Some Thoughts on Me! It's Going to be EVERYWHERE!


Well, the old Taylor Swift is back with a catchy pop song that will be stuck in your head forever. Parents, take the time and listen to this song because you will hear it everywhere in the weeks to come. I have been in three stores today and have hear it a total of 6 times. It didn’t matter if it was the grocery store or just walking through the mall this song will be played by every radio station. It’s catchy, up-beat and I will say the overall message is good.

‘ME!’ is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it.
— Taylor Swift to Robin Roberts

Taylor Swift was also aware of the power of a catchy song as she noted in the same interview posted on the Good Morning America website:

With a pop song, we have the ability to get a melody really stuck in people’s heads and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves.
— Taylor Swift

It’s going to be hard not to see Swift everywhere in the next little while as she was one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influencal People, as well as opening the Billboard Music Awards with a performance of ME! on May 1 as well as releasing her new single.

My best advice for parents is this. Read the lyrics and watch the video for ME! There will be no way to avoid this song so talk to your kids about it. It’s fun and if you are like me will find yourself singing along to it as you walk down the hall. Here are the lyrics for you:

[Intro: Taylor Swift]
I promise that you’ll never find another like me

[Verse 1: Taylor Swift]
I know that I’m a handful, baby, uh
I know I never think before I jump
And you’re the kind of guy the ladies want
(And there’s a lot of cool chicks out there)
I know that I went psycho on the phone
I never leave well enough alone
And trouble’s gonna follow where I go
(And there’s a lot of cool chicks out there)

[Pre-Chorus: Taylor Swift]
But one of these things is not like the others
Like a rainbow with all of the colors
Baby doll, when it comes to a lover
I promise that you’ll never find another like

[Chorus: Taylor Swift]
Me-e-e, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I’m the only one of me
Baby, that’s the fun of me
Eeh-eeh-eeh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
You’re the only one of you
Baby, that’s the fun of you
And I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me-e-e

[Verse 2: Brendon Urie & Taylor Swift]
I know I tend to make it about me
I know you never get just what you see
But I will never bore you, baby
(And there’s a lot of lame guys out there)
And when we had that fight out in the rain
You ran after me and called my name
I never wanna see you walk away
(And there’s a lot of lame guys out there)

[Pre-Chorus: Taylor Swift & Brendon Urie, Brendon Urie]
’Cause one of these things is not like the others
Livin’ in winter, I am your summer
Baby doll, when it comes to a lover
I promise that you’ll never find another like

[Chorus: Brendon Urie, Taylor Swift & Brendon Urie]
Me-e-e, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I’m the only one of me
Let me keep you company
Eeh-eeh-eeh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
You’re the only one of you
Baby, that’s the fun of you
And I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me-e-e

[Bridge: Brendon Urie, Taylor Swift & Both]
Hey, kids!
Spelling is fun!
Girl, there ain’t no I in “team”
But you know there is a “me”
Strike the band up, 1, 2, 3
I promise that you’ll never find another like me
Girl, there ain’t no I in “team”
But you know there is a “me”
And you can’t spell “awesome” without “me”
I promise that you’ll never find another like

[Chorus: Both, Taylor Swift & Brendon Urie]
Me-e-e (Yeah), ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh (And I want ya, baby)
I’m the only one of me (I’m the only one of me)
Baby, that’s the fun of me (Baby, that’s the fun of me)
Eeh-eeh-eeh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh (Oh)
You’re the only one of you (Oh)
Baby, that’s the fun of you
And I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me-e-e

[Outro: Brendon Urie, Taylor Swift & Both]
Girl, there ain’t no I in “team” (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
But you know there is a “me”
I’m the only one of me (Oh-oh)
Baby, that’s the fun of me
(Eeh-eeh-eeh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Strike the band up, 1, 2, 3
You can’t spell “awesome” without “me”
You’re the only one of you
Baby, that’s the fun of you
And I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me-e-e
— ME! by Taylor Swift

Some Thoughts on Media and Self-Image

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on  Unsplash

I spoke to the parents of our youth and kidmin ministries about a month ago on social media and how it forms every aspect of their kids’ lives. It was a great night and I have been processing many of the comments and questions that came out of that evening and then today I came across the following quote from Karamo Brown (from Queer Eye on Netflix).

The first time I realized my skin tone was “bad” was when I was playing Street Fighter... While 99 percent of the characters were white or Asian, all their evil twins were darker in skin tone. It was hard for me to play the game, because the characters were supposed to be twins ... yet the evil ones resembled black and Latino men.
— Karamo Brown: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope

One of the questions that came out of this night was around whether or not media played a significant factor in the self-esteem on guys in particular. Karamo continues to share his thoughts:

One night after playing, I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered, I’m dark, just like the twins. Does that mean I’m evil? ...

I truly started to think, There is no way I can be a good guy in life. I can’t be the hero; I can only be the bad guy.... Of, course, it was a warped way of thinking, but at that point, the subliminal messaging from my favorite game had really started to affect my mind.
— Karamo Brown

I truly believe that as parents and leaders of children and youth we need to be reafirming who Christ made them to be. Media will always be a huge influencer in their life, but we can be the ones to help correct how they feel about themselves.

How did/has media made you question your identity?

Live Notes from Preaching Lab - Session 2.1

Patti Miller
Lead Pastor
Evangel Pentecostal Church

The way that we tell stories can be compelling and create a hook for people.

