**We will be adding all previous show notes over time - switching web hosts lost us some data**

#342: The Truth in True Crime (with J. Warner Wallace)

So, are you into true crime? Then, you've probably heard of this week's guest: J. Warner Wallace. He is a Dateline featured (award-winning) cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker, adjunct professor of apologetics, and best-selling author. He continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. In his new book, The Truth in True Crime, he explores the clues lying behind our human nature and uncovers 15 life-truths gleaned from both murder investigations and scripture (wild, right?).

Links for J. Warner Wallace:


#341: 3 Truths About A Leader's Spiritual Health

There's a real danger when the pastor is spiritually depleted. Not only does it lead to ineffective ministry, but also (quite often) moral failure. Isn't that what we've learned from cautionary tales like Carl Lenz, Bill Hybels, Perry Noble, Tullian Tchividjian, or even comedian John Crist? All of them are super-gifted. But they also admitted to a degree of spiritual depletion. Of course, it doesn't just happen to celebrities - they're just the ones you hear about. For any one of us, we are one decision away from disaster. We must make sure we're cultivating our own spiritual health.

#1 Re-Connect with the Goal (Your discipleship is critically important)
#2 Develop a Rule of Life (You must do what you teach)
#3 Remember it's God's Mission (Not Just Yours) (You don't have to control everything)


#340: Attentive Church Leadership

Sometimes, best practices are just a mask for our incessant need to upgrade. Make no mistake, improving our ministry systems, programs, and pathways are an essential part of creating environments that drive discipleship. But, sometimes we become distracted by what other churches are doing and we fail to be attentive to what the Spirit is leading us to do in our context. Jim Singleton, in his book, Attentive Church Leadership, reminds us that we can't best practice our way to church health.

Links for Jim Singleton:

 As part of our spiritual formation series, get sermon resources you can use right here: Sermon Series - Finding Your Way


#339: 1-1-1 Discipleship Approach

Following Jesus is more than attending a series of bible studies. It's an apprenticeship that has a particular goal in mind: Christlikeness. Join us as we talk about the 1-1-1 strategy to help your congregation understand the difference between believing and following.

  1. The Fundamental Question: Who am I becoming as a result of who/what I'm following?
  2. What does it actually mean to follow Jesus? It's an apprenticeship program: we train in order to do
  3. John Mark Comer and the 3 Discipleship Goals: Be with your rabbi, Be like your rabbi, Do as your rabbi did
  4. How do we help disciples arrange their lives around following Jesus? Spiritual Practices. Try the 1-1-1 method: 1 preaching series, 1 small group, 1 serving opportunity
  5. Resources: Get sermon resources you can use right here: Sermon Series - Finding Your Way


#338: The Problem with Discipleship

There's a problem with spiritual formation in most churches - many think it's a combination of faithful attendance and volunteerism. But, is that really the same thing as following Jesus? Of course not. It may be a byproduct, but discipleship runs so much deeper. How do we help our congregations make that shift?

  1. We need to re-frame it: following Jesus is often viewed as knowledge, but it's more like an apprenticeship. It is a way to walk (knowledge + action).
  2. We need to understand the tension: disciples are hand-crafted, not mass-produced. We must scale relationships.
  3. We need a clear strategy: otherwise we don't really know if we're making disciples.
  4. Resources: I Once Was Lost (Don Everts and Doug Schaupp), Practicing the Way (John Mark Comer), 5 Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith (Northpoint Community Church)


#337: The Importance of Self-Leadership

It's been said that the hardest person you'll ever have to lead is yourself. But, it's absolutely key if you want to keep growing as a follower of Jesus and a leader in the church. We close our series on leadership with a final topic: the value of self-leadership (and how to do it).

  • Develop your identity
  • Invest in yourself (pick 1 area)
  • Healthy in, healthy out


#336: Misalignment and How to Get Unstuck

Jesus was always trying to align people with the Father's mission. Alignment is critically important for churches because it's about faithfulness: closing the gap between the church you are and the church God is calling you to be. How do we get alignment?
#1 Purpose, Vision, Means (PVM)

  • Purpose: what we need to understand clearly (in a sentence or two)
  • Vision: what we hope happens (in a sentence or two)
  • Means: what we can do to make it happen (bullet list)
#2 Make sure they have skin in the game (engagement in the process)
#3 Count the actual cost, not the estimated cost (don't guess)
#4 Be intentional about how and when you communicate it


#335: Re-Discovering the Art of Listening

If another contentious political cycle tells us anything (and I like to think it does), it's that in our culture, we don't really listen. In fact, we often concentrate more on what to say next instead of what the other person is saying. The result is that we end up talking past each other. The truth is, that your forward progress as a leader will come to a screeching halt if people think you don't care about what they have to say. Let's cultivate our listening skills:

  • Active Listening (to God and others): a.) Focus b.) Non-verbal cues c.) Exercise care and clarity d.) Send a follow-up after the conversation
  • Proactive Listening (inviting feedback): a.) Regular staff check-ins b.) Ask non-complainers c.) Debrief everything d.) Ask them what could improve
  • Real-time Listening (what's bubbling up?): a.) What are people saying? b.) What ideas are bubbling up organically from the people?


#334: Helping Churches Flourish (with Kaitlyn Wood)

Today, we welcome Pastor Kaitlyn Wood back to the podcast (our last guest before the COVID lockdown) and now, 4 years later, she's the Director of Church Health for ECO (Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians). We talk leadership, revitalization, and helping churches revitalize. Kaitlyn shares encouragement and practical resources from FLOURISH (a ministry non-profit) designed to equip churches for turnaround change.


