3 Challenges that Every Young Leader Faces


Young leaders face all kinds of challenges. But there are 3 challenges in particular that all young leaders face early on. If not handled well these three challenges can lead to stress, anxiety, insecurity and frustration. Add all of that up and you’ve got a recipe designed to not only undermine your current leadership role but keep you from growing as a leader.

1. Leading People who are Older than You

It can be very intimidating as a young leader to be given the task to lead people who are the age of your parents or grandparents. The Apostle Paul understood this leadership challenge when he wrote to a young leader by the name of Timothy:

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12

Paul challenges Timothy to realize that he is personally responsible for how he behaves as a young leader regardless of what others may think. That he is responsible for what happens in him as a young leader, regardless of what is happening to him. The best approach I’ve seen young leaders take is to take on a posture of humility and then deliver on what they say they are going to do. In other words, produce. Let your play on the field do your talking for you. There is no faster way to earn respect and trust than to do what you say you’re going to do, follow through, and show yourself trustworthy.

2. A Shallow Leadership Well

Often young leaders don’t know what to do because they haven’t done it before. Leadership isn’t learned in a classroom it’s learned by leading. The unfortunate thing is young leaders come with an inherent lack of experience. And the only way to get leadership experience is to lead. But you can deepen your leadership well and, “go to school,” so to speak on others experience. Listening to leadership podcasts, reading blogs on leadership, reading books on leadership, getting in a leadership coaching network, surrounding yourself with other leaders, get face-time with experienced leaders ask questions and then just listen. Get as much “leadership” poured into you as you can as a young leader. These are all things you can do as a young leader to deepen your leadership well.

3. Impatience

Young leaders simply don’t have enough “time in” to understand the value of timing. I get it. I too used to get frustrated about the whole, “finding joy in the journey,” thing. I wanted to make a first down, score a touchdown and win! There’s nothing wrong with ambition, a love for progress, and a deep desire to move people from where they are to where you know God wants them to be. But the right decision, at the right time, executed right way; by the right person is the right thing. Impatience has a tendency to mess all that up.

Interested in learning more about Young Leaders in the Church? Check out these resources:

1. How to Identify Young Leaders in the Church

2. How to Develop Young Leaders

3. Leadership Lessons I Wish I Understood as a Young Leader

Photo Credit: NikonGirl1969 via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


The Best of Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit Pt-2


In the past I’ve regularly taken a large team to the annual Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, this year was a little different. Thankfully the Global Leadership Summit is available digitally even after the live event! We previewed the talks and selected the best two from this years event to share with our team.

The first talk was from Patrick Lencioni bestselling author, Founder and President, The Table Group.

The Most Dangerous Mistakes a Leader Makes

#1 Becoming a Leader for the wrong reason

  • Fame, money, power, etc.
  • Why should someone want to become a leader? Because they want to sacrifice themselves for others even when they may not get anything in return.
  • There is no other kind of leadership other than servant leadership
  • If it’s not servant leadership then it’s just economics and measuring a Return on Investment

#2 Failing to Embrace Vulnerability

  • Destroys trust with the people that they lead
  • You can’t be too vulnerable as a leader
  • People have a right to expect you to be competent but they don’t expect you to be perfect
  • Vulnerable leaders are genuine, apologize, don’t cover up for themselves, and lean into others are better than themselves in particular areas

#3 Making Leadership too Important

  • Most of the time we’re thinking about leadership…we’re thinking about work
  • Our identity can get wrapped up in being a leader instead of other more important things like being a child of God, spouse, or parent
  • Are the people (family) who are our primary vocation getting ignored because our jobs and employees are more important than them?

Pride is what all 3 of these things have in common

  • When Jesus introduced humility as a virtue to society he perfected leadership.

Posted in Leadership


The Best of Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit 2014 Pt-1


In the past I’ve regularly taken a large team to the annual Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, this year was a little different. Thankfully the Global Leadership Summit is available digitally even after the live event! We previewed the talks and selected the best two from this years event to share with our team.

The first talk was from Joseph Grenny, Co-Founder, Vital Smarts: Social Scientist for Business Performance and New York Times bestselling author.

Key Question: Are there some moments in our leadership that are disproportionate in influence, that matter more than any others?

Crucial Conversations: these 3 things cause these moments to become more crucial than others

  1. High Stakes
  2. Opposing Opinions
  3. Strong Emotions

Principle #1  Any time you find yourself stuck in a relationship or team: There are always crucial conversations that we are not holding or not holding well

  • When it matters most you and I seem to do our worst

You have options when a crucial conversation comes

  1. Talk it out
  2. Act it out (if you don’t talk it out you will act it out…it will affect your behavior)
  • We buy into a lie early on and that is “We have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend.”
  • You can measure the health in a relationship or team by measuring how many undiscussables there are in the relationship or organization.
  • Progress in organizations begin when we as leaders discuss the undiscussables.
  • Our job as leaders is to model, teach, and measure these crucial conversations.
  • Crucial conversations are either a pit or a path – they can become an acceleration of intimacy – they become trust building accelerators
  • The Bible is a history of crucial conversations

“The vital behavior that enables most any positive organizational outcome is candor at moments of acute emotional and political risk”

7 Skills to Successfully Navigating Crucial Conversations:

  1. Start with the Heart
  2. Learn to Look
  3. Make it Safe
  4. Master my Stories
  5. STATE MY Path
  6. Explore Others’ Path
  7. Move to Action

In the first 30 seconds of a crucial conversations there are 2 things that determine if you will be heard:

  1. Mutual Purpose: Help them know that you care about their interest, concerns and interests
  2. Mutual Respect: Help them know that you genuinely care about them.

