Archives For May 2011

Weekend Links

May 28, 2011 — 2 Comments

For all of you avid Tweeters (which all of you should be!), here’s info on how to turn off/manage the new email notifications that Twitter rolled out this week

  • My favorite part – being able to see when people favorite one of your tweets (though it doesn’t account for “read later” which I do for any tweet that has a link in it – I only favorite tweets that are link-less)
  • My least favorite part – people being able to see when I favorited their tweets. Makes me think twice about favoriting any tweet. Anyone else feel that or is it just me? They’ve turned “favorite” into a lame “like” button. I used “favorite” more as a “read later” not as a like button. For example: I favorited a student’s tweet of “My dad sucks. #iwish I had a better one” because it was so heartbreakingly poignant. Do I really want that guy getting a notification that I “liked” that tweet?


This article by Jon Acuff articulates well something that is the source of a lot of bad marriages – husbands selfishly pursuing their hobbies, dreams, TV-watching at the expense of their family. Or more specifically – being selfish at the wrong time:

“sometimes, when we focus on our dreams, or try to brainstorm ideas, our wives cry in the kitchen.

When you’re a husband or a dad, your time doesn’t just belong to you.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be selfish with your time. Not at all. You just have to know when you can be, which is why I encourage you to be selfish at 5AM.

If you’re willing to find your time at the beginning of your day or the end, chances are you can tweak your schedule a little and be a little selfish.”



Wow. Russell Brand the evangelist. The foul-mouthed, raunchy husband of Katy Perry describes his new quest to popularize the pursuit of God.

  • By no means a Christian (he prays and meditates)
  • But a surprisingly articulate Russell Brand shares how fame (and other pursuits, “buying of brands”) does not satisfy.
  • His goal- to provoke people to aspire to greater things/seek God.
  • The video gets really good around minute 12

“What is fame? “ashes in my mouth

Someone once told me that all desire is a desire to be at one with God and a substitute form

So perhaps we can draw attention not to the shadow on the wall but to the source of light itself

We should try to examine the things we are using to try to make us happy – this pursuit of celebrity, of status, of wealth

Perhaps if we could popularize (through the techniques of consumerism and branding), a different idea, a different narrative, perhaps the world would change”


No greater love – Ephesians 5:25 in action – a heartbreaking story of a Joplin man’s bravery (from MSNBC)



Great insight into the legacy of Oprah

“Oprah, the prophetess of post-Judeo-Christian America who brought us big hug spirituality — love yourself, save yourself — leaves the daily stage today to run her media empire.”


Though I’ve stopped by over the years, I’ve just started subscribing to Take Your Vitamin Z’s blog. A great curator of content, those last three links are via Z.


If you’ve never made the wonderful discover of subscribing (free!) to blogs, I HIGHLY recommend it. I think one of the best ways to develop as a leader is by subscribing to and reading blogs. You won’t grow as a leader if you’re not being exposed to new ideas and great leaders. And there’s no quicker way than to read great blogs. Here’s how.

Weekend Links

May 20, 2011 — 2 Comments

This edition of Weekend Links focuses on understanding the wired world we live in. So much good stuff to check out:

As Challies puts it: “One of the main reasons I wrote The Next Story is that I realized I had a woefully underdeveloped understanding of media and technology. I was not thinking about these things in a distinctly Christian way.

Invest the time in forming a theology of technology. [It] will pay dividends.”


  • This incredibly insightful article in the New York Times offers, I think, the best concise description I’ve ever heard of the benefits of Twitter (and why I use Twitter):

“Let me be clear that Twitter is a brilliant device — a megaphone for promotion, a seine for information, a helpful organizing tool for everything from dog-lover meet-ups to revolutions. It restores serendipity to the flow of information.”

While sounding a strong warning of the downside of the constant flow of information that Twitter provides:

“Twitter is not just an ambient presence. It demands attention and response. It is the enemy of contemplation.

The things we may be unlearning, tweet by tweet — complexity, acuity, patience, wisdom, intimacy — are things that matter.”

