Thursday, October 13, 2016

Part 1

A couple of weeks ago a friend recommended a book on the New York Times Best Sellers List called, Extreme Ownership. It’s about two highly trained Navy Seals who led teams and missions in Ramadi, Iraq. Today they teach leadership development to businesses around the world from the lessons gleaned from their Seal experiences. It’s incredibly fascinating!

Here are four key points I taught this week during a leadership development meeting with our staff. I thought you might benefit as well.

1. Layered leadership accomplishes the mission

It’s not the generals at the top who “win” the objective of a mission, it’s the boots on the ground. This is so true for every organization. Great leadership must happen at every level to win at the front line. Great leadership organizes teams ensuring their leaders are training and passing the message and mission to their team members. Seals are divided into sub teams of 8 or 4; each team always has a leader who is in charge of the sub team.

Wherever you find yourself on the team, lead well. Your team members and the mission are counting on you!

2. There are no bad teams, just bad leaders.

Ouch! Human nature always has a tendency to point fingers and blame others when things don’t go well. One of the mantras drilled into the mindset of a Navy Seal is to “OWN EVERYTHING.” If you are the leader and the team didn’t perform well, it’s not their fault, it’s yours.
"When subordinates aren’t doing what they should, leaders that exercise Extreme Ownership cannot blame the subordinates. They must first look in the mirror at themselves. The leader bears full responsibility for explaining the strategic mission, developing the tactics, and securing the training and resources to enable the team to properly and successfully execute…if an individual on the team is not performing at the level required for the team to succeed, the leader must train and mentor that underperformer. But if the underperformer continually fails to meet standards, then a leader who exercises Extreme Ownership must be loyal to the team and the mission above any individual. If underperformers cannot improve, the leader must make the tough call to terminate them and hire others who can get the job done. It is all on the leader." (page 30)
3. It’s not what you preach, but what you tolerate that becomes the standard and norm.

Setting expectations (either in writing or verbally) is the easiest thing in the world to do. Measuring and confirming that expectations are consistently met is where it becomes difficult. Accountability and consequences must be in place in order to maintain team morale and a high standard of achievement. The Navy Seals take this very seriously because people live or die based on decisions they make. Each of us must determine “how big a deal” something is before we commit and invest our lives into it. I happen to work at a church ( and we believe our work can have a direct influence on whether a person chooses life or death.

4. In order for soldiers to be at their best, they must believe in the mission and understand why.

The authors talk about a difficult time when their General changed the rules of engagement requiring that Iraqi soldiers would accompany the Navy Seals on their missions. There was significant resistant from the Navy Seals until it was fully explained “why” this decision was made. It was explained that the Iraqi soldiers were shadowing the Navy Seals to learn from them because once they pulled out of Iraq, the Iraqi soldiers would be charged to maintain peace and order. Once the why was explained, morale immediately increased and the execution of the mission rose to a new level of effectiveness.

How many times in life and organizations are decisions made but explanations of why are never given? Or questions arise from the front line but are never answered? Until you clearly explain the why, you will never have the full support needed from your team to carry out the mission.


I am incredibly grateful for the brave men and women who serve to keep us safe at all times and in all places. Thank you to all the Armed Forces for modeling and teaching incredible lessons in leadership to better accomplish our mission.

Pastor Ken

Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Things I Learned After the Cavs Game Last Night

Hi everyone! After yelling at the television last night, here are 5 things I learned during this crazy and incredible championship series. I hope it’s an encouragement and challenge to you! 


When the series was 3-1 and the Warriors were up, EVERYONE was saying there is no way the Cavs will come back and there is NO WAY the Cavs will win because it's NEVER been done in the history of the NBA. Well, they did it and it happened!


The main job that Tristan Thompson (the big guy for the Cavs) had was to play defense, box out, grab boards (rebounds for non-bball folks
J) and not worry about scoring. When asked in a post-game interview why he was so willing to do the dirty work, he answered, "This is my starring role."

Bottom line: Every person has a starring role on the team. When each one knows their role, owns their role and performs their role, the team wins.


Steve Kerr, head coach of the Warriors, was asked about his two big players only scoring one point combined. Steve's response was, "I don't evaluate the success of my players based on a stat sheet. They did what they were supposed to do.”

Bottom line: Lebron James led both teams in nearly ALL offensive stats. Stats can be important but you need to make sure you look at them the right way.


Leadership is hard and it take a lot of work every day. Lebron James led in the off season, he put in hard work and led off camera and off the court which allowed him to be the leader in the most highly watched game in NBA history. To be a great leader you need to be leading during the "off season" when no one is watching and no one is cheering you on so that you are ready to lead yourself and your team to things that no one thought was possible.


