Top 10 Leadership Quotes from H3 Leadership – Brad Lomenick’s New Book

Leadership quotes from Brad Lomenick’s H3 Leadership.

H3 LeadershipWhat are the three most important questions a leader should ask? According to leadership expert Brad Lomenick, they are:

Who am I? (Humble)

Where do I want to go? (Hungry)

How will I get there? (Hustle)

These are the three areas Brad explores in his new book H3 Leadership – Humble, Hungry, Hustle. H3 contains a lot of great leadership wisdom culled from Brad’s decade as president of Catalyst (an influential organization that provides leadership training for young adults).

Here are some of the top tips from H3 Leadership:

#10. The best ideas come out of the kiln of disagreement and discernment.

#9. One of the most difficult lessons for leaders to learn is how to let go.

#8. You can’t expect to pass on what you don’t have. Your team will mirror you. If there something you don’t like, you probably created it.

#7. Leaders are readers.

#6. You don’t always get to do what you love; sometimes you have to force yourself to love what you do.

#5. The best way to shore up your legacy is to effectively hand it off to your successors.

#4. It doesn’t matter how much of a race you run if you don’t cross the finish line. Similarly, unfinished projects might as well never of been started.

#3. The quality of work we do is not just about bragging rights. It’s about stewardship.

#2. Leaders who don’t communicate their vision are no better off than leaders who have no vision to communicate.

#1. People would rather follow a leader who is always real versus a leader who is always right.


Leadership is more than hard work; it is habitual work.

When you rise in the morning, nearly half of your day will be determined by the patterns and we created for passively allowed.

The path to being a better leader is paved with the asphalt of habits.

The patterns we cultivate shape the person we become.

Life is about decisions. If you want to change, make a decision.

Your sense of identity will help determine your scale of influence. Ignore it at your own.

Self discovery is not a practice you complete, but a posture you cultivate.

Lone Ranger leaders are destined for trouble. Even the actual cowboy character had Tonto.

Relational depth often emerges from intentional dialogue.

The organization’s mission should always be more important than the individual’s personal ambition.

The best leaders protect and treasure their reputations, their consciences, and their values.

Lack of character is a fast acting venom for which there is often no antidote. Safeguard with deep convictions.

Many leaders assume they know what their most closely held convictions are, a false assumption that keeps them from naming them.

Faith is less like your arm and more like your heart. It is not supplementary to who we are but integral.

The more one succeeds, the busier one gets. And the busier one gets, the harder it is to nurture spiritual vitality.

Developing a healthy habitat of ambition  is one of the most important tasks of every leader.

As a leader’s career surges, his or her curiosity often sinks.

If you’re not learning, you’re not leading to your full potential.

The key to innovation is intentionality.

Innovation in part has nothing to do with you; rather, it is determined by those you have around you.

Creativity can be exhausting because it is not an act, but a process.

If you’re not investing in innovation, then it is not a priority.

People need to be motivated, and casting a vision that propels them forward is one of the first and central tasks of a leader.

When a vision statement is flexible it will be liberating instead of limiting.

Sometimes the best way to cure fear is to stare it squarely in the face.

Those who’ve failed much don’t fear failure like those who’ve only tasted success.

Unbending discipline is often lead to self-loathing, but flexible discipline will lead to self control.

Many leaders procrastinate before beginning, stall out once they’ve started, or give up before they are finished. (Execute.)

Some of us need to put down the megaphone and just grab a shovel. Little less talk, and a lot more action.

You’ll often realize that an idea should be killed while you’re still attempting to execute. When this becomes clear, murder it and move on.

When you prioritize your team, your team will prioritize you.

If you combine a positive work environment with regular delightful experiences, you’ll take a giant step towards raising up a dream team.

Think about the most revolutionary  items you interact with any given day. Chances are, everything at the top of your list was the product of partnerships.

The more margin in your life, the more room you have to let your rhythms run.

If you don’t control your cadence, your cadence will control you.

Generosity is more than how one spends money; it’s a holistic posture that should animate everything a leader does.

Most of your team wants to work for and with a serial giver rather than a serial taker.

You have no chance of being a generous leader if you’re in insulated leader.

Practice bringing calm to chaos, clarity to the unknown, and confidence to uncertain circumstances.

I appreciate Brad’s smarts and heart to grow young leaders. He is the reason I wholeheartedly recommend Catalyst as one of my favorite resources. H3 Leadership is a great way to absorb a lot of Catalyst wisdom in pithy and highly-readable book.




Orange Tour Notes 2015 – It’s Just A Phase, So Don’t Miss It

Orange Tour notes 2015 – summaries from various sessions.

Orange Blog Rob CizekOrange is one of the best resources I recommend to churches. Orange curriculum, books and conferences help leaders in executive, children and youth ministries. This April, 5000 people (including me) will descend on Atlanta for the Orange Conference 2016. Registration begins this week.

Orange also does regional one-day conferences. Those events present much of what is taught in the main conference in Atlanta. To get a feel for what Orange is all about, here are notes (courtesy Cheryl Kneeland) from this year’s Orange Tour Seattle.


It’s Just A Phase, So Don’t Miss It – Reggie Joiner

Along the way whether you’re working with 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 5th graders… you could miss important things in each phase if you’re not paying attention. Life just keeps moving so fast.

It’s really easy to miss the things that are going on in different phases; if we’re not careful, not paying attention, we will miss it.

We don’t see what we don’t see. You as a leader are a guide… it is your responsibility to guide them through the phase and into the next phase.

Invisible questions kids ask in various phases:

> Birth – Am I safe? (The ‘I need you now’ phase.)

> 2nd Grade – Do I have what it takes?

> 6th Grade – Who do I like? / Who likes me?

> 10th Grade – Why should I believe?

As a parent you have to redefine your role at every stage. It’s tricky, it changes.

Single word to describe each phase:

> Preschool – EMBRACE

> Elementary – ENGAGE

> Middle School – AFFIRM

> High School – MOBILIZE

We don’t remember what we don’t remember. One thing to remember: Every kid is made in the image of God.

Every kid has a divine capacity to…reason, improve, and lead.
To care, relate, and trust.
To believe, to imagine… even to love.

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me…” -Jesus

Reggie’s translation of that verse: “I want you to treat kids like you would treat me” -Jesus

“In a lot of our churches we are so programmed to see sin in their life that we forget they are made in the image of God.”

He/she is made in the image of God.

What would happen if we…

Treat every student who breathes like they are made in the image of God.

Every kid, even those that do not attend your church and whose parents don’t attend church, are made in the image of God. Every middle schooler, even those that don’t tithe, are made in the image of God. Every kid, even those that are not homeschooled or sent to private Christian schools are made in the image of God.

Don’t expect kids to follow Jesus until you treat them like they are make in the image of God.

Kids need to trust you before they ever trust God.



How To Live Out The Phases – Reggie Joiner

Orange Tour 2015The two most important people in a child or student’s life are their parent and small group leader.

Phase: a time frame in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.

At the end of the day, if they miss God somehow in this, none of the rest matters. We’re all here together because we are connected by something bigger. This is also the same thing you have in common with the non-Christian parents.

Conversation between Kara Powell and Reggie Joiner:

What can we do to get our parents to engage more?
So many parents these days are “dry cleaner parents”, just want to drop their kids off once a week spiritually dirty and come back 90 minutes later to pick them up “clean.” Getting the parent to be engaged in what your doing is huge! Leverage the phase to give the parent new information and help them redefine their role as a parent every year. Create rhythms to engage/connect with parents. Every week pray for parents for five minutes, every week send out a parent email from weekly, every month send a parenting article/tool, every year hold parent/SGL/student conferences once a year.

How can we get influence with families in the community?
“We’re so often known for what we’re against as churches. I wish we could be known for what we’re for rather than what we’re against.” says Kara Powell.  If families in your community start to realize that you are trying to help them win, it changes the atmosphere.

How can we get our staff to play together better?
We have to raise the bar. Every phase is the most important phase. We want you to look at content and be both a specialist and a globalist. We really need to support each other. Jesus says that they will know we are Christians by the way we love each other, but what if they know we are Christians just by the way we like each other?

How can we keep kids from getting lost in the transitions?
What are the times that our kids jump off a cliff in attendance and what are we going to do about it? What are we going to do to help with the transitions? It’s not an event, it’s a process.

(Conversation with Kara ends here, Reggie continues the presentation).

We don’t anticipate what we don’t anticipate. As leaders and as parents we meed to think ahead and not just look at this Sunday, but where they are going next year, two years, etc.

Read more than just your Bible. “The Bible is all true, but not everything I need to know is in the Bible.” Some of the best advice we get is from other people who are also made in the image of God.

The enemy despises us because we are made in God’s image. If the enemy has a strategy and is trying to anticipate the next steps of our children, why shouldn’t we have a strategy?

> 4 out of 10 kids grow up without a father. We need to be aware of potential pitfalls.

> 80% of ten year girls worry that they are not thin enough.

> 2 out of 10 seven to eleven year-olds are sexually abused. These things don’t have to define them.

> 50% of kids will have seen porn by the time they are 13.

> 1 in 10 kids will start cutting in middle school.

> 6 out of 10 students in 12th grade will be sexually active.

> Suicides peak in the 10th grade. 10th grade is critical. The potential of suicides drops in half in 11th grade. The pressure is piled on. Think in terms of the bigger picture.

The point is, we need a strategy. Sometimes we are fighting a battle on the wrong front, the wrong things.

Why are we fighting against same sex marriage instead of fighting against bullying (and help the kids that are struggling with same sex attraction and killing themselves).

Our job is not to change people. The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that we are to change our neighbor as ourselves. We are to love them.

Strategy is key. God has a strategy. God had a strategy to reclaim us to redeem us. When you show up for kids in the different phases, you are part of God’s strategy for them.

Preschool: When you EMBRACE kids at this age, you are doing exactly what Jesus showed up on the planet to do.

Elementary: When you sit in a circle and ENGAGE them you are doing what Jesus did, you make them a big deal like Jesus did. You are connecting dots and take time to craft it in a way that they will get it and a light bulb will come on. You are shaping their identity.

Middle School: You are the church; you understand grace, forgiveness, the gospel. They need leaders who will show up in their life and forgive them. They need to know that they can start again when they fail, that they matter. When you AFFIRM them you are doing exactly what Jesus did.

High School: They don’t need more Bible studies, better worship, and bigger speakers. They need someone who believes in their potential and is 100% committed to them, helping them find their potential. When you MOBILIZE them you are doing what Jesus did when he died on the cross.

Jesus came to fix what the first Adam messed up. He treated everyone like they mattered, because they do. He demonstrated with his death that image of God is worth living for. God loves them (us). We are a part of this strategy, don’t forget it.



Reggie Joiner

Reggie Joiner

The Compounding Benefits Of Relationship Over Time – Reggie Joiner

When you see how much time you have left you tend to get serious about the time you have now. What would we do if we were really thinking strategically about these 200 weeks? When you see how much time you left you tend to value what happens over time. Every week matters. Collective momentum in a kid’s life. Small group leaders that are in a kid’s life for multiple seasons, have a different impact on them.

Love Over Time: With every kid at every phase, they need love, stories, fun, a place to belong, etc. over time. Reinforce love over time. We know God loves us because he kept pursuing us over time. He wanted to use time as his platform to prove that He loves us unconditionally.

As a parent or leader of a 9th grader, you have to learn how to let go and how to hold on. Keep showing up and allow them to fail. Don’t be afraid of failure happening, leverage those moments to show them how much they have value and worth.

Myth: Teenagers don’t need you as much as they did when they were kids.

Small group leader: Keep showing up every week. (I am carving out time every week to be with you, because you are that important).

Parents: Keep showing up every day.

