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By Carey

Carey Nieuwhof is founding pastor of Connexus Church and is author of several best-selling books, including his latest #1 best-selling work, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.

Carey speaks to church leaders around the world about leadership, change and personal growth. In addition to writing one of the mostly widely read Christian leadership blogs in the world, Carey hosts the top-rated Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast where he interviews some of today’s best leaders.


5 Lessons from Improv That Can Build Your Team

Andrew Bright has spent the last 20 years working as a professional comedian with The Panic Squad Improv Comedy group. He’s also learned a whole lot about teamwork and leadership and shares what he’s learned as my guest this week in a fascinating interview on Episode 102 of my Leadership Podcast. I asked Andrew if he would also be willing to share some leadership principles of improv with you. Here’s his guest post. 


By Andrew Bright

I’ll bet your natural default can be to put your mission before your team.

It’s natural to put the mission first because all of your dreams, fears and hard work are woven into the mission.

You dream that this will be more incredible than you ever imagined. You worry that it might all crumble or slip away. But your dreams and fears can actually cause you to lose sight of the people who will help get you there.

You may want to rethink that.


Well, however bold your mission statement, it leads you to the next question: “How will I accomplish this?”

Good question.

Try to come up with a good answer that doesn’t involve exceptional work by a healthy, motivated team.

As a leader, your team should be your priority. Because you can’t accomplish your mission without a team.

Wise leaders learn to view their team as their most important relationship and resource.

Care for them, train them and equip them to succeed. Then, together as a healthy and motivated team, deliver an amazing experience to your congregation and community.

My work in Improv Comedy hasn’t just taught me about the importance of timing; I’ve also learned what it looks like when you make your team important.

Here are 5 lessons I think you can apply to your own team and inspire them to do great work.

1. Listen…really listen

For improv to work, everyone on stage must be present. As in fully present.

This means they are engaged with the scene. An actor who is present is listening for the opportunity and also contributing to the story. Improv is 100% dependent on one comedian building on what the other has given them.

So listen well. Put down your phone and make eye contact.

Ask follow-up questions to get more clarity. Listening demonstrates to your team that you value their contribution.

After you’ve listened, make a point to act on the information.

Some leaders are good listeners, but they are horrible at follow-up. Nothing says “I don’t really care” like dropping someone else’s idea or concern.

A non-answer shouts loudly, “You and your idea are not worth another second of my time!” Of course, you don’t really feel that way. So why would you communicate that sentiment by neglecting to act on someone’s questions or concerns?

2. Offer a Call Back

This is an age-old strategy in comedy. A call back is simply bringing a successful joke back in a different way. Audiences love it.

In Improv, call backs also demonstrate support and unity. Calling back another actor’s line is like giving them a giant high-five in front of everyone. This develops great camaraderie.

You can use Call Backs as a leader, too.

Please don’t try to perform stand-up in your staff meetings. Chances are you’re horrible at it. What I mean is, bring good work back into focus for the entire team to enjoy.

“Sarah showed me some amazing research she put together that I think you all should see.”

When you use Call Backs you bring the rest of the team into the process and give them a chance to acknowledge and celebrate great work. Best of all, you are giving Sarah a giant high-five in front of everyone.

Want to see more ideas and effort coming from your team? Use Call Backs as a leader.

3. Use company time to help leaders grow

Does your staff have the tools and training they need to be excellent? A great way to show your team that you value their work is to use company time and resources to help them grow.

The Panic Squad has done some great training over the years. We’ve attended workshops and hired instructors to critique our performances. Training has helped us hone our craft and become the excellent improv team we are today.

Developing your team is a wonderful way to show them you are in tune with their needs and care about their personal and professional growth.

4. Admit you need the team

Asking your team for help is not weakness, it’s good leadership. It’s the strength to see you are not capable of doing something as well as someone else on your team. It’s the humility to ask for help, it’s the awareness to offer your team an opportunity to grow through leading you.

This is a great way to be present as a leader. It demonstrates that you are aware of your team’s unique abilities and also aware of your own need for growth and improvement.

5. Lose to win

Sometimes you have to lose to win.

There I was, my feet hanging off the end of the twin bed I was in, laying between Star Wars sheets and staring up at a galaxy of glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the ceiling.

The 10-year-old whose room I’d been given to sleep in was staying at a friend’s house. His shaggy dog, the one that usually slept with him, did not go to the friend’s house.

It whined and scratched at my door.


I hoped the others guys were having better luck with their hosts. I remember thinking, “I can’t wait to get on the plane tomorrow so I can get some sleep.” Not a thought I often have.

I also remember thinking, “I can’t do this anymore.”

By “this”, I didn’t mean perform improv comedy. I loved my job. I still love my job. But I could no longer keep bending so far backwards for a client that it affected my ability to do my job. I could no longer keep making decisions which put my teammates in a position that frustrated them and made them feel devalued.

I realized I’d wanted so badly to give the client an amazing performance, both on and off the stage, that I was hurting our ability to perform amazingly as a team. I so desperately wanted to please my clients that I was willing to sacrifice basic comfort for my team.

This is completely backwards when you think about it.

What event organizer has ever said this? “They looked exhausted, weren’t very funny, and smelled like dogs. But we saved money on accommodations. What a success!”

A team needs to be healthy if they are to consistently perform excellent work. It is our responsibility as leaders to care for our teams.

The beautiful thing is that when you equip your team to perform amazingly they will consistently create amazing performances.

I know I have lost at least one client due to standing up for my team and pushing on some items we needed to be changed, so we could create an excellent experience for the audience. What I lost in business from that client has been replaced tenfold in the trust and respect of my teammates. Growing a professional backbone has been difficult yet rewarding. I now have a fantastic relationship with my team. The best part is that we consistently perform amazingly together.

Have you found yourself caving and giving in to other people, while eroding the trust and respect of your most valuable relationships?

What are some areas where you may need to stand up for your team? Are you willing to lose with others so you can win with your team?

Your Turn

Are you a leader who is caught up in creating an amazing performance to the detriment of your team? Become a leader who equips your team to perform amazingly, so that together you can consistently create amazing performances.

