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.


CNLP 20: How to Get Volunteers to Own Your Mission Like Staff Do—An Interview With Elevation Church’s Frank Bealer

Feel like nobody owns the mission like you do?

What if you could change that?

Frank Bealer from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina shares how they have motivated thousands of volunteers to own the mission as much as staff do to help grow the church to over 18,000 people in 8 years.

Welcome to Episode 20 of the Podcast.


Guest Links

Lead e3

Frank Bealer on Facebook

Frank Bealer on Twitter

Evolution Church

Evolution Church on Facebook

Evolution Church on Twitter

Links Mentioned in this Episode

The Orange Conference 2015

Donald Miller

Jon Acuff

Reggie Joiner

Doug Fields

Jeff Henderson

Jud Wilhite

Perry Noble

Josh Gagnon

John Ortberg

Hillsong Conference

Brian Houston

Steven Furtick

Elevation GTA

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Andy Stanley’s Making Vision Stick

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

A volunteer’s role is essential to nurturing the mission of the church, and getting them to take ownership of that mission lies in the role of church leaders. Here are three things you can do now:

1. Give volunteers a great environment and real responsibility. Elevation Church makes it a point to invest in their volunteers and give them permission to lead. Frank began serving eight hours a day at Elevation on his only day off because of two key factors. First, they gave him real responsibility. He led at a very high level. Second, they made it easy for his family, feeding the family breakfast and lunch and keeping the kids engaged and growing spiritually.

2. Identify what ownership means. Communicate what you expect of volunteers and what they can expect from the church. When that initiative is taken, you paint a picture of what that ownership looks like. Elevation Church gives volunteers permission to lead in increments, based on whether or not a volunteer can handle their designated responsibilities.  This caters to the culture of volunteering and nurtures the responsibility of ownership. This leaves room for changes, corrections and improvements that can better serve the church.

3. Start by answering, “Why?” To give purpose to a mission, there must be a reason that resonates with the volunteer. Clearly communicate the connection between the need of the church and why their service has purpose – Allow them to see the bigger picture. If someone can’t see the church’s vision, don’t blame their lack of understanding, but take a look at how you’re presenting the message.

Quotes from Frank

A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning.

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from great leaders such as Derwin Gray, Ron Edmondson, Jon Acuff, Rich Birch, Ted Cunningham, Tony Morgan, Craig Jutila, Kara Powell, Casey Graham, Perry Noble, and Andy Stanley.

Subscribe via



TuneIn Radio

Appreciate This? Rate the Podcast.

Hopefully this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast in iTunes and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn Radio as well.

Your rating and review helps gets the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

We’ve had 150 reviews so far across all platforms. Leave one and I may feature yours on my podcast page. I read every one and appreciate them all!

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Brian Dodd

Momentum is such a difficult thing to gain and such an easy thing to lose. Brian Dodd explains the 10 steps he used to help a flatlined organization get back on track in 90 days and how those principles can help you.

Subscribe now, and you won’t miss Episode 21.

Got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Pharisees are running your church

7 Signs the Pharisees Are Running Your Church

So are the Pharisees running your church?

Interesting question.

How would you know?

And perhaps, more appropriately, how would you know if that was you? 

You could argue that the since the religious leaders nailed Jesus to the cross, there’s no way you would have done that.

But seriously, how would you know? If you really read the Bible—I mean really read it—it’s pretty challenging.

I read stories like Matthew’s calling in Matthew 9 and think, I might have been frustrated by Jesus too. When a person hangs out with hookers, criminals and other morally sketchy people, I’d question him as well.  Which of course, would squarely puts me in the company of the Pharisees.

Hence my worry.

How do you know the Pharisees aren’t running your church?

How do you make sure that Pharisee isn’t you?

 Pharisees are running your church

I’m Not A Pharisee…I’m Just Righteous

In many Christian circles, Pharisee is just a bad labelWe throw it at someone we don’t like, we disagree with or generally think should suffer.

But as I pointed out in this piece (The Top 10 Things Pharisees Say Today), the Pharisees are more nuanced than commonly thought to be.

Part of the tension we lose in the dialogue today is that the Pharisees really tried to be righteous. They knew their Bibles as well as anyone. Their devotion was, purportedly, deep.

And Jesus said they missed the boat. His most scathing words were reserved for people who claimed to be speaking for God.

7 Signs the Pharisees are Running Your Church

So what are the signs that the Pharisees are running your church?

What are the signs that you might be that leader?

Here are 7.

1. Your leaders like to show off

Check those stats. Did you see how many downloads that message got? How many likes that photo picked up? Or that visitor who said he thinks you’re as good as that mega-preacher guy?

Or, worship leaders, think about your mad guitar skills or your new V-Neck or fierce beard.

Or admin types…check out the bullet proof system I put together.


We all want to be better, or cooler (even though cool church is dying), don’t we?

But sometimes in our pursuit to improve our skill, we lose our soul.

Here’s a key distinction.

When you’re focused on how you’re doing more than you’re focused on how the people you’re serving are doing, you’ve kind of lost the game.

When you’re more focused on your performance than you are on the mission, there’s trouble ahead.

Stop showing off. Stop trying to get better for the sake of trying to get better.

Focus relentlessly on serving God and serving people, and an amazing thing might happen. You’ll likely get better.

But at that point, you might not even notice.

Which would be awesome.

2. Everyone thinks they’re a little better than everyone else

One of the big differences between the Pharisees and the ‘sinners’ Jesus hung out with, is how they felt about themselves.

The Pharisees thought they were right.

That’s dangerous territory for leaders because often we think we’re right or that our positions (theological or philosophical) are right.

So, do you think your view is simply better than others? Or that you’re better than others? A little less sinful? A little more together? A little smarter? A little wiser? Spend a lot of time criticizing others and asserting how right you are?

There’s the Pharisee.

3. There’s this love of money thing going on

Money. Could there be a more fun topic in the church?

Ministry needs money to run on. I get that.

As a general rule, underfunded ministries are ineffective in the long run. This is true of any ministry or charitable organization. I actually agree with Dan Pallotta that the most important causes in the world should be the most generously funded. (If you haven’t heard his TED talk, stop reading this blog post and watch it.)

And in church world and non-profit world, there’s a constant push to expand the mission, so there’s regular pressure on giving.

