Archive for the ‘Pioneer Blog’ Category

 

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/?

 

 

 

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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!

So I was writing the next installment for the pioneer blog last week and realized I am not entirely sure who is reading this and what you would ask or give feedback for. When I released my first blog series it was through a very active community of bloggers, but when I switched to wordpress and facebook it has been more sporadic.

Your Face here:

So here is what I would love to know: What would you ask a fellow pioneer? Maybe we can get some group dialogue going on the subject. I will be taking questions all week either through the comment system on wordpress or facebook or direct to email (steam@expression58.org) and this will help me to form what is to come. In the mean time I am releasing another pioneer blog soon.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Shawn Bolz

 

I wake up, sitting up in bed excited about all the potentials I felt in my dream state. Rolling over off the pillows (yes the pillows were somehow under me), I stand up and stretch. This is when the full reality hits me again that I don’t have the abilities, money, time, power, influence to accomplish what I was just dreaming. Before I can get depressed I realize I have to pee really bad…great distraction from an inevitably dull thought process. 

Then when I wash my hands (I added that for women), I come out of the bathroom and ask God: “Why do you give us tasks that are always beyond our ability to do and believe for?” I know the answer…if we can do it ourselves than where is the proof that there is a supernatural God living in us? Where is the proof that God is a relational God that still acts and moves and loves through humankind? Then I put on my superman underwear and get ready to start my day (it’s very empowering and comfortable I recommend it). 

This brings up one of the greatest problems with pioneering in any field….you are dependent on your ability to interact with God and bring this substance that is one step beyond “you” to accomplish the greater things you are believing for. The problem it takes a journey that requires faith to believe for the world to change in some specific way or to accomplish some particular goals. Sometimes on this journey we get tired or lose sight or accomplish some of it and there is a temptation is to coast in the good of what we are doing instead of reaching for greatness that comes beyond human effort.

Many groups get tired after accomplishing a measure of Good and stop their journey there maintaining a level instead of reaching for the heavens. Its like the difference of Disney and your county fair. Disneyland went all the way and is still arriving at new levels of greatness, where as your county fair still has its same rides and is good for some cheap fun but ultimately unfulfilling …especially if you have visited Disneyland.

The longer I have done this pioneering thing the more I am aware that I have to not just connect with God but I have to live somehow plugged into this connection continually. Some people call this getting revelation, some people call this having an encounter with God, I just call it overcoming. How can I get past the million challenges that present themselves with trying to do something new if He doesn’t interact with me and make me and overcomer? An Overcomer is someone who sees beyond what is normal, beyond circumstances, beyond what is earthly, and can see into the heart of God that there is always a way forward, up, out, in etc. there is always more there is always a greater. There are always plans of wisdom when the normal says there is nothing left. There is always a heart beating in heaven when the heart stops loving on earth. An overcomer taps into this reality of God and doesn’t just live there but takes his surroundings there.

Pioneering is like a pressure cooker and the longer you stay in the more pressure builds. This means some weeks I am dealing with team crises, all our missionaries get robbed, someone gets deathly ill, we need 50,000 dollars by Friday for some project we took on, we have the fire marshal want to shut our meeting down because of occupancy, we have our technology in the office all break, someone releases a bad report about us, the website goes down for no reason, we have team who decide they are offended at each other and need intervention, we get attacked by another groups gossip, someone has a life breakdown that we have to slow down for, someone has a baby that we have to slow down for, someone just wants to slow down and we have to slow down for them. Bottom line is that life happens all around us and there are a million details that can pull your faith back into human achievement land.

 THE AWESOME FACTOR

One of the toughest experiences you will have is trying to find the balance between managing normal life and having a supernatural experience that translates right into our normal life creating the “Awesome” factor.

The Awesome factor is when things flow beyond and out of your human control and become beautiful to you and yours. Honestly, this is supposed to be our “normal” but we are settling for so much less because of crises control and human management.

So how do we live with the awesome factor being our norm? Have you ever had someone give you unlimited money on a credit card to build what you are dreaming of? That is what you have access to tap into with God…He is giving you an unlimited source of provision to create this awesome factor. The problem is you are responsible for creating the connection to this provision through your relationship with him. The other thing is that this place of provision isn’t just stuff he is buying for you, it is His very nature. You have to connect and know HIM…..then you can manifest that nature to the world around you and from within yourself. Sounds very philosophical but it’s very real.

Most common question: How come this isn’t happening for me? I love God and I believe in him….why do I just have a few moments of this that seem magical and fulfilling?

Answer: Because it costs so much to be present with God all the time. It takes such determination to surpass the normalness of pressing concern to transcend it into focus on the eternal. Sometimes its just easier to be present in the normal and we don’t even think about Colossians 3:1-3 … fixing our mind and affections on things above. We don’t get there because we don’t give the focus to what “there” is.

Leaders and pioneers of anything often get distracted by the tasks or the vision and bypass the goal which is letting the person of God and all of His kingdom rest on the earth around us. The transformer God is beyond the transforming purpose, but it’s so easy to look higher and only see purpose and be driven by that which also eventually causes us to lose the connection to the very one we are trying to do all this work for in the first place. This might describe why families don’t survive many spiritual leaders God pursuit…because they are sacrificed at the altar of purpose…even higher purpose which loses the higher as soon as it becomes the primary objective.

One of our leaders read that there is an “Avatar Syndrome” and it is described as people who are depressed after watching the movie Avatar because they want the same kind of connection to the world around them that the characters experienced in the movie. They want to feel plugged in and part of the great scheme of pulsating life that is all around them and because they feel disconnected they watch the movie over and over feeling less human each time.