  • How do we take a moment and make it into a story? 
    • Humour etc.
  • God’s word is not just a book. It is the sacred, holy living thing that is the story of God that should impact the way we live. 
  • Sometimes God is mentioned in big ways like when the sun stands still, or not at all.
    • In Esther God isn’t mentioned but He is clearly there.
    • how do we make those stories change people?
  • If people cannot understand why Jeremiah wept we are not telling a compelling story. 
    • If people don’t know the why they won’t be impacted by the story.
  • When we are enthralled by the telling of the story it doesn’t matter that we know the end of the story.
    • If people are bored we are not telling the story properly.
    • We watch movies and read books multiple times even though we know the ending. We are enthralled by the larger story.
  • We need to jump right into the story and allow the layers of the WORD of God wash over us and allow it to change us. 
  • Remind the congregation about what has taken place before. Describe the situation, context and environment. 
    • Use great description to paint the correct picture. 
  • Jesus, in the book of Mark is taken “just as He was” into the boat.
    • He is tired 
    • He falls asleep - that is okay because His job was not to work the boat.
    • “and the storm comes up.” - Five words that can paint a great picture. 
    • The disciples become scared.
      • When we are scared it can come out as anger, or it can come out as misunderstanding.
    • While all this is happening Jesus is snoring.
      • “Don’t you even care that we are dying!” - Peter
    • Jesus wakes up and looks out and quiets the storm.
    • He asks the disciples where is your faith?
      • They become scared
      • They cannot comprehend the power of Jesus and how He would be able to calm a storm. 
    • The last time someone told water what to do it was Moses, through the work of God.
    • As Jewish boys the disciples would have known that water only moves when God is at work. 
    • They are wondering and now realizing that God is in their boat. 
  • Invite the people into the story and to wrestle through the questions. 
  • He is God and He is in control. Encourage people to pause and absorb the story into their hearts. 
  • Trust that people will be shaped by the living and powerful WORD of God. 

Live Notes from Preaching Lab - Session 1

Mike Penninga Senior Pastor
Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church

  • “You’re boring.”
    • We don’t want to bore people with the message of Christ
  • How do we share the message?
  • Paul - Romans 10 :14-15 NLT - USE FOR CHANGE
    • Jesus is the headline for everything
  • Messengers 
  • 2 Timothy 4:2
    • Patiently - Correct, encourage, rebuke 
  • Definition of Preaching
    • Truth through personality, made alive by the Holy Spirit that results in changed lives.
  • Applications always trumps acquisition
    • People might need to live out the last sermon they heard
    • Written words do not produce life change 
  • Matthew 7:24-27
  • God does not shape us in the knowing but in the doing
  • We need to help people understand what to do next. How do they follow-up with what is spoken
  1. Preach with authority - the WORD
    1. Preach the truth 
  2. Preach with integrity - the LIFE
    1. “Follow me as I follow Christ” - Paul
    2. This generation listens with their eyes. Words matter less than actions. 
  3. Preach with Humility - the ATTITUDE
    1. preachers are not superior. They struggle just as much as everyone else. 
    2. If people only hear stories of victory - they lose hope.
    3. If they only hear stories of failure. they lose respect
  4. Preach with simplicity - the message

Live Notes from Preaching Lab

Bruxy Cavey - Teaching Pastor (Meeting House)

Relentlessness of schedule repeating itself every week. 
No extensions on prep for Sunday
Peculiar to be in a position to teach people about who Jesus is.
Preaching is like a bad first date - just straight talking.
How do we give people cues to enter into the conversations?
    how do you communicate that?
One of the best things we can do is remember that everything in scripture points to Jesus. 
In Jesus we get to see how God is like
When we preach we need to start and end with Jesus

He is our headline

The word of God is a person before it is a book

the message gets written down
we go to the book to learn about who Jesus is
I approach scripture wit the faith that it all points to Jesus

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” - Jesus
Teach them to obey everything that I have commanded. - Jesus
Its a weird thing to have your own personal faith linked to your job. 
Are you being paid to be a good Christian? 

If you answer with doubts what does that say?

We relate to Christ through the body of Christ

our relationships help create authentic accountability

We don’t just preach Jesus we leak Jesus

Fruit of the Spirit

Important when preaching
Who we are to be and to help people become who they need to be.
Meditate on Gal. 5
"God help this take root in me that I can show it when I preach."

Sometimes we cloak angry tones in preaching under the umbrella of passion. Anger is not one of the Fruit of the Spirit

Can you hear this preaching speaking about anything else? If it is still angry then it clearly isn’t passion

If we preach and show passion through angry rage speak that isn’t Christian passion or veil of holiness.
How do these things leak out so that people experience Christ through us?

Bringing Humanity Into Technology - @Biz at FUZEnation

Last week I spent an afternoon listening to Biz Stone speak on his time at Twitter, his new tech start-up, Jelly and how he views the connection between technology and culture. He was introduced as someone who is attempting to bring humanity into technology and after hearing him speak, I would agree with that statement. 

If Twitter was to be a triumph, it wasn’t going to be a triumph of technology - it would be a triumph of humanity... Success, I suddenly saw, came from how people used the tools they were given.
— Things A Little Bird Told Me - Biz Stone

One of the first topics he talked about was Twitter's ability to help people flock together for a moment and then return back to normal after the event. I use Twitter a lot for news and (Twitter is now under the "News" category in the App Store), Biz talked a lot about the early days and how it has been a huge part of major world events since Twitter started. In his book Biz says, 

The mechanics of flocking are very simple. Each bird watches its neighboring bird’s shoulder and simply follows that spot. Twitter was creating the same effect. Simple communication, in real time, had allowed the many to suddenly, for a few seconds, become one. Then, just as quickly, they become individuals again.
— Things A Little Bird Told Me - Biz Stone

On this afternoon Biz was also quick to note that the silly tweets or the everyday tweets people send out is what makes Twitter so successful during the important moments. 

If you don’t think about the silly things to tweet you won’t know, or even think about Twitter during the important moments.
— Biz Stone

The point here was that if people do not use Twitter in their regular routine they will not think to use it during a major event like a disaster, or where passing key information quickly is needed. Using Twitter to pass on key messages needs to almost become natural for it to thrive in the way that it hopes to change the world of news. He was also quick to note that no one should tweet when they drink. A key message that often goes unheeded. 

Jelly is a new way to do search. It's core assumption is that for every question you may have there is a person that has an answer. Right now, most people when they do a search online they look for a document to return to them that has the answer. Or as Biz started,

Using A.I. to find I.
— Biz Stone

With #AskJelly when you ask a question they connect people with other people to share knowledge and experience to have those questions answered. Now, with the help of a Twitter Bot when you use the hashtag #AskJelly on Twitter it automatically gets filtered through the Jelly system to help connect you to people easier and more quickly then before. 

I have been waiting for a very long time to hear Biz Stone live. I love hearing people who have a creative mind share their knowledge, but who also speak out of the passion they have for what they work on. Biz is a very optimistic person and spoke about his 1,000 year plan for humanity and his hallucinogenic optimism that runs his life. He is big on mentoring and volunteering and spoke very openly about the benefits of both. When he was asked about what his definition of success is he defined it as threefold. 

