Stop Trying to Be a Super Leader


I know what you’re thinking? What’s wrong with excellence and trying my best at leadership? Nothing. We should strive to lead with excellence. What I’m referring to is going to an extreme where we try to be SuperMan, SuperMom, SuperLeader, SuperPastor, etc.

I came to this realization last year when I took a sabbatical and God opened my eyes to my pride. You see, I took pride in being a SuperPastor and thought that no other pastor was as dedicated as me. I would meet with men in my church that needed counseling and a listening ear until midnight or 1am (leaving my wife and kids at home). I thought I was an amazing pastor and super leader.

The truth is this unhealthy practice of late nights helping others fed my ego, made me look down on other leaders/pastors and was a horrible example to my family.

When I returned from my sabbatical I wrote a declaration that I only showed to my wife, that put my foot down and vowed to work within established boundaries and office hours. If someone needed to talk to me, they could make an appointment and meet me in my office (during the day). Of course we all have those midnight phone calls with emergencies (deaths, accidents, etc.). I’m not talking about these situations. I’m talking about things that can be handled during the normal work day, leaving the rest of the evening and night for me to be at home with my family (my first ministry).

Do not overwork yourself just to become wealthy; have enough sense to know when to quit. – Proverbs 23:4 (Voice)

Later, I’ll write more about signs you might be trying to be a Super Hero. For now, what are some boundaries you have placed on your time, life and career to protect your health, life and marriage? Is this something you struggle with?

The 6 Essentials a Leader Must Manage Well

Tom-portrait-150x150Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom 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 He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H). Here’s his post:

So you’re a leader. How are your management skills?

Too many leaders think management is below them, and as a result they fail as leaders. Visionaries have been known to have their heads in the clouds and miss the potholes under their feet.

Good leaders manage well, but not all good managers lead well.

Managing little things prevents big leadership crises.

What are the essential little things that must be managed well?

  • Hiring.  Don’t delegate hiring important positions. Hiring well now prevents management issues later.
  • Talent management.  If someone isn’t utilizing their talents in their job, they will feel unsatisfied. They might eventually leave if it goes on long enough. Restructuring takes advantage of underutilized talent.
  • Employee feedback.  Asking what people think tells them you care about them.
  • Communicated focus.  A one-sentence purpose for everyone helps them manage themselves. Disney’s is Make sure that every Guest has the most fabulous time of his or her life.
  • Mission minutia.  A mission is accomplished one task at a time. Mission must be accomplished in every process, meeting and project.
  • Clear job descriptions.  When people know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, they can be managed less.

A leader makes sure the right processes are in place, then pushes people to improve or speed up those processes.

A leader uncovers hassles people experience on the job. Ray Cockerell, Disney’s former EVP of Operations, used to ask his managers, What happens on your job that makes you want to quit?

If little things aren’t managed well in your organization, they will frustrate your team members. Frustrated people aren’t happy. They don’t produce their best work.

Frustrated employees complain to their coworkers, multiplying frustration like gangrene.

Happy workers create magic.

What do you need to manage more closely?

Recommended resource: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney, by Lee Cockerell


How to Read Strange Leadership


I’m so thankful for all the support and love shown the past week for my new book Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization. Strange Leadership has been a bestseller on Amazon and is doing great in the Church Leadership category. I’m very excited to see how God uses this book to impact leaders.

I asked a good friend of mine (Jay Thompson) to write a Team Discussion Guide for the book that we would give away to leaders (you can get it on the book website for free). Jay is great at writing discussion questions for small groups and I knew he’d be another great set of eyes and ideas to write the questions for the Team Discussion Guide. He did an amazing job and provided a great resource for leaders.

I was talking with Jay on the phone the other day and he said, Greg this is not the kind of book you read in one sitting. It’s way too comprehensive and has way too many ideas to ponder and think through. You have to take it a chapter at a time and slowly work your way through the book. I agree. By the way, that’s why I wanted a Team Discussion Guide. I knew leadership teams would need to slowly go through the book a chapter at a time.

I got a message on Twitter the other day from a pastor who said he was going to read a chapter a day and write a review in about 45 days. That’s great. I’m writing this post to encourage you to go at your own pace and allow God to speak to you through the book.

Strange Leadership has been called an encyclopedia on innovation. I think that describes the book well. Nobody would sit down and read straight though an encyclopedia. You would take your time and savor each section or chapter. It may seem strange, but that goes with the territory.

