Leadership

Top 5 Memories from SeaCoast Grace

Today was my last weekend at SeaCoast Grace Church and I found myself both reflective and grateful for the memories and ministry I have enjoyed these last four years. As I was driving into services for my last time, I was recalling all the fun times and big moments, where I saw God clearly at work. And while there are too many to mention, I did manage to hone in on my Top 5 memories from SCG, so here they are, in no particular order…

1. Impact Seal Beach – Uniting four churches in Seal Beach to serve the City of Seal Beach was so awesome! We got the support of the city, the Chamber of Commerce and support of our congregations to beautify the city by painting signs, planting trees, and beautifying parks. It was a real testimony to the community, as four churches, from different denominations, became one church in action…loving God and loving others.

2. Beach Baptisms – One of the greatest thrills I have as a pastor is celebrating the courage of those who desire to publicly declare their faith in Jesus through the act of baptism. And while every baptism is meaningful, there are some real stand outs to me. One of those, was watching a woman, frail from battling cancer, step into the Pacific Ocean with such courage and determination, and witnessing a large fish jump out of the ocean, as she was being baptized. It was a beautiful reminder to us all that day, of how “we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

3. Night of Worship – Anyone who was at the Night of Worship on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 would all agree, that was a special night! I wish we had this service on our Vimeo channel, because we all sensed the Spirit move in a significant way at SeaCoast that evening. It was truly incredible to watch God do His work, as we offered praise to Him!

4. Good Friday Services – Bringing back Good Friday services to the Cypress Campus was awesome! From packing out the East Auditorium the first year, to filling up the West Auditorium the second year; it truly was a blessing to see. And to be asked to speak at both of these services was an honor. I will also never forget my second Good Friday service as the Campus Pastor in Seal Beach, when I went to open the doors and there was a line of people waiting to get in and grab a seat. That was a first! And there wasn’t an empty seat in the place. Unreal!

5. Dad Life Video – We had a lot of fun as a pastoral team making this video. And it was just good to goof off with my peers and let everyone else see another side of us. It was a demanding two days of video and production, but so worth it. The video still makes me laugh.

There are so many other memories that flood into my head…Eight Great Summer Dates, watching my son do air guitar at the Seal Beach Campus Talent Show, praying with people to receive Jesus, crying with families that lost a loved one, and watching Zach grow to passionately love Jesus. These are the memories I will forever treasure. Thank you SeaCoast Grace Church for ministering God’s grace, for loving my family and for making a difference in my life! You will be missed.

A New Adventure

An open letter to the staff and leaders
of SeaCoast Grace Church…

Dear Friends:

This letter is a difficult one to write, because for the last four years SeaCoast Grace Church has been my home. The people have been my family. And the experience of worshiping here has been life-changing. When Jennifer and I started at SeaCoast in February 2009, the church still met in the East Auditorium and the ground for the West Auditorium had not even been broken, nor the vision shared. When I think about all that has happen over the last four years, I stand amazed at all that God has done and how He has provided through His people at SCG. These last four years, have been an exciting time in SeaCoast’s history. And it’s been an honor to be part of that journey.

This letter is even more challenging, given that the last year has been one of my most fulfilling and fun seasons of ministry in my career. I work with an incredible team of people, love the people I serve, and find myself really excited over the growing momentum for small groups. However, after four, personally transforming years at SCG, I believe God is leading me and my family on a new adventure, in order to be closer to our extended family. And so it’s with sadness and joy, I announce that I have given my notice at SCG and will be leaving to move back to Sacramento at the end of this month to accept a similar role at Hillside Christian Church in Roseville.

I fully intend to do whatever it takes to prepare SCG for this transition! And I’m fully confident that all of you will continue to champion the mission well. As I spoke with key leaders over this past weekend, I was encouraged to see their faith-filled reactions. They are some of the best leaders, I have ever worked with! Not only are they supportive of the mission, but they are passionately in love with Jesus. And knowing you and your character, I have full assurance that you will continue to bless these men and women as they faithfully lead this ministry forward.

Your prayers for me and my family during this transition are appreciated. Again, I say thank you for your leadership, support and for your commitment to this ministry. My life has been truly blessed and I leave a deeply grateful man.

