Why Culture is so Captivating

Image by thephotoholic courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by thephotoholic courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In my previous post I’ve mentioned that I am a structure and strategy guy in the process of learning about the importance  of creating culture. Many times our strategies and structures are right, but our culture is all wrong.  When culture is wrong structures die, strategies become strained and systems become bureaucratic red tape. As I’ve been diving into discovering more about culture I have found that when we get culture right it becomes captivating.

A culture captivates us because it is compelling to all five senses. We can see it, hear it, smell it, touch it and taste it.

1. Culture is Visual- When I see captivating culture I see excellence. Excellence is not limited to extravagance. It is not necessarily expensive, but when you see it, it’s always impressive and exceeds your expectations. Excellence exudes from an excellent spirit. An excellent spirit cannot be taught or bought, but it can be caught! You see it in someone’s eyes, their attitudes and actions. They are all in, all the time. Culture is expressed through people and cultivated by people being empowered to in their gifting and calling. It is not a standard to live up to, it’s values and vision being lived out by people.  

2. Culture is Audible- When I hear captivating culture it’s buzzing with life and filled with a language of their own. There is clarity, community and creativity. You hear it in the music, you read it in the program, you pick up on it in conversations. People are talking about it constantly and posting about it continually. Make no mistake about the vision, missions or purpose because it’s loud and clear and on the lips of the people.

3. Culture is Aromatic- When I smell captivating culture it draws me in close. This may seem a little weird but let me explain. The Apostle Paul talks about our lives being a sweet fragrance:

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NLT) – Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

I love how the Amplified Bible describes the aroma of a Christ exalting community as a vital fragrance, living and fresh. Have you ever drove by a really good restaurant and you got a whiff of the aroma that filled the air? It made you want to change your dinner plans! The people that are a part of vibrant culture attract others with the fragrant fumes of what God has done in their lives. It attracts, invites and causes people to want to change their lives!

4. Culture is Tangible- I’ve been experienced many different cultures as I have traveled around the world. I’ve always felt very welcome when I’ve visited Africa. Yet, I didn’t feel as welcomed when I traveled to India. There were reasons for both feelings. So many things can effect the “feeling” a culture such as how they view people, opinions and stereotypes they have about people that don’t look the same act the same, or are from a different part of the world. Healthy cultures have healthy vibes when they have a healthy view and value of people from all walks of life. 

5. Culture is Flavorful – We’ve all talked to someone that said, “I went there, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.” How do we taste the culture of an organization that doesn’t serve food? Well, every organization serves something that is consumed. We get a taste of the menu when we encounter the people who have been consuming there the longest. Jesus said, what goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” If you visited somewhere and felt like someone vomited on you, you got a taste of that culture. On the other hand captivating cultures have tasteful things to say about the organization and the people who lead and support it.

I believe this is why culture is so hard to create and cultivate because culture ultimately  flows from the heart of people. You know when culture is not right, yet it’s hard to put a finger on it to correct it. You know something needs to be done about it, but you don’t what you need to start doing. Start with your senses! What are you seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting in your church that is not right?

How to Let Go…I Think

Image by arztsamui courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by arztsamui courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well the countdown begins as we launch our son into the next phase of life. Josiah committed to attend and play college football at the University of Cincinnati where we will be taking him in just 10 weeks! It’s so right and so hard at the same time. Amy and I are randomly crying a lot these days. Watching his last high school basketball game, looking through a lot of pictures, planning his graduation party, and crying some more.

Super excited and super emotional at the same time.  

I don’t think you are ever really prepared for these moments, but there are few things that are helping us as we are getting ready to let our son fly. Here’s just a few things that we are experiencing…

Enjoying Every Moment: I have to admit I’ve been having a lot of fun the last several months. It’s helped to focus on the positive things in life that bring you joy instead of the things that just don’t matter and suck the fun out of this phase of life. We’ve spent a lot time with long time friends, laughing, hugging, sharing stories, memories and of course still learning. We are also encouraging Josiah to do the same. As we are enjoying every moment we are telling him to do the same. He’ll go to Mexico on a missions trip for spring break with his sister and 100 other teens from Folsom, the Senior Ball, and will continue to hang with his friends as much as he can as graduations approaches.

Don’t Hold Back the Emotion: I’m going to blame my emotions on my Italian heritage (ha ha), but these days we’re not trying to hold back the tears we’re just letting them flow these days. It’s part of the process. It’s not unusual for us to hear a song while we are driving to see tears start streaming down our face. Country music seems to get us every time these days!!! Amy and I laugh at ourselves (shoot I’m crying as I type this right now!) but when you are letting go you can’t be afraid to let the tears flow. I’m told it doesn’t get easier so I guess there will be a Kleenex box close by at all times! Yes it’s emotional but that’s how we are grappling with our parental fears and swimming through our tears.

Valuing Every Conversation: The teenage years can be quiet years full of one word answers, head nods and grunting sounds. Lately though we’ve had some in depth conversations about real life stuff. Not that we haven’t had these talks before but we are having those kind of talks that let you know he was really listening all these years! I’ll never forget when we were visiting Cincinnati, Josiah came into my room and sat down and said, “Dad, God’s been speaking to me.” I was all ears because we were trying to figure out what God had for his future. He went on to say, “God’s telling me to get out of my comfort zone. I know it’s far a way but I really feel like Cincinnati is a great fit for me.” At that point Cincinnati hadn’t even offered him a scholarship yet, but later that night they did and Josiah was right. I had never talked to Josiah about comfort zones in my life, but to hear these words come out of his mouth was such a proud moment for me. As a dad I had a peace and I knew God was talking to him and leading him. To hear some of the things Josiah has said in this entire process has been profound. I’ll be hanging on every word the next 10 weeks!

Amy and I know that this is just the end of chapter and the beginning of another, but we are having to let go so he can write the next chapter for his life. We couldn’t be happier for Josiah and thankful for all of the family and friends who have helped us raise a fine young man. We are so appreciative.

Where’s the Kleenex?  :-)

Book Review: Divine Applause by Jeff Anderson


Divine Applause by Jeff Anderson is about taking practical steps to encounter God and experiencing His applause. Anderson takes what would seem to be experiences only for those that are super spiritual and makes it super practical for everyone to reach. With a balance of scripture and personal story telling, the reader is invited, encouraged and challenged to recognize God’s rewards in the everyday moments that life offers.

Divine Applause teaches us that God notices even our most intricate thoughts that the author refers to as Buzzer-Shot Moments! As Christians who are connected to God, we all have access to these moments when we are made aware of God’s presence in our lives and His longing to reward us. However, we are not always aware of these moments because we are not expecting God to notice our simplest requests, prayers, thoughts, visions and dreams. Anderson makes the reader aware that God not only notices us, He is applauding us!  

My favorite thing about this book is that Jeff Anderson shows that an encounter with God is attainable for everyone. If you are pursuing it and making yourself aware that God can show up anywhere and use anyone you will experience God’s reward. You will experience His divine applause.

I received Divine Applause for free in exchange for this review.

Creating Healthy Culture

Image by David Castillo Dominici courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by David Castillo Dominici courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and your people when searching the soul of your organization and creating healthy culture:

What are the shared attitudes of your team? Awesome attitudes create awesome atmospheres. When these types of attitudes our shared amongst team members it creates authenticity, honesty and transparency leading to a culture of trust. On the other hand, wrong attitudes that exist among team members can lock up an atmosphere and create a culture of mistrust. Instead of open and honest conversations, a lot is said behind closed doors. Instead of having each other’s back, team members are stabbing each other in the back. An organization’s altitude is determined by the people’s attitude. Sharing the same healthy attitudes as a team requires shaping the heart of your team.

What are the shared values of your team? Values are what make a vision worth pursuing. If everyone in the room does not share common values it will be hard to arrive at the desired destination. Values propel teams on their pursuit of a common vision. A vision will have no worth if values are compromised on the way to seeing it fulfilled. For example, a vision for community cannot be accomplished if a team has no value for going deeper in their relationships with one another. Values fuel vision with meaning and purpose.

What are the shared goals of your team? Goals inspire teamwork. A team that has shared goals are working together toward seeing that goal accomplished. The greater the goal, the greater need for each other. Teams without goals don’t need each other. Goals keep teams focused, accountable, productive and pursuing the dream. Without goals teams get stuck, stagnant and set in their ways.

What are the shared practices of your team? What are your teams shared practices that are permeating healthy culture throughout your church, business or organization? Last December I was at Disneyland when I ran across Mickey’s 10 Commandments for their Imagineers (employees) in a book called Disney’s Imagineering – A behind the Dreams Look at Making More Real Magic.

1. Know your audience – Identify the prime audience for your attraction or show before you begin design.

2. Wear your Guests’ shoes – Insist that your team members experience your creation just the way the Guests do it.

3. Organize the flow of people and ideas – Make sure there is logic and sequence in our stories, and in the way Guests experience them.

4. Create a wienie (visual magnet) – Create visual targets that lead visitors clearly and logically through your facility.

5. Communicate with visual literacy – Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication- color, shape, form, texture.

6. Avoid overload – create turn ons – Resist the temptation to overload your audience with too much information and to many objects.

7.Tell one story at a time- Stick to the story line: good stories are clear, logical, and consistent.

8. Avoid contradictions- maintain identity- Details in design or content that contradict one another confuse an audience about your story of the time period in takes place in.

9. For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of treat – In our business, Walt Disney said, “you can educate people but don’t tell them you’re doing it! Make it fun!”

10. Keep it up! (maintain it) – In a Disney park or resort, everything must work! Poor maintenance is poor show!

It has been said practice makes permanent, but in regards to creating healthy culture what you practice together as a team is the culture you permeate throughout the organization.

Why Culture Eats Strategy and Structure for Lunch

Image by savit keawtavee courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by savit keawtavee courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In his book, Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code, Dr. Sam Chand said that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” He was implying that many leaders focus on implementing strategies and building structures and ignore the most critical component of creating a healthy culture.

For the record I’m a both/and guy. In fact if truth be told I’m a spiritual architect that loves to develop systems, implement strategies and construct uniquely designed structures. However, what I’m discovering about culture is that it is the glue that holds everything together, it’s the mortar between the bricks and the nails that join the wood.

My favorite definition of culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. These are the invisible ingredients that often get overlooked, are unseen and many times an organization can’t overcome when attempting to break through barriers that hinder organizational health and continual growth.

A culture is the soul of a church, business or organization. It’s reflects the WHO. The WHO is what drives and motivates an organization. It flows from the heart of people and that’s why it’s so easy to gloss over. Leaders spend a lot of time on the WHY, the WHAT, the WHERE, and the HOW, but seldom is time spent on the WHO. If an organization is not investing in their WHO the WHY, WHAT, WHERE, and HOW may appear strong and healthy from the outside but what’s really going on behind the scenes, if you will; could ultimately erode any foundations that has been laid, dismantle anything that has been built and buck any systematic process that brings life.

It doesn’t matter how strong your structure appears, how slick your systems are, if your culture is not healthy it will consume all of your hard work. I am will be posting later this week on how to create a healthy culture and why it’s worth doing the hard work of establishing culture with your team first.









Like a beautiful tract home quickly built with cheap material and careless labor



Why I’m Still Blogging Almost 5 Years Later

Image by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I originally launched a family blog in 2007 on Blogspot with the idea of keeping friends updated. In November of 2010 however I made a shift when a life experience sparked something in me to write more regularly. You can read about that life experience here. I’ve tried to post once a week ever since.

I love writing. It has become an intricate part of my life. It has helped me in so many ways and I wanted to share with you why I’m still blogging consistently almost 5 years later!

1. My Blog is My Mirror – If you read my blog regularly it is a direct reflection of my life. It could be current things happening in my life or things that have happened in the past I’ve had to think about for a while and learn from. I attempt to be as transparent and honest as I can without throwing people under the bus. Blogging allows me to expose the things from my inside world to the outside world. It helps me get the things that would otherwise be bottled up inside me out there for all to see. Sometimes its my struggle and other times its my strength, but I’m constantly pulling things from my life with hope that it’s not only helping me, but helping others that take time to read.

2. My Blog is My Coach -  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at an old post I’ve written and said, “I wrote that?” Things I’ve written and forgotten about over the last 5 years encourage me when I take time to glance over the almost 350+ posts I’ve written. I see how I’ve grown and I see how I can improve. It’s also been a cool thing to get feedback from others, hear how it helps my readers, and encourages them in their own lives.

3. My Blog Makes Me Better – I really believe the practice of blogging regularly has made me better in a lot of areas.

  • It has helped me become a better leader. Writing down the leadership lessons I’ve learned has been so valuable.
  • It has helped me become a better communicator. Story telling was one of my biggest weaknesses as a speaker. Writing down my personal experiences has helped me capture them and create and archive of great stories from my own life that I hope will make people laugh, cry and learn from.
  • It has helped me become more creative. I’m always thinking, dreaming and looking for things that I’m learning in life to write about. It might be something I hear, see or experience, but I’m always looking for a good idea.

If you’re a blogger or thinking about becoming one it’s going to encourage you and others in ways you’ve never dreamed of. Your blog could be more personal or even more of a platform for business. Whatever path your going down you are going to grow as a person and inspire others to do the same. That’s why I’m blogging almost 5 years later. It helps me and it helps me help others.

Keep blogging and keep dreaming!

How to Get Better Outcomes

Image by Bill Longshaw courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Bill Longshaw courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We get bombarded with better promises for better results all the time. Download the new ebook and you can learn how to shave 10 hours off your work week. Participate in the 8 week course and get your blog the attention it deserves. Attend this seminar or conference and increase your income.

Everyone wants better results, but how can you really guarantee a better outcome for your passionate pursuits.

1. Learn From Your Mistakes: Author Steven Denn wrote, “You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.” When we choose to learn from our mistakes we position ourselves for better outcomes because we are becoming wiser through experience. Repeating the same mistake over and over again is refusing to learn what our choices want to teach us. Learning the hard way is never the best way.

