Last week at the Missouri Baptist Convention the guys caught up with their good friend and Replant Pastor, Evan Skelton. The topic: the weightiness of leadership.
Pastors/Replanters are leading in very heavy times. (Politics, Covid19 etc.)
Pastors are exhausted and leaving the ministry
There is nothing like the weight of leading from the first chair
In the midst of chaos and crisis your people need a shepherd more than ever! A shepherd who leads from the confidence and joy in Christ.
The truth of being at the end of the “Liver Line,” sometimes in leadership it all comes down to you, when that happens you have to step up.
If everything “always comes down to you” it’s important to examine your leadership-this isn’t healthy and it won’t lead to joy, longevity or effectiveness in ministry.
How can you handle the weight of leadership?
Stay in the word and in prayer
Constantly remind yourself you are not the hero-Jesus is!
Be honest about your weaknesses and struggles with the right leaders
Allow God to redeem the bad moments in your leadership
Pastor Brother, are you hurting and in need of encouragement? Contact us here that the Bootcamp or call the
Pastor Help Line: 1-844-PASTOR1. This is a free, confidential, dedicated help line for pastors. Trained, professional counselors are available every day from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. (ET). Confidentiality is ensured by Focus on the Family.
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“One common mistake leaders make when introducing major change is assuming everyone who initially opposes the change is rebelling against their leadership. . . Some leaders misinterpret opposition from followers because they do not understand major change produces grief.” – Jeff Iorg, Leading Major Change
EPISODE #55 - CREATING AND COMMUNICATING A CLEAR VISION
After some small talk about the correct pronunciation of States, the guys talk about the importance of vision in replanting. Vision is a key ingredient for the work of a Pastor and Replanter. By way of reminder here are the initial steps of leading a change process
Stop and Pray
Define and Confront Reality
Build a Change Leadership Team
Discover and Communicate a Clear Vision for Replanting
Two core components in a Replanting Vision: Making Disciples and Missional Engagement
Vision = where we are trying to go
Mission = how we get there
Your church can have a unique expression in it’s expression of making disciples and missional engagement.
Vision is often discovered, defined and clarified through a process-we recommend you get outside help in facilitating discussion around discovering your vision.
But…don’t make the mistake of doing this alone or quickly.
In short the vision must be Clear, Compelling, and Biblical.
Our fearless leader, Mark Clifton’s book, Reclaiming Glory is a must read for every Pastor and Replanter.
Ready for more? Dive into the show notes below. Check out this episode’s show notes below delivered by: Descript
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TRANSCRIPTS are an approximate account of the audio recording and may not be 100% complete. Audio should be consulted for accuracy
In this episode the guys pick up where they left off last time-talking change leadership. To lead change in a Replant or Revitalization you are going to need help-how do you build a team to lead change? The guys break it down.
In examining your church you need to diagnose if you have a leadership problem or a followership problem. Jimbo’s Quote: A church can go much further with great followership and mediocre leadership than with mediocre followership, and great leadership.
Building a Change Leadership Team: Characteristics to look for
Character-are they growing in godliness?
Chemistry-is this someone I could sit with for 3 hours in a room at church talking ministry?
Competency-can they lead and serve?
Commitment-are they going to stick it out?
Credibility-do others follow them?
If you have a sending church or sponsoring church here are some important steps to consider:
Have a clear vision (write it down, share a prospectus with potential change team members)
Offer a clear opportunity for involvement
Ask for a commitment from them
Explain reality for them-they need to understand what they are likely to experience
EPISODE #53 - PRAYER AND URGENCY - THE REPLANT TWO STEP
This week the guys celebrate the arrival of Fall, Bob celebrates that his beloved and dismal Razorbacks are sitting atop the SEC leader board (having played no games.) Jimbo tells about his very eventful “view of a call” Sunday and the barf-O-rama that preceded it on Saturday night. Along the way they talk about leadership, prayer and creating a sense of urgency.
The Leadership Two-Step
Stop and Pray
Create a Sense of Urgency
There’s never been a significant move of God apart from significant prayer. Listen or consult the show transcript below for specific info on how to incorporate prayer into your Replant.
Here are some helpful resources to consult in your effort to lead change.
Jimbo enjoyed a major break down in the “flow” of conversation in EP# 49 Situational Leadership when Bob Bickford didn’t Bob Bumgarner when he said; “Sit Lead” rather quickly.
One of our favorite guests was former SBC President, Dr. Fred Luter, he explained how he grew the church by reaching men with a PPV Fight night in the parsonage and kicked out Robert from Robert’s Rules of Order. EP #9 The Luter Replant Legacy Pt. 1
A sleeper episode and the Longest Edit award goes to EP#16 Rebranding and Replanting when Rodney Richardson dropped in to talk branding and the purpose of design and ministry. Bob gave Rodney a hard time about designing the Ole’ Miss Landshark.
Shout out to Dr. James Hawkins who did a couple of Episodes on Emotional Health and Leading Well during times of Racial Tension.
Thanks to Corey Davis for sticking with us and grabbing internet from the driveway of one of his Deacon’s homes. EP#52
Understanding the conflict through the lens of the “Grand Narrative” is important.
God calls us to be peacemakers – this seems to be absent in our culture.
There are times where a mediator is needed to help others work through conflicts, this is an important and not to be neglected role.
There are 5-M’s in working toward resolving conflict
Me First: is there a log in my eye?
Minor: is this an offense I can overlook?
Major: is this a major offense?
Material: does there need to be a restitution of some kind? Materially?
Mediation: do we need help working through this conflict?
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TRANSCRIPTS are an approximate account of the audio recording and may not be 100% complete. Audio should be consulted for accuracy.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:32] here we go. Episode 51 of the Replant Bootcamp. I was looking at it Bob. That means it was actually a right around a year ago that we launched episode zero of the Replant Bootcamp, a resource for replanters, just mainly us chatting and talking and learning about our mistakes and sharing our mistakes so that others can not touch the hot stove like us.
Bob Bickford: [00:00:57] Right. Don’t do what we did.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:00] Yeah, that’s the whole premise of this whole thing is learn from the mistakes we make along the way.