1) Make Money.
2) Enjoy Your Work.
3) Positive Impact in the World.
— Biz Stone

The interesting point he made was that the definition is not based on the achievement of one of these three. It is the integration of all three into the culture and overall goals of your business. You need an equality of all three to be successful. 

One thing I have really been wrestling with since hearing Biz is the idea and connectivity between creativity and constraint. For Biz, constraint helps breed creativity. In his book he explains this, 

In business, constarints emerge from the time you have to finish a project, the money you have to invest in it, the people you have to build it, or the space to you have to complet it. These limitations, counterintuitively, can actually enhance productivity and creativity.... Embrace your constraints, whether they are creative, physical economical, or self-imposed. They are productive. They are challenging. They wake you up. They make you more creative. They make you better.
— Things A Little Bird Told Me - Biz Stone

I always tell people that in order to get better at what you do you always need to be learning from those that inspire you. Biz's creativity and outlook on technology inspires me and that is what pushed me to read his book originally. I would recommend the book to anyone. If you are a leader continue to learn and never stop.


I have had some requests regarding what books I have been reading lately. I made a goal of reading one hundred books (#100BookChallenge is the hashtag I have been using), this year. I am almost at a quarter of the year and I am a couple books behind, but I have a couple on the go as we speak. 

Here is my completed list as of Monday, April 11, 2016 

1. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (Book Review)

2. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof (Book Review)

3. Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World by Rich Wilkerson 

We never stop to consider that the “us” we’re trying to get them to like isn’t really “us” at all. They are imposters, characters we’re playing. We don’t realize that if we wear the mask for too long, we might never be able to take it off
— Sandcastle Kings
In order to convey Jesus’ love to others, we must be willing to be the voice of Jesus and speak the Word of God to people. As we do this, we will fully experience the compassion of Jesus flowing through us.
— Judah Smith

6. In The Skin Of A Lion - Michael Ondaatje 

7. H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle. - Brad Lomenick 

This is one of the best leadership books I have read for ministry leaders. We have introduced it into our summer staff reading list as a result of its practical suggestions to implement the leadership principles it covers. (Blog Post: Maintaining Faith Habits)

8. Win Every Week: How to Help Every Parent and Every Small Group Leader Win Every Week (You Lead Series Book 1) by Reggie Joiner

Most parents and leaders don’t want more information—they want better information. Most parents and leaders don’t want more responsibility—they want deeper relationships.
— Reggie Joiner
Do young people feel like they can ask big and tough questions about God in our community? And if not, how can we create more safe places so that they can? So if you know a young person whose big questions about God are causing them to drift from their faith, then I would say, how do you make sure they stay in the conversation? Whether it’s in small group, whether that’s in ongoing one-on-one mentoring with an adult at your church … because if we don’t provide venues for conversation to happen, then they’re going to have conversations in other places and come to conclusions we wish they wouldn’t come to.
— Carey Nieuwhof
Ultimately, the key to doing your best work in the least amount of time is to find those times that you do specific activities best, and do as much of those activities in that time period as possible.
— Claire Diaz-Ortiz
Moment Making is not for the weak at heart. Sometimes our moments crash and burn at the speed of a fighter jet plummeting toward earth in a fireball. At that velocity, sometimes there is nothing else you can do besides eject, but if you can hold on, sometimes you are presented with an even more incredible moment than what you thought was possible.
— Carlos Whittaker
The perfect equilibrium of two different ways of looking at the world: the need to talk about yourself, compared with the need to let people talk about what was happening around them. One could never have existed without the other. That balance, or battle, had created Twitter. A tool that could be used by corporate titans and teens, by celebrities and nobodies, by government officials and revolutionaries. A place where people with fundamentally different views of the world, like Jack and Ev, could converse.
— Nick Bilton
Ego affected them all: Noah, Jack, Ev, and Biz. They were all driven by it. For Noah ego became a tool for reflection, for trying to understand whom he had wronged in the past and how he could be a better person in the future. For Jack it had the opposite effect, causing him to obsess over who had wronged him in the past and how he could return to the spotlight in the future. And what better way to achieve this goal than to eclipse other people’s egos?
— Nick Bilton


This is a companion book to number 9 on this list. It is well worth the read and I would recommend ministry leaders to read this and then work through the volunteer version as a team. 

18. The Book of Matthew - The Bible

19. How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living - Rob Bell

20. Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360° Leader - Bill Hybels 

Please don’t miss this. If God has given you a kingdom vision, if you see it clearly and feel it deeply, you had better take responsibility for it. You had better give your life to it. That’s why God made you a leader. That’s your unique calling. That’s what you and I will be held accountable for someday.
— Bill Hybels

21. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

22. Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas 

23. Creating a Lead Small Culture: Make Your Church a Place Where Kids Belong
By Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elle Campbell 

(Blog Post: Someone & Somewhere)

24. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free by Tullian Tchividjian

Like Job’s friends, we prefer the safety of “if-then” conditionality. Suffering, however, often serves as an unwanted reminder that reality does not operate according to our preferences.
— Tullian Tchivdjian

25. by Brett Ullman

The noisy messages that are making up our choices, values, and belief systems allow us to do one thing very well—hide.
— Brett Ullman

What are you reading? 

What books would you recommend I read in the next few months?

I would love to hear what books have changed your leadership style, or have just made your life better for reading them. Leave me a note below, or send me a tweet.

Creativity, What's That?

The latest installment of my online book club was “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert (of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame) and the question was raised...

What is creativity?

Talk about a question with limitless possibilities. It got me thinking about how I defined creativity. For me, creativity comes down to chasing an idea that inspires me and then endlessly pursuing the final product that I have envisioned in my head. I have to say this process is frustrating, filled with anxiety, and has endless amounts of hope, that is if you can get over the first two feelings. In the book, there is a great paragraph describing the fear within us that comes with the creative process. 

…You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money…
— Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert


I have found that my tendency is recreation of the same idea numerous times during the process and, many times, one or more of those done-over thoughts are what causes me to change my idea. That is the kicker though – It’s YOUR idea. It’s YOUR dream. It’s YOUR passion. No one else has ownership over your creativity, your creative process, or how you envision the final product in your mind. Sure, people may not like it, but that is not the point. Elizabeth Gilbert says this about what we should focus on:

So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?
— Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The chance to create something from nothing, and the process with it, is something I truly enjoy. I love looking at the blank screen and thinking, “What will this kidmin ad look like? How will we bring this Bible story to life? How can I visually portray the vision I have for my ministry and the goals we have for our kids?” Those are the questions that get me going, but again fear is always there. Fear, at times, is the best motivator and the book points out that fear cannot be removed from the creative process.