2. Learn to Do the Hard Work Required: Better results and outcomes require hard work. Many times promises for better outcomes are marketed in such a way that cause you to overlook the hard work involved that will get you where you want to go. Proverbs 14:23 in The Message says it best. Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table. People talk a lot about better outcomes, but those that are getting better outcomes are doing the work. If you want a better harvest you better be willing to put your hand on the plow. 

3. Learn From the Outcomes of Others: I was reading a familiar bible verse in the Amplified Version in preparation for teaching on generosity and was struck by the amplification of Hebrews 13:7 –

Remember your leaders and superiors in authority [for it was they] who brought to you the Word of God. Observe attentively and consider their manner of living (the outcome of their well-spent lives) and imitate their faith…

When desiring better outcomes we tend to look to those who have bigger incomes. I will never forget accepting a job because the owner of a company, who was a cash multi-millionaire; told me he would help me become a millionaire if I taught him the bible. I got sucked into one of the worst jobs I ever had and one of the worst years of my life. Why? I based my decision on his income not his outcome. Don’t be impressed by people’s incomes, be impressed with the outcomes of their lives. 

  • If you want a better marriage find someone who’s been married 50 years and ask how they did it.
  • If you want to increase your income, find someone who is willing to tell you about the hard work and the ups and downs it took to acquire it.
  • If you desire a stronger faith in God follow those whose faith is strong and learn from them.
  • If you want to strengthen your relationship with your kids, seek those parents out who have cultivated strong relationships with their children and ask a lot of questions.

*By the way if the people you are seeking out with great outcomes have great incomes it’s a bonus! I just have seen a lot of people who have sought out people only because of their great incomes. It can be a hurtful situation for all involved.

Getting better outcomes many times means growing from our mistakes, putting in the hard work, and learning from others who have the outcomes we desire.

How are you getting better outcomes in 2015?



Creating Culture by Thinking Differently

Image by KROMKRATHOG courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by KROMKRATHOG courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mark Batterson has said, “there are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet! There are new forms of preaching. There are new forms of discipling.” 

How do we find these new ways and these new forms of doing church differently? As leaders we have to give ourselves permission to think differently and do things a different way.  We live in a copy cat culture, so our tendency is to see what everybody else is doing, read the book everyone else is reading and do it the way everyone else is doing it.

A lot of people approach me with this phrase all the time: “Nameless Church is doing it this way and that way.” I usually respond, “That’s an awesome way to do it!” The key as leaders is knowing there is more than one way to do what God has called you as a leader to do. 

Part of creating culture is establishing new ways of thinking. This can be challenging whether you are starting something new or revitalizing something old because wherever there is people there are established ways of thinking that resist change. Ralph Neighbour once told me about a book he wrote called the Seven Last Words of the Church: We’ve Never Tried it That Way Before. In the book Neighbour suggests that traditional thinking has hindered the effectiveness of the church.

As leaders then, how do we tap into God’s imagination and innovation so that we can think differently in in creating the culture we want to create.

1. Ask God for new ways, then be patient – Discovering the new might not happen in the now! When God gives us something new there is always a process of transitioning from the old. God doesn’t birth something new to blow people out of your church. He births something new that will bring life into your church. Over the years I’ve had to to learn that new ideas are not always suppose to be implemented immediately. Instead, God had given me new ideas way in advance so that I could prepare people for the new thing.

2. Resist doing what you know – I’m not suggesting that we ignore wisdom, that would be foolish. What I am suggesting is that if we always do what we know, we may never experience the new God wants to release. Whenever a leader sets out to do something new the greatest temptation they will face in pursuit of the new is defaulting back to what they know. What a leader knows is always easier to do than what a leader doesn’t know. When the new thing is resisted a leader must have faith to embrace the unfamiliar and move ahead.

3. Embrace the new even if you don’t know what it is yet. As I mentioned above, embracing the new will require faith. I recently saw this tweet in my feed from @myrecruitboard:

If you want to go somewhere new, throw out the tired, old map and stop traveling the same road to the same dead end.  

Embracing the new begins with a step of faith towards the unknown. It means throwing out the old map we’ve followed for years, tossing the tired ministry philosophy that is no longer effective and traveling down the roads less traveled. I have discovered that faith works best in places you’ve never been before. That’s where I’m headed and that’s where I’m going!

If my writing has encouraged you in anyway leave a comment or share it with a friend! I appreciate it.






Are You Settling?


Since the above phrase came out of my mouth as I was leading our church in prayer I cannot stop thinking about it. It has forced me to look at the harsh reality that I’ve been settling for less instead of contending for all that God has for me.

So many times I have settled for 50% of what I’ve been asking God for in prayer. As if God only could come up with half of my request. Even though my favorite scripture is Ephesians 3:20 (MSG):

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!

It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago while I was praying at church on Sunday that I had a revelation of God the Father’s heart for us. The last couple of weeks we have been navigating the recruiting waters with my son Josiah. He has a desire to play Division 1 college football, and has had two D1 offers but one was only 50%.  We discovered the 1st 100% offer was not a good fit for him, so that left us with the 50% offer and a little frustrated as well. My desire and determination to see my son get a 100% offer from a D1 school increased.

Two weeks ago I was at our Sacramento conference with Jesus Culture and during worship at our concluding session I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize so I continued to worship and let it go to voicemail. After worship I proceeded up the stairs so I could listen to the voicemail. It was the head coach from the school with the 50% offer offering a 100% full ride.

What this process revealed to me is that my desire for Josiah to receive 100% of what is available to him and not settle for the 50%, is the same desire God has for me. It was at this point the phrase rolled from my lips.

God can’t give 50% to anything. He can only give 100% of Himself.  God doesn’t want me to settle for the 50% discounted answer to my prayers. He is wanting to give me far more than my wildest imaginations and dreams! 

Don’t settle, keep contending for ALL that you’ve asked for and God will meet you 100% of the time with 100% of the answer when your heart and desires are aligned with His.






Finding God’s Will For Your Future

Photo by phanlop88 courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo by phanlop88 courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When you have several options it can be challenging to determine what direction to take. As Amy and I have been talking to Josiah and praying with him about his future, I have recognized some key indicators that begin to emerge when you begin to discover God’s will.

1. There is PEACE, not PRESSURE. I learned early on that if you are being pressured into a decision, or rushed to give an answer you might want to back off from making a decision. God’s will comes with peace.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

God doesn’t force anything, He applies peace to everything. He doesn’t give you stress, He gives you strength. Through His mercy he extends a promise to guide our feet into the path of peace (Luke 1:79).

2. There is PROVISION, not PERSUASION. I will never forget the words of my pastor when I was a new Christian in my early twenties. “Where God guides He provides, Where He leads He feeds.”  If the direction you are taking means taking on a huge amount of debt you might want to decide to go another direction. A recent report from Wells Fargo found that 40% of millennials said their debt was overwhelming.

Finding God’s will should never be overwhelming and finances can be an indicator that God is opening a door or slamming one shut.

3.  There is Confidence, not Confusion. Through the process I have been reminded that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). God’s Word, the Bible gives us confidence as we step towards our future. Here are a few of the promises that I’ve been thinking about:

The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives. – Psalm 37:23

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. – Proverbs 16:9

I have to comment on this verse because it has really helped me, especially in the recruiting process we are walking through. We’ve wondered with the success of our high school football program and Josiah’s personal achievements why recruiters haven’t been knocking down our door. This verse came to me and has given me confidence in helping Josiah discern God’s will with the few offers an options that are in front of him. God is determining his steps! We have our ideas, dreams, plans but God is directing every step. God’s will doesn’t go against our desires, remember what I mentioned earlier. He doesn’t force you to go somewhere you don’t want to go.

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. – Psalm 20:4

I’m looking forward to when Josiah makes his decision, but these are the indicators we are looking for as we sort through the options and seek God’s will. I hope they will encourage you if you are in transition or thinking about making a big decision.

What are some indicators for you in finding God’s will for your future?


The Secret To Living A Defiant Joy: An interview with Margaret Feinberg


One of my favorite authors, Margaret Feinberg, has been through a brutal fight with cancer and shares the unexpected lessons she discovered along the way in her new book and Bible study Fight Back With Joy.

It’s been inspiring to learn how Margaret has been practicing a defiant joy, and I and thought you might like to get an insider’s look, a sneak peek of the video and read an interview with Margaret.

Your newest book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, was born out of your fight with a life-threatening illness. What was your difficult diagnosis, and what has your journey to health entailed?

For the last 18 months, I’ve been battling breast cancer. Breast cancer isn’t just one disease represents thousands of different diseases with their varying components and factors. Being diagnosed under the age of 40 is significant. I’ve been through a brutal year of chemotherapy, radiation, and more surgeries than I can count or want to remember.

Why did you write Fight Back With Joy?

I studied joy for a year and was putting the finishing touches on book on joy—just two weeks from turning it into the publisher, when I received the diagnosis. I had been pursuing and activating joy in my life in the relatively good times, now I had to do it in the midst of darkness, depression, and torturous pain. Through the process, I’ve discovered the breadth, depth, and power of joy—that despite hundreds of sermons and many decades in the church—no one had told me of before.

In Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, you really push the reader to reevaluate their definition of joy. Why do you think this is so important?

Much of the teaching I’ve heard on joy over the years is oversimplified. I remember those days in Sunday school learning that JOY is spelled Jesus, Others, Yourself. While that made perfect sense at 9 years old, I’ve seen how distorted that can become as an adult.

I see friends who love Jesus but spend so much time pouring into their kids, grandkids and others that their joy looks something like this: jOy.

Technically, it still spells joy, but more than anything, these men and women who are so exhausted, so empty, so running on fumes from pouring into others need to pause and take time to focus on themselves. Laying hold of joy right now will require them to reevaluate for a season and discover the joy that comes with JYo.

I also noticed how most of the definitions of joy define it more by what it isn’t than by what it is. I constantly heard that happiness is based on circumstance but joy is not dependent on circumstance.

Biblical expressions of joy turn out to be far different than what I had been taught. I am now convinced the writers of the Bible would say that, the reason we have joy is because we have great circumstances. If you are a child of God, you are drenched in the grace and mercy of God.

No matter what you’re facing: Your circumstances are better than you think.

If you’re not experiencing joy, perhaps it’s because your definition of joy is too narrow.

On a scale of 1-10, how hard was it for you to write this book and Bible study?

An eleven! This journey has been the most painful experience of my life. And, to share about it requires some vulnerability. Okay, a lot of vulnerability. And, that’s really, really hard. But I feel like I’m finally ready to share what God has stirred in my heart along the way because although cancer has been the most painful journey—it has also been the most joyful. And no one is more surprised than I am.

Pick up a copy of Fight Back With Joy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble today.

MargaretFeinbergMargaret Feinberg teaches at churches and conferences including Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy. She was recently named one of 50 women most shaping church and culture by Christianity Today. Her books and Bible studies, including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck, have sold nearly a million copies. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and their superpup, Hershey.



3 Changes You Must Make On Your Church Calendar

Image by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most church staffs have went on a planning retreat by now and have their calendars set for the upcoming year, yet it’s not too late to make some last minute changes before going public with 2015! After observing what churches are doing and adjustments churches are making there are 3 changes I think you need to make if you haven’t already.

1. Change Your Midweek Youth Ministry Meeting to a Weekend Meeting –  Okay, it’s time to pull the plug on the midweek youth service concept we’ve been doing for the last 25 years. Yes there are some youth ministries still thriving on the midweek but a lot of that is a result of having really good adult programming on the same night. With small groups killing most midweek programming at church campuses (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), it has taken its biggest toll on youth ministries. Groups of 100 plus meeting during the week are very rare where 10 years ago it wasn’t unusual to have several youth groups in the same city at the 100-500 mark. Not making this change will prevent youth ministries from reaching influential students that are really involved in school extra curricular activities during the week which is requiring more and more from students not less.

2. Change Your Church Service Times to Include and Evening Option – In California the Sunday evening service is all but dead, but making a strong comeback is an evening option (4-6pm) that duplicates the Sunday morning service. If you are having to add a service don’t go earlier because early birds are near extinction. A later service allows people to enjoy the day and still make it to a great church service. This isn’t a half baked, do different music for a different crowd, no childcare service. It’s an opportunity to cast your net to a crowd who really want to attend your church but can’t.

3. Change Your Church Calendar by Adding a Missions Experience – If it’s not already on the calendar you have to make room for a missions trip experience that invites the entire church to obey The Great Commission’s command to GO!  A commitment to go next year almost never happens and incredible open doors often shut if we do not walk through them. I’ve heard so many leaders say that they are going to change the world but never venture outside of their own zip code. Most churches are strong supporters of missions and that is to be applauded, but adding a missions experience to the calendar will turn your church into a launching pad, thrusting people into the harvest field.

You have two days to make a change before you publish your calendar. Will you implement some of these changes or will you settle for the same easy to do thing because that’s the way it’s always been. If not these suggested changes then what changes can you make to make your calendar work for you and not against you?

What changes have you made going into this year?

How to Raise Champions

imageThis last weekend Josiah and his teammates, the Folsom Bulldogs, won the Division 1 California State Football Championship.  The team has broke multiple state and national records along the way and over thelast 3 years have a combined record of 44-2.

However more than the stats, records and trophies this championship team has earned; this team is made up of quality young men from a community that supports them, families that love them and coaches that believe in them. It’s crazy to think that there may be some kind of recipe for making champions and if there is I definitely have some ingredients that I would like to share.

1. Tell your kids they are champions before they become champions. Since Josiah was born I’ve prayed and spoke the destiny of a champion over his life. Have I said some things as a parent that I’ve regretted? You bet. I’ve made more mistakes with my mouth than I like to admit, yet I’ve admitted my mistakes and chose to speak more life than death. I’ve tried my best to bite my tongue and not say anything rather than say something that would hurt and hinder their future. Death and life are in the power of the tongue! 

