Spiritual Life and Leadership

Markus Watson

Ministry leadership is about more than just growing your church or organization. It’s about participating in God’s mission in the world. But how can leaders know God’s mission or their unique place in it? Faithful ministry leadership is rooted in a life of deep and abiding faithfulness to Jesus. In “Spiritual Life and Leadership,” Markus Watson and his guests explore what it means to be faithful leaders whose ministry flows from their ever-deepening relationship with God. read less

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143. How the Church Can Respond to Immigration, with Karen Gonzalez, author of Beyond Welcome
Yesterday
143. How the Church Can Respond to Immigration, with Karen Gonzalez, author of Beyond Welcome
Karen Gonzalez is an immigration advocate and the author of Beyond Welcome: Centering Immigrants in Our Christian Response to Immigration.  In this episode, Karen Gonzalez, helps us understand both the challenges of immigration and how we, the church, can love and bless those who have immigrated in ways that are healthy and lifegiving for everyone. THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Karen Gonzalez is an immigration advocate and the author of Beyond Welcome: Centering Immigrants in Our Christian Response to Immigration.Karen Gonzalez shares the story of how her understanding of immigration developed over time.Church ministries that focus on immigration don’t generally center on the immigrants; they tend to focus on the church and its people.Think about the words that you use and whether your words are creating an “us and them” or just creating a “we.”The words we use can sometimes be unintentionally dehumanizing.Hospitality should not be one-directional—from the non-immigrant to the immigrant.  Hospitality should be mutual, flowing in both directions.Karen Gonzalez shares the story of a woman who said she appreciates Mother Mary because Mary knows what it feels like to have her son killed by the state—which is how this woman’s son died, too.We all do theology from somewhere.Karen Gonzalez describes the richness that those who are not immigrants can experience when they learn from the experiences of those who are immigrants.Ministry leaders should reflect on where their understanding of immigration comes from.Karen Gonzalez offers some ways that people and churches can help immigrants and refugees.To find out how to best help immigrants visit World Relief, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, and Church World Service.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Karen Gonzalez:TwitterInstagramBooks mentioned:Beyond Welcome, by Karen GonzalezBeyond Thingification, by Markus WatsonImmigration Resources:World ReliefInternational Rescue CommitteeLutheran Immigration and Refugee ServicesChurch World ServiceEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
143. How the Church Can Respond to Immigration, with Karen Gonzalez, author of Beyond Welcome
Yesterday
143. How the Church Can Respond to Immigration, with Karen Gonzalez, author of Beyond Welcome
Karen Gonzalez is an immigration advocate and the author of Beyond Welcome: Centering Immigrants in Our Christian Response to Immigration.  In this episode, Karen Gonzalez, helps us understand both the challenges of immigration and how we, the church, can love and bless those who have immigrated in ways that are healthy and lifegiving for everyone. THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Karen Gonzalez is an immigration advocate and the author of Beyond Welcome: Centering Immigrants in Our Christian Response to Immigration.Karen Gonzalez shares the story of how her understanding of immigration developed over time.Church ministries that focus on immigration don’t generally center on the immigrants; they tend to focus on the church and its people.Think about the words that you use and whether your words are creating an “us and them” or just creating a “we.”The words we use can sometimes be unintentionally dehumanizing.Hospitality should not be one-directional—from the non-immigrant to the immigrant.  Hospitality should be mutual, flowing in both directions.Karen Gonzalez shares the story of a woman who said she appreciates Mother Mary because Mary knows what it feels like to have her son killed by the state—which is how this woman’s son died, too.We all do theology from somewhere.Karen Gonzalez describes the richness that those who are not immigrants can experience when they learn from the experiences of those who are immigrants.Ministry leaders should reflect on where their understanding of immigration comes from.Karen Gonzalez offers some ways that people and churches can help immigrants and refugees.To find out how to best help immigrants visit World Relief, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, and Church World Service.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Karen Gonzalez:TwitterInstagramBooks mentioned:Beyond Welcome, by Karen GonzalezBeyond Thingification, by Markus WatsonImmigration Resources:World ReliefInternational Rescue CommitteeLutheran Immigration and Refugee ServicesChurch World ServiceEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
142. Navigating the 7 Stages of Transition, with D. Michael Lindsay, author of Hinge Moments
Nov 22 2022
142. Navigating the 7 Stages of Transition, with D. Michael Lindsay, author of Hinge Moments
