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Are We Warriors or Are We Tourists?

The local church should be a Holy Spirit training outpost for equipping God’s people to be kingdom warriors of love and servanthood on earth and to destroy the works of darkness. Instead, the local church is often operating more like a cruise ship instead of a battleship designed to equip an army.

I first met pastor Fred Hartley about five years ago when I was invited to be on a city transformation leadership team in Atlanta. Fred pastors a midsize congregation in a suburb of Atlanta and is also the founder of the College of Prayer, an international equipping ministry. Fred has written several books on prayer. He knew little about my work, but as we began getting to know one another, he took more of an interest in what I did. I shared a few of my books with him, but it was almost two years before Fred caught what I was doing and how it could impact his own local congregation. He wrote me this letter: read more

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3 Ways to Stop the Naysayers

“The poor will be with you always,” Jesus said, but I’m sure He could have added, "The stupid vision killers will pursue you always.”

Acknowledge But Don’t React

As much as we would love to send to some of these to Gitmo for vision espionage, we simply don’t have that authority … sadly. But if we give their voice weight, they will keep looking for opportunities to complain.

Naysayers and complainers don’t have a desire to help in what they say. They are looking for a platform that will hear them and respond. It makes them feel empowered. read more

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9 Tips for Resisting the Overwhelming Pressure of Leadership

I am asked constantly by young leaders, “How do you handle the responsibility of leading something like Catalyst?”

Good question.

The reality is, anyone who leads a church, leads a company, leads a community, leads a nonprofit ministry, leads a team or even leads a family feels and knows the pressure of responsibility. And responsibility is part of leadership. Always.

You’ve heard this before: “You’re responsible for what happens. Don’t screw up!” Right! We hear this all the time from our parents, from our boss, from our boards, from our friends, from our spouses. read more

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Why Teams Rarely Rise Beyond the Level of Their Leader

Leaders, if you’re frustrated at the level of your team or vendor’s performance, look no further than the mirror.

Only in very rare cases will a team perform better than the level of their leader. Why?

Because the leader sets the boundaries, deadlines and guidelines. The leader creates the culture and sets expectations. As a result, no matter how gifted or creative a team is, if the leader is incompetent, insecure or inexperienced, the team can only work within that framework. read more

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How to Beat the Slump in Church Leadership

Church leadership is difficult (in case you hadn’t already figured that out).

Some days it is easy to feel discouraged, to wonder why you work as hard as you do. Especially when you don’t receive the thanks you deserve. Especially when you don’t see the results you want. Especially when it’s been a long week or weekend—you’ve preached multiple services and tended to the needs of others, and even after all of that, you look around the room and wonder if it was enough.

Maybe you worry there are people you aren’t reaching, or maybe you see people hurting and don’t have the answers. read more

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How Perspective Can Be a Leader’s Best Friend

Last night I was reading in 1 Kings 12 as part of my daily reading plan. This pivotal moment in a new king’s reign is interesting to investigate.

I mean, we knew based upon a warning God gives to Solomon that the better part of the kingdom would be removed from the hands of his son. But how it happened is intriguing to me.

In the latter part of Solomon’s life, his great wisdom was not on display. In fact, I would argue that in the season his son, Rehoboam, was growing up, Solomon’s focus was on experiencing the pleasures of life. read more

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3 Ways of Thinking That Are Holding You Back

When Christian leaders become ambitious, things get tough. Often other people will mistake our ambition for pride or presumption.

But Jesus was ambitious about building His church. Paul was ambitious about pressing toward the prize. Joshua was ambitious about taking the Promised Land. The fact is, God responds to bold, audacious vision and ambition in a leader.

So what could be holding your ambition back? read more

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3-Step Assimilation Process: Fill In the Blanks

A simple assimilation process is absolutely vital for any church to see sustained growth. Here’s the one I’ve seen work so well, and you can customize it for your church quite easily. It covers the three things we’re called to do as the church, but it lets you fill in the blanks according to your culture, community and context.

It has three steps ...

  read more

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Is Your Church Burning Bright or Burning Out?

Consider this quote by Thomas Edison:

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment, and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

That is so true. It seems that we latch on to every get-rich-quick scheme and promise of a quick buck yet don’t want to put in the time, the thought or the perspiration to make our busyness really count.

The same can be said of the church.

For all of our programs … read more

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5 Scenarios When Change Is Most Difficult

Change is hard, almost always. Sometimes change is harder than other times.

It’s then where leadership is tested. Tensions can mount. And people are more likely to object.

It’s good to know these times before a leader approaches change. Change is necessary. In fact, while change may produce conflict, without change there will be conflict. Read this post for more on that statement.

Since change is necessary and inevitable, understanding these scenarios before we attempt change may help us lead change better.

Here are five times I’ve discovered that change is hardest to accept and implement: read more

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