For more information about Andrew, visit his website and check out his new book, Improv[e] Leadership – A Comedian’s Guide to Effective Leadership in an Unscripted Workplace. Want to know more about The Panic Squad, Andrew’s improv group? Visit panicsquad.com

executive assistant

How NOT to Sabotage Your Executive Assistant

Today’s post is a guest post by Tricia Sciortino, president of eaHELP, one of our partners on the blog and on my Leadership Podcast

By Tricia Sciortino

As pastors, directors of special ministries, worship leaders, educators and administrators in the church, we know the call to serve is paramount. You strive to grow, nurture, provide for and support our communities and congregations.

But you also must do so in ways that demonstrate stewardship and competent leadership.

People believe in you. They depend on you. And your congregants are relying and counting on your steady hand to direct the organization forward. But with so many moving pieces, so many competing and continuous demands, it can become a challenge to manage everything.

It’s not uncommon, though, for leaders to experience some growing pains when they first hire a virtual assistant. They’re so accustomed to managing everything, to being hands-on with very routine tasks, that it can be hard to let go. But as the president of eaHELP, I’ve learned how pastoral and ministerial clients can avoid unintentionally sabotaging their virtual executive assistant. Sometimes this can happen quite accidentally, despite the best-laid plans or good intentions.

executive assistant

We are only human, after all, and there’s only so much an individual can – or should – do.

There is the day-to-day administration, the calendars and scheduling, the meetings and reporting, and even the special projects, new events and even just the process of getting the word out as you seek to grow and bring others to Christ.

There are weekly preparations, daily commitments and the longer-term planning of what you hope, aim and plan to do in the future.

At eaHELP, we help many leaders and ministers just like you who have recognized they would benefit from some extra support.

In fact, we specialize in matching virtual administrative and executive assistants with leaders and organizations of many types, and we’ve honed in on the unique needs of the church. We have a team of more than 400 home-based administrative assistants who partner with people like you to make life less hectic, projects less monumental and general operations more efficient.

When you have a dedicated expert to manage schedules, arrange travel, update databases, conduct outreach, respond to emails and perform bookkeeping, imagine how much easier your life becomes.

Here are some insights to help you make the most of the dedicated help which companies like ours provides. Following these tips can ensure a satisfying, productive experience for all involved – for you as the leader, for the assistant as your administrative partner and for the service provider who matches both sides of the equation.

Don’t Just Task – Empower

Somewhere along the way, the perception of what executive assistants really offer became too simplistic. Yes, administrative assistants can answer calls and make copies, but the reality is that they do much more than that. Sometimes that work happens behind the scenes and is not always within full view.

Think of a quality executive assistant as the mystery ingredient in an incredible recipe; it’s the one element that brings it all together, but you may not even see it, smell it or taste it.

Plus, executive assistants often bring a level of disciplinary expertise that can be valuable to your efforts. These insights and knowledge could pertain to member outreach, operational organization, research and reporting, or marketing and media.

Churches always have reports to produce, and social media is more of a must than an “if” or “when” these days. Emerging, developing and established ministries alike often have complex calendars to manage, and getting the word out is a consistent concern of churches as they grow. Seek and solicit your assistant’s input where it counts, and you’ll cultivate a professional “right hand” who can help you more than you ever thought possible.

Don’t Infer – Express

Based on their aptitude and experience, executive assistants are often pros in proactively identifying needs and opportunities. But that doesn’t mean that you, as a leader, can go work on other things and leave your assistant operating in isolation. An avoidable error in the administrative assistant-client relationship is a gulf in clarifying needs and expectations.

Even if your assistant is performing according to expectations, it never hurts to offer constructive feedback. Be sure to volunteer your guidance about her ideas on how to execute an existing or new task.

Offer specifics about key contacts she may interact with, bringing beneficial context to her conversations and interactions. Executive assistants need to hear from you to ensure you’re not only singing from the same hymnal but that you are synced to same song and verse.

Don’t Conceal Your Quirks

Quite naturally, over time your virtual assistant learns more about you as the client, picking up on your verbal cues and gestures. Everyone has quirks – let’s call them pet peeves or preferences. If we take just a few minutes to do some self-reflection, each of us could probably name at least three work-related deal breakers of our own based on personal ideals or specific ways of being.

On occasion, these unknown quirks can emerge at inopportune times. For example, let’s say you ask your virtual assistant to create a new report about a developing program. She creates the report, but as you review it, you see that it’s not color-coded in a way you would prefer and even features a shade you absolutely never use in documents. There’s nothing wrong with the report itself; however, your preferences represent an affinity that she could not have known unless you informed her.

Miscommunication, bruised feelings and instances like these can be minimized through honest, clear conversations and fuller disclosure on the front end.

Don’t Be a Closed Book

Of course, you must establish and preserve professional boundaries at all times with your executive assistant. But that doesn’t mean you should erect a fortress between you and your administrative support partner.

The truth is that our private life does affect work life. You don’t have to completely “spill the beans,” but it may strengthen your virtual assistant’s performance and perspective if she knows about your kids’ demanding schedule of extracurricular activities, that you’re traveling overseas with your spouse for three weeks in the spring or that you have an upcoming medical procedure that’s been weighing heavily on your mind.

Want More?

Communication, continuity and consistency are some key ingredients in the successful recipe of an executive assistant-leader relationship. When both sides understand each other and are vested in the benefits of an effectively shared partnership, what materializes can be absolutely game changing for you, your ministry and your highest calling.

Trust me. We see the results every day.

Want more information on getting help with your team? Contact us free of charge.

In the meantime, what have you found helpful in working with an EA? Scroll down and leave a comment.


CNLP 102: What Leaders and Communicators Can Learn from Improv – Andrew Bright on the Rules of Improv

Improv has always fascinated me, so when I had a chance to sit down with Andrew Bright, I jumped at it. What shocked me is not only what the rules of improv can teach you about comedy, but what they can teach you about leadership.

Welcome to Episode 102 of the Podcast.


Guest Links: Andrew Bright

Andrew Bright

The Panic Squad

Improv Story Spine

5 Lessons from Improv That Can Build Your Team

Improv Leadership: A Comedian’s Guide to Effective Leadership in an Unscripted Workplace – Podcast Listeners, use the code careyiscool for an exclusive discount!

Links Mentioned


The Orange Tour 

Jim Gaffigan

Brian Regan

Tim Hawkins

Michael Jr.