D. Michael Lindsay is the author of Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Transitions and the president of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.In this episode, D. Michael Lindsay unpacks the seven stages of transition and helps us understand how to navigate those stages well--both personally and corporately.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:D. Michael Lindsay is the author of Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Transitions and the president of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.D. Michael Lindsay shares the story of losing his cousin, which is the event that got him thinking about hinge moments.Hinge Moments is about:  How do you pay attention to the ways God is trying to get your attention?  And how can you be preparing for the next hinge moment in your life?We live millions of minutes.  But we only have a handful of minutes in our lives that are true inflection points.According to D. Michael Lindsay, change happens in an instant, while transition takes place over a longer period of time.The pandemic represents a societal hinge moment.The seven stages of navigating transition are:DiscernmentAnticipationIntersectionLandingIntegrationInspirationRealizationD. Michael Lindsay encourages his students that failure is almost never final.Faith plays an important role in navigating transition.Spiritual practices are incredibly helpful when navigating hinge moments.D. Michael Lindsay shares examples of practices that can be helpful during times of transition.D. Michael Lindsay suggests that for churches and ministry leaders, the pandemic has been a little ice age (as opposed to a blizzard or a winter).RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Books mentioned:Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life's Transitions, by D. Michael LindsayResources:Taylor UniversityPraxis LabsChurch Leadership InstituteEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
141. Being Fully Yourself in Leadership, with Sarah Bereza, author of Professional Christian
Nov 8 2022
141. Being Fully Yourself in Leadership, with Sarah Bereza, author of Professional Christian
Sarah Bereza is the author of Professional Christian: Being Fully Yourself in the Spotlight of Public Ministry and directs a music program at United Methodist Church.It can be really challenging to really be yourself when you're a pastor or ministry leader.  There is a pressure to perform and to present yourself in an ideal sort of way.  But putting on a false front can be exhausting.In this episode, Sarah Bereza unpacks how we can fully be ourselves even as we lead in ministry.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDES:Sarah Bereza is the author of Professional Christian: Being Fully Yourself in the Spotlight of Public Ministry and directs a music program at United Methodist Church.It can be really hard for people in the professional ministry space to be fully themselves.Markus Watson shares the story of the first time anyone ever called him “Pastor.”To be more and more like Christ also becoming more and more fully ourselves.Sarah Bereza helps us understand how we can be our true selves in a worship service—even if we don’t feel like being there that day.When we don’t acknowledge, at least to ourselves, what is going on inside us we can end up performing, even faking, when leading a worship service.Sarah Bereza shares that, depending on the context and relationships, it can be ok for the pastor to be honest with their congregation when he or she isn’t feeling great in a worship service.Sarah Bereza explains the difference between authenticity, sincerity, and being fully yourself.The church seems to be experiencing a crisis of discipleship.  Sarah Bereza helps us understand that the way we help our people become true disciples of Jesus is through community.To find out more about Sarah Bereza, visit www.sarah-bereza.com.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Books mentioned:Professional Christian, by Sarah BerezaSarah Bereza:Website – www.sarah-bereza.comChurch Leadership InstituteAdaptive Church Leadership CohortEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
140. Bathed in Grace, with Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke, authors of Having the Mind of Christ
Oct 25 2022
140. Bathed in Grace, with Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke, authors of Having the Mind of Christ
Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke are the authors Having the Mind of Christ: 8 Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith and pastors of The Table in Indianapolis.  So often the Christian life generally and Christian leadership specifically is oriented toward performance.  But in this conversation, Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke remind us that our spiritual life and our leadership is bathed in grace.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke are the authors Having the Mind of Christ: 8 Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith and pastors of The Table in Indianapolis.The world has changed tremendously in the past seven years.Deconstruction is causing people to rethink the faith that they inherited.Everyone views the world through a paradigm, like a pair of glasses.  We need to learn to not only see through our glasses, but see our glasses.  We need to become aware of the paradigm by which we view the world.When we learn to see with other glasses, we can lead with more curiosity.We underrate the value of curiosity.Whereas we often think God “shows up” in places, we are invited to recognize that God is already active and at work in the places where we are.Our leadership grows when we recognize that God meets us in the midst of our messiness.An axiom is a statement that is considered to be self-evidently true.  The axioms in Having the Mind of Christ are truths by which Jesus seems to have lived.It is important for us recognize the power we carry with us, especially for white male leaders.Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke offer three steps to help us live into these truths:Compassionate awarenessCreative alignmentCooperative actionOur attempts to live out God’s love—even our poor attempts—are bathed in grace.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Gravity Leadershipwww.gravityleadership.comThe Tablewww.thetableindy.orgBooks mentioned:Having the Mind of Christ: 8 Axioms to Cultivate a Robust Faith by Matt Tebbe and Ben SternkeSocial Media:Ben Sternke TwitterBen Sternke InstagramMatt Tebbe TwitterMatt Tebbe InstagramEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
