Category Archives: Leadership

General thoughts about Christian leadership.

A Whole New Mind

Books Front Page Leadership

A Whole New Mind Cover
A Whole New Mind
by Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink has written a very interesting book about the coming shift from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. He makes an interesting claim that the Information Age is already over and a new way of doing business has begun. The book is mostly about business principles, but it has a lot to say to churches and church leaders (something I’ll tackle in an upcoming post). Continue reading

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Creating and Monetizing Communities

Front Page Geekery Leadership Stuff I Find

The title of this post comes from a video posted on Guy Kawasaki’s blog about a Chicago company called Threadless that has users create designs for T-Shirts and then sells the finished product. I thought it was an interesting way to talk about there business, and I haven’t finished watching the video yet, so I’m posting the link here for my own future reference. You might like it too.

If you have the time to watch it, post a comment about what you think about “creating and monetizing” a community.

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Improve Your Preaching

Front Page Leadership

One of my favorite blog sites is because it takes a critical look at the way people present information in a public setting. As a pastor, I’ve been presenting information to people for a while now, and I’ve been using powerpoint to be a visual aid in the process, but this site has changed my thinking quite significantly on what it takes to give a good, entertaining, and memorable presentation. If you want to improve the way you communicate to groups of people, whether you use powerpoint or any other visual aids, you should give this website a good bookmarking.

Not long ago, the author of the site posted a list of significant books in the form of a Christmas buying guide. After reading it, I went to the library to pick up as many as I could find. I’ve only made it through one so far (and my library only had a couple of them). My next post will be a summary of the lessons I’ve learned from reading that book.

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An incredible leadership training opportunity

Church Planting Leadership Personal

This past week, Jen and I had the privilege to attend the Willow Creek Leadership Summit via satellite. Over the past five years, I have been able to attend four of these events live at the South Barrington campus, and they have been remarkably impacting for me.

This year, though, it was a little too far and a little too expensive to attend the main campus, so we went to the Noblesville satellite location, and even though it was by video, it was still incredibly powerful. I have really appreciated all the leadership resources that Willow Creek puts out.

Well, they have just announced a leadership training opportunity that has all the others beat. It’s called South Haven and it is an intimate Continue reading

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The 28 Day Evangelism Tract

Church Planting Evangelism Front Page Leadership

While reading The Purpose Driven Life tonight, I had the thoughts run through my mind that went something like this:

  • If I really want this book to affect me, I need to ponder it through my day.
  • If I want to ponder it, I need to have it condensed into ponderable form.
  • I really appreciate the small ponderable devotions in books like that of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.
  • Why should that way of life change be limited to devotionals?
  • Why not create an evangelism tract that is designed like 28 days of Utmost?

I’m thinking it might be a really worthwhile project. Just give people a verse or passage of the Bible and a little thought to ponder for a day, spend some time with them personally to work through any questions, and let God speak to them on His own schedule. Honestly, why would we think that major life transformation would really come about in 5-15 minutes with a gospel tract? Isn’t that why statistically, it takes a person 7 times hearing a gospel presentation before it really sinks in. What if we had an evangelistic tract that was simple, ponderable, and created to sink in over time?

I think I’m going to do it!

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How to be a wise blogging pastor?

Church Planting Front Page Geekery Leadership Tough Questions VIP

Colossians 4:5 says this:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

As a pastor who’s got a blog, I’ve been thinking about how this verse relates to blogging. I’ve been blogging for over a year, and I don’t yet have a “manifesto” like this guy on what my blogging policy should be. However, I’ve been prompted this week by some friends to consider it, so I’m thinking through the issues.

As I see it, there are three ways for a pastor (or anyone for that matter) to do a blog.

  1. Use the blog as a personal journal where you “get naked” (according to a book on blogging by Robert Scoble the guy I linked to above.) in front of your virtual audience and basically share anything and everything. Of course, there is some room for discretion, but in general, it’s your personal journal viewable by the world.
  2. Use the blog as a “content management system” which basically means you maintain your own online magazine with articles essays and whatnot and use a blog mechanism to manage your content and people’s comments on your content. One example of that is The Resurgence.
  3. Use the blog as a hodge-podge mix of the two—blogging about whatever seems to come to mind. (I’m not sure it fits, but I’ll link to it anyway.) See Tim Challies’ blog for an example of a blog that attempts to be personal & academic though it weighs more toward the academic side.

