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What is your #1 Team?

By | Leadership Development | No Comments

After a recent loss, a thirteen-year-old boy on my son’s soccer team said to me, “Well, I don’t feel like I lost.”

“Really?” I asked him. “How do you figure?”

He proudly announced, “Well, I’m a forward, and we forwards did our part by scoring three goals. It’s really the defense that lost the game because they gave up too many goals. They’re the losers.”

I kindly pointed out to him how absurd his reasoning was, not only because there is only one score for the team, but because every player on the field plays defense, though perhaps on different parts of the field. Even a forward plays a role in preventing the other team from scoring by making it difficult for the opponent’s defense to organize an attack.

To be fair, the kid smiled and acknowledged the ridiculousness of his original remark.

Story found in Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage

I know that historically this has been a problem for the teams I have been on. For example, in my church work previous to working with First Priority, we had a choir director and a praise band leader on staff with us. Each Tuesday morning during staff meeting, there was unspoken tension between the two. It didn’t come out verbally very often, but every once in a while when a major change was on the horizon, the subtle comments about whose service was better or larger or fill in the blank started to come out. I never realized that the church staff was my number one team rather than the youth team. I loved my student ministry volunteers and cared for them deeply. I thought that they were my number one priority. I knew that I didn’t want to be a part of the worship wars, so I stayed away. But had I realized that being on a united team with the staff rather than my youth team would have taken our church further, I would have put more time and energy into those relationships. Instead, the whole conversation irritated me.

This brings me to First Priority and the HOPE writing team. We are better together in the FP family! Having Joel, Phillip, Natalie, and now Haley and Steve Coleman on the HOPE writing team has increased the quality and the effectiveness of all of our clubs around the country! I would go as far as saying that even the clubs that do not use this year’s HOPE writing are affected in a positive way by it being there. I know that the HOPE writing is better because of the EPiC strategy being used this year in South Florida. Why? Because we glean from the South Florida team and use it in HOPE. What is my point? The First Priority family around the country is all of our number one team.

Patrick Lencioni says it like this: “The only way for a leader to establish this collective mentality on a team is by ensuring that all members place a higher priority on the team they’re a member of than the team they lead in their department.” (page 68)

For those of you working inside an FP chapter as a club’s Coach, Area Coordinator, Teacher Sponsor, Board Member, or other volunteer, would you see your place in the chapter as the team to have unity with? We can quickly get caught up in the ups and downs of a club, but by being on the larger team in your community, all clubs will rise together.

For those of you who are Directors and Coordinators of a FP Chapter, will you see First Priority in America as your number one team? If so, thank you!  So many of you do feel this way already, which is why the FP tide is rising!! We have several teams that are working on more than the HOPE strategy.  Scott Emerine is leading our marketing team. John Carruth is leading the team planning the 2020 FP fall conference. Shane Kenney is leading a think tank on writing a new four-week strategy. Joel Rowland is leading the HOPE writing for 2020-2021. Mark Robbins is putting together a team to rework our mission statement. There are a few people on the fund development team who work on strategies and training. 

By sharing your voice on one of these teams, you are being a part of the team that you are on rather than simply (not that it is simple) leading your chapter. I believe, no I KNOW, that your chapter will be better because you are sharing your voice in the collaborative efforts of First Priority. 

For those of you on a team already, thank you! For those of you who are not, would you consider it for the good of your chapter and for the First Priority family?

FP Podcast Episode 29 Part 2: Pat Williams shares the traits of a leader of excellence

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Pat Williams, Sr. VP Orlando Magic and basketball Hall-of-Famer

Pat Williams is a basketball Hall-of-Famer, currently serving as co-founder and senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. As one of America’s top motivational speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits. https://www.slulead.com/slu-staff/pat- williams/ for more information.

FP Podcast Episode 28 Part 1: Pat Williams shares the traits of a leader of excellence

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Pat Williams, SR VP Orlando Magic and basketball Hall-of-Famer

Pat Williams is a basketball Hall-of-Famer, currently serving as co-founder and senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. As one of America’s top motivational speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits. https://www.slulead.com/slu-staff/pat- williams/ for more information.

Why am I here on this planet?

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

Why am I here on this planet? I believe you are here for two reasons.

1. To know God.
God knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. He created you to know Him. (Jerimiah 1:5) The Pharisees in the Gospel of Matthew tried to get Jesus to pick one commandment over the other. In Jesus’ brilliance, he summed them all up in two. We refer to this as the Great Commandment.