Bob Bickford: [00:01:05] You know it’s been really good, 50 plus episodes now. And one of the awesome things last week when we were in Kansas city, we got to meet a couple of listeners, the local listeners, and, our good friend, Johnny Upchurch was there who gave us a question. And one thing he said was really awesome. Just a lot of the young guys that are replanting or about to explore replanting have been listening to the podcast over, some months that we’ve been doing this and they themselves have said it’s been really helpful and a lot of fun and they’ve laughed along the way. And they’ve learned along the way. So I think we’ve met that objective in just really thankful for all our listeners and everybody participating.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:42] Hey, today, I’m excited. We get to go in the way back machine, back to, near the very beginning of my ministry. not the very first pastor I served but, a church I served at in Southeast Mississippi, Dr. Tony Merida kind of came in as I was on my way out. And there was a good several months there almost a year where I got to serve under him. And then when we moved to New Orleans, he and his wife, Kimberly were the only people we knew. In the city of New Orleans.
And we would go and bother them at their house on campus, every once in a while, just cause we didn’t know anybody else, but, Tony, he is the pastor of Imago Dei did I pronounce that the way you guys pronounce that?
Tony Merida: [00:02:24] Yeah, that’s correct. JimBo.
JimBo Stewart: [00:02:25] Okay. Cause I know different people say different ways that ye or I didn’t know how hipsterish you got with it.
But, and then you’re the Dean of Gimke Seminary, and the director of theological training for acts 29, five kids, all adopted. And, most importantly, the most important thing on your resume is the several months that you’ve got to, lead me in Southeast Mississippi.
Tony Merida: [00:02:49] yeah, it’s that. And the fact that I set the record for walks at my college, 71 walks in four years.
Bob Bickford: [00:02:55] So where, what college was that?
Tony Merida: [00:02:58] It’s called University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. It’s an NAIA school. Someone passed my record up, but I got hit by the pitch. At least half of those walks I crowded and took a lot in the shoulder. Yeah, it was good for any or pastoral ministry.
Bob Bickford: [00:03:12] You crowd the plate a lot. Just get up there real close. Make the pitcher mad?
Tony Merida: [00:03:15] Yeah. Greg Biggio style. Yeah.
Bob Bickford: [00:03:17] Okay.
JimBo Stewart: [00:03:18] I think replanters can, empathize with that, in pastoral ministry in general, you’re going to take it, taking those hits a lot. so let me ask you Tony, on the spot here from your time in South Mississippi, what’s maybe one or two of your favorite memories from that season of ministry?
Tony Merida: [00:03:35] It’s always the people, man, everywhere you go for me. it’s about people and, there’s some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. live in South Mississippi. in fact, we brought seven of them here to plant Imago Dei and, and others have trickled up through the years as well, who are connected to those individuals.
So we, we had a great time, the food in New Orleans, South Mississippi. I really miss, But I lost a lot of weight when I moved. So there was positive to that. it was a great experience. People were very gracious to me. I was a young pastor, trying to lead a big church and, there was a big staff and they were already in place and I was the new guy.
And learned a lot, and really grateful for my time there.
JimBo Stewart: [00:04:15] So I worked at the East Campus with youth and college and you led them through a healthy and amicable, relaunching/replanting of that. And it’s now Hardy Street Baptist Church.
Tony Merida: [00:04:29] Yeah. I think that was the right move. I think that was a healthy move. I felt like that’s what people wanted as well. So I’ve never done anything like that since. So that was a, it was a learning experience for sure.
JimBo Stewart: [00:04:40] Yeah, I can resonate on the food thing. One of the most suffering moments of my entire ministry career was when I moved to Jacksonville, Florida. And one of the first articles I read about Jacksonville, Florida was listing the 50 largest cities in America ranked one to 50 on food and to no surprise, New Orleans got number one out of the 50 largest cities in America and Jacksonville got number 50. And I, I immediately questioned my calling the city of Jacksonville and have desperately missed New Orleans /Southeast Mississippi Gulf coast cuisine. And go back as often as I can.
Tony Merida: [00:05:18] It’s about sacrifices, isn’t it? The Lord has never allowed me to be in a city where there’s a major league baseball team. I think that’s his kindness, to keep me from idolatry.
JimBo Stewart: [00:05:29] Yeah. Yeah. You would probably spend a lot of time there if you did well, good. Tony, we’re glad to have you, you cranked out a book from what I can tell in the introduction pretty quickly. cause you talk about COVID in the introduction and I definitely think it’s a needed topic to be discussed right now, Christ-Centered Conflict Resolution. Tell us just a little bit real quick, how this book came about.
Tony Merida: [00:05:53] Yeah, you’re right. I wrote it in about three weeks. I was writing another book on the church, which I’ve now finished, for The Good Book company. And Lifeway B&H said, Hey, this is a time in which closer proximity, family. staying at home has created lot of conflict. It’s probably been good for some relationships, but it’s also been a negative and it’s created a lot of conflict and for others, we don’t want a big book, we want something that’s readable. We want a pastor to write it. So, imagine a couple comes into your office and their kids are driving them bananas or the spouse is driving them, whatever, you’ve got family conflict, you’ve got neighbor conflict, walk us through some of the key passages and apply them to those situations.
Just like you would as a pastor. So the book is. the way I think about it as if I were a pastor, I would have a stack of them on hand, not because it’s my book, but I’m just telling you how I’m working through it. and if I’ve got somebody in conflict, this is not the end all what I’ve written, but it would be a great little resource.
It’s something that they could read. They could have an understanding of some of the key passages. And I’m really pressing the Christ-Centered part. So it’s about conflict, but it’s really about our hearts, our affection. And when we are adoring him, we want to follow him. We submit it to his leadership.
We submit to what his Word says about reconciliation and forgiveness and these kinds of things. As one writer says, conflict is not so much about skills as it is sin, and so dealing with the uncomfortable parts of conflict that I need to look at my own life first, before I pointed out the weaknesses in others.
It’s that kind of thing that I’m trying to tried to accomplish in this book. There’s a classic book called, The Peacemaker that has been used for years by Ken Sande. This is the Merida version of Ken Sande, much shorter. And I try to get really straight to some of the key points about this particular issue as our pastor for counseling said, when we were riding it, when you’re in a conflict, you don’t want a big book.
And you don’t want a lot of steps. and so I tried to, there are some steps, but I try to avoid, a very complicated mathematical approach to conflict and deal with some of the real key issues.
