How To Connect With People – The Painless Secret

Tips on how to connect with people.

Ask anyone what they want. If they’re being honest, most people will tell you they want friends . . . real connection with others.

The problem is that we live in a world where everyone is looking down at their mobile devices. They seem more interested in cyber relationships than the actual people around them. How do we get around this?

Just for fun, my son, Michael,  and I recently did an experiment to see if we could more easily connect with people. What we found astounded us.

South Dakota State LineMichael is studying at a college across the country. While he had been making do without a car, the time came when he really needed his beloved old Toyota 4Runner at school.  Rather than simply ship it from Seattle to the University of Florida, he wanted to drive it on a “coast to coast” road trip. I was reluctant, given that the 4Runner is 30 years old and has 200,000 miles on it. But I gave in, knowing it would be a great time to make memories.

Now for the experiment. We wanted to see if we could connect with some of our fellow travelers. To accomplish this, we would try telling our story using window paint. We marked the following messages on the truck’s windows:

1986 Toyota 4Runner - Connect With People Using Window PaintWA to FL in 5 days (the “what” of our trip, easily seen on the rear window by cars approaching from behind)

Dad & Son Cross USA (the “why” of our trip . . . a message with family appeal on a side window that would be seen by vacationing families passing us)

1986 Toyota 4Runner - Connect With People Using Window Paint’86 4Runner, 30th Bday, 200K Miles (on a side window to be seen at gas stations, a message to car enthusiasts)

14 States, 3K Miles, 5 Days (the “how” of our trip on a side window)

Our hope was that different parts of our story might appeal to different people. But would it make a connection with others? Would people say anything?

1986 Toyota 4Runner - Connect With People Using Window PaintThe results were overwhelming. People talked with us every time we stopped for gas or food. People took pictures of the truck. Most surprising of all, we received a constant stream of smiles, waves and honking horns while driving.

We connected with people with all kinds of backgrounds . . . approving semi-truck drivers, families on their own road trips, people who had never seen window paint, teens gawking at an old 4Runner and even hard core bikers on their way to their famous Sturgis, South Dakota rally. We made a lot of fast friends. Easily.

1986 Toyota 4Runner - Connect With People Using Window PaintTHE SECRET? When we reflected on our silly experiment we discovered a secret. We connect with people when there is story. We took a risk and put a little of our story out there. But by doing so, it gave people the opportunity to respond.

I could have given you a thousand reasons why we shouldn’t use window paint. The truck was full of dorm stuff we didn’t want stolen out of a hotel parking lot. We didn’t want to be targeted by con artists. Why call attention to ourselves? How easy it would have been to do nothing and simply blend in with all the other cars.

Having a story is like sanding before painting (“keying”). A keyed surface is rough and gives the paint something to which it can attach. Without keying, paint simply slides off polished/smooth surfaces. There’s nothing to grab on to… no way for it to adhere. Our stories give traction – something others can take hold of. They give people a way to connect with us.

APPLICATION: How can we put this secret to work? How can we better connect with people? Here are some ideas to better start conversations:

•       Next time you fill out a name tag don’t just put down your name, but a question like “What’s your favorite movie?” or “What was your first car?”

•       Make nice polo shirts or a jacket with your interest on them. Embroider a hat or handbag. Wear them strategically.
•        Put up a picture or poster in your work space.
•        Have things that interest you in your garage that others can see and speak with you about.
•        Create a sign, custom mailbox or artwork for your yard.
•        Put a bumper sticker or license plate frame on your car (or use window paint!)

Put just a little of yourself out there and see how much easier it is to connect with people!

— Ride Along With Us For A Few Trip Highlights —

Columbia River

Crossing the incredible Columbia River in Washington State.

Freight TrainThere are more trains in the middle of American than you would think. Montana has a lot of highway with an 80MPH speed limit.

Circle CloudRound clouds and fire in the evening sky.

Weird Street Name

Street names we didn’t know how to pronounce.

Open PlainsThere’s an incredible openness and beauty in the plains states.

1986 4Runner - Wyoming State LinePassing a lot of state lines.

Train End To EndLook closely and you can see an entire train, end to end. Now that’s open country!

Black Hills, South DakotaSouth Dakota’s Black Hills really do look like they are black!

Wing WindowWho decided cars shouldn’t have wing windows? These are awesome!

Train With Engines In Middle

Trains so long they need engines in the middle.

Sturgis, South Dakota

The famous motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Tens of thousands of bikes in one place. We’ve never seen anything like it.

Falling Off Mount RushmoreFalling off Mount Rushmore.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

There really are falls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Nebraska Furniture Mart, OmahaWarren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, has one the world’s largest stores in Omaha, Nebraska. Five blocks of furniture.

Mizzou Stadium - University of Missouri

On the lookout for Tigers at the University of Missouri.

St. Louis Gatway Arch At Night

It turns out that the ‘Gateway to the West’ is ‘Gateway to the East’ if you’re going the opposite direction.

Cheap Gas

Some places still have cheap gas.

Police On Waze

Waze seems to indicate there are more police in Florida than the rest of the USA combined.

Century Tower, University of FloridaLast stop . . . Century Tower, University of Florida.


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Conflict Resolution – How Leaders Create Healthy Culture

Tips for conflict resolution in the workplace. Ways leaders can help create a healthy organizational culture.

We all value great relationships. When we disagree, things don’t feel so great. But conflict is to be expected. It’s a normal part of relationships and organizations. Here are some guidelines that can help us resolve conflict in a constructive way . . . and ultimately create a healthy organizational culture.


  • Keep short accounts: Each time we interact with another person we either make a deposit or a withdrawal from our relational account with them. Deposits come from caring or helping someone. Withdrawals happen when there are betrayals, dishonesty or uncaring actions. Keeping short accounts mean that we are aware of where we stand with others . . . and commit to keeping a positive balance in our relational accounts with them. Further, we agree (mutually, in advance) that when concerns arise, we will share those concerns directly with the other person. This creates a safe place for people to solve problems. It fosters mutual respect and prevents offenses from piling up.
  • Set up systems for ongoing communication: Many times conflict comes from a lack of communication . . . because there is no regular forum to go over things. Set up regular times to meet with your teammates. Discuss future happenings, review current plans and possible challenges. Having a system increases communication and greatly reduces the chances of relational problems.


  • First, go directly to the person in private. Say that you have a concern and ask for their permission to discuss it. Calmly and directly dialog about the issue and how it affects you and the organization. Separate the problem from the person. Review the facts first to ensure you both understand what has happened. Brainstorm solutions and agree on one that works for everybody. It takes courage to have these conversations. However, being direct is what solves most problems. More than anything this is what “keeps the air clear”.
  • If the direct approach fails, it’s time to involve another person. Talk things over with your supervisor or a trusted senior leader. Remember, the organization can’t help you solve a problem if it doesn’t know the problem exists.


  • Don’t approach someone in anger. Give yourself a few hours to calm down and collect your thoughts.
  • Don’t ignore conflict. Trouble only intensifies when it is ignored. Resolve problems on the same day that they happen, if possible.
  • Don’t “triangulate” by asking another person to solve your problem before you try. As mentioned before, go directly to the individual with which you have the challenge. On the flip-side . . . If someone asks you to solve their problem, first ask if they have gone directly to the individual with whom there is a problem. If they have not, send them to that individual before getting involved yourself.
  • Don’t “forum shop”. Avoid bringing your problem to several people hoping one will give you an easy way out.
  • Don’t gossip.
  • Don’t air your concern in social media.
  • Don’t collect offenses. With time, an unresolved conflict becomes a grudge. With still more time, the details of that grudge become forgotten and only the ill will remains. At that point it is very difficult to reconcile a relationship.

GearAs leaders, we are to encourage a culture where people fight for relationship. One of the best ways to encourage relationship among your team is to promote healthy conflict resolution. It’s worth the effort!

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This is a great teaching that I use as part of our staff training:

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College Tips – Advice For University Freshman Year

College tips and advice for university students wanting to make the most of freshman year.

You’re finally ready to attend college. What things should you know to be successful? I lived on campus throughout college and learned a lot about navigating university life. Here are my best college tips and advice:

TeamworkCOLLEGE TIP: COLLEGE SUCCESS IS GUARANTEED: Think about it . . . If you take all the classes specified by the university (and get acceptable grades) you will graduate with a degree! Few things in life come with such a guarantee. Graduating college is simply a matter of knowing what classes you need to take, then laying out a plan that ensures you have them all by the date you want to graduate.

COLLEGE TIP: GOOD GRADES COME FROM GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT: Gather all of your class syllabuses during the first week of each semester. On a calendar write down all the deadline dates for papers, projects and tests. Then “back time” each project (break the project down into 2-3 mini-deadlines). For instance, if a paper is due October 30th make a note on September 30th that it should be half complete. Many freshman make the mistake of not breaking their assignments into manageable chunks. They wait to the last minute, get buried and bomb the class.

COLLEGE TIP: ADDRESS CHALLENGES EARLY: College is loaded with safety nets to help you work through problems. Tutors, counselors, health professionals and peers are all there wanting to help… if you will let them. Many students are too proud to ask for help, wanting to do everything on their own. Many times they wait until a problem has grown into a crisis before seeking assistance. Don’t do this. At the first sign of a problem (academic, social, physical, technical) reach out for help.

COLLEGE TIP: DON’T BATTLE A BAD FIRST SEMESTER: It’s common for freshman to have “a little too much fun” during their first semester. They end up with a critically low GPA. The problem with a poor first year GPA is that it’s remarkably hard to raise it during sophomore and junior years (when grades count for staying in your major). All As and Bs later do little to raise the Cs and Ds of freshman year. Conversely, a solid GPA freshman year is easy to maintain and will give you confidence throughout college.

COLLEGE TIP: SIGN UP FOR THE PROFESSOR, NOT THE CLASS: Find out who the good professors are by checking online and with other students. Take the class when it’s taught be the best professor. This will greatly increase your learning and enjoyment of college.