Leland Klassen 

Matt Falk

Taylor Tomlinson

Jon Acuff; Episode 64

30 Days of Hustle

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Improv isn’t just used in comedy to illustrate a fictional narrative. It’s an incredible tool that can build better relationships, create stronger teams and encourage unique ideas among those you lead. Andrew shares his valuable insight on how you can leverage improv in your organization to optimize results.

  1. Always says YES (No Blocking). Agree with another person’s ideas. Do not block their idea by saying “no” or replacing it with a “better” idea. Accepting ideas that are offered allows you to move the scene forward and build some momentum.Blocking the idea by saying “no” or offering a different idea stalls the action, brings you back to square one, and tells others, “I’m not willing to support your ideas.”
  1. You must contribute to the scene (No Wimping). An improv scene is created when actors build upon each other’s ideas. You must say “yes” to someone else’s idea, AND you must be willing to contribute your own ideas. The more specific you make your ideas, the better.Momentum killers in Improv: The two biggest momentum killers in improv are fear and ego. Actors say “no” because they don’t trust their own ability to support an idea, or they think they have a better idea. You must learn to respect other ideas and trust the process of improv.The beautiful thing is, Rules #1 and #2 work together. You can fearlessly offer ideas because based on Rule #1, everyone else will enthusiastically support whatever idea you offer. Just like you will support their ideas. Now your off and running.
  1. Be present and listen for offers. Every actor must be engaged in the scene. They must know what has already happened, where we are now, and what needs to happen next. A good actor is focused and constantly listening for offers and ideas from her team. The opposite of listening is preconceiving. When an actor has already decided where he wants to take the scene, everyone else has stopped listening.

The Lasting Impact Team Edition


The team edition is a compilation of eight videos designed to allow the teams in your church follow along as a supplement to the book. I highlight key points from the material and discuss additional hot topics that relate to your ministry.

Get your copy of Lasting Impact today! 

Lasting Impact frames 7 pivotal conversations every church team needs to have, covering subjects like declining church attendance, team health, creating a culture volunteers love and how to engineer changes in your church.

Order on Amazon, or visit LastingImpactBook.com! The video team edition, featuring 8 videos where I teach through the key concepts in the book, is available now as well!

Quotes from this Episode


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Next Episode: Gavin Adams

This episode is a great example of why I love the chance to do this podcast. Gavin Adams, lead pastor of Woodstock City Church—a rapidly growing church of 8,500—talk off the cuff about what he learned on sabbatical, getting healthy and the challenges of scaling a church.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 103.

top leaders

5 Things Every Leader Should Tell Their Top Leaders

If you could only tell your top leaders a few things, what would you tell them?

That’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s one I was asked recently as I spoke to the senior leadership team and staff at Next Level Church in Florida.

It was a good challenge to distill years of leadership experience, mistakes and insights into five key learnings.

Here’s what I came up with.

I’d love for you to add your suggestions and top learnings to the mix in the comments below.


1. Your competency will take you only as far as your character will sustain you

As a young leader, I was 100% convinced that competency was the key to effectiveness in leadership.

I no longer believe that’s true.

Sure, competency is important. Incompetence doesn’t get you or your mission very far.

But competency isn’t the ceiling many leaders hit. Character is.

Why is that?

Well, all of us can name highly gifted pastors, politicians, athletes and other public figures who failed not because they weren’t competent, but because they weren’t up for the job morally. An addiction, an affair, embezzlement or honestly sometimes just being a jerk caused them to lose their job or lose their influence.

This is why I’ve come to believe your competency will take you only as far as your character will sustain you.

So what do you need to do to ensure you character doesn’t undermine your talent?

Work twice as hard on your character as you do on your competency.

I know that’s difficult to do but do it.

Cultivate a daily habit of prayer and scripture reading. Go see a counsellor before you need to. Have great people around you who have permission to tell you the truth. Do the soul work you need to do to animate your other work.

It doesn’t matter how talented or gifted you are if you disqualify yourself from leadership.

2. Abandon balance and embrace passion

Almost everyone in leadership would advise you to lead a balanced life.

I’m not so sure.

What if that’s the wrong goal?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think everyone should work 80 hours a week.

But here’s my struggle.

I think we find many circles in our culture where balance has become a synonym for mediocrity. Don’t work too hard. Don’t be intentional about your time. Just be balanced.

Here’s what I’ve seen.

Most people who accomplish significant things aren’t balanced people. They’re passionate people.

They are passionate about:

Their job.

Their family.

Their hobby.

In fact, they’re often even passionate about their nutrition and their rest.

They never see work as a job…they see it as a calling. As a quest. As a mission.

They can’t wait to get up in the morning and attack the day.

When they engage relationally, they’re fully present.

When they’re with their family, they’re with their family. They give everything they have to everything that’s important to them.

So do a variety of things (work, play, family), but allocate your energy so you can do everything you do, including rest and relaxation, with passion.

I love what John Wesley said:

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”

I never want to lose my passion. In fact, I’m praying that it intensifies as I grow older in everything I pursue.

Don’t let balance become a synonym for mediocrity. Balance is a retreat. Passion is an advance. So passionately pursue all you do.

If you’re intrigued by how to better manage your time, energy and priorities, I’m launching a new resource this fall called the High Impact Leader. It’s a 10-unit video course designed to help you get time, energy and priorities working in your favour.

If you want to get on the inside track of the launch of the High Impact Leader, sign up here.

3. Pursue your health

So many leaders struggle with staying healthy in leadership… spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally and financially.

One way to look at leadership is to see it as a series of deposits and withdrawals.

All day long as a leader, people and the mission make a series of withdrawals from you: someone needs to meet with you, another person needs counselling, a third needs advice, a fourth wants to get that report done asap.

If you think of your life as a leader like a bank account, the problem eventually becomes the ratio of deposits to withdrawals. Over the long run, if you make more withdrawals than deposits, you go bankrupt.

That’s exactly what happens to far too many leaders.

The withdrawals that happen to you in life and leadership are inevitable. You can manage them well or poorly (which is something we’ll help you master in the High Impact Leader course).

Here’s the thing, though: the withdrawals never go away.

It’s your responsibility to make the deposits.

