Young Influencers List, September edition

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

1. Journey Smollett-Bell- LA based actress, best known for playing Jess on the hit show Friday Night Lights.

2. Brian Carpenter- founder of Refuge Foundation in Billings, MT, an incredible fishing and hunting leadership ministry.

3. Trevor Knight- current quarterback of my beloved Oklahoma Sooners!

4. Jessica Honneger- founder and chief dreamer of Austin based Noonday Collection, a clothing and jewelry org that is creating economic impact for the vulnerable around the world

5. Jeremy Walls- SVP and Chief Revenue Officer for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL.

6. Noah Gundersen- Seattle based singer/songwriter.

7. Anna Carroll- abolitionist and executive director of Lightforce International, restoring hope to men and women removed from the commercial sex industry.

4 Ways Leaders Can Release Control, and Ultimately Thrive :: Guest Post

(from Cole NeSmith)
I love control. We love control. Control and leadership are actually very fine lines. I started writing my new book, Spiritual Innovation, in 2013 and very quickly I discovered that control is at the root of so much of what I do on a daily basis in my life and leadership. I suspect the same is true for you.
At the heart of Spiritual Innovation is the reality that God is infinite, and throughout history, He has revealed more of Himself and His activity to and through His people. God (being the same today, yesterday and forever) is still up to revealing Himself in the most unexpected ways. But the greatest enemy to joining God in what He’s doing is our own desire for control : controlling ourselves, our circumstances, those around us, and – ultimately – controlling God.
In chapter two of Spiritual Innovation, I tell this story about how the desire to control manifested in my life as a leader.
As a kid, I did chores—cleaned the toilet, mowed the yard, dusted my bedroom. The payment for chores was allowance. Each time I did a chore, I ran up to my parent’s bedroom, opened the bedside table and pulled out a white pad of paper with a long running ledger of plus and minuses, earnings and payouts. Most Sundays, I would run up to that ledger, pull it out, move the decimal point one place to the left and determine the 10% tithe I was to put in the pink envelope with my church’s logo printed on it.
So, 15 years later in life, as I was preparing to give a message about “generosity” at my church, naturally I started researching the tithe. The tithe was mentioned in the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It was an agricultural offering of one tenth of one’s grain, wine, and oil harvests. But continuing on in my preparation, it became obvious: tithe was only one example of sacrificial giving in the Bible.
In Luke 19, Zacceaus, as a result of his encounter with Jesus, gave away half of his possessions and returned four times the amount he had stolen from individuals. When Jesus encounters the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19, Jesus instructs him to give away everything he has and come follow him. In Acts, we see members of the Church giving away all they had and giving to others as they had need. Even Ananias and Sapphira—after selling their field—were told the money they had received was at their disposal.
So why the ten percent? I think it’s because we like control and formulas give us the illusion of control. Encouraging people into a place of freedom takes control away. As individuals, we feel at ease when we know the expectation and can, without thought, meet that expectation. We ask, “what will make God happy with me?” and work to meet the minimum requirement so we can feel at ease. Then, as leaders, if we reinforce ten percent, that gives us a common, consistent message and a sense of peace that we will receive at least that much. But no one needs to be in relationship with God to understand this ten percent rule. The tither need not listen to God for instruction on giving, and the leader need not listen for how to lead his or her people or trust in God for provision.
So here are 4 ways I explore in the book that we as leaders can release control, and become the leaders we are created to be.

