Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Resonance and Dissonance

Disclaimer: I am learning this lesson through my own immaturity and folly!

Question: What if you could double your impact by learning to communicate effectively?

Wise leaders know when to create resonance and when to create dissonance through interpersonal and corporate communication. Foolish leaders create a façade of resonance through “happy talk” and unnecessary dissonance by dying on all the wrong hills.

Great leadership discerns which hills are worth dying on and communicates vision in a life giving way. I have at times foolishly cast vision without thinking through differing points of dissension and then blamed the listener for their lack of support of the vision. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb!!

I am learning… a great leader gets input from key team members and wrestles through change before pulling the trigger. This leader then connects change back to vision, makes vision personal and asks people to sacrifice for the vision.

I’ve noticed in my own leadership, dissonance is unnecessarily created when I am defensive or lead out of paranoia with the assumption that every person is out to get me. Dissonance is also imminent I make foolish changes just for the sake of change.

I am learning… wise leaders allow people to disagree privately without instilling a fear of being axed.

On the opposite side of the coin… I’ve witnessed spineless leaders who create a façade of resonance through happy talk and never address issues of misalignment or ungodly attitudes. This too is foolish. This person is no longer a leader, but a puppet.

Wise leaders are willing to create dissonance around the vision and big decisions… after processing through the decision in the context of a highly competent team and hearing from the LORD!

These leaders are still gracious in their communication and are not threatened by people who disagree. Team members who disagree privately and support publically can continue to function on the team at high levels. Those who gossip or betray in a destructive way must be dealt with swiftly and biblically in order to maintain alignment to the vision and organizational health.

All of this to say… let’s create healthy resonance by communicating with emotional intelligence. Let’s not blame people for our poor communication. And… let’s be willing to wisely create dissonance. Let’s protect the vision and deal with toxic heart attitudes quickly in a biblical matter.

PS, this principle rings true in marriage as well!! ☺

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happiness Is!!!

Don't miss the launch of our new "Happiness Is" series at South Bay Church beginning this Sunday, February 12. Join us as we unpack what it looks like to experience true Happiness.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Power of A Personal Invite

Check out this video that describes the power of a personal invitation to church. God can use you as a link in the chain to transform someone else's eternity this week!! Invite!!

Invite somebody to church with you this Sunday!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Coaching Network For Church Planters

I believe that church planters and pastors are some of the greatest change agents in the world. Over the last couple of years I've had the great privilege of investing in dozens of pastors in church planters. I want to take it to a whole new level and invest in pastors through an online coaching network.

Here is why I believe in coaching networks... My life has been changed through them. Through rubbing shoulders with other leaders like Bil Cornelius, Perry Noble, Nelson Searcy, Steve Stroope and Ron Sylvia... my leadership has gone to a whole new level. The thousands of dollars invested in my leadership through coaching networks has reaped a harvest thousands of changed lives and every dollar invested has been worth it!!

There will be 8 sessions. All of them will be online once a month for 90 minutes. We will deal with some pretty raw stuff like- Getting your personal life in order (marriage & family), leading a focused organization, creating and sustaining momentum, breaking through growth barriers shifting your paradigm and much more.

If you are hungry to learn and grow this is for you. If you are ready to invest in your leadership at a whole new level- this is for you.

Here is what you should do... Download the application by clicking here. Email it to in the next two days and if you qualify you will be a part of the network.

All of the details are in the application including dates, cost, etc... If you have any questions please feel free to email her.

Finally, here is the deal... It starts this Thursday, February 9 so you need to get your application in quickly. I am pretty close to capacity for the call, but wanted to open it up to a few more leaders. We'd love to have you on the line with us!!

PS, Last week I hosted a webinar. You can download that by clicking here.

Advanced Problem Solving

"Great Leaders see a problem and solve it before anyone else knows the problem exists." My mentor Steve Stroope said this on a call last week and it rocked my world.

So here are a couple of follow up questions to ponder...
* If you continue to grow in your organization at your same rate of growth what problems will exist in 6 months, one year, or 18 months? Space, staff, structures, systems, etc..
* What's your next big hurdle as an organization? What is after what's after next?
* If you began to double in growth over the next year what problems would you have?

* What areas of your life if left unchanged will derail you at some point in the future?
* What areas of your life need greater attention in order to help you finish strong? (finances, purity, health)

Listen, so many of us spend our time dealing with the tyranny of the urgent. Great leaders equip their teams and build their lives in such a way that systems make ongoing decisions, and the bulk of their attention to higher level strategic initiatives. This doesn't mean that great leaders are aloof to the micro components of their organization or their lives. It just means that their attention is always on driving things forward and eliminating any obstacle that could potentially stand in the way of the vision.

