Captivology

March 27, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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Captivology was a challenging book for me. On the one hand, I totally agree with the premise of the book—that we should be aware of the things that capture people’s attention, and use those things to get our message across. I think that’s what good speakers, and good leaders, naturally do.

On the other hand, I am also very aware of how those things can be used to manipulate people. Honestly, there is nothing that can be done about that; I can’t control what other people do. But I can seek to be wise, and act with integrity, in my own use.

It was interesting to me that there are different things that capture people’s short or long-range attention. I’d never thought of that, but it makes sense. Any technique, like surprise, that works in the short-term will wear out in the long-term. It gets old, and then becomes predictable—which means it won’t grab our attention.

The influence that comes with having a reputation will be longer-lasting. People who are experts in their fields have people’s attention because of who they are and what they’ve done, not because of some attention-grabbing technique. Again, that makes sense.

The two areas it seems like there is particular application for, at least in a church context, are in preaching/teaching, and in community awareness.

All of the things that can be used to capture people’s attention could be used in a sermon setting. One of the biggest challenges any communicator faces is in getting, and keeping, people’s attention. I think we can often take it for granted; I wonder what the impact would be if we consciously tried to incorporate some of these ideas into our styles or delivery? I’ve never been intentional about that, but I intend to try, and see if it makes a difference.

In terms of community awareness, I think the sad truth is most churches are invisible in their community. There is little, if any, awareness of who a particular church is, or what they do or stand for. Using some of these ideas to build awareness, or in other terms, to build an identity, could be a very powerful way of letting people in our community know we exist.

I heard a pastor recently talk about his church’s vision for the year, and one aspect of that was letting everyone in their area know they exist. He wasn’t assuming that everyone would come to his church, but wanted everyone to know who they were, so that anyone who was looking for a church like theirs would be able to find them. He didn’t want anyone to miss out because they didn’t know about his church. I think these ideas would apply very directly in building that kind of awareness.

So what was your reaction? How would you apply some of the ideas in Captivology? Share your thoughts—I think we could all benefit from them.

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The Ideal Team Player

March 13, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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I can’t remember ever having a conversation with a pastor on the topic of building teams. I’ve had lots of conversations about hiring staff, and recruiting volunteers, but not any about putting together a great team, and what is needed for that to happen.

The Ideal Team Player touches on some helpful aspects of that topic. Lencioni really focuses in on character qualities, as opposed to focusing on skills or talents. Not the traditional ones you will find churches talking about, like the character qualities needed to be an elder, but the ones that make someone a good team player. They are different. You can be a person of good character—honest, devout, faithful to your spouse, etc.—and not be a good team player. (more…)

Saving Time or Spending Time?

February 28, 2017 in Leaders Tips Videos
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Focusing on saving time isn’t the best way to manage your time. Here’s a better approach.

Video Transcript

This week’s Leaders Tip is about time management. Most of us when we approach time management think of it from a standpoint of “How can I save time? How can I get things done faster or cut corners so that at the end of the day I’ve got time left for other things I want to do?” (more…)

The Most Excellent Way to Lead

February 27, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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I really enjoyed The Most Excellent Way to Lead, mostly because it brings a fresh approach to looking at leadership. That’s ironic, because talking about love shouldn’t be unusual. But in terms of leadership, it’s seldom a focus. I can remember maybe 2-3 books that touch on this in some way, but that’s about it.

Noble really gets at the heart of leadership, or maybe better to say, the heart of the leader. Especially in the church, a leader’s motivation above all should be love for his/her people. Unfortunately, even in the church our motivations can be for lesser reasons—ego, desire for power or attention, competition, etc. (more…)

Essentialism

February 16, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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I loved Essentialism! I think the concepts outlined in this book could be life-changing for many people I know. As I read it, I realized I have been on a journey in that direction for a while, but had never identified it so clearly.

I think identifying that thing, or those few things, that are truly essential is one of the most powerful steps any person can take to improve their life. There is a peace that comes with that kind of focus that doesn’t really come any other way. And it provides an antidote for the crazy-busy lifestyle that many of us have bought into.

It’s actually hard to limit myself to only one or two things—this is a book (more…)

The One-Life Solution

January 30, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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Henry Cloud’s The One-Life Solution could just as easily be titled How to Win at Life. He basically covers the key issues that can sabotage us in our pursuit of a life worth living, and gives next steps in how to address them.

The fundamental issue is learning how to set boundaries. Either we will set them for our lives, or other people will control what we do and how we live. Given that alternative, it’s worth whatever it takes to learn how to set boundaries—decide for ourselves what we will and won’t do, and how we will use our time and energy.

“Most people try to control things they can’t control. All we can really control is ourselves.” That is one of the most important truths any pastor can learn. I know many pastors who feel responsible for how their people live—and I’ve seen how destructive it can be. I remember as a young pastor realizing that I was working harder to help some people change than they were working at their own change. It was a relief, and very healthy, to commit to not working harder for someone than they would work for themselves. (more…)

Talk Like TED

January 19, 2017 in Pastor's Perspective
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Anyone who speaks regularly can benefit from Talk Like TED. TED speakers have become well-known and well-respected for bringing great talks on a wide variety of topics. Learning some of the elements that make them so effective will help any communicator up his or her game. As someone who speaks regularly, I read whatever I can on the topic of communication, so I can keep growing. I found some real gems in Talk Like TED.

The power of story-telling is not a new idea, but I found it a helpful reminder. In particular, I grabbed hold of the fact that stories help the speaker and his audience connect emotionally, in a way that simply giving information or data can never do. And as someone who wants to move people when I speak, it was a great reminder to invest as much time in finding great stories as in finding great content. (more…)