2015-09-17 18.53.55

Phases of a kid’s life… from car seat, to stroller, to wagon, to bike… to car.

Stories Over Time: God’s story at this point has to become my story and His story together.

The worst thing you can do as a parent of a high school student is to try to make them think you’re perfect. Don’t pretend you are something you are not. The best thing you can do is let them see that you need grace and forgiveness too. The most important story you can hand them is the story of God’s redemption in your life. Isn’t God great? He even let me be a parent.

Myth: God’s story is not relevant to a student’s every day life.

Small group leader: Engage your group in stories that are bigger than your church.

Parents: Engage your family in stories that are bigger than your family.

You are not limited because of your life or what has happened in your life. He is bigger than that.

Work Over Time: God wired us, God made us to contribute to something bigger. They will forget what you say, what you program, but they will not forget what God does through them to help someone else.

Myth: Teenagers are not ready to lead. Give them something significant to do. You want to do something in the heart of a teen.

Small group leader: Enlist students to serve every week.

Parents: Encourage your students to serve every week.

Please don’t miss this phase. Do everything you can to give them opportunities to serve. Teach them to be the church.

Work over time gives them significance.

Words Over Time: What you stay still matters. The average teen will get seven words of criticism for every one word of praise. What you don’t say may matter more. Develop the skill of listening to them. (Even if it’s after 10pm). What others say may matter even more. You are giving them a relational vocabulary and a spiritual vocabulary. Words over time give direction.

Small group leader: Create safe places for conversations.

Parents: Create strategic places for conversations.

2015-09-18 14.35.55Fun Over Time = Connection: Joy & Forgiveness are the two things that will determine whether a kid comes back to your house or not, whether they come back to our church or not.

Small Group Leader: Schedule fun with an agenda.

Parents: Schedule fun without an agenda. (Fight for your friendship).

Tribes Over Time = Belonging: They will care more about what their friends think than what you think, they will care more about what other adults think than what you think, and they will care more about what you think more than anything else, all at the same time. You want them to grow up and value community for the rest of their life.

Small Group Leader: Cue parents to participate with what’s happening at church.

Parents: Cue your small group leader to be aware of what is happening at home.

You will never really feel forgiven by someone who doesn’t know you. Don’t just show up for a few months or a year. Build trust, have opportunities to show them forgiveness, demonstrate who God is to them by forgiving them.

We are responsible for being other adults in the life of a student. Rally around teenagers. See the teenager in a different way so we are protecting our investment in them before they walk away. Keep investing, keep engaging, keep affirming, launch them!



Breakout A – “Do Over” Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff at the Atlanta Orange Conference 2015.

Jon Acuff

There are many changes in your life and work. Some are voluntary and some are involuntary. All work changes fall into one of four categories:

Voluntary Negative Moment: Work Ceiling
You willingly get stuck. Maybe you’re at work disengaged. There is risk in innovation, but when it goes well you go into protection mode and you or your ministry get stuck.

Negative Involuntary Moment: Work Bump
Maybe you lost your best volunteer or your most popular student graduates.

Positive Voluntary Moment: Work Jump
Dared to do something new.

Positive Involuntary Moment: Work Opportunity
When something happens that you can’t predict or plan for, but they are positive opportunities.

You will go through all four of those moments some days.

It’s not about avoiding the negative side, it’s about navigating it.

Successful people have a career savings account. Relationships + skills + character + hustle = career savings account. (Career is anything we are passionate about). You need all four in your ministry and your life.

Skills (Ceiling): It’s impossible to get stuck somewhere old if you learn something new. Are there places where you’ve let your skills go dull?

Relationships (Bump): You either break out or break up. People you didn’t even know existed will be there for you in a difficult moment and some people you expected to be there won’t.

Character (Jump)

Opportunity (Hustle)

Focus on relationships. Lead like everyone is smarter than you. Don’t wait until you have consensus to make a decision. Make the best decision as a leader. Be a multiplier, someone that increases the potential of everyone they work with.

It’s impossible to lead this way if you put your identity in your work. Your identity needs to be rooted in Christ.

1. Humility
There is an expectation that you have all the answers and if you’re not careful, it’s really easy to pretend that you do and people will see through that, it won’t work. Admit your weaknesses.

Fixed Mindset (If you succeed, I feel threatened) vs. Growth Mindset (I can learn every day).

Beware leaders who can’t say:

> I don’t know.
> I was wrong.
> I’m sorry.

If you wall yourself up from feedback from others, you become a leader who no one can talk to. Leaders who can’t be questioned, end up doing questionable things.

2. Time
You’ll never be done with ministry, you’ll never finish social media for the day, etc. Your projects need space and time to change. Great relationships take great time. Create space for people to share ideas. What would it look like to build time to ask the people you work with questions, your volunteers, parents?

3. Clarity
If you have a church that has tradition, get together and strip it down to the studs, the roots. If you got rid of everything, what are the five most important things? Put them on the wall. Then make a list of what the kids/students/families in the community need and put that on the wall. Look at the gap and see where you are actually trying to go.

If you lead people, you should go back and ask them if they can tell you the truth.

Clarity is not easy. It’s a shift, it’s a change.

It’s easy to share new ideas in a secular business community than in a Christian community. Secular businesses criticize the idea if they don’t like it. Christians criticize your soul, not the idea.

The parent who hates you the most often has the kid who needs you the most. (That kid hears the parent’s criticism every day).

The work you’re doing matters. Lead with humility, add time to the work you’re doing, and fight for clarity.



Orange Tour 2015Breakout B – Leveraging Phases to Build Faith in Students
Speaker: Joseph Sojourner

It’s just a phase so teach like love matters. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself.


What do we want to make sure that students know the most?

It’s just a phase so play to your audience.

It’s making sure that we do everything in our power to go the extra mile to speak to them in their language.

Your job is not to redefine God at every phase, but your job is to help kids rediscover God in a new way at each phase.

As adults we can make the mistake of connecting kids and teenagers to a God who seems irrelevant. How do we find a way to make sure it’s relevant to everyone in the room, but especially to a student who is there for the first time?

Instant connectors make God relevant to students.

We make the mistake of connecting kids and teenagers to a God who seems small. They need to understand that God is fighting for them every day.

Don’t forget to mention that this is one step on your journey with God, He is so much bigger, you will forever continue to learn more about God and you will be shaken up every year if you are really pressing into Him.

2015-09-18 08.43.37Middle School- AFFIRM: The phase in their journey where they are looking for affirmation.

God’s story redeems my story.

We want them to start asking questions… and get comfortable with finding answers and asking questions. You are teaching them how to love others appropriately, showing them that group is safe.

3 Things to do to help Middle Schoolers:

Connect the dots. When it comes to God, you have this huge vision of who God is and then you have me… how do I connect to God? The goal is to equip small group leaders with as much as possible early to help them help their few connect the dots. Oh, so that’s how that story relates to me.

Expect a crisis: Keep a poker face/straight face, don’t freak out. Expect it so you are able to react appropriately. If we over-react we look shaken up. If we under-react, it will impact them. Sometimes you can address it in group, and sometimes you need to address it with them separately. If they are hurting themselves, hurting someone else, or being abused; please inform a staff member. Staff members need to be involved.

Be consistent: You get questions every single week. The simplest thing you can do as a small group leader is being consistently there. Camp is the perfect opportunity to have the small group leader bond with their small groups.

High School- MOBILIZE: God’s story empowers my story.

3 Things to do to help High Schoolers:

Orange Tour Photo BoothGive an application. They want to know what they can do, don’t just give them a big picture, they want to wrap their hands on it and do something. You gave me something to do and it actually happened.

Ask Questions: They are old enough to start processing things for themselves. Questions are a great tool. Sometimes it’s better to have a HS small group leader that doesn’t know their middle school history. A reset is good. Talk to them in a brand new way, asking a lot more questions. Questions is one of the greatest tool a small group leader has. Why do you think that? Why do you think this? Master the art of asking questions.

Make it experiential: Let them see and show them that the church can be fun.
Here’s how we can talk about this, but what can we do to help them connect to this? We can push students to be leaders in way they weren’t able to grasp as a middle school student. Student impact- Let them serve in a variety of areas around the church every single Sunday. Students that are able to serve and live out their faith, will generally hang onto their faith better.

It’s just a phase so recycle what is most important.

The reality is that your middle schoolers will use their smartphone more in one week than they will attend your church in one year. We want to teach them how to use the Bible. How are you going to influence the spiritual direction of the average child or teenager when you only have a few minutes every other week?

It’s not really your job to teach every kid everything that’s in the Bible to every kid at every phase. Just because everything in the Bible is true doesn’t mean everything in the Bible is equally important.


Lead Small Kids – Speakers: Sue Miller, Afton Manny, & Kellen

2015-09-17 22.06.10Kids get stuck. Stuck academically, stuck emotionally. What causes them to get stuck? Kids get stuck when they don’t know what it feels like to win. Move them to do something significant.

A win for a two year old is: Serving by cleaning up, Showing up, Sharing toys.

A win for a third grader is: Canned food drive for the homeless, let each child feel significant by letting them share in small group.

Processing with kids is very important too. Tell the older kids why, help them see the process behind what your doing.

Kids get stuck when they don’t know what they can do. Move them to discover their voices. A good coach will take each player on the team and figure out what they’re good at. As coaches we try to unlock the potential inside each one of our kids. Ask really specific questions. Get to know them better, faster.

Safe Environment: Open up a new level of trust by the way you react to their weird or bizarre stories. Creating Best Friend Roles- Asking your kids to get to know everybody and partner up with new kids (not just for a week or two, but always).

2015-09-17 18.51.25Kids get stuck because they don’t know what God can do. The bigger we can make God seem, the more into it they’ll get. At the same time, you can make them see God is intimate to. It’s OK to say “I don’t know.” Help them process. It’s OK that God is bigger than “I don’t know” Sometimes we don’t have the answer, we just show up consistently and let them know that God is big enough to handle our anger, to handle our fears, our doubt. Safety is huge. Process is huge. Coaches are huge so that kids don’t get stuck. We help them figure out what to do with all the information about God that they are getting.

“If we want to keep them moving in a better direction… church cannot be the only place where a child experiences God… getting to know God and experience what He can do – is something that kids can intentionally do throughout the week.”

Model what we want to the kids to do with them. Read your Bible in front of them, pray with them, show them & tell them about the opportunities you had to help others this week and see God in action. Live out your faith in front of them.

Kids get stuck because they don’t know how to take the next step. Move them to what’s next. Sometimes we forget how long it takes to get to the next step, the transitions are so important. I can do something significant, I do have worth, I am able,…they start to believe it. Tell them “You can do this.” We need to help them, we need to prepare them, and help them successfully move to the next step. Our kids want to rise to the occasion, but we need to set them up to win. Setting up their expectations ahead of time. If you’re going to be out of town, tell them ahead of time that you won’t be there the next week and give them a heads up. Prepare them for the sub.



Lead Small- Move Them Out

Speaker: Joseph Sojourner, @jamsojourner

2015-09-17 19.12.52A small group leader is a person who can sit in a group week in and week out and be a consistent voice in their life. It’s a beautiful role. As a youth pastor, you know the idea of moving out and what’s it like to not want to loose the passion and energy as students move out from 5th grade, 8th grade, 12th grade. Move them to someone else. The wisest thing we can do as small group leaders is moving them (directing them) to other adult voices in their life.

Move them to be the church. It’s as simple as buying a friend a piece of pizza or asking a kid to hand out the goldfish. Put the task on the students to move to be the church. Go down to the homeless shelter to through a wkly pancake party for the people. Throw a senior prom for senior citizens. You can make a huge impact on the people who feel forgotten, feel like they don’t matter.