And I think talking about money in church can be wonderful. I really do. Giving, after all, is a spiritual discipline. In the same way I need to read my bible, pray, serve and invest in people who don’t know God, I need to give. All of these things are part of what I do as a Christian.

We all need money. And ministries need money.

But when you start to love money…you’re in trouble.

So how do you know you might love money?

Here are some thoughts.

When you’re excited about what the money is doing for you, not what it’s doing for the mission, you’ve crossed a line.

When you refuse to have any financial accountability or wise people (to whom you’re accountable) speak into the details of your financial life, you’ve allowed money to become a master, not a servant.

Or, answer this: if your church cut your wages, would it also cut your joy (assuming you could find enough money to live on elsewhere)?

Money makes a wonderful servant in ministry, but a terrible master.

4. There’s too little compassion

In some leadership circles, lack of compassion is worn as a badge of honour.

I used to joke about mercy not being one of my spiritual gifts. Okay, sometimes I still joke about my natural lack of compassion.

Ironically, sometimes a lack of compassion helps you lead well. If you are too empathetic and overly sensitive to how people feel, you will get dashed on the rocks of leadership. Jesus had to push past a lot of competing voices to accomplish his mission. So did Moses, Paul and myriad other leaders.

But as committed as Jesus was to truth, he was exceptionally compassionate. He was frequently moved with compassion. And he rebuked the Pharisees for their lack of it.

God’s compassion is why you’re a Christian in the first place.

And if you haven’t noticed, people outside the church aren’t much attracted to compassionless, self-righteous leaders.

If you lack compassion…repent.

I have repented and am repenting. I’ve got a long way to go, but God will make the compassionless more compassionate if you ask him.

5. Leaders expect others to do what they don’t do

Practice what you preach is one of the oldest mantras around. And yet, if you’re a preacher, it can be very hard to do.

You can convince yourself you’re exempt, or you’re just being ‘obedient’ and teaching what you’re supposed to teach, when you know you’re only half walking the walk.

Cue the big buzzer.

Pretending to be something we’re not and claiming privileges we don’t extend to others are 2 of  5 things I listed here that give pastors a bad name with unchurched people.

And remember, those of us who teach actually get held to a higher standard than others.

So, teach with fear and trembling. And humility. And accountability.

6. No one’s closer to God

Strangely enough, the Pharisees were anxious to win converts. So am I.

Yet Jesus condemned the Pharisees, pointing out that they travel over land and sea to win a single convert but in the process, they make him twice as much a son of hell as they are.


So…here’s a question.

Are people closer to God after following you?

Sure, not everyone will be. We’ve all read the parable of the sower.

But after 3 to 5 years, do most people look more like Jesus or less like Jesus? Or to use another metaphor Jesus used, is there fruit? If you claim to be growing an orchard, where are the apples?

Sure, we’re not perfect. We’re being sanctified over time by the Holy Spirit. But overall, people should be moving closer to Jesus.

Are they?

7. The leaders are jealous

Spend even a few minutes in the Gospels, and you’ll see the Pharisees and other religious groups get jealous of any advance any other group makes.

Each group wanted to be on top. If the Saducees won, the Pharisees lost. If Jesus made more disciples than they did, their blood boiled.

So how’s your heart with that church down the road…the one that’s growing?

How’s your heart when you hear some other church picked up yet another one of ‘your’ families?

Hate it when other people they tell you they love listening to X’s podcast at the gym?

The jealousy thing even infected John the Baptist’s disciples. But John got it right…it’s not about him. He must decrease. Christ must increase. 

See what John did there? He said it out loud. He gave public recognition and praise to Jesus.

That’s what breaks the power of jealousy.

If you’re jealous, publicly praise whoever you’re jealous of. Celebrate them.

It will break the darkness inside.

That will also give you a clear heart and mind to get on with your mission. After all, you likely live in a region where there are thousands…okay, tens or hundreds of thousands…of unchurched people. Focus on that.

What Do You Think?

Before we jump to commenting, please know, I write this not to make the church worse, but in the hopes that in some tiny way it makes the church better.

I need to look in the mirror. Everyone who leads a church does. Far too much is at stake.

The church has enough critics (just read through the comments on this blog, any newspaper piece on religion, or pretty much any online place that talks about the church). But if we take the criticism we usually reserve for others and prayerfully apply it to ourselves, we’ll get better. We will.

And we have to.

I believe the church is the hope of the future.

So we just need to get better and healthier. And when we do, we’ll be far more effective.

Any additional signs you see that show that you may have turned Pharisee?

Scroll down and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!


7 Easy Ways to Ruin an Otherwise Great Sermon, Message or Talk (And How to Fix It)

If you’ve ever spoken in front a group, tried to motivate a team, or if you prepare messages almost every week like many of us do, you’ve probably wondered what makes for a great talk.

In fact, you’ve probably asked questions like these:

What’s the difference between a talk that flops and a talk that people still buzz about years later?

What’s the difference between a merely good message and incredibly great message?

What’s the difference between a sermon that changes someone’s life and one that no one can remember even as they drive out of the parking lot?

If you’re like me, those questions might even bother you.

I hope they do. They haunt me.

And yet every week gifted communicators kill the messages they bring by making at least 7 predictable, fixable mistakes.

The good news is that once you identify the mistakes, you can address them.


 7 Easy Ways To Ruin Your Talk

I’m writing from the perspective of a Christian who speaks. And as I wrote about here, I realize that the Holy Spirit is involved in a special way when we speak. He redeems terrible talks and converts people through his power, not our persuasive words. I get that.

But that shouldn’t be your fall back week after week.

The Holy Spirit’s work is not an excuse for laziness. It’s also no excuse for failing to develop a skill set that supports your gifting.

So if you’re at all interested in honing your gift set, identify and then address the 7 mistakes communicators make that almost always ruin a message:

1. Inadequate preparation

Here’s a tension every communicator faces: people will only ask you to do things that take away the time you’ve set aside to prepare your message; then they’ll criticize you for not being prepared.

I’m not slamming people. It’s just human nature.

That’s why you have to be exceptionally self-disciplined in setting aside time free from interruption to work on your talks. Yes your inbox will fill up. Yes the people who want to meet with you will be disappointed. And no, nobody is ever going to email you and ask you “Did you take 8 hours today to work on your message?”

