November 08, 2012

How to be a more authentic leader

“Authentic leadership means eliminating buzzwords and BS.”

That’s the heading of blog post by ThoughtLeaders director Mike Figlioulo that I read this morning. You can read the whole post here. I read this less than 48 hours after this sentence came out of my mouth on my way to the church office: “We really need to lean into your skills for a season, so we can leverage them to engage with the community. That would be a real win for the organization.”

Mike’s critique of my ridiculous sentence would be simple: “What the hell does it mean?”

After years of research and experience in the corporate world, Mike argues that when we start to rely on leadership buzzwords and jargon to articulate ourselves, we’re in danger of becoming disingenuous and inauthentic - and the people we’re leading will start to glaze over when we talk.

His answer to the jargon: Say what you mean. Do what you say. Simple.

“Words spoken from the heart and the gut are clear, concise, meaningful, and genuine.  They help ground you and your team.  They signal that you are willing to take a stand for something you believe in instead of watering down your beliefs with complicated words so you will not offend someone or so your simple thoughts will sound more important.  Using buzzwords makes you sound less intelligent.  Filling your leadership philosophy with obscure or difficult to define concepts diminishes peoples’ trust in you.”

As church leaders, trust and authenticity are two of our most valuable resources when it comes to envisioning volunteers, right? If Mike’s right, then we can earn both simply by eliminating leadership buzzwords. It’s something I’m committed to working on!

So what leadership buzzwords do you hear around your office or church? 

April 24, 2012

How does the decline in creativity affect how we value God?

I saw this interesting infograph this morning released by Adobe that describes how global creativity is in freefall across the US and across the globe. The full article from AdAge here. I guess this means I'm in the minority at the moment - and not because I'm an Aussie living in New Jersey, but because I consider myself creative. 


The bottom line here is the Adobe - the company that researched these numbers - suggests that the way we perceive and value creativity is decreasing. That means we're becoming less creative as a race. Yes, we see it as important (80% of people surveyed believe creativity is critical to economic growth), but we're not pursuing creativity in everyday life. 

So this begs the question - since the God we serve is creative, what does this survey mean for the church? What impact does this study have on the way the world values the ultimate Creator? 

Do we as a Church (captial C) put pressure on pastors and staff to "produce" rather than "create"? What does this do to our churches? Our relationships? Our mission? Our faith?

I'd love to know your thought ...

April 02, 2012

Mega FAIL?

I just read a report in USA Today that Americans spent $1.5 billion on tickets for last week's Mega Lottery. That's the equivalent of about $5 for every man, woman and child living in the US!

That's a crazy amount of money people!

What does this statistic reveal about our human nature?

Mega FAIL?

What if the same amount of personal investment was put into something else? What would $1.5 billion do for a homeless shelter organization? A drug detox center? A hospital? Our schools system?

What would it do for orphans and widows in the US? How many clean water wells would that provide for people worldwide who are dying from drinking contaminated water?

We walk past and ignore homeless people asking for change every day, acting as if we didn't hear their request ... yet we then turn immediately into a lottery outlet and drop $5 on a hail Mary shot at riches.

So, my question again is ... what does this statistic reveal about human nature?

March 14, 2012

God loves you the way you are

Earlier this month I preached at Liquid Church to close out our POP God series. Here's a snippet of the message that provides an insight into why God loves us the way we are.

To watch the full message, go to Liquid Church.

January 18, 2012

Church invitation update

Last week I posted about my friend Linda who I invited to church using a note from a postcard website I use. You may remember she is a waitress at my local diner and I've been praying with her whenever I go in for breakfast. 

Well, this past Sunday, she showed up at church! Turns out she spent last week watching our services at Liquid Church Online and from our message archive to get an idea of what to expect. This helped her see our worship and service format, and also allowed her to get to know our teaching pastors.

She loved it so much she invited some other people at the diner to attend - and they came to an earlier service!

So cool to see a first time guest inviting other first time guests after getting a taste of church through church online. What a great use of this resource - as a way of helping people get comfortable enough to step through the door. 

January 11, 2012

How to invite a friend to church

Over the past month I've been getting to know Linda, one of the waitresses at the diner in my town. She's been asking me a lot about Liquid, so I invited her to come to our Baggage series starting in January.

When I invited her, Linda seemed genuinely interested, but admitted she would probably forget the times and address. She promised me she'd "try to get there" if she remembered, and asked me to remind her next time I was at the diner. Before I left that day, I snapped a quick photo with her. 

Today I sent her a personal postcard reminder without leaving my couch. It was done through an easy-to-use site called and cost me just $1.

I can't wait to see how she responds to a personal invitation complete with the service times and details.

Screen shot 2012-01-11 at 9.15.01 AM
Who was the last person you invited to church, and how did you do it? 

