How to Find the Right Boss


The church I lead is hiring 2 new staff members right now and while I’ve learned a ton about hiring (a post coming soon), I have also learned a lot about how to pick a boss. Often, when someone talks about finding a job or a career, we simply look at the company, the perks, the pay, location and the values and mission of the church or organization and decide on that. Yet, studies show people leave jobs more because of their boss than anything else. In fact, people will take less money to stay with a boss they love. One of the questions I ask each person we interview is this: Tell me about your ideal lead pastor. What can he do to help you succeed? What things can he do to hamper your growth? These questions tell me a few things: do they know what they are looking for in a boss? Do they know themselves well enough to know what they need to succeed?

I believe, one of the reasons we don’t succeed or move forward in life is because we aren’t sure what that looks like.

If I was telling someone looking for a job who would not be the boss, but would have a boss I would tell you a few things:

  1. Know who you are. This means that you need to understand your gifts, talents, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. This may seem like an obvious thing, but many are unsure of how they are wired. If you aren’t sure how you are wired, you won’t know how will you fit with a boss or a culture. Do you like teamwork, working alone? Do you want a strict office or more laid back policies? Each church has a different culture based on its leaders, city and history and you need to understand this. I was on staff at a good church in Wisconsin and it was a terrible cultural fit. They wanted high extroverts who wanted a casual business dress with regular office hours. Doing student ministry at the time, this was not a good fit for me. Others would have loved it.
  2. Know what you need to succeed. This follows closely with the first one, but know what environment and kind of boss you need to succeed. Do you want a micro manager who one who is hands off? How much say do you want in the vision and culture of the church? What things are non-negotiable things for you and what are more open handed issues and beliefs? These questions will help you determine if someone or a church is a good fit. Otherwise, you will choose on location, style and pay and those are not always the best reasons to choose a job.
  3. Find someone worth following. If you are not the CEO, Lead Pastor or lead whatever, one of your main concerns is finding a leader you want to follow. That leader will decide so much about your career, livelihood, excitement, passion and happiness in your life that finding the wrong can be devastating. It adds stress, disappointment, hurt, possibly abuse and pain. I can’t emphasize enough that you need to spend time figuring out the kind of leader you want to follow, if the person you are interviewing with or working for right now is the leader you want to follow and make a choice. I think more leaders who not be the lead pastor need to spend more time thinking about the kind of person they are working for or following instead of judging a job based on salary and perks.

In the end, finding the right boss can be just as important as finding the right job. When you find the right boss, I would encourage you to think hard before you go looking for a new one. They aren’t easy to find, as anyone who has worked for the wrong boss can attest.

If you liked this blog post, be sure to sign up to receive my latest blog post every morning in your inbox, (simply click here). I’d love to help you move forward in your life and leadership.


Monday Morning Mind Dump…


mind dump

  • Yesterday at Revolution was awesome.
  • We are in a series called All In right now and I spoke on our part in evangelism yesterday and how we can serve and love those around us to be given a hearing about Jesus.
  • Too many Christians either don’t love well so no one cares or they answer questions people aren’t asking.
  • In the end, we miss the chance to share our faith.
  • Love spending these 4 weeks on this important topic.
  • This Sunday, I’m speaking on how to pray big prayers for your life and for those around you.
  • If you, as a follower of Jesus, are not praying for anyone who doesn’t know Jesus, that’s a problem.
  • If you missed yesterday, you can listen to it here.
  • I have been loving how my MC has been coming together and growing in community.
  • By far, this has been one of our best seasons of MC personally.
  • Saturday night I let my boys stay up to watch the heartbreak that was Arizona’s loss to Wisconsin.
  • While a good game with bad calls made by the refs against both teams, it’s sad when you feel like a game (going either way) is decided by the refs instead of by the players.
  • I read Jonathan Merritt’s new book over the weekend called Jesus Is Better than You Imagined.
  • It comes out tomorrow and you should buy it.
  • So good.
  • Katie and I watched Gravity over the weekend.
  • So intense.
  • Wow.
  • I thought it was good, thought it would be better than it was, but it is 90 minutes of sheer intensity.
  • We’re working our way through this years Oscar nominations for best picture.
  • Excited to watch 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club and of course Anchorman 2. 
  • Should’ve been up for best picture.
  • I did the last workout in the crossfit open this past weekend, 14.5.
  • It was 17 minutes of pure pain.
  • I’m blown away how people did it in half the time I did it in.
  • Unreal.
  • It’s hard to believe that this Sunday Katie and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage.
  • That is crazy talk.
  • For our anniversary this year, we are doing a date day or sorts next week.
  • Excited to spoil her.
  • Can’t believe she said yes and stayed with me all these years.
  • Beyond blessed.
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Top 10 Blog Posts of All Time

top 10 list 2010-resized-600

Today marks 8 years that I have been blogging. A lot has changed in my life since that time. I now have 5 kids instead of 1. I’ve lost and kept off 130 pounds. I am no longer a student pastor in Wisconsin, but a church planter in Arizona.