So grow up. And take responsibility for becoming an excellent communicator. Eventually, people will thank you and understand you are making a valuable investment.

2. Poorly constructed introductions

Too many sermon introductions begin with a “Good morning”, and then maybe a weather report and some banter that’s supposed to create rapport. I used to do this too until I realized that as natural as it is, it’s not nearly the best way to connect with your audience (unless maybe you’re a guest preacher and need to connect with people you don’t know).

You’ve got about 30 seconds to capture people’s interest or lose them.

The best way to do this is to establish common ground.

Tell a story.

Talk about a tension or problem everyone faces.

Introduce the subject in a way that establishes why it matters.

Orient people to your topic (talk about the series, where you’re at and why it matters).

The truth is that too many communicators actually don’t think about how they will start. Change that. Even the mere act of intentionally thinking through your introduction will make it better.

3. Stories that go nowhere or everywhere

Stories are among the most powerful and memorable devices a communicator has. But there’s an art to story telling.

I am not a natural storyteller, so I have to work on ensuring I have enough stories to support a message. Some of you have the opposite problem. You have so many stories that you could fill 30 minutes with stories without even trying.

I know my challenge is to find a story that supports the point I’m trying to make…otherwise I will end up telling a story that goes nowhere just so I have a story in my talk.

If you’re a story person, your challenge will be to cut the number of stories you tell down to the level where each one supports a key point in your message. Otherwise, your stories will end up going everywhere and people will completely lose your point (assuming you have one).

4. Too many points

Every topic is a jungle. There are so many things you could say when you give a talk. A great talk focuses on the one thing you must say.

That’s really your job: to take a vast subject and zero in on the essence of what is most important. And it’s incredibly hard work.

It takes far more work to be clear than it does to be confusing.

When pressed for time, here’s what most of us do: we take 5 or 6 points that are interesting and staple them together and we call it our talk.

The more difficult thing to do is to distill all your learning into a single sentence around which you build the entire talk.

If you want some examples of how bottom lines work, you can access our Starve the Monster series from Connexus Church for free here. If you click on the ‘discuss’ button, you’ll see the bottom line for every week above the study questions. It’s hard to find a single sentence that crystallizes all your thoughts, it’s so worth doing. (My favourite bottom line of that series, by the way, is the bottom line from Part 3).

5. No clear call to action

Most messages focus on what people need to know.

As a result, most communicators fail to answer a crucial question: what people are supposed to do with what they’ve heard?

Are people supposed to think differently? Well, that’s good. But it’s so vague.

Here are two recent calls to action at Connexus, where I serve. During the Climate Change series, Jeff Henderson challenged people to ask three people (and God) this question: What’s it like to be on the other side of me.”  I did, and it generated several hours of amazing conversation.

During Skeptics Wanted, I told people it kind of lacked integrity to dismiss a book they hadn’t read, and challenged people to read the Gospel of Luke in 24 days; one chapter each day.

Because the call to actions in those messages were clear, people did something as a result of being in the room. Doing is almost always more powerful than simply hearing.

 6. Crash landings

I’ve been guilty of this too many times: crash landing a message. In the same way communicators don’t pre-plan their introduction, many of us fail to think about how we’ll end a message. So we crash land it.

Better to think it through.

These days, I usually close my reminding people of the call to action, reflecting on what will happen if they do it (some inspiration), and then often repeating the bottom line of the message.

You can create your own pattern for endings, but the point is to have an intentional ending, not an accidental ending.

7. Resistance to feedback

I realize how terribly painful it is to listen to a talk you’ve given, or worse, to watch a video of you giving the talk.

After decades of public communication, I still don’t like the sound of my own voice.  And I think I look like a complete geek on video. It’s painful to watch and listen to myself.

You know what most communicators do because of this?

They never watch or listen to themselves.

Question: why would you expect people to watch you speak if you won’t watch you speak?

You have to become methodical about evaluating yourself. Watch. Listen.

And create a system for feedback. Every Tuesday, six of us meet to review the weekend service. And everyone gets a chance to critique my message. Yes, it hurts sometimes. But I want to get better. I have to get better.

Read your inbox too. Don’t be defensive, but humbly ask God to let all feedback grow you as a person and as a speaker.

The more open to feedback you are, the better you will become.

Want Someone To Help You Get Better?

If you want more on how to become a better communicator, I would encourage you to sign up for the Preaching Rocket’s Core program. (affiliate link). Jeff Henderson is an incredible communicator, and through Preaching Rocket he shares his technique and the very best learnings from communicators like Andy Stanley, Judah Smith, Louis Giglio, Perry Noble, Nancy Duarte and more.

Right now they’re offering a free 7 day trial. Personally, Preaching Rocket has helped me take my communication to the next level. I hope they can help you as well.

What Mistakes Do You See?

I hope this is helpful.

What mistakes have you made as a communicator?

What mistakes have you seen others make? How would you address them?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.


CNLP 019: How to Replace Yourself: Why Every Leader (Even Young Leaders) Need a Succession Plan to be Successful—An Interview with William Vanderbloemen

Why on earth would you think about succession, especially if you’re a young leader?

Well, one of the hallmarks of great leadership is replacing yourself. Second, there is no success without a succession plan for any leadership role.

William Vandenbloemen explains why finding your replacement is an essential part of great leadership at all ages in all positions, and explains how to do it.

Whether you’re leading a small business, a large corporation, a church or a non-profit, replacing yourself and finding a successor are keys to any leader’s success.

Welcome to Episode 19 of the Podcast.


Guest Links



Next: Pastoral Succession That Works

Vanderbloemen Search Group

Vanderbloemen Search Group on Facebook

Vanderbloemen Search Group on Twitter

Links Mentioned in this Episode

The Orange Conference 2015

Russell Reynolds Firm

Episode 8 with Rich Birch

Bill Hybels

Rick Warren

Brad Lomenick

John Maxwell

Transition Plan by Bob Russell

2014 Large Church Compensation Report 

Catalyst Conference

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Discussing succession within church leadership doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

There are many stories in the Bible that are catered around succession – Even Jesus spent his last days with those he wanted to spread the Gospel.