COLLEGE TIP: ENGAGE YOUR PROFESSORS: Sit towards the front of the class. Make sure your professor knows your name. Go to your professor’s office hours to ask questions, get advice and socialize. Do extra credit assignments. A professor who knows you is more likely be generous when grading. They may also provide some great connections for internships, special programs/events and be willing to be one of your references when looking for your first professional job.

College violin.COLLEGE TIP: COLLEGE SUCCESS IS IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO COLLEGE INVOLVEMENT: There are an overwhelming number of organizations of which to be part, but you only need one or two to make your school your home. You need an ecosystem in which to exist in college. It can be sports team, music program, academic club, fraternity/sorority, student government or religious organization. It doesn’t matter so much what organization you are part of, just so long as you are part of something. Having just a few friends is all we need. Finding those friends is a numbers game. You have to get out there and shake hundreds of hands before you find the right few. Be patient . . . it can take months before you finally find the right social group.

COLLEGE TIP: YOUR FRIENDS DETERMINE YOUR ALTITUDE: Friends either build you up or take you down. Find out where the good people are and make them your friends. Friends who study and make wise choices will encourage you to do the same. Good college friends can be a blessing for a lifetime.

COLLEGE TIP: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EXPERIENCES: The university campus is a smörgåsbord of diverse experiences. There will never be a season in life where you can try new things like you can in college. Read your university news and check bulletin boards for upcoming events. Take in plays at the drama department and concerts in the music department. Go to a political rally. Hear a famous speaker. Participate in a sports tournament. Check out exhibitions in the art depart. Take a class in something outside of your major, just for curiosity’s sake. Personally, I discovered that I like jazz in college . . . and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.

COLLEGE TIP: LIVE ON CAMPUS: If you are able, live in the dorms during your first couple years. There will never be a time when you can live so many people your age and in your situation. Many life-long friendships are made in university residence halls.

COLLEGE TIP: ATTEND LIVE LECTURES FOR ONLINE CLASSES: Some online classes have recorded lectures. Email the professor and find out when they are recorded, then attend the live lecture. The professor will notice and you’ll better understand the material.

phone while studying COLLEGE TIP: MASTER YOUR PHONE, DON’T LET YOUR PHONE MASTER YOU: If phones distract from driving, they also distract from studying. Multitasking is a myth when it comes to studying. Get in a quiet place and have a singular focus. Turn off your phone and you will find your studying gets done much faster and more effectively.

COLLEGE TIP: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS A FACTOR IN COLLEGE LIFE: Many universities were founded on the premise that ideas should compete. University students were presented with a variety of viewpoints and challenged to think critically about them. The best ideas would rise to the top. This is why college professors received tenure . . . to protect them when they spoke a wide variety of ideas in an arena of competitive thought. However, a recent study shows that the majority of university students feel that they cannot explore their views if they are outside a politically correct norm.

Generally speaking, colleges take a more liberal and more politically correct stance than does the rest of the world. Expect this and don’t let it bother you. Continue to listen to all intelligent sides, think critically and evaluate ideas on their individual merit. You will find a more balanced and reasonable world after you graduate.

COLLEGE TIP: UNIVERSITIES THROW THEIR STUDENTS UNDER THE BUS: To most, a university simply looks like a school with teachers and students. In reality it is a complex machine competing for prestige and funding. It can prioritize research over teaching. It can be a battlefield for politically-minded administrators and ambitious faculty. Universities can have obscene levels of income and endowment. Athletics can compromise the school’s integrity. Monopolies in on-campus services can keep prices unfairly high.

In this dynamic environment many times it’s the students who come out on the short end. Are book prices fair? Should parking really cost that much? Why are so many assistants teaching classes of 500? Regrettably, getting thrown under the bus is common during the college experience. Be patient with the nonsense. It’s part of the cost of getting your degree . . . and a microcosm of the real world life that awaits after graduation.

COLLEGE TIP: WORK THE SYSTEM: Attending college means you have to crash classes, negotiate with professors, balance finances, make deadlines and deal with bureaucracy. While it’s a pain, these are valuable skills to learn. You are navigating the world. Part of your college degree says to employers, “This person knows how to make things happen despite adversity.”

COLLEGE TIP: MAKE A PRIORITY OF KEEPING YOUR FAITH: About 80% of students quit going to church between high school and college. Don’t let this season of life rob you of something valuable. When you first arrive at college, make a priority of finding a church with a good campus program. There are usually one or two churches in the area that specialize in reaching students at your school. You can also connect with groups like Cru, Intervarsity, Young Life College and Navigators. Seek out a Christian roommate. Additionally, expect there to be hostility towards religion. Some university professors/administrators are famous for their contempt of faith and for challenging their students’ beliefs. Don’t be intimidated or drawn into an argument. Simply live out your beliefs and gather people around you who share them.

Note that shady churches and cults know to prey on college freshman. Don’t just assume that just because someone is friendly and says they are a Christian means that they are safe. Check out the reputation and theology of any religious organization before joining.

College LonelinessCOLLEGE TIP: DON’T BE SURPRISED BY LONELINESS: You are going through a major shift in your life. There will be times when you feel lonely. It’s normal and it will pass.

COLLEGE TIP: CREDIT CARDS CAN BE A TRAP: Credit card companies actively market to college students. You will see their booths with giveaways and brochures offering easy acceptance. Credit companies know first time customers generally don’t read the fine print, check terms and ask tough questions. They know that students will keep their cards for years into the future… potentially giving the companies favorable terms for decades. Be extremely critical of credit cards offered on campus.

It’s better to get recommendations from family and friends . . . then to comparison shop terms on the Internet. College is a time when many people get themselves in financial trouble ($15,762 is the average debt for a household carrying a credit card balance). Approach credit card use with extreme caution. Do not have a credit card unless you can consistently pay it off in full each month. How to avoid college credit card mistakes.

COLLEGE TIP: CALL YOUR PARENTS WHILE WALKING TO CLASS: This is an efficient time to make contact. Call your folks a couple of times a week. You are going through an adjustment by starting college, but so are they (their nest is empty). These calls are a great time to start relating to your parents as an adult. It sets the stage for your relationship in the years ahead.

COLLEGE TIP: WILL SOMEONE MARRY YOUR STUDENT LOAN? Nothing compares to the good feeling of getting into your first choice university. Before you commit, have you considered the total cost of attending . . . particularly if it involves student loans? Loans seem like an easy solution to expensive tuition. However, student debt is now the number one form of indebtedness (well over $1 billion is owed by Americans, with 7 million of them in default). You pay tuition (loan principle) plus annual interest expense over many years (thus multiplying the original tuition cost).

Excessive student loans mean you are more likely to move back in with your parents after college and that you will be forced to take a first job for income (rather than one a lower-paying one for professional experience) thus limiting future professional potential. Getting married, purchasing a home and starting a family may be put off for several critical years. Student debt is the only kind of debt that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Your loans could be carried into a marriage.

Have you considered less costly schools or doing two years at community college before transferring to the big name school? Can you work for tuition dollars rather than borrowing them? What college programs is the military offering? While these options may be less attractive on the front end, graduating with little or no student debt is very attractive on back end.

COLLEGE TIP: HOW TO SURVIVE COLLEGE PARTIES: In high school, there can be a lot of peer pressure whether or not to drink. Everyone pays attention to your choice and it can be a big deal socially. In college it’s different . . . it’s more adult. Most people don’t really care whether you drink. You don’t have to drink to fit in at most college parties. Here’s how to do it:
> Show up early. Everyone will see that you are there. Plan to stay an hour or two.
> Get a cup in your hand. Fill it with water, soda, energy drink or coffee. Socialize. People will notice that you have a cup in your hand, you’re talking with everyone and that you aren’t hung up on what’s in their hand. If asked about what you’re drinking, simply say something like, “I’m just doing soda tonight.” No one will care.
> Leave the party midway . . . before the drunk stuff gets out of hand. If asked why you are leaving, simply say you have to be at work in the morning (or that you are working on a project, or have to be up early, etc.) People will be glad you came and they won’t care that you left early.

Many students are exposed to alcohol for the first time during college. Some know nothing about alcoholic drinks, which can be a personal safety problem. While I don’t suggest you drink in college, here are some tips that will help if you do:
>Always attend a party with a friend. You travel to- and from- the party with that person. Keep an eye on each other and do not allow the other to leave the party with someone else or do stuff you’ll regret.
> Eat before and during the party. Food evens out alcohol absorption.
> Always open a sealed drink yourself. Don’t allow others to get you any kind of drink (even water or a soda). This way you know that nothing has been added to your drink.
> Never drink the punch (there’s a reasonable chance someone has added too much alcohol to it.)
> Understand the differences in alcohol and how it is served. One drink is considered to be 1 ounce of hard liquor (a shot of vodka, rum, tequila, etc.), 4 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. Obviously it’s easier to control your night if you choose beer instead of shots.
> Alcohol dehydrates. Consume one glass of water between every drink you have.
> Generally speaking, one drink every two hours will keep most people below the drunk driving limit. This varies by state laws, body weight and the true alcohol content of the drinks consumed.
>Don’t leave the main party area. Going upstairs or out back means just what you think it means.
> Judgment/common sense decreases with each drink. Others know this and may try to take advantage of you if you’ve had several drinks. Upperclassmen consider drunk freshman easy prey.
> Commit to never driving if you have had any alcohol. Get home by campus transit, Uber, walking, public transit or with a designated driver. Use the university’s walking campus escort program. This is a great way to guard against regret.
> Alcohol intensifies the effect of medicine. Don’t take any medications (even over-the-counter) if you have been drinking.
> Some people have more addictive personalities than others. If alcoholism or other addictions run in your family, don’t awaken them in yourself during college.

COLLEGE TIP: DATE RAPE IS MORE PREVALENT THAN MOST THINK: Not to be too much of a downer here, but you are going into the real world. As mentioned above, upperclassman see freshman as naive and as easy prey. You may not hear too much about date rape because it’s under-reported, but it does happen. Students get assaulted when they either drink too much or are unknowingly slipped date rape drugs. While fear of drug-facilitated sexual assault shouldn’t keep you from going out, you owe it to yourself to be educated. Click here for specific information. Click here for one person’s first-hand account.

