Leadership Summit - William L. Ury

William L. Ury spoke on, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Conflict.


  • Going to the balcony. Take your mind to receive a place of clarity and perspective.
  • Greatest obstacle to a successful negotiation, is YOU. We are the biggest barrier to us achieving success.
  • The goal is not the elimination of conflict. We need conflict in life.
  • The greatest power in negotiation is the power NOT to react.

4 Skills to Successfully Negotiate

  1. Focus on People. Separate people from the problem. Draw a fair line between the person and problem. Drawing the line affords you the opportunity to be “soft” on the person and “hard” on the problem. How can you change someone’s mind if you don’t know what’s in their mind? Respect the person by listening. Listen more than you talk.
  2. Focus on Interests, Not Positions. Probe behind the positions to identify the underlying interests.
  3. Developing Multiple Options. Bring creativity to the negotiation.
  4. Be Fair.  A successful negotiation is where both parties win. A healthy negotiation is a win-win negotiation.

Ministry Application

  • Church leaders, especially, must draw a line in conflict resolution between “problem” and “person.” As Christ-followers we lean towards compassion and grace. However, for the sake of the church and culture making tough people-decisions are necessary.
  • Historically, unresolved conflict has divided thousands of churches. Oftentimes, we hear of factions and divisions within the local church. Originally, these were birthed out of unresolved conflict. Be responsible, fair and address conflict early and authentically.
  • Lead with grace and wisdom in every conflict resolution. Pray for grace to honor people and for wisdom to develop fair options.
  • Addressing conflict early minimizes the opportunity of unnecessary gossip.
  • Destroy enemies by turning them into friends.


Leadership Summit - Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni spoke on, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else. Organizational health is the single greatest competitive advantage in business. There are two requirements for success:

  1. Be Smart
    • Smart, Marketing, Finance, Technology
    • 98% of leaders focus on being a smart organization.
  2. Be Healthy
    • minimal politics
    • minimal confusion
    • high moral
    • high productivity
    • low turnover

Healthy organizations include: results, accountability, commitment, conflict and trust. Additionally, there are 4 disciplines of a healthy organization:

  1. Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
    • Team members must be behaviorally aligned.
  2. Create Clarity
    • Example: Dunder Mifflin Mission Statement 
    • A mission statement is not how to identify clarity within an organization. Here are 6 clarity questions to help:
      1. Why do we exist? Core Purpose – “Sometimes why you exist is has nothing to do with what you do, it’s why you do it.” Knowing why you exist guides every decision. Sometimes why you exist has nothing to do with what you do or sell.
      2. How do we behave? Core Values – Identify two to three values which accurately capture the essence of your church. Avoid aspirational values, values you wished described your church. Do NOT violate your core values.
      3. What do we do?
      4. How will we succeed? Strategy – Accessible to everyone. Myriad of organizational decisions that separate from other organizations.
      5. What is most important, right now?
      6. Who must do what?
  3. Over Communicate Clarity
    • If people can’t imitate you when you are not around, you’re not communicating enough.
    • Consistently and clearly communicate why you exist to your staff and members.
  4. Reinforce Clarity
    • Build organizational systems built around your values. Your systems will uphold and reinforce your values.

Ministry Application

  • Why do you exist? Yes, every church is called to glorify God and make disciples. However, every church is uniquely designed by God. How you live out the Great Commission as a church must be defined by who you are in your pure DNA.
  • Focus more on health rather than ministry busyness.
  • Healthy Teams = Healthy Organizations. Be very selective who is on your team. Use core values to shape your hiring.
  • Oftentimes church leaders focus on ministry development, worship programming, event planning, etc. Church leaders need to focus on being a healthy organization, first.
  • Churches struggle with core values. Why? They imitate other churches. They attempt to be all things to all people.
  • Based on your values, sometimes you need to ask people to leave your church staff. It’s the best thing for them & the church.
  • You cannot be all things to all people. To be all things to all people is to be nothing to no one. Your church needs a strategy. A strategy based on 3 Strategic Anchors. Anchors = 3 ways your church is drastically different than any other church.

