Basketball, choices, coaches, God, Guest Blogger, Lessons learned, Truth

Is it the whole truth?

A Personal Relationship With God, abiding in Christ, choices, Christian community, finding your way, Forgiveness, Friendship, God, God's Sovereignty, God's Will, Grace / Mercy, Truth

Shouting time

acceptance, choices, danger, God, law enforcement, Lessons learned, Loving God, loving others, showing love, trusting God

Anger is one letter short of Danger

adapting to change, advice, change, God, Grace, Guest Blogger, knowing God, sanctification, Service, Serving others, showing love

Life is lived for a purpose

God, Obedience

Help With Obeying

A Personal Relationship With God, acceptance, adapting to change, attitude, Forgiveness, God, God's Power, God's purpose, God's Sovereignty, God's Will, Grace, Guest Blogger, Surrender, trusting God, Truth

A New You

attitude, choices, freedom, God, God's Will, Guest Blogger, Lessons learned, Peace

Choices Determine Consequences

choices, God, God's love, God's Will, Grace, Grace / Mercy, Guest Blogger, helping, loving others, Obedience, Serving others, sharing, showing love, Truth

Radical Generosity

attitude, choices, God, God's love, God's purpose, Grace, Guest Blogger, showing love, trusting God

Money: Attitude and Action

A Personal Relationship With God, abiding in Christ, admonition, Biblical Principals, changes, choices, finding your way, God, God's omnipresence, God's purpose, God's Sovereignty, God's Will, Grace / Mercy, Guest Blogger, How God Loves Us, Obedience, protection, trusting God, Truth

Step In The Water

choices, Christian community, freedom, God, God's omnipotence, God's purpose, God's Sovereignty, God's Will, Grace, Guest Blogger, How God Loves Us, In the presence of God, knowing God, Obedience, Relationship With God, Serving others, showing love, Surrender, Truth

Handling Success

attitude, choices, Christian community, God, Grace, Grace / Mercy, Guest Blogger, Truth, wisdom of children

Surplus or Sacrifice

admonition, application, attitude, changes, choices, God's Word, Grace, Guest Blogger, Truth

Wise Words

Guest Blogger

The Changeless and the Changing

acceptance, attitude, change, choices, God, growth, managing change

Growth Requires Change

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Ministries

Change is always difficult because most of us don’t want to change.  However, thejohn ed amount of growth is often dependent on the amount of change we are willing to make.

My experience with Sunday School at Frazer is an excellent example.  Early in my ministry I put together a visionary group called the Joel Team to help discern God’s vision for the future.  One layperson suggested that Sunday School attendance had to grow in our church.  This bucked the trend because United Methodist Sunday School had been declining over the last 50 years.  Our Sunday School was small, but these creative laypeople began to discuss how we could change that trend.

We discovered that some of the larger Sunday School classes were meeting in smaller rooms, and some of our smaller classes were meeting in larger rooms.  This isn’t good stewardship in the use of the facility.

Let me remind you that Sunday School classes have a tendency to have ownership of their space.  They go to great efforts to upgrade the looks of their classroom.  The window treatments, the altar tables, etc. are oftentimes personally made by members of the class.  One layperson suggested, “Why don’t we look at Sunday School attendance every six months and rearrange the rooms to give the largest rooms to the largest classes.”

Caution!  This is a huge change.  People began to see that every Sunday School class might have to change rooms.  But the question is – do we want to grow a Sunday School or do we want to have business as usual and keep our own rooms?  Change would be necessary.

The Joel Team, consisting of people from all age groups, said that our core value is to grow our Sunday School. To do that it would be necessary to place the largest classes in the largest rooms.  It was voted on and passed unanimously, because the core value did not center around the inconvenience of change but the vision of growing the Sunday School.

Every six months the average attendance of each class is recorded and the rooms are assigned accordingly.  The Sunday School grew to three sessions each Sunday morning.  Each room is used three times.  If you go to Frazer today you will see no permanent Sunday School class names on a door.  There are actually three slots for 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 Sunday School.  Each class has a nameplate that they can slide into that slot.  The classrooms change accordingly to average attendance and the size of the room.

It has also created a bit of competition.  If you want to keep your Sunday School room, you need to be inviting people and growing!

Another layperson suggested that the best way to grow our Sunday School is to start new classes.  Because the tendency to give a new Sunday School class a room that is not being used (because nobody else wanted that room) you design defeat for the new class.  The Joel Team suggested that we give the best classrooms to the new classes.  That was a big mindset change for Sunday School classes.

All of these ideas passed our governing body almost unanimously.  Because the Joel Team had representatives from every age group in the church it was not a case of “they” making a decision for radical change, but it was a “we” are a part of that deciding body.

If these proposals had been my idea, I would not have been retained as pastor very long!  But this was the vision of the laypeople.  When laypeople have ownership, vision becomes reality.

What was the result – Frazer grew a Sunday School that became the largest Sunday School attendance of any United Methodist Church in America!!  The amount of change dictates the amount of growth.  Vision became reality when people were willing to change.

John Ed’s blog posts appear on For His Glory each week.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

adoption, attitude, change, God, Guest Blogger

See Any Stirrups Lately?

acceptance, change, Guest Blogger

The Challenge Of Change

adapting to change, behavior, changes, coaches, God, Guest Blogger

Football Has Changed

abiding in Christ, attitude, behavior, change, managing change

The Times They Are A Changin’

By John Ed Mathisonjohn Ed
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Bob Dylan’s classic song “The Times They Are A-Changing” was written years ago, but it is so appropriate for today. He sang, “Come gather round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown – and accept it that soon you will be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth saving, then you better start swimming or you will sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing.”