Aside: The author does a great job at what Tim Keller says you should do in correcting someone’s thinking:  “If a non-Christian hears you express [their view] and says, “that’s better than I could have put it” then they will feel that they are being respected and will take your answer more seriously.”


  • This is mindblowing to me: Netflix accounts for 22.2% of all U.S. broadband traffic (up to 30% at peak times).

For the first time in internet history, the largest percentage of the net’s traffic is content that is paid for.

“It’s clear that Americans have accepted that in the future all information flow will be IP-based”. The full story from CNN.


  • “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.” -Ex-Facebook employee. Fascinating article. A few quotes:


“At Zynga, they’re mastering the art of coaxing game players to take surveys and snatch up credit-card deals. Elsewhere, engineers burn the midnight oil making sure that a shoe ad follows a consumer from Web site to Web site until the person finally cracks and buys some new kicks.”

“My fear is that Silicon Valley has become more like Hollywood,” says Glenn Kelman, chief executive officer of online real estate brokerage Redfin, who has been a software executive for 20 years. “An entertainment-oriented, hit-driven business that doesn’t fundamentally increase American competitiveness.”

“After quitting Facebook in 2008, Hammerbacher surveyed the science and business landscape and saw that all types of organizations were running into similar problems faced by consumer Web companies. They were producing unprecedented amounts of information—DNA sequences, seismic data for energy companies, sales information—and struggling to find ways to pull insights out of the data. Hammerbacher and his fellow Cloudera founders figured they could redirect the analytical tools created by Web companies to a new pursuit, namely bringing researchers and businesses into the modern age.”

“It won’t be old school biologists that drive the next leaps in pharma,” says Schadt. “It will be guys like Jeff who understand what to do with big data.”

“The most coveted employee in Silicon Valley today is not a software engineer. It is a mathematician.”


“More content will be created today than existed in entirety before 2003.”

the new “Validation” era of Internet life has begun, as of 2010, in which Internet users are beginning to “find the signal in the noise” and hold on to only those pieces of information and people that are most important to them online.

  • Finally, a highly recommend movie for you to watch this weekend: “Temple Grandin”


A true-life HBO movie about an autistic woman. It got 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (which is practically unheard of)


photo courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa

Here are the 5 most popular posts on this site from the first third-ish of the year:

  1. Why You Shouldn’t Go to Seminary
  2. How to Raise up Better Leaders than Came Before
  3. Young People will Change the World
  4. Notes from Andy Stanley’s Talk at Catalyst Dallas on Strength Based Leadership
  5. Two-Part series from guest blogger Tim Norman:

What We Talk About, They will talk about
5 Things We Want Every Student to Experience

The best thing about blog posts is the ongoing conversation in the comments.

So please join the conversation and comment on any of these 5 posts!


photo courtesy of Joseph Robertson

First off – Mark Driscoll takes aim at Serial Christian Conference Goers.

  • It’s funny, because at the conference I went to last week, I mentioned to a buddy – “It’s mind-blowing how many churches pay for their entire staff to be here. Granted some probably got discount tickets (or free like me). But I can’t believe someone in the church isn’t calling churches out for funding their staff to conference hop at $300 a pop (costing time AND money).
  • Cue Mark Driscoll

For those of you in college ministry, here’s a bucketload of links about the students/colleges we serve:

  • Some Crazy facts: This month, after graduating college, 85% of new grads will move back in with mom & dad. And some polls are reporting 54% unemployment for college grads. (Time Magazine article via @the99percent)
  • Think there’s pressure to drink in college? The Harvard Business Review reports: “References to alcohol appear on 85.3% of male college students’ Facebook pages”
  • A telling article from the NYTimes on how treating students as consumers has led to less academic rigor in higher ed
  • The Economist tackles the question: Is there a higher education bubble (and how do we even evaluate that)? HT @DanielPink
  • Dave Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group, says there are 3 things that will define ministry to young people over the next decade (read moremy notes from his talk at Catalyst).
  • 1) Unprecedented Access – to products, services, ideas, and worldviews
    2) Alienation – New levels of isolation from family, from community, from each other
    3) Authority – Confidence/trust in leaders has drastically decreased in the last few decades

Sobering facts on college graduates and the dismal economic outlook from the HuffPost College:

“A new survey of college graduates from the last five years finds that the Great Recession has hit them hard, forcing them into low-paying jobs often unrelated to their educations and leaving half of them expecting less financial success than their parents.”

