Tips for Personal Growth

growth-sign_mbu-570x269Leaders never stop learning. They never feel like they have arrived. They always feel like they can learn and grow more.

Oftentimes, we believe that as leaders we have to go to conferences or a training seminar to develop our leadership and take it to the next level. NOT TRUE.

What if I told you that you can develop your leadership every single day. Here are a few tips for daily leadership growth:

  • Get up early – I never have met a great leader who did not have a morning routine. I am not saying that they are not out there, but I have met a lot of fantastic leaders, and this is always a characteristic of great leaders.
  • Read every day – Every leader is constantly reading and taking in new information. Never stop reading. Make reading a part of your consistent daily habits. Read God’s Word every day. Read a little bit of a book every day and find a blog that you enjoy and read it every day. Read, read, read!
  • Take notes – I heard someone say one time that every good leader brings a pad and a pen to every meeting. Leaders record notes and their thoughts.
  • Listen to podcasts – Why spend hundreds of dollars on attending a training seminar when you can listen to podcast that give the same information for free. I am knocking conferences or training seminars, but do not rely on them for your leadership development in its entirety.
  • Write – This could coincide with taking notes, but I want to point something out. Great leaders record their thoughts through a blog or a journal. Always write down what you are learning. Writing is one of the best ways to grow in your leadership. You will not understand how much this helps your development until you start doing it.
  • Schedule your day – Schedule time for everything that I mentioned above. Make these things non negotiable’s.

What do you do each day to grow as a leader? 

Characteristics of Great Leaders

American-Incoem-Life-leadership-tipsWe all are striving for greatness. We all want to be great at what we do. We want to be a great spouse. We want to be great dads or moms. We want to be great employees. We want to be great parents. We want to be great friends. We want to be great neighbors. We want to be great citizens.

Greatness is something that we all want.

Let me just say that greatness does not just happen on its own. Greatness is achieved on purpose. Greatness is an intentional accomplishment. Everyone arrives somewhere, but few arrive on purpose. When you look at leaders who have achieved greatness, they had some things in common.

Here are four characteristics that I have observed of some of the great leaders that I follow:

  • Great Leaders work hard – Laziness will not get you to greatness. Great leaders work hard and get their hands dirty.
  • Great Leaders grow great teams around them – Great leaders are not by themselves. Great leaders are there because they have intentionally placed great people around them to help them achieve greatness.
  • Great Leaders have a clear and strong vision – Great leaders have a plan and a strategy to getting there.
  • Great Leaders listen more than they talk – Too many leaders ignore this simple element. Remember this, you cannot learn new ideas while your mouth is moving.
  • Great Leaders never stop learning – The best leaders keep learning. They never feel that they have learned everything that they need to know. If you want to keep growing as a leader, keep learning.
  • Great Leaders say “no” to certain things – To be great, you have to learn to say no to things, even good things for great things!

Leaders: Comment below with one thing that you would add to this list of what determines greatness in a leader.

ICYMI – January 29, 2016

ICYMIIf you are like me, there are so many good articles and posts around the internet every week that it becomes difficult to keep up with all of them. “In case you missed it” is my way of pointing out a few good reads  that are too good to overlook. This list will compile the top five posts of the week that I read.

  1. 10 Benefits to Being a Church Volunteer – Via Brian Dodd
  2. Four Ways to Empower and Improve Communication – Via Paul Sohn
  3. The Three Qualities of Very Successful People – Via Liz Ryan (Forbes)
  4. Four Essentials to a Simple Ministry Strategy – Via Eric Geiger
  5. What Story Do You Want Your Leadership to Tell – Via Perry Noble

Did you read a good article this week? I would love to check it out. Share the link below in the comment section:

5 Ways Your Church Can Attract Unchurched People

Downtown-Jacksonville-FloridaEvery pastor that I speak with has a desire to reach the unchurched. In fact, every church member would agree that this is the mission. Few are actually reaching the unchurched though.

For me, I believe the reason why so many churches fail to reach unchurched people is because the church is designed for church people. In other words, we have created our churches for the insiders, but not the outsiders.

  1. Communicate to them from the stage. One SIMPLE thing that your church can do to attract unchurched people is by changing the verbiage from the platform to be understood by unchurched people. Why would an outsider want to visit your church if the announcements are only understood by the insiders? You have to communicate to them. You have to assume that they are sitting in your church every Sunday! Your sermon needs to be understood by the outsiders, not just the insiders.
  2. Be professional and strive for excellence. Unchurched people expect things to be done well. If you plan your sermon on Saturday night, they will notice. If the band struggles every Sunday, the unchurched  will notice. One thing that I have learned about the unchurched is that they want church and whatever they are doing to be done well and with excellence. Create as good of a program and execute it with as few errors as possible each weekend.
  3. Be hospitable. The unchurched hate visiting church unsure about where to go, how to act, where to park, or where to sit. They would prefer to be told these things. This is where sincere and professional hospitality comes in. Have a parking team that shows them the exact space they need to park in. Have a greeting team to greet them and take them to the kids check in area or the auditorium. Make their experience as stress free as possible.
  4. Have a secure kids program. If your kids program is not secure, do not expect to reach unchurched people. They want to feel confident leaving their kids with you. Background check every volunteer regardless of your relationship with them before they volunteer. Have policies that do not allow just anyone to go back to the kids area. Have a check in process for the kids that is professional and led by kid-friendly volunteers.
  5. Make it simple to take a next step. Don’t over-complicate that which should be simple. If someone needs to pray with someone, make it simple and easily accessible. If someone needs to sign up for baptism, to volunteer, or to join a community group- don’t over-complicate the process. Have people in place to keep this process as simple and “stress free” as possible.