139. Disequilibrium and the Mission of God, with Markus Watson
Oct 11 2022
139. Disequilibrium and the Mission of God, with Markus Watson
Eric Hoffman said, “To dispose a soul to action, we must upset its equilibrium.”  In this episode, we’re going to talk about the state of disequilibrium that so many of us find ourselves in—what used to work in church leadership and ministry doesn’t seem to work anymore.  And we’re going to talk about why that disequilibrium is actually a gift.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:We live in a time of great disequilibrium.When we talking about disequilibrium, it is helpful to think of it in the context of a “complex adaptive system.” A complex adaptive system is a network of organisms, relationships, and connections that interact in such a way as to maintain some kind of balance.Complex adaptive systems want to remain in a state of equilibrium.Disequilibrium happens when something in the system changes.The dodo bird went extinct because it had lived in a state of equilibrium for so long that it couldn't survive changes in its system.In Surfing the Edge of Chaos, the authors argue that "prolonged equilibrium is a precursor to death."But when a system experiences disequilibrium, it has the opportunity to become stronger, more resilient, and healthier. For about the past 1700 hundred years, the church in the West has existed in a state of relative equilibrium.But the culture changed and now the church exists in a state of disequilibrium.The church needs to embrace the disequilibrium because that will make it stronger, more resilient and healthier.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Books mentioned:Surfing the Edge of Chaos, by Richard Pascale, Mark Milleman, and Linda GiojaOnline courses and cohorts:Leading Your Church Through ChangeAdaptive Church Leadership Cohort  Engaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
138. Ministry Leadership in a Time of Immense Change, with Markus Watson
Sep 27 2022
138. Ministry Leadership in a Time of Immense Change, with Markus Watson
In a time of immense change, how should churches do ministry?  How should pastors and leaders lead their churches and organizations?  Should we set a BHAG--a Big Hairy Audacious Goal?  Should we set one-year, five-year, and ten-year goals?Or is there another way?  Could it be that what we need are not big, enormous goals, but simple to take small steps and achieve short-term wins?THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDES:Markus Watson questions whether or not churches today should set BHAGs--Big Hairy Audacious Goals.“Small steps and short-term wins are the best approach, rather than big programs or large-scale planning.”  --Alan Roxburgh, The Missional LeaderWe are living in a time of discontinuous change.Continuous change is the kind of change that is expected and understood.Discontinuous change is unexpected and hard to understand.In times of discontinuous change, Markus Watson suggests churches should not set large goals; rather they should conduct small experiments.Missteps and small losses can be just as valuable for churches today as small steps and short-term wins.Whether through wins or losses, the most important thing, according to Markus Watson, is to keep learning.Through their small wins and losses, churches can learn about their neighbors, about themselves, and about God.To learn more, join one of these learning experiences:Leading Your Church Through Change, a free online course that teaches the process of action-reflection as a method for leading change in your church.Adaptive Church Leadership Cohort, an 18-month deep-dive learning cohort led by Tod Bolsinger and the Church Leadership Institute to help you navigate change in a disruptive world.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Books mentioned:The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World, by Alan Roxburgh and Fred RomanukBuilt to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by Jim CollinsOnline courses and cohorts:Leading Your Church Through ChangeAdaptive Church Leadership CohortEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
137. Ending Homelessness, with Kevin Nye, author of Grace Can Lead Us Home
Sep 13 2022
137. Ending Homelessness, with Kevin Nye, author of Grace Can Lead Us Home