This means applying the spiritual disciplines, physical disciplines, financial disciplines and the discipline to get the help you need to resolve your emotional and personal issues.

Here’s a question I’ve learned to ask myself and I would love every top leader to ask themselves daily: am I living today in a way that will help me thrive tomorrow? Spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally, and financially?

If not, why not?

Since I started asking that question, I’m far healthier. It’s a recipe that works. Start using it.

4. Understand that attendance no longer drives engagement, engagement drives attendance

It’s interesting to me that we didn’t get to a strategy insight until the fourth insight. The top three pieces of advice are all heart and character issues, which is exactly as it should be.

But in the church, the strategy you apply also matters. So here we go.

As North American culture becomes more and more post-Christian, declining attendance has become a universal phenomenon (here are 10 reasons why that’s happening).

The current approach to church has largely been driven by getting people to attend. The idea is this: get them in the door and hopefully at some point, they’ll engage in the mission.

But in an age where fewer and fewer people are motivated to attend church at all, that’s a bad strategy.

Instead, if you want to see your church grow, stop trying to attract people and start working on engaging people.

Why? Because engaged people attend.

The more engaged you are in the mission, the more likely you’ll want to be part of the church.

In the future church, only the engaged will attend. So do what you can to drive engagement.

Want more? Here are 7 ways to drive engagement.

5.  Play favourites

My guess is you spend 80% of your time trying to help your struggling leaders get better.

They’re producing maybe 20% of your results, but you’re devoting 80% of your time trying to motivate them, get them to show up on time and get them to do what they said they were going to do when they said they were going to do it.

What if that’s a colossal mistake?

What if you spent 80% of your time with the leaders who give you 80% of your organization’s results?

That’s what the best leaders do: they spend 80% of their time with the people who give them 80% of their results.

What do you do with the bottom 20%? Let them go or let them figure it out on their own. Or limit your involvement to 20% of your time.

Your best leaders get better with time and attention. Poor leaders never do.

So try it…spend 80% of your time on the people that produce 80% of your results.

I know… I know… you’re pushing back. I get that. You think this isn’t a Christian thing to do. I’m not sure sure you’re right.

You’re afraid that playing favourites isn’t biblical.

Just the opposite. Not playing favorites makes you unfaithful.

I know, I know….what?????

Moses tried to treat everyone the same, and it almost killed him and wore out the people he led (just read Exodus 18).

The solution? Moses had to learn not to treat everyone the same.

He appointed leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. The result was that the people’s needs were met and Moses got to lead for the rest of his life. His leadership (finally) scaled.

If you start to look for it as you read, you’ll see organizational principles throughout Scripture (how did Israel become a great nation after all?)

For example, even in the New Testament, Jesus and early Christian leaders didn’t treat everyone alike.

Jesus actually walked away from people who needed to be healed in order to get food and rest.

Jesus organized his disciples into circles according to potential impact…groups of 70, 12, 3 (Peter, James and John) and 1 (Peter) and intentionally spent the most time with those inner circles.

The early church reorganized and mmoved their key teachers and preachers away from daily tasks and appointed new leaders, which fuelled new growth.

Loving everyone the same does not mean treating everyone the same way.

So if you want to be more biblically faithful, start treating different people differently.

What do you think?

Those are my top 5. What are yours?

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

And if you want more, I outlined 7 critical issues every church needs to deal with in my latest book.

boring sermons

7 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block and Eliminate Boring Sermons

Ever write a message or talk that even you suspected was boring?

That’s exactly where I found myself this week.

I’d outlined my message for our current series weeks ago, but when I went back into it 6 days before delivery, I realized I’d written a basically boring sermon on a fundamentally exciting subject.

What’s worse, it moved me into one of the worst cases of writer’s block I’ve had in years.

I worked at the message day after day but I just couldn’t make it interesting, despite having a fascinating subject (heaven).

Don’t get me wrong. As a preacher and Christian, I’m the first to tell you God’s Word is never boring. But sometimes we preachers make it boring. That’s exactly where I was heading this Sunday.

I kept tweaking the message for a few days with little success. I still found it…boring. And preachers, if you’re bored by your message, it’s a guarantee your audience will be as well.

How did I get through it? Well, I dug out everything I know about beating writer’s block and solving the problem of boring writing.

It worked…I think. You only ever really find out on Sunday. But I’m no longer bored by my message. In fact, I’m excited to preach it.

Almost every communicator I know has been there…so I thought I’d share my 5 best tips on beating writer’s block and eliminating boring sermons.

boring sermons

1. Find the tension

If a sermon or piece of writing comes off as boring, it’s often because it lacks tension.

As much as we all dislike tension personally, without the tension, there is no story.

Think of the universal plot line for every story/book/movie you’ve ever loved.

It’s NOT this:

Good thing happens.

Another good thing happens.

Then lots of good things happen forever.

As much as we wish our lives were tension-free, there’s actually no story in that. You’d never watch a movie without tension.

Instead, the universal plot line people come back to again and again is:

Things are good.

Something bad happens (enter death, illness, a villain, a problem).

There’s a struggle between good and evil.

A hero enters.

Good wins.

Hopefully, people live happily ever after.

If there’s no tension in a story, there’s no story.

So what’s the tension point in your message?

If you can find that, you’ve created a plot line the audience will follow and identify with. Because everyone has tension in their lives.

For my message, the focal point was that heaven is a beautiful place…beautiful beyond words.  The tension points in the message became the fact that most of us don’t realize how beautiful it is, and that we experience both beauty and tragedy in this life. Once I pickd up on those points, the message became both more relevant and interesting.

2. Identify, build and solve an actual problem

Most people showing up at your church, at your blog or who open the first pages of your book face problems they don’t know how to solve: marriage problems, money problems, hope problems, forgiveness problems.

When you identify a problem and lead people to a solution (or potential solution), your message immediately becomes relevant.

What I had to do in my message was identify a problem that most people would want to see solved.

In my message, I zone in on why people instinctively hate the idea that there’s a hell or separation in eternity, but I also explain how that resolves some of the tension people find impossible to resolve in their lives right now.

Ironically, your writer’s block problem often gets solved if you can identify and solve someone else’s problem.

3. Find the Why

You can find tension and find a problem to solve but still not have a fascinating message.