Move them to what’s next. What do you think you can’t do? Why do you think you can’t do it? “I think you can and I want to be a voice to help you navigate what’s next.” There is potential that lies within every student. No matter how large your program gets, every student is known in a small group, every student has a person that cares.

Every 12 students get 2 leaders (that would be awesome!!) What if we changed people’s views to help the people around you feel like you’re fighting for them, not against them. (Fight Club). Show students they are always welcome to walk back into our church, our lives, our homes, etc. Challenge students to move out, be the church, and love the students around them.

Fight Club: Fight for one, fight for all. Some battles you can’t fight alone, you need others. The fight FOR is much greater than the fight AGAINST. If we can fight for one, we really can fight for all. Club cards, give your membership card to someone else, by doing an act of kindness and give them a card to welcome them to the club; they are welcome any time.

The Orange Tour is coming to 14 cities this fall. Click here for more information.










3 Insightful Hospitality Tips . . . From a Dam

Hospitality tips from an unusual source – Washington’s Rocky Reach Dam

Rocky Reach Dam, Wenatchee WashingtonHave you visited a dam? I’ve been inside some of the most famous, including Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam. But in terms of winning your heart no dam comes close to Rocky Reach, a comparatively small dam on the Columbia River outside Wenatchee, Washington.

I make special trips just to see Rocky Reach. I take family and friends there. Rocky Reach inspires in a way the big dams don’t. Why? Because the people at Rocky Reach LOVE their dam.

Make no mistake. Rocky Reach is first an industrial site that controls floods and generates electricity.

Rocky Reach Dam Grounds, Wenatchee WashingtonBut drive past the forbidding guard shack and you’ll discover something remarkable. The dam magically opens to you. It sits on a naturally beautiful location amongst steep brown hills and green apple trees. On the grounds you discover manicured lawns, lush gardens, picnic shelters, a playground and an inviting visitor center/museum. There is even a place where people get married.

At a dam.

The good folks at Rocky Reach know hospitality. How else could they turn a working power plant into a community jewel? As leaders there are three things we can learn from them:

Hospitality tip #3 – Show that ‘We are competent: Everything works as it should. The place just looks, feels and runs right. It’s safe. None of the basics are missing or poorly executed. Everything has a place and everything is in its place.

Flower baskets at Rocky Reach Dam Grounds, Wenatchee WashingtonHospitality tip #2 – Show that ‘We love our space: All the little things line up in a way that communicates ‘we care’. The property is clean and cared for (even small items). There are extra touches that go beyond what is expected (seasonal flower baskets, signs that tells stories, artwork, ice cream availability, etc.). Workers are friendly, helpful and genuinely glad to be there.

Hospitality tip #1 – Show that ‘We thought of you: Spaces that only serve their owner’s needs are the norm. Superior spaces serve their intended function AND thoughtfully meet the needs of outsiders. At Rocky Reach, this means putting a TV in the lobby so visitors can see what’s in the fish ladder. It means setting up a fountain for no other reason than beauty. It means planting flowers in the shape of a huge American flag. It means opening the dam’s insides for people to learn from. Nobody had to do these things. But they did.

Facilities reveal character. Even purely functional spaces can be made to lift the human spirit. The next time you’re building something functional, stop and ask yourself, “How can I make this special?” Just like the hospitable team at Rocky Reach, you will surprise and delight.


Fish on TV

Rock Reach thoughtfully places a TV in the welcome area. It shows the fish currently coming through the dam’s fish ladder. Rocky Reach fish counts are taken at the dam’s fish ladder.

Wall Art - Horsepower

Relevant artwork greets visitors. This mural shows the horsepower behind moving water.

Museum of the Columbia

The dam structure houses the Museum of the Columbia. This is another thoughtful way for visitors to enjoy Rocky Reach.

Wedding pavillion at Rocky Reach Dam.

Wedding pavilion at Rocky Reach Dam. It says a lot about a power plant when people want to get married there.

Rocky Reach Dam Displays

Visitors find informative displays throughout the dam.

Rocky Reach Dam Generator

Electric generating turbines in the dam’s power house.

Rocky Reach Dam generator platform.

Support structure for generator (the generator was overseas for repairs).

Rocky Reach power house.

Rocky Reach power house.

Drive shaft for turbine.

Drive shaft for turbine.

The American flag in flowers.

The American flag in flowers.

Fish ladder.

Fish ladder.

Columbia River, below Rocky Reach Dam.

Columbia River, below Rocky Reach Dam.

Rocky Reach Dam Park and Grounds, Wenatchee Washington

Rocky Reach Dam Park and Grounds

Yin and Yang in flowers.

Yin and Yang in flowers.



Brief video tour of Rocky Reach Dam.

Dirty Jobs visits Rocky Reach.

Rock Reach Dam history: Built in the 1950s, this documentary show dam construction.

Rocky Reach Dam repair – Turbine repairs.

If you visit Rocky Reach, I also suggest a short stop at the nearby Washington Apples Visitor Center. If you are hungry, try the restaurants at Pybus Market in Wenatchee.



Rocky Reach Dam, Wenatchee, WA Visitors Center Information



Cutting The Cord – Lessons Learned From Cancelling Cable TV

Have you ever dreamed of cutting the cord and canceling cable TV? What would you do with the money you save? Recently our family did what once seemed impossible . . . cut the cord. We ended our cable TV subscription. What’s life like without cable? Here are the top 10 things we learned:

Cutting The Cord Cable TV#10 Keeping cable is easy – by design: The cable company knows its customers and just how far it can push. Most people bundle TV and Internet service (plus perhaps phone and home security). The individual prices of these services are kept high, so that when you buy a bundle it looks like a deal. Then there are extra monthly charges for modems, WI-FI routers, HD signals DVRs and cable boxes. All of this technology added together is what causes your monthly bill to climb so high. However, when you try to save money by “un-bundling”, the high a la carte prices discourage you from doing so.

#9 Dropping cable will save money: Dropping cable TV with all of its bundled costs can save a meaningful amount of money. In our case it came to $100/month ($1,200/year or $6,000 over 5 years).

#8 Canceling cable TV is hard – because TV is technical: Cable TV originally started because local over-the-air broadcast stations (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, etc.) can be hard to receive clearly. That is still true today. You will need a good antenna inside or outside your house (depending on where you live). Getting it to work properly can be done, but it might get a bit technical (and not all of us want to mess around with that). Still, with a little effort and few internet searches, everyone can receive local broadcast stations.

#7 You can still have a DVR: What a lot of people like about cable is the DVR. Time-shifting shows and pausing live TV is great. There are DVRs that record over-the-air TV (such as the Tivo Roamio OTA model). This means you can record any show on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX or the CW and watch it later… just like with your cable DVR. Do a quick survey of your cable DVR… how many of the shows originated on one of the broadcast networks? If it’s a large number, you may be just has happy receiving the shows for free over-the-air.

#6 Cord cutting isn’t free: As mentioned above, you will need to buy an antenna ($50-$200) and perhaps a DVR ($100-$500 plus monthly service). You may also want a streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) at $8-$20 month. Then, of course, you will still need an internet connection ($25-$75/month).

#5 The decision to cut cable may be easy at first, but it gets harder as the big day draws near: Cable has been with us a long time. The closer the day gets to ending it, the more self doubt creeps in. Power through it. Cut the cord. You can always go back.

#4 Sports: Live sports is what keeps a lot of people tied to cable. Sling TV streams ESPN and a few other cable channels for $20/month.

#3 Dropping cable means you’re at the mercy of whatever is on over-the-air TV and the shows/movies on the streaming service you have.

Cutting The Cord Cable TV#2 The choice: Cutting the cable cord comes down to a choice. . . “Do I want everything, exactly when I want it?” (cable) or “Do I simply want something decent to watch on TV?” (over-the-air TV with a streaming service). Cable with a DVR and on-demand is fantastic. There’s almost nothing in the TV universe that you can’t have immediately. However, it’s expensive. If you don’t need to ‘have it all’, an adequate TV experience can be had for a lot less money.

#1 Cable, satellite and broadcast TV are obsolete delivery systems: Once you cut cable, you see that the only TV delivery system you need is streaming internet video. Nobody needs the 1,000′ broadcast tower, ugly home TV antenna/satellite dishes, or a house full of coax and 5 cable boxes. This is all antiquated technology, like the old copper phone lines still found in many homes. Any TV programming can now simply be streamed via the internet to your TV or mobile device.

Here are some other things we learned from dropping cable:

> Modern TV antennas can be smaller and more aesthetically pleasing than your grandparents old beast.

TV Antenna> Over the air HD broadcast channels can have more resolution (1080 lines) than the same station on cable (720 lines).

> A home antenna can pick up literally dozens of channels, but only a few are worth watching.

> You either receive a perfect HD signal over an antenna or nothing. There are no “fuzzy” signals to receive from distant TV stations.

> Installing an outdoor antenna can be scary. Unless you live downtown, most suburban locations will need an outdoor antenna. Being up on a ladder or on a roof is dangerous.

> Roku makes a simple and intuitive streaming box. Besides the major streaming services, it also gives you access to a lot of free minor streaming channels not offered elsewhere. More information on Roku.

> Many phone and tablet apps restrict wireless streaming TV shows and movies to your TV. A laptop connected to your TV via an HDMI cable allows you to stream almost anything to your TV.

> People may not respect your choice to cancel cable. Since cable is so ubiquitous, some people might think you are weird or cheap for getting rid of it. Remember when some people thought dropping your home phone line (and only using your cell phone) was strange?

> It appears that not many people are actually dropping cable. As I talk with people, I hear of a few that change from cable to satellite (or maybe to an alternative cable provider). I hear of very few people are actually canceling cable. What’s more, when I went to buy an over-the-air TV antenna, there were limited choices available locally (and very few people who could credibly help). If there is a massive rush to dump cable, it’s not easy to see.

> Paying for cable feels like buying food at a discount warehouse . . . you may need just one can of tomatoes, but you can only buy a 5 gallon bucket. Time magazine reports that the average cable subscriber receives 189 channels, but watches only 17 of them. Paying for only the channels you watch is better stewardship.

> One month’s cable bill buys a lot of movies: If you’re worried about not having something to watch, head down to the used video store and buy $100 worth of movies. You’ll always have something on hand.

So should you cancel cable? With so many streaming options, there has never been a better time to give it a try.



Cut Cable: Cord Cutting Guides

The True Cost Of Cancelling Cable TV

Estimate Cost Of Cutting The Cord: Streaming Services

How To Quit Cable For Online Streaming Video

Cable TV Alternatives: Which Is Best – Netflix, Hulu or Amazon?

AntennaWeb: See How Many Over-The-Air Channels You Can Receive

TV Fool: Help Tuning In Stations At Your Specific Location



Tips before you cut the cord from CNET:


The hidden cost of cutting the cable:


How to install an over-the-air antenna:



Leadership Insights From “Brain Savvy Leaders” – Charles Stone’s New Book

Brain Savvy Leaders by Charles StoneLeadership Insights From “Brain Savvy Leaders”, Charles Stone’s New Book

Brain Savvy Leaders offers practical insights into how we should lead. Humans are wired in certain ways; if leaders understand the wiring, they can do a better job running their organizations . . . and have better relationships with those they lead. Here are the top insights from Charles Stone’s book:

Encourage community in your organization using these brain-friendly tools:
•    Provide regular relationship-building experiences for your teams to deepen their chemistry and friendships. Foster the sense that nobody is an outsider.
•    Create physical gathering places in the workplace that encourage socialization.
•    Regularly remind your team to see other team members’ perspectives. Walk in each other’s shoes.
•    Help team members share goals.
•    Build an attitude of gratitude amongst your team.
•    Use appropriate humor. People endear themselves to those with a good sense of humor.
•    Build trust. As trust increases, oxytocin increases, which strengthens cooperativeness and empathy.

