Do You Need TEAM?

8 Jul

Recently I was reading an email from years past … do you ever do that?  I decided that 23,000 emails in my saved inbox was too many.  I deleted a huge amount — did that feel good.  One of the emails I read was from a past boss.  He was talking about the “softer side of leadership.”  One of the softer sides he was referring too was the usage and acceptance of TEAM.

Cards (57)

Charlie and his TEAM cheering on Gabe after the winning hit en route to a Championship season! Go D’Backs!

I love this photo — there are many reasons.  One reason I love it is the batter last in our rotation, the batter that was the youngest on our team, and the person with the least amount of experience stepped up to the plate and WON THE GAME! 

Looking back I can honestly say many ways in which I did NOT utilize a team.  It’s easy to do.  Ever seen a Superman cape?  Here are some simple ways to skip right over team –

  • Don’t ask their opinion
  • Don’t CC them on important emails
  • Make decisions that are really in their court
  • Believe more in you than in them
  • Take the credit when something goes well — all by yourself

Do you need TEAM?  What would the people around your leadership say to that?  Do they know what the vision is?  Did they get to speak into it?  Do they feel believed in?

I will never forget that night.  Little Gabe stepped up to the plate and there was nothing but belief on that field, with his teammates noses peaking through the fence — “You got this Gabe!”  They believed, they cheered, they promoted, and they made sure when he hit that ball and we scored the winning run that they were all over him!

What do you need to do with your TEAM (mates) that are up to bat?  Are you cheering?  Are you believing? 

Go team!


Does it reach kids? What’s your mission?

23 Oct


The WyldLife Club I volunteer with . . . great kids, great times!


This was an article I wrote this week for Young Life’s national communication.

“Does It Reach Kids?”

As a young area director, I had a very crowded office. It was in an old house where we were given the basement corner. We packed the area office into this basement, and as I look back, it’s one of my all-time favorite offices. We had the normal Young Life office “swag.” We had tubs with left-over clothespins, shaving cream, surgical gloves and colored flagging tape. We had golf sponsor signs from past tournaments in hopes that they would decide to sponsor again! And, we had a golden glove cabin clean-up award and lots of camp photos! All in all, it was a great place to swing by and hang out.

I was recently at a lunch with an area director who was a part-time student staff back in the “basement corner” days. He reminded me of one key item I had forgotten. There was a large poster that hung on the wall with this quote: “Does it reach kids?”

That question kept us focused on our mission as a leadership team. Here are a few conclusions we came to as we kept that quote front and center:

In Young Life, everything we do gives kids a chance to meet and follow Jesus! Kids can respond to the Savior anytime and anywhere, not just at summer camp. Be aware and be prepared!
As you create your schedule, use the litmus test, “Does it help us reach kids?” If it doesn’t, then delete it.

In one discussion, a team leader realized that if he did 20 percent less kid work and instead focused on recruiting leaders, he would reach many more kids!

“So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me” (Colossians 1:28-29, J. B. Phillips Version). These words from Paul remind me of a couple of things:


  • “Naturally proclaim Christ” — Is this not what we do in Young Life? We have a way and a style in our very DNA of communicating Jesus. Be natural, be who God created you to be and proclaim the person of Christ.
  • “All we know about Him” — What is a great Young Life message? Telling kids about Jesus! Make sure He has the maximum “time of possession” in the talk. In other words, are we talking more about ourselves, or more about Jesus? Are we talking more about the woman at the well or the leper who was healed, or are we talking more about the Savior who met them?
  • “Working at … with all the strength” — It seems to me that the evil one loves to get us off target, even slightly. Keep working at reaching lost kids for Jesus! Keep asking yourself, “Does it reach kids?”

As we hit the fall stride, clubs have been going for a couple of months, fall camps are in gear, and we begin to get busy with the fast-approaching holidays. It’s time to think KISS! (Keep It Super Simple). Look at what is transpiring in your ministry. Ask yourself, “Does it reach kids?” Thank you for doing what you are doing in this great mission! You ARE making a difference!


