Young Influencers List, September Edition

Here you go, the September edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past month's lists here

1. Ryan Devlin - LA based actor, host, producer and co-founder of This Bar Saves Lives, a one for one healthy food snack for children in need. 

2. Candace Cameron Bure - actress, NYT best-selling author, speaker, host, and former star of Full House, now co-hosting The View

3. Austin Graff - currently with The Washington Post along with special projects for the CEO, and formerly doing influencer marketing and social media at Honest Tea and IJM.

4. Dan Blythe - London based student pastor at Hillsong Church London, and leading Hillsong Youth across the UK. 

5. Helen Maroulis - first ever US gold medal winner in women's wrestling at the RIO Olympics in August. 

6. Christon Gray - Ohio based rapper, R&B singer, and songwriter,

7. Ellie Holcomb - Nashville based singer, songwriter, and part of indie folk band with her husband Drew. 

Beware of the "Used to" Leader

We all know leaders who live in the past. Who dwell on what's already happened. Who believe their best days are behind them. And drag everyone around them into the mosh pit of the past. 

That's not great leadership. 

Honor the past, but dwell on it. Your leadership needs to be all about the present and the future, and not focused on the past. Don't be a "used to" leader! 

"Used to" leaders are inconsistent.

A "used to" leader is someone who lives in the past, and has drifted away from commitments you once made.

"Used to" Leaders are always talking about how..... or when I was around...... or remember that time we.......

I "used to" workout.

I "used to" have a regular prayer time.

I "used to" be a hard worker.

I "used to" date my wife/husband on a regular basis.

I "used to" be a learner and read consistently.

I "used to" read the Scriptures daily.

I "used to" have fun with my kids.

I "used to" be a good friend and carve out quality time. 

I want to be an "I AM" leader. I want to be an "I Will" leader. Making it happen today. Making it happen tomorrow. Focused on today. Being present.

Don't be a "used to" leader.

Push into the "am" and "will" and disregard the "used to!" 

New Research from Fuller Youth Institute- An Interview with Kara Powell about the new book Growing Young

Today the new book Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church, releases nationwide. This is a great book and one I highly recommend! 

I had the privilege of serving on an advisory council the last couple of years with Fuller Youth Institute and watched first hand this research come together and the entire project unfold. 

I also asked Kara Powell, co-author of the book, to answer a few questions related to the new book and the project overall. 

We keep hearing that young people are leaving the church and Christianity in droves. Is it true, and what can we do about it?

You’re right, we do hear a lot of doom and gloom about young people leaving the church, and much of that is true. Church attendance is declining overall. Recently the share of US adults who identify as Christian dropped from 78 to 71 percent. No major denomination is growing. Further, 18-29-year-olds make up nearly 20 percent of the US population but only 10 percent of church attenders. Taken together, this can seem like a pretty bleak forecast.

But in the midst of this storm, Jake Mulder, Brad Griffin and I wanted to study the bright spots. The exemplary churches doing remarkable work with high school, college-age and emerging adult young people. We studied over 250 churches—of all sizes, ethnicities, and denominations—all across the country. What we found was both surprising and hopeful.

Based on our team’s 10,000 pages of data and 10,000 hours of research, we’ve identified six core commitments held in common by churches that don’t age or shrink, but grow, and grow young.


That sounds like good news, and a positive sign for the overall Church. What are a couple of highlights from the research?

Well, some of the biggest highlights were what we didn’t find in those 6 core commitments. It turns out that reaching young people is not primarily done through a specific worship style. Or a great facility. Or a big budget. Or being a particular size. Or designing super-entertaining ministry programs. Reaching young people goes much deeper. It’s much more about the heart of what it means to be the church. That’s why we call these six strategies “core” commitments.

For example, the power of relational warmth surprised us across the study. The top way young people described their churches was by using the phrase, “like family.” They talked about “being real” and “being myself here.” What they didn’t talk about was how cool or hip their church may (or may not) have been. Sure, some churches were pretty cool, but what we learned from young people is that warm is the new cool. Experiencing a welcoming community that’s like a family turns out to matter more.


What’s one practical step a leader could take this week to help their church grow young?