Leadership Summit with Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel spoke on, Bridging the Generational Gap.

Message to Older Generations: 

  • Don’t resent, fear or judge the next generation. Believe in them.
  • God values maturity. If you are not dead, you are not done.
  • If you delegate tasks, you will create followers. Delegate authority to create leaders.
  • Be yourself. Authenticity trumps “cool” with younger generation.
  • Assume the role of a Spiritual Father to those who come behind you.
  • “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” —Psalm 71:18
Message to Younger Generations:
  • What is the one word that describes 20-somethings in workplace? Entitled.
  • Young leaders overestimate what you can do in the short run.
  • “Honor publicly results in influence privately.” —Andy Stanley
  • Learning to honor God gives us a platform to honor others.

How do you bridge the generational gap? 

  1. Create ongoing feedback loops.
  2. Create specific mentoring moments.
  3. Create opportunities for significant leadership development.

Ministry Application

  • The church must form honorable relationships between the younger and older generation. Much is at stake. Both sides of the relationship must be intentional.
  • Older pastors, know you are not done. Be a spiritual father. Younger pastors, know your time is coming. Be patient and honor senior leaders.

Leadership Summit with Jim Collins

Why do certain leaders and organizations thrive and grow in times of uncertainty?

The X Factor in leadership is humility.

Three Distinctive Leadership Behaviors to Thrive in Times of Uncertainty:

#1 – Fanatical Discipline

Example: 20 Mile March Concept

It is noted in history that two men were challenged to walk across America. Both accepted the challenge, but approached the challenge differently.

Man #1 decided to walk 20 miles everyday, no matter the conditions. Man #2 decided to walk as many miles as he was able, depending on the conditions. If the weather was cold and wet, Man #1 would endure the walk and Man #2 would rest. Who walked across America faster? You guessed it, Man #1.

This illustrates the idea of Fanatic Discipline. Fanatic Discipline is about having a plan or schedule and responding to the variables even if they set you back. Fanatic Discipline calls for organizations and leaders to manage well in good times to have margin in bad times.

“The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency. Consistency is the hallmark of success.” —Jim Collins

What is your 20 mile march? Every church would benefit from identifying a 20 mile march. Being discipline to a certain project or ministry turns good intentions into results.

#2 – Empirical Creativity

The idea of Empirical Creativity is to blend creativity with discipline—not, increasing innovation without discipline. Creativity is natural, discipline is not. The key is to identify what factors are blocking creativity.

Everybody is creative. Creativity is natural. If you are breathing, you are creative. Your goal is to have your discipline elevate your creativity—not eliminate it.

Creativity allows you to stimulate growth by creating new methods and processes.

#3 – Productive Paranoia

It is what you do before bad times. It is how you manage the good times. The greatest danger is being successful without knowing why.

Preserve the core to stimulate progress by changing processes. Meaning in one hand, you hold and preserve core beliefs and an open hand to new practices and processes.

As leaders, are we responsible for our performance? Is it a matter of what we do or what happens to us? Greatness is a matter of conscience choice and discipline.


What makes a great organization, great? 

  • Superior Performance Based on Mission. Are you generating results based on your mission?
  • Distinctive Impact. What would happen if our church disappeared?
  • Achieve Lasting Endurance Beyond Any One Leader. Will your organization still be great when you are gone?
“It is impossible to have a meaningful life without doing meaningful work with people you love doing it with.”

