Top 10 Things I learned on Vacation

My wife Cheryl and I just got back from our longest vacation in 7 years! I thought a good first blog post back would be the top 10 things I learned on vacation.
  1. I have an amazing wife who I am so blessed to know and love in this life. She is the total opposite from me (which is fun) but I would not want to be married to anyone other than her! Thank you for coming along for the ride babe! (PS - she is now on twitter @IAmCherylMoon)
  2. We have an amazing country! As we got to climb mountains and see things Floridians seldom see and meet the vast variety of people in America I am convinced God has His special hand of blessing on this nation and I pray we will factor Him into our national conscience again before it is too late.
  3. I missed our church. Church of the Suncoast is the place I want to go to even when I am on vacation because it is the church I would go to even if I was not the pastor!!!
  4. We have some awesome staff and volunteers! I missed two weeks and things didn't skip a beat! Thank you Steve, Rita for making sure everyone was in place and thank you to all the volunteers who stepped up! Got to see some other churches volunteers and you guys spank them!!!
  5. I think it is impossible for me to attend another church and not critique it... God you made me like this! BUT, God is doing stuff in other ministries and lives are being changed like they are here at the Suncoast! Go God!!!
  6. Twitter is a great way to let your family and friends be a part of your vacation, I love technology!
  7. It was a bad week to be a celebrity!
  8. Marriott rewards points are awesome! We got 7 nights for just $125!!!
  9. The real South is so different from Florida... there are so many churches! we drove from Chattanooga to Greenville on just back roads like 76 and there must have been 150 - 200 churches! Florida is different, it might even be harder to do church here! I heard someone in the South say "Well it is not hard to get a crowd it is what you do with them..." WHAT? Florida is different!
  10. Coming back from being gone that long is strange, hard, frustrating, BUT TAKE A LONG VACATION WHEN YOU CAN. You need at least 5 days to be able to enjoy the last 2 :-)

Random Thoughts from Tony's Network


Sunday -------- > Fully Devoted Followers of Christ

In traditional church a mix of programs fill the gap…

In the Simple Church you don’t have the programs but what fills the gap? What makes the spiritual disciplines / formation “contemporary”. Small groups can become the next Sunday School.

Organizational Change:
Adkar – Book by Jeffery Hiatt

Awareness for the need for change… why do we need this???

Desire for change… communication of the desire or creating it!

Knowledge… the how, what do you want them to do.

Ability. Do they have the ability to change?

Reinforcement. Affirming the change and the “wins”.


*Have one key leader per area… give people only one boss.
** The structure will change, maybe every 18 – 24 months.
*** Make sure your best leaders are at the upper levels not just because the function a key area that you think should be there.

Seasons of Leadership:
You lead by example (on the front end of a church or ministry)
You then lead other people (I can’t do it all, just pass off tasks)
Now you lead other leaders (you begin to empower people for ministry)
Finally, you lead by vision (the whole organization, can see the whole picture)


Staff Meetings
Death by Meeting (Patrick M. Lencioni)

Text to First Time Guests… 80% came back.

Serving is an heart issue… people don’t see the needs is the parking lot is full, you have kids volunteers, and everything gets done.

Delegation v. Empowerment
Task / Results
I own it / You own it
Do my task / For the overall mission
My way / Our way
Can you / Will you (already know you can)
Management / Leadership
Here is what I need / What do you need from me
Serve me / Serve you
Preferences / Organizational values
Limited / No limit
Subordinate / Peer, team

1. Create a culture that expects volunteers to do it before staff
2. 1 staff /100 people – 40 to 50 percent of budget spent on staff
3. Staff ahead of the growth
4. Hire from within whenever possible
5. Don’t hire from a resume, hire from passion, ability, do you like them?
6. Hire people you like, chemistry with you and the team
7. Hire leaders instead of doers
8. Long hello’s and quick good-bye’s
9. Pay your staff well
10. Hold your staff accountable for their attitudes

Where's My Bailout (NOTES)

Here are the notes from Part 2 of "Where's My Bailout"


1. Living on credit instead of paying cash
2. Delaying payments or paying just the minimum due
3. You are unable to tithe or save
4. You can’t pay your taxes
5. Impulse buying
6. You’re always looking for get rich quick ideas


1. Commit to becoming debt free NOW!
2. Start paying God and myself first
3. List everything I owe
4. Have a sale
5. Set up a repayment plan
  • Order your debts by interest rate (highest to lowest)
  • Decide how much extra money you have a month to pay towards your debt
  • Use all of your extra money to pay off one debt at a time (from highest rate to lowest rate) while paying the minimum on the rest
  • When one is paid off move to the next using all your extra money and paying the minimum on the rest

6. Decide to pay it off in half the time

7. Add no new debt

For the podcast from this talk visit our website later on Monday:


Today at Church of the Suncoast we are starting something new with our Community Groups. We are going "UN - grouped". This semester (summer) we are asking people to gather on their own around 5 strategic books. We had an idea that for the summer people are used to hanging out with the friends they have, the ones they have made at church, and the people they know from serving on a ministry team, so why not leverage those instead of trying to force people into a group full of potential strangers in a more structured setting like we normally do.

So, about a month or so ago I made the announcement that starting on June 15th they would be encouraged to group up and pick a book from our list. The list of books we spent time picking can be found HERE. These either address a need our people have, or it challenges them to think, or it lines them up with the vision of our church. Instead of spending all our time on training and finding leaders it was spent finding the right books.

This is a big risk too because we kind of step back and say have at it, if you are a church leader you can understand how that can go sometimes... But, like everything else at the Suncoast it is an experiment. We want to see if people will leverage their current relationships and if some natural leaders emerge out of it. Who knows so check back in for some updates on how things are going.

If you want some more insight feel free to e-mail me:

Great Post by Steven Furtick

The notes you don’t play
June 4th, 2009 by Steven Furtick

I heard a famous blues guitarist interviewed one time, and he was asked to share his opinion on a few other guitar players. The guys in question were neo-classical shredders: they played really really fast-lots and lots of notes.The blues legend made a funny face, thought for a second, and admitted:“I’m not a big fan of that style. When it comes to guitar solos, I’m a minimalist. I think the notes you don’t play are the really important ones. That way, the ones you do play really count. They stick, man.”

This applies to leadership on so many levels:Often, it’s the notes you don’t play that make the biggest impact.
  • The angry words you don’t speak.
  • The superfluous ministries you don’t do.
  • The sketchy staff members you don’t hire.
  • The mild compromises you don’t allow.
  • The detail oriented meetings you don’t sit in.

If you want to be heard more clearly, play less notes. Make every one count.

Wow, great stuff!!! What would you add to Steven's list... leave me a comment:

Who Are You Bringing

So, on Sunday at Church of the Suncoast I told people they needed to:

"Drug someone, throw them in the trunk, and drive them here if you have to..." If you want to hear the audio you can listen HERE. I was talking about a new series we are starting at the Suncoast called "Where's My Bailout." AND, I really believe we all need to bring some people for this series.

People are looking for answers right now when it comes to their finances. AND, this new series is not just a "money" series it is a series about what do you do in the middle of a meltdown. It is going to be very practical and a great series to introduce someone to our church for the first time... OR bring them back if it has been a while.

You guys are the best inviters I know so let's all do our part to pack God's house this Sunday for "Where's My Bailout". I will be praying as you make your invites and I would love it if you would pray for the people I am bringing too.


9:30am & 11:00am
Rushe Middle School