Here are three things you can do to be prepared:

1. Start the conversation. From day one, leadership in the church needs to start thinking about what succession looks like in all areas of ministry. According to research conducted by William’s firm, U.S. and Canadian pastors, on average, go through 3 or 4 pastoral transitions throughout their careers. In fact, William points out that every pastor is technically an interim pastor, no matter what position they hold.

Keep this in mind – Having a successor in place doesn’t make you less valuable; it makes you more valuable to the church.  If you’re concerned that succession planning could cause conflict among church leadership, or if your pastor isn’t willing to have the conversation, look for an outside source that may have greater leverage to get the process started.


2. Develop a plan for picking a successor. There is an age curve in the work force that’s described as the “double humped camel.” The large hump represents the Baby Boomers, many of whom are retiring. The people in the middle represent the Gen-Y’ers, and the second hump is representative of Millennials. This generation gap has created a scarcity of people for upcoming opportunities, something William compares to finding a match for an organ transplant. It’s like hiring an outsider to come inside the body to run a major organ system, and the trick is finding a “donor list” (candidates) of good tissue matches.

Have a plan for what this process looks like within your church, because William emphasizes that it’s really easy to find the wrong person.

3. Don’t overstay because you’re afraid to tackle the issue. While there are exceptions, pastors tend to stay too long in their position. That trend is most common among senior leadership. Not only will pride sometimes hinder a pastor’s succession, but board members don’t want to go into “ministry battle.”

The reasons for overstaying are myriad. Many times, the senior pastor has married or baptized the family of his fellow board members, and to avoid conflict, succession is never discussed.  Senior pastors also struggle with losing their identity and losing their income. They can’t afford to retire, and they have no other way to identify themselves. William says that the smartest young professionals are those who spend their younger years creating options for their later years. Smart pastors will start to develop an avocation, and smart church boards will free up the pastor to pursue that.

It all begins with starting the conversation.

Quotes from William

A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning.

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from great leaders such as Derwin Gray, Ron Edmondson, Jon Acuff, Rich Birch, Ted Cunningham, Tony Morgan, Craig Jutila, Kara Powell, Casey Graham, Perry Noble, and Andy Stanley.

Subscribe via



TuneIn Radio

Appreciate This? Rate the Podcast.

Hopefully this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast in iTunes and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn Radio as well.

Your rating and review helps gets the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

We’ve had 150 reviews so far across all platforms. Leave one and I may feature yours on my podcast page. I read every one and appreciate them all!

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Frank Bealer

Feel like nobody owns the mission like you do? Frank Bealer from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina shares how they have motivated thousands of volunteers to own the mission as much as staff do to help grow the church to over 18,000 people in 8 years.

Subscribe now, and you won’t miss Episode 20.

Got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

how to make your church ineffective

9 Surefire Ways to Make Your Church Completely Ineffective

Very few leaders go into church leadership as pastors, staff, board members or volunteers hoping to be ineffective.

And yet so many churches and church leaders end up that way—ineffective.

You might be stuck in a church like that right now. Or even if you would say your church is ‘effective’ overall, there’s a very good chance there are areas of your ministry that aren’t. Or maybe you realize you’ve become less effective than you used to be.

Why is that?

Sometimes it’s because people have lost faith or lost their faithfulness. But often that’s not the case.

I see many churches populated with people who love God but have become completely ineffective.

And often the issues are behind that are practical, and fixable.

If you’re willing to go where most leaders don’t go, that is.

 how to make your church ineffective

9 Ways to Make Your Church Ineffective

What do I mean by ‘ineffectiveness’? Great question.

I simply mean not accomplishing what you set out to accomplish.

For most of us in church world, that means something like leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus and growing by becoming a church unchurched people love to attend.  At least that’s what we’ve set out to accomplish (it’s kind of the universal mission of the church). I imagine you are not that far off.

So, with that in mind, here are 9 ways to lose your effectiveness in ministry.

1. Don’t dream

The church should be the place where dreams are born and where dreams soar.

In far too many cases, churches have become the place where dreams die.

People with imagination, hope and optimism get squashed enough times that they stop dreaming.

And eventually, an ineffective church is marked as a place where people have long since abandoned thriving and are focused on merely surviving.

Want to be ineffective? Kill dreams.

2. Focus on yourself

Ineffective churches are almost always self-focused.

The natural mission of the church (and almost every healthy organization for that matter) has an outward thrust to it.

But many unhealthy organizations lose their focus on outsiders and instead focus on insiders.

I realize you might be pushing back on this and thinking Well, we can’t just ignore our insiders…we can’t ignore ourselves.

Change gears for a second. Do you know any people who focus exclusively on themselves?

That’s right. We call them self-absorbed, or selfish. And nobody really thinks hanging out with them is fun.

Why would anyone feel differently about a church that behaves that way?

3. Try to keep everybody happy

Trying to keep everyone happy is a recipe for misery. Yet so many churches serve dinner from that cookbook everyday.

You can’t keep everybody happy. You won’t keep everyone happy.

In fact, you will do the opposite: you will make everyone miserable. It doesn’t work in your family, so why would it work in your church?

Operating out of your convictions, with some empathy and sensitivity for those who see differently, is a far better approach.

Still not convinced?

I wrote more about why your church isn’t for everyone in this post.

I honestly wish more churches would just get on with trying to reach a certain group of people, realizing that in the process they will reach far more than that.

4. Squabble

I really want to walk into a great church fight. Said no unchurched person ever.

Squabbling, faction and division in the church has killed our evangelism efforts as effectively as anything.

So stop it. Just stop it.

Confess. Repent.

What if our churches became places of humility, grace and forgiveness?

Could you imagine?

5. Make mediocrity your standard

So solve a few problems and you’ll be more effective.

But as long as you’re mediocre, you’ll never reach your potential.

And for some strange reason, churches seems to love mediocrity.

Barely good enough seems to be good enough for many church leaders. Rather than try to do something well, churches have become famous for doing almost nothing well.


I think at the heart of it is a tension between inclusiveness and effectiveness.

This often comes up in places like a music team when someone who can’t sing wants to sing, and many church leaders cave to the pressure. (There’s a strategy around that, by the way.)

Last year, our church adopted 6 values. One of my personal favourites is “Battle Mediocrity: Am I allowing what’s good to stand in the way of what could be great?”

I could camp on that all day.

