This summer I turned 30. I told people that for the first half of the year (my 29th year), I went through the typical identity crisis issues. You know… “who am I?… what am I doing?… where am I going?… what have I really accomplished?… how many things on my bucket list have I gotten even remotely close to crossing off?”
And it’s that last one that motivates the creation of this blog. Because for years now I’ve been that really annoying person who, when asked: what are your dreams or aspirations, always quips, “yeah I’d like to write a book some day…” (emphasis on the ellipsis).
And its annoying because the person (in this case, me) never does anything about it. Well I really would like to write and publish a written work and it seems pretty straight forward that if you’d like to write a book, one must first become a disciplined writer…. You could call this the ancillary purpose for starting this blog.
This conversation about writing a book brings me to the first real purpose for this blog and an attribute I believe every blog should have, and thats influence. I’ve always thought that writing a book requires a certain level of pretentiousness, narcissism or need for self-advancement. Degrees of all of those I willingly confess.
However, just because we’re flawed, often nearsighted and self-absorbed does not preclude the need and indeed commitment for a bigger purpose or mission. It is my firm belief in a bigger mission that brings me to writing, the desired outcome of which is to stimulate influence!
Another word that could easily replace the way I’m using is it would be: leadership. You see every single person in the world is a natural born leader. Whether it’s merely leading themselves; so-called “self-leadership” (as popularized by one of my favorites Bill Hybels, Founding Pastor of Willow Creek Church, IL), whether its leading others below or above you as boss, employee, husband, wife, mother and father…
The simple fact is: no matter who you are, you have leadership responsibility and you have someone for whom your words are big in their ears. If I can help someone, ANYONE, realize and maximize their influence then I’m game.
The 2nd thing I think all blogs should possess is a motivation for emotionally moving others. Another way I would say that is: to ignite passion in all people.
Over this past summer we did a teaching series for students about purpose. After sitting with a group of about a dozen high school seniors (about to graduate) I sensed from all of them a deep sense of “I don’t know who I am or where I’m going or what I’ll be when I grow up” mentality.
We’ve all been there.
But from my lunch with graduating seniors a teaching series was birthed on the topic of purpose. I wanted to remind students that should they ever be stuck in that same position that there were a few “if/then” statements that they could use to definitively answer the question of “what’s my purpose in life.”
So, for example, “IF you have a passion, THEN you have a purpose; IF you have a strength, THEN you have a purpose; IF you have a story, THEN you have a purpose and so on and so forth filling out the summer schedule.
I found myself sharing with the students one night that I literally never had a firm grip on what my really central 1-3 strengths, talents, gifts were until long after college. And the main reason I finally figured it out was because I connected the dots about what people would consistently say about me.
In middle school it was the “Mr. Hustle Award” from Coach Imus the PE teacher; then it was leading music in High School and it was constant reminders of people saying, “boy you have a lot of energy” or “man, you energize me.”
And then, one day, I left one church to go work for another in the same city (more on that later) and as a parting gift the staff gave me a plaque of what they saw were my top 3 strengths.
The plaque read: “passionate; contagious leader; energetic.” Regardless of the word choice all these people, coaches, friends, bosses, fellow pastors and volunteers, they were all saying the same thing: “you are naturally filled with passion and energy… and… that ignites and inspires something in me.”
But it wasn’t really until this last year (my 29th) that the idea of truly owning this natural, inbred propensity toward passion began to crystalize. I started thinking to myself before any and every speaking engagement or meeting: ‘this could be your very last encounter with this person or this crowd, you had better absolutely lay it all on the line like you’re gonna be gone tomorrow.’
I figured: anything worth doing is worth going absolutely all out on. Giving anything less is a God-given waste of time and talent.
I say again, if I can inspire even a single one of you toward leading more passionate lives, then I’m game.
The final, and perhaps most important, purpose for this blog is: impact. There is a pastor, author, leader named Andy Stanley (Northpoint Church, Atlanta) who once wrote a book on preaching called, “communicating for a change.” In this timeless piece, he lays out all the different goals for why preachers might preach.
Some might just cover every book of the Bible from cover to cover throughout the year and at the end of the year those folks might have a better understanding of God’s word, and that’s great. Some might use 5 points in every message they preach and people might remember all 5, odds are they won’t remember a single one.
Eventually Stanley gets to the thrust of the book, which is the one and only reason for communicating can only be: communicating for life change.
That is, after all, the business we are in as pastors… leaders… people. So while I understand communicating from the pulpit is a heck of a lot different than a bottom shelf blog, I believe that the common denominator in ANY form of communication just simply must be: life impact.
And by that I simply mean that you, the reader’s, life gets changed for the better and if that were to happen even in a microscopic, incremental, daily way then, once again, I’m game.