Thursday Mind Dump (5/27/21)

May 27, 2021  |  Luke Simmons

• This might be the first time I’ve ever done a mind dump on a Thursday.

• We have some family visiting early next week and, since it’s been a while and I’ll be hanging with them, I figured now is a good time for it.

• Lots of interesting and fun stuff has happened in the last few weeks.

• Last week I spent most of the week in San Diego for a personal working retreat — and it was very helpful.

• I try to do a personal retreat day at least every few months, usually somewhere in town.

• Those are days to recalibrate spiritually, ask some important soul-care questions, and do some longer-term planning.

• This was a bit like that, only it was about 3 ½ days and focused a bit more on overall leadership planning and big-picture work.

• So I got a small Airbnb studio — this one included a bike that I could ride around on.

• Was able to read two books.

• The first was Multichurch: Exploring the Future of Multisite — a book that actually features Redemption as a model for one of the “multichurch” models.

• It’s funny… over the years I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from church leaders around the country who want to learn from Redemption’s “model” because they read about us in that book.

• I was part of the meetings years ago when one of the authors (Brad House) was asking questions and learning from us, but I’d never actually read the book.

• But, as we’re working on some internal restructuring in Redemption, I thought it would be helpful to pick it up and see what I could learn from.

• And, because of the past connection, I was able to get on the phone with Brad House for a bit to ask some follow-up questions and think through some things with him.

• The other book I read was Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger.

• It was PHENOMENAL.

• It had been recommended about a year ago but I hadn’t gotten to it yet — but this was so timely.

• It’s a book about Christian leadership in a changed and changing world, and it uses Lewis and Clark as a model of “adaptive leadership.”

• Here would be my summary:

We are no longer in “Christendom,” where the world thinks in Christian categories. Therefore, the world in front of us is vastly different from the world behind us. This is like what Lewis and Clark experienced — they were looking for a river that would go from the Pacific Ocean across the continent but it turned out that all their maps were wrong and, as they headed west, the world in front of them was not like the world behind them. They were trained on rivers, but all they found were mountains (thus the title). Given this dynamic, Bolsinger dives into five key ideas:

1) Understanding uncharted territory: The world in front of you is nothing like the world behind you.

2) The on-the-map skill set: No one is going to follow you off the map unless they trust you on the map.

3) Leading off the map: In uncharted territory, adaptation is everything.

4) Relationships and resistance: You can’t go alone, but you haven’t succeeded until you’ve survived the sabotage.

5) Transformation: Everybody will be changed (especially the leader).

• It was such a helpful read on so many levels.

• Really encouraged me that, across Redemption and at Gateway, we are well-positioned to be a faithful witness in a changing world.

• And really challenged me to think about how difficult and painful that road will be.

• The powers of the world have never been as friendly to the gospel as we’d like to think.

• But it’s definitely a different world than it was 50 years ago.

• Staying faithful and reaching people with the true, biblical gospel — not some watered down or far-left or far-right version — will be crucial.

• And, there’s no chance that we’ll do it without significant resistance, sabotage, and pain — from within our ranks (in addition to the pressure we face from the world).

• Anyway, it was great.

• If you want a taste of it, here’s a podcast episode related to the book that I enjoyed.

• Last week I also got to be part of a zoom call with about 150 leaders from all over the world being encouraged and processing what God is doing right now in our current moment.

• Much of it was not in English — I think the call was translated into about 6 different languages (including English)

• It was wild that, all over the world, leaders who are in such different contexts are experiencing so many of the same thing.

• In a strange way, that’s so encouraging.

• With all that, plus a few other things I wrote and worked on, it was a good week away — and so gracious of Molly to encourage me to go.

• Got back from that and we wrapped up our t-ball and soccer leagues for the spring (Molly and I both coached).

• The kids each had good seasons, worked hard, had fun, and made it a great experience.

• Then Sunday was fun — especially having our Kids pastor, Josh Yasuda, preach. (watch it here)

• Josh has preached a pretty significant amount over his previous ministry some years back, but this was the first time for him to preach at Gateway and his first time preaching more than one service.

• He did a great job.

• He avoided the two biggest traps that newer and infrequent preachers make: (1) Trying to be too impressive, and (2) Trying to say everything they’ve been thinking since the last time they preached (instead of preaching the text).

• In contrast, Josh was comfortable in his own skin and just helped explain and apply the text.

• Then Sunday afternoon I headed up to Payson for a 24-hour retreat with our Redemption Lead Team.

• Redemption recently hired a part-time “pastor-to-the-pastors,” Sandy Mason — a guy with 40 years of ministry experience.

• This retreat was a chance for him to get to know us and to enjoy some relational time together.

• Even though it was short, it was really sweet.

• In the last year, our Lead Team has had more than our share of Zoom calls and intense meetings so it was great to get some more relaxed time to enjoy each other and build relationships.

• Then Tuesday, Seth and I sat down to record the latest King & Culture podcast episode, which was the first of a few conversations related to his doctoral dissertation.

• This one gave the backstory and process of his dissertation, as well as explored some key elements of a good theology of the body.

• The eyebrow raising quote from Seth’s research was something like: The more your teen uses social media, the more likely they are to at some point identify as transgender. 😳

• So, yeah, check it out.

• Also made the decision on Tuesday with our leadership team to move to two services beginning Sunday, June 13 — at 9:00am and 10:45am.

• We started the 8:00am service to create a mask-required option and, now that masks are basically becoming optional in every area of life, it’s just not needed anymore.

• We still have enough room in two services to fit everyone (and guests) for the summer.

• Perhaps we’ll start a third service again this fall or at some point in the future, but we want to make sure it’s something we truly need.

• Will be a bummer for some of the folks who especially love that 8:00am time, but we all agreed that it would be better for the whole.

• And, if this is all new to you, that means you don’t get our weekly email newsletter — but if you’d like to, you can subscribe here.

• Yesterday was a fun day too — it began with a two-hour overview training of Nehemiah, which is the next book that we’re preaching.

• Crazy how many connections there are between Nehemiah’s situation and ours.

• Will be fun to explore.

• And, the big thing yesterday was Molly’s birthday!

• She’s not a big “make a huge deal out of my birthday” kind of person, which is fine.

• Me and the girls made a tasty dinner — one of her favorites:

• It’s truly SO delicious.

• Our girls are wrapping up school this week, and we’re preparing to have one of Molly’s sisters and her family come visit.

• Starting to feel like summer is really here.

• So, with that, I’ll leave you with some links…

• These two basically nail it…

• I love this…

• Such helpful lessons here. My favorites were #5, #6, #13, and #22

• Great preaching advice here… my favorites are #5, #6, #13, and #22

• This is a loooong story, but it’s worth it.

• Well, that’s it for today.

• Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

• All of life is all for Jesus.