6. Treat every Sunday like just another Sunday

If you’re bored heading into next Sunday, why wouldn’t everyone else be?

In the church, every Sunday is resurrection Sunday. The same power that was at work to raise Jesus from the dead is the same power that is at work in us. (And no, I didn’t make that up.)

If every Sunday is boring to you a leader, maybe you haven’t read the Bible. Or don’t know God. Or don’t get amazed by seeing what happens when God gets involved in someone’s life.

7. Never articulate a strategy

Passion is one thing…and you’ve got to have passion.

But passion combined with an effective strategy is explosive.

Many churches are afraid to articulate a strategy because it’s divisive. Leaders are afraid that not everyone will like it. And that’s true. But see point #3 above.

Ironically, you will eventually become more effective because your strategy is a little controversial. In fact, a clear strategy is one of the secrets to creating a highly motivated team.

Finally, if you have a clear strategy, your team will become more passionate about it. (You can’t become passionate about fuzz, after all.)

This post will walk you through the process of getting your church passionate about your mission vision and strategy.

But first, of course, you need to articulate a strategy, as scary as that might sound.

8. Avoid all risk

Christians teach their kids stories like David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, and then spend all their time trying to make sure no one gets hurt, nothing gets lost, and everyone is ‘safe’ in the end.

The disconnect is profound if you think about it.

Read the Bible. Live the opposite way: Don’t trust God. Play it safe. Live an insignificant life. Risk nothing. 

How do you know whether you’re trusting God or just being stupid? I outlined that distinction here.

But for the most part, we’re just not trusting God nearly enough.

9. Decide you don’t like unchurched people

Too many churches have defined themselves by what they’re against, not what they’re for.

If you really don’t like the people you’re trying to reach, why would they hang out with you? Seriously.

That’s one of the reasons I love what Gwinnett Church is doing with their #forgwinnett campaign.  Seriously, you should check it out..

Do you love your neighbours? Really love them? Or do you judge them, look down on them, think you’re better than they are?

Love ‘em, and you’re likely to reach them.

Don’t and you won’t.

Not judging unchurched people is one of the 9 signs you’re ready to actually reach unchurched people. (Here are the other 8).

Any Other Ways?

Any other sure-fire ways to make a church completely ineffective?

Or, alternatively, what you have done that has helped?

Scroll down and let me know in the comments!

likeability in leaders

3 Hard But Powerful Truths about Likeability and Leadership

So you probably want people to like you. Who doesn’t?

Often when people say they don’t care whether people like them, it’s because they used to care whether people like them, but they got burned and as a result have become a bit jaded, closed and maybe even cynical.

If we’re gut-honest with each other, most of us would rather be liked rather than not liked.

The rise of social media makes this tension even more present daily. Did anyone ever post a picture or update and not want it to be liked or shared? Social media is turning already insecure leaders into like-aholics.

Which poses a challenge for all of us who lead.

Do we lead? Or should we be likeable?

Can you lead and be likeable?

And what happens if you choose one over the other?

This is a tension that ruins a lot of leadership potential. But it can be managed. Here’s how.

likeability in leaders

3 Hard But Powerful Truths About Likeability and Leadership

The tension between likeability and leadership is much older than social media. Every leader in every generation has had to struggle with it at some level.

While you may never resolve the tension, understanding it and keeping it in front of you will help you navigate it better.

Here are 3 hard but powerful truths about the tension.

1. If you focus on being liked, you won’t lead

Leadership requires you to take people to destinations they would not go without your leadership.

Stop for a moment and, if you would, re-read that sentence.

Do you see the challenge?

Leadership is inherently difficult because it requires a leader to take people where they don’t naturally want to go.

So you have a choice as a leader.

You can focus on leading people, or focus on being liked.

When you focus on being liked, you will instinctively try to please the people you’re leading. And when you do, you will become confused.

Pleasing people is inherently confusing because people don’t agree. One person wants it one way. Another wants it another way.

And soon, you’re bending over backwards to make everyone happy, which of course means that in the end, you will end up making no one happy, including yourself. It’s actually a recipe for misery for everyone.

It’s also a recipe for inertia.

If you focus on being liked, you won’t lead. You will never have the courage to do what needs to be done.

By the way, if you’re a real people pleaser by nature, here’s a post outlining 5 ways people pleasing undermines your leadership.

2. You will have to withstand seasons of being misunderstood

Effective leaders are prepared to be misunderstood.

There will be seasons in leadership in which you will be misunderstood.

Your motives, strategy and skill will be questioned.

It happened to Moses. It happened to Jesus. It happened to Paul. It will happen to you if you’re leading.

There are two extremes that happen when leaders are misunderstood.

Some leaders think everyone else is wrong and they’re absolutely right.

Some leaders believe the critics must be right and question themselves…to the point of quitting the change or quitting entirely.

We’ve all seen leaders who are convinced they’re right and everyone else is wrong. Not fun.

So how do you ensure you’re not that person without becoming the person who caves or becomes paralyzed in the face of opposition?

Simple. Test your motives. Ask yourself:

Is this change really going to help people? Or am I doing it for a selfish or questionable reason?

If the change isn’t faithful, helpful or going to help people in the long run, abandon it.

If it is faithful and it’s going to help people in the long run, stick with it.

Leadership is a little like parenting. You do things your kids dislike because it’s good for them.

And in leadership, you lead people through seasons they don’t want to go through because in the end, it’s good for them.

And if it’s good for them, most of them will thank you in the end. Your job is to get them to the point where they benefit from the change.

Which is why you need to learn to endure being misunderstood when the misunderstanding arises from a legitimate change that, in the end, moves the mission and the community to a better place.

If you struggle with opposition to change, I outlines a detailed five part strategy on how to navigate change in the face of opposition in my book, Leading Change Without Losing It.

3. You can lead and still be likeable

So, you might think, you’re basically saying I have to be a jerk  or a cold, calloused human being to lead?

Not at all.

Just because you’re leading people to a place they would not naturally go doesn’t mean you have to abandon grace, humility, kindness, forgiveness or mercy.

In fact, the more you embrace characteristics like mercy, kindness, forgiveness, grace and humilty, the more effective you will be at leading change.

The trick is that there might not be an immediate pay back.

There’s a tendency in all of us that longs for the dynamic of ‘offer and acceptance’.

