By Carey

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to audiences around the world about change, leadership, and parenting.

3 Common Phrases Every Leader Should Eliminate Today

You and I say things as leaders that work for us. And we say things that work against us.

Sometimes we know we’re saying counterproductive things…and sometimes we don’t. The latter is what this post is about.

The words you speak as a leader can make you a better leader…or create the opposite effect.

Often, you and I say certain phrases without thinking because, well, everyone says them. Yet saying the wrong words or phrases repeatedly set up a self-defeating pattern simply by being part of our vocabulary.

A while ago I wrote about 3 words every leader should banish from their vocabulary.

Today, I want to look at 3 common phrases to eliminate.

Unless I remind myself to stop saying these 3 phrases, I say them every day. And they never help me lead well. In fact, they do the opposite.

So what are they?

3 Common Phrases Leaders Should Eliminate

Here are the three phrases I’m banishing from my vocabulary as a leader.

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CNLP 001: How Andy Stanley Keeps Growing as a Leader, Why North Point Became So Big & More —An Interview with Andy Stanley

Andy talks about how he keeps growing as a leader, why, in his view, North Point grew as rapidly as it did to become one of America’s largest churches, and how Andy and his team are adapting to a constantly changing culture.

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5 Reasons Churches That Start Small Stay Small

So…you want your church to grow, right?

When I ask ministry leaders whether they want to see growth, almost every leader I’ve ever talked to says yes.

Sure…there are some house church movements that want to stay small. And some long time or xenophobic churches have lost their appetite for growth. And there are always a few people who think big=evil.

But most leaders want their churches to grow…and for good reasons most of the time. They want to reach people with the life changing love and forgiveness of Christ.

That is awesome.

But most churches don’t grow.

And most churches that start small stay small.



 Almost Nobody Starts Big

Well first of all, almost no church starts big. There are a few exceptions, like North Point.

But that’s the rare exception—almost all of churches start small. Even mega churches most often start with 5 people meeting in a living room and grow from there.

Big doesn’t have to be the destination for everyone.

But clearly, if you want to reach your community, growth is a natural by product of a mission being fulfilled.


I Don’t Want to Start Another Debate

Before we get to the main point, a qualifier. The last thing I want to do with this post is to start a debate on small church v. large church. We’ve had them before on other posts and keyboards have been set on fire on other blogs over this issue. No more, okay?

So, for the record:

There are lots of great small churches.

There are lots of great large churches.

There are some bad small churches.

There are some bad big churches.

There is no perfect or biblical number for church size.

No one can claim moral high ground in this discussion.

Can we agree on that? And even if you have different views, can we please not be disagreeable?

Once and for all, size doesn’t determine how significant your ministry is.

Rather, size becomes relevant only for those who are attempting to reach their community.

If you’re going to reach your community, you’re going to grow.

And if you’re going to grow, you have to figure out why certain things make a church grow and why certain things curtail growth.

5 Reasons Churches That Start Small Stay Small

For sure there are more than 5 reasons (I outline 8 related but different reasons why churches never grow past 200 here).

But just know there is no silver bullet.

Doing these 5 things is no guarantee your church will grow.

But the opposite is true.

If you don’t pay attention to these 5 factors, there is a very good chance your church won’t grow. At least not substantially or sustainably.

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Why Every Leader is An Interim Leader (And 5 Things You Can Do About It)

Today’s post is by William Vandenbloemen. William has developed an expertise in helping churches find top staff for their teams. 

He has some sage advice on how to plan for your replacement regardless of your age or how long you’ve been in your position.

So whether you’re a young leader or have only a decade left in full time leadership, William’s advice can help you set up your church or organization up for future success long after you’re gone. Personally, we’re going to implement his advice where I serve at Connexus. It will only make us stronger. – Carey


The truth is that we are all interim leaders.

There will come a day when you are no longer the leader of your church.

The key to a successful pastoral succession plan is to start planning now, no matter your age or tenure.

In the case of pastors, I spent the last year studying hundreds of pastoral successions along with Warren Bird, Head Researcher at Leadership Network.

We co-wrote a book called Next: Pastoral Succession That Works to help pastors, church leaders, and church board members to understand what they can do now to start preparing themselves and their church for the day their church will need a new pastor.  


Today is Better Than Some Day

There is not a singular pattern or set of rules for succession planning because there are many differentiating factors that make each succession process unique.

However, throughout our studies, we’ve seen a few cardinal rules pop up. They’re stunningly clear and universally applicable, no matter your situation or stage of planning.

These are steps you can start taking right now. These ideas can apply whether you’re 32 or 62, whether it’s your second year at your current church or your twenty-second, and whether you’re in a denominational appointment system or not.

You shape your future more than you might think. Start by taking ownership of your future succession.

Everyone wants to talk about succession planning until it’s his or her own. Too many pastors push away ideas of succession planning, because they think it is an unrealistic and overwhelming task.

The unknown variables can be scary: not knowing the future burdens and dreams that God might develop in your heart, the health and growth momentum of your present church, the ongoing “fit” between you and your present church, what your church board or district superintendent might do, or how your health or family circumstances might change.


5 Steps You Can Take Now

You can take these 5 steps now to begin planning your future.

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CNLP Preview: A Sneak Peak Into What Top Leaders Are Saying About Leadership Today

Ever wish you could have a conversation with top leaders about the issues that matter most in day to day leadership?

So do I.

Which is why I’m launching my new leadership podcast.

That’s exactly what it’s about, and it’s designed to help you lead like never before.

Today I have sneak peak episode preview for you featuring short clips with some of the leaders you’ll hear from in the first few months of the podcast. Just scroll to the bottom or jump on over to iTunes to listen.

And some new artwork for the podcast below. Hope you like it…thank for ALL the input from earlier subscribers. This was your fave hands down.