Ministry Application

  • Churches are notoriously known for being complexed and unfocused. Over time we commit to any and every ministry. External factors and trends shape our discipline. Based on the 20 Mile March Concept, I advocate churches to identify their core ministries and beliefs and remain focused and disciplined to produce results.
  • Culture tells us only a select few are creative. In some cases, the word creative is shunned in church. Maybe, because the word is directly tied to flashy props, lights, and more. We have an opportunity to find God inspired creativity deep in our hearts.
  • Hold to your core beliefs as a church and be open to additional thoughts and beliefs.
  • Are you impacting your community? If your church disappeared, would your community care?
  • Are you doing work that really matters?

Leadership Summit with Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice is a former U.S. Secretary of State and Professor of Political Science at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is also a former Stanford University Provost, responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and the academic program for 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students.


  • During troubling times pray, hope and work hard.
  • After struggle comes relief, and after Friday comes a Sunday. It is a privilege to struggle. Out of struggle comes victory (Romans 5).
  • Every life is worthy. Therefore, every life is capable of greatness.
  • No one is condemned forever into the circumstances from which they were born.
  • Delivering compassion is the work of people who believe that every life is worthy.
  • There is a lot that government can do, but it cannot deliver compassion.
  • Compassion is the work that Christians were intended to do.
  • Together we can make a difference to make the world, not as it is, but as it should be.
  • How can we help those who are weak? By helping others see their own leadership qualities and potential.
  • It does not matter where you came from. It matters where you are going.
  • When you’re in positions of authority, you need truth tellers around you.
  • Your calling is defined by your DNA.

Ministry Application

  • Pastors will inevitably experience hard and troubling times. During these times pray and hope. Remember, struggling is a privilege and better days are ahead. What are you doing to fight through tough times and avoid burnout
  • Bringing compassion and hope to the world is not the role of government. Delivering compassion to those in need and hurting is the responsibility of the Church. How is your church delivering compassion locally and globally? 
  • In a moment of tough leadership, Condoleezza Rice literally stood up to Vladimir Putin. Leadership requires courage and boldness. What trials do you need to stand up to?
  • Leadership is helping others find their potential. How does your church equip and empower leaders?


Leadership Summit Session #1: Bill Hybels

Part 1: Community Impact

Recently, Bill Hybels received a brochure from a local church start up; which required him to think about how his community changed over the years.  The brochure clearly communicated why they existed. Bill thoughtfully wondered if the people in the Chicago area still knew why Willow Creek existed as a church.

Do the people in your community know why you exist as church?
Are people aware you exist?

In Luke 8 Jesus communicates to a great crowd of a sower who throws seed on various forms of soil.  Of the seed, 75% fall on forms of soil that did not produce fruit. But, some the seed fell on good soil and produced fruit.  How do you overcome the 75% rejection ratio? Sow more seeds.

Your whole organization takes it sow seeding behaviors from the sow seeding behaviors of the leader.  At Willow Creek Church they encourage staff members to be incessant tinkerers.  Incessant tinkerers are leaders who constantly tinker with their ministry to ensure they are sowing more seed.  As a leader you must remain curious, stay courageous and experimental. A leader who tinkers with his craft will become better with his craft. And when leaders become better, everyone wins. Remember, you are the most difficult person you will ever lead.

Part 2: The 6×6 Concept

Question: What contributions can I make to the church that you and God will both enjoy?

Want to be more focused and productive? Follow Bill’s 6×6 Concept. Identify 6 areas to focus on for 6 weeks. Ensure these 6 areas will push your organization forward.  After the 6 areas are identified, eliminate second tier challenges and projects.

Keep in mind you cannot sprint for 6 months. But,  you can sprint for 6 weeks. Work hard on accomplishing the 6 focus areas over a 6 week period.

Schedule your time and calendar around 6 challenges and focus areas. The 6×6 Concept allows you to remain focused and fired up. Following the concept helps you focus and stay on target with your execution.

Remember, God did not make you a leader to respond to stuff, everyday.  He made you a leader to move stuff ahead, everyday.

How can you push your organization forward over the next six weeks?