When you feel connected to God and the people you are called to it maintains the Awesome Factor we are talking about. You are more powerful than the Avatar creatures and you can plug into the life around you. Whether the process of your tasks to fulfill your goal or vision feels awesome right now, the very connection to God and people can still empower this factor of feeling your living without the full proof in what you are pioneering you feel the reality of it hovering just within range of your work and it is empowering because you know it will come.

I don’t think fullness or even fulfillment can be defined by arriving at the majority (or even all of) your goals. I think fullness and fulfillment best comes when you feel this constant connection to God, people, and yourself which creates a life flow that is just past normal and then you enjoy all of the minor and greater tasks because they are symbiotic with you purpose.

Lastly it takes relationship interaction to maintain deep relationship. That is the same with God, it takes encounters to maintain a life of connection so you should expect God to encounter you all throughout real life. Not just miracles, healing, wisdom, knowledge type experiences, but presence. Expect His presence to come and fill you with joy and encouragement or you will not make it in joy or be a real encourager.

So my little avatars let us go and connect to the world wearing our superman (woman remember there was a super girl) underwear with pride!

So here are some questions:

Do you feel connected to God in what you are doing or has it become just organizational vision building?

Do you feel connected to the people you are working towards this vision with?

Out of a typical month how often to do you experience the Awesome Factor?

How often do other people feel the Awesome Factor from you (meaning not just positivity about what you are doing but they are impacted by your faith and creates faith in them)?

How would you describe your connectivity to God outside of the purpose you are driven for?

Are you sacrificing time with family and friends to do something that doesn’t have the awesome factor present enough? (Back to time management blog)

Love ya lots

Shawn Bolz

www.expression58.org

Dating Book just getting released! : www.nonreligiousguide.com

 There are so many good materials on time management that I have read over the past decade. As a pioneer it seems to be one of the subjects that is constantly having to be defined and then redefined because your activities of how you commit your time consistantly evolve when you are in pioneer mode.

I myself have gone through dramatic shifts every year I have pioneered and have had to constantly reset to my original boundaries and priorities. I haven’t had a good 8 hour session of video games in a long time…because I haven’t prioritized it…but I digress.

Up until the time when we came to Hollywood I had never seen time as a commodity in my life. I always seemed to be able to find time for everything before…time for family and friends, time for projects, time for every ministry appointment, time for creating….then we moved here and as I started the real purpose I was made for I began to fill up my calendar with so many things that I had no time. I constantly realized that I never had extra time or breaks unless I made them.

IF YOU DON’T MANAGE YOUR TIME SOMEONES NEED OR DESIRE WILL FOR YOU

As a pioneer you must have clear priorities on your time. You have to know what are the important things you are working on and bring every day back to that focus. If you don’t do this the great needs of the world, people’s brokenness, projects that are just one-off projects that don’t build anything but feel good, and all kinds of other things will come in and use your energy but they won’t necessarily establish the fulfillment of your priorities.

One thing our leadership counselor had us do is establish the top 3 priorities in our relationships and then our jobs and manage our time around these. It helped immensely because I realized how much I was doing that did not match my core values of what I am supposed to be doing and I was letting way too many life fillers in to my time. That is just crazy but it becomes clear when you have priorities set.

PEOPLE WILL SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF YOU IF YOU DON’T SPEND TIME WITH LIFE GIVERS

It’s so easy to feel good helping people with problems or to help them get established in life or values. Lots of leaders get a rush out of helping someone break through their problems. This is great, but do you have the same energy or more for your core life relationships.

We all have spheres of relationships we have to build. There is our core relationship (wife/husband/bestest friend in all the world) then there is 3-5 other friendships/family that we do real life with, we sacrifice for, we celebrate, we endure hardship with, etc. Then there are 5-12 others that we check in with through work and projects but they tend to transcend these projects or work in their nature and become lifers. Then there is everyone else. If you don’t have clear spheres of relationship in your mind then you begin to violate the boundaries of love that you have for one and substitute another in their place and your relationships get very out-of-order.

Most pioneers feel justified sacrificing their core few relationships from time to time for the sake of helping someone or working hard. It just feels right to put everything on the back burner because we are accomplishing the foundation of our mission and once that foundation is set we will revert back to a better normal. Maybe we will have finally be established enough financially or management structure wise so we feel great just working really hard right past the very life we are trying to build. Do you see it? You stop honoring your core relationships the same way for the sake of building something in hopes that you will bring greater honor to those very relationships later? Your main relationships don’t need you later they need you now and you need them!

I have done that especially in regards to forgetting to send birthday cards or make calls on significant days of my friends and family outside of what I am building. I even wasn’t there a few crises times of my core life friends because I was helping the whole world and my relationships got disconnected and suffered because of my messiah complex. Then in significant times during my life people who I cared about stopped celebrating me with the same enthusiasm and I also had people who were no longer there when I was going through a hard time who were always there. Why? Because I had changed my value for them by my prioritizing them out of my core. I never used words, but what I spoke through action communicated volumes. It’s hard to get these back but if your kids, your family, your best friends outside of what you are building (and sometimes inside) are getting disconnected you are not building right.

TIME IS A TICKING BOMB 

If you are setting your priorities then no matter what :you are in charge of how you get to spend your time establishing those priorities. Some of you are working under a job description someone has given you while many or most of you are probably establishing your own job description. I would encourage you to do that in the most clear way, define how many hours it takes you to do what you do each week, keep a little time journal for a month and look back on what was consuming your time and see if it lines up with your relational and work priorities. If you are your own boss, manage yourself as part of your management structure and be disciplined with your own time.

For me I have to pour into a team of 7 as my main priority in Expression58 plus build two departments with department leaders. This is like having 3 part-time jobs so they must have grace for my time schedule and I theirs. I also barely get paid for any of this, but have been doing it as a volunteer which means my itinerant job will have to take priority from time to time. We all have difficult arrangements in pioneering that will affect our priorities in time management. Maybe you work a job and run your ministry, maybe you don’t raise enough money through your budget to hire team so you have a lot of volunteers that don’t work with your enthusiasm yet, etc. There are always complications when pioneering that affect how your overall organization meets its priorities and how time is used.

