Notes from Marcus Lemonis @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some takeaways from the second session with Marcus Lemonis, from CNBC’s The Profit:

  • Leadership is about reinventing yourself.
  • Sometimes we need a fresh start.
  • We can’t run from what we’re running from, those things always follow us.
  • Business is about vulnerability.
  • Business is about making connections.
  • Success is based on your ability to be vulnerable.
  • The most important thing in life is to be vulnerable and transparent.
  • Vulnerability is very difficult to unleash.
  • It is the leaders responsibility to be stewards of your people.
  • It is the duty of the leader to make them successful.
  • Leadership is about taking a chance on yourself first, and then putting yourself in harm’s way.

Sheryl Sandberg @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

The second session was with Sheryl Sandberg. Her book Option B, was one of my favorite books of the year so far. She is the COO of Facebook.

Here are some takeaways:

  • What we see ourselves becoming is often what we become.
  • If we can’t see ourselves becoming something, we won’t reach it.
  • When choosing a job, choose a mission you believe in and a path for growth.
  • Hire people that you don’t need yet, but will need soon. Hire people you will need.
  • Always hire someone with skills over experience if you have to choose.
  • Most organizations don’t fire as quickly as they should.
  • Focus on results, not on facetime.
  • The goal in a job is to get results.
  • Make heroes in your organization of those who work hard, but fail and learn from failure.
  • We would have a different world if women got an equal seat at the table.
  • Churches and organizations must do a better job of helping women lead and use their gifts.

How to grieve

  • We personalize it. We blame ourselves in grief and beat ourselves up.
  • Everything is pervasive. We talk about how everything is terrible. In grief, think about what could be worse.
  • Permanence. Grief does go away.
  • Joy is something we have to look for.
  • Don’t ignore pain and grief. Engage it.
  • Compliments on the most basic thing is really helpful.
  • When people are in grief, we need to show up.
  • In the midst of grief, give yourself permission to be happy.


  • At the end of each day, write down 3 things that brought you joy that day.
  • The longer you lead, the harder it is to get real feedback.

Notes from Bill Hybels on “The Kind of Leadership our World Needs” @ the Leadership Summit

I’m at the leadership summit with the team from Revolution Church. This is by far the best leadership conference of the year. This is my 14th summit and every year, God stretches me and challenges me. So much wisdom and inspiration wrapped up into two days. I always blog my notes, so if you can’t attend or missed something, I’ve got you covered.

I love how every year Bill Hybels starts the summit by reminding us of the stakes of leadership. Such a needed, yearly reminder.

Here are some takeaways from the first session with Bill Hybels:

  • There is great power in believing in the possibility of leadership in people.
  • Someone believed in you as a leader before you ever led anything. They saw something in you.
  • There is so much power in expressing your belief in other people.
  • There is so much power when we encourage younger leaders.
  • How do leaders lead in an era of divisiveness and disrespect? The solution has to begin with me as a leader.
  • All I can control is me and how I ask those around me to live and work.

10 rules for respect every leader must obey

  1. Leaders set the example of how to differ with others without demonizing them.
  2. Leaders must set the example of how to have spirited conversations without drawing blood.
  3. Leaders must not interrupt others who are talking and must not dominate the conversation.
  4. Leaders must set the example of limiting their volume levels and refuse to use belittling words.
  5. Leaders must set the example of being courteous in word and deed.
  6. Leaders must never stereotype.
  7. Leaders must apologize when they’re wrong.
  8. Leaders must form opinions carefully and stay open minded if better information comes along.
  9. Leaders must set the example of showing up when they say they will show up.
  10. Leaders must set rules of respect and enforce them relentlessly.

Civility code

  1. We will greet each other and acknowledge each other.
  2. We will say please and thank you.
  3. We will treat each other with respect.
  4. We will be direct, sensitive and honest.
  5. We will address incivility whenever it occurs.

Leadership succession

Questions about succession:

  1. Who will make the decision on succession? Who has the final decision power?
  2. When will the decision be made? When will the succession happen?
  3. How will this transition be led?

