Church Revitalization – Becoming A Community Center

The story of church revitalization at Northwest Church . . . how it became a community center with a church.

Most of us want our churches to go boldly into our communities. If that’s you, check out the incredible story of Northwest Church in the Seattle area.

Northwest is a 90+ year old church. It’s original location was zoned residential, so it could never grow. Decade after decade it would try, but the city would simply not allow Northwest to expand. In recent years it all came to a head . . . Northwest wanted church revitalization. Something had to happen.

Church leaders focused on prayer. They put out a fleece. They asked Jesus to clearly speak by August of that year if they were to relocate. If nothing happened, the church would continue to do its best in its historic location.

What happened next is incredible. Through an unlikely series of events, Northwest was able to sell its existing property and simultaneously buy a much larger one. It happened one week before the August deadline. The all-cash deal even allowed for enough money to fully revitalize the new building without incurring debt. The church stepped out in faith and God showed He is faithful.


Northwest’s story doesn’t end with real estate. It wanted not only revitalization of its building, but revitalization of its mission. God was directing Northwest to serve its new community. The church met its new neighbors and surveyed the needs of the neighborhood. They found a nearby senior living center, so they brought Christmas gifts to each resident. They heard that local police and firefighters needed a place to train, so Northwest opened the new building to them.

Dental clinic housed at Northwest Church

Dental clinic housed at Northwest Church

The community had many uninsured people in need of dental care, so it provided space to Puget Sound Christian Clinic. There is now a first class place for people to get quality dental care regardless of their financial status. Northwest designed its 45,000 square foot building to be a community center that happens to house a church.

Six days a week the building is Community Life Center. It’s alive with civic programs and services. On Sunday the building is Northwest Church. It’s an inspiring story of a church that thinks differently. It’s vision, faith and leadership that can be seen lived out every day.

Roll up doors welcome the community.

Church revitalization – roll up doors that welcome the community.

Church revitalization - a fountain welcomes the community and doubles as a place for baptisms.

Church revitalization – a lobby fountain and doubles as a place for baptisms.

The church auditorium doubles as a community basketball court and large meeting space.

Church revitalization – A auditorium that doubles as a community basketball court and large meeting space.




Click below to receive an email update whenever there’s a new post on Practical Leadership:



Top 10 Leadership Quotes From Catalyst One Day 2014

Leadership quotes from the Catalyst One Day conference 2014.

Catalyst One Day is a leadership training event. Each year Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel make several tour stops around the country. Here are the top 10 leadership quotes from this year’s Seattle tour stop:

#10. We give up some things we love for some things we love more. – @CraigGroeschel

#9. What you care about determines what you can be trusted with. – @CraigGroeschel

#8. You’re greatest contribution may not be what you do but someone you raise.  – @AndyStanley

#7. Never say “Our people don’t.” Say “We have not led our people to.” – @CraigGroeschel

#6. Wise time management doesn’t mean you do more, but you do more of what matters most.  – @CraigGroeschel

#5. The difference between the values you embrace & the life you live equals the frustration you experience.  – @CraigGroeschel

#4. General ideas do not move people to specific action. Specific communication results in specific action. – @CraigGroeschel

#3. If you like your organization’s culture, hire from within. If you don’t like your culture, hire from the outside. – @CraigGroeschel

#2. If you delegate tasks you build followers. If you delegate authority you build leaders. – @CraigGroeschel

#1. People would rather follow a leader who is always real rather than always right. – @CraigGroeschel


One of our top goals is to lead our staff and volunteers to think like owners rather than employees. – @CraigGroeschel

The result of poor time management is well-intentioned leaders who constantly allow the urgent to overwhelm the important. – @CraigGroeschel

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

The days are long. The years are short. – Sandra Stanley

Create a family that wants to be together even when it doesn’t have to be together.  – @AndyStanley

Prioritize your marriage on your calendar (not just in your heart). – @AndyStanley

I will never sacrifice my family on the alter of the church.  – @CraigGroeschel

You have one life to make a difference in this world. (Use your time wisely.) – @CraigGroeschel

The younger generation does not respond to cool. They respond to people who care. – @CraigGroeschel

Click here for more information on Catalyst One Day conferences. Click here for information about the annual Catalyst multi-day conferences in Atlanta, Dallas and Southern California.

Orange Tour Notes 2014

Orange Tour Notes 2014 – summaries from various sessions.

Orange 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 2015. 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.


Speaker: Jon Acuff @JonAcuff

YES feels like a small word, but there is no such thing as a small YES to our big God. YES is a comma, it starts adventures. There is no period after YES

Things are always changing in ministry, you have to say YES to change, YES to bravery…

Not the movie version of bravery; the real stuff. Bravery feels like wanting to cry, wanting to throw up, not sleeping. Revival of fear is not failure. You have to be brave in the hard moments.

God, what you’ve given me is what I need to say YES to. God is not surprised or disappointed by the size of your ministry.

Sometimes it’s hard to find funny things to write about, and other times a woman sitting next to me brings a tambourine to church. At some point during the morning she thought, “This church is missing tambourine and I’m the person to bring it.: 🙂

You said YES to community. We care about kids, were not alone in that. You came to this space and said YES to community.

You said YES to the future. You believe that this child matters; you pour into them even if you don’t know if it’s sticking. People like YOU, love a child before they love themselves. You believe in them before they believe in themselves.

You said YES to being present, YES to being with kids, YES to all the things that you do, but ultimately YES to the next generation. THANK YOU for saying YES to Students, YES to children, YES to the next generation.


Speaker: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner

When you say YES to the next generation, you say YES to drama.

You can KNOW God
You can become a Christian in a MOMENT
The BIBLE is all true
TRUST leads to stronger faith
You should ENJOY going to church
Your BELIEFS matter
God has an IDEAL
GOD is good

It’s possible that how we handle those truths, it will affect the next generation. We have to think about how we hand off those truths to them.

It wasn’t because what we told kids wasn’t true, because it is… or that we didn’t teach them the gospel, because we did. What we do can give kids a concept of God that is bigger or smaller. If we’re not careful we can cause a child to have a shallow faith.

Sometimes in our zeal to fight for what is true, we don’t fight for the tensions that actually connect those truths to what is real.

When we take the tension out, we remove the energy, the influence, the power we’re supposed to have as leaders. Does mercy water down justice or vice-verse? No, it highlights it. The lack of tension diminishes the truth. Somehow along the way truth can loose it’s potency.

Sometimes a truth can lose clarity when it’s divorced from the reality of the other truths that amplify it.

Tension doesn’t make a truth less true, it makes it more real.

If you don’t say yes to the tension, kids will start thinking God is a lot smaller than he really is.

YES you can KNOW God AND YES God is a MYSTERY. Decide that God is bigger than your perspective.

YES you can become a Christian in a MOMENT… and YES it will take FOREVER to figure out what that means. At the end of the day, this is hard, it’s not a quick fix. God is bigger than your experience.

YES the BIBLE is all true… and YES everything true about LIFE is not in the Bible.

YES TRUST leads to stronger faith… and YES DOUBT can lead to stronger faith. If you don’t let your kids process their own doubt, they’ll never own their own faith. At the end of the day don’t worry if you’re kids express doubt, be worried if they don’t.

YES you should enjoy going to CHURCH… and YES you can enjoy living in the WORLD. I think God made the quarterback and God made the country singer. Don’t make things of the world the enemy. God is so much bigger than just your church.

YES your BELIEFS matter… and YES PEOPLE matter more. Take your cues from Jesus.

YES God has an IDEAL… and YES God uses BROKEN people. It’s not about us, it’s about God and what God can do through us.

YES GOD is good… and YES YOU should do good. At the end of the day, you are the best way that kids will learn how to do good. God is in YOU doing what you can’t do without Him. We don’t have an excuse not to do good in the world around us.

If you don’t say YES to the tension, kids could grow up to become “that” Christian.

Don’t be irresponsible.
Don’t get stuck.
Don’t be a jerk.
Don’t be weird.
Don’t be threatened.
Don’t be an idiot.
Don’t be shallow.
Don’t be arrogant.


Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian ChurchORANGE TOUR: SESSION TWO – SAY ‘YES’ TO CHANGE

Speaker: Carey Nieuwhof @cnieuwhof

Say YES to changing how you think about change. Anytime you hear the word change, you have an emotional reaction. As a leader, you think change is awesome, but to everyone else it’s awful.

We want to do everything we can to impact the next generation. Sometimes you have to sacrifice what is for the sake of what could be.