2. Find a community of friends that want to raise champions. When we moved to Folsom in 2003 we met other parents just like us that wanted the best for their kids. I often say that moving to Folsom was the best move I ever made because of the people that we’ve met and the friends we have made. The making of a champion has so much to do with the friendships that are made. My mom told me when I was in 6th grade that “you are who you hang around with.” That stuck with me and so it is with my kids. Champions our developed in a caring community that look out for the best interest of others.

3. Allow your kids do what it takes to become champions. The making of a champion takes time and hard work both on and off the field of play. Spend the money, take the time and don’t complain about it. Enjoy the championship journey! It goes by way too fast, but the memories you create will always last. I’m talking about more than sports here. If your son or daughter needs tutoring spend the money. If they need to be driven across town make the drive. It’s not always convenient, but it will teach your kids something about  a championship commitment.

4. Entrust others with your champion.  You can’t raise a champion by yourself. I wish I could take credit for my sons performance in football and basketball but I can’t. I owe that to his coaches over the years. There are things they have taught him I could never have taught him; not just about the games he’s played but the life that happens after the game. Whether it’s sports or any other extracurricular activity the best lessons on becoming a champion are learned from real life and real talk. When you entrust your kids to others a championship caliber can be imparted.

5. Realize champions don’t always win. Raising a champion requires leaving room for failure. Notice at the beginning of this post our record was blemished by 2 really tough losses to nationally ranked De La Salle who ended our season the last two years. I believe the state championship would have never became a reality unless our kids felt the agony of defeat and the pain of falling short. Winning isn’t everything but failure also isn’t final. Champions are made in the furnace of failure and the temptation as a parent is to protect them from it. It’s in the furnace where the heat gets turned up and champions are formed. Failure doesn’t define our kids, it refines our kids.

These are 5 ingredients that I would have to add to the recipe for making a champion. I’d love to hear what you would thrown into the mix! What would you add?

3 Prayers I’m Praying for 2015

This image by winnond courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

This image by winnond courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at Disciples Church with Stu Streeter and shared a message from Ephesians 1 titled, “Waking Up to Your Worth.” Then last night at Jesus Culture Sacramento we had the privilege of having Bishop Parnell Lovelace from Center of Praise who just happened to speak, pray and encourage us from the same text as well.

I believe these simple prayers I created for Disciples Church and for myself will awaken you to a greater awareness of the power of God that is within you and the promises of God that await you!

  1. The Prayer of Revelation

 Ephesians 1:17 – asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

Paul prays specifically for three things that will help bring revelation to our lives.

  • He prays for a spirit of wisdom. Having the spirit of wisdom reveals how God is wanting to work.
  • He prays for a spirit of understanding. Having a spirit of understanding reveals why God works the way He does.
  • He prays for knowledge. Having knowledge given by the Holy Spirit is having clarity and correct knowledge about who God is. A revelation of His character.

 Prayer: Thank you for Your work in my life, now I ask that you give me wisdom and greater understanding so that I can allow what your working in me to grow and cause me to know you more.

   2. The Prayer of Evaluation

Ephesians 1:18 - I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people. 

Have you ever tried to do something simple in the dark. Darkness makes the most simple things difficult.  Paul prays that we wouldn’t be in the dark about the person and work of the Holy Sprit inside of us.

  • The Holy Spirit will shed light on your future
  • The Holy Spirit will shed light on what He’s calling you to do
  • The Holy Spirit will shed light on the resources that are available to you to help you in your everyday life.

That’s why they call the Holy Spirit the Helper.  He wants to help you and He helps us by turning the light on for us in areas that we need assistance in such as:

  • Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Finances
  • Personal Breakthrough
  • Calling

Prayer:  Thank you for person of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of me. I’m asking that you would shed light on my future, my calling and that you would equip me with every good thing that I need for my everyday life.

  1. The Prayer of Elevation

 Ephesians 1:19-20 - I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Paul prays a prayer of resurrection over the Ephesians. He prays that the same power that raised Christ from the dead would begin to rise inside of them. Do you have dreams that need to be resurrected? Relationships that need resurrection life? Are you lacking power to overcome the thing that has you down? Are you ready to go to higher heights in Christ by raising your expectation level? Pray the following prayer!

Prayer of Elevation: Thank you for the greatness of Your power that is working on the inside of me that cause my desires and dreams to be doable, my faith to be unshakable and the impossible things that I’m facing possible. Raise the level of my influence and expectancy in 2015 with same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

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The Deadliest SIN of Leadership

Image courtesy of kongsky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of kongsky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Banners of headlines about leaders who have fallen from the graces of those they lead are constantly being waved across the media outlets we all indulge at times. It has really become a common occurrence to see professional athletes exposed, pastors and ministry leaders confess, business men caught in fraud and political leaders tangled in scandal.

However; what we read in the headlines is more often than not the fruit of “small sins” that leaders admittedly ignore, overlook or even justify leading up to a major crash that shocks their followers.  In fact, long before a person of influence misses the mark in leadership and hits the headlines they’ve most likely committed the most deadliest SIN of leadership that frequently goes unseen and unnoticed until it’s too late. The BIG SIN of leadership is actually made up of three “small sins” that I’ve identified.

The Sin of Separation – When God calls someone to lead he sets them apart. To live your life as a leader set apart is the furthest thing from living a separate life. Leadership is a call to influence people not separate yourself from them.

The Gospel of John tells us that the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.  As leaders this is our example from the life of Jesus. Leaders don’t live above their followers, they actually can be found among their followers.  Leaders committing the sin of separation often begin setting themselves above and live life at a distance instead of among the ones they have been called to.

The Sin of Isolation – My friend and pastor, Banning Liebscher says it this way, “Isolation is a killer for leaders!” Isolation is the place leaders can be located after living a separate life. The isolated place is created by living life above others, disconnected and secluded.  Leaders are called to lead in community not outside of it.  When leaders isolate they cut their lives off from strength, accountability, wisdom and safety. Leaders that are isolated often can be found on the edge of burn out, trying to do life alone, attempting to solve problems by themselves, overwhelmed and ultimately overcome.

The Sin of Negotiation – Negotiation is the act or practice of each side giving up something in order to reach an agreement. Leaders that act upon the sin of negotiation have often given up their integrity, their values, their character to enter into a compromising agreement with the enemy. We see the devil himself trying to entice Jesus by negotiating truth. Jesus reminded the devil that the truth wasn’t negotiable and that it was written ‘people need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.’ Leaders that negotiate and agree with things that are not true will self destruct as leaders.

The deadliest sin of leadership is actually made up of several small transgressions that happen along the way and what we witness in the end as the fall from grace. If your leading and you are being tempted to separate, isolate or negotiate reach out to those among you, connect yourself to a healthy transparent community and refuse to enter into an agreement with your adversary. Live and lead in the truth that will bring freedom to your leadership.

How have you as a leader avoided the sins of separation, isolation and negotiation?

How to Get Unstuck


Many years ago my wife and I were headed to South Lake Tahoe to speak at a youth winter retreat. The weather conditions were forecasted to be extreme, but we figured with snow chains nothing could stop us. Except a blizzard!  We were caught in a snow storm on Highway 50 and as we made the approach to climb the summit the highway was completely shut down. There we sat parked on Highway 50 for hours. A three hour drive from Santa Rosa turned into an 6 hour sleep over. When the roads were opened the adventure had just began. As we made our way to South Lake Tahoe and arrived around 2:00am, the 10 car caravan we were a part of pulled over to account for everyone. We were the 10th car and as I was checking and adjusting my tire chains they obviously didn’t see that I was out of my car and left us behind. We were only 10 minutes from the cabin, so I frantically tightened my chains, jumped back in the car, but it was too late we had lost them. Mind you this is the day of no cell phones, GPS, and all the street signs were covered with snow so we were literally lost (imagine that). As we hurried up the hill to find our caravan the chain I tightened came loose and we spun out into a snow bank. My wife, Amy was really loving me at this point, but needless to say we were stuck again helplessly with little hope of being found.

As a leader getting stuck can be frustrating and humiliating, but staying stuck can be even more shameful. I heard a great quote from Jon Acuff on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast that describes being stuck perfectly:

In stuck moments shame gets really loud. @JonAcuff

So how do leaders get their lives unstuck? How do they get their organizations out of the deep ruts of embarrassment and chagrin?

My answer to these questions may seem over simplified but as I observe the leadership landscape in front of me it has become apparent to me that leaders who find themselves stuck must find the favor of God for their unfavorable situations.

Many leaders I talk to are trying to get unstuck without any favor at all. My biblical definition of favor flows from God’s reply to Moses’ prayer in Exodus 33:13-14:

If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” 14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 

When we find favor we ultimately experience God’s presence and confidently enter into His rest. This is the kind of favor that helps us get leaders unstuck: Knowing that God is with me and understanding that He is for me!

I believe favor can be found by leaders who are willing to look for it. Observe the lives of some of our heroes of the faith:

Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord when there seemed to be no favor to be found! Joseph found favor in Potiphar’s eyes, then in the eyes of the prison warden!  Ruth found favor in the eyes of Boaz and Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her!  All received favor in unfavorable situations. These heroes of the faith found favor because they were looking for it in unfavorable places.

In regards to your favor-less situation. God is inviting you to places you are not invited. Places no one expects you to be. Platforms no one expects you to be on and conversations no one expects you to be a part of.  It’s in these instances that we need to find God’s favor when all the odds are stacked against us!

Let me give you three places where you can look for and find favor:

1. You’re going to find favor in unfavorable situations! You don’t need favor if your not facing unfavorable conditions. God wants to release to your leadership a fresh faith that goes out and finds favor to face the unfavorable. Leaders that are waiting for favor to find them before facing the unfavorable are in for a long wait!

2. You’re going to find favor among friends! Friendships are such a key when it comes to favor. The favor I’m experiencing now in my life started with relationships when I was 17 years old. If you have never asked a friend for a favor your missing out on how the Kingdom works. One of the things that makes finding favor impossible is the inability to find forgiveness for friendships that have gone bad. Favor flows from relationships. When you isolate yourself as a leader to do it by yourself your not doing yourself or your organization any favors! 

3. You’re going to find favor with God – Finding favor you means that you have found His presence and rest in all your endeavors. If you are worried, stressed, feel betrayed, or feeling like you don’t deserve anything good from God; which by the way all the heroes mentioned above were tempted to respond to their situations in one of these ways, you may need to change the way your are thinking (repent) about your situation. When we turn from our way of doing things we will find God favor in every situation and with everyone we are dealing with.

Two hours later at 4:00am, out of nowhere, a taxi pulled up to our car stuck nose first in the snow bank and only said he would call a tow truck on his CB radio (remember those?). Twenty minutes later we were pulled out for free and found our way to the cabin. We would have never found our way if we didn’t find favor first!

In what situation do you find yourself stuck in that you need God’s favor to get you out?




What NOT to Do With Your Weakness

Image courtesy of marin @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of marin @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the years I’ve been acutely aware of my weaknesses that have surfaced in my leadership ability. At the same time I always knew that coaching and assessments could help me get beyond my weaknesses, but I could never quite could convince others that it was worth the investment to do so. Over the last 11 months I’ve been able to take advantage of these things and have been able to effectively confront my weaknesses that have been constraining me as a leader. Through this I’ve learned some valuable things about what NOT to do with your weakness.

1. Don’t Ignore ItAs a leader, you have to have a willingness to confront your weaknesses.  I’ve read in leadership books to not pay attention to your weakness but focus on your strengths. I’m not saying that we should give all our time to focus on our weakness, yet if we completely ignore our weakness it will begin to sap our strength! When I acknowledge my weakness I now create an openness to get some outside help from God and others.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

2. Don’t Hide It – When you hide your weakness you not only are hurting yourself, you will begin hurting your organization. A prime example of this in my own life is my tendency to be quiet in meetings that I’m a part of. I will often go into meetings and listen intently and because I’m a processor I will not give any feedback until the following day. The problem with that approach to meetings is that some decisions need to be made now and not tomorrow. Now that I realize that I’m invited to meetings because they need me to speak into things I make up my mind before I sit down that I’m going to say something. It might be irrelevant but I make it point to confront my weakness by speaking up and making my thoughts known even if they are totally processed. I’m practicing thinking out loud!

3. Don’t Use it as an Excuse - Being aware of your weakness doesn’t give you an excuse to do nothing about it. When we exercise our weakness we get stronger.  I recently started doing CrossFit again. I became aware of my weakness as soon as the clock started. I could stop the work out and say, “I can’t do it” or I can suck it up,  do what I can do, experience the pain of my weakness and over time become stronger.  Recently I took an assessment that identified things that were constraining my leadership. I knew all about these constraints because they have confronted by ability to lead for years. The difference this time is that after the assessment I developed an “exercise plan” to address these constraints that will eventually make me a stronger leader when I take action.

Awareness of weakness is not enough. A willingness to confront our weaknesses with action is required. Don’t ignore it, don’t hide it and don’t excuse it. Do something about it!

What weaknesses are constraining you as a leader?

What it Takes to be a Builder

 Image by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have heard the verse above taken out of context so many times to remove oneself from having any responsibility in building God’s church. It goes something like this…“God said, I will build my church.”

Actually that’s only some of what God said. Matthew 16:18 in its entirety says:

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:18

Imagine being in Peter’s shoes, face to face with Jesus when these words were spoken. I think He got it! I think Peter took it personal and passionately because of his zeal for building God’s house we see throughout his ministry. When God desires to build something He always has someone in mind He can build with!

A quick breakdown of this verse shows that God looks for people to build on. He was referring to Peter when he said, “and on this ROCK I will build my church.” The word rock is being used metaphorically to depict a man like a rock, by reason of his firmness and strength of soul. Here we begin to see what it takes to be a builder.

1. Builders have a certainty about what they are building. They are not uncertain. Builders are firm with their decisions and have the emotional and mental capacity to build according to God’s blueprint and timeline.  I think of what the scriptures say about Noah; that he did everything exactly as God commanded him when building the ark. Builders are clear about what God has called them to build, believe it and build it. 

2. Builders have the confidence and character to build what they’ve been called to build.  The word BUILD that Jesus uses means to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness. . Jesus’ introduces a growth strategy to build with godly, gifted men and women willing to work! These are the qualities of those He builds with:

  • WisdomBuilders know where to build!

