Category Archives: Leadership

Coaching Or Mentoring?

Coaching or mentoring?

Action versus information.

Leveraging versus learning.

Doing versus being.

Which ones are most important?

coaching or mentoring
coaching or mentoring

To take action, a person first needs information. To leverage something, you first need something with which to leverage. In order to properly do something, you first need to be somebody.

One is not more important  than the other. Both of them go hand in hand. Understanding the order is important.

First, we get information, then we take action.

First, we learn something, then we leverage that learning.

First, we learn to be who we are, then we do according to who we are.

Mentoring and Coaching both fulfill distinct roles and purposes.

Imagine a glass that you drink out of. Mentoring = pouring into the glass what needs to be there. Coaching = pulling out of the glass what is already there.

Mentoring is absolutely essential. We need to have multiple mentors in different areas of our lives: finances, business, leadership, marriage, parenting, etc. Mentoring can take on many forms: people who know me, books I read, videos I watch, etc.

Coaching is also absolutely essential. Coaching moves me beyond knowledge to actually using that knowledge to accomplish something.

You can be an armchair quarterback when it comes to football, but you can’t be one when it comes to your life.

If we don’t turn our information into action, we end up being useless. If we don’t leverage our learning, we become irrelevant. If we only focus on being without doing, we die.

The biggest issue that I see today is not a lack of information, but rather a lack of action. There is a small group of people that are self-motivators. They don’t need anyone to put their feet to the fire because they do it for themselves.

But if you’re like me and the 99% of other people who are not like that (yes, I made up that percentage), you need someone to get you moving. That is what we call a coach.

Because I had a coach for the team I swam on, I showed up on time to workout…6am almost every morning for 4 years during college. Without a coach, I would have failed.

You’ve got a bunch of ideas, but up until now you haven’t done anything with them. If you need more understanding, get a mentor. But, if you’re ready to take action, then get a coach.

By the way, I am a certified coach. If you need to take some action on life stuff, business stuff, or any other stuff, I would be happy to do a coaching call with you…completely FREE. Maybe you’re stuck and don’t know how to get moving. Let’s talk!

I’m opening this up to a only ten people. Why only ten? I’m super busy! I am a pastor of a church, I’ve got a wife and five kids, and much more. So, if you’re interested, don’t hesitate! My goal is to help you reach your goals.

Click here to schedule a call with me.

I like forward to hearing from you!





Integrity Is All You Have

Integrity is all you have

Integrity is all you have. We are all imperfect. We make mistakes, we fail, we screw up. Along the way, we make some good decisions as well. In all of this, each of us wants to continue advancing – in business, in personal growth, in family, in the church, and any other area we can dream of. But in the midst of all of this, integrity is all you have.

Sometimes, along this journey of life, we come to a crossroads. We’re not quite sure what decision to make. We tend to analyze our decisions based off of a matrix of risk vs. reward.

This is all well and fine. But, along the way, moments come when the risk is to lose your integrity, while the reward seems to be great. So, you throw your integrity to the side in order to travel the path that seems will benefit you most.

It seems like a great plan. And we tend to justify, saying things like…

  • No one will ever know
  • The (perceived) benefit far outweighs the cost
  • What could possibly go wrong?

The only problem is this: When you compromise your integrity in the dark, the consequences will be seen in the light.

You see, it is impossible for something to START in secret and to STAY in secret. The compromising decisions that we make will affect certain areas of our lives that are visible, even if no one knows about the original compromise.

It takes a lifetime to build integrity and a moment to lose it.

I have not always made the right decisions, but I have always attempted to make honest decisions. I don’t want to lie to myself, to God, or to others.

Everything that you build in your life will influence others, whether it be kids, spouses, employees, employers, subordinates, friends, acquaintances, etc.

Integrity is all you have. Once you lose that, you begin to lose everything else and everyone else.

