Monday, June 30, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 26th Should Be A National Holiday

Why? Because the nation should have the day off to celebrate my birthday! It should be a day of cheer a celebration throughout the nation. Well...maybe just my house then. :-)

Thanks for all of your Facebook, Myspace, Phone Call and text messages to wish me a happy birthday. It means WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY more to me than you know.

It still feels a little weird to celebrate your birthday 2 days after your own wife's birthday - but that just makes the celebration last longer!

So, on behalf of the Patton family - thank you for your birthday wishes.

We both turned 28 this week.

p.s. All of the "old man" jokes can stop now. LOL! The best one so far was the AARP application placed on my computer monitor this morning. Good stuff.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where are the black people?

I have more "leadership myths" I will blog about, and I'll get to those, but this is a question that has been getting me going for quite a while and I have to ask it.

As I look at some of my favorite leaders and their leadership organizations - Andy Stanley and Catalyst, Ed Stetzer, Mark Batterson, Erwin McManus just to name a few I VERY SELDOMLY see black leaders speaking at these conferences. Catalyst, Purpose Driven, Awaken and MANY others rarely feature black voices in church leadership. Occasionally, a black guy will speak about "Urban ministry" or "Hip-hop and the church" in a workshop setting but those are generally it. Or they'll get TD Jakes or Eddie Long and that'll be the extent of it. Yet, many of these places talk about "multi-cultural ministry."

Where are the black people?

Is the African-American church too far behind to be considered leaders in the current move happening in the American church? Are the voices coming from the church too irrelevant to white America? Do the voices of black leaders not reach the needs of Gen-X and Millenials - the target age groups of the more modern church movements?

Where are the black people?

It seems like the only way I get to hear the voice of black church leaders is in one of the following ways:

1. An outrageous statement made at a church Barak Obama went to
2. Al Sharpton
3. TD Jakes
4. At a Charismatic/Faith Movement Prosperity conference

Only one of the four are sources I'm okay with (that being TD Jakes). The other 3 are NOT sources that resonate with me nor do they generally represent my views on faith and leadership.

This isn't a blog pointing fingers nor is it a blog to say that anyone is racist. I genuinely want to know WHERE ARE THE BLACK PEOPLE?

So, if you could, could you ask Perry Noble, Andy Stanley, Dave Ferguson, Ben Arment, Scott Hodge, Erwin McManus, Mark Batterson and the rest of the modern American church leaders - where are the black people?

I'm GENUINELY curious. Are you?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leadership Myth #1 - Multi-tasking

Since I'm in the process of recruiting for my leadership team and doing some interviewing to fill positions at my job, I get to hear people laud themselves about their abilities pretty frequently. I keep hearing about this mythical quality that people say that they excell in. This mythical gift people claim to hold that helps them be better leaders and better employees. This mythical gift is called - x-ray vision! Wait...not quite, but its pretty close. This mythical gift is called - "multi-tasking."

Multi-tasking belongs in the same boat as levitating, x-ray vision, Big Foot and other cultural phenomenons that have ZERO proof of existance.

Allow me to explain. People say that they can multi-task, or do multiple tasks at once. If that's true, then why do we turn the music down in the car when we are looking for an address? Since when did our ears affect our sight? Or why do we tell STOP talking to someone in person to send a text message? Our speech either slows down or stops completely when we start typing on our Blackberry's and iPhones.

Similarly, I don't believe you when you say you can multi-task in a employment or ministry setting. For example, if you are responsible for 3 projects that run concurrently, you cannnot do them all at the sametime. Let's say you are responsible for small group development, multi-media and youth ministry. You CANNOT do the three of them at once. You'll work on one at a time, quickly moving from one to the next. You'll make your reports for media, write your message for youth ministry and then write an outline for small groups - ONE AT A TIME. You would need three hands to write all three things simultaneously. You aren't multitasking, you're moving from one thing to the next. See the difference?

Multi-tasking is a myth. You can't do multiple tasks at once, so stop telling people "I'm a great multitasker." Tell them "I can move very quickly from one task to the next." Its not as pretty as multi-tasking, but quick and effecient is a fantastic quality to have.

Now, stop and re-read this post because you were probably trying catch-up on sports highlights, listen to the new Coldplay release and read this blog all at the same time and didn't really understand what I was saying.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Start Spreading the News - Album Recording COMPLETE!!

