Greg King

Five Stones

Juggling Elephants

istock_000005330534smallOccasionally, a book comes along that presents leadership concepts in a new and exciting way. That’s exactly what these authors have done. I was hooked from the introduction and didn’t quit reading until I finished the last sentence. The book I’m talking about is  Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done-Now by Jones Loflin and Todd Musig. The tension the book creates is, “What do you do when your life feels like a three ring circus?” The authors do a great job of taking some key leadership thoughts and placing them into a memorable story.

Each year I always try to pause and take a hard 360 look of my life the past year. I think its fair to say that my life this past year has been a circus at times. I have struggled to balance my many responsibilities of husband,minister, Dad, boss, and friend while trying not to crack under the pressure. One of my biggest flaws I have is that I’m always trying to get everything done. You learn very quickly from the book that trying to get everything done is like juggling elephants…impossible. The premise of the book is for you to look  at your life the way in which a ringmaster looks at the many acts in his three ring circus.

The three rings in my circus consist of my professional ring, relationship ring,  and my self ring. The fact is the ringmaster cannot be in all three rings at once. When I read that line I realized this book had great potential to help me implement some changes I need to make for the new year. So many times this year I would be in my relationship circle with my kids and wife and would be mentally checked out because I was thinking about what I needed to do at church. Below are some of the key talking points you can find on the books website:

The result of trying to juggle elephants is that no one, including you, is thrilled with your performance.

The ringmaster cannot be in all three rings at once.

The key to the success of the circus is having quality acts in all three rings.

There is no shortage of acts for the circus.

The relationship between the ringmaster and the performers affects the quality of the circus.

Intermission is an essential part of creating a better circus performance.

Your circus is only as good as your last performance.

I will be posting on some of the things that I want to see happen in my three circles over the next month. If you are looking for a book to help you manage your personal circus and can handle one more book using a story to tell a story then I would highly recommend this book. I actually just finished my second reading on it last night. Can you tell I need to make some changes in my circus?


December 29, 2008 Posted by | Leadership, Life | 1 Comment

God Uses the Ordinary

002The other day I had the opportunity to take a private guided tour through the Billy Graham Library here in Charlotte. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to be as moved as I was while visiting the library. I just could not get over the fact that God takes the ordinary and makes them extraordinary. How else can you explain an ordinary country boy from Charlotte rising up to become one of the greatest voices for God the world has ever heard? To see how God’s invisible hand was moving throughout the years in Billy Graham’s life was breath-taking. To think, that same God, is moving in my life and wants to use me to accomplish His purposes. No matter who you are or where you are it all begins with a prayer of submission. I love how the Message says it:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you; Take your everyday ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life-and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1-2).

December 2, 2008 Posted by | Leadership | 2 Comments

What’s Your Story?

Last night I qouted a staggering stat in a parent meeting that 88% of Christian teenagers will leave the church shortly after they graduate High School. These are the kids that have grown up going to VBS, church camp, etc. These are the kids that aren’t supposed to leave. So as a parent the tension I have to acknowledge is what do I need to be pouring into my child so that they aren’t in this number. Obviously I can’t keep doing the same thing that has been done or I may get the same unfortunate result. While there is no magic answers I believe that there is one key factor that can be recognized in students who have a flourishing faith in college and then throughout life. That one thing I see is a Mom and Dad that have decided against living a safe and comfortable Christian life. Our students are reaching graduation and looking at most believers around them and they don’t like what they see. The mantra that I hear in this generation is that “There must be more to the Christian Life than this.” More than going to church each Sunday and waving to my neighbors as we pass them by. More than packing a shoebox full of goodies for poor children each year. More than dropping some clothes off at Goodwell after we clean out our closet. More than a Christianity that is only lived on Sunday mornings. These aren’t bad things but they are safe and comfortable things. This generation is wanting to see parents that live a faith that bleeds. Begin looking at the story of your Christan life and honestly ask yourself if it is status qou. If it is maybe God is wanting you to take  your next step with God. He has wired each one of us with wonder, discovery, and passion. Each of these should be very evident in our Christian adventure. So let me ask when was the last time you did something bold and uncomfortable as a family to make His name famous. I would love to hear your stories as we all begin to engage in His incredible story. It is then that I believe that our children will be so caught up in God’s story that the things of this world won’t seem as exciting. For some of us I think its time we changed up our God story. Just my two cents.

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Leadership | 2 Comments

Heavy Construction

This Past week God has been challenging my core convictions on a Big Idea that I used while teaching this week.

Big Idea: Some people expect God to do great things so they plan accordingly others plan small because they expect God to do very little in their life.

While most people would never say that they expect God to do small things in their life, the way in which they live says another. I firmly believe that God wants to increase my faith. He is clearly beginning to do some new and unexpected things in my world.

In the words of TD Jakes, “you can tell what someone is getting ready to build based upon the type of equipment around the job site.”  He says that if you roll up on a job site and see giant excavators and cranes you can rest assured that they aren’t gonna build a chicken coup.  In the same way you can look at the heavy equipment that God has placed around you and get a glimpse into what He is wanting to build. All I can say is that I’m beginning to see some big equipment roll up on my worksite.

