3 Lessons from Jay Hanson 3

Over the past two weeks I have had the privilege of talking with two of the finest leaders in the United Methodist Church. Today I want to share with you about Jay Hanson. He is the pastor of one of the fastest growing United Methodist Congregations in the country. He was preaching at Tattnall County Camp Meeting and was gracious enough to take a couple of mornings to spend an hour with me on each of these days. Here are three of the biggest lessons he shared with me.

1. You will be forgotten.  One of the first things he told me was about the meal he shared with the pastors and leaders the night before. He said the others were trying to describe to him a former pastor but no one could remember his name. He said we will all be the same way one day. We may remember but the focus will be on the next pastor and it should be.

2. Pray more. Jay’s father, Dave Hanson, is a pastor and one of the most respected people in our conference. Jay told me he asked his father if he could go back what would he do different. His father’s answer was short and meaningful. Dave answered, “I would pray more.” Jay is someone who takes his spiritual formation serious. He had just got back from a week long retreat where he spent a week in silence at retreat center. I walked away excited, challenged, and encouraged to spend more time working on myself first.

3. He asked me for advice. At the conclusion of our time we had several great closing thoughts but the most astonishing was when he asked me what advice I may give him. I can not remember anyone ahead of me in ministry asking me what they could do better. I honestly do not remember what it is I told him. The question just struck me as a great example of how leaders are learners. The most productive leaders are the ones who are constantly trying to get better.

Lesson(s) from Beryl

June 2, 2012

This week we have seen our first tropical storm of the hurricane season. All week Beryl has been reaking havoc. As I was checking twitter the other day two tweets caught my eye and reminded me of two leadership principles.

The first was this:


It was apparent there was a de-lima. As Beryl took an intermission, Tybee was crowded with people hoping to enjoy a day at the beach. Unfortunately there were some extreme rip currents. What should be done? As a leader you want to encourage people to enjoy and visit your area, yet you want to be able to make sure they are safe. I did not want to be whoever was in charge of making the call on this one. The first thing I was reminded of is leadership is about making tough decisions.


The second tweet seemed to be a compromise. Apparently one red flag means you can still get in the water, but according to the news you can only get into up to knee deep. I know it is hard to put the entire idea into a 140 character tweet, but it made me wonder.  How do they enforce “knee deep”? Did the life guard or police pull people out who went in below knee deep? What if I was knee deep, but when a wave came in it went above my knees? The second thing I realized is there may not always be a clear answer. If it were easy leaders would not need to make the decisions. If the choice was clear anyone could make it.

Am I on track here? Let me know.

Last week I posted about tweeting and ministry. Here’s a response I got on facebook from my buddy Ben.

He got me thinking. What is the best way to leverage my blog for the ministry I will be in. Keep in mind I will be taking over two awesome, small, rural churches where the majority may not be blog readers. With that being said here are a few blogs that I know of and my thoughts towards them.

  1. Ben Gosden’s Friend – as Ben mentioned his friend will blog about the sermon he is planning for the week. I love the idea. I’m not sure if Wednesday would give me enough time to make adequate adjustments. I have seen Andrew Conard post his entire sermon on a public google document and ask for feedback. I love both ideas, but would probably tweak it a little bit.
  2. Ben Gosden’s BlogCovered in the Masters Dust is a great blog. Ben will be a bishop one day if that is what he desires (I called it). He is a really sharp guy. He blogs about the topics dealt with mostly in mainline Christianity, specifically United Methodism, theology, doctrine, and church polity. I love checking out his blog. I highly recommend it, especially for young clergy. I hope to have opinions and ideas on his level one day, but I am simply not there yet. See also John Stephens or Kevin DeYoung.
  3. J.R. Lee – J.R. does an awesome job with his blog. He is probably the closest to what I want to emulate. He does two things really well in my opinion. The first I love his midweek review. He gives a lot of bullet points of things going on in the life of the church. Second he teases the upcoming sermons. Usually it is just the logo and a brief description. He also will put in some random post about books, life, devotion, etc. I could see something similar being beneficial.
  4. Perry NoblePerry does a great job of providing devotional insights and bullet points of things going on in a church. It serves as a great way for the Sr. Pastor to adress all the people in an individual way, even though he could never spend the time with everyone due to the size of his congregation. He is very good at using his blog to challenge and motivate. It probably is not just my natural communication style, but extremely effective. See also Steven Furtick or Brandon Williams.

So all these include some academic, devotional, church development, and doctrine. I’m just trying to find the right mix. Did I describe these right? Did I leave any out? Which do you think will be most helpful?