I offer you forgiveness, you accept.

I offer you mercy, you say thank you.

I show kindness, you reciprocate.

There will be entire seasons of your leadership in which you will offer all of the above and more and people will not reciprocate.

You have to learn to be okay with that. Even when you’re not okay with it.

When people don’t respond in kind, you must still be gracious, still be humble, still be kind, still be forgiving, even if it hurts. And it will hurt.

But in the end, your character will win out.

Usually, if the change is a good one and you have led well, people will ultimately see it was a good move. And they will eventually be thankful for it and often for you.

Sometimes—even if the change is good—there will be a few who never thank you and still don’t like you. That’s okay, because you took the high road. You can look in the mirror with some satisfaction knowing you did all that you could and did it with all integrity. You fought the good fight.

God sees what people don’t.

And sometimes, that’s enough.

So do the things that make someone likeable without worrying whether people will like you.

You will lead better.

And people will be well led.

What are you learning about leadership and likeability? Anything you’d add to this list?

Scroll down and let me know what you think in the comments.

how to control your calendar

6 Ways to Control Your Calendar So It Doesn’t Control You

StevensTimIf you struggle with time management, you don’t want to miss today’s guest post by Tim Stevens, a team leader with the Vanderbloemen Search Group, an executive search firm that helps churches and ministries find great leaders.

Previously, Tim was the executive pastor at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana. During his twenty years there, he helped grow the church to more than 5,000 gathering weekly in three locations and saw a worldwide impact.

Tim just released his latest book, Fairness Is Overrated: And 51 Other Leadership Principles to Revolutionize Your Workplace.


Mark Batterson wrote, “If you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you.”

Alan Lakein said, “Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is to waste your life, but to master your time is to master your life and make the most of it.”

Scott Peck is credited with saying, “Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

And I’ve heard a hundred preachers say, “Show me your checkbook and your calendar, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

I agree with all these statements. Leaders who don’t have control of their calendars will constantly be spinning out in the dirt without making much progress. Life will seem frantic and hurried, yet it will be difficult to pinpoint what they are actually getting done.

how to control your calendar

I’m not the king of time management, but I do live and die by my calendar. Everything that is important in my life goes on my calendar.

Here are six principles that help me:

1. Put priority items on your calendar first

Perhaps you’ve seen the illustration where the presenter tries to fill a jar with a combination of big rocks and little rocks. If the presenter fills the jar with the little rocks first, he is not able to fit very many big rocks in the jar. However, if he fills it with all the big rocks first, then he can add many of the little rocks in and around the big rocks.

The analogy breaks down if you go very far with it, but the foundation is true.

You must put priority things (e.g., time with your spouse and kids, vacation, strategic planning, and vision time) on the calendar first.

Otherwise you’ll never find time for those priorities.

2. Stack your meetings

If it’s within your control, try to schedule all your meetings on the same day or two each week.

I knew I wouldn’t get much productive work done on those days, but I was going to have some great conversations, help move the ball down the field on some projects, and keep my staff moving forward because of our connections.

Stacking your meetings will keep you from getting bitter about meetings ruling your life, and it will leave you with a couple days where your schedule is relatively open.

3. Schedule your rest

If you don’t plan for rest and renewal, it won’t happen.

My calendar will always fill up if I don’t plan for some down time. I’m always amazed when I hear people say, “I’m going to try to take a couple days off next week. I just have to see how the week goes.”

What? Are you kidding? You can’t wait for the right time to unwind or take a vacation with your family. It will never happen.

Get the dates on the calendar months in advance. Always be looking at your schedule for busy seasons ahead. Make sure you plan some time in the middle of those seasons to unwind and get centered.

4. Manage your travel schedule

If you don’t travel, skip over this one. But many leaders have to be on the road.

A few years ago I noticed my travel schedule was getting out of hand. One year I was gone eighteen nights, the next year it was twenty-five, then thirty-two, then forty-seven. This was not a good trend.

Because my kids were younger, and because my wife was not able to travel with me often, I was unwilling to see that trend continue.

So I sat down with my wife and my boss, and we figured out that thirty nights away from home was a reasonable number for me during that season. Any more than that, and my priorities started to get out of whack.

If it was much less than that, it was more difficult for me to get my job done. I don’t think the number thirty is magical, but I do think it’s important for anyone who travels regularly to find the right amount that balances family, business, and personal health.

5. Go home before the work is done

This is difficult whether you are in business or the church world. (In ministry, we convince ourselves someone might go to hell if we go home too soon!)

When you go home before the work is done, it means you are leaving something really good behind. But you can’t wait until your to-do list is complete or until the phone stops ringing before you head home to your family.

The work is never finished. Just go home!

(Note: If you are a slacker, then please ignore this point. You actually shouldn’t leave until your to-do list is done.)

6. Leave room for people and leave room for God

It is easy to fill up your calendar and not leave room for what God might bring along your path.

I had a friend who called these “Godadents” instead of accidents. If my calendar is booked solid, I don’t have the flexibility when someone drops by my office or a crisis comes up that needs attention.

I try to monitor this by blocking more time than is needed for appointments, leaving a buffer between appointments, and keeping my door open as often as possible.

This is just as important for Christian business leaders. Part of your calling as a follower of Jesus is to love and care for people—and that begins with the people already in your life. Make room to ask your employees about their lives, their dreams, and their hurts.

John Maxwell summed up calendar management this way: “The key to becoming a more efficient leader isn’t checking off all the items on your to-do list each day. It’s in forming the habit of prioritizing your time so that you are accomplishing your most important goals in an efficient manner.”

FairnessIsOverrated[1]-2What are you learning about controlling your calendar? What interferes with your desire to manage time?

Scroll down and leave a comment! And remember to check out Tim’s new book, Fairness Is Overrated


CNLP 018: What Makes Content Go Viral and How You Can Make A Bigger Impact Online. An Interview with Brian Orme

How do you get people to share the content you create?

Ever wonder if you can you make something go viral?

Those are great questions that most leaders wonder about at one time or another.

In this episode, we answer those questions and much more as we talk to a leader who’s had experience getting 100 million unique visitors a year on his website—Brian Orme, Editor at FaithIt, SermonCentral, and Outreach Magazine.

Welcome to Episode 18 of the Podcast.