Clips From Top Leaders

In today’s episode, you’ll hear clips from Andy Stanley, Casey Graham, Jeff Henderson, Ron Edmondson, Rich Birch and more.

I hope this gives you a preview of some of the great conversations to come!


Episode 1 with Andy Stanley Launches Tuesday, September 9th

The first episode, featuring a 30 minute interview with Andy Stanley, goes live next Tuesday, September 9th.

In it, Andy talks about

  • how he keeps growing as a leader
  • where his message ideas come from
  • why he thinks North Point has been so successful
  • his view on other communicators re-preaching his series and content
  • how he’s had to adapt his ministry approach to a changing culture.

It’s a fascinating conversation I think you and your team will love.


Subscribed Yet?

The best way to never miss an episode is to subscribe via iTunes.

The podcast will also make it’s way to Stitcher (soon)  and will always be on this blog as well, including (starting next week) with full show notes outlining every link and resource mentioned in the podcast.

And to everyone who has left a rating and review, thank you!

If you haven’t but would like to leave a rating and review, I’d be so grateful. Your ratings and reviews help the podcast get seen by more people.

For all of you helping us to get the word out, thank you! Your work helped us get to #1 on iTunes in the US and Canada last week.  Here’s a screen shot from the US iTunes store last week. Amazing. :)

US iTunes Debut

Anything else you’d like to see on the podcast?

I’m open! Leave a comment.

In the meantime, have a listen to today’s preview.

5 Things Long Term Leaders Master (And Quitters Never Do)

Very rarely does success come from jumping from one venture to another every few years.

And very rarely does long term impact happen from short term tenure.

And yet in ministry and in life, people often jump from venture to venture or church to church hoping the next fit is better than the last fit, only to be perpetually disappointed.

One of the things that characterizes most leaders who make an impact in our generation is staying power. Andy Stanley has been at North Point since he started it 19 years ago.

Rick Warren has served at Saddleback for three decades. Craig GroeschelPerry NobleSteven Furtick and so many more have all had or are working on long term ministries.


Many Leaders Leave Before Their Critical Breakthrough

In my view too many leaders leave too often before critical breakthroughs happen.

Most people who become ‘overnight’ successes have put in a decade or more before anything really note-worthy has happened.

I’m not saying leaders should never leave. In fact, here’s a post outlining 5 signs it’s time to move on.

It’s just if you go too early, you can miss out on so much.


5 Things Long Term Leaders Learn to Master

Here are 5 things every leader who stays long term learns to master:

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CNLP Intro: The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast Introduction

Welcome to the first preview episode of my new Leadership Podcast!

In this ten minute teaser episode (scroll to the bottom or just jump to iTunes), I share the heart behind why I’m doing the podcast, what to expect AND I reveal the guest list for the first few months of episodes. I’m so pumped. :)


Your Early Response Has Blown Me Away! Really!

Wow! You blew me away. Seriously.

Because of YOUR support and YOUR awesomeness (and of course, because of God’s incredible grace), the podcast debuted at #1 in iTunes in the US and in Canada in both the Christianity and Religion and Spirituality categories. 

It even broke the Top 50 of ALL podcasts in the US and cracked the Top 10 of ALL podcasts in Canada. 

Are you kidding me?

Here’s the screen shot from the US iTunes rankings this week in Religion and Spirituality.

US iTunes Debut

This completely blew away all my expectations.

And it happened because

  1. You listened.
  2. You subscribed
  3. You shared.
  4. Some of you left (very kind) ratings and reviews (23 in the US iTunes store and 9 in the Canadian store – sweet!)

So you know how this works right? When someone is searching for Oprah or Buddhism, they find my podcast now too. And that’s a great thing for the Kingdom. Crazy!

What’s doubly nuts is we haven’t even really started yet. Episode 001 with Andy Stanley goes live on iTunes on Tuesday, September 9th.

So thank you. Really.

It’s Just Beginning

We haven’t got this all figured out by any stretch. So can you give this episode a listen? And let me know (in the comments):

Is the audio quality clear?

What do you think of the opener and closer?

Do you like the projected length?

Any guests you’d love to hear from?

A New Episode on Tuesday…Then the Debut

This Tuesday, September 2nd, I’ll release a second preview teaser episode with interview highlights. It’s a sneak peak of some of the amazing conversations to come.

And then the BIG debut happens on iTunes on Tuesday, September 9th when I release Episode 001—an interview with Andy Stanley.

All I can say is thanks.

The goal? To help you lead like never before.

You guys blew me away. It’s so amazing to be doing this together.

5 Things Every Church Leader Can Learn from the Mark Driscoll Situation

So let me start here.

I struggle with pride.

Do you?

Doesn’t everyone?

Pride is at the root of all sin. It is pride—the pursuit of self, of knowing better, of being right—that caused our fall in the first place. It is a daily struggle for me.

My heart broke this weekend as I read of the latest developments at Mars Hill Church as their Pastor, Mark Driscoll, temporarily stepped down. There’s a very (from what I can tell) balanced and fair article about the events here in Christianity Today if you want some background.

I need to say I don’t know Mark Driscoll. I’ve never met him.

And this is not a post where I’m going to pass any level of judgment on Pastor Mark or Mars Hill. He needs our prayers as does his family and church (My heart really hurts for his family in a season like this. They love their husband and dad. So does Christ.)

And even as I say “he needs our prayers” I realize that often in Christian circles we say that with a sense of superiority, as though he needs our prayers or she needs our prayers in way that I don’t.

Not even close to true.

No one prays with clean hands. I don’t. You don’t.

I need your prayers as desperately as Pastor Mark. So do you. So when we pray, we need to pray as those who come alongside each other before a merciful and just God and a Saviour we all so desperately need.

We are in this together.

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