There Is No Formula For Success, But….

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Whenever a book, seminar, or speaker pitches you on a “success formula,” walk away. There is no proven formula for success, because if there was, everyone would be following it. Success happens in different ways to different people and it’s nearly impossible to forecast. But you can have the elements in place to make success worth betting on. Remember – life isn’t fair, and there’s no guarantee about anything. But if you can get these 5 elements in place, then you open the door to the possibility of the miraculous:

The Reason I’m Never Cynical

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A lot of people ask me why I’m not cynical when it comes to the Church and Christian media. After all, I’ve seen a lot of wacky stuff out there. Over the years, Christian leaders have committed adultery, embezzled money, misused donors, and lived like kings. Christian media professionals have created really ridiculous TV programs and movies. And yet, here I am, still committed to

The Perils and Prize of Leadership: An Interview with Dr. Sam Chand

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One of the most respected voices on church and ministry leadership today is Dr. Sam Chand.  On his website his tag line is “My Life’s Vision is Helping Others Succeed” - and he’s good at it.  Sam and I have shared a number of clients over the years and time and time again, I’ve seen him turn around struggling churches, inspire frustrated leaders, and transform the culture at failing organizations.  Recently, I did an interview with Dr. Chand because I wanted to share some of his experience,  wisdom, and insight on church and ministry leadership.  Take notes.  Share it.  This is powerful stuff:

The Most Misunderstood Role in Ministry: The Executive Pastor

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After decades working with churches around the world, I’ve discovered one of the most difficult challenges pastors face is finding the right “Executive Pastor.”  Smaller churches don’t usually need one, but as churches grow, a leader in that role becomes more and more important.  But in a significant number of cases, local pastors don’t really understand the job. In my opinion, one of the best XP’s in the country is Mike Buster, Executive Pastor at Prestonwood Church in Plano, Texas. He’s worked with Pastor Jack Graham for 28 years, and they’ve become a remarkable team. In fact, in my opinion,

Why Leadership By Threat Isn’t Leadership

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The New Testament book of Mark is a powerful example of who responded to the message of Jesus and who didn’t. Chapter 12 is an especially good example. The people (Mark describes them as “throngs”) loved his message, but those who resisted where those in authority, because they saw his message as a threat. Sadly, too many leaders today attempt to use threats as

The Sweet Spot of Sharing the Christian Message

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We’re seeing a lot of criticism recently of pastors, writers, speakers, filmmakers as well as others about how they share the Christian message with the outside culture. Some are criticized for making it too easy – they lead with the “grace” message, and are hesitant to talk about tough issues like sin, hell, or punishment. On the other side, those who preach a more serious message about tough subjects are labelled as “out of date,” “insensitive” and “hard core.” I know the debate well because over the years, I’ve had friends and clients on both sides of the argument. But here’s the problem: It’s the wrong argument, and here’s why:

The Problem With Chronically Late Leaders

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From time to time everyone is late. We live in a world of distractions, and everything from traffic, last minute phone calls, to all kinds of emergencies make us late from time to time. The key phrase here is “from time to time.” But what happens when leaders (particularly pastors) are chronically late? Let me tell you something I hear from office, team, and church staff members all the time:

Don’t Just Write Pastor Books, Write Serious Books

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When most pastors write books, you can bet they’re compiled from sermon notes and manuscripts. Preach a series on fear, and they end up with a book on the subject. Same with marriage, prophecy, grace, epic Bible stories – whatever. I don’t discourage that, but don’t think for a minute that’s a serious book. Writing is different than speaking, and editing sermon notes into a readable manuscript and then calling it a “book” isn’t very impressive. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, here’s what I recommend:

On July 4th Sunday: Be Careful Using Militaristic Language in the Church

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Something we invariably witness on July 4th Sunday is video on the wide screens at some churches featuring fighter jets, soldiers, and waving flags.  Yes – Jesus used militaristic language in the New Testament. As the Park Forum devotional puts it: “In a time when Galilee already had a powerful and dangerous ruler (Herod Antipas), Jesus was a revolutionary. When Jesus spoke of his purpose and mission, he often used war-like language. For example, in Matthew 10, he said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”” But what we can’t forget is