What neuroscience can teach us about ministry...

communication preaching Jan 05, 2020

 Leadership platitudes are a dime a dozen but here’s one I believe:

Leaders are readers.

But let’s broaden it a bit shall we?

Leaders are learners.

Whether you love to read or listen or watch is irrelevant.

What matters is that if you’re leading you don’t let your thinking grow stagnant.

One of my greatest fears is that my thinking will become rigid and inflexible...unable to process change, new challenges, or opportunities.

It's a scary thought...

Thus my quest to continually learn new things.

About ministry and church leadership, yes, but also other things.

Business, culture, current events, scientific breakthroughs, food, art, music, and even pop culture - just so I can retain at least a loose grip on what’s going on in the world around me.

Today I’d love to share a current learning passion of mine that might not seem relevant to you as a pastor or church leader.

But here goes...

It’s brain science!

Or perhaps more accurately: ...

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The real reason Jesus talked so much about farming

I'm not alone in appreciating the masterful parables of Jesus!

And, as you know, many of them relate to farming or agriculture.

Ever wondered why?

I've heard many sermons attempt to explain Jesus' use of farming and agriculture as fitting to His time and place. He was speaking to farmers, right?

Well not exactly...

Sure, the people Jesus spoke to would have been familiar with farming, sowing and reaping, etc. But a huge group of His listeners weren't farmers. Jesus spoke to a wide variety of people: farmers, fishermen, the rich, the poor, roman soldiers, etc...

It goes deeper than Jesus being relevant to His audience.

Take the parable of the sower for instance...you know it but here's the text:

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.But when the...
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What to do if you're frustrated about your church not inviting people...

I hear this lament ALL the time from pastors, "Our people just won't invite!"

Well buckle up buttercup because I'm here to help.

People are fairly simple. They'll swim seas and climb mountains for what they truly value, the thing that's important to them...

I remember the days leading up to Christmas just a few years ago...there was a particular video game console that was in limited supply. Stores were only getting 1 or 2 units and people were snapping them up as soon as they hit the shelves. On Black Friday, people were lining up by the hundreds outside in the cold...spending the night even...just for a chance at the coveted prize...

Most left empty handed - only to rush across town to wait in another line...

Might seem crazy...but it illustrates an important truth: people will do almost anything to get what they really want.

Now back to your church.

The answer is easy and the fix is simple.

But we need to take some tough medicine first...

The real reason your...

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How to fail at ministry like John Wesley

evangelism leadership Dec 07, 2019

A friend posted the following on Facebook and I thought it might encourage you today:

Excerpts from John Wesley's Journal
Great Awakening mid 1700's:

May 5 - Preached at St. Anne’s, asked not to come back
May 12 - Preached, deacons said I couldn’t return
May 19 - Preached on street, kicked off street
May 26 - Preached in meadow, chased out by a bull
May 26 - Preached on edge to town, kicked off the highway.
June 2 - Preached in a pasture. Ten thousand came to hear me.

John Wesley, Journal Entries, 1739


Reminds me of the old adage, "If at first you don't succeed...try, try again."

That's how ministry works.

We preach, serve, love people, and on and on...often resulting in failure and rejection.

But we push on because we're ON A MISSION.

And don't you ever forget it.

This isn't time to draw back...it's time to push forward. It's time to be challenged in our thinking. It's time to level-up as a leader and learn how to reach THIS generation in this time and season....

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The Absolute Must Read Books for Pastors and Church Leaders

Uncategorized Dec 08, 2018

Deep and Wide

by Pastor Andy Stanley

Pastor Andy Stanley's amazing book about creating a church that unchurched people love to attend! If you want to get better at reaching unchurched people this is the book for you. 

Grab it right here!

The Living Church

by John Stott

John Stott's masterful book is jam-packed with wisdom about the purpose and life of the local church. It will challenge and encourage you at every level as a pastor and leader! He wrote the book after a lifetime in the trenches of ministry. So much wisdom...

Grab it right here!


by Steve Murrell

This book changed my entire outlook and strategy of ministry. It is one of the simplest yet most profound books I've ever read. It will encourage you to get back to the mission of Jesus: making disciples! You won't be the same as a leader after reading this. So good!

Get Wikichurch here!

How to Break Growth Barriers

by Carl F. George and Warren Bird

This book has helped me tremendously as a pastor! It's not...

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Anatomy Of A Good Video Ad

Uncategorized Dec 08, 2018

So you're thinking about TV or Facebook ads for your church?


