I Am Ready To Fail

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Failed red grunge stampI am ready to fail.

Not because I’ve been overly successful. Not because I haven’t failed in the past.

But when there are long seasons of life that go extremely under opposed, it creates in me a desire to take a risk so large that the odds of failure are higher. I’m not saying I want to go deliberately make a move that would be a public nightmare, but I’m ready to fail. The worst thing that could happen to anyone in this life is for them to go extremely under opposed for their entire life. My character is tested most in times of opposition. My drive is fueled by the thought of potential failure. So, I’m asking myself the question today, what can I do were the failure rate would be higher that 50%. Those odds are scary enough to make me uncomfortable. Those odds are bold enough to make people follow a movement.

How about you? Failed enough lately?
Want to join me on the failure train? Let’s see if we can turn it around.

Let’s Make It Facebook Official

By | Pastor Stuff | No Comments

Since the beginning of time relationships existed without Facebook. There were other ways to publicly declare that you were taken. But in 2015, the best way to let the world know that you are no longer on the market is by using your social media platform. Editing your bio to show an updated relationship status has become a significant step in the life of a relationship. People get hundreds of likes and dozens of comments on these kind of updates.

Water baptism is the same way. Water baptism is not salvation, but a symbol for someone who has already been saved. The water is simply the update in your journey that allows outsiders to know about the decision you have made for Christ. If you are interested in being baptized and making it Facebook official, you can sign up on THIS PAGE.


PK Retreat Recap

By | Ministry, Pastor Stuff, Weekend Review | No Comments

Mike Santiago - SpeakingThis past weekend I had the privilege to speak to 200 of my best friends. Here are a few takeaways…


  1. I love pastors kids.
  2. I really really really missed FOCUS church while I was gone.
  3. Pastors kids are hungry for God at a whole notha level.
  4. Their generational blessing was evident in their worship.
  5. GoPro cameras take the best #SermonSelfies
  6. SEU Worship knows how to take students into the presence of God.
  7. Sea World is more fun with a fast pass.
  8. Sea World is a lot more fun with an all you can eat bracelet.
  9. I like staying in nice hotels.
  10. Even pastors kids need some altar time.
  11. Colin Jackson was a great sidekick for the weekend.
  12. I don’t miss Florida traffic.
  13. I really love preaching.
  14. Al Force and the Pen Florida team are the best.

I can’t express how awesome it was to see God move and work in the lives of pastors kids.

I have my own parking spot at Focus Church

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Parking for Pastor

Growing up in church I always noticed a sign in front of the best parking spot on the property. (This spot was usually occupied by the most valuable car in the lot too, but that’s a post for another day.)


The sign said “Reserved for The Pastor.” I have carried on that tradition by also reserving a spot for myself every weekend at Focus Church. With one blaring difference. My spot is not the closest to the building. It is actually not even kind of convenient. It’s the furthest possible parking spot from our venue.


Here are some benefits to my inconvenient parking spot:


There is never anyone fighting for my spot, so I don’t even have to put up a sign.

There is no chance of my car getting scratched or dinged by another vehicle.

The step counter on my Fitbit loves this idea.


What I have learned about leadership is this:


Leaders park far away.

Leaders take the long walk.

Leaders leave room for newbies.

Leaders eliminate as many frustrations as they possibly can.


So if you are looking for my car on a Sunday morning, chances are you will have to look half a mile from the building.


Leaders: join the “Park Far, Walk More” revolution this Sunday.


Mike Santiago

3 Things your church could learn from Chipotle

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What the church can learn from Chipotle

I am the Jared of Chipotle. Seriously. Chris and I eat there way too much. Our deepest conversations tend to take place around our favorite corner booth with burritos in our hands. It has become such an epidemic that the Chipotle staff recognize us outside of the restaurant on their days off. Because of this overwhelming addiction, I figured I would put my frequency to use and do a little analysis of why I am drawn to this little piece of heaven on earth. Here are a few things every pastor or church leader could learn from Chipotle.


1. Consistency

The reason I go to chipotle is because I will rarely be surprised. The temperature of my food remains the same, the flavor is never drastically different. I like that. So do people who attend your church. They love to know that they aren’t going to be embarrassed or surprised by what takes place on a Sunday. They like to know there is going to be a seat for them. Consistency in your service length is also something that needs a relative amount of consistency. Chipotle is so consistent that I can order the same food from a store in a whole different state and it will still taste the same.

2. Simplicity

There is variety in extreme simplicity at Chipotle. This means, you have options that aren’t overwhelming. Down to the very nature of their furniture, everything about them is simple.  Simplicity is more difficult to achieve than most of us realize. In a church world where we wear badges of how many ministries we offer, simplicity creates a much stronger and easier to follow vision. At FOCUS Church, we only do 5 things. We call it the FOCUS 5. Even now in this season of ministry, I am many times tempted to add to our ministry menu in order to satisfy a few more people, but thats not fun or enjoyable. Making your church more simple is one of the biggest challenge you will ever face. People will give you push back on not having something to offer every night of the week, but simple is strong.

