It's interesting that people who used to be known aren't known anymore. The speakers at conferences like this when I was in my 20s aren't speaking anymore. People come and go.
My grandad's dying words were, "Don't let them forget me." How many of us know our great, great grandparents.
You will die sooner than you think.
You will be forgotten.
You will only be remembered by the people who know you now.
When we talk about legacy and being known, the power that you have, the moment that you have is now with the people you are with now.
When you see how much time you have left, you get serious about the time you have now.
I told some new parents that as soon as your child is born, you should put a suitcase in the nursery so that you can remember that you're packing their bags from day one.
This is not a new concept. PSalm 90:12 - Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
I'm not sure I know what a heart of wisdom is, but it's probably the opposite of stupid. ANd if you don't want to b e stupid, look at the time you have left in relationships.
When you see how much time you have left, you tend to make what matters matter more.
I think some of us get tired when we start thinking about our time. It makes us feel pressure.
We can talk about all kinds of things with kids, but there are a few things we really want them to walk away with, but you can't make them have those things.
As church leaders, we get confused about what we can and can't do. We think we can force kids into believing or something, but we can't. So we have to focus on the things we can do.
You can't make a kid love God, but you can demonstrate the love of God consistently.
You can't make a kid come to church, but you can make environments that make them want to come to church.
Focus in on the things you can do.
You can't see the immediate results. We're programmed to see what the win is.
You keep doing it because you trust that God is going to do his part.
We get confused between our part and God's part.
I am not God. I am not the Holy Spirit. I cannot change anyone. But I can love a few.
The reason you can't see spiritual growth in a kid's life is because it's spiritual.
The reason you can't measure progress sometimes is because it's so gradual.
My daughter has been an artist since she was two. She painted on the walls, on the tables, on our car. I just remember somewhere along the way the last few years, and her senseless art that didn't make sense started becoming more sophisticated and intricate.
You go back in time to when she was 2 or 3 or 4, I wasn't imagining the end. I had no idea there was a secret to life and legacy, and it's simply what time does over time.
When you look at time, you start seeing what can result if you continue to invest over time.
When you see how much time you have left you tend to value what happens over time.
When you take certain things and put them over time, it makes a difference.
How do you know God loves us? Because He loves us over time. Redepmtion could have happened the day after the garden, but I think he didn't because He wanted to prove he wanted a relationship with us. So he began to pursue a people, even when they rebelled, until finally he sent His Son.
When you take love and put it over time, it's believable.
How do we love? How do we convince people we love them?
The only way we can do it is consistently predictably over time.
We say it this way, "Love over time gives someone a sense of worth."
We're living in a generation of people who don't understand their worth and value, and they need to be known and valued by people who know God so that they know tehir value.
Fun over time equls connection.
Stories over time give connection.
Tribes over time give people a sense of belonging.
When you take something and put it over time, it changes the impact.
When you see how much time you have left, you tend to spend more time with a few.
Inheritance is what you leave for someone, legacy is what you leave in them.
Fame lives for applause, legacy lives to give applause.
Legacy is less about you and more about others, how you spend time with others.
Collectively the time you spend with a few leaves a legacy with them, and you begin to understand the people you are investing in is the greatest gift.
Until a person is known, they can't understand what it means to be loved.
You can't be forgiven by someone who doesn't know you. You're forgiven by people who have history with you.
Leaving a legacy has less to do with sometimes what we think about. Leaving a legacy, I think, has less to do with being magnificent and has more to do with being ordinary. I think it has more to do with being dependable than being remarkable.
A legacy recognizes and understands that you have a limited amount of time, and you'll have to step out of that at some point.
Doin't forget that you only be remembered by the people who know you now.
David and Goliath is all about how we don't know our own strength.
It takes place in 1100 BC. The Israelites are in the highlands in the east in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. And the Philistines are in the coastal plain. And in between is the Shepelah. It's a beautiful area, but the real importance of it is strategic.
So the Philistines begin to march up the Valley of Elah to split the Israelite kingdom in two. So the Israelites camp out on the northern edge of the valley, and the Philistines camp out on the southern edge. And no one wants to be the first to advance because they'd have to be vulnerable in the valley.
So the Philistines send Goliath to challenge an Israelite warrior to settle the stalemate. And David is the only one who volunteers.
Goliath is taunting him, and as the boy gets closer, he continues to mock him. And David says he comes in the name of The Lord Almighty and kills him with a stone in a sling.
I think the way this story has been interpreted in popular culture has completely misinterpreted its meaning.
We call David the underdog. We think it's an upset. David is a kid. Goliath is a mighty warrior. David is a shepherd boy. Goliath has armor, a sword, etc. David had a sling.
But we misunderstand what David had. The stopping power of the stone that flew from David's sling had the stopping power of a 45 caliber bullet.
There is no question that David could kill Goliath. In ancient warfare slingers were routinely devastating to heavy infantry.
Goliath was predicating his strategy on David coming to him. So David takes this devastating weapon to this guy who has 100 pounds of armor.
So we've got the lumbering giant versus the nimble kid with superior technology and the Spirit of The Lord, and we call David the underdog?
Isaiah 16 says that if you look on the heart, David is the favorite.
I think we make this mistake all of the time. I think we radically underestimate the power of the heart. When I was writing my book, I bacame taken with the story of the town of Lishambaugh.
During WWII the Vichy government collaborated with the Nazis. And teh whole country goes along with this except for this little town.
And the pastor of the church in this little town stands up and says to his congregation that we're not going to do anything that is contrary to the Gospel.
So the Vichy government passes all of these laws, and the people of the town ignore them. And the word gets out around France that there's this town that's not going along with the program.