Also, please note: You must read the Introduction of the book – it’s essential. Some say it’s the best chapter of the entire book. This is a book that you need to read completely – the Preface, the Introduction, all 40 chapters and then the Conclusion. They all work together to create an environment where God can speak to you. It may take you a while to complete it, but it will be worth it in the end.

If you haven’t got your copy of the book yet, go here to get it. Thanks and I pray God uses this book to lead you into new ways of doing ministry. Be strange!

Strategy and Organization in the Church


[The following is a brief excerpt from one chapter of my new book Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization. Go to the book’s website for more info:]

My top two spiritual gifts are leadership and administration, so the subject of organization is something I love and gravitate toward. If you have the spiritual gift of administration, you love structure, systems, processes, and org charts. If you don’t, those things probably drive you crazy. Regardless of your primary gifting, it helps to approach leadership with a thirty-thousand foot view and try to see the big picture of what’s going on in your organization. The way the body of Christ works is if this is difficult for you, surround yourself with other leaders who this is natural for.

In my travels, speaking, consulting, and conversations with leaders of all types, I’ve discovered a major reason they are not getting the results they desire is due to a system designed to give them the exact result they’re getting. If your system is designed to fail, you will fail every time. If your organization’s culture is one of creativity, innovation, trust, and you have a healthy system in place, there is no limit to what you as a team can accomplish (through the Holy Spirit). Do you think the Bible cares about organization? I do. Read the story of Moses and his father-in-law in Exodus 18:13-26.

I thank God for including the story of Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro. In this story, we see Moses was a man with flaws and had made a poor decision on how to best go about judging the people. Maybe he didn’t have the gift of leadership or administration. He did, however, have the wisdom to listen to someone who did, and the Bible tells us this gave Moses new strength to carry out whatever God commanded him. The people also flourished in their settings. It was a win-win.

Greg Atkinson

The book The Externally Focused Quest by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw has some great thoughts on this as well. I could easily quote chapters of it for you, but I’ll just encourage you to read it.

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
Luke 6:43 (NIV)

It’s crucial to recognize your system could be choking the life, health, creativity and innovation out of your organization. My encouragement to you is to have someone with the gift of administration evaluate your systems. This could be someone in your church (maybe a business leader who will volunteer), a gifted staff member, or an outside consultant who can come in and look at the big picture.

One Scripture I’ve found myself quoting to church leaders often is when Jesus told his disciples to be wise as serpents (Matt. 10:16). In The Message, verse 16 reads, be as cunning as a snake. I am often referring to this verse when I’m engaged in helping an organization with strategic planning and overall strategy.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with strategy when it comes to church leadership. Of course we need to always be sensitive and open to the Spirit’s leading and sudden change, but God can be with us in the strategy and planning of any organization. So as you set up your systems, structure, and processes, I would suggest two thoughts: keep it simple and keep it fluid or flexible.

Neil Cole, director of Church Multiplication Associates said, Simplicity is the key to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation. If the process is complex, it will break down early in the transference to the next generation of disciples. The more complex the process, the greater the giftedness needed to keep it going. The simpler the process, the more available it is to the broader Christian population (Cultivating a Life for God, page 10). Albert Einstein said, Out of complexity, find simplicity. I agree. You might have seventy-five staff members on your team, but this doesn’t mean you can’t approach your structure and processes in such a way in which they are simple to share, quote, and move people through. Did you know research strongly backs this principle?

The book Simple Church is full of thoroughly researched and proven principles. I want to strongly encourage you to read it if you haven’t already. In Simple Church, the authors, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger, tell us that in general, simple churches are growing and vibrant. Churches with a simple process for reaching and maturing people are expanding the kingdom … Conversely, complex churches are struggling and anemic. Churches without a process or with a complicated process for making disciples are floundering. As a whole, cluttered and complex churches are not alive. Our research shows that these churches are not growing. (Simple Church, page 14).

*** Also be sure to download the FREE Team Discussion Guide on the book’s website and go through the book with your entire leadership team.