Sometimes, choosing integrity means choosing loss. If that is the case, so be it. It would be better to lose everything while maintaining the people that you love, rather than maintaining things while losing those you love.

And remember this: once you lose the people, losing the things will follow closely behind.

Integrity is all you have. Remember, the product you deliver is a representation of your integrity. Your product might be a widget, or influence, or relationships. It might be technological, or service oriented, or something else. Whatever your product is, people will connect your trustworthiness and integrity to the things that represent you.

There really is only one way to live.

Integrity is all you have.

Choose wisely.

Strategic Retreat

Strategic Retreat
Strategic Retreat

Every single one of us wants to advance. Whether that is the desire to advance in personal goals or company goals, we all desire to advance. Sometimes, in order to advance, we must use something known as strategic retreat.

When people think about retreating in a certain area, they typically consider it as a result of some type of loss or defeat.

  • You might choose to pull back from a business venture because things didn’t turn out the way you hoped.
  • You might choose to pull back from a relationship because it turned in a direction you weren’t comfortable with.
  • You might choose to pull back from a school project after realizing that it will end in failure.

All of these are forms of retreat.

But, could there be a better way? Could there be a way to retreat that is not solely defined as a loss, but might set you up for the future?

Absolutely! This is what I call strategic retreat.

Strategic retreat is the art of pulling back in order to set yourself up for future success.

While some type of loss or defeat might precede a strategic retreat, the defining element of this type of retreat is the manner in which you retreat, in order to have the greatest possible chance of success in the future.

When we started CityLife Church, one of the first things we did was begin a weekly prayer meeting. The meeting was great! We gathered in a local park every week and prayed for our city. This meeting grew to about 60 people, which was incredible number for our size of church.

A little while after starting the church, I decided to change the format of the prayer meeting into something else. It was a disaster! The meeting ended up being attended by 10 people by the end. I decided to reconfigure the meeting once more and return it to what it was before. The only problem? The meeting never returned to what it was…we would run anywhere from 12 people to 30 people on a good day.

I had to do some hard thinking during those days. I, along with my wife and a few others, decided to use a strategic retreat.

We decided to completely cancel that meeting, while at the same time choosing to do two things. First, we decided to put our primary focus on small groups that met during the week. By eliminating one of two weeknight meetings, it would allow us to devote 100% of our efforts into building one area, instead of two. Second, we decided to turn the weekly prayer meeting that I led into a prayer small group that was led by lay people (volunteer leaders) in our church.

For us, this was the best decision we could have made. By thinking through the need to retreat, then figuring out how best to employ the retreat, we were choosing to approach our retreat in a strategic manner.

Too often, we retreat without taking the time to process the consequences of our retreat. Choose to think through your retreat in a strategic manner, in order to set yourself up for your best possible success in the future!

Creating Church Culture

Church Culture

Culture is one of those important things that exists in every church (and organization) that will have a huge impact on all that you do.  By culture, I am referencing those shared attributes that make up the unique identity of the church you lead. How do you go about creating church culture?

There are many component parts that make up your church. The list is endless:

  • Mission and Vision
  • Goals
  • Departments
  • Ministries and Teams
  • Volunteer development
  • Training
  • Leadership development
  • Administration
  • Systems and processes

I could go on!

Here’s an important truth about all of it: Your church culture is the most important factor in your success.

No joke! You could have the most incredible group of people. You might have an important vision as well. But, if your culture is not right, then everything else fails. Sam Chand says, “Culture—not vision or strategy—is the most powerful factor in any organization.”

And here’s a secret for you. Your church already has a culture whether you have planned for it or not. Wouldn’t it make more sense if you go about developing the culture you want to have, rather than simply existing what’s already there?

Culture has to do with the way that people relate to each other, the way that work gets done, the way that celebration happens (if at all). Culture is about how everyone journeys together to get to wherever your church is going.