Talk to a young person! Set up a meeting over coffee to listen to their hopes, dreams, and concerns when it comes to their lives in general as well as what’s going on in your church specifically. We find that when leaders don’t assume what young people want, but instead ask good questions and listen well, they save their churches from creating well-intentioned programs that end up distancing young people even more. Often what young people need most from churches is not a new program, but a renewed point of view. 

This could actually lift your whole church. One of the great findings of our study is that as churches engage young people, the entire church benefits. New vitality. More passion. More innovation. As one leader put it, “Everybody rises when you focus on young people.” That’s good news for the church. That’s what it means to grow young.


Thanks Kara, Brad and Jake for the countless hours you put into writing this book! It's a gift to the Church as well as leaders everywhere. 

Find out more and order Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church today at

7 Ways to Create Great Customer Service

I've worked on some great teams over the past several years, and seen great customer service in action. One of the places I learned the most about great customer service was Lost Valley Ranch, an incredible guest ranch in Colorado. Serving the guests was part of the DNA of the staff. We took great pride in our ability to create a great experience for our guests through unmatched customer service.

Here are a few of the ways we did that:

1. Treat someone like you would want to be treated- the Golden Rule. It really does work. And it makes sense. Common sense. Use it.

2. Remember someone's name. Always. Especially when you've met them before. And if you don't remember, just ask them. Knowing someone's name and using their name is a form of honor. 

3. Let your actions speak way louder than your words. Don't just talk about it. Make it happen. Without flare and fanfare. Your work can be a great example of your attitude and commitment to service. Love people through serving people. 

4. Anticipate. Stay a step ahead of your clients or guests. Don't wait for them to ask for something. Figure it out before they even need it. You're smart and you're people are smart, so give them the runway to meet the needs of guests. 

5. Make small things big things. In terms of your commitment to excellence. Be great at the insignificant. Put effort and energy into the normal and mundane, and this will set you apart. 

6. Engage in meaningful conversation. Serving creates opportunity for impact- it builds a bridge. So make sure to connect with your guests or clients through conversation when it's appropriate. Understand who they are by understanding what they read, what they watch, where they travel and what their interests are.

7. Interact with purpose. Look people in the eye when saying hi. Don't walk by a guest without engaging in eye contact, regardless of where you are. Speak with honor and dignity. Go first- go first with smiling, with interacting, with saying hello, with engaging them in a conversation.

Leaders should Celebrate your Rivals

Winning. Competition. Rivalry. For all of us who are Type A Leaders, jealousy in the form of competition is always a struggle. You may call it something else (competitive spirit, goal-oriented, fast pace), but at the end of the day, we all struggle with being jealous or envious of others successes, especially when it is in the same industry, or same town, or same circle, or same customer base.

In these cases, it feels like competition, and again for us Type A's, when there is a competition, we ALWAYS want to win. How do you view those you are "competing" against? Whether competing for attendees, or resources, or prestige, or members, or customers, understanding the proper posture towards your rivals is crucial to being a Collaborative Leader. Most leaders I know never get this right.

And in the faith community- whether a non profit ministry leader, pastor, church leader or, or parachurch organization director, this sense of competition and envy is rampant. Instead of jealousy and envy, collaboration and partnership should be the norm in the Church and faith-based community. We should be celebrating the pastor or leader across town, instead of finding ways to make them look bad or talking bad about them to others but making it look like we are bringing it up so as to "pray" for them.

Competition for customers, resources, time and money will always be a reality, but the question is how YOU deal with this. Jealousy is natural, but how you respond to it will prove your maturity as a leader. And as a follower of Christ, jealousy or envy is definitely not one of the fruits of the Spirit!

So, the best solution I've found to combating jealousy/envy and competition is Celebration. When you find yourself tempted to speak ill about a rival or you are secretly wrestling with envy/jealousy over someone else you are competing with, flip that emotion on its head.

Celebrate your competition. Your rivals. Whether the leader or the organization overall. 

Speak positively about them. In public. and in private. 

Encourage the leader or leaders of that "rival" organization. Send them cards or notes, call them, and even visit. 

Look for the good in what they are doing and celebrate that.

Pray for them, both in public and in private. 

Lean into them, and seek opportunities to partner together in your community or industry. 

The question you should be asking is, "how can I help this person win?" Church leaders- we're all on the same team. We're fighting the same fight.

Let's act like it.