Category Archives: 15 Minute Thoughts

4 ways a church can minister to introverts

15 Minute Thoughts – A new series of thoughts that I write about within a 15 minute time limit

A friend of mine has been searching for a new church home. She is a self described introvert. She commented on Facebook: “Words guaranteed to strike fear into my heart: “Everyone stand up, turn around and shake hands with someone you don’t know!” *stares at shoes and fervently wishes for an invisibility cloak*”

Later on she said that she wished there was an introvert entrance, one with no enthusiastic greeters, and a section where you don’t have to talk to strangers.

But perhaps her most profound quote, “God doesn’t make us all extroverts when we convert.”


So what are the best ways to minister to introverts?

  1. Don’t collect e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and addresses as people are entering. While I understand that you want your church to grow, and you want to be able to keep people informed, even possible new members, this shouldn’t be done as they are walking in. It reminds me of an episode of “The Drew Carey Show” where Drew asks for a second date even before the appetizer comes. His date’s wariness ruins the first date before it has even started. If you want to be able to get that information, do so after the service, that way they can make decision if you are worth a second date.
  2. You are not THE church for everyone. This has taken me a long time to understand. I was raised in a small foot-washing Baptist church. It took me well into adulthood, and after meeting my wife, to understand that churches are like restaurants. Just because someone doesn’t like Barbeque, doesn’t mean that they don’t want, or need, to eat. If you are a pastor, be welcoming and loving, but understand that those that do not come back do not represent failure. They just have a difference in appetite. So in that spirit, don’t try to lasso and white knuckle a possible new member. Be yourself, and let them see what you have to offer.
  3. I was once in a church for the first time. The pastor asked all the visitors to remain seated while the congregation could welcome them. The congregation stood and applauded. Okay, I don’t like being singled out, but this is quick and polite and OH MY WHY ARE THEY BRINGING ME A FLOWER? Why do I need to carry a flower around the rest of the day? A simple “Welcome, we hope you come back” would have been sufficient.
  4. The “hand-shake sing-a-long”. Stop this. Again, do not ask people you don’t even know to shake hands during the service while everyone is singing. I prefer at the end the classic “shake hands and you are at liberty to go” at dismissal.

I’m sure there are more, if you are an introvert, how would you like to be welcomed? If you’re not, what do you think could be done differently?

Mistakes are a part of the learning process – not a reason not to learn.

brian circle

15 Minute Thoughts – A new series of thoughts that I write about within a 15 minute time limit

I struggle with making mistakes. I want to be able to start something for the first time and be excellent at it immediately. This is, admittedly, dumb and narcissistic. So, I have to be keenly aware when I do something new, such as blogging, that there will be mistakes and I have to be okay with them.

Last week, a stranger commented that I needed a proofreader on my site. She also said good things about by writing. But that one comment bore into my skull. “You know, I should just quit. I’m not good at this,” was the immediate thought that crossed my mind. But I decided to “like” the comment and move on.

Jon Acuff is fond of saying 90% perfect and published is better than 100% perfect and still in your head. At some point the product has to  be posted, or cooked, or created, or shipped. Whatever line of work you are in if you wait until 100% perfect before releasing it, you will never get started and you will rob yourself the opportunity to succeed.

Yes, I’m sure there will be many typos, misspellings, conjugation issues, and maybe a participle or two that will dangle.

But you can’t get better if you don’t start.

I hope you start too.

How Solo-Parenting My Kids for a Few Hours Reminded Me About Leadership in Business

15 Minute Thoughts – A new series of thoughts that I write about within a 15 minute time limit

How Solo-Parenting My Kids for a Few Hours Reminded Me About Leadership in Business

This past week, I solo parented my 4 year old and 3 month old daughters while my wife went out with some friends. (By the way, if you’re a dad like me who works while the mom stays home, DO NOT CALL IT BABYSITTING) My wife is a stay-at-home mom, so I try to give her the space and time to go do things when I’m home. This isn’t easy considering I work 2 jobs and have a few side projects and school happening. We’re extremely busy people.

So at one point, I had a 4 year old complaining about bed time, a 3 month old complaining, that basically I wasn’t mommy, and a dog who decided she needed to bark, because, well, why not.

I’m struggling and wondering how in the world my wife does this every single day. But when she walked through the door later, both kids were asleep, and the dog was happy to see her.

She looked at me and said, “Hey, looks like you won.”

It’s a reminder to try and do the job that your team members do. I’m surprised at how some bosses I have worked for don’t know what my job actually is, or how I go about doing it. How can you define value to a person without knowing what their responsibilities are? Yes you may have a job-review, or a quarterly meeting, but I encourage you to occasionally drop down and watch what they do you, you may very well be amazed.

Just like I am amazed at my wife.

Surviving the Seasons of Life

15 Minute Thoughts – A new series of thoughts that I write about within a 15 minute time limit

How to survive the different seasons in your life

I have a hard time remembering that at each particular point of my life change will eventually come. I all too often catch myself in thinking that a particular bad, trying, or overwhelming situation is going to last forever. It’s not that I’m a drama queen (or maybe I am, we’ll debate that another day), it’s that I often have a hard time seeing progress when things are messy.

When Sarah and I were rebuilding from the disaster that was a bad career choice and home purchase, it felt like we were getting nowhere. I couldn’t see us ever making it out of the trench that we had dug ourselves. But really, every day we were moving ever so slightly where we needed to be. We started over in an apartment that we could afford. We had our first child. We didn’t borrow any more money on credit cards. We lived within our means. We got into a better situation. While it felt like we were getting nowhere, eventually we made enough progress to see the footprints go back towards the horizon. It has been a process that has taken most of the last four years, and there is still a lot of work to do. But what I’ve been able to determine is that momentum is exponential. The first few steps of pulling a heavy wagon are the hardest, but once you break the bounds of inertia great things will happen.

So if things aren’t exactly where you want them to be right now, look at them as a season. It’s only temporary, and sooner or later the weather, and your position, will change.

Counseling Helps Me Maintain Perspective and Motivation

15 Minute Thoughts – A new series of thoughts that I write about within a 15 minute time limit

How Counseling Helps Me Maintain Perspective and Motivation

About a year ago, I decided to start going and seeing a counselor. I was at a point in life where I was extremely overwhelmed, had little motivation, but more importantly, I was losing clarity on where I was going.

After visiting twice a month with my counselor, I started to regain my perspective and become more intentional on the parts of my life that I want to improve. My counselor and I have both agreed that I am doing much better, although I never was really in as dark of a place as some people are when they first visit her.

And that’s what I’d like to encourage you to think about. There seems to be a negative stigma with the idea of talking to a therapist, life coach, pastor, or other professional counselor. Living life is difficult. Intentionally living it to the fullest is something that may not come easy to you.

If you wanted to do better in school, you’d think about hiring a tutor. If you wanted to get in better shape, you might consider a fitness trainer. Why would we not get help when we want to fix our thinking and our lives?

I always have turned to family. But family usually has a vested interest in your decisions. If I want to discuss a career change, my family’s thoughts go towards how this would affect them. However, when I discuss a big idea with my therapist, she helps me put a plan in place that will allow me to reach those goals without putting my family at too much risk. Then I can discuss a reasonable plan with my family and the feel secure in knowing that I’m not about to jump from the boat before we get close to the dock.

If you’ve been thinking about therapy, I encourage you to go for it. Yes, it’s a little scary the first time. But I feel confident that you’ll be glad you did.