CNLP 199: John S. Dickerson on What Journalism Can Teach Leaders, The Massive Change in Culture and How the Church Can Respond

John S. Dickerson started in journalism straight out of college and soon found himself writing for the New York Times, CNN and USA Today. Today, he’s a 35 year old pastor of a mega church.

John talks about what leaders can learn from journalists, and about the coming massive cultural change as we move into a post-truth, post-fact culture and how the church can respond.

Welcome to Episode 199 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

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  • The specific characteristics of sermons that reach people in today’s world
  • Why you need to ditch your sermon notes (and how to do it far more easily than you think.)
  • How to keep your heart and mind fresh over the long run

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In the Art of Better Preaching, Mark and I share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years.

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Guest Links

John on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |

The Nine Manifestos We Can Embrace (from John’s latest book: Hope of Nations)

Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World

The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church…and How to Prepare

I Am Strong: Finding God’s Peace and Strength in Life’s Darkest Moments

Links from this Episode

Check out The Art of Better Preaching  today!

Go to TrainedUp and use coupon code CAREY for 10% off of your services for life!

Want to be a part of Carey’s launch team for his latest book Didn’t See It Coming? Sign up here!

Get ahead on next week’s big giveaway as we celebrate the 200th episode of the podcast. Make sure you’re following Carey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and you just might enjoy a treat on us!

3 Insights from This Episode

1. Smooth transitions require a ‘trust vs control’ mind set

John recently became the leading pastor of a large church and so far the transition has been smooth. He attributes this success to having a ‘trust vs control’ mind set.

The pastor stepping down selected a team to find his successor. Once the team was in place, he stayed out of the selection process and trusted them to complete the search without his input.

Once there, John continued that ‘trust vs control’ strategy by committing to wait a year before implementing big changes. During this early season, he’s spending time getting to know the people and culture within the church – Taking time to earn their confidence and respect so that they can make changes together as a team when the timing is right.

2. Continuously find ways to engage those who don’t know Christ

Difficult relationships, lack of contentment, addiction, emptiness – we are all broken. No matter where you are by way of wealth, success or status, struggling with the human condition is inescapable. The good news is believers know that Jesus is the answer, but how do Christians engage those who don’t know Christ?

Don’t live life in your comfort zone. It’s important to continue to maintain friendships with people who aren’t believers. Don’t shut them out of your life simply because they think differently than you. Find ways to stay in touch in an ongoing way with people who don’t know Christ. We must work toward understanding each other so we have continued opportunities to show the love of Jesus to a world that desperately needs him.

3. Upheaval is an opportunity to stand for truth with a message of hope

We cannot underestimate how non-Christian the leading edges of culture truly are, but that doesn’t mean Christians need to respond with fear or despair. John’s latest book, Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World addresses what we can do in the post-truth, post-Christian time.

His 9 Manifestos are a great place to start. Understanding where the world is going will equip you to adapt your strategy during the cultural changes. Upheaval is an opportunity to stand firm to scripture while still loving the world with arms full of grace. It’s a massive opportunity to show the world the love of Christ in a time when it desperately needs it.

Quotes from This Episode

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Next Episode: Josh Gagnon    

Josh Gagnon planted Next Level Church a decade ago. It’s become the fastest growing and one of the largest churches in New England history, and has now expanded into Florida. Josh talks about what’s driving the growth, how it’s keeping up and how he manages to stay sane amidst all the demands of leadership.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 200.


  1. Jesse on July 3, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Hey Carey, I loved this podcast! Its such a confirmation of a lot of the trends I see happening in the younger generation of church. Im a millennial, i work with mostly with Men Z or iGen and they are definitely in the Post-Truth movement.

    I don’t usually comment because these things get messy but do you think that as Canada moves further into a Post-Truth era and the U.S. follows suit do you think that there will be a shift away from our current Sunday morning, teaching, worship, gather to learn together form of church? Does that become outdated as we move into a time where actions really do speak louder than truth? Where people don’t want to gather and listen to someone tell them how to live?

    This is obviously speculation and I am so far from an expert but I was hit with that thought and wondering what your take on that would be and what do think needs to happen in the church to supplement a classic “weekend service experience” to really capture this new generation that looks for true belonging and something more than a, “Well, the Bible says so!”

  2. RANDY HOUSE on July 3, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Great podcast..

  3. Stan Cedarleaf on July 3, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Great interview, John. So enjoyed the podcast. God’s continued blessing as He uses you to bring the message of Goid’s love to a rapidly changing world. Praying for you, the family and Connection Pointe each day.

    What vision for a great “mission” ahead for the Church to engage our communitiies as the First Century Church did.

    Just FYI, Carey… We were (and still are) part of that small 40 people church which we outgrew during John’s time and are now ministering to more than 500 each week in a “non-threatening, safe harbor, open doors” location in the local College Performing Arts Center. Ministering to the curious, those from recovery homes, church splits, VA verterans and so many faithful believers.

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