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How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers …

How do you focus and share the “Why” of what you do and not focus more on the “What” you do? If you talk about the things that you believe you will attract those who believe what you believe.

iPad, Kindle type of distractions.

I love my iPad and can not or do not want to think of daily productive life without. I also have friends who have Kindles and they completely love them as well. My thoughts have always been, why get a Kindle that will only allow you to read when for just a little more you can get an iPad and have so much more at your disposal? I think I am seeing reasons for both in their respective areas.

As I have already stated I love my iPad and would not trade it, but often times when I want to go and read books that I have stored on it, as I open it up, I am tempted and give into that temptation, to go and check my email. Then before I know it I am darting off to read Facebook, twitter, Google reader for my RSS feeds and more through my app of Flipboard. Now I look up at the clock on my iPad and find that the time I had set apart for reading is now gone and I must begin to run with the rest of my schedule and have to rush off. This happens more than I want to confess at this time. The end result, I don’t get to accomplish the specific reading I wanted to.

Now for my Kindle friends. They have scheduled to go and read and so they pull out their Kindle and open it up and they…Read. Pretty simple but very effective for the task of just reading.

How many ways do I or you become distracted by the good and ignore what we set up in our agenda as the best for that time? How many times do we begin on a Kindle type walk through the halls of our church for a specific task and end up running an iPad type experience instead?  How do these types of daily decisions we make effect families, kids, our leaders, our churches and more.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way attempting to say that a iPad or Kindle are good, bad or anything in between. I am using these great devices as merely example from my own life. I support both devices as good devices.

Successful people have successful habits

As I continue to get older I also continue to have some thoughts that become more firm over time. Here is one of them: “Your everyday choices ultimately determine if you will experience success or just watch others experience success.”

Notice I did say “everyday choices”. Choices for success are good and consistent choices which will help lay that foundation for your habits. Then habits will play a major role in how your future will unfold. These will be habits that you live out and display in your work environment and also in your personal life.

Bottom line for this thought is, Successful people have successful habits and unsuccessful people don’t. This is much easier than said I know.

Cut The Bull: Where’s Your True Passion


A leader who is not passionately committed to a cause will not draw much commitment from others. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, who was passionately drawn to his dream of equal rights for all people regardless of their race or color, I am passionate for family ministry and developing children leaders to carry on for generations to come. This is a passion that not only employs me but one that I would do even if not paid. It keeps me awake at night turning around ideas of “what next can I do?”, or watching television and seeing shows from an angle of “how can I use this idea to further children’s/family ministry?” The world tends to make a way for someone who knows what they want because there’s not much competition when it comes to passionate commitment. Jesus said that it is better to be hot as fire or cold as ice because if you are lukewarm God will spit you out (Revelation 3:15-16).

Jesus had passion. He was willing to proceed alone if needed. Often he did. It was the price he paid for his commitment. I discovered one of my favorite examples of passion and true commitment in a memorable sermon titled “Cut the Bull.” Here is the story of Elijah challenging the prophets of Ba’al and their idols. Elijah told the non-believers that he would prove there was only one God by asking God to rain down fire from heaven to consume the bull sacrifice.

Talk about passion. Elijah really did cut the bull and laid it all on the line. He was passionate about his Lord God and was willing to lay it all down. Where does your passion lay? Have you cut the “Bull” and gone all out for those things you say you are passionate about? Can the people see that you are passionate?

“Beat Charlie Moore” Type Passion

Saturday morning: one of the days I love and always look forward to because it is fishing day. Yes, I love fishing from the banks or from a boat or even a bridge. I also love learning about fishing, watching it, or just talking about it. “Beat Charlie Moore,” a television show about fishing, is one of my favorite shows to watch. Why is that? And what might this imply for leaders in children’s ministry?

Charlie Moore has found a way to live out what he loves. He is truly passionate about fishing and it shows through his loud and outgoing personality. Charlie is in a field where there are many shows competing for the same audience with other very qualified professionals, and yet he draws in an audience that keeps him on the air while so many others either can’t make it on the air or have to quit due to a lack of viewership. He has found his niche and does it with complete authenticity. Like others in his very large, growing audience, I am drawn in by his sincere love and enjoyment for fishing.

This has all lead to me thinking through my passion and love for being a children’s pastor. How God uses my personality and gifts to reach more families for His Kingdom. I truly love fishing, but I love even more fishing for people who God has been tapping on their hearts and calling them into His Kingdom.

Have you found your niche that allows you to do what you enjoy, do it with all of your personality, and do it in a way that only you can do? People will be drawn when this happens.

Cave, Committed and Compliant

It’s not new news to anyone who knows me that I love leadership and teamwork. I’m always around people who are dripping with an overflow of ideas, vision, and goals that they are trying to create buy in for and doing their best to drive and guide people towards those clear and meaningful goals. Yet, in talking with the majority of people it appears that whenever there is failure to live up to all of this it is not some external circumstance, but it is simply failure of follow through.