Learnings on Succession:

  • Doing the hard work up front, really helps.
  • If a succession plan is long and complicated enough, it will motivate every leader to want to move on. Don’t let it drag on.
  • A long plan can make a drag on the vision of an organization.
  • Asking leaders to live in limbo can be very disruptive to a leadership team and staff.
  • It’s hard and complicated and it gets delicate.
  • As difficult as it is to build a high performing organization, it is harder to transition one.
  • Begin understanding that everything you lead and do is a season.
  • Is God writing an ending to your current season or role?

Challenges for leaders:

  • Spend 15 minutes each morning, read and reflect on your life, your leadership, your character, faith and family. Leaders who crash squeeze reflection time out of their life.
  • Make this the year of the grander vision. Choose an organization in your area that is doing great things and get behind them. At a certain point, mere financial success should bore you.
  • Measure the health of the culture of your organization. The culture will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.
  • Do you have a personal betterment plan for your leadership in the coming year? How will you grow as a leader? Take responsibility for growing as a leader.
  • Are you leading on the home front as well as you are at work? The scorecard in people’s minds is money, but that is not what lasts.

Tuesday Mind Dump…

  • I love this week.
  • A few reasons.
  • First, we are kicking off a brand new series at Revolution this Sunday called This is Living
  • After doing a topical series on The Biblefeels nice to get back into preaching through a book of the Bible.
  • Can’t wait to unpack 1, 2 & 3 John.
  • The second reason I love this week is because it is the week of the leadership summit.
  • I started attending the summit in college and every year, I get something out of it.
  • I love spending these days with our team, learning, growing, laughing and hanging out.
  • Speaking of the summit, if you aren’t going or aren’t a good note taker, be sure to check out my blog after each session.
  • I’ll be blogging the sessions.
  • The third reason I love this week.
  • Katie came back last night after a week of traveling and visiting family in the midwest.
  • Me and the kids survived, barely.
  • Sunday was an incredible day at Revolution.
  • I’m blown away by how we continue to grow as a church.
  • We’ve grown almost 30% in the last year, which is incredible.
  • It is so humbling to be a part of it.
  • Someone became a Christian on Sunday.
  • Love when that happens.
  • We had someone from out of town send our church a very generous check this week.
  • I love when that happens.
  • Love when people inside and outside of our church believe in what we are doing.
  • At the end of the second service, I told a completely spontaneous story.
  • It was hilarious, really scary and vulnerable to tell.
  • It was such a great moment.
  • If you missed it, or went to the first service, you can watch it here.
  • I really enjoyed doing a more doctrinal series on the bible.
  • There was a ton of excitement in our church about it.
  • Last week before Katie went out of town, we binged on The Crown. 
  • That isn’t normally like us, but it was a great show.
  • Katie and I often get asked about what we’re reading or books we’re reading together.
  • Right now, we’re working through Changes That Heal by Henry Cloud.
  • Highly recommend it.
  • Well back at it…

Why Read the Bible

If you go to church, you’ve heard a pastor say you should read your Bible. But why? What is the point?

If you want to be a better parent, spouse or leader, aren’t there books more helpful than the Bible?

This especially comes up when pastors are surprised that our REVcommunities (our small groups) discuss the sermon. They tell me how mad their people would be if they couldn’t discuss a parenting or prayer book. I get those questions in our church. I’ll get asked, “Why can’t we do a parenting book or a book on prayer? Josh, are you against books on prayer?” No, but it depends on the book.

The reality is, you don’t need another book or Bible study. They are helpful, but you don’t need marriage advice, money advice or parenting advice. It’s not like you don’t know how to pray, be married, handle money or be a parent.

I’ll give you some examples:

Take marriage. What does the Bible say? Love your spouse more than yourself. Keep your marriage bed pure. It says more, but if you did those two things relentlessly, do you think your marriage would change?

Or dating. Don’t date someone who doesn’t follow Jesus. Don’t marry someone who doesn’t follow Jesus. Why? If you don’t agree on the life shaping, central truth of your life, you will be in trouble. But they’re so cute. One day they’ll be old, fat and saggy. But they complete me. No they don’t, and you know it. You are grasping at straws.

