Pack Light, Pack Right 3

Pack Light, Pack Right 3 – The Pastor’s Mind

I’ve got so much to learn.

The longer I have lived and led the more I realize that I don’t often even know the things I don’t know. You know?

Great leaders have always championed learning. Check out some of the suggested learning leader resources below for a few examples to help stretch you! (You don’t have to agree with everyone. But, you would be amiss not to learn from them.)

Rick Warren put it this way…

“All leaders are learners. The

moment you stop learning, you

stop leading.”

Here are a couple of his very challenging TEDx Talks hosted in Orange County, California – and

Leaders are learners. You know this.

Peak Pastors is dedicating to helping

you DO this, to learn to learn.

So, let’s learn from one another! Let’s question and challenge and spur and resource one another on to be stewards of the gray matter God has loaned to us.

Here are three of the podcasts I have been listening to recently. I love these because they interview leaders who learn from leaders!

Share your resources below or on our Peak Pastors Facebook Group Page!

The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast –

Ask NT Wright Anything Podcast –

Unbelievable Podcast with Justin Brierley –

Share some of your go-to learners below!

The Journey of Lent (& life)


What is Lent and why should we experience it? Especially for those not of a Catholic or more liturgical background, how can this tradition help us go deeper in our relationship with Jesus and wider in our influence for Him with others?

Lent is a period of 40 days (not including Sundays) between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Many Christians traditionally fast, pray, repent and/or practice moderation during this time in preparation and recognition of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. One source explains, “The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.” In many respects, this is a journey that is reflective of Jesus’ own path from the places of his popular ministry to the unfolding of His passion on the lonely cross of Calvary.

Perhaps this journey is summarized in the recollection of Luke, one of His closest followers, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51, NIV) This wouldn’t be an easy road. Still, Jesus had known His mission from the beginning. He knew His purpose and pursued it with a singular passion. He journeyed with compassion for the fickled crowds and words of instruction and rebuke for both close followers and critics alike along the way. Fixed on the cross He came to a crisis on the Mount of Olives, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42, NIV) It is this journey, this crisis point that Lent leads us in.

What will you give up in order to gain a deeper identity and fellowship with Jesus? How will you join Him in the journey He now entrusts to us as His followers… the daily commission to “carry the cross” in such a way that others are convicted by His sacrifice and catch a glimpse of His enduring love for them? In the end, ours are simple sacrifices… going without coffee or soda, fasting from certain foods or, (dare I say it?), all forms of entertainment media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, movies, TV, etc). It is helpful to go down this road with others who will pray with you, for you and share in making an accountable sacrifice during this sacred season.

As Jesus “set out for Jerusalem,” may this season of Lent help us focus our lives on a deeper intimacy with Him and a greater commitment in the Great Commission journey He has set out for us.

What are some ways you or others are observing Lent? Share your thoughts with others in the discussion section below!

Sources include: and




Giveaway Leadership

imgres-3What does it look like to increase influence for Christ by giving away more and more and more as a leader?
Could it be that one of the biggest changes that needs made concerns the level of our own generosity? Here are 5 Giveaways of Good Leaders…

1) Give away control. Let’s face it. This scares us. But only to the extent of our own insecurities and at the expense of our influence for Jesus. With grace as long as standards are high, give gifted and called individuals the opportunity to gather and lead great teams… to fail and succeed greatly while learning valuable lessons along the way.

2) Give away credit. Give God the glory and others the credit for the wins you are experiencing. Be selfish with the responsibility and even the blame when they aren’t. This is hard and takes a humility fueled by daily intimacy and affinity with Jesus.

3) Give away experience. Be generous not only with what you have gained from your experiences, but seek opportunities to provide others, especially young people, new and challenging experiences. These will mold their character and expand their imaginations concerning what God can do in and through them!

4) Give away attention. Yes, your time is limited. However, give people not only your time, but your undivided attention. Lean into the conversation, ask good questions and make it all about them at every turn.

5) Give away resources. This is all about equipping others. How can you encourage team leaders and members through training opportunities and the latest in tools for the trades they are working in?

