Spiritual Leadership Book

The pastoral staff is on a journey to read 1 book a month together and then share the 2 most personal takeaways from the book that we read. 

This month’s book is Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. This book has been around many years but this is my first time reading it. It is chalked full of leadership principles that are Scripturally based. I loved it and will be reading this book again. It had many principles that were thought provoking and challenging. 

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. “In the same way, appointing leaders with a secular or materialistic outlook prevents the Holy Spirit from making spiritual progress in that place.”

“[S]piritual leadership transcends the power of personality and all other natural gifts. The personality of the spiritual leader influences others because it is penetrated, saturated, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.”

Many leaders confidently lead from their own ideas and direction. The trait that makes spiritual leadership different than leadership is the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. When our churches and organizations are lead by secular leadership and business principles instead of the Holy Spirit their will be no discipleship and no blessing from the Lord. The Church is to be the influencer for society instead of society being the influencer for the Church. When we are led by the Spirit we will see results in this world and the next. When we are led by our flesh and our own strength we end up sabotaging the very people we are leading. There are costly repercussions for leading without the guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit. 

2. “They were not leaders because of brilliancy of thought, because they were exhaustless in resources, because of their magnificent culture or native endowment, but because, by the power of prayer, they could command the power of God.”

This idea of the power of prayer takes the pressure off the leader. One doesn’t need to have all the skills or knowledge. They need the discipline of prayer and their dedication to communion with God. Oswald talks a lot about people are moved by God through prayer by the leader. Sometimes we forget how important prayer is for leadership and success in life and ministry. 

Spiritual Leadership is very challenging to your soul and as a leader. It is a foundational leadership that should be read by all. We need this type of leadership back in the Church and in the world. 

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

Guest Post: Hope Unfolding Book

My wife Allison joins the blog today to post her thoughts about a new book out by Becky Thompson entitled, Hope Unfolding. It’s a book for mothers, which I am not, so I got my wife to read and post about the book. So without further ado here are some wise words from my wife about the book, Hope Unfolding.

I began following Becky Thompson on her Facebook page, Scissortail Silk, about 5 months ago when my baby was born. I also read her “Midnight Mom” devotionals. Motherhood is new territory for me and I have found her posts and devotionals to be the perfect  combination of truth and humor. Her book is no different.

I found myself nodding in agreement as I could relate to her reflections in motherhood. I also found myself tearing up at the very real and raw emotions Becky expressed throughout the book.  She reached through the pages and made the lonely world of motherhood less lonely by putting into words what I, and millions of other women experience everyday, exhaustion and feelings of failure. Failure in motherhood, marriage, faith, etc. Fortunately, that is not all that this book is about.

This book offers hope in the midst of these feelings. Hope that can only be found in Christ. Because without Christ’s strength we will fail every time, but with Christ we are unstoppable. My favorite part of this book is how Becky illustrates her points through her own personal stories and reflections. Everyone wants to know that they are not alone in this journey of life and faith. Becky lets her reader know that they are not alone because we have each other, and most importantly we have God.

This was an uplifting and genuine read that would be a blessing to any mom. I received this book FREE from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.


Book Review: Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children

As a brand new father to my daughter, Ava, life is very different and full of different responsibilities that I am still adjusting to.

I have a new area that I need to learn and grow in quickly, PARENTING.

As a Kids’ Pastor I have dabbled in topics of parenting, but having a child has made this area in the forefront of my mind and heart.

I want to be the best father I can be and learn everything I can about parenting so I can give the best to my wife and to my daughter.

To help me learn about parenting and being a father I was given a gift at Christmas. It was Mark Batterson‘s book, Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children. I know a crazzyyy long title!

It was a great book to read when starting a family and adding children into your lives. It speaks to the foundation of what parenting is about and what parents should be instilling into the lives of their children. Batterson makes you realize the importance of your role as parents and the skills to set you in the right direction.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. “As a parent you cannot practice the spiritual disciplines for your kids. You have to practice them with your kids.” 

