5 Things To Remember When Team Teaching

Recently my wife, Rene Clark, and I did some team teaching at Parkview Christian Church. Parkview is a multi-site church of 9,000 weekend attenders in the Chicagoland area where I am stoked to be a teaching pastor.

We have spent time teaching together in the past, but I have never shared any of our rhythm for preparing, praying and presenting as a team. So … here you go, friends:

Our message on LEVITICUS / “Take Me To The Cleaners” and 5 things to think about when team teaching:

1. Know your subject more than you know your notes.

I believe Carey Nuiewhof is the first person I heard talk about how a communicator should know their subject not just their notes.

This becomes even more true in team teaching because you must bounce off each other, and you alone do not have control of the flow at all times. There are times you must build a bridge in team teaching and insert something you know about the subject that appears nowhere in your notes!

2. Transitions matter.

It is much more difficult to team teach than teach alone, in my opinion. But team teaching also adds an element that a solo person teaching can rarely achieve. That being said, when you are teaching with another person you must take time to think through transitions.

You will each have different …

  • voice
  • inflections
  • intensity
  • content

And as much as possible these things need to match up when you make the hand off. This is not always easy to do as you will see in our message on Leviticus. We still have some work to do in transitions.

But we do work hard and spend much time talking through transitions so we can keep things as congruent as possible for the congregation.

3. Create space for each person to prepare on their own.

No two people prepare themselves or their message in the same way.

You should take time to prepare your sections of the message on your own … but also spend time during the preparation process bouncing ideas, intros, endings and illustrations off of each other. This is the genius of team teaching.

In addition, when it’s an hour before go time … each person prepares their heart, mind and soul in different ways.

Allow time to speak through the message together 2-3 hours before the message arrives so that when you are 30-60 minutes out, each person can come to God and prepare their heart, mind and soul in their own unique way.

4. Do a walk through.

When you are on stage by yourself … you are by yourself.

When you add another person to the often small stage space, it can make even little movements awkward. As you will see in our Leviticus “Take Me To The Cleaners” message, we had to make sure we were not stepping in front of or behind each other at odd times. This is super distracting for the congregation.

As you will see our movements were pretty choreographed as we spent time on the stage before the message actually “blocking out” our movements like a theater or dance production.

5. Know who you are talking to.

There will be three potential audiences for your message in most churches these days.

You will be talking to …

  • Each other
  • The congregation that is in the room
  • Those who are watching at a multi-site campus or online

Therefore, it is important to makes notes concerning who you are talking to during each sentence or section.

Most of the time you will be talking to those in the room or the camera that is capturing the video for the sites and online audiences. This requires that you not regularly look at or bounce off the person who is standing just a few feet from you on stage.

Then there are certainly times when teaching as a team that you want to interact mainly with the person you are teaching alongside.

This is part of the special sauce of team teaching.

Interacting with each other adds intimacy; often humor and spontaneity will make teaching as a team powerful and meaningful in ways that teaching alone can rarely match.

How We Unintentionally Make The Devil Our Mentor

For nearly 15 years I think I made the devil my mentor.

Here is how it happened.

When I was in college I had a weekend youth ministry in Kansas City. Each Friday after finishing my classes in Manhattan, Kansas (the little apple) I would drive to KC to spend the weekend leading junior high and high school students.  It was an amazing, challenging, rewarding and exhausting season.

I can remember one Sunday evening standing in the little church kitchen and considering my drive back to school. It was 9pm, and I still had 2-3 hours of homework to complete when I got back to school for Monday classes. I also had several days of travel with the soccer team that coming week. I was feeling overwhelmed.

As I looked around the kitchen for some food to take back to college I can remember saying out loud, “I don’t think I can do this anymore!” 

How could I keep giving everything to …

  • My studies
  • These students in Kansas City
  • My soccer team / scholarship requirements
  • My fiancé (that’s another story)

How could I continue living this life of zero margin where I lived in the future and skimmed in the now?