Bob Bickford: [00:08:05] When we are in conflict, really what’s taking place. what is the root of conflict that we need to understand?
Tony Merida: [00:08:13] So I think there are several, every case is different, obviously. sometimes you are the victim of abuse, whether that’s like serious abuse or you’re just not being treated properly/rightly. Oftentimes though, conflict, as James teaches us in James 4, when he says, he asked the question, why do we have quarrels and fights among us is because our passions are at war within us.
And the first chapter of the book is about how cravings in the words of David Palisson underlie conflicts. All right. and we know this just experientially. if I don’t get what I want, I will take it out on people. And these are not always, sinful cravings. They might be, but sometimes it’s just, an inordinate desire for a good thing that has been disturbed or disrupted, like you might desire comfort and rest. That’s a good thing. And when you don’t get it because of your kids’ behavior, it can really cause you to lash out improperly and in anger or whatever. The desire for food is a good thing. The desire for vacation, and then you get on that vacation and it’s sanctification through vacation.
Not, it’s not very restful at all. It’s people at war with each other because their passions are at war within them. And I think that’s one of the most difficult things for people to admit and do is to actually do self-examination before I point out the flaws in others . As Jesus talked about the log in our eye, before we look at the speck in someone else’s.
And it might very well be they are the primary reason for the conflict, but we should at least do the soul searching because at the end of the day, one of the things that, it’s a hard truth to embrace, but it’s an important one I think is that conflict is an opportunity for growth. And so doing that work of self examination, the only thing I have to lose is the sin that I see there and repent of.
And blessed riddance to that. And it might be very little, but you’re at least doing it. And in doing the work of reconciliation, or, having an awkward conversation with someone that you’re at odds with, that’s an opportunity for you to grow. That’s an opportunity for them to grow.
And so we don’t always have to see conflict as this crushing thing to be avoided. we certainly don’t delight in it. We’re not seeking conflicts, but. how we resolve them and the importance of resolving them is really vital for, or our spiritual growth. And I think most people have been Christians for a long time, can look back and see various conflicts that they’ve had that’s actually turned out to be something that’s positive. and, so we don’t always get the resolution that we’re looking for in conflict. that’s why Romans 12 is important where Paul says, as far as it depends on you, if possible, live at peace with everyone. You know there’s a little exception there of, it may not be possible, but as far as it depends on you, you seek to live peaceably with everyone.
JimBo Stewart: [00:11:06] Yeah, I appreciate how Paul gives, I quote that verse all the time to people whenever they’re dealing with conflict, because Paul gives you two outs there, if possible. And so far as it depends on you, you do your part. And then if it’s possible, then be a peace, but sometimes that’s not going to happen.
Our audience is all potential replanters guys considering replanting, dying churches, or guys who are replanting or revitalizing, struggling churches, and almost 100% of the time when you walk into a dying church, a struggling church, you’re walking already into tension and conflict. And I think right now in this season, we’re at not just the close proximity that COVID has given us with the racial tension, the political tension, the mask versus no mask. And, all the I, every pastor I talk to right now feels absolutely exhausted with the constant tension from about a thousand different angles. And so for just a brief moment, give us maybe pointing to the gospel where we have hope, and that Christ centered emphasis as a pastor, And even in the midst of, it seems like 5,000 angles of tension right now.
Tony Merida: [00:12:21] Yeah, you’re right. It’s a hard time to be a pastor, man. It’s a real hard time. You know what I’ve tried to say to our churches, a couple things, one on all these issues my aim is to simply be a biblical expositor. Okay.
So, when you hear something that might not be in alignment with your political biases? Know that I have zero political agenda. if I’m talking about loving neighbor or doing justice, I am not a Marxist. I’m not on a political side. Teaching the Bible. Okay. If I talk about personal responsibility.
If I, talk about being an entrepreneur and creating business and I’m not necessarily a Republican, I’m not on this other band. I’m my one aim as your pastor is to teach the Bible and to care for you. I also told them if I make statements or if I seem sympathetic to particular causes not causes, but individuals in our church who might align with certain causes.
I’m not necessarily in that cause. So don’t do this guilt by association. What I am trying to do is care for people who are hurting in my church. And even if you think they shouldn’t be hurting, the reality is they are hurting. And my job is not to first and foremost, go in and try to clarify all these things in their minds and here to be frank, I’m speaking about, a good number of our African American members who have been really bothered by, the events of this year and, we’ve reached out and try to serve and have meetings. And I’ve made some statements. That’s not to say that I’m in alignment with everything that is communicated on that news. What I have though, is a responsibility to shepherd our people where they’re at and to lead them into Christ-likeness.
It was the same would be true for someone. Who’s dealing with some other issue and they’re hurting because of an experience. And I just want to apply the gospel to their hurt. That’s all I want to do. So I think it’s been important to kind of state what you can expect from me and what my motives are.
And at the end of the day, I just keep coming back to the Bible. So I want to use Bible language and not language used in the media. I want to stay thoroughly biblical in vocabulary so that hopefully people will realize that’s all I want to do. Now, in saying all of that, you’re going to get hit on both sides as a pastor . But that’s just part of it, man. This is what we signed up for. So, I also want to say there’s no room for self pity in this vocation that we have, we’re always going to be at some level, provoking people and stirring them up or not intentionally, but just like the Bible and God’s Spirit will do that.
I think one of the things, when it comes to conflict, racial conflict or a conflict in the home, putting everything in the grand narrative is really important. So have creation we’re in harmony with God and one another. We have the fall and Genesis 3, there was the promise of conflict between man and woman.
The very next chapter we see family conflict as one brother kills the next. So an obvious consequence of sin is conflict, but also right in the middle of that conflict passage in Genesis 3 is the promise of the Redeemer. That’s going to crush the head of the serpent. And, we’re promised that Redeemer we’re anticipating in through the old Testament, he arrives in the incarnation.
Paul makes that great statement in Romans 16, that the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. I think picking up on the Genesis 3 language. So while we cause of Christ and his coming, we have reconciliation to God and one another. And we have the hope of one day having no more conflict. And that’s what we see at the end of the Bible as conflict is gone.