The greatest enemy to your future success is your current success.

Are you defeating what could end up being your transformation?

If you are really going to say YES to the next generation, you have to change your approach to change.


Speaker: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner

When you say YES to the next generation, you say YES to messy.

As ministry leaders, you’re saving lives simply because you are doing life with them.

Say YES to the tension that exists between what is true and what is real if you want to have influence in the next generation.

We have to be intentional if we want to keep the momentum. You need to fight to get the tension that you need in your ministry.

Say YES to the tension that exists between what is core and what is dynamic if you want momentum in your ministry. It’s all connected to the great commission Jesus gave us. You will not be successful as a church simply because you have a mission. You will be successful because you have a strategy. You are driven by a mission but you succeed because of a strategy.

You are called to Pastor but you are required to lead. You should invest in insiders but you should prioritize for outsiders. You have to intentional about seeking out those on the outside.

What happens at church matters but what happens at home matters more. Effective ministries attract a crowd but effective ministries lead to community. Are you so wired to attract a crowd that you don’t know how to do community? Do you understand the power of a circle and the power of community?

You will never be able to out-produce what the culture produces. You can’t compete with that. But they can’t out-community you. They can’t create a safe place for a kid to show up and have a dialogue with someone who knows their name and knows them.

Teachers expand how you think but Coaches empower what you do. As long as you only teach in your church, your ministry will be limited to you. But when you coach and
empower leaders to take on a role in ministry, something fundamentally changes.
It’s just as important for you to lean into adults as it is for you to teach kids on a platform. You need to influence those who influence kids and teenagers (adults & parents).

The scope of your influence is determined by the success of your leaders. If you can help the small group leader and the parent, then you win. You all win. If you want every small group leader (SGL) and parent to win every week, then you have to coach them every week.

Think about how you can become a coach in the lives of the parents and SGL. Parents and SGL’s don’t need more content they need better cues.

Somewhere along the way, you need to think about there are not a lot of good things that happen monthly, they happen weekly. You can’t build relationships monthly. You can’t date monthly, it doesn’t work. You can’t disciple someone monthly.

3 Questions Coaches should answer every week to empower SGLs and parents:
What do they need to know?
Why do they need to know it?
When do they need to know it?

Less is more, it’s a matter of timing and relevance. It matters when it matters, it doesn’t matter if it’s true.

What if you take 2 hours of your week and you invest in parents and SGLs every week. Your mission is not to influence the next generation, it’s to influence those that influence the next generation. We have opportunity today because of social media to connect with parents and kids in ways we’ve never connected before. You have the ability with a couple hours a week to make some incredible investments in parents and small group leaders. You have to shift from being a teacher to being a coach.

If you want your ministry to grow you should surround yourself with voices that value what is dynamic as much as they value what is core. Surround yourself by people who are passionate enough to keep you on mission, but also willing to fight for tension.

When it comes to coaching, don’t just coach adult SGL and parents to do ministry, coach your teenagers to do ministry. Make sure there is a space and a place for teens. When they serve, they experience something they can’t experience any other way. You can tell a teen that they’re significant, but until you give them something significant to do, they won’t fully get it.

Check out the Lead Small app (free) to help you coach parents and small group leaders. (Note: this looks very promising. A great tool for small group leaders.)


Orange Tour - Reggie JoinerORANGE TOUR – SESSION THREE

Speaker: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner

No one leaves the church because someone said the Bible isn’t true. It’s about the people and the way they are treated or not treated.

Blog to read: Jessica Misener. She started questioning and hit a wall in church, so she walked away from Christianity as a whole. There is something there we can discover about how we need to talk to people.

Don’t say what you believe in such a way that it forces those who can’t agree with you to feel like they have to reject who Jesus said He was. We have literally put our faith and trust in a very real man, Jesus who lived on this earth and died for us.

BIBLE: Your primary calling is not to teach kids the Bible, but to lead them into a growing relationship with Jesus. God showed up. It gave the people a context for who God was.

Shift from Christianity is just a set of rules, doctrine, but is a relationship with God and others.

Say YES to tension that exists between content and context if you want to be relevant in your message.

Truth helps someone believe AND application helps someone win.
All scripture is equally inspired, but it is not equally important.
We have a job to figure out what are the most important pieces to share.
All scripture is not equally applicable for every stage of life. What are the pieces that a preschooler needs to hear? etc.
Look at what Jesus did… he stepped onto the planet so they could see, touch, hear who He is.
There is nothing about the Bible that is irrelevant, but we are the stewards to determine how and when to share it.

Understanding theology helps you teach what is true AND understanding reality helps you translate what is true. Don’t let your theology become more important than the people you are trying to get to know and build relationship with. People matter! You need to know your audience.


Speakers: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner and Kristen Ivy @Kristen_Ivy

The reality is that so many of us work with kids and teens that have a changing reality and it’s different than yours.

Preschoolers are like artists: They blend reality and imagination. Most preschoolers have probably learned more since breakfast than you & I have learned in the last month. They are so smart.

Children are like scientists: They want to learn how things work, but they are concrete thinkers. They are very literal. Where does Jesus sleep in my heart? When they ask why… what they really mean is how? They want to master one idea at a time.

Teenagers are like philosophers: They want to put the pieces together, see how the stories fit together. They discover that things don’t fit together really easily… they come to us with challenging questions.

Paul when he went to the gentile world, knew how to leverage what they knew in terms of a world view.

A well-crafted statement can make truth memorable AND a well-reasoned question can make truth real.

Questions create space. It can be a little scary and intimidating at times, but it’s good.
It lets someone process their faith and personalize it.

Fear that I need to be in control and not let God be in control. God will have influence in their life long after we’re out of their life. Questions allow us to make our faith our own.

Questions: Make it their answer, make faith a journey, and make God bigger than just your understanding

Principles build Understanding AND Stories build hope.

PRINCIPLES:                                             STORIES:
Content                                                        Context
Idea                                                              History
God’s Thoughts                                          God’s Character
How to Live Life                                           How to Love Life
Reason                                                         Empathy
Discern                                                         Imagine
Wisdom                                                        Faith

Better presentations can amplify what matters AND deeper relationships can solidify what matters.

Too many times we neatly tie the bow and wrap up the presentation and we don’t leave a little tension for conversation in small group. Tension can create a SGL win.

What you say matters more when people know they really matter to you.

Fight harder for the church you’re in to give teens an opportunity to serve. Recruit leaders that will work with teens for an extended period of time. Get leaders that will be present in their life for a season in time beyond high school. Kids don’t run away from relationships.

Do we know what happens to kids after they leave our church? (Go to school) Are we building relationships that continue in life-long community?

When you decide your going to have history with them, it gives you a right to have future with them.

I will do for few what I can’t do for many. I will not let the ones I know become unknown to me.

Figure out how to stay engaged with them as the move into new stages of life. The 20-year-olds in your church probably need you as much now as they did when they were 10.

Engage with your small group at least through the first year of college.

What you do is the most important job on the planet. Thank you.


Speaker: Mike Clear

Be careful what you think about when you think about the parents of your few. That mom, dad, grandparent, foster parent, step parent has been with that child for a long time… they have seen more, loved more, hoped more, cried more with that child than you ever will. Regardless of their issues, every parent deep down inside wants to be a better parent.

The reality is they (the parents) have far more influence in the life of that child than you do. They drive that child around, they feed that child, they tuck them in at night. Who is in the better position to have far more influence on that child?

Let’s say YOU are an exceptional small group leader and you meet every possible week that you have and you make the most of it and you go beyond that and follow your few up through elementary school and you keep in touch with them through the years and maybe even get an invite to their wedding one day. But at your best, your influence in the life of your few is temporary whereas parents it’s lifelong.

For the sake of the few that we work with, we can try to figure out how exactly we can partner with their parents. How can we nurture an authentic daily faith in the life of your few?

Partner with Parents… Parents are looking for answers, they are constantly looking and processing how to be a better parent.

At Orange we believe every parent wants to be a better parent. Even when they complain and they discard all the paper work before they leave your ministry area. Parents just don’t realize or begin to fathom the impact that they have on the spiritual life of their child. Parents tend to avoid subjects that are hard or controversial, faith and spiritual stuff Every parent wants to do something more.

Whether or not they do something more in the life of their child spiritually, is really up to you the small group leader. Even if they go to a spiritual parenting class, they walk away highly motivated, but not highly equipped. As a small group leader you have the opportunity to paint a picture for them of what they can do and what it can look like for their child. Your belief influences your character and your character characterizes your belief.