No follow through will result in no long term traction. It is my observation that it is wise to make sure you have a few things going to see success on teams. I believe there are a few helpful things in order to get follow through when working with a team.

1. The need to create momentum early by establishing goals that are meaningful and a known and owned process that makes sense.

2. Understanding the cast of characters we are working with. How do we activate them to invest time on what we are doing?

3. Need to create an environment where the team members are not accountable to just the leader, but to the team. I think this helps to make the accomplishment of the goals team based and not so much leader down time intensive.

I had seen a little piece by Laurence Haughton who speaks on teams performance and follow through and who has written: “It’s not what you say… It’s what you do-How follow through at every level can make or break your company”, where he warns about the dangers of who he calls the “CAVE People”. CAVE people are those Citizens Against Virtually Everything. So to create quick success and momentum I think that you will want to keep the CAVE people away.

Now that you have the CAVE people chained up and kept away you need to see what two areas the rest of your team would fall into: COMMITTED or COMPLIANT.

Committed people are driven by the goals at hand. The have caught the passion, they are curious, and they want responsibility.

Compliant people are just going through the motions. These are people who are there physically but it doesn’t appear that they have their hearts and minds into it. These people don’t contribute new ideas or support the old ones with enthusiasm.

Once you have the CAVE people chained up and your list of committed and compliant, begin to build early successes with the committed and show this success back to those who are only compliant. Many compliant people can be swayed easily once shown success.

Last idea is to make sure that with every success you highlight it and celebrate it loudly. Make sure you always showing how people can play an important role in creating more success. I believe that following through with this simple process will show you in part the success you are looking for.

Exceed Expectations

It is my belief that legendary ministry comes from a genuine desire and effort to exceed what the families who are part of your ministry expect. Repeatedly, I try to create an environment where every member of the family will have shared experiences of Take T.W.O. kids ministry providing the extraordinary and making a connection well beyond some typical type ministry.

Relationships that keep the families coming back are created in some of the same ways a romantic relationship between the parents were started, by seeking an understanding of another person’s wants and desires. Sadly, as statistics show us, many of those relationships (both marriages and church members) come to an end simply because one or both parties stop their process of discovery.

Even though we in Take T.W.O. kids ministry know that our ministry is not like a marriage between parents, we also know and understand though that discovery is still essential to developing a unique and genuine bond. It is through this type of discovery that we are able to find out the special and one of a kind qualities that God has given to each family member, mom, dad, and child. It is so amazing how appreciative families are when you help them get their needs met and appreciate them for their uniqueness.

Even though there are a lot of kids ministries that actually may make a great connection with their families, and they may even discover what their congregation members need, want, and their uniqueness, many do not always act on what they learn. They can be long on interest and short on execution to address the families actual needs and unique ways they could serve God. Families can feel betrayed when they are lured into believing that their needs, input, and uniqueness matters, only to find out that it doesn’t.

It is valued in Take T.W.O. Kids ministry to go beyond and exceed expectations. We will make the connection to each family, we will discover together, and we will respond to our discovery. We will exceed expectations.

People are not committed

I hear this all the time, that the people in their church just are not committed. What are people talking about? Are those who say this talking about being committed to the local church? A denomination? To service? To a pastor? To a board? Committee? What is their definition of “People are just not committed”?

Our culture requires absolute commitment to very little, and then when our churches call for commitment it is kind of counter-cultural to call for commitment to an institution, a belief system, or to a person. The lack of commitment is why we do what we do, not the obstacle to what we do. The people we come in contact with daily need examples of faithfulness and commitment in order to reproduce that commitment in their own lives as dads, wives, children, employees, employers, neighbors and more.

Select carefully but select what each of us want to celebrate. When we see commitment that is being lived out and applied we need to highlight that and celebrate it loud. We can often times live with what I will call the negative child syndrome. This is where only the negative child gets the attention and the one that does right gets ignored. Should we always pay attention to the squeakiest wheel? Why not shift our attention to the wheel that is moving well?

I think often times in Children’s ministry to name just one, we can feel as though the whole world is against us. When was the last time we found a family and highlighted them and their great contributions to the children’s ministry by doing a video commercial on them and showing it in the adult sanctuary in front of their peers? How do we celebrate loudly those that live the commitment we are asking for or desire to see in the lives of those we minister to? I often times talk with Children’s pastors and hear from them that they have a discipline policy set up but I am not sure I have ever heard of one yet that has a “Attaboy” type policy set up to celebrate loudly those who are living the commitment.

So if your commitment level seems to be low where you are, check to see how well you are doing in celebrating the “Attaboy” type stuff.

Stop being lazy and trying to have your bulletin announcement do your job of helping people to see the difference they can make in an area of your ministry.

Check your volume and make sure that the celebrations are much louder the any complaint.

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