“Fear is always triggered by creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, something to be dealt with.”
— Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Another personal revelation was the conversation about ideas that leave us and get produced by someone else. So many times I will have an idea, not write it down, and then suffer the ad-man conundrum of not being able to remember my “brilliant” idea. Creativity comes and goes, inspiration does the same thing, and, if we don’t record it, we can't expect to be able to recreate the moment that caused the inspiration that led to the creative spark within us to ignite. 

This stuck with me – creativity is ignition of a moment of influence or inspiration.

I loved this question from the book club.

Creativity can be as simple as enjoying a great cup of coffee, exploring the city with my wife, or simply quietly listening to music. Those are the moments when my creative spark tends to go off the most. Being aware of the moments in your routine that reduce the fear and increase the creative process is important. You become aware of the process and you can corner your creativity instead of sitting back and hoping an idea falls into your lap (or your coffee cup). 

To me, this is creativity.

What is creativity to you? 

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
CDN$ 26.65
By Elizabeth Gilbert

The Screwtape Letters - A Challenge To The Nothings In Life

The third book I have read in my 100 book challenge for this year was The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It has been years since I last read this classic and I found that passages that I highlighted in years past were still pertinent to my spiritual growth. I also found numerous others that hit home or had relevance in some of my other projects on the go currently. 

I love the following quote: 

No doubt he must very soon realize that his own faith is in direct opposition to the assumptions on which all the conversation of his new friends is based... All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.
— C.S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters | pg. 38

I cannot even fathom how much time I wasted in my youth trying to be liked or fit in with a group of people. In the end you end up losing your true self and sometimes it takes years to get back to that person. That quote provided some great journalling time.

I also found that the whole conversation about nothing in the book provided some great insight into a conversation I had this week at church. I kept coming back to those little moments in the day that just seem to disappear into the depths of YouTube videos and Google searches. 

Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is took weak and fuddled to shake off.
— C.S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters | pg. 47

 This book is a classic and I wish I hadn't put it on my shelf for as long as I did. Here are a few questions that I had after reading this again:

What nothings are in your life and stealing away your time?
Who are you pretending to be and what are you running away from? 

I would love to hear your thoughts on those two questions in the comments below. 

Book Review - Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

My first read of 2016 caused tears of joy, tears of sadness, and moments of reflection that I have never encountered while reading a book... ever. “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson caused a whole array of outward emotions, including two very embarrassing laugh-out-loud moments. One was whilst riding a busy train home during rush hour and the other woke an elderly woman as we used the laundromat. To me, those moments sum up this book. It makes you uncomfortable, but you just cannot help but laugh at the wit and writing of Jenny Lawson. 

This book is a reflective look at the battle the author has gone through, specifically her struggle with mental illness and how uses storytelling to provide clarity as she explains how she lives and functions day-to-day with the emotions, fears, and triumphs that come from her day-to-day. She makes statements that I wish people would take to heart about how much energy it takes just to get through a day sometimes. 

Every mental illness is different because every person is different...You have to figure out how to survive depression, which is really not easy because when you’re depressed you’re more exhausted than you’ve ever been in your life and your brain is lying to you and you feel unworthy of the time and energy (which you often don’t even have) needed to get help.
— pg. 132

So often within the church, we assume that a quick prayer will cure all mental illness, but that is so far from the truth. She nailed it with the following quote.

It’s not your fault if the medication or therapy you’re given to treat your mental illness doesn’t work perfectly, or it worked for a while and then stopped working. You aren’t a math problem . You’re a person.
— pg. 132

As I read through the book, there were so many times that I felt as if this book fell into my lap to help me wrestle through so many questions that I have had over the last decade of my life that I have struggled to understand. God created me with ADHD, and that means that I process emotions and situations differently than others. It doesn’t make me less – it just makes me special.

I wish someone had told me this simple but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.
— pg. 239

I cannot even tell you the amount of times that I fight to put a smile on my face even if I am having the best day. Something within me just does not want to do it. I should be able to smile or feel happy, but inside I feel empty and sad. I don't say that to make anyone feel sorry for me, but I just wish I could understand sometimes what is going on inside of my head. 

When I look at my life I see high-water marks of happiness and I see the lower places where I had to convince myself that suicide wasn’t an answer. And in between I see my life. I see that the sadness and tragedy in my life made the euphoria and delicious ecstasy that much more sweet. I see that stretching out my soul to feel every inch of horrific depression gave me more room to grow and enjoy the beauty of life that others might not ever appreciate. I see that there is dust in the air that will eventually settle onto the floor to be swept out the door as a nuisance, but before that, for one brilliant moment I see the dust motes catch sunlight and sparkle and dance like stardust. I see the beginning and the end of all things. I see my life. It is beautifully ugly and tarnished in just the right way. It sparkles with debris. There is wonder and joy in the simplest of things.
— pg. 265

Life is amazing and I see how the downtimes have shaped who  I am. This book does a wonderful job of allowing you to see your own downtimes not as a weight holding you back, but as a series of events and emotions that bring clarity to the present and direction to your future.  

Sometimes being crazy is a demon. And sometimes the demon is me. And I visit quiet sidewalks and loud parties and dark movies, and a small demon looks out at the world with me. Sometimes it sleeps. Sometimes it plays. Sometimes it laughs with me. Sometimes it tries to kill me. But it’s always with me. I suppose we’re all possessed in some way. Some of us with dependence on pills or wine. Others through sex or gambling. Some of us through self-destruction or anger or fear. And some of us just carry around our tiny demon as he wreaks havoc in our mind, tearing open old dusty trunks of bad memories and leaving the remnants spread everywhere. Wearing the skins of people we’ve hurt. Wearing the skins of people we’ve loved. And sometimes, when it’s worst, wearing our skins.
— pg. 130

I remember sharing this quote with Amy and having a great conversation with her about how I have had trouble in the past differentiating emotions and explaining how I feel to others. It is something that frustrates me deeply because I see when it frustrates others and that bothers me, too. It is a vicious circle through which Amy has been my rock. This book has been so helpful as I look at my past struggles and my own insecurities. I have told so many people to read this book whether or not they struggle with mental illness because it illuminates the everyday life of someone who does struggle. 

