Archive for March, 2011

So yesterday I was bombarded by good meaning people (including my mother) who are responding to Jim Berkland who is an Earthquake expert who is predicting another quake here on the west coast (most likely LA) in the next week or so.

I love our family and our crew of friends. Its important that you hear my perspective on these types of issues if you are involved with us because it will help you know how my heart relates to disaster and crises.

I think this is timely information and it is good for us to be aware so we can be prepared but I have a few observations:

1) Humanity was never supposed to experience these disasters so its impossible to be completely prepared for them. Meaning: The Earth was never meant to groan and be dysfunctional but because of the fall it has been a mess. There are whole camps of Christians who overly prepare and have an inordinate focus on this preparation. No one predicted on time the New Orleans Hurricane or the Japan Earthquake….they happened. Preparedness is very important but it can’t be at the expense of peace.

2) The sources (whether prophetic or natural) of prediction are mostly wrong. Jim Berkland (who is the lastest source for the Earthquake in America) has tried to predict Earthquakes for decades and was right within 4 days of the San Francisco quake but that’s because his group has reported the possibility of over 200 Earthquakes…eventually you will get it right even if the public doesn’t look at the hundreds that did not happen. I applaud his efforts because seismology is such an unpredictable field, but the way the media has ran with this is ridiculous.

3) Christians are amazing in the days of adversity because we can move in the compassion of God and care for people that we would normally want to run from or cities we would rather escape from. The modern examples are profound: Haiti, New Orleans, and now Japan, etc have their best relief efforts from Christians. We have been involved in disaster relief, red zone missions, war zone missions, etc and you see Jesus on another whole level when you participate with Heavens solution to these terrible disasters and wars. Just like Doctors in Emergency rooms kick into another gear, Christians have the Spirit of God inside of them and if they are participating with Him they will find themselves capable of amazing heart attitudes and abilities during trauma. Christians who teach that we are to hide away or horde in those days of adversity and trial have a limited theology on the nature of Jesus who came to bring His government of peace and restoration. One of the greatest failures of the Roman Empire in its end was hoarding food, finances, resources, etc. People became so fearful they began to hoard and its proven that most the regions that fell first had the resources to maintain the region but those resources were being held back by Christian (and some none Christian) hoarding leaders.

4) You can prepare in more effective ways then hoarding and seperating. Your local fire department or police stations have programs like C.E.R.T. Which is an emergency disaster preparedness to help your city in times of trial. They are desperate to get churches involved. You can have some of your members become chaplains to police forces, fire depts, sports teams, prisons, so you will have access to disaster relief locations if things do happen, you can find out your cities disaster relief plan for different types of disasters which is public domain….find out the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars your state has put into its disaster plans because America is not as stupid as the news media makes it sound. Find out what has worked in the disasters that your city is threatened with in the past and do basic education. Your average joe doesn’t need to focus on impending doom, but they need to be prepared for potential disasters. You can be part of private and public food banks to find out how to funnel foods to them so that there is an abundance.

5) One of the most important issues: Be part of a Kingdom and relief effort now. If you are becoming fearful about running out of something in the future, be part of your cities solution now and begin to find out the statistics of hunger in your city and become an answer. LA has about 15% malnutrition and we only feed maybe 17,000 meals a day to our poor and homeless population. Our food banks are low on quality food, and we need thousands of pounds of food and water now. If we could make this a well oiled process now we would be WAY ahead if a disaster hit because these food banks which work for the homeless in these days will work for the whole city in disaster days. In New Orleans, our friends Blood and Fire were feeding like 3500+ meals a day to relief workers and it was because they were already feeding people before that so it was easy to jump into helping. Bottom line is Christians can be ridiculous at hoarding resources when in a city like ours (LA) there isn’t enough food being stored for our current food crises right now. Be a part of healing your current food crises in your city and you will begin to understand how to handle a disaster (there is probably one already going on but its covered up by normalness). PS this is one of the areas that the Obama administration shines because they are amazing at disaster plans and social justice.