#333: 3 Leadership Axioms Hanging on My Wall

This month, we're starting a new series on leadership. What kind of leader do you need to be in order to lead change? Seminary doesn't really teach it - it's usually on-the-job-training. Today, we start with 3 questions designed to activate your leadership in a new way:

  • That's a great question; you decide: most leaders tend to struggle with delegation. Usually, it's because we're trying to protect the vision or worry it won't get done with the same excellence. But, the key to healthy churches is: healthy, shared responsibility.
  • What would a great leader do?: this question is perfect for when leaders are struggling with imposter syndrome, or feel inexperienced. It's a way of channeling your inner Winston Churchill.
  • Did you remind and follow-up?: Sometimes the reason we are disappointed by results is because we failed to set others up for success. This question gets to the heart of the problem.


#332: Engagement Boost - A Step-By-Step Pre-Easter Checklist

Easter may not be as big an outreach as Christmas, but there are still many people who will visit. It's also a huge in-reach. People on your own roles (and guests, of course) will come out for big church holidays - are you ready to welcome them? Here's a quick pre-Easter checklist to help.


#331: 5 Steps to Launch Your Guest Services Team (Even if You're a Small Church)

Welcoming first-time guests and ensuring a great experience may not have always been a primary focus. But, maybe now, you're convinced that it should be. Are you looking to launch a guest services ministry, but don't know how to get started? Or are you trying to take what you have and make it better? Here's 5 tips to make it happen:

  • Anyone can greet, but not everyone can welcome (it's about find people gifted - but warm bodies can also be used in places)
  • Start with who you already have (staff, elders, deacons, etc.)
  • Recruit and train (be intentional)
  • Give guest services a meaningful budget (whatever that means to your context)
  • Develop a first-time guest process with accountability (who is responsible for what?)


#330: A Great First Impression: Elevating the Guest Experience (with Greg Atkinson)

Yes, you can overcome a bad first impression. But, it's not easy. The truth is, first impressions matter. Whether it's your online worship experience, social media channels, parking lot, or kids' check-in, guests are deciding whether they'll come back based on their first impressions. We're excited to share our conversation with first impressions expert, Greg Atkinson. Greg is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, international keynote speaker, leadership and life coach, and business consultant. His book, Secrets of a Secret Shopper: Reaching and Keeping Church Guests, is one of the best resources your team can invest in.


#329: How to Help Your People Move From Greeting to Engaging (with Stan Ott & Lee Zehmer)

Have you ever been in conversation with someone who is looking past you to someone else? Or did you show up to church only to be ignored while people caught up with their friends? Today we welcome Stan Ott and Lee Zehmer from the Building One Another Podcast. Join us as we talk about helping congregations move from greeting to engaging.
It's an act of Christ-centered love to welcome and serve those made-in-God's-image guests who've come looking for something more.


#328: All-In Immersion: How to Cure Your Church's Indifference

Everyone says it's busyness that's causing church attendance decline. And, there are many reasons why that could be true. But, what if it's something else? What if, at the center of it all, is an uncomfortable truth: churchgoers are just indifferent. 
In this episode, we talk about 3 "buckets" to help re-engage their hearts:
#1 Leverage spiritual waypoints: sacraments, life-stages, life-changes, visceral experiences
#2 Shake up a typical Sunday: what if you did something you don't normally do?
#3 Share stories of life transformation at every turn: remind people of the transformative power of the gospel by sharing lots and lots of stories (in all settings)


#327: I Love to Tell the Story (Unless it Gets Me Stuck)

The reason many churches get stuck in the past is because they believe the wrong story about themselves. How do we settle on a new story?
#1 Change the Dynamic: sometimes it just takes 1 new member to disrupt the status quo
#2 Do Something You Ordinarily Wouldn't Do: shake up the routine
#3 Re-frame the Future as Part of Your Legacy: remind people that their legacy only matters if their are younger generations to hand it to


#326: Karl Vaters and the Secret to Healthy Churches (of Any Size)

Karl is a popular pastor, author, and speaker who's heart is to help pastors of small churches (up to 90% of us) find the resources to lead well, and to capitalize on the unique advantages that come with pastoring a small church. In this episode, he talks with us about the critical difference between feeling satisfied and feeling settled - and why it matters for healthy churches.


#325: 6 Tips to Deal with Change Resisters

Jesus embodied grace and truth: He never dumbed down truth or turned down grace. Leading change is a balancing act between listening (actually listening) to criticism and moving forward in faith. Here are 6 Tips we discuss in this episode:
#1 Prayerfully Listen: it may not be the input you want, but it may be the input you need
#2 Trust the Plan: at some point you need to trust that God was in the process
#3 Don't Over-Compensate: bring resisters along for the ride, but don't give them the keys
#4 Don't Let them Roadblock: call out dysfunctional behavior; don't reward it
#5 Stay Mission-Focused: is it about keeping everyone at all costs, or reaching more people?
#6 Keep it Real: Remember the percentage of change resisters is 10% or less - most are with you!


#324: Leadership and the Dogsled

This episode is a continuation of our conversation about leading change over the last few episodes (#322, #323) and how to generate buy-in. Today is about the balancing act between those who want to run forward with change quickly, those who want to apply the snow-brake constantly, and managing the tension between them. The truth is, you need both.