As our children grow we have to involve them in spiritual disciplines. We cannot just model how to pray, but we have to give them the opportunity to pray. Batterson talks about your children being spiritually codependent. Parents primary role is to instill personal faith into the lives of their children. This is why so many teens and young adults leave the church and abandon their faith. Their parents have shown them how to have a relationship with Jesus, but have not cultivated a faith inside of their children.

2. “If you repeat them often enough, those truths will get integrated in your child’s way of thinking and way of life.”

Coming up with a prayer mantra is life changing. Praying a specific prayer of your child will help shape your child’s future. Your child is looking to you to help define who they are and help shape their character. As they hear the same prayer every day it will make a lasting impact on them. As we pray, I believe, that the Lord will bless us and take care of our children. Come up with a simple prayer that you pray over your child multiple times a day. Great times to pray are in the morning, at bedtime, in the car, and at the dinner table. God answers the prayers of the faithful.

3. “Your devotion to God will lay a foundation and set a standard for your children to build on.”

The next generation is better, faster, smarter, taller (fill in the blank) than the last generation. You have the choice as parents to help set your children up for success in their relationship with Jesus and in their prayer life. Your spiritual life will directly change the next generation and the next generation. What an important thought. The Bible talks about this concept in Judges 2:10, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” How you pray will dictate how your kids prayer and how your grandchildren pray and how your great-grandchildren will pray.


1. “As a parent you cannot practice the spiritual disciplines for your kids. You have to practice them with your kids.” 

2. “If you repeat them often enough, those truths will get integrated in your child’s way of thinking and way of life.”

3. “Your devotion to God will lay a foundation and set a standard for your children to build on

Praying Circles Around the Lives of your Children is foundational to parenting and I recommend it to all parents out their. Its never too late to start a spiritual prayer revolution in your family and change your family tree.

What’s Your Mark?

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about what my mark is on my current place of ministry. I have been at Bethel Church for 4 years in December 2015. 4 years is long enough that you should be able to look around and see programs, people, and/or places that you have influenced as the leader. As I had this thought and reflected I had two thoughts that were counter-intuitive to each other. Take time this week to think of what is your mark? What has been accomplished since you have been at your current place of ministry? The results will probably lead you to the same two thoughts that I had.

1. You have left a bigger mark than you realize.

In my reflections about my mark and influence at Bethel I first thought that I haven’t really left any mark of significance. I haven’t really started any new ministries or any new initiatives. Since this is my first full-time position I have been primarily a manager. I have spent a lot of time just trying to stay afloat. From my perspective I can see that I haven’t accomplished that much. I want so much more. Then I had an encouraging thought. I have made a difference in people’s lives. I haven’t done or started magnificent things that have revolutionized my church or the kidmin community, but I have influenced individuals. Isn’t that what ministry is all about? Think of the notes or cards you have received. Think of the hugs from countless kids that you have embraced. Thanks be to God! You have left a bigger mark than you realize.

2.You haven’t left your mark as much as you want. 

Leaders are hungry for change. Leaders aim for success. If you call yourself a leader then inevitably you have much more to give and much more passion to leave your mark wherever you go. When you look around your ministry and your sphere of influence you can see all the holes and opportunities to leave your mark. We see the opportunities and dream of the possibilities. No matter how long you have been in ministry never lose become complacent and think that you have arrived. Never think that you have left your mark as much as you possibly can. When you come to this point you might as well call AARP and call it quits.

There is a balance between these two thoughts.

What’s your mark?

Talk Like TED

As a shy, quiet boy growing up who wasn’t really interested in talking to people or giving speeches or sermons, I have come a long way. I still have a lot more growth and learning to do in my presentation and public speaking skills. But, public speaking is a skill and can always be improved upon. You aren’t stuck where you are. You can always become better if you put in the work and the grit. I am always working on my craft of speaking and preaching to kids and to adults that’s why I picked up Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo. The premise of Talk Like TED is the results of watching every TED talk and discovering what they all had in common. TED talks are 18 minute long talks that are orchestrated by some of the top thinkers and leaders in the world on subjects in Technology, Education, or Design. Carmine discovered 9 traits that the most popular TED talks have in common and how we can make our presentations and sermons just as captivating and effective.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. It Starts from Within.