Kevin Nye is the author of Grace Can Lead Us Home: A Christian Call to End Homelessness, and Housing Director of a non-profit youth center.  In this episode, Kevin helps us understand some of the misconceptions about homelessness—what’s really going on—and what we can do about it.  Specifically, he helps us understand why the first thing we should do is provide housing for those who need it, not because they’ve earned it, but as an act of grace.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Kevin Nye is the author of Grace Can Lead Us Home: A Christian Call to End Homelessness, and Housing Director a non-profit youth center.Having attended Fuller Seminary, Kevin Nye initially intended to be a pastor.Kevin Nye helps us understand some of the common misconceptions about homelessness.One common misconception about homelessness is that people who experience homelessness somehow deserve it.Kevin Nye invites us to respond to the challenge of homelessness with grace.  That is, we should not focus on what people deserve or earn in order to receive help when struggling with homelessness.Markus shares about an encounter he had with a homeless person that day and Kevin offers his response.Every challenging or uncomfortable encounter we have with a person experiencing homelessness is likely the result of some kind of systemic failure that has led or kept that person where they are.A person who experiences homelessness has fallen through every social safety net.Challenges like addiction and mental illness are much easier to address and manage when a person has housing.The housing first strategy costs less than the current system which tends to keep people where they are.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Kevin NyeWebsite – www.kevinmnye.comTwitter - @kevinmnye1Instagram - @kevinmnyeFacebook - mentioned:Grace Can Lead Us Home: A Christian Call to End Homelessness, by Kevin NyeEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
136. Healthy Attachment and Spiritual Leadership, with Todd Hall, author of The Connected Life
Aug 30 2022
136. Healthy Attachment and Spiritual Leadership, with Todd Hall, author of The Connected Life
Todd Hall is the author of The Connected Life and professor of Psychology at Biola University and faculty affiliate at the Harvard Human Flourishing Program.  In this episode we discuss a key component of healthy leadership: secure attachments.  Healthy leaders more likely grew up with safe and secure attachments (primarily with their parents or key caregivers) or have worked to develop safe and secure now in their adult years.  Todd Hall unpacks how to grow into a healthy leader by developing those safe and secure attachments.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDES:Todd Hall is the author of The Connected Life and professor of Psychology at Biola University and faculty affiliate at the Harvard Human Flourishing Program.According to Todd Hall, a “connected life” is a life in which we feel known and accepted by the important people in our lives.  And we don’t feel alone with our emotional pain.Having a secure attachment is characterized by:  comfort, challenge, and companionship.A life of healthy connectedness requires healthy connections in our childhood.When we don’t have strong connections, according to Todd Hall, we can develop unhealthy insecure attachments.Anxious attachment manifests as a feeling that people in my life won’t be there for me.Dismissing attachment manifests with shutting down their connections and sense of need for other people.Todd Hall shows how our relationships with our childhood attachment figures impact the way we relate to God.Todd Hall tells his own story of struggling with his relationships as a child and the healing he experienced as he grew up.Peer relationships can also affect our sense of attachment in our relationships.According to Todd Hall, the experience of suffering can lead to growth if it is processed well.We process our suffering well as we bring our suffering to God.The act of “lament” can be a way of bringing our suffering to God.Lament includes four elements:An address to God.A pouring out of our suffering to God.A request to God to alleviate our suffering.An expression of trust in God.When we suffer we also need to bring our experience with people who are safe.In order to lead well, pastors and church leaders need to address their own attachment needs and learn to be attuned to their own emotions.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Books mentioned:The Connected Life, by Todd HallRelational Spirituality, by Todd HallWebsite:www.connectedlifebook.comEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
135. Leading Your Church Through Political Division, with Allen Hilton, author of A House United
Aug 16 2022
135. Leading Your Church Through Political Division, with Allen Hilton, author of A House United
Allen Hilton is the author of A House United: How the Church Can Save the World and founder of the non-profit, A House United.  In this episode, we discuss the rise of political divisiveness that has invaded our churches.  And we address what we can do about it.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Allen Hilton is the author of A House United: How The Church Can Save the World. Allend Hilton has been a New Testament professor at Yale Divinty School, has served as a pastor for 15 years, and in 2016 started a non-profit called A House United.The problem that America is facing today is that we don’t “stay at the table.”According to Allen Hilton, the church bears responsibility for the polarization in America today.Allen Hilton shows how the church throughout history—even the early church—has been prone to polarization.In choosing the twelve disciples, Jesus chose people who were politically diametrically opposed to each other.Allen Hilton suggests that if we can get 70% of Christians to be willing to have conversations with people they disagree with, things will begin to change.They way we increase shalom is by getting good at being together across difference.People’s primary identity is their political affiliation.  If churches never address politics in our discourse, then we will fail to connect with what is most important to people.Allen Hilton explains Mission 4.0:Mission 1.0 is evangelism.Mission 2.0 is charity and service.Mission 3.0 is justice.Mission 4.0 is unity in the church and beyond the church.Allen Hilton does a daily devotional which you can sign up for HERE.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Allen Hilton:House United Movement websiteNewsletterE-mail: allen@houseunitedmovement.orgBooks mentioned:A House United, by Allen HiltonEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