COLLEGE TIP: BE GRATEFUL: While college is a lot of work, it is a very special season of life. It’s a time when you are investing only in yourself. It is a four year deferment from full adult responsibilities. Colleges provide adult experiences with a safety net. Not everyone gets to experience college life. Be grateful that you can.

John Maxwell likes to say, “Make good decisions early and maintain them.” Think through the things above before you get to school. Make good decisions in advance about your college experience, then simply live up to them each day.

I am so glad that you value education and are going to college. I hope that it will be a positive and life changing experience for you.

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:





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3 Reasons Why It’s Going To Be Okay

How do we know it’s going to be okay when we live in a world where security is elusive and the future is unclear? There are good things in our lives that conspire to make things work out. In this guest post, my daughter Alexandra Cizek shares these things. She presented them during her commencement address to Cascade High School in the Seattle area (video at end of post).


Look at us. Look to the person on your right… and on your left. Look where we are! Look at us in our gowns.

It’s all over:

> The sleepless nights of studying for tests.

> The anxiety of sitting in Verver’s class hoping desperately that he doesn’t call on you.

> The multiple notifications you get of “So and so posted in the Cascade HS Class of 2k16” page on Facebook.

We successfully completed our high school experience. When you look back on it, are you happy with it? Do you like what you did and who you became? Or do you wish things could have been different? Are you glad you decided to join that club where you met your best friend? Do you wish you would have gone to that one basketball game or have asked that one person to that dance? Do you regret the words you said…. or maybe the words you left unspoken?

No matter what, it is okay… because it’s in our past. There’s nothing you can do to change high school but to move forward and look ahead. We can learn from our mistakes and do things differently. Our past does not define us.

Starting tonight we will be in a special season of life where we get to start fresh. We get a clean slate. The “title” we were stereotyped by in high school is now gone. The decision we made that some defined us by has vanished. We can be whoever we want to be.

Remember when we were 4 and we wanted to be a rock star, police officer, or astronaut? Or maybe even a rockin’ police officer in space! Well now is the time we can make our dreams a reality. Okay maybe not all of us will become the next Hannah Montana or go to the moon, but we get to be whoever we want to be.

I clearly remember the night before freshman year. I was sitting downstairs on my couch with my family balling my eyes out because of how terrified I was of going to school the next day. Little private school, friendless Alexandra had to take on the big, scary, public high school. That means she would have to walk past the scary seniors, look up to all the juniors, try to be like the sophomores, and attempt to talk to the freshman. It was so scary!

The next day my brother walked me to my first class. The whole time we were walking people kept saying hi to him and it felt like he knew everybody. I was freaking out. I knew nobody. I was thinking “How does he know so many people? This will never be me.” Then we got to my class and it was time for him to go. I so desperately did not want him to leave me. But the time came… and he left… and I walked into my first class. To make a long story short, everything was okay. I met people that turned into friends… and some of them will be lifelong friends. I got involved and made some great memories.

You know, starting high school and starting adult life kind of feel the same way. We are young adults going into a big scary world, not knowing exactly what we want or what we are going to do. It’s scary now, but it will turn out okay. Here are 3 reasons why.


Number one… the future works out because of our character. Things don’t just turn out great on their own; it takes effort on our part. For example, we need to have the character trait of getting outside of out comfort zone. The best things happen when you put yourself out beyond what’s familiar. I’ve met some of the most important people in my life by simply saying hello. I’ve made my most meaningful memories just by signing up for something.
Stepping outside of our comfort zone doesn’t have to be something as drastic as running for student body president of your university or living on your own. It can be doing something as simple as leaving your dorm room door open so people can come in and say hi. Even better is to be the person that walks into someone else’s room and says hi. It can be as simple as deciding to join a rec sports team or community organization. No matter what you decide to do, reaching out and stepping outside of your comfort zone will make a difference in bigger ways than you can ever imagine.


How else do we know that things are going to be okay? Number two… Because failure isn’t final. We may get a job and get fired. We may declare a major only to find out it totally sucks. We may realize that we have to move back home after living on our own. It’s okay.
Failure isn’t final because of this simple principle: “Where we are at today is a result of the decisions we made yesterday. Where we will be tomorrow depends on the decisions we make today.” This is powerful. “Where we are at today is a result of the decisions we made yesterday. Where we will be tomorrow depends on the decisions we make today.” If things are messed up for us today, all we have to do is make different choices and we’ll change the course of our tomorrow. Things are going to be okay.


Finally, the third reason… Circumstances change, high school friends don’t. Just ask anyone who’s been to a class reunion! Our circumstance will never be the same after tonight. Everything we have known our whole lives is about to change. That is definitely an overwhelming feeling, feeling like this is the “end all be all”… but that’s not the case. Yes our circumstance is changing; we might not be sleeping in our own bed anymore or be involved in the same things we’ve always been involved in, but that doesn’t mean the people around us have to drastically change too.

Keep the friendships you’ve built, make an effort to stay in each other’s lives. But don’t let that hold you back from making new friends and putting yourself out there. I think that we will find that as time goes on we will talk less and less, but we will be able to pick right back up where we left off. It would be so easy to live in a somber post-high school land of sadness and to limit our future selves. But honestly, we’ve had our time to enjoy it. Now it’s time to say goodbye to the amazing chapter of life we’ve just experienced, and to say hello to the exciting new one waiting for us right around the corner.
Imagine this: your future best friend may be sitting in a graduation ceremony right now… just like you… and you don’t even know them yet. The many incredible memories you’re going to look back on and remember for the rest of your life are yet to be made. How exciting is that?

So wrapping it all up… Our season at Cascade has been filled with ups and downs. There have been many smiles but also many tears. We have made great memories that we will never forget, but also some that we wish we could forget. This will be a time in our lives that we will always remember and that we always hold close to the heart. But don’t be sad that it’s over, smile because it happened.

There is so much more just on our horizon. This isn’t the end of a story, simply the start of a new chapter. Of course we are filled with sadness as we’ve had our last pep assemblies, football games and food drives. Just as classroom lights slowly flicker to darkness, we realize that our high school experience has now come to an end.
But remember… you have your hand on the light switch… because while it is an end, it is also a new beginning.

Shakespeare once said, “The past is prologue.” Our whole lives, everything we’ve ever known, has been setting us up for this moment; these past 18 years have been the prologue to our story. We are now equipped to go out into the real world and leave our mark and be who we want to be.

Take advantage of this moment. Step outside of your comfort zone… try new things and fail… and hold onto your friendships while also creating new ones. This is it, Bruins. It has been an incredible journey, Class of 2016. Now go out… make the most of life… because it’s going to be okay.

It’s Going To Be Okay – Graduation Speech by Alexandra Cizek


Graduation Speech: You Are Not That Special



Commencement Speech: Russell Wilson



Commencement Address: Steve Jobs

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:



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Spending Money Wisely – The Most Powerful Question We Can Ask

Spending money wisely. Why where we shop is as important as what we buy.

Have you ever considered all the power you have when you spend money? When it comes to spending money wisely, there’s power not just in what you spend your money on, but where you spend it. This is true both a leader’s personal and professional lives.

Most of the time we think it’s wise to get the best item at the lowest price. While that is the main consideration, it’s not the only one. Who we do business with makes a difference.


Perhaps you’ve heard it said “vote for the world you want to live in” when choosing political candidates. Similarly, we can leverage our economic power if we ask, “Am I shopping in a way that creates the world I want to live in?

Some people take this to a crazy extreme. No, we don’t need to see the family tree of an organic chicken we’re about to buy. But at the other extreme, most of us don’t think at all about the power of our money. We miss the opportunity to improve the world around us. Here are a few examples of how we can have influence with little or no additional cost:

LOCAL VERSUS CHAIN STORES: Our staff has a favorite teriyaki restaurant. There are a lot of nearby chain places for a quick lunch. We go to them sometimes. But most of the time we go for local teriyaki. . . not just for the good food, but because there’s a family behind it. They work very hard. They are part of our community. We’re going to spend our lunch money somewhere. . . why not help the industrious family next door? Our regular business helps provide the steady customer base the restaurant needs to thrive. We have similar power to help simply by buying at the local sporting goods store that sponsors our kids’ leagues. . .  and helping area growers by buying at the farmers’ market. It takes very little effort to choose local over chain. Just our presence at local stores means something significant.

NON-PROFIT VERSUS COMMERCIAL: For years our family kept money with one of the big banks. They had locations all over. That was convenient. But we started hearing about the bank’s questionable business practices. We realized that by keeping our money in that nation-wide bank, we were “voting with our dollars”. In a small way, we were enabling the bank’s arrogance and bad business practices. So we closed our accounts and moved them to a local credit union. Credit unions have a simple business plan of using local money to lend to local businesses/people. It turns out that we haven’t missed a beat with our banking. We feel great about credit union business practices and are pleased to support them with our deposits. Other opportunities to do business with cooperatives/non-profits include hospitals and fitness facilities (YMCA, community parks/golf courses).



COMPANIES THAT HELP: Most of us are familiar with TOMS Shoes (buy a pair, give a pair) or with fair trade producers like CuraCoffee (profits used to provide dentistry in coffee farming communities). Buying from companies like these may cost a little more. However, you know that your money is going to do good. This is a nice alternative to some large corporations. Big stores sell for less, but may lack transparency and quietly support agendas with which we may disagree.

It’s not just retailers that help. One of the most interesting business models I know is called the church extension fund. The only thing these non-profit organizations do is raise funds to build churches. They do it by offering to pay regular people (investors) interest on savings accounts. That money is then lent to growing churches, that repay at an interest rate a few points higher. The couple of interest points earned covers the extension funds’ operating costs and allows them to accumulate more money to loan churches. It’s a simple and effective use of money as a tool. Church Development Fund and The Solomon Foundation are great examples.