Part 3: Succession Planning

Bill is now 60-years old. So Willow Creek is addressing his transition from the senior leadership role. Every church should properly address the succession of leaders.  Here are two ways to execute a succession plan -

  1. Plan
    Do not avoid the obvious. Create a plan of succession.  Ask the right questions in the planning process.
    • Whose job is to find the replacement of senior leader?
    • What is the timeframe of transition?
    • How will the church honor the senior leader of organization?
    • What role will the senior leader play after succession?
  2. Search
    First, seek a successor internally. If needed, seek a successor externally. Once a successor is in place, the senior leader must increase their responsibility. Do not rush the process.

Part 4: Vision and Leadership

When is the vision of a leader and organization most vulnerable: beginning, middle or end?  Visions are extremely vulnerable, not in the beginning or end, but in the middle. Why? Because, you have energy in the beginning and have a renewed energy as you see the end. Vision casting is critical while your vision rests in the middle of the vision cycle.

This concept holds true with life in leadership and ministry.  While leading in the “middle” of your leadership cycle it is of the highest necessity to spend unhurried time with God.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Church must sow seed over and over within their community.  Consistently and clearly communicate to your community and church why you exist.
  • Remember, you are the most difficult person you will ever lead.  Tinker with your trade and leadership skills.  Do not beat yourself up.
  • Do not avoid the “elephant in the room”.  Succession is a critical part of every organization and must be addressed with planning and searching.
  • Visions are extremely vulnerable (not in the beginning or end) but in the middle. Cast and celebrate vision often.

What part or points resonate with you as a leader?


As a child, I remember in the summertime – when I had plenty of free time on my hands – I enjoyed watching the TV show Family Feud for a season of my life. I loved seeing the duels between families. I loved trying to guess the answers correctly and watching the families miss the “obvious answers”. I loved the funny moments with the host talking to the families and the information he drew out of them in conversation. I just loved watching the show. If you ever watched Family Feud, you undoubtedly remember the host pointing to the board and saying “And the survey says…”

The survey was what all the correct answers on the Family Feud were based on. The survey doesn’t lie. On the Family Feud, they did the proper research. They asked the right questions to the right people. They generated the results and then asked the contestants to give an answer based on the survey. The host would say “And the survey says…” and then the ding would indicate the answer. This is not a lie, this is what the survey says.

We’re not thinking enough or we’re thinking too much.

I bring this up today because I see a lot of pastors and leaders in communication ministry guessing about what their audience thinks. They guess about the way their audience wants to receive communications. If they’re not guessing then they’re relying on the words of experts on blogs, in magazines or at conferences. They allow these people to tell them how they should communicate to their audience. These are the new trends, the best patterns, and the strategies that you need to use.

Sometimes communication pastors are simply too busy and they’re just living with status quo. They’re so busy working and trying to finish other projects throughout the week that they don’t stop and think about what the survey would say if they asked the right people the right questions. We’re either under thinking or overthinking how people want to receive communications. We’re listening to other thought leaders or we’re not listening at all.

It can be as simple as surveying your audience

Within the church, we’ve got this network of people, this cluster of people, who come to worship on a weekly basis. That is your group. You don’t have to go out and find these people. These are your people you communicate with on an ongoing basis. You already have their eyes and ears.

If you want to have an effective communication ministry, if you want to communicate effectively to your church audience, why not ask them the right questions? It can be as simple as surveying your audience. That way you have accurate results telling you know how to communicate to your audience based on what they think is the best way to receive church communications.

How to create and implement your survey:

We have worked with several churches and we have done a very simple survey. You print it off on a card. What you’re looking for is –


Then you ask your question –

Select the top two ways you wish to receive communications from the church:

Text message
Blog updates
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Website updates

(Those are just some examples. You can list out all the options you want to offer people.)

You allow your audience to tell you the way they want to receive church communications. Then you take that data and study it to find a consensus amongst the survey results. You try to find the top 3-5 ways the general population wants to receive communications. When you have your results, your team goes to work. You start using those tools, those channels, to communicate to your audience knowing that’s the way they prefer to be reached. It’s what the survey says.


