CNLP 073: Jarrett Stevens on How to Say No in Leadership, City Ministry and Understanding Scripture

Jarrett Stevens worked at mega-churches, but six years ago went Chicago to plant Soul City Church in the heart of the Chicago.

Carey and Jared talk about how to say no in a growing ministry (it’s so hard!), the unique challenges of city ministry and about Jarrett’s new book on how to teach people scripture.

Welcome to Episode 73 of the Podcast.


Jarrett Stevens

Guest Links: Jarrett Stevens


Soul City Church

Four Small Words: A Simple Way to Understand the Bible

Jeanne Stevens; Episode 44

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Willow Creek Church

North Point Community Church

Louie Giglio; Episode 65

How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches

Bill Hybels 

Andy Stanley; Episode 1 

Jon Acuff; Episode 64

The Barna Group

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

There were some incredible takeaways in my conversation with Jarrett in this episode, including some serendipitous pieces of advice from setting boundaries to leading his church to a greater understanding in their relationship with God.

  1. Set clear expectations. It would be great if there were enough hours in the day (or week) to spend quality time with everyone who would like to meet with you. But the reality is, you’ve probably wished you could duplicate yourself. As you church grows, start leveraging your team members and learn to say no with a sincere heart. Create a culture of honoring the skills and talents of your team so that they can share the responsibility of caring for the church and preserving the ministry.
  2. Give brief context. While turning to a story in the Bible during a sermon, Jarrett emphasizes that the background information to a scripture should be brief. Your goal is to relate the information to the relationship with God. Just because it’s helpful doesn’t mean it’s true. “I can give great advice, but is it really rooted in God’s principal,” Jarrett says. “You want people to know God and grow in their relationship with Him.”
  3. Bring people to understanding. Jarrett isn’t interested in raising Biblical literacy, but rather, to understand and integrate scripture into God’s relationship with us. In his new book, “Four Small Words,” Jarrett describes how four simple words connect us in our relationship with God throughout the Bible.
    Of: Derived from the story of creation, it’s a good place to start to understand the story of god because we’re created in His image. Your identity is rooted in God, and you were created for a relationship with Him.
    Between: It’s the sin between us and God. When sin comes between that relationship, it changes the story and gets in our way. But God keeps stepping between you and sin with a covenant.
    With: The gospels are telling us that this is what life with God is like. Who does Jesus choose to surround himself with, who do you surround yourself with, and do those two things align?
    In: God is in us, and the entire New Testament is a study of what God is like when God is in you. You don’t have to earn your relationship with Him because there’s nothing between it, and He will be in you.

Quotes from Jarrett

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Next Episode: Geoff Surratt, Brad Lomenick and Carey Nieuwhof

Sometimes the best conversations cover a range of topics, and that’s exactly what happens as Carey Nieuwhof sits down backstage at the Next Conference with Geoff Surratt and Brad Lomenick to talk about the future of the church, who’s really reaching the next generation and ask each leader what their biggest mistakes in leadership were.

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