PS, Steve just wrote a great book called "Tribal Church." You can pick it up on Amazon.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Giving and Receiving Forgiveness

Hurt and pain is just a part of life. Before there is any progress there will always first be pain. Before strength comes tearing and breaking. I get this when it comes to working out, but it is much more difficult when it comes to leadership and relationships.

Recently as I was reflecting on my previous 12 months of ministry I realized I had stored up some hurt. Many of the hurts were minor infractions that come in the flow of life and ministry. Instead of dealing with the hurts I tried to bottle them up and be a tough guy. Then one point a few weeks ago I realized I had unknowingly built up unforgiveness in my heart towards several people I love dearly. I immediately confessed my sin to God and went to that person and let them know they were forgiven from my heart. I know this sounds really trivial, but I did have a big learning through all of this.

Hurt is a part of every meaningful relationship and every fast paced organization. The people you love the most have the greatest capacity to wound you. The people that respect you the most are those you have the greatest capacity to wound. I have a major responsibility before God as a leader is to keep my heart pure and my relationships clear. This means I must make it a discipline to walk through the tunnel of difficult conversations often and extend forgiveness where I've been hurt while seeking forgiveness where I've hurt another person.

I believe with all my heart that when I'm seeking to stay right with the people who I interact with the most, my leadership credibility goes up to a whole new level. This doesn't mean I'm unwilling to have difficult conversations, call people out who need to be disciplined, and offend people in order to pursue the vision God has set in front of us. It just means that as a follower of Christ I am called to keep my relationships with others clear even if these means slowing down at times to keep it real.

If there is bitterness in your life or in your organization it will become a toxic root and pollute your team. We must fight to keep our relationships clear.

PS, Some people want to pick a fight no matter what you do. The bible says this person is foolish and cannot be reasoned with. Act like a matador the first time by taking the high road and then stay as far away as possible from the crazy bull. If this person is your spouse, get counseling!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 15 Books for Church Planters/Leaders

I usually get 2-3 requests for appointments from church planters each week. Because my life is becoming increasingly full I needed to create a list of books for planters. This list is the books which have most influenced the way I think about church and leadership. Aside from Good to Great and EntreLeadership all of these books are written by leaders who have started their own churches or lead growing churches. I put a one sentence description next to each book to help you. Enjoy!!

1. Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren. Story of Saddleback and Rick's strategy for church leadership.
2. Rediscovering Church, Bill & Lynn Hybels. Story of Willow Creek and Hybel's strategy for church leadership.
3. It, Craig Groeschel. Book about the importance of depending on God and His favor.
4. Launch, Nelson Searcy. Best book on a system for getting a church off the ground.
5. Exponential, Dave & Jon Ferguson. Great book on multiplying disciples and leaders from day 1.
6. Visioneering, Andy Stanley. Great book on getting and communicating vision.
7. Holy Discontent, Bill Hybels. Great book on how vision is birthed in our hearts.
8. Sun Stand Still, Steven Furtick. Great book on the faith you will need to plant a church.
9. Axiom, Bill Hybels. Pure leadership wisdom that is needed for every planter.
10. Go Big! Bil Cornelius. Story of Bay Area Fellowship and Cornelius' strategy for church leadership.
11. EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey. Great nuts and bolts of the organizational side of leadership.
12. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, Jim Cymbala. Story of Brookyn Tabernacle and the power of prayer.
13. Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley, Great principles for leadership.
14. Good to Great, Jim Collins, Great book with solid leadership principles.
15. Tribal Church, Steve Stroope. Story of LakePointe Church and Stroope's strategy for church leadership.

PS, On Feb. 2 @ 10am I will host a FREE one hour seminar to share my top 10 learnings from 2011. I'd love to have you on the line. Just click here to register.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Leading and Lagging Indicators

There are two types of health indicators both in your life and organization - Leading and Lagging.

When you look at a fruit tree that is no longer producing fruit, obviously its fruitlessness is a lagging indicator that the tree is dying. Long before the tree died... it was receiving no water, missing sunshine, and being neglected by some aloof gardener... all of which are lagging indicators.

This principle holds true in your marriage- before you want to call it quits and give up on your spouse... there are a series of decisions & moments of neglect which have produced disease in your relationship. Before you find yourself $60,000 in credit card debt there were many of leading indicators (poor spending and no saving) that something was wrong. Before you get fired at work, there are (or should be) a series of indicators that something is not right. Before a church starts to decline, there are a series of attitudes and poor decisions which lead to its demise.

I often find myself giving too much attention to lagging indicators of health and not enough attention to the leading indicators that influence health. I find that in my marriage if I will focus on keeping things clear, loving my wife sacrificially, investing in her by going on dates, etc... the results will take care of themselves. I find that when I lead the charge with our church by focusing on reaching people who are not currently experiencing God's love, structure to receive growth as God sends, keep a pulse on our culture and stay ahead of the curve with major decisions... The results take care of themselves.

