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The last thing you want as a leader is to have your best days behind you.

But it happens all the time, long before a leader steps out of leadership.

The questions are how does it happen…and, more importantly, what can you do about it?

Sadly, you can’t launch into leadership at age 25 and simply expect to produce your best work, non-stop for the next half-century. It rarely if ever works that way.

It's a very real thing for leaders to run out of fresh strategy, new approaches, innovations and best ideas long before their time in leadership is over.
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In fact, it’s a very real thing for leaders to run out of fresh strategy, new approaches, innovations and best ideas long before their time in leadership is over.

I have a theory…and it’s only a theory. I call it the theory of the ten-year run.

What does that mean? Well, here’s what I’m noticing, both within myself and around me as I see other leaders.

Most of us have about a decade of optimal leadership in us before we need to reinvent, reimagine or make a significant change.

I know that’s a big claim. And I’m sure there are exceptions. But hear me out, and see if it doesn’t resonate at some level.

I should also say that I believe in sustained, healthy leadership over a lifetime.  I’m 100% in on that. I have zero plans to retire and I’ve also served the same people for almost 25 years.

But before we figure out how to reinvent yourself as a leader, see if you’ve spotted this pattern too.

Most of us have about a decade of optimal leadership in us before we need to reinvent, reimagine or make a significant change.
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Ever Notice This About Musicians?

Look at musicians for a minute.

Most artists—even top artists and bands who have been together for decades—seem to have about a ten-year run in which all their hit music is produced.

Here are a few cases from the last five decades:

Simon and Garfunkel’s hit music was composed in less than a decade.  When they split and Paul Simon went out on his own, his solo songs hit the charts from 1973 to 1986.  Paul Simon is still producing music (he says his most recent is his best), but no one’s really listening to it anymore.  Two ten year runs.

The Doobie Brothers, Boston, Journey, Bon Jovi, New Order, Journey, the Cure…roughly ten year runs.

U2 broke through in 1984, disappeared from the charts after 1991, and came back with big hits from 2001-2004.  Just over a decade when you add it up.

Coldplay has been going for 19 years, but their ascendancy into mainstream really happened from 2004 to 2014, with the odd pop up through to 2017. Just over a decade.

Run DMC, Blink 182, Incubus, Smashing Pumpkins, Dave Matthews…all about ten year runs in terms of music that charted.

Even the Rolling Stones, who have been performing for 55 years now (Oh. My. Gosh.)…well they extended the run to 15 years, from 1965 to about 1981. And since then…nothing really broke through.

Move closer to today, and you start to wonder whether 50 Cent, the Killers, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber will also succumb/have succumbed to the ten-year run pattern. They will be known for decades…but will their dominance end within the usual decade?

And sure, Beyonce is one of the biggest names in music, but she hasn’t had a solo top ten hit in a decade either. Was that also a ten-year run?

Can you find exceptions? I’m sure you can…but it’s a pretty remarkable and consistent pattern once you see it.

Your creativity in a particular area has a shelf-life. And once you’ve passed that shelf-life, everything gets stale.

All of which brings us to my theory…why does all this creativity and innovation tend to be cradled within a decade?

Your creativity in a particular area has a shelf-life. And once you've passed that shelf-life, everything gets stale.
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Stages Of The Ten Year Run

If you look at how most leaders progress, there’s a similar pattern.

If you know the Sigmoid curve, you’re familiar with this basic pattern.

Similarly, Les McKeown has traced out seven stages every business goes through, and Tony Morgan has developed a similar life cycle for churches.

My application is to the leader, and I think it’s fair to attach a timeline to it in the hopes that it will help you see yourself accurately and either a) prepare you for what’s next or b) move you out of a run.

Here are four phases that seem inevitable in leadership.

Phase 1: Innovation

We almost all start out in leadership by innovating.  Sometimes it means launching a new venture, but even if you join an existing organization, in the early days you discover how to match your skill set to the job, create momentum and move the mission forward.  Whether you’re creating something new or learning how to lead, you’re innovating.

Phase 2: Breakthrough

Breakthrough happens when you begin to hit your stride in leadership. You’re producing results, gaining momentum, generating fresh ideas, and you’re really starting to feel traction.

Phase 3: Peak

Peak happens when you hit you full stride. Your vision, skills and contribution to the team and mission are reaching their maximum potential. This is your sweet spot, and your ideas are not only new and fresh, but they’re really seeing their potential realized.

Phase 4: Stagnation

Unfortunately, the run we all imagine goes on forever usually doesn’t. What was new and innovate five years ago isn’t anymore. What really connected a few years ago is connecting less. You’re using the same strategies, tactics and approach, but you’re seeing declining results.

To make it all worse, your new ideas aren’t quite as good as your old ideas. And any attempt to bring back old ideas strikes younger leaders and other organizations with momentum as yesterday’s news. Meanwhile, you’re searching for your next breakthrough idea and it just gets harder and harder.

If you let this run a bit longer…you realize you’re running out of ideas.

Welcome to stagnation. The virtuous circle has turned into a vicious cycle.

So what happens next?

Well, sometimes leaders just keep running the old system, hoping for better results, which of course, never come.  The definition of futility is, indeed, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Others claim they change, but in reality, they just put a new coat of paint on a deeply rusty vehicle, which lasts about six months before all the problems associated with irrelevance bubble to the surface again.

So what should you do? Well, the wise leader reinvents himself or herself.

If you don’t reinvent yourself, renew your passion and update your strategy, you become irrelevant. And the culture never listens to leaders it deems irrelevant. Neither do you.

Rather than sliding into decline, you reinvent yourself.

Hey, I’m not trying to be discouraging…I’m just saying this is real.

And if you don’t face up to your challenges in leadership, everyone pays. You pay, but so does your organization. Massively.

If you don't face up to your challenges in leadership, everyone pays. You pay, but so does your organization. Massively.
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5 Signs Your Leadership Is Moving Past Peak

To drill down a little further, here are 5 quick signs your leadership is moving past peak.

1. The ideas that once flowed effortlessly are drying up.

2. You find it harder and harder to motivate yourself.

3. Your innovation for the future consists of bringing back ideas that used to work in the past.

4. You no longer have a clear picture for the future (like you used to).

5. You’re looking to outside ventures, side hustles or hobbies because the main task of leadership isn’t that exciting anymore.

These can be signs of burnout or other problems, but they can also signal that it’s time to reinvent yourself or move on.

If you want to go a little deeper on whether your ideas are still fresh or whether it’s time to reinvent or move on, here are two posts that might help.

7 Signs You May Have Peaked as a Leader

7 Signs It’s Time to Leave

All of this, of course, involves change.

Change is hard, but the alternative is harder. As Eric Shinseki says, if you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

Change is hard, but the alternative is harder. As Eric Shinseki says, if you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less.
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Here’s How I’ve Seen Reinvention Work in My Life

Reinvention changes a vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle.

When I look back on my leadership, I see a sub-conscious pattern. Every 5-7 years, I throw a stick of dynamite into my leadership and rethink everything.

It’s not a conscious thing, but I think it’s been a helpful thing and one of the reasons I’ve been serving in the same place with the same people for 24 years.

I’m not saying every change was ideal or perfectly executed, but I am saying that change has been the fuel that’s kept things fresh, moving and growing.

Here are just a few examples from the church in which I serve:

Within 5 years of starting ministry at 3 small historic churches, we started growing, questioned everything, sold all three buildings and became one church with a new future, new name and new mission, completely refocusing on reaching unchurched people.

Three years after starting the new church, we moved into a new facility.

Two years later, we rethought our ministry model and moved into a simple church model designed around steps, not programs.

Two years after that, many of us restarted as Connexus Church, becoming a multisite non-denominational church.

5 years after that, we began building our broadcast location.

That same year, I transitioned out of the Lead Pastor role and into the role of Founding Pastor, ensuring succession was in place.

Three years after that, we added our third location.

And in my personal life in the last decade, here’s what change has looked like:

In 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017 I published books.

In 2012 I started blogging regularly.

In 2014 I launched a leadership podcast.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018 I launched new online courses.

In 2019, I’m writing my next book and dreaming up new adventures.

The common denominator in all that? Constant reinvention.

Surprisingly, I feel more alive and things are growing faster than I ever dreamed possible 24 years into this senior leadership journey.

Change is good.

And of course, as you know, unimplemented change eventually becomes regret. So change.

Unimplemented change eventually becomes regret. So change.
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I’m not saying you have to engineer radical change like this (I admit, it’s pretty radical), but I am saying that doing the same thing over again will eventually suck the life out of you. It always does.

I’ve never felt more alive and excited for the future, and neither has our team.

Reinvention changes a vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle.
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3 Things ReInvention Requires

So what does reinvention require?

In my view, it’s going to take at least three things.

1. Prayer and Discernment

Reinvention starts on your knees. All of these changes have involved prayer, and several of them significant prayer and discernment.

The longer I lead, the less I trust my own judgment.

You need an inner circle of wise people who know God and who know you who can help you discern what your next best steps are. They will see gifting, strengths and weaknesses in you that you either miss or don’t see accurately.

Letting God and others speak into your next steps ensures you take better next steps.

2. Clarity on Mission and Methods

The mission never changes; methods do.

And the challenge for all leaders and organization is that we inevitably fall in love with the method more than the mission.

Current example. I love podcasting. I’m a consumer (I listen to dozens of podcasts) and a content creator in the field.

But podcasting is a method; it’s not the mission.

No, the mission behind my podcast is to bring great conversations to people to help them thrive in life and leadership.

There may be a day when I don’t podcast anymore. But the mission to help people thrive in life and leadership is a call I believe God has put on my life. You can bring great conversations in many ways, and in the future, there may be 100 ways we’ve never even thought of or invented yet to help people thrive in life and leadership. That’s what I have to be committed to. Podcasting is just currently a great vehicle for that.

Leaders who love the methods more than the mission are on a fast path to irrelevance.

Leaders who love the methods more than the mission are on a fast path to irrelevance.
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3. Courage

More than anything, reinvention takes courage.

After all, it doesn’t take much courage to reinvent what someone else has done. It takes tremendous courage and imagination to reinvent yourself.

