spiritual growth

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 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFdRFhVQwvU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPqNtOrTdlU

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 – https://careynieuwhof.com/mypodcast/

Ask NT Wright Anything Podcast – https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Ask-NT-Wright-Anything/Podcast

Unbelievable Podcast with Justin Brierley – https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable

Share some of your go-to learners below!

Some Advice for Pastors: Part 1

imagesWhether you are thinking about pastoring, just getting started or are have been at it a long time, here are 3 pieces of friendly advice I’ve picked up after 27 years of being just called and crazy enough to keep doing it…

Lead Yourself.

“Young man, I don’t know what you do for a living, but you either learn to love what you do or die a young man.” Those were the words an ER Doctor told me after diagnosing a kidney infection, kidney stones, an ulcer, etc. I was a wreck and just fell apart. And, it wasn’t in the middle of a board meeting, either. No, I was actually trying to take some time off going to a St. Louis Cardinals ball game with my family. Too little, too late. Instead, I ended up sick in a bathroom and then half passed out on the sidewalk waiting for my wife to get the car and find the nearest hospital. It took no time for them to discover that my system was all out of whack. The doctor nailed the diagnosis. I was stressed out… way out. I was too embarrassed to tell him I was a pastor, paid to model and preach the abundant life that comes from following Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Although I would have to learn this lesson again (and again)… this was Lesson 101 in learning to manage myself well.

Leading as a team is essential for sustained success in life and leadership. However, while you should have individuals and teams in place for both accountability and encouragement, they are not ultimately responsible for your health. Only you can manage you in a holistic way. I’ll shoot straight, you will be to blame if and when you burn out spiritually, emotionally, relationally and/or physically. Only you can pace yourself, only you can take time off, only you can worship daily, only you can get adequate rest, only you can eat right, only you can exercise, and only you can have a life beyond your title. Bottom line? Only you can lead you. Ministry is hard, and that’s an understatement. Then again, welcome to planet earth. No excuses. Determine now to live for the long haul and lead yourself well.

Leading yourself is my first piece advice for both rookies and veterans of ministry life.

Leading at Elevation Part 2

images-6What does it mean to lead at elevation? Whether you have made game-changing connections with your community, added staff, merged with another ministry, been given more responsibility, increased your budget, remodeled environments, launched a new ministry, or made any other significant gains or changes… what does it take to lead well in the midst of it all?

Leading at Elevation takes prayer. Prayer is the difference between a good thing, a great thing and a God-thing! A God-thing is something that, unless God shows up, it is doomed to fail. Prayer acknowledges the deeper reality that all our efforts are in vain if not rooted in the will and glory of God. As God said through Zechariah to King Zeruababel, “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)

Leading at Elevation takes honest communication. Create an environment that encourages honesty at every turn and every gain in influence. The truth that should be embraced is that new heights bring new challenges. It is not only normal to be a little nervous about it, it is a good thing to stay humbled by it. Talk about the fears, ask the tough questions and don’t settle for easy answers as you sort through a changing array of emotions that accompany new heights!

Leading at Elevation takes preparation. Plan your route (knowing there will be detours). Scout out the trail and establish clear goals as to where you want to be and by when. However, remember this… the wider your influence, the farther your reach, and the higher your elevation, the more you will need to prepare, plot, pack, encourage, equip, train and keep track of your progress. Remember, this doesn’t mean MORE of everything. Pack light. Don’t pile on. Less is more when it comes to going the distance on any trail, especially those that lead you higher and higher.

Leading at Elevation takes work. You’ve heard the old saying… “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Clearly, everyone isn’t. The way of greater influence for Christ is rockier, the path narrower, incline steeper, air thinner, commitment greater and the critics louder. Keep hiking, keep climbing and climbing and climbing. The view will be worth it.

IMG_7323Leading at Elevation takes evaluation. You’ve heard it said, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” Take time to take stock in where you are at and how well you are reaching your goals along the way. Task someone, perhaps an outside coach, with keeping you on track as you go. Consider them your “Sherpa…” an indispensable guide for your expanding expedition!