Because you haven’t yet identified why any of it matters.

In any kind of communication, the why is the most important question you can answer for someone.

Why establishes relevance. When you establish the why – a money problem suddenly matters to your listener; when you explain why forgiveness is an issue, or why the existence of hell or the beauty of heaven matter, interest in a subject piques.

The problem with far too many sermons and far too much Christian writing is that they focus on the What and the How and they completely miss the Why.

In this post, I outline the 5 questions I use to evaluate every message as I write it (I got them from Andy Stanley). My two most favourite questions are the questions of why the audience needs to know what they need to know and why they need to do what they need to do.

When you’re stuck, keep asking yourself “Why does any of this matter?” When you can answer that, you’ve got an interesting message.

If you can’t answer why your message matters, your message won’t matter.

4. Look for surprises

Even in an age of declining biblical literacy, familiarity is a problem with preaching from the Bible.

It’s a problem because people assume they know what a text means. And even people with little Christian background assume they know what Christians would say about an issue.

Even as a preacher, you might read a text and miss the shock and surprise of the original text.

To get over this, I try to pretend I’m reading the text for the first time. My text this week was from Revelation 21-22. Here are some surprise angles that could make a sermon on Revelation 21: 1-3 (and this just scratches the surface on three short verses):

John is in exile on the Island of Patmos and he sees this? Why? What would that have meant to him?

Wait…there’s a new earth, not just a new heaven? What????

And why a new heaven? What’s wrong with the old one?

Wait…heaven’s a city? What about the endless golf game in the sky that people imagine?

What’s this bride and groom language all about and why is it so intimate?

Hey, in Greek, the word for ‘dwell’ is ‘tabernacle’…does this go back to the Old Testament and John 1 and then the Holy Spirit dwelling in us (actually, yes it does) and what on earth does this mean?

See…that’s just three verses.

Approach the Bible as a stranger or a child and it pops to life.

5. Talk to someone another writer about your problem

Honestly, when you go to a non-preacher or non-communicator for advice, their advice often isn’t that helpful.


Because writing problems are usually best understood by other writers.

So sure, you can ask questions of your neighbour or someone else who doesn’t write for a living.

But keep in mind that a quick consult with another writer or preacher can zero in on the problem faster than you might think.

6. Imagine you’re being pulled off the stage…

I don’t know how I developed this trick, but it’s tremendously helpful.

Years ago when I felt stuck in the writing process, I started imagining myself being pulled off the stage in the middle of my message (almost by a cane…like in the comics) and getting 30 seconds to shout out my last line before the message was over.

If I didn’t have anything to shout in that last line, I knew I hadn’t found the main point of my message.

If I could say it, I’d found the tension and the main point of my message.

Last week, the single line was “You should have a better plan for eternity than you do for your next vacation.”

Try this exercise… it works.

7. Come back to it another day

If you find that you’re striking out, again and again, pack it in and come back to it fresh in the morning. I find so many breakthroughs happen this way.

Of course, that doesn’t work if you’re starting your message Saturday morning for Sunday delivery.

But if you work ahead like I do, time becomes your friend as much as deadlines do.

So work ahead. And come back to it fresh after a good night’s sleep.

Want More?

I shared almost all of my communication shortcuts in this 5 part series you can access on my blog for free, including a post on how to deliver a talk without using notes.

I’ve also gotten much better as a communicator not just by practice, but by training. Few resources have helped me as much in the last few years as Preaching Rocket (this is an affiliate link).

I’ve been through their entire coaching programming and it’s been fantastic for me both as a preacher and a conference speaker.

If you want to explore it for yourself, you can try Preaching Rocket for free for 7 days.

In the meantime, what helps you overcome writer’s block and boring messages?

Scroll down and leave a comment!


CNLP 101: Turning Around a Dying Church – Lee Kricher on Setting A Church Up For The Next Generation

Lee Kricher did something few pastors do; he’s led the church he founded, twice. Coming back 13 years ago, he led it back from near death to a growing church strongly positioned to reach into a new generation. Here’s his story.

Welcome to Episode 101 of the Podcast.


Guest Links: Lee Kricher

Amplify Church

For a New Generation: A Practical Guide for Revitalizing Your Church

Lee on Twitter

Links Mentioned

Injoy Stewardship Solutions

Orange Tour

North Point Community Church

Andy Stanley; Episode 1

John Kotter 

Jim Collins

Brian Houston; Episode 89

Thom Rainer; Episode 36


3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Initially, Lee didn’t have a good reason to revive a dying church. He didn’t even have the support of his mom to leave corporate America go back into ministry. But he did hear from God, and he had a passion to see others develop their potential. Here are the changes he made to reach new generations and save his church. 

  1. Adopt a new mindset, and identify the essentials. If you can change something to reach the next generation, then go for it, but you’re not going to change the beliefs or core values. The Gospel is still the gospel. There is no legacy. You’re not respecting the church’s history by ending it. If the church ceases to exist, there are no changed lives.
  2. Prepare for the hard conversations, and elevate your standards. Half of the people Lee was serving left within the first two years of his leadership. People told him, “These young people don’t have check books. If we change, we’re leaving with our check books.” As a church, you’re not changing who you are. You’re still leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. If you’re called to reach your community, you have to take a look at who’s in the community.
  3. Get rid of the distractions and build a mentoring culture. Take a look at what issues are pressing in your church. Are there unnecessary ministries? Are there outward signs that the church needs repairs? Keep your operation simple, and don’t forget that your mission is reaching those in the community and nurturing their relationship with Christ.

The Lasting Impact Team Edition


The team edition is a compilation of eight videos designed to allow the teams in your church follow along as a supplement to the book. I highlight key points from the material and discuss additional hot topics that relate to your ministry.

Get your copy of Lasting Impact today! 

Lasting Impact frames 7 pivotal conversations every church team needs to have, covering subjects like declining church attendance, team health, creating a culture volunteers love and how to engineer changes in your church.

Order on Amazon, or visit LastingImpactBook.com! The video team edition, featuring 8 videos where I teach through the key concepts in the book, is available now as well!

Quotes from this Episode


A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning.

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, Ravi Zacharias, Craig Groeschel, Sue Miller, Kara Powell, Jon Acuff and many others.