The biggest take away from this book was that no matter what the topic is the content has to be a part of you and your passion. If you are not passionate about the content of your presentation then you will not be good at communicate the subject matter to the audience. I remember watching the show, The Voice, on one occasion and the celebrity coaches telling the contestants that they need to have emotion in their song and find something personal that you can relate to in the song. This same skill applies to public speaking. Singing is like a speech except your singing instead of talking. So the same truth applies. When you are giving a speech or a sermon get the content in your soul and in your heart. When you do that it will come across as important and convincing to your audience. You have to be passionate about the speech for your audience to be passionate about it. The congregation will feed off your emotions and passion. I am passionate about the Gospel. If I wasn’t passionate I wouldn’t be in ministry, but  I need to spend time praying and applying the specific passage or lesson to me. If I don’t spend time applying the message to me personally it will be harder to communicate the message to others. That is why it is so important for your passion to be ‘hot’ as Bill Hybels says. When I make the message personal and I see how life-changing the Gospel is to me then I am ready and prepared to share the message on Sunday. This is the most important aspect of communication and preaching. Passion preaches.

2. Make it Memorable.

People are bombarded with information every second of the day. From instance internet access, to advertisements around every corner. There is something trying to grab our attention all of the time. To make your sermon or presentation stick and thought provoking you have to communicate in a way that makes it memorable. Carmine Gallo gives a few suggestions backed by science to make your talk memorable. The first is to keep your speech to 18 minutes. This is the goal for all TED talks. It is the perfect amount of time to communicate your point, while still keeping the audiences’ attention. The second is to use stories. People can relate to stories and place themselves in that situation. This gives them a bookmark to remember the content. The third is to teach your audience something new. When we are being taught it releases endorphins. Those endorphins help our brains remember the subject matter. Our goal is to have our audience remember something about our sermon and be able to apply it to their lives. We need to craft our sermons and talks to be timely, filled with stories and little tidbits of information that will peak the listener’s ear and memory. Make it memorable by having a 18 minute speech, filled with stories and interesting facts.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice.

This is the most obvious point, but it takes dedication and serious self-control to make this one happen each and every time you give a speech. I believe we have all been guilty of this. When we are preaching a familiar passage of Scripture we take shortcuts and don’t prepare as much as we should. We don’t practice like we should. When we have been doing this long enough we are confident in our abilities and don’t think we need to practice. I remember when I was in school and had to give a speech. I was practicing a week in advance. I would practice every day of the week. The night before I would stay up and practice over and over again in my head. Now when I get ready for Sunday I practice maybe once or twice. When we do not put in the time and practice we short change the kids we are talking to or the people that are listening. We have the most important content that can ever be communicated, the Gospel. Let’s not short change our congregation. Let’s practice, practice, practice.




It Starts from Within.

Make it Memorable. 

Practice, Practice, Practice.

What a great book that gives you the facts and skills to make your next sermon or presentation a work of art. Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

3 tips for your Fall Kickoff

The summer typically has an atypical schedule. At a lot of churches, families are on the road vacationing and spending time together as a family. They are making memories just like your family did when you were a child. Summers are filled with special events like VBS and summer camps. But the fall is when churches, schools, and families get back into the groove and back into their schedule. Hopefully get back into church if they were MIA for the summer.

As the fall gets kicked off at your church let me remind you to re-engage with three different groups:

The first group is your team of VOLUNTEERS. Many of you give your volunteers a break throughout the summer. As the fall gets started have a big vision event for your team. Communicate what the vision is for this upcoming school year and get them excited about the new school year. Your team will never be as excited and enthusiastic as you are so that is why it is so important to communicate with genuine excitement continuously. This is a huge opportunity to build momentum and you will need it to have a successful year. This is also a great time to have a big volunteer push to add people to your team. Don’t miss this natural momentum builder in your ministry.

The second group to connect with and re-engage as the fall kicks off is PARENTS. Communicate with parents over and over again all the information they need to know as the fall starts. Families are busy so the sooner the better before they sign up for sports and other extra curricular activities. Let them know when their kids get promoted to a new small group, family events for the rest of the year, any clubs they need to register their kids for. The best way to communicate all this information is to have a parent meeting. It is good to have these meetings every so often throughout the year to keep the communicate lines open with parents.

