L E A D E R S H I P ::: When we face the prisons of pride, fear, anxiety and worry in our lives we begin a new path of leadership freedom.

Dismantling Shame

Excerpt from Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle believing our dignity before God.

“At Homeboy Industries, we seek to tell each person this truth: they are exactly what God had in mind when God made them—and then we watch, from this privileged place, as people inhabit this truth.

Nothing is the same again. No bullet can pierce this, no prison walls can keep this out. And death can’t touch it—it is just that huge.

But much stands in the way of this liberating truth. You need to dismantle shame and disgrace, coaxing out the truth in people who’ve grown comfortable believing its opposite.”

Who are leaders?


Dan Allender gives a great definition of a leader in his book Leading with a Limp.

“A leader is anyone who has someone following her. If anyone looks to you for wisdom, counsel, or direction, then you are a leader. If there is one little girl who looks at you and says, “Mommy,” then you are a leader. If there are fourteen high-energy boys holding aluminum weapons and screaming that they want to be first to hit the ball that rests on a rubber T-ball frame, then you are a leader.

It takes only one child grabbing your finger with a small, sometimes-trembling hand to signify that you are a leader. And from your child’s birth to the day you pass from this earth, you will continue to make life-shaping decisions as a parent. And of course it’s not just parents who lead with such power and influence. Anyone who wrestles with an uncertain future on behalf of others— anyone who uses her gifts, talents, and skills to influence the direction of others for the greater good— is a leader.

No one is a mere follower. If you are a follower of God, for instance, then you are called to lead. Every believer is called to help someone grow into maturity— and such is the core calling of a leader.”

Check out his book 




7 Vital Steps Prior to Implementing Major Change




Every organization, as it grows, has to be able to change.  But change is not easy. It requires trust, strong leadership, common ground, plan, and  a solid execution.  I found this blog post very helpful by Ron Edmondson.  Hope you enjoy.




As a pastor and leader, I am continually dealing with change. Everyday. Change is a part of life – for all of us.

Some change occurs without us doing anything. In my context, we adjust our Easter calendar every year – without much thought of whether we will or not. Sometimes it’s in March – sometimes April. And, there is nothing we do to influence this change. There are lots of other examples of this.

Some change is so routine it requires little thought or preparation by the leader. For example, leaders will move and new leaders will replace them – almost naturally over time. If you’ve been in leadership for very long at all you’ve probably seen dozens of leaders in the organization change.

But, when making major change – change which impacts everyone – change which may be controversial – there are some steps to take before you begin to implement the change. Failing to understand this or do most or all of these, in my experience, could derail the effectiveness of the change.

I am going to share steps I take. You may have a better system in place. If so, please help me learn from you. But, certainly steps must be taken in advance of major change. It’s naive to think otherwise.

Here are 7 steps before implementing major change:

Establish trust authority.

I wrote about this principle HERE. Leaders shouldn’t attempt to implement major change until they have enough trust of the people to solicit the support necessary for the change. You will need people to follow your leadership and this requires an established relationship of trust. Leaders need to be careful not to move until ample trust is in place for the size of the change – and knowing when this is in place takes years of practice and lots of people speaking into the process. This doesn’t mean people will trust, or even like, the change, but it does mean they have trust in the leader.

Personal confidence and conviction.

Check your heart. Have you prayed about it? Do you sense any reason you shouldn’t do it? In my experience, God gives tremendous freedom to us in how we carry out the mission. This is why there are hundreds of styles and structures of churches all carrying out the same Great Commission. But, before you do anything else, make sure you are in this enough to see it through. Would you be willing to fight the naysayers on this one? Are you willing to lose people over it? I’m not saying it will come to this, but it is the level of commitment you need to have before you introduce major change.

Leadership in place.

Make sure you get buy in from those who will most likely end up implementing the change. Personally, I’m seldom willing to move forward if the staff or key volunteers I’ve surrounded myself with don’t believe in the change. There may be times I need to vision cast better and help them see the need, but their support is critical if major change is going to be successful.

Use a focus group.