TeamworkInfluence your team using the science of mirror neurons:
•    If someone is in emotional pain, genuinely empathize with them. Mirror their pain through your facial expressions.
•    Pay attention to the facial expressions and body language of others. Don’t ramrod ideas without considering a team member’s demeanor.
•    Look for subtle clues that indicate more explanation or discussion may be needed.
•    Stay aware of your own demeanor.
•    When communicating key changes, maximize face-to-face communication.
•    When in a meeting with someone whose anger is rising to an unhealthy level, guard against mirroring back a similar angry scowl. Mirror back calmness.
•    Smile a lot. Show your sense of humor around your team.

Leading change – the brain and how it handles personal/organizational change:
•    Change is hard for the brain.
•    People naturally assume the worst. Our brain is wired to pick up threats and negative possibilities more then positive.
•    People naturally fill their knowledge gaps with fear.
•    Undoing a wrong impression is harder than creating a good one.
•    People underestimate their ability to ride out difficult future events.
•    The brain can only handle so much change at once (too much, too quickly, triggers fear).
•    Change becomes more difficult the older we get. Recognize this dynamic and never quit learning.
•    When change is far away, the positives usually outweigh the negatives. The closer the change, the more fearful we are.
•    As change gets closer, uninformed optimism gives way to informed pessimism. Manage this dynamic.)
•    What we say we will do, we often don’t do. What we say we won’t do, we often do.
•    When we imagine accomplishing something, we activate the same brain circuits as if we actually performed the task.
•    Build in hopeful expectations. When we expect something good we get a dopamine boost.
•    Give people the opportunity to give input into how change will look.
•    The more familiar something is, the less threatening it is. Familiarize your team about change before implementing it.
•    The more motivated we feel, the more readily we embrace change. Celebrating small wins gains buy-in.
•    Our commitment to a choice, once made, increases. Feeling follows action.
•    Some people need answers about the HOW of change. Others need answers about the WHY.
•    When sharing vision, give a clear WHY and allow your team to create the HOW.
•    Leaders often skip the evaluation step. It’s easier to move to a new project than to reflect on the previous one. Don’t skip evaluation.
•    Set specific dates on which you will report progress. Tell your team you will evaluate progress and report on it.
•    Tell stories of people who are navigating change well.
•    Stay connected to critics. Cutting them off will intensify their opposition.

Brain Savvy LeadersTips for handling negative emotions:
•    Change your circumstances. Select a different situation.
•    Shift your attention away from what’s bothering you (short term fix)
•    Re-frame the situation through reappraisal. Know that others would feel the same way, it’s not as devastating as you first thought.
•    Identify (label) your emotion rather than suppress it.
•    Take a third-person view of an emotional situation (see yourself as a fly on the wall).

Tips for best using our mental capacity: Prioritize (put first things first), exercise, sleep, simplify the complex, group similar tasks together and do them at the same time, make repetitive tasks into habits (so you don’t use much brain power on them), and celebrate small wins (even checking something off your list is encouraging). Our brains are easily distracted. There is a precious sweet-spot where our brains work best. It’s between low stress (boredom) and high stress (anxiety). To work in that sweet spot: Increase interest (time flies when you’re interested in your work), take brain breaks (our brains can only focus so long), and don’t multitask (this significantly cuts mental ability).

Build high-performing teams with these brain savvy leadership techniques:
•    Golden Rule: Treat people like you would like to be treated. Be fair.
•    Reduce ambiguity: The brains loves certainty and predictability. Be clear on expectations, over-communicate, turn ambiguities into probabilities (by creating times, milestones and potential solutions), set regular goals and carry yourself consistently. Don’t leave people wondering what mood they will find you in each day.
•    Allow freedom in the workplace. Give your team members choices in how they perform their role. Guard against micromanaging. Monitor your team’s stress level. Find what intrinsically motivates team members and give them assignments in those areas.
•    Promote personal value among staff and volunteers. Regularly tell your team members that you value them. Help them make progress in their work. Making progress towards a goal is extremely satisfying. Teach your team what healthy comparison looks like (compare against your personal best, not others).
•    Develop a thorough orientation process for new team members.
•    Value the insight and input from your team. Allow people to express their views.


Lasting change requires individuals to change first before an organization will change.

Studies show gratefulness is good for brain and body health.

Being treated unfairly can make people sick. If an employee is out a lot, find out if they feel unfairly treated.

Studies indicate that if you feel drowsy, chewing gum may make you more alert.

A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind (stay focused, stay happy).

Our brains process and remember bad events more thoroughly than good ones (be aware of our thoughts, guard against negativity).

Research shows boredom shrinks your brain. The next time you’re bored, find something to interest you.

Studies show that smiling, even with a fake smile, can make you feel happier (facial feedback theory).

If you’re feeling down, pet a dog (petting an animal raises good neurotransmitters and reduces negative ones).

Our brains process 70,000 thoughts a day, contain 100,000 miles of nerve fibers and have 100 billion cells.

Brain-Savvy Leaders is an excellent resource for those leading change. It gives insights into why people react the way that they do. I recommend it to anyone who wants to successfully take their organization through a major shift


How To Train Your Brain For Leadership

7 Ways To Rewire Your Brain For Leadership

Care And Feeding Of The Leader’s Brain

What Brain Science Can Tell Us About Leadership




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How To Get Along With Your Boss – 6 Tips

Tips on how to get along with your boss.

Bosses. Few topics hit closer to home than our relationships with bosses (whether they be our past, present or future superiors). Everyone has a boss (even our boss has a boss!) It’s wise to know how to get our your boss’ good side. Here are some tips:

#1. It’s my job to get along with the boss. Most bosses want to get along with their employees. However, ultimately it is the employee’s responsibility to get along with the boss, irrespective of the boss’ skills or leadership direction. Set your expectations accordingly. I know of one executive who was determined to implement a program that would make his company a lot of money. His boss was wary and said not to do it. The executive went ahead anyway. He thought that pursing a good idea and making money would outweigh ignoring his superior. Instead of praise, the executive got fired. On the way out he said, “I was wrong. It’s my job to get along with the boss, not the boss’ job to get along with me.”

How to have a great relationship with your boss.#2. Establish your working relationship early. Knowing how to talk to your supervisor is important. How much communication does the boss want? When do they want it? Does the boss want to know every detail or do they just want the big stuff? When will you meet to consult with the boss? When you first start a job, meet with your boss. Ask him/her to detail what the ideal relationship looks like.

#3. Keep short accounts. Any boss/employee relationship is going to have challenges. Establish an agreement with your boss to keep short accounts. This means that he/she has the freedom to speak to you about any difficult subject right away. In turn, you have the freedom to tell your boss about difficult things. This keeps problems and offenses from building up in your working relationship.

#4. Have a “No Surprises Policy”. Nobody likes surprises, especially the boss. Create brief “heads up” conversations (or emails) with the boss that let him/her hear news from you first.

#5. Speak truth to power. Sometimes we see things the boss is missing. When appropriate, let the boss know what you are seeing. This must be done with a spirit of humility and with the boss’ best interest in mind. There is an element of risk to this. However, properly done it will create trust and value in your relationship.

#6. Be aware of timing. Know your boss’ working rhythms. Give him/her the right information and actions at the right time. For instance, asking for a favor at a time when your boss is drained isn’t a good idea. Conversely, if the boss is a morning person, asking first thing is wise.

Creative Followership by Jimmy CollinsChick-fil-A’s first president, Jimmy Collins, became wildly successful getting along with his boss (company founder Truett Cathy). In his book Creative Followership, Collins offers this wisdom on how to have a great relationship with your boss:

Hire your boss. You aren’t just taking a job, you’re committing to follow a leader. Don’t look for a job, look for a boss. Work for someone you like, respect and is going places. People don’t quit companies; they quit lousy bosses.

Helping someone else succeed is my quickest path to success. Follow a good leader and we will be caught up in their success. If their strengths complement ours (and vice-versa), both are stronger on the climb to the top. A trusted follower shares the reputation of the leader, as well as much of the leader’s influence.

Make good on promises. When we say we’re going to do something, do it. If it doesn’t work, do what it takes to make it work. Delivering builds credibility.

Getting ahead means doing what the boss does not like to do. If the boss knows we’ll do what he/she doesn’t like to do, the boss will work hard to keep us and promote us. Offer to help with a task in the boss’ area of weakness, or just get the task done on your own. Your influence will grow. It’s how to get along with a difficult boss.

Do the dirty and difficult jobs. Do the best job ever done with them and your personal stock will rise.

Do more than is expected. You will not go far doing only what is expected. Doing more will give you a sense of accomplishment that far exceeds simply getting the job done. It gives the boss every reason to support and promote you.

Do not wait to be told what to do. Exceed expectations even when the boss isn’t looking.

Do not compete with the boss. Our role is to work for the boss, not against the boss. The employee never comes out the winner when competing with the boss.

Authority comes packaged with responsibility. More authority can be gained by taking responsibility. This is a way to gain authority in bits and pieces. It’s a way to gain authority without having it given to you. If you sometimes overstep, don’t slow down. Simply find another way to do it so that the boss will like it.

Do things the way the boss likes them done. It will be easier for him/her to support. It also endears you to the boss and make you more promotable.

Creative Followership In The Shadow Of GreatnessLet others see the boss in you. Present ideas with unified purpose (people may not even know whether an idea is yours or the boss’.) When people see management in unity, they are more confident in their own roles and feel empowered to follow management’s example.

Help your boss succeed. This is the reason you were hired! Know your organization’s vision for the future and help achieve it. Assist your leader in gaining the support of others.

Build support in advance. To effectively support your boss, you must be able to win the support of others. Build buy-in before key meetings. This allows people to know in advance how to better support an idea… or if there are going to be major problems. People in key positions do not like to be blindsided.

Encourage the boss. Do you know who needs the most encouragement but gets the least? The boss. We typically hear about encouragement coming down the chain of command, but we seldom think about how beneficial it is moving up the organizational chart.


9 Ways To Win Over Your Boss

8 Things Your Boss Wishes You Knew

How To Get On Your Boss’ Good Side

What New Managers Learn That Employees Don’t Know

How To Get Along With A Difficult Boss






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7 Steps to Church Growth – A Sneak Peek at Carey Nieuwhof’s New Book “Lasting Impact”

7 steps to church growth is a series of conversations to have with your team about the future.

Why is church growth such a difficult thing to talk about? On one hand, we want to dismiss it . . . after all, it’s spiritual growth we want for our congregation, not just attendance. On the other hand, it’s our mission to reach people for Jesus. Attendance figures are a partial indicator of that.

Orange Blog Rob CizekEveryone agrees that church growth is better than church decline. To help churches grow, influential pastor Carey Nieuwhof is about to release “Lasting Impact – 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.” I was able to get an advance copy of the book when it debuted at the Orange Conference. The book will be published this fall. Meantime, here is a sneak-peek at the wisdom Nieuwhof offers:

Conversation #1. Why Are We Not Growing Faster?
Church growth isn’t a mystery. There are patterns we can spot in both declining and growing churches. For instance, declining churches are:
> In conflict.
> More in love with the past than the future.
> Not that awesome to be around.
> Focused inwardly.
> See culture as the enemy.
> Afraid to risk what is for the sake of what might be.
> Can’t make a decision.
> Talk more than act.
> Don’t think there’s anything wrong.
> More focused on growth than God.