Why Passion Matters


God has wired you uniquely and specially—your DNA and what makes you tick is different from mine and those around you. God has a personal plan for your life (Jer 29:11). Often, when God wants to use you for something significant, he will give you a passion for a cause or area of ministry. This is the H or heart in your SHAPE profile by Rick Warren. Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church says, Every person has a fondness for a certain cause, need, or group of people. This is reflected in our conversations and is deeply tied to our emotions. God will put his finger on something in your area of passion to use you for His cause.


Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. â€”Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)


The Bible instructs us to guard our heart. In the NLT, it goes on to say for it determines the course of your life. Where you go next and what you do next may be directly tied to your heart and passion. This is key for the innovative and strange leader. In a blog post at, Kevin DeYoung encourages pastors:

Let your person constantly be refined by the spirit of God, and let the truth of God’s word shine through your own personality. God is the one who gave you your unique personality and like it or not, He has a purpose and plan for it.


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

—Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)


In the next chapter, we’ll look at the role vision plays in the life of the leader. Andy Stanley said, Vision is always accompanied by strong emotion [or passion]. And the clearer the vision, the stronger the emotion. (Visioneering p. 10) Another -ion I could list as a way to lead an innovative organization is by conviction, but to me this is closely tied with passion so I’m combining them.

I believe God gives you a passion, and this becomes a conviction for you. Like Christ, you won’t let anything deter you from what you feel led to do, pursue, or change. Jeremiah had a similar passion and conviction about sharing God’s word and speaking on His behalf. Look at this awesome verse:


But if I say, ‘I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,’ His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up

in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. —Jeremiah 20:9 (niv)


A heart check

Jeremiah, like so many of God’s servants over the years was living a passionate life based on the conviction he needed t be obedient to God’s call on his life. Jeremiah knew his shape,even though it wasn’t called this then. Do you know your shape?  I encourage you to take a SHAPE profile and read more about it in Rick Warren’s best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life. Rick writes in his Ministry ToolBox : At Saddleback, we talk about the five different factors that make up a person’s SHAPE: Spiritual gift(s), Heart, Abilities, Personalities, and Experiences. Why is this important? Why should we bother figuring out how God has shaped us? I’ll give you five benefits. Warren then promises these five benefits from understanding your SHAPE.: reduces stress, increases success, determines how you learn, deepens satisfaction, and builds self-esteem.

Rick Warren says, The heart represents the core of your desires, hopes, interests, dreams, ambitions, and affections. The heart is the seat and source of all your intentions and motivations, what you love to do and care most about. Your heart is the real you, what you really are, not what others think you are or what circumstances pressure you to be. The heart determines why you say and do what you do, and feel the way you do about it. Just as each of us has a unique heartbeat, so God has given each of us a unique Emotional Heartbeat that signifies our passion in living.

What you are passionate about reveals your emotional heartbeat—find your passion and you will find your heart. And God looks upon the heart. And God wants you to serve Him out of heartfelt passion, not duty. There are two basic characteristics that determine when you are serving God from your heart. First is enthusiasm: You will be working out of love and enjoyment. Second is effectiveness: When you do what God has shaped you to love doing, you will get good at it.

Throughout the course of human history, many have led from their heart and passion and many were thought to be strange— this goes with the territory. The beautiful thing about this concept to me is when you tap into your passion, the ministry, and service you do just flows out and you are less likely to burnout. Leading from passion is a secret to endurance and success in life and ministry. When God wants to do a new thing (innovation) through you, He may very well start with something near and dear to your heart. He may give you a passion for something He wants to change or be done differently. Follow your heart. Follow your passion and be obedient to God’s call.


The following is a book excerpt from my new book Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.



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

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

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: 
  • 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!

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 6.24.57 PM


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:

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

The Secret to Good Customer Service

Tom-portrait-150x150Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom 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 He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H). Here’s his post:

‘You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?’ asks the LORD., Malachi 1:13b

A few years ago, I signed up for a new online banking account and ran into problems. The site told me representatives eagerly awaited my call, so I took them up on their offer.

While I dozed during the on-hold music, someone finally mumbled a quiet string of syllables containing the word help. I explained my problem. Then re-explained it. After some frustrating banter, he summoned his boss, who offered to transfer me to their Web department. No thanks.

Pride motivated me to start the online process again. But of course I got stuck in the same place and called them back, and after another runaround, the lady promised to credit my account a whole $5 as part of their five-star service guarantee. I finally figured out the problem on my own. (I never received the $5.)

