What to Read

This Week’s Great Links

The Avengers’ Top 10 Tips for Building Remarkable Teams by Bryce Christiansen and Michelle Agner
In the early 90’s I was that little boy who thought he was Wolverine. I would hack and slash my way across the playground as I stuck sticks between my clenched fists and fought trees until they were scraped up like a knee hitting pavement.  Being Wolverine, I was the best at what I did, and what I did was get cancer. My arch-nemesis quickly became Leukemia and – just like Wolverine – I planned to overcome it with my intense healing abilities.  Why the other children in the cancer ward hadn’t thought of this puzzled me. Read More.

Five Online Giving Lessons for Churches by Matt Branaugh
A report issued in February by a major provider of fundraising technology and consulting services offers some helpful insights for church leaders as it relates to online giving. Read More.

Feeling Overwhelmed? by Brad Lomenick
As leaders, many times we take on way more than we can handle. We intuitively know it’s not healthy or the best solution, but we feel like it’s “our duty.” Anyone with me on this? We feel the responsibility, so therefore we are willing to roll up our sleeves and take on more. This ends up affecting our families, our own personal life, our team, and organizations. Read More.

3 Reasons Pastors Are More Vulnerable to Internet Porn by Eric Dye
Pornography is a sensitive subject. Not only is it unquestionably wrong, but the statistics tell us that a good deal of men are ensnared. Pastors are not ‘above it’, they are real men with real temptations. I would even go as far to say that pastors have a harder time of things. Not only is there a lot of pressure being a pastor, but there’s a spiritual element that cannot be ignored. Strike the shepherd and scatter the flock. Here are three rectifiable reasons why pastors are more vulnerable to Internet pornography. Read More.

Porn: The Secret Sin Destroying Your Church by Covenant Eyes
Pornography is prevalent everywhere today. In fact, one in eight online searches is for pornography. Because pornography thrives in secrecy, many members of your congregation may be trapped in a cycle of sin and shame, thinking that they’re the only ones facing the temptation. Download our free e-book, Porn-Free Church: Raising up gospel communities to destroy secret sins, to find out how you can help your congregation find freedom from porn in the Gospel. Read More.

Just For Fun: Cell Phones In Church

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This Week’s Great Links

The Power of Really Listening: A Tribute to Stephen Covey by John Hester
One of my mentors, Stephen Covey, passed away this week. No book, other than the Scriptures, has had a more significant impact on my life than his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 7 Habits is more than a business book or a self-help book. It is a book about how to be a better human being in all areas of life. And what made it even more impactful for those who knew Stephen is that he modeled what he taught. Of all of the seven habits, none has changed my life more than Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Read More.

When Leadership Fails by Jeremy Statton
Rainy days. Flat tires. The worst case scenario. As the saying goes, it happens. And so does poor leadership. Leadership failures are often the result of: Poor planning, Inexperience, Stubbornness, Lack of vision, Pride. It happens more often than we would like to admit, especially when it is our fault. Read More.

How A Shift In Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude by Michael Hyatt
This past year I have noticed how my vocabulary impacts my attitude. Words have power. They impact others, of course, but they can also have an impact on us. For example, several weeks ago, I was headed out of town to a speaking engagement. A friend called and asked me where I was going. I said, “Oh, I’m headed to San Jose. I have to speak at a convention.” I said it with a little resignation in my voice. When I hung up, it hit me. I don’t have to speak. I get to speak. That instantly changed my attitude. Read More.

Speaking in Tongues – Using Christianeze by Sloan Inns
When I first moved to America from my homeland of South Africa, I was struck by something unexpected. No, it wasn’t the variety of accents, “Super Sized” foods, Humvee’s or massive shoe collections; it was something far stranger! The first instance I noticed this phenomenon was in a conversation with a potential employer whom I respected. It was an incredibly awkward moment where I almost died of embarrassment because I truly thought my ‘friend’ was a being a total jerk! Basically, he kept goading me and making fun of me … little did I know on that day I was being introduced to another new “friend”: Sarcasm. Read More.