Don't get me wrong, lagging indicators are important. God will hold you responsible for the fruitfulness or fruitlessness of your life, but you don't get more fruit by spending all your time counting the number of apples on your tree. You get more fruit by planting more seeds, watering, pruning and then harvesting.

This principle is taking me to a higher level of leading and living... And resulting in a greater level of fruitfulness in my life.

PS, There is an addendum to this principle. If something is diseased you won't get fruit before you get rid of the sickness. Give all your energy to getting rid of the disease whatever that means.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting Ahead of the Curve

Recently I noticed that the difference between success and failure is not always work ethic. I often find that people who are losing in life are working harder than those who are winning. Those succeeding are riding the wave of momentum, while others are spending the majority of their energy just trying to keep up.

It takes more energy for a dude with 50% body fat to get to 15% body fat than it takes for Tony Horton to maintain his rock solid abs.

It takes more energy for a person making $40,000/year to knock out $20,000 of debt than it takes for Warren Buffet to maintain his portfolio.

I noticed myself getting tired towards the end of 2011 and slacking in several areas. I had stopped working ahead on sermons and got behind on calendaring. I found myself working harder just to keep up. When I made this observation I decided that I didn’t like living like this way and it needed to change.

I gave 3-4 weeks to intensely focus on getting ahead. I spent time with our team planning out our preaching calendar for the year including the key passages of scripture for my 2012 messages. I ordered and started reading a handful of books for future series. I started studying passages I will teach from over the next several months. I created series snapshots for our creative team and I asked my assistant to schedule every creative planning meeting for the year. This all helped me get ahead of the curve! I am now working to study the following week’s passage the week prior and to preach through the coming Sunday’s sermon by the end of the day Thursday.

I’m feeling better about life.

When you notice an area where you are behind the curve you will need to give an inordinate amount of attention for a season to get ahead of the curve. Sometimes a few months, other times a few years. It depends on how long the area has been neglected. The principle holds true physically, spiritually, financially, with your job, your business, your church and in your marriage.

Get wisdom from people who are succeeding in an area where you are struggling. Create a clear goal and write out 5-7 action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to jump-start the process. You will begin living ahead of the curve and you will start to reap the benefits of wise living.

What areas of your life or work are you behind the curve? What can you do today to jump start a change?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Illusion of Control

By nature I am a control freak. I like things to be in order. It’s difficult for me when I have mess on my desk, in my office, in my car or in our home. When a chair in a row is out of place, my eyes notice it. When one wire is not taped down at South Bay, it drives me crazy. My OCD is not noble and my words are merely a confession.

To be honest, I’m learning how little I actually do control. When I try to control situations I end up frustrating myself and those around me. I end up with headaches, anxiety, stress and serious stomach problems. I can’t control people and I can’t control outcomes. I can't control how many people come to church, I can't control how many people decide to follow Christ, I can't control my kids or my wife. God knows I can't control my kids. :-)

I’m finding that there is a better solution, which leads to a life of joy and fruitfulness. Step one, release control to The One who is ultimately in control. Let him dictate outcomes and do His job. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Let Him work on people’s hearts, let Him change peoples minds, let Him determine increase and blessing. Let Him lead and guide decisions. Let Him be God. Now, you can't stop here. There is a second part to this principle.

After releasing control, I must accept responsibility. I am not in control, but I am responsible.

I’m responsible for how I lead, how I pray, how I interact with people, how I love my family, how often I share the message of God’s love, how I discipline and train my kids and how I serve others. I am responsible for communicating truth, creating pathways for people to respond, and removing mental and physical barriers that stand in the way of people obeying Christ. When I choose responsibility over control I am still able to influence outcomes, but without all the anxiety and stress that comes with control.

I cannot control how many people will decide to follow Christ through South Bay this year, but I can influence many lives by accepting responsibility to communicate the gospel clearly and boldly. I cannot control how my spouse or kids will respond when I interact with them, but I can influence their responses by accepting responsibility to love sacrificially. You cannot control if and when you get the promotion at work, but you can find favor with your boss by accepting responsibility to work diligently. You cannot control the rate of growth in your business, but you can influence profit by accepting responsibility to lead wisely. You cannot control how fast you will lose weight and be healthy, but you can influence the scale by eating well and exercising. You cannot control your portfolio, but you can influence your economic state by trusting God with the tithe, living below your means and investing wisely. Release control, accept responsibility, influence outcomes.

Control is an illusion. Responsibility is real and outcomes really can be influenced (in a healthy life giving way). Choose today to release control and accept responsibility. Watch God use you and change your life, then give Him the credit for all He does.