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 on iTunes and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn Radio as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Andrew Bright

Improv has always fascinated me, so when I had a chance to sit down with Andrew Bright, I jumped at it. What shocked me is not only what the rules of improv can teach you about comedy, but what they can teach you about leadership.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 102.

bad day

7 Simple but Effective Strategies to Get You Through a Bad Day

Ever have a bad day?

Of course you do. You’re human.

As much as you don’t like days like that (does anybody?) they’re inevitable in leadership.

Someone sends you an email that sets you off.

A crisis hijacks the day you were going to spend getting a project done.

Unexpected bad news pours in.

You experience conflict with a teammate.

You simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

It happens.

When I began in leadership, days like that often cost me more deeply than they had to.

I would sometimes say things I regretted.

I occasionally took my frustrations out on people around me.

My family suffered if I came home and allowed my mood to ruin the atmosphere.

In fact, when I look around me, I see too many leaders who let bad days undermine their leadership again and again.

When leaders allow their moods to ricochet through the organization, a bad day can lead to several bad days for others. It can foster conflict among team members. And it can jeopardize their home life.

So how do you deal with a bad day?

Here are seven strategies I’ve adopted that can help with a bad day.


1. Ask yourself: What would an emotionally intelligent person do? 

Emotional intelligence is all about developing a self-awareness of how your attitudes and actions impact others and leveraging that to further the team and others.

As Daniel Goleman points out in his classic book, Emotional Intelligence, emotionally intelligent people rarely let their state of mind bring others down. They’ve developed behaviours that compensate for their emotional state so they don’t drag other people down with them.

So quite literally, on my worst day, I ask myself “What would an emotionally intelligent person do?”

I imagine what they would do, then I do everything I can to do it.

Try it. It works.

2. Don’t act on your emotions

Emotionally intelligent people don’t act on their negative emotions.

Those who lack self-awareness in the moment will.

It’s a mistake.

You’ll say things you regret. You’ll do things you’ll wish you could take back.

So when you’re having a bad day, don’t act on your emotions. Don’t do anything stupid.

Don’t let anyone ‘have it’ because you’re in a bad mood.

If the worst thing that happens on a bad day is that you have some angry thoughts, at least they remained thoughts and refrained from becoming actions.

3. Don’t make any significant decisions

Actions are one thing. Decisions are another.

The worst time to make decisions is when you’re upset or feeling down. Your emotions will lead you to decide things you’ll regret.

So just decide not to decide anything that day.  

Here’s the rule I’ve adopted in life in and leadership when I’m in a bad space: Don’t make tomorrow’s decisions based on today’s emotions.

Think about how many stupid decisions you could have avoided. The vows you might have never made. The bridges that would still be intact and burn-free.

Don’t make tomorrow’s decisions based on today’s emotions.

4. Divert to accomplish a short term win

Chances are good that you can accomplish something positive, even if you don’t feel like it. Do something mundane like cleaning out your inbox. Organize a drawer. Get some routine work done.

While your head may not be in the right space to slay any big dragons, divert yourself to something manageable so you can find at least one or two short term wins.

You still need to earn your keep on a bad day.

If you’re still struggling, go for a walk or a run or a quick bike ride. The physical change can provoke a mental shift that can also rescue your day.

5. Confide and pray

You should tell somebody about your bad day. But tell the right person. Your emotions will probably lead you to want to tell the wrong person.

Talk to a close friend or your spouse (appropriately). Bottom line: talk to someone who is willing to help you and pray for you.

And pray about it yourself.

My prayer on bad days sometimes is as simple as “God, this is your church. You got me into this. Get me through this. Help me to see my part in all this.” That’s a decent prayer to pray on a bad day.

Bad days get worse on their own. They get better with friends.

6. Call it a day

If you’re having a really bad day, call it a day, early.

Staring at a blinking cursor doesn’t help anybody.

You may have to put a few more hours in later in the week but it’s worth it. If I’m struggling, I’ll often just pack it in and start early the next day. Often, I’ll accomplish far more in two great hours than I would have in four hours on a day when I was struggling.

Feel guilty about leaving early? If you have the freedom to set your own hours, don’t. Often leaders will think of value in terms of the hours they put in. This is a mistake.

Don’t judge your work by the hours you put in, but by the output you produce.

If you can produce a better outcome the next day, do it.

6. Get a great night’s sleep.

Don’t dismiss this. Sleep is so important.

Go to bed early. Shoot for 8 hours. You will feel so much better in the morning.

Watch what happens to your emotions when you sleep for eight hours. They get healthier. 

You’ll be much better positioned to deal with lingering issues when you’re well rested. And chances are your funk will disappear.

Sleep is the secret leadership weapon no one wants to talk about.

Naturally, if your bad day becomes a bad week or a bad season, you may have something else going on. I blogged about getting through bad seasons and burnout here.

What helps you get through a bad day? What doesn’t?

Let me know in the comments.

scared to risk more

7 Easy Risks You Can Take Today If Too Scared to Risk More

The problem with many leaders is that there is a gap between what they want to see happen and what they will do today.

We dream of a radical new future, but then we answer email all day, go to meetings, inhale caffeine and go home before it’s too late with far too much of whatever-we-did-today (what did I do again today?) left over for a boring repeat tomorrow.

To put it as eloquently as possible, this stinks.

To accomplish a radically new future, you will have to do radically different things.

This scares the socks off of most of us. After all, risk is for risk-takers, and many of us are not crazy risk-takers.

But what if you could begin to change that starting… today?

You can get over your fear in leadership by overcoming your fear in other areas of your life.

Small victories over fear can easily become larger ones because like any good muscle, the more you practice overcoming your fears, the more fear you can overcome.


The End of the Road for the Timid is Not Awesome

Before we get into how to break this pattern of leadership monotony, let’s look at why courage, risk-taking and a willingness to be daring matter in leadership.

It’s simple. This is what can happen if you fail to take risks in your leadership:

Your organization will suffer from few breakthroughs and likely continue a path to decline and irrelevance.

You will likely never leave leadership with any sense of fulfillment or accomplishment.

I completely understand that underneath a lack of courage is often the heart-pounding feeling of fear.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a fearful leader and a lazy leader?  The writer of Proverbs shows us where that line is, proving that fear and laziness are cousins. While the motivation is different, the outcome is often indistinguishable.