16 Oct


I remember when Richard came to me after stopping by a weekend Young Life camp and seeing us struggle with our sound equipment – “Eric, go by the audio store and make a list of everything you need to make a weekend camp awesome.  Music at the games, music in club, a microphone for the speaker, a way to play two songs at once . . . make a list.”  So, I did just that.  I gave the list to Richard and said, remember, you told me to make a complete “dream” list – so there it is.  Richard didn’t even flinch.  He said, “Thanks for the information.”

Two weeks later a delivery came to our office.  It was everything that was on that list.  It was like Christmas!  Richard “sold the farm!”

“Selling the farm” can happen in a lot of ways.  I take this from the new testament when the bible says this:  “It was at this time that Barnabas sold his farm and put the proceeds at the apostles’ disposal.”  (Acts 4:36-37)

It was “at this time” that God tapped Richard on the shoulder and inspired him to “sell his farm.”  This is how it works . . . whenever you see amazing things going on, it usually means there are a lot of people “selling their farms.

These past few months Marni and I have been humbled by the people that have sold the farms around our lives.  The doorbell rings with meals, gift cards, flowers, people offering to run errands, rides for the boys, and the person just coming to sit and be with her.  The people that sell the farm do not always have the resources to do it.  The key to selling the farm is the heart.  Some of the people that have been the most “sold out” are the ones that have the deepest experiences of loss, or, have been the recipients of others selling the farm for them.

God uses people to accomplish his work.  The mystery of the Gospel is that “Christ is IN you!  Yes, IN YOU!”  And with that, comes hope for others!  (Colossians 1:27) 

God used Barnabas and a plot of land.  God used Richard to make weekend camps even more awesome.  God has used countless people in the Scofields’ lives since June.  God wants to use YOU!

How might God use YOU?  How could you “sell the farm?”  Here are a few ways I have thought of – but let them ruminate and see what you come up with as well!

  • Sell the Farm VISION.  Did you ever think that you might help others with your vision and perspective?  I remember being a young Area Director and wondering how to pull off a golf tournament.  It was Steve’s VISION alongside of me that put me over the edge.  It was as if his courage dripped over into my heart.
  • Sell the Farm CARE.  Every year we would put on a Christmas gathering.  As an Area Director I showed up with my Christmas tie and a devotional.  Everything else came from others.  It was one of the best nights of the year – and it was put on by other’s CARE.  The food, the decorations, the music, the thoughtfulness.  Leaders always walked away from that night knowing they were cared for.
  • Sell the Farm CASH.  I remember one summer’s evening when a committee guy came by our summer event at the park.  He happened to catch a sound byte of a leader saying they had a kid who could go to camp, but they were short the funds.  He pulled out his money clip and peeled off 3 one-hundred dollar bills.  “Will this help?” Yes, it helped!  The best part of that story was when that girl, 7 years later, married, expecting, and in love with her husband she met at that camp called and said, “Who was that guy? I want to connect and thank him.”  Wish I could have been on that phone call!
  • Sell the Farm STRATEGY.  There was a day when we had an 8500 square foot home that we wanted to have as a leader house and epicenter for ministry.  There was a group that met, planned, raised funds, and oversaw this project.  They were in construction and development, and they knew what they were doing.  I remember one day looking around at the 13 leaders living in the house, the dunk ball court in the back, the newly renovated kitchen and bathrooms, and the game room in the basement.  This all happened because of these people “selling the farm.”

What about you?  Where have others “sold the farm” to help you in your life?  Where have you been nudged to “sell the farm” for others? 

I am certainly grateful. 

Have a great day!



5 Aug

Just 300 teen moms and babies having the “week of their lives” while we all attempted to be IF YOU SAY SO leaders

Here’s a couple questions for you to ponder…

  • When did you first recognize that is was Jesus on the shore of your life?
  • What would be the things in your life that attempt to “crowd Jesus out?”

I love Luke 5:1-11.  There is nothing about this day in the life of Jesus that I don’t like.