  • 83% of college graduates worked when they were in college
  • The median starting salary for those who graduated between 2006 and 2008 was $30,000. For the 2009 and 2010 grads, it dipped to $27,000
  • Nearly half the graduates say they’re working at jobs that don’t require a college education
  • Nearly half say they’re subsidized in some way by their parents or other family members
  • About half say they personally don’t expect to do as well as their parents. And 56 percent say their generation won’t do as well as their parents’ generation.

photo courtesy of smemon87

Part 2 of my wrap-up of Catalyst Dallas. You can read part 1 here where I listed the best talks and thoughts from Catalyst Dallas.

Today I wanted to process thru with you my Takeaways (mostly unresolved issues that I need to think through).

  • Make sure I teach/lead in such a way that it’s clear that the gospel is THE issue. The fuel for ministry and the source of life change.

– From Matt Chandler: “My fear is that we shackle our people with chains when we don’t understand the gospel. Because what we give people is the list. You have to do ____ to be accepted by God”
– My thoughts: For CCC, that might be: “you have to share your faith, pray missionally, disciple, and lead a Bible study to be accepted by Staff/God”
– My fear would be that the primary thing students get from CCC is a list, and a deep understanding of the gospel is secondary

  • I need a coach (from Scott Harrison’s talk)
  • I need to figure out my strengths/weaknesses (going to do StrengthFinders test this summer). And make a list of things that only I can do and then what I need to delegate –  “The sooner you are able to discern between your strengths and weaknesses, the better your org is going to be” – Andy Stanley
  • I need to get intentional/organized about unplugging. Maybe read Challies’ The Next Story, re-listen to Joshua Harris’ phenomenal sermon on Self-control in a Wired World– “Unplugging is the competitive advantage of the digital age” – Scott Belsky
  • Think through how to help students overcome an entitlement mindset (from Craig Groeschel’s talk)
  • Think through how we will balance social justice with our primary focus on Win/Build/Send and our primary target audience of college students
  • Think through evangelism in light of Dave Kinnaman’s stats on American youth: “Our role= to introduce them to the God they think they know”

What do you think? Would love to hear:

  1. What your takeaways were

  2. Any thoughts you have on my takeaways- insights on how to proceed on any of them

Some have noted that I was a bit bearish on Catalyst in my first impressions post. And I’m still unsure if I’ll attend next year. But as I look back over my notes, there was definitely a LOT of good insight.


I think it was just the amount of mediocre insight mixed into the conference. Maybe I’m a product of our easy-access, instant culture. But I’d peg it as a 4/1 ratio of so-so/good speakers. And 15/1 ratio of talk of social justice/gospel-centered (or even just straight up leadership content). Maybe that ratio of speakers is the norm for conferences (like I said, this is my first non-Crusade conference). I think I would have enjoyed a non-Christian leadership conference more perhaps?


Anyway, without further ado, here’s my list of:

  • Best talks
  • Best Thoughts
  • Takeaways (I’ll share these tomorrow)


Best talks in order:

  1. Andy Stanley – Do more by doing less
  2. Matt Chandler – The Gospel for Christians
  3. Scott Belsky – Most Ideas Never Happen
  4. Dave Kinnaman – Are we a post-Christian culture?

The top 3 were phenomenal. Kinnaman’s talk was good for thinking thru ministering to young people. Click on the links for my notes.