Along those same lines is another great money tool. . . the microloan. The way it works is that non-profit microfinance organizations accept money from people, then make loans to small businesses in developing countries. This access to capital improves the lives of families and the health of entire towns. Because the money is repaid, it can be loaned out again to help more people. Kiva and VisionFund are two examples.


Asking “Am I shopping in a way that creates the world I want to live in?” doesn’t just apply to our personal finances. As leaders, we can also think that way for our organization. Our church kept its mortgage with Church Development Fund (the church extension fund mentioned above) for years. In part, this was because we knew our church’s mortgage payments were ultimately being used to help grow more churches. Our church does business with several local companies for the benefits of relationship and supporting our area community.

Each of us votes with our feet and with our dollars. Making a difference isn’t complicated. It can be as simple redirecting the dollars we’re already spending.

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:


A brief history of microloans:


TED Talk – The Kiva Story told by founder Jessica Jackley:


The CuraCoffee Story (podcast):



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Top Leadership Quotes From The reThink Leadership & Orange Conferences

Top leadership quotes from the #RL16 reThink Leadership and #OC16 Orange Conferences.

Orange Blog Rob CizekEach year 8,000 family ministry leaders gather in Atlanta for the national Orange Conference. Another 500 senior pastors meet at the same time for reThink Leadership. They connect with each other and the latest thinking in church leadership. Here are the top quotes, taken from sessions at both 2016 conferences:



OC16_Insta2Monday is coming and everyone will be watching. (Will Sunday church experience help people with their week?) – @JonAcuff

Jesus was Jesus all week long, not just on Sunday. – @JonAcuff

We don’t have a Sunday savior, we have an everyday Immanuel. – @JonAcuff

On Sunday grace is expected, on Monday it is a surprise. – @JonAcuff

Do you have a circle of friends that you will text things to that you would never (broadly) tweet about? – @JonAcuff

The enemy wants us to get caught up in discussions about what counts and doesn’t count. – @JonAcuff

Jon Acuff reThink Leadership Sketchnote

Double click to see large version of sketchnotes.

Even ‘Friends’ had to end. – @JonAcuff

Ask, “How do we get to more for them on Monday?” (Instead of “How we get more of them on Sunday?”) – @JonAcuff

The NFL realized they couldn’t just exist on Sunday and reach its full potential. – @JonAcuff

We can’t just teach them what to believe on Sunday… we’ve got to challenge them to serve on Monday. – @DougFields

What if we changed our emphasis from ‘eternal life when you die’… to ‘Kingdom life while we are alive?’ – @DougFields

doug fields sketchnoteWhat a kid does affects what a kid believes. @ReggieJoiner via @DougFields

When you engage non-Christian teenagers into service, you ignite something in them. – @DougFields

What if we called our students ‘ministers’ rather than ‘graduates’? – @DougFields

What if we changed our language and painted a verbal picture of what could be? – @DougFields

What if we encouraged kids to see their sports team as a mission field (rather than shaming them for missing church)? – @DougFields

We count people because we’re too lazy to figure out something more effective. Attendance numbers are like crack to an addict. – @DougFields

What if we changed the yard stick from sitting to serving. (Measure service, not attendance.) – @DougFields

We can just teach them to attend on Sunday, but to serve on Monday. – @DougFields

A hurt child has never run into the house and cried for dad. Dads don’t care. Funny from – @DougFields

frank bealer sketchnoteWhat if it’s not something wrong with them (our boss) giving us support? What if we improved the way we lead up? – Frank Bealer

Lead up better by being: ready, brief, smart/prepared, passionate and flexible.  – Frank Bealer

Your boss expects you to be the expert. That’s why you were hired. – Frank Bealer

Know the questions and objections you may encounter before you go into a meeting. – Frank Bealer

Passion can be refreshing… or overwhelming. – Frank Bealer


Lead up better by being: ready, brief, smart/prepared, passionate and flexible.  – Frank Bealer

What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? – Ryan Leak

Criticism can make you bitter… or criticism can make you better. – Ryan Leak

Don’t make the mistake of thinking one person’s opinion is everyone’s opinion. – Ryan Leak

Criticism is important to your growth as a leader. – Ryan Leak

Have someone in your life that can help you determine if criticism valid. – Ryan Leak

Mute some people in your life. Who/what do you need to turn down in you life? Turn up? – Ryan Leak

virginia ward sketchnoteWe can live our lives as great big ‘thank you’ notes to God. – @VAwardWOW

If you could distill the main message of most sermons it would be: “Try harder.” – @VAwardWOW

We have to press through the awakardness to get to the real. – @VAwardWOW

Young people are walking in a more diverse environment at school than they are at church. – @VAwardWOW

Jesus is bigger than any mistake. Make this your mantra. – @KpowellFYI

How we are are loved will always impact how you live. How you live will never change how you are loved. – @KPowellFYI

beach ballsYoung people today are running towards, not away, from a Gospel that requires difficult things. – @KPowellFYI

If I don’t see me (someone of my ethnic background) on the stage, the event is not for me. – TD Jakes via @ReggieJoiner

We should number our days. We should pay attention to the time we are given. – @pwilson

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. – @pwilson

There are worse things than failure. – @pwilson

Push yourself beyond the “OK Plateau.” Without challenges and failures we won’t grow. – @pwilson

pete wilson sketchnoteRegret stings more than failure. – @pwilson

Expect difficulties. – @pwilson

Just because you are obedient to God doesn’t mean you won’t have difficulties. – @pwilson

The bigger the dream the bigger the fight. – @pwilson

The bigger fights are the inner fights (within yourself). – @pwilson

Both courage and fear are contagious. – @pwilson

God has plan for your life. But so does everyone else. – @pwilson

At some point you have to decide what voice you are going to listen to. – @pwilson

orange wrapAct on belief instead of doubt. – @pwilson

Don’t be so focused on the gift that you miss the giver. – @pwilson

Make sure that you want more of God, not what God might give you. – @pwilson

You’re God. I’m not. – @pwilson

I can even when you can’t. – God via @pwilson

We can cast a shadow with our leadership that doesn’t allow others to grow. – @ReggieJoiner

You are leading something. It’s responsibility to lead it well. – @ReggieJoiner

Do you have big ambition for yourself or desire for the success of the people on your team? – @ReggieJoiner

Who do you serve? Answer this question to best know how to lead. – @ReggieJoiner

reggie pointingLove is an action word, not a felling. – @CABachelder

Listen carefully. Learn continually. – @CABachelder

Encouragement is a success factor that is right up there with skill set. – @CABachelder

Redirect people to better performance. – @CABachelder

You don’t forget to ask for a pay raise for yourself. Do you forget to ask for raises for those you lead? – @CABachelder

It’s a competitive advantage to put others first. – @CABachelder

What we count communicates what counts to us. – Tom Shefchunas

Attendance doesn’t tell us if people are actually growing. – Tom Shefchunas

Instead of focusing on attendance, focus on active role… those who are active in ministry. – Tom Shefchunas

How does a child/student get on- or off- your roll? At what point do they cross from ‘not our problem’ to our stewardship?  – Tom Shefchunas

You should let statistics bother you.. so long as they lead you to the ‘who’. – Tom Shefchunas

jim mellado sketchnoteWhat is our existing (workplace) culture? What do we want it to be? – @JimMellado

We want everyone to behave like they want to be here. – @JimMellado

We all say we’re 100% for each other. We don’t behave that way. – @JimMellado

Be really careful with the ‘Reply All’ button. – @JimMellado

Let others in (to your life, your plans.) – @JimMellado

Are you willing to risk your reputation on the performance of your team members? – @JimMellado



Treat people the way you want to be treated‘ and ‘Fear not‘ pretty much covers it all. – @AndyStanley

The church didn’t save me from hell. It saved me from me. – @AndyStanley

The church saved my life. (It prevents a lot of pain in people’s lives.) – @AndyStanley

The church informed my conscious and instilled a sense of purpose. (This is what we give the people we lead.) – @AndyStanley

andy stanley sketch noteYou were created for a purpose… on purpose. – @AndyStanley

Church provided the context for life long friendships. Without the church I wouldn’t have my best friends. – @AndyStanley

Don’t attend a church that teaches your children to hate church. – @AndyStanley

How is it that people with less stuff have more joy? – @AndyStanley

We are acceptance magnets. We gravitate towards acceptance. – @AndyStanley

Rich people aren’t generous. Generous people are generous. – @AndyStanley

Following Jesus will make your life better and make you better at life. – @AndyStanley

serious talkThe message of Christianity is the message culture wants to hang on. (It provides the unpinnings of society.) – @AndyStanley

All of the values of society are Christian. Jesus let them loose in the world. The Church is the steward of this teaching. – @AndyStanley

The role government is not to inspire but to protect us from the worst things. – @AndyStanley

Public education has become a value-free zone. – @AndyStanley

The one thing that can change everything in six months is ‘Love you neighbor as yourself.’  – @AndyStanley

Every weekend you show up (to church) you are saving people through the preventative nature of the Gospel. – @AndyStanley

We are stewards of how people perceive the local church and how they perceive faith. – @AndyStanley

Outside of your family, the greatest investment you will make is in the local church. – @AndyStanley

jon acuff yanni shirt audienceEveryone who has accomplished nothing has a video course. – Funny from @JonAcuff

We have enough ideas in the world. We need handles to carry them forward. – @JonAcuf

A lot of humor is admitting to what everyone already thinks and building on it. – @JonAcuff

Satire takes a small issue and makes it big enough for us all to see it. – @JonAcuf

The most important thing you can bring to any team is a healthy you. – @JimMellado

Hell is not just a destination. It can be a diagnosis of where your soul is today. – @JimMellado

A rotten soul never stays to itself. – @JimMellado

reading thinkingDo people want to be around you because of the quality of your soul? – @JimMellado

Your spirit is what makes you uniquely you. – @JimMellado

Our body is like a little kingdom that God has given us. It’s the part of the world that we can actually master. – @JimMellado

