pass) we have to go through a process. In that process God is preparing our hearts and our lives for the incredible payoff He has in store for us.
For us here at Hope, that process involves bulldozers, sledge hammers, and a bunch of concrete and metal. For each of us as individuals, it is usually a lot more complicated. Wouldn’t it be nice if God could send a “construction team” to take you from where you are to where He wants you to be! It doesn’t work that way though. I can remember singing a song as a little kid that talks about this very thing, it’s chorus said:
He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.

It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.

What is God taking you through right now? How is it “making you what you ought to be?” Are you willing to trust Him through the Process, so that you can see the Payoff?

“Enjoy the Journey”

Scott Berkey
Children’s Pastor
Hope Fellowship

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OK, So it is cold

Today we woke up to some real winter weather. It has not been above freezing since sometime yesterday afternoon, and it is really nasty outside. I am not really a big fan of driving in this weather. Earlier this morning, when I was on my way into work, I turned a corner and the truck reminded me (by sliding to about a 45 degree angle) that there was ice everywhere. Not exactly what this Florida boy finds as a fun time.
It amazes me though, all the people who will not slow down. I heard a statistic when I got to the office, that by 4 am there had already been 90+ accidents in the North Dallas area. How many of those people could have saved themselves some headaches just by slowing down and using caution. Our spiritual life is a lot like that. It is so easy for us to fly right past all of the warning sings and the caution signs. We think one of two things, that "it won't happen to me", or "I know what I am doing, I can handle this". I can only imagine how God must feel when he looks down from Heaven and watches all of us running into stuff. I bet he would have us slow down and use caution during difficult times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Leading Leaders

I have been spending a great deal of time lately trying to figure out how to teach my Leadership Team to be leaders of leaders. They are each great leaders on their own, but in order for us to move to a new level, they need to become leaders of leaders. It is easy to lead followers. The added value comes when they become capable of leading other leaders. In Adventure Kidz, we are making a huge effort in the area of developing leaders during the spring of 2009. We sit at a crossroads, if we can make the right choices and develop our people, we can see some incredible things happen at Hope.
I have given each of my key leaders a copy of "Developing the Leader Within You". We are going to read through it together and spend some time developing their full potential. When we finish that book, we are going to follow it up with "Developing the Leaders Around You". Both of these John Maxwell books played a key role in my early leadership development, and I am hoping that they make a difference in the confidence level our our leadership team.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Team Leadership 3

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am a big fan of teams. I have found that Teams can accomplish way more than individuals can. It is amazing the amount that healthy teams can accomplish. When you are developing a team, there are at least 3 types of individuals that you need in order to be successful:
1. Every team needs a dreamer:
What I mean by "dreamer" is that every team needs someone who helps them see what could be. A teammate that is constantly pushing the team to bigger/greater things. This member of the team never seems to be completely satisfied with the status quo, instead, they are pushing forward because they know how great things could be. Sometimes "dreamers" can get in the way though, because things still have to happen now, not just in the future.
2. Every team needs a driver:
A "driver" is the person who is constantly pushing the team forward to keep moving and keep accomplishing. They have a hard time sitting in meetings, they want to be out there doing. It is great to have these teammates because usually they are the ones that make things happen. You have to be careful with these team mates though, because sometimes they can be a little over zealous.
3. Every team needs a drummer.
A "drummer" is that team member that is constantly beating the "drum". They are the biggest champion of the vision and they are always communicating the vision to the team and to anyone who will listen. "Drummers" make it their mission to let everyone they come into contact with know that this is the "beat" of the team. They are great when they are "on-beat", but if they get off, on their own agenda, they can also be very destructive.

Make sure that your team has it's "dreamer", it's "driver", and it's "drummer". If you don't, you should probably look for someone who can help you fill in the gaps.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Smile Goes a Long Way

I do an experiment from time to time, I love walking around a store or the mall, and simply smiling at people. It is funny to see the reaction on most peoples faces. I don't recall a single person ever getting mad or offended, but I can remember hundreds of smiles in return. Try it sometime, simply smile at someone when you are sitting at a red light, or when you are waiting in line at the grocery store (be sure it is not a creepy "I am a weirdo" smile, but just a simple smile), and watch what happens. You don't even have to say anything, just smile, and I bet you will get a smile in return!
Wouldn't the world be just a little nicer if we all went around smiling at each other? Oh, and by the way, it works at church too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Customer Service

I am a big fan of looking at how companies and businesses operate. I read a lot of books/blogs about business and by successful members of the business community. Today I had an interesting experience with a company that I am somewhat familiar with: Apple. I have been using a Mac for about 6-7 years, and I think they are awesome, every experience that I have had up until today has been great, but today was definitely a different story. I walked into my local Apple Retail store today, helping a coworker try to fix a giftcard problem. I had purchased a gift card about a month ago, it was a gift that my Pastor wanted to give a friend as a thank you. The funny thing is, Apple had never charged us, and there was no money on the gift card! Big Problem! This could have been an easy fix, but instead, the associate told us we had to call corporate. So, we went out of the store made a phone call. 30 minutes later, still on the phone with "corporate" (which we are pretty sure is somewhere outside of the Western Hemisphere!) we are told that the only person who can fix the problem is the store manager. Back into The Apple store we go, and talk to a manager. He goes to the phone and we stand there... about 20 more minutes!
Turns out, Apple didn't charge us for the gift card, and therefore didn't put any money on the card...wow, I am pretty sure we told them that the first time we walked in!
This story got me thinking...How often do we treat people the same way. They often have a problem when they come to us, and we send them in as many different ways as possible. In ministry, we are in the people business, we should make it as easy on them as possible by eliminating hoops that they have to jump thru.

For the record, I am still a huge Apple fan, and this little experience will not change that!