6 Ways to Partner with Parents in Kids Ministry

There is always a variety of things you’ll need to try and some will stick and some won’t, it’s a constantly changing thing. They are not set in stone.

1. Make an Initial Connection:
If you are asking parents to partner with you and be a part of your strategy, you need to have some sort of initial connection with them. Using the drop-off and pick-up time typcially does not happen every Sunday, working perfectly.

Another option for you is to leverage social media: Text, Email, Facebook message…. tell them a little more about who you are as their child’s small group leader. We want to help them win as a parent. (Define your role as SGL and give them a little information about who you are).

Do a back to school night (don’t call it that)… drop-in night for about 45 minutes. They get to meet the leader, see some of the other parents and kids in the group, get the leader’s contact info. Get to see how the leader engages the child, the parent, the family. Invite parents to bring their kids into your elementary environment. Ask parents what they think you should know about their child…favorite color, hobbies, interests, allergies, etc. Ask them tell you a story about their child that you need to know. It shows them that you really care about their child.

2. Give Them Access to You:
Sometimes we fear giving away all our contact information, but by giving it to them it gives the parent a sense of peace. They may not go to you when they need someone, but they know they could. You could make a business card for your leaders

Small Group Leader noun
1. one consistent person in the life a child.
2. (Write what it is to your church…2 or 3 things total)
3. (Write what it is to your church…2 or 3 things total)
Back side of card has info about the Parent Cue, Parent Cue App, 252 Basics website
FB and Social Media: If you are an idiot on Facebook and social media, parents will see this and pay attention to this. If you want to partner with parents, don’t be an idiot.
Clean up your social footprint!

3. Leverage Technology to Cue Parents Regularly:
Get the Lead Small App. You can send a group text to all the parents of your group regularly, doesn’t have to be every week. Let them know what is going on in your ministry…what are you talking about in your small group. Give them a 40,000 foot view of what you’re talking about so they can continue the conversation at home.

What if we could set parents up and cue parents to start with a deeper question than just what did you learn about today? Don’t give them the whole lesson, just
give them a little. Example: So I heard you learned about Jonah today, what did you learn about him? Or what did you learn about being a good friend today

Let them know what is going on in your group. Let them know if their child had a little tension with another child today. Or let them know if you weren’t able to finish a conversation with the group. Let them know some information that will help them… give them some resources (not necessarily church written info or something you’ve written), but something that is relavent to pop culture like a parenting/stage blog.

4. Show Up Where Parents Show Up:
Show up at church. Give them a “hi”, a smile, an encouragement. If there is a special event, make a point to stop by and talk to them. Make events with small group
leaders and kids a priority. These events are done for a reason to connect parents and leaders in the church. When you put parents and small group leaders in the same room to connect, some powerful things happen.

Show up outside church. Never underestimate the power of physical mail (a postcard is an amazing thing). The great thing about a postcard is as a parent you can read before they do and they don’t even know you did. A birthday card, an occasional letter to the parent (just want you to know I’m praying for you, etc.) If you are going to show up physically, just give them a heads up first so it eliminates the awkward moment.

5. Help Parents Find an Answer:
Give them a resource. Recommend a book (Parenting Beyond your capacity, etc.), a devotional, a blog, etc.
Give them an ally. There will be a time when they ask a question you don’t know the answer to (don’t try to be an expert when you’re not in that area…just let
them know you don’t know, but I am here for you and I want to walk alongside you and help you find the answer/walk through this.
Give them a support group. Know what your church and the church down the street offer (CR, DivorceCare, etc.)

6. Say Something Positive:
We live in a culture, where there is a lot of negativity, a lot of things that are going bad or poorly…say something positive to them. Say something positive to parents about their kid. You don’t know the whole story of that kid, that parent, they may only hear negative things about their child. Give them something positive.

Also say something to kids about their parents. It’s a way to partner with parents when they don’t even know you’re doing it. Did you know that some kids struggle
with authority? There will be times when the kids unload everything to you about how bad things are at home or with their parent; look for ways to honor the parent and say something positive about them.

Say something positive to parents about them. Sometimes parents need to hear something positive about themselves, and sometimes it will be hard to do (to the
parent that seems disengaged, etc.) Getting to church is a win. Sometime the most positive thing you can say to the parent is thank you for being here today, for bringing your child, it was great to connect with them, to talk about xyz.

There will be times when it is complicated, messy, hard,…keep saying we’re here for you, we want to help you win, when the time comes that they need someone to talk to you, when a tragedy happens, they will come to you. Don’t give up on your few, please don’t give up on the parents.


Thank you Cheryl Kneeland for sharing these excellent notes! Click here to follow her on Twitter.


Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian Church

Top 10 Leadership Quotes From The Orange Tour 2014

Here are the top leadership quotes and ministry quotes from this year’s Orange Tour. Each year the good folks at Orange tour several cities teaching leadership and family ministry. Our church hosts the Seattle stop. Here are highlights:


Orange Tour#10. Being afraid isn’t failure, staying afraid is. – @JonAcuff

#9. Just because something is true doesn’t mean that it will be embraced. – @ReggieJoiner

#8. Sometimes you need to risk and sacrifice what you are currently doing for the sake of what could be. – @CNieuwhof

#7. Stop thinking like a teacher… act like a coach. – @ReggieJoiner

#6. When you raise bar, high capacity people show up. – @CNieuwhof

#5. Surround yourself with voices that value what is dynamic as much as what is core. – @ReggieJoiner

#4. You’ve got to do character on the front end, not the back end. – @CNieuwhof

#3. As a leader, you are driven by mission, but you succeed because of strategy. – @ReggieJoiner

#2. The scope of your influence is determined by the success of your leaders. – @ReggieJoiner

#1. People admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weaknesses. – @CNieuwhof


Orange Tour - Reggie Joiner#12. People aren’t looking for friendliness, they are looking for friends. – @ReggieJoiner

#11. Trust leads to stronger faith, but doubt can also lead to stronger faith. – @ReggieJoiner

#10. Jesus never started with theology. He started with ministry. Where you start with someone is important. – @CNieuwhof

#9. God is not surprised or disappointed by the size of your ministry. – @JonAcuff

#8. If you never let your kids process their own doubts, they’ll never own their own faith. – @ReggieJoiner

#7. Don’t make the things in the world the enemy. – @ReggieJoiner

#6. Maturity takes time… we have to be willing to give people time. @CNieuwhof

#5. The greatest apologetic is a transformed life, not a full mind. – @ReggieJoiner

#4. One day when parents and kids think about your church, YOU will be what they remember. – @CNieuwhof

#3. The production at your churches doesn’t change lives. Relationships do. – @CNieuwhof

#2. You should invest in insiders. You should prioritize for outsiders. – @ReggieJoiner

#1. In the future, dialog will trump monolog.- @CNieuwhof


Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian ChurchThe church should be the safest place to ask questions. – @ReggieJoiner

As leaders, our mission is to influence those who influence the next generation. – @ReggieJoiner

If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time. What are you aiming at? – @JimWideman

When you start with a self-depreciating story as a leader, it works… because they all can relate to you. – @CNieuwhof

Kids may be leaving the church because there it is not a safe place to ask their tough questions. – @CNieuwhof

Tension doesn’t make a truth less true, it makes it more real. – @ReggieJoiner

Sometimes in our zeal to fight for what is true, we don’t fight for the tensions that actually connect those truths to what is real. – @ReggieJoiner

Sometimes a truth can lose clarity when it’s divorced from the reality of the other truths that amplify it. – @ReggieJoiner

When there’s tension, there’s opportunity. Tension creates a platform for conversation. – @ReggieJoiner

“You can’t tell kids to be the church one day if you haven’t given them the opportunity to be the church now.” – @ReggieJoiner

Kids will not believe they are signficant until you give them something significant to do. – @ReggieJoiner

You should enjoy going to church. We should create church as a place people want to be. – @ReggieJoiner

You may become a Christian in a moment, but it takes forever to figure out what that means. – @ReggieJoiner

Working with children is like planting an orchard. You might not see results until years later. – @ReggieJoiner

What God has given me is what I need to say yes to. – @JonAcuff

You will never be able to out-produce what’s available in culture. Culture can’t out-“community” your church. – @ReggieJoiner

Beliefs matter. Start wrestling with doctrine & principles & ask hard questions-it’s important! – @ReggieJoiner

What do you need to do differently today… to reach the people you want to reach tomorrow? – @CNieuwhof


Tweet From Elle Campbell: For more notes from @ellllllllllle and @kennnnnnnnny on creating a safe space for students, visit

Tweet from Jim Wideman: #Orangetour Seattle here are my notes and worker app enjoy

The Orange Tour stops in cities around the country each fall. I find it a great resource for our children’s ministry, student ministry, family ministry and senior leadership teams. Click here for more information.



Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian Church


Can you answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Can you answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

I thought I could. Until March 22, 2014.

Mudslide makes the cover of The New York Times.

Mudslide makes the cover of The New York Times.

Here in the Northwest there is a call. It’s the siren song of our incredible mountains. Shear walls of rock thrust vertically thousands of feet in air. Snow collects all winter atop these monuments, only later to melt into crystal clear rivers that attract salmon and bald eagles.

In the warmth of summer, my wife and I followed this call. Our favorite spot is along a river called Stillaguamish. Locals lovingly call it the Stilly. We would pitch our chairs in the river near Oso, a tiny town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. There families gather to jump off railroad bridges into the cool water. There are rope swings, fishing poles and picnic baskets. It’s quite a place.

Larry and Sandy Miller

Larry and Sandy Miller

Larry and Sandy Miller heard the same call. For years they shared with us their dreams of building a home alongside the Stilly. They wanted a place to retire where they would never have to leave the salmon and the eagles and the snowmelt. It reminded Sandy of her days in Alaska. They even designed a separate riverside space for retreats. They wanted friends and families to experience the mountains they loved.

March 22, 2014 their dream came to an end.

After weeks of unusually heavy rain, a mile-wide section of mountain gave way. It was a catastrophic event, even by Northwest standards. Geologists say it may be the worst ever. The mountainside raced downhill at 170 miles an hour. It wiped cars off the highway. It choked the Stilly so quickly it sent a six-story tsunami upstream taking out homes and people.

In 3 seconds.

3 seconds.

Larry and Sandy Miller's dream home before the mudslide.

Larry and Sandy Miller’s dream home before the mudslide.

Larry and Sandy were at their brand new dream home the morning of the slide. They were making final preparations to move in and begin a well-earned retirement. They and their electrician are were killed.

They had spent years working to ensure their home was in a safe place. No expense was spared protecting the dream from a river flooding. But there was no protection from the unthinkable. The dream now sits under 20 feet of water and mud.

The loss of Larry and Sandy’s dream is nothing compared the world’s loss of Larry and Sandy. Larry was a businessman. He earned the respect needed to be boss by working his way up the ranks. He was the kind of guy upon which communities are built.

Larry Miller' sword.

Larry Miller’s sword.

My favorite “Larry moment” was the day he showed up to our church car show. Larry was a straight-talking leader who wanted to invite guys to be part of the Men’s Ministry he organized. Larry walked around the car show with an authentic three-foot sword (an Ephesians 6:17 reference to the Bible being our sword). Larry signed up 30 guys that day, the most successful sign up in church history.

Larry and Sandy Miller in love.

Larry and Sandy Miller in love.

Larry and Sandy loved their marriage. So much so they passionately wanted to help other couples with their marriages. For years they led our church marriage ministry, helping save weak marriages and strengthen good ones.

People like Larry and Sandy are the glue that hold us together. They are the non-squeaky wheels. They are the contributors and the doers and the helpers. They are the people you look forward to seeing. They make the room better just by walking in. They are the people you appreciate, even more so when they’re gone.

Why do bad things happen to good people? A week ago I could have given you the standard answer.

Now I’m not so sure.


Larry and Sandy Miller’s story in the media:

KING 5 News (video)

Everett Herald

New York Times

Seattle Times

NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams (video)

Front page coverage of the Oso landslide in The Seattle Times.

Front page coverage of the Oso landslide in The Seattle Times.


Photos courtesy Ron Hadley. Used with permission.



Key Takeaways From The Orange Tour

Some of today’s best leadership thinking comes from a group called Orange. They are primarily known for working with children’s and student ministries, but Orange thinking is easily transposed for leaders in any kind of organization.

Orange tours the country. I highly recommend taking your church’s children’s, student and small group teams to see the Orange Tour. Check here to see cities and dates.


Orange Tour SignOur church had the honor of hosting the Seattle tour stop. Here are some key takeaways from what they presented.

Lead small: We have gone too far buying-in to “bigger is better” (more friends in real life and in social media). Our greatest influence happens when we invite a small number of people around us and focus our energies on them. What we do for a few will always have more potential than what we do for many. Regular availability to a small number of people creates trust, the building block of relationships. We provide healthy influence to our small group of people, who in turn model and pass those healthy influences to the people around them.

Time matters: It’s wise to consider the ramifications of time. Calculate how much time you have left (with your kids, in your job or with your life). This makes you more serious about the time you have left and encourages you to find ways to use time better. It helps you properly prioritize. There is additional benefit to healthy behaviors done consistently over time.

Detailed notes on these conference themes can be found below.


Lead Small – Main Session – Mike Clear

Mike Clear - Orange TourOver half our kids walk away from faith in college because they have a weak faith. . . one that is not tested and not ready for the real world. It’s not just that they encounter professors or other students who challenge their faith. This is our challenge. A small group leader growing an authentic faith in the student is the answer.

Lead small. We get too infatuated with “big”. We like having hundreds of Facebook friends or followers on Twitter.

What if big things are actually accomplished by doing things small?  What you do for a FEW will always have more potential than what you do for MANY.

If you are a small group leader, it’s just as important that you know what you ARE NOT as it is that you know what you ARE.

When you lead small you choose to be present. Being present connects people to authentic faith.

1. Show up predictably. You can’t gain trust without it.

2. Show up mentally. Get off phone and text. Be engaged with people face to face.

3. Show up randomly. Surprise people from time to time by showing up randomly in their life. Never underestimate the value of a phone call, text or birthday card.

Create a safe place. Clarify people’s faith as they grow.

1. Lead the group. Let them know that what we talk about in here is safe . . . it’s confidential. Manage the tensions, don’t solve the problems. Show them love.

2. Respect the process. Your group is made up of different people at different levels of belief. Your job is not to change your group members. There is nothing we can do to change them. Love them (don’t change them).  The bible doesn’t say change your neighbor as yourself.

3. Guard the heart. Set up boundaries and policies that help you lead the small group time. It protects the leader.

Partner with parents. This is how you nurture everyday faith.

1. Cue the parent. Say to them, “Here are a few of the things were talking about this month.”

2. Honor the parent.

3. Reinforce the family. Family time is important time, protect it (humorously extreme example: no group sleepover on Christmas Eve.) Don’t have “the talk” (about any subject the parents should appropriately have) with kids before the parents do.

Make it personal. You inspire their faith by your example.

1. Live in community. What you do for your few, you also need to do for yourself. You need to be in community, too.

2. Set priorities. Let them see that your time with your spouse is important to you. Set priorities. Be authentic. Be who you are.

3. Be real. You don’t have to be cool to influence kids and students. Kids aren’t looking for coolness; they want people to show up in their lives.

Move them out.

1. Move them to someone else – the next small group leader.

2. Move them to BE the church. Be the church of tomorrow, not today. Let them have responsibilities.

3. Move them to what’s next. Set up good transitions between elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college. Give them lots of information that will help them transition well.

Your people are not problems to be solved; they are your people to be loved. Give them a place to belong and someone who believes in them.



Reggie Joiner Teaching1. Time matters. When you see how much time you have left, you tend to get serious about the time you have now. Wisdom is connected to knowing how many days you have left. This is a biblical principle.

2. When you see how much time you have left, you tend to make what matters matter more.

3. When you see how much time you have left, you tend to value what happens over time.

What you do this week matters. At the same time, you can’t do it all in a week. There is something special about the collective momentum when you are there every week. (This is why long term leaders have a different kind of influence). You make history when you consistently repeat your presence in people’s lives.

Words have power. Words over time can change the direction of someone’s life.

Words over time create an influence direction. The words you say can ultimately impact someone’s direction and destiny.

Words over time = direction. This includes positive and negative words.

Encouragement. Each of us has a ratio of words of encouragement to words of criticism. The average person experiences one word of encouragement for every seven words of criticism. This explains why there are so many dysfunctional workplaces, poor marriages, insecure children, and poor churches.

We can change this ratio.

He who refreshes will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

If we will breathe refreshment into others, we will be refreshed. Encourage people more than criticize them.

We live in a world where people are suffocating from self-doubt. As a church, no one is better positioned to help with this.

Every man wonders: Do I have the right stuff to be a leader? Ladies, don’t underestimate the value positive words can have on your husband.

