21 Key Learnings from Andy Stanley and the Drive Conference

23 Key Learnings from Andy Stanley and Drive 13

I was at the Drive 13 Conference this week, North Point Church’s leadership conference in Atlanta.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in a room with Andy only to think “I wish everyone could hear this.”

So if you missed the Drive Conference or were there but want a summary, here are my 21 top learnings from Drive.  Note that the talks I attended were mostly focused around weekend services (plus one on family ministry).

It’s rather telling that there are 21 insights listed and I actually left the conference a full day early (had to catch a flight). I still got this many take-aways. Wow!

Here are some nuggets I picked up. Andy’s comments are in bold. My take follows in normal font.

On the Weekend Experience

1. We don’t tailor content of our services for unchurched people, but we do tailor the experience. This is such a huge and important distinction. Opening up your service to the unchurched doesn’t mean dumbing it down.

2. Nothing should offend people in your weekend services except the Gospel. Often people get turned away not because of Christ, but because of people’s bad attitudes or strange preferences for certain kinds of music or culture.

3. A parking team is not about ‘parking’ guests, it’s about welcoming them. Even if you don’t have a “parking problem”, your welcome should start when your guests pull into the parking lot. Greet them personally and help them start their experience well.

4. Everyone has an approach to their weekend services. If there is a conflict between your goal and your approach, your approach always wins. Everyone has a template for their weekend services. If your template and approach aren’t getting you to your goal, change it.

5. If you start (a message or event) with common emotions and common experiences, not everybody agrees with your point, but everybody follows you there. Brilliant.

6. People learn best in emotionally charged environments. So engage their emotions early – with a fun opener (Andy referenced the 101st anniversary of the Oreo recently. They gave away a prize of Oreos and milk to an attender – cool). Or let music prepare people’s emotions.

7.  We leverage common experiences and emotions, not belief systems. When you’re reaching unchurched people, don’t start with disagreement (belief), start with agreement (common experiences and emotions) and then get to belief later.

8. The more time you can spend in planning a service or experience, the more personal it becomes. Planning is the friend of the Holy Spirit, not His enemy. Often “I’m relying on God” actually means “I didn’t prepare”.

9. Our goal is not to be creative, but to leverage creativity for the sake of the mission and vision. Bingo.

10. A clean environment communicates that we’re expecting you. I wish this was in the Bible. Then I could preach at people about it. But it’s not. So quoting Andy will do.

11. An orderly environment communicates you know what you’re doing. I wish this was in the Bible too. Clean and orderly communicates so much about you and so much about how you value the people you’re welcoming.

12. People stop attending church because they disengage, not because they disagree. HUGE insight. Very few people walk out your door because of disagreement. Many leave because of disengagement.

13. Attention span is determined by the quality of the presentation. With all the talk about diminishing  attention spans, this is a clear reminder than 5 minutes of boring is 5 minutes too much, and 1 hour of gripping feels like not nearly enough. Pastors, before you use it to justify a 60 minute message, just make sure you’re that gripping.

14. A goal is something you accomplish. A win is something you experience. So true!

15. Creativity works best in the context of predictability. Creativity has constraints, but like obedience to the law, eventually the constraints bring a new kind of freedom.

Other Gems

1. Public loyalty buys you private leverage. Criticize privately, praise publicly. Your boss and colleagues will respect you. Flip it and they’ll fire you or never trust you.

2. Your direction, not intention, determines your destination. This principle came up numerous times. It’s just true. Good intentions amount to little.

3. Evaluate everything you do against your mission. This was from a session I attended led by Diane Grant. Diane is Andy’s Executive Assistant but a super strong leader in her own right. She owns this principles.

4. Great opportunities are a chance for a vision to drift. Again from Diane Grant. Exactly. And an opportunity does not equal an obligation. Stay true to the mission.

5. The loudest critics in the church are people who have become missionally disengaged. Clay Scroggins, a campus pastor at North Point, shared this nugget. So true. Why listen to people who are missionally disengaged give you feedback on your mission?

6. Kids begging their parents to go to church beats parents begging their kids to go to church. Invest in your family ministry environments. Chad Ward, UpStreet director at one of the North Point campuses shared this. So true. Get the kids, and you’ve got the parents.

Hope this helps.

What other learnings from Drive or Andy would you share?

Which is of these challenges you most and what will you do about it?

Did you like this post?
Did you like this post? Never miss another one again by subscribing!
  • Jennifer Reardon-Mcsoley

    Awesome!! Thank you for this! I often wish I was a fly on the wall at his meetings! Lol

    • http://careynieuwhof.com/ Carey Nieuwhof

      Tomorrow you get to be. Episode 1 of the podcast goes live tomorrow morning Jen!