134. How to Help Your City Thrive, with Amy Sherman, author of Agents of Flourishing
Aug 2 2022
134. How to Help Your City Thrive, with Amy Sherman, author of Agents of Flourishing
Amy Sherman is the author of Agents of Flourishing and a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute.  In this conversation, Amy is going to help us understand six “community endowments”—six arenas of life—that need to be strong in order for those communities to truly be flourishing communities.  And then Amy gives us some great starting points to help us discern how God may be calling us to contribute to and strengthen those endowments in our communities.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Amy Sherman is the author of Agents of Flourishing and a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute.Agents of Flourishing is a response to the need Amy Sherman sensed from pastors and ministry leaders—the need to know how to bring shalom into the world.Amy Sherman explains that shalom is a Hebraic concept referring to total wholeness.Jesus came into the world as an agent of flourishing.  Jesus brought shalom into the world and calls us to join him in the ongoing work of restoring shalom.Amy Sherman structured Agents of Flourishing around six “community endowments,” originally developed by the Thriving Cities Group.The six community endowments are:The TrueThe GoodThe BeautifulThe Just and Well-orderedThe SustainableThe ProsperousA city that is strong in only one or two these won’t be a truly thriving city.  Cities need all (or at least most) of these endowments to be strong.The goal of Agents of Flourising is to help pastors and churches take stock of their own gifts and passions and discern which of these endowments they might contribute to.Amy Sherman encourages churches to take stock of their assets.  This might include physical assets like buildings and classrooms, relational assets like partnerships with other churches or organizations, and financial assets.Amy Sherman also recommends assessing the strengths, gifts, and assets of the community outside the church.Too often churches rush to start a new program.  Sometimes it’s better to partner with an organization already doing good work.Made to Flourish, together with Amy Sherman, designed a helpful “Skill Mapping Survey.”You can find out more about Amy Sherman at the Sagamore Institute’s Center on Faith in Communities website.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Sagamore InstituteCenter on Faith in CommunitiesThriving Cities GroupMade to FlourishSkill Mapping SurveyBooks mentioned:Agents of Flourishing, by Amy ShermanKingdom Calling, by Amy ShermanThe Last Juror, by John GrishamBeautiful on the Mountain, by Jeannie LightRelated episodes:Engaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
133. Partners Not Projects, with Scott Sabin, Executive Director of Plant with Purpose
Jul 19 2022
133. Partners Not Projects, with Scott Sabin, Executive Director of Plant with Purpose
Scott Sabin is the Executive Director of Plant with Purpose, an organization that works with people in poverty all over the world to restore the land where they live so that they can become self-sustaining.  It’s an organization that recognizes that they are not the saviors of the poor, they are partners who work with the poor.In this episode, Scott shares about the work of Plant with Purpose.  Then, Scott and Markus draw connections between the way Plant with Purpose does its mission work and how  the healthiest churches do ministry in their neighborhoods.  And it all comes down to recognizing people as "partners, not projects."THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDES:Scott Sabin is the Executive Director of Plant With Purpose, author of Tending to Eden, and an elder at Mount Soledad Presbyterian Church.The mission of Plant with Purpose begins with the recognition that many of the world’s poorest people depend directly on the well-being of the land for their survival.Plant with Purpose works to alleviate poverty in three ways:Environmental restorationEconomic empowerment through Purpose Groups (savings groups)Spiritual renewal through a biblically based curriculumPlant with Purpose focuses its work around watersheds for a variety of practical reasons.Once Plant with Purpose identifies an area in which to work, they begin networking with local leaders.Asset-mapping is an important component of Plant with Purpose’s work.  What are the assets in a particular community?Plant with Purpose seeks to collaborate with other organizations in the area.It is critical to hear from all the different parts of a community (not just one or two groups).The staff that does the work locally are local to the region (or, at least, local to the country).  They are not outsiders.Plant with Purpose views the people the serve as “partners, not projects.”Scott and Markus reflect on how Plant with Purpose’s strategies and methods could be applied to local church ministry.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Plant with PurposeBooks mentioned:Tending to Eden, by Scott SabinWalking with the Poor, by Bryant MyersBeyond Thingification, by Markus WatsonRelated episodes:Episode 115: Poverty Alleviation and Spiritual Leadership, with Rob Gailey, author of Development in MissionEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
132. The Role of Nostalgia in Spiritual Leadership, with Mark Roberts and Tod Bolsinger
Jul 5 2022
132. The Role of Nostalgia in Spiritual Leadership, with Mark Roberts and Tod Bolsinger
