My Prepared Notes for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

One of the most popular leadership podcasts anywhere is the weekly Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. So when Carey extended the invitation to interview me about Hero Maker: 5 Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders, my forthcoming book and the big idea for Exponential 2018 Conference, I was quick to say, “Yes sir!”

When Carey interviews someone he captures the audio while you are interviewed on a video platform; that way you can see each other creating a more dynamic conversation. So, the first thing I noticed when I logged on was that Carey’s shirt perfectly matched his pillows and I quickly mentioned it to him in good fun. Carey countered by taking this pic of himself and accessories and then posting it on his twitter account! I could tell this was going to be a fun interview!

Once the interview started we immediately hit it off and went on for about 90 minutes, much longer than the 45 minutes we planned. We talked about planting churches, movement-making, the “5 levels of churches”, the rapid global expansion of the NewThing network, the rapid growth of the Exponential Conference and the five practices of a Hero Maker. I ended up telling a story I’ve never told before and even gave him a peak into my journal (which I think he took a pic he is going to post when the podcast releases). I thoroughly enjoyed Carey and the interview!

Before the interview Carey sent me about a dozen possible questions that he planned to asked me but also warned me that he will take the conversation wherever it goes. So that I could be ready for both I spent a little more than an hour typing up a few thoughts to all the questions Carey sent me. While the interview will be released on December 5th; attached are the planned questions and my prepared notes for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast in case you want to check it out.

6 Coaching Questions for Developing Leaders

Coaching picNothing is more important than to the mission of Jesus than to disciple and develop leaders. If you are responsible for the care and development of leaders – staff and volunteers, use these six questions as a basic agenda for any one-on-one coaching conversation and you will see them grow and flourish.

Here are six questions in order that you should ask when meeting. Let me briefly explain the brilliance behind each one of these six questions:

1) “How are you?”

Remember at the heart of effecting coaching is a relational investment. It may sound cliché, but it’s still true: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” You should begin every coaching conversation by checking in to see how the person you are coaching is really doing.

2) “What are you celebrating?”

Every meeting at Community begins with some form of this question. Often it’s stated like this: “Where are you/we winning?” Whether it’s a one-on-one meeting, a group meeting, a staff meeting, or a temporary task force, we begin by celebrating how God is at work in our life, ministry, and church.

Moving from “How are you?” to “What are you celebrating?” keeps the tone of the meeting very relational and positive. It’s tempting to quickly focus on what’s not working or what is broken. This question starts the conversation focused on where the leader is feeling successful and then you get to affirm their efforts.

3) What challenges are you facing?

You might be thinking, “Finally we get to something productive.” Yes, the previous questions are very relational, but if it helps any, remember that when it comes to coaching the relationship really is the task. This question gives your leader an opportunity to talk openly about what is not going very well in his group or team.

4) How will you solve those challenges?

Once a leader has disclosed some areas where he or she may be experiencing some challenges with his life, group, or team it is tempting to quickly move into “fix-it” mode and try to solve the problem for them. There are times when a leader will need your insight and wisdom. However, the best way you can serve a leader is to help them tap into the wisdom and insight God has already given them to deal with whatever situation they are facing. Spend the most amount of your time on this question. It is the coach’s role to draw those answers or solutions out of the leader.

5) How can I help you?

Finally, we get to the question we’ve wanted to ask. This is an important question, but if you never get to this question because the leader has already come up with an action plan as you walked through the previous questions, considers yourself an extremely effective coach. But there are times when a coach needs to step in and offer whatever assistance is necessary to help a leader in need. So if the leader doesn’t know how they can solve the challenges they face, offer them wisdom and guidance from your own experience.

6) How can I pray for you?

The best way to wrap up a coaching conversation is to ask the leader how you can be praying for him or her. It is also a great opportunity for the coach to ask the leader for prayer. This is one way a coach can help the leader know that this relationship is mutually beneficial. After the leader has had a chance to express some areas where they are in need of prayer, take a few moments to pray for the leader and reassure them that you will be praying regularly.

The dreamExponential by Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson Book of God is not for the church to be led by a one-man show, but that it would be a great team led by great coaches. Use these six questions and you will be a great coach and develop a great team who can accomplish great things for the mission of Jesus.

(These 6 coaching questions appear in chapter 8 of Exponential: How You And Your Friends Can Start A Missional Church Movement.)

What Stats Should Matter To Churches?