Leading at Elevation deserves celebration. Whenever you have reached and exceeded a goal, it’s worth rejoicing with all of those who helped the team get there. Acknowledge the effort and the organizational win. Take the time to enjoy the view. This, in itself, is a form of worship and God is worthy of it!


You can lead well at elevation. Determine to grow together in Christ as you gain influence and reach new heights for His glory and the good of others. Let me know how I can help you and your team reach new heights in healthy ways. I would love to partner with you!


31 Tips for 2016 – #12

Unknown-1Here is Tip #12 for Ministry Leaders in 2016…

Be you. This tip is especially for those just getting started in their leadership journey.

My dad’s preaching style has always been didactic, the teacher, and that’s the style I knew was for me. My father-in-law has always been more the evangelist. Hard-driving sermons that plead people to the altar. After a few years under his ministry, I found my style moving more in this direction. Then came leaders like Bill Hybels, then Andy Stanley, then… you get the picture. With each style of speaker and leader I would find myself more than gleaning from the substance of their message, I was “borrowing” a little from their style.  While there is much to be learned from the message and methods of leaders like these, you simply aren’t called to be them. 

Find your voice. Develop your own style. Yes, by all means, listen and learn from some of the best. However, be who God has made you to be. Sure, we should always keep our audience in mind… how they learn, the language they speak. But never let any of this keep you from being, leading and speaking just like you. Why?

Authenticity. My son has been big on this as he has found himself now also in a long line of Christian leaders in his own right. He has taught me (among many things) that his generation can smell a “poser” from a mile away. Hint: If you can remember when Star Wars came out the first time, skinny jeans are not for you… anywhere, anytime. Just don’t. What resonates with people on a deeper level is being genuine about who you and whose you are in Christ, and leading from that simple place of security in Him.

Be you. Not sure who that is yet? Take the time to pray about it. Get alone and get away to discover it. Ask others who will have the guts to hold you accountable and tell you when you trying too hard to be anything or anyone else other than who God made you to be.

The Lord and this world doesn’t need another Francis Chan or Steven Furtick. It needs you.


3 Practices of Change Agents

images-3Need to make some changes in your ministry or organization? Leading change begins with living change. Let’s start by taking a long look in the mirror to make sure we are practicing the change we are preaching as leaders. Here are 3 Practices of Change Agents…

1) Personal character. If we want our reach to extend wider, then we’ve got to go deeper. Only the trees with strong roots last when winds of change blow. Could it be that God isn’t granting greater influence because we can’t handle it just yet? Possibly. Regardless of the scope of influence He grants, it is always good to go deeper still.

Jesus had just finished teaching a large crowd by the shore when He gave His disciples a fishing lesson… “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” (Luke 5:4-7, NIV) 

Seek to go deeper in your study and teaching of God’s Word, in your listening skills that fuel relationships with family, friends and team members. And, go deeper in an often overlooked area that makes all the difference…

2) Private habits. Our private habits mold our personal character. GK Chesterson both reminds and warns us, “Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.” What are my personal habits? What are yours? Have they carved out a rut going in the wrong direction for ourselves and those under our influence? Seek to establish habits that promote spiritual, relational, emotional and physical health (i.e. reading, fasting, etc). Be on the lookout for an upcoming post titled, “Holy Habit!” 4 Habits that Shape Solid Leaders.

3) Public challenge. Effective agents of change aren’t afraid to challenge themselves, their team and their organizations in a way that requires sacrificial living and giving. They understand that people will rise to the challenge when the vision is clear and the cause is worthy. Sure, they may fear falling short of their stated goals, but this doesn’t paralyze them into complacency. They take up the challenge for themselves and promote it with a sense of excitement and expectation, painting pictures and sharing examples of how, together, everyone’s investments are changing lives through Christ!

Leading change begins with living change. Let’s begin with a renewed commitment to consistently living as changing, deepening followers of Jesus Christ.

What practices or qualities of change agents would you suggest? Share your thoughts in the Reply section below as part of our ongoing “Small Church, BIG Change” series…