I have to spend my time with my main leaders, so when I have the 300 people ask me for an appointment in LA I have made a list of them and I first look at my core relationships I am committed too and see if I have spent the right amount of time with them. I have their faces up on a graphic that I can look at every week and pray into their lives and see what kind of coaching, friendship, mentoring, love I can give them. If I feel like I am meeting those needs then I move on to my long list of people who want to meet.

IF I MET WITH EVERY AMAZING PERSON WHO CAME MY WAY THE REST OF MY LIFE WOULD SUFFER

As a pioneer leader you will always have lots of people who want to meet with you. I make a list when I get a card or contact of someone who wants to connect and ask myself a few questions: 1) Is this someone I have the time to meet with. Have they been involved with us for a while or are they just wanting a connection? 2) Can someone else on my team meet with them to bring them up to speed with who we are and how we can connect further 3) Do they have something they are offering? Do we need what they have to offer right now? Can it fit within our time priorities or would we have to slow down what God has us focused on to bring what they have to us? 4) Or are they needing something and if they are am I the right person to give it to them? 5) Are they a happily relational person who has successful time management skills so they are coming to me out of their strength or are they needing discipleship in which case I might need to point them somewhere before we connect in a more significant way so that they don’t have false expectations?

Now understand for me I know what I don’t do so I have a great filter when people are talking to me and asking me for something. I don’t do counseling appointments, I do very little personal discipleship outside of my team, I don’t do advisory boards very often, I won’t become an intercessor for someones project. I don’t marry people, I don’t do hospital visitations, I don’t visit people in jail, I don’t speak at youth groups, singles conferences, or young adult focused meetings. In other words like I said, I know what I don’t do so I can clearly tell someone when they are coming to me asking for something or wanting to connect their talent, skill, or ability to us, as one of the figure heads of who our community is it is my role to be a funnel of relationship and help them to know who can help them or where the connection lay. I have raised up people who do all the things I don’t do and you can too.

I also know what I do focus on. I do leadership consultation, I release prophetic ministry, I work on entertainment projects as an advisory, I write articles and books and stories, I do a lot of impartation and prayer ministry, I do outreach, I do team discipleship, etc. So when someone comes across my path and if I can help them in an area of my strength or expertise I am glad to if I have the time for it.

IF YOU VIOLATE YOUR RELATIONAL TIME MANAGEMENT THEN YOU WILL KEEP PAYING

The problem with relationship time management is that if I give my time to someone who has needs other than the people I have prioritized then often times I will have to follow all the way through their issue until its done. This means a marriage that breaks down becomes my responsibility to help if I allow them to start the counseling process with me instead of help them find someone who can really spend the time and energy it takes to break through in that issue. This can turn into a 20-200 hour time consumer. Now for someone who has a passion to help marriages or a counselor, this is what they want to do and what they will be good at and it will not take away from their time but is part of their time priorities do you see? 

If you begin to do the crises management of your group then you will lose most of your best energy to putting out fires. I know leaders who ten years later still find themselves putting out fires that are basically a fire started by pettiness on the team that would be better managed by doing some character building then crises management later. If you live in crises management mode your prioritized relationships will be violated. If you find yourself dealing with more than 2 crises a year that take real-time and energy I challenge you that have taken on a wrong role. Maybe I will write a blog on team or ministry crises management sometime.

BUT I HAVE TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM THEY ARE AMAZING OR THIS OPPORTUNITY IS TOO GOOD TO PASS UP!

What happens to those good things that fall through the cracks because your time management didn’t include them? Either you as a pioneer can raise someone up to take care of them through hiring an assistant, having an associate leader, raising up team, etc. or it wasn’t as important for you to take on in this stage of your life in the first place. I don’t mean the opportunity wasn’t real or important but was it for you now? When you are walking in what you are called to do you will always have a cycle of great opportunities come to you….your responsibility is not just to say yes to everything. Your responsibility is to learn out of your own value for an amazing life, what makes sense for right now. As a successful person you will say no sometimes even more than yes to opportunities. Train yourself now to protect and guard what you have said yes to so you can become excellent and successful to that even if by saying no to an opportunity that seems huge makes you feel like you are missing something. If you stay committed to your original plan out of faithfulness you will see results that taking on other projects or opportunities and cycling through them will never give you. Picture marriage…if you are married your heart is off the market to any other person so if something that seems great comes along you easily let it go because of your covenant commitment and your history to what you are committed too.

Sometimes amazing people fall through the cracks of your time management, but just because people are amazing doesn’t mean they are your relationship sphere or that you need to take time for them now. Some of my best opportunities to meet with people came when I was already committed to other things so I had to trust God and my own value in what I was building and say no. This is a really hard one for pioneers because we are dependent on building our relational sphere in order to create more opportunities, finances, etc. Its hard to get by in to what we are doing if we don’t meet with the right people at the right time but you know what? If you are relationaly successful you will keep attracting the right kind of people to what you are building. Its more important to be faithful to the relationships that you are clearly called to cultivate than to keep adding new appointments in hopes that new areas may or may not open up for your calling or purpose.

PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME BY DOING WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY MEANS YOU WILL BE FULFILLED

When you set good boundaries to your time you actually fulfill what you are called to do. I hope that you find yourself successful in your time management!!!

That’s it for now,

Shawn Bolz

Expression58

www.expression58.org

PS:
One good time management book is called MARGINS

 PSS:
My Dating Book, The Non Religious Guide To Dating & Being Single, came out in a digital release and is soooo good! It will be out in printed release Valentines Day. If you want to preorder it you can starting next week! If you want to carry it in your resource center or bookstore contact Andrea Bocks at steam@expression58.org and she will tell you how to order bulk.