So Jews begin to show up, and the pastor goes to camps and negotiates for the release of Jewish children. And it's estimated that by the end of the war thousands of Jews were saved by this town.
The kids write one of the senior French ministers a letter that basically says, "We have Jews, and if you try to get them, we won't let you."
It's an extraordinary story.
But I think that way of telling the story is inaccurate. The people of the town simply had the right perspective on where true power really lies. Yes, the Nazis were a powerful army. But the people of the town knew that they were up in the mountains and inaccessible for half of the year. And you could see them coming. ANd the local police were friendly.
Couldn't the Nazis have come in and wiped them out? Yes, but they had more important things to worry about.
But the most important weapon the town had was history. The Huegenots in the town had been horrifically persecuted by the Catholic Church in the 18th Century.
During that process they learned how to band together, how to be strong, most of all they learned the power of their own faith. And what happened? God protectd them.
So along come the Nazis and they're like, "We've seen worse."
There's a wonderful quote from the pastor's wife in the winter of 1941, the first time a Jewish refugee came and asked for help. She said, "I never thought to say no. I never thought it would be dangerous. Nobody did."
The Huegenots of this town were not the only committed Christians in France. There were many others. But why was this village the only one that did anything?
The others didn't understand how powerful their faith made them.
We do that all of the time. We underestimate the power of our own faith, and it has real world consequences.
How many Jews would have been spared the horrors of the Holocaust if others had done this?
We not only underestimate David, we misunderstand Goliath.
Someone leads Goliath down the mountain. Why does he need that?
Then we read a mention of how slowly he moves.
Why does it take him so long to figure out what David is up to? He's insulted. Shouldn't he be at the very least worried that something is up?
Then Goliath says that David comes at him with sticks. It's not sticks, it's one stick.
It sounds like Goliath is suffering from acromegaly. It's caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland. It causes people to grow exceptionally large, but it can also cause compression of the optic nerves and cause significant eyesight problems.
Think about that in explaining Goliath's behavoir. He can't make it down the mountain on his own. He can't really see David.
What the Israelites saw from high on that ridge was an intimidating giant, but they didn't understand that what made him an intimidating giant was also the source of his greatest weakness.
We need to remember two things:
1. That giants are not always what they seem.
2. That someone who is nimble, with superior technology, and armed with the Spirit of The Lord is not an underdog.
The Bible can make you well instead of crazy.
Leaders learn leadership and then they go out into reality. You're the one that has to do it. And there's a gap between what you know it should look like and what it does.
The worst thing we can die with is potential. Not a lack of performance but with untapped potential.
How do we know our identity from which to lead?
One of your realities is how you think, behave, feel, perform, etc.
But you also have to do it with a bunch of other wackos.
The personal and interpersonal space of reality is where leadership happens and where identity happens.
What you learn from some Christians is that identity is a proposition.
You hear you have to find your identity in Christ, but how do you do that?
Leaders who begin leading and do not understand that the completion process of finding your identity is a process that God takes people through, they fail to enter into this experience and feel that they ought to already be there, but you've still got a difficult board of elders or crazy person or difficult context.
And you're trying to find out who you are in all of this.
I want to take us from theory through reality to our identity.
If you think you can skip reality and just go operate in your identity, you are in for a big shock.
It's going to affect you in three areas:
Clinical - depression, etc.
That is a path that is forged in reality. We're going to talk about the boundaries that leaders need to have to find their identity. It is possible to get to the end of your life and never find it.
The Bible is a story about propositions. God has secured a calling for you in leadership. He comes into our world and tells us that we have an identity of a future reality. But he secures a promised land out there and says, "You've got to go possess it."
It's in that journey of the possession that you become possessed by the identity that God has for you.
God is perfecting those he has perfected. I'm going to talk a bit about this path and specific boundaries.
Our identity is something that has to be realized and not only understood cognitively but known in your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Not only is it a spiritual identity, but it manifests in the physical world.
My brain ay be getting it but not really getting it.
The brain begins to form circuitry and wiring basically through attention. Leaders who succeed have to have a vision. People who have a specific goal and vision are something like 80-90% more apt to bring those to fruition.
It is the attention to what you focus on that will bring it to reality. What your brain is always asking is "Who am I? What do I do? How do I do that?"
Your brain has to attend to what is relevant, inhibit everything else, and keep a working memory.
Leadership identity is like that.
When Steve Jobs went back to Apple, nobody used it. Steve Jobs went back there and finds out there's 30 something versions of the Mac. He streamlines it to four, a personal and professional version of laptops and desktops.
In your identity formation, can you ask yourself the question, what is it that I have got to be attending to, in myself and in my mission. Do I know what we're about. Do I know what I've got to focus on in the short, mid, and long term.
If everything is important, nothing is important.
The Bible tells us over and over that we've got to be single-minded.
The leaders who make it put structures in their life to help them.
As soon as you start focusing on where it is you're headed, every circumstance in your life will be interpreted in terms of that vision, short term and long term.
People do the best when they're doing what they're good at. But the only way to find that out is to get in the game.
2. Positive Emotional Climate
Identity is only built in a positive emotional climate. If you traumatize the brain... you have two brains, one of them is knowledge, goodness, creativity, etc. You have a second brain. It's called the lower brain. Basically, that brain exists to protect you when under threat. It basically turns up the juice on reacting instead of thinking. Fight or flight.
God has said over and over that you've got to be learning who you are in Him. It's called grace. It's called support. It's called healing.
1 Thess 5: To help the weak, encourage the faint-hearted, confront the unruly, to be patient with all of them.
I want you to be out there trying and failing and succeeding and not having anyone beat you up for it, including yourself.