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” – Matthew 7:24

  • AffectionBuilders have a passion for what they are building!

“Passion for your house burns within me, so those who insult you are also insulting me.” – Psalm 69:9

  • Grace - Builders always find favor!

“O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. Put it into his heart to be kind to me….And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.” – Nehemiah 1:11, 2:8

  • Virtue – Builders build with a spirit of excellence! I wanted to add something here. Sometimes we get excellence mixed up with extravagance.  Builders that have a spirit of excellent do things right with integrity. It is revealed in the the work they do not the materials they buy.  Virtue is what gives things there value.

…because his divine power has bestowed on us all [things] [that are] necessary for life and godliness, through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence of character… – 2 Peter 1:3

  • Holiness – Builders say YES to whatever God calls them to build and however God wants to build it!

Your written testimonies are completely reliable. O LORD, holiness is what makes your house beautiful for days without end. – Psalm 93:5

  • Blessed – Builders are blessed by God!

Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them. – Exodus 39:43

God desires to build with us. We cannot be afraid of using our abilities to accomplish impossibilities together with God!

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building – 1 Corinthians 3:9

Let us rise up and build!


Church Launching vs. Church Planting

Image by by ratch0013 courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image by by ratch0013 courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve had the opportunity now to be on both sides of starting a church: church planting and church launching.  Though I am only officially 6 weeks in the Jesus Culture Sacramento launch there are some key differences when you compare the two.  I came to some of these conclusions from my failed church planting attempts (2 of them), but they have been confirmed during this launching experience.

1. A church that has been launched originated from a launching pad.  

Lift off for the space shuttle has everything to do with the thrust of the engines. The total thrust at launch for the space shuttle is about 7.8 million pounds. To achieve orbit, the shuttle must accelerate from zero to a speed of almost 18,000 miles per hour. 

Church launches have a sending church that thrusts them full throttle into the harvest field. Sending churches give church launches the velocity and speed it needs to break barriers immediately that a church planter might be up against for years. This velocity and speed can be created by a variety of things yet two essential boosters that ignite a church launch and thrust it forward are a team of people and finances.  Church planters often have to raise their own support and find their own people when they are connected to a church that doesn’t have a vision to send and thrust out laborers into the harvest.

2. A church that has been launched can focus on vision and not survival. When a church has been launched well it can focus on the vision and mission that it has been sent to accomplish. I’ve talked to several church launchers over the past 10 years. They are not worried about taking care of their family, where their next pay check is coming from or how much has been given in the weekly offering. They have been freed up to focus on doing what God has called them to do. That doesn’t mean church launchers will not have financial challenges because there are those challenges at every level. Church planters though are often consumed constantly with the critical needs of the now and struggle to see beyond what’s right in front of them never having time to look ahead.

3. A church that has been launched cultivates community from the outside in. I have to admit the church planter stories that start with only 8 people in a living room and experience unprecedented growth and are now at mega church level status are inspiring. I have always wanted that to be my story.  However, what I’m currently experiencing in church launching is amazing to see. There is much to be said about the ability to gather a crowd and create and cultivate a thriving community and core team. In a lot of ways it can be more difficult, but at the same time it creates more opportunity for the “outsider” to belong to a family. Church planting often requires a committed core that is often burned out in the first 3-5 years. Because of that many times it is said about church planting teams; that those who start with you wont be around in 5 years. Church launching gives you the ability to enjoy your community and not just employ your community with endless tasks.

I know that everyone’s experience is difference, but these are just a few observations I’ve made over the last 6 weeks. I know that many church planters have great experiences and success stories to share and I would love to hear them.

I looking forward to sharing about my church launching experience with Jesus Culture Sacramento in the future.

Have you ever been a part of a church launch? What was different? 

Why We Need More Managers


You may be familiar with the following proverbial sayings:

  • There’s to many chefs in the kitchen.
  • There’s too many chiefs and not enough Indians. 

The wisdom behind these proverbs for any organization is that when too many people want to be the leader, there is no one to follow up with the detail work. 

Everyone wants to be a leader these days. It’s admirable yet I don’t think it’s attainable. It sounds great but it’s not sustainable. Leadership sounds like a higher calling, but in all reality it’s just a different calling. 

I write this because great leaders have great managers around them. Many times when there is chaos in the leadership of an organization it’s because everyone has there eyes on the destiny but few pay attention to the details. That’s why you’ve heard it said that destiny is in the details. Leader’s cast a vision for where we are going, true managers tell you how we’re going to get there.

I found it interesting that this is the case commonly seen throughout scripture as well. God would speak to a leader or a dreamer then would call interpreters of those dreams, managers, visionaries and designers to make the revelation a reality. A dream that is not managed well is a mess and can often lead to missing the potential of the promise God has given.

Somehow in church world we’ve demoted the importance of a manager to a second class leadership position, yet how we manage is the biblical qualifications for leadership.

2 For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. 3 He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace loving, and not one who loves money. 4 He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. 5 For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? – 1 Timothy 3:2-5

A lot of the things I find on the topic of leadership vs. management many times presents the manager as being some kind of status quo, sub par leader. However, I did find a summary comparison by John Kotter and Peter Northouse in a post at The Nelson Touch Blog  that I thought reflected and represented both roles well that I’d like to leave you with:


* From Peter G. Northouse’s Leadership: Theory and Practice, Fourth Edition (2007) in which he draws from John Kotter’s A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management, (1990).

Leaders and managers are both high producers it’s just important to understand the difference and importance of what they both produce.

Are you more of a manager or a leader?  A dreamer or detailer?

Dealing with Disgrace

Image by patrisyu courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image by patrisyu courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

When the Holy Spirit repeatedly highlights a word, a phrase, or a verse while I’m reading my Bible it gets my attention. The word DISGRACE began to jump out at me several times over a couple of days, and as I always do I asked the Lord to confirm if He indeed was speaking to me. I then opened my YouVersion app after that brief prayer for confirmation and read  Isaiah 54:4-

Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you…

There are several angles on the definition of disgrace but one stood out to me. Disgrace is the loss of favor or standing.  I broke the word down even more and was reminded that the prefix dis means opposite or absence of.  I then dug even deeper to unearth the biblical meaning which is defined; to sink or drop down, languish (to live in a state of decreasing vitality), wither and fall, fade away.

When you seemingly sense a loss of favor with the Father, when you feel as though the grace of God is absent from your life, when you feel your faith withering I would dare to say unless there is some undetected pride in your life the enemy is opposing the work of grace in your life. James tells us that “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6, NIV). 

If we are not careful, we can find ourselves dealing with disgrace because we’ve allowed the enemy to dispute who we are in Christ and displace us from living in our God given authority. When the enemy opposes our identity and authority in Christ it opens the door to insecure feelings of disgrace and shame.

You may notice there is an evident absence of grace flowing in your life. You can’t find favor, it seems as though you are being resisted in every way, nothing is coming easy, every door seems closed, you can’t find your groove! Life is a constant grind.

So what do you do when you find yourself in the description above?

Dealing with feelings of disgrace requires me to do nothing on my own, but by faith receive the grace that God continually gives. Grace is a constant gift that keeps flowing from the the throne referred to in Hebrews 4:16:

We may come near, then, with freedom, to the throne of the grace, that we may receive kindness, and find grace — for seasonable help. – Young’s Literal Translation

Dealing with Disgrace

1. When you feel like there is an absence of God’s grace in your life, seek God’s presence where grace is found. God’s presence raises the faith level in my heart to receive the grace that I need.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…(Ephesians 2:8)

2. When favor seems to be fading realize a new season is coming. As the glory of a flower fades and withers when seasons change don’t fear if you see a favor filled season come to an end. The truth is God’s grace never ends, but seasons do. Yesterday’s favor will help you overcome tomorrow’s fear.  Grace sometimes seems to lift when God desires a shift in our lives. Favor seems to fade, but can always be found in the next season your stepping into.

Today, deal with disgrace with the divine grace that God makes available to us. There is no requirement to His endless resource of favor. It by faith we receive everything we need for season of life we are in.

What are you dealing with that you could use some divine help?

Becoming a Q2 Organization


We spend time in one of four ways, depending on the two factors that define an activity: urgent and important. Urgent means it requires immediate attention. Urgent things act on us and are usually visible.A ringing phone is urgent. Importance, on the other hand, has to do with results. It contributes to our mission, values and high-priority goals.We react to urgent matters. Important matters that are not urgent require more initiative, more proactivity.

We had the opportunity to have Danny Silk speak to the Jesus Culture staff yesterday on the subject of Destiny Management. It was an introduction to the Four Quadrant Time Management system by Stephen Covey found in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

I first learned this system through personal life management training I received about 15 years ago. It changed my personal life and the way I approached ministry. Before then my life and ministry was like a fire drill. I was on call and on the run all the time reacting to life and ministry’s demands instead of intentionally designing my life. God is an intelligent designer and His desire is for us to be intentional and intelligent when it comes to designing the lives we lead. 

Becoming a Quadrant 2 organization begins with my personal life.  The principles of Destiny Management that I was reminded of yesterday have become a part of who I am. It’s no longer something I have to learn. Instead, it’s something I live and that is reflected now in my professional life. That does not mean that I have these management skills completely mastered, but it does mean that I’ve learned how to master my calendar, my priorities and processes that assist me in becoming a better leader.

Becoming a Q2 organization begins with identifying priorities. Priorities are something that are more important than other things and that need to be done or dealt with first. Dealing with the most important things first brings freedom to your personal and professional life. For example; as I have made my family a priority it’s easier for me to say no to things that are not as important. On Friday nights you will not see me at a prayer meeting or any other church related event as in times past, but you will find me at the top of the bleachers on the 40 yard line with my family watching my son play football every Friday night!

The same thing will happen as your organization becomes more effective in establishing its priorities.The hardest thing for organizations is knowing what to say NO to.  God didn’t call us to say YES to everything. When you know what’s first it’s easier to identify what to say YES and what to say NO to.

Becoming a Q2 organization begins with planning. When I know what’s first, I then can fashion my planning around priorities. This is reflected on a calendar. You may be familiar with the old saying, “if you want to know a person’s priorities look at their bank statement.” The same is true for an organization. If you want to know an organization’s priorities look at their calendar. If the priorities are not clearly seen on the calendar it’s an indicator that there is no clarity. Planning brings clarity to what your priorities are! Before I learned these life management skills I had no calendar so when something “came up” I was always available. Much to my chagrin when my kids were real young ministry demands trumped family time too many times.

As an organization if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Many don’t take enough time to manage their time. An organization that plans ahead will stay ahead and make better decisions that are more thought through.

Becoming a Q2 organization begins with processes. A process is a series of purposeful actions that lead you to what has been promised. Processes are priceless to an organization because they are the key to productivity. They move people and things forward faster. Many organizations never reach their promises, their goals, their desired results because there are no processes in place to take them where they want to go. This often is a tension to be managed in organizations.

Some will resist processes because they mistake them as red tape, others will insist on processes so they can have control. Notice the tension? Good processes however avoid both extremes. Good processes are never rigid and are marked with gradual changes that benefit those who follow them. At the same time good processes should not be implemented to control people, but to put people in control of their destiny. When good processes are created great outcomes come forth.

If you want to be productive and effective as an organization you have to be intentional and intelligent in designing your destiny. It begins with you establishing priorities, planning and processes both in your personal and professional life.

What is one life management principle that has propelled you personally and or professionally?

Recognizing an Attack from the Enemy

Image by digitalart courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by digitalart courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the late 90’s when spiritual warfare was a hot topic I attended a seminar on the subject where I heard a statistic that claimed 80% of what Christians call spiritual warfare is really just disobedience to God’s Word and God’s will. At the time it sounded right and even logical , so for years that has always been tucked away in my brain when I hear someone say that the enemy is attacking them.

For the most part I can say that was true for me. The only time that I can recall experiencing “spiritual warfare” was when I was fighting and struggling with God’s will for my life until recently. I’m writing this post today because I didn’t recognize the enemies attack. I didn’t see the satanic schemes coming until it was almost too late. I am living my life in obedience to His Word and I am submitted to His will, so I was blindsided when things broke out.

Without going into great detail about the circumstances that caused the warfare I wanted to share the indicators that should have tipped me off and help me recognize that I was being spiritually assaulted.

1. I Had No Clarity – Where you don’t have clarity the enemy has the opportunity to bring confusion and chaos.

1 Corinthians 14:33- For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

Clearly the enemy has written the original manuscript on confusion and chaos, so when things are not in order he looks to bring disorder, disturbances and instability. Instability is defined as the tendency to change your behavior very quickly or to react to things in an extremely emotional way. When confusion comes you begin to doubt what you believe about yourself and others. What you believe changes how you behave. I found myself extremely emotional and reactive.

2. I Experienced an Untimely & Odd Sickness – I got a case of shingles that ended up only lasting 4 days when I was originally told 2-4 weeks.

Luke 2:13 – And there was a woman who for eighteen years had a sickness caused by a spirit.

Luke recognized that some sickness is caused by a spirit of infirmity. I am convinced that my sickness was part of a spiritual attack because what it prevented and how quick I recovered.  My wife and I were suppose get some much needed away time that didn’t happen. This was very discouraging for my wife and I. Secondly, I was told that shingles was going to be painful, yet coupled with taking the meds the doctor prescribed and believing God for healing in 4 days scabs began to form ( a sign that your on the mend.) A week after I was diagnosed I was totally delivered from sickness.

3. I Was Extremely Frustrated – This was interesting because now that I look back I wasn’t mad or upset with anyone. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was angry with something. Frustration is something that causes feelings of anger and annoyance. I was annoyed with the enemies ploys but didn’t identify the enemy as the source of my frustration.