6) Modern History proves that disasters have not grown the church. The churches get full for a few weeks after, but its the goodness of God and the Kingdom of life that make people want to stay involved in their faith. I remember these Christians who were like “Katrina will force revival, New Orleans will know they have to turn to God now.” But you know what? Although God moves powerfully in peoples hearts when they are in disaster, it is not a healthy thing to say “This is the revival agent we have been waiting for!” The reality is all of Africa is in disaster all the time that is like in the days that most Christians think the end times will look like. Africa’s revival is not in response to its destruction, it is in response to seeing there is a GOOD GOD who restores all things and gives purpose beyond human survival. We have unrealistic expectations as western world Christians that think when it gets worse around us the church will grow and that God needs us to suffer in order to apprehend us. This hasn’t worked for Africa and its not the solution for America, humans do good when the original plan of God is at work: Peace, rest, love, life, goodness, fulfillment, these draw people into eternity more then destruction because they feel like eternity.

I like what Joe from my facebook friend status said: Jesus paid the price for the sins of the world and the Father is not imputing the world’s trespasses against them, why do some insist that the physical calamities our God’s judgments? Too many think God’s dealings with us are based on the Law, not on the grace of God in Christ. Or Bill Johnson: The insurance companies blame a lot of bad things on a good God.

7) You are part of the solution that the world is waiting for….Romans 8 says the whole earth is groaning that sons of God would be revealed because what happened when Jesus came? He brought the potential to restore all things. He started His whole ministry with Luke 4:18 which was to bring GOOD NEWS! Wow what a concept that we are supposed to bring good news even in the day of adversity like He was in…..it was a bad day when He came but He showed a GOOD God!

I love you guys and I love my city. I am here for my city when it is doing well or when it is suffering like right now……LA is at a terrible crises of hunger, 20% child homelessness, 10,000 slaves, 80,000 homeless adults, 2000 people being released from prison every night, 18% unemployment, and we have many other problems. An Earthquake is not going to bring revival, we are. We want to stand with our city in the day of adversity and love our city, not pull away and hoard resources because of weird prophetic perspectives that come from bad theology. Any word that makes you feel separate from the city you live in is not from the heart of God.

Lots of love

Shawn Bolz

Expression58

http://www.expression58.org

i love this photo from 911 because it was such a picture of these champion men & woman risking all to save lives

 

MANAGING OTHERS EXPECTATIONS:

I got an email from someone moving to LA. “I am so in love with LA and I know I am supposed to be part of what you are doing! I am completely dedicated and can’t wait to move out there! I have been waiting my whole life to impact the entertainment industry and now I want to come out and serve your team!”

I wrote a fun email back congratulating them for taking the risk but also being very practical making sure they had enough money to move out here and that they take the time to get to know what God is doing in our city not just with us because we are new and all their relational needs might not get met here since everyone lives so far a part and we only have five home groups at any given time.

They wrote back “No! You don’t understand! I know I am called to work with you! I can’t wait!”

Then they moved here and crashed in every expectation. They were disappointed that we weren’t more for them. They were disappointed that they couldn’t have more position and be paid to do it by us or by LA because GOD HAD CALLED THEM! In their mind it wasn’t fair after all and after a year they moved away writing me a letter that said that God had released them from LA and it was time to go somewhere else. Now multiply this by 20+ people (probably more like 50 I just haven’t had direct convo’s with all of them) and you will see some of what we have had to deal with.

Let me qualify that I am not sad or upset that it happened, they took a risk and it didn’t pay off for them but it is discouraging when someone gives you 100% passion in the start but doesn’t even persevere for more then 12 months….you can’t move to a city like LA and see any of your dreams happen without investing 10 years.  There is a lot of entitlement in this generation that things are not worth working hard for. If it takes 30 years to get a gold watch and a pension in most jobs, its going to take 30 years to be paid back for your investment in something….and that just scares most people.