On major changes, I like to bring in a group of people who are generally supportive of my leadership, but represent all the major groups within the church. I cast the vision for the change, get their feedback and answer questions. Again, they may or may not immediately agree with the change, but I know they will be a respectful audience. I always tell them as a leader, I will have to follow the direction I feel God is leading me, but I value their input in the process of discernment. (And, I genuinely do. Make sure you are open to this as a leader.) This step always makes the change better by their input and helps build a base of support for the change.

Do a stakeholder analysis

I wrote about this concept HERE. I try to know the most interested and influential people in the particular change. We attempt to reach out to them first. Again, this step builds support among influencers and usually further enhances the change with their input and hopefully their support. Many times this group become supporters of the change, or at least they don’t work against it, because they feel included in the process. (Again, leader, make sure you are open to this input. You need people to make any change effective. The more buy-in you get early the more effective you will be.)

Major questions are answered.

(Or a plan to get them answered.) One of my goals is getting as many answers to questions as possible on the table before the change is implemented. We can never anticipate all the questions or scenarios which will arise, but the more we can address them in advance the better prepared we will be to handle them when they do. In each of the groups listed here, I always ask what questions are in the room and what questions they may sense others will have.

Plan a timetable for implementation.

It is impossible to do this perfectly, but having a planned approach to implementing the change makes the change more successful. This needs to be planned, as much as possible, before the change implementation begins. People WILL ask this question. Be realistic with your timetable, but don’t be afraid to let it stretch you either. The best change requires an element of faith.

Those are some of the steps I think through before making major change. As a pastor, I know God has called me to lead a church – with an unchanging mission and message – which will always need to be changing methods as the people we try to reach our changing. Refusing to change simply diminishes our effectiveness and shortens our lifespan as a local church. The more I can do to prepare people for change, the more effective that change can be.

Any steps you would add?

What does Jesus say about People Pleasing?

John 5:41-44The Message (MSG)

41-44 “I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?

What’s the way out of burnout?


Burnout comes when we are unable to share the load.  Sharing the load is not just physical or emotional but also spiritual.  We share the load as we can vulnerably open our lives up to a few trusted friends love you enough to challenge, pray and encourage you. As ministers, we struggle to do this but this is vital to life and our congregation!

I would be dead in the water if I did not have a few guys that are willing to take runs or cycling rides with me and give me the freedom to share my joys, sorrows, triumphs and failures.  And better is when they hold me accountable to share.  The way out of burnout is to let out our spiritual struggles to a trusted friend!

  • Who can you seek out to be one to hold you accountable to share your spiritual burdens?
  • Who can you seek out to serve holding others accountable in sharing and growing spiritually in the gospel?



Originally posted by Dave Kraft

“For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” -John 12:43 (NLT)`

Jesus, may this not be true of me.  I know I come back to this theme over and over, but it’s such a big deal to me…and to you.

It’s all about YOU not me. When I receive praise, respect, accolades from people, help me quietly thank them and pass it along to you.

“Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing?” 1Corinthians 4:7 Msg. There is no point if I truly believe everything is sheer grace and gifts.

Wanting and seeking praise recognition from people will be a struggle until I go to meet you.

Additional thoughts:

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

We have met the enemy and he is us! I am my own worst enemy and often get in the way of what Jesus wants to do. Self-worship, self-interest & self-preoccupation are idols that cause me to feed off of people’s praise.

Years ago, in my regular morning Bible reading, meditation and journaling, I ran across John 5:41 in the NLT,

“Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me.”

My first thought was, of course it means nothing to you…you are God, but to me, approval or disapproval means a whole lot.  When I am approved I feel great…like I could run for president. And when I am disapproved, I feel like pond scum and want to run and hide somewhere.

Lord I’m tired of living like a yoyo…up and down and at the mercy of how others view me.  Let me live and minister for an audience of one…YOU!

This is totally possible through the power of the Holy Spirit who resides in me.

+To ponder:  Has it gotten to the place where the praise of men means more to you than the praise of God?


Posted originally by Dave Kraft.