There’s no more, evil. We don’t have to lock our doors. We’re not at each other’s throats. It’s peace. It’s total Shalom. That’s where all history is headed and that’s a beautiful thing. So I keep telling our congregation, look. the new creation, total Shalom, our blessed hope is not returning to normal.
it’s the eschaton, right? Our blessed hope is not in who wins the election. It’s Jesus Christ coming and making all things new. I just think as you put things in the grand narrative, hopefully for some people, all these other things will be put in their proper perspective. And because if you look at all of history, COVID is going to be a little blip on the historical map.
And so many of the things that we disagree about, like a mask is going to seem so trivial and so silly in light of eternal glory. So I think part of our job is to be biblical to teach the Bible, and to try to put all of these things within their proper narrative. And that’s it. Great advantage we have as Christian pastors who belive the Bible, right?
We have this narrative and it’s a great time to be applying it.
Bob Bickford: [00:17:10] Tony. One of the key points you made is the right proclamation of God’s word helps frame the theological understanding for the body of how we’re going to do conflict, what God has to say about it, how it fits into the grand scheme and the grand narrative. There are sometimes though that the preaching part of it doesn’t address conflict that happens between individuals, right?
So they have to go face to face. They have to get personal with one another. What are some of the things that you’ve put in the book that help people understand when it comes down to me, actually having a conversation with somebody one on one. And dealing with conflict. What do you provide for, us in terms of helpful, teaching and information?
Tony Merida: [00:17:48] Yeah, it’s a great question. so I think, one, I’m trying to highlight the significance of being a peacemaker. It’s a, it’s extremely strange in these days to be one. And by the way, I should mention that we wrote the book before all the racial tensions and not thinking about a political election.
So it just brought up more relevance as the months went on. man is a good book. We need this book. So I’m looking at, Jesus saying, blessed are the peacemakers for, they shall be the sons of God. Like he says, one of the ways, primary ways we reflect his character is by being a peacemaker. And that is significant, but I, growing up, I just didn’t hear a lot of sermons on peacemaking on the importance of being a peacemaker.
It of course reflects the work of Jesus on the cross. It reflects what he came to do to unite Jew and Gentile, right? So this is a big deal. So part of the book is just me saying, Hey, doing the work of peacemaking is really important to seek peace, in pursue it as the scripture teaches us.
Secondly, in James 3, several commentators point out that James, in that section on being a peacemaker, he calls it wisdom from above versus wisdom from below. He gives the qualities of a peacemaker. And they had pointed out that he’s basically taking his half brother Jesus’s, beattitude and teasing it out because Jesus doesn’t really tease it out with the exception of saying certain things about forgiveness, leaving your gift at the altar of going to reconcile. So in that sense he does, but what does it mean to be a peacemaker? So I devote a chapter to that on traits like gentleness being open to reason. the things that James lists, that it, it produces a harvest of righteousness.
And then at the end of the book, I look at Euodia and Syntyche in Philippians, which is also an encouraging thing, especially for our guys in replanting in situations where you’ve got a lot of conflict, perhaps. Even in a church that Paul loved that he called his joy and crown. And he said that about the church in Philippians 4:1. In the very next few verses, he talks about conflict in this church, which was his joy and crown between these two ladies Euodia and Syntyche.
And he urges this. Unnamed person to be a mediator between them so that they would agree in the Lord. And he says basically that they should be able to be united because their names are in the book of life. They actually belong to the kingdom. So they should be together. So I take that and then I worked through a little, five M’s of a peacemaker.
That, hopefully it’ll be helpful for people. The first M is me first. So whenever I’m in a conflict, I need to examine my own life. By the way, I would use this if I were mediating a conflict. Okay. Second. is minor, should this offense be overlooked? and that’s a really important one because sometimes we just shouldn’t be in conflict.
Okay. Like for me on the mask situation, I’m going overlook this. Like some of these things are weaker brothers, stronger, brother, Christian Liberty. People just need to be taught some of this stuff. It’s preference, it’s preferences. It’s not sin issues. minor.
JimBo Stewart: [00:20:45] The very first conflict mediation I had to do when I started at this church was actually, between two ladies arguing over how to water the peace lilies in our sanctuary. And so there was, so many peace lilies in our sanctuary because every funeral. They would do a, give a big peace lily to the family.
And they would say, if you don’t want to take this home, then you can leave it donate to the church. everybody donate it to the church. And so it was just a jungle of peace lilies all over the sanctuary stage. And. The sanctuary itself. And so they actually scheduled a conflict mediation meeting and it might be the most heated conflict I’ve had to mediate, was the war over the peace lilies.
And so I, I appreciate that question of, is it a minor offense or a major offense?
Tony Merida: [00:21:38] I wish I’d have known that story JimBo, that would’ve went in the book that is the illustration. yeah, yeah, many things need to be overlooked. And again, you’re thinking about this in terms of family as well. like this is hard, but we got to teach it to our kids. They’re often at each other’s throats over minor things, a major does this offense require a process of restoration.
So usually these major conflicts are going to take some time. material is the fourth M. Does this require restitution of property or rights or whatever. So your neighbor’s tree falls on your fence. You need more than an apology. Like he, he should pay for it. You think, this is Zaccheus as he becomes a follower of Jesus and he said, I want to pay back fourfold, all that that I owe. I’m not just going to say I’m sorry guys, but I’m actually going to try to make things right materially.
And then the fifth M is mediation. And I think this was maybe most helpful to the question itself is, do I need someone to help, mediate this conflict could be a pastor it could be a friend. I’m thinking in terms of church, family, I’m not primarily thinking civil, issues out there, in the courts. but do I need to helper? and I think. the two dangers that we’ve thought about with conflict on the ways you don’t want to go, are avoiding conflict or attacking in conflict.
And my experience in the South, and this is just a generalization, there are exceptions to this, has been the passive aggressive, when you don’t deal with it and then there’s a lot of other stuff that goes on that’s not good. And my experience in the North has been more attack you just raise your voice louder whenever there’s a conflict and we really want to deal with it. We want to work through it, and that can be very uncomfortable, but I would say to anybody in a replant/revitalization effort, established church, you’ve got to learn to have awkward conversations with people. You don’t want these conversation. I don’t want them, but I’ve just found that the Lord shows up, man, in some of these meetings that you dread going into.