Money? Where your treasure is, there your heart is. The Bible talks about not being in debt, giving back to God before you save, spend, go out, or do anything. Don’t envy what others have. Would giving to God 10% right at the beginning and then living off 90% change things in your finances? Some of you are thinking, “I couldn’t do that.” Why? Did God get it wrong? Do you think living by God’s standards financially would change your finances and bring them under control?

Teach your kids biblical truth everyday. Don’t punish your kids out of anger. Don’t provoke your kids to anger. Don’t push them away, but instead like a good father, pursue them. If you did that, would things change in their lives? Would relationships be different?

Hebrews 4:12 says, For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

It shapes us.

That’s why (one of the why’s at least) we should read the Bible.

Links for Leaders 8/4/17

It’s the weekend. The perfect time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on some reading. Here are 5 articles I came across this week that I found helpful as a leader and parent and hope you do as well.

Jon Acuff shares the simple mistake that most pastors make in their sermons. I’m certainly guilty of this, but it is a great reminder.

How do you evaluate your church? Based on who you are inviting. This is a great reminder for all pastors and Christians from Carey Nieuwhof.

I love to read and I’m assuming that if you follow this blog, you do as well. If you are a leader or want to be a leader, you need to be a reader. But how do you know which book to read next when there are countless possibilities? Dan Black shares 4 tips that are incredibly helpful.

Have you ever doubted something? Maybe you, like me, have struggled with doubts in life, in faith. What do you do? Many of us want to throw in the towel and give up. It seems easier. But what if that isn’t the best thing to do with doubt? Michael Kelley gives us a better answer for our doubts.

When should you bring your kids into a worship service? If you’re like me, you’ve struggled with this. As a church, as a pastor and a parent. Jen Wilkin has some great insights for this.

The Halfway Point of the Year & the Top 10 Posts of July

It’s the middle of summer.

In Tucson, where I live, the monsoon’s are in full swing and school is back in session.

The year is more than halfway over.

Hopefully you are closer to the goals you set at the start of the year.

If not, don’t fear.

The year isn’t over and it isn’t too late to hit restart and try again.

In case you missed them, here are the top 10 posts of the month of July. Hopefully, they are encouraging to you but also help you reach the goals you have as a leader and a person. Thanks for reading!

  1. 11 Ways to Know You’ve Settled for a Mediocre Marriage
  2. How to Share your Faith
  3. 7 Ideas to Help Your Kids Grow Spiritually
  4. 8 Questions to Ask Before You Preach a Sermon
  5. The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize
  6. 18 Things Every Husband Should Know about His Wife
  7. How Many Times a Year Should a Pastor Preach
  8. 5 Books Every Pastor & Church Staff Should Read
  9. What Role a Pastor’s Wife Plays in the Church?
  10. When You Manipulate Your Husband, You Lose Him

Why we Get Angry at God (Jonah 4)

We get angry at God for a lot of different reasons.

We get angry when something happens we deem unfair. We get angry when something happens that we don’t think should happen. We also get angry when God moves slower than we’d like, moves different than we’d like.

Ultimately we get angry at God because we aren’t God and he doesn’t act like us.

There is a fascinating conversation between Jonah and God in Jonah 4 about Jonah’s anger towards God. Why is Jonah angry? Because God did exactly what Jonah expected God to do. Jonah knew that God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Jonah 4:3) He knew that God would relent from destroying Nineveh, and that is why he is angry at God.

To me, what is amazing about the conversation is that God doesn’t get angry at Jonah. He doesn’t scold Jonah. He simply asks, “Do you do well to be angry?” In other words, are you angry for the right reasons? Is your anger adding anything to your life, to your faith, to your world?