To get a stagnant church growing:
> Consider structure: Most churches are structured (organized) to remain small. You can’t be a supermarket if you are structured like a small “mom and pop” grocery story.
> Rethink the pastor’s role: Many congregations see the pastor as the only one who can give care, counseling and perform weddings/funerals. Consider equipping congregation members to handle most of the caring. This way the pastor can focus on higher level functions and growth strategy.
> Develop a strategy: Many churches are clear on mission and vision (the “why” and “what”), but lack a widely agreed upon strategy (“how” you will accomplish your mission and vision).
> Many small churches are not led by true leaders. Growing churches move people with the gift of leadership into positions of leadership.
> Empower volunteers.
> Stop micromanaging.
> Simplify programming. Most churches attempt to do too many things. Activity does not equal accomplishment. Cut “good” programs in order to focus on just a few “great” ones.

To grow, address the real issues. Don’t simply make a change in form, make a change in substance. Questions to ask when a church stops growing:
> Is our sense of mission white-hot?
> Has our strategy or approach become dated?
> Are we on top of the constant change in our culture?
> Are we focused on unchurched people or on ourselves?

Growing churches:
> Have main services that engage teenagers. If teens find your service boring, so will unchurched people.
> Are good with questions. Embracing the questions of unchurched people is a form of embracing them.
> Are honest about struggles. Unchurched people are suspicious when church leaders appear to have it “all together.”
> Have easy, obvious, strategic and helpful steps for new people.
> Have dumped assumptions. Unchurched people don’t know the basics of the Christian faith.
> Don’t do outreach as a program. Unchurched people know when “insiders” are putting on a show for outsiders.
> Are flexible and adaptable. We are never done reaching people. Churches that are adaptable and flexible in their strategy (not their mission or vision) will have the best chance of continually reaching unchurched people.

The main causes of church stagnation and decline are:
> Internal dysfunction that is sapping the community of its life, such as conflict, wrong people in the wrong places, and unrealistic expectations of staff, boards and volunteers.
> Structural issues, such as boards, that micromanage or pastoral care being vesting in a handful of leaders.
> An inward focus that refuses to acknowledge the need to change in order to be effective with outsiders.

Lasting ImpactConversation #2. How Do We Respond as People Attend Church Less Often?
Even if you are successful leading people to Jesus, people are simply attending church less frequently. Here are some reasons:
> Greater affluence. People with more money have options, technology, travel and kids.
> Increased kids’ activities. Many children are playing on traveling sports teams. Parents are choosing kids’ sports over church.
> More people are traveling for business and pleasure.
> 24/7 culture. Working on weekends is common. Society no longer has a common pause day.
> Blended and single-parent families. When custody is shared, perfect attendance is 26 weeks a year.
> Online options. Churches with an online presence negatively impact physical attendance, but likely increase their overall reach.
> Cultural disappearance of guilt. People used to feel guilty about missing church. No longer.
> Self-directed spirituality. Postmodern thinking wants a self-directed approach over an institutional one.
> Failure to see direct benefit. People always make time for what they value most. They may not see value in attending church week after week.
> Valuing attendance over engagement. Engaged people attend more. People who merely attend fade away with time. Place the value on engagement and attendance may take care of itself.
> A massive culture shift. Our culture is shifting seismically.

Characteristics of today’s unchurched people:
> They don’t have big “problems.” Many people’s lives aren’t falling apart. They are content with their lives without God.
> Most are spiritual. Most believe in some kind of God and are offended when you see them as atheists.
> They aren’t sure what “Christian” means. You can’t make any assumptions about what people know about the Christian faith.
> You can’t call them back to something they never knew. “Revival” assumes there is something to revive.
> Many have tried church, but left. They had a negative experience the first time. This influences their expectations if they return to church.
> They want you to be 100% Christian, not some watered-down version.
> They’re intelligent, so speak to that. Don’t speak down to people that are new.
> They hate hypocrisy.
> They love transparency.
> They invite their friends if they like what they’re discovering.
> Their spiritual trajectory varies dramatically. Give people a chance to hang in the shadows for a while, then provide multiple jumping-in points throughout the year.
> Some want to be anonymous and some want immediate connection.

Tips for connecting with infrequent attenders and unchurched people:
> Embrace them. An unchurched person can initially seem very different than Christians who have been to church all their lives.
> Show empathy. If a person who has never gone to church is coming 12 times a year, that’s real progress.
> Separate the mission from the method. Our mission is to lead people to Jesus, not simply to get them to show up for an hour on Sunday.
> Celebrate wins. When a child takes their first steps, we applaud wildly. Do the same when people take steps spiritually.
> Elevate relationships. Create meaningful relationships through small groups.
> Love people. Don’t underestimate the power of simply showing love and grace.
> Create a culture of serving. Serving connects people to something bigger than themselves.
> Prioritize kids and teens. The more you prioritize families, the more families will prioritize Sundays.
> Create an irresistible experience. Many churches are resistible and don’t value excellence. Are we content with being mediocre?
> Create an awesome online presence. Have a quality social media program. Be the favorite person in their inbox and their favorite thing to see in their newsfeed.
> Offer offline surprises. Do something unique or fun just for those attending the physical location (not available online).
> Start measuring spiritual growth results.

Conversation #3. Are Our Leaders Healthy . . . Really?
Healthy leaders create healthy churches. The demands of leadership push you towards becoming unhealthy. Watch for these signs of burnout:
> Your motivation is fading. The passion that once fueled you is gone.
> Your main emotion is numbness. You no longer feel the highs and lows.
> People drain you. Nobody energizes you anymore.
> Little things make you disproportionately angry.
> You’re becoming cynical.
> Your productivity is dropping.
> You’re self-medicating (overeating, working more, gossip, spending, under-the-radar substance abuse).
> You don’t laugh anymore.
> Sleep and time off no longer refuel you.

10 healthy options for self-care:
> A great daily time with God
> Exercise
> A healthy diet
> Proper sleep
> Intentional white space in your calendar
> Healthy friendships. When was the last time you hung out with a friend you didn’t need to minster to?
> Margin. You are at your most kind when you have the most margin.
> Hobbies
> Family time
> Coaching and counseling

Conversation #4. What Keeps High-Capacity Leaders from Engaging Our Mission?
Churches are volunteer organizations. Many churches maintain a mediocre volunteer culture, which deters high-capacity volunteers. Volunteers ask 5 questions. If you answer them in a healthy way, high-capacity volunteers will stick around.
> Are the personal relationships around here healthy?
> Will serving help me grow spiritually? Pray for and with your volunteers. Share your journey and encourage theirs. Mentor them.
> Am I just a means to an end? Care about people, don’t just use them.
> Will you help me develop the skills I need? People need a little training to do the task well.
> Am I signing up for life? Put a time limit for serving when you ask someone to volunteer.

Reasons high-capacity people leave your team:
> The challenge isn’t big enough.
> You vision, mission and strategy are fuzzy.
> You’re disorganized.
> You let people off the hook too easily. For everyone’s sake, you should hold volunteers accountable (like you do with staff).
> You’re not giving them enough personal attention.
> You don’t have enough other high-capacity volunteers around them.

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Conversation #5. Why are Young Adults Walking Away from Church?
Half the students who are actively involved with church during high school leave after graduation. Here are some things that will help them stick around:
> Inter-generational relationships. Young adults want mentoring and to serve with older adults.
> Giving and receiving grace. Research shows that churches that show grace to teens do better than those that do not.
> Expressing doubt safely. Young people need to be able to express doubt. This is part of developing faith. It is unexpressed doubt that is toxic to faith.

Why many young people have stopped attending church:
> The church is irrelevant, the leaders are hypocritical, and leaders have experienced too much moral failure. Counter this by creating a culture of integrity, authenticity and grace.
> God is missing in the church. Young people are looking for God and can’t find Him in the church.
> Legitimate doubt is prohibited. Conservative churches dismiss questions with trite answers. Liberal churches answer with too much ambiguity.
> People aren’t learning about God. People can’t understand anything the pastor teaches . . . as if he is speaking a foreign language.
> They’re not finding community.

In the past you could improve your church by making it more cool (band, lights, etc.). Now most cities have a lot of cool churches. Cool no longer works as a way to attract unchurched people. Here are things that will work:
> Authentic leadership and connection.
> An elevated sense of mission
> Hope
> Elevated community
> Experimentation

Conversation #6. What Cultural Trends Are We Missing?
Culture is changing rapidly. Churches that thrive over the long run will study culture, and in that process, they will become flexible, agile and adaptive. Here are some cultural trends that church leaders can’t ignore:
> Online is the new default. People check you out online before they come through your doors.
> Wi-Fi and smartphones. Your audience is Googling you during services. Do you assume your audience is intelligent, literate and has options?
> Dialog. People want to talk, not just listen. What venues do you have for real conversation?
> Loyalty. Brand loyalty is low. Being around for a long time can be seen as a liability. How are you showing the relevance of faith?
> Lack of guilt. Guilt used to motivate people, but no longer does.
> Declining trust in authority and institutions. People start out with suspicion as their primary approach to the church and its leaders.
> Personalized, eclectic spirituality. People are starting their spiritual journeys with minds open to many different faiths and their own ideas of what spirituality should be.
> Personal mission. People aren’t waiting for some leader to change the world. They just do it themselves.
> Trust in user reviews. What you say about your organization matters less than what others say.
> The death of cash and checks.

What will the future church look like?
> Gatherings will be smaller and larger at the same time. Large churches will be large because they are a collection of dozens of smaller gatherings under some form of shared leadership.
> Churches will have a quicker, lighter footprint. Portable church and innovative gatherings will prevail over multi-million dollar mega-facilities.
> Churches will be about what they want for people, not about what they want from people.
> More church staff will come from the marketplace rather than seminaries.
> Churches that love their model more than their mission will die.
> The church will still gather on weekends.
> Consumer Christianity will die and a more selfless discipleship will emerge.
> Sundays will become more about what we give than what we get.
> Attendance will no longer drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance.
> Simplified ministries will complement peoples’ lives, not compete with peoples’ lives.
> Online church will supplement the journey but not become the journey.
> Online church will become more of a front door than a back door.
> Online relationships will be valued as real relationships.

Carey Nieuwhof at Orange Atlanta.

Carey Nieuwhof at Orange Atlanta.

Conversation #7. What Are We Actually Willing to Change?
Here are things we can do when people want a church to grow but not to change:
> Tell the truth. Your patterns, habits and level of effectiveness as a church got you to where you are now. Point out the truth nobody wants to talk about.
> Plot trajectory. Map where the organization is going. “If we continue doing what we’re doing today, where will we be one year, two years and five years from now? If we change, where will we be one year, two years and five years from now?”
> Ban delusional talk. Refuse to allow people to divorce themselves from reality.
> Get an outside view. Read a book with your team, attend a conference or bring in a consultant.
> Offer constant feedback. Continue to point the group back to the truth.
> Draw a line and call it for what it is. At some point you have to stop talking and start doing. Put a do-by date on your conversations.

How to lead change when you’re not the boss:

> Think like a senior leader. Think about how an idea impacts the greater organization.
> Express desires, not demands. Show respect and share how you feel, don’t tell your leader how you think they should feel.
> Explain the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. Click here for an excellent TED Talk on this.
> Stay publicly loyal. Public loyalty buys private leverage.
> Be part of the solution.
> Change yourself. Don’t just focus on the changes you want to see in others.

“Lasting Impact” is designed to be read with your staff. Each chapter includes questions to work through with your team. Click here to obtain a copy as soon as it is published.

There is great value in thinking about the future of our churches and making changes that improve our organizations. As Nieuwhof concludes, “The best is yet to come, and you have the potential to play a meaningful part in that amazing story.”


