Leadership Lessons from the San Antonio Spurs

Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs crushed the Miami Heat for the third game in a row (including two on the road) to win the NBA Championship Title. I have pulled for Tim Duncan and the Spurs since Duncan came into the league. As I watched the game, I was inspired to write about leadership lessons that we can all learn from the well-coached San Antonio Spurs.

  1. Build, don’t buy.
    They say the Miami Heat is the best team money can buy. The San Antonio Spurs have chosen to build their team through the draft, recruiting good team players (not necessarily superstars). This resonates with my personal philosophy of ministry for the past 20 years. The first 11 years of ministry, I was a worship pastor. I recruited and built a worship team/band at every church I served. Yes, I had heard of churches that paid their band, but I didn’t agree with this philosophically. It takes very little leadership to show up and lead worship with a paid band.

    It takes true leadership to recruit, train and lead/build a team of musicians and shepherd them in a way that they grow spiritually and musically. I remember spending tons of times in local music stores, getting to know musicians and finding talent in our community. I’ve tried to mentor several worship leaders and teach them this crucial concept. It’s what I call “shaking the bushes.” I always say, “You have to go out and shake the bushes. Get to know the musicians in your city.” And to be blunt: You can’t do this if you sit in your office all day playing guitar.I was a guest on the Church Tech Weekly podcast last week and we went into great detail about leading, shepherding and being an equipper vs a doer. We were talking about the great shift that is taking place for technical directors that are now needed to be leaders and equippers and not doers who actually run equipment on Sundays. It was a great conversation that would benefit all church leaders to listen to, including Executive Pastors and Senior Pastors.

  2. Failure is part of leadership. Get back up.
    The Spurs lost to the Heat in the NBA Finals last year. They used that failure to light a fire in their hearts and fuel their passion to get back and win it all. Tim Duncan said it lit a fire in all of them, which is easy to see as they are the #1 team in the league this year, with the best record in the NBA.

    In my new book on innovation and leadership, I talk about the role failure plays in innovation and the importance of progressing forward and getting back up after you fall down. The Spurs didn’t dwell in their loss. They didn’t let loss define them. They learned from it, grew from it and went back to work on how to overcome it. The fact that they are back in the Finals this year again, shows their dedication to excellence and a culture of winning. It’s also a tribute to their amazing coaching and team leaders that set the tone for the rest of the team.

  3. We, not me. It’s all about teamwork.
    If you’re a fan of good basketball (like me), then you can’t help but love and appreciate how the Spurs play the game. They are the most unselfish team in the league. They play team ball and constantly encourage one another. Their players are unselfish and teachable. They are passionate and engaged whether on the court or on the bench. When something good happens on the court, you can see the entire bench cheering the players on.

    Lebron James played a good game each night, but it wasn’t enough. He was one man playing a united team that was functioning on all cylinders. This philosophy of team ball and unselfish play comes straight from future Hall of Fame Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “Pop” is a great example of an excellent leader who has built something special that will go down in history. To see a short sample of their teamwork and the amount of passes that they do before taking a shot, take a look at this video.

  4. Be healthy. Promote balance.
    The Spurs are the most balanced team in the NBA. They are as good defensively as they are offensively. They shut down Lebron and the very talented Heat team for most of the Finals. They are also a team with depth – having there bench lead the league in scoring. Competence exists at all levels of their team (whether or not they’re coming off the bench). Do you have depth in your organization? Do you have balance?
  5. Be in it for the long-term. Longevity is key.
    Coach Popovich is the longest tenured coach, not only in the NBA (18 years), but in 4 major sports. He has built something magnificent. Tim Duncan has been with the Spurs for 17 years. Tim Duncan is the only player in NBA history to start for a Championship team in 3 different decades. Let that sink in!

    Duncan, Parker and Ginobili (the Spurs “Big Three”) have been together for over a decade. This year they passed the Showtime Lakers trio of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper as the second-most durable trio in NBA history.Too many leaders skip around. I wrote about long-term leadership in both of my leadership books. Dig your feet in, plant roots and build something to be proud of.

The Heat are great and very talented. They’ve won Championships and will probably win again, but if I’m building a team, I’m going to approach it the Spurs’ way. I think if we learn from what the Spurs value and teach, there is much to be gained. How are you building your team? What do you think we could learn from the Spurs?

My Top 5 Leadership Podcasts

podcast

One thing I write about in my books and on my blog is that leaders are learners. One way that I continue to learn is through conferences, though there are only so many I can attend each year. Another (and cheaper) way that I continue to learn are through podcasts. Here is a list of my Top 5 leadership podcasts (in no particular order) that I listen to for personal and professional growth.