And I think that’s because he honors this work. Like he cares about, our relational harmony, And the goal is not just to have the absence of strife, but to have the presence of harmony and be united together. And those are some of the things that people could pick up on in the book.
JimBo Stewart: [00:23:58] Tony, I appreciate you taking the time to meet with us, man. I defintely think this is going to be a good resource. It is a quick, easy read. And it’s not super expensive on Amazon. You can grab this and read this and it, it can be a good resource as Tony said to hand out to people who are dealing with conflict, as a way to teach you just some basics of conflict mediation, and just a real quick look at it .
Tony Merida: [00:24:22] Appreciate you guys. Appreciate this podcast, man.
50 Episodes!! Thanks for being part of our listening family!!
In this episode the guys talk about becoming lifelong learners, not being defined by your mistakes and how to grow in your leadership in light of the fact that you are not perfect.
Mistakes are part of ministry-don’t excuse them, be defeated by them, learn from them.
Mistakes create pain-for you, your people and the mission of the Church.
Evaluate your mistakes-before you move past them or ignore them understand what led to them, what happened and what you might do differently in the future.
If you aren’t making mistakes you are probably not leading.
Failure is not final
Show Notes: want to read along while the show plays? Check out this episode’s show notes below delivered by: Descript
TRANSCRIPTS are an approximate account of the audio recording and may not be 100% complete. Audio should be consulted for accuracy.
JimBo Stewart: Episode 5- 0 50 episodes. Bob that is pretty special.
Bob Bickford: It is, JimBo I am just a little north of 50. 50 is a big deal.
JimBo Stewart: 50 is a big deal. How North of 50, are you?
Bob Bickford: Three strikes? JimBo. Three strikes three strikes.
We’ve laughed a lot. And I think this has been for me. So it’s been a highlight of my week, every week for us to, broadcast and episode number 50 is really great because we’re actually in person. Yep. Recording [00:01:00] this during the Replant Summit, 2020 here in Greenwood, Missouri. And, it’s been an awesome time.
JimBo Stewart: This has been a really good event.
Honestly, as good as you could do in COVID. We’re social distancing mask on trying to figure that out and Fellowship Church has done a great job of accommodating all of that accommodating us leading well, and all of that. And hosting it and it’s just been a really cool to be a part of it.
Bob Bickford: Can’t say enough and thankful to Steve Dighton for the legacy of Lenexa Baptist Church and the Fellowship Churches. So Fellowship Greenwood is a church that they took over years ago . Interestingly enough, we’re here in the Kansas city, Metro, where I was a youth pastor for four years. And our youth group softball team actually played softball in the front yard, that big front lawn of Fellowship Greenwood. And you know what? Here’s a true story. Alright. We had a youth group where we had a one softball player that played at Truman High School. Go Patriots.
And she was awesome at inviting her friends to come to our youth group. And so a number of them came to Christ. It was awesome. And they also came and played on our softball team and they were so good. They were so good that we killed every other youth group softball team in the, blue river, Kansas city Baptist Assocuation Softball League. And here was our motto. I’ll lay it on you. All right.
We don’t practice because we don’t have to.
JimBo Stewart: That’s an interesting evangelistic strategy. Let’s just go after elite athletes and dominate church league softball.
Bob Bickford: Hey, it wasn’t. I was not, it was not a strategy. It was just, the strategy was reached your friends for Christ. And I just had a softball player, Jennifer Palmer, and she was awesome. She just started reaching her friends. And so we had like almost the complete infield of the Truman Patriot softball team.
And it was amazing.
JimBo Stewart: Did y’all make anybody cry? Cause you beat them so bad.
Bob Bickford: I think we probably did.
JimBo Stewart: For me, church league softball has always been an example of [00:03:00] probably something we should not do.
Bob Bickford: Yes.
JimBo Stewart: It’s continually like a practice in not showing the fruit of the spirit.
Bob Bickford: You’re going to damage your witness in the community. Playing church softball.
JimBo Stewart: You’ll see people get tested.
Your metal gets tested. as a spiritual person playing church league softball.
Bob Bickford: Whew. I was really bad at baseball and not so great at softball. My wife is really, she’s really good at softball. And so I always had this love, hate relationship. Unfortunately for that year I had an intern.
And he was the one who ran all of the softball stuff. And so I just got to show up with my kids. They were really little. And I just got to cheer and have a lot of fun. It was a great time.
JimBo Stewart: Hey, I got to share a great story that I have a connection to Fellowship Church.
Let’s do it. Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: I shared this at the Replant Summit, that there’s a young lady who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. She came to the Kansas City area to visit some family and friends. And while with those family and friends who she’s known for a very long time. Did not grow up in church. she didn’t put her family and friends did, some of them did. And anyway, long story short, they, the father of her friend.
Leads her to Christ. She stuck here cause of COVID for several weeks and he starts discipling her with his daughter and they start going through discipleship process. And they’re figuring out what she’s got to go back to Jacksonville now. The guy talks to me and he goes, I’ll be honest, man. I’m a little bit of a control freak. And I was so excited to get to lead somebody to Christ and start discipling them. And now I’m having to send them back.
I don’t know where I’m sending them. I don’t know the connection. And so he asked Greg Boll. Yeah. DOM around here, where should I send them? And Greg and I met at the AMS training in Alpharetta before. And so Greg said, Hey Jacksonville, I know a guy in Jacksonville, JimBo Stewart Redemption Church. just by God’s sovereignty. So cool. Jacksonville is physically the largest city in America, land mass wise. So being in [00:05:00] Jacksonville does not mean that we’re close enough to be her church.
Bob Bickford: Sure.
JimBo Stewart: But she happens to live like a mile and a half up the road from our church and shows up on a Sunday that I’m not even preaching I’m on vacation our replant resident as preaching. And then I meet her the next week. The guy who’s discipling her emails, me, we touched base and she’s been with us ever since and been really plugged in with our young adults.
And it’s been really a cool addition to our church. And so it’s been neat to see from one replant to another replant all the way halfway across the country.
Bob Bickford: That’s phenomenal. And I just love stories like that. And the more that I’m in the replant movement. And the more that we do training with guys from all over the nation. We’ve got guys here from Michigan and California.
All over the place. And, It’s just great because you develop those relationships and you hear those connections. And so beyond this podcast and the work of the Replant Team in the North American Mission Board, there’s a lot of connections that are being made. And so as big as North America is it’s actually getting smaller yeah. In this replant movement. So a lot of the guys that are listening to podcasts, we were able to meet some guys, today. Yeah.