10 Reasons Your Church Isn’t Growing

5 Reasons Churches Stop Growing

5 Signs Bad Governance Is Limiting Your Church Growth

10 Predictions About The Future Of Church

8 Reasons Churches Don’t Break The 200 Attendance Mark

The Changes Your Church Needs To Make As It Grows (Podcast)



“It’s Just A Phase” – Reggie Joiner’s New Orange Focus

Reggie Joiner

Reggie Joiner at the Orange Conference 2015.

Orange is an organization that promotes quality leadership in children’s and student ministry. This year they announced a new focus: “It’s Just A Phase.” If we understand that the phases of a child’s life are short seasons, we can make the most of them. Below are notes from @ReggieJoiner’s main keynote session in which he outlined the new direction for Orange. Thanks to my friend @CherylKneeland for putting these together!

If you would like to see video of Reggie Joiner explaining these key concepts, click here for part one, here for part two and here for part three.




We don’t want your 3rd graders and 6th graders and 12th graders to miss out because you don’t get it. Reasons it’s easy to miss:

1. We don’t see what we don’t see.


ELEMENTARY: ENGAGE- Do I have what it takes?


1. Help them own their own faith.

2. Help them begin to value community.

HIGH SCHOOL: MOBILIZE- Why should I believe (you)?

We need a common language as leaders.

2. We don’t remember what we don’t remember. 

One thing ties us all together: Every kid is made in the image of God.

Every kid has the divine capacity to…love, care…

“Whoever welcomes one such child welcomes me.” -Jesus

Jesus made kids a pretty big deal.

When I welcome you (a child), it’s like I’m welcoming God.

I don’t think the problem is we forget kids are sinners, I think the problem is we forget kids are made in the image of God.

God has created and designed us in such a way that we can do what we do even when we don’t know who He is.

Treat every kid who breathes like they are made in the image of God.

3. We don’t anticipate what we don’t anticipate.

Lean into each other and teach each other what this looks like in every phase.

Preschool: 4 out of every 10 kids live without a father.

Elementary: 2 out of every 10 girls are sexually abused.

Middle School: 1 out of every 10 kids start cutting.

1 out of of every 10 kids will be sexually active by the time they finish 8th grade.

High School:

2% of kids will be sexually active by the end of 7th grade.

30% of kids will be sexually active by the end of 9th grade.

41% by the end of 10th grade

54% by the end of 11th grade

64% by the end of 12th grade

How can we do this better?

Don’t let anyone tell you what you do is not important.

Think about your role and what God has called you to do.

Orange Blog Rob CizekComments by Jim Burns:

So love every kid like they are wired to show love.

Even with that depth of pain, with so many kids struggling, those issues don’t define them. Love does.

Reach children not by creating barriers but by loving them.

“Jesus wept.” Our God cares that deeply for children.

Mark 9:42 He cares deeply for children.

Best shot at helping kids is when the church and home come together (Think Orange).

Most kids don’t get good, healthy, positive sex education growing up.

“Don’t do it.” Then silence is a mixed message.

25% of women who have sexual intercourse (before marriage) experience depression within 3 months.

65% of kids leave the church right after High School.


Preschool- Embrace 

God made their body. He made boys, girls, different shapes, sizes… God made you. God made boys with penises and girls with vaginas. Help them get comfortable with their bodies.

Elementary- Engage

Answer questions, ask questions. They are curious how God makes babies. Ask: Do they know someone expecting a baby?

Teach kids to put a hand out and tell anyone (peers or adults) to STOP then tell a trusted adult if someone tries to touch their private parts.

Sharing your private parts is something you save for your future marriage.

Middle School/High School- Mobilize

Talk about sexuality.

Start talking about pornography. The average age in the US that a kid first views pornography is 11 years old.

Purity Code: In honor of God, my family, and my future spouse…

Experimental phase- Keep your standard high but shower them with Grace.

Genesis 1 & 2, Exodus 20:14, 1 Thessalonians 1:3,…

Teach them one flesh, not just as a sexual thing but as a spiritual thing.

No such thing as casual sex.

God’s love knows no limits.

So love every kid like they are wired to love. Believe in them, bless them, and watch them thrive.

Jon Acuff at the Atlanta Orange Conference 2015.

Jon Acuff at the Atlanta Orange Conference 2015.

Comments by @JonAcuff

Childhood feels shorter than it’s ever been.

You can fast-forward childhood but you can’t rewind it.

Sometimes it starts with a phone.

There’s not a 3rd grader on the planet that’s emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually able to handle the internet and everyone on it.

It’s not a question of whether they’ll talk about their identity, it’s who they’ll talk about it with.

We’ve forgotten that we’re wired with the image of God.

The hardest part of what you do is you often don’t get to see the results.

Stories get stuck, unless leaders get brave.

There’s a world of kids out there waiting for those four words (Embrace, Engage, Affirm, Mobilize).

Additional comments by @reggiejoiner

When you EMBRACE the physical needs of preschoolers, you are being Jesus to them.

When you lean into kids and try to keep their attention, you ENGAGE them; you are doing what Jesus stepped onto this planet to do.

When a kid shifts into the world you have them in and starts to wonder if they’re worth it, you AFFIRM them. You are doing what Jesus stepped onto this planet to do. They need to know what it’s like to be forgiven.

The Countdown clock is spinning as fast as it can. You have the opportunity to disciple high schoolers, be with them. Encourage them in a mission that only they can do. MOBILIZE them and understand that they will outgrow your programs, but they will not outgrow personal ministry.

Every kid is created in the image of God and we need to understand that and tell them that.

The people who abandon you don’t get to decide who you become.

So treat every kid like they are created in the image of God.



Orange Atlanta 2015

Reggie Joiner video explaining why time is so crucial:


Top Leadership Quotes From #OC15 – Orange Conference Atlanta

The top leadership quotes from #OC15, the Orange Conference Atlanta.

Orange Blog Rob CizekEvery April 6,000 leaders meet in Atlanta for the Orange Conference. Click here to see a brief video about the conference. The conference has tracks for senior church leadership, children’s ministry and student ministry. Here are the top quotes, gathered from the main sessions, breakouts and the senior leadership track:


10. Stories get stuck unless leaders get brave. – @JonAcuff via @CCchanginglives

9. Show me a business that failed, I’ll show you a leader that was isolated. – @JonAcuff via @OrangeLeaders

8. The problem in the church is when we go from annointing to pedigree. – @perrynoble

7. The sooner you get students involved in ministry the stronger their faith becomes. – @perrynoble

6. The next generation is the greatest untapped missions field. – @perrynoble

5. We won’t reach the next gerenation. We will raise up the next generation to reach the next generation.- @perrynoble

4. It’s impossible to get stuck somewhere old if you keep learning the new. – @JonAcuff

3. Our teens don’t need our protection. They need our permission (to slay giants.) – @perrynoble

2. Leaders who can’t be questioned do questionable things. – @JonAcuff

1. Bravery is a choice, not a feeling. – @JonAcufff



Jon Acuff at Orange Atlanta 2015.

Jon Acuff at Orange Atlanta 2015.

10. Leaders become ineffective when they fail to grow both their character & their competency. – @cnieuwhof

9. Don’t tell it like it is. Tell it like it could be. – @DougFields via @JoshShipp

8.  Irrelevance happens when the speed of change outside an organization is greater than inside an organization. – @RickWarren via @cnieuwhof

7. There is a huge difference between your target audience and your actual audience. – @ryanleak via @jcisonline

6. Honest evaluation will only come one way: by invitation only. – @ryanleak via @PlayMakersMin

5. Needy people will always demand and clamor for our attention. Healthy people have to be invited in. – @cnieuwhof via @PlayMakersMin

4. Bravery-being stubborn in the face of fear” @JonAcuff via @donnatdavis

3. Organizations that don’t change becomes museums to another era.  – @cnieuwhof

2. Extraordinary leadership is often not recognizable in the moment, but rather in hindsight. ~ @JenniCatron via @_TimParsons

1. Blame is simply a change avoidance strategy. -@AndyStanley via @PlayMakersMin



Andy Stanley at Orange Atlanta 2015.

Andy Stanley at Orange Atlanta 2015.

Is the work of God you do destroying the work of God in you? – @drjimburns via @hughalan

Sometimes fear pretends to be humility when it’s really cowardice. – @JonAcuff via @bichaelmowman

If you focus on what you don’t have, it will diminish your influence. – @joshgagnon via @cnieuwhof

You have no idea of what or WHO hangs in the balance of your decision to embrace the burden God has put in your heart. – @AndyStanley via @252Basics

There’s an inexorable correlation between leadership and change. – @AndyStanley via @ReggieJoiner

Leaders fix things that are broken, but fixing things require change and change requires conflict. – @AndyStanley via @zachsteiger

The question every leader needs to ask. Who are you? What breaks your heart? – @AndyStanley via @cnieuwhof

The people who abandon you do not get to determine your future. – @reggiejoiner via @cnieuwhof

It’s powerful when people who’ve said no to your church realize your church has still said yes to them.  – @JeffHenderson via @_TimParsons_

Don’t pay the dumb tax. Learn from the experiences of others. via @Luke_Saunders

Doubt isn’t toxic to faith, silence is. – @KPowellFYI via @firstlookcurr

What causes most churches to implode?  Insider-thinking.  – @JeffHenderson via @darren_sullivan

Leaders who see the future are in a better position to seize the future. – @cnieuwhof

You project past failures onto new situations. – @cnieuwhof

The antidote to cynicism is curiosity. – @cnieuwhof

The antidote to self-medication is self-care. – @cnieuwhof

Orange Conference Atlanta

When you’re young, the current cultural dialogue is your native tongue.  – @cnieuwhof

Culture never asks permission to change. It just changes.  – @cnieuwhof

The antidote to irrelevance is change. – @cnieuwhof

Churches become ineffective when, over a long period of time, leaders begin to love the method more than they love the mission. – @cnieuwhof

Reinvention & renewal are the antidoes to ineffectiveness. – @cnieuwhof

To future-proof, ask ‘What am I not seeing that I should be seeing?’ & ‘Who can help me see what I’m not seeing?’ – @cnieuwhof


10. Play favorites. Spend 80% of your time with the people who give you 80% of your results. – @cnieuwhof

9. You don’t just manage your time, but your energy. – @JeffHenderson

Orange Conference8. If you are going to have great dreams you are going to have great uncertanty. – @JeffHenderson

7. Don’t compare your everyday self to everyone else’s highlight reel. – @joshgagnon

6. Would you volunteer for you?  – @cnieuwhof

5. Don’t be afraid to risk what is for what could be. – @cnieuwhof

4. If you want the impact of a supermarket, you can’t run things like a mom and pop store. – @cnieuwhof

3. The healthiiest parts of my workout are the parts I like the least. (A lot like life and work.) – @cnieuwhof

2. Authentic is more powerful than cool. – @cnieuwhof

1. You can’t follow fear. (Leaders, don’t lead out of fear.) – @cnieuwhof


Carey Nieuwhof at Orange Atlanta.

Carey Nieuwhof at Orange Atlanta.

Leaders who can’t be questioned end up doing questionable things. – @JonAcuff

To grow, we must develop, not just delegate. – @GeoffSurratt

Effective leaders have a bias for action. – @cnieuwhof

You are unwilling to change if the gap between what you say and what you actually do is too large. – @cnieuwhof

People may have great ideas. But if it does not meet the strategy, then it does not fit. – @DougFields

When we was the last time you experienced your program as an insider? – @SueMiller01

Churches stop growing because they bet too much on being cool. – @cnieuwhof

Churches stop growing because you are more in love with the method than you are with the mission.  – @cnieuwhof

Churches stop growing because your church’s passion for the past or present is more compelling than your vision for the future. – @cnieuwhof

(Leaders) what you model is what your staff repeats. – @JenniCatron

People with significant leadership gifting respond best to significant challenges. – @cnieuwhof

Strategy begins as divisive, but ultimately aligns an organization. – @cnieuwhof

Micromangement is a sign you don’t trust someone. – @cnieuwhof

Some people will put up with disorganization, but high capacity leaders will ultimately give up. Be organized. – @cnieuwhof

Your organization will drift to the level of accountability the team leader establishes. – @cnieuwhof

OC15-25Surround high capacity people with high capacity people. Like attracts like and like keeps like. – @cnieuwhof

Pay volunteers in non-financial currencies: Gratitude, Attention, Trust, Empowerment & Respect. – @cnieuwhof

People gravitate toward where they are valued most. – @cnieuwhof

Respect is an attitude as much as it is a behavior. – @cnieuwhof


This information was presented at the national Orange Conference #OC15. Click here for more information on Orange.