In another frustrating instance, I got home from an international trip, but my luggage didn’t. Seems the airline decided the plane was too heavy and pulled bags off indiscriminately. No one let me know my suitcases weren’t on the plane, so I waited at the carousel until other people’s baggage became more familiar than my own. I filed a claim at the airline’s counter and was told my stuff would be delivered as soon as possible.

The next day, a delivery guy left a message that he was in the area and needed directions to my house (even in the day of GPS and Google maps), but we never connected. The following day a different driver was on the job and left a message regretting that I wasn’t there to accept my bags. Finally, on the third try, a guy dropped by with the goods. He seemed impatient that I had been such a difficult customer.

Where is the heart of service in most organizations today?

Speaking on behalf of employers, we really do want to hire people who were born to serve! But they’re hard to find.

The Old Testament prophet Malachi brings ancient wisdom to bear on the issue. He stresses that God demands his people’s best, both in their service to him, but more importantly in their hearts. The prophet implores them to quit focusing on the process of worship and sacrifice, and rather change their hearts about what they give to God. They thought their pious rites were what God wanted.

In the same way, employee training is good, but it’s even more important to hire people who are already caring, helpful and friendly at their cores. When someone has a heart for finding solutions, reading a customer service script is the furthest thing from their mind.

Why Do So Many Pastors Leave The Ministry?


The following is a book excerpt from my friend, Bo Lane’s new book Why Pastors Quit. Read on…

As we were driving home the other day, my wife, Melissa, made a passing comment that caused me to reflect on my time as a pastor. She said, God called you to be a pastor. Before I thought twice, I blurted out a response: But did He really?

Melissa leaned back, as if God was about to strike our car with lightening and send me down to a fiery pit of eternal damnation. I smiled.

Maybe God make a mistake, I said, or maybe I was just listening to all the wrong voices.

Growing up, I was a typical church kid. I said all the right things. I listened to all the sermons. I went to all the classes and volunteered wherever I was needed most. I joined the worship team at the age of twelve and was highly active in our small, but dedicated, youth group.

But on the inside, regardless of my involvement, nothing much was happening, nothing was really connecting deep within me so, I faked it. For quite some time, actually. And I was pretty good at faking it too. Or so I thought.

I wanted people to think that I was a good kid who had a good relationship with Jesus. But that wasn’t the case at all. I was a self-centered young man who cared more about what people thought of me than what God thought of me. I cared more about disappointing others than I cared about disappointing God.

But eventually (and thankfully) there came a time when the inner me and the external me collided. I was faced with a question: Who are you living for?

At the age of seventeen, sitting on the edge of my bed, I made the decision to follow Jesus and devote the entirety of my life to him. I made the decision to drop the hoax and start my own journey toward Jesus. From that moment on, I was like the Cookie Monster, trying to devour as much as I could as fast as I could.

And, for the first time in my life, I cared about Jesus.

Around that same time, I found myself in a unique situation. Within the course of two months, four different people approached me, at completely random times, with these words: I feel God is calling you to be a pastor.

One of those times in particular came when a guest, a pastor of a church in Wyoming, was visiting our church. During the middle of his message, he stopped, turned to where I was sitting, looked directly at me and echoed those same words: Son, God is calling you to be a pastor.

Right in the middle of his sermon. In a room full of people. He stopped and turned and looked at me and called me out. And that was it.

I became a pastor.

Long story short, my journey as a pastor had quite a few ups and downs. I was employed as an associate pastor for a number of years, working in churches throughout Oregon, Iowa, and California. Although there were many aspects of serving in full-time ministry that I loved, there were more things that happened along the way that made a negative impact on both myself and my family. After I resigned from the pastorate, it took several years of forgiving and getting plugged in to a healthy church before I really began to heal from the hurt.

A few years later I found myself working in the IT department at a local medical clinic. I remember a co- worker coming to me and asking if I wouldn’t mind talking and praying for her friend who was going through a challenging time. I was far from the pulpit, again I’d left full-time ministry a few years prior to this, and far from giving this lady the advice I thought she deserved.

Or so I felt.

As I talked and prayed with this lady, I couldn’t stop thinking about the whys behind leaving the ministry. The whys, not just for me but for the countless pastors who resign or are handed their pink slips, are quite shocking.

It’s true that some pastors fall into temptation and yet others simply feel it’s their time to call it quits. But often it goes much deeper than that.