  • Pingback: 21 Lessons from Andy Stanley’s Drive Conference, by Carey Nieuwhof: | The Barnabas Project Hawaii

  • Pingback: 11 Traits Of Churches That Will Impact The Future | Brian Dodd on Leadership

  • John Hendee

    Carey; Great stuff. I am the new Chair of World Evangelism at Hope International University. 30+ years ago I developed an evangelistic tool called a Peace Treaty with God. Recently I changed the name to It’s All About Relationship. They are four lessons. There are very effective with ALL kinds of people. The key is the APPROACH. If it is bad you don’t do the presentations with the folks in their home. If good, you get to. I and others have lead many people to Christ using this approach.

    What I’ve found is that less than 1% of our churches are preparing people how to share the Gospel one on one. That is horrific. We must change that. If you would be interested in learning more let me know. I’ve just finished 20 years of mission work in South American and am returning to do what I’m best at; training people in personal evangelism that is respectful and effective. I have a lot of success stories of the use of this tool from S.A. to the U.S. to Russia. I have done these studies with atheists, agnostics, religious people, hit men in prison, playboys, etc. etc.

    God bless you.

    Again, great stuff. I just ‘stumbled’ onto you on line or was it face book?
    Humbly yours in Him,

    John Hendee
    john.hendee@cox.net

  • Darin

    I’m a loud critic at my church, and I am missionally disengaged, because I think our mission is drifting and incoherent. Why listen to the missionally disengaged? Because they might have unique insight on the “mission” that the leadership needs to hear. I don’t really want to leave my church and my friends just because I see room for improvement. It’s not good for any organization to ignore or push out those who are invested in that body enough to stay involved and engaged despite their frustrations. Eventually there will need to be a decision on both parties whether to fish or cut bait, but hopefully that will be after much dialogue.

  • Pingback: The Unchurched | Christian Pundit

  • http://about.me/revchadbrooks chadbrooks

    Carey-I bookmarked this ages ago and came back to it this morning. The two things that really got me going? The emphasis on cleanliness and orderliness of your environment. I can’t tell you how many times I spend hours around my church fighting cleanliness.

    It quickly becomes forgotten about. I am not naturally a person who looks at these things, but have transformed in the last few years when I realized how big of an issue it is.

    • http://careynieuwhof.com/ Carey Nieuwhof

      You’re speaking my language Chad. I can obsess over cleanliness. Some of that is my issue, but some of it isn’t. The challenge is to make cleanliness a part of your culture. Most people who attend your church wouldn’t want to eat in a run down, cluttered restaurant. Why would they want their friends to come to a run down, cluttered church? I think if we see it that way, progress can be made. Our team now owns that value.

  • dawn888

    I live in a 55+ community, the Seniors are Unchurched Believers, most having been to church in years, so I began my own Bible Study here in our mobilehome park, slowly but surely they are coming to join in the Word, they are so thirsty… Small Groups are the solution. Check out Village 2 Village dot org, if we can do this in Ministry we might have a chance to prepare for lies ahead for America and the World. I am going to utilize the “get the children involved” by asking teens in the community to volunteer. Great suggestions! Thank you! All Prayers appreciated. Joining Harvest America for the September Salvation Outreach! We need to move quickly…

    • cnieuwhof

      i love your deep commitment to ministry where you’re at. Keep it up!

  • Berima Amo

    wow. you put words to my thoughts and beyond. thank you. Berima Amo, God Center, Ijburg Amsterdam, Holland.

  • seenit

    Reality — many do leave because of disagreement. The message is not the same and it does become watered down. These are mostly mature believers, many are leaders, and most are givers. Result: Weakened leadership, budget failure and mega-debt with lots of unchurched & seekers who don’t understand.

  • SSC – Melanie

    Love this one – Kids begging their parents to go to church beats parents begging their kids to go to church. Invest in your family ministry environments –
    It’s something we are working on at our church and it is starting to make a difference

    • SSC – Melnaie

      It’s also working with our youth volutneers….”Mom I’ve got to go in this week, I’m ON for story teller, the kids need me” Love hearing this from our teens

      • Carey Nieuwhof

        Me too. Wonderful sign!

  • Pingback: 7 Reasons We Do Church The Way We Do at LSA | lsachurch

  • http://www.matthewlaker.blogspot.ca/ matthew laker

    Thanks for sharing some things you picked up. Sparked some thoughts me, and I will have to share these with those on staff as part of our on going conversations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xjm716 John Mulholland

    #5 from “other gems” is fan-freaking-tastic.

    • cnieuwhof

      So true. They also usually have stopped giving long ago, despite what they tell you.

  • Heather Hill

    “You can’t make people fall in love with Jesus, you can just set up the dates”
    “You can’t grow spiritually unless you’re connected relationally”

  • http://joewickman.com/ Joe Wickman

    Fantastic post Carey. I’m sharing this one with my team.

  • cnieuwhof

    Thanks friends. And Chuck, you know that makes me smile!

  • Chuck C.

    Great insights and I have disseminated them to many others. Thanks, Carey

  • Kenny Campbell

    Awesome stuff, thanks for sharing!

  • Asdrubal Hernández

    Great…..! Thanks for the effort collecting all this! God bless you