Some of you come from backgrounds where your brain is in a fight or flight mode, and you can't even begin to think about what you might want to do because you're under constant threat. You must get out of Egypt and go to a new place where there is a positive emotional climate where there is both grace and truth
Absence of entitlement. When the Bible says we shouldn't think more highly of ourselves than we ought, it's not just grandiosity, it's self-crippling doubt.
James says that God will generously give wisdom without finding fault, because He understands that proposition is not realization. God does not see the journey as a fault. But the law will never perfect us.
When your brain finds itself in that positive emotional climate, literal chemicals are released that propel you.
The only ones that God finds fault with are the ones that get off the path and reject him.
You need people to walk through the process with you.
The brain works on:
A baby that is not connected with will have literal black holes in the brain where it did not form.
You have to have people walking down the field of life with you.
One of my favorite studies was taking monkeys, putting them in a cage, scaring the living daylights out of them. So they measure the stress level and get a baseline stress level.
Then they did one thing. They didn't reduce the stress levels. Same elder board. Same team, same family of origin. Here's what they did. They put the monkey's buddy in the cage and closed the door.
So here's my question to you, who's your monkey?
Being a control freak is part of the human design. God has designed your brain so that it loves to have control. But you were designed to be a control freak over one thing: yourself. We worry about everything in life you can't control.
Teams that win the Super Bowl do 3 things:
Hold onto the football (no turnovers)
Follow the rules (no penalties)
I want you to forget that you are in Potiphar's prison, because you can't control that. You might be able to do some things to influence.
You can only control you. You take all of this.
Everything about goal orientation and formation, what makes people realize their goals? Desire? No, people want things they can't achieve.
The number one factor that influences whether you achieve a goal is whether you believe you can.
We must start with faith, but faith without works is dead.
I grew up very deeply immersed in Christian subculture. I was that girl in youth group.
It was shocking for me to watch the attrition as I came out of high school. Barna estimates that 80% of the kids who are reared in church will be disengaged from the local church by the time they're 29.
Respondents citing "no religion" were the only group that grew in every state. 73% of the "nones" grew up in religious homes.
The church is losing 50,000 people/month.
I believe that primarily what we are seeing in explosive church growth is 1) babies are born or 2) transfer growth. We're not adding to the Kingdom, just reshuffling the deck.
Half of all evangelical churches in America reported not adding a single person through conversion.
It appears the church is not making disciples.
We need to move from attraction to deployment.
I'm not going to talk philosophy of attractional vs. missional today.
If we pop out of our little, tiny Christian bubble, attractional just isn't a wise approach to building the church anymore. We are in a culture that is declaring they are clearly not going to come to church anymore. Building a church around an attractional model just isn't practical anymore.
An attractional church is just going to attract Christians. Here's the problem. Without any new buyin from the next two generations, the American church is going to be dead.
Besides all of that, Jesus actually never told us to start a church. He told us to become and make disciples. Church is actually just the outcome of a bunch of believers living on mission together. Incarnational living creates disciples, and disciples together create the church.
So if our primary goal is just to attract people to church first, we might end up with a full sanctuary and no discipleship. Discipleship isn't attractive at first blush.
Isaiah 53:1-3 Jesus wasn't fancy or beautiful. He never faked anyone out with flash but no substance. Jesus was familiar with pain, which means that Jesus was familiar to people in pain.
I often try to imagine Jesus walking through some of our sanctuaries designed to attract and impress, and I just can't get my head around it.
Who can believe our message of this poor, humble servant leader who saved our world by dying for it? A bit too much of it screams, "We're cool. We're edgy."
A national worship leader friend of mine was saying we've gone to the limits of what is new or cool. We've reached our attractional threshold, and it's still not holding.
Young adults said community was the top thing that would attract them to or keep them in the Church. Number two was social justice. Number three was depth. Number four was mentorship.
It's interesting what this tells us. It tells us that at least the next generation is malnourished from spiritual soda pop, and what they actually want is wine.
I'm afraid that in this attempt to attract with all of this cultural relevance, we've become irrelevant. It's like when your parents try to be cool. We don't actually want our parents to be cool. We want them to be parents. We don't want them to shift around with every little thing. We want them to be there when everything stops being alternative and emergent and awesome. Parents aren't always trying to coddle us and make us feel good. They tell us to get our butts out of bed and do our chores.
Parents are preparing us to become adults.
Rather than imagining the church as a landing zone, perhaps we should see it as a launching pad. We're not here to build a big church but to make a bunch of disciples who grow up and become adults.
Who cares what our churches look like? Who cares if the pastor wears pleated dockers. I don't care if you wore a banana clip on purpose. These are last place details.
Here's the question. Are people's lives being transformed? That's it.
Here's how you answer that: Are they living on mission in their real lives?
20-45% of Americans actually attend church ever on a given weekend, and only 6% of churches grew last year. What they tell us is that the way to reach our communities is our people, living on mission, deployed. That's the way we are going to reconnect with our communities and our cities.
Practically, people aren't going to come to us, but Biblically, even if they did, disciples go where they are sent.
We say one thing, but we structure around our true values. Shifting from attracting to deploying may require some deep changes.
We're going to have to endorse some new norms and change our definition of success. Whatever we think is success is the way we are going to be leading our people.
So when folks stop living off the church campus but on mission in fuzzy ways: dinner with their neighbors, poker nights, book clubs, these start feeling a little nebulous to church leaders. These things are the engine of incarnational living.
When we moved into our neighborhood several years ago, we set out on neighborhood domination. We moved in with our friends and said, "We are going to love these people so hard. They're not going to know what hit them." So we just started having our neighbors in. In the driveway. Brandon started a card night with the guys.