Pioneers #4 : Pioneering doesn’t have to be a lonely road

Album I’m listening to: sleeping at last, yearbook

When we first started our little home meetings in Hollywood I remember how much security it brought me to have about nine real friends in the room helping me to walk out a dream that was now no longer just mine but ours. We had a rocky beginning of ministry because it happened so suddenly and we felt like alls we had immediately was each other and in a new land where we had no roots we as very independent people began to depend on each other differently. We made (and still make) lots of mistakes but we cherished relationship so that the mistakes haven’t become friend breakers.

One night i remember asking our little crowd of 70 or so peops how many had the following kinds of friends for more then 3 years:
1) you do life together and share victories and weaknesses that are not task oriented but life oriented (meaning you aren’t just getting together for work) at least once every few weeks
2) you celebrate life’s critical moments together whether its doing birthday celebrations or being there in grief.
3) you rest and go on trips or vacations together or have other ways of bonding that is not career/ministry related

Only our little circle of friends raised their hands the rest of the group was pretty lonely. Some of it was because they were putting careers first. Some were news to LA and it takes time to develop this. Some just didn’t have relational life skills even though they are wonderful.

ALaying it Down At The Alter Of Duty

When you are pioneering one of the most dangerous things you can do is lose track of real friends and sacrifice relational happiness at the alter of duty because of being in start up mode. Some strain is natural just like in a new marriage there are young couples who are trying to figure out how to do their new life with all it’s new roles together, but at one point does it just become abandonment to other people or selfishness if we don’t reemerge?

When I was growing up dad was in the military so we had to move a lot….i mean a lot. I hated the instability of having to create a whole new group of friends but my mom helped impart the principles that i still live life with. I had a successful relational life at each place we went even though it took time. I remember moving to a new place in junior high and she told me a number of things that stuck with me that are so relevant today:

1) if you want friends you have to be a friend first. You have to make a lot if not all of the effort for a while and then it will become natural for the person to pursue you back. This made sense because when you move into a new group of people they have spent time together and are usually semi if not quite happy with their relationships they have built. That means they may not be looking for new friends. Relationally satisfied people have full lives of activities with their families and current friends. If you show up on the scene there is a making room period for you in their lives that is a type of courting. If you make the effort with at least 3 people you will learn a lot and probably end up with someone you will really spend life with.

2) don’t just bond with other new people. look for people who are relationally happy. People who are not happy in their friendships have a reason why they are not happy. Sometimes when you bond to just the others who are new you miss some of the benefit of those who have helped to create a relational legacy.

3) be the kind of friend you want. Celebrate the person in ways that matter. Call them when they are down, visit them when they are sick. Be the first one to congratulate their success.

4) serve them where it counts. Find out what is important to them and help them on life projects. Be there for moves, babies, marriages, funerals, etc.

5) communicate your value for them and as they reciprocate you start to get covenant.

Things that speed this up:
Anointing or the presence of God.
Life purpose crosses path
Working together
Going to school together
Doing hobbies together.

Some of these accelerators can actually substitute real relationship so you have to be careful to stay devoted past your doing things together or else the substance of relationship will rest in your roles instead of your love. Think about how many people get divorced after their kids are grown, they have run out of role and there is not enough love to sustain them.

Pioneering a relational culture in an organization:

I want a family can you give me one now?

One of my favorite stories is when a young woman moved to LA 3 years ago after having an INCREDIBLE experience in community at her church in Redding California (Bethel). She moved to our small brand new community that was so new not to mention understaffed and underpaid and was disappointed when her relational needs were not being met. She was processing with some friends about how hard it was and she began to get angry at our little ministry for not meeting this deep need of relationship on the level of what she had where she came from.

Then a light bulb of revelation came from God: “you have only been in places that have a rich relational heritage that someone else had to plow the ground and pay a price for so you inherited great family there but now in this new place You are the pioneer. You have to create the relational legacy and it’s hard work.”

Her expectations changed from wanting us to do a lot more for her then we possibly could to her taking responsibility and trained us all in an important lesson. We haven’t created relational legacy yet and it takes years and the first 5-10 years takes a lot of plowing and commitment.

Being New Means Lots and Lots Of New

When you start a new work you are connecting to many new people all the time and have to create context and purpose in the connections. We have 40-60 new visitors a week and our committed base is only around 200-300 through two services. That means if we spent all our time on new connections we wouldn’t develop the core connections so we have to give people an onramp in their visit but we need to prioritize developing safe family until the foundation is developed. This is hard for everyone because new people get excited and want to run with you but you have all kinds of people who are paying a price to be with you that you have tom figure out how to give time to. The love language of ALL people in an organization from their leaders is QUALITY TIME.

As the head of our organization I spent the last year prioritizing my main leaders, giving my team time first and if I had extra time I have a list of about 300 people who have asked for time and I prioritized my extra time by their involvement to organization, by their purpose on wanting to meet and sometimes by the connection I felt to them. This was all consuming and I had to pace myself because I not only have our start up church I have an itinerate ministry that is actually what pays my bills since I don’t take a salary from the church so I have many responsibilities outside of our structure which means I have relational time commitments outside of expression58. Each pioneer is going to have their challenges but people management is the hardest, if you become too structural and purpose driven you become neutered in your community spirit and impact. If you aren’t planning your time though then someone (usually the high needs people) will plan it for you.

Who Is Your Organizations Family?

I have heard a statistic that i can’t remember where it came from that 90% or more of people who start with you leave after the first two years for many reasons. I think one of the main reasons is that they grow weary of plowing for a relational community and culture that every new organization pays their own price for. A statistic we have in LA is that 50% of people who move here only stay for two years. They come for school or career and leave after that short of a time. That’s really hard to build a family with but we are breaking through and planting roots.