January 06, 2012

The birthplace of joy and creativity

Vulnerable Babies
I just watched an amazing 15 minute message by Brene Brown about the importance of human vulnerability. Brene is a professor of social work so she knows a thing or two about human connectedness and interaction. 

This short talk was one of those jaw-on-the-floor, life-changing, "a-ha moment" times in life when you know someone is giving you a pearl of wisdom that you need to apply in order to experience a new reality.

In it she discusses the importance of human vulnerability calling it the "birthplace of joy, creativity and connection". She also discusses how we ALL numb ourselves to vulnerability because it can produce negative experiences like heartache, rejection and pain - but in the process we also numb ourselves to positive experiences like joy and love and friendship. 

We can't selectively numb. When we numb those tough experiences and emotions, we also numb joy and happiness and gratitude. We numb ... everything. 

I wanna encourage you to take 15 minutes of your day to listen to the message by clicking here. Then I want to encourage you to subscribe to Brene's blog for more great insights into human connection. 

January 04, 2012

How to get more people at your Church Online site

I just finished reading a blog post from Michael Hyatt about his 12 steps for getting more followers on Twitter. It was a great read that prompted me to think of ways that churches could get more people to follow their online services.

It's one thing to spend money on Google and Facebook ads, grow your service teams or hire more staff ... but there's one thing you could do immediately to attract and maintain more people - re-design your church online page. 

At Liquid, we know that environments are important. When people come to one of our three New Jersey campuses, we want them to be in a place that is accessible, comfortable and inviting. It's the same for our (and your) church online environment. 

We're currently in the process of re-designing our church online platform so that it's easier-to-use, more accessible, more comfortable and more inviting. We're excited to start rolling this out over the next month and then continue to re-design it as we see people interact within it - and hopefully connect with God. 

So my question for you today is this: How are you making your Church Online environment and inviting and accessible place for people to attend services? 

May 02, 2011

What would Jesus Tweet?

It's been very interesting to be an Aussie in the US - near New York - on the day news broke that Osama Bin Laden was killed by the US military. Intersting ... shocking ... sobering.

I've seen tweets and status updates including things like:

- It's about time he was killed!
- Let's celebrate!
- Proud to be American
- There's a special place in hell for Osama
- Justice is served.

I gotta admit, as these comments flooded my news feeds, I had to wonder how Jesus would respond to this news. Would he weep? Would he cheer? Would he wave palm branches or a flag? Would he teach us again on Matthew 5:43-48?

Proof texting is easy ... theology not so much.

So ... what do you think Jesus would tweet today?

May 01, 2011

Down and dirty for clean water

So, a team from Liquid pulled together on the weekend to raise money for clean water by running the New Jersey Muddy Marathon. We took part in the day's 'Fun Run', but according to my body today, I may be able to start litigation on grounds of false advertising!


Oh sure, it started out as fun. We all laughed as we missed the start and trotted off after the herd. And the first mud pit was a lot of fun! After running over a grass hill we hit some deep mud and a few of us dived hysterically in head first. We threw mud and posed for photos, pushed people over and frolicked in a freezing stream ... blissfully unaware of the agony to come.

The first indication of something sinister came at about 1.4 miles when the terrain took a sharp incline. What followed was a 1600ft rock climb up two sheer mountain faces. Read that again - rock climb! And like that (insert snapping fingers), a race billed as muddy turned decidedly dry as we dodged poison ivy, tripped over fallen logs and balanced on precariously small rocks. We totally wore the wrong shoes!

Of course, what goes up must come down ... and that happened at an unwelcomed pace. At times during the descent, it was all we could do to maintain balance as the speed wobbles kicked in. That's when an injured ankle from a few weeks back flared up.

The second rock climb was worse than the first because it was a more sustained incline. That's when an Achilles injury from my 20s flared up.

We reached a drink station after about 2 hours, filled up on candy and headed on another incline and then decent. That's when a knee injury from year 7 flared up.

We reached the summit and enjoyed the view for a few seconds, then headed down a narrow winding trail, desperately searching for orange markers and any signs of life. That's when a wrist injury from grade 4 flared up.

A little kid sitting on a rock advised us we were close to the end, but I wasn't sure if I was hallucinating at this point - but it was a glimmer of hope that sparked us back to life. We threw ourselves into the final mud pit - more to ensure we were dirty at the end than out of enthusiasm - climbed up a hill of leaves and headed for the home stretch. That's when a crawling injury from when I was a baby flared up.

Coming up the final hill with the finish line in sight was both exhilarating and exhausting. We crossed the line expecting enthusiastic hugs from our loved ones ... but considering the foul smelling mud caked on our faces and clothes, they understandably kept their distance.

A day later as I write this, there's still chunks of mud falling out of my hair, and stuck in various crevices.