It's been 52 years since the Cavs have won a championship. That's what I love about sports, you either win or you lose. It's very clear. No matter what you do, it's important to define what the "win" is and make sure everyone clearly knows what they are working toward.

It's the exact same thing for the church. What's the clearly defined win for the church? Are more people being saved and more people being transformed?

Now if only the Browns could…never mind, some things may require a miracle

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

FIVE reasons why your NEXT STEP is so important...

How important is the NEXT STEP in your journey?

If you were standing on the edge of a cliff and the NEXT STEP would put you over the edge, then the next step is a matter of life and death!

If you were on the verge of dying of thirst and the NEXT STEP would put you into a pool of cool refreshing water, then the next step would be life sustaining!

So where are you on your journey and what’s the right NEXT STEP for you?

I’ve been thinking about 1 Corinthians 2:9 recently.
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Let me share 5 reasons why your NEXT STEP is important.

  1. God has prepared a good plan for your life but, if you don’t take steps of obedience and faith, you may never receive or live out what He has in store!
  2. You can’t walk into the future without taking steps today to lead you there. This is true in our relationships, careers, spiritual lives, etc.
  3. Your next step may not be the final destination of the cliff of destruction or a life giving pool of water, but your next step takes you one step closer. Choose wisely.
  4. God may have things prepared not only FOR YOU, but things he longs to do THROUGH YOU! Another person’s life/death moment may be dependent upon you taking the right step today.
  5. When we move, God is able to guide, lead and direct us. I heard years ago it’s difficult for God to steer a parked car! But when we are moving and yielded, the Lord can guide and steer us to the place he wants us to be. 
So what’s the NEXT STEP for you to take today?
Join a serving team?
Look for a group to belong to?
Check out the Cypress Grove City launch team?
Start a daily devotional plan?

Stop by MY NEXT STEPS area after church this next weekend- we would love to help lead you to your next step in the journey God has laid out for you!

Remember, it’s a day-by-day process to becoming the people God longs for us to become!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Pastor Ken

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Weekend Recap!

I am so excited and thankful about what God is up to, that I had to write a recap from the weekend! Since this past weekend when we announced some initiatives to fulfill our vision, 16 people have come to Christ!

Here's the recap of the Four Initiatives we have been praying about and spending time listening to God’s leading and direction, in the coming year.

  1. We want to see more people come to faith in Christ and be baptized than we’ve ever seen before.
  2. We will develop and support more local community partnerships that make a difference where people live.
  3. We will see more people connect to a place where they can grow and be cared for (a small group) and to a place where they can make a difference (a serving team).
  4. We will launch our next campus this year...Cypress Grove City! (read my blog on why and how we do campuses at Cypress -

What stood out to me from the weekend?
  • We are going to be used by God to be a part of something great for Him which includes more and more people coming to Christ and taking steps to follow Him in Columbus, Ohio!

    God made each and every person on purpose and for a purpose. (Ephesians 2:10) Twenty-four hours after the Grove City campus announcement, there were over 70 families already interested in joining the campus!

    Are you ready and willing to be used by God?

  • People are ready to respond to Christ.
    One of my highlights from the weekend was when two younger men (in their early 20’s) walked to the front after a service and one of them said, “I’m ready to give my life to Christ- could you help me with that?” My response was, “Yes I can!” I shared the message of Christ, what it means to be a follower of Christ and then I had the privilege of praying with this young man as he crossed over from death to life! (John 3:16)

    AND Monday night at Discover Cypress, 15 PEOPLE turned to Christ to trust their life to him and commit to become a follower! (Acts 2:47)

    Who are you inviting to a Cypress campus? Who are you inviting to join your small
    group? Who are you leading in your small group?

  • People respond when you ask them to join you.
    I loved hearing Debbie's story this past weekend. If you missed it, be sure to listen Debbie's Story. Yes, Debbie took steps, opened herself up to God and has been on an amazing spiritual journey. But what if Kelly had never invited Debbie to church? What if Kelly had stopped inviting after the first time? Debbie said it quickly, but did you catch it…Kelly invited her for OVER A YEAR before she said yes! Why would Kelly do that? Because she loved her friend. The next person who played a significant role in Debbie’s story, Barb. Barb said, "Why don’t you join me on the team I serve with?" That's all it took and the rest is history.

    Where is God calling you and using you to serve at Cypress, and in our community, to lead people to Christ and provide steps to follow Him?

