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Responding to criticism

Responding to criticism: Do you ever get criticized? I’m guessing if you’re a ministry leader, the answer is yes (exercising my profound powers of discernment). The real question is how to handle it when criticism comes. How can you avoid reacting defensively, help...

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On the California fires

As many of you know, Janet and I moved to Santa Rosa in northern California this past April. After spending almost our whole lives in the Los Angeles area, this move brought a lot of changes. But one we certainly didn’t foresee was the catastrophic spread of wildfires...

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Listening to build trust

Listening to build trust: In ministry, we are inevitably dealing with people that have differences: different perspectives, different priorities, different directions. The default for most of us is to convince people of the rightness of our view. We get into a...

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In leading turnaround, start small

I’ve been coaching the new pastor of an old church. He’s very sharp and knows what needs to be done to bring about renewal and positive change. The question is not about the “what” but the “how,” and that’s what we’ve been working on. One thing he’s been doing is...

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7 Most Important Questions when Leading Change

As you consider leading change, here are the seven most important questions you need to be asking. Take some time to sit down with a pen and paper and reflect on these questions as they pertain to a particular change you are looking at making. How will you free up...

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Disasters large and small

On this anniversary of 9/11, we recognize that we face disasters both natural and human-made. First responders are out providing hurricane relief and rescues. Everyday people in affected areas are reaching out to help one another. Those of us at a geographical...

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Your labor is not in vain

Those of us in the US are celebrating Labor Day today—a day to rest and reflect on our labors. Labor—work—is a mixed bag when we think about it. Sometimes it’s something we try to avoid. Sometimes it’s something we throw ourselves into compulsively. Sometimes it feels...

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Revitalized by intentionality: focus on outcomes

Does your team focus on outcomes when they work together? Last year I coached a man who was commissioned to create an assessment tool to improve the effectiveness of church planting partnerships within his denomination. His role was to come alongside them and help...

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The substance of worship

Parishioner: "Pastor, I'm just not getting anything out of worship." Pastor: "I'm SO sorry! There's been a terrible misunderstanding. We're not worshiping YOU." Worship isn't about getting. It’s about giving. Our worship is our coming before God and worshipping him...

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Small group curricula for this fall

If you’re like many churches, fall starts off with a bang. Planning, calendaring, kids launching into the next grade levels. Likely you’re also launching some new small group studies. But consider: what do you want those studies to accomplish? What are you hoping they...

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