I encourage you to take a first step today and simply do this: Look around. Before you can change anything, you need to grasp what your current cultural identity actually looks like. Watch how people interact together, pay attention to what happens in your different environments, and most of all, have someone examine the way that YOU lead. Your church is on a journey, and it’s important to understand the view while you’re on it.

After looking around, take a few moments and put into words what best describes the culture of your church. From there, you’re ready to get busy with the task of creating the culture you want to have in your church!


Grace In Your Church Staff

Years ago, I learned about a good pattern to follow when thinking about placing people in certain roles (whether paid or volunteer) inside of the church.

Bill Hybels taught me to look at 3 C’s:

Character, Competence, and Chemistry.

Another blog by Ron Edmondson added a fourth to the list: Culture.

With that in mind, there are moments when someone needs to be released from their role. It might have to do with any of those 4 C’s, but usually the most important one is Character.

Competence might be able to be taught, chemistry might be able to be worked on, and culture might get worked out, but character is entirely up to the individual.

I’ve noticed how, over the years, I’ve had conversations with people who believe someone should stay in their role, even when they have glaring character issues that are damaging themselves and others they influence through their role.

Let me make a side note: Different levels of character may be required by different roles. I require much more out of a person with a high level leadership role than I do out of someone who is just beginning. The problem I’m addressing is when the person’s character does not match the role they find themselves in.

I will hear things like, “We just need to work with that person” or “They’ll get better” or “Just give them time”. Now, there may be some very real issues with regards to character that CAN be worked on.

But, more often than not, the comments I hear basically mean this: “How can we be so judgmental and so lacking in grace?”

This could not be further from the truth. Grace is primarily used in the context of relationships, not just positions or roles that a person holds.

So often, we lack grace in the relational component with a person, while exercising grace in the positional component. This leads to high levels  of frustration, as we keep a person in a position that is damaging them and others, while at the same time being continuously frustrated, angry, or bitter about what the person is doing.

I’m inviting you to reverse the equation.

What if we decided to have more grace with people in the context of relationships while holding positions a little more lightly?

If I have had to remove a person (or if they removed themselves) from a position due to character issues, my hope has always been that grace will continue in the context of the relationship. But, there’s two problems that frequently present themselves:

  1. A person’s personal feelings and identity is tied to the position. In that situation, the person doesn’t feel like relationship can continue because their relationships were completely tied to their position. When they lose the position, they feel like the relationship is lost as well.
  2. A person has no concern for change, so when they leave the position, they also leave the relationship. I have seen this over and over again. What usually happens is that the person makes a decision to leave the church, because they have no desire to make any real changes in their lives. They then go on to repeat the same pattern over again in another place.

Now, there is not much I or you can do about #2. But there is a whole lot we can do about #1. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Make sure that the person you place in a certain role has the matching character for that role BEFORE entering into it.
  2. Continually provide opportunities for relationship building that are not directly related to a person’s position. Go out for coffee, have lunch, go bowling together…not to talk about their role, but to simply talk as people!
  3. Use words to continually affirm people according to WHO THEY ARE, not just WHAT THEY DO. So often we congratulate people on what their accomplishments are. That’s great! But we should also affirm the intrinsic value that everyone holds as God’s most incredible creation, regardless of what they do or don’t do.

Let’s make sure that in our leadership, we approach grace more as a relational concept than a positional concept. Positions can come and go, but life change only occurs in the context of relationships filled with grace.

Do you have any other ideas about how you can communicate grace more as relational concept in your church or organization?

Comment below!



What’s Your Shoe Size?

“You’ve got big shoes to fill!”

This happens every time.

When a new CEO enters into a successful company. When a new pastor enters into a church previously led by a long time pastor. When a new President fills the role of leading a successful non-profit.

That phrase is repeated over and over again. And, there is some truth to it. Every organization that has been led by a person for some amount of time has usually grown to a certain size which involves many layers of complexity. The person moving into that role has to “fill in” their knowledge, understanding, and leadership capacity to handle that complexity.