This is Church by Wayne Hedlund
I stumbled across this video clip while reading my blogs last week and couldn’t help but share it with you. What a great video animation about the mission of the local church. The creators, Kelly and Niki Tshibaka own the rights to this video and have given permission for others to use it. Watch Now.

Two Lists You Should Look At Every Morning by Peter Bregman
The speed with which information hurtles towards us is unavoidable, and it’s getting worse. But trying to catch up is counterproductive. Strategic advisor Peter Bregman explains how two simple lists can help us organize what’s important. The world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to. A friend of mine recently took a new job as the head of learning and development at a mid-sized investment bank. When she came to work her first day on the job she turned on her computer, logged in with the password they had given her, and found 385 messages already waiting for her. Read More.

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This Week’s Great Links

Johari Window For The Local Church by Wayne Hedlund
I visited a church a while back that had a BIG blind spot. At least, it seemed like a blind spot to me. I could see the problem, but none of the leaders seemed to realize it was there. The problem was that they really believed they were a friendly church, but in reality they weren’t . . . unless you were an insider. I was greeted at the door, which was nice; but from that point forward I became invisible. People actually seemed to work hard at avoiding eye contact with me! This ‘Blind Spot’ is really hurting them – mostly because they are blind to the problem, while it’s painfully obvious to every guest who darkens their door. Read More.

How Going To The Hospital Is Like Going To Church by Chris Ruddell
I’m writing this article from the hospital room where my wife is about to give birth to our first child! Being a pastor, I’m no stranger to hospitals. But whenever you get to experience things from the other end you notice all kinds of things you otherwise wouldn’t have. And so it got me thinking: going to the hospital can be a lot like visiting a church for the first time. Read More.

Reaching The Unplugged by Jon Rogers
The rise of the Internet, new media and mobile technology has ushered church communications into a new digital era. As a result, churches have worked hard to create a flawless user experience, engaged social networks and search engine optimized websites. We’ve come far but I fear we’ve left people behind. Meet the “unplugged.” Read More.

What Poisons A Team Quickly by Brad Lomenick
I’ve been reminded recently of the constant tension on a team. And…. the Tension is Good. We talked about this and leaned into this phrase before, and actually dealt with it as an event theme back in 2010 at Catalyst Atlanta. The right kind of tension is important for teams, as well as for individuals. It stretches and shapes and allows for growth. But there are other things that can creep into a team and poison it quickly. Things that sneak up fast and before you know it, start to define the team and take everyone off course. In the wrong direction. Headed the wrong way. Read More.

10 Organizations Creating Great Worship Music by Brad Lomenick
Here are some organizations (churches primarily), that in my opinion, are writing, creating, singing and releasing great songs for the entire Church around the world to sing. This is not an exhaustive list or a top ten list. Just wanted to provide this so you will be able to check out all of their music and maybe include some of their songs into your rotation and put on your iTunes list. Read More.

Why Go To A Church Service When You Can Watch Online? by Tim Stevens
This was a great question posed to me last week by a good friend. He forced me to stop and think about what I believe. See if you agree or not. (Also includes, “Why Provide Online Church Services”) Read More.

This Week’s Great Links

Why Christian Accountability Groups Are Awkward, Unhelpful, and Often Fail by Traylor Lovvorn
I remember it well. My first “accountability group.” The church I attended during the mid-90s had just held a men’s conference and all of the men were strongly encouraged to sign up for a group where we could be gut-level honest with its other members. I was selected as a leader and remember wondering to myself how I was going to pull off leading a group of guys toward honesty and transparency without being honest and transparent myself. Read More. 