Below are some of the top posts from the last 8 years. It is a great walk down memory lane of what God has done in 8 years. Hope you enjoy:

  1. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  2. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  3. 21 Skills of Great Preachers
  4. Finding an Accountability Partner as a Pastor
  5. Do You Expect God to Show Up & Move
  6. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  7. Before You Criticize Your Pastor
  8. How a Wife Handles Her Husband’s Sexual Addiction
  9. When a Staff Member or Volunteer says, “I’m Done”
  10. Why Doesn’t Revolution Have a Women’s Ministry
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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.


Josh Watt on The technology question every parent must answer.

A lot of parents are hesitant to be proactive in their children’s life of technology, because they just can’t keep up with the speed at which it’s changing. Other parents are hesitant, because they haven’t seen good parenting modeled in this area. The other reality is parents are on the front end of parenting the digital generation and frankly we are all learning as we go. Yet there is another hindrance to parents being proactive in their children’s online lives, and it is this inner struggle we all have to varying degrees: “Don’t my kids have the right to some privacy?”

What you need to know as a pastor about the new ruling from the Wisconsin judge concerning housing allowance.

The clergy housing allowance isn’t a government establishment of religion, but just the reverse. The allowance is neutral to all religions. Without it, clergy in small congregations of all sorts would be penalized and harmed.

Andrew Walker on Jesus and the same-sex marriage debate.

If Christians are to support same-sex marriage, they should do so by way of intellectual honesty and acknowledge their abandonment of biblical authority, for there is no reasonable way to deduce from Scripture an exegetical case for same-sex marriage.

Mike Niebauer on Is it actually harder to be a pastor than doing another job?

As a pastor who often hears other ministers teach and preach, I am disturbed by the number of times pastors allude to their jobs as being particularly difficult. Yes, we face many challenges—ministry may involve times of high emotional and spiritual duress—but I don’t think these difficulties merit special recognition with regard to other vocations. After all, being a pastor involves almost no manual labor, which makes it physically easier than most other occupations in history. It doesn’t require a 60- to 80-hour work week, unless you somehow equate longer working hours with more of the Holy Spirit’s presence. And although the emotional and spiritual challenges faced are difficult, teachers and social workers—to take just two examples—face similar or greater obstacles.

Aaron Armstrong on She’s done the impossible.

This weekend, Mark Driscoll broke the Internet in half. Again.

Ron Edmondson on 5 ways for an introvert to survive the holidays.

It’s the holiday season again. I love the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I really do. But, for us introverts, it can also be a very difficult season. We are far more likely to be placed in awkward, uncomfortable situations.

Tim Challies on 10 steps to preach from an iPad.

There are many ways to go about it, but I will tell you about the system I have been using for the past year or so. I have found that it works very well. You need only two programs to do this: Pages and GoodReader (or Word and GoodReader if you use a PC). While I continue to use a full-size iPad, this system will work just as well with the Mini.

Be Simple


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.

An Inciting Incident (The Thing that Kicked Your Life into Gear)

Last night was our Christmas Eve service. One of the things I talked about came from the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller where talks about what he calls “An inciting incident.” An inciting incident is something that happens in a story to change a character. The inciting incident is how a writer gets a character to do something.

If our lives are stories (as Miller points out in his book) and God is the author of our stories than all of us have inciditing incidents that happen to us. Moments in our lives that change the trajectory of our lives forever. Things that happen to push us forward, to jump of a cliff and take a chance, things that make us get up and do something.

For me, my inciting incident happened in 2007. It happened between a church in Wisconsin and church in Florida that propelled us to Arizona. Without those two churches (both really bad experiences) I don’t know if we would have moved to Arizona and started Revolution.

At the time of an inciting incident, it is often uncomfortable, painful and something you wish would end. If it wasn’t like this, it would not create any change in your life.

For us, we were on staff at a good church but we weren’t happy. We knew that there was more for us to do, that God had a different place for us. It was uncomfortable, hard to keep going and we wanted to throw in the towel. When we explored this with other leaders at the church, it led to an uncomfortable exit. Looking back, I understand why it happened and it was the right thing, but at the time, it was horrible.

Because of the way things happened, it caused a lot of pain and depression for me. I didn’t even want to attend church, let alone work at one. It caused a lot of pain for our marriage as now we were looking for new jobs. The worst part about a bad leaving at a church is the pain it causes. Christians have a way of hurting each other in pretty horrible ways. But that is a different post.

Looking back though, we would not be in Arizona without this experience. We also would not have had the energy and courage to get Revolution off the ground, as well as the stamina to do what needed to be done without this. It caused us to look at our lives, what we believed about God, our calling and how it all fit together. When things got hard when planting Revolution (and church planters, it will get hard), we were able to look back on the time leading up to that moment and know, life could be harder.

Last night, we closed out the sermon on the mount by looking at Matthew 7:24 – 29. Jesus talks about two men. One of them builds his house on the rock and the other builds his house on the sand. What is interesting and what you won’t hear in most churches is that both men got pelted by the same storm. Just because the one guy built his house on the rock does not mean he got out of the storm. He still went through the storm, just like the guy who built his house on the sand. The difference is only one got through it.

We can say til we are blue in the face that we believe in Jesus, but a storm reveals what we believe. Storms and pain have a way of revealing what is really in our hearts. Inciting incidents have a way of revealing who we are and what we are all about.