Some leaders believe that customers are their most important priority. Others believe their boss, their board, or their investors are their most important priority.  

Why should your team be your top priority? Different people will have different reasons, but these three are foundational for understanding how business really works, and how companies can win big if they remember who comes first and why.

1.  Without your team, you would have no product. You may have a killer idea, but practically no business is truly a one-person show. However you define your product or service, it almost always takes a team to bring it to market. And that’s definitely true if you want a sizable footprint in the marketplace.
From ideation to implementation, employees, contractors, and consultants help us pull our dreams out of the sky and turn them into real products. I’ve got fifty great ideas right now, but without a team I couldn’t get any more than one or two to market in any given year. With a team, I can marshal creativity, energy, and gifts I don’t have to grow my vision and make a bigger impact than I could on my own.



Book Reviews & Summaries

An Introduction:

Look, I know you're busy and reading takes up that precious time after which many other things are clamoring.  Even as you read this you may feel too rushed to continue. Please do!   I can hardly even get a reply from some leaders about books they'd recommend without hounding them repeatedly - let alone getting them to share insights they have gleaned. Frankly, that troubles me. It makes me wonder just how much we're really reading and how widely. 

How do you explore the interior world of your life,  peer into the mist of who we really are?  Can you Google that? (Actually, I did Google how to grow inwardly and came up with a site on ingrown toenails.)  One of the best ways to grow is through studies of other lives - the flow of time over an emerging life and the wisdom that it draws out. 

We can learn a great deal from the lives of other leaders, through their study and through their stories. The way to become a better  writer, and speaker, is to read and write as much as you can.  C.S. Lewis observed that, "In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself...I see with a myriad of eyes, but it is still I who see ("An Experiment in Criticism"). 

This is not just a service to intellectual types. Stories shape us too.   I want to put that in the mix.  Reading widely is the key to enriching your life.  Put down that remote and try out a book.  Audiobooks might work well for you.  Audible.com, part of Amazon's network, has a vast selection from which to choose - especially if you are commuting or are exercising, for example.  Many of the great books were designed to be experienced out loud.  

"Read  everything  you  can— editorials,  short  stories,  histories, biographies, novels, poems, plays. The world around us is filled with words; take in as many as you can, and then give us some back."  (Prof. Dorsey Armstrong, Purdue University: 

"Analysis and Critique:  How to Engage and Write about Anything")

We welcome suggestions from your own favorite reading list.  Hopefully you are part of a reading group. This quest into good reads may give you some fresh books to pick from. Perhaps you could even start a reading group. Being a part of one has provided some of my best small group experiences.  

This will help you persevere in your reading as well as gain insights from one another.  

Our goal is to give you motivation and support in your reading.   We'll grow together because, "We're better together,"  as someone once wisely said. 

Special Events Key to Reaching Younger and Unconnected Audiences

By Warren Bird   (from Leadnet.org)

For church leaders who are trying to crack the code on more effectively reaching younger generations and those not connected to church, my friend Dr. Scott Thumma has published a report with great insights about the impact of special events on these groups.

Scott worked with online event signup company, Eventbrite, to survey 1,000 people who attended religious special events (conferences, seminars, parties, dinners) in 2013-2014. The data clearly shows a positive relationship between involvement in religious special events and greater faith development (find the full report here: http://www.eventbrite.com/academy/rise-of-religious-special-events/).

Roughly 70% of respondents said participation in special events inside and outside the local church strengthens their faith, helps them feel more connected and meet others of their faith. Nearly half of those surveyed said special events make it easier for them to reach out to others.

Perhaps the most significant finding of the study is that special events have significant appeal to respondents who are 18 to 45 years of age, who attend at significantly higher rates than older people.

It may be one of the reasons megachurches are attracting more young people. Those larger congregations focus on events that were most popular with this age group and with those not affiliated with organized religious groups—especially events with special speakers or volunteer community service activities that include food/drink and music/entertainment.

While 50-60% of the group uninvolved or marginally involved with a religious group occasionally or often attend religious events, about 25% of these unattached folks have a serious interest in such events.  Not surprisingly, they were more likely to be spectators or occasional participants rather than members of a faith community.
These findings are important because they tell us that holding special events—often—is an alternative way of connecting people and helping them grow in their faith. Given the trend that fewer people are attending weekly worship services, special events could be a significant strategy for churches.

A large percentage of people say they want more special events because the gatherings strengthen their faith, connect them to the faith community and people of like faith, make them more likely to give, and give them an easy avenue to invite unchurched friends.

By analyzing Eventbrite’s database, Scott also gleaned some interesting information about event planning by different religious groups, and for metro areas around the country.

For Buddhist groups, over half of ticketed events are classes and seminars, with most being meditation classes and retreats. Islamic events are fairly diverse, with nearly equal proportions of classes, conferences, dinners, and seminars. Jewish special events are largely dinners and parties, while 30% of Christian events are conferences for women, ministry/leadership, and Bible events. New Age/Mystic groups focused over 50% of their events on classes and workshops about healing and meditation.

It is also interesting to note that San Francisco was the fastest-growing city for events, with 83% growth.  That city also boasts the most religious classes, with 38% of the events being classes. Dallas-Fort Worth had the largest proportion of religious conferences relative to other events. New York City had the largest number of religious concerts and parties, and Washington D.C. had the highest proportion of dinners at 18%.

AND: The Gathered AND Scattered Church

CHURCH PLANTING – What is it? What does it look like? What are some of the Questions People are asking? 

Hugh Halter and Matt Smay  give great glimpse into how to live missionally and how Church Planting developed their understanding between the balance of Gathering and Scattering.  This is a great resource ( a must read) for anyone wanting to enter into Church Planting.

Here is  a PDF file with questions to help challenge you and/or your group to better understand what it means to be Gathered and Scattered. The Gathered AND Scattered Church (Small group and Leadership team) Questions

I DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ A BOOK…  check out this link from Hugh Halters blog answering a pastors questions about gathering and scattering and what to do with TIRED PEOPLE!?!?!