The third group to re-engage is the KIDS. Give kids something to get excited about for them to anticipate as the school year starts. Build anticipation for the fall events and ministry that they can be a part of. You should aim to have an event at the beginning of fall to advertise to your kids. There is a “Back to Church Day” that you can utilize to get your kids back to church and ready to grow in their relationship with Jesus and other kids.

The fall is a busy time in kids ministry but the 19th century clergyman, Phillips Brooks, says, “Pray for powers equal to your tasks!”

I pray that prayer for you.

Talk Now and Later Book Review

I had the privilege to take a look at Brian Dollar‘s new book Talk Now and Later and share my opinion. What a book! As I prepare to have my first child in November this book was so helpful as I think about all the meaningful conversations I will have with my daughter soon. This book is perfect for parents in all seasons of parenting — new parents, veteran parents, single parents, grandparents, etc. If you are a parent you should invest in your kids and get Talk Now and Later.

As Brian Dollar writes about talking to your kids about tough topics like death, sex, self-esteem, divorce, and many other topics; there were a few themes that ran throughout the entire book. These are my takeaways from Dollar’s book, Talk Now and Later:

  1. All the tough topics that are covered in the book need to be communicated time and time again. Communicating the truths that Brian Dollar discusses need to happen consistently and often. If parents wait until the tragedy comes to have these conversations they are too late. You might even have to schedule to have these conversations with your kids, but they should also happen randomly when they present themselves.


  1. To really communicate the truths that are covered in Talk Now and Later they need to be modeled and a part of your life and character as a parent. We can only communicate so much through our words. The majority of these topics are taught to our kids more through our actions than with our words. If I want my kids to be good stewards of their finances they need to see that modeled and practiced by me. This book challenged me to be the best person I can be. This can only be accomplished through a relationship with Jesus and being covered by His grace and mercy.


  1. Many parents are overwhelmed when they think about talking to their kids about these tough topics, but Talk Now and Later teaches parents to ask questions and help their kids process through the tough topic. Brian Dollar guides parents to ask questions like, “How did you respond?” or “Why is that?” He calls these questions “funneling questions”. Parents need to help funnel kids down to the very core of the issue to help your kids get clarity and answers. Dollar recommends using the phrase “Tell more about that” to help your kids process the tough topic or tragedy. We don’t need to know everything as parents to be great parents. Admit that we don’t know everything and help your child by asking them questions.


Talk Now and Later by Brian Dollar is a great resource for parents, teachers, and ministry leaders. I highly recommend it. You can grab your copy today HERE

Leaders Give Energy!

A few years ago I listened to a teaching by Bill Hybels about energy. He said, “I’ve concluded the leader’s most valuable asset is their energy and their ability to energize other people.”

I have really learned how true his statement was over the past few months. In the past few months, I recently have taken on more responsibility after a staff change. My good friend and fellow kids pastor Dan Dillon transitioned to a different church. One of his gifts is to bring energy and excitement to his space. I am not like Dan and expressing energy is a struggle for me. As they say, “The struggle is real.”

The people that follow you and are in your ministry will not exceed the leadership of you, the leader. If you want your leaders to be excited then you have to be even more excited then them. When you get down and depressed and forget the vision and purpose that God has for you, then your team will get even more down then you. Your energy can be a driving force in your ministry or it can be a draining force in your ministry.

As we get ready to jump into the fall, remember that your energy will have a direct link to the energy of your team and your ministry.

What level of energy will you give to your team?

What level of energy will I give to my team?

What is Kids Church? – Worship


The Bible is filled with commands and examples of the early church worshipping.

“Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;he is to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-25

That leads us to the third characteristic of Kids Church – WORSHIP

God created human beings for the purpose of exalting and worshipping Him.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16

Worship needs to be introduced at an early age. Humanity is innately self-centered. We all need to be taught that God is to be first and that He deserves our praise. The earlier we can instill worship in the hearts and minds of kids the better. When we get kids to take the focus off themselves and onto Jesus that is where the real heart and life change takes place.