And the surveys, one I found particularly interesting, reveal some stunning stats:

Most pastors are overworked.

Ninety percent of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week and 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.

And 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.

Most pastors feel unprepared.

Ninety percent feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands and 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they began.

Many pastors struggle with depression and discouragement.

Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression and 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

Wait, this is huge. Let’s pause here for a moment.

This means that half of the 1,700 or so pastors who leave the ministry each month have no other way of making a living. Their education and experience is wrapped up solely in the work of the ministry.

So, not only do pastors struggle with their choice to leave ministry, they have to worry about how they are going to feed their families.

Speaking of families, most pastor’s families are negatively impacted.

Eighty percent believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Equally, eighty percent of spouses feel the pastor is overworked and feel left out and under- appreciated by church members.

Many pastors are lonely.

Seventy percent do not have someone they consider a close friend and 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.

And then there is this:

Fifty percent of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. One out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form. And 4,000 new churches begin each year while 7,000 churches close.

Unfortunately, the statistics speak for themselves.

Working in ministry, whether you’re a full-time pastor or a lay minister balancing a job and a church, can be challenging and overwhelming. Families suffer and discouragement and depression, amongst a gamut of other things, runs like a river in the lives of those who sacrifice their own life to the cause of the church.

After I left the pastorate I was lonely and frustrated. I had given many years of my life to something I felt abandoned me. I questioned for many years the call of God on my life. Even today, some seven years after resigning I still have many questions that have gone unanswered. Maybe I was never actually called to be a pastor. Maybe God had a different plan for my life. Maybe God got it wrong. Or maybe I got it wrong.

Maybe we’ve all got it wrong.

Maybe it’s just our way of responding to an emotional connection we’ve made with Jesus along the way. Maybe it’s an obligation. Maybe it’s our response to what others have felt for us.

Maybe God calls us to be disciples and then calls us to holiness. Maybe that’s it. Maybe He doesn’t call us at all. Maybe He’s just waiting for us to decide.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

I’m not sure this sort of death, sacrificing our lives for the sake of the pastorate, is what he was referring to.


BIO: Bo Lane is the founder of and the author of Why Pastors Quit. He is married to Melissa and they have two beautiful children, Benjamin and Bella.

How to Multiply Your People’s Long-term Satisfaction

Tom-portrait-150x150Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom 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 He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H). Here’s his post:

‘Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them — this is the Law and the Prophets.’ , Mt 7:12 

In the famous Golden Rule, Christ taught followers how to live with each other, not just work together. He told them to treat their neighbors, coworkers, family, friends, like they themselves would want to be treated.

If you’ve ever worn a sports shirt or jacket made out of GORE-TEX, you may not realize that Gore, an 8,000-employee company, has operated without an organizational chart or formal chain of command since 1958. Teams hold each other accountable. Volunteer leaders emerge within the teams based on their knowledge or skills.

One of Bill Gore’s guiding principles is Freedom to encourage, help, and allow other associates to grow in knowledge, skill, and scope of responsibility. People growth comes before company growth, the Golden Rule at work.

Years ago I worked at Prism Radio, which owned three stations and had about 40 employees. Prism flew me and several other reps from around the country to Florida for sales training. They threw great Christmas parties, occasional mid-week celebrations, and in an industry known for fun-loving, we led the pack.

One year, the whole sales department went to Chicago to celebrate a great quarter. We later drove to Virginia for a thrill ride on the rapids of the Gauley River. We often picked up our clients in limos and took them to lunch. When the COO came to town, he encouraged rather than berated. My former boss and I are still great friends 15 years later.

In A Stake in the Outcome (Currency, 2002), author Jack Stack tells how he taught his employees at SRC Holdings the basics of finance and then provided them with all the information they needed to monitor their own performance. Five years after implementing the program, SRC went from a startup with heavy debt to a profitable $43 million in sales. In 2007, SRC reached $300 million with 1,200 employees. Thousands have traveled from all over the world to tour the company and discover exactly how Stack built this culture of success.

In addition to providing meaningful work and a sense of significance to his people, he gave them stock in the company. Several became millionaires as a result. SRC invested in employee-owned spinoffs, ultimately creating a portfolio of 47 businesses. Inc. magazine named SRC one of America’s most competitive small companies.

These three companies proved the value of treating people like gold: dividends that multiply in unforeseen ways, for years to come.