Matt:22:34-39  But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

So first and foremost, this commandment says to love God. When we spend time with God, we get to know Him. The more time you spend with God, the more you grow to love God because He is good. (James 1:16-17) 

2. To Love people
When we continue to Love God, the 2nd commandment becomes a lot easier, love people. I believe how we treat people is a direct reflection of our relationship with God. God loves all people, so, therefore, the better I know God, the better I will be at loving people. So once again, why am I here? To Love God and Love people. I am here to influence peoples’ lives toward a relationship with Jesus.

Be used by God.
Working with students and student pastors for over 30 years has given me insight on a few things. Of course, the older I get, the more I realize I know nothing. But here is something I have learned. There is nothing more important in the life of a believer than to be used by God! I find that the people who are fired up for God are the ones being used by God. My oldest son Hayden, helped start a First Priority club on his campus during his freshman year of high school. In his sophomore year, he got the opportunity to share his testimony at the club. He was, of course, nervous, as this was his first attempt at public speaking. I helped coach him and helped him outline his talk. That Thursday afternoon changed his life forever. He stood and shared his story to about 300 students, and then at the end, he gave people an opportunity to ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. That day 35 of his peers gave their lives to Christ. Boom! Hayden was never the same. He was so excited that God used him. His youth pastor was also fired up as he realized Hayden was practicing what he had been teaching him. First Priority gave my son the platform to be used by God.

FP Podcast Episode 27: Dustin Doll on how to effectively share the gospel

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Dustin Doll, CEO Accord Group

Dustin Doll is the CEO and founder of Lee’s Summit-based Accord Group, which restores roofs, siding and gutters for homeowners after a weather-related event. Dustin is an Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year heartland finalist. He believes strongly that his company is only as strong as its weakest member and is committed to continually promote learning and ongoing growth, creating opportunity for every employee.

How to use something as simple as your hand to share the Gospel

By | Uncategorized, FP Tools | No Comments

Do you have followers? I don’t mean the ones on lnstagram or Twitter. I’m talking about your “circle of influence”. For example: a younger sibling or cousin, someone that admires you, or someone that chooses your values or ideas whether they believe them or not. That is a follower.
How does it make you feel knowing that you are setting an example, good or bad, to your followers

In First Timothy, chapter 4 verse 12, the apostle Paul instructs Timothy on how to respond to that. “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

So how do you as a believer set an example to your followers when it comes to your faith? First, Paul reminds Timothy about his speech. How you use your words matter, people are listening. Second is your conduct. How do you behave around your “circle of influence”? Someone is watching. The third and fourth go hand in hand; in love and in faith. Do you love those who follow you? Do you love them enough to share your faith?

We can use our hand to share the Gospel with our followers, therefore setting an example by sharing our faith, in love. You can find the whole Hand Gospel explanation here.

Thumb – Good News (John 3:16)
Pointer – One Problem, Sin (Romans 3:23
Middle – Christ died on the Cross (Romans 5:8)
Ring – Believe and Commit (Romans 10:9-10)
Little – A little act of Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Palm – Secure and safe in the hand of God (John 10:27-29)

FP Podcast Episode 26: Mark Roberts

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Mark Roberts, Associate Director of First Priority

Mark Roberts serves as Associate Director for First Priority of America. He spends most of his days equipping and training pastors to start First Priority chapters and working with the team that serves the local communities across the country. He was part of the team that developed the first major FP local city over 25 years ago in Birmingham, AL. He has an extensive background in student leadership training through organizations like: Student Leadership University, N.A.M.B., and Northpoint Community Church. He has spoken to thousands of teenagers and adults over the years, sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the call to be a missionary on their school campus. Mark currently resides in Saint Petersburg, Florida with his wife, Tonya. They have two sons, Hayden and Cole.

8 Times the Impact!

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders | No Comments

Recently, Barna research released that only 10% of Gen Z church goers are actively living out their faith in our current culture.

That is alarming!

However, that research also showed that the same 10% are willing to live more boldly for Christ than previous generations, allowing them to have a huge impact on those around them.

This is exciting! 

The best news, we are seeing the 10% rise up on South Florida campuses!

Last Wednesday in Miami-Dade County, eight schools hosted their club to be an outreach event on their campus. In every one of those eight schools, student leaders actively brought their friends and shared the Gospel!

86 students made a decision to follow Jesus as a result of those eight clubs!

Students are fired up about sharing the love, peace, and hope of Jesus with all their classmates. They are standing unashamed in both their words and actions. As a result,  many of their classmates are attracted to their boldness for Jesus and want to know more.

God is using these students in a mighty way to change thousands of lives in their schools.