As I was considering these things my senior pastor entered the kitchen and leaned up against the old pea soup green refrigerator. He asked how I was doing, and I let the dam burst. I told him everything that was on my mind and how I felt I was spreading myself thin and giving no one the best version of myself.

And I can remember exactly what he said …

“Well Todd, the devil never takes a break.”

 

And I lived with that mantra of never taking a break in my mind for the next 15 years.

And you may be reading this right now saying, “Hello! I agree! That is true. Buck up, Todd. The devil never does take a break, so we can never take a break.”  

And what is strange is, I agree.
The devil never seems to take a break.
The only problem with aligning our life with that truth is …

It makes the devil your mentor.

 

Listen friends, if you never say no to anyone and you try to care for everything, you will soon find you don’t care for anything.

We all know that we must steward our energy, time and even finances …

But did you realize you must even steward your compassion? I know that sounds so strange and almost anti-biblical. Don’t we have unlimited amounts of compassion? Doesn’t God give us energizer bunny amounts so that we can indeed never take a break in ministry?

The answer is no.

You do not have an unlimited capacity to care.

Even Jesus did not have unlimited capacity to care. Even Jesus had to steward his compassion right along with his energy and his time.

One of the strangest things I have learned in 25 years of ministry is that you must actually reserve some care and compassion for the people and things you love most.

If you make the devil your mentor you will justify “never stopping,” but you will end up “quitting.”

 

Knowing when to stop and rest and replenish your reserves is actually the very thing that will keep you from quitting.

Stopping something is not the same as quitting something.

 

So leaders, if you have spent the last few years living at peace with a completely out of balance life and saying in some form or another, “Hey, the devil never takes a break.”

If you have used that sentence as justification for almost any situation … my advice would be to realize what I realized.

It is true that the devil never takes a break.

But patterning your life after that truth makes the devil your mentor.

Parents, 3 Ways To “Instagram” In The New Year With Your Kids

Ok, let’s keep this simple.

Most parents and grandparents want to create some cool memories this New Year with their kids …

Most kids want to be on their phones in this New Year  …

So, let’s combine those things!

  1. Call a family meeting.
  2. Tell everyone to get out their phones.
  3. Open Instagram.

Then …

Give Thanks – Ask everyone to look back over the year and find one picture they are thankful for, ask them to read the caption and explain why they are thankful.

  • The only pushback here is going to be your kids saying, “Just one picture?”

 

Offer Prayer – Look back over the year in pictures and find one person or family that your family can pray for as this New Year begins.

 

Send Encouragement – Find a person in your past year’s photos that you can send a text of encouragement to today.

  • Maybe send them the picture, too, and let them know you are thinking about them!

 

To create your own 2016 Best Nine (like the photo at the top of this post) go to www.2016bestnine.com

When To Poke The Bear

Bear: A person from your past who might harm your future.

I was recently made aware of a bear who had spoken some harmful and untrue words about me to a another person, and those words negatively affected my future. It’s important to note that even the person to whom the bear spoke, didn’t believe the bear, but I was still concerned …

  • Had the bear done this to me before, and I was unaware of it?
  • Would the bear do this again?

I went to bed that night planning to poke the bear the next day.  In fact, I had already spent much time and energy preparing my arsenal to unload on the bear. This bear didn’t stand a chance.

However, when I woke up the next day I felt different. A good night’s sleep had recalibrated my confidence and refreshed my perspective.

I decided not to poke the bear.

Here’s why …

Continue reading “When To Poke The Bear”

What Happens When Your Passions & God’s Purposes Collide?

Shout out to @DCCowan and The Crossing Church in Las Vegas for this high definition description of what can happen when your passions and God’s purposes collide.

 

 

I have a passion for global missions, children who are hungry and photography.

 

And when you combine those passions with my entrepreneurial tendencies and God’s purposes … you get Eat Art!

 

Together we sent hope and over 30,000 meals to hungry kids through the Eat Art Show at The Crossing Church on one single weekend!