Rated 5/5

Pop Culture Christians

Recently, I led a couple talks for youth and parents about holding fast to one’s faith while being surrounded by pop culture influences. Both talks were great opportunities to have open discussions about what the world expects versus what God expects of us. One thing that was shared with the parents was some food for thought – if we have biblical values, we will have biblical actions, which will help us differentiate biblical and world views

  1. Values
  2. Actions
  3. Worldview

The only way we can have these values, actions and this worldview is if we know the source - the Bible. If we address pop culture with this game plan, it helps us understand that our God is a God of right now. Most teens are trying to figure out how to live within their peer circles and still keep their faith. There is an urgency in their “need to know” as their world changes faster than ever before

The core values given to us is in Galatians 5:22-25. 

  •  Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  •  Self-control

When we can look at our lives and the media that we consume and participate in, we should be able to say that these values are present. When these values start to become blurred or not present is when we, as parents and leaders, need to step in and ask some steadying questions to anchor our youth back to their faith. For instance, inquire what is causing them to not live by the values that shape who we are as followers of Christ

Christ and many of His followers warn us to not be deceived by this world, or teachings that come from it. Their are also strict warnings not to deceive others (Colossians 2:8). Christ calls us to know the truth and teach it in love (Ephesians 4:14-16). I don't think we do a good job of this “teaching in love” as Christians. Many times, we feel that strong opinions and a firm comment of “Don't watch this, or “Don't do that, is the answer, but these responses tend to drive teens to explore and rebel deeper and harder than before. (I can personally say that I have been there and done that.) Conversations are key between parents and teens when it comes to pop culture. Explore with your kids what they are watching. Read the lyrics together as a family and ask yourselves what are the values on display, and do they align with the biblical values as a family and as individuals?

One way to look at the influence of culture is to read through 1 John as a family. Take time to notice the progression of walking out of the darkness and into the light. As a parent, the best thing you can do is be engaged with your kids regarding their choice in music, what is on TV and what movies are out, and know what sites and apps your kids use most. Try websites like Common Sense Media to get reviews on all things pop culture. For songs, simply Google the lyrics and have a read (because it’s hard catch the lyrics while listening to the song on the radio and trying to drive the kids to hockey practice). If you want a good book on this subject you can pick up Brett Ullman's book Parents 101 here.

The best advice is not to disengage and strike your kids down with a “no,” but to engage deeply with your kids to show them that you are interested in what interests them. Then, if you need to lay down the ground rules and say no, they’ll respect the fact that you took the time to look into it in the first place. The pop culture talk is a tricky one to navigate because, for every family, it is slightly different, but having a conversion and being informed is the foundation for every kind of talk

Leadership and Mental Illness

The quote below is from a great blog post from Carlos Whittaker regarding mental illness, leadership and the church. 

So let me dispel some common myths the church has when it comes to mental illness.
1. A person struggling with mental illness needs to have more faith.
My faith and my seretonin levels have nothing to do with each other.
2. A person struggling with mental illness should forgo medicine and pray harder.
You wouldn’t tell an asthmatic to pray harder during an asthma attack. You would tell them to suck on that inhaler.
Same thing.
3. A person struggling with mental illness can’t lead in ministry.
Read the Bible. It’s filled with cray ppl like me killing it for God.
Oh. And you are crazier than you think you are.
— Carlos Whittaker - My Panic Attacks, My Mental Illness, And The Church’s Dirty Little Secret

I have heard countless stories of leaders who get told the same advice from leaders in the church and it breaks my heart. 

Read the full post here.

Family Discipleship is Scary

I am super excited about my new role within the Children's MInistry at The Peoples Church. "Director of Family Discipleship" brings new opportunities and allows me to grow within my current responsibilities. It's exciting to think about how we can impact the family to grow the larger family of Christ. 

To be honest, the weight of that title is scary, but scary can be such a great thing when it comes to leadership. the unknown pushes and moves us forward and it drives us to be creative and innovative. the idea of the "family" is a big concept as the focus is no longer "just" kids, but the family as a unit. The new question is:

How do I move a family from a faith that is talked about on Sunday to a faith that brings the family unit closer together and how do they live it out together?

The first responsibility that I have is the focus around teaching. Some of the ways I will be teaching will be through curriculum development as well as through outside training events. We are excited to be using 252 Basics curriculum and the key will be training our volunteers in how to best use the curriculum so that it fulfils our kidmin goal of: 

Motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday.

Coming up in November, I will be teaching my first three classes geared towards parents and how they can pair with the kidmin team to achieve that  goal. These Tuesday nights include:

How to Mentor Your Own Children at Home.
A Land Flowing With Lip-gloss and Deodorant: Navigating Tween Life
Pop Culture Christians: Crucial Conversations 

The teaching component is exciting for me. I love to resource and create healthy conversations for the home to help the family's faith grow while spending time together no matter what the family unit may be. 

My new role is just beginning and I look forward to sharing how we plan to use leadership development and our summer camp model to strengthen our kidmin and youth ministry.



Session Notes From #GLS15 (Bill Hybels)

Today was day one of the Global Leadership Summit and it is amazing to take it all in from Willow Creek as everything unfolds. To start off the Summit Bill Hybels gave a great definition of leadership. 

Leadership is about moving people from “Here” to “There.”
— Bill Hybels

Leadership at its core is all about movement and as leaders in different stages of our leading life we all ask a different question. 

  • New leader: Can I do this? 
  • Experienced leader: Can I sustain this?
  • Veteran leader: Can I take this through the finish line. 

When you are a leader the stakes are high at each level and they made note that there was a number of leaders that at last years Summit were ready to through in the towel because the thought of moving people was becoming too much.

The power of the Summit is that it has the ability to turn that desire to run into a desire to return to our churches or organizations with a ferocious desire to lead others well from "Here" to "There." I have felt this way and the Summit when approached in the right way has a great ability to teach every leader that with the right amount of humility anyone can learn from anybody. This value of humility has been touched on for as long as I can remember at the Summit. 

In years past Bill Hybels has taught on 8 characteristics of leadership and they are as follows.