I often sit behind my desk and wonder – “Is my work meaningful”.  Am I adding value … Am I solving problems … Am I helping people and organizations reach their goals …

I am fortunate to do work I enjoy and love.  In fact, I am living out a dream of working for myself and utilizing my strengths.  However, I recognize many people despise their job.  It has been said, “Most Americans die at 9 AM on Monday morning.”

Below you will find 5 questions to ask and answer about your work.  Life is too short to not participate in meaningful work.

  1. Why am I doing this?
  2. What problem am I solving?
  3. Am I adding value?
  4. What could I be doing instead?
  5. Is what I am doing really worth it?

What questions would you add to the list? 

Within the church, most Communication Directors fall into the trap of viewing their positions as administrative rather than ministry roles. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s way beyond an administrative role. Leaders, pastors and directors need to view it that way, and so does the rest of the staff. When I worked on a church staff in a communications role, I fought long and hard to be called a Communications Pastor instead of a Communications Director. I felt that strongly about it.

The reason I believe it’s a ministry role is because we play such a huge role in communicating the heart, uniqueness and message of the church to the congregation and the community. If we do a poor job of communicating not only the gospel but also the heart of the church, we’re not bringing new people to the church or keeping current members engaged with the vision and mission of the church. Leaders have to recognize the work we do is eternal work and not simply “marketing”.

Here’s an example: My team was working with a church on a project where we built their entire web experience. Afterward, one of the pastors came up to me and said, “I really want to thank you for the work you did for our church.” I asked him, “Why are you thankful for the work we’ve done?” He replied, “Because of your ability to put every effort you have into our web experience, we’ve had several people join our young adult ministry. When we ask them, why did you decide to look at our church? They said because of the website.” That confirmed to me we do play a role in ministry.

With that in mind, here are three essentials to creating an effective communications ministry:

1. Standards – When I refer to “standards”, I’m talking about brand standards. This is where you articulate the mission, values, strategy, measures and vision of the church. Inside the Brand Standards document, you have:

  • Your church logo, tagline and statements
  • How to use the logo and how not to use the logo
  • The fonts you use (heading font, subheading font, etc.)
  • Style (professional, clean, modern, etc.) and color template
  • Email signatures and phone messages

Those are just some examples of the standards that protect your brand. If you don’t have standards, you have no foundation to protect and communicate your message.

2. Strategy – After you develop your standards, you’ve got a good idea of who you are as a church. Your strategy involves understanding your audience, and then identifying the best way of communicating who you are to that potential audience. You have to bridge the communication gap between your church and your audience.

One great way to do this: Survey your current church audience. Ask them how they prefer to be communicated to on a regular basis. That will give you a pretty good idea of how people outside your church want to receive communications.

You have a lot of options in how you communicate – from traditional forms like radio, newspaper, billboard, magazine and direct mail to new ways like inbound marketing, search engine optimization, social media, e-newsletters, video broadcasting, websites and blogging. All these are available, but you need to identify what’s best for you. You have to decide:

  • HOW you are going to communicate to your audience
  • WHAT you’re going to communicate to your audience
  • WHEN you’re going to communicate to your audience

And you have to make sure you have metrics in place to gauge whether or not you’re achieving your desired results.

3. Systems – You can have great standards and strategy, but if you don’t have systems in place it will not be upheld. Let me repeat that: If you don’t have systems in place, standards and strategy mean absolutely nothing. The systems that you must set in place are the wheels that turn everything in action. It’s what allows the day-to-day operations to run smoothly.

Your systems are how you handle projects internally. They include how you work with:

  • Outside agencies
  • Other ministry staff leaders to communicate their message
  • Senior staff to make sure the most important messages are being communicated the right way

You have to put these systems in place and communicate them to the staff. The Communications Pastor must be directly connected with the senior leader and leadership team – if not on the leadership team. If the Communication Pastor doesn’t fully understand the mission, values, strategy and vision of the church, they won’t be able to communicate them. They’ll be walking in the dark and all communication efforts will be futile.

