Tag Archive - justice


5 Characteristics of Churches that Change

Over the past 7 years working with the Unstuck Group I’ve consulted with all kinds of churches. Small churches, large churches, single site churches and multisite churches, churches that are denominationally entrenched and non-denominational churches, urban churches, rural churches and yes suburban churches.

Many of those churches have gone on to get unstuck and produce all kinds of great fruit, seeing many people meet Jesus and experiencing a reinvigorated season of ministry.

Unfortunately, not every church gets unstuck, but for those that do there are some common characteristics that I’ve observed.

Personal Ownership

Churches that change and get unstuck take personal ownership. They don’t blame previous leaders, they don’t blame the economy, they don’t blame what’s happening in their community, they don’t blame the people attending the church, and they don’t even blame the devil. Churches that change get to the point where they stop making excuses for not growing and reaching new people for Jesus. These churches don’t play the role of a victim. These church leaders intuitively know that you can’t change what you can’t control…and they know you can’t control much…but you can control your attitude, your effort, and your approach. These churches are willing to change all three of those things.

Justice Oriented

Somewhere along the line the leaders of churches that experience real genuine change acquire a holy discontent with the status quo. They begin to see that staying where they are and doing things the way they’ve been doing them would actually be wrong. Maybe even sinful. A sense of justice rises up in them prompting them forward to a new future with a different approach that produces different results.


Churches that actually change understand that change is going to be difficult. They know that it’s going to be painful. They know that not everyone is going to go with them on this new journey to reach people far from Jesus. They often times even admit that it’s going to be a bit scary. They simply have the courage to do it anyway.

Action Oriented

Often times these churches have gotten stuck because they’ve been risk adverse or more oriented towards keeping people they already have happy as opposed to doing new things to reach new people. Every church that I’ve seen change and get unstuck has adopted a new approach that has required them to take new action.

Strong Point Leadership

Something that I consistently see in churches that get unstuck and change is that they’re led by strong Sr. Pastors. Now don’t hear what I’m not saying. They’re not all led by dynamic communicators or incredibly gifted leaders. But they are led by Sr. Pastors who are strong and are willing to leverage whatever gifts God has given them to move the ball forward. Often times that simply means that they’ve accumulated relational trust over a long period of time and they’re willing to cash that trust in to move the church forward. Instead of riding off quietly into the sunset they’re willing to go out with their guns blazing so to speak.

Posted in Leadership


Leadership Summit 2017: Gary Haugen

Gary Haugen leads International Justice Mission (IJM), a world-wide agency rescuing victims of violence, exploitation, slavery and oppression. Recognized by the U.S. State Department as a Trafficking in Persons “Hero” – the highest honor given by the U.S. government for anti-slavery leadership – Haugen is the author of three books and has been featured in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times and Forbes.

  • There is one thing that stands between what you learn and what you do. And that one thing is fear.
  • All of the finest leadership training in the world can be rendered useless by fear.
  • That’s why on his last night with His disciples Jesus tells them not to be afraid.
  • Fear is the silent destroyer of dreams
  • Leadership begins with a dream
  • Fear destroys the love that inspires the dream and replaces it with a preoccupation with self
  • We are most likely to not know what scares us the most deeply
  • Being brave is hard
  • You must relentlessly inventory your own fears…what are you really afraid of?
  • Switch from playing defense to playing offense. No great dream was built on the fear of what might go wrong
  • If we are more impressed with bad men than a good God then fear is going to eat your leadership for lunch
  • You cannot move towards a dream of love while retreating to a bunker of fear
  • Hell is playing defense not the kingdom of God
  • 46million people on the planet are in slavery today. More people than at any point in the history of the planet.
  • Great leaders forge a community of courage around them
  • Lone rangers do not make great dreams come true ever, lone rangers make movies
  • If anyone was entitled to adopt a lone ranger leadership model it was Jesus…but what did He do? He forged a community of courage around him.
  • Courage, like fear, is contagious
  • Remember that we are only servants on the battlefield and that the real soldier is Christ Himself.

Posted in Leadership


Leadership Summit 2017: Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson, a highly acclaimed activist and lawyer, has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned through his leadership of the Equal Justice Initiative. he has successfully argued several cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and his TED Talk has more than three million views. The best-selling author of Just Mercy, Stevenson was named to Fortune’s “2016 World’s Greatest Leaders” list.

  • America is the country with the highest rate of incarceration in the world
  • Women going to prison has increased by 646% in the last 20 years
  • 1-in-3 black children will spend time in jail

#1 To change the world you have to get close to the people we are trying change

  • We have to get close to the problem
  • You can’t lead from a distance
  • It is within that proximity where you figure problems out
  • Leadership requires that the people we are leading feel like we are with them
  • Who is responsible for poverty and tragedy? We are because we have removed ourselves from the proximity of the problems.
  • We can’t solve problems from a distance and the solutions don’t come until we get close to the problem

#2 We have to change the narratives that sustain the policies

  • The great evil of American Slavery was not slavery, it was the narrative of racial inequality
  • True narrative change can lead to freedom
  • We have to understand the narratives that sustain the problems that we see

#3 We can’t be effective unless we stay hopeful

  • Hopelessness is the enemy of justice and leadership
  • Hope gets you to stand up with other people say sit down
  • You’re either hopeful or you’re a part of the problem
  • You’re either a hopeful leader or you’re not leading
  • Stop talking about the things you have done and start talking about the things you’re going to do
  • It takes courage to stay hopeful in the face of daunting situations

#4 Be willing to do uncomfortable things

  • As humans we are biologically, mentally, and sociologically conditioned to be comfortable
  • Effective leadership only happens when great leaders are willing to do uncomfortable things
  • Sometimes you have to position yourself in uncomfortable situations to do significant things
  • Why do we want to kill all the broken people?
  • It is in brokenness that we really learn what it means to lead because in brokenness we begin to understand grace
  • Each of us is better than the worse thing we’ve ever done
  • The opposite of poverty is not wealth, it is justice
  • Our character as a leader cannot be measured by how we treat the rich and the powerful but how we treat the poor and neglected
  • Grades, income, position, etc. are not a measure of your capacity to lead

Posted in Leadership