Ladies ask: Do they notice me? Do they think I’m pretty? Men, tell your daughters and wives how beautiful they are (over and over and over and over again).

We get it right at funerals. We say all positive things about a person and nothing negative. Don’t wait until the day of the funeral to gives words of roses.

Ask your employees/volunteers “How are you doing?” at least twice as much as “What are you doing?” This will give you permission to speak positive things into them.

Are you a feared leader or a followed leader? In the business world the feared leader has been respected for years. This is a joke.

A followed leader knows how their staff is doing.

Write three thank you notes a day. Send it by snail mail. Use these lines to start a thank you note: I remember when . . . (you started you were nervous, look at you now) . . . I have noticed . . . I hope you know . . . I’m really glad . . . I’ve been thinking . . .

Write a note of encouragement to your kids/wife every week.

Many people don’t feel good enough about themselves to let you feel good about yourself. You have to go first when encouraging people. Replenish others and you will be replenished.

You can encourage someone so many times that when you are gone your voice is still in their head.



Reggie Joiner Orange TourWhat do you want someone to BECOME? You can begin teaching with that end in mind.

If the kids who grow up in your ministry get baptized but don’t get the concept of love, they won’t have anything more than religion. Sometimes we, as leaders, don’t think through this lens.

Love has been talked about so much that it has lost its zing. Love really is the one thing that matters most.

Your theology without love is religion.

Your teaching must connect back to a love relationship with the Father.

Kids don’t walk away from relationships. They walk away from religion (religion is teaching without love).

It’s sad that some of the harshest critics are those who claim to know Jesus.

Do you think you would have liked hanging out with the Pharisees? Today kids feel judged and guilty. Kids think things like, “The church discriminated against my friends.” Some see the church as being run by a bunch of Pharisees. But when love is in the mix it changes everything.

Are you operating out of love or as a Pharisee? Do you teach kids the bible or teach the bible to kids? If I have a relationship with you, I will take an interest in making sure you understand the meaning of the bible.

Do you fight to win an argument or do you fight to win a heart? You can win an argument and lose the heart.

Since when has God called us not to be messy? Jesus was so engaged in humanity that it caused the Pharisees to have a crisis. If you look at how God changes, it’s by love.

If we don’t talk about love enough it discredits the truth. People don’t believe because we don’t care. If Jesus maximized it (love) and you minimize it, you are probably wrong.

Jesus answered the question, “What do I want kids to become?” with the great commandment.

God proved to us that He loves us through time. He proved it over and over and over again. People kept messing up and God keeps trying to redeem us. God created time as a platform so his consistency and predictability proves that He loves us. You prove to a kid you love them over time.

Love over time equals worth. When you love a kid over time you instill in them a sense of worth and of value.

The way you love kids while they’re kids can dramatically affect their future.

Orange Tour - Parking Lot GuyYou may be the best chance a kid has at knowing they are valuable to God. The best way for kids to know they are loved by God, is for them to be loved by someone who loves God.

Maybe the best way for kids to learn how to love God is for them to learn how to love the people who God loves.

This is the reason why love over time is so important. God says, “I am going to demonstrate who I am through the people I created in my image.”

Tribes. The power of organizing your ministry around relationships.

Tribes matter. They give everyone a sense of belonging.

There are TWO TRIBES that are strategically positioned to help kids know they belong: the family and the Church.

If kids or teenagers only show up one time, experience one environment, or participate in one activity every week in your church where would you tell them to go? Many churches say it’s in a small group. Make sure your church answers this question seriously. If your church is about small groups, make sure it is happening. All age groups should be experiencing relationship like this. Does your church act like relational small groups are important?

Answering these questions changes how you do programming (programming should be a step to get people into small groups).

Should I stop doing something so other things can work better?  We have got to prune some branches (even non-dead branches) so the strength can go to the important areas.

Create a stop doing list.

You will never have to work as a team at getting misaligned. (You have to work on being aligned).

Small groups change how you recruit volunteers.

Small groups change the way you see teenagers. Put them in small groups together and have them lead a group.

Small groups change how you create environments. What happens in the small group after the sermon is more important than the sermon.

Small groups change how you partner with families. Other adult voices becoming increasingly important to kids as they grow up . . . the church can provide those voices through small groups.

Remember it’s harder, not easier to create a small group culture. It will always be messy (because you are inviting leaders to be in relationship with kids.)

Some will probably get mad. Anytime you change something someone is going to get mad.

Changing to a small group culture will take you longer than you think. You will never be done. It will be worth it.



It’s ok to have fun with kids, just for fun.

The joy level measures how strong your home and church is.

There is a spiritual issue at a church where there isn’t fun and celebration. Maybe it’s a sin not to have fun.

When you have fun over time something unique happens. Fun over time = connection.

Orange Tour FunFun over time convinces kids you actually like them; it is one of the first steps in showing you love them.

When they know you like them they will better listen to what you have to say. Having fun connects what has been disconnected. Don’t underestimate the power for fun.

We Christians have a rap for not having fun.

Fun fosters resilience.

Kids will encounter a degree of pain (divorce, break up, etc.). A merry heart does good like a medicine. There is a healing quality when around people who love life.

Fun authenticates forgiveness. Have you ever had fun with someone you haven’t forgiven? If you say you have forgiven me and you still won’t hang out, I think you haven’t forgiven me.

Fun over time makes friendship grow deeper.

What you do every week in a kid or student’s life will matter more than you think it does. You can’t see the spiritual growth in a seven year old . . . because it’s spiritual. You can’t predict which moments are going to be big moments. You can’t measure progress because it’s gradual.

Marble Jar - Orange Tour

Each marble in the jar represents one week remaining with your kids until they leave home. When the jar is empty, your kids are gone.

If you start imagining the future of a child, you will start investing more in them now.

What you do every week in a kid’s life now will matter more than what you do (for them) as adults. The earlier you begin making investments, the more return you will have (like compounding interest over time).

Your greatest work, your most important investment, should be in kids and teenagers.

What you do every week in a student’s life will keep your church from dying. Creating environments for kids will force you to learn, as a church, and keep you up to date.

It matters because it will last longer than you will. You are going to die, sooner than you want to. You will be forgotten. You are only about 100-200 years away from being forgotten.

Time over time leaves a legacy. You aren’t trying to make a name for yourself. You are trying to give kids a relationship with God. Let the next generation know that God loves them and they will pass that on to future generations.

You will only be remembered by those who are with you now.

One day your kids will be packing their bags to leave home. What things do you want to be in those bags? Put them in while you can. Don’t underestimate the power of the weeks you have.



Jeff Henderson & Reggie JoinerThe two ways you improve yourself are the books you read and the people you interact with.

Create an annual reading list for yourself.

Create a personal advisory board for yourself.

Read all kinds of books from all kinds of areas, including non-Christian books. All truth is God’s truth.

Don’t let the church outgrow you.

Only compare yourself to your own potential.
What we do is important. We must improve ourselves to lead. Learn and grow (the other guys are).

Humor shrinks the gap and draws us closer. Thoughtful audio interview on this: Jerry Seinfeld on Comedy.

The average person thinks a sermon should be 24 minutes. They would rather do yard work than listen to a sermon. (It’s worth the work to do an engaging, short sermon.)

Tip: Practice your sermon or presentation out loud. Video record it on your iPhone and watch yourself give the talk BEFORE you present it in public. This isn’t fun, but it will improve your presentation dramatically. I have preached some really bad sermons in front of nobody (only my iPhone).

Our crowds can tell when we are prepared and when we are not.

If we were to go out of business, would the community even know?

Many people know what the church is against but not what it’s for.

We worry that if we embrace it, the messiness of culture will hurt us. It’s better to have a conversation than to make a statement.

The children will decide what they think of your church based on how you treat their parents.

We will sabotage the discipleship of a generation if we don’t give young people a chance to serve.

You aren’t discipled by sermons, you are discipled by doing ministry. The younger generation wants to serve. Re-imagine your church using teens to serve.

If a teen has 3-5 adult Christian’s active in their life, they will be 10 times more likely to keep their faith.



Northshore Christian Church - Orange TourThe most important things when leading a small group are to be present regularly and to create a safe place. Ten mistakes leaders make:

Mistake #1. Lead every kid the way you’d want to be led. THEY AREN’T ALL LIKE YOU. They don’t like the same things you do. Give them permission to not be like us. Preschoolers think you are amazing and will imitate you. Middle/High don’t idolize you like that, but you can have a lot of influence. Give them permission to connect to God in their own way. God has wired us as unique and we relate to God differently. The Naturalist sees God through nature. Some people like rituals and symbols and traditions. Some feel that activities draw them near to God and they love to serve. The Enthusiast . . . they love worship. The Intellectuals like to ask the deep questions. The way that you connect with God is okay . . . same with others. This doesn’t minimize what you do as a leader. Be comfortable with who you are and give them permission to be different.