I'm excited to announce that the recording for Life Support Vol.1 is FINALLY finished! My first official solo release and the first in the "Life Support" series is done with the recording phase. All that's left is to get it mixed and then voila - the release.

In case you've forgotten, here's a reminder of what "Life Support" is all about.

So, for those of you who plan to be in attendance for the Generation Conference - you'll get to be one of the first people to get your hands on it.

I'm really pleased with the way it came out. Here is the OFFICIAL tracklisting.

1. Pump Ya Fist
2. Masses
3. U Already Know
4. After The Pain
5. Hope
6. My Prayer

Vol 2 is set to come out by mid fall. The writing phase is already underway for that one, but until then - get ready to order your copy because they will go FAST!

Website, album art and details on how to order are coming soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics raise banner #17!! YEAH!!!

On 6/17, Celtics win Game 6 of the NBA Finals to win their 17th Title. In attendance were Celtics greats Bill Russell (He wore #6) and John Havlicek (He wore #17) FREAKY! But exciting none the less.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This will make them think

Have you ever been asked something to the effect of: "If God is real, why is there so much bad in the world?"

Here's a great response to get them to think: "Why is there so much GOOD in the world?"

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Name Change

I was REALLY excited about this weekend. This weekend we announced the new name of the church. We've had the name New Beginnings for nearly nine years and the name fit where we were and are, but it doesn't fit where we are going. So it had been impressed on pastor's heart a long time ago that a name change was coming.

Well, this weekend it was announced. My friend Randy and I put together a video compiled of pictures and videos showing a history of our church put to the song "God Of This City." IT WAS AWESOME! People who've been at our church for a while seemed to excited by what we've done and people new to the church seemed inspired by what happened before they got there. All the while being reminded by the song that "greater things are yet to come!" Very moving.

Then Pastor Steve announced the new name of the church. Its with great privilege that I share with you the new name of the church formerly known as New Beginnings Praise & Worship Center: Crosspoint Church.

We won't OFFICIALLY change the name until we move into the new building at the end of July.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Celtics vs Lakers Game 4 - A lesson in leadership

Okay, first of all last nights game was INSANE!! In case you missed it allow me to give you the important parts. The Lakers ended the first quarter with a 21 point lead - the most ANY team has EVER lead by at the end of the first quarter in the NBA Finals. Facing the largest lead of its kind, and falling down by 24 points during the 2nd quarter, the Celtics rally back to WIN THE GAME to pull of the single biggest comeback in NBA Finals history. So if you missed it, you literally missed HISTORY!

Ok, on to the leadership lessons. Watching the game, I enjoyed watching Celtics head coach Doc Rivers during this great comeback. Lesson #1, make the impossible success seem possible by showing the small steps. When they went down by 24, he said "Let's get it down to 18." They did that by halftime. When it got down to 18 he said "Let's get it down to 10." Then he said "Let's get it down to 7." Well by the end of the 3rd quarter, the Laker lead was 2. He showed them the small steps to accomplish something that had never been done before. Something that seemed impossible. In the church world, when you talk to people about the possibility of living a Christ-centered life, that may seem impossible to them because they see the seemingly insurmountable defecit their life seems to be. We should show them small steps from Jesus' invitational words "Come and see" to his dedicated words of "Carry your cross."

Lesson #2, say the vision often. He started the motivation of his tell by asking them to believe. Believe that the comeback was possible. So during every timeout, every huddle, every substitution, to every player he high fived or slapped on the butt he echoed that one message - BELIEVE. If you listened you heard it over and over - "Do you believe?" or "You believe it?" or "Believe!" And the more he said it, the more they believed. The more they believed, the more they accomplished. If we are going to lead people to change, a more indepth relationship and equip people to do God's work we have to say the vision often. Do YOU believe?

Lesson 3, leaders lead by humility and serving. During the post game interviews, Celtic forward Kevin Garnett talked about leading by example and that he's still learning. He just wanted to motivate his teammates by doing the right things and keeping them positive. Paul Pierce said something similar. Lakers star and NBA MVP Kobe Bryant was asked "what was (coach) Phil Jackson's message to the team after such a devastating loss?" Kobe's response: "Don't worry about what Phil said, I yelled at all of them and now they're back there crying." He went on to make excuses about being triple teamed as soon as he touched the ball and nobody helped. The game I watched was a little different - he was defended one on one most of the 2nd half! Complaints and excuses vs encouraging and setting the example. I wonder why they lost. Hmmmmm....