In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt plays the part of the Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane.  While most of the baseball old timers and scouts had a set of stats they used to look for young prospects, Billy Beane understood that the only stat that mattered was runs scored.  Through statistical analysis he changed the game of baseball forever and was credited with indirectly bringing a championship to the Boston Red Sox for the first time in 85 years.  In much the same way churches should not confuse a variety of different stats like attendance and offering with the one stat that matters most. Jesus explained the one thing that matters most:“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  (Matthew 28:19,20)  If making disciples is what matters most; how do you keep track of disciple-making?  How does a church know if they are doing a good job at making disciples?I’d like to invite you to leave your comments and thoughts about how you would define a disciple of Jesus. I’m particularly interested in how you would define a disciple in a way that is measureable.  So, what stats do you think should matter to a church?

Mission, Stephen Colbert & the Power of "Yes!"

YesTime Magazine compiled a list of the 10 best commencement addresses ever. This list included speeches by Winston Churchill (Harrow College, 1941); John F. Kennedy (American University, 1963) and even Steve Jobs (Stanford, 2005). Also on the list was Stephen Colbert (yes, that Stephen Colbert!) and his 2006 commencement address at little Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Colbert, who Knox had just awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, closed his address with a challenge about the power of saying, “Yes”: “When I was starting out in Chicago, doing improvisational theatre with Second City, there was really only one rule … When you improvise a scene with no script … you have to accept what the other improviser initiates … Well, you are about to start the greatest improvisation of all. With no script. No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say yes. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find people who will say yes back. Now will saying yes get you in trouble at times? Will saying yes lead you to doing some foolish things? Yes it will. But don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. Yes is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.”

You may or may not like Colbert’s politics, but either way if you want to lead your church toward mission, you’d better listen to his words of wisdom and lead with a “Yes!”  The one thing every leader possesses that every follower needs to engage in mission is permission. And permission always comes in the form of a “Yes.” Leaders, if you want to see missional engagement in your churches and ultimately a movement, you must lead with a “Yes” to your people’s creative ideas. If your followers can’t get permission from you, then they may never be engaged in the mission. The great temptation is to respond with questions of how. But questions of how need to wait. If we respond with “How could you do that?” we immediately begin to sow seeds of doubt by responding to the individual’s vision with a question about strategy. If we ask, “How much would that cost?” we are responding to their vision with a question of tactics. The questions about “how” will come later on, but the reflex of an innovative leader needs to be “Yes.”

(This is an excerpt from my new book with Alan Hirsch, On The Verge: A Journey Into the Apostolic Future of the Church.)

For more on “Yes” check out the following:

Good To The Core Author to Lead Group at Yellow Box

Good to the Core bookcoverAuthor and COMMUNITY attender John Blumberg will lead a terrific new term group based on his brand new book, GOOD to the CORE.

This 8-week term group challenges participants to genuinely look at the core within them. It moves beyond the assumptions of being a values-based individual into the accountability of knowing what you truly value at home, at work, and in your community. Johann Von Goethe said it best, “Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” GOOD to the CORE is about what matters most, with a strategy to insure it is not at the mercy of what matters least! GOOD to the CORE rips away the veneer to reveal the truth about our ultimate benchmarks:  personally, professionally and organizationally!

For more information on click HERE.  You can sign up for this group by e-mailing Sue Komarynsky.

Here are some of the details that you will want to know:

  • Sunday, September 20 through Sunday, November 15.
  • 6:30 – 8 PM, Naperville Yellow Box
  • Music, message and discussion
  • For information regarding this group contact John Blumberg
  • To sign up for this group and child care, contact Sue Komarynsky

Eyewitness To Power – David Gergen on Leadership

David-gergen David Gergen is the editor-at-large at U.S. News & World Report and political analyst for CNN and PBS.  He has served as a White House adviser to four presidents; Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. He is also a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Leadership. An active participant in American national life for 30 years, Gergen has a lifetime of experience in observing and participating in high-capacity leadership.

The following is some of his comments during his interview with Bil Hybels during the 2009 Leadership Summit.

What were the unique strengths and weaknesses of each of the presidents with whom you served?

Nixon: he was the best strategist.  Some one who can look further back can look further ahead. But he was also held everyone at the periphery at first; but once he trusted you he
would bring you in closer and you discovered that there is a dark side.
He had his demons; I don’t know where they came from.  There were
demons that he could not control that ultimately brought him down.

