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Leadership Lessons for Life-Changing Church Leaders

Published: 2009-07-03T10:15:53-04:00


New Site


It's now been four years since I resigned from my former church, yet for some reason, people keep finding these old posts so I'll keep them up for awhile longer. However, if you'd like to see what I've been up to over the past four years, come join me on my new blog at (or if you prefer shorthand, They'll both get you to the same place. Also, while most of my work now is with business owners... Transition


The past nine months have been a pure joy for me in the blogging world. The responses from so many of you, either in comments or in e-mails, the links to my posts and the mentions of my blog in your blog rolls have been fully satisfying. As someone who loves to influence people, the blogging world has opened up a whole new opportunity for me to influence other people (and churches) to be all that God has created them...

To Bore or Not to Bore


That is the question. I was talking with a former church member the other day who's in the church "shopping" mode when this person told me the following story. "After visiting [this one church] I asked [my child] what they thought of this church. [This child] said, "Well, once I get used to being bored, I'll be okay." Isn't that an amazing statement? Already, by a young age, this child had come to the conclusion that if they were going...

Get To or Have To?


Everyday, as Christian leaders, we're placed in a position where the amount of tasks facing us is always greater than the amount of time we have to accomplish them. In addition, everyday, we're required (or asked or expected) to do things that we really don't want to do. So, how do we respond to this? Well, for most of us, we just resign ourselves to living with an incredible number of moments of resignation, "I guess I just have to...

Certain Knower or Responsible Interpreter?


Have you ever changed your belief about what an individual biblical text means? Or has there ever been a passage that you absolutely positively knew what it meant—only to find out later that you were wrong? Well, if you have, you are in good company. We've all been there. But, and here's the clincher, don't you think that there's a high probability that five or ten years from now, you'll be thinking the same thing about some of the passages...

Never Underestimate the Power of Expectation


As I was eating breakfast this morning, I happened to be listening to Robert Schuller and thought I'd pass on to you his closing illustration. To the best of my recollection, it went something like this. "I recently met a professor in physics who told me that he taught at a university where he was told he needed to flunk 50% of his students each year. And each year, that's exactly what happened—50% of his students failed. Then he started...

How to Fix the Most Common Preaching/Communication Problem


Have you ever started a message and quickly come to the conclusion, they're not with me? It's a terrible feeling, isn't it? I like to call that the, "Hey God, this one's for you!" moment. None of us likes being there. It's pure pain. So, how do we get around that? Well, if you read my previous post, The Number One Mistake that Preachers/Communicators Make, then you know that the number one mistake that preachers/communicators/teachers make is that they don't...

The Number One Mistake Most Preachers and Communicators Make


The past few days I've been in a seminar with Willie Jolley, one of the top motivational speakers in the country and a recent inductee into the Speaker's Hall of Fame, who shared the business side of motivational speaking with a few of us. It was a great experience and provided me with the kind of information I need as I begin this new part of God's journey for me. However, after I asked Willie the following question, "What would...

Why wait?


My father (the real Don Johnson) shared a simple (but incredibly important) lesson with me the other day. We were having lunch when he mentioned something he had learned from one of his business partners years ago. He said, "One of the things I learned from Ben was to act on what you're thinking about immediately. We would often be in a conversation and I would mention, 'Hey, we should get a hold of _______ (blank) about _________(blank)' and Ben...

Are You Answering Your Phones Live?


I can't tell you how many times I've talked to pastors about this, but they rarely seem to get it. As churches, we're in the people business. When someone calls a church, they expect to find a caring polite voice on the other end. But what do most churches do? For economic reasons, they go to automatic voice mail. Bad choice. In fact, let me prove it to you. This morning I received another thank you e-mail from someone who...

Stop Doing List Part II


On Wednesday, I talked about "Creating a Stop Doing List" out of an audio recording by Jim Collins (if you haven't read that post, just scroll down below this post to read it). Having read that, the natural question most people ask is, "How do I do that?" In other words, the idea that we need to stop doing a lot of what we're currently doing so that we can focus on those few things that matter most to us...

Creating a "Stop Doing" List


Do you ever get frustrated with feeling like there's too much to do and not enough time to do it? Well, if you have, Jim Collins just might have a possible prescription for you. As i mentioned last week, Amazon had a number of their favorite authors record something as a "bonus" for their 10 year anniversary. In the case of Collins, he chose to expand on an article he had written back on December 30, 2003. Note: If you're...

Are You Doing What You Love?


Believe it or not, this Saturday marks the 10 year anniversary of In fact, they're having a big celebration that you can read about [here] which includes a free live streaming concert of Norah Jones and Bob Dylan as well as their all-time customer-favorite authors and filmmakers. Starting at 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, July 16--the 10th anniversary of the day that first opened its virtual doors for business--the concert will be streamed live on the homepage....

Leadership Capacity: The Biggest Hindrance to the Advancement of the Kingdom


Yesterday I mentioned that I was pursuing my Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership because I believe that the greatest hindrance to the advancement of the kingdom of God (apart from spiritual factors like prayer, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, spiritual warfare, etc.) is the lack of leadership capacity in those who currently lead our churches. That's a rather bold claim so let me explain what I mean. In Exodus 22:27-31, Moses quotes God saying. “I will send my terror ahead...

Thank you!


I have been overwhelmed by the level of support that so many of you have given me over the past 24 hours since I explained why I haven't been posting over the last month and a half. Within a short span of posting my apology, I was already receiving e-mails from around the country—and even from as far away as someone from New Zealand!! It really has been a little overwhelming. For an INTJ, who has, according to his wife,...



Dear fellow readers I apologize for the long absence on my blog. When my wife and I got back from our anniversary trip to Cancun at the end of May, we were greeted by a letter from our church's board, which along with other items, told me that I was to refrain from blogging for thirty days. Over the next several weeks, our board and i wrestled with a number of issues—the end result being that I had to resign...

Quadruple Thinking (or how to communicate so people get it)


I'm currently in the application process for the Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership program at Regent University. As part of the application process, since a Ph.D. program is a research degree, I've had to write a fair amount just to apply. However, it's also been a blast for someone like me because academia opens up a whole new vocabulary set that I can use. Where else can I use words like epistemology, ontology, human capital, acuity and discontinuity and not have...

My Greatest Writing Lesson


On the plane to Cancun last week, I ended up sitting next to a writer. Inevitably, our conversation focused on the art of writing—at which point, I asked her my typical question, "So, what was your greatest writing lesson?" After she shared hers, she asked me, "So what was yours?" My goes like this. When I was at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, one of the great theologians of the twentieth century—and the founder of Christianity Today, Carl F.H. Henry, was...

Books Worth Reading


I apologize for not having posted for the past week or so. I took my wife to Cancun for a week and she requested I take a week off. So I did. Note: We stayed at the Aventura Spa Palace, which we highly recommend (if you want to get away from it all). If you do go (and want to get away from it all), then ask for the spa side (versus the aventura side) and a room on the...

Bird by Bird, Step by Step


One of the great joys of blogging is that the blogosphere is filled with delicious morsels that pop up in unexpected places. The other day, I was flowing a series of blog links when someone mentioned a book by Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, which isn't about birds, but writing. In fact, the subtitle of the book is, "Some Instructions on Writing and Life." A week later, I was in Borders when I came across this little book and, because...