1. Platform People
In our desire to control, we often leverage people to achieve our own agenda. But the true role of a leader is not to use others but to platform them into their created purpose. This means that the initiatives of our churches may change over time as the people of our churches grow, mature, come, and go. So often, we create positions and push people into the holes to fill the void. But perhaps we should be creating positions not based on our own agenda but on God’s agenda as He blesses the people of our churches with specific gifts and talents.
2. Celebrate Uniqueness 
In order to platform people into their gifts, we must first begin to value people for their uniqueness. So much of modern, American Evangelicalism is built on the concept of sameness, and often “different” scares us. But as we step into relationship with God, he doesn’t neutralize the personalities and personas of each individual. God makes us each with unique gifts and talents to contribute to the unfolding of His plan of heaven on earth. It’s the role of the leader to help uncover the uniqueness of the people around us and to encourage, challenge, and equip them to step into the fullness of who they are created to be.
3. Embrace Exploration
Too many leaders settle to recreate. Too many of us are okay with trying to replicate what we’ve seen someone else do at some other place or at some other time. But God wants to accomplish something unique to where you are. Here and now. That means we have to become people of risk. We have to be people who are willing to explore the unknown depths of God and ministry, placing our complete trust in Him. It means we have to be willing to try things that may fail. But it’s in the exploration that we discover God in more intimate ways than ever before.
4. Practice Creativity 
If you’ve ever made something, you’ve practiced creativity. If you’ve ever asked, “how could this be different” or “how could we do this better,” you’ve practiced creativity. You see, creativity is central to the Christian life. Everything we are called to involves not only seeing things as they are but as they could be. God calls us to be people of hope who see the world as He sees it. And as we release our need for control, we begin participating in making the world, not what we think it should be, but what God has always intended it to be.
Life seems so much easier when we’re in control. But when things are up to you and me, they are limited to the confines of our human capacity. And God’s dreams for the world are so much bigger than anything we could ever accomplish on our own. So today, release control, step into an expectation of innovation, and see God do things far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined!
Cole NeSmith is the Creative Director and co-pastor of City Beautiful Church in Orlando, FL. His new book, Spiritual Innovation, helps us move from the need for control to a new level of exploration, expectation, discovery, and creativity in our faith and lives. Get it here.

He also creates interactive and reflective art and worship experiences through his company, Uncover The Color.

He blogs at colenesmith.com and is on Twitter @ColeNeSmith.

11 New Books I Highly Recommend

Here are a few new leadership books from friends that I highly recommend:

1. Yes or No- by Jeff Shinabarger

2. Unstoppable- by Christine Caine

3. Row for Freedom- by Julia Immonen

4. The Best Yes- by Lysa TerKeurst 

5. Overrated- by Eugene Cho

6. Be the Message- by Kerry Shook 

7. Jesus Prom- by Jon Weece

8. Addicted to Busy- by Brady Boyd

9. Life with a Capital L- by Matt Heard

10. The Sticky Faith Guide For Your Family- by Kara Powell

11. Life on Mission- by Aaron Coe 

One of the Key Questions Smart Leaders Obsess Over

Succession Planning- a key area that smart leaders are thinking about and planning for.

One day your church will need a new pastor. One day your organization will need a new president. One day your charity will need a new executive director. Are you ready?

Whether you are a pastor, church staff, CEO or volunteer, you need to be thinking about the most important turning point your church or organization will have to face…who will lead when our current pastor/leader isn’t around anymore?

Many church leaders equate succession planning to retirement planning. However, smart church leaders realize that succession planning is much more than that.

I visited with my friend William Vanderbloemen who just wrote a book on the subject called Next: Pastoral Succession That Works, which is a church leader’s comprehensive guidebook to understanding what you can do now to prepare for the day your church faces a leadership transition.

Brad: Why is pastoral succession such an important issue for churches right now?

William: The big idea that drove writing this book was a single sentence I realized a few years ago: Every pastor is an interim pastor. Few pastors consider this truth, but unless they plan on leading their church after Jesus’ return, everyone in ministry will face the day when a successor takes over their church. But once you consider the inevitability of transition, and the chance a leader has to secure a legacy through a good succession, it quickly becomes the issue that smart leaders obsess over, no matter their age or stage of career.

Brad: I know many people equate succession planning with retirement planning. Is that really what succession planning is?

William: Not at all. Retirement is often only a final step in a series of pastoral successions. We found in our study that the average pastor will transition about three times in their career. Each of those transitions warrants a plan. Succession is when one senior leader intentionally transitions and hands over leadership to another. It is creating a plan for what will happen within the organization once you need a new leader, which every organization will face. Smart leaders realize that succession planning should start with pastors early in their tenure at their church. While retirement planning should be part of a healthy succession plan, a true succession plan encompasses a plan for any leadership transition reason, whether it is the pastor’s own decision, the board’s, or an unfortunate emergency situation.