Mistake #2. Create a group you would want to attend – right now. YOU AREN’T THEIR AGE. Be aware of where they are developmentally. Preschoolers . . . if it is not happening in this present moment it is not real. They can’t relate to something last week or something a week from now. Elementary school students ask questions and want the right answer. They are in “concrete” mode. 5th grade and higher students are into more abstract thinking. They ask questions just to throw it out there (testing the waters). When you take care of preschoolers physical needs you are teaching them that they can trust The Lord. It’s spiritual. Children want adult approval, then peer approval. Affirm them. Peer to peer comparisons are important to them. They are concerned about how they look in comparison to someone else. Be sensitive to where they are emotionally. Where they are at emotionally this week is not where they are next week. Every week become a student of where they are emotionally. Be open to where they are spiritually. They are on a journey. It’s okay that they don’t lead or accept Jesus or become a missionary. It’s okay if they don’t get there. You are together for a season. God will use this and the future leaders to form students. Celebrate the growth steps they take. They are on a long journey. Whatever you are doing in their life now is okay

Mistake #3. Lead the group as if they are all alike. THEY AREN’T ALL LIKE EACH OTHER. Find what they have in common. Don’t be too fast to throw out what they have in common. Desperate people can have a lot of people in common. Be interested in what makes them different (we are all parts of one body).

Mistake #4. Always give an answer. YOUR EXPERTISE IS IRRELEVANT. You shouldn’t always be the expert that you are. Encourage them. Have them answer their own questions. Recognize that some questions don’t have answers. It’s completely fair to ask why your dad died. You can say that you don’t have the answer . . . but I can tell you that God is good. God is going to see you through this. You can still trust him despite this. We are still going to be the body of Christ and support you through it. When you respect the process you ask more questions than you answer. Invite them into a relationship with a God that is bigger than your own understanding.

Mistake #5. Have a personal agenda. THEIR WORTH OUTWEIGHS YOUR AGENDA. Love them through their mistakes. The church is critical because it gives kids adults that will forgive them. Love them through their mistakes. Point them to the truths they need. Speak the truth in love. Trust that God will move in their life regardless of the sin or of their circumstance.

Mistake #6. Let them lead. KIDS ARE STILL KIDS. If you let them lead completely you will end up with chaos. Guide the conversation. Sit next to the talker and sit across from the one who never speaks. You can then put your hand on the talker’s knee and stop them while drawing out the person across the circle. Provide structure and purpose.

Mistake #7. Never chase a rabbit. YOU CAN GO OFF SCRIPT.

Mistake #8. Be really popular. THEY AREN’T YOUR SOURCE OF SECURITY

Mistake #9. Never interrupt them. YOUR GROUP IS PUBLIC. What is said in group will get repeated out of group . . . even if you say it is a safe place.

Mistake #10. Fix the mistakes the speaker made. THEIR ATTENTION IS LIMITED. Give them a chance to process what the speaker said. Don’t waste time fixing.


Notes by Cheryl Kneeland, @CherylKneeland on Twitter

“We can create weekly environments where kids can trust in God’s character and live out God’s story.”

Prelude – Setting the tone for the experience.
> “It’s about controlling the things that we can control.”
> How does it look? Is it clean/not clean? Sound? Feel?
> Think about it through fresh eyes.
> “Your environment will start to tell your story before you even start to tell your story.”
> Social- Providing time for fun & interaction.
> Great opportunity for small group leaders to connect with their few.
> Who is welcoming the kids?

> Engage the kids, connect them to their small group leader right away.
> Create the tension, the interaction.

Transitions-Moving smoothly from one thing to another.
> “Variety can be distracting if we haven’t spent the time to make sure we transition and take them on a journey.”
> Engaging Media- Music, Video, Countdown
> Strategic Leaders
> Host – Helps with transitions. Get the group hyped up, excited, be strategic to go into storyteller’s time to tell the story, and announcements.
> Needs to be someone who is lively, engaging, and not afraid of the microphone, the right personality.
> Carefully crafted words – Be strategic.

Stories over time give us Perspective.
> Story – Communicate God’s truth in engaging ways.
> Stories help us SEE
> Stories make us CARE
> Stories give us HOPE
> We have the greatest story ever told; our story is true.
> We need to communicate the story to the kids in an engaging way.
> Capture their imagination.
> Learn how to become master storytellers.
> “The worst thing you could do as a leader is to make the Bible boring and irrelevant.”
> What did it help a kid see?
> How did it help a kid care?
> How did it give a kid hope?
> How will you retell the story so a kid will remember it?

Worship – Helps the kids see what’s true about God.
> Worship lets kids see other adults respond to God.
> They need to see YOU worshipping.
> One of the most powerful things you can do as a small group leader is to be right there with them, worshipping.
> Group – Creating a safe place to connect.
> You can’t have a video small group leader.


Notes by Cheryl Kneeland, @CherylKneeland on Twitter

•    The whole idea of Family Ministry is getting the people in charge of each area in the same room, on the same page. Strategy.
•    If everyone has their own strategy, it can become confusing.
•    Ask yourself . . . What is our strategy? What do we want to focus on?
•    Get together to talk about the message, the curriculum.
•    Make sure you have a comprehensive plan to go from cradle to college.
•    Refine the message, what do we want to elevate?
•    Jesus told us the greatest commandment.
•    Elevate your message/strategy.
•    Be careful that you don’t spend so much time on talking about and writing curriculum that you forget about the environment and the people.
•    Partnering with parents will look different in each ministry area – preschool, student ministries, etc.
•    Tell each other wins/stories; what’s going on in each area. How can we help each other (in terms of Family Ministry)?
•    The first step is meeting regularly with your team. Weekly is best if you can, or bi-weekly.
•    Integration with big church (How do you lead up?)


Notes by Trevor Lee, @TrevorMcLee on Twitter

Orange Tour FunMost parents don’t want more information, they want better information.
Sometimes we push too much on our parents . . . focus on equipping parents with resources that align with your strategy. Most parents don’t want more activity; they want their activity to matter more. Smart parents don’t want more to do, they want to do a few things better.

3 Key Influences for Parents
– Someone who can inspire (family pastor, lead pastor, etc.)
– Someone who knows their kid (small group leader)
– Someone who is in their life (support parents)
How can you cue parents?
– Use social media (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc)
– Implement a strategic curriculum (leverage your strategy)
– Create family experiences
– Host an open house
– Do a family sermon series
– Schedule a family vision Sunday
Develop a SEASONAL plan.
– Fall season (back to school . . . cast vision, host an open house, etc.)
– Winter season (family experience, parenting group studies, etc.)
– Summer season (more family experiences, VBS, etc.)
Develop a WEEKLY plan.
– Sunday (give out physical resources)
– Monday-Saturday (use digital resources, encouragements & reminders)
What do you cue parents?
– Cue them to know what’s most important
– Cue them to known what is happening
– Cue them to know what they can do this week



Orange umbrellas.Very few times in life do you come across an organization that you feel just “right” about. You know the kind . . . they’re well run, they have impact and you look forward to your association with them. But what really makes an organization special is what’s behind. There’s a special odor that permeates the organization’s people and the projects. For me, Orange is one of those rare and very special organizations.

Reggie Joiner and his team are leaders of leaders. They lead with infectious passion, intelligence and authenticity. It would have been easy for the Orange folks to simply keep to themselves. . . running a very successful mega-church ministry to children. Instead they created a mechanism to share what they’ve learned with the Kingdom.

The Orange team travels much of the year. They endure travel hassles and time away from their families. They do it only because they are sold out to God and to doing their part to strengthen churches. And in the end they will. Their legacy will be handed down by the children they influence. We will all be the richer for it.


Has Orange had an influence in your life? Leave your story below.

A special thank you to Cheryl Kneeland and Trevor Lee for sharing their breakout session notes with me.



The Best Things To Do In Seattle

A list of the best things to do in Seattle. Tourist information, unusual attractions and sightseeing suggestions from a local.