One of my neighbors I really liked. It was like the early stages of dating. She had been in my house a few times. When this happens, I tend to hold back my Christian card because I know people have spiritual baggage. But I had a friend with me who knew me well and she outed me.
And so my friend, her face fell. And I just asked her how she felt. And she told me, "I feel unsafe with you now."
I think about the way we have invited people into our lives for a long time. I grew up in a paradigm that was worth based. First of all, you need to believe... like I do. We need to get that piece grounded. Then you can belong with us. Then it moves over into this toxic community, into the maintenance phase. Behave. Don't get weird. Don't go off the rails.
I wonder what would happen if we started putting new language in front of our community. What if we communicated that people belong, in our homes, where we are, in our homes, in our schools. We say, "I love you. You're not my project. There are no strings attached."
What happens is that if you create this space of safety for long enough, people will believe. There are a thousand conversations between. They will believe because we have shown them Jesus.
And if I can add this on just because I never did like the maintenance phase of believe. So I wonder if collectively we stopped saying, "We're going to behave." And started saying, "We're going to become like Jesus."
The number 1 reason people stopped coming to church was life change. Schedules got busy. They had kids, whatever.
What if we created margin for busyness and taught people that the 1000 small things that people do to connect with folks, that's important. That three hours invested in a family in the community is no less valuable than the three hours on Sunday.
The reason our people cannot live on mission is perhaps not because they don't want to but because they don't have time.
It is very, very difficult to live incarnationally and not make disciples, but it is shockingly easy to do church and not make disciples.
Sacrificial service, especially to the poor, is central to discipleship. Nothing our church has ever done has transformed our people more than serving the poor.
How can we possibly lead a movement to the margins when our business model holds church attendance as the bullseye. If we're not moving people out into prophetic living, our model is unbiblical.
Serving the poor draws the unchurched. We have people serve with us 10 times before they ever come to church. We can invite people into justice more easily than into the inner workings of our family. It's the foundation of Christian obedience.
I'm pretty much the only one of the four kids in our family who is still deeply connected to the church. I asked my sister not too long ago, what was it for you that you finally just kinda walked. She said, "You know, Jen. I just couldn't play the game anymore."
And what I want to tell you leaders, "Nor should we." With so many of our people under our leadership playing church, let me tell you, it's not our responsibility to babysit spoiled, entitled Christians. The more attractional you are, the more you'll have to do that. We don't have time to mess around. This is it. The earth is dying, people are suffering, and people are lonely
This is urgent mission. We are here to make disciples who will make disciples, because everything else is a waste of time. I believe that you will get more done with a small number of committed disciples than a stadium full of indugled, first world Christians.
If our goal is to raise disciples up and send them out, then leaders, let us please stop disparaging those who actually leave. If we are doing our jobs, then people are going to go further and further and further, because that is how God expands the Kingdom.
So if our folks leave us to plant another church or live missionally somewhere or start some sort of faith community then what we should do is anoint them with oil and send them out with our highest blessings.
We get confused about this in American Christianity. This is not about our little micro-kingdoms. If people launch out, that should be a thrill and joy to us. We've got to resist that impulse to feel left behind, and nothing could validate our ministries more than that.
With 40% of the dechurched stating mistrust and lack of faith in their pastors, I'm not saying it's earned, but it's their perception, so it's their reality. I wonder if churches built on a powerful personality will struggle to reach the cynical.
You don't have to be the main attraction. This is a wonderful time to start sharing teaching responsibilities. Decentralize a bit, things that make us uncomfortable as leaders. We don't have to attract people with a charming personality or outrageous charisma. That feels disingenous and scares people.
The more vulnerable and simple and approachable as a leader, the more you are living in your own skin, the more you are being honest about your own life, struggles and questions, the more likely you are to raise up disciples who are like that.
That is the sort of community that can change an entire city.
You string enough of those communities together, and we can change the entire world.
I'm proud of you for leading the church. It's a hard job, and there are a lot of days I want to walk away from it, just like you do. But I'm just not okay with being a part of a generation where the Church died on my watch.
So may you and I as leaders be simple, ordinary Christ followers, not fixated on building awesome churches but on building disciples who are ready to say, "Here I am, send me."
It's Catalyst time again, and if you've been a reader for any length of time, you know that I take a lot of notes at Catalyst. In an effort to absorb more of the content for myself this year, I'll actually be taking a few, fewer notes, but I think you'll still find them useful.
For those of you who have never heard of Catalyst, it is the leading faith-based conference for young leaders and attempts to draw on the best practicies not only from the church but from the business and non-profit world.
You are best advantaged as a leader when you spend time with people who think differently than you.
When I was young, Charlie Renfro mentored me, and he thought big. He kept coming in and asking me, "What you working on big?"
Programming Culture, Ministry Environments
There is a way in which your church is nothing but a series of environments. Every single week your environments are being evaluated.
If you have not clarified the win in every single environment, your people will come up with their own definition of a win.
One point of clarification: We are unapologetically an attractional model. We will do anything to attract people because I have never seen an empty seat make a profession of faith in Christ. I think it's very much a New Testament model. So people say, "You're appealing to a consumer mentality." And I say, "Yes, I am, because every human I have met is a consumer." But before you get all spiritual, that's what Jesus did. They did not follow Jesus because of his teaching. You don't. They certainly didn't. He attracted crowds because he healed them. Yes, there were some moving moments and people listened, but the thing that attracted the crowd was the miracles. If I could do in the moment miracles, I would, but I can't, so we have moving lights and a band. I don't care. I don't apologize, whatever it takes to get people to come and come back. The win in my service is that an unchurched man between the ages of 25 and 55 comes, likes it enough to leave and come back next week with a friend.