Candor is never the problem: people never get defensive about what you’re saying. People become defensive because of why they think you’re saying it.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing


5 Articles that will Help Your Church Make Vision Real


Thank you for making October a great month here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! It’s great staying connected with you through social media and hearing about how helpful different articles have been. So, thank you for connecting with me through the content on this blog! You made these the top 5 Posts from this last month. If you missed out on any of them, here they are all in one place for your convenience!

1. What every Executive Assistant Wishes their Boss Knew

Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to work with some incredible Executive Assistants through out the years. I recently asked my current Executive Assistant to do a bit of “market research” for me and have some conversations (a lot of conversations) with other administrative staff and come up with a list of top things they wish their bosses knew. Here’s some of the ideas that came back…

2. Top 10 Reasons Churches get Stuck

For more than 18 years I’ve been working full-time in a local church setting. The last 13 of those have been in large mega-church and multi-site settings. I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with an incredible team of people at a the Unstuck Group a successful consulting firm specializing in helping churches get unstuck. Over this span of time I’ve seen churches get and stay stuck for all kinds of reasons but there are 10 catalysts for church stuckness that I see come up over and over again. Here they are in no particular order:

3. 6 Qualities of a Leader I’ve Followed

Over 18 years of full-time ministry I’ve had the opportunity to work some great leaders and my friend Scott Ridout is one of the best. Scott has recently been appointed to be the next President of Converge Worldwide, the movement of churches that Sun Valley (the church I serve at) is a part of. I don’t single out individual leaders as examples very often, and if you knew Scott, he’d be embarrassed by the fact that I’m even writing this, but I believe the best place to learn leadership is from leaders. And I think there is a lot we can learn from the way Scott has led. So here are 6 qualities of a leader that I’ve personally followed…

4. Why Policies are Bad for your Church

No, I don’t have a policy for that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to share a Staff Handbook, the hiring process I’ve built and use, budgeting policies, board policies or a whole host of other policies someone is looking to implement at their church. Because the majority of my experience in church-world has been in the role of Executive Pastor most people automatically think, “policies and administration.” My real job is to bridge the gap between vision and reality…but that conversation is for another time. While some policies can be useful and helpful (by the way if they aren’t helpful you shouldn’t have them), I’m actually a minimalist when it comes to policies. And here’s a couple of reasons why…

5. Why Bringing Problems to a Leader is a Problem

Leaders aren’t looking for problems. They’re looking for solutions. That’s one of things that make leaders…well, leaders. They find solutions, not problems. They lean into the future, not the past. Leaders naturally create chaos and tension in an organization they don’t resolve it. Because they know that every organization needs a certain amount of chaos or it stagnates and dies. And that’s why consistently bringing problems to a leader is a sure way to get your leader frustrated with you.

Posted in Leadership


A Leadership Conversation with an Executive Pastor at a church of 20,000+


One of the most incredible and successful churches in America is one you’ve probably never heard of. Like many churches Christ’s Church of the Valley started in the living room of the founding pastor, in this case Don Wilson. Now over 30 years later CCV has a weekly attendance of more than 20,000 people located across 6 campuses. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Ashley Wooldridge who serves as the Executive Pastor at CCV and talk leadership and multisite. Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation.

  • If you want to be a church of 10 campuses, then start thinking like a church with 10 campuses now…
    • What would have to change? Begin changing it now!
    • What best practices are working right now? Go replicate it!
  • How consistent do you want all of your campuses to be? Have a “Consistency Continuum Conversation” with your Sr. Leadership Team about ministries and practices. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = variation) (10 = consistent)
    • You can start as a 10 and move towards a 1. But you can’t start as a 1 and move towards a 10.
    • You can give someone rope, but pulling on the rope is painful
  • The big difference between a Central Services Team and a Campus Team
    • Central Services Team: Content, Consistency, Communication
    • Campus Team: Execution
  • Breaking through Organizational Structural Lids:
    • This is primarily about control. High control leads to structural lids
    • It shows up in the pace of decision making…you know you’ve got a problem when decision making gets bogged down or when low level decisions get pushed to a high level in the organization
    • A high level of delegation needs to take place
    • Your organizational IQ goes down the higher you go
  • Sanctioned Incompetence:
    • If someone on the team is incompetent and everyone knows it and you don’t do anything about it…
    • It’s your fault as the leader. You are sanctioning their incompetence.
    • You as the leader lose credibility with the team because you refuse to act.
  • The best and fastest way to improve guest services at your church is have a staff that invite their friends to church. They’ll begin to look at everything through the eyes of their lost friends.

Photo Credit: Prayitno / Thank you for visiting ! (3 millions ) via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership
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