John the Apostle summarized the spirit and posture of a giveaway leader, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30, NIV) 

What giveaways can you share? Give them away in the Reply section below…

Small Church BIG Change – Where to Begin?

images-14Are you a small church leader dreaming of BIG influence for Christ in your community? What does it take to make the changes needed to increase your impact? Many pastors and lay leaders share this same deep desire along with an overwhelming sense of, “Where do we begin?”

Here are 5 Ways to Lead Small Church BIG Change… 

1) Pray. I know, you’ve been praying! But, could you pray “better?” Gather your family and lead team to pray specifically for open minds and willing hands as the Spirit leads change over the long haul. Then, engage your congregation in strategic prayer throughout. Look for the “Small Church BIG Change Prayer Strategy” coming soon.

2) Probe. You need to dig deep by asking tough questions like… “Am I the only one who wants this?” If not, who else shares your desire? “Why do we want this? What do we want to become? Who do we hope to reach? Is pride driving your desire or is the Great Commission your true driving force?What’s been tried (and died) before?” Don’t underestimate the felt-needs and baggage tied to this. “Who and what are we prepared to lose to reach the unreached?” Make no mistake, this will happen. Change forces it. Transformation requires it.

WARNING: IF EVERYONE HAS TO AGREE AND EVERYONE MUST GO WITH YOU… STOP BEFORE YOU START. Watch for the upcoming post, “Why Everyone Isn’t Going With You.”

3) Plan (& prioritize). What needs changed? Who needs changed? You may feel like the answer is “Everyone and everything!” However, healthy change must begin in the right people, in the right areas, in the right ways and at the right pace. I look forward to helping you prioritize through the “Small Church BIG Change Priorities” and “The New Normal” posts coming soon.

4) Promote. Whether you are a leader led ministry where no votes are needed, or a traditionally structured church where everyone has a voice (and a vote), you can’t communicate too well or too often. Gather creative minds to help you harness a multi-platform media strategy for getting the latest word out.

5) Protect. Determine to protect the health of your family and lead team. Encourage your membership to do the same. This will be an emotional journey full of extremes… loss & gain, joy & sorrow, harmony & dissonance, sudden stops, fast starts, slow going, innovation, celebration and more!

WARNING: DON’T SACRIFICE YOUR FAMILY ON THE ALTAR OF THE CHURCH. Look for “Growing Your Family Through Church Change!” post coming soon.

How can I help you with Small Church BIG Change? Contact me at to consider how we can partner in transformation and see your ministry partner in the Great Commission like never before! Have a great “Small Church BIG Change” story? Share it with me as I collect stories of transformation to encourage others!

“Blow that trumpet!”

images-13Hey, pastors and church leaders, played any trumpet lately?

The prophet, Joel declared, “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand.” (Joel 2:1, NIV)

May I suggest that in the midst of our latest teaching series, we need to be sending out a clear warning?

What should we be warning people about? Here are 5 Tunes We Should Be Blowing…

1) Jesus is coming… soon! The signs are everywhere. The news outlets are covering them… shouldn’t we? Persecution, earthquakes, floods, volcanoes erupting in an alarming duet with violence around our nation and world. It is our job to connect the dots between these events and the eminent end. Sound a little to apocalyptic and alarmist? That’s because it is. Love your target audience enough to say it anyway.

2) It’s time to get right… tomorrow is not promised. These aren’t the “scare tactics” of yesteryear. Or, are they? And, why not? We are all going to die, if Jesus doesn’t return first. And, Hell is a pretty scary place. The time is now to come to Jesus and allow His infinite love and grace to change our eternal destination. He paid the way on the cross of Calvary and rose again to conquer sin and death for us. Preach John 3:16 (&17) like it’s never been preached before!

3) Jesus is the way… the ONLY way. Sound intolerant and lacking in an informed love for humanity? Consider this… what kind of human would we be if we truly believed that “The bridge is out!” but deliberately failed to warn those cruising in comfort down that same road?