“What to do in Seattle. . . the best things?” “What are the must see places when I visit Seattle?” As a local I am often asked for my Seattle trip ideas. . . the best restaurants, attractions, sightseeing and free things to do. Here are the places I share with my friends (and now my online friends!) Note that some of these are a little unusual. . . the stuff better known by locals than Seattle tourists. Also note that this is not a complete list. It’s just stuff I know people enjoy seeing when they come to town.


Ballard Locks repairsThe Ballard Locks (Free – Ballard Neighborhood): Unique place where boats are raised from the saltwater of Puget Sound to the fresh water of Lake Washington. Check out the beautiful gardens and visitor center. Don’t miss the fish ladder viewing room where you can see salmon migrate. For great water views of the Sound, check out Ray’s Boathouse restaurant nearby.   More information on the Hiram Chittenden Locks in Ballard.

Archie McPhee (Free – Wallingford Neighborhood): One-of-a-kind novelty shop. This collection of weird stuff will keep you entertained. More information on Archie McPhee Seattle.

Easy Street Records (Free – West Seattle): A classic vinyl store located in the heart of Seattle’s famous grunge music scene. More information on Easy Street Records Seattle.

Seattle Pan HDR--Over 20k ViewsAlki Beach (Free – West Seattle): Alki is the original location of Seattle (now considered West Seattle). It now has a long wide walking trail, a lighthouse and one of the best views of Seattle. Drive over or take the water taxi from downtown Seattle. It’s a great place for a stroll. Try fish and chips at Salty’s Alki. More information on Alki Beach Seattle.

Pike Place Market Gum Wall (Free – Downtown Seattle): Pike Place Market is where you go to see fish being thrown. After you have had your fill of flying salmon, visit the nearby Post Alley. The gum wall is quite gross. You can even add to the collection if you like. More information on the Pike Place Market Gum Wall Seattle.

Gas Works Park (Free – U District): Visit this rusting refinery on the north end of Lake Union. It has wonderful views of the city, the famous Lake Union houseboats and of the incoming float planes. More information on Gas Works Park Seattle.

Fremont Troll (Free – Fremont): The Troll Under the Bridge is a large public sculpture located under the Aurora Bridge. Look closely and you will see that the Aurora Avenue Troll is holding a Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand. A wonderfully weird attraction from the wonderfully offbeat folks in Fremont. The Troll is a great find. . . most Seattle tourists have no idea he is there! Address: 900 N. 36th Street, Seattle, WA 98103.   More information on the Fremont Troll Seattle.

Waiting For The Interurban (Free – Fremont): The Troll has some other sculpted friends nearby. They are six people and a dog waiting for a train (The Interurban) that quit running years ago. After the statue was placed in Fremont, locals thought it would be fun to decorate by giving the people clothes, signs, etc. The gag has run for years. Clothing changes frequently. You never know just how the people will be dressed until you get there. It’s also fun to window shop in the nearby stores. Address: 3400 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103.   More information on Waiting For The Interurban Seattle.

Statue of Vladimir Lenin (Free – Fremont): Controversial cold war relic designed to make you think. Address: 3526 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103    More information on Seattle’s Lenin Statue.

The Needle & RainierSeattle’s Best View and Photo Op – Kerry Park (Free – Queen Anne Neighborhood): Nearly every Seattle skyline picture you see was taken from a small park (Kerry Park) atop Queen Anne hill, just north of downtown. Be sure to take a picture of yourself for the ultimate Seattle tourist souvenir. Address: 211 W Highland Dr. Seattle, WA 98119.   More information on the best view in Seattle from Kerry Park.

Burke-Gilman Trail (Free): This incredible paved trail winds from Ballard east to Lake Washington. You can walk, jog or bike it. I highly recommend it for bicycles from Ballard east through the U District (University of Washington campus). More information on the Burke-Gilman Trail Seattle.

Washington Park Arboretum (Free): A great stroll through beautiful gardens. To see even more, rent a canoe from the nearby University of Washington and paddle the Arboretum (one of Seattle’s best paddles). More information on Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum.

snoqualamie fallsSnoqualamie Falls (Free – 30 minutes east of Downtown Seattle): Beautiful waterfall made famous in the TV series Twin Peaks. Easy to access. Nearby check out the old trains on display (free), hike/bike a railroad trestle (free) or grab a meal at Twede’s Twin Peaks Diner (from the TV Show).   More information on Snoqualamie Falls Seattle.

Exotic Cars At Redmond Town Center (Most Saturdays – Free – 15 minutes east of Seattle): Want to see some of the rarest cars in the world for free? Ferraris and Lamborghinis are just the start. Exotics@RTC is the largest weekly car gathering north of Los Angeles. 9am-11am most Saturdays April-October, depending on weather. Updated information and schedule for Exotics@RTC.



Seattle ferrySeattle Ferry (Downtown Seattle Waterfront): This is the best low-cost tourist attraction in Seattle (though some never think of it that way because its public transportation). Nearly every movie featuring Seattle contains this ferry scene. Park in downtown Seattle and walk-on the ferry to Bainbridge Island (walk-on ferry tickets are inexpensive). The 35 minute cruise will give you great views of the skyline and Alki Beach. Once at Bainbridge, take the waterfront trail through Eagle Harbor to the shops on Winslow Way. Enjoy window shopping and grab a snack/meal. Then walk back to the ferry and return to Seattle. More on the Seattle Ferry and walk on Bainbridge.

Seattle CityPASS: The best Seattle discount pass is the Seattle City Pass. CityPASS allows you to visit several major attractions at a deep discount. More information on CityPASS, the Seattle visitor pass.

The First Starbucks (Pike Place Market – Downtown Seattle): The very first Starbucks store is located across from Pike Place Market. It’s worth stopping by to say that you did it. TIP: Starbucks sells a coffee mug in this store that is not available anywhere else in the world (not even online). It’s a great Seattle souvenir for you or a coffee lover you know. More information about the 1st Starbucks in Seattle.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room (Capitol Hill – Downtown Seattle): Coffee fans… your Seattle Starbucks pilgrimage wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the */R Roastery. It’s located in the Capitol Hill area, just 9 blocks from the first Starbucks (above). Starbucks likes to call this one-of-a-kind location the “Willy Wonka of Coffee.” It’s a working roastery attached to a cafe. More information the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle.

Space Needle with skyline and Mount Rainier at sunset, 2000Space Needle (Queen Anne): Seattle’s most famous structure is worth a visit. Ride an elevator to the top for great views on a sunny day. If you are only in town for a short time, consider a meal atop the Space Needle’s revolving restaurant. It’s a memorable experience. Prices for the observation level may seem a little high. Prices for the restaurant may be more affordable than you think.  More information on visiting Space Needle Seattle.

Chihuly Garden and Glass (at the Space Needle, Queen Anne): Right under the Space Needle is the Chihuly Museum. It has stunning displays of blown glass. It may not sound that cool, but it is. More information on Dale Chihuly Glass Seattle.

Ride The Ducks (at the Space Needle, Queen Anne): Ride the Ducks offers a great overview tour of Seattle from both the streets and waterways. They use World War 2-era amphibious vehicles that are unusually fun. The tour guides are wacky. This tour is worth the somewhat steep price. More information on Seattle Ride the Ducks.

REI Flagship Store and Climbing Wall: Seattle-based outdoor equipment company REI has its flagship store in downtown Seattle. It is like Disneyland for outdoor people. The most remarkable part of the store is a 6-story-tall climbing wall. Brave adults and children can climb it. It’s a great place to create a memory. Call ahead for a reservation. You have to see it to believe it. A couple blocks from REI is a great informal restaurant called Lunchbox Laboratory. USA Today says it is amongst the top 5 places for milkshakes in the country. More information on the REI Climbing Wall Seattle.

Underground Seattle Tour (Downtown Seattle – Pioneer Square): Seattle’s colorful history is revealed in this walking tour. It takes you to the “secret” underground passageways created when Seattle was reconstructed. While in Pioneer Square at lunchtime, Salumni is a great place to get a sandwich. More information on Bill Speidle’s Underground Tour Seattle.

Seattle Pinball Museum (International District): If you love pinball, this place has machines from a variety of decades. One price for unlimited play. Good fun! More information on the Seattle Pinball Museum.

Rent Kayaks On Lake Union (Downtown Seattle): Lake Union is a freshwater lake on Seattle’s north end. It has calm water, float planes and wonderful views of downtown. Rent kayaks or standup paddle boards from Northwest Outdoor Center. More information on kayaking Lake Union in Seattle.