Mark Roberts is the former Executive Director of Fuller Seminary’s DePree Center for Leadership.  Mark now leads the Third Third Initiative at the DePree Center.In this episode, Tod Bolsinger and Markus Watson discuss three clips from a recent webinar by Mark Roberts on the topic of nostalgia.  We learn about the difference between historical nostalgia and personal nostalgia.  We discuss the positive effects of nostalgia.  And then we reflect on how to lead people pastorally through the experience of nostalgia. THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Tod Bolsinger is the Executive Director of Fuller Seminary’s Church Leadership Institute and the author of Canoeing the Mountains and Tempered Resilience.Mark Roberts is the former Executive Director of Fuller Seminary’s DePree Center for Leadership.  Mark now leads the Third Third Initiative at the DePree Center.Mark Roberts and Tod Bolsinger have been friends for a long time.  The topic of this podcast episode came about as they were talking over dinner about the value of nostaligia.Mark Roberts, Clip 1:  The difference between historical nostalgia and personal nostalgia.Historical nostalgia has to do with thinking the past is better than the present.Many churches are in decline.  If they try to go back to the glory days, they decline even faster.Mark Roberts, Clip 2:  The Positive Effects of NostalgiaPersonal nostalgia is a bittersweet yearning for the past.Part of personal nostalgia is knowing you can’t go back; so it’s not trying to go back.Nostalgia shouldn’t make you go back to the past.  It should energize you to live more fully in the present.There is something lifegiving about nostalgia.Reframing the values of the past to be the healthiest expression of the future is what is lifegiving to a church.Churches have to help people grieve that we’re never going to go back to the past.Mark Roberts, Clip 3:  Two Pastoral Responses to NostalgiaWhen people feel nostalgic about their church, the pastor can 1) turn the nostalgia to gratitude or 2) acknowledge the bittersweetness of remembering the pastGratitude is critical in a healthy, mature organization.Gratitude reminds us that God was faithful in the past and will be faithful as we move into the future.Attunement accelerates change.Attunement is what happens when people empathize with each other and their brains start firing together.The Church Leadership Institute’s Adaptive Church Leadership Cohort is designed to help churches respond to nostalgia in a healthy way so that they can navigate and lead change in a healthy way as they move into the future.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Church Leadership InstituteAdaptive Church Leadership CohortDePree Center for LeadershipThird Third InitiativeBooks mentioned:Canoeing the Mountains, by Tod BolsingerTempered Resilience, Engaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
131.  Spiritual Leadership in the Digital Space, with Laura Murray
Jun 21 2022
131. Spiritual Leadership in the Digital Space, with Laura Murray
What is a digital silent retreat?  In this episode, Laura Murray, a pastor and spiritual director, will tell the story of how she began to use Zoom to lead digital silent retreats while people were quarantining due to Covid, as well as offer insight into how to lead your own digital silent retreats. THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDES:Laura Murray is a pastor, a spiritual director, and regularly hosts digital silent retreats.Laura started leading digital silent retreats as a response to the experience of isolation due to the Covid quarantine that began in March 2020.Laura Murray knew it was important for people to have solitude and silence, but also to have connection—to be able to talk about their experience and what they were feeling.Laura explains how the digital silent retreat is structured.Participants in the digital silent retreats are asked to prepare before they show up, such as putting it on your calendar and letting their families know they’ll be unavailable during that time.The digital silent retreats are limited to the host plus eight people.Participants tend to find courage from one another in their sharing in the digital space.Laura Murray reflects on whether it would be better if they met in person.Meeting by Zoom has some advantages over in-person.  For instance, it levels the group socio-economically.According to Laura Murray, hospitality is a cornerstone practice for the digital silent retreats.Two other key practices are generosity and spacious guidance.Hospitality creates safe space for people to open up.  Hospitality also has boundaries.Laura Murray helps us understand the connection between leadership and hospitality.We need to have a clear “why” when doing digital silent retreats.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Laura Murray:Website – www.laurabmurray.com/retreatsBooks mentioned:This Here Flesh, by Cole Arthur RileyChurch Leadership InstituteEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
130. Pursuing Your Purpose, with Nicholas Pearce, author of The Purpose Path
Jun 7 2022
130. Pursuing Your Purpose, with Nicholas Pearce, author of The Purpose Path