Orange Atlanta 2015

Top 10 Leadership Quotes From The CLA #Outcomes15

Here are the top leadership quotes from this year’s Christian Leadership Alliance national conference (from the #Outcomes15 Twitter feed):

#10. One of the great failures of many leaders: “Falling in love with the process rather than the outcome.” – @CLAleader (via @BradleyReid77)

#9. 90% of our #leadership influence lies in the qualities beneath the surface. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

#8. The purpose of life is not to arrive at the casket safely. – @ChristineCaine (via @ArnieAdkison)

#7. How well a leader follows others offers people quick insight into the leader’s character. – @CLALeader (via @geohil)

#6. There is a huge difference between a program and a movement. Movements start small and take time. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

#5. Both courage and fear are contagious. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

#4. We can get so focused on the program or product that we can forget the purpose of the organization. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

#3. Don’t let the fear of failure lock you into comfort. – Israel Gaither (via @PSean)

#2. The light doesn’t come on until you walk in the room. Want to experience power? Start moving. – @EvansLegacy (via @mary_gunther)

#1. If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevance even less. – @CLALeader (via @geohil)


When an organization is stuck, it takes a courageous leader to take the first step.– @TimElmore (via @geohil)

Images are the oldest yet preferred form of communication today. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

In organization culture, what gets rewarded gets done. Be intentional in what you celebrate. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

It is no longer about a work/life balance for #Millennials but a work/life blend. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

Character enables the #leader to do what is right even when it is difficult. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

There is oneness with leadership and followership. One is not greater than the other. – @CLALeader (via @geohil)

God loves you too much to give you too much. God knows the weight of what He gives. – Jonathan Evans (via @TamiHeim)

When God brings about change in an organization, he begins with the leader. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

Character communicates credibility, creates consistency and earns trust. – @TimElmore (via @StanKeithHC)

Leadership is about focus. Focus is what people need because most people live unfocused lives. – @TimElmore (via @geohil)

There’s a difference between biblical hope and human optimism. – @davidkinnaman (via @CLALeader)

Leaders see differently than followers. They see before, beyond and bigger than followers. – @TimElmore (via @mary_gunther)




Top 10 Leadership Quotes From Catalyst West 2015

Leadership quotes from Catalyst West 2015,

#CatalystWest 2015 is the Catalyst West conference, a training experience for the next generation of leaders. It was held in Southern California during April. Here are my top 10 leadership quotes from the conference (taken from #CatalystWest on Twitter):

#10. Leaders are designed to be dissatisfied with status quo. That’s not a problem, it’s a calling. – @AndyStanley (via @hinscheman)

#9. Failure isn’t a person, it’s a event. It doesn’t define who you are. – @craiggroeschel (via @PaulLuna)

#8. To reach people no one is reaching, we must do things no one is doing. – @craiggroeschel (via @BigJHuanosto)

#7. Your greatest contribution may not be something you do. It may be someone you raise. –  AndyStanley (via @FlippenAwesome)

#6. The thinking that gets you into a problem never gets you out; You’ve got to change your thinking. – @KentonBeshore (via @PaulLuna)

#5. Leaders don’t get into trouble all at once. It happens one step at a time. – @CraigGroeschel

#4. Many years from now, what would you like people to thank you for? – @AndyStanley (via @BigJHuanosto)

#3. Leaders don’t blame. Blame is an effective change-avoidance strategy. – @AndyStanley (via @HaleyVeturis)

#2. Organize to your vision statement. – @AndyStanley

#1. We don’t want to copy other leaders. We want to think like they think. – @CraigGroeschel (via @misterlib)


If you aren’t failing every now and then, you’re playing it too safe. – Craig Groeschel (via @Cory_Huffman)

Failure is not an option, it’s a necessity. Faith takes risks. @craiggroeschel (via @HaleyVeturis)

“Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is the 1st step towards #SUCCESS.” #CraigGroeschel (via @EfrenPenaPR)

“We are all one yes away from changing everything.” – @shelenebryan (via @misterlib)

True love involves doing; it requires action. – @shelenebryan (via @PaulLuna)

I’d rather fail God by thinking too big rather than insult Him by thinking too small. – @CraigGroeschel (via @PaulLuna)

I can’t think of a single hero of the faith that lived a comfortable life. – @shelenebryan (via @suannagutierrez)

If you are innovative, you are going to offend some Pharisees. – @CraigGroeschel (via @drewruiz85)

Failure is not an option, it’s a necessity. Faith takes risks. @craiggroeschel (via @HaleyVeturis)

The fear of failure drives you to lead without faith. – @craiggroeschel (via @vikramloya)

God guides by what He provides AND by what He WITHHOLDS. – @craiggroeschel (via @BethanyWymore)

There’s an inexorable correlation between leadership & change. – Andy Stanley (via @randysherwood)

Memorable is portable (make your communication memorable so people will take it with them.) – @AndyStanley

Limited resources are not a hindrance to innovation, but a catalyst to innovation. – @CraigGroeschel (via @PaulLuna)

Failure isn’t a person, it’s a event, it doesn’t define who you are. – @craiggroeschel (via @PaulLuna)




Advice For Parents On Social Media

Advice for parents on social media use by children. Orange Blog Rob Cizek

The Orange Conference is this month. I’ll be Atlanta and hope to see you there. This year Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) is one of the speakers. He has remarkable advice for parents on social media use. Here are notes from his recent Orange session.

Technology is changing quickly right now. For 50 million people to get access to radio it took 30 years. For 50 million people to get access to TV it took 13 years. For 50 million people to get access to Instagram it took 18 months.

In our kids’ world, everything goes viral.

We need to redefine what social media means: Social media is any technology that lets you share something with someone else. This includes texting, comments on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

Kids are growing up in technology. You don’t have to be as tech savvy as their kids. What should we tell parents about social media if we could only tell them a few things?

#1. TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA BEFORE THEY USE IT. Sometimes we give the world a 15 year head start before we start to have the conversations. We have conversations earlier than We expect to have them.

Give them teachable moments along the way. Invite them into the conversation you’re having. One of the great things about Facebook is you can share photos with
Grandpa. Show them that what you share gets shared. When you post a photo online, it can never be deleted. It’s like getting a social tatoo; once you get it, it cannot be removed. It is public, it gets passed around. You need to be careful about it.

Even as an adult, there are restrictions. There are sites you cannot access at work or even home. Talk to them about Google. Google should be a family site. Never search for American Girl or Girl Doll.

The best time to talk to kids about social media is today. Start today, start appropriately. Adjust your conversation to their age. Don’t think that because they are tech
savvy, they are life savvy.

#2. BE CURIOUS. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be curious. Online life and real life are the same thing. Do not separate them! If your child was going to have a sleepover, you would want to meet them first, meet their parents and get to know them before you invite them into your house. You need to do the same thing with social media, get to know someone before you invite them into your digital house.

Build a real life filter by asking your child questions such as:

> What social sites are you using? (Snapchat and texting count too)

> What do your devices do? (Google what their devices do) It’s okay to let your kid be the expert in the conversation.

> What do your profiles do? (Can you write emails?) Don’t assume that everyone on a child site is a child.

> What devices do your friends have? Just because your child doesn’t have a certain device, doesn’t mean their friend won’t. You need to have that conversation as a family.

> Are you creating any content and where are you posting it?

> What are your friends posting?

Click here for more on how Jon Acuff asks these questions.

Social media keyboard.3. LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ITS POTENTIAL GOOD. There is a lot of beauty available through social media and the internet, we need to see the good.

Social media is going to start making a difference in college applications. You can’t just change your name so you can’t be found by a college.

80% of job interviewers Google you before you come in for an interview now. Leave a good digital footprint. It matters for college and it matters for your job. What will we find about our kids in a Google search 15 years from now?

Help kids plug into what the church is doing. Text encouraging things to your small group. Evangelism is possible through social media.

Source for where a kid can practice their passion. (Like LEGO, photography, writing). If you want to connect with someone who does something you love, send them a short email asking one question. It takes longer to say no, than to just answer their question.

Find a Kickstarter campaign from someone in your church and help them out. Have a life that’s not just focused on you.

4. GO DARK AS A FAMILY. Don’t take a week off of Twitter and then get on and write 10 blog posts in a row about what that week was like.

The devices go to bed when we go to bed. No using them at night. No devises during meal times.

Go to a water park or some place they can’t use their phone and have to be present.

Social media children.5. REMEMBER WHAT’S AT STAKE. There is more at stake than technology. Adolescence is when you learn how to communicate with people, and they are learning how to be absent when they are present.

Where does it say that relationship is supposed to be efficient? We’re learning how to forget to communicate.

There is anxiety. Loneliness is at stake with our kids. Sometimes the kids that get left out will pretend they got the text too.

Self-esteem is at stake. They have a physical measurement (likes) that they use.

The internet is developing constantly.



6 Expert Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe On Social Media From Mashable

Social Networking Advice For Parents

What Parents Must Know About Social Media From WebMD


A special thank you to @CherylKneeland for her contributions to this post!


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The Top 6 Leadership Lessons From Visiting The Holy Land

6 leadership lessons we can learn from the Holy Land.

Have you ever dreamed about visiting the Holy Land? You can literally walk in the steps of some of history’s greatest leaders. I recently traveled to Israel and Jordan. These modern-day countries can teach us valuable leadership wisdom.

Railroad bridge under construction.

New infrastructure, such as railroads like the one being built here, are linking two economies and strengthening relationships.

#6. IT’S HARD TO HATE A PARTNER (ISRAEL AND JORDAN): These neighboring countries have a deeply contentious history. Even so their leaders have agreed to new water, rail and trade projects. Both countries will be wealthier and more stable . . . because it’s tough to hate a partner.

Trees In Desert

In Israel, reclaimed fresh water creates farms in the desert. These trees produce dates.



#5. COMMON SENSE IS A POWERFUL TOOL (TEL AVIV): In less than 75 years Israel has gone from mostly arid desert to having meaningful agriculture. Common sense water projects are the reason why. Desalinization plants have been built to make fresh water for people to use. Their waste water is then cleaned and used for agriculture. Don’t over-think your problems. This simple, common sense leadership initiative gives the country the water and food it needs to grow.

#4. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF (ISRAEL):  Israel is a tiny country (8 million people in a space smaller than New Jersey). Even so, it is bordered by four countries that, at times, have been enemies. Setting aside the political issues, one thing is clear . . . Israel strongly believes in itself. It is willing to take a stand even if it doesn’t see the odds in its favor. It tenaciously builds infrastructure, security, business and governmental systems to promote its long term success. An organization needs more than good ideas. It needs a strong sense of itself and a commitment to systems that make things happen.

#3. THE COMMON GOOD TRUMPS PERSONAL AGENDAS (ISRAEL): Drive around Israel and one thing is inescapable – industriousness for the common good. Roads, schools, museums, homes, factories and tourist sites have been developed in just a few decades. Leaders are clearly trying to do something good for a nation . . . and not simply serve their personal agendas.