I am a conference speaker so all that I have to do is talk about what God is doing in Hollywood and anyone who doesn’t have satisfaction or clear direction who is looking for excitement and calling ends up “hearing from God” that they are called to move to California. I have to be very careful in this, because although we want everyone to move here (its an amazing city) you have to move here with wisdom, and a long term goal that doesn’t involve using the identity of those around you to find fulfillment (that is one of the problem areas of Hollywood itself).

 

 

BELIEVING IN WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN WHOLE HEARTEDLY MANAGES OTHERS EXPECTATIONS

 

On a positive note: How you believe what you believe and how you are vulnerable in the process will really be the powerful force of managing peoples expectations around you. Your belief in something is magnetic to those who trust or love you. Your belief multiplies in them.

You will never properly manage your critics opinions of you so don’t try (let God and the good work be defenders) but you sure can help lead those who are part of you be powerful in their expectations towards you.

I have tried to set a real culture of grace to our leaders and our ministry. I have said things to those who are involved statements like:

* Hey guys none of us have ever lead on this level before so we need lots of grace and years of development so we need you to double your adaptability and flexibility if you are going to make a commitment to us. Not just your grace for me, but grace for other areas or departments that may not be connected to you right now.

* When you start to come to a pioneering work like this you have to take a risk to believe in us and our leadership, but we also have to take risks with you as well! Lets be gracious risk takers.

* Many other ministries that have been established for 10+ years have fully developed departments and internal structure, you are part of the pioneering group that establishes that for everyone who comes after you (its not here yet). That means there will be tension and obvious sight to what ISN’T happening, but lets be constructive and empowered to believe we have a voice to what needs to happen but with our focus trained on what IS happening so we can celebrate who we are not who we are not yet.

* What if we never become a better version of the last church you were in, can we be a new thing instead of a recreation of a really good experience you have already had.

In other words, we have to have emotional intelligence and love for the people God is bringing us through our communication.

 

PEOPLE WILL BE CRITICAL, THEY CAN’T HELP IT

You can please some people some of the time….but sometimes its going to just feel like everyone is disappointed…it won’t be true but it will feel that way. It seems when one person is energized about something negative then this energy multiplies.

You do have a great defenses to this though, you need to develop a culture in your leadership team and in your people of belief and support. That means when someone is being critical you can ask them if its a critical analysis that is meant to help you or is it critical mindset based in missed expectations.

 

THE OLD CRITICAL ANALYSIS

If they have a critical analysis then its great because you will hear something that is good to be a listener too. It doesn’t mean you will want to hear it in the timing it is being given but it is worth listening too and can sometimes be a gift. Critical information never comes at the most opportune time, until you train yourself to hear it.

Repeat after me: Negative information does not have to bring negative conversations.

This is one area that I have failed in so many times when we were first starting because I get triggered by people I hadn’t developed enough relationship with yet, when they tell me what was not working but offer no solutions. I had to learn, this it is OK as long as their heart is for us its OK to see what needs to happen…but you can’t spend a lot of time here.

Example: So many people have told us our website sucks. You know what? The Bible School student who did it gave us a steal at 500 dollars and it was worth every penny! He did a good job. Since then we just haven’t had the 10,000 it takes to build a world class website but we are working towards it, we even have project managers who have developed the design ideas and are looking how to build it in phases but its been a rough time moving to LA in the middle of recession…see how easy it is to want to defend what is not happening yet? Its exhausting though….

The reality is its OK to just hear someone without having to feel responsible to them in a wrong way. They don’t need to know the back story or why its not working!

SOLUTION: They just need to know that you hear them and that you have a plan that eventually it will change. That is very powerful for people, to be heard and have agreement from you even if you have to set their expectation on your priorities for projects like this.

 

NEGATIVE WRONG PROCESSING

It might be a negative wrong processing that gets brought to you.

