Perry Noble – Don’t Give Up! #Cat10

Perry Noble is raw. He’s funny. He speaks his heart, doesn’t hold anything back, and, best of all, he’s passionate about Jesus.

At Catalyst 2010, Perry talked through 1 Kings 17 and God’s dealing with Elijah. God fed him by the ravens. He provided for him, but then the brook dried up and Elijah had no water. Elijah was in a period of learning to trust God completely.

Perry had so many great one-liners to share I decided to list some of them here:

  • God said, “It’s about time for a dumb redneck to get up and tell people about me.”
  • God is often going to lead us places we don’t think we want to go but we are always glad once we are there.
  • The best ministry advice I could give you: “Do what the Lord tells you.”
  • The greatest thing that’s ever happened in our ministry is unexplainable because God did it.
  • If you can explain what’s happening in your church God’s not doing it.
  • How many times do you drive by McDonalds and wonder if their hiring? (Referring to how tough ministry is some days.)
  • If you’re here and the brook is dry, God is not punishing you. He is preparing you for greater plans.
  • God was saying to Elijah, even though the brook is dry…I am never dry.
  • I’m a grave robbing, water walking God and I will never run dry!
  • Why do we run from situations God reigns over?
  • God has never given up on you, don’t you dare give up on Him

What a refreshing talk this was! I needed this! I hope you will order this talk.

Are you tempted to quit? Please know you are not alone. I’m praying for you.

Beth Moore – Dealing with Insecurity in Church Leadership #Cat10

Beth Moore started by reminding us how quickly life changes but how much the Gospel stays the same.  Then she had us stand, while she knelt to pray.  (I know that because I peaked.)  What a picture of humility on her behalf.

Beth then stated that she felt awkward talking to so many men about insecurity in leadership, but that was where she was asked and felt led to share.  (Thank you for being obedient!)

She began by taking us to Proverbs.

For the Lord is your security and He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3:26

Insecurity is a snare we are usually not prepared to face.  Insecurity means, “inordinate self-consciousness, positive or negative.”  Anything that causes us to be caught up in ourselves will keep us from fully honoring God.

There has never been a time when we were more susceptible to insecurity.  We live with instant scrutiny as church leaders.  Even before we finish a message, what we said is already put to the world on Twitter or in a blog.  Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a voice.  We have all become published authors. People are passing on information before they have a chance to absorb it. All this makes us prone to insecurity.

Somewhere along the way, if we don’t deal with insecurity, we begin to rely on our own abilities and forget the things of our first love.  Many leaders come to the destruction of their ministry because of their personal insecurities and their failure to rely on the Spirit of God for security.

Thanks Beth for reminding me to place my complete trust and dependence on the person of Jesus Christ!

Reflect on this:

Do you struggle with insecurity?  Could it be a reliance problem?  Are you relying more on your own abilities than the sufficiency of Christ?

Seth Godin – Everything in this Economy has Changed #Cat10

Seth Godin is possibly one of the most influential authors, bloggers and leadership thought changers in the world today. His anticipated message at Catalyst began with Seth sharing how he made a $40 billion mistake.

In 1992, Godin was a book packager with an Internet company when the Internet was still new. Godin had an idea. He packaged it into a book. He sold the book for $70,000. The book sold 850 copies. Not bad…at the same time, however, a start-up company named Yahoo was implementing that same idea. He was trying to write a book. They were trying to change the world.

That type of attitude shown by Yahoo is what it takes these days to make a difference in this new economy.

Using his classic wisdom, Godin encouraged the audience with continuous, rapid and quotable nuggets of wisdom. Here are some: (Understand, Godin spills this stuff out fast…so these are as close to what he said as I could type.)

  • We have to teach people to be able to solve problems.
  • A revolution is destroying the industrial revolution.
  • Institutions embrace compliance. Compliance doesn’t work
  • We are more connected than ever before…it’s connection that makes a difference…not compliance…
  • You don’t win by being complaint, you win by being connected…
  • Boring doesn’t work…
  • If you want to succeed, you have to be prepared to fail…
  • Art is a human act that changes someone…
  • We need people willing to make a change even if they have to face set-backs and failures at first.
  • We should be rewarding those who are willing to make a mistake.
  • You need to learn to make decisions on your own and not wait for a boss to tell you what to do.
  • Change is made by individuals who eagerly accept responsibility, but don’t demand authority.
  • You have to quit trying to fit in…instead you should try to make a difference.
  • Maybe you should fire people that always do the right things… they are not failing and playing it safe.

