How to Lead in Good & Bad Times

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The need for leadership varies according to place and situation. Sometimes, a church is growing and certain style of leadership is needed. Sometimes, things are rougher or just getting started, so another kind of a leader is needed. A good leader is able to know which season is which and how to lead in that moment.

I came across this in Ben Horowitz’s book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answersshowing the kind of leadership needed at different moments in a church.

Peacetime CEO knows that proper protocol leads to winning. Wartime CEO violates protocol in order to win.

Peacetime CEO focuses on the big picture and empowers her people to make detailed decisions. Wartime CEO cares about a speck of dust on a gnat’s ass if it interferes with the prime directive.

Peacetime CEO builds scalable, high-volume recruiting machines. Wartime CEO does that, but also builds HR organizations that can execute layoffs.

Peacetime CEO spends time defining the culture. Wartime CEO lets the war define the culture.

Peacetime CEO always has a contingency plan. Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six.

Peacetime CEO knows what to do with a big advantage. Wartime CEO is paranoid.

Peacetime CEO strives not to use profanity. Wartime CEO sometimes uses profanity purposefully.

Peacetime CEO thinks of the competition as other ships in a big ocean that may never engage. Wartime CEO thinks the competition is sneaking into her house and trying to kidnap her children.

Peacetime CEO aims to expand the market. Wartime CEO aims to win the market.

Peacetime CEO strives to tolerate deviations from the plan when coupled with effort and creativity. Wartime CEO is completely intolerant.

Peacetime CEO does not raise her voice. Wartime CEO rarely speaks in a normal tone.

Peacetime CEO works to minimize conflict. Wartime CEO heightens the contradictions.

Peacetime CEO strives for broad-based buy-in. Wartime CEO neither indulges consensus building nor tolerates disagreements.

Peacetime CEO sets big, hairy, audacious goals. Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.

Peacetime CEO trains her employees to ensure satisfaction and career development. Wartime CEO trains her employees so they don’t get their asses shot off in the battle.

Peacetime CEO has rules like “We’re going to exit all businesses where we’re not number one or two.” Wartime CEO often has no businesses that are number one or two and therefore does not have the luxury of following that rule.

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Have You Signed Up Yet?

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My blog is moving soon and I don’t want you to miss anything. Be sure to subscribe via email here.

When you do, you will get an email confirmation to make sure it is you.

Why am I moving and why should you subscribe?

First, I’m moving so that I can add things to my blog that will better serve you. Some of the new features (media, video, and ebooks) will make your experience as a reader better and add more content to help you become the person God has called you to be.

Second, subscribing helps you stay up to date. In a busy world, it is easy to miss things and I’d hate for that to happen. Each day (or week if you choose) you will get an email with my latest post. That way, you don’t have to remember to check back here, it will come to you.

Third, sharing becomes easier. I love all my readers and over the last 8 years that number has grown considerably. My wife used to be my only reader and now almost 5,000 of you subscribe to this blog. I would love to see that number grow because I believe there is value in what I post on my blog and clearly you do as well as you continue coming back. My new blog will make sharing so much easier through social media avenues and through email, which is why subscribing is so important.

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My Blog is Moving

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My blog is moving on July 7th and I don’t want you to miss anything. Be sure to subscribe via email here.

When you do, you will get an email confirmation to make sure it is you.

Why am I moving and why should you subscribe?

First, I’m moving so that I can add things to my blog that will better serve you. Some of the new features (media, video, and ebooks) will make your experience as a reader better and add more content to help you become the person God has called you to be.

Second, subscribing helps you stay up to date. In a busy world, it is easy to miss things and I’d hate for that to happen. Each day (or week if you choose) you will get an email with my latest post. That way, you don’t have to remember to check back here, it will come to you.

Third, sharing becomes easier. I love all my readers and over the last 8 years that number has grown considerably. My wife used to be my only reader and now almost 5,000 of you subscribe to this blog. I would love to see that number grow because I believe there is value in what I post on my blog and clearly you do as well as you continue coming back. My new blog will make sharing so much easier through social media avenues and through email, which is why subscribing is so important.

I’ll still be posting here for a few more weeks, but I don’t want you to miss anything, so take a minute and subscribe via email so when I move, you are ready!