Values, More Than Vision, Shape A Culture by Joshua Finley
Having a lack of vision is bad, really bad.  Without vision people are stuck, literally immobilized and eventually perish. Having skill and competency is so important.  Without a skillset matching your role you and those around you will be frustrated and ineffective. Having the wrong values is deadly to a culture. Read More.

Don’t Make This Leadership Mistake.
Why Leaders Need to be Always in Style.
by David Witt
We’ve all been there. Do to some mix-up or poor communication we end up being either over or under dressed for an occasion. You’re wearing something too casual for a formal event (think shorts at a client meeting) or you find yourself wearing formal to a casual event (think a business suit to an after-work event.) The same thing can happen when it comes to matching your leadership style to the needs of the people you’re leading. Read More.

Necessary Endings – Dr. Henry Cloud by elevationchurchvideo

Choose Stories Over Moments by Jenni Wright
As anyone who has ever visited YouTube can tell, there are a lot of funny videos online. You could easily choose one of your favorite viral videos and show it at your church this Sunday — people will laugh and you will have created a funny moment. But what if you aimed for something deeper? What if you tried to cultivate a story? You could choose a funny (and on-topic) video by the Skit Guys or our own Johnny & Chachi that breaks the ice before you introduce a tough conversation topic. You could choose a funny (and on-topic) video that cuts the tension a little bit before you ask your audience to make a serious commitment. In each of these examples, you’re using a funny video, but you’re doing so in a way that helps you cultivate a story. The funny video is (hopefully) the start of something grander, rather than a self-contained moment of jocularity. But a funny video is just one example. What we’re really talking about is much bigger. Read More.

5 Rules For More Effective Presentations by Michael Hyatt
Presentation software can be a wonderful tool if used correctly. It can also be a dangerous distraction that interferes with communication rather than facilitating it. The line between the two is thin. Over the course of my career, I have sat through hundreds of presentations. Most of them were done with PowerPoint. Most of them are done poorly. I often think the presenter would be more compelling if he would ditch the presentation software and just speak. Because of this, I even thought of outlawing presentation software when I was the CEO of Thomas Nelson. Read More.

This Week’s Great Links

Every week I send a bunch of ‘Great Links’ to some awesome pastors & leaders credentialed with Elim Fellowship. As an avid blog-reader, I’m always finding something new, interesting and helpful to share with them. I’d like you to have access to them too, so enjoy!

Blessings for South Sudan by Rick Tunis
God’s assignments are sometimes more exciting than a thrill ride at Disney! Last year money was raised through churches in eastern Pennsylvania allowing me to work with Helimission to bring food relief to the Borono Tribe in Southern Ethiopia. We flew 400 pounds of food to one small village that was inaccessible by roads. I discovered, through an interpreter, that they had never heard the name of Jesus before. About 15 made a decision to give their lives to Christ. Read More.

The Power of Incremental Change Over Time by Michael Hyatt
I have always been fascinated by the power of incremental change over time. Most people underestimate this. They think they have to take massive action to achieve anything significant. I am not opposed to massive action. I have used it myself to achieve certain results. But it causes most people give up before they ever start. They just don’t think they can make the investment. Read More.

Leave Room for People in Your Schedule by Tim Stevens
This 5 minute video was recorded for The NINES conference last year. It’s Tim’s thoughts on Time Management.

If you can’t see this video, try clicking this link.

Heart-Shattered Lives Don’t For A Moment Escape God’s Notice by Barry Pearman
Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead…. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED! Read More.

The Manager’s Cheat Sheet: 101 Common-Sense Rules for Leaders by Inside CRM Editors
Management is all about connecting with the people on your team. So how do you effectively manage a team? With common knowledge, of course. These are a few back-to-basics rules that will help you develop management skills that really matter. Read More.

Michael Jordan & Craig Groeschel on Failure by Wayne Hedlund
Isn’t it interesting that so many of us have an intense fear of failure, and shy away from situations where we might fail, while others embrace failure, learn, and end up doing something great! Watch these two great clips on failure and be inspired to try, fail, learn, adjust and try again! Read More.