Ultimately, we want people to fall in love with Jesus, but you can't make people fall in love. All you can do is arrange the date.
With that in mind, we stood back and asked the question, "What's an irresistable ministry environment for middle schoolers, high schoolers, young adults, small groups, etc." And then we asked more generally the question, "What's an irresistable ministry environment in general.
Here's the three we came up with. You might not like our three. You may not care about our three. I don't care. I just want to prod you to go home and come up with your own with your team. Every single ministry environment you create is being evaluated. You know why people don't come back to your church? They didn't think there was something worth coming back for. You owe it to your staff and you owe it to your team, because in your staff you have created some sort of environmental or programming culture.
- An appealing setting
- Setting - the physical environment
- Settings create first impressions.
- An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins.
You have worked in your church for so long there are things you do not see anymore. We have to figure out how to get fresh eyes on our ministry environments so we see our physical environments how outsiders see them.
- Every physical environment communicates something.
There are no neutral environments. A pastor friend of mine put Harleys in the lobby. The guys stuck around and hung out.
You walk in this room you feel like you're in a concert hall.
- Clean - We were expecting you, and we're glad you're here. Your campus, if it's not clean, it communicates we weren't expecting anybody new.
- Organized - We're serious about what we're doing. The eMyth, the first book I took my staff through, it's a book on franchising, "A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what they are doing."
- Safe - Communicates that you value other people's children as you value your own.
- Design, decor, and attention to detail communicates what and who you value most.
When you walk through the halls of this church, you get the impression this church values children. We want parents to think we love little Johnny. Johnny doesn't notice any of that stuff. Johnny only cares whether there are goldfish. If there are goldfish, he's in.
I visited a really large church four years ago. It had a great auditorium. I talked them into giving me a tour of the children's area. It was awful.
- Design, decor, and attention to detail communicates whether or not you are expecting guests.
You need a parking lot attendant. I don't are how big or small your church is. It communicates you were expecting guests.
- Periodically, we all need fresh eyes on our ministry environments.
There are two kinds of people in the world. People who see a mess and people do not see a mess. And you are one or the other. If you do not see a mess, you need someone who does. When you go home, look in the backseat of your car, and if you'd have to move a bunch of stuff around for someone to sit there, you might need someone else's eyes on your ministry environments.
- Are your ministry settings appealing to your target audience?
- Does the design, decor, and attention to detail of your environments reflect what and who is most important to you?
- What's starting to look tired?
- An Engaging Presentation
- Engaging presentations are central to the success of our mission
- Presenting the gospel is a primary responsibility of the church.
- "Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" is the unique responsibility of the Church.
- To engage is to capture one's attention. It's not just what you say. We're all speaking truth. You have to present it in an interesting way.
- Information doesn't have to be unique or new, the presentation has to be good. You don't go to a restaurant and get upset because they don't have unique meats.
- Generally speaking, it's the presentation that makes information interesting.
David beats Goliath every time. There are always 10 commandments. And they have the book at home. You have to make it interesting. You don't have to come up with unique information. You shouldn't come up with unique information
An audience's attention span is directly related to the the interest of the presentation.
The reason comedians are funny is that they don't say anything unique. They just say common things in a funny way.
- Engaging presentations require engaging presenters or an engaging means of presentations.
We look for great presenters and great content creators. We have people who are great at presenters but cannot create good content. We have people who are great content creators but are not good presenters. We take people we're not even sure we want around children... that's an exaggeration, give them a script, and they love getting up there and teaching kids. We have teachers who are great content creators but don't want to present because they do it all week long.
If we want great presentations, we've got to find great presenters. If you're in charge of the children's ministry, you might not be a great presenter, you just have to find one. No matter what it takes, if someone gets up in front of a group of kids, we want them to love the Bible more not less. Typically youth ministries teach what three things: The Bible is boring, God is boring, Church is boring.
Every Sunday we spend millions and billions of dollars on creating services, but we're undermining our mission by not having engaging messages.
If you are the senior leader of the church and you're not an engaging communicator, you have to find them. You don't have to talk all of the time. That's a model. Don't spend one more day of your life boring people with a book that has the potential to change your life.
The churches making a difference are the ones that have decided it's not about a personality, it's about getting it done.
- Is your culture characterized by a relentless commitment to engaging presentations at every level of the organization?
- Does your system allow you to put your best presenters in your most strategic presentation environments?
- Are your presenters evaluted and coached?
- Does your system create opportunites for your best content creators to partner with your presenters?
- Helpful Content
It's not just was it true, was it helpful?
- Helpful = Useful
- Helpful content is content that directly addresses thinking and living.
Every message should help someone think differently or live differently.
- Content should be stage-of-life specific.
All Scripture is equally inspired, but it is not all equally relevant to every age and stage of life.
We have 7 things we try to teach to our middle school and high school students. That's what every camp and every group and everything does.
You don't have time to teach the whole Bible. You will die first, and people will leave your church. You would have to teach such large chunks of it you wouldn't get anything out of it. Ask what people need to know. If you want to teach verse by verse, fine, but it's got to be helpful.
- Information that does not address a felt need is perceived as irrelevant.
It may not be irrelevant, but if it does not touch on a felt need, it seems irrelevant.
- Information that isn't perceived as useful is perceived as irrelevant.
- Is your content helpful?
- Do your content creators and communicators understand that the goals are renewed minds and changed behaviors?
- Is your content age and stage-of-life specific?