Who your leadership surround themselves with will determine what kind of family you will produce. If your recruit only broken into your family without providing counseling and life coaching somehow then you will have a highly dysfunctional family. If you attract and recruit disenfranchised from other organizations no matter how much leadership or ability they have on them then you will have some measure of division and independence spirit. If you recruit only the awesomely talented and established people you are at risk of having very little time commitment from them because they are working on their own huge projects.

It requires a balance between relational priorities to create the right family, but if you prayerfully consider what your goals are, what your relational priorities are, and who you want to love you can set yourself up for great success!

Shawn Bolz
expression58.org

Ps: my dating book comes out Monday in digital form!

 

 

AS I WRITE ABOUT YOUR OWN AUTHORITY I WILL DO IT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE TO GIVE YOU A FEW CLUES THAT SHOW YOU HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN A MINISTRY WITHOUT GETTING BURNED

So I am talking to a friend and she is telling me how the ministry she came from (which I won’t name but is one of my favorites) is so fake once you get involved with it and that she gave some of the best years of her life to it but when she told them she was moving she felt shut out and invisible. She all of a sudden was in touch with all of their weakness and was angry.

Why? Because she had shut her love off towards them. She hadn’t been in leadership for at least 4 years and was loving it but then she started to lead a small area of the ministry and began to get discouraged because it wasn’t meeting her relational expectations anymore. A lot of this was because she felt rejected by not being invited into the senior team more (which had never been offered but she was hoping to climb an invisible ministry ladder) which unfortunately caused the viel of grace we all have for one another to come off where love covers a multitude of weaknesses, and she was mad that they weren’t everything she had hoped they would be. She had served there for only two years but they were some of the more “real” years of her life and now she felt like she wasn’t transferring but that she was abandoned and had to find a new place without any warmth of the place she had once felt there.

Both sides have a problem of course but you can only deal with you. (I am trying to help leaders all over the world identify a process to help “transfer” people and bless them so that people who have served for 3 or more years can feel honor in moving on for a multitude of legit reasons…that my friends is a whole book subject that will come later).

Recognizing your responsibility: Most organizations you join only stay in relationship with you for as long as you are in that organization. Its true of school, of most jobs, and unfortunately most churches. The good news is you are in charge of the way you build relationship to each organization, the structure is only there to help you, you get to guide your own love process. That means you don’t have to enter into the structure and lose. You can build with life long motives with a few of the people that you feel a connection too. If you are going to build community outside of just the purpose drivenness of your relationship, you have to share relationship outside of that purpose.

Do you spend time with the people outside of church events? Do you celebrate lives with any of your other peers who don’t attend the organization with some of those who do? Meaning you have a Bday party. Do you do it on church grounds or in a normal place you meet for ministry with only all church friends? Or do you have a group of people from work, from ministry, from family that all can mix together to celebrate you? If you separate the groups of people in your life when if you have to leave the organization you will be choosing to move on from one of the groups of people and it will not be organic to include them now that you don’t have the common structure in your life anymore.

I know that when I left the International House of Prayer I didn’t do the best job of keeping friendships across the board and I only stayed connected to a few that I had included outside of our participation together in ministry. The rest seemed to slowly forget me when I was out of site or when my roles were filled by others. I could have got a rejection complex in this or I could take responsibility and realize that I was connecting in a very participatory way vs. a deep covenant relational way and that the natural response is to be out of sight out of mind unless you are invested in the heart not just in the role.

Participation does not equal deep relationship but it can give you a substitute fulfillment for them. Participation can give you amazing mutual ground to grow in real relationship though but its going to take sacrifice and work.

I COMPROMISED WHAT I FELT TO DO AND NOW I AM MAD AT YOU!

Another area that causes so many problems is when someone has a calling or vision to do something but they lay it aside for too long to serve the organization and they give all their passion and focus to something that never was part of their original priorities or core. This also causes resentment and confusion because here you are doing a good thing but somehow it is violating some core value inside of you of what you are really supposed to be doing.

Consider it this way: Life itself is a commodity. Picture if you received a large inheritance from your grandfather of 5 million dollars. Picture if your company that YOU worked for asked you for 4.9 million dollars and said “Hopefully you will be paid back one day” but didn’t write out a contract of loan or define terms of how they would pay you back. Then 10 years goes by and an incredible project comes up for you to do but you need your inheritance money. Then you realize you have spent it all on an organization that has no way to pay you back because they aren’t going to stop their machine to drain all of its resources to make you happen. Now substitute money for your own personal value of your time, your heart, your calling, your strengths, and your relationship. You have to spend “YOU”, if you don’t someone else will for you and you will feel ripped off.

YOU ALSO HAVE TO DEFINE YOU

I love it when I get strong people who know their identity and value because I can’t “USE” them with usery on accident or in some rare cases, on purpose. If you come to me with your value already somewhat assessed then I will not spend you on something frivolous or cheap. If you don’t know who you are I might as a leader make the mistake of asking you to do something that takes away from your value just because I love what I am doing and want to include your value in it. It is not a wrong motive in my life, as a matter of face as a spiritual Father I will feel like I am affirming you by including you at any level in my ministry because it brings me joy to share with you what I am building.

That means that you have to get good at defining you, and bringing you to me because if you don’t define you then I will. This is OK when you have a mature ministry leader, but when you have ministry leaders who have too many plates spinning or activities brewing then they are happy that you are just filling in gaps. We are ALL called to serve, but that doesn’t mean that you can live a full time job in serving filling gaps and end up satisfied. If everyone in my ministry just served the ministry with 5%-10% of our time then we wouldn’t have volunteers who usher or greet people at the door who start to get burned out.