Best Thoughts (click speaker’s name for my full notes)

Gary Haugen of IJM
  • There’s two responses to fear:  1) Become safer or  2) Become braver
  • Jesus is not in the business of making situations safer, but making people braver
Scott Belsky
  • Unplugging is the competitive advantage of the digital age
  • Ideas don’t happen because they’re great (there is no meritocracy of ideas). They happen because they’re well organized (with good leadership) with a bias to action
  • Creativity x Organization = Impact
  • 5 x 0 = 0
  • 100 x 0 = 0
  • 5 x 20 = 100
Craig Groeschel
  • When you delegate tasks you create followers
  • When you delegate responsibility you produce leaders
  • This generation is the most cause driven, mission minded generation in the history of the world
  • But they can’t let their sense of entitlement derail them before they start
  • If you want to be “over”, you need to learn to be “under” with integrity
Matt Chandler
  • A good diagnosis of whether you get the gospel:
  • When you screw up what do you do?
  • If you run to God, you get it
  • If you run away from God, you don’t get it
  • Levity is a predominant thing in so many of our churches
  • But sin is heavy – We must teach our people the weight of sin
  • God is not in love with a future version of us – he is in love with us as we are right now
Jon Acuff
  • Some of the most exhausted people I know in my life work at churches
  • God’s glory is not dependent on our ability to grow our ministry bigger
Andy Stanley
  • How to have a great organization – you create space for the leaders in your org to fully exploit their strengths and delegate their weaknesses to people who have those strengths
  • The best thing you can do for your org is step out of areas that you’re only prettty good at in order to create space for people who are really good at it
  • The Less you do, the fewer areas you delve into, the less you focus on – the more you will accomplish and the more you enable others to accomplish
  • As the org gets bigger, the only way to sustain growth is to do fewer things better and let other people take on new areas
  • You wanna raise up leaders? Learn to say “I’ll let you make this decision”
  • Leadership is not primarily about getting things done right. It’s about getting things done thru other people. The only way to do that is to allow people around you to do things not exactly the way you would do it.

Whether you attended or just participated vicariously through my notes, what were your favorite thoughts/talks?

Andy Stanley’s wrap up talk was one of the best of the conference. The topic was not new: work from your strengths. But it was presented with such clarity and in very practical terms. Great, great stuff.

You can watch a similar talk he gave at Dallas Seminary in 2007. And 3 minutes from a VERY similar talk he gave at Catalyst West right here:

Here’s my notes from his talk (my favorite points are bolded):
  • I had the mistaken idea that great leaders are great at everything
  • The other idea I had is what leaders did is when leaders found weaknesses they found ways to shore up their weaknesses
  • My fully exploited strengths were a far greater value to our organization than my marginally improved weaknesses
  • Your weaknesses will always be weaknesses compared to your strengths
  • How to have a great organization – create space for the leaders in your org to fully exploit their strengths and delegate their weaknesses to people who have those strengths
  • It’s natural and necessary to set the pace
  • So in the early days of org life it’s natural that you do everything
  • In the early days there’s no one else to do it
  • So we get into the habit of doing things that we really have no business doing
  • We accidentally set very low standards for our org b/c we’re doing the best that we can do in areas of weakness
  • The best thing you can do for your org is step out of areas that you’re only prettty good at in order to create space for people who are really good at it
  • One of the best things you can do is drop a ball and wait for someone to come pick it up
  • Someone comes by and says – “someone needs to work on _____.” They are the people to work on that area (not you)
  • If we do everything, we never create margin for people to step into leadership
  • The less you do, the more you accomplish
  • Not taking 30 hour work week
Two of the best kept secrets of Leadership:


  1. The less you do, the more you accomplish
    1. (The fewer areas you delve into, the less you focus on – the more you will accomplish)
  2. The less you do, the more you enable others to accomplish