The best is yet come,
Pastor Ken

Monday, April 11, 2016

I wonder if this is why people would want to go to church...

Written by Serena Murphy

Two nights ago I attended a meeting in Hilliard to represent the "faith community" for a drug awareness program. The meeting was made up of people representing Hilliard police, teachers, community sports leagues, moms who have lost kids to heroin overdoses and a Hilliard graduate who is 22 and has been in recovery for a year and a half.

During the meeting, I learned staggering facts about addiction and how our communities are getting hit hard with heroin and other drugs and how people are looking for resources for help and hope. A mom who lost her son nine months ago said to me, "I went to the local church and they didn't want to talk about it; I just don't think they knew what to do or where to send me. It's embarrassing to tell people, ask for help and to have your child in and out of recovery programs month after month, year after year. People wonder what's wrong with that family, what's wrong with you as a parent. At least you feel that way and you become so full of shame and embarrassment." I wanted to apologize on behalf of the Church and say I am so sorry she feels shameful, it’s not her fault and that I think sometimes the Church isn't "there" and ready to help. We do need to do a better job.

This has really made me think about the message we are sending as a church. People secretly tell me that their marriages are falling apart, but they don't think people understand because others have the "perfect" marriage and "perfect" children. People are struggling with many things: addiction, kids who are gay, depression, kids drinking and so on and so on. But, some of them think they can't come to church with that kind of life. One of my favorite quotes from CS Lewis is "True connection is birthed when one person says to another, ‘you, too? I thought I was the only one.’"

I wish I could put signs up and down Alton Darby Road that say, "We are not the church for perfect people." And we by no means are the perfect church. In fact, we are so imperfect. We are parents of heroin addicts. We are people who have had affairs, divorced and lied. We struggle with shame, doubt, depression and anxiety. Our kids aren't perfect and neither are our marriages. We lose our jobs and we lose loved ones. Sometimes, we may act like we are perfect and have it all together and for that we are very sorry. We don't want you to think you have to clean up your life before you enter our doors or talk to one of us in the community. We want to accept you as you are because we know what it felt like when we were accepted as we were. We want to lead you to help and hope. We want to tell you there are some of us like you here and we are on the same road as you. Some of us may be further along and some of us may not be. All of us have fallen down at some point but we all want help getting back up and taking another step. Most of us have found our only true hope is in Christ and we've learned through it all that He is our only source of hope and healing. Some of us are still searching. What most of us have realized is we can't do life on our own. You have to have people beside you who understand. And that's what we want you to know.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Why Multiple Services, Video Teaching, and Multisites

A few months ago on the Alton Darby campus, we had a momentary loss of electricity during two of our morning services as a result of the weather. This “unexpected opportunity” resulted in me finishing the remainder of the sermon in person. Eventually, safety lights and computers came back on and the message on what to do when we encounter hard times in life was communicated and I believe many questions were answered through the message. Several people have expressed thanks to the staff for pulling together in the midst of a challenging time so everyone could finish the service. Thank you for your encouraging messages!

Since this happened, I've had the opportunity to go back and recommunicate the vision of why we do multiple services, video teaching and multisites. I realize there are people worshipping today with the Cypress family who were not here two years ago when we made these decisions. So, here is an overview as to why we do what we do.

1. Why do we do Multiple Services?
Every church facility has a maximum seating capacity. Throughout the years at Cypress, we've reached our maximum capacity several times during our "prime time" services and, as a result, we added another service. Each time we reach capacity at a service, we have to decide if we are willing to sacrifice and add another service to create room for more people. Our answer at Cypress will always be "yes,” we WILL sacrifice and add another service to create more room. Additional services are the most cost effective way to create more options for people to attend and invite their friends so that's another benefit to multiple services. Please read Romans 5:8.

In addition, I’m really thankful for the leaders and the people at Cypress who first "crossed the multiple-service river" back in the 1980’s. They were great examples to us of the importance of sacrifice and making more room for more people. And, more importantly, I am thankful for God's faithfulness. The number of people baptized this past year at Cypress is more than the number of people who attended Cypress a few decades ago. 2015 Open Baptism Recap

2. Why do we use Video Teaching?
Two years ago, after praying and seeking God, we made the decision to move to video teaching. We currently offer five services on the Alton Darby Campus and one at our Dublin Campus with plans to add more as these campuses continue to grow. I teach live at the Saturday night service and all other services (at all campuses) are video teaching. Notice that I used the words "currently". Why…because video teaching is a method and methods change. In five or ten years, we will probably utilize a new technological advancement to reach people. Most importantly, the mission and message of the church never changes. We will continue to sacrifice and do whatever it takes to share the message of Christ.