3. Creativity

Don’t confuse simplicity with not giving your people the ability to customize. Customization at Chipotle is your right to make complicated, that which was simple in its foundation. You can still be creative and simple at the same time. Because each customer wants something different, they allow you to be creative on their simple terms. My church needs to be the best place to express the gifts of God while all the while staying simple on mission.



Weekend Rewind – January 4th

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Here are a few thoughts about yesterday as I reflect on what God did…

Sunday At Focus

1. I love that we took a break on December 28th. Everyone comes back encouraged and ready to worship.

2. Props to our newest volunteer Kyle. He pulled the trailer yesterday and thats a really important role.

3. We had over 50 kids downstairs yesterday. If you know or venue, you know that 50 kids in those little rooms won’t last long.

4. There is something about using every available chair in our auditorium that I love.

5. There is something about using every available chair in our auditorium that I hate.

6. When people in our church bring people to church, that gets me pumped!

7. I am excited to add new volunteers this Saturday at our Volunteer Vision Rally!!


What the church could learn from the NFL and the way they fire their coaches

By | Pastor Stuff, Random | No Comments
Black Monday
Today is the day. The day after the regular season ends in the NFL. For some teams, like mine, they are celebrating and preparing for the playoffs (Go Panthers). For others, they are cleaning out their lockers, planning their off season activities and taking a break. For coaches of several teams this day is the day they will be fired.
They call it black Monday. This is where a wave of NFL coaches get fired or quit. As ESPN roles constant coverage of these expected transitions, I realized that there are few things the church could learn from how this is done.
Before you get mad at me for comparing the local church to the NFL, just take a moment and think about this. We are not a sports organization. We are way more important. We are a spiritual organization. More than millions of dollars at stake, there are millions of souls at stake. So as serious as they take these coaches, we should take the kingdom work even more serious.
1. They let the coach finish out the season.
It’s rare that a team would get rid of their coach in the middle of the season. They understand the courtesy of letting him finish out a certain season. I think the church could learn from this too. Transitioning a pastor or staff member during the wrong season can cause extra damage that could have been avoided. Summer is a low impact season of ministry that would avoid major holiday weekends and high visitor months.
2. They make the announcement public.
Press conferences are called and statements are released immediately after the decision is made. There is little room for guessing or questioning whether or not a coach will be let go. What if we made transitions in ministry less dramatic by going public with the announcement? It puts everyone on the same page and avoids as much drama as possible.
3. They make the transition quick.
There is very little transition period. The coach is gone on the same day or within the same week. There is no long term exit strategy, no goodbye reception 2 weeks afterwards, its done on black Monday.
4. Everyone knows its coming. Even the coach.
If there is not enough W’s in the teams column, everyone expects there to be a change. If there is not new salvations, growth in attendance and a healthier financial status, everyone should expect a change in leadership. Very rarely does a church take the measures that the NFL does to fire their leader after one season of poor performance but maybe they should. Many of us can think of people in leadership roles that have been there for too long.
Final thoughts
Not every season of ministry can be playoff contending. Not every church will go to the Super Bowl every year. But I think we should look at our leadership and the win-loss column and ask ourselves: is it time for a change? I think as a pastor I should look closely at how my own church is doing and ask myself: Am I doing everything I can to produce the kingdom work that God has called me to?
I also must realize the call of God is not contingent on my personal performance. But God has called us expand His kingdom with everything inside of us.

Why we still make new years resolutions

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New Years ResolutionsThis week of the year is full of goal setting, calendar buying and fitness gym tours. I even make sure my WALL CALENDAR is hung and ready to go. But why? Why does the last week of December provoke the deep need to reset? Why are we drawn toward the desire of resolution?

As a self-starter and motivated entrepreneur, this time of year is like a drug. My love for the new, my need for fresh starts and my excitement over clean slates gets me high. But why?

I truly believe that we love a new year because we where designed to love second chances. We are wired to need 2nd chances. I am in need of a grace that not even the best resolutions could give. For this reason we buy calendars, sign up for gyms and try to do better every year.

What I love about Christ is that I can already walk in the resolution He gave on the cross. I don’t have to wait until January 1st to become someone that I might not be able to sustain. His grace has been available since before I was born. His grace was given before I let my weight get out of hand, before I missed all my goals from last year.

I think we are drawn to the idea of resolutions because we gravitative towards trying to permanently fix that which Christ fixed on the cross. This post is not excuse for unhealthy living or neglecting to set goals, this post is just to remind you that grace is the resolution you need to make the changes you desire.