As some of you may know, I pick a verse or a short passage to memorize each month for my own personal growth. Some are ministry oriented and others are more life oriented. These verses usually come out of my daily scripture reading.

The verse that I’m praying over, meditating on and applying to my life and ministry this month is Deuteronomy 11:16:

“Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.” (ESV)

The book of Deuteronomy is loaded with encouragement for the Israelites to remember all that the Lord had done for them from the time they left Egypt and to never turn away from him and serve the gods that the nations they were disposing were worshipping.

Idolatry was a problem for them and it is a problem for us today…for Christians in general and for leaders in particular.

It was John Calvin who noted that, “Our hearts are idol factories.”

When I was a fairly young leader in The Navigators, I had it pointed out to me by Tommy Adkins that ministry had replaced Jesus in the center of my affections. As time went on, it was a temptation to allow lots of other things to replace Jesus. Here are a few that I have identified and struggled with:

  • Popularity-being well liked and respected
  • Production-being fruitful and successful
  • Power-letting positional power and authority to go to my head
  • Prestige-Reputation, acclaim, applause and accolades
  • Position-Having an organizational position with something cool on my business card

If you are a leader you have perhaps discovered, as I have, that it is tempting and easy to make leadership about everything other than Jesus and his kingdom. The biggest mistake of all is to make leadership about me: what I’m accomplishing, how I’m being appreciated, how I’m being rewarded, how I’m being quoted. Well, you get the idea.

The verse that hits me square in the face is 1 John 5:21 in the Living Bible, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” It doesn’t get any plainer/simpler than that. What takes over the central place in my heart has become an idol.

Staying in 1 John for a few more thoughts: chapter 2:15-16 in The Message, “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

For me personally, at this point in my life, the world’s ways are more of an idol than the world’s goods. Popularity, production, power, prestige & position are more sinfully appealing to me than more stuff in my office, in my closet, in my garage or a in a storage unit.

I would guess that for each Christian, and each leader, the idols are different…and different at different points along our journey with Jesus.

A few things are the same though, based on Deuteronomy 11:16:

  1. We need to be very careful and watchful over our hearts
  2. Our enemy is out to deceive us into believing that we are doing just fine
  3. We can easily turn aside to both serve and worship these idols

I recall from a study I did a number of years ago on Hebrews 12:1,2 that the word looking, as in “Looking to Jesus,” actually means to intentionally and deliberately turn our eyes/attention from one thing (idol) and fix them on Jesus.

So, what is the antidote to our hearts being idol factories? Trust the grace of our Lord Jesus to keep us looking at him…being continually enthralled and enamored with his love, his beauty, his mercy, his forgiveness, his atoning death and resurrection.

There is a song I learned early on as a Christian.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

look full in his wonderful face

and the things of earth will grow strangely dim

in the light of his glory and grace.

Living and Ministering for an audience of one

3d Office chair in spotlight
3d render of an office chair in a spotlight

Originally posted by Dave Kraft Leadership from the Heart.

It hit hard and it hit home. It opened my mind to a whole new way of thinking about ministry and motives. In the NIV John 5:41 reads, “I do not accept praise from men.” In the NLT it reads, “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me.” I knew the minute I read it that it would have a profound effect on what drives me to do what I do in God’s kingdom. Paul alludes to the same truth in Galatians 1:10, NLT; “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

As I reflected on John 5:41 that morning a few years ago and continue to reflect on it’s truth today, I realize that for me it is a paradigm altering concept for me to get  hold of. Who is my audience? Is it God and God alone or is it people, whether few or many? I think most leaders do things with an eye to the approval of some audience or other. I have a renewed desire in my heart to shift my awareness of “audiences” to the point where I live, and minister for an audience of One. I want to experience God in such a way that I can truly say that people’s approval or disapproval means nothing to me.

At times, I still live in fear of what people say and think; whether I am accepted or approved by people in “my audiences.” It is slavery, bondage. Not what God intended when he bought my freedom on the cross.