Casting Vision
Building Teams
Motivating & Inspiring
Solving Problems
Change management
Establishing Core Values
Allocating Resources
Developing Emerging Leaders
— Bill Hybels - 8 Characteristics of Leadership

By watching some leaders fail and some succeed the question becomes is there more to leadership than these eight qualities. He was handed a copy of The Intangibles of Leadership by Richard A. Davis (see link below) and another five intangibles of leadership began to present themselves. 

1) Grit

How is it that individuals with lesser talent can strive in a leadership environment? How is it that they are able to show levels of passion and perseverance that are of the charts? Research shows that The secret to top performance is unremitting, long-term tenacity. In other words great leaders have grit. One thing that sets a gritty person apart is that the expect to see and take on difficult tasks, but they believe that anything can be overcome. The great thing is if you don't think you have grit you can develop your grit level. 

When you grow grit in any area of your life it bleeds into the others.”

”Grit development demands difficulty”

”The arch-enemy of grit is ease.

These three quotes from Bill sum up grit development. It is not easy and it grows when you prevail over a difficult task. So the question is do you run away from hard times or do you push through and finish strong.  By the way you can take a grit assessment here to see your level of grit. I took it twice and got a 3.8 out of 5 each time. 

Grit matters in life. And it matters in leadership. Those with more of it will succeed more than those with less of it.

One thing that was mentioned was that  most elite leaders volunteer for extra work assignments and show steely determination to carry it out. Grit takes work to grow and develop but the pay-off is worth it. 

2) Self Awareness

The second intangible of leadership was self awareness and I really enjoyed what was said. The first realization was that every decision a leader makes can usually be traced back to past experiences in their life that affect how they view a possible solution to a problem. Past experiences become tethered to leadership decisions. The reason this can be a bad thing is that the leader that makes the decisions does not have the self awareness to realize their past experiences are hindering their leadership. 

The second topic covered was that all leaders have blind spots. Blind spots were defined as: 

Something someone believes they do well but everyone on the team knows it is not true.
— Bill Hybels

Most leaders have on average of 3.4 blind spots, but if you were to ask them what they are they would not be able to tell you what they are. That is why they are blind spots. However, everyone around you can probably tell you what they are. You can get help with your blind spots by asking your team what they might be, or someone that you have a deep relationship bond with i.e. spouse. 

Once you know what your blind spots you do have you can move them from being a blind spot into being a weakness that you are trying to improve. For me I want to move receiving feed back well from a blind spot into weakness so I picked up Sheila Heen's book Thanks For The Feedback (see link below). 

3) Resourcefulness

Resourceful leaders have the remarkable skill of leadership ability. They are able to roll up their sleeves and attack an issue  with an insurmountable force in order to get the job done.  

Resourcefulness demands that you fight your way forward and figure it out until you do.
— Bill Hybels

You can develop resourcefulness by placing yourself in confusing leadership situations that force you to take the situations that are dysfunctional and work at them until you figure it out. You can also determine whether your emerging leaders have leadership agility by creating short-term task forces to work on issues that will stretch their development.  

4) Self Sacrificing Love

2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
— 1 Samuel 22:2 New International Version (NIV)

Bill used this story of David to illustrate how powerful self sacrificing love is in regards to changing the people that you are leading. David is given the leftover leaders to carry out the mission God has given him and in the next few chapters is all about how David grew the leadership potential of those around them. He showed them how love creates a community and how love changes everything.  

Vision is not the core of leadership. Self sacrificing love will always be at the core of leadership.
— Bill Hybels

A little bit later three senior leaders broke through enemy lines to get water from the Bethlehem Well and and it was David’s greatest leadership moment. He realized his investment had paid off, his leadership, more importantly his love had transformed the men God had placed under his care. He remembered hearing the whispers of God who said, “I want you to love these guys.”

15 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 16 So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. 17 “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it.
— 2 Samuel 23:15-17

As a leader it is imperative to show your team love. When affirmation and love is communicated well it has a way of humanizing the workplace and it will be the level of love shown by the most senior of leaders that will drive the change of culture within your organization. 

5) Sense of Meaning: Knowing Your "White-Hot" Why

Simon Sinek in his book "Start With Why" says that most organizations can tell you what they do and most can tell you how they do what they do, but most organizations cannot tell you why they do what they do. 

What is your white-hot why? What is it that drives you to go to work everyday? This "why" will either fuel you as a leader or show you that your current "why" is not driving you to excellence. This should also move you as a leader towards improving yourself and those serving with you. In our children's ministry and youth ministry at The Peoples Church our "white-hot" why is: 

We want our kids to be motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday.

We make sure that everyone knows this. I have told our Summer Camp staff this very phrase more times than I can count because that is why we do summer camp and what we want every child to move towards. 

Step it up. Find your white hot why and turn over heaven and earth to achieve it.”
— Bill Hybels

The call towards better leadership was evident in the first session and the need for leaders to step it up because leadership matters. 

Your Dream - Sharing with Lead222 in Toronto

Last week I had the opportunity to lead the evening session for Lead222 SL (Servant Leadership) Trip that took place here in Toronto. I led the third session that was entitled Your Dream which was a part of a week long series.

Dream Wildly
Live Differently | Love Recklessly | Lead Courageously   

The goal of the session I was asked to lead the group through was to help them discover their dream. Discovering your dream in life whether long term or short term can be extremely difficult and it made me think a lot about my dream as my life moves forward. However, this was a great opportunity to talk with a bunch of youth about the the difference in dreams rooted in this world and dreams that are KINGDOM dreams. These are dreams that build up the kingdom rather than dreams that are rooted in the false truth of media and this world. Another thing I wanted to stress was that when you dream for the advancement of God's kingdom we embrace the uniqueness that in within each and everyone one of us. 

Here are my notes from the session that grew out of the amazing message outlines that Lead222 provided. 

I started with this quote from Biz Stone. 

Real opportunities in the world aren’t listed on job boards, and they don’t pop up in your in-box with the subject line: Great Opportunity Could Be Yours. Inventing your dream is the biggest step toward making it come true.
— Biz Stone from Things A Little Bird Told Me

I sometimes think that in the culture we live in today we expect everything to come in an instant. Whether it is our love of being connected to email, text, social media and our phone all day everyday I can see how we would expect our dreams to fall into our laps. However, our dreams take work, they take time to percolate and come to fruition and I think we have lost a little bit of patience with our love of always being connected. Our dreams are more like a work of art. I showed these three photos of some works of art I love. 