Andy Stanley asked a powerful question at the end of this talk. What do you do if you are in a bureaucratic environment? Seth’s answer: Stop lying. You’re not in a communistic environment. You have the flexibility to help make one change a day.

Leaders need to hear this talk, but especially young leaders and those who want to make a difference these days. To order the resources from this conference, click HERE.

Which of these nuggets of wisdom jumps out at you the most?

Daniel Pink – Author of Drive on What Motivates #Cat10

Daniel Pink, author of the recent best selling book Drive, shared a message on motivation; specifically what motivates people.  When people are motivated, they achieve more, do better work, and our more satisfied people.

Daniel then shared what research shows motivates people best:

Money is a motivator – People must be paid fairly.  Once you pay people enough, additional money doesn’t appear to increase motivation. The goal should be to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.

After you’ve solved the money issue, three things drive motivation.

Autonomy – People want to be engaged in their organization, not by being managed or controlled, but by having a sense of freedom to do their work. They need autonomy over their time, tasks, team and techniques.

Mastery – We all have a desire to get better at stuff.  Instead of annual performance reviews, teams should work together to continually set goals and self-evaluate their results.  People should own their destiny.

Purpose – People need a genuine and honorable purpose they are seeking to attain.  When it’s all said and done, ask yourself, “What’s it all about?”

Daniel encouraged us to Tweet: “Carrots and sticks are so last century. For 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose.”

BTW, Andy Stanley’s leadership team just went through the Drive book.  That’s good enough encouragement for me.

This is a good reminder of what it takes to lead people well.

Upon which of these do you need to improve in your leadership?

Do you agree with Daniel’s assessment of encouraging motivation?

Andy Stanley – Tension for More – Catalyst #Cat10

Andy Stanley kicked off Catalyst this morning with a challenging message to leaders about tension. Andy said “there is an eternal tension that all of us carry that’s associated with our appetites. We all want more…” I needed this reminder.

Andy shared how leaders are naturally wired for an appetite for success and progress, which can be used for good. The tension is not to allow that appetite to negatively control our life. Andy used a personal example of that tension by talking about his struggle to want progress, yet not wanting to take pleasure in having a large church. (I love his honesty!)

Three things you need to know about appetites:

God created them and sin distorted them – Creating things, responsibility, progress, etc…all good things…but sin gets in the way of something God created.

Appetites are never fully and finally satisfied…ever…they never go away. We wrongly think there is some achievement or responsibility that will finally fulfill an appetite. Leaders will always experience tension in this area.

Your appetites always whisper now and never later. Your pursuit of satisfying this appetite will impact every other aspect of your life.

Andy shared from the story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25). One powerful statement he made, “We would all give up our birthright for the right bowl of stew.” When we give into our appetites for more for the wrong reasons, we are tempted to sacrifice everything we truly value in our life for temporary satisfactions. Those appetites for more will never go away, so our only hope is to reframe our appetites in the context of what God has called us to do, then refrain from trading your future for a bowl of stew.

Every church leader needs to hear this talk. Check out the Catalyst resource center to put this in your leadership library.

Do you need this reminder?

Gayle Haggard on Grace and Forgiveness at Catalyst #Cat10

Gayle Haggard told her humbling story about her husband, Ted Haggard’s moral failure. You probably read about it…( #UnderStatement) If you haven’t, you can read more HERE. Most of us can’t imagine finding out that our husband had a secret life as Ted Haggard had. As a pastor, I can only imagine the trauma that went through his family, his church, and his personal life.

Gayle threw out so much in a short time that I decided rather than do a commentary I would share some of her statement that caught my attention most:

This is my moment to confess aloud to the whole world what I really believe and who I have confidence in…

My relationship with my husband, the church, even my family was at stake, but this is my opportunity to reveal what I really believe.

