Leadership Clout. Why it’s important, and how to get some.

I’m so excited.  Today is the day my friend Jenni Catron’s first book hits the shelves.  It’s called “Clout:  Discover and Unleash your God-given Influence.”

Jenni is an absolutely GREAT leader… and I think this book will encourage you in your search for leadership in the church and in life in general.

Here’s a little preview:

It is easy to believe that power, influence, and leadership are gifts given to a special few. But the Bible says otherwise.

We all long for significance, even as we fear we will never be good enough. We listen for God, but hear only voices of doubt and practicality. Listen again. There is a call that only you can answer.

Clout is power and influence. It is an undeniable trait that opens doors and moves mountains. You have it, and you can use it to change the world around you. With Scripture and stories from her own life, Jenni Catron maps out the pitfalls and clear paths on the way toward discovering and unleashing your very own clout.

This is not a quest of power for power’s sake. Influence is not a guarantee of fame or fortune. It is an opportunity to use your gifts to do the extraordinary. This is a journey toward dismantling what stands in the way of your influence and leadership, discovering your God-given clout, and using it to answer God’s calling on your life.

Grab a copy of the book today here.

Or check out the website or download a free chapter here!

(You can thank me later)  :)



Free Report: Staffing for Stewardship

Churches throughout the United States are not only taking the Bible’s teaching on stewardship and generosity more seriously, they are also developing creative new staff roles to help integrate the value of generosity into all aspects of congregational life. All have one thing in common—a renewed focus on generosity is creating blessings for those who give and receive.

Leadership Network’s concept paper, Staffing for Stewardship: Innovative churches are exploring new pathways for incorporating stewardship, previously published by Alexis Wilson explores this important topic.

Here are some great quotes from the paper:

“We realized we needed to challenge people in all areas of stewardship.”

“Stewardship is the understanding that everything belongs to God, and we are just managers of his resources.”

“The heart of stewardship is that everything belongs to God, and we get to take care of it.”

“That is the way that we should live every day giving our money away like it’s about to be worthless.”

“Do not go it alone. Find others who are walking this road, and build your ministries together.”

To see the entire library of Leadership Network’s papers, podcasts, and videos go to


Multisite Church Trends for 2014 from Jim Tomberlin

Multisite Church TrendsMultisite church trends have changed from year to year… but the momentum and sustainability of the multisite revolution will continue well into 2014.  Jim Tomberlin knows as well as anyone what is happening in multisite these days.

Here’s what he thinks we’ll see more of in 2014 in Multisite Church Trends:

Megachurches becoming giga-churches. Megachurches are getting bigger because they are no longer limited to one location.

Owning multisite locations. Up to now the overwhelming majority of multisite campuses are in rented facilities. Because the multisite model has now moved beyond an experiment to a proven strategy more churches are beginning to buy land to construct new buildings or purchase existing buildings for permanent multisite campuses.

New rules for church construction. In an increasingly hostile culture towards new church construction the rules have changed for constructing new church buildings. The new church buildings going up today are smaller, multi-purpose, multi-venue, local community-centric and environmentally-friendly buildings.

The majority of multisite churches are not maximizing the model. Most of the 5,000+multisite churches are stuck at two or three campuses because they don’t know how or aren’t willing to make the organizational changes necessary to fully benefit from the multisite model. The majority of multisite churches are still functioning like a mono-site church with campuses instead of a church of campuses.   If this describes your church take the Multisite Diagnostic Test to determine how well your church is managing this paradigm shift.

Multisite churches with four or more campuses. Even though the majority of multisite churches are not fully maximizing the multisite model as previously mentioned, more are growing beyond three campuses. The fourth campus is the “game-changer” that typically forces churches to change their structure which positions them to take full advantage of the model and grow even beyond four campuses.

Confusing multisiting with church planting. Though the outcome of church planting and multisiting is the same—new congregations, church plants and multisite campuses are not the same thing.  There are geographic, gifting and governance differences. A lack of clarity and understanding around these differences  causes a lot of unnecessary problems in multisite churches.

Se habla español (Spanish spoken here). Multisite megachurches are leading the way in producing local congregations that are more economically, racially and ethnically diverse especially within Hispanic communities.

Multisite Teaching Teams. Whether they utilize video sermons or not, there is a growing desire to develop preaching-teaching teams to strengthen the teaching bench of the church, develop teachers and potential successors while increasing the overall depth and breadth of biblical instruction.

Requests for Multisite Coaching.  There is a rising chorus for on-going multisite coaching in the month-to-month oversight of a growing multisite church. A coach who can help churches go from two to five, then ten campuses. Someone who can help them avoid the potholes and get better at multisiting. They need a mentor and we got’em at MultiSite Solutions. Find the right one for you by visiting Jim at Considering a Multisite Mentor?

Read more from Jim here.

What do you think?  Is your church multisite?  Are you seeing these trends in your neck of the woods?


Welcome to 2014. Time to think about your resignation letter.

Well… that’s not a great way to start off 2014, Todd… thinking about your resignation letter from your church!