The first one is Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh painted in 1889. The sky in this paing keeps the viewer's eyes moving about the painting, following the curves and creating a visual dot to dot with the stars. I find that to be absolutely amazing. The second piece of art is Marko Djurdjević's variant cover to Thor #601. I just love this cover and I have a signed copy in my office. It is my favorite painted cover from Djurdjević. The last photo is a movie poster from Star Wars. It isn't the poster that I was referencing in the talk, but the movies themselves as a work of art.  

All these pieces of art started in the same place. They started as a blank canvas, piece of paper and were developed over time by the artist. Just like a piece of art our dreams need to be worked at over time and crafted so they develop into their full potential. 

I asked some of the youth that have helped us out in our ministry what they dreamed about for their life and the general consensus was that they dreamed about one of the following:

  • Money
  • Job
  • Success
  • Getting into the right school
  • Girlfriend/boyfriend
  • To change the world

The next question I asked them was:

What are you being asked to dream about?

Many times our dreams are not just our dreams. There are many people in our lives that try to speak into what our dreams should be and there is enough pressure from the media telling us what would make our lives complete.

we have to be careful where or who we take direction from when it comes to our dreams for the future. Proverbs tells us this:

Where there is no message from God, people don’t control themselves.
But blessed is the one who obeys wisdom’s instruction.
— Proverbs 29:18

Do we take the time to ask God to lead us towards our dreams? 

Are we patient enough to let God's plans come to fruition? 

What desires has God given you?

What gifts and talents has God placed in your life that you can see, or others have confirmed that you can use to create your kingdom dream? 

We started the evening singing worship songs and one song says,

You’ve never failed and you won’t start now.
— Oceans by Hillsong United

Have you ever shared your dream with someone and heard one or more of these statements,

  • That will never happen.
  • How would you ever make a living off that?
  • People just don't do that.
  • That's impossible.
  • It's just so unrealistic.

If you are going to dream a dream that will help build up the kingdom and change your life why not take a risk. When we step out and take a risk in faith we get the opportunity to discover courage and build a level of trust that up until this point seemed impossible. 

God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by His power that is working in us.
— Ephesians 3:20

Christ in us and working through us is how our biggest dreams will become kingdom builders. These are the dreams that not only change our life, but change the lives of those around us. They change things for the better. 

When we make room for instead of shunning it, the unknown can bring inspiration and originality.
— Ed Catnull in Creativity Inc.

When we step out into the unknown we get the opportunity to become creators of our own dreams. God is already at work in all of us and we need to allow Him to work through our gifts and talents so our dreams honor Him. Take Nehemiah for example. 

In chapter 1 Nehemiah is told the walls of Jerusalem have been destroyed and he is forced to think about his home town and what could be happening. Nehemiah takes the first step towards establishing a kingdom dream by going straight to God in prayer.

4 When I heard about these things, I sat down and wept. For several days I was very sad. I didn’t eat any food. And I prayed to the God of heaven.
— Nehemiah 1:4

Nehemiah goes straight to God for direction. Now Nehemiah wasn't an architect he was a cupbearer to the king. However, in Chapter 2 we see Nehemiah take a bold step towards his kingdom dream. 

4 The king said to me, “What do you want?”

I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 Then I answered the king, “Are you pleased with me, King Artaxerxes? If it pleases you, send me to Judah. Let me go to the city of Jerusalem. That’s where my people are buried. I want to rebuild it.”
— Nehemiah 2:4-5

Nehemiah makes his bold kingdom dream known, but only after seeking God and following his plans for him. God is about to work in and through Nehemiah to change everything his people knew. Go uses His creations to make himself known and it is through our actions and words that people will know how big our God truly is. 

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine so others can see it. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will bring glory to your Father who is in heaven.
— Matthew 5:14-16

Martin Luther King Jr. gave us one of the most inspiring words when it comes to searching out your dream and taking steps to make that dream come true. 

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!
— Martin Luther King Jr.

He continued. 

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

You might be thinking that you could never have a dream that is as vivid as that, or your dream could never compare to the words spoken above. God works in all of us and Ephesians tells us how much God is capable of. 

20 God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. 21 Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.
— Ephesians 3:20-21

We need to trust that God is doing something bigger than us and something that is far bigger than our perspective. 

I closed with these words from Psalm 139.

God, see what is in my heart.
Know what is there.
Test me.
Know what I’m thinking.
24 See if there’s anything in my life you don’t like.
Help me live in the way that is always right.
— Psalm 139:23-24

Take some time this week to think through what God has placed in your heart for a kingdom dream in your life. Maybe it is for this week, the upcoming semester, this school year, or maybe it is something greater. 

Review and Look Back at "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - George J. Flynn

I truly struggle with leadership. I struggle living in the tension of wanting to be the person described at the beginning of Simon Sinek's "Leaders Eat Last," and the person who I know that is not perfect. It is the tension of leading others towards a vision and knowing that I screw up multiple times everyday. It is this tension that causes me to doubt my own leadership skills and drives me deep into these types of books.

First and foremost this book was great. I loved how it bounced between real world stories of leaders who lead well and others who I am glad I do not work for. The negative leaders were not bashed, but looked at as examples for how to create a work environment that is lacking both a circle of safety as well as a culture that does not promote innovation and creativity.

I also believe this was a great book for ministry leaders who work in environments that require a lot of community thinking, innovative ideas to lead others towards Christ and to equip those individuals in our congregation. The warning that Simon brings forward in regards to leading through dopamine highs only is truly transferable to ministry life. We get an energy boost through high attendance, new members, great one off events, and 500 new Likes or Shares this week on our social media pages. These quick shots of dopamine are great for moral at times, but they lack the long lasting effects of leading as many people to Christ as we can. The in depth look at leadership through the chemical releases in our body is one of the best parts to this book. It is an easy way to read the words on the page and implant your own experiences towards those feelings. It also makes the reader more aware of what chemical release is their primary driver. The scientific look at how trust and commitment are formed through the chemicals in our bodies was fascinating.

Too many of our environments in which we work today frustrate our natural inclinations to trust and cooperate” - Simon Sink

A huge chunk of this book is designed to illustrate the need for a circle of safety within your organization that allows the workers to become creative, innovative and open without fear of being replaced, down sized, or forced out.