Nicholas Pearce is the author of The Purpose Path.  He is also Clinical Professor of Management & Organizations at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and Founder & CEO of The Vocati Group.In this episode, Nicholas Pearce discusses what success really is.  Spoiler alert—it has nothing to do with bigger, better, and more.  It has to do with faithfully following the purpose to which God has called us.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Nicholas Pearce is the author of The Purpose Path.  He is also Clinical Professor of Management & Organizations at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and Founder & CEO of The Vocati Group.Nicholas Pearce says that many of us learn to define success from an early age based on how those around us define success.The question, “What is success?” is best answered by faithfulness.According to Nicholas Pearce, success is best thought of as simple faithfulness one decision at a time.Many people climb the ladder of success, but feel like failures when they get to the top.Our definitions of success are like rudders that orient us in certain directions, impacting our sense of purpose.Nicholas Pearce makes the case that sometimes moments of purpose present themselves as distractions or disruptions.Nicholas Pearce shares how he has had to redefine success in his own life in order to more faithfully pursue his purpose.Sometimes we need to pivot when pursuing our purpose.God is not always going to do the miraculous.  Sometimes God just wants to see if you’ll put into practice what you know.Nicholas Pearce suggests that instead of praying for clarity, maybe we should be praying for courage, specifically vocational courage.Nicholas Pearce offers words of advice and encouragement for ministry leaders and pastors who are struggling to follow their purpose path.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Nicholas Pearce:Twitter - @napphdInstagram - @napphdWebsite – www.nicholaspearce.orgBooks mentioned:The Purpose Path: A Guide to Pursuing Your Authentic Life's Work, by Nicholas PearceBrighter by the Day: Waking Up to New Hopes and Dreams, by Robin RobertsChurch Leadership InstituteEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
129. Recalibrating the Church Around Jesus, with Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, authors of ReJesus
May 24 2022
129. Recalibrating the Church Around Jesus, with Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, authors of ReJesus
Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch are the authors of ReJesus: Remaking the Church in our Founder’s Image.In a world in which the church has in many ways lost, not only the image of Jesus, but also the centrality of Jesus, how do we once again become the church we were meant to be?  The church that the world needs us to be?In this episode, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch discuss how we can recalibrate the church with Jesus at the center.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch are the authors of ReJesus: Remaking the Church in our Founder’s Image.Michael Frost is the Director of the Tinsley Institute at Morling College and Alan Hirsch leads the Movement Leaders Collective.The last five years have shown that the church needs a recalibration around the person of Jesus.In some places the word “evangelical” has become a bad word.Alan Hirsch is surprised and disappointed at the direction the evangelical church has taken over the last 5-10 years.Michael Frost says the word “gospel” has been reduced to a particular atonement theory.  But when Jesus used the word, he was talking about the Kingdom of God.Much of the church’s unhealth has been unveiled in recent years.Alan Hirsch suggests that the gospel has been depersonalized into a doctrine.  We need to see the face of Jesus once again in the gospel.The church has recalibrated itself numerous times throughout history.Discipleship is crucial to being the church we’re called to be.Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch both answer the question:  What is the church’s mission?Many in our churches seem unable to recognize the voice of Jesus—even when read from the scriptures.Being the church we are called to be requires three things:  Orthodoxy – not just right beliefs, but truly taking the scriptures into our hearts and soulsOrthopathy – a right heart, right feelings, love and allegiance toward JesusOrthopraxy – right actionAlan Hirsch says we can’t go wrong if we become more like Jesus.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost:www.alanhirsch.orgmikefrost.netthemxplatform.commovementleaderscollective.comBooks mentioned:ReJesus, by Michael Frost and Alan HirschRelated episodes:Episode 12: God is a Woman in Labor, with Christiana Rice, author of To Alter Your WorldChurch Leadership InstituteEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
128. Letting Go of the Solo-Heroic Leader in You, with Bryan Sims, author of Leading Together
May 10 2022
128. Letting Go of the Solo-Heroic Leader in You, with Bryan Sims, author of Leading Together
Bryan Sims is the author of Leading Together: The Holy Possibility of Harmony and Synergy in the Face of Change.  He is also a coach with Spiritual Leadership Inc. and a professor at Asbury Theological Serminary.In this episode, Bryan Sims discusses the importance of shared leadership.  As we lead through these challenging times, leaders need to be able to bring people together—to draw on all our gifts and talents and knowledge.  We are called to lead healthy teams of people in order to fully participate in God’s mission in the world.  We cannot do it alone.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Bryan Sims is the author of Leading Together: The Holy Possibility of Harmony and Synergy in the Face of Change and is a coach with Spiritual Leadership Inc. and a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary.Bryan Sims explains that healthy leadership requires working together and harmony among those that are working together, especially as we are living in times of disequilibrium.Disequilibrium creates a space of high possibility.Bryan Sims explains what he means by “technical challenges” and “adaptive challenges.”Covid has been a time of intense adaptive challenge.Overcoming adaptive challenges requires shared leadership.Shared leadership can involve staff, church members, and even people outside the church or organization.Kenosis is the Greek word that captures the self-emptying nature of Jesus.  