Blessings,
Bryan Hardwick

God Uses Imperfect People

Think God can’t or won’t use you? Well, you’re in good company! If you think about it, there are many reasons why God shouldn’t have called you, or me, or anyone else for that matter. But God doesn’t wait until we’re perfect to use us! In fact, the Scriptures are full of the stories of men and women, who in spite of their greed, lust, impulsiveness and imperfections, where used greatly by God to fulfill His purposes. Here’s a few examples, from the Bible’s who’s who:

Abraham lied
Sarah laughed at God’s promises
Moses stuttered
David’s armor didn’t fit
John Mark was rejected by Paul
Timothy had ulcers
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning
Jacob was a liar
David had an affair
Solomon was too rich
Jesus was too poor
Abraham was too old
David was too young
Peter was afraid of death
Lazarus was dead
John was self-righteous
Naomi was a widow
Paul was a murderer, so was Moses
Jonah ran from God
Miriam was a gossip
Gideon and Thomas both doubted
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal
Elijah was burned out
John the Baptist was a loudmouth
Martha was a worry-wort
Noah got drunk
Did I mention Moses had a short fuse? So did Peter, Paul and lots of folks!

Satan will tell you, “You’re not worthy!” But Jesus says, “So what? I AM.” Satan will tempt us to look back and sees our mistakes. But God looks back and sees the Cross. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. So say “yes” to God and watch him do something amazing in you and through you today!

Tweetable Moments from the Summit

This year I opted to not attend the Global Leadership Summit, sponsored by Willow Creek! It was sort of a bittersweet decision, as I look forward to the spiritual jolt I get from the Summit, especially as I prepare to head into the fall. But after 10 straight years of attending, I decided to take a pass this year.

However, as a huge fan of the Summit, I have been reading the blogs, watching the Twitter feed and even got a live stream of one of the segments online. So while I wasn’t actually in attendance, I did manage to grab a few nuggets from this year’s Summit based on the wonders of modern technology! Here are a few of my notable quotes and take aways…

You are the most difficult person you will ever lead. – Bill Hybels

God didn’t make you a leader to respond to stuff. He made you a leader to move stuff ahead. – Bill Hybels

Leadership is about helping others see their own leadership qualities and potential. – Condoleeza Rice

The most important characteristic in a leader is irrepressible optimism. – Condoleeza Rice

When you’re in a position of authority, you need truth-tellers around you. – Condoleeza Rice

An organization is not truly great if it can’t be great without you. – Jim Collins

Authenticity trumps cool every time. – Craig Groeschel

Respect is earned, honor is given. – Craig Groeschel

Organizational health is the single greatest competitive advantage in business. – Patrick Lencioni

We are the biggest barrier to us experiencing success. – William Ury

Life is not measured in time, but in love, contribution and moments of grace. – Carly Fiorina

Never give yourself permission to avoid doing what is right. – Mario Vega

Leaders are not only responsible for their own actions, but for the influence they have over those they lead. – Mario Vega

It’s one thing to see a vision and another to be seized by one. – Bill Hybels

What was your favorite moment? Biggest take away?

Raising An Olympian

Last night America was inspired by the finesse and joy of Gabby Douglas’ performance that earned her the women’s all-around gymnastics gold medal! It was a moment of glory! However, that moment, wasn’t realized without a lot of sacrifice on Gabby’s part. “I just want people to know it took a lot,” she said. “It took a lot of hard days in the gym and determination, passion and drive. Gold medals are made out of your sweat, blood and tears, and effort in the gym every day.”

After taking gold, Gabby declared on national television, ‎”I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him & all the blessings fall down on me.”

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, if you take the letters in her last name, they spell out USA GOLD! Way to represent Gabby! You made your nation proud.

A Grace Filled Response

In reading the headlines and social media threads over the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A founder Dan Cathy’s comments, I was reminded of Bill Hybels loving and grace filled response to Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who under pressure from a gay advocacy group, canceled his appearance at the Leadership Summit, just a few days before the event.

I encourage you to listen to Bill’s response, made in front of a global audience at last years Summit, for I believe his wise words can speak to the issues of our day and give us some great ideas on how we can lovingly respond…