A company of strong character will have a culture that promotes treating all people well, not just the ones who pay them or earn them money in the moment. In a culture of strong character, the people inside the company will feel protected by their leaders and feel their colleagues have their backs. In a culture of weak character, the people inside the company will feel that any protection they have comes primarily from their own ability to manage the politics, promote their own successes and watch their own backs...”

I truly believe this 100%. I cannot tell you the creative liberty I feel when I know that I can share openly and honestly around our table meetings. That freedom to do ministry in new ways helps us feel like we can impact the lives of our families in new and better ways. It makes me believe that the kids coming through our ministry will see Jesus come to life in their own life in new and meaningful ways. It all begins at that table and the circle of safety that in created within the organization. I love the meetings where new ideas come to life.

Leadership is about taking responsibility for lives and not numbers.” - Simon Sinek

There is a great section near the back of the book that looks at the differences between the generations that make up the work force.

Baby Boomers --------------- Generation X --------------- Generation Y

There is no blame placed for the lack of great working environments, but the look at the genetic make up of organizations based simple on the differences in these three generations of people shows that atmosphere's of unrealistic expectations, simple ignorance between generations, stereotypes that become labels that cannot be shaken and in some cases stubbornness becomes the norm. The key I think is to know the traits of an individual and not the traits that are labelled upon their generation.


I will end this look back with a quote that I found hit the nail on the head.

It is not the work we remember with fondness, but the camaraderie, how the group came together to get things done.”

Strong teams build strong ministries and in the words of Simon Sinek leadership is not a ticket to do less, but a responsibility to do more.

Leadership is always a commitment to human beings.” - Simon Sinek

5/5 and a must read for everyone who is a part of a team, and anyone who interacts with people on a regular basis.  


“Pretty much everything that matters in this world, rises and falls on leadership.”

With those words Bill Hybels opened up the Global Leadership Summit this year and immediately I was hooked. I love listening to Bill as a teacher because you know he speaks from authority, passion and experience. Add into that a great deal of vulnerability and rawness to the stories he shares and you have a great recipe for an opening session. The summit would be built on the idea that humility will be the key to learning between business and church leaders over the next couple of days.

Bill’s prayer – “Speak to us and we will listen and obey.”

Question: Is all leadership intensely spiritual? (True or False)

  • Leadership falls in feelings and spirit. (How it makes you feel and how it moves you to action)
  • All decisions and objectives are hinged on how it makes you feel.

Question: Leaders are visionaries by definition? (True or False)

  • Adrenaline comes with progress made towards a vision or objective.
  • However, vision can soon consume us and change the mood and feelings of the team we are leading.
  • This can cause struggles in how the team feels towards you and the vision as a whole.
  • High visionaries have a hard time understanding the feelings of their team.

Often leaders with the highest level of vision and passion have the lowest level of awareness and passion for the spirit of the team they’re leading.

*Questions that I had personally is how do visionaries handle issues of their heart? Where is the split between personal feelings and the feelings that are sole intended towards their vision? How easy is it for them to differentiate the two?

Do we ask our workers to work more while we care  less?


  • Don’t make people pay because of your fire for a vision. People come first!

5 Key Commitments To Make

  1. Use an outside firm to question the engagement level of your staff
  2. The entire executive team has to own the “turn-around.
    1. The culture of the organization will only be as healthy as your Sr. Leader desires it to be.
  3. Get real serious about training everyone on staff who manage people.
    1. People join organizations, they leave managers.
  4. Raise the level of candor in the twice-a-year performance reviews.
    1. Three words to use in reviewing staff
      Stop (doing some negative desired behavior)
      Start (doing something different)
      Continue (praise)
    2. Every staff member wants to know how they are doing and if what they do matters
  5. A ruthless commitment to resolving relational conflict regardless of how scary it feels.
    1. In the average Christian organization 54% are engaged in their work and excited about their work. 30% in the corporate world.

“Great leadership is by definition relentlessly developmental.”

Five key ways to develop a new leader.

  1. Put them in high-challenge roles
  2. Assign them to a short-term task force
  3. Give real-time feedback
  4. Provide them with coaches mentors
  5. Offer them classroom courses and seminars

Short Term Task Force to see how well emerging leaders can handle themselves in real work environments.

  1. Success and failure both need to be an option
  2. They need to be given full charge
  3. Wide variety of people on the team and that they have the opportunity to work with.
  4. Real pressure of a looming deadline.
  5. The end of the project needs to be reviewed by a Sr. Leader of the staff

Resourcefulness is a key trait for any leader.

  • Figure it out… And don’t call me. (this would become the inside joke of the summit)
  • How do we put new leaders into situations where they don’t know what to do?
  • When was the last time that you gave an emerging leader an opportunity with a short term task force?

John 10 – Two types of shepherds

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

  1. A) Hirelings – They don’t care about the flock. Look out for themselves first
  2. B) Owner – They care about the longevity of the team and vision of the organizations.

We need to start mastering the art of discerning these two types of team players as leaders.

This will allow us the opportunity to start training up LEGACY LEADERS

  • Legacy leaders want to give their one and only life to a cause bigger than themselves.
  • Legacy leaders work for the grander vision.
  • Legacy leaders are the only ones wiling to pay the price to fix a broken culture.

These leaders will be the ones that care about the grander vision?

*What do we want theses legacy leaders to work towards? What vision are we pointing them towards and saying “Figure it out”

The danger with the hirelings is that they would have learned to put their own goals and objectives first from someone,

  • Is it you?
  • We have raised up a generation of leaders who are “me centric.”

No leader will ever drift into being a legacy leader. They need to be trained and raised up by mentors so that they can truly see the grander vision instead of a vision that they interpret as being grand.

Question: Have you given any thought to your legacy plan? Are you training any legacy leaders to take over your visions?

James 1:12 – Legacy and endurance

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

The grander the vision the bigger the price tag.

  • Have you built an endurance plan into your vision?
  • How are you going top keep your heart and soul solid as you peruse the grander vision?
  • How are you going to preserve the hearts and souls of your team in the pursuit of the vision?
  • Have you thought about…
    • Burn-Out
    • Family time and care
    • Spiritual – Do you still have time for Sabbath and scripture.

Do we make time to not be a leader and seek out being a follower of Christ?

Do we make time for solitude breaks? What is your solitude plan?

Do you feel “Exhausted, discouraged and at the door of hopelessness?”

As a leader we need to be humble enough to call for help.

Psalm 34:18

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.