Reinvention takes humility.

Sometimes it means killing what you started.

Other times it means realizing you were wrong.

Usually, it means you tweak and change and reimagine and think through things again and again.

And all of that is very hard work. But it’s also rewarding work.

Courage is such a hard thing and such a beautiful thing. You need to have people around you who encourage you. Find them, hang on to them.

And I hope this encourages you to do what you know you need to do.

It doesn’t take much courage to reinvent what someone else has done. It takes tremendous courage and imagination to reinvent yourself.
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If Finding the Time Seems Overwhelming…Some Help

Many of us feel overwhelmed all the time, so finding time to reinvent yourself can seem impossible.

Well, maybe not. It’s very possible…and I’d love to help you get on top of your everything so you can get your life and leadership back.

If you’re trying to find the time for what matters most in life, my High Impact Leader course, is my online, on-demand course designed to help you get time, energy and priorities working in your favour.

Many leaders who have taken it are recovering 3 productive hours a day.  That’s about 1000 hours of found time each year. That’s a lot of time for what matters most.

Here are what some alumni are saying about The High Impact Leader Course”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing the course again. It has absolutely made an impact in my life and family already that I can’t even describe.” – First Priority, Clayton County, North Carolina

“Carey’s course was the perfect way for our team to prepare for the new year. Our team, both collectively and individually, took a fresh look at maximizing our time and leadership gifts for the year ahead. I highly recommend this leadership development resource for you and your team.” Jeff Henderson, Gwinnett Church, Atlanta Georgia

“A lot of books and programs make big promises and cannot deliver but this is not one of them. I have read so many books and watched videos on productivity but the way you approach it and teach is helpful and has changed my work week in ministry in amazing ways.” Chris Sloan, Tanglewood Church, Kingston, North Carolina

“Just wow.  Thank you, thank you.” Dave Campbell, Invitation Church, Sioux Falls South Dakota

“A game changer.” Pam Perkins, Red Rock Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Curious? Want to beat overwhelm and have the time to reinvent yourself?

Click here to learn more or get instant access.

Some Hope

The good news is that leaders who reinvent themselves usually find a deep joy and sustained passion for the long haul.

I don’t know why musicians seem to have ten-year bursts of creativity (even if they play for decades), but I do think leaders can remain fresh and imaginative.

Erwin McManus, at age 60, is a great example of a leader who has reinvented himself, again and again, to stay fresh and exceptionally relevant. His interview with Lewis Howes is a fascinating example of how to stay on the edge of change and speak into a culture that’s searching for God.

What keeps you fresh and relevant?

What patterns do you see? Scroll down and leave a comment!

The post Has Your Leadership Peaked? Leadership And The Theory of the Ten Year Run. appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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What do you do when a well-known, charismatic founder of a highly visible, successful church resigns and you’re the successor? That was Kevin Queen’s situation in 2017 when he took over the Lead Pastor role at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN after Pete Wilson stepped back.

Kevin had never been a Lead Pastor before and has a very different style and approach. 18 months later, the church has never been stronger or larger, and is moving into the future as alive as it’s ever been. Kevin shares that astonishing, unlikely story of how it all came together under God’s grace.

Welcome to Episode 252 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Instagram | Twitter | crosspoint.tv

Episode Links

Step up your digital game and grow your congregation through custom-tailored content with Pro Media Fire. Take advantage of this special, limited-time offer for podcast listeners at promediafire.com/carey and receive 40% off media bundles.

Rethink Leadership is a premier leadership event designed by senior leaders exclusively for lead, executive and campus pastors. Join me in Atlanta on May 1-3 for content, conversations and community unlike any other leadership event in the country. You’ll go home with more than ideas. You’ll go home with a fresh network working together to solve the biggest challenges facing your church and the Church. Register by March 21st to receive $20 off regular pricing.

Full Service: Moving from Self-Serve Christianity to Total Servanthood by Siang-Yang Tan

3 Insights from Kevin

1.  Intimacy with God overrides the intimidation of man

There are two kinds of pressure: the press of man and the press of God – and they are two completely different things.

The press of man is fueled by insecurity and by fear. It’s felt when we are drawing away from God and not seeking Him first.

The press that God puts on our hearts is His way of leading us. When we are in a place of close intimacy with Him, we will be more confident with His call for us and less intimidated by the pressures brought on by people.

2. Every leader needs a cave

Like David, every leader needs a cave. David’s cave was a place for him to go and give his desperation to God. He could leave it all there and trust that God had everything under control.

So often, we place our desperation on people instead of our Father, but God is the only one who is attracted to desperation. People certainly aren’t. They can’t handle it.

Do you have a cave where you can leave your desperation? A place to go and pray and trust your burdens to Him?

3. Remember your family during transition

Transitioning is hard – whether you’re stepping into a new role in a place you’ve worked for a while or uprooting to a completely new place, growing pains are inevitable. As difficult as it may be on you as a leader, don’t neglect to recognize the needs of those closest to you.

Leading well at work is obviously important, but it’s even more important to lead well on the home front. Stay engaged and involved in the transition your family is experiencing. Protect family time and be disciplined when it comes to keeping family commitments.

The most important responsibility of your day isn’t in the a.m. It starts when your car pulls back into the driveway at the end of the day – no matter how long that day has been.

Quotes from Episode 252

I don't want to pry a door open. I'd rather pray a door open. @kevinqueen
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We're either going to put our desperation on people or we're going to put our desperation on God. @kevinqueen
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The more intimate we are with God, the less intimidated we are by people. @kevinqueen
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A better aim for one's life, instead of doing great things for God is to do things for a great God. -Siang Yang Tan
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Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 252

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Get Your Life Back

Do you want to unlock more of your potential in life and leadership without sacrificing time with your family and your health?

Sounds crazy, but it’s not. I know because I’ve lived it. A few years back, I seriously crashed and burned because the demands on my time and life were bigger than the time I had to accomplish them. I promised myself that wouldn’t happen again.

Today, I still have bigger goals than ever before, but I’ve made fundamental changes that have led to a healthier, happier lifestyle without sacrificing my family and vastly increasing my productivity at work. I’ve taken what I’ve learned during this journey and put it into the High Impact Leader course.

You can complete the three-hour course at your own pace. It’s the most comprehensive content I’ve ever created for leaders to help you reclaim HOURS every day so you can become more effective at work and more present at home. When your time, energy, and priorities are all working together for you, it’ll impact everything you do.

  • You become a better leader, because you’re doing what you do best when you’re at your best
  • You become a better spouse, because you’re focused at home
  • You become a better parent, neighbor, and friend, because you actually have time off to relax and engage

These principles will free you to thrive in every area of your life.   

You can learn more and gain instant access today.

Subscribed Yet? 

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

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Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Kadi Cole

Here’s what’s so refreshing about Kadi Cole, often when the subject of female v. male leadership comes up, people tend to move into entrenched theological positions or stereotypes. Kadi doesn’t even come close to that. In this interview, Kadi shares cultural assumptions that hurt both men and women in leadership, talks about how to leverage the gifting of women in leadership and offers some new rules about how men and women can work together in healthier ways than ever before in a highly charged culture.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 253.

The post CNLP 252: Kevin Queen on Winning Over Trust as a New Leader, Successful Succession and The Heart of Revival appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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There’s a secret many leaders won’t readily tell you.

One of the most difficult aspects of Christian leadership is keeping your relationship with God fresh and alive.

I suppose that’s one of the reasons so many pastors burn out (I write about that here) or an underlying reason so many megachurch pastors keep falling (here are more thoughts on the latter).

It’s amazing to me that a frequent casualty of Christian leadership is a leader’s personal walk with God.

I have had to regularly engage this battle for two decades now. So have so many leaders I’ve talked to.

I realize if I don’t engage the battle, I’ll lose it.

The question today is: How exactly does that happen?

Here’s how it starts…at least for me.

If you don't engage the battle to keep your relationship with God alive, you'll lose it.
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The Struggle Starts Innocently Enough

Drifting away from the God who loves you happens innocently enough:

You start out in ministry with enthusiasm and passion.

You get ‘burned’ a few times by people and the challenges of leadership, and your heart grows a little hard.

You confuse what you do (your work) with who you are (a follower of Jesus) and the line between what is personal and what is vocational become blurry.

You end up cheating your personal devotions by reading the passage you’re working on for Sunday. Or not reading much scripture at all.

You end up so focused on strategy and execution that the mystery and supernatural aspect of Christian leadership get lost.

The services you lead become technical and clinical rather than life-giving and awe-inspiring because you’re focused on executing them well.

You find yourself singing words that used to mean something and preaching words that once sounded more personal and alive than they currently do.

You still believe in your head, but you’ve lost your heart.

I have drifted into or close to that territory in seasons, and as soon as I do I realize it’s a terrible and unsustainable place to be in, let alone stay in.

The story of too many church leaders: You still believe in your head, but you've lost heart.
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A Searing Question

I have tried to keep this issue front and center in my life because I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ who gains the world (or even a small slice of it) and loses his soul.

A few years ago I landed on a question that forces me to be 100% honest about where I am with God.

The question:

If I wasn’t in ministry tomorrow, what would be left of my faith?

In other words, if ministry came to a dead halt:

Would I still passionately love God?

Would I have lots left to pray about?

Would I want to lead people to Jesus?

Would I wake up grateful?

Would I still confess my sin?

Would I live out of an overflow of my relationship with God?

If the answer to these questions is “I’m not sure” or “no,”  I have a problem.

And so, I try to foster a personal relationship with God that runs independently of anything I do in Christian leadership. I try to remember that God loves me, not what I produce.  That in the end who I am matters so much more than what I do.

Ask yourself: If I wasn't in ministry tomorrow, what would be left of my faith?
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So What Helps?

There are many components to staying healthy spiritually over the long term. You need a close circle of friends for support and accountability (I wrote about how to develop an inner circle here).

You need to pray.

You need to cultivate an interior life that is greater than your exterior life (I write about that in detail in my new book).

But here’s what I find. It’s so simple you might dismiss it, but I can’t. It’s just always true:

The more I engage the Scriptures, the more I engage God.

When I read the Bible personally, I grow closer to God. When I skip or skim, I don’t.

And this is also the area in which I find many leaders and so many Christians struggle.

The more you engage the Scriptures, the more you engage God.
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5 Ways to Keep Your Scripture Engagement Fresh

So in the hopes of helping, here are 5 ways to ensure your engagement with scripture stays fresh. At least these work for me:

1. Find Your Best Personal Time

For me, it’s a no brainer. I’m always best in the morning. If I try to spend time with God at night, I fall asleep (it’s nothing personal, I also treat late night movies, friends and family the exact same way after 10:00 p.m.)  I love having time with God between 5 and 6 a.m. I’m fully awake, engaged and present.

What’s your best personal time? Give it to God. You’ll grow.

Okay, I better come clean. I have a bias. I think everyone should become a morning person. I think there are inherent advantages you don’t get any other way. I started becoming a morning person in my early 30s and have never looked back. Think you can’t do it? Here are 5 ways to do it.

2. Find the Medium that’s Best for You

I’m a reader, so a written Bible has always equaled awesome for me. But a few years ago I discovered that I had stopped reading my bible in a fresh way because I had been reading it for so many years. The words didn’t feel fresh anymore because they had become so familiar.

Around that time I had bought my first iPhone. I downloaded the YouVersion app and suddenly I found I was reading the Bible as though it was the first time.

Every word looked new, even though I had read it before. And that meant my connection with God and the Bible was stronger. The only thing I changed was the media.

That was a decade ago, and now I keep variety by changing the translation. This year, I’m all in the Message, which really does create a fresh hearing for me.

Or you may want to try the audio bible. Whatever you need to do to keep it fresh, do it.

3. Scale Back

Honestly, sometimes the problem for me isn’t too little Scripture, it’s too much.

18 months ago I found my personal reading of scripture had felt more like checking boxes more than a living experience.

So last year, I cut back my reading from 5 chapters a day to about 5-10 verses. Not so I could be less faithful, but so that I could be more faithful.

For the first six months, I only read the verses in the Psalms Tim and Kathy Keller include in their devotional book, The Songs of Jesus. Then I read the devotion and prayed.

It helped renew the spark and heart I was looking for.

By the summer, I started adding a few verses of the Gospels back in, and by the end of the year, my time with God was alive and rich again, and I was so thankful.

4. Use a Reading Plan

Random reading can get you started, but it often doesn’t keep you going. Like many others, I use a reading plan. Here’s a sampling of the hundreds available, including a 5-day plan I wrote on beating cynicism.

Year after year, I come back to the One Year Bible or, more recently, Nicky Gumbel’s The Bible In One Year.

Nothing has kept me more engaged with God on a daily basis than that. It’s about 15 minutes of reading a day (so it’s a commitment), but for me, there has been nothing better. I love it because I simply look for the daily readings and they’re all laid out. No flipping pages all over the bible. If it’s July 6th, all the readings for the day are laid out. So whether you use a paper bible or an App like me, it’s all there for you. So easy to use.

5. Take time to Reflect and Pray

A combination of prayer and some kind of reflection time is advised. Some people love to journal. I’ve tried to journal, but I’m not sure it’s me.

Other people reflect on their life and issues when they pray. I often do when I cycle. If you make your prayer time a time of asking God to help you apply what you’re learning and apply what you’ve read, you will never run out of things to pray about.

Whatever you do, keeping your relationship with your Saviour fresh and alive is critical.

After all, if your relationship with God dies, you lose your authority to lead, not to mention your passion and joy.

For sure, the issue is far more complex than just reading scripture, but for me, the closer I am to God’s word, the closer I am to God.

If your relationship with God dies, you lose your authority to lead.
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Having Trouble Finding the Time To Read and Reflect?

One of the challenges I had early in my leadership was finding the time to do what is most important (like time with God, family and for myself) because everything else crowded that out.

Over the last 13 years, it’s been a very different story. I’ve figured out how to change that…for good.

If you’re trying to find the time for what matters most in life, my High Impact Leader course, is my online, on-demand course designed to help you get time, energy and priorities working in your favour.

Many leaders who have taken it are recovering 3 productive hours a day.  That’s about 1000 hours of found time each year. That’s a lot of time for what matters most.

Here are what some alumni are saying about The High Impact Leader Course”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing the course again. It has absolutely made an impact in my life and family already that I can’t even describe.” – First Priority, Clayton County, North Carolina

“Carey’s course was the perfect way for our team to prepare for the new year. Our team, both collectively and individually, took a fresh look at maximizing our time and leadership gifts for the year ahead. I highly recommend this leadership development resource for you and your team.” Jeff Henderson, Gwinnett Church, Atlanta Georgia

“A lot of books and programs make big promises and cannot deliver but this is not one of them. I have read so many books and watched videos on productivity but the way you approach it and teach is helpful and has changed my work week in ministry in amazing ways.” Chris Sloan, Tanglewood Church, Kingston, North Carolina

“Just wow.  Thank you, thank you.” Dave Campbell, Invitation Church, Sioux Falls South Dakota

“A game changer.” Pam Perkins, Red Rock Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Curious?

Click here to learn more or get instant access.

In the meantime, what has helped you connect or reconnect with God? What would you add?

The post So Many Church Leaders Struggle With Their Faith. Here’s Where It Starts. appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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The attractional church model has been the dominant church model for 20 years in growing churches and many leaders are noticing it’s not nearly as effective as it used to be. Few churches were better known for the attractional model than Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN.

In a raw, honest and open conversation, Creative Director Drew Powell and Executive Director Matt Warren talk about why attractional church isn’t what it used to be, why it was effective but isn’t as much anymore, what they’ve changed (and why Cross Point is now the largest its ever been) and where the future church is heading.

Welcome to Episode 251 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

@drewpowell | @mattywarren | crosspoint.tv | crosspoint.tv/music

Episode Links

Step up your digital game and grow your congregation through custom-tailored content with Pro Media Fire. Take advantage of this special offer for podcast listeners at promediafire.com/carey and receive 10% off all plans for life and 40% off media bundles for life.

Mark Clark and I team up in The Art of Better Preaching, where we share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text, to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years. Find out how you can improve your preaching by enrolling today.

5 Reasons Charismatic Churches Are Growing (And Attractional Churches Are Past Peak) by Carey Nieuwhof

3 Insights from Drew & Matt

1. The foyer of the church has moved online

Nobody goes to a restaurant without checking out the website and reviews first and it’s no different for seekers looking for a church to call home. Most people are going to visit a church online before ever considering to step through the doors and that’s why the foyer of the church has moved.

Once online attenders are ready to experience a service live, the transition can be intimidating. That’s the time where they get to find out if everything they’ve been experiencing online (and missing out on live) is real and true.

It’s important to have volunteers on the ground ready to make them feel expected, welcomed and at home. That successful transition often leads to fast engagement because they are eager to get involved in the church community once that online barrier has been crossed.

2. Everyone can still be welcome in a charismatic model

As many churches move towards a more charismatic model, it’s important to continue to be welcoming to everyone – a key component of attractional church that doesn’t need to disappear.

What’s shifting in the charismatic approach is who the programming is being created to reach. Instead of cultivating a service with only the unchurched in mind, incorporate space in the program that provides the “first couple of rungs on the ladder” for anyone new to the church space while keeping the focus on engaging Christ followers in continued spiritual growth.

3. Don’t wear Saul’s armor; find your own fit

If you feel stuck in a model that isn’t working and aren’t sure how to change course, there are two places to focus on in order to slowly turn the ship around.

First, pray – and if you don’t know how to pray, ask God to teach you how. Seems too simple, but never underestimate the powerful changes that can come through intentional prayer.

Second, focus on your unique calling instead of getting lost in the comparison trap. The things that connect your church to your community are not necessarily the same things that connect other churches to theirs. You can’t wear Saul’s armor. You need a suite customized for your own battle. Focus on your strengths, know who you are and hone in on what God has called you to do.

Quotes from Episode 251

Nobody is looking for WOW anymore in the church. If they are truly lost, they are looking for HOW. -Matt Warren
Click To Tweet

People show up looking for Jesus and shame on us if they show up and only find us. @cnieuwhof
Click To Tweet

I never want to lose the environment that says everybody is welcome. -Matt Warren
Click To Tweet

We're never going to have the opportunity to actually get our arms around online attenders if we don't engage them in the new foyer, which is online. -Drew Powell
Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 251

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Reach More People…Every Weekend

Ready to start preaching better sermons and reach the unchurched without selling out? Then it’s time to start using the right tips, lessons, and strategies to communicating better.

76% of people say that preaching is a major factor in whether they decide to stay at a church.

The Art of Better Preaching Course is a 12 session video training with a comprehensive, interactive workbook that will help you create, write, and deliver better sermons. The course contains the lessons Mark Clark (lead pastor of  Village Church, a growing mega-church in post-Christian Vancouver) and I have learned, taught, and used over decades of being professional communicators.

This is the complete course you need to start preaching better sermons, including:

  • 7 preaching myths it’s time to bust forever
  • The 5 keys to preaching sermons to unchurched people (that will keep them coming back)
  • How to discover the power in the text (and use it to drive your sermon)
  • The specific characteristics of sermons that reach people in today’s world
  • Why you need to ditch your sermon notes (and how to do it far more easily than you think.)
  • How to keep your heart and mind fresh over the long run

And far more! Plus you get an interactive workbook and some bonus resources that will help you write amazing messages week after week.

In the Art of Better Preaching, Mark and I share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years.

Check it out today and gain instant access.

Subscribed Yet? 

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

Google Play

Stitcher

TuneIn

Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Kevin Queen

What do you do when a well-known, charismatic founder of a highly visible, successful church resigns and you’re the successor? That was Kevin Queen’s situation in 2017 when he took over the Lead Pastor role at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN after Pete Wilson stepped back. Kevin had never been a Lead Pastor before and has a very different style and approach. 18 months later, the church has never been stronger or larger, and is moving into the future as alive as it’s ever been. Kevin shares that astonishing, unlikely story of how it all came together under God’s grace.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 252.

The post CNLP 251: Drew Powell and Matt Warren on Why Attractional Church is Past Peak, Why It’s Changing and What’s Next for Weekend Services appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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The world is changing so fast it often feels impossible to keep up.

Technology is one thing.

But so many other things are changing too. Take cultural assumptions for example. What was true a few years ago—or more dangerously, what we tell ourselves is true—isn’t necessarily true anymore.

Few events in the world do a better job of letting people think about and experience the future than SXSW (pronounced South By Southwest) in Austin, Texas.

Personally, going to SXSW was a bucket list thing for me. But to go there for the first time as a speaker was completely over the top (I spoke to tech and start-up leaders about 7 success killers even top leaders miss, based on the insights in my book, Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.)

There are so many applications I took away from my four days at SXSW that apply to leaders in every field.

Here are 7 things I saw at SXSW about how the world’s changing.

1. Young adults will find the cash and time if the value’s high enough

One of the first things I noticed at SXSW was how young the crowd was. The average age may have been below thirty.

Which is interesting, because SXSW is not an inexpensive event. At all.

Registration starts in the low hundreds and rises quickly to well over $1000. And that’s just for admission. Add flights, hotels and meals to the bill, and you can drop three grand on attending before you know it. (Trust me, there are no bargain airfares, hotels or Airbnbs during SXSW).

It’s also not a small event. 75,000 people will attend this year’s SXSW, so it’s not like someone managed to get a hundred and fifty 27-year-olds in the room. No, this attracted tens of thousands of young leaders from around the world.

Yet when I talk to a lot of leaders, and they complain that Millennials and Gen Z don’t give, don’t attend live events and don’t have any money for whatever they happen to be offering.

Apparently not.

Sure, companies ponied up for some attendees, but if that’s the only explanation, I would have expected a lot more 45-60-year-old executives.

If you’re having trouble attracting the next generation, it’s likely because they don’t see value in what you’re offering.

Rather than blaming people for not embracing what you’re offering, offer something worth embracing.

If you’re a church leader like I am, the problem, of course, isn’t Jesus or the Gospel. But it may well be your approach to Jesus and the Gospel.

Rather than blaming people for not embracing what you're offering, offer something worth embracing.
Click To Tweet
2. Most organizations underestimate and underutilize young leaders

I spent most of my one-on-one time at SXSW talking to leaders age 30 and under.

Guess what they had in common? All of them were founders of new companies. One had bootstrapped his firm to 75 global employees. Two others were seeking another co-founder for their startup.

Another leader I spent an evening with is Brett Hagler, CEO and Co-founder of New Story who has raised millions of dollars to design the technology to 3-D print houses.

This summer, they’re going to Latin America to 3-D print entire communities. You read that right. They’re 3-D printing villages. (Check out Fast Company’s piece on this latest phase).  Brett is 29.

If your organization keeps 20-something leaders on the bench to learn, or only places them in junior roles, enjoy watching the future pass you by.

If your organization keeps 20-something leaders on the bench to learn, or only places them in junior roles, enjoy watching the future pass you by.
Click To Tweet
3. Philosophers and Theologians Need to Catch Up To Engineers

Amy Webb gave a brilliant session on future tech trends. She highlighted just a few of the 300+ trends she notes in her 2019 report.

One thing that was clear from her report and others is that technology is advancing faster than our ability to know what to do with it.

Philosophers and theologians, to be sure, have some catching up to do.

Technology is advancing faster than our ability to know what to do with it. Which is an opportunity for philosophers and theologians.
Click To Tweet

On everything from DeepFakes, to autonomous cars (do you program a car to choose to hit a pedestrian or alternatively crash into a cement wall, which may kill the driver?) to genetic engineering, we don’t really know what we’re doing to ourselves.

On DeepFaking, for example, consider this from Amy’s report (p.210…you can download it for free here):

Pair VR with the concept of DeepFake technology and you’ve got a frightening prospect: anyone could virtually take on an identity not their own, complete with a digitally projected physical appearance, voice, and movements indistinguishable from those of the individual they are impersonating.

In a distant-future era, with VR constituting a majority of human experiences, and with such shapeshifting abilities at everyone’s fingertips, it will become increasingly less possible to verify the identities of those around us.

Distrust will infect all social interaction, along with the intense mental strain of living under constant threat of identity theft, if not loss of identity entirely. New authentication techniques will be imperative if we are to maintain sanity and order in society, and we will need to be constantly vigilant in verifying the identity of those we interact with.

The post-truth culture we live in just got more complicated. Technology is outstripping ethics, and in an era where consensus around ethics and morality is splintering, the field is ripe for theologians and philosophers to speak meaning into our present and future.

One more question before we leave this point: who exactly owns your DNA? If you think the answer is clear, think again, particularly if you used a DNA service to learn more about your health or ancestry.

The crisis we’re facing today isn’t a crisis of information or technology, it’s a crisis of meaning and ethics.

The crisis we're facing today isn't a crisis of information or technology, it's a crisis of meaning and ethics.
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4. People Still Have Long Attention Spans and Deep Curiosity

So much for the idea that people have short attention spans.

Surprisingly, people still have long attention spans and deep curiosity.

As we’ve seen with the surge in long-form podcasting, something I value as a podcaster myself,  humans don’t have the attention span of a goldfish after all. There’s a huge market for long-form, in-depth, nuanced, complex and honest dialogue.

And people’s curiosity runs deep. Deeper than you think. One of the features of SXSW is that people line up for talks…sometimes for hours.

So forget the idea that people have zero patience for great ideas and points of views.

Application? The problem with your message may not be that you’re shooting too high, it might be that you’re shooting too low.

The problem with your messaging may not be that you're shooting too high, it might be that you're shooting too low.
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And what about length?

Well sure, not everyone stays for all 11 days of the event. I was there for four but easily could have stayed longer (and plan to next time).

Because our culture is so geared to choice and autonomy, what most of us who create content of any kind are learning is that 5 minutes of boring is five minutes too long. 60 minutes of fascinating isn’t nearly enough.

What most of us who create content of any kind are learning is that 5 minutes of boring is five minutes too long. 60 minutes of fascinating isn't nearly enough.
Click To Tweet

5. The companies who act like human beings are the companies that are going to make it in the future

One of the drop-the-mic moments that happened for me was in a session led by Minjae Ormes.

In it, one of the presenters shared this quote (source unknown): the companies who act like human beings are the companies that are going to make it in the future.

100%.

As life becomes more digitized, randomized and anonymous, people crave personal and real.

So when you think about your public interface, the more human you become, the more real you are, the more connection you’ll build.

You absolutely need the latest and best technology. But the more human you become, the better your chance for impact is.

The companies who act like human beings are the companies that are going to make it in the future.
Click To Tweet
6. Sometimes authenticity gives you authority. Sometimes it doesn’t.

This one’s for communicators who like me, spend a lot of time speaking in front of Christians.

I speak at a church that specializes in reaching unchurched people, but it’s still church. Similarly, in the conferences and events I speak at, whether that’s in the church conference world or business world, the audience often has a lot of Christians in it.

I just loved that this wasn’t the case at SXSW.

I do believe that authenticity is the key to preaching in a way that reaches our culture today.

Sure, people admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weaknesses, but I noticed something at SXSW that will make me change my approach the next time I’m in front of a group where almost no one shares my faith.

I usually lead with my vulnerabilities when I speak. I’ll talk about my weaknesses, a struggle I had or a mistake I made, and it builds instant rapport….in the church world. 

I spend a lot of time reading my audience when I speak, and what I sensed is that the vulnerability made some people uncomfortable. In the end, the authenticity resonated (I had a number of people from major corporations ask me if I did consulting because they don’t spend nearly enough time talking about it), but it took a while to get there. It wasn’t instant, like is most of the time I speak.

So it got me wondering.

So here’s the pivot I’m doing next time.

I sensed what the corporate audience was looking for was authority…what right do I have to speak into this space and what right do I have to speak to them?

Those are great questions. After all, Christians (and pastors especially) don’t have a lot of credibility in the culture anymore.

Even though I didn’t lead by announcing I was a pastor (I shared that later in the talk), I realized I needed to establish authority earlier in the talk.

You can do that in a variety of ways:

  • Describing the problem you’ll address in a way that’s hyper-relevant to your audience
  • Telling a story that’s directly related to the subject your addressing.
  • Sharing data on why what you’re talking about matters.
  • Sharing your credentials on why you have expertise on a given topic.

The day after I spoke, I rewrote my talk, opening it (for the next time) with data outlining why the subject is so important, sharing what’s at stake for the audience and leading with the most pressing problem I sense the audience will be leaning into. I moved the more personal, vulnerable things toward the end of the talk.

My big takeaway? In most Christian circles, authenticity gives you authority. When dealing with a non-Christian audience, authority gives you permission to be authentic.

The really sad part? Many Christians never get in front of truly unchurched audiences or people to even test that out.

In most Christian circles, authenticity gives you authority. When dealing with non-Christians, authority gives you permission to be authentic. Many Christians never get in front of truly unchurched audiences or people to test that out.
Click To Tweet
7. Production and Branding Are Very Much Alive

There’s a debate about the peak of attractional churches, and I do think we’re moving into an era where real is the real deal.

But don’t let that convince you that branding, production, AVL and cool is dead.

There was an interesting paradox at SXSW. The branding for the event was everywhere. You couldn’t look left or right without seeing a banner, graphics or a step-and-repeat set up for selfies and photo-ops. Not to mention a decent merch counter.

So branding isn’t dead.

But it wasn’t drawing attention to itself.  It wasn’t saying look at how cool I am. It was just, cool. (Side note: In my view, people at SXSW tried way less hard to be cool than I’ve seen in many church circles.)

It’s almost as though branding is just something you do…it was baked-in, omnipresent and almost like wallpaper.

That’s just where our culture is at right now.

There are two branding mistakes church leaders make.

First, is to put too much stock in it, as though better branding will be your salvation. Of course, it won’t be. As ad legend David Ogilvie said, “Good marketing makes a bad product fail faster.” No, branding is just a part of life in 2019.

Which brings us to the second mistake: the tribe of church leaders who don’t brand who criticize churches that do. That’s also an error. Branding, good production and AVL can help you share your message in a relevant way.

The reason relevance still matters is simple: the culture doesn’t listen to people it deems irrelevant. Neither do you.

The reason relevance still matters is simple: the culture doesn't listen to people it deems irrelevant. Neither do you.
Click To Tweet
Get Better At Speaking Into The Culture

Speaking to the culture in a way that connects has never been more nuanced.

Which is why it was so good to create The Art of Better Preaching online, on-demand course with Mark Clark. Mark and I are good friends but have very different approaches and styles in our preaching. Both, by the grace of God, connect with people who don’t normally go to church.

We’d love to show you to preach in a way that connects, without selling out.

The Art of Better Preaching Course is a 12 session video training with a comprehensive, interactive workbook that will help you create, write, and deliver better sermons. The course contains the lessons Mark Clark (lead pastor of  Village Church, a growing mega-church in post-Christian Vancouver) and I have learned, taught, and used over decades of being professional communicators.

This is the complete course you need to start preaching better sermons, including:

  • 7 preaching myths it’s time to bust forever
  • The 5 keys to preaching sermons to unchurched people (that will keep them coming back)
  • How to discover the power in the text (and use it to drive your sermon)
  • The specific characteristics of sermons that reach people in today’s world
  • Why you need to ditch your sermon notes (and how to do it far more easily than you think.)
  • How to keep your heart and mind fresh over the long run

And far more! Plus you get an interactive workbook and some bonus resources that will help you write amazing messages week after week.

In the Art of Better Preaching, Mark and I share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years.

Check it out today and gain instant access.

What Are You Seeing In Culture?

What changes are you seeing in culture?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

The post Young Leaders, DeepFakes and 7 Things I Learned at SXSW About How the World Is Changing (Again…) appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages has sold more than 12 million copies and shows no signs of slowing down;  every year, it sells more copies than the year before.

Gary talks about why the book has resonated as deeply as it has and how using the Five Love Languages at work can greatly improve employee satisfaction. We also drill down on how the love languages can impact your marriage and your parenting.

Welcome to Episode 250 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Gary on Facebook | Twitter | 5lovelanguages.com  

AppreciationAtWork.com

The 5 Love Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

The 5 Love Languages of Children

The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers

A Teen’s Guide to the 5 Love Languages

Episode Links

The Unstuck Group has helped thousands of churches get unstuck. Take their FREE Unstuck Church Assessment at theunstuckgroup.com/Carey to find out which of the 7 lifecycle stages describes your church so you can get unstuck and reach more people.

Step up your digital game and grow your congregation through custom-tailored content with Pro Media Fire. Take advantage of this special offer for podcast listeners at promediafire.com/carey and receive 10% off all plans for life and 40% off media bundles for life.

5 Reasons Charismatic Churches Are Growing (And Attractional Churches Are Past Peak) by Carey Nieuwhof

3 Insights from Gary

1. To love your spouse well you have to learn his or her language

Every person has a primary love language – Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Physical Touch.

Couples who say I just don’t feel like you love me anymore often are attempting to show love to each other, but their just not acting it out in the love language their spouse responds to. The best way to overcome this challenge is to study and learn about your significant other’s love language. Learn how to speak it to them on a regular basis and your relationship will grow like never before.

2. To love your kids well you have to learn their languages

Often time kids will say My parents don’t love me. When they are the thing their parents love most. This disconnect comes because the parents are not loving their child in the love language he or she needs most. If you want your relationship with your kids to grow, try starting with how they feel love.

As leaders, most of the parents within our churches and organizations will struggle with this at some point in their parenting life. We as leaders can be helpful by encouraging them to learn and speak the love languages of their children as often as possible. Here’s a great

3. If you want to improve your company learn your team’s languages

The 5 love languages don’t just apply at home, they apply in the workplace too. A lot of managers tell their teams that they appreciate them, but that only works for the employees who respond to Words of Affirmation. If you want to be effective at expressing appreciation in the workplace you have to individualize it for every person on your team.

Love languages at work are not always the same for people as they are at home. When a team begins to speak each other’s love languages, the company culture can improve exponentially.

Quotes from Episode 250

If people feel appreciated in the workplace, they are more highly motivated to give themselves to the task. @DrGaryChapman
Click To Tweet

People don’t quit companies, they quit managers. @cnieuwhof
Click To Tweet

In our modern culture pleasure has become God. @DrGaryChapman
Click To Tweet

You can kill people or give them life by what you say to them. @DrGaryChapman
Click To Tweet

The question that matters is not do you love your kids, it's do your kids feel loved. @DrGaryChapman
Click To Tweet

Each child has a particular love language. If you want them to feel loved, you have to learn what it is and how to speak it. @DrGaryChapman
Click To Tweet
Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 250

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here

A Tried & True Resource for Preachers

Ready to start preaching better sermons and reach the unchurched without selling out? Then it’s time to start using the right tips, lessons, and strategies to communicating better.

The Art of Better Preaching Course is a 12 session video training with a comprehensive, interactive workbook that will help you create, write, and deliver better sermons. The course contains the lessons Mark Clark (lead pastor of  Village Church, a growing mega-church in post-Christian Vancouver) and I have learned, taught, and used over decades of being professional communicators.

This is the complete course you need to start preaching better sermons, including:

  • 7 preaching myths it’s time to bust forever
  • The 5 keys to preaching sermons to unchurched people (that will keep them coming back)
  • How to discover the power in the text (and use it to drive your sermon)
  • The specific characteristics of sermons that reach people in today’s world
  • Why you need to ditch your sermon notes (and how to do it far more easily than you think.)
  • How to keep your heart and mind fresh over the long run

And far more! Plus you get an interactive workbook and some bonus resources that will help you write amazing messages week after week.

In the Art of Better Preaching, Mark and I share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years.

Check it out today and gain instant access.

Subscribed Yet? 

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

Google Play

Stitcher

TuneIn

Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Drew Powell & Matt Warren

The attractional church model has been the dominant church model for 20 years in growing churches and many leaders are noticing it’s not nearly as effective as it used to be. Few churches were better known for the attractional model than Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. In a raw, honest and open conversation, Creative Director Drew Powell and Executive Director Matt Warren talk about why attractional church isn’t what it used to be, why it was effective but isn’t as much anymore, what they’ve changed (and why Cross Point is now the largest its ever been) and where the future church is heading.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 251.

The post CNLP 250: Gary Chapman on How The Five Love Languages Can Improve Employee Performance at Work, Make Your Marriage Better and Foster a Better Relationship With Your Kids appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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If you talk to most leaders long enough to get a real answer to ‘So how’s it going?” you will quickly discover that a surprising number of leaders are disheartened.

Even discouraged.

You know what thousands of leaders facing many different situations have in common?  They’re discouraged. 

Sure, the problems are specific (and they provide fuel for the subjects I try to address on this blog), but underneath so many of them is a single issue: so many leaders are demoralized and dejected.

Add ministry to leadership and it gets even harder. I’ll be the first one to admit that a large part of the battle in leadership is this: overcoming discouragement.

If you don’t develop a strategy, you won’t stay in leadership long.

So the big question is, how do you overcome the tough seasons?

How do you overcome discouragement in leadership? Here are 7 things that have helped me.

A large part of the battle in leadership is this: overcoming discouragement.
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1. Remember Why You’re Doing This

Most of us didn’t get into leadership without a clear reason.

Most of the discouragement in leadership comes from the what and the how.

Someone disagrees with you about what to do, and you find it frustrating. You get stuck in endless meetings where no one can agree on how to do it—super-frustrating.

The best way I know how to keep myself encouraged in those seasons and move the team forward at the same time is to remind myself why we’re doing this.

There’s a reason you’re leading. There’s a mission to accomplish.

Resetting your sights on why will not only re-motivate you and your team, it will often help you move past the logjam that is often what and how.

On my toughest days, when that doesn’t seem to work, I go back to my calling and I realize that this is what my life is supposed to be about.

Resetting your sights on why will not only re-motivate you and your team, it will often help you move past the logjam that is often what and how.
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2. Shift the weight

There is a weight to leadership that every leader feels. And some of that is healthy. If you don’t feel the pressure of leadership, it can be a sign that you’re not engaged.

Things become unhealthy, though, when you bear all the weight of leadership.

As a Christian, my rule in leadership is this: Take full responsibility for all you can do. And then trust God with the rest.

It relieves so much pressure.

Take full responsibility for all you can do. And then trust God with the rest. It relieves so much pressure.
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3. Do what an emotionally intelligent person would do

Some days (and in some seasons) my emotions get the best of me. And when they do, I want to revert to the behaviour of a 3-year-old, not the behaviour fitting my stage of life.

How do you combat that?

Well, quite literally, on my worst days, I ask myself “What would an emotionally intelligent person do?” I imagine what they would do, then I do everything I can to do it. Try it. It works.

Emotional intelligence is all about developing a self-awareness of how your attitudes and actions impact others and leveraging that to further the team and others. Self-aware leaders are always aware of key things that other leaders simply aren’t.

As Daniel Goleman points out in his classic book, Emotional Intelligence, emotionally intelligent people rarely let their state of mind bring others down. They’ve developed behaviours that compensate for their emotional state so they don’t drag other people down with them.

Being self-aware is one thing. The next step is to self-regulate: in other words, don’t make other people pay for your frustration.

Emotionally healthy people have enough objectivity to see how they’re feeling and enough strength to insulate others from the negativity.

On my bad days, I try to be that person.

On a bad day, ask yourself 'What would an emotionally intelligent person do?' Then do it.
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4. Find some quick easy wins

Leadership can be frustrating. Often you’re working on long-term initiatives that present more hurdles than breakthroughs. And in ministry, the business of life-change can be very difficult to measure.

Sometimes you just need to win at something as a leader. If you can’t see a win in your day job, then go win at something else.

What do I mean? I mean something really small by which you can measure immediate progress:

Cut your grass.

Wash your car.

Clean off your desk.

Take a great friend out to lunch.

Go for a walk, run or ride and count the calories with your favourite fitness app.

The point? Do something you know will succeed and that can be seen.

Your car was dirty? Now it’s clean. Your grass was long? Now it’s cut.

That’s so unlike the progress you can measure in most senior leadership jobs.

Small measurable wins will give you the emotional satisfaction you need to go back and tackle the things you’re not sure are going to succeed or that are inherently difficult to measure.

5. Call a friend

Sometimes you just need someone who understands.

The challenge is many leaders don’t know who to call.

You shouldn’t always complain to your employees or board, because they work with you. And seeking affirmation from the people who work for you can be a critical mistake.

When I’m deeply discouraged, I often call a friend who:

Can understand because he has led in a position like mine before.

Doesn’t work with me directly so it doesn’t create a funk in the organization.

Honours confidences.

Often, even 15 minutes with someone who understands and empathizes helps so much.

Don’t have any close friends? Just remember, loneliness is a choice; it’s not inevitable.

Leaders, loneliness is a choice.
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6. Get some rest

I would love to figure out who actually said this, but someone observed that 70% of discipleship is a good night’s sleep.

So true.

70% of discipleship is a good night's sleep.
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If you’re discouraged, get some rest. Shoot for eight hours straight.

Or…just take a nap.

I’m convinced that sleep is a secret weapon the most effective leaders keep in their arsenal.

As I wrote about at some detail in my latest book, Didn’t See It Coming, staying on top of sleep has been one of the most important things I do to stay fresh and effective in leadership in the 13 years since I burned out.

You are at your most kind and optimistic when you’re most rested. You’re also at your best in leadership.

So rest.

You are at your most kind and optimistic when you're most rested. So rest.
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7. Don’t quit

People make stupid decisions when they’re discouraged. Don’t be one of those people.

Never make long term decisions in a bad season; make them when you’re in a good season. And if you’re not in a good season, wait.

I am also fully convinced that far too many leaders quit far too early.

Here’s an interesting phenomenon: often in my leadership, I have been most tempted to quit right before a critical breakthrough.

I almost quit writing this blog two or three times before I started blogging regularly.

I almost quit early in my leadership when we were 95% of the way through the changes we were making the opposition got so loud.

I felt like quitting my marriage when we were in a particularly dark season. (But we pushed through and now have an exceptional marriage that seems to keep getting better.)

Then I look back and think “I’m so glad I didn’t pack it in.”

Remember. You are most tempted to quit moments before your critical breakthrough.

You are most tempted to quit moments before your critical breakthrough.
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And do you know what you give up when you quit?

That’s right. You have no idea.

So don’t quit.

Do you know what you give up when you quit? That's right. You have no idea. So don't quit.
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Beat Overwhelm. Here’s How…

It’s never been easier to feel overwhelmed, and for good reason.

Any idea how to beat that?

Let me help.

There’s a proven system that has helped thousands of leaders get far more productive at work AND spend more time at home with their family.

The High Impact Leader course, is my online, on-demand course designed to help you get time, energy and priorities working in your favour.

Many leaders who have taken it are recovering 3 productive hours a day.  That’s about 1000 hours of found time each year.

Maybe you’re suspicious and think “there’s no way I’d recover 1000 productive hours”.  Well, let’s say you got 3 hours a week back, not 3 hours a day.

Well, that’s 156 hours a year, which works out to almost a month of work weeks. Which is kind of like giving yourself four extra weeks of vacation.

All of that can happen and has happened through the High Impact Leader.

Here are what some alumni are saying about The High Impact Leader Course”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing the course again. It has absolutely made an impact in my life and family already that I can’t even describe.” – First Priority, Clayton County, North Carolina

“Carey’s course was the perfect way for our team to prepare for the new year. Our team, both collectively and individually, took a fresh look at maximizing our time and leadership gifts for the year ahead. I highly recommend this leadership development resource for you and your team.” Jeff Henderson, Gwinnett Church, Atlanta Georgia

“A lot of books and programs make big promises and cannot deliver but this is not one of them. I have read so many books and watched videos on productivity but the way you approach it and teach is helpful and has changed my work week in ministry in amazing ways.” Chris Sloan, Tanglewood Church, Kingston, North Carolina

“Just wow.  Thank you, thank you.” Dave Campbell, Invitation Church, Sioux Falls South Dakota

“A game changer.” Pam Perkins, Red Rock Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado

If you want to start leveraging time, energy and priorities to help you lead better at work and at home, visit www.TheHighImpactLeader.com to learn more.

I don’t know where you’re at, but my heart is for every leader to get out of the trap of being busy but not productive, of working long hours but producing less than hoped for.

That’s what the High Impact Leader Course is all about: it’s about getting time, energy and priorities working in your favour. It’s about getting your life and leadership back.

Oh, and there’s a 30-day money back no-questions-asked guarantee. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain.

Click here to learn more or get instant access.

What About You?

What do you do that helps you push through a discouraging season in leadership?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

The post 7 Ways To Beat Discouragement in Leadership appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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One of the most difficult aspects of leadership is to know how you’re doing as a leader.

Add a little insecurity into the mix, and it makes things even more complex.

Naturally, you’ll get feedback from your peers and probably get an occasional 360 review (both great practices).

But beyond that, how can you tell how you’re doing as a leader?

There’s a way to check that’s much simpler than you might think. By asking yourself five simple questions, you can not only get an accurate gauge of how you’re doing, but also where you need to improve.

Why This Matters (Leadership and Self-Delusion)

I find a lot of leaders are not clear on how well they’re leading.

This falls into two categories:

Leaders who overestimate how well they’re doing.

Leaders who underestimate how well they’re doing.

Both are problematic for different reasons.

If you think you’re doing better than you are, you’re the last person to realize you need to improve.

And if you think you’re not doing as well as you actually are, then you likely have potential you have not yet tapped into.

So getting a reasonably accurate check in on the quality of your leadership is critical to help you lead with all diligence.

5 Easy Ways to Check Your Leadership Effectiveness

The following questions form five quick shoulder checks you can do.

As with all self-assessment, there are limits on how accurate it will be. But my guess is as you work through these questions in the next few minutes you’ll know a lot more about your leadership than you might predict.

So, to gauge your leadership, as honestly as you can, answer these 5 questions:

1. Is anyone following you?

One of the best ways to tell whether you’re a leader is simply this: Look over your should to see if anyone’s following.

If no one’s following (or only a few are), you’re really not leading.

How can you tell if you're a leader? Look over your shoulder to see if anyone's following.
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It doesn’t matter how many leadership books you read, how many webinars you do or how grandiose your vision might be, a leader without followers is not actually a leader.

While we all get touchy about this in leadership, the reality is leaders lead people. (This post explains why some leaders have a higher number of followers than others.)

So who is following you? Be honest.

A leader with no followers is not a leader.
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2 Who’s following you?

That you have followers is one thing, but the next thing to check is the kind of person following you.

High capacity leaders will attract other high capacity people.

The caliber of the people around you points to the caliber of leader you are.

Again, this isn’t always a fun question to answer, but it can become a springboard to progress.

If you don’t like what you find, ask yourself why higher capacity leaders don’t follow your lead.

And then take the steps you need to take to change that.

The caliber of the people around you points to the caliber of leader you are.
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3. Who are you following?

It’s not just a question of who follows you, but also a question of who you’re following.

I’m not talking about the podcasts you listen to, the blogs or books you read or the conferences you attend. Our celebrity culture has created a mass following mentality that allows many people to follow influential leaders almost effortlessly. I’m not slamming this.

I read and listen to leading voices all the time and love going to great events. I’m in when it comes to that.

But I think it’s easy to develop a false intimacy with these influential leaders, thinking we know them when in fact we’ve never met them and in all likelihood never will.

While you can learn from people you read or listen to, even more important are the people you actually hang out with.

On that note, ask yourself:

With whom do I spend the most time personally?

Who’s building into me, personally?

Who’s mentoring me?

Do the people I spend the most time with represent the kind of leader I want to be in 5 years?

Are the people closest to me helping me grow into the leader God has called me to be?

If the answers to these questions bother you, change the circle of people you hang out with.

Find some leaders and mentors who can help you realize your potential. Seriously, send an email today to someone who can do these things for you before you close this blog post.

Know why this is so important?

As Jim Rohn says, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
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4. Are Your Followers Leading Others?

I’ve added these last two questions to my list recently because I think what used to be implied isn’t that obvious anymore.

With the dominance of social media, it’s never been easier to gain followers or draw a crowd, in person or online.

Having followers is one thing.

The real question is this: Are you equipping the people who follow you to lead others?

Having a tribe that likes you, listens to you or appreciates you isn’t really leadership.

Leading that tribe to become better people, to move the mission forward, to grow, stretch and lead others in the cause or create their own causes—that’s leadership.

If your followers only follow you, you’re not really a leader. True leaders develop other leaders.

If your followers only follow you, you're not really a leader. True leaders develop other leaders.
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5. Is Your Leadership About Something Bigger Than You?

One final question. Because you can create a personal brand and draw a crowd in a second these days, it’s easier than ever to make the mission about you.

Don’t.

And I shared in point 4, above, if you’re leading, don’t just cultivate fans, make the people in your orbit better because they know you.

The best way to do that is to ensure the mission isn’t about you. You are not a cause worthy enough for anyone to give their life to. Neither, of course, am I.

If you’re a church leader, this is easy because we have the best mission in the world. Point to it. Live for it. Make your mission all about THE mission.

If you’re a marketplace leader, I promise that you need a cause bigger than you, your company or the bottom line. You need a reason to exist, a problem that’s so big it’s worth giving your life to.

That might be excellent customer service, or products that make people’s lives better, or curing a disease, or crafting amazing experiences for people…or whatever. But it can’t just be about your bottom line.

That’s an issue for every worker today, but it’s especially true if you’re working with team members under the age of 40 (Here are 7 things every leader needs to know about working with Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace).

Lead Yourself Better. Here’s How

How do you make time to become a better leader?

Great question. Too many leaders are so busy working in the day to grind that they never find time to develop themselves.

Change that.

There’s a proven system that has helped thousands of leaders get far more effective at work AND spend more time at home with their family.

The High Impact Leader course, is my online, on-demand course designed to help you get time, energy and priorities working in your favour.

Many leaders who have taken it are recovering 3 productive hours a day.  That’s about 1000 hours of found time each year.

Maybe you’re suspicious and think “there’s no way I’d recover 1000 productive hours”.  Well, let’s say you got 3 hours a week back, not 3 hours a day.

Well, that’s 156 hours a year, which works out to almost a month of work weeks. Which is kind of like giving yourself four extra weeks of vacation.

All of that can happen and has happened through the High Impact Leader.

Here are what some alumni are saying about The High Impact Leader Course”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing the course again. It has absolutely made an impact in my life and family already that I can’t even describe.” – First Priority, Clayton County, North Carolina

“Carey’s course was the perfect way for our team to prepare for the new year. Our team, both collectively and individually, took a fresh look at maximizing our time and leadership gifts for the year ahead. I highly recommend this leadership development resource for you and your team.” Jeff Henderson, Gwinnett Church, Atlanta Georgia

“A lot of books and programs make big promises and cannot deliver but this is not one of them. I have read so many books and watched videos on productivity but the way you approach it and teach is helpful and has changed my work week in ministry in amazing ways.” Chris Sloan, Tanglewood Church, Kingston, North Carolina

“Just wow.  Thank you, thank you.” Dave Campbell, Invitation Church, Sioux Falls South Dakota

“A game changer.” Pam Perkins, Red Rock Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado

If you want to start leveraging time, energy and priorities to help you lead better at work and at home, visit www.TheHighImpactLeader.com to learn more.

I don’t know where you’re at, but my heart is for every leader to get out of the trap of being busy but not productive, of working long hours but producing less than hoped for.

That’s what the High Impact Leader Course is all about: it’s about getting time, energy and priorities working in your favour. It’s about getting your life and leadership back.

Oh, and there’s a 30-day money back no-questions-asked guarantee. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain.

Click here to learn more or get instant access.

What Questions Would You Ask?

I find that by asking myself these three questions on a semi-regular basis, I get a fairly accurate assessment of where I am.

How about you? What questions would you add to this list?

Leave a comment.

The post 5 Simple Ways to Assess The Effectiveness of Your Leadership appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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Every parent and every teen and young adult knows things are changing. So does every leader. But the real question is: How are things changing and what does it mean?

Kara Powell and Steve Argue dive into their latest research and explain how a twenty year gap has emerged between when kids grow up too fast as young teens, but don’t fully emerge as adults until 30, and what that means for kids, parents, emerging adults and leaders.

Welcome to Episode 249 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

 Growing With | Fuller Youth Institute

Kara on Instagram | Kara on Facebook | Kara on Twitter

Steve on Instagram | Steve on Facebook | Steve on Twitter

Read a chapter of Growing With FREE and take the Growing With Parenting Quiz here!

Episode Links

The Unstuck Group has helped thousands of churches get unstuck. Take their FREE Unstuck Church Assessment at theunstuckgroup.com/Carey to find out which of the 7 lifecycle stages describes your church so you can get unstuck and reach more people.

Rethink Leadership is a premier leadership event designed by senior leaders exclusively for lead, executive and campus pastors. Join me in Atlanta on May 1-3 for content, conversations and community unlike any other leadership event in the country. You’ll go home with more than ideas. You’ll go home with a fresh network working together to solve the biggest challenges facing your church and the Church. Register by March 31st to receive $20 off regular pricing.

CNLP 158: Kara Powell on How to Tell if Your Church is Positioned to Draw Millennials and Her Personal Habits and Rhythms as a Leader and Mom

CNLP 106: Kara Powell on How Many Average Churches are Actually Reaching Millennials 

CNLP 004: Why Young Adults are Walking away from the Church and What You Can Do about It – An Interview with Kara Powell

Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, & Brad Griffin

3 Insights from Kara & Steve

1. Young people are driven by identity, belonging and purpose (aren’t we all?)

Young people are driven by three quests: Identity, Belonging and Purpose.

Identity – Who am I?

Belonging – Where do I fit?

Purpose – What difference do I make?

If we’re honest, aren’t these the same things that drive adults for a lifetime?  Here’s the difference – for most young people those questions are a rolling boil. For people 30+, those questions are often more simmering. But it’s important to remember that a generational gap doesn’t really divide the desires of our human hearts. We’re all asking the same questions and we’re all on the same quest.

2. Empathy is the key to connecting the age gap

A quick way to shut down dialogue with your growing child is using that old phrase, “when I was your age”. It’s funny that when we were kids we hated hearing that from our parents, but quickly found use for it when the tables turned.

As adults, we see those words as bridge-builders, but to young people that phrase creates an instant barrier. Just because we were young once, doesn’t mean we really have a grasp on what young people are going through today. Things have changed.

That doesn’t mean we can’t talk to each other or relate to each other. Mature adults just  need to recognize the differences before attempting to relate to a younger generation. Approaching conversations with empathy is the way to go. Asking questions like, “What’s this like for you?” or “How are you wrestling with that?” is key to connecting and relating to each other.

3. Each stage of emerging adults needs different support from parents

Most people categorize the younger generation into two groups: teenagers and young, emerging adults, but Kara and Steve think that should go a little deeper. Instead of two stages, their new book Growing With suggests three:

The Learner Stage: Typically ages 13-18 when a young person is experiencing rapid physical, emotional, relational, intellectual, and spiritual growth that brings all sorts of new questions, interests and friendships.

The Explorer Stage: Roughly ages 18-23 when a young person is often venturing away from home for the first time or away from home-oriented routines. New goals, relationships and beliefs are being pursued. Explorers are excited about the future, but unsure about themselves.

The Focuser Stage: Ages 23-28 is usually the chapter in life when a young person starts gaining a clearer sense of who they are. Educational, vocational, relational, and spiritual choices have been made that opened up new opportunities and closed others.

Each stage requires a different style of parenting, and a different type of response from the church. Here are the three styles of support:

The Teacher: The Learner Stage needs a teacher who is hands-on, helps the teenager be self-motivated, trains them in the right practices, and disciplines to help them succeed.

The Guide: The Explorer Stage needs a guide to give the new young adults more room than they previously had as a Learner. A great guide knows when to allow people to explore and when to give more direction.

The Resourcer: The Focuser Stage needs someone who will listen from the young adult’s perspective and offer resources (not necessarily financial) and advice when asked.

Want to learn more? Take the Growing With Parent Quiz to find out which stage your child is so you can offer the support they need. You can also dive into a free chapter of Growing With while you’re there.

Quotes from Episode 249

As parents, we often direct our attention toward our kids, trying to think about what they need and how we can help them, and we don't critically reflect on what's going on inside of us. @stevenargue
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Young people have access to a lot of information, but what I think they really need access to is wisdom. @stevenargue
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You can't journey with someone if you're judging them. @kpowellfyi
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Sometimes we as parents think to only change the things that we've done wrong, but we actually have to change the things that we do right. @stevenargue
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The church is a perfect lab for young people to experiment with their vocational calling. @kpowellfyi
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Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 249

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Didn’t See It Coming Will Help You Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss

If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:

“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church

“Powerful, personal, and highly readable. ” Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong

“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries

“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author

“Masterful.” Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange

“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author

“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author

Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author

“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.

“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY

You can learn more and get your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here.

Subscribed Yet? 

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via

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Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages has sold more than 12 million copies and every year it sells more copies than the year before. Gary talks about why the book has resonated as deeply as it has and how using the Five Love Languages at work can greatly improve employee satisfaction. We also drill down into how the love languages can impact your marriage and your parenting.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 250.

The post CNLP 249: Kara Powell and Steve Argue on Emerging Adulthood and Helping Teens, Young Adults, Parents and Leaders Thrive as Everything Changes appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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So you just love email, right?

Kidding.

Of course, you don’t. Few people do.

Of all the time-suckers that show up in modern work, email is near the top of most lists.  If you tallied the amount of time you spend on email, it would astound you.

Add to that the frustration it causes you (the stress of how many unanswered emails you have, the emails you never seem to get answered, the tough ones you’re dreading etc etc), and it’s no wonder email is a headache for almost all of us.

A month ago, I decided to get to inbox zero and stay there.

30 days later, I can’t tell you how much better I feel.

The concept of inbox zero has been around since there was email, but few people live by it. I’ve hit inbox zero more than a few times in my life and stayed there for a few days before drifting back into a cluttered inbox again.

I’m not one of those 4359 unread email guys. No, my bad habits were 2-20 read but unanswered emails sitting in my inbox…perpetually. If I answered a few of them, I let a few more take their place.

No big deal you say? Actually, big deal. It stressed me out every day.

I’ve figured out how to stay there, and I want to share what I’m learning.

First, two simple rules that will help you stay at inbox zero, then 3 ways inbox zero will bring you leadership peace, and finally, a 3 step plan on how to get to inbox zero today.

Ready? Here we go. It’s simpler than you think.

Two Simple Rules To Stay At Inbox Zero

So the two rules I adopted for inbox zero are simple:

Touch it once.

Deal with it immediately or put it on a task list.

One of the problems with a full inbox is that you might look at an email five to fifteen times before responding. You hover over it, think about it and leave it. Then you come back to it again a day later and think not now. The third time you look at it you think I should really talk to Emily first, then I can answer that. And so on and so on. And eight days later, it’s still not dealt with.

All of this is a problem for so many reasons. So much time is wasted. So much energy gets spent on nothing.

So, touch an email once. If you can’t deal with it, don’t open it. But then you shouldn’t even be in your inbox…so, open it.

And once it’s opened, you either answer it immediately or if it’s complex and needs time to think through, put it on your task list. I use Asana, so you can copy it over, but any basic task list would do.

Then you’re back to zero.

The problem with using your inbox as a task list is that multiple random emails at 100 words each make for a terribly confusing task list. It’s mud, or better yet, quicksand.

There’s no prioritization, no due date, nothing specific about what needs to be done with it.

If it’s a task, make it a task. Schedule it. Be specific. Then do it.

The surprise with this simple system?

You will deal with about 99% of your emails right on the spot. No delay. And for the rest? They’re real tasks. Which you’ll get to at the appropriate time.

And then you go back into your inbox and it’s clean.

So…why is inbox zero a better way to live and lead? I’m going to deal with that first because you likely won’t get to inbox zero unless you can see the difference it will make.

There are at least three reasons inbox zero will make you a better leader and give you some much-needed peace.

The problem with using your inbox as a task list is that multiple random emails at 100 words each makes for a terribly confusing task list.
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1. It will force you to make decisions, fast

As a professional organizer, Andrew Mellen so perceptively said on my leadership podcast, “Clutter is deferred decision making.” (Episode 139)

Bingo.

Clutter is deferred decision making. @andrewjmellen
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The reason your closet and garage are a mess is because you can’t decide what to do with your things. So you just leave them in a pile or stick them in a corner for later because you can’t make a decision. And the mess accumulates.

Ditto with your inbox.

Living at inbox zero forces you to make decisions faster, about everything that comes your way. If you can’t leave it in your inbox, you deal with it.

And, you then only look at your inbox when you have five minutes to make decisions.

All around, this will be a surprising boost to your efficiency and decision-making capability.

It’s surprised me.

The reason your closet and garage are a mess is because you can't decide what to do with your things. So you just leave them in a pile or stick them in a corner for later because you can't make a decision. Ditto with your inbox.
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2. You’ll get small tasks done immediately

You know what your day to day mostly is? 100 small decisions.

Really small.

If you’re forced to empty your inbox, the decision becomes binary. You deal with it right then when you open it, or you move it to a task list.

You’ll eventually get to a place where you think Do I really want to move this to a task list and take the time to do it? No…so I’ll handle it now.

Ironically, you might think you’ll spend more time making decisions because you have to clear your inbox every time, but you’ll actually spend less time making decisions because you only had to make the decisions once. Not twice when you opened your inbox again. Or eight-six times because that thing’s been sitting there for ages.

You may be surprised at how much of your daily work is small decisions that feel unnecessarily bigger when you don’t deal with them immediately.

So deal with them immediately.

You may be surprised at how much of your daily work is small decisions that feel unnecessarily bigger when you don't deal with them immediately.
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3. You’ll lose the mental drain of inbox clutter and unresolved tasks

One of the challenges of the work many of us do today is that there’s no finish line.

How do you know when you’ve reached an entire city? How will you know when you’ve maximized potential?

Are you ever done with people?

All of this and more is why it’s so easy to carry the weight of leadership home with you every night and carry it with you in your pocket wherever you go.

Hitting zero means you’re finished. You have a sense of accomplishment.

See this little inbox graphic Gmail gives you?

A month into this experiment, I’m still excited to see it every time and honestly, still delightfully surprised. I’m done!

Not convinced that unfinished tasks and a cluttered leadership space are bad for mental health?

Well, by comparison, research suggests that living in an organized, clutter free-home can reduce stress, help you sleep better,  foster higher productivity and potentially even help you lose weight.

Maybe your disorganization and indecision are costing you more than you think.

Leaders, disorganization and indecision is costing you more than you think.
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3 Simple Steps to Get to Inbox Zero Today

Great theory, you say. But how do I get to inbox zero….today?

Here are three steps that will help you get there fast.

These steps will work for those leaders with 5-10 stagnant emails sitting in your inbox and those leaders with 4397 unread emails.

Step 1: Deal with all your unread emails, or delete them

I know this sound draconian, but take 30 minutes and deal with ALL your unread emails, or delete them.

If you have a dozen emails lingering, 30 minutes is likely way more than you need to get to inbox zero. But just set it aside anyway. Maybe you need to build a task management system too (as I shared, I use Asana, but there are hundreds of task management systems out there. (Here’s a list of some current task management apps).

So what if you’re the guy or woman with a million unread emails?

I’ve never been there, but here’s my suggestion. Pick an arbitrary date (maybe two weeks or a month at the most) and deal with all those.

Then archive or delete the rest. 

What, you say, how can I do that? Those people are relying on me…there’s critical data in there.

Actually, that’s not true. Some of those people who sent unread emails have forgotten you. Some may have even died, who knows?

And that email from 2016 you never looked at, do you really think that’s still a live issue?

Nope. It’s not.

If you’re terrified of losing data, mark them all as read and batch-archive them so they’re searchable. Then move on with your life.

And if you’re terrified of letting people down, send one email to your critical contacts and say something like this.

Subject: Got a pressing issue I haven’t dealt with? Can you re-send your email?

Hi Friends,

I’ve decided to get to inbox zero and start organizing my workflow in a new way.

To that end, today I’m going to delete every email that’s over 30 days old.

I apologize for not getting back to you on the relevant matter. If it’s still a current issue for you, do you my resending me the email?

I promise I’ll be responding much faster in the future.

Thanks! I appreciate you!

Carey

There, you can even cut and paste that into your email. Just make sure you use your name. 🙂

Step 2. Limit reading email to a few times a day

Ironically, one of the fastest ways to get a cluttered inbox is to check email repeatedly throughout the day.

Maybe you’re in line at Starbucks and you look just to see who’s emailed you. But, of course, you don’t have time to deal with it, so you just tap on a few and move on.

But now you’re spending mental energy on problems you can’t solve right now. Bad idea.

So, just resolve to look at your email a few times a day, and set aside 10 minutes (or 30..depending on your email workload) to deal with it.

Finish at inbox zero every time, and remember, whatever you can’t answer in that window because it’s complex or something you’ll be working on later, move to a task list.

Although I sound like a broken record on this, you should also turn off all notifications for your inbox (and on your phone entirely). That way you won’t be tempted to look when you can’t deal with it.

If you only check email when you have time to deal with it, you’ll end up dealing with thing in far less time.

If you only check email when you have time to deal with it, you'll end up dealing with things in far less time.
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Step 3. Train Your Team To Wait for Meetings

The final way you can get to and stay at inbox zero is to reduce the amount of email you get.

And yes, you can do this.

Naturally, you can unsubscribe to a million things, but that still doesn’t solve work.

So here’s how to solve work: train the people around you to email you less and talk to you more.

Office culture has moved to management by email. It’s a terrible system.

Here’s what to do with all the people you meet with regularly: for anything that’s not urgent, ask them to wait to ask you about it until the next time you meet.

You’ll be shocked at how non-urgent most of what you’re dealing with is. And you’ll be shocked at how much time you spent urgently answering non-urgent email.

I ask my team to keep a list of everything they need to ask me. If things can’t wait for the next meeting, we’ll schedule a ten-30 minute phone call, Zoom call or quick meeting to deal with it.

Face to face or voice to voice is almost always more efficient because decisions require dialogue. Even something as simple as scheduling a meeting can go like this:

Jon wants to meet with you Thursday at 10.

What else do I have scheduled that day?

You have X, Y and Z.

Yeah, but I also have A B and C on Friday, so I think that’s not going to work on Thursday. I need to get some projects done Thursday too and that was my only quiet window.  Does he have any other time?

No, he said Thursday at 10 is his only window.

Oh, can we move my lunch meeting then?

We could move it to next Monday.

I’m planning on taking Monday off.

Tuesday? 

Sure. 

Great, then let’s make Thursday at 10 work and move my lunch to Tuesday.

That’s probably about 11 emails (for real, go check your email chain and see how many back and forth and replies and reply-alls are in your inbox).

It’s also about a 60-second conversation. Done.

Train your team to keep a list, and deal with it in person, over the phone or even in a ten-minute stand up meeting every day.

Well, you ask…what about truly urgent things?

Here’s what I’ve asked my team to do:

Make in-person discussion the default the during our meeting time.

Text if it’s truly urgent.

Phone if it’s truly urgent and too complicated for a text and can’t wait for a meeting.

Email for things that don’t fit any of the above categories.

Try this and watch your inbox gloriously shrink. Or play with the formula to see what works for your team.

Want to Get More Productive? How to Free Up 1000 Hours This Year

Email’s just one of the things leaders struggle with.

How do you get on top of your leadership and your life?

Well, there’s a proven system that has helped thousands of leaders get far more productive at work AND spend more time at home with their family.

The High Impact Leader course, is my online, on-demand course designed to help you get time, energy and priorities working in your favour.

Many leaders who have taken it are recovering 3 productive hours a day.  That’s about 1000 hours of found time each year.

Maybe you’re suspicious and think “there’s no way I’d recover 1000 productive hours”.  Well, let’s say you got 3 hours a week back, not 3 hours a day.

Well, that’s 156 hours a year, which works out to almost a month of work weeks. Which is kind of like giving yourself four extra weeks of vacation.

All of that can happen and has happened through the High Impact Leader.

Here are what some alumni are saying about The High Impact Leader Course”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing the course again. It has absolutely made an impact in my life and family already that I can’t even describe.” – First Priority, Clayton County, North Carolina

“Carey’s course was the perfect way for our team to prepare for the new year. Our team, both collectively and individually, took a fresh look at maximizing our time and leadership gifts for the year ahead. I highly recommend this leadership development resource for you and your team.” Jeff Henderson, Gwinnett Church, Atlanta Georgia

“A lot of books and programs make big promises and cannot deliver but this is not one of them. I have read so many books and watched videos on productivity but the way you approach it and teach is helpful and has changed my work week in ministry in amazing ways.” Chris Sloan, Tanglewood Church, Kingston, North Carolina

“Just wow.  Thank you, thank you.” Dave Campbell, Invitation Church, Sioux Falls South Dakota

“A game changer.” Pam Perkins, Red Rock Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado

If you want to start leveraging time, energy and priorities to help you lead better at work and at home, visit www.TheHighImpactLeader.com to learn more.

I don’t know where you’re at, but my heart is for every leader to get out of the trap of being busy but not productive, of working long hours but producing less than hoped for.

That’s what the High Impact Leader Course is all about: it’s about getting time, energy and priorities working in your favour. It’s about getting your life and leadership back.

Oh, and there’s a 30-day money back no-questions-asked guarantee. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain.

Click here to learn more or get instant access.

What’s Help You?

What’s helping you win the e-mail battle?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

The post 3 Simple Steps To Get You To Inbox Zero Today (And Why It Will Bring You More Peace Than You Think) appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

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