I remember a conversation that Katie and I had 11 years ago. We were sitting up at 3am talking in our bedroom. This was one of those life defining conversations. It was raw, emotional and hard for me to hear. My sin, my stubbornness and pride had gotten us into a hard spot as a couple and in my career. I was running from God’s call to plant a church, and Katie called me on it. God was moving to bring me to where I needed to be. Dan Allender said, “When we hear the call to go and we run in the opposite direction, God has a way of having us thrown off the boat, swallowed by a large fish, and spit onto the shore where we are to serve (and be). God allows us to run and yet to know that He will arrive at our place of flight before we arrive, so He can direct our steps again.”

That’s where I was.

I was angry. Why wouldn’t God make it easier? Why did God have to send people into my life that were difficult, that left painful wounds in my life? Why didn’t he stop that?

At this point in my life, I don’t have all the answers to those questions, but I have some of them.

Like Jonah, we have good reasons to be angry. At least we are convinced they’re good reasons. And they might be good. Jonah felt Nineveh deserved justice, not mercy. They were a brutal people. How could God forgive them? Was their repentance legitimate and real? Was it fake to get mercy?

We’ve been there in relationships. We’ve been there in life. You might be there right now.

If you are, let God ask you the question he asked Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry? What is your anger adding to your life?”

To the places in your life, in your heart that you are angry with God and at God, what is your anger adding? Take family relationships. Many of us have broken family relationships that have caused us enormous scars. We are hurt, we are angry, we are isolated. Many of us have a right to be angry. But what is our anger adding? Is it causing good in your life to be angry?

With your kids, your job, your finances, what is your anger adding? What good is it doing?

Most of the time the answer is no, it is not adding anything. It is not doing any good. Most of the time, we allow people to take up space in our heart who couldn’t care less about us.

Notice, Jonah is angry but God is slow to anger.

Remember: We get angry at God because we aren’t God and God doesn’t act like us.

Like Jonah, we get mad at God because he doesn’t do what we would do or act the way we want him to.

Like Jonah, we know the words God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, but in our hearts we don’t trust those words, and we don’t embrace those words or celebrate them and what they mean.

God won’t let Jonah go and he won’t let Jonah off the hook. He wants Jonah’s heart. He doesn’t just want him to stop being angry, he wants to get to the root of why he is mad. So God appoints a plant, a worm and a scorching wind. We are being told that God can use all the good, the bad and the hard for our good. God wants Jonah’s heart and will use whatever means necessary to get it.

God wants your heart and will use whatever means necessary to get it.

This is important, so I don’t want you to miss this.

What you get angry about is important. What you are angry at God for right now is important.

Because when we get angry, we know we are on to something. We know we have hit on something that matters, something we need to dig into. Whenever you are angry, you must stop and ask why and what is happening in that moment, because your anger is revealing something you must face, you must deal with. It is important to you, and it is important to the state of your heart.

That is the invitation God is giving to Jonah and to us as the book of Jonah ends.

What are you angry at? Is that a good thing to be angry at?

Successful Mentoring Relationships

Since Revolution Church is filled with people in college and their 20’s, and because we’re part of Acts 29, I and the other leaders at Revolution will often get requests to mentor someone, either in our church or a church planter or worship leader.

There is also a big desire that many people have to be discipled and mentored. The New Testament, particularly Titus 2:1 – 8, shows how to do this.

The amazing thing in Titus is that the relationships it describes have a few realities:

  1. They are intentional, but organic.
  2. They are relational.
  3. Growth happens through conversations, not necessarily a curriculum.

Paul tells Titus that in mentor relationships, in inter-generational relationships, they happen through proximity. The older are to teach the younger, but the only way for that to happen is for them to be together, not in life stage groups where they never mingle. In this environment, a younger person can find an older person they want to learn from.

Paul tells Timothy what they are to teach, but that teaching means ordinary conversations, not simply standing on a stage, teaching a class. Everyday, ordinary conversations.

What do they teach? What is amazing to me is that Paul says they’ll need to learn the following things. The things they’ll learn are things that won’t come naturally, or else we’d already know them.

This has caused me to think through what makes an effective mentor. They are important, but I think we often set ourselves and the person we are seeking help from up for disaster.

A mentor is someone further ahead of you in an area you want to grow in.

No one person can mentor you in every part of your life.