  • Here’s the target: Only do what only you can do
  • Instead of doing more and more – you will do fewer and fewer things better and better
When leaders drift from their core competencies, three things happen:
  1. Their effectiveness diminish – when I do things that I don’t do well, things don’t go well
  2. The effectiveness of other leaders in the org diminish (When you do things you’re not good at, you interfere with others who are good at it)
  3. The ability of the org to get and keep great leaders diminishes
  • Great leaders want to be set loose and set free to do what God designed them to do
  • Your favorite job is where someone else set you up and then just let you go to work
  • It won’t even feel like a job to you
  • This is such a big deal with us, every time our org grows, my assistant says, “we’ve added this, Andy what do you want to stop doing now?”
  • Now that we are growing, what would you like to stop doing? What do you want to put on your To-Don’t list”.
  • I don’t want to give up control, bc I feel I can do better than everyone else
  • As the org gets bigger, the only way to sustain growth is to do fewer things better and let other people take on new areas
  • It feels like you are going backwards – people won’t think I’m working as hard
Why leaders miss this principle
  • Some leaders buy into the myth of being well-rounded
  • Tip: Great achievers are not “well-rounded”. They are men and women who play to their strengths and delegate their weaknesses. They have a well-rounded organization
  • The greatest leaders you meet are not well-rounded. They have extraordinary strengths and extraordinary weaknesses – that they surround themselves with excellent people
  • Leaders forget to distinguish between their authority and their core competencies
  • As a leader you will always have authority over areas you don’t know much about
  • They either think they need to become an expert or pretend to be an expert
  • Why couldn’t they just walk in here and say, wow – you know a lot more about this area then me. I’m going to fuel your expertise and let you run
  • That doesn’t mean you don’t ask questions.
  • You walk into that area – I may be the authority but I am not the expert. I don’t know as much about this area as my people do
  • Tip: Leverage your authority as little as possible. Make as few decisions as possible.
  • You wanna raise up leaders? “I’ll let you make this decision” is the key
  • I’ll let you decide that. “That’s a good question – I’ll let you guys make that decision”
  • You wanna know why great decision makers in your org never surface? You make all the decisions for everyone
  • You wanna know who is great at making decisions? – let people make decisions
  • Make as few decisions as possible. Do not make a decision unless you must.
  • Shove those decision down into the org
  • You are training leaders
  • You will never know who is a leader unless you make them make decisions
  • Let people make some bad decisions (even if it costs you money – We didn’t waste money – that’s just money we spent on your development)
  • There’s people who work for you who are scared to death to make a mistake
  • When people fear for their job, people start hiding info b/c they’re afraid of how you’ll respond
  • Some leaders are not able to distinguish between their competencies and their non-competencies.
  • Tip: You are not the smartest person in your org. You are just the Leaders.
  • This is very impt to know.
  • Anyone want to know why I am the leader at Northpoint? I just got there first
  • I’m not the best leader. I’m not the smartest.
  • We get to be in charge because we started it
  • The sooner you are able to discern between your strengths and weaknesses, the better your org is going to be
  • If you’re not sure what you’re not good at, ask the people who work for you
  • The are all very aware of it and are glad you finally figured it out
  • Where I am exercising authority where I am not strong, only average
  • Don’t hide behind your weaknesses
  • Lean into what God had gifted you in and called you to do
  • Some leaders feel guilty delegating their weaknesses
  • There are things we need to hand off that we don’t want to do, and I assume nobody wants to do it
  • We think everyone is designed like us
  • Your weakness is somebody else’s opportunity
  • You are robbing someone of an opportunity
  • Some leaders don’t take the time to develop other leaders
  • We serve a mission that is dependent on leadership multiplication
  • We in the church should be the preeminent leadership developers
  • One of the reasons you can’t lean into your strengths is because you don’t develop leaders
  • Leadership is not primarily about getting things done right
  • It’s about getting things done thru other people
  • The only way to do that is to allow people around you to do things not exactly the way you would do it
  • Acts 6– it would not be right (or it would be wrong) for us to neglect the ministry of God to wait on tables)
  • We’re going to do what only we can do (bc we were in the boat with Him, we saw his miracles, we are uniquely equipped to teach the Word)
  • Look what Luke tells us happens – the proposal pleased the whole group (the only time in Church history that happened!)
  • Suddenly some new names are introduced into the history of the church
  • Because suddenly some new opportunities existed because the big 3 leaders stepped aside and focused on core strengths
  • What happened – the word of God spread. The numbers increased rapidly
  • Would you like the number of Jesus followers in your area to increase rapidly?
  • They did less – they accomplished more
  • Other names surfaced and the church grew
  • Gifts of the spirit – another example of this principle
Here’s the outcome:
  • You’ll find it much easier to establish and maintain a sustainable pace
  • Tip: Stress in ministry is often related to what you are doing not how much you are doing
  • You need to find someone else to do that
  • If you keep doing things that are draining your energy, you can’t lead to your maximum capacity
  • Organizationally, you will end up with an org that reflects your strengths but not your weaknesses
  • The things they brag about Northpoint, Andy has zero involvement in (meeting production, physical building)
  • Andy only prepares sermons and casts vision
  • The bigger we’ve gotten the fewer things I do
  • If you keep a sustainable pace, the more likely your staff will keep a sustainable pace
  • God has designed you to be great at something, and the sooner you can figure that out the quicker you will make a greater impact for God
  • Do NOT, under any circumstances, try this at home!
  • Don’t go home and say: “You know how you say I’m not very touchy-feely and affection, you need to find someone else to do that!”
  • At home you better be good at everything
Questions to help you discover your Strengths:
  1. What do you do that is almost effortless from your perspective, but seem like a daunting task to others?
  2. In what areas do people consider you the “go to” person?
  3. What facets of your job energize you?
  4. What do you wish you could stop doing?
  5. What organizational environments are you drawn to?
  6. What environments do you avoid?
  7. Write an ideal job description for you current area

