You could miss this Easter opportunity, but you don't have to...


A few days ago, a pastor asked me if I had any “Easter tips” to share. My pastor friend, like most churches, has begun or already planned their Easter weekend services. Having a few tips isn’t a bad idea. 

This Easter we will all expect new guests, many of them returning to church - any church - for the first time in years. There will be people who appear “new,” but who gather with our faith communities twice a year: Easter and Christmas. Most of us will see more people attend our Easter services than on a “normal” weekend. Because of this, it’s not unusual for local churches to put a tremendous amount of focus on promotion, programming, worship and the sermon/talk. And rightly so - it’s THE capstone of the church calendar, the central celebration of people who follow the ways of Jesus.

But, I’m curious: are you thinking with the same intentionality about how to serve your new guests when they arrive in just a few weeks? How will you approach your guests, expecting that many of them will not be back until Christmas - nine months from Easter? 

  • We may focus on "managing the crowd" and overlook individuals with whom we could connect.
  • We may merely attempt to get through the weekend and mishandle the additional staffing needs that exist.
  • We may merely be "nice," and not fully "show up."
  • We may say "thanks for being here" without any expectation - or invitation - for our guests to return next weekend for service.
  • We may assume people are coming in for a "show" or a traditional, annual, Easter service and dismiss the fact that people still enter our building broken, lonely, confused, and searching for hope.

What if we agreed to..

  • staff our teams with more people than we "need,” so we can be particularly attentive to opportunities Spirit opens with individuals we'll greet?
  • not be so focused on the logistics and details of an abnormally large crowd that we miss people?
  • pray for people before they arrive, as they walk through our doors, as they listen to the Good News of Jesus?
  • meet people where they are, embracing them with LOVE and radical acceptance?
  • intentionally invite our guests to join us the week after Easter?

Here are a few more questions to ask and answer as you plan for Resurrection Weekend:

  • What experience do we want our guests to experience? 
    • Is it somehow unique from every other weekend? If so, how?
    • What do we need to do differently than other weekends because of the unique experience we want or the size of the crowds?
  • In order to create this experience, how many team members do we need on hand? 
    • And what’s our commitment to identify team members who are wired for people and not merely a warm body with program in hand?
  • Rather than merely multiply or add, consider: do we need to disproportionately increase team members in some areas and not others?
    • What about kids' check-in? New family hosts? The parking lot?
    • What do we expect of staff - any staff, all staff - on this weekend?
  • What opportunity will we provide guests to help us connect with them, to meaningfully invite them to take a step to belonging? How will we do this in the least intrusive way?
  • How will we follow-up? 
    • What systems must be in place following Easter weekend?
    • Who else in addition to staff will make calls, send notes and follow-up with each guest who is identified?

Let’s embrace, not the demands of Easter, but the message of Easter. The message of Jesus, the message of LOVE, the message that “everyone is invited.” No one is left out. No one. It’s an all-inclusive Kingdom. LOVE lives to invite everyone to belong. 

  • What will you do this Easter to invite belonging?
  • What do you have planned?
  • What systems are already in place?
  • What recognition is prepared for new guests?

How are you answering some of these questions? Leave a comment; join the conversation. 

Learn more about training your staff and volunteers. Check out training and coaching opportunities here. 

It’s in You. And Your Team. Let’s Access It.

You know it’s good - your leadership, your team, your work, your life - but, there’s a gnawing sense that it could be better. More focused. More replenishing. More you.

I only have a few spots left

What Story Will You Tell in Your Next Chapter?

 photo credit: glenn carsten peters

photo credit: glenn carsten peters

It’s amazing how many stories revolve around the main character striving to live in the present, while mired in the circumstances of their past. Batman - The Dark Knight Rises; Marty McFly - Back to the Future; Dom Cobb - Inception. The list goes on. 

It doesn’t just happen in the movies. It happens in our lives, too. Maybe you’ve lived this plot line. Yesterday’s storyline threatens to define tomorrow’s reality. You hear voices, telling you…

  • It’s probably going to get worse.
  • I am who I am - who I’ve always been.
  • It’s true: I don’t have what it takes.
  • I don’t have the talent everyone else has.