Guest Links




Church Leaders

Outreach Magazine

Sermon Central

Free Download: Brian’s Tips on Creating Shareable Content

Want the free resource on creating shareable content I talked about in the podcast?

Just provide your name and email address below and I’ll send you the free PDF created by Brian Orme right away.

* indicates required

Links Mentioned in this Episode

A New Perspective for Mom

See That Box? That’s Where They Put the Babies. And It’s the Most Remarkable Think You’ll See All Week

This Bride and Groom Just Did Some Dirty Dancing In Front Of a Whole Wedding Party. Totally Kid Friendly

3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

Links to Writing a Better Headline

8 Reasons Most Churches Never Break the 200 Attendance Mark

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Creating viral content doesn’t have a cut and dry formula, but there are steps you can take to produce better content that has the ability to go viral. Here are three things you can do right now:

1. Create fresh, quality content. Brian says FaithIt produced around 1,000 stories between 2013 and 2014, but only 10% of those stories went viral or received 1,000,000 views. While increasing volume of your content improves the chances of something going viral, the quality of the content is what ultimately influences shares.  First, think about how your audience wants to consume media, whether it’s digital or on paper. Second, learn how to create a great headline that makes the reader want to click on your content. Finally, use an image that appeals to your audience. Brian says that sometimes the picture alone is what will draw readers to your content. Long term, what makes content shareable is if it has an authentic story behind it. People share stories that generate a high arousal of emotion because they want to share that positive experience with someone else.

2. Speak to a popular, underlying issue and take a different approach. Brian mentioned an issue that’s all too familiar to church – We see youth walk away from God. There are several stories on the web about why youth leave the church, but one story that went viral addressed the issue in a unique way. “3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church” was actually circulated a few different times. It took a positive, fresh approach that made readers want to share it.

3. Use social media to engage, not just inform, people. Social media can be a great tool for sharing content and developing relationships. Rather than push a message to those who follow you, create a conversation that builds a community. Churches and church leaders don’t have to be on every social media platform, but the platforms they use should have a solid strategy. Leaders need to identify where their audience is, think about how they should create conversation and understand how to engage with their followers in a way that provides value to both parties. See a comment that you like? Like it! Read a tweet you enjoyed? Favorite it! Respond to your followers, and they’ll appreciate that you’re listening.

Quotes From Brian

A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning.

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from great leaders such as Derwin Gray, Ron Edmondson, Jon Acuff, Rich Birch, Ted Cunningham, Tony Morgan, Craig Jutila, Kara Powell, Casey Graham, Perry Noble, and Andy Stanley.

Subscribe via



TuneIn Radio

Appreciate This? Rate the Podcast.

Hopefully this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast in iTunes and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn Radio as well.

Your rating and review helps gets the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

We’ve had 150 reviews so far across all platforms. Leave one and I may feature yours on my podcast page. I read every one and appreciate them all!

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: William Vanderbloemen

Why on earth would you think about succession, especially if you’re a young leader? William Vandenbloemen explains why finding your replacement is an essential part of great leadership at all ages in all positions, and explains how to do it.

Subscribe now, and you won’t miss Episode 19.

Got a question?

Scroll down and leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

One Single Word Every True Leader Embraces…That’s Far Too Easy To Abandon

There’s a single word every true leader uses regularly, that far too many leaders abandon early into their leadership.

In fact, the more successful you become, the more tempted you will be to abandon it.

Others abandon it too. Leaders who become conservative (not politically, but attitudinally) are likely to abandon it. So is the fearful leader.

Yet every great leader clings to it. It’s one of the things that makes them great at leader.

So what’s the word?

The word is attempt.

Here’s why it matters more than you think.


 When Something Good Sounds Bad

I was just recently reminded of why leaders abandon a great word.

After I did an interview I did with Josh Gagnon, founder of Next Level Church (which grew from 0 to over 2000 people in four locations in just 6 years….in New England), I heard from a number of church planters who were inspired by the interview. (You can listen to Josh’s story here.)

Here’s what I wanted to say to the church planters: “I love what you’re attempting.”

But the 140 character universe we live in, I didn’t use attempt because I thought it would be heard negatively, as in nice attempt…too bad it won’t work out.

So I said I love what you’re doing instead.

But their attempt is actually what I admire most. Really admire.
We need more leaders who attempt things.

We need more leaders who risk, who believe, who experiment…who attempt.

Attempting something is difficult, because if it’s truly an attempt, you have no guarantee it will work.

Which is why so few people do it.

It’s easier to play it safe…to stop risking…to cut the losses.

Stop attempting things things consistently enough, and you eventually stop leading. You’ll simply manage what you’ve already built.

Here’s What’s At Stake

Want to know what’s at stake?

More than you think.

Whatever you decide to attempt, there’s so much at stake.

If you’re not attempting, you’re not trusting.

If you’re not attempting, you’re not innovating.

If you’re not attempting, you’ve stopped believing.

If you’re not attempting, you’re no longer blazing a trial.

And ultimately, if you stop attempting, you’ll stop inspiring.

And the reason you’ll stop attempting is because you’re simply afraid to fail.

Everything Remarkable Started as an Attempt

Almost everything that’s truly worth noting started as an attempt.

And more accurately, everything remarkable usually happened after numerous failed attempts.

This is true for things as diverse as:

Human aviation

The invention of the light bulb

Tablet computing

Climbing Mount Everest

Putting a man on the moon

Nothing truly remarkable happens with out some kind of attempt, often repeated attempts.

What Are You Attempting?

So the question for you to ask (honestly) is simple.

What are you attempting?

I don’t mean what are you doing. You can do a lot of things without creating anything of value.

But what are you doing that’s risky enough to fail?

What honestly deserves to called an attempt?

If you’re stumped, you’ve stopped leading.

If you realize this is a gap, address it by attempting something.

You know it’s truly an attempt only when you are completely uncertain whether it will succeed.

So….what will you attempt this week?

Any thoughts on why leaders embrace of shy away from attempting great things?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

5 Signs of Spiritual Maturity…That Actually Show You Lack It

The issue of spiritual maturity seems to provoke one of the super strange conversations in the North American and Western church today.

Here’s the bizarre part: some Christians end up criticizing other Christians for not being ‘deep’ enough or committed enough to be ‘real’ Christians. (The fact that this may not sound bizarre to you is, in itself, evidence of how bizarre this has gotten.)