Ford:  he was the most decent man.  You did not have to keep your back to the wall with him.  I find that people how are decent should be prized; they are so rare.  But he was sometimes naive and didn’t fully understand that politics is a rough sport.

Clinton:  he had a very quick mind; extremely bright guy.  But the quality I most admired about him was his resilience. While he would not want to be in the same sentence as Nixon; he
also had cracks in his character.  He made mistakes and he should have come
clean immediately and ask forgiveness.

Reagan:  he was the best leader in the White House.  He was a principled man who had a contagious enthusiasm.  There is something that you are all up to.  He was also a gifted communicator.  But his detachment was a weakness; you need to keep your hands on the wheel.  There were times when he didn’t have a strong team and it hurt him.

Other comments by Gergen:

  • If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, do it with others.
  • Don’t underestimate symbolism in leadership
  • How to give an effective speech:
    • First, open people up to yourself
    • Logic of your message – work their mind
    • End is really important to come back to the emotion.  There needs to be a call for action. You have a a choice: “Come, let us think”  vs. “Come, let us march”
  • The personal habits of leaders do matter. The best leaders are those who have regular habits.  Self-discipline. Churchill would take a nap in the middle of the day and claimed that he had two days rather than one. Being physically fit is important.  If you allow your bodies to go flabby, you will allow your mind to grow flabby. Building time in your day to reflect is important. Building time in your day to be with the people you love and the people that love you.  Research tells us that people who are in loving relationships in the 60’s tend to live a lot longer and tend to be happy about life.
  • Young people today care about social change and are on a spiritual journey.  They are on a search for their spiritual well-being.  Their spiritual foundation is important to them; it helps them find their moral compass (“true north”).  One of the great dangers of leadership is that your ego gets so large that you think the rules don’t apply to you.  Faith, family and friends are great anchors that keep you grounded.  Gandhi – “if you want to change the world; be the change you want to see.”

Inteverview on Catalyst Voices

Catalyst Voices – Dave Ferguson from Catalyst on Vimeo.

Got a chance to hangout last night with L.V. Hanson, Ambassador for the Catalyst Conference and head honcho of the Catalyst Road Trip.  Since he was new to Chicago I had to treat him to some Lou Malnati’s pizza.  He’s a great guy and we had a great time.  In the video we talked a lot about church planting and where Community is headed as a missional church.  If you want to read his post about our conversation it is on the Catalystspace blog titled First Full Day in Chicago and it includes some stuff on multi-site that is not in the video.

Two Important Ministry Questions

Question mark (3) Jon French did a quick interview with me on his blog and asked these two questions:
1. How do you know you were called into ministry?
2. What is the one thing you now know that you wish you would have known your first year in ministry?

If you are interested in how I answered those questions, click over to Jon’s blog.

What I would like to know is how would you answer those two questions.  Leave me your answer.

Perry Noble on Entrepreneurial Drive OR Holy Spirit?

Perry noble
Since I am hosting all the Exponential Conference podcasts I got a chance to spend some time talking with Perry Noble today.  Perry is the Lead Pastor at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina.  Since it was started it has seen amazing growth to 10,000 attenders at 3 campuses.  We talked about leadership, being a reproducing church and church planting.  Perry highlighted his 7 Huge Myths of Church Planting – good stuff!

Perry is an entrepreneur at heart and loves to start new things. We have that in common.  I literally get an adrenalin rush when someone suggest a new idea.  So, my favorite part of our conversation was when he talked about trying to tell the difference between his entrepreneurial drive and a prompting of the Holy Spirit.  I asked him how he can tell the difference and he gave a three part response:

  1. “Make sure it is an idea you can’t get away from.” – See if the
    idea sticks around and continues to surface in your imagination and
    conversation.  If you can’t get away from the idea, it may be from God.
  2. “Give it time.” – Don’t think you have to act on every dream.  Do what Moses told God’s people do, “wait”.  Wait for other people to confirm.  Wait to see it is confirmed in scripture. Wait for it to be confirmed in prayer.  If it is confirmed, it may be from God.
  3. “If this fire is from God, He will poor gasoline on it.” – Ask God to help you see the world the way he sees the world.  This can be painful, but it can also open your eyes to what God really wants.  If the spark turns into a flame, it may be from God.

My favorite line from Perry was when he said this about leadership:  “Leadership is as easy as listening to God.”  Very simple, but true!