Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization

Strange-Leadership-book-cover-high-res-677x1024I have a brand new book that releases worldwide on Tuesday, April 29th, but we are asking as many as will to pre-order it today. I’ve been traveling, teaching and researching the subject of innovation in a Biblical context for the past 6 years. The result of this work is this new book entitled  Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.

Some friends came up with the idea to have a Strange Leadership Pre-Release Party for him today. Greg will be doing special promotional and pre-release stuff all day today, including an interview and live Google Hangout with CMM Featured Writer Jason Curlee at 11am CST and then Greg will be a guest on DJ Chuang’s Social Media Church Podcast at 4pm CST.

About the book:

Are you a leader in a Christian organization? Is your church, ministry, or business lacking innovation? Perhaps you’re experienced in trying new things and moving in new ways, but you haven’t ever tried anything strange. Truly innovative leaders are often considered strange. Don’t settle for everyday leadership; immerse yourself in Strange Leadership!

Greg gives 40 different ways the Bible teaches us to be strange leaders. Greg pulls from Scripture to illuminate these concepts and, from the words and writings of other leaders, to drive them home. Strange Leadership is practically an encyclopedia on the subject of innovation.

Here’s what some key leaders are saying about the book:

Innovation is imperative in today’s leadership culture. Strange Leadership reminds us all that innovation is about doing a whole new thing, that ultimately flows from God, the Chief Innovator. Thanks Greg for pointing us back to our true source for innovation and inspiration. – Brad Lomenick, President and Key Visionary of Catalyst and Author of The Catalyst Leader

Strange Leadership provides leadership help to teach you how innovation can come about in your life and organization by keeping God at the center and will equip you with practical thoughts to lead with integrity. – Pete Wilson, Senior Pastor of Cross Point Church and Author of Plan B and Let Hope In

To be effective, church leaders must be open to innovation. We have to be willing to allow something new to happen in our churches as we seek God’s leading; we have to stay on the cutting edge, so we can be relevant in the world we are trying to reach. One of the best ways to stay innovative is to listen to and learn from those who model biblical innovation every day, like my friend Greg Atkinson. – Nelson Searcy, Founder and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, Author and Founder of ChurchLeaderInsights.com

Because leadership in Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom is so different and distinct from the world, it is “strange leadership.” In his book, Greg offers practical and helpful thoughts on leading others as one under the rule of God. – Eric Geiger, Author and Vice President LifeWay Christian Resources

Strange Leadership is an engrossing and enchanting collection of probes into the emerging field of innovation studies. It is filled with firecrackers, and sometimes even fireworks.  Leonard Sweet, best-selling author, professor (Drew University, George Fox University), Chief Contributor to sermons.com

It’s not a coincidence that God chose to introduce himself in the first verse of the Bible as a “Creator.”  I believe God puts a far higher value on creativity and innovation than most people believe.  That’s why I’m thrilled with Greg Atkinson’s new book.  It’s a wake up call to the Church and a powerful reminder that change is here whether we’re ready or not, and whether we like it or not.  Leaders – dismiss this book at your peril.  – Phil Cooke, Ph.D. – Filmmaker, Media Consultant, and author of Unique:  Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media

What’s Should You Do?

To find out more about the book and/or to order your copy today, go HERE. Your support of my ministry and this new book project are a great encouragement to my ministry to church leaders around the world. There is a free downloadable team discussion guide on the book website. We encourage you to order multiple copies for your whole team and go through it with them. Innovation is possible and you might just find that you don’t mind being called a “Strange Leader.”

*** I want to encourage you to connect with me and the book online:

  • Follow @StrangeLeader on Twitter HERE.
  • Follow @GregAtkinson on Twitter HERE.
  • “Like”  the book and my author page on Facebook HERE and keep up with my writing, work and ministry to the Church.
  • Be sure to check out my first video podcast about the book on the Pastor Fury Podcast. Go here to check it out: http://armansheffey.com/iTunes 
  • Join our Thunderclap campaign to get the word out about the book’s official release date (April 29th). It will take you less than 5 minutes to help me out. Go HERE.

Thanks for your support!

Join the Strange Leadership Pre-Release Party!

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This Tuesday, April 15th (Tax Day), some friends of mine are throwing a Pre-Release Party for my new book Strange Leadership. We’ll be doing some fun stuff, giving away cool stuff and I’ll be a guest on a couple of live podcasts talking with church leaders about the book. I don’t want you to miss out on a thing, so go HERE to join the Pre-Release Party. Join in the fun and thanks for your support!