THE COST OF BEING DEFINED BY OTHERS

When I was very young I was defined in one ministry in the role of administrative Assistant which sounds awesome to some and ridiculous to others who know me because I am not administrative. The problem is that the ministry had SO much need that they were happy to give me the role and I wanted to serve something that had value so I took it because I didn’t know my own value although I had dreams.

During my time in that ministry my core gift set was not activated (although you will always find some place for it to manifest if you love yourself at all) and I was dying in my heart and frustrated because I was spending 80% of my time doing things that were not my strengths even though I can get them done because I have a high work ethic. I went to the ministry leader and told them my dilemma and they said “I am so sorry you feel that way, there are people we can hire in this role who would love it so you go do what you want to do and you know what let me help you!” Which is amazing because that ministry leader did not need to help me but did so sacrificially. I wonder if we had more self intelligence if they wouldn’t waste a lot of time on non essentials.

Many leaders manifest control out of a good heart. We wonder how people get dominated or controlled and it is so easy because not only is it easier for me to control someone to make a process of connecting them go faster; as a body member it is much easier to give up my identity to let someone else steer so that I don’t have to make the effort of pioneering. Many people in the body like it when its defined for them, but ultimately a Father helps people define their own identity he doesn’t define it for them.

 LASTLY YOU ARE THE MOST POWERFUL AUTHORITY IN YOUR LIFE

 I remember in my young end of twenties going out with this major leader who was doing the type of ministry I wanted to do. I was so excited to spend time with him. During our talk (which seemed fabulous at the time) he told me all about his life and how he had gotten into ministry. Then finally at the end of our time he turned the subject onto me (LOL that we spend 3 hours talking about him and I was so excited). “What do you want to do in ministry Shawn?” He asked.

 “I want to have a real impact on reforming Christianity and I feel called to demonstrate it through signs and wonders. I want to learn the prophetic ministry while I am here so I can bring that skill set with me wherever I go.”

 “Oh Shawn” he looked at me disappointed. “You are not called to be prophetic. You are called to serve people who have my type of ministry. I don’t think you understand how this works, God has to tell people like me who to appoint into leadership and I am not seeing it on you.”

 To which I began to laugh because I thought he was joking. Then I realized he was serious and we ended the convo. The problem was I had parents who are real spiritual authorities in my life who had raised me with high value and belief to know that this man wasn’t powerful enough to title me, it had already been done. God is raising up a whole generation of leaders. My own self value created my faith for my own authority that caused me to kindly reject his false authority which was not based on relationship, protocol, or a firm Biblical understanding but was based on his own spiritual perspective or entitled authority which is a dangerous thing if YOU don’t know who YOU are.

 I am not saying you can declare yourself the evangelist of a ministry but you sure can give your heart to bringing people to Jesus whether a church structure recognizes you or not.

Example: I had a couple come to me and tell me that the dance leaders of our old ministry didn’t have room for their style of dance (the dance leaders only did processional or Israel dance) and this felt shut down. I laughed and looked at these professional dancers and said “You mean you are going to let a woman who has never taken a dance lesson outside of the messianic movement stop you from dancing? There is a whole world out there and there is plenty of room for you in it! Go get involved with a dance studio or start to choreograph some dances and do street dance or if you want to dance in ministry get involved long distance to one of the larger dance ministries that has your style in it. You don’t have to let our limited dance ministry limit your dreams…you are powerful!” And you know what they did and now the woman runs a dance academy.

 You are not limited by the authority in the ministry you serve even if its over the area you are called too most because you may not be called under the umbrella of that ministry to be primarily activated. You might want to read the previous statement again.

 Maybe your church is the filling station and relationship hub so you can get filled while you are living a full life of activity elsewhere. We have several professional dancers in our church who don’t want to dance when they come to church because they are so fulfilled outside of church. Just like none of our actors have energy to act on drama teams when they do acting most of the time for a living. They want to participate for love, joy, family and the move of God that is going on. We also have inner healing ministers that have a whole ministry related to us but its not our “official” ministry we are just partnered to it. I think this is healthy to have many partnerships.

 Anyhow, just remember as you serve in a ministry that you have authority too, you are extremely valuable, and you are powerful. As a spiritual father to many it brings me great joy when I have to release people out of my vision for them because their vision has gotten too large, but I always know its God when they still have a humility and an attitude of a servant inside their perspective. It also brings me greater joy when it adds to what I am doing instead of separates and becomes completely independent. Oh that’s another subject.

 Pioneers don’t be afraid of your own authority and honor others authority!

 Lots of love

Shawn Bolz 

I was called into the office by my our CFO and looked at the books with him. The good thing is I have dyscalculia which is like mathematical dyslexia so when I hear numbers I just blank out anyways so we could owe a million or two thousand and I just enter into “Well God is going to have to do it.” Its not helpful to everyone else though. 

I left the meeting realizing we need around twenty thousand dollars to get out of the crises we are in (this isn’t a support letter but feel free to help if you are on the winning side of pioneering ::grin::) and about two hundred thousand to really start building another level through website, getting a building space that is more permanent then renting one night here and another there, and to buy some of the equipment we need (worship teams really do need more then one monitor). I am not in despair because its all part of pioneering. Oh but did I tell you that there will always be issues while pioneering that will discourage you no matter how Spiritual you are?