I was challenged, did I have the courage to do the things Jesus teaches us to do? I really do believe He will never leave us or forsake us… I believe that we do not abandon when the going gets tough. It seems like everybody I counted on was failing me.

God was telling me to love and He was telling me to forgive. The implications would be hard, but I was determined to live out the faith I had claimed to have. What good is forgiveness if you don’t bear with one another and forgive as the Lord forgave us?

I became the “sinner” for staying with my husband by the judgment of the church.

The evidence of our faith is shown by what we do when we face our greatest trials.

A great test of faith is how do we respond when another person sins.

Even though I was shocked at the nature of my husband’s sin, I was not shocked that he sinned.

There is not one city in America where the number of people attending church is increasing.

The church appears to not know how to model what we preach.

The world watches when we have a scandal and wants to see how we respond.

We are no better or no worse than any other human…but we have been redeemed.

I would hope as a church we would be able to grasp the real meaning of the Gospel.

Sharing my story has brought many others to share stories proving to me the church is often not the safe place to share the real struggles of life. (She went on to say the world seems to forgiven easier than the church.)

Gayle offered a sobering reminder to us all of what grace and forgiveness looks like. I plan to buy her book Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour.

What about you? Can you imagine offering the kind of forgiveness Gayle has had to offer her husband? Give me your thoughts.

Pete Wilson: Plan B for Church Leaders at Catalyst Lab #Cat10

Pete Wilson with Cross Point Church opened his Catalyst lab session by asking the question:

When did God ever give anyone an easy job?

Pete’s message in his recent book Plan B, which recently went viral, is to those who are in the midst of difficult times. Pete explains it as “the spot in one’s life, personally or relationally, when they have a heightened sense of vulnerability and a diminished sense of power.” Since this is mostly a Christian leadership conference, Pete adapted his message to a Catalyst audience.

The fact is that church leaders struggle every day. Pete reminded leaders that “God is much more concerned about what a leader is becoming than what he or she is doing.” He said Satan brings ideas and images to our mind to distract us from the work we are called to do.

Pete said the four main temptations for Christian leaders are:

Tempted to think you are in control

Tempted to pretend

Tempted to ditch our God-given values in pursuit of our God-given dreams

Tempted to feel abandoned

Pete closed by reminding the room of Christian leaders that God is more powerfully present even when He seems more apparently absent.

I sensed in the room, and in my spirit, that this was a much needed breathe of fresh air for many leaders in the room. I love the transparency of Pete. Glad to say he is a personal friend in the ministry.

(If you want to read an interview I did with Pete, click HERE.)

Positional Versus Relational Authority

I was sitting with a staff member recently who presented me an idea. I had reservations about the idea instantly. It was actually a “red flag” idea and I knew it. I love ideas, however, and I’m consistently encouraging our staff to dream, take risks, and improve upon what we are doing. So I listened intently and we discussed the pros and cons of the idea. The next day this staff member came back to tell me and he had thought about our discussion, had changed his mind and was going a different direction. I was thrilled with “his” decision.

This story illustrates an important leadership principle difference between positional versus relational authority.  The wise leader knows the difference is huge.

In that instance I used relational authority. I had the ability because of my position to squelch the idea instantly. I could have stopped his plan. I could have killed a dream. In doing so, however, I would have also risked injuring a relationship and stalling someone’s personal growth. He may never have brought me another idea. He may have quit trying. He may have even decided I no longer supported him. Coming to the decision on his own gave him confidence in the direction he was going and allowed him to see me as a mentor not a detractor of his leadership.

Many times I could demand something because of my position, but most times the issue is better resolved if I encourage something because of my relationship. In my experience, there are times for both types of authority to be used, but the majority of the time relational authority works better in creating healthy organizations, healthy teams, and healthy team members. The wise leader learns which is best at the time.

Do you see the difference? Which are you providing most to your organization: Positional or Relational Authority? Which are you receiving?

Top 10 Questions about Multi-Site Announcement


Yesterday we announced that Grace Community Church is going multi-site. We will be one church that meets in two locations, adding our second location at Kenwood High School. (I wrote more about it HERE.)

As expected, we couldn’t answer all the questions in the time we had yesterday. This post addresses some of the most common questions I or members of the staff have received since yesterday’s announcement.