Example that is E58 specific: One thing my team has had to deal with is the fact that many people are upset that I am single. “Pastors can’t be single! Not senior pastors!” is the sentiment they are given. They are asked if I am “OK” meaning I might have a religious weird cultish perspective, I might be struggling with homosexuality, I might be celibate, I might be deformed…we have had all the questions come. People have a hard time following what they don’t understand so we do have to qualify from time to time that being single is not wrong and that I personally am pure and not deformed and that I am not celibate forever and Jesus was single when He lead the church.

Sometimes negative questions deserve a response, sometimes the way we are pioneering is so different that we spend more time qualifying… but we can not move into defensiveness or we can’t spend our good energy on high maintenance misunderstandings.

I use this as an example because there will always be something that your leaders will find themselves helping to explain or qualifying in reaction to you or what you are all doing together. The key here is to have simple answers that defuse negativity, but not to spend any time in arguing or in intensity. Remember negative people feed off of negativity so if you argue they win. Sometimes people are just going through something with their friends, family, job, hormones, etc and they need to know they are safe even when they are ugly so they get energized. Part of being their family is loving them through this and helping to be a safe place again for them to de-energize.

 

 

FEELING SAFE HELPS TO MANAGE EXPECTATIONS

I have had a few people tell me some really negative reasons why they didn’t feel safe with us as a ministry. The problem was I couldn’t de-energize them and I couldn’t fix in the short term the areas of the ministry they wanted me to focus on because it just didn’t line up with our priorities or our vision for the order in which we were going to build so you know what? I had to release them. For us as a ministry it was telling them “There are amazing churches in this city that are fully developed and it sounds like you really need something that is already established. We are still building and our process is going to be slow in some of the areas that you need a fast moving system just because we are moving forward so many things at once.”

 

To people that get mad at us for not being all they want us to be yet, I put 2 fingers up and say “We are only just over 2 years old as a church. 2, do you see that? 2 years….JK I don’t say that part.”

 

Of course some of those people want their 2 year old child to go to college but for the most part people come back into reality and go….”Oh yeah, I should give them a break and walk out the days of small beginnings with them….that’s what that scripture is about.”

 

DON’T LET OTHERS EXPECTATIONS MANAGE YOU

The oldest pitfall in the book for pioneers? Reacting to new or uncommitted peoples expectations and trying to be a people pleaser rather then building with your family and team. Let me tell you a quick story:

 

When I lived in the South (yes I lived there) I realized how much people put an emphasis on appearance in my neighborhood. There was one lady whose son went through a hip hop phase (who was totally a white baby faced sweet kid). She was so embarrassed that one day when they were over at my house as a family she told him that he couldn’t wear his new hip hop jacket outside because “What would the neighbors think?”

 

I took her aside and said “Sweetie pie (in a great southern style) you care more about what the neighbors think then what your boy thinks. He will only go through this phase once, and its precious because he is becoming an individual exploring his identity in a totally pure (and one day the photos will show) hysterical way. Enjoy this! Don’t let pressure from what people think rob him from exploring!”

 

She realized she was caring more for her neighbors feelings then her son and it was learned behavior. She decided to have fun with his phase and laugh it off. He is now the popular star Eminem. Just kidding!

 

We often do this, we care more for what a few people who are not really involved or committed or central to what we are doing think at the expense of what those who really matter think.

 

Some of us as we pioneer have learned behavior on how to bend towards people who aren’t even really committed to us in our community we are building because they are tithers, or they are important in the community, or they are older, or whatever but you know what? Love the child God gave you and the team and family he gave you first. Then apply the strength of this love to the community around you and you know what will happen? You will develop good boundaries!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

There is a lot to figure out with expectations when you are starting, but you know what? Enjoy it even when people who are starting to

 

come along side you are upset or counting the cost because when they get through whatever they are going through (with your love and support I hope) you will have really committed people who have paid a price.