To read more details about the book and look around the book website, go here: StrangeLeadership.com

Monday, be sure to check out my first video podcast about the book on the Pastor Fury Podcast. Go here to check it out: http://armansheffey.com/iTunes 

February Sponsors – Resources for Your Ministry

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The month of February on GregAtkinson.com was made possible by these amazing sponsors. I highly recommend you check them out:

Using Social Media to Promote Christmas

I came to know pastor Peter Haas through my work with ARC (Association of Related Churches) about 4 years ago. He was an up-and-coming church planter and lead an amazing church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can keep up with him at peterhaas.org. Peter is the author of the book Pharisectomy and is the Lead Pastor of Substance Church.

Recently, Peter did something genius. He teased and promoted their upcoming Christmas service by showing a highlight video clip from the year before – reminding people of how amazing Christmas is at their church. This is a great way to see an increase in attendance and encourage your people to invite their friends to church this Christmas.

Here’s the tweet that Peter sent out:

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And here’s the teaser/promo video:

And yesterday, Troy Page of West Ridge Church sent out this tweet:

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 Here’s their Christmas teaser video:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas from West Ridge Church on Vimeo.

Now tell me you don’t wish you could be at both churches this Christmas. I know I do! This is genius promotion and marketing and it’s magnetic. People are far more likely to invite their friends, neighbors and co-workers with this use of social media to create buzz.

More people are likely to attend your church at Christmas than any other time of year. What are you doing to promote your Christmas services this year?

 

Leveraging Christmas from Chad Hunt

My friend Chad Hunt, from The Barjona Company, has some great ideas for how to leverage Christmas this year for your church. Watch this video to get some great insight, advice and ideas.

leveraging from TheBarjonaCompany on Vimeo.

Speaking at Nebraska Christian College

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Yesterday I left bright and early to fly to Omaha, Nebraska. I spoke last night at The Institute at Nebraska Christian College. I really enjoy speaking at schools and am blessed to speak to young leaders in both colleges and seminaries throughout the country.

Last night at The Institute, I did a 20 minute TED like talk on the basics of Christian leadership, followed by Q & A. I did not pull from my new book Church Leadership Essentials – this was all new material I prepared for the college students, faculty and local pastors that would be attending. Today, I’m meeting with various college students to encourage them in a smaller setting and then preaching for their chapel service at 11am. I’ll be preaching from Luke 15 and sharing God’s heart for the lost. I’ll return home late tonight.

These quick trips to invest in young leaders are a blast and something I love doing. If you’re interested in having me come speak at your school, email me (you can find my contact info on the About page of this website or the Contact page).

Todd Mullins and The Nines Conference

I had the opportunity to meet and befriend Todd Mullins over 15 years ago when we both attended Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary for weeklong intensive classes together. He’s a great leader and just one of the many great speakers you can hear tomorrow and Wednesday at The Nines.

Some other additional information you might find helpful:

  • The nines is designed specifically for church leaders

  • It lasts two days (this Tue/Wed Nov 12-13)

  • Starts at 11:00 EST each day.  (Schedule runs about 5 ½ hours each day)

  • Over 100 of your favorite speakers

  • Each speaker gets just 5 minutes.

  • Its totally online.  (No need for travel arrangements… just watch from your computer).

  • Absolutely free to watch on Tue/Wed.  But you must register at http://thenines.tv

Steve Stroop and The Nines Conference

Years ago, I had the privilege of consulting for Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, TX where Steve Stroop is Senior Pastor. He’s an amazing pastor and leader. Here he is in a sample video of what The Nines Conference is like. The Nines is this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some other additional information you might find helpful:

  • The nines is designed specifically for church leaders

  • It lasts two days (next Tue/Wed Nov 12-13)

  • Starts at 11:00 EST each day.  (Schedule runs about 5 ½ hours each day)

  • Over 100 of your favorite speakers

  • Each speaker gets just 5 minutes.

  • Its totally online.  (No need for travel arrangements… just watch from your computer).

  • Absolutely free to watch on Tue/Wed.  But you must register at http://thenines.tv

  • History:  Was started five years ago on 09/09/09.  Originally, each speaker was given 9 minutes, and there were a total of 99 speakers that first year.  (You get where we got the NINES from!)  Over the years, we’ve kept the name, cut the time each speaker gets from 9 to 5, and grown the event to one of the largest online events for church leaders… attracting leaders from over 50 countries.

  • Fun fact:  We have a feed specifically for our European viewers of the NINES this year.

  • Watch this video to see what the conference is like:

Jesus’ Strategy for Reaching Your Community Without Advertising

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I’m continuing my break from blogging and social media, so I thought I’d share some amazing content from my friend, Tom Harper each day this week. Today’s blog post is genius. I’m on a journey from a life full of pride to walking humbly in the Spirit. You can read about my confession HERE. I set this post to post today on Sunday and am still thinking about it. Pure gold here from Tom.