As I’ve been around the net a while, it seems to me that the majority of “Gen X” church planters who blog opt for version 3 with a heavy leaning on option 1.

I’ve been using this site as mostly #3 so far. As you can see from my categories on the sidebar, I’ve got sermons, Bible studies, personal journal entries, exposing my own spiritual life, computer issues, and even some posts on internet fraud. You can see it is all over the map like a Christmas tree with every kind of ornament ever invented showing up on it.

In fact, it seems that my posts on self examination and internet fraud are my most popular. Are people even reading my blog to grow spiritually?

So the question I’m asking myself now is this: What kind of web presence should I have? If you have any comments on this, I’d like to read them. Or you can give me a call on my cell at 765-404-0807 to tell me what you think personally. If you want to think this through with me, check out the links I placed above or my links in the sidebar of my .

What kind of blog helps people grow spiritually?
transparent academic

Where would the X fall for you?

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What do pastors get paid?

Front Page Leadership

The Southern Baptist convention does a study each year of church staff compensation based on a number of demographic factors. This year’s study is now online:

2006 SBC Compensation Study

They provide many different ways to view the study data. Choose customized report, enter your church information, and see how nice you treat your pastor compared to what other churches like you are doing.

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Palm Pilots and Web-based Calendars / Contact Database

Church Planting Geekery Leadership

Prompted by an article on

I’ve been a Palm Pilot PDA user since my mom bought me one when I graduated from seminary. (Palm Vx, and awesome tool!)

The best feature of the Palm is the ability to have my contacts and calendar on my computer at home and also on a device in my pocket. Being able to sync to the Palm Desktop has always been a valuable tool for me.

But my contacts are not my own anymore—neither is my calendar. As a church planter, I’m facing a need to have my personal contacts synchronized with our church contacts and having my personal calendar sync with my church calendar. But there is just nothing out there to do both of those and sync with my Palm. I need a centralized database that is…

  • Contacts & Calendars
  • Updatable by members of our congregation
  • Shareable with permission-based access control.
  • Web-accessible
  • pilot-sync-able

I’ve been looking for this for a long time and have had no luck. Actually, the only viable option I can find is to have an Exchange server paired with Outlook. Of course, that’s a hefty Microsoft tax that I don’t want to pay, and I don’t think it can be updated by users.

Here are some options I’m considering.

  • ical exchange — allows for publishing public and private calendars from any ical capable calendar for others to subscribe to or view them online through a browser.

Any ideas?

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A New Evangelism Tract

Evangelism Front Page Lafayette Leadership Spiritual Health

No one came to last night’s Bible 101 study that I had scheduled at our house.

In light of that, I’ve determined to not focus on programs that aim to “get people to come” and instead, focus on meeting people one-to-one to key in on evangelism and discipleship. In light of that, I’ve decided to put some time into producing a new evangelistic tract.

I’ll go ahead and post the content here, so you can comment if you wish.

Here is my initial design goal for the project:

  • GOD is real (and everything you have heard about him–well, almost everything–is true.)

    • he is perfect
    • he is good
    • he is loving
  • YOU are important (but most of what you believe about yourself isn’t true.)

    • you are loved
    • you have a purpose
    • you are wounded
    • you are distant
  • JESUS died for you

    • Jesus is real
    • Jesus is perfect
    • Jesus is alive — many convincing proofs (acts 1, 1 cor 11? 15?)
    • Jesus is King
  • GOD restores

    • to wholeness
    • to relationship
    • to your purpose
    • to your future

God’s work in your life looks like this…

  • Awareness of emptiness
  • Pursuit of fulfillment
  • Recognition of God
  • Acceptance of His Will
  • Surrender to Love
  • Living in Love

If you want to follow this project, be sure to subscribe to my new evangelism category.