Brad: What should young leaders, early on in their tenure, be thinking about now to start planning a successful succession?

William: When I was a young pastor, John Maxwell told me, “William, spend your younger years creating options for your later years.” I believe that more now than ever. The sooner you start laying out a succession plan, the more options you create for your future.

I’d particularly point young leaders to Chapter 2 of Next. It lays out “The Ten Commandments of Succession Planning,” which is a checklist of steps that young leaders need to be doing now to prepare themselves and their church for a successful leadership transition.

One of those steps is setting a healthy pace for the long run by establishing regular sabbaticals and being part of an accountability group. Too many successions happen on the heels of a moral or financial failure because the pastors were tired and didn’t have anyone to talk to about their personal fatigue.

Another step is that church leaders need to prepare an emergency envelope for what would happen if an emergency happened and the pastor couldn’t fill the pulpit on Sunday.

Check out chapter 2 of the book for all ten steps of what you should be doing now to prepare your succession plan.

Brad: Tell me more about the hundreds of interviews you and your co-author Warren Bird from Leadership Network did for research on the book. What was the most surprising trend you found?

William: Great question, Brad. It’s one that I’m asked quite a bit. There are a whole lot of surprises that we found, but two trends come to mind. First, I never realized how much of a good succession rises and falls on the outgoing pastor’s spouse. There are a number of great stories in the book that highlight this. Smart churches will pay attention to that dynamic and find ways to address it as they face transitions.

Secondly, I was shocked to see the average ages of the pastors of the largest churches in the country. There are some great infographics and tables in the book with that sort of information. Seeing it laid out in one spot convinced me that succession planning is a looming crisis for the church.

Thanks, William! This is a topic that every leader needs to start thinking, talking, even obsessing about. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

Order Next: Pastoral Succession That Works now at NextPastor.com for you, your church staff, and your church board.

12 Churches under the Radar you should Know

Here are a few churches with lots of influence in their communities, and definitely worth checking out in terms of the way they are doing ministry and reaching their cities. But may not be as well known to other leaders around the country.

Check them out, and add any other churches to the comments section that might be under the radar but we should make sure and know about.

1. Reality Church- San Francisco; Dave Lomas

2. Fresh Life ChurchKalispell, MT; Levi Lusko

3. Cornerstone Church- Orangeburg, SC; Artie Davis

4. The Crossing Church- Las Vegas, NV; Shane Philip

5. South Bay ChurchSan Jose, CA; Andy Wood

6. The Church of Eleven22- Jacksonville, FL; Joby Martin

7. The Church at ArkansasFayetteville, AR; Jonathan Beasley

8. Liquid Church- Mountainside, NJ; Tim Lucas

9. Epiphany Fellowship Church- Philadelphia, PA; Eric Mason

10. Hillside Community Church- Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Aaron McRae

11. The Triumphant Church- Hyattsville, MD; Perrin Rogers

12. Substance Church- Minneapolis, MN; Peter Haas

 

The Catalyst Leader is $2.99 Today ONLY: Thursday, July 3

Hey friends!

Today only- The Catalyst Leader book Kindle version is available for $2.99 on Amazon.

Go Get it NOW!

Again, today only- THURSDAY, JULY 3. The Catalyst Leader Kindle version is $2.99 on Amazon.

Buy one for yourself and one for a friend to pass on.

And if you’ve already read the book, then please buy 2 copies of the Kindle version for your friends/family.

This is such a great deal!

Thanks for the support! And thanks to our friends at Amazon for making this possible.

 

New Stuff Wednesday

Here are some new things you need to know about and go get!

1. Take it All – brand new worship album from Passion

2. Diamonds- brand new music album from JohnnySwim

3. Crimson Cord- brand new hip hop/spoken word/rap album from Propaganda

4. You Make Me Brave- brand new worship album from Bethel Music

5. All Sons and Daughters- new worship album from All Sons and Daughters 

6. Home Behind the Sun- brand new book from Jason Locy and Tim Willard

7. Moment Maker- new book from Carlos Whittaker 

8. The Art of Celebration- fairly new worship album from Rend Collective

9. The Worship Initiative, Vol 1- brand new worship album from Shane and Shane

 

Interview with Jason Locy and Tim Willard about Home Behind the Sun

 

I’m excited today to post an interview with two friends, Jason Locy and Tim Willard. Both guys have been involved in the Catalyst community for over 10 years now working on our Catalyst Leadership Groupzine project along with other initiatives.