Or maybe you find yourself thinking…

  • It can’t get any better than it’s been. Or can it?
  • I’ve met my goals, but it’s still not good enough.
  • I’m at the pinnacle of my game. Is there more? 

Regardless whether the storyline behind you is one of success and accomplishment or confusion and disappointment, it can seem that the past is the present and will be the future. Perhaps as you look at your successes, you long for a way to fill something inside you. Maybe as you consider your disappointments, you hope there’s more, but you’re not sure what or how. Living with a gnawing feeling that there’s more can leave you drained and discouraged and stuck, even when you’re working as hard as you can. 

It’s time to get PERSPECTIVE

  • Take inventory. 
  • Pause to consider what is actually true. 
  • Where are you…really? 
  • And how did you get here?
  • What are your essential skills? 
  • What are those abilities that, when exercised, bring fulfillment and results?
  • What gives you reason to live? To work? To be you?

When you get this kind of clarity, you can create a PLAN, your plan.

  • A plan for your future. 
  • A plan that is unique to who you are - and where you want to be.
  • A plan that helps you move from influence to impact. 
  • A plan that, if you work the plan, it will work.

Getting to ACTION is always easier with a guide - someone to come alongside and call out the best… to call you to your best. 

I can be that guide for you. Through the proven, personalized Paterson Process LifePlan you can get perspective, develop your plan, take definitive action and live the life you were intended - even created - to live. 

Let's Work Together

Everyone has a story. And every story matters. In fact, I've been seeking to understand my own story more clearly. 

For 35 years I’ve invested in people. I’ve led teams in local churches, non-profits and retail environments. I’ve honed my skills in executive leadership, customer / guest services, coaching and life planning. Today, I’m still serving as a pastor with Granger Community Church, but I’ve gotten clarity about how my passion for people gets played out in my next chapter. 

With the blessing and support of my lead pastor, Mark Beeson, I’ve launched a new effort to leverage my love and care for people - people like

Stop Your Target Practice

I love it when people begin to discover that they are loved by God. I especially love it when they move from understanding how much they matter to God, to seeing that other people really matter too. They matter as treasures God created. They matter to that person who's just discovered God's grace. It's beautiful.

It's disappointing though, when followers of Christ begin to see their friends as walking targets, a bull's eye target to faith-wrestle to their knees, so they can be "saved." People can tell when the friendship is motivated by pure love that is curious, genuinely interested and invested. And, people can tell when the "friendship" is about completing a soul-saving objective. When that happens...

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Gary A. Haugen is an American attorney who is the Founder, CEO, and former President of International Justice Mission, a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. International Justice Mission partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. Haugen founded the organization in 1999.

Gary pointed to the scene of Jesus with his friends at the now-known last supper. Everything he'd taught, everything they'd experienced as the Kingdom - all of it could be undone because of..

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Immaculée Ilibagiza is a Rwandan American author and motivational speaker. She is also a Roman Catholic and Tutsi. Her first book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, is an autobiographical work detailing how she survived during the Rwandan Genocide. She was featured on one of Wayne Dyer's PBS programs, and also on a December 3, 2006 segment of 60 Minutes.

Immaculée shared her harrowing story of escaping genocide, while losing her family... and I marveled at her journey of resilience. I considered my own fear and anger...

Global Leadership Summit | Sam Adeyemi

Sam Adeyemi is a dynamic Teacher, Coach and host of the motivational program – SUCCESS POWER – which airs on radio and television stations around Africa and in Europe. He is passionate about teaching Success, Leadership and Financial principles through seminars and the media. He is in high demand as a speaker internationally. His teachings have motivated, encouraged and spurred on loads of people to start or advance their careers and businesses.

He has authored several books including the best selling – Parable of Dollars. Others include “Ideas Rule the World”, “Start with what you have”, “Sex Straight Talk” and “Second Revolution”.
He also pastors the Daystar Christian Centre in Nigeria with a vision to raise role models in the society. And he is President of the Daystar Leadership Academy through which he helps professionals and entrepreneurs to cultivate excellent leadership skills.

Drawing on the disillusioned start of his church 22 years ago, Pastor Sam reminded us that...

Global Leadership Summit | Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham is a British author, motivational speaker and business consultant. Basing most of his writing on extensive survey data from interviews with workers in countries around the world, he promotes the idea that people will get the best results by making the most of their strengths rather than by putting too much emphasis on weaknesses or perceived deficiencies.