One classic argument still works well. If we are wrong about Jesus then we have lost little, lived a comparatively good life and that’s really about all it takes for anyone to make it to Heaven (if there even is one). However, If we are right, then those who differs with us on this point have lost everything, forever. The only loving thing we can do is declare the Truth we believe. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV) 

4) Hell is as real as Heaven… and Jesus doesn’t want anyone to go there. So, you need to go there, pastor! Preach it, teach it, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tweet and blog about it. Weave the reality of reward and punishment into your repertoire of otherwise Biblically sound and grace-filled, relevant topics.

5) We are accountable… and will answer. Some of you reading this will end up being too concerned with a “radical” image and label to match. You will worry about losing your following as people think you have lost your mind (or at least your “cool”). Don’t be one of them. You will never have been more relevant than when calling everyone’s attention to the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Consider the ancient warning of Ezekiel…

“The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’” (Ezekiel 33:1-6, NIV)

YOU are one of these “Watchmen,” pastor. It’s time to pick up that trumpet and blow!

PS – You gotta love some Louis Armstrong. Preach Jesus like “Satchmo the Great” played that trumpet!

Monday Mindset – “Play ball!”

images-12How do you gather your team and get the week started right?

Often, I send out an email to my lead team on Mondays. It has gone by numerous titles… “Monday Memo,” “Game Plan,” “Ministry Moment,” and most often with a brief Scriptural thought and/or “Leader Lesson” tucked in for good measure. Especially for those who’s staff are bi-vocational or volunteer based, this can be a great way to accomplish several important things.

Consider 7 Things a Monday Memo can do for you!

1) Help you Plan. What needs done? No, your day or week won’t go exactly as planned. However, “Flying by the seat of your pants!” isn’t exactly a long-term winning strategy, either. Also, doing a “To Do” list and keeping it to yourself is like taking the field with only one player. So, gather the whole team around the game plan and “Play ball!”

2) Help you Focus around Priorities. Don’t just get things done, get the right things done. Who do you need to connect with? What needs done so that team members can be released to do what they do?

3) Help you Promote the Vision. You can’t cast your vision loud or long enough. Highlight a value that will promote the greater vision of your ministry or organization.

4) Help you Crunch the Numbers. What’s the score? Where are you in relation to the hard numbers that tell the tale? More times than not, those that bristle against counting the numbers simply don’t like what they reveal about them and their level of productivity (or lack thereof).

5) Help you Celebrate a Win! What has your team done well? Who can you give an “Atta boy!” to? Seize the moment to give a “round of applause” to someone who has modeled a value or simply served with excellence. Create a culture of celebration and increase moral… especially on a Monday!

6) Help you Teach a Truth. What short and simple truth or principle can you remind yourself and your team of? Leaders are life-time learners. Don’t miss this moment to “coach ’em up” as a team!

7) Help you Encourage! Every great team has a pre-game “pep talk!” The great coaches know that speaking to the awesome worth and incredible potential in each team member is HUGE! People will play far above their skill level if they believe that you believe in them… win or lose.

We are reminded by the Apostle Paul about this vital role of leadership in his memo to the church leaders in Thessalonica, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just a in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

How would you use a Monday Memo to position your team for the day and week ahead? Share your thoughts in the Reply section!

How to Diffuse the Situation

images-8Great teams are full of leaders with equally strong talents, personalities and the opinions to go with them. While this creates a high potential for productivity, no one should be surprised when conflict arises and personalities collide.

Here are 5 Ways to Diffuse the Situation…

1) Don’t! The escalation may be an indicator of a relational or organizational disconnect or disagreement or it may just be that creative minds are hard at work. Abruptly ending the argument or placating someone will only provide a false and temporary peace that may keep things from going forward through the push and pull of high-capacity leaders. Remember that a steam engine only moves forward under well-controlled pressure.

2) Take charge… but just long enough to assure those involved that they will be heard, in turn and with respect. Be clear. Disagreement is tolerated and even welcomed in your organizational culture. Disrespect is not.

3) Keep digging. Ask questions that force the real issues behind the emotion. This will not only address the issues at hand, but will serve notice that unnecessary drama is out of place and simply “not what we do here.”