The times are a-changing. The water is growing. The people that are not able to figure out how to swim are sinking like a stone. Businesses, churches, and organizations that are successful know how to figure new ways to swim to navigate the change.

One example of change is the cell phone. How many of you used a cell phone 15 years ago. Some of us still have trouble with them today. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that there will be 7.1 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2015. This is up from 2.2 billion in 2005. Remember that the current global population is about 7.2 billion.

Six years ago one of the most popular cell phones was the Blackberry. I remember debating as to whether I should get a Blackberry or an iPhone. I picked the iPhone because I was told it was easier to use. Seven years ago Blackberry accounted for roughly half of the smartphones in the North American market. Blackberry didn’t change with the times – today it accounts for just 0.6%. Using new tools like the cell phone to live in today’s market does present challenges. The overwhelming use of the cell phone has prompted “cell phone loss anxiety” which is referred to as “nomophobia.”

According to a report, 73 percent of people said they panicked when their cell phone was misplaced; 14 percent responded that they become desperate; and 7 percent said they become physically sick. Change can be helpful, but it can also be challenging.

Cell phones have changed the way I do things. I travel most every week and stay in a lot of hotels. The way I pack my suitcase has changed. Because of noise in hotels, I always packed a noise maker, an alarm clock, a legal pad for making notes, a Dictaphone, a flashlight, and a camera. Now I don’t have to pack any of those things because they are all on my iPhone. It has changed the way I travel.

The cell phone has enhanced the use of social media. It has changed the way we do a lot of things. A few years ago people dressed up if they were going for a special picture at graduation, a wedding, an awards banquet, etc. Today you better be ready to have your picture taken anytime, anywhere, by anybody.

Businesses and organizations are relying heavily on social media to get their message out. So much of business today is done online. How well are we willing to use social media in the church? How willing is the church to change to current opportunities to expand the gospel?

The change in today’s culture among young people is very noticeable in the use of video games. It was recently reported that this year video games will bring in more money ($92 billion) than films ($62 billion) and recorded music ($18 billion) together. Is there some way that the church could utilize the immense popularity of video games to communicate the Good News?

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” points to the situation today. There is an answer! It is in another song we sing in church which says “Change and decay is all around I see, Oh Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

attitude, Guest Blogger

Are You Having A Good Day?

advice, attitude, behavior, Biblical Principals, choices, God, God's love, Grace, Guest Blogger, Serving others, sharing, The Gospel, Truth

Two Tongue Tamers

choices, God, Guest Blogger

Proactive Or Reactive

acceptance, Exchanged Life, God, God alone, God's omnipotence, God's purpose, God's Sovereignty, God's Will, Guest Blogger, Lessons learned, Life, Truth

Band aids don’t work

Biblical Principals, God, Guest Blogger, Lessons learned, Righteousness, Serving others, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Truth

Leadership

God, Grace, Guest Blogger

The “Yet” Mindset

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

All of us face tough times and difficult situations in life.  We are walking down the hallwayjohn ed of life and turn a corner and all of a sudden we are stopped dead in our tracks by something we didn’t expect.  It can either cause us to turn around and run, or serve to help us face life with confidence.

God never puts us in situations that He doesn’t provide the things necessary to face those situations.  The witness of the Bible and history is that people of faith have confidently put their trust in God and discovered that apparent stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones.

One good way to face this is what I refer to as the “Yet Mindset.”  I was recently reading in the Book of Habakkuk because of a devotional by my friend Mark Sartain.  Not often do I read that book as devotional literature.  Habakkuk and the people of Israel were facing some really tough times.  They rounded a corner and faced a depressing situation.  Habakkuk declares, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and baron; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty!” (Habakkuk 3:17)  That is a tough situation.

But Habakkuk had a “Yet Mindset.”  He said, “Yet I will wait patiently.”  Notice that little three letter word “Yet.”  After cataloging the tough situation he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.”  The “Yet Mindset” prepares us to wait patiently and rejoice for the upcoming victory that God is going to provide.

The “Yet Mindset” begins in the mind.  It is connected to our thinking.  Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right.”  The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 2:5) It is how we think.

We can never change our actions until we change our minds.  We can never make progress in life until we make some changes.  George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

A “Yet Mindset” is about a mindset of confident waiting and rejoicing.  The “Yet Mindset” is not one that just helps us get by the best we can.  It is a victorious mindset.  It is not a mindset that is trying to stay close and play a good game, or even trying to tie the game – it is a mindset of how God wants to give us victory. David writes, “Trouble will last for only a second, but His favor lasts a lifetime.  Weeping may stay all night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)  “You have turned my crying into joyful dancing; you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.”  (Psalm 30:11)

Look how Habakkuk closes out his book.  His last words were the result of his “Yet Mindset” when he says, “The Lord is my strength.  He will make my feet like the feet of a deer, and will make me walk in the high places.”  (Habakkuk 3:19)  Wow!  Feet like a deer and walking in high places.  The “Yet Mindset” declares, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”  (I John 4:4)  Paul had the “Yet Mindset” when he affirmed; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:3)

Let God help you get the “Yet Mindset.”
John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org