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I’m an Enthusiast

Front Page Leadership My Spiritual Life Personal Spiritual Health

According to the “Enneagram,” I am an Enthusiast. Here are some quotes from the website:

  • The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive, and Scattered
  • Easily become accomplished achievers, generalists who do many different things well: multi-talented. Practical, productive, usually prolific, cross-fertilizing areas of interest.
  • How to motivate me. Sevens want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.
  • People like me: John F. Kennedy, Benjamin Franklin, Leonard Bernstein, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Taylor, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Steven Spielberg, Federico Fellini, Richard Feynman, Timothy Leary, Robin Williams, Jim Carey, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Bette Midler, Chuck Berry, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Gianni Versace, Liza Minelli, Joan Collins, Malcolm Forbes, Noel Coward, Sarah Ferguson, Larry King, Joan Rivers, Regis Philbin, Howard Stern, John Belushi, and “Auntie Mame” (Mame).
  • My Tendencies: When moving in their Direction of Disintegration (stress), scattered Sevens suddenly become perfectionistic and critical at One. However, when moving in their Direction of Integration (growth), gluttonous, scattered Sevens become more focused and fascinated by life, like healthy Fives.


Since the original time I wrote this post, I have come to believe that the Enneagram has little merit to it. As I read about my type, I see many things in it that sound like me, but at the same time, I see a lot that can generically apply to most people. In other words, if a tool like this helps you communicate yourself to me, it’s valuable to that extent, but I don’t see tools like this as having much predictive power.

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Pastor Hacking?

Church Planting Leadership

I don’t know if you have this problem, but I am a

  • procrastinating
  • distracted
  • creative
  • learning
  • computer geek

I generally have between 10 and 20 projects going on all at the same time, but I almost never finish any of them because I get new ideas and set to work on the new ones forgetting about the old ones.

However, there is one non-negotiable in pastoral ministry: People aren’t projects and people are more important.

So in my procrastinating, distracted, project-creating way, I can easily burn hours working on my projects or learning about new projects I could be working on.

Bob a church planter from the northwest US has started after being inspired by the famous LifeHacker to deal with at least one part of the problem—how to spend less time on getting things done to spend more time with people. Along the way, he is advocating GTD approach promoted by David Allen.

It’s good stuff, for the most part, but don’t spend all your time reading these things online. Get out there and talk with someone today about life-changing faith!

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We’re not competing with other churches.

Church Planting Front Page Lafayette Leadership

One of the truths about church planting is this:

We aren’t competing with other churches. We are competing with all the unspiritual ways people spend their time.

But sometimes it’s hard to really believe it.

This last weekend, Jen and I found on our door a flyer that seems to be for a new church getting started in the same area as we are. Here’s the flyer:

Wea Bible Church flyer side 1Wea Bible Church flyer side 2

Basically, they are running a Vacation Bible School down here (really close to our house) and they are asking people if they are interested in joining a Bible Study. As far as I can tell, they haven’t started any meetings yet.

I’m a competitive person by nature, and it’s hard for me not to feel competitive at this. In fact, there are some things they are doing that I think are missing the boat when it comes to church planting, but I don’t want to turn this into a rant against them.

In fact, I want to see if there is some way that “Wea Bible Church” and “southside church” can join forces and work together to reach the people here for Jesus. There might be some good opportunities for cooperation because Wea Bible Church doesn’t actually have a church plant pastor. Rather, it is currently being run as a ministry of Battleground Bible Church.

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How to Offer Constructive Criticism

Church Planting Leadership

Here’s something I learned from my recent meeting with a church consultant—nothing that he taught me, but some things that I perceived in the way he handled the meeting with me.

One of the most important things a person in leadership can learn is how to offer constructive criticism to an employee or coworker or even a boss, but this is even more important a skill for spiritual leaders. Spiritual issues are touchy and personal, and they touch on the very core of a person’s character. Therefore, offering someone criticism about spiritual matters is a very difficult thing to do. This consultant did an excellent job with me, and so I’m sharing the process here for you as well as for my own future reference.

How to Offer Constructive Criticism

  • Describe the general source of the critique. I did interviews with 40 people and at least 15 people mentioned a specific complaint.
  • Describe the specific complaint without generalizations. They said you wouldn’t do visitation.
  • Ask for feedback from the listener. Where do you think that idea came from?
  • Give a specific context, a specific example, and name a specific person whom the listener trusts. [name] said that when [event] you [action].
  • Interact with the listener again on that point.
  • Describe a specific new behavior to employ from the perspective of that person. People need the physical contact and your actual presence to know you care.
  • If necessary, give one example of how the new behavior makes a difference. When [person] faced [a similar situation] [action] and the end result was [result].
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Free Demographics

Church Planting Leadership

I just came across a wonderful set of resources for free demographic information. One of the coolest sites I’ve seen in a while is run by USAToday:

But, for many resources all packed together, check out this site.

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