Habits eat willpower for breakfast. – @JohnOrtberg via @JimMellado

Life and leadership alone (by ourselves) are impossible. – @JimMellado

Before you work on your team skills, work on your soul. – @JimMellado

When you share a fresh idea, craft is being able to build on it. (There can be more than one punch line in a good story.) – @JonAcuff

selfie funNo suprises. No leader wants to be surprised. – @HeatherJLarson

Influence matters far more than position. – @HeatherJLarson

Never tell God ‘you’re never going to‘ anything. (He will show you otherwise…) – @JeffHenderson

Nobody wants to work with a ‘yes’ person.  – @HeatherJLarson

Be true to who God has created you to be. – @HeatherJLarson

We are better together than one person on their own. – @HeatherJLarson

Lead well. Love well. (her daily mantra)  – @HeatherJLarson

Leadership is not touch football. It’s tackle football. – @BillHybles via @HeatherJLarson

The very best leader I can be is the one God created me to be. (My style is different than others style). – @HeatherJLarso

paintingWhy do we work? Why do we lead? If you ask people, most can’t say. – @CABachelder

Where are you taking the people who are entrusted to your care? – @CABachelder

How do you think about the people you lead? – @CABachelder

How do I measure my leadership? – @CABachelder

Choose to lead people to a daring destination. – @CABachelder

Choose to love the people we lead. – @CABachelder

Deliver results. (No one will listen to you if you don’t perform.) – @CABachelder

media computerIf you dare and you serve, you will create the conditions where people can perform their best. – @CABachelder

Expect trials. Your convictions come from trials, not successes. – @CABachelder

Declare that talking badly about your team is not allowed. – @CABachelder

High trust is a brand distinctive. It’s our secret sauce. – @CABachelder

Trust is a competitive advantage. – @CABachelder

Look for people who share your values and ask them to come along side. – @CABachelder

Trust is the foundation of everything. – @CABachelder

Investing into an economic downturn results in market share (because everyone else flees). – @CABachelder

Alignment is a powerful thing. – @CABachelder

Pete WilsonYour church culture is either helping your people or working against them. – @pwilson

If you don’t define your church culture it will get hijacked.  – @pwilson

Healthy church culture leads to making better hires. – @pwilson

All of your dysfunction as a leader will trickle down through the organization. – @pwilson

Create a staff value to combat a dysfunction in your leadership.  – @pwilson

Staff values need to be sticky. Make them memorable by adding icons. Make them visible in every staff environment (values leak). – @pwilson

Regret stinks more than failure. – @pwilson

Inside every leader there is belief and doubt. Which do you choose to act on? – @pwilso

Learn how to be a healthy leader now… not on the backside of burnout. – @pwilson

unspecifiedClimate dictates the forecast. (True of weather and relationships.) – @JeffHenderson

The climate of a leader dictates the forecast for the team. The leader sets the thermostat in the room. – @JeffHenderson

What is your emotional climate as a leader? – @JeffHenderson

The climate of the leader stays in the room (even after they leave.) – @JeffHenderson

If you lead out of fear you are abusing the leadership role. – @JeffHenderson

God has never spoken audibly to me. God speaks louder than that. – @JeffHenderson

A leader who leads out of fear is leading out of insecurity. – @JeffHenderson

What’s it like to be on the other side of me? Ask a staff member, spouse & God this week. The answers will encourage, surprise and hurt. – @JeffHenderso

lobbyEarly on I was the leaders I wanted to be. But the load of leadership can decay us. – @BradLomenick

Sometimes as leaders, what’s being seen publicly is not what’s going on privately. – @BradLomenick

As a leader, how are you really? Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically? – @cnieuwhof

Leaders take care of yourself. Your church can always get a new pastor. Your spouse shouldn’t have to get a new partner. – @cnieuwhof

God’s going to build his church, but you’ll forfeit your role in it if you burn out. – @cnieuwhof

breakout crowdThe goal of leadership is not to survive, but to thrive (to be more alive in Christ with each passing year.) – @cnieuwhof

Ministry is a series of un-grieved losses. (Deal with this – it’s unhealthy) – @cnieuwhof

Faced with significant disappointments, leaders often embrace 1 of 4 options: quit, morally fail, stay too long or thrive. – @cnieuwhof

See life for what it really is, but keep your heart fully engaged. – @cnieuwhof

Are you living in a way today that will let you thrive tomorrow? – @cnieuwhof



monday coming acuffLeaders watch what you say. Off hand advice can grow over time to become practices and rules. – @JonAcuff

You don’t have to work at getting misaligned. It happens naturally over time. – @ReggieJoiner

You can’t get your team on the same page if you’re never in the same room together. – @ReggieJoiner

To develop strategy ask: 1. What do we want someone to become? 2. What is the optimal environment for their life change? – @ReggieJoiner

It’s not your vision that determines your success. It’s your strategy. – @ReggieJoiner

A strategy is a plan of action with an end in mind. – @ReggieJoiner

leading worshipYou have enough vision. You have a strategy crisis – @cnieuwhof

Most leaders can cast vision but few have a clear strategy. – @cnieuwhof

Strategy initially divides. but ultimately unites, every congregation. – @cnieuwhof

Strategy is bigger than vision & ultimately determines where you end up. – @cnieuwhof

Mission & vision determine intention, but strategy determines direction. – @AndyStanley via @cnieuwof

What’s your strategy? What are you doing about it? – @cnieuwhof

stage with ballsOrganizational change will move from the center out. – @LeonceCrump

Vision is taught. Culture is felt. – @LeonceCrump

Every person wants consistency in their leaders more than anything. – @LeonceCrum

Do you know who you are and consistently communicate that? – @LeonceCrump

Ignore the wrong people and invite the right people. – @LeonceCrump

Strategy forces you to acknowledge limitations. – @JonAcuff

In God’s Kingdom, one or two are as important as one- or two- hundred. – @BradLomenick

lighter appThe people closest to me were getting the worst of me. (A warning sign for leaders). – @BradLomenick

Who we are: Identity, Calling & Assignment. Most of us get calling and identity confused. – @BradLomenick

Hand-off as much as possible. Everyone should think, “How can I replace myself.” – @BradLomenick

Your best expression of your leadership is what happens when you leave. – @BradLomenick

Model handing off or responsibility. – @BradLomenick

teachingLeadership going forward is not about position. It is about coaching… creating a culture where the highest level of achievement can take place. – @BradLomenick

Midlife crisis… when people figure out their calling at age 40 and can’t do anything about it. – @BradLomenick

You’ll attract rock stars if they feel they will be empowered on your team. – @BradLomenick

Right or wrong… The reality is A-list players today see a job as a season of assignment on the way to greatness. – @BradLomenick

Balance, rhythm, margin & spiritual discipline allow me to be healthy. – @BradLomenick

Build platforms that other people can stand on. – @BradLomenick

exterior buildingA warning to leaders: Once you taste a little influence it is intoxicating. (Counter by building into others.) – @BradLomenick

Almost nobody will tell you the truth if you pay them. Find people who will tell you the truth. – @BradLomenick

The best way to find a new gig is to kick yourself out of the the gig you just crusted. Keep moving up & to the right. – @BradLomenick

As leaders, the reason we have jobs is because of uncertainty. – @AndyStanley via @BradLomenick

The best way to succeed: “Long obedience in the same direction.” – @EugenePeterson via @BradLomenick

The best way to find a new gig is to kick yourself out of the gig you just crushed. Keep moving up & to the right. – @BradLomenick

planning worksheetThe new generation wants transparency in leadership, collaboration, mission, authenticity & messiness their church – @GeoffSurratt

Communicate the ‘why’ behind the need. – @JoshGagnon

Have seasons where you DON’T run 100MPH… so that you have seasons where you CAN run 100MPH. – @JoshGagnon

While Jesus is changing hearts around you, make sure He’s working on yours as well. – @KevinMyersPK

badgeSmoke what you are selling & sell what you’re smoking. If we’re selling Jesus we out to be smoking Jesus. – @KevinMyersPK

What’s my current word form the Lord? What is God whispering? – @KevinMyersPK

You think too small & you pray too small. God’s recent message to @KevinMyersPK

The more casual I become with obedience, the more professional I become in ministry. – @KevinMyersPK

What do you do when nobody is looking? – @KevinMyersPK

There can be sacrifice without obedience. But rarely is there obedience without sacrifice. – @12Stone pastor via @KevinMyersPK

paintingLeadership is like parenting… First you say it, then you say it again, and again… and again… – @KevinMyersPK

Leaders build better lives. (Better parents, better business leaders, etc.) – @KevinMyersPK

Every leader knows when they are pulling chips off the table to protect themselves. – @KevinMyersPK

A great way to learn is from individual conversations with the right people. – @KevinMyersPK

Staff members should have contacts at churches larger than ours & contacts with experience 3-5 years out from the season we are going through. – @KevinMyersPK

lead small cupsMake sure that what’s on the wall (mission) is in your words and actions. – @KevinMyersPK

(In leadership) what’s in you comes out. – @KevinMyersPK

The next generation needs everything the current generation has to offer. (Invest in internships). – @KevinMyersPK

Choosing empathy is cheap. Losing empathy (relationship) is expensive. – @JonAcuff

seatsWhat people want is empathy. They ask, “Do you see me?” “Do you create things to meet my needs?” – @JonAcuff

Read less minds. Ask more questions. – @JonAcuff

If you ever see a pacifier by itself, pray for the parent. Funny from @JonAcuff

Care about what the people you care about care about. – @JonAcuff

Empathy is understanding what someone needs needs and acting on it. – @JonAcuff

The church is calibrated for a world that doesn’t exist. – Fuller friend of @KPowellFYI

writing on wallEmerging adults (late 20s) are delaying marriage and children by 5 years. We have to rethink our ministry because of this gap. @KPowellFYI

76% of LGBTQ people would return to the faith community. They need Informed, respectful conversations. @KPowellFYI

Churches cater to extroverts. One third of the population are introverts. As such churches miss reaching 1/3 of people. – @KPowellFYI

I long for the church to be known more for what we’re for than what we’re against.- @KPowellFYI

You cannot help the person you’re not around. – Kellen Moore

People visit (church) on Sunday and live on Monday. (Help them make it through through the week.) – @JonAcuff

reggie joiner sketchnoteYou naturally feel the pressure that Sunday is coming. Thinking of Monday changes how you think about Sunday. – @ReggieJoiner

You have to imagine someone’s Monday (life) before you can re-imagine what happens on Sunday (church). – @ReggieJoiner

You can have a great vision. But if you don’t have a strategy you won’t win. – @ReggieJoiner

The truth matters when love matters. – @ReggieJoiner

Sometimes what you say doesn’t matter, even if it is true. – @ReggieJoiner

You can’t really speak the truth in love if you don’t know who you are speaking to. – @ReggieJoiner

textingIt’s easier to speak truth than it is to love somebody. – @ReggieJoiner

It’s easier to fight for the truth than it is to fight for the heart. – @ReggieJoiner

It’s not your job to fix someone. It’s you’re job to love them. – @ReggieJoiner

Empathy: The ability to press pause on your own thoughts & feelings long enough to consider someone else’s thoughts and feelings. – @ReggieJoiner

Empathy doesn’t change the truth. It enhances the truth. – @ReggieJoiner

Click here for more information on the Orange Conference. Click here for more information on reThink Leadership.