Three Marks of Effective Leaders

Three marks of effective leaders…

  1. Effective leaders never lose sight of the ultimate goal! In looking at the ministry of Christ, Jesus’ objective was always clear. As Robert Coleman writes in his book Master Plan of Evangelism, “[Jesus’] life was ordered by his objective. Everything he did and said was part of the whole pattern. It had significance because it contributed to the ultimate purpose of his life in redeeming the world for God [Luke 19:10; Matthew 20:28]. This was the motivating vision governing his behavior and not for one moment did Jesus lose sight of his goal” (Coleman, p. 18). Jesus seized every opportunity for decisive action, but never lost sight of his ultimate objective to redeem people to Himself (Luke 2:49). Jesus knew and understood what his overall objective was, and ultimately conceived a plan that would not fail, by calling twelve men to himself who would in turn lead the multitudes and usher in a Kingdom.
  2. Effective leaders lead by example! This was by its very essence the leadership style of Christ, who called twelve men to a relationship with himself, and allowed them to simply follow him (John 1:39,43; Matthew 4:19). To Jesus “knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation” (Coleman, p.39), and he gave increasingly more time to his disciples as his ministry was drawing near knowing that his disciples would be the ones who would in turn give this kind of personal attention to others. Jesus’ ministry was marked by visible, memorable symbols and behaviors, for Jesus understood the principle that “more is caught than taught”, therefore he used everyday situations to teach life changing principles for the ultimate end of ushering in his Kingdom.
  3. Effective leaders take care of their souls! In looking at the life and ministry of Jesus, it is clear from the scripture that Jesus maintained a healthy balance in his private life. As the scripture states in Luke 2:52, Jesus kept growing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” In other words, his life had balance, as he was committed to growing mentally, socially, physically, and spiritually. Also throughout his ministry, you often see Jesus seeking seclusion to commune with his father in prayer (Mark 1:35), setting a wonderful example to us, of the importance of taking care of yourself spiritually. This is especially important as all that we do in life needs to be the overflow of our relationship with God.

While Jesus could have been all things to all men, he choose rather to invest himself in a few who in turn could win the masses, and ultimately reach the world. And clearly he set an example for all of us to follow.

A Taste of the 2010 Leadership Summit

As you can tell, I am reviewing my notes from previous Leadership Summits. I think this year will be my 10th Anniversary of attending the Leadership Summit. Here are the things that grabbed my attention in 2010…

  1. We must let our hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God. – Bob Pierce
  2. Good is the enemy of great! – Jim Collins
  3. What separates good leaders from great leaders is humility. – Jim Collins
  4. Hope is not wishful thinking, it’s confident expectations. – Christine Caine
  5. It doesn’t take much light to dispel the darkness. – Christine Caine
  6. Management leads to compliance, but leadership leads to engagement. – Daniel Pink
  7. Leaders give encouragement to build self-confidence. – Jack Welch
  8. I am a firm believer that the Lord sometimes has to short-circuit even our best plans for our benefit. – Tony Dungy
  9. You don’t win on emotion, you win on execution. – Tony Dungy
  10. Each day is a gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to Him. – T.D. Jakes

A Taste of the 2009 Leadership Summit

Here are some notable quips from the 2009 Willow Creek Leadership Summit…

  1. Leadership in sync with the Spirit, results in life and peace. – Bill Hybels
  2. It’s not compassionate, to not be truthful. – Bill Hybels
  3. Organizations lose their influence when the rate of change outpaces the organization. – Gary Hamel
  4. God has crafted in all of us a story that can be redeemed for his glory. – Wes Stafford
  5. Forgiveness means giving up the right for revenge. – Wes Stafford
  6. You will not forget what you do not forgive. – Wes Stafford
  7. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – David Gergen
  8. Faith gives our leadership a moral compass. – David Gergen
  9. Focus on what is working. Study it. Clone it. – Chip & Dan Heath
  10. We need to have a tolerance for failure. Failure can often be a stepping stone to success. – Chip & Dan Heath

A Taste of the 2008 Leadership Summit

Here are some notable quotes from the 2008 Leadership Summit…

  1. Facts are your friends. Are you courageous enough to face them?  – Bill Hybels
  2. Jesus did not ask the disciples for what he needed, he asked them for what they had. – Gary Haugen
  3. God will rescue us from all things petty, and lead us beyond our fear to courage. – Gary Haugen
  4. As leaders, we are giving people a gift to fundamentally make a difference in the life of another. – Wendy Kopp
  5. Spiritual leadership is all about creating the right soil for people to grow up into the people God intended them to be. – John Burke
  6. Jesus came for messy, broken people. – John Burke
  7. In order to reach people who no one is reaching, you need to do what no one else is doing. – Craig Groeschel
  8. Failure is often the first step to seeing God. – Craig Groeschel
  9. In community, we learn to be holy! – Chuck Colson
  10. Spiritual leadership is about getting more of God in my life, instead of getting more to lead. – Bill Hybels

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