Dr. Howard Hendricks: “If anything has kept me on track all these tracks, it’s being skewered to the principle of central focus. There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination.”


What are the next steps for you related to Strength-based Leadership?


Matt Chandler was phenomenal, as expected. Definitely the best spiritual development talk (as opposed to Leadership) of the conference.

Matt Chandler brought what, in my opinion, was missing in the Catalyst Conference: a focus on the gospel as the fuel for world change and personal heart change.


Here are my notes from the talk. They’re a bit disjointed as Matt tends to be. My favorite points are bolded.

  • What I was saved into was – ‘here are the rules’
  • As long as you keep the rules, me and God are cool
  • But I stunk at it
  • I would dominate the rules for a month and a half – and then I would fail
  • You know what that would lead me to do? – it would cause me to run from God for a month and a half
  • Paul preaches the gospel to believers in every book he writes with the exception of 2 Cor.
  • Paul believes that the gospel is not only what saves you but what sanctifies you
  • BB Warfield on why Christians can never move beyond the gospel:

There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be trust as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest.

  • My fear is that we shackle our people with chains when we don’t understand the gospel
  • Because what we give people is the list
  • What they’re going to get from you is what Christ came to destroy
  • You have to do ____ to be accepted by Him
  • Most young people assume that the gospel is only their ticket into heaven
  • That’s why secret sin dominates the church – it’s a failure to apply the gospel
  • “Well if we have cheap grace, then people will live in licentiousness”
  • 1) They won’t if they’re saved 2) Heb 12 – there is the Lord’s discipline
  • It’s what DA Carson calls Grace Driven Effort
  • How do I know if I get the gospel?
  • When they screw up what they do? If they run to God, they get it. If they run away from God, they don’t get it
  • How do you train your people to fight the flesh?
  • Wrong – The threats of the law and the promises of heaven (do this – don’t do this). If you do this _____, this will happen. We build a reward system with God.       Heaven’s not a place for people afraid of hell. It’s a place where God is.
  • Right – We’ve been given the weapons of Grace (not with the will) – The word of God and the Promises of the Covenant
  • You don’t need to feel good about you. You need to feel good about Jesus
  • Do you teach people that sin is an external sin or a heart issue?
  • Are you training people to attack the root or to attack the branches?
  • If you’re just shaping morals, you’re attacking branches
  • Was it not the best behaved people on earth that killed Jesus?
  • Grace driven effort – it’s violent
  • You teach your people the weight of sin
  • A lot of people don’t like sin because it ruins things but they have no idea of the offense of their sin
  • Levity is a predominant thing in so many of our churches
  • But sin is heavy
  • Most of us don’t deal violently with sin
  • We keep sin close and give it room, board in our heart
  • People who understand the gospel understand that sin is an afront on God’s holiness that shames His name
  • So we deal with sin violently
  • When I go to the gym, I know there will be some lady running basically in her bra and panties on the treadmill. I know that the enemy is there to destroy me. “Lord, guard my eyes, let me feel what’s on the line, for your name”
  • “I’m in a long line of incompetent men that God has made much of Himself thru” (Moses, a donkey)
  • When we look at our money, I like nice stuff, I’m drawn toward it.