I’m not saying you should be a reckless crazy person, but you probably need to be more of one than are you presently.

Let’s face it, when over 90% of churches are plateauing or declining, the church is not suffering from an overabundance of courage or risk-taking.

I believe risk-taking is both a habit and a mindset. Take a few steps toward tackling small challenges, and soon you’ll be up for the bigger ones.

At the same time, if you’re a natural risk taker, you may feel an urge the older you get to rest on your laurels. Don’t.

Even taking risks like the ones below will prime the pump for future change and transformation, which, by the way, is always in season.

After all, the next generation doesn’t care what you did yesterday.

7 Risks Any Leader Can Take Today

So, if you want to flex your risk-muscle for the first time or the 1000th time, here are 7 things you can do today to get started:

1. Start something you don’t know how to finish

This can be truly awesome. Tackling things you know how to do is a sure path to stagnation and eventual boredom.

What’s that project at work that scares the life out of you? Start it. Today. And see where it goes. You will figure it out. You will.

Most people who make a dent in the universe had no idea what they were doing when they started.

Why would it be any different with you?

2. Do what you’ve been thinking of doing but haven’t done yet

We all have things we’ve been thinking of doing for years that might be doable. But we haven’t started yet.

Just do it. Seriously.

True leaders have a bias for great action, not just great thinking.

3. Be generous when you don’t feel like it

Yes, generosity is a risk. Being financially generous when you don’t feel like you have the funds to be generous is a risk.

Being generous with praise when you don’t feel like praising someone is a risk.

In a world where there are a thousand reasons to be stingy, generosity is a risk.

But generosity is the key to developing an abundance mentality. And people with an abundance mentality often end up taking more risks.

So start by thanking someone who deserves some thanks even if you don’t feel like giving it. Or give some money away. You may surprise yourself at what you get back.

4. Set a goal you think is impossible to reach

The reason you won’t set a daring goal is because you think it’s impossible. Which is exactly why you should set it.

It can be small. When I began seriously and consistently blogging 4 years ago, I set a crazy traffic goal of reaching 100,000 page views a year. I thought it would be impossible. But that goal motivated me to write three times a week, week in and week out.

I had no idea that in my first year full year of dedicated blogging, I would realize 7x that goal…reaching over 700,000 page views. That was in 2013.

Three years later, this blog sees 3-4 million pages views a year and reaches over 2 million leaders each year.

If someone had told me that when I started, I would have laughed. The thought still astonishes and humbles me.

But here’s some truth for you: People who set goals accomplish more than people who don’t.

5. Be vulnerable

Yes, vulnerability is also a risk.

Bring a close friend in on a struggle you haven’t talked to anyone about yet.

Get over your fear of telling your team you don’t know the answer (I promise you they already know).

Being vulnerable sets you up for accepting the failure that inevitably accompanies risk…that failure you’re so scared of.

Being vulnerable today will prepare you for a bit of failure tomorrow on your way to greater accomplishments.

6. Give someone else an opportunity you were going to take for yourself

It’s a risk to trust others with something you care about, isn’t it? Which is why you need to do it.

Pick an opportunity you were personally going to do and invite someone else to do it. This will not only help you be more generous with your leadership but this will also position you to create a stronger team moving forward.

As the saying goes when it comes to accomplishment, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go with a team.

7. Take quitting off the table

When you’re afraid, you think about quitting, don’t you?

So take it off the table. Just decide you’re in for the long haul and get moving.

It’s riskier to stay and try than it is to quit and leave.

In the same way that couples who take divorce off the table usually find a way to work through their issues, you will find a way to work through your issues if you move quitting off the table.

These are 7 risks you can take today that will set you up for greater risks tomorrow.

Oh…and by the way…all of this will grow your faith.

You will have to stop trusting yourself and what you know and start trusting God more than you ever have before.

After all, did you ever know God to call anyone in the scripture to something that was easy? Didn’t think so.

If you take more risks and trust far more, both you and your organization will be in a far better position because of it.

What do you think?

If you want more, I wrote a book on leading change you can read here, and I included a chapter on change in my latest book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.

In the meantime, what other risks do you think leaders can take that will set us up for the future?

Scroll down and leave a comment!


CNLP 100: Creating an Evangelism Culture – Peyton Jones on Planting Churches for Unchurched People

Peyton Jones is a self-described serial church planter with a heart for evangelism. From being beat up for the sake of the Gospel, to starting a church at a Starbucks, to coaching leaders on reaching the most unreached people in Western culture, Peyton shares his never boring story.

Welcome to Episode 100 of the Podcast.


Guest Links: Peyton Jones


New Breed Church Planting

Church Zero: Raising 1st Century Churches out of the Ashes of the 21st Century Church

Church Planter Podcast

Church Planter Magazine 

Links Mentioned

Injoy Stewardship Solutions

Tim Keller

Ravi Zacharias; Episode 83

Steve Timmis

Rick Warren

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

In his attempt to evangelize in an unchurched area, Peyton ended up with a busted face and a permanent scar. Through his journey of starting a church in a Starbucks, working with small groups and nurturing relationships, he found his passion to plant churches.

  1. Have honest conversations. It wasn’t until Peyton started having honest conversations with the people he worked alongside when evangelizing made a difference. Take time to develop relationships with people because talking about Christ can make others feel vulnerable. Find common ground and make it personal. Know people and actually know their stories.
  1. Encourage an interactive community. Everything that this generation is doing is interactive. Everything they do involves multiple community experiences. (Take Pokemon Go, for example.) The one place in the world where people are told to come in, sit down and listen (the church), is turning people away. So, empower your small groups to do more, reach others and have an open dialogue. The church should be the safest place for any conversation to happen. Create that environment, and welcome it.
  1. Prepare for it to be difficult. “Why plant a church when you can hit yourself over the head with a hammer?” Peyton jokes. It’s the hardest thing you’ll do in ministry, yet it’s the easiest because if God’s in it, you’ll find it rewarding and fulfilling.

Select ‘See First’ for the Starbucks Facebook Giveaway!