Once the senior leadership has committed to the standards, strategy and systems, they need to be communicated to the entire staff and volunteers. For communications to be effective, everyone must “buy in” and treat the Communications Pastor and his team as the experts in the field. It is also advantageous for the Communication Pastor to include other staff members, volunteers, church members and community members to help shape the standards, strategy and systems. Doing these three things – and doing these three things first – will enable you to create an effective communications ministry in your church and for your community.

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” – Winston Churchill

There’s a reason you don’t read a lot of profiles of successful people who credit their negative outlook for helping them achieve their goals: It doesn’t happen. Negativity is like an anchor that holds us down and keeps us from accomplishment. A positive attitude on the other hand can help you navigate rough waters and reach your destination. Every great thing you do begins with belief – in yourself, your abilities, and your potential for success. That’s the true power of positive thinking. If you want to achieve more goals and experience more personal and professional success, here are six ways you can work to become a more positive person.

“Speaking for myself, I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.” -Winston Churchill

You know the benefits of positive thinking. Now you’re ready to take the next step: Transforming yourself into a more positive thinker. I am daily learning how to be more positive.  I am still learn but here are some practices helping me a positive person.

#1 - Meet with God Daily

Prioritize time with God. The truth shall set you free. Take time each and every day to clear your head. It will give you the opportunity to release your negative thoughts, worries, struggles and hang-ups, so you have more space in your mind for positive thinking. It will also reinvigorate you when you are having a rough day or are in a particularly negative situation.

#2 – Surround Yourself with Positive People

Both positive and negative people can influence your perception. Think about it. Everybody loves being around a positive person. They are invigorating and energizing. Negative people have the opposite effect on those around them. Everybody is drained and frustrated. Make it a point to spend more time – especially in your professional life – with people who have a positive outlook; who enjoy a challenge; who believe every problem has an ideal solution.

#3 – Absorb Encouraging Media

Subscribe to blogs, podcasts and websites of people or organizations issuing content that fuels your passions. Much like negative people, negative information can wear on you and bring you down. And let’s face it, the Internet isn’t exactly a den of positivity – there’s a lot more negative info out there. That’s why you have to do some work. You have to seek out positive sources and consume the majority of your information from them. This will keep you tuned in to the positive and affirm your optimism.

#4 - Control Your Thinking

Thoughts lead to actions. Actions lead to results. Not happy with negative results? Check your thoughts. Take an honest assessment of your thought process. When a new job or challenge arises, are you immediately excited and passionate about tackling it? Or do you begin to gripe about the work and time required? If you skew toward the negative, you need to acknowledge that and make a change. Over time, you can train your mind to focus first and foremost on the positive aspects of any situation.

#5 – Exercise Regularly

Make physical activity a priority. Scientific data has proven exercising helps with attitude and thinking. Try to schedule 3-5 exercise sessions each week. This will help you expel stress and negativity, gain more energy and sleep better. All those things will lead to an increase in positive thinking. But while you should try to participate in regular exercise sessions, don’t beat yourself up if you miss one. The point of exercise is to enhance positivity – not add another negative.

#6 - Consume High Energy Foods

How your body feels has a direct effect on how you think. Treat your body well. Give it the fuel it needs to run properly. Avoid the “three white killers” – salt, sugar and flower. Eat gluten, grain and dairy-free products. Fuel your body five times a day by eating short meals every three hours. You will be amazed at the difference you experience in both body and mind.

Don’t let negativity hold you back in your professional or personal life. Take control of your mind, and work to make positivity a priority. The whole world can open up in front of you when you shine a positive light on all the opportunities surrounding you.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” -Winston Churchill

How do you stay positive in your daily routine?