UNSEMINARY podcastunSeminary Podcast with Rich Birch 

Are you looking for practical ministry help to drive your ministry further … faster? Have a sinking feeling that your ministry training didn’t prepare you for the real world? Hey … you’re not alone! Join thousands of others in pursuit of stuff they wish they taught in seminary. Published every Thursday the goal of the unSeminary podcast is to be an encouragement to Pastors and Church Leaders with practical help you can apply to your ministry right away.

Andy Stanley podcastAndy Stanley Leadership Podcast

Welcome to the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, a conversation designed to help leaders go further, faster. Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia. For additional information, visit andystanley.com.

Catalyst podcastCatalyst Podcast 

The Catalyst Podcast delivers practical leadership and cultural insights through in-depth interviews with renowned leaders, sought after speakers and best-selling authors. Additionally, each episode features the profile of a Next Generation Leader who is uniquely and courageously engaging culture in their community.

Perry Noble podcastPerry Noble Leadership Podcast

Perry Noble is the Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina. NewSpring began as a group of fifteen people meeting in a living room and has grown to more than 25,000 weekly attenders at 8 locations across the state. Perry will be the first to say that there’s no secret formula for being a successful leader, but there is a PERFECT example: Jesus Christ. This podcast is for those who are ready to be challenged in their faith and stretched as leaders and for those willing to do whatever it takes to be more like Jesus.

Rainer podcastRainer on Leadership

Thom Rainer is the President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources and he has a great podcast for all those in church leadership. Very informative and encouraging, this podcast is a go-to resource for pastors.

 

What are your favorite podcasts right now?

He Is Risen, An Easter Song by Paul Baloche & Graham Kendrick

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Two of my songwriting and worship leading heroes have come together to create a great new worship song that is perfect for Easter. I hope you’ll check it out. Here are the lyrics:

He Is Risen

By Paul Baloche & Graham Kendrick

Early morning break of dawn
Stumbling to the tomb
Standing awestruck wondering who
Rolled away the stone
And as the sun came up
Amazed they looked inside
A voice, an angel clothed in light
Don’t be afraid, He is alive!

He is risen 
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Christ is risen
Let the whole world sing
Christ is risen 
Christ is risen from the dead

Sing, with all creation sing
Of a world made new
In His life we too may live
Bursting from the tomb
And looking up we see
Our King enthroned on high
His wounds of love now glorified
Rejoice, for soon He’ll burst the skies

 

Copyright © 2013 Thankyou Music & Integrity Worship Music/Leadworship Songs

CCLI Number: 6606369

Watch Paul lead the song live:

What songs are you planning to use this Easter at your church?

Kari Jobe and the Easter Song You Need to Sing at Your Church

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Many people don’t realize that I was a worship leader for 12 years and have been involved in worship ministry in some way for the last twenty-plus years. I also have a degree in music/worship. One thing I love doing is finding new songs and sharing them with friends in ministry. With my platform via my blog and as the Editor of Christian Media Magazine, I get to share with a large audience.

So here you go: The song that I predict will be heard all around the world this year on Easter. I stumbled across this live video of Kari Jobe singing Forever with Brian Johnson and Bethel Live some time ago. I wanted to introduce you to it today because Kari Jobe’s new single will be available on iTunes tomorrow 2/18/14. I’ve always been a big fan of Kari Jobe and the spirit in which she leads worship. I encourage you to purchase this song and help it go straight to #1. Now death where is your sting?

Want to experience like I first did? Watch this video:

*** Get the chord chart HERE

*** You can download the song from iTunes HERE.

*** Also released is this song on MultiTracks.com. Get your tracks for this song HERE.

Check out the new Christian Media Magazine

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Most of you know I’m the Editor of Christian Media Magazine. What you probably don’t know if I just finished overseeing a long rebranding project. We worked with my friends, the good people of Sheepish Design – who by the way could really help out your church or ministry.

So check out CMM on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+ and be sure to visit our new website and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. It’s a great resource for your ministry! Christian Media Magazine is a ministry help and resource to pastors, church leaders, volunteers, worship leaders, executive pastors, tech directors, youth pastors, kids pastors – you name it. We’ve got great posts to keep you informed and educated on all media, including social media, entertainment, worship, production, leadership and mobile. Check us out!

Apple Holiday TV Ad – Misunderstood

He looks like an anti-social teen, but he has a surprise for the whole family. Watch this twice. It’s awesome the second time. Merry Christmas from Apple.

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?

 

O Holy Night Acoustic

O Holy Night picture

Yesterday I wished you a Merry Christmas. To all my worship leader friends: here’s something you might can use this holiday season. Years ago I arranged the classic Christmas carol “O Holy Night” for a chill, relaxed, acoustic vibe. Of course you could add other instruments to the song besides an acoustic guitar (like the recording). Make it your own and let it inspire you to give a different approach to your Christmas worship this season.

O Holy Night – PDF Chord Chart

O Holy NIght – Acoustic demo version