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If you would like to host an Eat Art Show at your church or business and begin artfully ending hunger, we would love to partner with you.

 

You get the art, and the kids get to eat.

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IMG_5520  IMG_5505

 At The Crossing Church we sold out of all the images we sent for the Sunday art show!

 

Here are a few of the images people purchased that sent thousands of meals to hungry kids.

 

Welcome HomeA nearby faraway place.
Ko Olina, Hawaii
Ko Olina, Hawaii

boardsblogsize

Waikiki
doortoheart50percent logoAntigua, Guatemala
Zuma Beach, CA
Zuma Beach, CA
Waikiki
Waikiki
Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala
Table For Two
Table For Two – Dominican Republic

Watch Full Movie Get Squirrely (2015)


Quality  : HD
Title    : Get Squirrely
Director : Ross Venokur
Writer   : Lenore Venokur
Release  : 2015-03-01
Language : English
Runtime  : 85 min
Genre    : Family, Animation, Comedy.

Synopsis :
‘Get Squirrely’ is a movie genre Family, was released in March 1, 2015. Ross Venokur was directed this movie and starring by Victoria Justice. This movie tell story about After breaking out of a rehabilitation zoo, Frankie, a squirrel with all the angles, returns to his forest. He learns from his dim-witted best friend, Cody, a porcupine and street-con, that while he was in lock-up, the entire forest was picked clean by The A.C.O.R.N.S. Institute (Alternative Cosmetic Oils for Regenerative Natural Skin-care). No acorn was left behind. With winter just around the corner, it’s a potentially devastating blow to all forest critters. So, Frankie has no choice but to bust into the brand new, state-of-the-art, rodent-proof A.C.O.R.N.S. Processing Plant and take back all of the acorns! Though a seemingly impossible heist, success would not only save the lives of his forest friends, but it would also give Frankie a chance to win back the love of his life, Lola, a local “show squirrel.” Sadly, Lola has been burnt by too many of Frankie’s false promises in the past.

Watch Full Movie Get Squirrely (2015)

3 Tips For Transitioning Pastors

In the past few months both Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant have announced their retirements. Peyton Manning, in his press conference, referred to the number 18 he has worn on his back for the past 18 seasons. “There’s something about 18 years – 18 is a good number,” said Manning. He also uttered the words that everyone already knew …

 “You don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely I will.”

Today I spend much of my time coaching pastors in transition / succession seasons of life in ministry. It is a tough season indeed, and eyes often get wet like Peyton’s did as he talked about stepping away from pro football.

Several pastors who have been at a church for 25-35 years have asked how I can possibly understand what they are going through. I then share with them my story of launching, leading and then handing off Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California.

Four years ago I transitioned away from a church that I had launched and led for ten years.  It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

I often ask pastors … “Is it easier to hand off a 10 year old kid or a 35 year old kid?” Continue reading “3 Tips For Transitioning Pastors”

What’s Next For The Clark Crew?

It is with much sadness but extreme peace that I share with you that God is calling the Clark family to transition away from Christ’s Church of the Valley. It has been an adventurous season of life as we wrap up 3 1/2 years of ministry at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona.

CCV has been an amazing experience for our family as we have watched God work in supernatural ways. 

Thank you for accepting and loving our family.

We are thankful for the time God has let us share together.

We have been inspired, stretched and made better by so many of you!

It has been a true honor to be part of the executive team, leading, preaching and serving God’s Church.

This June we will be moving to Huntington Beach, California.

HIU

Ruby will be attending Hope International University. She will place herself in an environment where God can grow her heart for people and challenge her comfort zones.

 

hbhs

Cole will be attending Huntington Beach High School.  There he will be able to attend an amazing public high school and also an arts school where he can learn music, theater and journalism.

 

renebeach

Rene will be taking care of all of us. She will also be launching a new blog and taking her “Bible Boot Camp” to the beach!

 

 

I will continue to serve God’s Church and people in a curious way.  I have always been a bit of a divergent personality … even before the movie. (You can read more about that in this blog post from a  few months ago.)

