Aug 202012

Conferences are kinda of a big deal, even in the 21st century where the internet can deliver content nearly instantly globally and hundreds of digital platforms for online meetings are available, but not yet the norm in most circles. And, it’s big business: RCMA (Religious Conference Management Association) member meetings drew more than 5.3 million attendees last year.

As conference season kicks up this Fall, worlds are colliding, even in the niche area of church leadership in which I swim most often. (Though as the consummate conference junkie, I’m more than happy to attend any kind of conference where they’d invite me.) 3 of them are running during the very same week this October:

National Worship Leader Conference – NWLC California October 9-11 in N. San Diego for worship leaders and everyone who makes the worship service happen

iMinistry October 10-11 in Dallas for online churches and internet ministries

Resurgence 2012 October 9-10 in Irvine for pastors and church leaders

How does anyone choose from 3 great events when we’re physically limited by time and space and are forced to have to choose just one? I’m so torn! One way is to look at the topics; another is location. Then you could look at the roster of speakers.

I’m choosing to attend the NWLC California, because I will be leading 2 workshops: both on social media, one basic and one advanced; and, because it’s part of my work with Worship Leader Magazine. I’d love to meet you there if this event fits you best – do add a comment and I can get you a special discount code to pay less.)

How will you choose?

Jul 172010

The ethnic diversity among American church leaders sometimes gets obscured by only looking at numbers and rankings. America is now more than one-third (non-white) minorities. There’s not yet a similar ratio on those “top” lists. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

This is a list of blogs by non-white ethnic leaders in the American church (cf. ChurchRelevance’s Top 100 Church Blogs):

Apologies for any oversight–this list is not comprehensive. I searched for active blog (at least 1 new post in the past month) or a domain name or using fuzzy logic. And someone oughta put a top blog list for women church leaders, right Sherry?

By the way, the Multi-Ethnic Church Conference 2010 will be a national gathering of historic significance. This November 2-3 in San Diego. I do urge all church leaders to be present and counted as our country diversifies as does the blogosphere.

Please add more via the comments below. Thanks for collaborating.

Apr 222010

I missed this amazing song dedicated to a pastor, because I left early; this really shows the power of song & music, and humor. This morning at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, Eric Bramlett sung this in reference to Francis Chan’s church transition announcement :

At last year’s Exponential Conference (2009), a similar kind of song was written & sung for Pastor Francis Chan, to the tune of ACDC’s Back in Black :

This brings a whole new meaning to Pastor Appreciation Month.

[cf. other songs for your playlist: "New Leader Song", "We are the Church", "Be Our Guest"]

Mar 242010

Churches are searching for pastors. Pastors are looking for churches. Making the connection can be quite challenging for many on both sides of the equation. Sure there’s a spiritual dimension to all of this– being a pastor is a “calling,” (whatever that might mean in a particular faith tradition) layered with much prayer for discernment and provision. Yet in the real-world concrete and tangible reality, there is that job component, when a church pastor is a paid religious professional.

There are a bunch of search engines / directories/ listings working to make this connection, for pastors looking for a ministry opportunity, and for churches looking for a pastor to fill a staff position, along with other church staff jobs. I’ll update this list as I find ‘em — (note: listing does not connote endorsement) ::

And, there are professional services that help make the connection for churches and staff. is run by Justin Lathrop (one of my pastor friends), who can put together a professional nationwide search for church staff positions. And, the executive search firm called Vanderbloemen Search Group facilitates ministry leadership search for larger churches. Another one is, a full-service consulting firm for church staffing.

Aside: this article, How to Work for a MegaChurch, gives sobering advice about working in a church setting. Set your idealism aside — “If you think working for a church will be peaceful and idyllic, you’re deluding yourself. Pastors and church staff members are as inherently flawed as the rest of the world. If your desire to work for a MegaChurch stems from the belief that you’ll be in a conflict free office environment, think again.

Feb 132010

With so many conferences in the world, I’m often asked which one to go to.

After attending a few conferences, some people begin to discover the value of these gatherings extend beyond the keynote talks and seminar lectures. What’s even more life-changing are the people you meet and the conversations you have.

At the Verge conference in Austin last week, I met Ryan Rice, who is now church planting in Phoenix. Ryan explained how life-changing the one-time-only Innovation3 Gathering was. Watch this video of Ryan Rice telling how that conference changed his life:

Next week, I’ll point you to 2 conferences especially configured so there’s intentional structured time for attendees to engage in more conversations and not only listening to talks.

Nov 192009

Where have all the mentors gone? It saddened me to hear that Kyle Reed asked a dozen people to be his mentor, and to be turned down and rejected. What’s up with that?

Watch this interview to hear what Kyle wants to do to change this situation:

Kyle (on twitter @kylelreed) may very well be right, if a young person can’t find a mentor in their church for the Kingdom of God, they’ll find one elsewhere outside the church. So, add your comment below and get this conversation going!

Nov 022009

Swimming in a sea of leadership books, blogs, and programs, I’m frankly quite conflicted about what exactly is leadership. Sure there are a ton of aspects to developing and being a leader: skills, competency, character, knowledge, attitude, chemistry, discipline, passion, vision, relating, motivating, persuading, deciding, planning, ad nauseum.

In the pithy words of John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.

the-incredibles-1-sizedVery good. Everyone has influence. Everyone can impact and influence another person or even a group of people, for good or for bad. But does that mean everyone can be a leader? Can anyone be the leader of a company or organization? Who should be the leader of a group if everyone can be a leader? (cf. “Everyone can be super! And when everyone’s super, no one will be.” from The Incredibles)

So what the majority of the books and blogs and programs are not talking about leadership as merely influence. The leadership gurus are implicitly talking about another layer of leadership. Leadership is much more than being faithful, available, and teachable; much more than knowing your weaknesses, pain, or strengths.

The term that’s been suggested to me is: leadership capacity.

So while everyone has influence, each person has a different amount of leadership capacity. That capacity can grow, thus be developed. And some are naturally (and/or supernaturally) gifted with more leadership capacity right out of the womb. A leadership gift is a higher capacity. This means that a person who isn’t a gifted leader will probably not develop more leadership capacity than someone who is gifted.

The better question is: How much leadership capacity does a person have? How do you measure it?

Thank you Sabastian for a conversation that really cleared the air for me.

Sep 222009

2 highly influential church leaders are offering one day with them at a global leadership conference called Unleashing Beauty on October 10th, 2009. The 2 leaders are Erwin McManus and Dave Gibbons. Both have been keynote speakers at large conferences for church leaders like Willow Leadership Summit and Catalyst. Now they’re taking a day to share their insights for free and give themselves away!
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