I failed to see what Job saw when he said, “I know that you can do everything, that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” 

4. I Had a Good Friend that Recognized my Reality - Out of desperation I contacted a friend who has been a voice of encouragement and strength to me throughout my entire Christian walk. Without knowing what was going on, as soon as he saw me he discerned that this wasn’t the Dean he was used to encountering and that I was going through a spiritual storm. He said it was the first time he met with me that he didn’t see purpose in my eyes (no clarity). The next two hours his prophetic insight and counsel helped me “elevate above the storm.” To make a long story short I was set free as he spoke in truth and power over my life.

Ephesians 6:10-13 - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.


I humbly submit to you that I didn’t recognize the enemies attack. I think sometimes I forget that I am in a war, a spiritual war that I cannot see. It’s a battle we all fight, a battle Jesus Christ has won for us. I’m just asking God to open my eyes to the unseen so that I am not leaning on my own understanding!

2 Kings 6:19 - And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.


3 Solutions for Dismantling Ministry Silos

Image by xedos4 courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by xedos4 courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever been a part of staff that calls themselves a team yet the ministries each “team” member oversees are in constant competition with one another?

Undoubtedly, you’ve witnessed this competitive struggle. Fundraisers for each department fight for a spot on the annual calendar. Space for blurbs in the bulletin a constant battle.  Airtime for Sunday morning announcements an all out frontal assault and room requests launching logistical land warfare.

When this competitive combat is allowed to exist it creates ministry silos. The word silo is derived from the Greek work siros, meaning “pit for holding grain.” Ministry silos then can be described as what I refer to as a P.I.T. (Program In Trouble) that is more focused on holding onto something than releasing something.  Ministry silos create need focused departments that are more focused on what it can get than what it can give. More money, more paid staff, more visibility, more volunteers, more of this and more of that.

Ministry silos do not cultivate an environment where teams thrive. Instead, they produce unhealthy competitive climates that pit so called team members against each other. Here are some solutions I helped one church with in dismantling their ministry silos to bring about ministry synergy; moving them from competition to combined action: 

1. Shed the Solo Mentality – The solo mentality is a mindset that if something must be done it’s up to me (or my department) and only me (or my department) to get it done. “If its gonna be, it’s up to me.”  This mentality results in having a staff  full of solo performers rather than a staff full of people producers. Ministry is too tough to do in this state of mind because it traps staff into territorial thinking. I’ve heard the craziest things come out of the mouth of ministry teams such as “my people, my room, my equipment, my job.” Dismantling ministry solos starts with casting down the solo mentality. You have to take your staff from me to we.

2. Shape the Definition of Success – If one ministry is thriving while other ministries are barely surviving your ministry team as a whole is not successful. Ministry silos highlight and celebrate the solo performance rather than what the entire team is producing. We praise God that 50 people gave their hearts to Jesus through the Community Outreach Department Director’s efforts, but the fact that the Assimilation Team is overwhelmed and under staffed to handle such a response is the Assimilation Director’s problem. In this scenario we see one team member’s success is another team member’s stress. True team success is when all team members are thriving, healthy and their ministries are working towards the common goal and outcome.

3. Shore Up the Weaker Member & Ministry – To shore up something is to make it stronger. Every staff member has strengths and weaknesses that they bring to a team. As a team you have a choice to let an individual remain in their struggle or you have an opportunity to loan them your strength.  To keep your strength to yourself while another team member struggles in weakness will keep you team from winning. It is a true sign that you are stuck in a silo when you allow a fellow team member to fly solo. It may even be a sin knowing that what your holding onto could help someone if you released it.  Shoring up a weaker team member or ministry not only makes the person or program stronger it strengthens the entire team.

What are some other solutions for dismantling ministry silos?

Conquering Your Constraints

Image courtesy of  khunaspix @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of khunaspix @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A constraint is defined as a limitation or restriction. We all have them and make a choice to live with them or loose ourselves from them. I am personally in the process of confronting some of my limitations as a leader and wanted to share my journey with you with hope that it will encourage some of you to do the same.

I have discovered that it is so easy to grow comfortable with the the thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that constrain us rather than finding the courage to confront them. I understand now that if you don’t confront the lies that constrain you as a leader, you will conform to those lies. It is necessary to grasp that negative thinking can negate your leadership. Wrong attitudes can cultivate wrong actions,  and bad behavior can blow up your leadership instantly.

First, to conquer your constraints you have to be willing to acknowledge them as the Apostle Paul did:

“Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

This verse reveals to us that acknowledging our weakness gives us access to Christ’s power to conquer it. Paul said that God’s power worked best when he boasted about his weakness. We hate the thought of this powerful truth because we like to hide our weaknesses, bury our struggles and ignore the things that our limiting and restricting us. Instead of embracing our weaknesses we are embarrassed by them.

Acknowledging your weakness gives you access to God’s power, but you only gain access to God’s power when you take action in the midst of being confronted by your weakness. I’ve acknowledged my weakness plenty of times yet ignored the action that I needed to take to conquer it.  Instead of accessing the power that was available to me to overcome my weakness I avoided confronting my weakness and made a choice to grow comfortable with it. When you grow comfortable with your constraints they will blind you to  your need for a breakthrough. 

Lastly, to conquer your constraints you have to be accountable. There has to be a willingness to open up to others about your weakness. I want people to know that I rather not speak up even though I know I should. I rather keep the peace than cause a problem, and that when I’m not confident when I’m not accessing God’s power that is always available to me when I’m faced with the fear of my constraints.

I am finding freedom in this process. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way to breaking free of every limitation and everything that’s restricting my life and leadership.

What constraints do you need to acknowledge, take action and make yourself accountable for?



How to Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the western world we don’t like our Christianity uncomfortable. If we are honest we want comfortable Christianity.  We want safe missions trips absent of any danger.  We want calculated risks where no faith is required.  We want vision that doesn’t cost us too much.  We want promises to come to pass without prayer and persistence.  We want the amenities of Christianity without dealing with our enemies.  We want spiritual rewards without self sacrifice.  We want a church that doesn’t have any challenges and requires no contribution.

In contrast Jesus told his disciples He was sending The Comforter because their uncomfortable Christianity required the Holy Spirit, who provided supernatural comfort in the midst of persecution, trials and tribulations in their pursuit to preach the gospel. One of the most overlooked functions of the Holy Spirit is to release divine strength needed to enable to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.

I believe the reason this particular function of the Holy Spirit is overlooked is because it is not needed with our western brand of the gospel.  The church will never see it’s need for a Comforter if the goal of our gospel is a comfortable life.  If our primary pursuit as Christians is a comfortable life we will never encounter the Comforter releasing divine help, relief, aid and counsel in the midst of the world’s complex crisis and chaos.  

Comfort is a pleasurable pursuit, but the Comforter is a person pursuing you in the midst of the uncomfortable. He is the God of all comfort but our goal should never be comfort.  Comfort should never be our god because the Comforter is our God.  

I believe things are getting very uncomfortable for comfortable Christianity to exist and that God is disrupting the lives of Christians who have disconnected themselves from engaging the uncomfortable life Jesus calls us to. We need to understand once again the supernatural provisions that the Comforter brings to us and through us for a world that desperately needs Jesus Christ.

Scripturally The God of ALL Comfort is always found in the context of ALL hell breaking loose.  Great Comfort is always coupled in context of Great Conflict. Here is just one of many examples found in the Gospels.

 John 15:18 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also…. ‘They hated Me without a cause…26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

The Apostle Paul was familiar with supernatural comfort superseding his circumstances so he could continue to preach and teach the Good News. 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

The Uncomfortable Life requires divine intervention and demonstration from the Comforter. With all the conflict that is currently breaking out in our nation and world as Christians we cannot shrink back, shrug our shoulders and shut our mouth. The bible promises when we don’t know what to say the Comforter will tell us, when we don’t where to go the Comforter will guide us, and when we are being intimidated and threatened the Comforter will supernaturally empower us.

If we want to get more acquainted with the Holy Spirit we can’t ignore the problems around us, we must confront them.  If we want the Holy Spirit to come upon us in power, we have to come out of our comfort zones. I believe God is inviting us to take step towards the uncomfortable so that we can witness the uncommon.

 What can you do today to take a step out of your comfort zone?

Overcoming Organizational Bottlnecks

Image by winnond courtesy of @FreeDigitalphotos.net

Image by winnond courtesy of @FreeDigitalphotos.net

I remember distinctively wrestling with the Lord about whether or not to take the opportunity.  In my heart I wanted something fresh, genuine and healthy. What I felt during the interview process was a lot of control, heavy handed, unhealthy leadership. The Lord had his way and it probably was one of the most memorable leadership journeys I have ever taken when I accepted the position.

One of the most valuable things I learned in this particular experience was how to overcome organizational bottlenecks. An organization will never function at its full potential when bottlenecks are present. They are easy to identify but very difficult to remove. When bottlenecks are not addressed they will belittle people, create bureaucracy, and centralize power.

Here are three ways I was able to help our organization break loose from bottlenecking.

1.  Value People over Processes – If  processes don’t empower people they will devour people. I recall some of our processes such as annual calendaring for our volunteers requiring a 40 hour work week to accomplish (I’m not joking). There were so many forms that it caused more frustration than freedom. Our check request process was a 2-3 week process that wasn’t working in a PayPal world and so our bottlenecks never produced the best outcomes for our people. Overcoming bottlenecking processes happens when we create processes that help produce better outcomes for people. Never elevate your processes over people. Instead allow your processes to elevate your people’s productivity.

2.  Choose Common Sense  Systems over Complicated Structures – Bureaucracy blinds and organization to better ways of doing things. It elevates structure over systems. It makes simple things super complex, doable things difficult and good ideas impossible. The creative life of an organization will always be restricted by bureaucratic bottlenecks. If an organization is not open to changing it’s structure it will never choose better systems. Common sense creates a culture that is always looking for ways to do things better.

3. Distribute Power within Your Organization – If only one person is powerful in your organization, everyone else is powerless. Leaders that have a ton of responsibility with no power to make decisions or spend money are not leaders at all. They are not even managers. They are employees that are not empowered. To be completely honest they work for you and not with you. By distributing power throughout your organization bottlenecks break wide open. When you level the playing field your organization goes to the next level.

Have you ever experienced being belittled by a bottleneck? How did you overcome it?


Speaking at REVIVE Conference

Excited to be back at New Life speaking at REVIVE, a conference I helped create 5 years ago with some of my favorite people – Sean Smith and Havilah Cunnington. A FREE conference to benefit the greater Body of Christ in Sacramento! Hope to see you there! Details at aboutnewlife.com

Is There More to Life than Becoming a Leader

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I discovered last week that leadership is overrated.  For all you leadership junkies like me that just choked on your bagel, relax for just a few minutes as I lead you down the path of my discovery.

For many leadership is at the pinnacle of their pursuit. It is their number one priority, their goal, for some, possibly even their god. How could this be? We’ve been told that becoming a better leader will produce the outcomes we all long to see in our lives. Great leaders have magnificent marriages, overachieving kids, flourishing financial portfolios, thriving businesses or organizations, and a list of award winning accomplishments as a result of their superb leadership.

But what if there was more to life than just becoming the best leader YOU could be? Last week I discovered during a staff training day the one thing better than becoming a leader, and that is becoming a multiplier. 

Most have learned as I have the goal of every leader should be to multiply themselves, yet many leaders get caught in the trap of waiting until the end of their careers to identify someone that will continue their leadership legacy. A life of great leadership can be marred by the mistake of not multiplying oneself.  Think of how many succession plans have failed, organizational transitions that have went south, or generational batons that have been dropped.

So let me finish my bagel choking statement I made at the beginning of this post.  Leadership is overrated if it cannot be duplicated.  Living your life as a multiplier maximizes the life of others through your everyday behaviors. It’s not an action plan at the end of a leader’s career, it’s a lifestyle that is modeled and multiplied. A multiplier is focused on creating more of who they are or better than they are in the life of others. A multiplier’s life is duplicatable and maximizes the best outcomes for the people they invest in.

The life of a multiplier is clearly modeled in scripture. From the very outset of his ministry Jesus had multiplication in mind when he said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  The prayers that fueled Jesus’ ministry were prayers of multiplication when he instructed his disciples to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Jesus cast vision for multiplication when he promised  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

The Apostle Paul clearly saw Jesus’ model and multiplied himself many times over as he encouraged others to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Most notably he multiplied himself in the life of Timothy.

Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 1 Corinthians 4:16-17.

So more than becoming a leader, become a multiplier. Duplicate your life in the life of someone else and let your leadership legacy live on.

Who is currently in your life that you can invest and multiply your life in?


3 BIG Myths of the Organic Church


In 1998 I was handed a book by my Senior Pastor that would change the way I viewed church and deposit a vision in my heart for a church that wasn’t program based. That book was “Where Do We Go From Here?” by Dr. Ralph Neighbour. I would later that year end up moving to Houston to be a part of a church planting team led by Dr. Neighbour and his wife Ruthie. Though that planting effort was short lived the desire to see something more organic emerge from our traditional ecclesiology has never faded. The pursuit of the organic church is elusive because we have failed to clearly define what it means to be organic; possibly fearing to taint even the pure perception of the word or hesitant to put our fingerprints on something we think only God should be touching.

In order to bring clarity, sometimes it is helpful to identify the misconceptions of a word or phrase. so first let me define organic and then present some myths about the organic church.

One of the definitions of organic we are most familiar with and that I will use for this post is how it relates to organic produce or food production. In this context organic is the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.

This definition actually implies that organic is so much more than 100% spontaneous and all natural.  In all reality organic production requires more planning and sweat equity to produce the desired product. With that said let me attempt to lay out some myths I’ve experienced with the concept of the organic church.

Myth #1 – Organic Church is not organized. Organic can only be derived from a living organism. An organism is a system with many parts that depend on each other and work together. Organic is not spontaneous, but strategic and a part of God’s plan. Organic church is by intelligent design not an undirected process of evolution. When God created life He made it complex and calculated so there would be know doubt who The Creator was. Organic Church should have the signature of The Creator on it. Obvious to all that it is a work of His hands.  Organic is not a hands off approach, it’s hands on!