Here's an ad we used this Easter that got really good feedback! 


I'll break down what I think makes it work after you watch it! 


The ad is visually very simple and fits Joy Church branding. We want to project an uncomplicated and relaxing vibe so that people feel comfortable watching and hopefully coming to a service.

Most church ads show footage of the services and feature lots of people. There's nothing wrong with that but it definitely projects a more chaotic image. One person talking right to you is more engaging in my opinion.

Targeted Messaging

This ad isn't trying to communicate EVERYTHING about our church. It's an invitation to Easter Sunday. There's a little bit in there about our church (did you catch the line, "As always at Joy Church?") but it's mostly singular in focus.


What is it? Where is it? When is it? 

Those are the main questions people have whether...

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Being A Clutch Leader

leadership Dec 08, 2018

What is a clutch leader?

Clutch players elevate their game when the pressure is on. They relish the moments where their contribution has a chance to make a disproportionate impact.

A clutch leader takes their performance to a higher level when the pressure is on.

Here's how you can become a clutch leader.

Put your foot on the GAS!

  1. Grace

  2. Attention to Detail

  3. Spirit


What comes out when you get pressed? 

In your dealings with others.

Here's how to do a grace level checkup:

  1. How's my love for the lost?

  2. How's my love for fellow believers?

  3. How's my love for my family?

  4. Is my communication graceful or harsh?

Attention to Detail 

Little things matter a lot! (Illustration? Rowing a boat?). In a cumulative effort, details are exponentially more significant. Smaller things are magnified both positively and negatively! 

Rowing Crew: The challenge facing the team of nine is to perform a complicated sequence of movements, which each member must execute...

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Spiritual Leadership

leadership Dec 08, 2018

Leaders live at a higher level. They arrive early and leave late. They give more because they care more

What is a spiritual leader?

A spiritual leader pursues God wholeheartedly and subjugates their personal agenda to a Kingdom agenda. They lay down their lives in pursuit of a heavenly vision. (Acts 26:19)

Spiritual leaders go beyond the natural into the supernatural.

They model what it looks like to be fully devoted followers of Jesus.

Before we can make disciples we must be disciples! 


1 Corinthians 11:1 (Imitate me as I imitate Christ).

Characteristics we must model:

  • Hunger for God - Psalm 42:1,2, Psalm 63:1
  • A Repentant Spirit - Psalm 51
  • A Humble Heart - Philippians 2:3-5
  • Love for the Lost - Luke 15
  • Care for Fellow Believers - John 13:35, Galatians 6:10
  • Prayer - Luke 5:15, 16
  • A Life of Worship - Psalm 71:8
  • Passion for the Word - Psalm 119:97-105
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Are You a Multiplier or a Diminisher?

book leadership Dec 08, 2018

Multipliers was recommended by a friend and I'm glad I read it! I definitely picked up a few things from the book that I've already been able to apply to my leadership. Probably the most helpful sections of the book had to do with the differences between Diminishers (leaders that get less from people) and Multipliers (leaders that...well you get the idea). These contrasts at the end of each chapter were really interesting and helpful to me.

Here are a few takeaways:

  1. I definitely have some Diminisher tendencies as a leader...ouch! I am very passionate and I care about everything when it comes to the church so I tend to overcommunicate...cough......overshare...basically not let other people talk. What was interesting to me is that in their research the authors found that a lot of diminishers are smart and passionate people that were good in a specific role. Then they get promoted to a leadership role and suddenly it's not about their individual contribution but rather...

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Eyes Of Wonder

parenting worship Dec 08, 2018

I went into her room, rescued her from the confines of her crib, and brought her back to our bed. She gestured excitedly, with accompanying toddler sounds, towards the TV. I knew what she wanted immediately.

"Do you want to watch George, Evie?" I asked.

Evie's favorite show for some time now has been Curious George, which is ironic because they share pretty much an identical nature.



Overflowing energy?


Inadvertently destructive?


Sweet and affable?


And so it goes.

But the thing that really grabbed my attention today as Evie watched her favorite show was the wonder in her eyes. She laid there with her head on my pillow, eyes glued to the action on-screen. Her little blue eyes danced and I was captivated by it all. As she watched with eyes of wonder so did I.

But I wasn't watching Curious George.

I was watching her.

And then it struck me.

My daughter and I were both amazed but for very different reasons. She was caught up in the antics of a cartoon...

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