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Every Church Has a Target

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If you were to ask most pastors, church leaders or people who attend church, who the target of their church is, this is the answer you will most likely get, “We’re trying to reach everybody.”

This sounds nice, it sounds Christian and loving, but is impossible.

No church is trying to reach everybody. 

Here’s how I know: One, it is impossible. Two, it is impractical.

Think about it like this: the way people dress at your church, the style of preaching, the length of a sermon, the style of music, if you have small groups, MC’s or sunday school classes, the age of people on stage, the look of your building, all of these things decide who will come to your church.

One of the problems churches have is they feel like it is wrong or unloving to have a target.

Churches in the New Testament had a target based on who was there and they contextualized the gospel to their culture and target (who they felt called to).

What is incredible to me is that if you ask a company (Starbucks, Old Navy, Google) who their target is, they know. If you ask a church, the organization with the life saving, life altering truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ who their target is, they don’t know.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Mike Leake on People don’t become angels and you shouldn’t want them to.

You won’t be an angel when you die. And thank God for that. Angels aren’t in union with Christ. But real flesh and blood people like you and I are in union with Christ. We’ll enjoy Him forever in a way that an angel cannot.

Ron Edmondson on 7 warning signs a leader is about to crash.

I’ve learned there are some common indicators that a leader is heading towards burnout. The sooner we can recognize them, the sooner we know to reach out for help.

Archie Parrish on Avoiding burnout.

The term burnout was coined by rocket scientists to describe shutting down a jet or rocket engine by exhausting or shutting off its fuel. Dr. Herbert J. Freudenberg, in his 1974 book Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement, was the first psychologist to use this term. He defined burnout as “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.”

Aaron Armstrong on Is church growth all about the pastor?

When it comes to church attendance, nothing matters as much as the ability of the pastor to deliver good sermons. If a pastor is good at his job, the church grows. If he’s bad at his job, the church shrinks. Sounds unspiritual—but it’s true. It shouldn’t be this way—but it is. Each week is a referendum on the pastor’s ability to deliver an inspiring sermon.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Al Mohler on Must Christians believe in the virgin birth?

For some, the belief that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin is nothing less than evidence of intellectual dimness. One writer for the New York Times put the lament plainly: “The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time.” Does belief in the virgin birth make Christians “less intellectual?” Are we saddled with an untenable doctrine? Can a true Christian deny the virgin birth, or is the doctrine an essential component of the Gospel revealed to us in Scripture?

The playoff scenario for my Pittsburgh Steelers.

So, you’re saying there’s a chance.

Aaron Earls on Make sure what you share on social media is true.

It can happen to any of us. It does happen to almost all of us. We see a story online that shocks us and seems just true enough. Normally, we check things out before we share them, but this is so unbelievable we need to get the news out as soon as possible. We post it on Facebook or retweet it. Before we know it, others have shared the story. Only then do we find out the truth – it was fake.

Mark Steyn on The age of intolerance.

Joseph Parker on An essential manly movie.

In creating the “essential manly movie” category, it is impossible to exclude Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. It stands as the quintessential Roman tale, its epic scale towering above that of other stories within the genre, namely The Eagle, King Arthur, and The Last Legion. All these were good (sort of), but Gladiator hit all major points of Roman culture while providing a story which highlighted the character of man torn apart by the politics of the age. So, this movie came out over eight years ago. What else can be said? Plenty and you can quote me on that.

Mike Myatt on 15 traits of great leaders.

While much has been written about the traits and characteristics that form great leaders, the truth is that leaders come in many different varieties…there is no one-size-fits-all formula for leadership. That said, all good leaders possess certain core qualities, and great leaders simply develop said core qualities to a higher level than their peers. Put simply, a leader’s shelf life will be equal to their ability to leverage their leadership traits through solid execution, and influencing their constituencies in alignment with the corporate vision with values.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Speaking with presence.

Good communication is at the core of good leadership. And speaking from who you are gives you credibility—an earned authority—and opens the door for you to turn listeners into followers.

Kathy Keller on Why Sarah Young’s book “Jesus Calling” is unhelpful and should be avoided.