Top Ten Posts for June, 2012

The top ten posts for the month of June, 2012 include the following:

  1. Cell Phones in Church – just for fun
    A humorous video clip one church made to discourage cell phones and electronic devices during the Sunday service.


  • Mystery Guest – Free Resource for Your Church
    Information on how you can properly find and hire an anonymous mystery guest, including a sample survey for them to complete after their visit to your church. 
  • Johari Window for the Christian Leader
    A powerful matrix describing the four quadrants that express our individual knowledge or lack of knowledge about ourselves. 
  • Ten Church Systems: The Assimilation System
    My most popular post from the Ten Church Strategies series. This post describes the key areas every church should be developing in order to encourage guests to return over and over until they have properly been integrated into the life of the church. 
  • The Four C’s
    Inspired by Bill Hybel’s 3 C’s, this post describes the four characteristics I look for in a new hire or when recruiting someone into specific leadership roles. 
  • Tactfully Speaking: 5 Steps To A Meaningful Conversation
    This post is the first of a three part series called Tactfully Speaking. In this article I share the five things a wise person will keep in mind every time he/she is talking with others. 
  • Leaders are Readers
    This post is by far my most popular of all time. I share my thoughts and ideas on how to be an effective reader, even if reading just ‘isn’t your thing’. 
  • Michael Jordan & Craig Groeschel on Failure
    Two great videos by very different people, saying the same thing. Failure can be a good, even great thing… 
  • Sunday Morning Announcements
    In this post I lay out some ideas and guidelines for effective Sunday Morning Announcements. It also includes several sample video announcements we’ve hosted at EGC in the past. 
  • Time Management 101: Eat the Frog
    A simple video clip describing a basic time management principle – eat the frog.


If you have been a regular subscriber to my blog, Transforming Leader, for a while now and continue to find my content helpful, please consider letting other pastors, elders, and/or christian leaders know!  Subscribing is super easy and available for anyone with an email address! Thanks!
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Thursday Quote: The Level Five Leader

In his book “Good to Great“, Jim Collins shared 6 key principles that would lead an organization from “good” to “great”, based on extensive research. Each of the principles stand alone as powerful ideas in leadership and strategic planning applicable to ministry leadership.

One principle has to do with an understanding of what Collins calls the “Level Five Hierarchy”. I have used the graph on this one page (page 20) many times while working with leaders, volunteers and teams. If you’d like to see the graph and a discussion on some of it’s ramifications to ministry, check out this post.

Here is a summary of this principle from chapter 1:

“We were surprised, shocked really, to discover the type of leadership required for turning a good company into a great one. Compared to high-profile leaders with big personalities who make headlines and become celebrities, the good-to-great leaders seem to have come from Mars. Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy – these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.”

You’ll find that having and being this kind of leader at your church or ministry will greatly strengthen to potential for ongoing organizational growth. Really, all strategic development and planning starts with leadership. And the leadership needs at the very least two important qualities (certainly more as well).

Humility – someone who is modest, not boastful; has a quiet, calm determination; channels ambition into the ministry, not self; is not afraid of the next generation leaders; apportions credit for success to others rather than self.

Will – someone who demonstrates unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult; sets the highest standard for building an enduring ministry; apportions responsibility for poor results to self rather than others. 

I hope you feel stirred and challenged. I know I do. The greatest organizations, businesses, and ministries will likely find this person(s) at or near the top. At Elim Fellowship, where I serve – I see several excellent examples of the Level Five Leader. These people are regular examples to me of the kind of leader I want to become. If you’ve ever had the chance to meet any of these amazing men, you’ll know exactly what I mean: Ron Burgio, Mike Cavanaugh, Chris Ball, Paul Johansson . . . I could go on and on. All of these men happen to serve on the eldership of Elim Fellowship as well, no wonder.