In addition, there are many stylistic spaces, created by the previous leader, that the new leader has to navigate. The new leader has to understand the leadership personality of the previous person who filled the role and how employees’ (or volunteers’) expectations and interactions were influenced by that leader’s personality.

But, with all that being said, I don’t know that it’s really helpful to tell an incoming Leader/CEO/President/Pastor that they have big shoes to fill. The phrase automatically assumes that they only exist to carry on the legacy and leadership of the person who preceded them. The phrase also automatically assumes that the person coming in does not have the experience or knowledge base at the present moment to lead the organization. While there may be some truth there, that truth is unhelpful in setting a positive tone for the arrival of the new leader.

Let’s give new leaders the space necessary to grow organically into the roles that they are entering into. Let’s remove the pressure from them having to somehow fulfill the status quo, the stylistic design, or the organizational complexity that makes up the organization. While all of those things are real and need to be understood and processed, let’s allow new leaders the opportunity to develop their own personality as they lead into a new future for the organization.

If you are a leader coming into a previously existing role, you must chart a new course while honoring the path of the past.

Do not walk in and fill someone else’s shoes…walk in, learn all you need to learn, and increase the size of your own leadership capacity. Get yourself your own big shoes to wear!

So how about we change the phrase?

Something like… “Get ready, your shoes are about to get really large!”

Or this one? “Go buy a pair of bigger shoes!”

Do you have any other ideas? Leave them in the comments!

Do This When You Screw Up

I am on the email list of a local restaurant named City Wok. The five or six times I’ve been there have been enjoyable…both the food and the service.

Apparently they had a promotion going on that I completely missed and it was a major FAIL.

Here’s what the owner sent to my email just a few minutes ago:

City Wok Apology

What are some takeaways from this?

1. Total ownership of the mistake. There’s no blame except on his own failure

2. Immediate apology. He didn’t wait a week, or even a few days. This was sent today, and the problem occurred yesterday.

3. Recognition of what went wrong. He explained why they faced the problems they did.

4. Thankfulness for his team. In the customer service business, it’s not the employee that gets the blame…it’s the comany that gets it. He makes sure that while he takes full responsibility for the error, he thanks his team for all they do.

5. His commitment to not make the same mistake again.

6. His invitation to continue supporting their company. This is huge. He doesn’t apologize then close up shop. He apologizes, then requests his patrons to continue supporting the business.

Is this the type of leadership you show for what you are in charge of? I encourage you to follow this incredible example!

This Week In The News

Hey my friends!

A lot has been going on this week in the U.S. and around the world. I thought I’d sum up for you some of the biggest things that are going on in the news. There is a lot of information to sort through on the Internet, so sometimes it can seem overwhelming. But, we must make sure to stay engaged with what’s going on around us!

  1. Pastor Perry Noble was fired from Newspring Church – I have heard him speak before. He’s an incredible speaker and an impactful pastor in Anderson, South Carolina. It’s sad to see that he let an addiction get the best of him, but our prayers should be that God restores him and his family.
  2. Terrorist attack in Nice, France – At least 80 have been killed in this senseless attack. France has been dealing with many terrorist attacks recently, but they are not the only ones. This is truly becoming a worldwide problem, affecting many countries. My prayer is that the Lord does a miracle!
  3. Pokemon Go – A new Nintendo app. It’s spreading like wildfire. Millions of people are using it. My son wants in on it! Ahhhhhhhh! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just read.
  4. A Trump supporter wraps his whole house in a flag – Seriously. This isn’t so much about the politics of it. But it’s true. An entire house. Wrapped in the American flag.
  5. President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting – In a meeting related to the deaths of two African-American men at the hands of police, and the attack in Dallas that killed five police officers, President Obama held a town meeting. There’s a lot I disagree with when I listen to politicians across the political spectrum. I thought he said some good things here, so I included this one. Let’s continue to pray for God’s peace and justice in our nation.