1-3 One day the people were crowding closely round Jesus to hear God’s message, as he stood on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. Jesus noticed two boats drawn up on the beach, for the fishermen had left them there while they were cleaning their nets. He went aboard one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to push out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and continued his teaching of the crowds from the boat.When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Push out now into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”Simon replied, “Master! We’ve worked all night and never caught a thing, but if you say so, I’ll let the nets down.”6-8 And when they had done this, they caught an enormous shoal of fish—so big that the nets began to tear. So they signalled to their friends in the other boats to come and help them. They came and filled both the boats to sinking point. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell on his knees before Jesus and said, “Keep away from me, Lord, for I’m only a sinful man!”9-10 For he and his companions (including Zebedee’s sons, James and John, Simon’s partners) were staggered at the haul of fish that they had made. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid, Simon. From now on your catch will be men.”11 So they brought the boats ashore, left everything and followed him.

I don’t know what your middle school P.E. moment is or after school dance moment is regarding NOT getting picked – but know that Jesus does pick YOU.  He “gets into your boat.”  I love that.

Here is the part of the account that I especially love.  There have been little moments of obedience all along the way – (1) let him get into the boat, (2) push out a little, (3) push out into deep water, and then, the moment – (4) let your nets down for a catch.

This is where the line is crossed.  Now Jesus is messing with a turf that is not His – he is “allowing his mower onto some other persons property.”  This is someone telling you how to load your dishwasher, how you like your sock drawer organized, or worse yet, how to drive.  It is simply not right!

Peter comes back with some great arguments:

  1.  We have worked all night.
  2. We have not caught a thing.

In those great arguments we hear so much about how hard they worked, how much they know, how much their expertise should be factored in.  We hear that they have knowledge of when to fish, where to fish, and how to fish.  Basically what I hear is:  “Back off!”

But wait … the moment has arrive.  “But – IF YOU SAY SO.”  There they are, the magic words.  IF YOU SAY SO has a lot of obedience packed into it.  This is where the impact comes from.

We just got done with our summer assignment.  The Young Life staff, the Summer Staff, and the Work Crew were amazing!  The Lost Canyon Property Staff were also amazing . . . and together we served up the “best week” to thousands of campers.  This happened because people had the – “If you say so,” attitude.

Have you ever worked with an “If you say so,” person.  They are amazing.  They just get the job done.  Peter was an “if you say so” kind-of-a-guy.  What did it get him?  It got him a few boat-loads full of fish, more fish that he had EVER seen caught.  It also changed his life.  How do we know?  He left the fish to follow after the person who caught the fish!

The three ways to be an IF YOU SAY SO person:

  1. Attitude.  There is nothing that separates a person more from another person than just attitude.  We all know the kind of person – “Absolutely!  No Problem!”  How we respond to people with out attitude speaks volumes as to whether we are an IF YOU SAY SO person.
  2. Available.  Peter allowed his boat to be used.  This entire account could have been real short – but Peter was available.  We have to be ready to serve.  We have to be the first to throw our hands up in the air!  Pick me!
  3. Obedient.  There are times that what we are asked to do will not make sense.  We will have a great comeback – “Worked all night,” or “Haven’t caught a thing.”  Nevertheless, we toss the nets in.

These three attributes = IMPACT.  I watched it over and over again this summer.  People who had great attitudes, people who were available, and people who were obedient.  Boats were overflowing!

Back to the start –

In what ways can you see Jesus standing on your shore of your life?

What is trying to crowd him out from helping you be an IF YOU SAY SO leader?

Hope you have a great week!  Happy Monday!


Grandkids in Christ — who will yours be?

29 Jun

Ian and Jack — having it out in a soccer match!

20+ years ago I was leading a kids at South Salem High School.  It seemed that all we could focus on back then was what was right in front of us  . . . there were hundreds of kids that I knew.  Two particular high school guys I had breakfast with every Tuesday for a semester.  One was a senior and one was a sophomore.  We talked life, school, and Jesus.  At that point in their journey — they seemed older than all the middle school students, and they even seemed mature.  I think back now and wonder how did I not think of them as young, young kids.  One was 15 and one was 17 — so young!

We talked about decisions that they would make, and even said, these are big decisions that will impact the rest of your life.  Over those years both of them started relationships with Jesus and truly — their lives did change.  How they lived their lives in high school, where they went after high school, what they decided to do, and who they married.

The picture above is two of their boys — they played in a soccer match today.  Who cares who won — what matters happened long before they met, long before they showed up on the field today, and long before they even took their first breath.  The life these two boys live as  10 year olds is markedly different because of decisions that their dads made in high school.