Petra – Jordan’s remarkable city where buildings are carved in stone.

#2. IF YOU’VE GOT IT, DON’T HIDE IT (PETRA): You would recognize the most visited place in Jordan . . . and that’s no accident. Petra is an ancient city with buildings carved into sandstone canyon walls. Leaders in Jordan deliberately arrange for Petra to be featured in movies like Indiana Jones and Transformers. That publicity brings tens of thousands of visitors each year, and big money to the Jordanian economy. Shrewd leaders understand that it’s important to get the word out about their organization’s strengths. Once people know about them, they will go out of their way to experience something special.


The Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine sits immediately above the site of the Temple.

The Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine sits immediately above the site of The Temple.

#1. CREATE SAFETY FOR THOSE WHO DON’T AGREE WITH YOU (JERUSALEM): Israel is a Jewish nation. Yet the Catholic Church is the largest private landholder in the country. In the capitol city of Jerusalem, Muslims, Jews and Christians live side-by-side. They share some of the most contested real estate on Earth. There is a Muslim shrine above the Jewish people’s most holy site (the Temple).  The various authorities have made it safe for everyone to experience Jerusalem. It may seem counter-intuitive, but good leaders create stability and growth by welcoming disparate voices.


A personal note . . . I put off going to the Holy Land for a long time. It’s easy to do because of logistics, cost and political instability. However, the trip was far more enriching that any other trip I’ve taken. If a Holy Land trip is on your bucket list, I encourage you to make it happen. It’s worth it.

How To Have A Great Social Media Strategy – Tips From @JonAcuff

Practical social media strategy tips from Jon Acuff

Jon AcuffDo you want to get the most from your time on social media? One of the best people we can learn from is Jon Acuff. He’s timely, smart and funny. He knows how to develop a platform and bring value to those who follow him.

Jon spoke at the Orange Conference in Atlanta and shared his social media tips and tricks. Below you will find great notes from Jon’s session taken by my friend @CherylKneeland.

Orange Blog Rob CizekThis year’s Orange Conference will be held in Atlanta during the last week of April. This is the last week for registration. I’ll be there blogging the conference and would love to connect with you. Click here for more information on how to attend this year’s Orange Conference.



How do we engage in social media, navigate it? A few words underscore what Jon tries to do in all social media interactions:

Empathy: Understanding what someone needs and acting on it. As leaders we serve the community we live in.

Generosity: Giving more than what’s expected. People always remember your generosity and they never forget your greed. Be generous with time, content and re-tweeting others.

Stubbornness: You have to be stubborn, keep going. It never stops. Social Media will always be there, the exact platform may change a little, but the interactions on the internet are here to stay.


Figure out where to plant a flag. Go everywhere. Google+ seems like a ghost town to many social media experts; however, for some it’s working. Jon planted a flag there, to let him at least establish his name there. Go to as many places as you can. shows you instantly where your name is still available on various social media sites.

Recent college graduates have moved into Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook is old to them.

Get out of the way. It’s about starting the conversation, not owning the conversation. Maybe you create a private Facebook group. Jon created a group called dreamers and builders. Be careful not to own everything, the ego sets in. You want to create a space for people to connect with each other and share with each other, building relationships; do not make it so everyone can only respond directly to you or through you.

Be part of community. Pinterest is great for this. One out of every three women uses Pinterest. You can have shared boards. Let everyone be part of the community.

Don’t over-commit. Don’t do everything, just because it’s out there. He created a Tumblr account and realized he didn’t know much about it or have time to maintain it. It’s okay to ease into social media. He choose to stick to his blog, Twitter, and Instagram.

Use the accordion effect for promotions. This means you need to create content that’s helpful or funny, it’s just content; DO NOT do all promotional tweets/posts! A promo is promoting something specific. If you want to promo a lot you MUST start doing all the other posts a lot too. (Otherwise, you’ll be ignored or un-friended/deleted).

Don’t treat your social accounts like Las Vegas. What happens on social media does not stay on social media.

Why is it that people with the most grace filled bios on social media are the meanest? When you say things on social media that are rude or egotistical, people are watching and they will look into you, see who you are. Don’t be the Christian that types a nice bio and then acts like the biggest hypocrite.

We previously used social media to document moments that were created.  Now we create moments to use in social media.

Think multi-platform. When you have an idea, think of the other platforms to see if it would work somewhere else too. You can turn a tweet into an image and put it on Instragram and Pinterest. Often we waste an idea on one platform.

People’s attention spans are not getting longer. We want to fast forward everything.

Be honest. We have to be honest about what we are posting/tweeting/photographing. Are we doing it because we’re trying to serve the audience or because we are celebrating ourselves?

Learn the difference between satire and mockery: Satire is humor with a purpose. Mockery just causes a wound.

Write about issues, but not individuals. How am I an expert on someone I’ve never talked to, never seen live, never met? (I’m NOT).

Jon’s goal is to seed the clouds for ideas and conversations instead of chumming the water for sharks. You can write about controversy and get a lot of hits real fast, but it’s not worth it to be rude or mean.

Blogging: Never come up with categories before you write. The best way to figure out your voice is to write. Social Media is a great place to experiment because it’s not permanent, it’s not an encyclopedia.

Have some fun with it, experiment: Go slow, when you start a new blog, don’t post constantly or set high expectations to blog multiple times a day. Sometimes blogging sucks, you feel like you have a deadline. Jon posts 3-4 times a week.

You don’t control how people read your blog, you control how you write it: Sometimes people will interpret things differently, don’t try to control that. Share the things God puts on your heart.

Always use a picture on your post. Your audience wants a short idea and a picture.

Don’t end it with a question if you write something heavy or you don’t want to start a conversation about something (usually personal): Questions are a great tool if you want to start a conversation with people about a topic and watch them interact… you very well may get a new idea for a blog post from this.

Is this something that I really care about, that I need to say something about? Some topics are too big to put in a tweet or a blog, some topics are better for a face to face conversation.

Deep theological conversations are weird on a blog. It’s okay for some things to be taken off-line. Especially when it’s something that you and others will be really impassioned about.

Feel free to use old content.

Always test anything you hear on the internet with your community, sometimes it doesn’t fit where you are.

Treat your blog like a magazine, have a content calendar.

Guest post, but figure out what the blog is really about. Don’t repeat what they’ve already talked about or post something that is completely irrelevant to the blog.

Twitter: Think about your audience. What are they going through during that week? Tweet some funny things, but try to tweet some serious things too. Mix it up. Only tweet or post things that you would talk to your Senior Pastor about. Don’t be weird…”I don’t want to sound like a stalker, but your bushes are prickly.” Do not do a public announcement of unfollowing, it’s like the middle finger of tweeting. Jon doesn’t say “repost” if he’s repeating his own content. Make your profile complete. Pick a photo like actually looks like you, don’t keep the egg.

Public speaking: Change your tone, you have to have ups and down. Don’t be monotone online either. Always mellow or always loud is not so good.

Facebook: Millions of people are on there. Not everyone sees what you post. They limit who sees your content. Only 10-15% of followers will see what you post. They pick and choose who sees it. You may have to post over and over to get it out to more people. You have to over-communicate. Create private groups. Sometimes your group needs a little wall, it’s amazing what people will say because they know others aren’t there. It feels a little safer. Would a private group help? Do a poll on Facebook. Example: “Parents what are the things you are most concerned about going into this school year?” And let them add their own to the list. It’s okay to ask them what they want.

Instagram: Always credit your sources. Do visual countdowns; you can use picklab to add words and numbers to your photos. Use a photo of the event that’s coming each day up until in the event. (Example: Fall Family Fun Night 30 Days away! with photo of pumpkin… FFFN 25 days away w/photo of the event flyer… FFFN 20 days away w/photo of spaghetti…etc.) It’s all or nothing. You can’t follow only some of a person’s pictures… you get the all-access pass regardless of if it’s what you want to have. There is a balance of selfies. Don’t take a picture of every angle of your face. Make a diary or scrapbook if you want something private or all about you. Know that it’s a window not a mirror. Don’t be egotistical!

Pinterest: It’s not a dead-end. When you pin-it, it can lead them to something. You can attach a link. In general, the worst people online are the peopel that just got engaged because they post like they just invented love. You can follow just one board. If you create a church Pinterest page you don’t have to follow the whole church, you could follow just the age group of your child or a certain ministry area. It’s about your personality, your images. It’s about the content, not the content creator. You can co-manage it with others from your church.

What are your best social media strategies and tips? Leave them in a comment below.



Jon Acuff at Orange Atlanta with Jeff Foxworthy and Reggie Joiner.

Jon Acuff (right) at Orange Atlanta with Jeff Foxworthy (center) and Reggie Joiner (left).



How To Create Safe Meetings That Encourage Authentic Communication

Tips for creating safe meetings that encourage authentic communication and relationships. 

Do you want more effective meetings? Do you want to encourage genuine and authentic communication between your team members?  How about if the topic is controversial or difficult?

Start creating safe environments by being a facilitator. As the leader don’t dictate or teach. People open up when they are asked questions. When leading a meeting, draw people out as a facilitator. Ensure they feel heard and valued as they respond.

In addition to facilitating, set up safe meeting ground rules for the group. Present these at the start of each meeting and hold people to them.


SAFE GROUP: It is everyone’s responsibility, using grace and emotional intelligence, to create a place where everyone can be real, open and honest.

USE “I” STATEMENTS: It’s easy to talk about the issues of others. However, this is a place to put ourselves on the table. Use “I” sentences rather than “them”, “us”, “we”, “the organization”, etc. Do not purport to represent a group or other people.


meetingVEGAS RULE: What is shared here stays here. This conversation is confidential.

LISTEN: Really listen and hear what is said. Avoid “thinking ahead” about how you might respond or about what’s next. Allow the speaker to pause without jumping in. Allow for uncomfortable silence while people process. Give the speaker time and space to express 100% of what they’re thinking.

ONE PERSON SPEAKS AT A TIME (WHILE EVERYONE LISTENS): No side conversations or cross talk.

DON’T OVERSHARE: Be sensitive about the amount of time you use when sharing. Avoid unnecessary “rabbit trails” and excessive detail.

NON-VERBALS MATTER: Maintain an open posture, friendly countenance, and an approachable tone. 80% of communication is non-verbal.

NO FIXING OR RESCUING: When people are sharing something personal, there can be a tendency to immediately provide counsel or condolences. This stops the sharing. Avoid trying to fix or rescue people.

DISAGREEMENT DOES NOT EQUAL DISUNITY: When it comes to tough subjects, not everyone is going to agree. That’s okay. We can still respect and love each other. We can still fellowship and worship together. Differentiate between tensions to be managed and problems to be solved.

DIFFERENCES MATTER: Loving and respecting each other does not imply that we devalue our differences. Differences are important and meaningful.

GIVE GRACE: It’s possible that people won’t make their points as well as they would like (or use incorrect terms). It’s possible that emotion might overpower content. That’s okay. We’re big enough to give grace.

ENTHUSIASM VARIES: Not everyone has the same level of enthusiasm for this conversation. Some may be excited about it, while others would rather not discuss it. Be respectful of how others may be feeling.

EVERYONE GETS A PASS: Everyone has the right not to participate. Politely say, “I’m going to take a pass on this one.” No one should force anyone else into participation.

TURN OFF MOBILE DEVICES: This is a crucial conversation. Let’s be fully present. There will be plenty of time during the breaks to check messages.


​It’s okay to take care of yourself.
​It’s okay to take time away. You don’t have to do anything.
​It’s okay to be overwhelmed.
​It’s okay to ask for help

These safe communication guidelines aren’t entirely original. Many of the ideas have been assembled from a variety of credible sources.



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