Of every enviornment, program, and production, ask:
- Was the context appealing?
- Was the presentation engaging?
- Was the content helpful?
You have to define the win.
How do our values impact our culture.
When you walk in here you say, "Man, I like this place. I like being here." When you walk into a restaurant, you say you like the feeling. Maybe you walk in somewhere else and you don't like it.
And it's not just the aesthetic, the colors on the walls.
When we started LifeChurch, it was in a 2 car garage with mirrors on the walls. We had nothing you would think of when you think of normal church. We had two borrowed speakers, one mic and mic stand, and an overhead projector. This environment was so bad. Our overhead transparency flipper, his name was Jerome, and he got a finger shot off in a drug deal gone bad. Jerome would be worshipping and forget to flip the song, and all of the sudden you'd see his hand there, and you could see people looking up at the garage door counting fingers.
It was nothing you would think of when you think of excellence and church. But the first week there were 40 people, and certainly they were all Christians, but I was committed to evangelism, and so I made a call for people to accept Christ. 7 people raised their hands, and there were tears.
It was a very healthy culture.
Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created.
The number one force that shapes your culture is your values.
What we value determines what we do. What we believe determines how we behave.
Think about the difference between the synagogues run by the Pharisees and the party at Matthew's house run by Jesus. Their priorities were reflected in what they did. Jesus said he came to seek and save the lost, that the healthy didn't need a doctor but the sick.
Think about the customer service you get at Chik-fil-a. Here are their values.
- Putting customers first
- Drive to continually improve
There is another organization that in front of everyone all of the time says, "here's what we do." In the chirch word, what we value determines what we do.
- If we value tradition, we'll focus more on the present then the past.
- If we value relevance, we'll wear skinny jeans and lots of hair product.
- If we value evangelism, we'll focus on people outside of the church.
Show me a healthy organization, and it will have clearly articulated values. Show me an unhealthy organization, it will not have values. If we need to change. Change our values first
- Determine honestly what your actions say you value.
- Your actions may say you value the status quote.
- Your actions may say you value the building. Don't run in the building. Don't bring drinks in.
- Your leadership may value being in control.
- Your actions may say you value generosity, or missions, or diversity... or the handbell ministry
- There is often a big difference between what you claim to value and what you do. The difference between what you claim to value and what you do is the pain.
- Your values may say you value evangelism, but you're really interested in keeping Christians happy. You say you value excellence, but there are three typos in the bulletin.
- Early in my ministry, I kept saying we valued small groups, but I was not in a small group. Our groups were horrible because my actions were inconsistent with the value.
- Identify the values God has put within you (or your leadership team).
- There are certain things God has burdened you with. You can't do church like Andy because Andy values one thing, and you value something else. I used to try to copy everyone else. I liked Willow Creek, so I tried to be Bill Hybels, and that didn't work. So I started liking Rick Warren, but he does everything on purpose. I"m way to accidental. Then I tried to be Joel Osteen, but I have way to badd of attitude.
- What do you passionately love? What makes your heart leap with joy? What breaks your heart or makes you righteously angry?
- I grew up in church but didn't understand the Gospel. I got a free Gideon NT in college, so I started reading in Matthew, and Ephesians 2:8-9 saved me. I was saved by the Word of God, by a free Bible, so when people tell me I should sell the YouVersion Bible app, I say "No, I got saved by a free Bible!" Then I met a guy who came on the YouVersion staff who was saved by a YouVersion app. I love that.
- I filled in for a friend at his church, and the church secretary told me I needed to preach a good sermon because they had a visitor... a rare occurrence. This lady wasn't dressed so well, and she came up to greet me before service. The deacon stepped in front of me and asked her if that was the best she could do for God. She turned around and walked out.
- If you look at what I do and what I love, everything points to evangelism because I grew up in church and didn't understand the Gospel. My church will always have an evangelistic bent. Discipleship is great. Worship is important.
- Narrow them down to 10 or fewer values.
If everything is important to you, nothing is important to you. I like 7 better than ten. I like 5 better than 7.
- Once you've clearly defined your values, describe them in short, life giving statements.
- If you can't tweet your values, they're too long
- If they don't move you emotionally, they're too dry.
- If they don't create passion within you, get some new values.
- Instead of saying, "We value evangelism," We say, "We'll do anything short of sin to reach people for Christ. To reach people no one else is reaching, we have to do things no one else is doing."
Therefore, we're not going to do what everyone else is doing. That's why we'll do church online.
- We say we're spiritual contributors, not spiritual consumers. This gets planted deep within my heart.
- We don't say we value generosity, we say that we will lead the way with irrational generosity.
- We love unity, but we say, "We're all about the capital C church, the local church is the hope of the world, and we know we can accomplish more together than apart."
- We don't recruit volunteers, we release leaders, because volunteers do good things, leaders change the world.
- Say them over and over and over again until they become a part of the people.
- Shape your culture and build your people around your values.
- Lead toward your values as if your future depends on it, because it does.
- Vision leaks, and values drift over time.
- Hire and recruit for your values. I would take a B- player with the same values over an A+ leader with different values.
- You may want to take a separate set of organizational values for your team. Behavioral values, not just what we believe, but how we behave. Ask what behavior the 10 top leaders within your organization have in common:
- Great work ethic
- Sense of humor
- Culturally relevant
- We design our interview questions around these values.
- Remove people with distinctly different values.
- If there are people on your team who are going to be miserable because they have radically different values, help that person find some place they're going to flourish. That's cancer to our organization, and it's not fair to them either.
- If you can't change the values above you, do everybody a favor, leave, and speak honorably of where you came from.
- If you don't like where you're going, change directions.