DISCOURAGEMENT IN FINANCES

Discouragement comes to a pioneer when there is not enough of something. Maybe not enough finances, friends, strategy, resources of space time, etc.
It is easy to start into an area and not realize the level of sacrifice and start up it may cost, let alone the time commitment. For us in E58, we really thought we were moving to a land of wealth and plenty in Los Angeles and within two years we would have a normal operating budget and a building. OH how I laugh now, we moved here in the recession, I used all of my savings on another ministry project before I got here so we had no cushion, the rest of the team was financially drained, the people we attracted were all getting hit by the hard times our nation was in, and buildings are a rare commodity for ministries in west LA.
At first I was hit with a lot of feelings of failure and discouragement until I got educated about our region. Like for us, 90% of church plants fail in their first two years mostly because of finances. 50% of churches fail in their first 10 years. The city of Hollywood hasn’t approved a new church as being part of the city in over 7 years. We have 15-19 percent unemployment and we have 70,000 homeless on the streets every night. The main actors guild is called SAG and only about 21% of the actors did a job in 2008 from a statistic I read online.
The other thing that I discovered in LA is that there are hardly any para church ministries. Most of this is because of financial reasons. I tip my hat to those who make it!
What we now know is that we are called to be a transforming agent and that we are breakthrough for our city before it has break through for us. That means we were going to have to gain authority by both intercession but also by loving well and getting connected to our city in a real and tangible way. We are still in process in many areas of this, but we now are seeing roots of what is causing a lot of this pain in our city, and we are beginning to move in the opposite spirit. 

PIONEERS NEED MULTIPLE SOURCES OF INCOME

As a pioneer you may not even know yet how your streams of finances are supposed to come in. One thing for sure is you are going to have to create multiple because tithing alone is not working in America (gifts are down in some places up to 60%). That means we have to create new forms of revenue that other generations of the church haven’t done yet. Yes there are several church models out there that do tithe/bookstore/conference/school model to raise a complete budget, but then there are those of us in cities like Los Angeles where the normal church models are even failing. I have had several of my good friends who are pastors of successful churches tell me how they are all but financially failing right here in LA who have great models of revenue based on what worked in the 80s and 90s. 

The hard thing is as a pioneer we are trying to find out what will work and what wont.
There is nothing more discouraging then to lose money on a project that you really felt vision for, but you know what? its going to happen from time to time. Especially when you are in start up (I hate the word start up because we have been in it again for OH SO LONG! but we all go through this). The other issue is as a pioneer you are going to have to hear from God as a group. You are going to have to try new things! You are going to have to EXPERIEMENT and it will cost you, but just like in science no break through comes without a lot of research and experimenting. If you are going to be pioneer then you are going to sacrifice time on things that don’t end up working. I have had my share of that (failed DVD project, failed Video Game, failed ministry plant), but then I have had great success (Books, travel, ministry base in LA, light entertainment projects, video game tester). 

Many millionaires have lost everything once, but then regained it back. Why? Because they took risks. Just like no one can tell you exactly how you personally can gain wealth in a model that works directly for you (although everyone tries), no one can tell you how to raise finances for your ministry. You are going to have to try some things, and you will be blessed both when they work and when they don’t because knowledge is power.

THERE IS NO “I” IN TEAM BUT IF YOU REARRANGE THE LETTERS…Oh forget it

If you are pioneering in ministry and you don’t raise up a team I feel sorry for you. This is something that is a non negotiable to me, coming to LA I needed family and team to remind me who we are, what we are building, and what IS working when we have gone through the seasons where our weaknesses and failures were front and center. In pioneering I feel like you live with the obvious mistakes of your life being worn on your sleeve for the first five years (unless you are good at just dressing it up which we refuse to do). If people look at us without the spiritual eyes of love they will see our immaturity in areas and see what areas are not working yet or are weak. You need a team to help look at who Jesus is in you and call you to it.

If you are taking risks without people who are taking risks with you or are there for you in a real way then when there is failure you will take it in a way that brings personal crises every time and eventually you will break down and do something normal that requires less faith or belief in dreams. I am not saying I haven’t gotten more down to earth about my dreams, but I am still a dreamer.

BACK TO TITHING: WHY DO OUR PEOPLE PARTICIPATING IN MINISTRY NOT GIVE

Of course I have a million reasons why people don’t give but the one you have power over is growing in relationship with them to create what business calls a “Buy In” which means they feel like they are really a part of the family and ministry and that they are carrying the vision. We had one Sunday when we first started that we took an offering for our church. Then we had a missionary stand up and give a quick testimony and I took a spontaneous offering for her. The church offering was a whopping 500 dollars (we need 3000-5000 a week to survive) but her offering was 3500! Our people had the money but they weren’t giving to us. One of my leaders wives who knew the behind the scenes financial issue in this wanted to stop the church because the lack of value, but I explained that we are the ones who steward this value with God and man, and this value takes time and energy and there is no formula although there are some good resources out there.

Why will people spend 100 dollars a month on Star Bucks, 60 dollars a month on a gym they may or may not go to, 150 on internet purchases, but not tithe? Because they don’t see the benefit of what they are getting out of church. You can pound it down their throats on why its Biblical to tithe, or you can envision them and ask them through relationship and time to start to make a commitment. When peoples hearts are into something they will give. Putting the need there in front of them helps them to see why they are giving and what its for, but we can not keep people committed because of need or obligation. Eventually they have to want to give because of what God is doing in their hearts in owning the ministry. If you get these types of people they are worth their weight in gold (sometimes literally).

ENCOURAGEMENT TO PIONEERS

Finances are hard, and I will talk about them again in the future, but just know that if you are going to be a pioneer then you will take lots of risks. Some of you will never know the struggle that others have financially but one thing is for sure: we are hard pressed but not crushed in seasons. We are all at different places financially but for the most part we have this in common: we have to come up with a strategy to finance the move of God we are called to build and be proactive in it not reactive.

On that note: Become a builder financially with E58! Shameless plug

Peace

Shawn Bolz

Expression58 

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Welcome to my SPIRITUAL PIONEER blog which is all about us sharing a journey together about what it is to pioneer and rebrand Christianity. I am going to try and be vulnerable about my own journey in planting a ministry base and also local church in Los Angeles. My hope is that I can begin to communicate to other pioneers and we can share our struggles and joys whether you are in the South, in Canada, across the Ocean, live around Los Angeles, or even in Hollywood. Feel free to comment and ask Questions. As always if you have something extremely negative to say feel free to private email me instead of posting message.