So what steps do I need to make to preapre the worksite for what God wants to do in my life? What areas in my life show evidence of little preparation for what God could do? The way in which I live clearly reveals what I believe about God. I feel like I should have one of those signs hanging on my door that says pardon our dust construction is taking place.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | Leadership, Personal | 1 Comment

What Happens When The Ball Drops

One of the most difficult tasks that every Pastor has to juggle is the balance of taking care of their own health and family while taking care of the sheep that God has entrusted to their care. Not being able to handle this juggling act has cost many Pastors their jobs and even worse their families. While every Pastor has a responsibility to care for the sheep he has a greater responsibility to care for his health and family. Some people understand that it is just humanly impossible for the Pastor to be there for every person’s emergency or to meet every persons expectation. Their are still others that can’t understand why their family shouldn’t come first. As a Pastor I cannot begin to express how difficult it is knowing that you cannot possily meet everyones expectations and woe to the Pastor that tries. Most people don’t realize how much the Pastor’s health and family suffer because of trying to juggle this huge responsibility. I am finally getting to a place in which I am comfortable enough in my own skin to say that my family needs to come first when these two worlds colide. If the ball is going to drop may it not be my family. So let me say thank-you for all those that prayed for me while I was done on my back this past week. It was a very humbling experience and probably the most I’ve hurt in years. I’m thankful to be surrounded with a staff and volunteers that know what it means to be the church. For those that had to walk through difficult times this week, I pray that our church showed themselves strong in your life.

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Leadership | Leave a comment

Woe to the Popular

I have a confession…as a speaker I have always struggled with the applause of people. That sounds pretty bad but its the truth. If I’m not careful I can find myself fishing for a compliment and then other times not knowing how to accept a compliment knowing that God was the one due the credit. There is a certain satisfaction that comes with knowing that people enjoyed hearing you speak. I think everyone enjoys receiving an atta boy every now and again.  The problem is can you still get the applause of man if you are saying all that God wants to say through you? This past year God has been convicting me from Luke 6 that if I truly say all that God wants me to say than the applause meter will rapidly lower. This summer I feel that I have preached harder and more direct than I ever have in my life and while I still receive the thank-you for the challenge pat on the back the applause meter has drastically lowered. However the satisfaction of knowing that I said all that I was supposed to say has been overwhelming. I have found myself walking out to my car alone the past several Sundays in a conversation with God. I’ve found myself saying God thank-you for giving me the courage to say all that you wanted me to say and no matter the reaction I know that I am loved by you, my family, and my close friends. When I read Galatians 6 I can hear the Apostle Paul saying because of the cross my interest in the crowd died long ago. So for those who have the challenge of speaking and explaining God’s Word may we be unpopular.

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Church Life, Leadership | 2 Comments

Leadership From the Backrow

God has been teaching me some amazing things lately in the area of gifts and leadership. I am walking thru a season in which God has me working outside of my strength zone. Our student staff felt that a change was needed to stimulate spiritual growth in our students so we moved our High School Students from a weekly Wednesday night worship format to small groups in homes. While this has been an incredible change for our students it has left me without a place to exercise my top gifts. So in just a few months I have gone from preaching for our Pastor over the summer to not having a platform to teach. In fact it seems as if God is actually moving things to keep me on the sidelines for a time. I hope that my heart is tender enough to learn all that He wants me to learn while I lead from the backrow. If you’re curious to learn what your sweet spot in life is look at one of my previous posts for some help. Sweet Spot.

November 1, 2007 Posted by | Leadership | 1 Comment

People Fatigue

I was telling my wife the other night how much I love ministry but how people fatigued I am right now.  Without a doubt the fatigue has come because of some of the changes that we have implemented in the student ministry and at our church as a whole. Obviously people do not like change but let’s be brutally honest change is a part of life especially if you want to see growth occur in the church and especially in one’s life. Look at some of the staggering stats below and you’ll see that I’m not the only Pastor feeling a little fatigued right now.

  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
  • Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • The majority of pastors’ wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.
  • September 26, 2007 Posted by | Church Life, Leadership, Personal | Leave a comment

    the dip

    Just finished reading Seth Godin’s new book, the dip. It’s a small book on a big idea. Here are the highlights:

    • Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.
    • Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations.
    • In a competitive world, adversity is your ally. The harder it gets, the better chance you have of insulating yourself from the competition.
    • Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.
    • Average feels safe, but it’s not. It’s invisible.
    • Yes, you should (you must) quit a product or a feature or a design–you need to do it regularly if you’re going to grow and have the resources to invest in the right businesses.
    • The time to look for a new job is when you don’t need one. The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable.
    • Quitting as a short-term strategy is a bad idea. Quitting for the long term is an excellent idea.
    • Quitting when you’re panicked is dangerous and expensive.
    • If you enter a market that’s too big or too loud for the amount of resources you have available, your message is going to get lost. Your marketing disappears, your message fails to spread.
    • How dare you settle for mediocre just because you’re busy coping with too many things on your agenda, racing against the clock to get it all done.
    • If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
    • We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don’t have the guts to quit.

    June 4, 2007 Posted by | Leadership | Leave a comment

    Ebb and Flow

    Momentum plays a huge role in ministry. Knowing when to get on and get off of a program/event is a huge decision that a leader must make in order to be a successful leader. The rub is when the leader senses it’s time to move away from something even when things seem to be going well from the outside. If the leader waits for the crowd to recognize that the ministry is losing momentum then it is already too late. Learning how to navigate the ebbs and flow of momentum will play a huge roll in the success and failure of every leader.

    May 18, 2007 Posted by | Leadership | 3 Comments