In this next season of life, instead of putting all my eggs in one basket, I plan to put eggs into three different baskets. These areas of service are all very important to me, and they all leverage my one and only life to grow God’s Kingdom and Church!

Here are the three baskets that I will be putting my eggs into over the coming months …

The Preaching Basket.

mepreachI will no longer be preaching at CCV, but I will continue to consult and preach on a regular basis at many amazing churches.  You can see a list of those churches on the Speaking tab of this blog site.

In addition, in this new season of life, my wife Rene and I really desire to do more ministry together.

We will be seeking opportunities where we can speak, write and serve God and His Church as a team!

 

The Leadership Basket.

logo-blackI will be leveraging my previous 25 years of church experience to serve the Church in the future. I will be doing this primarily through the Slingshot Group. I am leading the senior division in coaching and staffing with teaching pastors and lead pastors.

This gives me the opportunity to be a “strategic confidant” to pastors and coach Next Level Leaders and place them with Next Level Churches.

If you are not familiar with Slingshot Group, you can learn more about this amazing organization here.

 

The Art Basket.

EALogo-artfullyI launched Eat Art roughly 5 years ago, and it is never far from my heart. Eat Art is a non profit organization that is committed to Artfully Ending Hunger. Over the past 5 years we have been able to send hope and over 300,000 meals to hungry kids through the sale of photography.

I believe with everything in me that we can send 1,000,000 meals a year to hungry kids!  

In Huntington Beach there is an art fair on Friday nights on the pier. We will be seeking to secure an opportunity in that environment where people can purchase art and partner with Eat Art.

You get the art and the kids get to eat!

Friends at CCV … we love you!

May you continue to live a curious life for Jesus.

A life that stands out and points people to HIM.

 

3 Things That Could Sabotage Your Future Self

You are the most important and difficult person you lead every single day.

That being the case, here are three ways you can completely sabotage your future self.

1.Caring too much about what others think about you.

 

If you are doing big, adventurous, faith-filled and curious things, there will always be people who feel small around you. Your desire to live a curious life that is full of faith will illuminate some people’s desire to live a life characterized by safety. And they will belittle you as a result of their own insecurities.

Do not take this personally. This is often more about them than it is about you.

Not everyone has the same level of risk tolerance, and not everyone is at the same place in their faith.

Take careful inventory of your words.

Ask God to protect your heart and continue to bring clarity to you as you lead and leverage your one and only life.

2. Caring too little about what God thinks about you.

 

From heaven’s perspective you are a magnificent creation of the most high God. And there is no doubt that God has woven abilities, talents and gifts into your life that you have not even come to realize yet!

Little stuff that other people never even notice are things that God notices because He made you on purpose.

God recognizes and keeps track of every detail of your life.

One of my favorite stories to illustrate this truth is of the Statue of Liberty.

Oscar Hammerstein had seen a picture, a photograph of the top of the Statue of Liberty from a helicopter. And he said, “This picture reveals the intricate detail that has been sculpted on Lady Liberty’s head, her hair and her crown and all of those things at that angle which no one could ever see,” and he said, “I got to thinking that sculptor must have realized that never will anyone see the top of the Statue of Liberty’s head, since there were no airplanes or helicopters when the statue was set in place. But he spent the same kind of detail and care and painstaking craftsmanship on the top of Lady Liberty’s head as he did down at the feet and everywhere else that would be seen by everyone.”

ladyliberty

God has carved things into you that only He can see.

You were created by the oldest, most famous, skilled, loving Creator in the history of the world.

Believe what God says about you and don’t get fearful and fail to fulfill the purpose and plan for which you were created.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

3. Living in the future and neglecting the now.

 

Leaders are built for the future.

But our faith, friendships and family are all requesting that we live in the now.

I can tell you from personal experience that one of the quickest ways to sabotage your future self is to live constantly in the future.

I would say to leaders that instead of “living” in the future you should be content to “visit” the future … but continue to live in the now.