OK… I get your point.

But maybe you should think about it today… the first day back to work in the new year.

Whether you’re happy you’re where you are at, or you’re just putting in your time (we’ve both been both places!), there is some value in the exercise of thinking about what you might write in your resignation letter… it helps to to focus on what you’re thankful for today.

I wrote a post about this subject over at my ChurchJobs.tv site.  I hope you’ll take time to read it today and do the exercise.  Believe it or not, it could give you a real kick in the pants for 2014 as you reflect back on the good things that have happened (and that are still in store for you) WHEREVER God has placed you!

Pastoral Resignation Letters:  Seven Elements for a Successful Letter

Here’s to a great 2014!


Mark Driscoll is not an intentional plagairist

Mark Driscoll is many things to many people.

But he’s not an intentional plagiarist.

At least in my opinion.

Maybe you haven’t heard of all the uproar. (But I find it hard to believe it’s gotten past you).

Driscoll appeared a couple of weeks ago on nationally syndicated Christian talk show host Janet Mefford’s radio program to discuss his new book. But the discussion never got to the book.

Instead, Driscoll was first backed into a corner on his recent appearance at the John MacArthur Strange Fire conference.  Mefford tried to get Driscoll to admit that he lied about his books being confiscated.

Getting no traction there, she moved on to ask Driscoll how he could steal 14 pages of his new book from theologian Peter Jones.

Driscoll was obviously blindsided.

And even after he said that if he made a mistake, he would take steps to rectify it, Mefford didn’t let up, and eventually accused Driscoll of hanging up on her (which he didn’t… proving that with a recording from his end of the conversation with him saying ‘I’m still here’.

Here’s why:

1.  When most people plagiarize, the don’t steal from friends.

Driscoll and Peter Jones are friends (and so are Mefford and Jones). As Mark said, they’ve shared meals together.  Jones has spoken at Driscoll’s church, and written endorsements for Driscoll’s books.  I don’t think friends do this to friends, at least intentionally.

2.  When most people plagiarize, they don’t do it in a forum where they’ll be sure to be found out.

There are all kinds of safeguards in place here… supposedly.  Publishers don’t want to publish works that aren’t original, and authors don’t want to be discredited by putting out material that will be tagged as being copied.  Plagiarism mostly finds its place where people think they can get away with it… like spoofing a professor, or copycatting a sermon to a local church.  :)  You know… places where the copied material will, chances are, never be found out.  This would be the equivalent of a pastor having a moral failure in plain view of everyone… shade up and lights on.

3.  To me, Driscoll was clearly taken aback by the accusation.  

As I listened to the recording, Driscoll actually sounded (to me) to be quite willing to make sure that this would not be an issue, offering to go to Peter Jones personally… and if need be, apologize to him and make changes with his publisher if need be.  What else can you do?

Listen.  I’m not here to make excuses for Mark Driscoll.  He’s a big boy.  I have no idea if he wrote what he wrote, how he wrote it, what his editing process was, etc.

And yes… I’ve seen the side-by-side comparisons (that I’m glad somebody has hours and hours of time on their hands to research).

But as I said… Mark Driscoll may be many things, but a serial (or intentional) plagiarist he is not. IMHO.

Whether you like him or despise him, Driscoll is brilliant.

And he loves Jesus.

And I trust him at his word… that behind the scenes he is making right whatever needs to be made right and will move on.

I try to always give the benefit of the doubt before jumping to a conclusion. I think there’s an extra measure of grace there that I want to be characterized by.  But the trend these days is to jump head-first.

As Mark Driscoll says, “There are three sides to every story.”

Or maybe that was Rick Warren.  Or Ghandi.  I forget.

Tomorrow, I hope to continue some thoughts here on a rising trend I’m seeing in Christianity these days:  how some Christian leaders are using traditional and social media to make their point and get their way.

What do YOU think?

Please leave a comment below…

Have a great day.



5 productivity tips from the busiest people in the world

Need to get more done?

Especially in December… year end… holiday season… Christmas schedules, etc.?

Maybe this will be helpful.

Five tips:

1.  Have a single purpose focus

2. Ruthlessly block out distractions

3. Set a time limit on meetings

4. Set up productivity rituals

5.  Get up earlier

See the full image, with details, here…


Don’t kid yourself. You’re not all that brilliant.

I recently read an interesting piece over at the Harvard Business Review about how much luck there is our decision making process.

Good luck, bad luck, fate.  Whatever.

Of course this was written from a secular view point.

I’m not sure I’m a believer in luck.  Or coincidence.

In many ways… being a Christian changes you view of things, doesn’t it.

But here’s the premise.

When you’re at the point of making a decision on anything, the circumstances that bring you to that decision point are usually pretty much out of your control (at least somewhat).  The writer calls this ‘luck’.  Here’s an excerpt:

The chain of events that brings you to a choice point will be shaped by luck, good or bad. Prior circumstances may determine whether you’re in a position of power or relative weakness. (For that matter, luck governs whether rain or sun that day will make your mood sour or buoyant.) And the same is equally true for everyone with whom you deal.