One of the most painful times in LifeChurch, between years 11 and 13, I felt like I was losing the church I loved. There was gossip and rumors. There was layers upon layers, poor communication, high staff turnover, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I just finally got to the place where I felt the best years were behind me. I spoke at a leadership conference and felt like a huge hypocrite, I sat down afterwards, put my head in my hands, and God spoke to me, "Quit whining. You're sharp. Fix it." That's kinda the way my dad would talk to me or a coach would talk to me. Those words were so meaningful to me. God was saying to me, "You've got everything you need to do everything I've called you to do. Leaders lead, and that's what you need to do."
We've had a very full day, and there's nothing like a greek chick to come on at 5 to keep your mind off of dinner.
When I was here last time 2 years ago, we gave out about 10k keys, and it was one of the first times I had spoken about the A21 Campaign. We had one office in Greece then, we have 7 in different countries now, dozens of traffickers in jail, hundreds of girls rescued.
In July this year, like most people, I was glued to the TV watching the Olympics. And now my husband and I are actual resident aliens of the US. And so now I was watching this and realized most of the events I was watching Americans were competing in and Americans were winning.
I had to the opportunity to be in Sydney in 2000, and I was watching the 4x100 women's swimming relay, and the US should have won. They had the best team, but there was very sloppy baton passage. ANd then in Athens in 2004, it was the same thing in the women's 4x100 running relay. In 2008 there was a dropped baton in the 4x100 running relay. In 2012, we won gold, and I wrote to the Olympic relay and asked if we could have permission to show this footage.
You see the frustration of a baton exchange that didn't happen like it should have. What should have been a seamless exchange, all of those years of training of diet of discipline, it all came down to 1.9 seconds in the exchange circle. It didn't matter how fast any individual runner was running. That 1.9 seconds in a 20 meter exchange zone determines everything. It doesn't matter how fast any individual runs.
We are all a part of the Church of Jesus Christ in the year 2012. I watched the debate last night. This is one of the most pivotal moments. We are a generation of leaders alive in an exchange zone in the church. We have to decide if we're going to hand the baton off too late and be disqualified, if we're going to drop the baton, or if we're going to have a seamless exchange.
When we're talking about making, who's going to make the biggest church, the biggest ministry, it's all about understanding that it's all about handing the baton. We are part of history receiving the baton and handing it off. THat's what God has called us to do. It doesn't matter who's the biggest.
Hebrews 12: Therefor since wer are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangled.
We're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. This chapter goes on to talk about the great witnesses of the faith. We are just a part of it. Ultimately the goal of everything we are being mad into is that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to show you another text from the OT where the baton exchange did not happen well.
I wonder whether Joshua ultimately succeeded. Is this about the baton of faith going forward or is this about me and my ministry, me and my faith going forward. To me, Judges 2 is the saddest passage of Scripture.
The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him… After that whole generation died, another generation grew up who neither knew the lord nor what he had done for Israel.
He led a whole generation into the promised land, but what happened in the exchange zone. It doesn't matter how big what we build is if we don't hand it to the next generation. We don't have to stop it and start it all over again. We don't have to be lazy and sloppy in the exchange zone, we can actually do this in our generation. We can actually make the transition from one generation to the next without dropping the baton.
Remember that there is a great cloud of witnesses, that there are others who have come before us. If you don't know how to honor others who came before you, you will forget there are others to come after you. We need to make sure we are honoring the men and women of God.
To those of you in the little country town and not in the glossy pages of a Christian magazine or up on a platform, let me tell you you are on God's platform. You hold onto the baton every time you stick with that marriage a little bit longer, honor your senior leadership, work with those kids in that little country town, you hold onto the baton.
When you realize it's not about you, you submit yourself to the process so that God can make you the person you need to be.
You will reproduce what you are, not what you say. Far more is caught than taught.
My birth certificate says, "Unnamed." My social work report says, "Unwanted." I was sexually assaulted for four men several times a week for most weeks for twelve years of my life.
If I didn't deal with that, all I would have done is carry all of that into my leadership, and the last thing the Body of Christ needs is another wounded healer. When we carry our insecurities into our leadership, we are dropping the baton of faith. We transfer it from one generation of the leadership.
Let me tell you what the weight of this generation is:
I deserve something
I won't do anything unless I'm paid for it.
I'm not going to do anything unless there's a position and a title with it.
We pick and choose what batons we want.
When I was growing up, there was no popular Christian culture.
Nothing will kill you faster than a spotlight. God makes you who you need to be in places of anonymity and obscurity. THe greatest ministries on earth are made in anonymity and security, but we want to bypass that process.
Our tribalism will kill us. The most important thing is the baton of faith, the love that we have for one another. People don't care about our opinions. They want to know about the love, justice and mercy of God.
We only care about one thing, the name of Jesus Christ.
I'm going to carry the baton in my generation. It's time to lay aside the weights and the sins personally, denominationally, culturally.
Let us lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with perseverance.
Your talent will open the door but only your character will keep you in the room.
I utilize technology, but it does not control me or govern my sense of significance or value.
Let me put you all out of your misery right now. THere is only one love language. It's called die. Die to self. That is the only love language.
What's missing in the church are the words of Jesus in the garden saying, "No, I don't want to do this but nevertheless." When was the last time you got on your knees and said but nevertheless.
Do you remember when it was an honor to hold the baton of faith. Do you remember when it was like, Jesus it is an honor to carry the baton, but when you run into an exchange zone, I'm running full speed. The person I'm passing the baton to, there is a moment in that 1.9 seconds they have to be running full speed without the baton.
If you put yourself somewhere you have to keep yourself there. If God puts you somewhere, it's his job.