Thursday Quote: Unleashing The Power of Rubber Bands

One of the qualities I believe a true leader must possess is courage. I’ll be honest, sometimes I think I’m quite the wimp, but I know I’m growing and I’ve faced enough difficult choices over the years to understand that doing the right thing can be really, really hard. In particular, it takes courage to confront someone who doesn’t fit. 
In this week’s Thursday Quote I thought I’d share a little excerpt from Nancy Ortberg’s book, Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands: Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership. This very easy to read book is a great addition to the leaders library and offers many great reminders and lessons on leadership; but what makes the book real outstanding is some of the great stories and examples in nearly every chapter. I recommend it. Check this out:

There is a big difference between a bad fit and a bad person. Leadership is about having the courage to make that distinction. Too often, we hide behind the belief that someone is a bad person, when the reality is, he or she is simply a bad fit. Many organizations and certainly many churches have allowed people to remain in positions (paid or volunteer) for which they are poorly suited. Everyone suffers when that happens.

The organization suffers. When someone is in the wrong position; vision, strategy, and results usually suffer. The church or the ministry department or the business fails to live up to it’s God-given potential. The organization is crippled in its efforts to be all that it could be. That is not God’s design for a church or an organization.

Individuals suffer. When a person is not well suited to his or her role, the people who work with and for that person inevitably languish in some regard. They either fail to get the support, recognition, or resources they need to do their jobs, or they are neglected in areas of discipleship and growth.

It is one of the fundamental jobs of a leader to make sure that the right people are in the right positions in an organization. Leaders who take action and initiative to make sure this is the case engender trust. Those who don’t, cultivate cynicism and mistrust.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Top Posts for April, 2012

Here are the most viewed posts on Transforming Leader for April, 2012.

  1. Sunday Morning Announcements
    Includes some great ideas to make morning announcements more effective as well as som great video announcement examples from Elim Gospel Church.

  2. My Notes From ‘Preach Better Sermons’ Online Conference
    For anyone who missed the workshop on how to ‘Preach Better Sermons’. I watched it and decided to take notes for you (with help from my friends at Elim Gospel Church).

  3. The Four C’s
    An exploration in four criteria necessary when hiring or recruiting leaders into positions of influence.

  4. Give Nozbe A Try!
    I’ve finally found the online Task Management System that I like best. Read this post to find out why.

  5. Leaders Are Readers
    Tips on getting a lot of reading done, even if you aren’t an avid reader.

  6. Thursday Quote: Good To Great Volunteers
    Using some principles outlined by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, I’ve asked some questions about whether your volunteers are really in the best place in your church.

  7. Andy Stanley’s Podcast (For the Non-Tech Christian Leader)
    How to get access to some of the best leadership teaching available for free.

  8. How To Lead A Bad Meeting
    These are great tips on how to lead boring, counterproductive meetings that everyone will forget.

  9. Time Management 101: The Priority Matrix
    This chart is a very simple tool to help you identify which tasks you should be working on and are not and which tasks you spend time on and shouldn’t.

  10. Church Tech For Mortals – Free e-book
    The people over at www.churchm.ag are offering an excellent e-book that I think every pastor should download and use as a resource.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Check Out My Resources Page!

I’ve added a new menu to this blog which I think will be very meaningful and helpful to you. The ‘Resources‘ menu offers a simple and quick way to access the key series I’ve written over the years on Transforming Leader. To date it includes access to ‘The Guest Friendly Series‘, ‘Thinking For A Change eBook‘, ‘The Ten Strategies of the Local Church‘, ‘The Strategic Process Summary‘, ‘Developing Your Mission Statement‘, ‘The Thursday Quote Series‘, ‘The Tactical Tip Series‘ and ‘Running Great Meetings Summary‘.

As time goes on I will continue to add to the Resources Page the series and posts I feel will be most relevant to you. Enjoy!


Image compliments of renjith krishnan at freedigitalphotos.net.

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