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:





Top 10 Leadership Quotes From #Outcomes16 – CLA Conference 2016

Here are the top leadership quotes from Outcomes 2016 – this year’s Christian Leadership Alliance national conference (from the #Outcomes16 Twitter feed):


#10. People don’t resist change… they resist being changed. – @CLALeader

#9. Could it be that you can’t learn because you won’t UNlearn something? – @CLALeader

#8. 40 is a significant number throughout Scripture. Where is God leading your ministry in the next 40 years? – @CLALeader

#7. A lot of us are waiting on God, yet God is waiting on us. It’s time to move! – @drtonyevans

#6. If we don’t step out and obey we may miss our life’s work. – @TimElmore

#5. If the penalty for disclosure is the same as getting caught, your people will hide from you. – Bruce McNicol

#4. Every organization is telling a story. What story are you telling? – @CLALeader

#3. If you’re not building in to younger leaders you are cheating your legacy. – @UYWILarry

#2. Are you more focused on virtues that show up on your resume, or those that will be celebrated in your eulogy? – @peterkgreer

#1. No one gets better, stronger or faster alone.” – @UYWILarry



Leaders must wait to hear from God before doing the work of God. – @ConniePadmore

We want to be following Jesus because there are people following us. – @ConniePadmore

Sometimes belief come before you pray, and sometimes it comes because you pray. – @ConniePradmore

God didn’t give the church a mission; God is using the church to accomplish HIS mission. – @ohfamily

Legacy is what you leave behind in the life of others. – @UYWILarry

I am calling you all out to jack yourself up and deal with your stuff so that we can finish well. – @UYWILarry

What determines the winner of 4×100 is the exchange. What would it look like if we smoothed out the exchange of leadership? – @CLALeader

If you’re not making disciples, you’re missing the assignment. – @UYWILarry

Does your competence for God mask itself for communion with God? – @TimElmore

Eschatology shouldn’t drive inertia.” – @drtonyevans

Stories make us lean in. Stories activate more of the brain than facts & figures. – Elizabeth West

What you do today, in obedience to God, will determine the extent He will empower you for future success. – @CLALeader

Change doesn’t happen because of more money. Change happens because of what happens in the heart. – @peterkgreer

When you are full of Grace you will do more than any job description. – @TimElmore

Your job enables you to be a consumer. But it is your work that enables you to contribute to something beyond you. – @TimElmore

Time & time again, God uses ordinary people for His extraordinary purpose. – @DougNuenke

People go to the web to solve a problem or answer a question. What questions are you answering? – @CLALeader

We are Christ’s ambassadors. – @RichStearns

Technology should follow corporate strategy – @CLALeader

God has called us not to build an institution, but create a revolution. – @RichStearns

God’s love does not change – on good days and bad days! – @ohfamily
We don’t ‘engage culture’, we are already in the culture. How do we shine light while we’re here? – @greg_thornbury
What is the best way to do mission? Don’t fall in love with what you do now. – @TimElmore

Leading well today means inviting chaos. – @TimElmore

Lord, help us to keep our eye on the hole, and not the drill bit. – @TimElmore

If I were to build a church, I would have desks, not pews. – @greg_thornbury

Click here for more information on the Christian Leadership Alliance annual Outcomes Conference.

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Leadership Apps – Top Tools To Make You More Effective

Leadership apps (iPhone, iPad and Android) for organizing, time management, communicating and increasing productivity.

You’ve got a great phone in your pocket and a wonderful tablet in your bag. Ever wonder if you are getting the most out of them? Wayne Cordova calls himself “Geek Pastor” because he loves to help leaders find technology that helps them lead. Wayne recently shared his best leadership apps on Carey Nieuwhof’s podcast. Here’s an executive summary of Wayne’s best apps for leaders:


OneNote: A work space that allows you to capture what’s important, move ideas and stay on task.

Wunderlist: An easy organizational tool to help you get things done faster.

Things / Cultured Code: A task manager for easy organization.

Dropbox: Allows for easy sharing and access to files of all sizes.

Jotnot: Scan PDFs from documents, receipts, faxes, expenses and whiteboards. Great for financial organization and planning.

Overcast: A powerful, yet simple podcast player app for iPhone & iPad.

Gmail: A very basic, user-friendly email system that can be customized to meet your organization’s needs.

Airmail: An organizational e-mail app.

Instagram: A photo and video-sharing app that allows you to apply filters to capture the look and feel of a moment.



Dispatch: Helps you tame your inbox by letting you delete, defer, delegate, generate actions and even respond to your mails with ease.

Text Expander: Save time and keystrokes with customized shortcuts.

Phrase Express: Saves keystrokes by expanding text abbreviations into full text snippets.

If This Then That / IFTTT: an automation tool to create useful chains of simple conditional statements, called “recipes”

Work Flow: Connects apps and actions together to automate things you do on your device.

Keyboard Maestro: Automate almost any repetitive task you do with an Apple device.

Launch Bar: An adaptive app launcher and document browser that allows you to access applications, documents, bookmarks by typing short abbreviations.

Hazel: Helps clean up your files by automatically organizing (Mac).



Google Apps: Suite of apps for email, cloud storage, collaboration tools and more.

Google Docs: Cloud-based documents to create, edit, and collaborate wherever you are.

Google Sheets: Cloud-based spreadsheets.

Google Forms: Collect and organize information, easily create surveys and sign-ups.

Google Drive: Cloud-based file storage that allows for easy sharing and access to files of all sizes.

Google Chrome: Fast, simple, powerful and secure web browser available on any device.

YouTube: Video-sharing site, great for finding tutorials on the tools above.

PicPlayPost: Amazingly simple graphic design software.

Word Swag: Text over pic editor, cool fonts, typography generator, creative quotes ($3.99).


leadership productivity appsCOLLABORATIVE APPS

Slack: Team communication tool for messaging and file sharing, fully searchable on all your devices. Michael Hyatt on how to best use Slack.

Trello: A visual way to organize anything with anyone.

Skype: Video and audio conferencing with messaging and recording.

Zoom: Cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, and cross platform group chat.

Google Hangouts: Group communication with instant messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP.

Basecamp: Web-based project management and collaboration tool.

Todoist: Best online task management app and to-do list.



10 Great Apps Every Leader Needs

25 Smartphone Apps Every Leaders Should Know About

Best 15 iPhone Apps For Busy Leaders

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Top 10 Leadership Quotes From Catalyst West 2016

Catalyst West leadership quotes from the 2016 conference.

Each spring, a few thousand young leaders gather in Southern California to learn leadership at the Catalyst West Conference. Here are the top leadership quotes from the 2016 training, as seen in the #CatalystWest Twitter feed:


#10. How can we claim to be closest to the creator of the universe and be furthest away from the creative act? – @erwinmcmanus

#9. People need a compelling reason to come to church because they have a compelling reason not to. – @donaldmiller

#8. People will not let go until they know where you want them to go. – @AndyStanley

#7. It’s not about being still & FEELING He is God, it’s about being still & KNOWING He is God. – @louiegiglio

#6. Insecure people talk about themselves. Confident people talk about others. – @donaldmiller

#5. When people are pressuring you to take a stand, they are usually pressuring you to take their stand. – @andystanley

#4. The difference between noise & music is rules. – @donaldmiller

#3. You can’t see new opportunities looking back at old regret. – @ChrisHogan360

#2. Deliver bad news early, it gives you more chance to fix it. – GuyKawasaki

#1. You’ll learn more from people you don’t understand than people you agree with already. – @AndyStanley


CatalystYour greatest contribution in life may may not be something you do but rather someone you’re raising. – @AndyStanley

Be a STUDENT, not a CRITIC… Always seek to understand – @AndyStanley

If you’re a critic before you’re a student – you will learn nothing. – @AndyStanley

Disturb the status quo. Wonder is as threatening and disruptive as it is inspiring. – @AndyStanley

There is no progress without imagination. – @AndyStanley

It is human nature to resist what we don’t understand or can’t control. – @AndyStanley

When wonder is awakened, we are suddenly aware that what is isn’t all that is. – @AndyStanley

People do not buy the best products and services; they buy what they can understand the quickest. – @donaldmiller

We must understand the internal frustrations of the people we are trying to lead. – @donaldmiller

If you don’t clearly and confidently ask people to do something, they won’t do it. – @donaldmiller

Stories are formulaic – the brain is drawn to clarity. – @donaldmiller

If your website doesn’t have a call to action you will lose your traffic. – @donaldmiller

If you are relying on guilt or tradition to build your church, you won’t. – @donaldmiller

We were designed to create the future. What do you think our choices do? – @erwinmcmanus

The whole movement of Jesus is built on dreamers and visionaries. – @erwinmcmanus

We live in the past, we’re trapped in the present, but we’re made for the future. – @erwinmcmanus

Humans materialize the invisible – no other species can do this. – @erwinmcmanus

Humans were created with the highest intention, but we have the ability to live unintentional lives. – @erwinmcmanus