Tom Harper is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blog www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H).

Last week I was honored to speak at the TurnAround20/20 Conference in Nashville, TN, where I got to meet Tom in person. He graciously offered to provide blog posts for me so I could finish my rest from technology. So enjoy! Here’s Tom’s next blog for this week:

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While engaged in his trial for multimillion-dollar corporate larceny, former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski threw a lavish birthday party for his wife, which the company paid for. That his models-for-hire wore togas and the decorations were awash in opulence weren’t the issues – what hurt him was that a videotape of it all fell into the jury’s hands.

But Kozlowski didn’t corner the market on stupidity and greed. American Airlines’ CEO, Donald Carty, claimed the labor union should share in his company’s bankruptcy. The union responded by eating $1.62 billion in concessions, just before learning the airline’s executives had agreed on a secret personal bonus plan. Carty resigned in disgrace.

In the book of Mark, Jesus demonstrated the proper perspective on publicity by fleeing the spotlight until the right time.

Mark 1:45b-c says, “…Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. But he was out in deserted places, and they would come to him from everywhere.” His star quality at times got in the way of his purpose. Curiously, Jesus’ efforts at muzzling people’s excitement seemed purposefully unsuccessful.

When people realized Jesus fled the crowds, their curiosity drove them to seek him out all the more. Though he shunned the spotlight for most of his ministry, it found him at the right time. This is a masterpiece PR model for today.

Influencing people’s conversations is, of course, the goal of every PR pro. Christ’s example and the unending corporate blunders of today teach us to “purify” our PR by deemphasizing our personal glorification.

Do you constantly pursue media attention, or shy away from it entirely? Both extremes result from focusing on self rather than the organization. If you yearn to see your face on magazine covers, or if you’re the shy type who flees all cameras and reporters, both are equally wrong.

Once I remove my ego from my public relations efforts, the exposure will truly benefit my company, because they’ll pick up on the honesty and (hopeful) humility.

Conversely, perpetual spotlight avoidance prevents my people from developing company pride: they want to boast about the company. They love to be the subject of positive marketplace buzz. Many employees are natural PR machines. When we regularly update our staff on strategy and accomplishments, their instinctive reaction is to communicate it to others.

Discover Someone’s True Character with Two Tests

Tom Harper pic for blog

I’m continuing my break from blogging and social media, so I thought I’d share some great content from my friend, Tom Harper each day this week. Today’s blog post is terrific. I’m on a journey from a life full of pride to walking humbly in the Spirit. You can read about my confession HERE. Today’s blog is about one’s character and also good tips on what to look for when hiring a potential staff member.

Tom Harper is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blog www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H).

Last week I was honored to speak at the TurnAround20/20 Conference in Nashville, TN, where I got to meet Tom in person. He graciously offered to provide blog posts for me so I could finish my rest from technology. So enjoy! Here’s Tom’s next blog for this week:

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What does “good character” mean to you? When you want to hire someone with character, what qualities do you look for?

An employee’s character dictates how he or she will act, regardless of circumstances or who’s watching. German poet von Goethe described it this way: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

The Character Training Institute lists 49 character qualities, including attentiveness, availability, boldness, cautiousness, contentment, creativity, decisiveness, deference, diligence, faith, forgiveness, obedience, punctuality and self-control.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could give a character test to current or prospective employees, without them knowing it? I’ve discovered two basic tests in the book of Luke.

1.  The little things test – Luke plainly states that in all things, it’s the little things that reveal who you can trust: “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much” (Luke 16:10).

Let me give you an example. Sean talked way too much in his initial interview. I even counseled him to listen better at the end of our time together. Guess what happened after I hired him? He never shut his mouth! We replaced him with someone who knew more and talked less.

2.  The humiliation test – How people deal with humiliation is a great way to determine what their character is made of.

When I interviewed Nicholas, he humbly described how failures in the past had cost him his job.

He had been jobless for almost a year. As he poured out his heart about how he had changed through the hard lessons of shame and serious introspection, part of me wanted to say, “Yeah, right,” but another part believed his experience and hard knocks perfectly suited him for our company. Something in me – perhaps my tendency to forgive – drove me to try him out.

Nicholas was so grateful for this job that he fought to prove himself. His unfailing loyalty became a major reason for our company’s success. Like Luke’s story of the Prodigal Son returning home after squandering his early inheritance, I will look for more Nicholases who have been humiliated by failure.