Myth #2 – Organic Church is system free.  This myth shifts all responsibility to others instead of one another. To be organic is to be free of religious formulas, church growth methods and gimmicks. Systems however assist getting people to trust and depend on one another as they work together towards a greater cause or vision for a community. Healthy systems create and enhance  healthy organic church communities. Without systems you really are more of an evolutionist who believes that chaos can produce healthy organized life. 

Myth #3 – Organic Church isn’t messy.  When ever you go organic you can guarantee crap is involved. Organic farming uses green manures, animal manures and crop rotations to fertilize the soil and maximize biological activity and maintain long-term soil health.  I make mention of this because if you’re going organic you might want to grab a shovel. In order to maximize the life of your organic church community you are going to have to get knee deep in crap. People’s crap…sorry for being so blunt.  Organic church is a call to life on life. Life that can get messy at times, life that stinks at times, but ultimately it is the fertilizer that causes us to grow mature in Christ and with one another.

Organic is the complexity of life simplified in Christ. Pursue it and embrace it and get ready to go to work!

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Best Leadership Tweets of JCLA

BWfNFdrz_400x400 Scott and his wife Karen are the founding pastors of Real Life Church in Sacramento, CA. He writes at his personal blog ScottHagan.org and regularly shares his free values driven leadership content on his Facebook page note2leaders.

25 One Liners from My Jesus Culture LA Notes

John Gray

I love taking notes at church and conferences, but before I started blogging I really didn’t know what to do with them. This morning I wanted to share and inspire you with the top one liners I jotted down during the weekend.

There is a story of God unfolding in America right now! @thebanning

It’s impossible to be hopeless when you know the story of God. @thebanning

When God intends to move somewhere He sets apart someone! @thebanning

God wants to use your life in the coming awakening. @thebanning

The church is looking for better methods but God is looking for better men and women. @thebanning

You can’t avoid holiness, you have to embrace it. @thebanning

Holiness is not a list of rules and regulations it’s a revelation that I’ve been set apart unto God. @thebanning

God is a God of 100%. @thebanning

Holiness is a relationship. @thebanning

Christianity is one massive YES! @thebanning

I see a generation giving themselves FULLY to God in the midst of options. @thebanning

What you’ve gone through is to help those now going through. @_ScottHagan

Great leaders pay attention, careless leaders seek attention. @_ScottHagan

In these last days it’s courage not creativity. @_ScottHagan

The love that presses in must overwhelm that pain that pushes back. @_ScottHagan

When you are going through the motions nothing ever happens. @_ScottHagan

Level 2 faith calls the marginal the miracle. @_ScottHagan

Gone are the days of safe church @RealJohnGray

The sound of worship can shift culture. @RealJohnGray

The blood that saved you, saved me… we are blood brothers. @RealJohnGray

Perfection is not the aim being perfected is the aim. @RealJohnGray

Can you sing in your midnight? @RealJohnGray

Don’t ever minimize your worship to make someone else feel comfortable. @RealJohnGray

Real power can whisper.@RealJohnGray

How many believers live in the tombs of their bad decisions? @RealJohnGray

Do me a favor be encouraged and tweet some of these today and encourage somebody else!




How to Teach the Amazing Truth of the Gospel

We are reminded in my interview with Banning Liebscher, founder and director of Jesus Culture, that teaching and preaching the most important message in the entire world effectively has nothing to do with us but everything to do with the power of the Holy Spirit in us and upon us!

When it comes to teaching the truth of the Gospel, Jesus set the bar high!

Matthew 7:28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Jesus teaching ministry flowed from the heart of the Father. He was anointed and authorized to preach “Good News to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Here are some steps everyone can take implement in teaching the amazing truth of the gospel:

1.  Receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon your life. God’s desire is to continually increase the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and ministry. Who God appoints He anoints. God’s desire is to mark your life with courage and power.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. Acts 4:14-15

2. Realize that God sees you as an amazing son or daughter! God’s love is expressed through a personal relationship with His children not a performance based relationship.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

3. Risk stepping out of your comfort zone. We will never see the amazing truth of the Gospel at work unless we take risks to see God’s power released in us and through us.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping and praising God. Acts 3:6-8



How to Get a Month Ahead in Your Message Planning


It’s Friday, you had some unexpected interruptions and now you are pressed for time in preparing your message. You frantically surf the internet for a free sermon you can download, digest and deliver by Sunday, but you forgot your wife planned for friends to come over for a late Saturday afternoon BBQ. Bummer for you!

That is unless you’ve finally figured out how to get ahead and stay ahead. Last year I posted a blog 5 Free Creative Sermon Series Ideas. It is by far the all time most viewed post on my blog with multiple views per week and the bulk of those views coming on Friday & Saturday night! Why do you think that is? We all know why. Pastors are looking for some help! Many don’t have the luxury of having a creative team around them or someone who can help them with a projected preaching calendar. Instead, they find themselves in a sermon prep frenzy each week instead of confidently and calmly looking ahead.

If your looking for some free sermons hopefully one of the five free sermons can help you out, but if you are willing to make a small investment you will not only have content for this weeks sermon you will have your  messages for following three weeks laid out as well. Let me tell you right up front that I’m not gaining anything personally for blogging about the product except the gratification knowing how much this investment can free you up and improve your preaching and teaching.

Two weeks ago you could only purchase 40 sessions of Jesus Culture’s Emerge Kingdom or Identity resource in it’s entirety for $199.  Now, for $29 you can have access to Emerge Kingdom or Identity 4 weeks at a time, making it really affordable.

It comes with everything you need to put together a message filled with rich content and resources that will assist you in adding your own flair to it. Check it at www.jesusculture.com/emerge out and let this resource take some pressure off.

How to Tackle Trust Issues on Your Team

I was a new staff member, unaware of any trust issues, really enjoying the book 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lenconi that we were reading and discussing as a staff. That is until we got to Part Two.  Part Two brought up the issue of trust; specifically the absence of it. In Lenconi’s fable the absence of trust is defined as the failure on the part of team members to understand and open up to one another. It was clearly evident at this point when all the conversation stopped that we had struck a chord within the broken soul of our team. The book was shelved and so was any further conversation about the subject. Awkward!

Trust is at the very foundation of team building. You can’t build anything significant when trust issues exist amongst a team.

Trust is powerful! It is a belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest and effective. Trust issues exist when wrong beliefs about a team member portray them as something other than these positive characteristics that are listed above. When bad beliefs about others go unchecked they build walls between team members instead of bridges.

To say someone is not trustworthy is to say they are unreliable, bad, dishonest and ineffective. That is the power of belief. It can turn someone who you should trust into a person that is a total bust. When trust is absent from a team distrust is present. Distrust breeds disrespect, disappointment, disillusion, discouragement and a disconnectedness among teams.

It is interesting that distrust is defined as a feeling that someone or something is not honest and cannot be trusted. Notice the contrast between trust and distrust. Trust is based on belief and distrust is based on feelings. We can only experience the best in someone when we’ve believed the best about someone. Feelings on the other hand will mislead us in drawing wrong conclusions about others.

 So how do we tackle trust issues that are trampling team unity, synergy and cohesiveness?

1. Affirm Your Beliefs Publicly about Your Team – If you don’t acknowledge publicly the good things a person brings to your team you open the door to form wrong feelings about a person privately. Teams that don’t affirm one another are usually teams that being misled by their feelings and therefore experiencing emotional highs and lows constantly.

2. Celebrate Your Team Members – You have to find reasons to celebrate each and every team member not just the team leader. A team member that isn’t celebrated is a team member that doesn’t feel appreciated. Birthdays and anniversaries are given opportunities to celebrate others. I know many organizations that “feel” like they can’t afford to celebrate these simple things, but to be completely honest you can’t afford not to. A 5 year work anniversary should be celebrated! A 20 year wedding anniversary should be celebrated! A job well done should be celebrated! Teams that celebrate typically are teams that accelerate!

3. Deepen Your Relationships with Your Team – There are a lot of differing opinions about this but as it relates to ministry and the church but I’m going to say it anyway. Teams that are relationally superficial will never do anything supernatural!  To deepen your relationships you have to move past the formal into the familiar. You have to take relational risks with the people around you. Spending time outside the office, double dates, trips, bbq’s, whatever excuse you can find to go deeper it’s worth the risk. If the team that you are a part of can’t be likened to a family then relationally your team isn’t going to stick together. In fact it could get ugly!

Trust issues are the most difficult issues to tackle on a team, church or organization. They will run over you, trample you and stomp you if they are not confronted. You cant tackle them alone but you can tackle them as a team!

How have you cultivated trust within your team?


Image courtesy of by Idea go @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of by Idea go @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been taught over the years that leaders should always be learning. However, I’ve discovered that it is equally important to commit to the unlearning process as a leader. To unlearn is to put out of one’s knowledge or memory, to undo the effect of, discard the habit of some formed behavior.

Learned behavior can become a barrier to your leadership. Biblically we would call these strongholds; wrong attitudes that have been formed into unhealthy mindsets that are difficult to dismantle. Eugene Peterson says it this way in The Message in 1 Corinthians 10:5 -
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. 
So how do we commit and submit  ourselves to the unlearning process as leaders?
1. Make room for NEW thinking – Old attitudes are dismantled by new thoughts and ideas. Unlearning the way you’ve done things for the last 10 years can unleash the new innovative way you do something for the next 10 years. If something that has always worked is not working it may be that there is a better way to do it if you allow room for fresh ideas.
2. Get NEW perspective – Better outcomes require different outlooks. Unlearning will require you to consider what others are telling you. A leader that is unlearning is open to listening to different perspectives.
3. Allow God to do a NEW thing! - God is the author of all things NEW!  The idea, system, method or structure you need might not look like anything someone else is doing or that you’ve done. A good starting place to see a NEW thing happen is to ask God what He’s wanting to do or already doing.
For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? (Isaiah 41:7)
The brand NEW will help you with your breakthrough! Unlearning the old and embracing the new is key for advancing leaders and moving their organizations forward into the future.
Is there anything you need to unlearn?

Cultivating Kingdom Culture

black-hole1The word culture as it relates to this post is defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization.

Kingdom culture is cultivated and released by the human heart through heart attitudes. Attitudes create an atmosphere where values are formed, vision is realized and vessels are empowered to bring God glory.

That is why culture, a set of shared attitudes, is the most powerful factor in any church, ministry or organization.  Many times as leaders we are trying to produce an outward action before we’ve cultivated the inward attitude of the hearts of people that ultimately creates the activity or outcome we want to see.

At the heart of Kingdom culture is the hearts of people. Vision and strategy is what flows from the heart of people centered on the King of the Kingdom. This culture is created when the greatest commandment is given the greatest priority:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.  – Luke 10:27

The most valuable asset in Kingdom culture is our response to God and our relationships with people.  Healthy hearts aligned with the King produce Kingdom attitudes that create awesome atmospheres people want to be a part of.  If the air is clean and healthy, people thrive and the vision and strategy prosper, but if the atmosphere is toxic because the output of our hearts isn’t healthy, energy subsides, creativity lags, conflicts multiply, and production declines.

My case and point is the Oakland Raiders.  Over the years the stigma of the Raiders being the bad boys of the NFL has stifled their success. This bad attitude of the ownership, players and even fans for the last 12 years has created a toxic atmosphere that has produced a team that no one wants to coach, play for, or watch. The attitude of the organization has created an atmosphere that has caused a legendary team to miss playoffs for 12 consecutive years. Attitude is everything!

Here are some suggestions that can help you cultivate a CULTURE that expresses attitudes and produces atmospheres that best represent your Christ Jesus the King.

Celebrate Your Wins

Romans 12:15- Rejoice with those who rejoice

1 Corinthians 12:26- And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Unite your Hearts

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Love like Jesus

1 Cotinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.

Trust Your Leadership

1 Thessalonians 5:12- Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders inthe Lord’s work. They work hard among you and warn you against all that is wrong.

Hebrews 13:7- Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do.

Hebrews 13:17- Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

Undaunted when faced with opposition

I have to share this definition because unhealthy cultures do not have this shared quality. Undaunted means not intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment. 

Joshua 1:5-7 – No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous…

Reward & Appreciate People

Imagine if  your were Timothy and Paul said these things about you!

1 Corinthians 4:17- That is the very reason I am sending Timothy — to help you do this. For he is my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord. He will remind you of what I teach about Christ Jesus in all the churches wherever I go.

Philippians 2:20, 22- I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News.

Examine Your Heart & Be an Example to Others

Proverbs 4:23- Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.

Matthew 12:34-35- 34You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart.

Psalm 26:2- Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. When you take time to do this, you will not only create culture, you will sustain it!

Creating Kingdom CULTURE is hard work, but as Dr. Sam Chand says, “Culture, if not healthy, will eat strategy and vision for lunch.”

If you like this post please share it, LIKE it, Tweet it! Thanks for taking the time to read it.

383 Pages of Hope & Encouragement

HQ GraphicI learned about Ray Johnston’s book Hope Quotient by attending the Folsom Bayside Campus and was delighted when I found it was available on BookLookBloggers.com for free in exchange for this review.

Ray doesn’t just tell you to be encouraged he shows you many practical steps on how to stay encouraged by raising your HQ (Hope Quotient).

The book is centered around seven principles that will increase your hope levels as a leader so that you can unleash hope others. If we don’t have hope in our own lives we will be unable to offer hope to anyone else. Here are the 7 factors that raise your HQ:

1. Recharge your batteries. Nobody does well running on empty.

2. Raise your expectations. You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you expect.

3. Refocus on the future. It’s time to throw away your rearview mirror. No one goes forward well when they are looking back.

4. Play to your strengths. Be yourself; everyone else is taken.

5. Refuse to go it alone. Never underestimate the power of support.

6. Replace burnout with balance. Burning the candle at both ends isn’t as bright as you think.

7. Play great defense. Avoid these five toxic hope killers that can threaten your future.

This book will have you laughing, thinking, highlighting and praying seriously about what you need to do to raise your HQ. If you are in a place of discouragement, need a better outlook, or just want to keep your HQ level where it is I would definitely recommend this book to you. When you purchase the book there is also a free HQ assessment you can take to see where your hope levels are at! The book can also be used as a 50 Days of Unleashing Hope Campaign in your church which was put together by Bayside, so it’s proven.