On branding: “If you don’t clearly and confidently ask people to do something, they won’t.” – @donaldmiller

There is a temptation in every leader when they are insecure is to talk about themselves. – @donaldmiller

Your brain spends 30% of its time daydreaming. – @donaldmiller

The people who communicate clearly are chosen as leaders. – @donaldmiller

We live in a culture that’s so addicted to the big and spectacular, that we can miss God in small things. – @djstrickland

Empower people to take actions, treat them as adults. Assume good until proven bad. – @GuyKawasaki

Let it go. Everytime you grab on to old hurt, we do new harm. – @ChrisHogan360

No matter where you are and what you are walking through, God can. – @ChrisHogan360

Someone, somewhere is waiting on you to become what God has called you to be.- @ChrisHogan360

It’s hard to be hateful when you’re grateful. – @ChrisHogan360

It’s important to know what are eyes are on. If our eyes are on problems, then we will have problems. – @ChrisHogan360

Am I good enough? God said “Yes.” God is in the business of using ordinary people to do incredible things. – @ChrisHogan360

We have to look at problems, but we have to see the opportunities. – @ChrisHogan360

Jesus is sending us out into a dangerous community, not to make a point but to make a difference. – @AndyStanley

There are questions you should never answer—not because you don’t have an answer, but because of who is asking. – @AndyStanley

Never be too proud to beg for God’s help for yourself, for your children, for your church. – @chadcveach

When we have an experience with God, it changes us and people can see it. – @shelenebryan

Sometimes negative experiences deplete us and rob us of the joy of the mission God has set before us.- @shelenebryan

When was the last time you did something for the first time? – Seth Godin via @shelenebryan

It’s okay to not be okay. – @triplee

We use music to express our pain and frustration. – @TripLee

Somewhere someone is waiting on you to become what God called you to be. – @chrishogan

Our story begins in Genesis 1 not Genesis 3. We are made good. – @djstrickland

Do you see the bigness of God in the smallness of He’s imprinted in our lives? – @djstrickland

We live in a culture that’s so addicted to the big and spectacular, that we can miss God in small things. – @djstrickland

Eaters believe if others eat more, we eat less. Bakers know we can always make more. Be a baker. – @GuyKawasaki

The key to enchanting your boss (wife) is to drop everything else. – @GuyKawasaki

Great enchanters are great presenters. – @GuyKawasaki

Be sure to enchant all the influencers. – @GuyKawasaki

If you want to be enchanting, be elegant. – @GuyKawasaki

I pray that the sufficiency of God will wipe away our insufficiencies.- @louiegiglio

Never dumb down the truth, and never turn down the grace – @AndyStanley

It’s not enough to do good in the community you must be seen doing good in the community. – @andystanley Matthew5

Distinguishing between theology and ministry liberates ministry without compromising theology – @AndyStanley

Do NOT lean heavily on systems to minister to individuals. Ministry happens best face-to-face. – @AndyStanley

Some questions should never be answered if they undermine your influence. – @AndyStanley

There are questions you should never answer—not because you don’t have an answer, but because of who is asking. – @AndyStanley

If we want to awaken culture to the wonder of the church, we need to love our enemies. – @andystanley

Think twice before answering a question that has the potential to burn a bridge or close a door. – @AndyStanley

Your story in ministry started because your heart was broken for a group of people. – @AndyStanley

“Always” + “Everybody” = Rigid Ministry System that will break down under the pressure of the real world. – @AndyStanley

Distinguishing between theology & ministry liberates ministry without comprising theology. – @AndyStanley

Jesus never allowed His perfect theology to get in the way of ministry. – @andystanley

Ministry is how we treat people based on what we believe. – @AndyStanley

If you do not distinguish the difference between ministry and theology you lose at both. – @AndyStanley

Sin always makes a promise it can’t keep and always produces a consequence that lasts a long time. – @AndyStanley

The church should like the people who look nothing like the church. – @AndyStanley

The grace/truth tension requires that we present the ideal while embracing the real. – @AndyStanley

Jesus was full of truth and grace. He never dumbed down the truth and he never turned down the grace. – @AndyStanley

Jesus was gloriously inconsistent because he was full of grace & truth. – @AndyStanley

Jesus is not the balance of grace and truth, he fully embodied both grace and truth. – @AndyStanley

Put other people ahead of yourself because that’s what your Heavenly Father did for you. – @AndyStanley

Cesar Augustus became a footnote in the story of Jesus of Nazareth, we now have a place in His story – @AndyStanley

Never give up influence unnecessarily… don’t make a point at the expense of making a difference. – @AndyStanley

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:



How to Know and Coach Staff

10 tips on how to coach staff members.

You’re responsible to lead your staff. But how can you do that if you really don’t know them? A great leader is going to be a coach for his/her team members. Begin staff coaching relationships by using these great tips from Executive Coach Dr. Nathan Baxter:

START WITH THEIR STORY: Put a big piece of paper on the wall. Ask your team member to share their story with you. Go decade by decade through their life. Ask them the positive and negative things that impacted them in each decade, then capture the responses on the paper. Ask questions to draw them out. This will help you better understand how they view life and work. If they want, flip the paper over and walk them through your story in a similar way.

DREAMS: When you coach staff in the workplace, ask them about their dreams and aspirations. “If you could do anything, what would it be?” Of course you may not be able to make it happen on a job. But given time you may be able to help them on their journey towards that dream.

DISCOVER HOW THEY WANT TO BE HELPED: Ask, “What is your preferred style of coaching?” Some people want an informal, conversational style of coaching. This might happen over coffee or a meal. Others want formal coaching. They like to have a business setting, an agenda and written action points. Adjust your coaching style to meet the person’s expectations. It’s not about how you want to coach them, it’s about how they want to be coached.

DETERMINE THEIR RECEPTIVENESS: Openness to coaching varies by individual. If someone is really ready, they may want to meet once a week. At the other extreme, some may only want to meet once a year for their annual performance review.

FIND OUT HOW THEY ARE HARDWIRED: When you coach staff in the workplace, tests like DISC, Taylor-Johnson and the Birkman will help you (and your team member) understand their gifts and personality.

ASSESS LEADERSHIP SKILLS: How is your staff member at basic leadership skills such as conflict resolution, planning, and communication? Where there are weaknesses among your team members you can teach about them during staff meetings.

ASSESS SPIRITUAL MATURITY: How strong is this person in their faith and walk with God? Knowing where they have room to grow allows you to help.

coach staffASK PEOPLE TO MOVE TOWARDS THEIR FULL POTENTIAL: Assure them that you will help them do so if they will commit to being their best.

TAKE NOTES: When your meeting is over, take a few minutes to write down what your team member is saying or not saying. OneNote is a great place to keep track of meeting notes.

PREPARE BY REVIEWING YOUR NOTES: Use the five minutes prior to your coaching meeting to review your notes and pray for the meeting ahead. Pay attention to where God is developing them.

Remember that coaching your team both takes time and saves time. It takes time on the front end to do the coaching. It saves time because your guidance leads to fewer mistakes and less time spent resolving problems.

Dr. Baxter shared these tips at the annual conference. He shares great leadership wisdom on his blog: Lead Self and Lead Others.

Thank you for reading Rob Cizek – Practical Leadership. If you would like to know when new posts are available, simply enter your email address below:



How to Coach Your Staff in 6 Steps

Tips for Employee Mentoring and Coaching

7 Steps for Coaching Your Employees

6 Coaching Strategies You Can Use in the Workplace


Top 10 Leadership Quotes – Do Over by Jon Acuff

Top leadership quotes from the book Do Over by Jon Cuff.

Orange Blog Rob CizekORANGE BLOG WEEK NOTE: I met Jon Acuff through The Orange Conference. Each year thousands of senior pastors, youth leaders and children’s ministers gather in Atlanta to hear great speakers like Jon.  The conference is about information, inspiration, connection and fun. Sign up this week by clicking here . . . and I will see you there.

Seth Godin calls it the best career book ever written. I call it one of the top 10 most useful books ever.

Do Over by Jon Acuff offers wise advice for navigating life and the workplace. If you dream of a better job, this book will help you get there. I recommend it for those about to graduate and anyone who works. Jon’s timeless wisdom and wonderful sense of humor make this a book to be both kept and shared.

Below are the top quotes from Do Over.


#10. Relationships get you the first gig, skills get you the second.

#9. Learning a new skill can reveal a new dream.

#8. Employees who add value end up being invaluable.

#7. The words “easy” and “adventure” very rarely travel together.

#6. Difficult moments clear the herd.

5. I can’t predict the future, but I can change the present.

#4. Skills get sharp slowly and dull quickly.

#3. Generosity breeds loyalty.

#2. Great lives are very rarely created in great comfort.

#1. People who can’t be questioned often end up doing questionable things.



Leadership Quotes from Do Over by Jon AcuffYour character and what you did with it will determine more than anything else in your life.

Busyness is not the same thing as hustle.

The distance between comfortable and comatose is surprisingly short.

As a culture we collectively bought into the lie that work has to be miserable.

We live for the weekends because we’ve accepted that the weekdays are where dreams go to die.

We are (incorrectly) taught to work jobs, not build careers.

Fear is not a dragon to be slain once, it is an ocean to be swum daily.

A better job begins with building a better you.

Misery loves company, but company often multiplies your misery.

Careers are only difficult because they are constantly changing and we are not.

Don’t listen to feelings. Make choices.

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and your drift in that direction. – Warren Buffett

We can’t help but use our imaginations in a negative way when we start with a negative question.

There are a million ways to get stuck in a career, but every version shares one thing: a suspension of creativity.

We like foes for one simple reason: they confirm the fears we have inside.

Sometimes, people who hate on your dream aren’t really mad about your dream. They’re mad because you’re making them jealous.

Do you know what every bad boss is really saying? “I dare you to get a better job!” Take them up on the dare.

If we ever investigated the lives of anyone successful we’d realize they never accomplished what they have all alone.

Want your friendships to grow a little stronger? Increase the frequency of your interactions.

