17 Organizations I Recommend for a Year-End Donation

in Favorite New Things,Friends and Links,leadership,Misc. No Comments

Okay, I wanted to recommend a few organizations that I think are worth a year end gift/donation. All of these organizations are ones that I’m invested in- both in terms of giving gifts and supporting them, as well as knowing the staff and the people behind these organizations.

So as you think about year-end giving, I would recommend any of these organizations as a great place to invest.

1. Red Eye Inc. my friend Justin Mayo heads up this “under the radar” community of young influencers and creatives in some of the leading global cities (LA, NYC, Sydney, London) that are using their talents to make a difference in a positive way.

2. Compassionsponsor a child. I sponsor several. I’ve seen their work up close in Rwanda and Ecuador and Guatemala. Your money is being stewarded well.

3. Young Lifebeen involved with Young Life since college. No one creates better experiences for teenagers and introduces the Gospel in such a compelling and loving way.

4. Plywood People- great social innovation organization founded by my good friend Jeff Shinabarger. Including gathering social innovators, providing gift cards to those in need, and providing creative solutions to education and social issues. There is very little overhead and you can give a gift or a gift card to help out.

5. Convoy of Hope- focused on solving issues of hunger, and feeding children now all over the world. They’ve brought their trucks to Catalyst the last several years, and are the official Disaster Relief partner of Catalyst. Their disaster relief and community development is amazing. Seen it up close in Haiti where COH feeds almost 100,000 kids a day!

6. International Justice MissionGary Haugen and the team at IJM have been fighting sex trafficking and human slavery for the last 19 years. Rescuing victims as well as bringing justice to areas where no justice exists.

7. HOPE Internationalrun by good friend Peter Greer, HOPE Int provides micro-finance loans all over the world, helping give dignity and lift people out of poverty. A $100 gift goes a long way.

8. charity: waterperhaps my favorite non-profit organization in the world. Scott Harrison and team have revolutionized the concept of providing clean water globally, and are only getting started.

9. One Days WagesEugene Cho makes it easy to see the impact of giving up one day of your salary. And he leads by example.

10. First Response Team of Americagood friend Tad Agoglia and his team provide help and hope at times when communities need just that- following disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.

11. Atlanta Mission- an amazing organization focused on ending homelessness in the city of Atlanta. One of the best run homeless missions in the country.

12. A21 Campaign- headed up by Nick and Christine Caine, rescuing those trapped in human trafficking and modern day slavery all around the world, their goal is to end injustice in the 21st century.

13. Word Made Flesh- I love what they do in serving the poorest of the poor around the world.

14. San Francisco City Impact- gotten to know Christian Huang and the team at SF City Impact over the past year. Love what they’re doing in impacting the city of San Francisco in the Tenderloin district through a rescue mission, church, school, education and city reform.

15. Lighthouse Family Retreat- serves families with children dealing with childhood cancer, enabling families to have a week of rest, relaxation, laughter, re-engaging family relationships, and finding hope in God.

16. CURE International- healing kids in 30 countries around the world through the operation of charitable hospitals where kids receive needed surgeries and hear the story of God’s love.

17. Operation Christmas Child- part of Samaritans Purse, an incredible ministry delivering boxes of joy to kids all over the world during Christmas time.

and, don’t forget Your Local Church- make sure you are giving regularly to your local church body. That is the place to start!

9 Things to Consider when Hiring Someone New on Your Team

in Friends and Links,Interviews,leadership,Misc. 1 Comment

1. Hire slow and fire fast. Many organizations are just the opposite, hiring fast and firing slow.

2. Look for heart and hands, not just mind and spirit.

3. Culture is key. As the leader, do you want to hang out with them? Hire people you want to be friends with. Should they be on the bus? Not necessarily what seat yet, but just figuring out if being on the bus is a good idea.

4. Don’t just interview them. “intern” them. This has been the system at Catalyst over the years.

5. Hire a doer, not just a talker. Lots of folks can wow you with their words. The question is can they wow you with their action.

