• Seeing Into the Future

    What do you want from your life? At the end of your life, if you could choose one word (or concept) to describe your life, what would it be? We will all be known for something. Certainly, some will be more known than others, but in the end very few people will be known. Just consider how many people you can name from history prior to 1800. For many people reading this blog, a healthy portion of those names will come from the Bible or from the period around the American Revolution. If those names are removed, the list will shrink substantially. Still, being famous may be your goal. But…

  • Building a System

    Vision. Depending upon the context, the word conjures up one of two thoughts. Historically, the term has related to the ability to see. More recently, it has meant a business-related goal. That goal, in one sense, is what the business expects to “see” if it properly fulfills the mission. So, the vision is dependent upon the mission. But in order to fulfill the mission, a strategy needs to be developed. That strategy, if properly executed, can lead to the fulfillment, but it does not guarantee it. As we have seen in recent months with COVID-19, unforeseen circumstances can cause major shifts in our thinking. But without an end goal (a…

  • God’s Provision Includes Rest

    Are you worked up over COVID-19? Some are more than others. On the one hand, some are being arrogant and irresponsible. On the other hand, some are letting fear control their every decision – or worse yet, are letting fear keep them from making any decisions. As we continue to work through the COVID-19 challenge, I am reminded how important having a personal strategy is. If you have read my blog for a number of years, you may remember an entire series I did on the 4Ls back in 2017 on another site. Overall, I break my thoughts into my vision, my mission, my strategy, and my steps. As I…

  • CEW is Launching

    The wait is over. Ok, so not everyone has been waiting, but some have, and for those who have, the wait ends Monday, November 4. You may recall that during the first part of this year, I did a series on administering the church. It is natural for me to talk about such matters because it is one of the courses I teach at seminary. But, frankly, it represented a drift from the overall purpose of this blog. If I squint and look hard enough, I can see a connection, but, well, fotonni is not meant for that purpose. So, in the last post in June, I mentioned a change…

  • Desires vs Pride

    Many people will link the desire to lead with a mindset of pride. I believe this is a false interpretation. However, it does not matter what I believe. Let me conclude this brief series on having a platform by looking at a couple of verses in the Bible related to desire. Before I look at the verses though, let me clarify that desire can lead to pride. And pride can be the result of desire. However, can is different than will. Perhaps it is rare when the two are not bound together, but they do not have to be. After all, the Bible is clear that God is opposed to…

  • The Year = xxx9

    During the past two weeks, this blog has shared a couple of announcements related to a new podcast (Christian Educator Weekly) and a new structure (4L Ministries). Both of these announcements are, in part, due to reflections that I have been making personally over the past few months. During my reflection, I realized something a little odd. The year ends in 9. That is, this is 2019. Now, that does not really mean much in general. But perhaps something is hidden within me that needs to be addressed. See, I was born in 1970. So, any year that ends in a 9 means that I am about to face a…

  • 4L Ministries

    Last week, I announced the launch of a new podcast about education and administration within the church (primarily). That podcast, Christian Educator Weekly (CEW), fits well within my scope of work and within my overall life goals and plans. But that addition also brings a new change to our ministry. If you have been reading this blog for a few years you may remember a series I did on the previous site (fotonni.blogspot.com) about the 4Ls. The 4L’s – Learn, Live, Love, Lead – are the steps by which I fulfill my strategy to accomplish my mission, and fulfill the vision I have for my life. Most everything I do…

  • Announcing CEW

    This blog is meant to help us to live in, not of the world. In fact, that is the title of this blog in reverse. fotonni are the letters to the words “in not of” spelled backwards. The idea is that Christians should see this world as different than God intended. Instead of doing something upside-down, I chose to reverse the order of the letters. fotonni was the first emphasis of my personal ministry. By personal ministry, I mean what I do outside of my role on staff at a church. fotonni began in late 2003 and has largely focused on blogging over the past 7+ years. However, my ministry…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Policies and Procedures

    The last set of church documents to be reviewed are the policies and procedures of the church. Technically, these are two different types of documents with policies providing principles for WHAT the church (or any organization) desires and the procedure is the HOW to fulfill the outcome. Therefore, these two types of documents are very closely related and are often combined together in thought and in function. In last week’s post, I mentioned that in many cases, churches will create bylaws based upon a reaction to something. The example I used was not allowing red kool-aid in a place of worship. The challenge with this idea is that bylaws are…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Clarifying Bylaws

    Throughout the last couple of months, I have been blogging about the different types of documentation that a church needs. More types can be used than what I will include in this part of this series, but the items I have shared (Job Descriptions, Constitution, Bylaws, and to a lesser degree Team Descriptions) are important to help the church be properly identified, and know how to generally conduct the business of the church. However, two more important types of documents remain. One is a document defining policies and the other is the set of procedures. These two document types are commonly included together as Policies and Procedures. Many churches have…