A Leadership Conversation with Larry Osborne

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in a post entitled “Making Small Groups the Hub of Your Ministry” that I recently had the opportunity to spend some time at NorthCoast Church with Larry Osborne and his team to talk about Leadership and Small Groups. If you don’t know already, NorthCoast is an outlier when it comes to small groups and you need to get to know these guys. While the norm across the nation is hovering at about 50% of weekend worship attendance in groups, NorthCoast is shattering that norm and boasts just over 90% of their weekend worship attendance in groups. That was enough for us to get on a plane and spend some time learning from these guys. While that original post focused on Small Groups these are some of my take aways from the conversation that had broader implications for pastors and leaders:

  • Leadership is the art of the possible, not the ideal. If I know as a general that I only have enough resources to take 2 hills and there are 3 hills, I don’t divide my forces and kill everyone, I take the 2 hills I can.
  • Do numbers drive you, or are you driven by names?
  • Our political affiliations are stronger than our faith affiliations…there is a greater opportunity for interfaith marriage than interpolitical marriages
  • Community is more important than content
  • Moms meals were not particularly memorable, but they were healthy and kept you going…if you had a banquet every night you’d be as a big as a house…think through this filter in regards to sermons
  • Why try to make old people embrace a changing culture instead of accept a changing culture? Jesus said you can’t put new wine into old wine skins, but he also said anyone who has tasted the old wine won’t want the new.
  • Organizational growth will inevitably challenge the power, prestige, and preference of long standing team members. Especially when your begin recruiting “pro-players” from the outside and these new “freshmen” begin supplanting “seniors” who have been around for a while.
  • As you grow you’re constantly adding new people to the table then the table gets too big and now you have to have a kids table and an adult table. Healthy organizations do this over and over and over again, and they don’t do it by tenure etc.
  • You can never rise above the lid of the directional leader on the campus
  • If you don’t have a “no surprises rule” you’re going to have surprises
  • Leaders who get shot for micromanagement aren’t too involved…they just don’t inform. They seemingly jump in without rhyme or reason. If you’re going to micromanage for a season then you’ve got to let people know what you’re jumping into, when, and why / and then it’s okay to jump in.
  • “Big L” Leaders are:
    • Flock focused instead of lamb focused
    • Can and have built something
    • Have a drive to make it bigger & better
  • 3 Development Models:
    • 1 on 1 Model: It’s typically very intense. It can work. It’s generally inefficient. The Navigators are a good example of this.
    • Educational Model: It’s based on the concept that we’re going to prepare you ahead of time. Bible Colleges and Seminaries are a good example of this.
    • Apprentice Model: We’re going to throw you in the pool and see if you’re going to swim. As a leader you have to set by the edge of the pool and coach.
  • When it comes to leadership training…people want more training and they want to do less.

Posted in Leadership


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