A funny thing happened on the way to the club where we have our church on Sunday mornings….(we call the children’s room “the Love Lounge” because it’s so skanky but its been a good temporary place). I had gone to Disneyland the day before with some friends (Props to Trish, Cherie, Heather, Scottie, and my Sister Jennifer…I was heavily outnumbered by estrogen) and I found out I was speaking that night….oops. That means by 10PM I had to spend limited time with God to figure out what I was supposed to speak on which I hate to do! I like to know the Monday before and then every day pray into and figure it out, especially when I am not just doing one of my old life messages but building into the season we are in. I switched topics about fifteen times and even considered the fact that the church is down in giving by about $10,000 this month because of recession in LA (the end of the year has about killed us financially but we are winning the war in our hearts). I knew that wasn’t the right thing to touch on especially because our people are givers and don’t need extra Christmas pressure.

Then finally, as often happens, God dropped the beginning of a message in me like the first line in a book. “A Father’s role is not to establish your purpose and vision for you, but to provide an environment where he helps you identify who you are and then brings boundaries with you to protect your journey of exploration into your own truth about that. He is supposed to allow you to be a visionary and dreamer, not substituting his dreams for yours but actually dreaming with you your dreams and making sure to help guide you in priorities in finances in family commitments and to stay the course to accomplish your powerful vision and desire.” and I had the scriptures that backed me up…so cool! I went to bed excited even though I only had that much thinking “I will spend time in the morning with Jesus and get the rest…this is good!”

Then I woke up and realised I had set my alarm for PM not AM and it was 9AM and I was supposed to be there early to help the team with anything service and I started running around freaking out that I couldn’t find clean socks or an ironed shirt and felt like I was catching the flu (which formed into a full virus in me) and I had lost all the energy that was my message….oops. I got in the car after posting on my facebook my ETA (which included a Starbucks run of course or no one would have wanted to see me…I needed the power of God AND caffeine) and I almost lost my salvation and ministry over an old woman driver in front of me who had forgotten how to drive or never learned in America. Then I FINALLY got on the highway while listening to Christmas music and it occurred to me:

God needs to take us on a journey as a ministry and as a church of really knowing each other. Most of my church team have been involved with other churches for long seasons before us and came with us to LA or transferred too us, my leaders have lead other places, our worship teams have been involved with other worship teams, but we are just now on our own journey of gaining our own identity as a corporate people. That is hard for a group of peops to gain their corporate identity and I realised my message of Fathering wasn’t just a message to empower our peops to do this but it was empowering me to dream with them, to help us establish a corporate identity and know how to really worship together and receive each other. I WAS BECOMING A FATHER FOR THE MINISTRY!

I felt like a Father, but the steps were becoming more clear and simple. Like a few weeks ago I asked people in our regional meeting (still Expression58 but the ministry not the local church..) “How many of you don’t feel known in something that you have maturity or wisdom in that you have been known in somewhere else in the past? In other words how many of you have equity in some area of life but it hasn’t transferred into Los Angeles or into your home church or here at Expression58?”

So many people raised their hands it was wild! So many people felt invisible in some of their strengths and because of not feeling known they were not completely activated. I immediately realised I had a job to create a safe place for people to be known and connect in their lives and ministries. You know an orginization is either held back by its leadership or moved forward by it and I have done both. I realize that to move people into a corporate identity even regionally they have to feel known and we have to learn how to transfer their equity into our organization and relationship structure. In other words if you owned a house and then sold it, you could take your profit or equity with you to purchase the next house. It should be the same in the Kingdom because we are all one organization, the church. We should be the best at receiving each other in strengths, in experience, in talents, in giftings, and in skills. We shouldn’t have hundreds of hoops to jump through before we become a part of relationship even if we do have programs to facilitate this joining like memberships or classes, they should only empower not be a protocol hoop to jump through.

Back to my Sunday morning. So I get their with the realization that I am to Father, and I am thinking: Dear God! I am single with no kids and most of what I have done is on the exotic side of ministry AKA being involved with the prophetic my entire life. Now God is asking me to be a Father in the city and to create Fathers and Mothers of all ages who really understand themselves and are coached into successful love in all areas. Then I remember Jesus was not your average leader in his day either. He was single without kids (props to me for the first time in that regard) and he didn’t spend a lot of time meeting needs but actually was working to bring a Kingdom. He raised up a team around him that had various strengths and passions that could carry the areas he didn’t bring to the table as far as meeting with people, organizing their mission, travel schedule, finances, etc. I started to get courage and so should you! When we pioneer we are so strong even when we are weak when we have (first God) then a team with us because in our weaknesses they are strong! (Not to imply Jesus was weak but he had incredible delegation abilities Matthew 10 as an example).

So I am qualified and so are you to lead even if your life looks different from the average life and we are called to Father (Mother) this generation into becoming the best versions of themselves.Shawn at Hollywood walk of fame Its not about experience (although it helps so much and I can’t wait to have more), its not about whether you are married or single (Its believed even Paul was single), its not about how gifted you are (a big heart can cover up a lot of weakness), but we are qualified to pioneer this new breed of Christianity by a few things:

1) Love for God

2) Love for ourselves and people

3) Willingness, teachability and humility

So that’s it…thats the first blog but I will be writing more soon! In the mean time I would encourage you to read our end of the year report that is in my blog on wordpress, on Facebook in my notes, on our website in the news (www.expression58.org) and other places. If you want to hear the message I did on that Sunday look for it in our free podcast soon.

Signing out… Shawn Bolz