As I was meditating on that verse in the NLT, I had thoughts like: Wow, that would be a place to be. Oh, to experience more regularly the freedom and joy of not being a yo-yo, constantly up and down as it relates to how people are responding to me. My experience has been that when people approve of me, I tend tofeel elevated and good about myself. On the other hand, when people criticize me, I feel very fearful and question my identity in Christ.

Oh, to be consistently secure in You, Lord Jesus, that I am not moved up or down by people’s perception or comments about me, but receive anything and everything and stay unaffected. Maybe it is wishful thinking due to the fall, my sinful nature and living on this side of heaven, but nonetheless there is something in me that wants to learn how to daily live for an audience of one.

Winston Churchill remarked in 1941 in a speech in the House of Commons, “Nothing is more dangerous than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll—always feeling one’s pulse and taking one’s temperature.”

Churchill describes a nineteenth-century Christian soldier, General Charles Gordon, as, “a man careless alike of the frowns of men or the smiles of women, or life or comfort, wealth or fame.” In describing himself, General Gordon said, “The more one feels, in order to keep from shipwreck, the necessity of steering by the Polar Star, i.e. in a word leave to God alone, and never pay attention to the favors or smiles of man; if He smiles on you, neither the smile or frown of men can affect you.”

After he died, John Bonar, a Scottish friend, wrote to Gordon’s brother, “What at once and always struck me was the way in which his oneness with God ruled all his actions, and his mode of seeing things. I never knew one who seemed so much to ‘endure as seeing Him who is invisible.’ He seemed to live with God and for God.”

That’s it. That is, I believe, exactly what Jesus was getting at in John 5:41 and what made his life and attitude so refreshingly different. This “living for an audience of one” was the secret to the boldness and fearlessness of the first Christ-followers we read about in the book of Acts. I want to get to the place where, before others, I have nothing to prove, nothing to gain, and nothing to loose.

As I read of great men and women of God they live as if they had an internal a gyroscope not a Gallup poll that directed them I wonder how far Moses, Abraham, Noah would have gotten if they had taken polls before moving out or speaking out.

Here’s what I’m learning about living for an audience of one:

It is a long process in experiencing change of this magnitude

  1. I am still insecure and spend too much time worrying about what people think
  2. I need to experience God’s love and acceptance of me more fully and more consistently
  3. The key to seeing change is spending more secret time with him and being honest about where I am and what I am thinking and feeling
  4. It is important for me to immediately confess “audience switching” when I am aware of it

How are you doing? Which “audience” is your focus on most of the time?

Cultivating Love

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Owning your Story

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
― Brené Brown

9 Things Great Communicators Do Differently

Dictionary Series - Marketing: communication

Originally posted by Sujan Patel Contributor Marketer & Entrepreneur. Co-founder of ContentMarketer.io

Successful communicators don’t just do things differently. They are fundamentally different as a whole, exhibiting confidence, integrity, empathy, and patience, along with the necessary interpersonal, negotiation, and conflict resolution expertise to develop trust and respect with those around them.

Not only are they leaders in business, but they’re true influencers.

“After all – leadership, distilled to its essence, is the pursuit of more productive, higher performance interactions,” says Douglas Conant, Chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute. ”Leaders who find the best ways to communicate moment to moment are finding that those moments will translate tangibly to ensuring high performance relationships in the marketplace.”

Whether it’s with an individual or a large group, thebest communicators take a different approach to making a connection. Here are 9 things they do that stand out.

1. They always connect on an individual level

Leaders typically have to work with groups and address them at the same level. Successful communicators develop a sense of intimacy that makes it feel like they’re connecting with each person in the room – as if they’re speaking directly to them.

There’s no special trick, they just know that in order to achieve that connection they have to be emotionally genuine. They evoke the same feelings, energy, and personal attention with a crowd that they would if they were meeting with a single individual. Mastering this at the level of a group makes it that much easier when connecting with a single person.

2. They speak with the intent to engage

A good communicator doesn’t run off at the mouth, trying to say everything that needs to be said. This is an ineffective way to engage people, and it never leads to meaningful dialogue.