At that hadn’t been listening to the podcast and we just want to say thank you to our listeners. And we’re grateful for you. And thanks for sticking with us for 50 episodes. It’s really.
JimBo Stewart: Listen to the other 50, you need to. Hey, and if you do meet us at a conference,or something like that, we honestly we’d love for you to come and just tell us that you listen and, let us know if it’s helpful or not helpful o what we could do.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: to be more helpful.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. So one of the things we want to talk about in episode 50 is mistakes and how to learn from them and not make them, which it’s appropriate that we’re here in the Kansas City Metro. Cause I sure made a lot of mistakes as a youth pastor.
JimBo Stewart: It’s also appropriate the its like an earmark episode five zero, cause that’s kinda the theme of a lot of what we talked about. It’s not learning from our expertise. But from our mistakes.
Bob Bickford: Oh man. And so this is a hard thing, and I don’t know about You JimBo, but one of the things that, I’m just wired up, I’m wanting to achieve and I want to win. And I want to have knowledge and I don’t want to not know something.
And so that feeds into the leadership that I exercise is a pastor. I hate it. When I miss something and I make a mistake and then I just have to sit in that and go, yeah. How did I not know this? I should have known better. Why didn’t I think about that? And it’s a really painful experience for me to make a mistake.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I’m somewhere that way. I’m not, I want to be a high achiever. I want to get things done. We’re both wired very passionate. Driven. Let’s just get it done. Push through it and make it happen. Let’s win. And it’s so hard. Not only when you make a mistake in ministry, but when that mistake is not only painful for you, but it ends up being painful for others. You’re now dealing with pain and hurt. Because I did that.
Bob Bickford: So as a pastor, that’s so hard for us because when we make a mistake as a pastor and leading the church, it hurts our people, it hurts us. It hurts our family. It can potentially hurt the mission and the work of God in our church and our community and our city. And we’re not just talking about like a moral failure or something like that, but they’re simple leadership mistakes that we make that have an impact and we may not realize them. So one of them may be in the way we talk to somebody or something that we say publicly that is taken the wrong way. Or we didn’t mean for it to sound a particular way, but maybe we were tired and it did sound a particular way. And, or maybe we did, maybe we were just frustrated and spoke out of anger. I’ve had a couple of instances where I’ve been too honest about what I was feeling, not practicing emotional intelligence and self-awareness, it just was like, a little bit angry and I’m just going to say this as anger. Yeah. Just cause I’m mad. Yeah. And when I do that, you can, soon as it comes out of your mouth, you see the. See the air go out of the room and the eyes get a little wider. Do you like, I think I just made a mistake.
JimBo Stewart: I’ve got a great one for you ever say something when you think.
It happens a lot in parenting, right? When you say something, you go. I never thought I’d say that sentence.
I’ve got a ministry one. There was mistake where I was just emotionally exhausted and let something slip that never should have happened. Just hectic insane week for our church. lots of weighty ministry, things happening all on top of each other. So literally we’re working with a lady whose children or she’s being investigated by DCF and we’ve got a emergency care family that is taken care of those kids.
While we’re trying to figure out how to get this lady in rehab. While not losing her children. I’m literally in meetings with DCF, trying to advocate on her behalf because I know this lady and I know the kids and I know that they don’t need to be separated. She just needs some help for a little while. And we, as a church can rally around the kids while that’s happening.
On top of that, several other weightiness things happening. The lady who was supposed to be cooking Wednesday night dinner had to pull out, which meant I was cooking Wednesday night. Oh my gosh. Which normally is something I enjoy. I enjoy cooking and it’s normally a de-stressor, but with just 5,000 other things happening, I just didn’t need anything else on my plate. And one of the ladies had with the DCF situation there was an Iguan a that needed to be taken care of.
Bob Bickford: Okay. wait. A real. actual iIIIIIIIIIIguana That was a pet.
JimBo Stewart: That was a pet. Okay. And the kids where they, where the kids went, that family did not want to take care of also an iguana. And so another lady just volunteered to take the Iguana. Okay. And she realized she didn’t want to take care. I don’t realize, I don’t know. Maybe a gwan is our high maintenance and I’m not really sure
Bob Bickford: whether they are a pretty big lizard
JimBo Stewart: and yeah. So this lady is constantly like.
Hey, somebody has got to take care of this iguanas, but she wasn’t directly asking me, is she, this was informing me that there was a situation and. I have a fault that I’m going to go ahead and just be transparent.
Bob Bickford: I can’t wait.
JimBo Stewart: If you’re passive aggressive with me. It drives me so insane. Yes. I will not help you. Yes, it, unless the Holy spirit intercedes and you bring a passive aggressive.
Not request, but like it’s supposed to be a request, but you don’t want to actually make it a request. There’s just something in me.
Bob Bickford: The hint drop. I hate the hint.
JimBo Stewart: I just, I, so I will sometimes sinfully unintentionally just not answer your request because you haven’t actually made a request. Okay. So this lady kept passive, aggressively texting me are things like about this Iguana, not asking. Can you help me find somewhere for the Igurana, but just, Hey.
And This is horrible. I would just reply, praying for you.
Bob Bickford: Oh, God.
JimBo Stewart: And I would pray and I would go, Lord, please take care of this Igurana. So I am walking into the church kitchen. With arm loads full of groceries?
Bob Bickford: No,
JimBo Stewart: my phone rings and it’s this lady’s husband.
Bob Bickford: Oh no.
JimBo Stewart: Now the backstory for this conversation is he travels for a living. And so his wife has probably, I’m assuming at this point, been in his ear about this iguana and me not helping.
And so he’s a little heated and I would be too right. If my wife said, man, I’ve been asking the pastor to help me figure out something with iguana this whole time. He’s just leaving me with it and just get your replying, praying for you. Like I would probably be like, Hey man. Why don’t you help out?
Bob Bickford: Yeah. So just to a clarification, you’re helping this family. You got a family services involved, you gotta take [00:13:00] care of an iguana and just to reiterate, did you just, did you pawned this go on and off on the lady?
