CNLP 373: Andy Stanley on Why He Hasn’t Reopened North Point for In-Person Services, His Methodology for Finding Clarity, and What He’s Learning About Preaching to a Camera

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In July 2020, Andy Stanley made national news when he announced North Point would not reopen until 2021.

In this interview, Andy explains his reasons for the decision, the methodology he uses to find clarity, what he’s learning about preaching to a camera and the hardest part of the pandemic for him personally.

Welcome to Episode 373 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about 5 things Andy Stanley taught him about team alignment.

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The Craft and Character Podcast

If you’re a preacher, pastor or communicator, The Craft and Character Podcast is designed to help you get better at the craft of preaching.

The first half of each podcast episode, host Steve Carter interviews a premier communicator about their process, how they architect a talk and specific strengths from this teacher.

One thing that is unique about this podcast, in almost a Monday morning quarterback fashion, Steve and guest listen to a portion of the pastors talk and use that to launch off into a greater convo around the art of communication. The second half focuses solely on character.

The podcast desire is to help you get better at the craft of communicating but always ensuring your character leads the way. In the second half of the interview, Steve has each guest share about specific practices that they participate in regularly that helps keep their Relationship with Christ, their personal integrity and finishing well front and center.

Past guests include John Mark Comer, Rich Villodas, Megan Marshman, Derwin Gray and Scot McKnight.

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Remodel Health

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1. When faced with uncertainty, lead with clarity and humanity

Many leaders freeze when they’re faced with uncertainty. When they do this, their teams become directionless, and they lose all momentum. Andy says that in times of uncertainty, you don’t need to have all the answers, but you do need to clearly communicate a decision. You don’t need to have all the answers, but you do need to be clear about how you’re moving ahead.

You also need to lead with your humanity in times of uncertainty. Andy has to constantly remind himself that his voice and his presence are more important than whatever he is going to say in this season. People need his humanity more than his intellect in this season. Your people need the same from you.

2. If you have crazy ideas, now is the time to try them

With as crazy of a season as we’re living in right now, it seems like almost every leader has done everything they can to preserve the model that has served them for so many years. That response is completely understandable, but it’s also dangerous. For years, churches have been confusing the mission with the method. And now, the pandemic has taken that model away.

This leaves the door wide open for other exploratory methods to thrive in this season. So, if you are a church planter with a crazy idea that you’ve consistently said no to, Andy would say that now is the time to try it out. He predicts that a few of those fresh ideas will begin to eclipse the old model very soon.

3. Now is the time to start over not to return to normal

So many leaders are asking the wrong question right now. Too many leaders are asking, “How do we get back to our pre-COVID ‘normal?’” Andy isn’t asking that question. Andy is asking, “How can we start over and make our church better?” Rather than putting all his focus on getting back to an old model, he’s trying to build a new one.

When you communicate this kind of innovative and fresh thinking with your staff, you will see their engagement increase, as well. It’s always exciting to talk through new ideas with your team. Ask them what their dreams are for your church. Oftentimes, your team’s ideas will be better than yours.

Quotes from Episode 373

Lead with your humanity, because these are uncertain times. @AndyStanley Click To Tweet In times of uncertainty, our voice is more important than our words, and our presence is more important than our preparation. @AndyStanley Click To Tweet When there is uncertainty, the clarity is giving people something to do. Because when things are uncertain and disruptive, nobody knows what to do. @AndyStanley Click To Tweet Pastors are coming to realize that COVID won't propel spiritual growth as much as they thought it would in early days of the pandemic. @davidkinnaman Click To Tweet Our very first line of response was, ‘How do we love our neighbors, and how do we love our neighborhoods?’ Not, ‘What is best for us as a local church?’ @AndyStanley Click To Tweet If you don't give people something to do and they don't know what to do, they will intuitively focus on all the wrong things, because you haven't given them anything to focus on. @AndyStanley Click To Tweet You can't change the direction of something that's not moving. @AndyStanley Click To Tweet It's a mistake in any industry or capacity, not to at least have the conversation of, ‘What if we thought more in terms of starting over then starting back up.’ @AndyStanley Click To Tweet We should take advantage of the fact that we can't do what we used to do the way we used to do it. @AndyStanley Click To Tweet 1 in 5 pastors admits that their emotional well-being is below average or poor. @davidkinnaman Click To Tweet If there's pushback, it becomes an excuse to talk about it more. @AndyStanley Click To Tweet Alignment creates a badly needed dividing line. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet Alignment forces out personal agendas. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet Alignment does not mean full agreement. Instead, it produces full focus. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet Alignment removes all excuses. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet Alignment allows you to harness more creativity not less. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 373

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Turn Online Viewers into Real Relationships: Meet GlooConnect

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Next Episode: Anne Graham Lotz

Anne Graham Lotz talks about growing up in Billy and Ruth Graham’s home, what she learned from her father and mother, how culture and communication has changed, and about how she’s struggled in her own prayer life and how she developed strategies to deepen her walk with God any leader can adapt.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 374.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.