Drive09: Session 3

It was another great day of conversations and learning here at Drive. I missed my breakouts again this morning, because I still can’t walk five feet without running into someone that wants to have a half-hour conversation! It has been great to share stories from Denver, talk about what we’re learning on our journey, and to learn from others who are where we are. Andy’s last talk wasn’t new to me, but it is a message that every leader – inside and outside the church – needs to hear. If you want more, most of the info came from Andy’s book Visioneering which I highly recommend.

Making Vision Stick


  • Vision is a mental picture of what could be fueled by the passion of what should be.
  • Vision is what attracts talent, resources, money, and leaders.
  • Life is difficult on our vision. Success is tough because you’re tempted to do more. Failure is tough, because people doubt the vision when plans fail.

To make your vision stick:

  1. State it simply. Memorable is portable. This will mean that you won’t be able to be complete, but it’s more important to make it simple if you want it to be memorable. The perfect example is Obama’s campaign vision – everyone remembers it was about “Change.” The criticism was that it wasn’t complete, but he chose to make it memorable. The more complex your vision and the larger your audience, the simpler you have to state it. Your vision statement needs to connect to emotion.
  2. Cast it convincingly.
    • Define the problem. What would go undone if your church wasn’t there? You have to help people feel the weight of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
    • Offer a solution.
    • Explain why and why not. Position and present your vision as the solution to a problem that must be addressed immediately.
  3. Repeat it regularly.
  4. Celebrate it systematically. Anything that is rewarded is repeated.
  5. Embrace it personally. It is not enough to talk about doing things, you have to live it. You are the vision.
  • Pay attention to new projects, programs, and products – they can distract from your vision. If you want to keep your organizatoin on task and on vision, be very wary of adding new things.
  • Pay attention to staff and leaders’ prayer requests.
  • Pay attention to complaints. Some complaints you need to listen to and some you don’t. Insider-related complaints are an indication that there is a vision problem.

Drive09: Session 2


Today was a great day of connecting with old friends and fellow leaders from churches planted by North Point. I didn’t make it to any of the breakouts I signed up for, because I couldn’t walk more than 5 feet down the hall without running into someone that turned into a half-hour conversation! God scripted my day perfectly and gave me time with people that I needed to be with more than I needed to sit and take in information.

As always the creative team has done an amazing job of enhancing all the main sessions. One of the coolest things was a take-off on the T-Mobile Liverpool Street Station video. As the session started, people began spontaneously dancing in the audience, and then they taught the whole audience to do it. It was great.

Listening, Learning, and Leading

The longer you’re in leadership, the more likely you are to get insulated from the people you need to hear from and the information you need to get.

  1. As leaders we gravitate to voices that tell us what we want to hear.
  2. The nature of leadership is such that we become insulated and isolated. And the dirty little secret is that most of us like it that way.
  3. Leadership is not about making decisions on your own. It’s about owning decisions once they’re made.
  4. The responsibility of the leader is not to make all the decisions. The responsibility of the leader is to ensure that all the decisions made are good ones.
  5. To make right decisions, a leader must be surrounded by and be willing to listen to the right people

To be a great leader, you must be a great listener.

Here’s why…

  1. You are probably not the smartest person in your organization. You are just the leader.
  2. What and who you listen to will determine what you do.
  3. Organizational decisions are judged by the people in your organization.

Your private decisions will be judged publicly…

  1. Leaders are attracted to environments where their ideas and opinions are heard.
    1. Leaders want to know they have an opportunity to influence their own destinies.
    2. Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing important to say.
    3. If you want to attract great leaders to your organization, create a system where their voices can be heard.

The man who needed counsel the least (Solomon) had the most to say about it. (Prov 1:5, 12:15, 13:10, 19:20, 15:22)

Problem: Most organizations allow seniority to determine structure.

  1. A seniority structure limits access and thus impedes the flow of ideas.
  2. In a seniority structure, title and position, rather than insight or creativity, determine who sits at the decision-making table.
  3. Eventually, a seniority structure leaves the seniors in charge.

Solution #1: Create a system that allows you to get the brightest and most strategic-minded people to the decision-making table.

  1. Ask yourself, “Who would I like to sit down with on a regular basis to discuss the issues that impact the future of our organization?” Resist the temptation to fair. “Fairness ended in the garden of Eden.” Don’t aim for fair or you’ll be unjust. Do what’s right, not fair.
  2. Make that your decision-making body for a year.

Solution #2: Create systems that allow you to listen deep into your organization.

  1. Aplications:
    • 3-month/12-month employee evaluations
    • Elder meetings (monthly)
    • Stewardship team (bi-monthly)
    • Ministry Team Representatives (quarterly)
  2. Resist the urge to lead every meeting you attend.


  1. What we don’t want to hear is generally what we need to hear.
  2. Who we don’t want to hear from is often who we need to hear from most.
  3. You have some really smart people in your organization. Figure out how to leverage their smarts.
  4. Remember: leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing important to say.

Takeaway for New Denver Church:

  • We have to get the systems in place soon to regularly involve people from our core group in decisions. I need to finish crafting the structure the local leadership development process we’ve discussed. I’d like to start that by the fall. We need to find stewardship team people, potential elders, and potential ministry team representatives.
  • How can we continue to learn from the right people – both inside and outside our organization?