To celebrate the 100th episode of the podcast, I’ll be giving away a virtual Starbucks gift card that will be posted on Facebook. To ensure that you don’t miss out on the offer, go to my Facebook page right here. If you already follow me, hover over the Follow icon and select SEE FIRST. If you’re new to my page, make sure you hit the Like button, hover over the Follow icon, and select SEE FIRST.

Here’s what it looks like on mobile and desktop.


 The Lasting Impact Team Edition


The team edition is a compilation of eight videos designed to allow the teams in your church follow along as a supplement to the book. I highlight key points from the material and discuss additional hot topics that relate to your ministry.

Get your copy of Lasting Impact today! 

Lasting Impact frames 7 pivotal conversations every church team needs to have, covering subjects like declining church attendance, team health, creating a culture volunteers love and how to engineer changes in your church.

Order on Amazon, or visit LastingImpactBook.com! The video team edition, featuring 8 videos where I teach through the key concepts in the book, is available now as well!

Quotes from this Episode



A New Episode Every Week…Just Subscribe

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning.

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, Ravi Zacharias, Craig Groeschel, Sue Miller, Kara Powell, Jon Acuff and many others.

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 on iTunes and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn Radio as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Lee Kricher

Lee Kricher did something few pastors do; he’s led the church he founded, twice. Coming back 13 years ago, he led it back from near death to a growing church strongly positioned to reach into a new generation. Here’s his story.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 101.

feedback without getting defensive

9 Ways to Handle Negative Feedback Without Getting Defensive

If you’re truly going to develop as a leader, you can’t do it without great feedback.

The dilemma is that you want to hear ‘well done’.

In fact, you crave positive feedback enough that it’s tempting to only want to hear ‘well done’ rather than the truth.

The irony, of course, is you don’t really get to ‘well done’ without hearing the truth.

I know for me personally, it took a while to develop both a culture and a process for feedback that worked.

Frankly, a lot of the delay was due to my sensitivities and insecurities. I just didn’t want to hear negative feedback.

Don’t get me wrong, I often heard negative feedback.

Sometimes the negative feedback was from people who were off-mission or who were honestly just negative people. While you can always glean a nugget from even your worst critic, feedback from off-mission or negative people rarely helps you develop your fullest potential.

The best feedback you can receive is from people who believe in your mission, who support you and who love you. More than anyone else, they are in the best position to see your faults and help you through them.

Feedback from them is gold.

It took me a few years to figure out how to get feedback from the right people that was also deeply constructive.

And now that I find myself in a place where helpful, truthful feedback is part of the culture, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hearing the truth about your leadership and acting on it is the only way you can really grow as a leader long term. Honest feedback is fundamental to cultivating a deepening self-awareness.

The self-aware leader is a growing leader. And growing leaders are the best leaders.

Here are 9 approaches and practices that will help you develop a culture of honest feedback without getting defensive.

feedback without getting defensive

1. Ask for it

Don’t expect people to volunteer their opinions.

Some will, but they can often be off-mission, negative people and not the people you want to hear from anyway (here’s a post outlining 7 signs you’re dealing with a negative person, and another one on constructing a feedback filter).

Ask people who are on mission.

What happens if you don’t ask for input?

Well, people will still give honest feedback if you don’t ask for it; you’ll just never hear it. And that’s bad for everyone.

2. Surround yourself with people who aren’t intimidated to tell you the truth

You can find on-mission people who just don’t have the personality to tell you the truth.

They are great people, but you need to solicit an inner core of people who are not intimidated by you or overly impressed with you.

Usually, they are other leaders.

Feedback from people who are strong leaders in their own right is the best.

Leaders who surround themselves with other leaders become far better leaders.

3. Look for people who are aligned but honest

If you find strong, aligned leaders who give you feedback (that’s who I look for in elders for our church), you will never have ‘yes’ men or women around you.

Instead, you will have a team that shares your mission, vision and strategy and will tell the truth to help you get there.

Leaders who surround themselves with yes people ultimately say no to growth.

Leaders who surround themselves with unaligned people ultimately say yes to division and chaos.

Leaders who say yes to aligned, strong leaders always do best…and so does their organization.

Alignment is often the difference between criticism that leads somewhere great and criticism that leads nowhere good.

Here’s the outline of a talk I did a few years ago that offers more about alignment,

4. Don’t be defensive

This is difficult but so critical. Don’t offer excuses, reasons or get your back up.

Tell them why you needed to hear it.

Ask questions.

Dig deeper.

It signals to them you value what they say, and they will know they have not wasted their time.

5. Thank them

Seriously, thank every person who critiques you.

Even the negative ones (and realize you may have to leave your silent thoughts unspoken).

You can grow from everything.

Saying thank you for criticism is perhaps the biggest signal you can give that you want it and are open to it. Sure, you need boundaries if a critic is going after you, but thanking them for any potential insight signals humility and a willingness to learn.

For your best feedback people, gratitude is essential.

6. Don’t confuse your effort with your results

This is a note to self.

Just because you poured 40 hours into something doesn’t mean it helped advance the mission.

I had to get past the idea that trying = well done. A+ for effort but C- for results means there’s growth opportunity. Lots.

You’ll always want to reward yourself for your effort. Ultimately, though, you need to own your results.

Effective leaders never confuse their efforts with their results.

7. Show people how they helped you

Once you’ve processed the feedback, go back to the people who offered it and tell them how it helped you and what you’re doing about it.

It’s a signal to them that their time was an investment and not a waste, and that you value personal growth.

8. Evaluate using objective tools

Conversations are one thing, but objective tools can take things to a whole new level.

We evaluate weekend services every Tuesday with a set of questions.

I also regularly use Survey Monkey to get feedback on everything from sermon series ideas to blog readers to new book ideas.

I also love Strengths FindersRight Path and other tools that help me gain insights into personal strengths, weaknesses and team dynamics.

9. Solicit feedback regularly enough to make it part of your culture

If you practice the eight approaches outlined above regularly enough, it will become part of your culture.

Solicit feedback at every turn.

Ask questions.

Eventually people will realize this is not only a safe place to give feedback, it’s desirable and needed to advance the mission.

When leaders listen, everyone grows.

What Do You Think? 

If you want more, I wrote more about healthy leadership is my latest book, Lasting Impact, 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

What have you used to help you get regular feedback?

What are your best practices? What are your stumbling blocks?

Scroll down and leave a comment.