While the temptation to drive a point home exists for everyone, great communicators know how to resist that urge.

They can read their audience and the conversation to adjust their message so people will listen. They’re dialed in to what people are ready to hear and how they’re ready to hear it. This is often evident when you see a riveted audience that is asking good follow-up questions. That means the communicator is on the right track.

3. They know when it’s time to be silent

The most effective communicators know that communication is not a one-way street. Any time you’re communicating, you need to provide plenty of opportunity for your audience to speak.

Remaining silent and listening is about more than just giving the other party the chance to speak. It’s about listening to tone, speed, volume, and what is being said. It’s also about recognizing what isn’tbeing said. There are a multitude of cues in every conversation that can be missed with even the slightest distraction.

4. They form relationships on emotional connections

A boss can communicate goals to a team and drive the workflow. A leader can communicate the needs of a company. But a strong communicator knows that the best results come from creating an emotional connection. People work harder, listen more intently, and are driven to achieve success when there’s more personal connection.

A common mistake managers and business owners make is to feel the need to wear an “executive persona.” That prevents a strong connection from being made. Great communicators are transparent and make a great deal of effort to be human. They are driven by their passions, and those who work around them know what they care about and what gets them out of bed in the morning.

You spend so many hours of your waking day immersed in, thinking about, and preparing for work. You should bring passion and drive with you that befits the role it plays in your life. Let it shine through in your communication to connect more closely with those you work with.

Seth Godin says it best: “I think the most productive thing to do during times of change is to be your best self, not the best version of someone else.”

5. They watch and respond to body language

Any successful leader recognizes that being in a position of authority makes it difficult for the people around them to be candid. Even the most effective communicators don’t have the same relationship with employees that those employees have with their peers in terms of how open they are.

That is why they learn to read and respond to body language – the unspoken messages that are passed in conversations. Body language holds the greatest wealth of information as the body communicates nonstop – even subconsciously – and is an abundant source of information.

According to UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian, 55% of the messages people convey come from body language.

This is how great communicators appear to be intuitive and in sync with their teams. They know how to read body language to uncover facts and opinions that employees aren’t willing to express directly.

6. They don’t prepare speeches and scripts

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have had mock conversations run through our minds as we prepare to discuss something with another individual or a group. You try to nail the points you want to make and prepare for counter arguments.

Great communicators take a different approach.

They still prepare, but not in a scripted format. They develop an understanding of the focus of a conversation or topic. This way they can craft their message in a way that people will hear it, instead of trying to memorize and regurgitate words.

7. They communicate with brevity, not jargon

The most effective communicators take cues from Seth Godin’s playbook. He is a master of communication, with blog posts coming in regularly at fewer than 200 words. Like Godin, effective communicators say what needs to be said in the most concise and direct manner. The odds of miscommunication are high when you beat around the bush and fluff up a discussion with corporate jargon.

Using jargon just makes you sound insincere.

8. They simplify the complex 

Some messages can be complicated, confusing, or completely muddled. The best communicators overcome those barriers and clarify those messages for an audience. Think of it from a teaching perspective: the best teachers can take a complicated topic and present it in a way that an entire classroom of students can digest and understand.

“Communication makes the world go round,” saysRichard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. “It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading, but understanding what is being said – and in some cases what is not being said.”

Rather than regurgitating information or passing off a message to the next group, an effective communicator treats complexities like puzzles to be solved before handing them off. They take the time to understand the message, restructuring it to match the audience. This ensures that every person who receives that message can take action and execute.

9. They make themselves available

The best communicators don’t hide behind closed doors. They recognize that open doors are how organizations grow and how employees thrive. Great communicators make themselves available. They provide answers and don’t leave employees and peers hanging; they’re never the boss who has no time to explain assignments. The best communicators lead full and complete discussions and try to leave everyone satisfied.
Do you have any tips on being a better communicator? Share in the comments below:

I am the co-founder of Content Marketer & Narrow, content marketing & social media tools. In my 13 years in marketing I’ve helped grow companies like Mint, Salesforce, Linkedin and more.