JimBo Stewart: I had nothing to do with the iguana interchange. Okay. All right. It just happened. Okay. This lady volunteered for it and then realized it was more than she could handle.
Bob Bickford: Okay.
JimBo Stewart: And she just kept saying, I can’t do this. Somebody else needs to do it.
Bob Bickford: So as her pastor. And so she was just reaching out. I need a little help here,
JimBo Stewart: Look. I had too many other irons in the fire, too many other things.
Bob Bickford: Were are you making chicken strips or pot roast for dinner? What were you making? Or what? I was cooking that night.
JimBo Stewart: but I remember I’ve got arm
Bob Bickford: fulls of groceries
JimBo Stewart: and I walk into the kitchen and my phone’s ringing and it’s her husband.
Bob Bickford: Oh, no.
JimBo Stewart: so I drop groceries to answer the phone and he’s heated and he’s at me. Man, listen my wife has been trying to help you with this iguana thing, blah, blah, blah, blah. You’ve got to figure out somebody else to take care of this iguana. I said. Bro. I don’t have a spare minute to help you find a foster home for an iguana.
Bob Bickford: No, this is Florida. They got numbers. Come on.
JimBo Stewart: I don’t have a spare minute to help you with this iguana.
Bob Bickford: wait, can I ask, did you, do, did you ever learn how to prepare Guana? As a chef.
JimBo Stewart: I’ve never cooked any four of lizard.
Bob Bickford: Okay. Alright. It’s unclean slid a little bit. It gets, yeah. Commence.
JimBo Stewart: so he goes, like I said, it pretty upset.
I was like, bro, I don’t have a minute to help you find a foster home for an iguana. And I think when I set it like that, like it hit him. Cause, and again, I fully understand this position. If my wife were in my ear all day about something, you better believe I’m going to come to her
Bob Bickford: defense.
JimBo Stewart: And at the moment when I said that he goes. You’re right. My bad man.
Bob Bickford: And that’s good
JimBo Stewart: and hangs up. And so I called my wife and I was like, Hey, We need a vacation.
She goes, why do we need a vacation? I know we do, but what happened? She could just tell him my voice. Something happened to trigger that phone call. And I said, I just yelled at somebody. Or raise my voice, telling them I cannot help you foster an iguana. She knew all the backstory and she goes, you did what I thought she goes, you need to call him and apologize. And I said, I’m gonna be honest. I’m not ready. Yeah. Like I’m just not ready to call and apologize right now. So I gave it 30 minutes and then I called and I apologize. And he said, no, man.
I was the one out of line. I shouldn’t be asking you to take care of an iguana. Enough stuff on your plate right now.
But here’s the deal when we make mistakes like that. We can go a couple of different ways with it. now obviously the ideal way to go. So learn from it. But often that’s not what happens. Often we continuously make the same mistakes without learning from them. Bob, how can, when we make mistakes that are more serious than getting mad about an iguana.
Because a lot of times they will be. How can we grow from that? How do you, when you make a mistake, how do you let that be an opportunity for growth?
Bob Bickford: This is the hardest part, I think, especially for those of us who don’t want to be wrong and we don’t want to make mistakes. What I think one of the first things is you really need to sit with it a while and understand as much as you can about the mistake you made and what the circumstances were that led you to it. And why you made the decisions you made that led to you making that choice that eventually ended up in a category. You said, man, that was a mistake. That was an error. I shouldn’t have done that.
So most of the time, we just want to forget about it and move on. We want to blame it on somebody else. We want to excuse it. We want to, we do this a lot with it. I’m just, it’s on him because I’m so busy. I don’t have time to mess with the stinking lizard. And so you put that off on him rather than, you could have done that rather than sitting with it and go, okay, wait a second here.
Am I doing too much, did it leave me in a place where I’ve got, low bandwidth? And that was an irritant to me. And I just felt overwhelmed. Was it the fact that somebody was being passive aggressive with me? And then why does passive aggressive behavior make me freak out? And why do I react so strongly to that?
You got to think through those sorts of things. And then you also got to realize in my own personal life what’s going on, it sounds like you realized I need some time off. I need to refresh. I need to recuperate. I don’t need to be doing everything. And so then that leads down towards the. The evaluation where my spiritually,
Who’s most of the times we make mistakes when were feel pressed for time, we’re out of margin, we’re tired. We’re frustrated. We don’t make good decisions because we feel like we have to make a decision right now. Cause we just gotta move on. Yeah. And so most of the time our mistakes are made from fatigue or frustration and we can undo that those circumstances in our life. If we take time to pause, develop leaders, delegate.
We just had an episode where we’re talking with Bob Bumgarner about how do you delegate not dump and how do you develop leaders? So maybe that’s a part of fueling, some mistakes that you’re making. And so what I would say, sit with it unlayer it, peel it back, understand all that led to it. And then I will say this, and
I don’t know that I have an easy answer to this, but you’re going to have to deal with the emotional weight of making a mistake in an appropriate manner. So you could let a tank, you and you can be frustrated and grumpy at the family and down on yourself and then get into some unhealthy behaviors and sinful behaviors. Cause you’re so down on herself.
You could discount the fact that you could question your call to ministry. I just, I, I. Rookie pastors would make this mistake. I must just not be called or I must not be gifted. And so you have to deal with the emotional baggage and the way to that. And that’s probably some of the hardest for us specifically, if we’re.
A performer in our personalities, because we don’t want to make a mistake. We don’t want to see in those less than we don’t want to, but don’t get a bad grade. We don’t want to not win.
JimBo Stewart: Failure is a far better teacher. Then success. But we have to embrace that idea. what is the Disney movie about the young scientists that the family of inventors, Jimmy neutron.
There’s a movie, but here’s the great point is it’s this whole real quirky family that they make all these inventions and random stuff all the time. And one of the things I always ask on a dinner table is what have you failed at?
Bob Bickford: Oh, okay.
JimBo Stewart: and they celebrate that.
They said they set late there. They’re asking, Hey, what did you fail at this week? And you share that in a Hey, awesome. That’s great. You failed at something, which means you get to learn at that thing. And we’ve talked about this before that kind of year three slot dark season storming, horrible time. Terrible. No good, very bad day.
Season of replanting. That if you can come out on the other side of that. Chances are, yes, you’ll look back and there’s some wounds. But chances are, you can look back and say, may not. I really grew. I know I really grew a lot in the Lord in that season. That could not been a gift I would have gotten from success.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. And.