Some of you are teachers, some of you are coaches, some of you are parents.  You are pouring into students and giving them all you have.  There are days it is hard to remember that you are teaching, coaching, and pouring into a future businessman, wife, coach, husband, mother, father, teacher, doctor, or farmer.  You cannot predict the future, but you can be sure that time will travel, and it will travel fast.

This picture was texted to me today and I smiled.  I thought to myself, wow, am I glad I said yes to Tuesday breakfasts!  They wouldn’t know how to express gratitude nor understand why, but Jack and Ian I am sure one day will also be grateful.

Keep making decisions on what counts!  Don’t grow weary of pouring yourself out in service.  Keep on keepin’ on!  I guess in some ways these are my grandkids in Christ — who will yours be?



24 Jun


“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle


Habits are formed in 21 days . . . so I am told.  What are your habits?  What do you want your habits to be?


If I reflect on my dad’s life there were two habits that rose above the rest – they were really quite powerful.  The daily walk and the noon time nap.  These were apart of my dad’s entire life.  I can hardly think of a day that he missed.


If a person can create a habit that is a compound-habit, wow, this can be incredibly powerful.  A compound-habit is something that you want to accomplish, but it is a large amount of work.  The idea is to do a “little every day,” or every other, so that the large amount of work is slowly getting smaller.


Typical mountains that compound-habits love to tackle:


  • Mountain of debt
  • Mountain of weight
  • Mountain of home improvement
  • Mountain of a book to write
  • Mountain of money to save
  • Mountain of maintaining a lot of relationships


“A little each day.”  You already know these things, as do I, but for the sake of being inspired –


  • A person that pays off a debt a little each month will get there eventually.
  • A person who sets the goal of losing 1 pound a week will be 52 pounds lighter by year’s end.
  • A person who tackles a home project – 3 hours every Saturday will eventually finish.
  • A person who writes 4 pages per week on a book will have a 208 page manuscript by year’s end.
  • A person who saves $500 per month will have $6000 ready for something in a year.
  • A person who writes letters, texts, calls, and emails with a daily strategy can maintain hundreds of relationships.


What is it that you would like to accomplish this summer?  You have July and August still to be lived out.  This is a week to prepare and 60 days to live out!  What habits are you wanting to form, and more importantly, what compound-habits are you wanting to live out this summer?


There are many things that you want to achieve that are neither art or science, but purely discipline.  Disciplines are formed by practice, and practice is developed by habits.  I am so impressed right now with a couple of my friends.


One of them I was with last week and he has lost a great deal of weight. He did it by developing the habit of no sugar.  (Or, a lot less sugar than normal.)  I saw him two months ago and then last week.  He is a visual reminder of how powerful it is to string 60 days together of a new habit.


Another friend sent an email about a year ago saying, “A book is coming.”  Last month I received that book in the mail.  This happened because he did a little each day toward his goal.  Now, he gets to enjoy the fruit of his labor and his new title – Author!


What do you want to see in your life next month, this fall, by 2014, or one year from today?


Take some time to write them down, and then, the one or two that are really important you will want to come up with a daily/weekly game plan for.  This is where a life coach could come in for sure – here is a reminder of that process.


Hope you have a great week!  Hope you take some time to reflect on some new habits you want in your life.  I am going to do just that today . . . after I take my morning walk!





FLAT-LINED TO HEAVEN – a must read!

17 Jun


I lead a Young Life club at South Salem High for 14 years. Let’s just say that my Monday nights were never dull! During this season of my life I also spent an enormous amount of time at the Original Pancake House. I probably watched high school boys eat over 100,000 pancakes. Each year there was one morning that always stood out above the rest.

I would say to the kids – “you don’t want to miss tomorrow!” What was coming? I would have a friend come and share his “experience” with our kids. Kids always left the breakfast impacted by what he shared. Here is a summarized version of what Daryl would share with us each year:

“I was in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. My life was falling apart outside of my hospital bed with a struggling marriage, a business on the brink of closing, and a pile of bills that had no way of being paid. A few days prior to going into the hospital I very sheepishly gave in and asked God into my life. I was the guy who despised believers, but, I was at the end of my rope.