Jesus was the master at the art of inquiry, often answering questions with questions. Two of his disciples were arguing over who might sit by Jesus’ on His throne in Heaven. Rather than answering directly, Jesus asked them about their ability to lead well in the here and now. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” (Mark 10:38, NIV) In other words, with leadership may come certain privileges, but with great responsibility to God and others.

4) Assign responsibility but don’t create new policy. Refuse any tendency to add policy based on isolated arguments. This only punishes the greater team and encourages wasted lateral energy. Be specific with the individuals involved as you assign the actions you believe are necessary to restore team health and harmony.

5) Follow-up. Team unity is too essential to be assumed. Check-in with the people involved individually and as a group. Again, this will help cultivate a healthy culture where people are free to disagree but where respect for one another stays at a high level.

How do you deal effectively with rising tensions on your team? Share your thoughts in the Reply section below.

I would love to come to equip and encourage you and your team! Email me at to see how we can partner for a leadership conference, retreat or coaching relationship.

What’s here for our kids?

imgres-1Want to know what the #1 question you should be asking as a pastor and lead team? Here it is… “What’s here for our kids?” Why? Because people can put up with a pastor that preaches a little too long. They can handle worship that isn’t exactly their style. They will circle the parking lot twice to find a spot just as long as there is something that their kids love about going to church!

George Barna reminds us, “The transformation of children into spiritual champions may not happen even if we devote our best resources to the task, but the possibility is worth the risk.” See

Here are 5 Reasons to ask, “What’s here for our kids?”

1) Young families are asking it. That single mom, dad, or those grandparents raising a second generation are all looking for a place that wants the best for their kids almost as much as they do. Answer this question first and best and you will find willing ministry partners in those who are entrusting you with those they love most.

2) Older Adults love them. The vast majority of older adults love the noise and even the messes that come with having a lot of kids around. They know that where there are kids, there is life and hope for a bright future! Kids can always find an adopted grandpa or grandma to encourage them (and keep them in line) along the way as older adults find leadership and volunteer roles throughout kid’s ministries.

3) They are your marketing strategy! When kids start asking, “When do we get to go back to church?”… people get real curious, real fast. Kid’s aren’t easily impressed these days. When they get excited they tell their friends and news travels fast. Their parents pick up on this and everyone starts talking, texting, messaging and posting! Be sure to capture exciting and “God Thing” moments in your kid’s ministries and celebrate the wins in all your media outlets.

4) If you aren’t asking this question… then parents will ask, “Where do you want to go next week?” In other words, most won’t be back if their kids aren’t a purposed value in your church. There are plenty of options in most towns when it comes to churches. Make sure yours includes one of the best experiences for kids in Christ around!

5) Jesus said so. “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16, NIV) Research tells us that kids are most open to making a commitment to Christ by age 14. Capture their attention, peak their curiosity and lead them to Jesus at an early age! Commit to doing whatever it takes to make kid’s ministry a priority. Start by asking and answering THE question in your own church… “What’s here for our kids?” 

Need some help finding affordable and/or free kids ministry resources? Here are some Biblically grounded and innovative options your kids and leaders will love…  – North Point Kid’s Ministry – Elevation Church Kid’s Ministry – Life Church Open Kid’s Ministry

Add your resources in the Reply section below!


High Capacities of Great Leaders

images-2What do great leaders possess that sets them and their organizations apart? How can you make these traits a part of your life, family and lead team?

Here are 8 Capacities of Great Leaders…

1) High Capacity for Vision. Great leaders “see first and see farther.” (John Maxwell) This doesn’t just “happen.” It’s the result of purposed listening, learning and processing from others while asking, seeking and knocking in prayer. In these ways they see what others can’t… or won’t. Keep looking!

2) High Capacity for Tenacity. They are the “pitbulls” of their organization when it comes to the people, the vision and values that shape it. Other words for this are perseverance, patience, and my favorite “King James Version” description… looooongsuffering. Whatever it takes they hold on and hold out when they know they are headed in the right direction.

3) High Capacity for Learning. Great leaders are lifetime learners. They read, listen, watch, podcast, blog and more in order to stay sharp and current. They are humble enough to ask the tough questions, even when it reveals their own ignorance on a given subject. They soak it in to the point that it’s part of their DNA… and then pass it on in simple but creative ways.