That’s why we should understand. first of all, failure. is good for us in that sanctifies us and shows us we’re not invincible and we’re not God right where we’re fallible. We’re finite. We mess up all the time. And so there’s a good part of failure that makes us dependent upon the Lord and dependent upon others.
And so those are good things, right? And so making mistakes is if you’re making mistakes, awesome. Great. Welcome to the replant family. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably playing it too safe. And you’re probably not doing anything significant
JimBo Stewart: or you’re not being honest.
Bob Bickford: You’re not being honest. Yeah. That’s a good point.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, they’re not doing something significant. Or you’re just not self aware enough or honest enough to see that. Things are
Bob Bickford: mistakes. That’s right. Cause you can, part of the mistake you might be making is just being too passive and too complacent.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I see. So a lot of times guys will be just, or people in general.
Going back to the self awareness piece. Sometimes, I can’t even figure out where they made a mistake. There are people. We all have blind spots, right? So just in a tip. To make it real easy and accessible to everybody. We all have blind spots within our personality. And don’t realize fully how we are perceived by others.
growing up, I’m just, I am, I’m a red blooded and passionate of a person. as can’t exist. And it took me a long time to realize. I don’t have to be passionate about everything. It’s actually not good. To be passionate about everything. And I, one of the things I learned from others.
Was. My being so passionate about everything I believe actually often comes across as pride and arrogance because I bring my ideas, which I actually maybe holding loosely. But I bring them with such passion and [00:22:00] excitement that you would think it can come across. no, I am 100%, right? You’re 100% wrong. You have to believe the way I do or you’re wrong. Even if I don’t say that. Or maybe even think it.
But it, I was not self aware of that for a long time. And didn’t realize that people thought I was incredibly arrogant and prideful. I just thought I was super passionate and usually right.
Bob Bickford: You probably work.
JimBo Stewart: And so it took the help of others to help me see that and grow in that.
Bob Bickford: Most people are not super high passionate people. The majority folks. think about it. Percentage wise, if everybody in our society was a super hyper passionate person, like it would be awful.
JimBo Stewart: They would annoy me.
Bob Bickford: It’d be competing profession, right? no. And you’re up in each other, But some of us are, and we just don’t realize how we come across to others. And I remember the setting in a particular church, I was working in pretty large church and, I was in my mid to late thirties and I was just.
Super passionate about everything in my mid to late thirties. And. And everything was urgent and everything was critical. Everything had to be done now. And if we didn’t do it right now than it was going to be awful and everybody’s going to lose in the kingdom of God was going to lose and et cetera.
And I had older people around me that just were, they had experience and they really had perspective and I wish they would have taken me aside as a. 30 something and said to me, Hey bro. I love your passion. But not everything is as urgent as you think it is. Yeah. And we’re going to be okay. Because my perspective was, do you just don’t care about anything anymore? You’re just old and dried up or.
It’s come on. Everybody needs to be like me. And, and so that’s one of the mistakes we make in the youthfulness. And this just gets into another point, one of the best. Teachers in our life is failure, but one of the best translators of failures in our life as a mentor. And a mentor can put his arm around us or, for, for our pastor’s wives. they could have a pastor’s wife and you put their arm around, just think it sit across the table from us and they can do a couple things. One is they can remind us that every failure is not final.
because of the sake of the gospel for, because of the truth of the gospel and that every failure doesn’t determine your future. And we just need to know that failure’s a part of life. That if we embrace it and learn from it. And not run from it. Not excuse it. God can do some really productive things in our life and we’ll be more seasoned, will be more humble and will be more useful in the hands of God.
JimBo Stewart: That’s good. I think. You cannot overestimate the value. Of having somebody a little farther along in the past, speaking into you. And lovingly calling you out. Challenging you encouraging you. And all of the above.
I look back on my life, honestly, Bob and. Feel unbelievably blessed. With so many men that God has put in my life. To pour into me. That I look at who I was at 19, 20,21, and I would really hate to hang out with that guy.
Bob Bickford: I wish I had a time machine that I could go back and hang out with the 21 year old Jimbo from maybe a couple hours.
Can I watch you from afar? Yeah. Okay.
JimBo Stewart: It would be entertaining for sure, But annoying. and I just, I’m just so I’m so grateful that God has put people in my life to do that. to temper me some and mature me some and made me more patient and understanding and less passionate all the time
Bob Bickford: and realizing
JimBo Stewart: that sometimes it’s okay. Just be chill.
Bob Bickford: Yup.
JimBo Stewart: And just sit and learn and for me and my personality, everybody’s personality [00:26:00] learning like. Silence doesn’t need to be filled with my voice.
Like it’s okay to just let other people talk. And finish their thoughts and actually listened to them. And care about what they have to say. And I had something I had to learn, that was not naturally without me. I had to be taught that and learn to. To do that. And Don’t. Don’t beat yourself up. When you make mistakes are just a tool to help you.
Bob Bickford: That’s right. and there’s plenty of sanctification that needs to take place in everybody’s life. And what I would say is this is not A. I’m a truth for just when we’re young, it’s a truth for the rest of our lives. because I make mistakes now at 53 that I didn’t make when I’m, the different mistakes than when I was 35.
And if I can have that perspective of not feeling like I have to be perfect, but embracing my [00:27:00] weaknesses. And learning from those, then I’m going to be a better of the better person who God’s created me to be. And then I, I always need to have somebody in my life who can give me the perspective to lovingly challenge me.
And care for me and accept me. In my imperfections, not accept my imperfections, but except me in the sense that they remind me that I’m loved by God. And that I’m, that my failure is not final.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. I’ll close with this illustration that I first heard from. Matt Chandler. He said, think back 10 years ago in your life.
And chances are, if you look at yourself 10 years ago, there are some glaring blind spots that you can look back now and go, man, what an idiot.
And he said I’ve had that conversation with so many people that I believe that it’s universally true. And it’s not all universally true right now, but the point he was making gets, it will be universally true in 10 years. And so in 10 years, if you asked yourself about yourself now, What were my blind spots. And why was honey? Why an idiot? You would have reasons as to why that would be. and so that’s just a good reminder that there are always areas you can grow in and mistakes and mentors.