As I lay in my bed and the nurse fiddled with my I.V. and tended to the variety of hoses coming from my body, I looked out onto the horizon which was getting really wavy. Something was happening . . . and out of my mouth came the words ‘I’m going . . .,’ later, I would find out that I actually said, ‘I’m going home.’

In one instant it happened. In the Stayton, Oregon hospital an alarm sounded and I lay dead in my hospital bed with no pulse and a flat line. The nurse and 7 others were frantically working on me. I was unaware of all this chaos, because I had just, in a sense, walked through a doorway. It happened in an instant.

I was someplace, and it was not a hospital. I looked around and could see an expansive rolling terrain of green, green grass. It was perfectly manicured and was extremely beautiful. The grass seemed to move back and forth with the wind, but there was no wind. The sky was as bright as the sun, a fiery golden yellow, but you could stare right at it and your eyes didn’t hurt. There was a melodic tune in the air and being a musician I know the notes being played were notes I had never heard before. Finally, there were tulips next to me. There were enormous tulip-looking flowers that looked like someone just threw cups of paint onto – except there were colors on these flowers I had never seen nor could I give a name too. I knew I was in heaven.

I was at the bottom of a small incline, and thought, if I can get to the top I might be able to get a bigger view of what was around me. I started up the hill when at the top there was a cloud of light coming toward me. The moment I saw this cloud, I knew it was Jesus.

The cloud enveloped me. As it passed over my and swallowed me up into its light I was completely known – everything I had ever done went before my eyes, the good, the bad, the embarrassing – and I was loved. All I know was that within this cloud there was some form of arms because they were wrapped around me and giving me a bear hug. It was a hug of security – communicating, “I got you!”

The cloud spoke: “I am sending you back. I need you to tell everyone that I am real, and that I am coming back soon. Daryl, you don’t have to worry so much. I am with you and will take care of you.”

I pleaded that I should stay, if I could just let my family know that I was o.k. and that heaven is awesome . . . there was a chuckle from the embrace around me. It was the same as when an older, larger person is hugging you and laughing.

I opened my eyes. I took off the mask on my face, and said to the hospital room full of attendants, “It’s o.k. I have been with Jesus, and it’s going to be o.k.”

My gown was ripped open, the attendants held the electrical shocking mallets, and one held a gigantic needle for a shot. As I sat up and regained my composure the room looked at me in equal shock. Over the next few years the people at this hospital would ask me back to speak, or contact me and want to talk about this day.”

Daryl would then tell some follow-up stories to this day. The three moments that I loved the most were after he was discharged from the hospital. Daryl had lost his restaurant, was now on disability, and had a life to repair. Here are the three moments that my high school guys always leaned in and were riveted to:

  • Daryl came home one day after praying that God would help him to provide for his family. The cupboards were getting bare to say the least. He decided to go to the grocery store and see what he could get on a very minimal budget. As he got into his car he noticed grocery bags in the back seat. There were four grocery bags filled with everything they needed. There was no note, no receipt, and the car was locked.
  • Daryl received his third and final note from bank. The van that the family had was to be repossessed in a week. There had not been a payment in three months. Daryl, not knowing what to do, just prayed. “Lord, you told me not to worry . . .” Later that day the mail came. In the mail was the EXACT amount owed on the van’s three payments to the penny in cash. There was a note that said, “Daryl, with love, Jesus.” The envelope had all the proper postage markings except in the circle where the originating city would be was blank.
  • Finally, Daryl’s son was turning 9. He wanted fishing supplies as they lived near a river. Daryl took him to ACE Hardware and they looked around ACE and made a birthday list. They had walked to the hardware store as it was only 5 blocks from their home. They walked home to find a bag, a tackle box, and a pole on the back porch of their home. Every single item on their “wish list” was on the back porch.

One of my favorite aspects of having Daryl share with our kids was that when he was done they were so engaged. The Q and A time was as rich as the testimony of what God had done in his life.

One of the greatest accomplishments of having Daryl speak was that kids went to school that day with a sense of LIFE that they had never had before. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “All things seen are temporary and all things unseen are eternal.” There was a sense of the eternal on that day. And, it was good!

Have a great day,



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