Cruise To Tillicum Village And Salmon Buffet (Seattle Waterfront Pier 55): Four-hour tour features narrated cruise to Blake Island, salmon buffet, Coast Salish Tribe-inspired program of storytelling and dances, exploration of island. More information on Tillicum Village.

barricasWashington Wineries (20 Minutes Northeast of Seattle): Most people are surprised to learn that only California produces more wine than Washington. Washington grapes are grown in the wonderful climate east of the Cascades, but most of the actual wineries are located in Woodinville, an easy 20 minute highway drive from Seattle. Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Winery and Januik Winery are among local favorites. More information on Seattle Wineries in Woodinville. A great place to eat while wine tasting is the Barking Frog at the centrally located Willows Lodge.

The Museum of Flight (Boeing Field, 15 minutes south of Downtown Seattle): A world-class museum featuring a Concorde, the first 737 and first 747. More on Seattle’s airplane museum, The Museum of Flight.

The Future of Flight (Paine Field in Everett, 30 minutes north of Seattle): Tours of Boeing’s massive Everett plant where its largest passenger jets are built. More on The Future of Flight museum and Seattle Boeing Plant Tour.

The Museum of Flight Restoration Center (Paine Field in Everett, 30 minutes north of Seattle): Hanger where all of the restoration work is done for the Museum of Flight. The public can watch. It’s more of a “locals only” kind of place, but very interesting for airplane nuts. More on the Museum of Flight Restoration Center Seattle.


Many of these are long time casual Seattle favorites.


Dick's Hamburgers SeattleDick’s (Various locations around Seattle): Authentic greasy burgers and fries. A Seattle favorite for decades. Similar to California’s In-N-Out Burger, but less “chain.” More information about Seattle Dick’s Drive In restaurants.

Ivar’s (Various locations around Seattle): Seafood. Another longtime Seattle favorite. The clam chowder is must have, as are the fish and chips. More information on Ivar’s Seattle.

Top Pot Doughnuts (Various locations around Seattle): High quality Seattle-grown donuts. More information on Top Pot Donuts locations Seattle.



Great Seattle View – Salty’s on Alki Beach: If you’re just looking for a sit down place with a memorable view of Seattle, you can’t beat Salty’s. More on Salty’s Alki.

Salumni (Pioneer Square): One of the best Seattle sandwich places. Go early, they sell out. More on Salumni Seattle in Pioneer Square.

Paseo (Fremont neighborhood, just north of Downtown Seattle): Outstanding sandwiches with few places to sit. The #2 Caribbean, Cuban Roast and Midnight Cuban sandwiches are what many people choose. More on Paseo Seattle.

Northlake Pizza (University District, Seattle): Perhaps the best pizza I had in my life. This is a tavern, so kids aren’t allowed. What’s missing in polish it makes up for in delicious food. More information on Seattle’s Northlake Tavern and Pizza House.

Sound Coffee and Morsel (University District): Wonderful breakfast biscuits. More information of Morsel, one of the best Seattle breakfast places.

Quinn’s Pub (Capitol Hill): Known for burgers and their Wild Boar Sloppy Joe. More on Quinns Pub Seattle.

The Walrus and the Carpenter (Ballard): Go for oysters. More on The Walrus and the Carpenter Seattle.

Shorty’s (Belltown): Pinball and pub grub. More on Shorty’s Seattle.

Tillicum Place (Belltown): A favorite for breakfast. More on Tillicum Place Seattle.

Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie (Downtown): Famous breakfast biscuits. More on Seatown Seattle

Canlis: Dress up and get your ‘foodie’ on! More on Canlis Seattle.

Palisade (Magnolia): Great views, seafood and steak. Ask about early dinner specials. More on Palisade Seattle.

Roux (Fremont): New Orleans cajun food. Restaurant Roux started as a popular food truck. More information about Roux restaurant in Fremont – Seattle.

Din Tai Fung (U District): Great dim sum and dumplings. Many times there is a wait. There is another Din Tai Fung location in Bellevue at Lincoln Square. More information on Din Tai Fung Seattle.



Maltby Cafe (Maltby, 25 minutes from Downtown Seattle): A local favorite for breakfast with a country attitude. More on The Maltby Cafe, one of the best Seattle breakfast places.

Patty’s Egg Nest (various locations north of Seattle): Another local favorite for breakfast. More on Patty’s Egg Nest, one of the best Seattle breakfast places.

Barking Frog (Woodinville): An elegant, informal bistro located in the wonderful Willows Lodge. Perfect place to eat while wine tasting at the Woodinville wineries. More information about the Barking Frog restaurant in Woodinville – Seattle Washington.

Saw Mill Cafe (Mill Creek): Best known for a great breakfast. More on Saw Mill Cafe Mill Creek.

Brown Bag Cafe (Kirkland): Wins local awards for its breakfast: More on The Original Brown Bag Cafes.

Terracotta Red (Everett): Located 30 minutes north of Seattle, this Asian Fusion restaurant has some wonderfully seasoned and prepared meals. I highly recommend the Chicken and Coconut Milk Soup and the Crispy Drunken Chicken. The Terra Salad is also quite good as a house salad. More information on Terracotta Red restaurant in Everett.

Pasteur Noodle Soup (South Everett): Incredible Pho (Vietnamese soup), amongst the best anywhere: More on Pasteur Noodle Soup.

Raliberto’s Taco Shop (South Everett): Best “hole in the wall” Mexican food I know outside of San Diego. More on Raliberto’s Taco Shop.

Memo’s Mexican Food Restaurant (South Everett and Seattle U-District): Another decent “hole in the wall” type Mexican restaurant. Great breakfast burritos. More on Memos Mexican Food Restaurant.



cascadesNorth Cascades Highway: Unforgettable drive. More information on the Cascade Loop – North Cascades Highway Seattle. Don’t miss the Gorge Power Station in Newhalem. It has wonderful waterfalls and gardens.

Iron Horse Trail and Tunnel: Want to walk/bike for 2+ miles underground? More information on the Iron Horse Trail and Snoqualmie Tunnel.

Skagit Valley Tulips: The daffodils and tulips are a memorable experience if you are here in March or April. It’s beautiful drive through the Skagit Valley farmlands at all other times of the year. Check out Roozengaarde and Tulip Town. Be sure to stop by Snow Goose Produce for one of their “immodest” ice cream cones. It’s a destination in itself!  More information on Skagit Valley Tulips.

Mount Rainer: The trip can be done in one long day from Seattle. Rainer is open during the summer months only. Stop at the Paradise Visitor’s Center and take the steep hike to the alpine meadows. It is one of the most beautiful and memorable places on earth.

Mount St. Helens: Another long day trip from Seatle. The visitors center is a great place to experience this infamous volcano.



1968 Dodge Charger R/T Avatar - Perspective IIIExotics At Redmond Town Center (Most Saturdays – 15 minutes east of Seattle): Do you want to see some of the rarest cars in the world? Ferraris and Lamborghinis are just the start. Exotics@RTC is the largest weekly car gathering north of Los Angeles. 9am-11am most Saturdays April-October, depending on weather. The better the weather, the better the cars. Free. Updated information and schedule for Exotics@RTC.


XXX Rootbeer Drive In (Issaquah – 20 minutes east of Seattle): Historic drive-in that has a different car show every Sunday April-September. Free. More information on Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In Car Shows Seattle.

Park Place (Bellevue – 15 minutes east of Seattle): This unique dealership is like a constantly changing car show featuring classic and exotic vehicles. What’s more is that there are other, high end dealerships next door and across the street. If you like cars, this a great area to spend an hour or two. Free. More information on Park Place in Bellevue.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum (Tacoma, 30 minutes south of Seattle): Largest car collection in the US. More information on LeMay – America’s Car Museum.

LeMay Family Collection At Marymount (Tacoma area, 45 minutes south of Seattle): Hundreds more cars from the LeMay collection, displayed in various buildings around a former school campus. More information on The LaMay Family Collection at Marymount.

Griot’s Garage Flagship Store (Tacoma area, 30 minutes south of Seattle): Headquarters for nationally recognized car care specialist.  More information on Griot’s Garage headquarters in Tacoma.



Seattle Travel Guide Video from Expedia


Seattle Must See Attractions – Emerald City Travel Guide Video


100 Things To Do In Seattle Before You Die – KING-TV Video


Seattle, Washington Video Travel Guide





Guide to Living in Seattle Part 2


Guide to Living in Seattle Part 3


Guide to Living in Seattle Part 4



 Seattle 1 Day Itinerary – One Day Tour

Seattle 2 Day Itinerary – Two Day Tour

Best Coffee In Seattle

 25 Best Things To Do In Seattle

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: