Lean In, Back Off…Just Don’t Do Nothing!

Cannot get this simple thought out of my head.

After reading Tribes by Seth Godin I cannot shake his assertion that leaders must either LEAN IN or BACK OFF. The one thing they CHOOSE to not do is NOTHING!

This is certainly a challenge to all of us – not just those of us in leadership positions. We all have the potential to influence our surroundings. The change comes by us doing something intentional not nothing.

I have many ambitions – to achieve them I need to LEAN IN more. Become more purposeful in my actions. Make sure I do at least one thing each day that relates to the change I want to see – for me these include
Spending time with my wife
Investing time with my children
Growing people
Coaching business
Development of leadership training initiatives
Reading, writing

QUESTION: What to BACK OFF from?
To be successful means for every addition something has to give way.
Late nights
Removing some distractions
Laziness, procrastination and the like
Some specific stuff…

The big thing is to not do nothing. The future is full of potential which will be achieved by LEANING IN tothe right stuff, BACKING OFF the wrong stuff and getting on with doing all the things you must do. Simple!

[What do you LEAN IN to?]
[What must you BACK OFF from?]

Book Review: Tribes by Seth Godin

51mTG68Tj7L._SL160_AA115_ Reading a book by Seth Godin always challenges the thinking process. I am definitely challenged. For as much as the author says some may not like the book, the way it is written – I love the style. It’s somewhat like a bunch of random thoughts on a subject, simple thoughts but extremely profound.

When I read I am always looking at how it can help. I am looking for some nuggets that open up new opportunities, new thoughts for bringing change. This book has certainly done that. So:thinking Church for a moment: the ‘tribe’ that I Pastor as part of Xcel Church and the movement we have the potential to make..here’s what made me think…

The Anatomy of a Movement: motivate, connect, leverage. [Don’t just do the third]
What is the ‘status quo’ when it comes to Church? How can we change that? [That gives us the chance to be remarkable]
If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader. It’s the discomfort that creates the leverage that makes leadership worthwhile.
‘Lean in, back off BUT don’t do nothing. Leaders choose to not do nothing. [This has pushed me already. What do I do? I must ‘lean in’ to it more]
The art of leadership is understanding what you CAN’T compromise on.

The book has made me question: what is the vacuum that we could fill?
It will take INITIATIVE.
It will take STANDING AGAINST THE RESISTANCE that those who love the STATUS QUO will bring.
It means doing things that others are NOT DOING.
It often takes a SUBTLE TWIST on an old-favourite.
It takes BRAVERY.

I hope I’m not wrong in my understanding of the theme of this book:
anyone can lead. everyone should lead. anyone can bring change. few do though because of the fear & resistance. playing it safe is just as risky, if not moreso than taking a risk.

For Xcel Darlo: Come on – we cannot afford to play it safe.
[What can we do? Where can we go? Who can we reach?]

Leaders: you should read this book. Get your copy here.

I’m no expert reviewer but here are my thoughts on other Seth Godin books
The Dip
Meatball Sundae

What Are You Reading At The Moment?

Went to Borders the other day. Love going there. Never really get to fully appreciate it when the girls are with me but I did get the opportunity to browse and checked out a few books that look interesting even alllowing for the pile I still have left over from last year!

Leaders are readers. You want to gain some knowledge then you need to be reading and I don’t mean just general fiction. You need to read stuff that will challenge you, inspire you, stretch you, teach you something. Start small. Don’t be intimidated by how much others read – have your own plan, set your own goal and go for it!

This is the last 10 books I have read – what do you think?
Vintage Jesus
Turning Points
Starving Jesus
Wake Up Dead Man
Sticky Church
Moving in the Spirit
Meatball Sundae
Holy Discontent

After any good recommendations. Come July I will be switching my emphasis from reading my Bible in BIG CHUNKS to reading from an ever increasing pile of books.


Standing for Something

These are not my thoughts, they belong to Seth Godin – check out the full post here. Think they relate to us though. To build something, we must stand for something.

To really stand for something, you must make difficult decisions, mostly about what you don’t do. We don’t ship products like that, we don’t stand for employees like that (“you’re fired”), we don’t fix problems like that.

It’s so hard to stand up, to not compromise, to give up an account or lose a vote or not tell a journalist what they want to hear.

But those are the only moments where standing for something actually counts, the only times that people will actually come to believe that you in fact actually stand for something.

Life as a Pastor is full of making decisions. It can be a tough call at times when others would like to see us do some stuff. Being careful about what you do, don’t do, say and don’t say. Xcel Church is 40 years in the making. I love that fact – it gives me confidence. To know what we are about and where we heading.

Right now, for Xcel Darlington new questions are being asked of us and they will demand that more than Kerina & I be willing to answer them. Are you ready to stand for something?

Getting People Talking

In his book Meatball Sundae, Seth Godin says this ‘Ideas that spread through groups of people are far more powerful than ideas delivered at an individual’. This is a great challenge for me as a Church leader.

How can I create a Church congregation that people who come to will just talk about? For the right reasons.
How do I create movement? An idea that spreads with passion through a community.

Comments, opinions, chatter, organic in its creation, has to be much more powerful than any advert could be.

If you are part of Xcel Church then get ‘your story’ on the move. Let your opinion be known. Use your facebook, myspace, twitter or whatever as a tool to spread the idea not just to let us know that you have joined a group ready to ‘Bring Back Magpie.’

[Any thoughts?]

Book Review: Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin

I am not a marketer by profession. In fact, if I’m honest I sometimes feel like I don’t really have a clue when it comes to websites, blogs and the whole ideavirus approach to marketing. I think I’m still stuck in the old marketing days – average products, for the mass, advertised in the mass.

So, reading a book like this is refreshing. It is a challenge. It provokes me into thinking differently. It throws out ideas that I would never naturally think about.

As a Pastor in the 21st Century what I am bothered about is making sure the ultimate message continues to create a stir. That it still gets in front of people and has the opportunity to challenge them. Maybe I’m missing the point of the book because of a lack of knowledge but it seems to shout out that ‘old marketing’ doesn’t work like it use to – TV, mass media, putting out your idea in front of everyone and hoping it will find someone who needs. Today, the internet makes it easy to pinpoint the audience first, to speak to a ‘slither’ of the mass and hopefully becoming more efficient in the process. This is the world of ‘new marketing’. Ignore it at your peril.

(I hope that’s right)

Anyway…I enjoy Seth Godin books because they are not what I normally read and they throw out new thoughts. Stuff like…

…given the choice, people want the choice (that’s actually from The Long Tail by Chris Anderson)

…it’s not about what you think the market wants, or what you want the market to want. It’s about creating and assembling a collection of goods and services that captures the attention of the people who truly care.

…you can harness the power of thousands of people for very little money. But this is no substitute for honesty, passion and authenticity.

…make something worth talking about; and make it easy to talk about.

Wow. That last one should be a challenge for any Pastor. The message we have never changes but I think we have to make it worth talking about and easy to do that. That’s why we do what we do.

Xcel Church use websites, blogs, youtube and facebook to get the word out. Those who are looking will find us. We are creating opportunities for people to interact with us before they venture into the buildings/venues. The greatest asset we have is everyone who is already a fan – they spread the word more than we do. That is the essence of new marketing (I think).

Buy your copy here. Read it and tell me what you think. Have I completely missed the point – hope not!

Coming Up the Other Side of The Dip

I was reminded by God on Saturday about a book I read recently called The Dip by Seth Godin. I’m sure it was God because I thought about it completely out of nowhere but very much in relation to where I am at in my walk with God at the moment.

My life is complete when I think about Pastoring Xcel Church Darlington, I love it. I spend most of my day thinking about it, praying about, visioneering the way forward, praying about it, believing God for people.

Other aspects of my world are tougher and can’t really go into it here. Needless to say when I was reading the Bible on Saturday morning and praying God reminded me of something. The Dip. More specifically the need to keep doing the right things to make sure I come up the other side of the dip.

Too many people give up in business because things dip a little (or a lot) and they lose focus and walk away from the dream. Don’t Christians do that too. We stand believing God for something, our faith is strong but if it takes more than a day we declare it a valley, a wilderness experience and struggle to see how God can be for us. All because he hasn’t answered when we wanted him to.

I think God wants to see some consistency in our faithfulness towards Him. I could probably solve one of my circumstances very quickly but it might not be where God wants me. I’m not naive but I’m also full of faith that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I will keep the main things the main things…praying, reading, believing God. I will keep moving forward. Keep working to build the Kingdom.

Jesus said ask, seek & knock. Is it really that simple? Hope so. When I come up the other side of the dip, I’ll let you know.

A Change of Season

Well this is my 100th post. Wow – never knew I had so much to say. Here is where I am at right now…

1. Just finished reading the Bible through for the year. For the past 5 years I have endeavoured to read the Bible in the first 6 months. It is an exercise in focus for me and getting the Word of God in to my life. I really enjoy it and every year is different. Verses hit me round the head, stuff to meditate on.

2. So the season changes…although I still keep reading the Word (a little everyday plus study for preaching), gone back to the Gospels, I now spend time reading a selection of books I have bought during the past 6-12 months…so here goes with the list:

No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke
Can We Do That? by Andy Stanley & Ed Young
Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll
Boundaries by Henry Cloud
They Like Jesus But Not The Church by Dan Kimball
For This I Was Born by Brian Houston
Simple Church by Rainer & Geiger
Preaching the Cross by Dever, Duncan, Mohler & Mahaney
Starving Jesus by Craig Gross & J.R. Mahon
Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels
Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin
Moving in the Spirit by Phil Pringle
Quiet Leadership by David Rock
Chazown by Craig Groeschel
Axiom by Bill Hybels
It by Craig Groeschel
Today Matters by John Maxwell
UnChristian by David Kinnaman
The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

Why read so much I hear you cry? To find inspiration, to be challenged, to learn and because I love too read. May not get through them all but better to aim higher.

3. Started a Life Coaching Course too. I have until 31 December 2008 to complete it.

4. Still praying..but if I’m honest the early mornings have drifted. Mostly because the kids are off school and I have let the discipline slip. I recognised today that letting that happen has effected my focus and thought patterns.

5. Thinking about vision all the time. I am not preaching until September 7th which is the launch of our Church year. We will be talking vision for a while so I am focused on that right now. I have some big dreams which no doubt I will unfold on here.

6. Wondering…where have all the comments gone. Don’t just read – share your thoughts too. I love to hear what others are thinking about, reading, journeying through. I find inspiration from everywhere – nothing more encouraging to my faith than hearing about what God is teaching you, leading you through or the victory He has brought.

[Lets hear some stuff]