Here are a couple of ways that methods change: way before the Bible was printed and available to “regular people,” the apostles (pastors) carried letters from church to church for people to pass around and read. This was the normal way of reaching people with the message of Christ. Then Bibles were printed by hand but they became so expensive many people could not afford them. In the 1400’s, the printing press was invented and everyone was able to get a copy of their own Bible and didn't have to rely on oral tradition.

There are so many great technological advancements in our world today and I'm so proud to be a part of a church that doesn't fight against it or ignore it, but uses it to spread the message of Christ to reach more people.

One more benefit of video teaching: there is no way I (or anyone) could teach live at all six services every weekend, get the work completed during the week that I have to do, prepare each weekend for a message that I've spent time praying and preparing for and be a good husband and father. It would not be healthy for me. Several years ago I tried preaching multiple times every weekend and I was completely worn out after a while. I thank God for a church that allows me to use my gifts and is open to new ideas. It's been great!

3. Why do we do Multisites?
First, what is a multisite? It's Cypress Church in another area of our city- we are one church with multiple locations. Each multisite has a campus pastor who helps lead day-to-day operations and discern the ministry needs of those that attend that particular campus. Each campus also has the same message, worship, and staff for children, small groups and other ministries. Why do we do this? Again, to reach more people with the life-changing message of Christ. There are hundreds of people who attend the Alton Darby campus who live in neighboring parts of our city. While a “churched” person may drive 20+ minutes to attend worship, the reality for most people being 20+ minutes away is:

a. It’s too difficult to be plugged in during the week (growing in a group and serving)
b. It’s too difficult to invite friends who don’t go to church to make the drive with you

Our multisite strategy is built upon people at Cypress who already know and love Cypress. A new site allows people to attend church closer to their homes, to invite friends, to join small groups and community service projects with those who live in their community.


Does video teaching work?
Remember God spoke through a donkey to get his message across at one point (Numbers 22). However, humanly speaking, good Bible teaching works but God is never limited by a delivery mechanism.

One of the best criteria to determine if video teaching works is to ask if people are responding to the truth of the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Based on the response times at the end of our services, the Lord is speaking and many are responding. 

Why is the use of video teaching strategic?

Because the multisite strategy is working, we are in the process of praying and asking God to lead us to the locations of the next two multisite locations. We know that you may be called to go to the next Cypress multisite if it’s in your community. However, those of us who go are not leaving something as much as we are launching out and joining the biggest and most important project we will ever undertake…building His Church. Please pray for our future and get involved. We need YOU to help us spread the message of Christ across our city and beyond.

Why don’t we have other pastors preach in other services and sites?

Belonging to the Cypress family and the teaching of God’s word are two big things that unite us to a common vision. We strive to provide a consistent weekend experience regardless of the campus you attend so we’ve chosen to have one person on the weekend teach the message God has given him or her for all of us to hear. There will be different people who will preach at times, but the same person will teach and lead us through God’s Word on any given weekend.

What’s the most important thing I can do for our church in our effort to reach more people for Jesus?
  1. Pray
  2. Come to Worship
  3. Connect with a group where you can grow and be cared for
  4. Change - commit to a Serving Team so you can be used by God to provide a path for someone to experience the same life change that you have received from Christ
Thank you for all you do to live out your faith. I believe the best is yet to come!

Love ya,
Pastor Ken

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This past weekend many people committed or rededicated their life to Christ or decided to take a step of faith and break free from something that was holding them back from living life to the fullest as God intended (John 10:10). If that was you, or if you know of someone who did, I encourage you to read this and pass it on.

Here are few things I want you to know:
  1. The Cypress staff prayed together for you on Monday morning and we are continuing to pray for you.
  2. By this time of the week you may be thinking, "I'm not feeling like I did before." You are not alone. God sees you. He is alive. He is real. You belong to Him. Read Romans 8:14-15. It will remind you, as the song we sang this weekend, that you are "no longer a slave to fear, you are a child of God."
  3. Building our faith in Christ is a daily process. As your view of God grows, so will your trust in God.

Here are some things to do:

  1. Start reading your Bible. If you do not have one, we have one we can give you.
  2. Come back this weekend for our series on "Secrets".
  3. Use our online resource page- Cypress Resources
  4. Get into a small group at Cypress where you will grow and be cared for- Cypress Groups
  5. Attend Discover Cypress and/or New Believers which are coming up very soon.
Let us know how we can pray for you. See you this weekend!
Pastor Ken