  • God’s on mission here and my comforts come in the new earth (when I don’t live in Dallas anymore, I live in San Diego)
  • The great thing about living in Dallas is that no matter where you go it’s awesome.
  • You’ve got nothing without the gospel
  • Can you get people to do all kinds of external things without the gospel? Sure
  • Can you grow a huge church without the gospel? sure
  • But you can’t see hearts transformed and worshippers of God happen without the gospel
  • We are made to worship
  • It’s why grown men paint their bodies and go to games
  • God is not in love with a future version of us – he is in love with us as we are right now

What was your favorite point from Matt?

A few notes from Gary Haugen – President of IJM:

  • When did it occur to you that following Jesus was dangerous?
  • There’s two responses to fear:

Become safer
Become braver

  • Jesus is in the business of making people braver, not making situations safer
  • Do you want to be brave or do you want to be safe? Because you can’t do both
  • Football analogy – he loves the moment when kids realize that contact football is a contact sport
  • Football is not just lights, cheering, cool uniforms, highlights
  • It’s full contact.
  • If you’re not getting hit, you need to check and see if you’re on the playing field
  • It’s not safe
  • What we want: “God, I’ll do anything for you IF I know up front what it’s going to cost me, how long it’s going to take, and whether I’m going to look fabulously successful aftwerwards”
  • There are two types of people: those who choose to be safe and those who choose to be brave


I thought Scott’s approach to charity was really interesting (good to consider for how we operate as a non-profit). “From the start, we’ve made restoring people’s faith in charity an important part of our mission.”

They established three principles for Running their charity:
1) 100%

When we started charity: water, we made a bold promise to the general public — 100% of their donations would go directly to the field to fund water projects. We’d find another way to cover our operating expenses. We’re serious about 100%. We even reimburse credit card fees when donations were made online.

We depend on private donors, foundations and sponsors to cover everything from staff salaries to basic office systems to office rent and supplies.

Learn more here.


2) Proof

Prove where the money went by adding GPS and photos to each well site.


3) Brand

In a New York Times article [a must read for those who raise money] Nicholas Kristof says:  “One of the reasons [people don’t give to charities], I believe, is that humanitarians are abjectly ineffective at selling their causes. Any brand of toothpaste is peddled with far more sophistication than the life-saving work of aid groups.”

We want to build a charity brand every bit as good as Apple or Nike


A few more insightful points from Scott:

Opportunity vs guilt
  • People are willing to spend money. They’ll buy a margarita for $16. People just haven’t been told the right story. People don’t want to be guilted into giving. They will give when presented a compelling opportunity.
If you realize you’re wrong, admit it
  • For years we threw out this quote: “$20 can give one person clean water for 20 years”
  • Then we realized that 20 years part hadn’t been substantiated. Some wells don’t last that long.
  • So we stop using the “20 years” part
  • AND, we emailed everyone on the list to tell them we have been reporting wrong
Get a mean coach
  • Not just a coach, a ornery mean one who will make your life miserable
  • What his coach told him: “stop sending these wet noodle do-nothing emails.”
  • Find people that will tell you – not how great you are, how great your org is but what you are failing at

For those of you in Non-Profits, what would it look like for us to apply some of these principles?