6. Benchmark the Experts. Who are the best people in the world at the position you are hiring? Figure out who that is, and contact them. For advice, suggestions, and to understand why they are so good at what they do. Learn from them and build a job description for your new hire from that.

7. Be wary of the “stepping stone” mentality. If you are another stop on the journey for someone, then run. Reality is – people are transitioning all the time. But that shouldn’t be their mindset going in when hiring them.

8. Get outside the box with your interview process. Don’t just talk to them. Put them on a project, give them an assignment for an hour, have them do a scavenger hunt, make them pitch you on another person also interviewing, etc. Step out of your comfort zone, and make them step out as well.

9. Do your homework. Have potential team members take personality tests, talk to their references, and spend as much time as you can with them.

Young Influencers List, November edition

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

 

1. Roberto Ortiz- product builder, director of mobile design at Yahoo, previously at Google, co-founder of ELEO Conference.

2. Clara Shih- CEO of Hearsay Social, author of The Facebook Era, and member of Starbucks board.

3. Sarah Lewis- cultural historian and speaker, author of book The Rise, and member of the White House arts policy committee.

4. Chris Brown- worship leader at Elevation Church in Charlotte. Go buy their new album Wake Up the Wonder. It’s incredible.

5. Melissa Greene- singer and songwriter, staff member at GracePoint in Franklin, TN, and hope curator for Timothy’s Gift

6. Cubby Graham- NYC based, community builder at charity: water, and blogger and thought leader.

7. Sadie Robertson- 17 year old star of this season’s Dancing with the Stars, and daughter of Willie and Korie Robertson from Duck Dynasty.

Young Influencers List, October edition

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

1. Colony House- new rock band out of Nashville, and a strong connection to Steven Curtis Chapman!!

2. Molly Smith- movie producer, co-founder of Black Label Media, and the producer behind films like The Good Lie and Blindside.

3. Preston Miller- Chicago based hip hop choreographer, dancer and founder of United Artists Initiative.

4. Salomon Ligthelm- filmmaker, videographer, and overall talented creative designer and director, and c0-writer of the song “Oceans.”

5. Francesca Battistelli- Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, and artist.

6. James Vore- Atlanta native worship leader and creative, content maven for Catalyst, marketing project manager on Catalyst Leader book, door holder and choir member for Passion.

7. Brian Kortovich- pro basketball player and NYC Rucker League standout. And founder of charity Aces in Action.

10 Ways to Create Value for Others on Social Media

in Friends and Links,leadership,Misc. 1 Comment

If you haven’t joined Twitter yet, you should. It’s the best way to get the most information in a timely manner that I’ve found. Everyone is on Twitter these days. It’s helpful, quick, informative, and aggregated in a way that is valuable to me.

If you are wondering who to follow, or wondering why I follow who I follow, here are several reasons why I follow some on Twitter and not others. 

If you aren’t on Twitter, I believe these points also translate for the most part to Facebook, Instagram, Google +, Linkedin, and most other social media outlets.

Ultimately, this is 10 Ways to Create Value for others on Social Media: 

 

1. You give me value. Maybe a great link, a quote, a stat, new website, etc.

2. You don’t constantly pimp yourself. Remain humble. Make it about others.

3. You are generous. I see lots of retweets from you and notice you seem to care about otherss and are willing to talk about others and want to help them.

4. You make me think. A link to a timely article on theology, a great quote, a phrase that encourages or challenges, a Scripture verse, etc.

5. You make me laugh. I simply need some humor and you provide it.

6. You keep me informed. I want to be ahead of the crowd when it comes to news and pertinent info.

7. You tweet in moderation. No overtweeting. A nice steady stream of tweets.

8. You provide a personal connection, and because of that, I actually want to meet you in person. Whether as an individual or organization.

9. You have a picture. Without out, no follow. Your account looks fake.

10. You are a friend. I still follow many friends who are not necessarily the greatest at Twitter. But I still follow them. That’s what friends are for!

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