I can't put the baton into the hand of someone who isn't running. Some of you young men, your pastors are ready to give you so much more, but you're not ready yet. You just want the glory of leg 4 without running legs 1, 2, and 3.
We're obsessed with talent. Talent isn't enough. The devil is too strong and the world too hard, not stronger than Jesus, but too strong for a talented, gifted, unanointed leader.
Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel and said, surely, it must be the oldest. But God said, "no, it's not him. I don't care how talented he is." Have you got anyone else? "Yeah, there's this guy in the back water town looking after 20 kids with no one noticing." And God said, "I've been making him in the backside of the desert."
When God marks you, it's better than when men market you.
And he says finally, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
Here's the advice for this generation, for a generation obsessed with comparison and social media, it's not about you. It's about the baton of faith. Some of us seriously need to get off of the Facebook and get our faces in the book. We are more worried about how many people are following us on Twitter than are following Jesus.
Ken Coleman: My favorite shows of all of hte shows you produced is "The Contender." Mark, the theme of this conference is Make, the making of a career, a leader, a dream. Your story emobdies the American deram more than anyone else. You did a show for MTV. You shopped Survivor to all three networks. They said no, you went back to CBS. You did a deal in a way a deal had never been done before.
How do you manage that tension between patience and persistence.
MB: So glad to be here with you. I think the important thing I'd like to communicate with you firstly is that there's no reason I should have all of these shows made. I came here with nothing. This nation gives everyone an opportunity, but you have to have the courage and the faith. "No" really means "next opportunity." When I went back to CBS for survivor, the head of CBS came back and said, "Ok, you can make this."
You do have to jump in. If you need to be certain of something, you will do nothing.
If you wait until you're certain, you won't do anything.
KC: Desperate Networks details Mark's story so well. How would you challenge leaders to say, make sure you give a shot to those below you?
MB: Many great things in our nation have been done by people who were the most unlikely candidates. If you're telling young people to go forward, start the parade. Make it go forward, people will join you. If you need it to be laid out so easily, nothing is going to happen.
This country is a place that we love. It gives you chances, but you also have to deliver. Because Americans love results. You also get second chances in America. We all know that with our faith, but it's true in our country as well. Donald Trump taught me something important. If he has a couple of people lined up in front of him, one with a Harvard degree and moderate energy, another with boundless energy and no college degree, he'd hire the person with energy every time. Energy is so important. You have to stay energetic.
KC: CBS caid yes to you, and then you had to deliver.
MB: That element of someone telling you, here's you're big chance buddy! Who wouldn't be scared. That feeling of fear can be looked at as the same energy of excitment. Look at people in Iraq and Afghanistan now. Look at the bravery. It's okay to be afraid, but that doesn't mean you can stand their.
As I said, I don't need certainty, I just need faith. That is enough for me.
KC: You're a guy that has created some really unique shows. What is your imaginative process like? How do you begin to develop show ideas?
MB: It's a completely instinctual thing. It's not a scientific process. You just have to listen to that. Everyone here knows, it's a god thing. Something inside of you tells you it's the correct path. In the need you have to make a decision on something and go for it.
We're all scared a lot of the time, and you just have to deal with it.
The people in this room are responsible for millions of people, and sure you're scared.
Every week there has to be a TV show when you tune in.
You can't always show your fear to those following you.
KC: I did a lot of reading on the different shows you've created. You create shows that connect emotionally in different ways with different people. What would you say to church leaders who are trying to reach a diverse audience?
MB: THe one word answer is authenticity. The camera can see inauthenticity. Within 12 hours the Survivors have basically forgotten the cameras exist.
My wife is an actress and has to find authenticity in every perforamce. You can see authenticity.
Ken Coleman: This is an interesting book. She gave a TED talk. It is one of the most popular downloads in history. The subtitle of your book is The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking? Why did you write this book? Why is it important for us to know?
SC: If you look at many of the great artists or leaders of our time, they did what they did because of their temperments, not in spite of them. Gandhi, Steve Wozniak, etc. did amazing things, and yet we structure our world to make the most of extroverted talents and not of introverts.
It's not just a problem for introverts. We're all missing out on the contribution of introverts.
KC: How did we get there? And give us a real example of what this looks like?
SC: We used to live in a culture of character, then around the turn of the 20th Century we moved into the era of big business and turned to valuing charisma and dominance.
Figures like Abraham Lincoln were known for being honest and unassuming.
KC: I Think a lot of us don't get this.
SC: When we were going to school we did most of our work autonomously. Now it's all group work all day. This works for the extroverted children. It doesn't work so well for the introverts. But it's not great for the extroverts either. One of the key ingredients of creativity is the ability to work alone in solitude.
KC: I want to talk about parenting and then leadership. I am an extreme extrovert, and mo oldest son is almost an extreme introvert. How do we parent children who are introverts without forcing them to be something they don't want to be.
SC: The primary thing is a mind shift of starting not just to accept these children for who they are but to delight in them. It's up to you as a parent to communicate this to tehm. Introverted kids have a longer runway. To get to a place of comfort they have a longer runway.
KC: Now let's switch it to leaders. How do introvert leaders need to lead extroverts, and vice-versa.
SC: There's groundbreaking research that shows that introverts often make better leaders than extroverts.
For extrovert leaders, allow introverts to run with their ideas and work on their own. Research shows that people often do better work when working along.
There are introverted and extroverted individuals in nearly every species. From fruit flies to lions to humans.
KC: How can people connect with you beyond this conference?
SC: For those of you who are interested in moving the quiet revolution forward, visit http://thepowerofintroverts.com.