It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they are really just talking to themselves in the past. – Steve Garguilo

Great people surround themselves with greater people who challenge and stretch them.

It is seldom that one parts on good terms, because if one were on good terms one would not part. – Marcel Proust

Your industry is smaller than you think. Treat everyone you work with (or for) like you will work with them again someday.

Leave jobs with one finger raised high: your thumb.

Few things draw real friends like a crisis.

Easy times don’t test the strength of a relationship any more then calm seas test the strength of a boat.

Everybody wants to be somebody: nobody wants to grow. – Van Goethe

Future results are enjoyable to talk about. Present efforts are not.

There are plenty of important skills hidden inside our fears. Great passions usually come with great fears.

Most ideas are elusive. They don’t walk into our heads and announce themselves; we have to capture them.

Show up on time. It is the basis of everything. – Anthony Bourdain

When you have a bad attitude it flavors every part of your performance.

We, not our company, are responsible for our attitudes.

Attitude is a skill. It can be changed.

Leadership Quotes from Do Over by Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff at The Orange Conference.

If you want a better job, start with a better attitude. If you want a new job, start with a new attitude.

Get obsessed about the quality of your work, not the quality of your title.

Passion is often found in the crucible of work. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty before you can know what your passion is.

Learning something new always leads somewhere new.

We work best when as much of what we are doing can be delegated to the unconscious mind as possible. – Heidi Grant

The world is moving quickly, but so can we. Put some skills on autopilot and some skills on fighter pilot.

The father of every good work is discontent, and it’s mother is diligence. – Lajos Kassak

I can’t tell you if in 10 years I will have written five more books. But I can tell you that this year I will write one.

A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world’s torrent. – Von Goethe

Everything is personal, especially work. The more we believe it’s just business, the easier it gets to do some fairly dastardly things.

Character traits are contagious. Character goes viral.

The future is purchased by the present. – Dr. Samuel Johnson

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Old saying

We tend to remember the knives in our back easier than the pats on our back.

The weeds we see in others are often the weeds we’ve been ignoring in our own lives.

Service is renewing. When we serve, the work itself will sustain us. – Rachel Remen

Grit is stubbornness in the face of fear.

More character leads to more friends.

Generosity is always cheaper then greed.

There are a few things in the world that will change someone’s opinion of you as quickly as your generosity.

Your willingness to be open handed with people in the course of your career will pay you dividends for years and years and years.

When you hope to do business with someone again, leave a little on the table. – Roy Williams

Make your definition of generosity bigger by being generous with your skills and time, not just your money.

It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others. – John Holmes

Empathy = Understanding someone else’s needs and acting on them.

In the context of career, empathy opens a thousand doors because it allows you to work with just about anyone.

Care about what the people you care about care about.

If you really work to get ahead, there are three things you need to manage – your phone, your computer and your meetings.

The Internet is only going to get bigger and more interesting with more things to do that don’t move us forward in our careers.

Music is in the piano only when it is played. – Jack Gilbert

The best thing to give a foe is distance. We should ignore most foes.

Making sure you enjoy work isn’t your company’s job. It’s your job.

You need character the most when you decide to chase a dream.

Grit is a choice, not a feeling.

The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. – Stephen Pressfield

The only thing more exhausting than chasing a dream is running away from one.

Instead of saying, “I don’t have what it takes,” say, “I have what it takes to try.”

The fear of missing out is one of the deadliest lies we listen to.

The picture of having your entire life changed in the course of one unexpected, outrageous experience sure beats actually working hard.

Leadership Quotes from Do Over by Jon Acuff.

Jon Acuff

Be aware of the temptation to apply the once–in–a–lifetime label to every opportunity you face.

Regret has a much longer shelf life then fear. Will you face the fear of today or the regret of forever?

Lean on your relationships. Some of the worst decisions are made alone.

Every bad decision I’ve ever made has one thing in common: I thought it was a good decision at the time.

Give yourself permission to make the wrong decision, because guess what? You’re going to.

Fear and frustration are coming. They are a consequence of actually doing something meaningful with your career.

In order to do more of what you are capable of you will have to do less of what you have been doing.

Life is dreamed in big leaps and revealed in small steps.

You’ve got a one hundred percent success rate of failing if you don’t try.

We love to idealize our past when our present doesn’t meet our expectations.

Postponing fun is a bad plan.

Fun for fun’s sake is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from getting stuck.

Business travel is only fun if you’ve never done it.

Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other. – Mary Richards

The sad truth about decisions: not making one is often the biggest decision you can make.

The beauty of hustle is that it helps you turn a small opportunity into a slightly bigger opportunity.

If we want our jobs to change, we have to change first.

Reinventing your work isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle.



Read a preview of Do Over

Do Over Jon Acuff Review

Why Everyone Needs A Do Over (Huffington Post)


Do Over book preview from Jon Acuff.


Do Over message by Jon Acuff (from Crosspoint Church).


Do Over keynote address from Jon Acuff.


Tweekend keynote speech by Jon Acuff.




Best Church Leadership Resources – Podcasts, Books, Conferences, Blogs

A list of the best church leadership resource, including podcasts, books, conferences and blogs.

People often ask about the best resources to help them lead. Below are some of my personal favorites.


BlogDan Reiland – Developing Church Leaders: Dan is one of the wisest leaders I know. He has gained that wisdom from years working in the trenches with John Maxwell and Kevin Myers. He knows how to run churches well and desires to share that information to help others. He does so at:

Xpastor: Xpastor is a website aimed at executive & senior pastors. When the executive pastor position was just coming on the scene, David Fletcher started the website. He used it define the position and help churches identify good executive pastors (“XPs”). Since that time David has collected helpful church leadership articles from some of the best pastors out there:

CHURCHLEADERS: Great compilation of blog posts from church leaders:

Brian Dodd On Leadership: Brian’s heart just oozes leadership. He finds management wisdom in everything he sees. He shares great insights and resources at:

Tony Morgan Live: Thoughtful and useful articles on church management:

Executive Pastor Online: Kevin Stone shares practical church leadership information:

Harvard Business Review: Truly excellent insights on people, teams and running organizations:

Smart SenseAbilities: Kate Nasser’s thoughtful advice:

Dan Black on Leadership: Pithy and practical:



PodcastThe Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast: Carey is a large church pastor with a passion for leadership and to develop others. He does so with positive energy and an approachable style. Carey gathers some of the best church leadership minds for his weekly podcast:

The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast: Outstanding ministry advice from one of the most influential church leaders of our time:

The Unseminary Podcast: Rich Birch covers a broad range of church leadership topics in a helpful way:

The Catalyst Ministry Podcast: The latest thinking coming from the influential folks at Catalyst:



Orange ConferenceThe Orange Conference and Orange Tour: Excellent resource senior pastors, children’s pastors, student pastors and family pastors. Few conferences can equal the consistent quality of content and presentation:

The Catalyst Conference and Catalyst One Day: Some of the biggest name speakers and a great focus on the future. Get the conference videos and share them with your staff:

The Global Leadership Summit: Willow Creek’s excellent annual leadership training. Again, be sure to get the conference videos:

The Outcomes Conference: The Christian Leadership Alliance’s yearly conference for equipping church leaders:

XPastor Conference: David Fletcher’s wonderful resource for executive pastors and senior pastors:

Sticky Teams Conference: Larry Osborne and North Coast Training offer some of the most practical and effective advice I’ve seen:

Exponential Conference: Great resource for church planters:

Drive Conference: Offered by Andy Stanley’s North Point Church every few years. Focuses on applicable advice for church leaders:

DiscipleShift 1: For church leaders who want to make discipleship (spiritual growth) a priority. Unique conference taught in small groups:



Axiom by Bill Hybels
Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne
Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley
Simple Church by Thom Rainer
The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren
7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley
Church Unique by Will Mancini
Winning With People by John Maxwell
Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby
Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Building Below The Waterline by Gordon MacDonald
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
Soul Keeping by John Ortberg
Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro
Contagious Generosity by Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard
Second in Command by Dutch Sheets and Christ Jackson
Leading from the Second Chair by Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson
Church Is a Team Sport by Jim Putman
Think Orange by Reggie Joiner
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
Platform by Michael Hyatt
Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Thinking for a Change by John Maxwell
Leadership Divided by Ron Carucci
Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

BooksNote that this is not an exhaustive list. There are many other great resources out there. Feel free to share your favorites with me!

I will update this list as I find additional excellent resources.





3 Simple Staff Development Ideas For Your Team

Staff and team development ideas.

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is to keep your eye on the horizon . . . to think further out than your team. This means you’re always watching for the latest developments in the broader church and in leadership. You can then bring that information back to your team so that everyone stays current.

Here are a few simple staff development ideas:

BOOKS: Choose a leadership book that will help your team grow from where it is to where it wants to be. Buy everyone a copy and spend some time in each staff meeting discussing it.

VIDEOS: There are a lot of great conference presentations, TED talks and YouTube leadership videos out there (some examples are listed below). Videos can bring a lot of ideas to your staff quickly . . . and they don’t require any advance preparation on the part of your team.

CONFERENCES: Keep an eye on local and national conferences. Taking key staff members will both educate and motivate.

TeamworkSMALL GROUPS: If you really want to develop your staff, here’s something a little more challenging . . . start a small group with your team members. This is what Jesus did. He poured into his 12 disciples by living his life with them. He revealed who He was and modeled what needed to be done.

This is something I’ve done personally for the last two years. I intentionally invited our department heads to meet with me each week at my house. We not only discuss business, but our lives. We brainstorm solutions and encourage each other. It’s a great way to pass on our collective wisdom.

After meeting for awhile, I am now encouraging our department heads to start groups with their teams. There’s no reason the transparency and authentic relationships we enjoy can’t trickle down throughout our organization.

So there you have it. Develop your entire team with books, videos and conferences. And if you really want to see a select portion of them grow, do what Jesus did . . . lead a small group for them.


TED Talks
RSA Animate
Willow Creek Leadership Summit Videos
Catalyst Conference Videos
Andy Stanley Leadership Videos 



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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.


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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.


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