If Sarah Young, the author of the words attributed to Jesus, had only used “He” instead of “I” in her book, about half of my objection to it would be gone. However, in publishing these as messages she received from “listening to God,” she has left us in a quandary.

Craig Jarrow on You’re wasting half your day and what to do about it.

It may seem like just a few minutes wasted here and a few more there. But, when you add it up, you might scare yourself. Minutes compound into hours. And before you know it, you have wasted half of your work day.

Joe Berkowitz on 7 time management tips from Chris Hardwick, Man of 1,000 TV Shows.

I thought it was important to see how much time I was wasting, so I got a timer and started measuring things. How long it takes me to check email, how long does it take me to write, how long before I burn out and need to take a break.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. How to end your sermon. Great points.
  2. Jenni Catron on Questions a healthy leader should ask.
  3. Fox News Highly Reluctant Follower of Jesus.
  4. Geoff Surratt on 5 “zipper down” mistakes inexperienced speakers make.
  5. 3 reasons big churches keep getting bigger.
  6. Tim Challies on What is the meaning of sex?
  7. How preaching will reach our world.

Be Simple

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Revolution is going to turn 5 years old this Sunday. It is really hard to believe that the church God birthed in me 13 years ago while living in Chicago actually came to be with 11 people who prayed and dreamed together in Tucson, AZ. Over the coming week as we gear up towards Sunday I thought I’d share some of the dreams that drove us to start Revolution and still drive us to this day.

On Monday, we looked at our dream of helping people become who they were created to be. On Tuesday, we looked at how to help people take their next step with Jesus and why that is so important. Yesterday we looked at our target, what we call: Get the men, win the war. Today I want to talk about something I mentioned yesterday but is critical to who we are as a church and I believe, why we are effective. And that is be simple. 

One of my first jobs was on staff as a student pastor at a church in Wisconsin. It was a church of 1500 people and I remember sitting in a meeting soon after I took the job and the Executive Pastor with a huge smile on his face said, “A family could be at our church 7 nights a week.” No one said anything. Finally I asked, “Is that good?” You would have thought I just questioned an agreed upon theological stance. I got looks that said, “Are you crazy? How do you not see how great that is?”

I then read in a book about the difference between the home pages of google and yahoo. Did you know that each month 88 billion searches are done on google and 9.4 billion are done on Yahoo? Think about the difference of their pages and how crowded yahoo is compared to google. One is simple, one is cluttered and busy. One helps you accomplish what you need, the other makes you guess as to what is important.

In America, there is a desire many churches have to make sure you never have to go anywhere for anything else. We have coffee shops, bookstores, sports leagues for kids, sports leagues for adults, groups for every need imaginable. Now, I’m not saying any of these things are bad or wrong. What I am saying is that by having as many ministries and programs as the average church has, we make sure none of our people have time to hang out with people who don’t know Jesus. If you are at church 3-4 nights a week, when will you spend time with your neighbor or co-worker who doesn’t know Jesus? Probably never.

To accomplish the goal of helping our people live on mission, we have intentionally chosen to be simple. To do two things as a church: A worship gathering and missional communities. Often in churches, people aren’t sure what is the most important thing. Should they join a class, a men’s group, a women’s group, a small group. We took the guessing out of it and said, we want you to do two things. And if you do these two things, we believe you will take the next steps in your relationship with Jesus.

This also helps families not overload their schedule with things so they can have family nights, date nights and family dinner together and do family devotions together. This also helps people to be on mission in their neighborhoods or workplaces. It also clarifies for our church what the win is. Everyone knows what the most important things are at Revolution because we only have two things.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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  1. Tim Elmore on 3 huge mistakes we make leading kids and how to correct them. Parents, teachers, kids pastors and student pastors need to read this. So helpful.
  2. Bringing clarity to organizational language.
  3. Jared Wilson on How your preaching might increase sin in your church.
  4. When everyone else has a better sunday than you. Every pastor feels this at some point, and this is good encouragement.
  5. Ron Edmondson on How to stop being a people pleasing pastor.
  6. 9 observations on the lonely pastor. Every pastor and church member needs to read this.
  7. David Dunham on Superman pastors are bound to fail.
  8. How to design message series for the unchurched.