What’s on your reading list this summer?



The 10 Most Believed Lies About Leadership

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.  Leadership is a Lonely Road – Leaders that find themselves on a lonely road are not on the road to successful leadership they are on the road to devastation and isolation. Leaders cannot sustain the pressures that come with leading alone. Though leaders many times will take the road less traveled, it doesn’t mean no one goes with them. Healthy leaders are surrounded by healthy relationships.

2. Leadership is Power – Power driven leaders drive people from their organizations. Leaders are only as powerful as the people who are following them. A leader that leads by power and position is a leader that often bankrupts people of their value and worth to an organization. The power driven leader makes it all about them, but genuine leadership is concerned about the success of others.

3. Leadership must have an Element of Mystery – Leaders who believe they must be somewhat mysterious in my opinion have serious issues. This idea emerged out of the idea that if people become too familiar with a leader that it will somehow nullify their ability to lead effectively. Leaders thrive when they create cultures of transparency, authenticity and accessibility. Mystery is not a quality of healthy leadership, it’s an indicator that a leader has totally missed what leadership is all about, serving others.

4. Leadership is for Everyone – Leadership is for anyone, but not for everyone. Leadership cannot happen without a contingency of followers. As John Maxwell says, “If you think you are a leader and no one is following you, you are just going for a walk.” I first ran across this leadership lie in the in the late 90’s. I believe the opposite is true. Everyone is called to follow, not everyone is gifted with the innate ability to lead others.  Can leadership be learned by anyone? You bet, but to become a leader you must be chosen to be one or make a choice to become one. Leadership is a gift that not everyone is graced with. If we are really honest there are many who have deemed themselves as leaders that are operating outside the graces of what God has called them to. Some people are passionate followers and are content with being led by great leaders choosing to follow rather than lead.

5. Leadership is without Struggle. A leader’s strength is developed in the struggle not without struggle. I like how Steven Snyder in his book, “Leadership and the Art of Struggle” exposes this lie:

“Fulfilling your potential as a leader requires that you think differently about leadership. You must recast your struggles as positive learning experiences and view them as necessary steps in your development as a leader. You must look at leadership through an entirely different lens.”

Viewing struggles as an opportunity instead of an obstacle is essential in leadership.

6. Leadership means Everyone Agrees. Great leaders will have to make difficult decisions.  It is rare for a leader to have 100% buy in 100% of the time. Leading by consensus kills progressive cultures.  Leaders are often presented opportunities that have an expiration date that require prompt decisions.  Having to consult boards, staffs and committees can be wise but it can also cause leaders to miss windows of opportunity and see doors close. There has to be process for leadership to make quick and timely decisions. Momentum is lost through long drawn out decision making processes.

7. Leadership is for the Elite. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the Apostle Paul’s words debunks this leadership lie directly:

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have – right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start – comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:26-30, The Message)

Life presents anyone an equal opportunity to become a leader. Not everyone will choose to be or should be a leader, but everyone can be.  It doesn’t matter your age, gender, race or where you were born. What matters is realizing what you were born for. Leading your life with purpose is not just for the privileged.

8. Leadership comes with Rights. The longer you are in leadership the more your responsibilities will increase while simultaneously your rights decrease. Responsibility always is increasing in the lives of maturing leaders. “Too much is given, much is required.” You will not be given much if you are not willing to give up your rights. Holding on to your rights will reduce your productivity and influence as a leader.

9. Leadership Means Having It All Together- The greatest trap for leaders is to think they can’t show any signs of personal weakness. Their marriage must be perfect, their kids must be perfect, their finances must be perfect and so on. Leadership means I’m being perfected in my pursuit of becoming a better leader. It means that I’m living my life up front as an example with both my weaknesses and strengths.

10.  Leadership is Everything  – If everything depends on leadership then nothing else matters. We’ve all heard the saying “everything rises and falls on leadership.” To say that this is 100% true all the time is to say that there are never any other determining factors of outcomes. Leadership is one of many things that determine the results of a successful organization. There are other factors such as timing, resources, location, and what I call the God factor. To say leadership is everything overlooks the importance that other determining factors play.

What leadership lies have you believed or have I not included? What do you think should or shouldn’t be on my list? If you like my content please subscribe to my blog and LIKE my Facebook page! Thanks for your support!


3 Ways to Fight for Joy

Image courtesy of farconville    @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of farconville

Joy is defined as a source or cause of great happiness. When our lives are filled with joy it is a result of tapping into the source or cause that provides such great happiness. Genuine joy is not based on my outward circumstances but my inward strength. That strength in my life is supplied by the hope I have in Christ.

When I find myself discouraged or fighting to keep my joy it is an indicator that I’m doing things in my own strength and NOT looking to Him to supply me with the hope that only He can give me that results in a happy life.

Here are 3 ways that I fight for joy in my life:

1. You Have to Find Hope - In the midst of everything that might be going wrong in our lives we have to find hope. I will never forget the definition of hope I first heard as a new Christian at the age of 17. Hope is the confident joyful expectation we can always have in Christ. Hope releases an inward confidence, joy and an expectation that helps me to conquer or overcome any obstacle that is attempting to kill my joy. The reason I can be happy even in the most hopeless situations is because what is attacking my joy from the outside does not determine my outcome when my joy is anchored in hope.

2. You Have to Find Faith – My favorite definition for faith comes from the example of Abraham’s faith described in Romans 4:21. Abraham was fully convinced that what He (God) had promised He (God) was also able to perform! I find faith on a regular basis in two common places and so can you. Faith can be found in God’s promises. Turning the pages of your Bible puts the promises of God right at your finger tips. God’s promises fight the doubt that attempts to dash your dreams. The second place I find faith is in the place of praise. Praise is the language of faith.  When I sing God’s praises He raises my expectations and my heart is filled with hope.  A couple years ago God spoke to my heart and said the volume of your praise must be louder than the voices of your problems. Praise releases faith to see the victory on the other side of the mountains we are facing.

3. You Have to Find Love - Keeping your joy is much easier when we have a friend walking with us through the things that try to kill our joy. Finding a friend that says the right thing at the right time or maybe having a friend that is just a good listener and can pray with us and for us is key when we our fighting to keep our joy. Unconditional love from a friend brings joylessness to an end! Most people that have lost their joy have lost connection with people that can bring strength to their life.

If you find yourself without joy I encourage you to do whatever it takes to find hope, faith and love in your life this week. Keep fighting, don’t give up because those who seek it will find it!

What are some ways  you fight to keep your joy?




How I Overcame an Obvious Oops

Image courtesy of digitalart @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week I received an email on Friday late afternoon requesting documentation that was supposed to be completed by the weekend. Panic flooded my soul as I scanned my inbox for the attachment that had gotten buried by the back and forth correspondence. Sure enough there it was, as plain as day with the simple instructions to fill out and return. So simple, yet a dumb mistake.

We’ve all been there. The realization that you screwed up, completely blew it, forgot about it, or overlooked it. Nothing quite matches the personal feeling of a sinking heart reeling from an obvious oops. Mistakes; we all make them and will continue to have moments that are marked by embarrassing mishaps, but how do we overcome them? 

“I” Didn’t Come Up with an Excuse –  There is only one thing worse than a lame mistake and that is a lame excuse. Our sin nature loves to look for something or someone else to blame. Shifting the blame causes you to look like a lame leader. When I realized I had messed up I could have come up with a pretty good reason for why I was not responsible for the oversight, however I chose to take a different route.

“I” Owned It –  I got honest with my oops. I completely missed the attachment on the email earlier in the week that gave me more than enough time to complete the task. When we make a mistake we have an opportunity to take it or fake it. We can take responsibility or fake it and act like it wasn’t our fault. Taking ownership of our oops can help us correct things quickly and get things back on track.

“I” Called Immediately -  When I received the email asking if I had received the attachment I didn’t hit reply or send back a text message. I immediately called her to tell her I dropped the ball. Although she almost dropped my call, I assured her even though I wasn’t certain I could get it done that I would do my best to get the contract to her as soon as possible. When you find out you’ve made a mistake make a personal call. I was able to start correcting my mistake in a moment rather than wasting valuable minutes going back and forth with email and text messages.

“I” Asked My Team for Help – After I made the call I was not in a position to act on the promise I had just made, so I called my team. At the time I didn’t know how my coworkers would respond to my request for help. There were only a few hours left in their Friday and I’m sure they had more pressing things to get done than solve the problem I created. What I discovered is that when you humble yourself your team will help you. There was no way I was going solve this problem by myself. I needed my friends and they had my back. There is no better feeling when we have failed to have your pick you up from the fall. Correcting problems often takes collaboration that flows from community.

“We” Overcame the Oops!  When “I” got out of the way and didn’t try to preserve myself the problem started getting solved. There is safety and wisdom in taking responsibility, confronting issues and humbling ourselves in overcoming the oops we encounter. Humility helps bring solutions, but pride will just causes more problems.

What can you take away from my OOPS?


The 2 Most Important Leadership Actions I Practice

Image courtesy of basketman @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of basketman @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No matter what level of leadership you currently find yourself at, there are important actions that every leader should be consistently practicing as they continue to enhance their leadership skills. Here are the 2 most important leadership actions I continually practice as a growing leader.

1. I Keep LearningAs a leader if you stop learning you stop growing. The wonderful thing about leadership is that you never know it all. No matter how many of John Maxwell’s books you’ve read, leadership conferences you’ve attended, years of leadership experience you possess there is alway more room to grow as a leader. Leaders that stop learning lose the burning desire that is required to lead boldly, bring innovative change and continue to carry and cast fresh vision to those they lead.

Proverbs 9:9 – Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

2. I Keep Listening – A leader that doesn’t listen is a leader that doesn’t last because when leaders stop listening people stop following. Leaders must be active listeners. To be an active listener doesn’t mean you need to act on everything you hear, yet it’s understanding the importance that everything you do hear has an element of truth that can help you as a leader. As a leader I have made it a consistent practice to hear the compliments as well as the complaints. I’ve had people yell at me because they were upset and something and was still able to pull something positive out of what seemed to be a negative situation. I’ve listened to criticism and allowed it to become a catalyst for something good to happen. Leaders that listen are leaders that are one step ahead and continue to stay ahead conflict and concerns.

Proverbs 1:5 – …Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.

I have found that as I keep learning and listening I can continue to take my leadership to the next level and be the leader God has called me to be.

What practices as a leader do you consistently act upon that continue to help you grow as a leader?

Are We Bowing Down to the god of Growth?


Ten years ago the conversation changed from getting people saved to getting churches to grow. One could argue that getting churches to grow depends upon getting people saved and there is no doubt that many growing churches are seeing numerous conversions and water baptisms. However, I believe it is the exception to what’s happening in churches across the nation.

For most church leaders it seems that getting people saved has become secondary to seeing their churches grow. We are talking more about how many are being seated in our churches than how many are being saved and sent by our churches. In fact we have created a culture within church world that only celebrates, elevates and platforms leaders that have thousands of followers. Take a moment to recall the last time you went to a church leadership conference and heard from someone who wasn’t an author, a regular conference speaker, a successful church planter, or someone that hasn’t done some great exploit in the last 18 months. Bottom line is you haven’t.

Just yesterday I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts that advertised “The Double Conference.” It was specifically for Pastors that want to see their church double in size over the next year. I’m not criticizing the concept of the conference because I know the leader hosting the conference understands that when leaders grow their organizations grow. What I’m concerned about is that the pursuit of “double” has overtaken the pursuit of the Divine. 

Today leaders are generally more concerned about producing growth than they are about presenting the Gospel. Think about some of your own conversations lately. When is the last time you critiqued your presentation of the Gospel? 

If we are not careful our pursuit of God’s Divine Presence will be exchanged for Growth Driven Principles! Please hear me when I say that like Pastor Benny Perez addressed in his book, I believe it’s a “Both And” not an either or.

Pastor Benny talks about the tension of a “Both And” culture in our churches:

Should we be missional or attractional? Do we need to pray more or do we need new strategies? Is it Good Deeds or Good news? Does the Bible teach prosperity or generosity? Changing lives isn’t about easy answers. 

I’m all about growing but is it worth the price pastors and leaders are paying. We are sacrificing our families, our health, our sanity, even our churches in this principled pursuit.  I was impacted by a comment that Francis Chan, a former mega church pastor,  made at a pastors gathering I attended last year. He said he really didn’t know if God had designed leaders to handle and live under the pressures that the mega church brings.

His statement went against the grain of the current leadership mindset in the church, but I would have to agree. I don’t believe God created us to live under the constant, day in and day out pressure that exponential growth can bring if it’s only principle driven.  God doesn’t want living under unhealthy pressure, He wants us living and leading from His presence. 

So, are we bowing down to the god of Growth? Are we more consumed and caught up with numeric barriers than the spiritual barriers that are keeping people from experiencing salvation? Are we seeking His presence first or are we quick to pick up the hottest book that has the principles we so think we need?

I’m thinking out loud this morning, but would like to gather your thoughts as well. Please leave a comment, LIKE the Backseat Leader Facebook Page. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



10 Things I Would Have Done Differently as a Church Planter

Image Courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In 2003 we planted a church. In 2004 we closed the doors. Here’s 10 things I would have done differently.

1. I would taken a more rigorous church planter’s assessment – I often joke that if someone would have just looked at my checkbook they would have stopped me from my attempt to plant a church. I’m sure other indicators would have surfaced as well, but a good assessment would have either helped delay us until we were really prepared or prevented us from doing one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

2. I would have been more patient and processed more with my Senior Pastor – I guess looking back I laugh a lot because I joke about this to with my lifelong Pastor and friend, Greg Simas, “why didn’t you stop me?” I would have taken more time to  ask him more questions like:

  • Do you think I’m ready?
  • How hard has it been for you to plant?
  • Is the timing right?
  • Where should I plant?
  • Can the church send us?

My impatience of feeling like I was done with youth ministry only gave me a couple options and since I felt that God gave me a desire to plant a church that’s what I pursued.

