Tag Archive - personal


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


4 Reasons Why People Don’t Change

People always want to change their circumstances, but they never want to change their lives. But everything gets better when we get better. Families get better when fathers and mothers get better. Students get better when educators get better. Organizations get better when leaders get better. And churches get better when church leaders get better. But change is painful. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s always easier and more comfortable to stay where you are than to change and move forward. But if you want to grow at some point you’ve got to stop doing what’s easy and start doing what’s right. Here are 4 traps that people fall into that prevent them from changing.

Biting off More Than You Can Chew

The key to lasting change isn’t to work up an overly sophisticated development plan but simply make a few decisions and manage them daily. After all it was legendary coach John Wooden that said, “You make the choice and then the choice makes you.”

Waiting for a Mentor

Leaders aren’t going around looking for someone to mentor, they’re too busy leading. If you want a mentor then you’ve got to chase after someone who has something you want until you catch them. Leaders press into people who press into them.

Hoping for a Miracle

Many people make the mistake of sitting around hoping for their “ship to come in,” some pivotal magic moment that’s going to change everything. What’s missed in all of this waiting and hoping is that the secret of growing and changing is doing a little every day. The change in your life is determined by your daily agenda.

Abdication of Responsibility

People don’t change because they mistakenly think that change is something that happens to them instead of something that happens in them. The change in your life is no one’s responsibility but your own. You get to choose if you are going to grow and change or not.

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


Join a Leadership Coaching Network

My current Leadership Coaching Network is coming to a close and I’m getting ready to launch a new network this spring for up to 12 church leaders! We’ll be meeting six days over six months beginning in April.

This is a coaching experience built around practical systems and tools that will help you take your next steps as a leader. Together we’ll take a look at best practices of growing, healthy churches, and press into tough conversations that will help you get unstuck in your leadership and take steps to see the vision that God has given your church become real.

At The UnStuck Group you’ve probably heard us say before that, “Your message has the potential to shift thinking. Your systems have the potential to shift behaviors.” This coaching network is focused on helping you discover the shifts that need to happen in your leadership and your ministry strategies and systems. You can’t continue to use the same systems and strategies and hope to experience different results. The only way to get different results is to engage different systems. This coaching network will challenge you to take those next steps.

Here are some things to keep in mind…

This is not an opportunity for someone who is looking for inspiration. My coaching networks involve work. You can’t just show up. You will have to commit to six months of reading and engaging leadership exercises with the ministry team at your church. This is designed to help you discover new systems and strategies.

This experience isn’t for people looking for leadership theory. Yes, you’ll learn some leadership skills, but this experience is designed for you to put those skills into action. Every month you will leave with new tools to implement in your ministry environment. I want to help you shift your thinking and shift your behaviors.

This is not a conference experience. In a conference, you can sit and soak in the teaching without engaging anyone else. In this coaching experience, you will be encouraged and challenged by other leaders who will be counting on you to participate fully.

Interested in Joining us?
Click here to get all the details you need to know about the leadership coaching network in Phoenix. My teammate at The Unstuck Group, Tony Morgan,  is facilitating a similar network in Atlanta.

Complete the coaching network application and pay your initial deposit to hold your space. The deposit will be your first month’s fees. The next Atlanta and Phoenix networks will start in April 2014. The deadline to get your application in for the Phoenix network is February 28, 2014. Don’t delay, get your application in as soon as possible as spots are already filling up!

Posted in Leadership


Leadership Lessons from a Family Vacation

Like many families this summer, we did a family vacation. Lisa and I had the opportunity to take the kids (all 4 of them now) for an incredible week in the mountains! Like any leader, it’s tough for me to just “turn it off.” So…upon reminiscing, here are five leadership lessons that parallel our time together we had as a family this summer.

1. The Best Teams have Fun Together

We hiked together, rode go-carts, played miniature golf, taught the girls to play Settlers of Catan, wrestled, snuggled, roasted marshmallows on a fire…the list goes on an on. Bottom line is…we did a lot of stuff to build memories and have fun together. The best teams I’ve ever been around have those same dynamics. They work hard at the work they’re doing, but they also work hard at building memories and having fun together.

2. Spend One-on-One Time with Your Most Important Players

One of the more exciting things for me was to do some one-on-one time with each of the kids. I got to take each of the girls to the driving range and putting green (yes they’re learning to play golf, and love it…shout out to The First Tee), and then just sit and hang at Starbucks. Lincoln, he’s easy at this age, just take him out for ice cream and he’s your best friend forever. Great leaders always intentionally invest individual time in their most promising players.

3. Make Space to Work on Yourself

Each day on vacation I got to spend a little time working on me. Whether it was exercising (I don’t like it, but I need it), or reading, I made space to work on me. The best leaders I’ve ever been around build time into the rhythm of their work to invest in their own personal development and growth.

4. Remember that Sometimes Leadership is just Messy

It rained almost every afternoon on vacation. Which was perfect for getting muddy on the trails (see the picture above). The reality is leadership isn’t always as crisp and clean as everybody makes it out to be. While you can study the science of management, leadership is an art. And like any art it can be messy, it can surprise you, it can turn out beautiful, there are moments that are discouraging, and there are moments of great triumph.

 5. Build Time to just Rest

One of the most glorious things about vacation? Let’s all say these two little words together: sleeping in! Believe it or not sleeping in or taking a nap could be the most spiritual thing you do all week. Simply put, if you run your life wide open with the pedal to the metal, you won’t be running for very long.

Posted in Family, Leadership


5 reasons why you should participate in a leadership coaching network

There are all kinds of reasons why you should participate in a leadership coaching network, but here the five that standout to me!

1. Structured Learning Pathway

Learning and growth just don’t happen. It’s an intentional process. Participating in a coaching group will push you to systematically work through leadership concepts, organizational systems, reading assignments, and leadership exercises that are intentionally structured to help you grow.

2. Fresh Eyes

Every time you bring a new staff person into your church or organization you’ve got a widow of opportunity for learning. They are seeing everything for the first time and with fresh eyes. They haven’t acclimated to the new culture that they’re swimming in, and as a result they view everything from a different perspective, which provides a great opportunity for learning…if you take advantage of the moment. Participating in a coaching group allows people with fresh eyes to take a look into your life and leadership and offer a fresh and different perspective.

3. Our Best Growth doesn’t happen Alone

I’m intentional about building an annual reading plan and I love the inspiration that comes from national leadership conferences. But nothing beats wrestling ideas to the ground, digging through best practices and what it takes to make concepts become reality with a group of peers. Participating in a coaching group allows your ideas, thoughts, and concepts to be challenged.

4. The Discipline of Submission

Great leaders make great followers because they properly understand and have a healthy view of authority and submission. While most of you are used to leading at a high level, participating in a coaching group is a way for you to intentionally place yourself under the leadership of others.

5. You’re not done yet

It may be a bit cliché, but it’s true, leaders are learners. Unfortunately I’ve discovered along the way that many leaders also have a “more than healthy ego.” It kind of comes with the territory. Participating in a coaching group is an intentional way to remind yourself that you still have a lot to learn, and that we can learn something from everyone.

Interested in joining my next coaching network? Get all the details here!

Posted in Leadership
Page 1 of 212»