Fantastic life examples of principles working to bring success.

Happy father's day to all you fathers out there.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Am I doing my job?

What a question! So simple yet so profound - "Am I doing my job"? I think its a question EVERY minister should ask themselves. I know MANY churches have developed short term matrices to determine if ministers are doing their jobs. We may measure things like attendance, giving, # of people answering alter calls, number of small groups, etc. But what about our REAL jobs? Are we measuring the effectiveness of our REAL job?

Some may say "If the church [or youth group] is growing and people are getting saved, what else am I suppose to measure? Isn't that what my job is?" My answer to that question is NO. The Bible gives us our job description in Ephesians 4. Check this out:

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

I know there are MANY other gifts God gives for the betterment of the Church (notice the capital "C"), some of which are covered in 1 Corinthians and in Romans. But, if you are an evangelist, prophet, apostle, pastor or teacher our ultimate responsibility "is to equip God's people to do His work AND to build up the church."

Now, I'm sure the "build up the church" part could be HOTLY contested in terms of its meaning. Does it mean to "edify and encourage" or does it mean to "add to numerically"? I'm not sure, but I think whatever definition you choose would be a good answer for what many church leaders focus on. It gives us short term goals.

But wouldn't it be better to ask ourselves "are people under my care being equipped to do the work of God?" I think that's the tougher and more realistic question we need to be asking ourselves. Its a question we can't answer during our weekly or monthly meetings. Its a question we can't answer on our quarterly review sessions. Its a question we really won't know the answer to for a year or even a decade. Although its a question that won't stroke our egos with the quick gratification of an instant answer, but I think its the real answer we should be asking ourselves.

So are you doing your job? Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Chapter In Our Church's History Today!

Today will mark a new chapter in the history of our church. Today we sign the papers to take ownership of a new property in Newport, RI! Some of you might be thinking, "Big deal, Steve." Allow me to enlighten you a bit.

New Beginnings Praise & Worship Center started as a brand new church in September 1999. The first service was held in a local community center and the only people in attendance LITERALLY was the pastor, his wife, his 4 year old son and a blind man. (I didn't come until June '02) During that time we endured tattered chairs, the phone to community center ringing DURING the service, fake ghosts the local kids made hanging from the ceiling, toys stacked in the back of the room, power outages and MUCH more. Children's church was held in a food pantry and youth minsitry was at the pastor's house in the family room. Oh yeah, the equipment for the church (some we used and some was a purchase for our future facitlity. A facility we didn't have or even know when we were going to have) was ALSO in the pastor's family room.

After being there for FOUR YEARS we moved into and renovated an old synagogue that was being used as a coat making shop. Literal blood, sweat and tears went into renovating that building. And some how, with only 5 parking spots in a building tucked away on a street that was only one block long behind a junior high school and a large Catholic church bordered by 2 one way streets - we grew to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural church of about 150 people. That's right FIVE parking spots on a hidden street that's only one block long bordered by 2 one way streets!

Having outgrown the current building and no realistic way to go to multiple services without creating a SERIOUS traffic problem, we searched for a new building. And after much prayer and a one year long process, today we sign the papers on a building that has been a fixture in our community for over 120 years. It's an old Episcopal church that gives us the opportunity to marry the traditional and modern elements of a church in one building. It's on the main road, its about 4 times bigger than our current space and has PLENTY of parking! And FINALLY, the youth get a dedicated space. Oh yeah, NO MORE RENTING! We are purchasing the building. From the proverbial "mudhuts" to the "promised land."

So that's the "big deal" just in case you didn't know. We sign today. Rejoice with us! For New Beginnings - history is being made!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Just speaking my mind

- If the Celtics win the NBA title (which is what I want since the Pistons can't have it), Doc Rivers would become only the 3rd African American head coach to win the title. The others Bill Russell and KC Jones...of the Boston Celtics! So the Celtics will be the ONLY franchise to win with African American head coaches.

- Still sick of the poligion - that's my new word for what's happening in many churches today: politics + religion = poligion. Did Jesus die for a democratic government or people? Just a thought...

- How come all the mega churches write all the materials about doing church well? What about the 150-400 size churches? Are they not healthy? I mean, how can a church with a $6million a year budget tell me I should be hiring this person, buying this thing or doing that thing when most churches lack the human and financial resources to do what they did? Can the average church REALLY afford to buy 10 Xbox 360's for the "relevant" youth room?