This is the problem we run into. We look for someone to be the end all, be all for us.

When someone asks for a mentor, I explain this to them and then ask a series of questions:

What are one or two areas you want to grow in as you think about your life in the next 3, 6, 12 months? This could be finances, prayer, marriage, boundaries, health, etc.

Why do you think I can help you? I want to know why they think I can help them. Not because I want to pump up my ego, but I want to know they’ve done their homework on me and didn’t just throw a dart at the wall and pick the closest person.

What are you doing, or have you tried to grow in this area? Often, not always, but often people seek a mentor because they are lazy. I want to know what books or blogs this person has looked at in this area. Are they actively seeking to grow in this area or just hoping to rub off success from someone? Which leads to the last part.

How much time are you willing to put into this? Anything worth doing will take time. You won’t grow in your handling of finances, health, marriage, career, preaching, etc., without putting in time and effort. This is a commitment you as the person getting mentored are making. The mentor is coming along for the ride, and if I as the mentor am not convinced you are into the ride, I’m getting off.

If you are worth your salt as a leader, person or pastor, you will be asked often to mentor people. You must be selective about who you mentor, because you are giving up one of your most precious commodities, your time. If you are asking to be mentored, to succeed and have it be worthwhile for you, you need to do your homework and be willing to put in the work. There is nothing more exciting than working with a person who wants to grow in an area and helping them do that.

We can’t become the person we are to become without relationships with older, more mature people in our lives.

Tuesday Morning Mind Dump…

  • It was so great after 6 weeks off from preaching to be back on Sunday.
  • The buzz and excitement in our church right now is so obvious.
  • With the addition of Derek to our staff team, REVcommunities launching soon, school is back in session.
  • It’s a good season.
  • I told someone recently that it feels like our flywheel as a church is picking up speed, which feels nice.
  • I got to share some celebrations on Sunday from what God did over the last 6 weeks in our church: In the last 6 weeks we’ve had 42 first time guests, 23 3rd time guests, 216 next steps taken in sermons, 7 first serves and 19 first time givers.
  • And we had someone take the step of following Jesus on Sunday.
  • That never gets old.
  • If you missed Sunday as I kicked our series The Bibleyou can watch it here.
  • And if you’re struggling with reading the bible, here are some questions to help you.
  • And if you’re looking for more resources on the bible, here you go.
  • This Sunday I’m unpacking the story of the Bible, what is the Bible about.
  • If you miss what something is trying to tell you, you will end up lost.
  • I think this one thing causes more frustration for Christians and confusion for people when they come to the Bible.
  • Our daughter is going into 7th grade, which is a big deal in the way that we school our kids. Things begin to pick up and change for her.
  • Which is exciting and scary at the same time.
  • Crazy to think she is in 7th grade and will be 12 next week.
  • Every year I meet with a group of guys in our church to focus on leadership and help them grow as leaders, personally, at work and in their family.
  • This year, I might do 2 groups, but the exciting thing is that I switched up what we’ll cover and how we’ll do things.
  • Can’t wait to try it out.
  • I find that when I try to pass on things I’ve learned to younger leaders, I grow a ton by their questions, push backs and searching.
  • As much I have loved my big green egg, I haven’t smoked anything yet.
  • Well, that changes this week.
  • Wednesday I’m smoking a pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon.
  • Then, on Friday, I’m going to smoke a pork shoulder for over 8 hours.
  • I’m trying it out on some of our oldest friends so if it tanks, pizza won’t be a huge disappointment.
  • So excited to try it out.
  • Last week I got to speak to 2 different groups outside of Revolution.
  • On Thursday I was on base talking to a group of non-commissioned officers about work/life balance.
  • On Saturday I got to talk to a group of parents about how to become an intentional family.
  • Tons of fun and lots of great questions.
  • Then, Saturday afternoon we intentionally avoided the heat and rain and went to see Despicable Me 3. 
  • If you haven’t seen it, it is exactly what you expect it to be.
  • Good times for sure.
  • I love that my kids love movie trailers before the movie as much as I do.
  • Well, back to it…