There is apparently a certain subset of Christian who have maturity figured out, and the rest of us, well, not so much.

And yet often, what we call spiritual maturity…isn’t.

In fact, at least five of the common claims we make about having spiritual maturity actually show you lack it.

This is What The Conversation Sounds Like

So, to be clear, how exactly does this issue surface in conversation?

In leadership circles, the dialogue often starts with a question such as “what are you doing to disciple your people?” (emphasis on disciple, often said with a deeper voice than normal) or a dismissive statement like “so you’re attracting people, but then what?”

And it’s almost always said condescendingly, as though some people own the maturity franchise and enjoy watching other fellow-Christ followers squirm while they try to come up with answers that will only show how immature they really are.

I’ve been on the receiving end of that conversation many many times, because, well, our church reaches a lot of people who ordinarily don’t show up at church.

5 Signs of Spiritual Maturity…That Actually Show You Lack It

Before I outline the list, please know I’m not claiming to be ‘mature’. I’m not even claiming I understand the issue entirely.

I’m just saying there’s something broken in our dialogue and in our characterization of spiritual maturity.

As for me personally, I would hope I’m maturing, but have I arrived? Not a chance.

Discipleship is an organic, life-long process. It has something to do with what the ancients called “sanctification”. The process of becoming more and more holy, a term, which stripped from it’s strangeness, simply means to be ‘set apart’. Basically, it means you’re different than you were. And that process continues until you die. I’ve outlined a few of the markers of more authentic spiritual maturity in this post, and again here.

In the meantime, if you want to keep growing, here are 5 signs that pass for spiritual maturity in our culture that probably show you lack it.

1. Pride in How Much Bible You Know

Since when was it a good thing to be proud of how much bible you know, and to look down on people who didn’t know?

As Paul points out, knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Clearly he knew what he was talking about.

Some Christians strut their biblical knowledge like it was an accomplishment. That’s so wrong. 

I won my share of sword drills (remember those?) when I was a kid, and I take time to read and study the scriptures pretty much every day, but as far as I can tell I’m supposed to use that knowledge to function as a bridge to people, not as a barricade showing everyone else how righteous I am. Because, incidentally, last time I checked I wasn’t that righteous.

Use the bible as a bridge to the culture, not as a barricade against it.

To do otherwise puts us on the same ground as another religious group Jesus had strong views against. (Here’s a list of the Top 10 Things Pharisees say today.)

And it was never about what you know or don’t know, but about what God knows and who God loves.

2. Truth without Grace

In a similar vein, being all about truth is a problem as well.

I love how John phrases the arrival of Jesus: that Jesus came filled with truth and grace.

One of the things I love most about Jesus is that truth is never separated from grace, and grace is never separated from truth.

He was always grace-filled as he spoke what is true…in that the truth is always designed to lead toward grace.

Yet someone ‘mature’ people feel it’s okay to land on one side of the equation.

I’m a truth person, we tell people.

No…maybe you’re just a jerk. (And I say this as a guy who leans on the truth side of the equation.)

Whenever I am tempted to speak truth, I always have to come before God to ensure it is equally motivated by grace.

Could you imagine if we all did?

3. Grace Without Truth

The opposite of course is also true. In the same way truth isn’t truth without grace, grace isn’t grace when separated from truth.

Some ‘mature’ people on the other side of the theological spectrum avoid the truth side of the equation as though love floats with no backbone.

No, grace has a backbone. We nailed it to the cross.

You cannot separate grace from truth anymore than you can separate truth from grace.

It is an incredibly difficult line to find, but we must find it.

Grace without truth isn’t maturity any more than truth without grace is truth.

Clearly, we need a Saviour on this issue. And it’s a good thing for us He embodies both.

4. Harshness Toward Outsiders While Cutting Insiders Slack

Many people who consider themselves spiritually mature love to talk about how awful the world is.

And it is pretty terrible. Pick a headline almost any day. It’s awful.

God identified that as early as Genesis 6 (and if you take our theology seriously, he always knew it would be this way, which is a little mind-bending if you think about it). The passage from Genesis is worth quoting:

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.  So the Lord  was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.

So what did God do? He started again. What followed was an ark and a rainbow.

And ultimately God’s decision on his heartbreak was addressed in Jesus who came, as our favourite but often totally-missed-the-point verse tells us, God so loves the world and gave himself up for it not to condemn it but to save it.

So why do so many Christians behave like God hated the world?

Because the world is corrupt and sins, is the answer we hear back.

But the truth of the matter, Christian, is that you are corrupt and you sin.

But instead, we rail against the world’s sins as though it shouldn’t be sinning while cutting ourselves tons of slack on our moral failures.

What would happen if we started talking about church sins like gossip, gluttony, division and faction with the same conviction we use to talk about sexual sin?

I wrote about that in more detail here. (Perry Noble also wrote an great blog about why we turn a blind eye to a church sin like obesity but rail on about homosexuality.)

So…what if the church started to take its own sin more seriously than we take the world’s sin? I think that’s what we’re supposed to do.

Finally, if you’re still not convinced, study Jesus. You will discover he extended invitations to notorious sinners and outsiders, and reserved his harshest words for the religious people of his day.

We simply have it backwards.

If God so loved the world, who decided we shouldn’t?


And if you were trying to win people to open their lives to a loving God, why do you think leading with judgment is a great strategy?

Very few people get judged into life change. Many get loved into it.

5. Telling people you’re mature

This one mystifies me.

I’ve had more than a few people pull me aside over the years and ask “So what do you do for spiritually mature people like me?”

Stand back while people like you part the Red Sea I guess.

Telling people you’re mature is like telling people you’re wise…it’s kind of proof you’re not.

The most mature people, in my view, also tend to be the most humble.

If you’re strutting your maturity, it’s pretty clear you’ve got some growing to do.

What Do You Think?

I hope you can hear that this is borne not just out of frustration, but also out of love for God, for the church and for the world.

I’d love to see the conversation about spiritual maturity become more healthy.  As I’ve shared here, I think the church today is getting discipleship wrong. I’ve also argued we need a different kind of maturity in the church.

What have you seen?

What are some false markers of maturity?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And let’s shoot for grace and truth in the discussion, okay?