3. I would not planted with the domination I was affiliated with. In 2002 the denomination we were associated with at the time had not developed a proven church planting strategy. We received what I call a “pentecostal pat on the back” and their blessing which at the time that’s all I thought I needed. A church planter needs more than required approval. They need real assistance. I would have sought out a church planting organization or movement that was better equipped to equip me and had the vision and knowledge on how to plant a church successfully.

4. I would have spent a year on just getting supporters and raising support. I would have focused more time on learning how to raise funds and would have had definite goals in place of how many supporters I needed to fund the plant so that I could give my undivided attention to the work. As you may know a church planter that has to work an additional job is less likely to get the church established. At one time I was working 3 jobs!

5. I would have gathered a much larger team with closer friends.  I think in order to gather a team you have to have to things working for you. Your timing has to be right and your location needs to be strategic. I think I missed the best timing when we didn’t plant after being 9 years at a church we loved and  what was ultimately our first ministry transition in 1998. Because of missing the timing I think we missed the best opportunity to gather a team with our closest friends that would have followed our lead.

6. I would not plant two hours away from my hometown or home church. We planted 2.5 hours away from my hometown and the church that sent us which meant no one went with us. I read some bad info in my twenties that said a church planter should plant a minimum of 100 miles away from their home church. We know today that was written by someone who was territorial not apostolic.

7. I would not have quit. When I meet with church planters today I encourage them not to quit like I did. Good things will happen if you are persistent, but you have to stay encouraged. I allowed myself to become discouraged.

8. I would not have launched prematurely. Our family experienced 5 major life changes in a 1 year period. We moved to a different city, we purchased our first home, we got new jobs, the kids went to different schools, and we decided to pull off the biggest challenge of all on top of that in planting a church. Dumb. I should not have launched right away and in fact that was the plan, but I got impatient. I’m pretty good at that.

9. I would have partnered with a church that had a real vision to plant churches. I can’t stress how important this is. There is a big difference between a supporting church than a sending church. A supporting church keeps you afloat, a sending church buys you the boat! You need a church behind you that’s all in. If you fail they fail, if you succeed they succeed. There are many ways to approach partnership, but your sending church should have a vision and proven strategy to plant churches.

10. I would have asked my wife more questions. Amy has been a constant supporter of me the last 22 years of our marriage and 20 years in ministry. There is no way anyone can last in ministry without a spouse who is called to ministry. Somehow I think I took on more responsibility than was required. I should have shared more of it with her. Not that I didn’t include her, but I think when things got tough I isolated myself and tried to do it all by myself  “come hell or high water.” Pride doesn’t always boast and shout, sometimes it isolates and manifests itself in a spirit of independence. I may have had a form of pride in my life that caused me to internalize too much.

After we closed the church plant I went through the two most difficult years of my life. I think if I would have done some things differently we either wouldn’t have planted or waited until we were better prepared. I’m still a planter at heart and I’m excited to be a part of my 3rd church planting team experience with Jesus Culture Sacramento. I’m sure I’ll be writing a post in the future about 10 things we did right!

If you are a church planter what is something you would have done differently?

Book Review: Crash The Chatterbox

ctch-header-bookAnother amazing read by Pastor Steven Furtick!  After reading Crash the Chatterbox I feel like I’ve just stepped out of the cage of a UFC title fight! This book will help you to confront the enemies constant whispers of discouragement, defeat and delusion and lies. Furtick doesn’t give the reader a quick fix or proven formula to quieting the opposing voice but he fuels the reader a fighting strategy that will assist you in slugging out your victory.

This book is about hearing God’s voice above all others and cranking up the volume of His victorious voice while violently crashing the chatterbox that never shuts up. If you are constantly in a battle with your mind, you are living with condemnation, like to throw pity parties or you are just weary in the day to day fight this book will inspire you to go at it with everything you’ve got.

Don’t let a battle you are afraid to fight keep you from a victory that already been won!

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review, but this is a book that I would definitely purchase for my personal library!

What book are you currently reading? I’m looking for my next book!


10 Things I Would Have Done Differently as a Youth Pastor


 Image by khunaspix courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by khunaspix courtesy of @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is not a list of regrets, but as we mature hopefully we are getting wiser. Here are 10 things I would do differently as youth pastor almost 20 years later. Here we go!

1.  I would have been more transparent in dealing with my personal issues – I was only 23 when I began in ministry. A rookie and a newlywed! I had matured a lot in between the ages of 19-22, but I was still a young work in process (still am). I wish I would have been more deliberate in talking about my shortcomings with youth more than my strengths. Over the last 15-20 years, I now know that God is most powerful when I am most vulnerable.  God uses our weakness to release grace and perfect His strength in our lives. When we hide our weakness we resist His grace and strength.

2.  I would have honed in on my strengths sooner – I was a Jack of All trades Master of None. I could do everything pretty well, but I should have taken some time to master my strengths. It’s only been in the last 4-5 years that I’ve really narrowed my focus on doing a few things really well such as communication, writing and creative planning. One of the key lessons I’ve learned is that when you can do everything you won’t delegate anything. This has caused me to thrive in ministry rather than just survive in ministry.

3.  I would have worked on becoming a better communicator much sooner than I did. Many youth pastors think they are the best communicators on the planet. I thought I was pretty good myself. When I’ve gone back to listen to some of my old messages it’s really embarrassing. We have a huge responsibility in communicating the most important message known to mankind and how we communicate it is really important. I don’t think you ever totally arrive but I have become a better story teller, a better craftsman, more creative and a better closer by getting some coaching and studying some of my favorite speakers, listening to podcasts, etc.

4.  I would have took my teens on more missions trips. I have not witnessed a more transformational experience than leading others on a missions trip. I have come to learn that faith works best in foreign places. Even in my most recent trips I’ve seen youth (not limited to youth) that are complacent become radically committed to Christ after going on 10 day a trip. Mission trips expose youth to real places of need that require real faith to survive. When they see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, hear it they are changed by it!

5.  I would have spent more time focusing on relationships than the Big Event. I was a big event expert, but looking back I would have become a relationship expert. Some of my best memories and I think most impacting times in youth ministry were when I was focusing on just one or a few teens, in a van, on a trip, eating late night drive thru fast food, laughing, talking, listening, ministering. Those moments are easily missed when your ministry is event driven because you don’t have time or make time for that. Though I think I had both, I think the Big Event can be a Big Mistake if that’s all your youth ministry is about. 

6.  I would have better prepared/discipled our teens for real life. Hindsight is 20/20 but I think I would have been more intentional on preparing the teens that were under my care with the things they would facing, decisions they would have to be making in their early adult years. If your thinking, “that’s a no brainer”, then I challenge you to ask yourself this question: “In the next 3-5 years, what might my youth be facing that I’m not addressing in my youth ministry?” 

7.  I would have put more value on myself. I have never based ministry decisions on money, but looking back I would have placed more value on my abilities and productivity. I didn’t realize how much I was worth until I was considering on making a transition from my first church. It was then that the church more than doubled my salary. It was generous, but it revealed to me that I was more valuable than I thought. If you don’t value what you do, others will discount what you do. Like I said money has never been a motivator, we soon left after enjoying a huge raise for a few months.

8.  I would have stayed and stuck it out. Starting over sucks! As a youth pastor nothing will make more of a difference in your ministry than longevity. The longer you stay the more fruit you will see. I don’t have to tell you what the average youth pastor tenure is for you to know that it’s never long enough. I wish I would have stuck it out through a difficult situation rather than leaving.

9.  I would not have financed my youth ministry events. I never had a credit card until I started in ministry. I put my first missions trip on Master Card and early on took my money out of the Master’s hands! My lack of stewardship proved to be my lack of faith in God’s provision for my life and ministry. I didn’t have anything to show for my “purchases” except some good events and a lot of debt. It took me years to dig out and it is still difficult at times to resist paying for something I can’t afford to do. Don’t pay for what God orders, trust Him for the miracle.

10.  I would have did something with the dreams God gave me. I never have dreamed like I did during my first youth ministry job. God gave me dreams that to be honest I didn’t know what to with at the time. Looking back with no regrets I realize God was asking me to do something that at the time I didn’t have the courage to do. There are some dreams that have expiration dates and unfortunately I let those dreams expire. Can God redeem dreams? You bet he can, but when He gives us dreams we have the responsibility of not letting them die (sometimes God does require our dreams to die, but what I’m talking about here is different). I don’t know if God will ever resurrect these specific dreams, but I do know that He specializes in bringing dead things to life.

With that said I would do the same thing all over again to meet the people I have met, make the friends I’ve made, and go the places I’ve gone. I’m grateful that God can turn our mistakes into miracles, bad decisions into a better destiny, and take our weaknesses and do wonders. I am forever grateful for all of you that may be reading this and have been a part of my life. For those of you that are just getting your feet wet in youth ministry I hope you can learn from some of the things that I would do differently today.

What would you do differently in your life or ministry if you got a redo?



Working Better Behind the 8 Ball

Image Courtesy of James Barker @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of James Barker @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever said this phrase? “I’m behind the 8 ball!”

There are ongoing arguments about when and how this phrase originated, but if you’ve played a few games of pool there is no mistaking what it means. Documented as early as 1931 in the New York Times, behind the 8 ball means that you or someone you know is in a tight spot, but interestingly enough, not unlikely to win.

When I’ve said that phrase it usually meant I was facing a fast coming deadline with no time to lose and no room for error if I wanted to be victorious with the assigned task. Most of you I’m sure have been in that place where you can’t afford to scratch!

I love the predicament this phrase portrays because when Backseat Leaders  find themselves behind the 8 ball, they find ways to win. Like a pool shark, BackSeat Leaders are looking at every possible angle to call out and make a shot that ends in victory.

Some would call it lucky, but I would call it a skill that very few people can appreciate or even recognize.  Backseat Leaders have the ability to get a monumental task done in a minimal amount of time that releases momentum in a ministry or organization. These tasks come with many obstacles to overcome, mountains to climb and bottomed out budgets that require a lot of ingenuity.

BackSeat Leaders however thrive when they are behind the 8 Ball! They have a track record for getting things done when the stakes are high. They tend to feed off of the stress and pressure that can be created by project timelines and deadlines, yet they don’t waver. Instead, they know how to work their way out of a tight spot and get a win that everyone may not appreciate, but ALL can celebrate.

If a primary leader finds themselves in a difficult position, a bad situation, a problem that looks like a definite loss, they can turn to their BackSeat Leader in a tight spot.  BackSeat Leaders are breakthrough leaders. They find solutions, implement ideas, work endlessly for the greater good of the primary leader and the team they support. No job is too big, or too small. If it’s important for the leader it’s important to them. They will not scratch, but  will score critical victories for primary leaders and the people they lead.

If you are enjoying reading this series on The BackSeat Leader: Leading Better from Behind would you take a moment to rate this post or leave a comment. I appreciate your help and would love to know if you can relate to the BackSeat Leader concept! For a regular flow of quality leadership material I’m gleaning off of please LIKE The Backseat Leader Facebook page too!

What is it about being behind the 8 ball that you enjoy?

How Better Leaders are Built Behind the Scenes

Image courtesy of imagery majestic @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagery majestic @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A BackSeat Leader’s joy is derived from behind the scenes jobs that are unseen that most often go unnoticed without any recognition or immediate reward. How can one be so joyful about this behind the scenes leadership journey?

BackSeat Leaders understand that the journey to leadership is more about the development of their character. They have discovered a promising path that has no ladders to climb, hoops to jump through, or requires them to compromise their values and what’s important to them. I call this God’s  leadership development plan.

Through out history, God has raised up leaders that nobody saw coming:

  • Abraham became a promising leader well past his “best” years.
  • Joseph passed the test of the pit, Potiphar’s wife and the prison before he became a prominent leader.
  • Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock before he became Israel’s deliverer.
  • Joshua’s courageous faith was sparked on a secret missions trip into Canaan long before he became the courageous leader that led the children of Israel to cross the Jordan to possess it.
  • Gideon was hiding from the enemy in a winepress, threshing wheat and considered himself a big zero before the Angel of the Lord called him to be a “mighty hero.”
  • David protected his father’s sheep, killing a lion and a bear before he ever killed Goliath.

Today, God is still raising up leaders that nobody sees coming through the ranks. They are content with their current assignment. Serving what seems to be unimportant.  Diligently doing their duties for no one to see. Faithfully showing up when no one else does.  For BackSeat Leaders it may not be where they want to be, but they are learning all they can to become the leader God is calling them to be. BackSeat Leader’s that are being built behind the scenes are on God’s radar and here’s why.

1. BackSeat Leaders have first been great with little things. It takes great faith to believe God for great things when you’ve been asked to be faithful in the little things. God’s word makes it very clear. Be faithful with little and you will be trusted with much. BackSeat leaders don’t discount small things. They understand the small things will lead to bigger things.

2. BackSeat Leaders have a servants heart.  God promotes leaders that have a heart to serve. If one were to spiritually dissect a servants heart they would first find humility. God elevates the humble leader and resists the proud leader. The lower you go as a leader the higher God will take you. That does not mean he will necessarily put you on the center stage, but it does mean you will be in the center of His will has a leader.

3.  BackSeat Leaders have passed many tests. Look again at the list of leaders above. Everyone of those biblical heroes had to pass a test before they became great leaders. Abraham had to pass the “Im too old test.” Joseph had to pass the “life’s not fair test.” Moses had to pass the “I’m working for my Father-in-Law test.” Joshua had to pass the “discouragement test.” Gideon had to pass the “I’m from the other side of the tracks test.” David had to pass the “why am I always being overlooked test.” God had a unique test for each of these history making leaders and He is still handing those tests out today.

The greatest accomplishment for a Backseat Leader is traveling on this leadership journey knowing that God is with them every step of the way. Let me encourage you if you are in the BackSeat at this very moment. God sees what nobody else sees. God wants you to be satisfied in the season you are in,  and you are going to pass the test you are currently taking.  God leadership program is not without reward!

What brings you the most satisfaction when you are working behind the scenes?