Will we still meet at Rossview?

Absolutely, this change is to allow us to continue to grow so we can fulfill the mission to “encourage growing followers of Jesus Christ”, so we will continue to offer three services at Rossview and we will be adding a fourth service at Kenwood.

Does this mean we are not building a building on our property near Rossview?

Not at all, it means that right now, because a building is not an option financially, that we are finding another way to create more room to reach people for Christ. We want to be financial responsible and not acquire debt beyond our means, while continuing the level of ministry God has called us to do. The plan remains to build on our property when the timing is right and the proper finances are in order.

When we build a building, will we close the Kenwood campus?

The plan is not to close what we feel God wants to do in that community. Anyone who has lived in Clarksville long knows that geographically we are spread out from each other. About 600 people pass Kenwood every Sunday to get to Rossview. There are approximately 75,000 people within a 5-mile radius of Kenwood. We think that’s enough to support a campus.

Will there be additional staff hires?

At this time, no staff hires are planned to be specifically assigned to either campus, but growth at Kenwood could allow for that eventually. We certainly want to minister effectively to the people in that area. We launched the church five years ago with volunteer leadership in many areas and we still empower many volunteers to lead. Kenwood will require even more volunteers to assume key positions, partnering with the existing staff we have.  Due to our co-pastor strategy from the beginning, our staff is accustomed to working in a team environment and is working a plan to share the responsibility of two campuses.

Have we considered a Saturday night service?

There probably aren’t too many options we haven’t considered, but this one would be hard to do in our setting. Every time we use the school, it requires a school custodian to be there. Sundays are a stretch on their schedules, but Saturday would be even more so and are not an option at this time. Additionally, school activities would consistently conflict with church schedules on Saturdays.

Why don’t we just build a smaller building than originally planned?

While that sounds logical, it isn’t practical. The size of a building with only the square footage we are using at Rossview is still a very large building and right now would be outside of our comfortable reach financially speaking. We can’t justify building something less in size (or even the same size) when our growth rate is what it is today and we are already maxing out the space we have at Rossview.

Will the same things be offered at each campus?

Yes, the Kenwood campus, other than some changes in color schemes due to school colors, should look almost identical to the Rossview campus. There will be excellence in Grace Acres (preschool), Cross Street (children’s) and worship.

Is each campus going to have it’s own pastor?

No, both campuses will continue to see the same faces that are seen at Rossview. Thankfully, the distances are close enough to easily commute between the two. On a typical Sunday, some of the staff (including the pastors) will be at each location.

What will a “launch team” for the new campus do?

That’s a great question. The launch team for Grace Community Church when we began the church five years ago did everything that was required to make a Sunday work. That included greeting at the doors, set up and tear down, working the parking lots, working in all areas with children, and giving up prime seats and parking spots to be as visitor friendly as possible. The Kenwood launch team will cover the needs of that campus. It will be exhausting, but rewarding, just as the original launch of the church was for that launch team.

What can I do to help?

Right now, the biggest needs are to raise the additional $150,000 needed to buy everything for the Kenwood campus and pray for the launch and all the details that still need to be completed. This Sunday (October 10), you will be able to sign up for the launch team. There will be launch team meetings and trainings in the near future.

Any more questions? Thanks for loving people enough to step outside your comfort zones and think outside the box. God is getting some tremendous glory from your hearts to serve this community.

Developing a Leadership Vocabulary

Great leaders are always learning. Part of that processing is developing the appropriate leadership vocabulary to help the organization and it’s team members achieve the greatest success.  Great leaders learn to say…

“Yes” more than “No”…

“Why not” more than “How come”….

“Our” more than “My”…

“We” more than “I”…

“Thank you” more than “I wish you hadn’t”….

“Let’s do it” more than “We’ve never done it”…

“Go for it” more than “Stop that”….

“I encourage you to” more than “I command you to”…

“What do you think” more than “Here’s what I think”…

“How can we” more than “This is the way”…

“Works with me” more than “works for me”…

Great leaders understand the power of their language. It develops the culture of the organization, team member’s perceptions of their individual roles, and the overall health and direction of the organization. Great leaders, therefore, choose their words carefully.

How is your leadership vocabulary? What would you add to my list?