CNLP 397: Craig Groeschel on the Future of Church Attendance, How to Lead Well When Everyone Has Different Opinions, and on Winning the War in Your Mind

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Craig Groeschel returns to talk about what he’s learned in the last year about church attendance, how to lead your team well when everyone has strong (and divergent) opinions, why he’s gone 100% in on digital church and 100% in on physical church, and how he’s winning the war in his mind.

Welcome to Episode 397 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 disruptive church trends that will rule 2021 (part 1).

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Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel

The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast


Dangerous Prayers by Craig Groeschel

Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel

Hope in the Dark by Craig Groeschel

Liking Jesus by Craig Groeschel

CNLP 173: Craig Groeschel Deconstructs His Approach to Preaching, Leadership, Success, the Future and More

CNLP 319: Craig Groeschel on What He’s Learning From His Performance Coach, How to Handle High Demand Leadership, and How to Avoid Entitlement in Leadership

CNLP 052: How Craig Groeschel Stays Healthy, Relevant and Passionate in Ministry

CNLP 228: Craig Groeschel on Handling the Pain That Comes with Life and Leadership, How God Can Redeem Self-Inflicted Pain and Bring Hope in the Dark of Personal Suffering

CNLP 207: Bobby Gruenewald on Leveraging First Mover Advantage, Innovation, AI, Technology and the Future Church

8 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2021 (The Rise of the Post-Pandemic Church) by Carey Nieuwhof

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Insights From Craig

1. As a leader, you can have extreme views but you need extreme empathy for those who disagree

The COVID-19 pandemic has likely revealed how far apart the views of some of your staff are. Mask or no mask, gather or not, all of these issues are highly-polarized, and as a leader, you need to be able to speak to and empathize with people on both extremes. If you can’t respect other people’s views, you’ll never be able to lead them.

2. Truly engaging people online takes a lot more work

There’s a lot to question when it comes to online attendance and results. Do online views count? Yes. But how you count them and how you engage with those viewers on a deeper level is difficult to know. Both Carey and Craig tend to be conservative in how they count online numbers and think you need to go beyond just views.

3. Go in 100% on online and 100% on in-person

As you build out the future of your church, there is opportunity both online and in-person. To capitalize on both places, Craig and his team are going 100% in on online and 100% in on in-person church services. He recommends that you be honest about the strengths and weaknesses of both ways to gather.

4. When it comes to models, be FOR what you are but not against what you aren’t

So many pastors cast stones at churches that don’t share the same model as them. Craig points out that there are strengths to large gatherings and strengths to micro-gatherings. Moving forward, be positive about the model that’s working for you, but don’t be against the model that you isn’t.

5. To have a great organization, get over your preferences

Over the years, Craig has learned that if he wants their organization to grow, he needs to be willing to give up more of his preferences for the sake of empowering others to make those decisions. He’s learned this through a lot of pain and anonymous 360 reviews. The longer he’s led, the less confident in his own preferences he’s become.

Quotes from Episode 397

Your life and leadership are always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet Be what you are without being against what you're not. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet If you're small minded, you're always going to have a limited impact. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet Online is a higher priority, and it should be for everyone doing any form of ministry and leadership moving forward. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet If you don't like what you have, change the way you think. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet Whatever you lead is a reflection of the thoughts you think. People may not ever hear you say it or think your inner dialogue, but they're going to feel it. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet To have a great organization, you have to get over your preferences. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet We have to fight as leaders not to be overly optimistic or overly discouraged, but just tell the truth. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet You have to lead with grace, understanding and an explanation. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet Crisis leadership is not as hard as you think. There are some basics: You have to communicate over and over again. You have to bring the why behind everything that you're doing. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet If we value the church gathering, then we may still stream our content but our strategy of how we engage people needs to be different. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet The number of people participating in the mission who are not in the building on a Sunday will surpass the number of people participating in the mission. Click To Tweet In the post-pandemic church, your most engaged people may not be in the room. Click To Tweet In the post-pandemic church, growing churches will shift their focus from gathering to connecting. Click To Tweet Some pastors will try to fill auditoriums while others focus on fulfilling the mission. Click To Tweet Full auditoriums do not guarantee a fulfilled mission. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 397

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Next Episode: Christy Nockels

Christy Nockels has been singing in front of tens of thousands of people since she was 19. She shares the best and hardest parts of life on the road, how she dealt with a life-altering bout of burnout, how to work with your spouse and what she thinks the future of live events and the music industry might look like.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 398.

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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.