 

 

Lots of love from the red zone of Los Angeles

 

Shawn Bolz

Expression58

www.expression58.org

www.shawnbolz.wordpress.com

find me on facebook!

 

PS

My new book is printed and you can order it this week for delivery next week! THE NONRELIGIOUS GUIDE TO DATING AND BEING SINGLE: http://www.nonreligiousguide.com

PSS:

My other two books are available in digital form now as well! The Throne Room Company and Keys to Heaven’s Economy. https://secure.digitalcontentcenter.com/shop/615348/products/?

 

 

 

YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS

So last week we had a high point where everything seemed to be lining up perfectly. The reports have been amazing lately. The majority of our team had good stories and are beginning to communicate satisfaction in pioneering even if they have lots of vision for what needs to change and happen. On top of that my happiness level was at a great high personally, and my dog didn’t die of cancer after all and they couldn’t find it in his system anymore….life felt right.

Then this week happened….I got sick, I got hit up by the IRS and still have to figure it out, a great potential building worked right out of our hands, different team went through some hard circumstances that took them out for a few day, a few departments had major transition which means they will be in maintenance mode again or not building at all….it so funny what can happen from week to week, month to month for pioneers at their beginnings.

“Its going to be worth it…..” I chanted to myself almost laughing at how last week I was shouting in my heart “It is SOOOO WORTH IT!” and this week I have to convince my emotional desire to believe even though my spiritual faith is there.

Says: AIM LOW

YOU’VE GOT VISION, YOU’VE GOT STYLE…EVERYBODY DANCE! 

So you have a vision and some implementation but at some point in your beginning phase things will work against you. Sometimes it will all be in the emotional realm or with relationships. Sometimes it will all be circumstantial. Other times it may even be a perfect storm hitting against everything in your life at once….and that is when you will want to pack your imaginary UHAUL in your head and move somewhere that is already established where everything you want to do is already working.

Inevitably what you envisioned your life to be like and whatever you have a pioneering spirit driving you for will be disappointed on some level. These disappointments are one of the most powerful vehicles for you to reassess your priorities, your commitment, the importance of your mission and operations, and even realign relationships. Your going to go through periods of asking yourself why you are doing what you are doing and you know what? Those will be make it or break it moments in your life. PS this doesn’t have to be filled with drama but it will happen on some level you just might be smarter then others, or have more tools to deal with it.

SIDE NOTE FOR A SEC: For those of you who can not go on doing what you were so passionate about earlier in your story and you are now stopping your ministry, business, entertainment career, etc: Sometimes you have to completely change everything and you don’t have to look at it as giving up, you can also see it as moving into a new position because ultimately what you do is not who you are. You do not have to let what you are leaving behind define what you are capable of in the future. In other words sometimes there are necessary losses. Look at millionaires…so many lose everything before they have their greatest break throughs. Sometimes in paying a price and letting things go you can start something that is so powerful and right. Off of that subject back to the blog:

For those of you who know you have to press on and forward like me in LA, this means that sometimes you are going to be challenged in your resolve because some of the big pieces (or all of them when you are starting) are not coming together. There will always be challenges and there will always be people who are staring something right next to you that are succeeding in such a way that makes you feel stupid about how some basic things aren’t working for you but you know what? The big picture is worth it!

One thing that could be helpful is to find an organization you really respect that has been established for over 10 years that is doing the same types of things you are trying to do and ask someone on their main team what their first 3-5 years was like in the areas you are struggling with. You will hear stories that will shock you that they kept going because you know what? Anything worth doing is not easy.

Quick journaling questions : Set your expectations for yourself. What are you looking for to happen? What is realistic? How do you do course correction when you need to so that you don’t get hopeless but can still keep building towards your goals and vision?

I will be releasing part 2 of this as well this week its about how to live with others expectations and disappointments…..until then my friends!

Shawn Bolz

Expression58

www.expression58.org

www.shawnbolz.wordpress.com

find me on Facebook!