- Myspace has become real life. Everyone is no longer human, we are all now niches and demographics - just like on Myspace. How many ways can CNN break down the American public into subcategories for voting, movies and whatever else they want me consume? Listening to them break down America sounds like they are ordering from Starbucks.


- I love the fact that our church is moving! Buying this old Episcopal church and merging the old with the new is going to be AWESOME! Plus, the youth ministry FINALLY gets its own space. Minus the Xbox 360's....

- Do we REALLY need ANOTHER iPhone? Didn't the first one have terrible coverage? So more things to do, same crappy coverage. Gotta love consumerism.

- Its friggin HOT outside!!

- If art imitates life, Obama's presidency COULD mean the end of the world. Why? Because in EVERY movie that has a black president, its the end of world. I think Republicans should use that as part of the campain...they'll probably use this as well as other fear-based tactics to try to win.

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Gospel" Hip-Hop Music topping Secular Radio Chart?

Sounds odd huh? Well, its true and its happening! My dude Fedelity is taking his brand of hip-hop infused with the Good News and taking over local radio stations. In his resident city of Tulsa, OK the community has embraced his song called "Tell A Friend" and voted it #1 for TWO CONSECUTIVE WEEKS on the local secular urban station.

The truly amazing part about this feat is he did all of this with ZERO push from him. He encourage NO ONE to call in and vote for the song. In fact, he didn't even tell people he sent it to the local station!

I'm EXTREMELY happy for my dude. I've known him for YEARS and I'm proud that he's getting this type of exposure. I just wish he would give me a spot on his album :-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A job has never made me this mad!!!

Okay, as most of you know I am bivocational. For those who don't know -I am bivocational, meaning I work a full time job and I do ministry. I've been at my current job for 1 year now, making me one of the most tenured people here since I was in the initial training class that started our rapid growth here.

I've been in talks with my team leader and the regional sales director about me being a team leader - a sales manager. They know I'm qualified, I can do the job, etc. So recently a position becomes available in the most PLUSH department in our sales organization. Probably the best opportunity to make the most money in that position. Not to mention I get to develop, train and grow more sales people - my strong suit.

They didn't offer me the position.

It was such an odd snub that people who I barely talk to asked other people "Why didn't Steve get that spot?" And did I lose out to someone more qualified, with more experience and a proven leader? NOPE!!!! I lost out to someone with ZERO experience, fresh out of school.

And before you think "I'm sure there is a good reason you didn't get the position Steve," allow me to tell you that I had a meeting with my manager later yesterday afternoon and I asked him flat out "Why didn't I get the job?" He didn't have a reason. All he could say was basically she asked first. Not "we felt she was more qualified" or "she was better suited for that team" or even "It was a close call and we feel you two are evenly talented" but simply "we knew that she wanted to be in management longer than we knew you wanted to be in management."


Oh, and then after the meeting with my boss, he basically said "we made a mistake with that decision."

So I'm pissed. So now I have to wait until some kind of outrageous situation happens that opens up a new spot for me to get a management position.

Be ye angry and sin not...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - You saw it here first!

Okay, first off this weekend was spectacular. 2 good friends of Nichole and I got married this weekend and we were both in the wedding. Nichole and I met through the bride so it was cool to see her get married to a great guy. Jamie and Erica - congratulations! (I'll post pics as soon as I get them)

One of the groomsmen was Stewart Redwine. He runs a company called 36 Parables. The gist of the company is this: 36 videos that illustrate the 36 Parables that Jesus taught. Sounds good, huh? It looks even better than they sound!

Currently, its available directly through the website but will soon be coming via a major distributor. I won't say who or when simply because I don't think I'm allowed to. BUT, you can go check them out RIGHT NOW and purchase them. The first 15 are already completed with the other 21 soon to follow. If you use video during your messages or just during your service times, buy this product NOW!

This will definately be talked about all of the big boy blogs by the end of this year. Catalyst will cover it, Collide's definately going to get their hands on it and I wouldn't even be surprised if Swerve covers this stuff. And keeping in the tradition of breaking the big talks first (remember you heard about Expelled here and the new Gnarls Barkley here first) - remember you heard about here...FIRST!

Be the first to own the videos, too. They have every format available for download or on DVD.