These are just a few easy things that you can do without changing the complete style of your church which can take time. You can implement some of these strategies as early as this Sunday or next weekend.

What would you add to this list?

Podcasts Every Church Leader Should Listen To

podcast_logoLeaders never stop learning.

There are so many great ways to grow as a leader. One way is through listening to a proven leader and their podcast. I love listening to podcasts. They really help develop my leadership.

I wanted to quickly share a few podcast that every church leader should be listening to on a regular basis.

  1. The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – You can view the podcast by going here. Andy Stanley needs no introduction. He is the best in the business for me when it comes to leadership. I would encourage you to read his stuff on leadership and listen to him any chance you get when he begins to speak on leadership.
  2. This is Your Life (Michael Hyatt) – Michael Hyatt is an incredible thinker and leader. Check out his intentional thoughts on leadership on his podcast by going here.
  3. Rainer on Leadership (Thom Rainer) – When it comes to church life and leadership, there is none better than Thom Rainer. Thom blogs consistently and is my favorite blogger out there. Usually when I have a question about church leadership, his blog or podcast will likely answer it. View his podcast by going here.
  4. The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast – I just started listening to Carey consistently over the last year, and his podcast is unbelievable. Carey is the best blogger out there for church growth in modern churches. Read and listen to everything that this guy is producing. He has many of the top influencers in the world on his podcast. Check it out by going here.
  5. The Joshua Gagnon Leadership Podcast – Josh pastors the 8th fastest growing church in America according to Outreach Magazine. Next Level Church has seen a 51% growth from 2014 to 2015. He blogs about church leadership and personal growth. You will grow as a church leader and a person by listening to this podcast. You can check out Josh’s thoughts by going here
  6. Catalyst Podcast – The catalyst podcast delivers some of the best church leadership thoughts from some of the best leaders in the world. Check out and subscribe to the Catalyst podcast by going here
  7. Perry Noble Leadership Podcast – Perry Noble pastors a church of 30,000 people. His church started off with 15 people meeting in a home and God has done an incredible work through him and his team. Perry does a fantastic job sharing practical insights from some of their game changing decisions and their mistakes as a church. Perry is  one of my favorite leadership podcasters. You will love what he has to say. Check it out here. 

What podcast would you add to this list? 

ICYMI – January 22, 2016

ICYMIIf you are like me, there are so many good articles and posts around the internet every week that it becomes difficult to keep up with all of them. “In case you missed it” is my way of pointing out a few good reads  that are too good to overlook. This list will compile the top five posts of the week that I read.

  1. Muslims coming to Christ through God’s Word – Via Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis)
  2. 5 Sure Fire Ways to Get Better as a Communicator – Via Carey Nieuwhof
  3. Four Imperatives for Wise Stewardship of Time – Via Eric Geiger
  4. How to Build a Team you Love – Via Bradley Cooper on Perry Nobble’s blog
  5. 8 Verses that Drive my Walk with God – Via Chuck Lawless

Did you read a good article this week? I would love to check it out. Share the link below in the comment section:

5 Ways To Increase Your Online Presence

socialmediaThis is part 2 of a 2 part series on churches and their online presence. Earlier this week, I blogged about why your church needs an online presence. Go check it out here. We all admit we need an online presence, but how do we get one and keep one? Or better yet, how do we have an effective online presence?

Now in the second part of this two-part blog post, I want to address ways to increase your online presence.

  • Post Consistently – It is not good for your organization or church if your last post happened weeks or months ago. I recommend posting every single day. When I coordinated our church’s  social media accounts, I would try to post every day and most of the time, multiple times a day. Now, you have to use a scheduling method like hootsuite to make this thing happen.
  • Use all of the popular social networking sites – Our student ministry is on snapchat because the students are on snapchat (this is not an argument for or against snapchat). Our church posts regularly on instagram, our facebook page, and twitter. Our website also stays up to date regularly. We also use a texting service to communicate as well. If you only use facebook, you are missing out on a large market of young people 30 and down who are on twitter and Instagram. Use them all if you want the greatest impact.
  • Post quality, not quantity – Some churches feel that they need to be online so they go for quantity more than quality. Quality wins every time. The best answer is to post quality on a daily basis. One note about quality is that if you can say it through a picture, do it. Pictures always generate more traffic and interaction than a text post. Download an app like “Wordswag” or “instaquote” to easily make pictures, and it will generate much more traffic to your pages.
  • Engage with people – If someone responds to your post, respond back. If someone tweets you, tweet them back or RT them. Always favorite the tweet. If you are tagged in an Instagram or facebook post, always respond. Respond and try to do so as quickly as possible.
  • Intentionally select someone to oversee your social media account – In many large churches, they hire a staff person who oversees media. I recognize that not all have the means to do this, but you need to select someone who is over your social media accounts. Someone who is responsible for the posts that go out on your page.
  • Social Media Ads – This cost a little bit of money, but has major impact. Target the zip code that you are in. Use ads for your big days. Instagram and twitter also accepts ads and sponsored posts so use them all and watch the traffic to your page increase drastically.

I would love to see what your church is doing online. Feel free to comment with your church’s social media accounts and their website. I would love to engage with your church online.