4) High Capacity for Communication. They get it… people are busy and need to be reminded more than once. So, they put the important messages out there through multiple platforms multiple times. They partner with those skilled and experienced in social media, harnessing their creativity and celebrating with them as the word gets out. Communication is a constant, a lifestyle.

4) High Capacity for Gratitude. Great leaders don’t forget the grace of God and others. They don’t forget where they have come from. They don’t tolerate entitlement and are intentional about thanking others and creating a culture of gratitude by modeling it daily.

5) High Capacity for Teamwork. Great leaders are great gatherers. They not only recruit both volunteer and paid individuals with high capacities in their chosen field, they recognize potential yet untapped and invest in them with a passion. Think Jesus and His less than learned disciples. (For you LOTR fans… think the “Fellowship of the Ring!”)

6) High Capacity for Feeling. Great leaders understand the felt needs of their teams and take the emotional pulse of their organization often. They have little tolerance for “needy” in themselves or others while creating safe environments and experiences for people to share their hearts. They can sense when morale is getting low or momentum is shifting in the wrong direction and they take action to call it out and turn it around.

7) High Capacity for Compassion. Great leaders are great lovers of people. The love of Jesus compels them with a constant awareness that, apart from His grace, they themselves are unloveable. This drives them to meet people as Jesus did (and still does!), at the point, place and time of their deepest need.

8) High Capacity for Adventure. Great leaders aren’t afraid to step out into the great unknown! Another word for this is faith. What is faith? “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) They see the vast unknown as an even greater opportunity for advancing the vision of their organization. They cast a clear vision, gather a ready team, plan, pack and then launch out into it with great expectations!

What capacities of great leaders have you observed? How can these be purposed in ministries and organizations? Share your insights in the Reply section below!


4 Responses to Other’s Successes


How do you respond when someone you know wins big? Maybe they earned that degree, got that promotion, closed that deal, or got their work published? If you are in the church world like me, maybe they successfully launched another campus, added some amazing staff, baptized 10, 50 or 100 people last month, or raised a million dollars for missions? All of these should make us want to throw them a party! However, sometimes other emotions are stirred.

Maybe we feel we have worked harder for longer? Perhaps we feel overlooked and under-appreciated? Admit it. We’ve all felt this way even if for only a few fleeting moments. When we do, it’s our cue to hit our knees and check pride at the door. How should we respond?

Here are 4 Responses to Other’s Successes… 

1) Celebrate. Knowing how hard it is to achieve something significant yourself, celebrate their win! Congratulate them in person, on social media, or send them a hand-written letter. Take the time to tell them just how much you admire their dedication and what specifically you appreciate about their success.

2) Motivate. Use the positive energy created by someone’s achievement as motivation to keep striving in your own life, family, church or business. Don’t give up! Someone has said, “If God calls you to it, He’ll see you through it.” Who you are and what you do matters and you are closer to breaking through than you know!

3) Question. The question isn’t, “How did they get so lucky?!” The question is, “How did they get it done?” You are likely to find some of the same common denominators that will equate to your own win in time… things like the grace of God, a great team, hard work, courageous creativity, and perseverance. Find out what you can learn from their success and especially their failures along the way.

4) Challenge. More than motivation to just “keep on keeping on…” take their win as a personal challenge to not only do better, but to BE better. Humble yourself. We never arrive. Put it all back on the drawing board if you have to. Gather some honest and experienced voices who will help you see what you can’t and say what you need to hear about yourself and/or that thing you do. Then, pray for the grace to be better. And, don’t be afraid to do things a little (or a lot!) different. Maybe you need to go in a different direction altogether?

Much of what you do as a servant leader will be overlooked and unsung while others get standing ovations and the promotions to go with them. Do it anyway. Your kindness and compassion won’t always put you in the front of the line. Be it anyway.

Remember Jesus’ parable of the talents? This is what we should all be striving for… “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:23, NIV)

How do you celebrate the success of others? Share your thoughts below in the Reply section…