That’s what’s in the news! Enjoy your weekend!

How to Set High Expectations For Those You Lead

Yesterday, I wrote a post about setting high expectations for those you lead. You can read that post here.

But, it’s not enough to simply know that you need to set those high expectations. It’s not as simple as saying to a person, “I expect you to operate at this level”, then leaving them alone and hoping it happens. What we need to define is how to set high expectations for those you lead.

I’d like to accomplish this by a question and answer format. Let’s begin!

How high of an expectation do I set for someone?

We must set expectations according to three factors. First, we must understand where the person’s potential could take them. How far can they go? What are they capable of accomplishing? Second, we must understand where they currently are. And three, we must clearly state expectations in the context of their area of responsibility. Too many expectations can water down what we desire for them to accomplish and to grow in.

A great tool for this is the zone of proximal development. This tool helps us to understand that there are certain things a person can do on their own, there are other things they can only do aided by someone else, then there are things that they cannot do.

If we set expectations in the area of things they cannot do, the person will most likely reject (or be apathetic about) the job. They won’t advance much. If we set expectations in the area of things they can do on their own, then they will do incredibly well at maintaining their level of knowledge, but there will be no growth.

Our job is to continuously push people one step further than where they are currently at. Only in this way do we help peoplpe grow step by step.

Yes, but what if I’ve got a big goal/vision/expectation in mind for the person who’s in charge of a particular area?

Well, don’t let go of it! Remember this, thing big, start small. In some cases you might have a candidate for a job who’s able to see at your level and get on board with you to accomplish the task. If that is the case, more power to you! But, most people are not that way.

In that case, we must take the person step by step with achievable tasks so that they gain the ability to believe they are able to accomplish big things. The goal here is growth and progress over time. A high expectation for a person may not be achieved immediately, but the goal is for it to be attained eventually, on a step by step basis.

How do I determine the type of expectation I set for someone? What should it look like?

Always be sure to keep your expectations in agreement with your organization’s values. Your values are the driving force behind the experience of what your company/church/non-profit is about. If you keep your high expectations in agreement with your values, you will have a cohesiveness in presentation and momentum. This means that everyone on your team will be working together to accomplish great thing, supporting one another in the process.

Other things to consider:

Is the person in the right role that fits their capacity and commitment? When a person is capable but doesn’t have the commitment level to make it happen, there will be problems. On the other side, if someone has the commitment level, but not the capacity, they will most likely never succeed in their role. In either case, we would be setting them up for failure.

Let me be clear: “capacity” does not mean that they are already there. On the contrary! Capacity simply refers to the potential that exists inside of the person to grow into a certain skill set. There are some skills that some people will never learn. It would be a mistake to place them in something that they don’t have a skill set for.

Let’s set high expectations for the organizations we lead!

Are there any other questions you have? Feel free to email me at or post your question in the comments. Let me know your thoughts!

The Truth of High Expectations

I have been involved in leadership of some form or another for the last twenty years. I’ve learned a lot, and I will continue to learn more. Today, I wanted to share the truth of high expectations.

In all of my leadership roles, I have dealt with leaders who had low expectations and other leaders who had high expectations of those they led.

To be clear: If you lead by low expectations, you will accomplish very little.

So the question is, what is it you want to accomplish? If you desire to do something great, you must lead with high expectations, both for yourself and others.

Why are high expectations so important? Simple.

When you expect a lot out of those you lead, you are communicating that you believe in them.

The lower your expectations, the less you believe in their capacity to produce.

As leaders, it is our job to pull the potential out of those we lead. The only way to do that is to believe in them, expecting more out of them compared to where they are currently at. That is the truth of high expectations.

Now, there are some nuances to how this works out in the context of leadership. I will address some of those tomorrow in a follow-up post. Stay tuned.

I believe in you!