Philosophers, political theorists, and strategists have long acknowledged the large role that luck plays in every aspect of our lives. Even Nicolo Machiavelli, the cataloger of each and every lever that a prince can pull in the pursuit of power, acknowledged that “I believe that it is probably true that fortune is the arbiter of half the things we do, leaving the other half to be controlled by ourselves.” What was true in Italian politics centuries ago is just as true in management today.

So, why does acknowledging this help business decision makers in any way? Once we acknowledge how much depends on luck, we do two things differently, I think.  First, we study decision making differently, no longer assigning brilliance to every decision that, viewed retrospectively, worked out well. Second, we might focus on different skills as important to important decision points, such as the flexibility to capitalize on changes in luck versus the ability to predict in advance how things will play out.

For better or worse, the intelligence, values, and needs of whomever you interact with impact your success as much as your own resources. Throw in external circumstances that are beyond your control (whether other deals for them fall through, as they did for IBM), and it’s obvious that your destiny isn’t entirely in your hands. Understand this and you act differently, knowing that your own skill will be tested by how well you play the cards you are dealt.

Of course, I wouldn’t call that luck.  Maybe providence?  God’s will?  God’s hand?  I’m not sure what to call it.

But nonetheless… the point is a good one:

You really shouldn’t gloat in your good decision because what lead up to it wasn’t probably entirely your doing.

Same with bad decisions.

So… it turns out that none of us are as brilliant as we’d like to believe.

Somehow, I’m not surprised.

When I look back at my life’s ‘circumstances’ and where I am today… I’m not sure that there are any circumstances.

What I’m doing today is based on what God brought my way.

Some things were in my control and within my decision.

Most were not.

But it’s all good.

It’s a wise thing to keep in mind whenever you start getting a little proud of the way things are going.

Just remember… it probably had little to do with you.  :)

We just have to strive to make good decisions where we’re at.  Don’t worry about who the credit goes to.  (After all… we know where it should go anyway).

What do YOU think?


Change Your Church Culture… in SIX MONTHS?

Conventional wisdom says that changing the culture of your church will take years.

DNA is hard to change.

But it’s a nasty proposition.

Change the culture too fast and everything blows up.

Change the culture too slowly, and you’re probably not going to be around to see any of the church.

But is there a better way?

There was recently an interesting case study article reported on at the Harvard Business Review that says if you’re going to change your culture, do it quickly.

It cites a couple of business examples where culture of an office was changed remarkably in 6 months!

That’s pretty incredible.

But here’s the disclaimer:  it takes a plan and some iron-clad leadership.

I’ve seen the culture totally change in my church over the past 18 months. We’ve introduced a lot of change fairly quickly.  It’s taken leadership.  It’s required some really tough decisions (not all of which have been popular).  But the end result is pretty remarkable, at least at this point.

(Of course the longer discussion was the five years of discussion about the culture needing to be changed before we actually had the guts and leadership to start changing it).

The lesson for me is this:  don’t expect change to come to your church’s culture overnight.  It won’t happen.

But don’t underestimate the result of good leadership and how quickly your culture can change dramatically under the right leaders and plan.  It can happen much sooner than you think.

What’s been your experience?



If the world only had 100 people, this is what it would look like…

I found this graphic recently.  It is very interesting, and makes me think.

From Lifehack.com:

50 are female, 50 are male. 26 of these are children and only 8 people are aged 65 and older. 60 people are Asian, 15 African, 14 people are from the Americas and 11 individuals come from Europe. 5 of us speak English and 5 speak Spanish. Arabic, Hindi, Bengali and Portuguese all have 3 fluent speakers each. 12 speak Chinese, whilst 62 speak other languages. 83 are literate, 77 people have shelter, 87 have access to safe water, 15 are undernourished and 21 are overweight. 33 of us would be Christians, 22 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 7 Buddhists. 12 people would practice other religions and 12 people would not be involved in any religion.

My norm is not the norm for most other people.

In fact, my reality will never be most people’s reality.

That’s hard to imagine when my world most always revolves around me.

If the world came down to just 100 people, how many of the 100 would YOU know?


See the full-size graphic here…


Is the Housing Allowance Going Away?

Last week a Wisconsin Federal District Court judge ruled that the pastoral housing allowance violates the establishment clause of the first amendment. This news can be quite upsetting for church leaders across the country as they try to figure out how to fairly compensate their pastors, and for pastors who need to rethink their monthly budgets now that a major tax benefit has been ruled unconstitutional.

Yesterday morning, Matt Steen and I had a conversation with Mike Batts, managing partner of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee. Mike and his team work exclusively with churches and pastors, and have served as trusted advisors to members of congress on policy issues related to church finances. We asked Mike about the ruling and what church leaders need to know about it. In a nutshell, here is what you need to realize now:

  • The sky is NOT falling.
  • The ruling has no effect on housing allowances at this moment.
  • The ruling will be appealed.

Click below to watch the entire conversation in order to gain a better understanding of what this means for your church:



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