WE learn nothing about excellence from failures. Only by studying excellence...

Global Leadership Summit | Juliet Funt

Juliet Funt, CEO of Whitespace at Work, is an advisor to Fortune 500 companies, a tough yet loving guide to thousands of WhiteSpace friends, and a warrior in the battle against reactive busyness.

We are getting less and less comfortable with the PAUSE in our lives. It has become a memory for many of us. The PAUSE is slowing down enough to experience new ideas, fresh thoughts and break-through...

Global Leadership Summit | Laszlo Bock

Laszlo Bock is an American businessman who was formerly the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Inc. Prior to joining Google, Bock served in executive roles at General Electric, as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, and in various roles at startups, nonprofits, and in acting.

Bock observed that at the 14-15 different jobs he held, what was consistent was that each organization had a gap between stated values and actual, functional...

Global Leadership Summit | Andy Stanley

Communicator, author, and pastor, ANDY STANLEY founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995. Today, NPM is comprised of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of 50 churches around the globe, collectively serving nearly 90,000 people weekly. A survey of U.S. pastors in Outreach Magazine identified Andy Stanley as one of the top 10 most influential living pastors in America.

After 20 years at North Point and reflecting on phenomenal growth that has slowed down, Andy asked this question of his leaders:

If we had it to do all over again, what ...

Global Leadership Summit | Bryan Stevenson

BRYAN STEVENSON is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

I'm not a lawyer. I've never been an activist to fight injustice. I've lived a "safe" life. This talk was for me.

1. We must get proximate to the people we are trying...

Global Leadership Summit | Fredrik Härén

Fredrik Härén is an author and speaker on Business Creativity. He has delivered over 1,500 presentations, lectures and workshops in over 45 countries and has inspired hundreds of thousands of business people to become more creative and to look at the world in a new way.

Most people value creativity; many think they possess creativity; but few experience their organization calling out creativity in them.

What is an IDEA? One...

Global Leadership Summit | Marcus Lemonis

Marcus is a Lebanese-born American businessman, investor, television personality, philanthropist and politician. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Camping WorldGood Sam Enterprises and Gander Mountain and the star of The Profit, a CNBC reality show about saving small businesses.

Without a plea for pity, Marcus vulnerably shared his story of being adopted, struggling with an eating disorder, being molested by a cousin, and making two attempts to end his life. 

Marcus observed that those things that "happened" to him, don't bring embarrassment when he talks about his story. However, he suggested that he was a bit embarrassed to talk about his attempts to suicide, because it was cowardly.

I hate that Marcus still fills this way about those dark times...

Global Leadership Summit | Sheryl Sandberg

Bill's interview of Sheryl worked through a variety of topics.

On loss and resilience:

I've looked forward to this session, after listening to Krista Tippet interview Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant regarding their book: Option B. Her learnings through the untimely death of her husband shaped their book on resilience. 

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Bill, founder of Willow Creek Community Church, Willow Creek Association and the annually hosted Leadership Summit, began his opening talk reminding us that "whenever a leader gets better, everyone wins."

Getting better requires commitment.

Early in his talk, Bill underscored the value of humility of the leader. The leader cannot grow, develop or improve without humility. When humility is embraced, we can...

How to Give a Care

We use this word, care, easily and often throughout the day.

  • “Do you care if I have a cookie?”
  • “I don’t give a care.”
  • “I care, just not enough to do anything about it.”
  • “I care for you.”
  • “Be careful!”
  • “He should be under a doctor’s care.”
  • "I don't care."

Care is defined as a noun: the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something; serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk. It’s also a verb: feel concern or interest; attach importance to something; look after and provide for the needs of.

Maybe it’s just as easy to miss actually caring for someone as it is to say, “I don’t care for...

How Do We Respond to the Joy of Human Life?

My last post centered around how we respond to the LOSS of human life. Honestly, sometimes we don't do so well. 

Today's focus is the flip side. The redemption side. This is pure JOY.

This past weekend one of our artists shared vulnerably and transparently a piece of her story. Just 5 years ago she was in a dark place of depression that led her to the edge of a bridge where she intended to end her life.