In 2011 they wrote a book entitled Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society that I said, “every leader needs to read.”

They have a new book out this past week, Home Behind the Sun: Connect with God in the Brilliance of the Everyday, in which they weave personal narrative and experiences into a wonderful topic: beauty in the everyday.

Jason and Tim are long-time and life-long friends and I can’t wait for leaders to read this book and to share it with others.

 

Brad: How should leaders interact with this book?

Jason: We intentionally wrote the book to be an introspective read and then added a discussion guide so that growing and learning could happen first individually and then in community. That way the applications are contextualized based on your environment and past experiences.

We think leaders grow by being around other people in deep conversations. So what we wanted to do was to give you, the leader-reader, deep conversation rather than a book of “how-tos” and bullet points.

Tim: We wanted to give the leader a book that didn’t explain how to do something, like confront unforgiveness in their heart, but a resource that would actually speak to that specific felt need. Our good friend Adam pastors a church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and he is going through the book with his staff. His comment was: “This book doesn’t tell me how to grow closer to God, it actually helps me do that.”

That blew us away, but we’re finding that’s how leaders are using it.

Click here for a sample of the Discussion Guide

 

Brad: Home Behind The Sun seems like a book that would be great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to sit down and read an entire book. They could just pick it up and read any given chapter and still receive a timely message. Was this intentional?

Tim: Absolutely. Our favorite books are the ones we return to often. And that’s what we wanted this one to be. Much of the book is broken up into personal narratives regarding the brilliance in the everyday grind of work, relationships, parenting–even in despair and tragedy. We know time is precious to folks and we thought offering a book that didn’t carry the pressure of working through the entire thing would be a welcome change for readers, especially ministry leaders who are inundated with books they’re told to read.

Jason: Yeah, Tim and I get it. I have a 9-to-5 job and Tim’s studying for his doctorate. We understand that time slips away easily. With Home Behind the Sun, you can pick it up with a morning cup of coffee or evening tea and read a bit, and think on it using the discussion guide in the back of the book.

 

Brad: In the book, you talk a lot about your roles as fathers and husbands. How will this book impact men of faith like yourselves?

Jason: Hopefully it will hit them over the head and knock them down. Ha. I guess I’m only half-kidding. But seriously, we’re passionate for men to come away a good challenge. After reading they might say, “Wow, my view of masculinity is based on sitcom realities. But these guys (Tim and I) are presenting manhood in a different way.”

Because of the way its written, because its written by two guys, because it peppers in experiences with our own sons and daughters, we think it will start to reclaim men’s imaginations on what it looks like to be a dad, a husband, a friend, and a man.

Tim: But even though it’s written by two men, and men will learn from it by our experiences, it wasn’t written specifically for men at all. In fact, we look into the beauty of innocence, the complexity and need for deep relationships and universal topics like that that aren’t specific to men. So we think there’s something for men and women to wrestle with and even enjoy.

 

Brad: What do you hope leaders will get out the book?

Tim: I really hope leaders will find this book to be an aid to their spiritual refreshment. I think so often the “leader type books” are the ones that explain how to do something. I hope the leader will see this book as one he or she can sit with in the quiet of their homes or apartments and allow the thoughts to minister to their hearts.

So often we don’t know we’ve been running a hundred miles an hour until we sit and listen. Sometimes it’s a song, other times it’s a friend speaking truth to us. I hope this book can be kind of both–a song of encouragement and encouragement from to brothers-in-Christ.

Jason: I would agree with Tim, but also add that I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and ministry leaders and so often I hear about burnout and tiredness and priorities out of whack. We’ve all been there, and for me, this book is a pause and a reminder, that we are leaders who possess the glory of Christ within us. And when we come to terms with that truth, it will affect our spiritual lives for sure, but it will also impact the way we lead others. At the end of the day I hope leaders receive refreshment as they flip the pages and plenty of great conversation with friends as they work through what they are reading.