As with any area of our kids ministries, when our worship isn’t engaging or high-quality enough kids will not be interested in worshipping. This doesn’t mean you have to have all the latest and greatest in lights and stage effects.

What does this look practically?

1. Worship needs to be high-energy! If we want our kids to be excited to worship, the worship leader needs to look excited too. Make sure the person leading worship is full of energy! Have motions with your songs to help. Have high-energy songs to help. Have a kids worship team join you up on stage to help. When worship is not high-energy the kids will not be interested to worship, will role their eyes and check out. (This includes picking the right songs.)

Here are 4 kids worship albums that are spot on and will get you started:

1. eKidz Worship Album – Undefeated

2. Yancy – Little Praise Party Albums (My Best Friend, Happy Day Everyday, Taste and See)

3. Shout Praise Kids featuring Planetshakers Kids – Nothing is Impossible

4. Hillsong Kids – (Follow You, Tell The World, SupernaturalSuper Strong God)

2. Have you ever heard the saying, “More is caught than taught.”? This saying has never been more true than with worship.

It is so important for our volunteers and leaders to be engaged in worship too. Tweet That!

We cannot ask our kids to do something that we do not do ourselves. This is a pet peeve of mine. I believe with all my heart that if our leaders have a heart for worship and demonstrate that during kids church, kids will also begin to worship.

3. The most important practice for an awesome worship time is to pray and invite the Holy Spirit to be present. There are too many church services where we go through the motions — We pick three random songs, we sing the songs, we pray a little prayer and all the kids sit down. Worship is a spiritual act, NOT a religious act. When we go through the motions and perform these worship songs without the Spirit of God, it is only a time-filler and not a Spirit-filler. Invite God to be in the service and watch Him work in the lives of your kids and leaders.

If you missed any of my other posts in this series, What is Kids Church?, here are the links.

Part 1

Part 2

How do you shape your worship time?

What Is Kids Church? – Serving

This is the second part of the What Is Kids Church? series. Feel free to scroll to the bottom for a link to the first part.

Each characteristic of kids church is relatively even in importance but in my opinion if one had to be the most important it would be serving. Unfortunately, it is the most often left out of kids church. Christians are to be “like-Christ” and one of the most foundational attributes of Jesus Christ is serving.

“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Jesus always put others first and we need to teach and allow the kids in our ministries to do the same. Tweet That!

Reasons why kids SHOULD serve.

Instructed in the Bible

Jesus did

Helps kids belong

Give kids worth

Develops leadership skills

Grows a servant heart in kids (prepares kids for serving in adulthood)

Reasons why kids DON’T serve.

Time and effort to train them

Wrong view of kids in ministry

Lack of parent support

No quality leadership to make it happen

No expectation that they should

How does serving look practically in kids church?

1. Have a kids leadership small group that trains and prepares kids to be involved in ministry and serve. Many kids ministries take breaks during the summer and have modified schedules. During the summer time is a great opportunity to train kids to serve and minister in their church.

2. Many times kids are eager to be involved in ministry, but they can’t be consistent because their parents or guardians haven’t bought in. Practically speaking, kids can’t drive. That is why parent buy in is crucial for kids to be a part of ministry. Those that serve have to get to church early and might have to stay late. Make sure you communicate with the guardian what is expected of their child and get buy in from parent and child.

3. After completing the leadership training schedule kids to serve on Sunday’s. Some of the different roles kids can fill are: running Propresenter, cleaning up after service, worship team members, greeters, and taking the offering. These are all simple roles, but can have huge dividends in the life of the child.

4. Preach and communicate regularly what the Bible says about serving. Kids will never know what is expected of them if it is not taught. It is human nature to look out for yourself and to be self-centered. Christians are taught to put others first  this includes Christians that are kids. Let kids know what Jesus’ expectation is of them when it comes to serving.

The #1 challenge in kids ministry is having enough volunteers and the continual process of recruitment. How different this might be if we instilled serving in the hearts of our kids in our kids ministries?

What are ways that you get kids involved in ministry and serving?

If you missed part 1 of this series, What Is Kids Church? check it out here.