LifeKids Project Launch

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Timbuktoons recently had the privilege of producing a show intro and several animated music videos for LifeKids next project which officially launches tomorrow!

On Friday, April 1, Mr. Music is back, now with Emily and Guy the Bible Guy to bring you the latest LifeKids album, Bible Adventure Worship! Sing along with your kids to 14 of their favorite songs like “You Are Awesome,” “My BFF,” and “Count on Jesus.” Mark your calendar to get it on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music.

We’ve been working with LifeKids for years and have made so many great friends there. They give most of their resources away for free on their Open site. If you are looking specifically for KidMin resources, here’s the latest free resource (animation by Timbuktoons of course 🙂 See animation sample on the Timbuktoons Facebook page.

The Secret Ingredient to Your Overnight Success

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So, I’ve been working on a book idea of late and it’s going to be a lot of work. One of the things with writing a book is you have to get people to buy it.

But before you get people to  buy it, you need a book store and/or website to stock it. But before you get a bookstore to stock it, you need a publishing company to publish it. Oh, but before you get a publishing company to publish it, you need an agent to pitch it to the publishing company. And finally, before you get an agent to pitch it to publishing companies, you need to research and connect with an agent. But before you connect with an agent, you need to write a really good book proposal about your book idea.

All of this got me thinking about what it takes to launch a successful creative project, be it a kids TV show or a book, or any other creative project. We often see the product launch of someone who “just came on the scene” and we think, “Dang. How come I didn’t do that?” We all have these creative ideas. Why don’t we act on them? Here’s why. It’s hard work. That’s right. Your secret ingredient to overnight success looks a lot like blood, sweat, and tears. Work.

The word passion means suffering. What do you care so much about you’re willing to suffer to see it birthed? What creative idea has enough clarity and potential that it’s worth spending countless hours on?

Pixar’s overnight success was 20 years in the making. I think that’s the norm. A long journey with lots of perseverance and a lot of pain that leads to moments of breakthrough…that leads to more suffering…er…passion to keep on going. I’m not being negative, just honest. It will never be easy. We need to get out of cushy mode and do the hard thing. There’s a phrase the Navy Seals use that is relevant if we really want to do something that matters. “Yesterday was the last easy day.”

So, what’s the upside? The upside is you get to experience the journey and do something that matters. If you are a Christian, this is where you discover your calling and your various assignments. It’s where you work on things bigger than you for purposes bigger than worldly success. It’s where true satisfaction occurs in the midst of hard work.

I have a friend who’s been working on a screen play for a feature film for over a decade. God keeps taking him back to this one project. It’s not usual for him to stick with one creative idea for so long but He keeps going back. After over a decade, he’s finally seeing some traction and it’s happening one step at a time.

So, the next time you see someone successful and a little bit of envy starts to rise up, remind yourself that their overnight success only took twenty years to happen. Find your passion, suffer for it, enjoy the journey, and keep working hard.

10 Keys to Spirit-Led Leadership

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 10.32.17 AMLast month I led a leadership class for two weeks (of a six week class) and talked about 10 Keys to Spirit-Led Leadership. I hope to write a post on each key at some point, but in the mean time here’s a brief overview of the 10 keys.

Spirit-Led Leaders…

1. …Walk Closely With The Lord

John 15:5
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Luke 6:47-49
47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

This passage is true for life and it’s true for leadership. Jesus tells us how to lead. He demonstrated how to lead when he washed the disciples feet. Servant leadership is not of this world.

2. …Discover Their God-Given Potential

Judges Chapter 6 (Read the whole chapter for context). Basically Gideon was hiding from the enemy just trying to survive and fly under the radar when God showed up and called him to his purpose as a leader. When Gideon was anything BUT a warrior, the Lord said to him “The Lord is with you mighty warrior.” (Vs. 12) God sees our potential, not our current state. He shows us HIS vision for our leadership, not how we view ourselves.

3. …Lead Those Closest to Them Best

Our leadership is only as good as our closest relationships and we’re only as deep as the last person we served. Our definition of success needs to be similar to leadership expert John Maxwell’s. “Success means having those closest to me love and respect me the most.” If we’re building an empire but our family is a wreck we have failed. If we’re doing something “great for God” but our marriage fails we have not succeeded. If we’re pioneering new ventures but have to step on people to do it, we’re losing.

4. …Know Themselves

As leaders we need to cultivate self awareness especially in the areas of personality type, spiritual gifts, awareness of our blindspots, and an understanding of our unique experiences and weird combinations. For example, David was a warrior…and he played the harp. Weird combination but God used both in his life to position him.

5. …Grow

We need to grow in our knowledge of scripture (2 Timothy 2:15). We need to have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.

6. …Attack Fear

We shouldn’t just “deal with” fear, we should intentionally attack it. Read Mark Batterson’s “In a Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day”. Beneniah (one of Davids mighty warriors) didn’t just kill a lion that came at him. HE went after the Lion. The only antidote to fear is heading straight into the very thing we are afraid of. Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s action taken in the face of fear.

7. …Encourage, Inspire, and Mentor

Encourage literally means to “add strength” or to “spur on to courage”. It’s not a Hallmark card, it’s a call to be strong, to keep going, to make a difference.

8. …Cast Vision Effectively

The prerequisite to casting vision is seeing the big picture. The prerequisite to seeing the big picture is spending time with the Lord.

9. …Are Essentialists

Leaders understand the power of  focus and clarity. We can go 50 directions an inch deep or one direction a mile deep. Know your core strengths, core values, marketable skills, and God-induced passions. Spend 80% of your time doing what only you can do. Delegate or cut the rest. Read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown. See also, Good to Great, by Jim Collins.

10. …Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Leaders should set 3-5 goals (covering each leadership role or life area) each year that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant (to your calling/purpose), and Time-bound.

I hope you enjoy these leadership keys. Feel free to leave a comment or question below!