Healthy church leadership, according to Bryan Sims, also kenotic in nature.  Controlling and manipulating is the opposite of kenosis.Bryan Sims demonstrates the early church exhibited kenotic shared leadership because they learned that kind of leadership from Jesus.Adaptive shared leadership is actually quite pastoral.Bryan Sims, in his work, asks a really important question:  How do we discern what God is doing and how do we join God in that?Bryan Sims suggests that every leader needs a coach, a spiritual director, and a counselor.For leaders wanting to engage in shared leadership, Bryan Sims suggests finding a person with whom they can process their leadership challenges.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Bryan Sims:Website – www.bryandsims.comChurch Leadership Inc.:Website - www.spiritual-leadership.orgBooks mentioned:Leading Together, by Bryan SimsSurfing the Edge of Chaos, by Richard Pascale, Mark Milleman, and Linda GiojaCanoeing the Mountains, by Tod BolsingerEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
127. From Sunday-centric to Mission-centric, with Jon Ritner, author of Positively Irritating
Apr 26 2022
127. From Sunday-centric to Mission-centric, with Jon Ritner, author of Positively Irritating
Jon Ritner is the author of Positively Irritating: Embracing a Post-Christian World to Form a More Faithful and Innovative Church.  In this episode, we discuss what it means to be the church in a post-Christendom world.  How can the church be the kind of church that a Post-Christendom world actually needs—and the kind of church that God is calling the church to be?THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Jon Ritner is the author of Positively Irritating: Embracing a Post-Christian World to Form a More Faithful and Innovative Church and has served as lead at Ecclesia Hollywood for the last seven.After serving as an executive pastor of a megachurch, Jon Ritner eventually made his way to a microchurch network in Brussels, Belgium.  Later, Jon Ritner and his wife moved to Hollywood to help churches adapt and innovate in an increasingly post-Christendom world.The early church existed in a pluralistic pre-Christian culture.Jon Ritner uses the metaphor of an oyster to help us understand that challenges, when approached with a posture of learning and embrace, can lead to beauty.Thanks to Covid, we have just spent the last two years in a liminal space.The mission of God is not just the conversion of every individual soul.  It’s the redemption and restoration of all of creation.Jon Ritner argues that ministry should happen throughout the week in all the places where God’s people are.  Then they can come together to celebrate on Sundays.For many people today, going to church is almost a cross-cultural experience.Jon Ritner explains that many churches unconsciously create an insider-outsider divide when they announce that if someone wants to find belonging they have to come to the church.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Jon Ritner:E-mail: jonritner@gmail.comWebsite:  www.jonritner.comBooks mentioned:Missional Church, edited by Darrell GuderPositively Irritating, by Jon RitnerThe Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert E. ColemanChurch Leadership InstituteRelated Episodes:Ep 2: What is the Mission of God?, with Markus WatsonEp 12: God is a Woman in Labor, with Christiana RiceEp 24: Joining God’s Mission Through Neighborhood Exegesis, with Marcos MujicaEp 43: Introduction to “Beyond Thingification: Helping Your Church Engage in God’s Mission”Ep 67: How the Church Lost its Missionary IdentityEp 99: A Church That Shines, with Tara BEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
126. A Crisis of Adult Discipleship, with Brian Wallace, Executive Director of the Center for Spiritual Formation
Apr 12 2022
126. A Crisis of Adult Discipleship, with Brian Wallace, Executive Director of the Center for Spiritual Formation
The church is experiencing what Brian Wallace calls a crisis of adult discipleship.  We have plenty of people going to church.  But that doesn’t necessarily translate into faithful, deep discipleship.In this episode Brian Wallace discusses how to address that challenge.  Brian is the Executive Director of Fuller Seminary’s Center for Spiritual Formation, and he helps us understand the critical components necessary for deep spiritual formation.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Brian Wallace is the Executive Director of the Fuller Center for Spiritual Formation.As a pastor in a megachurch, Brian Wallace knew there was a crisis of adult discipleship.The vision of the Center for Spiritual Formation is to empower leaders everywhere to grow and send everyone.In Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard says we are always being formed.Spiritual formation is the determination to let Jesus be in charge of who we become.Brian Wallace says we are the representation of God’s goodness in the world.The reason we have a crisis of formation is because, according to Brian Wallace, we have placed information at the center of the formative process.No one has ever been invited to follow Jesus by themselves.We are formed spiritually when we are in a safe place—not safe from challenge and conviction, but safe from shame and guilt.According to Brian Wallace, relationships are critically important in our journey to becoming more like Jesus.How do we help our congregations be engage in deep spiritual formation when most of our church members only attend church once or twice a month?Fuller Formation Groups (part of the Center for Spiritual Formation) are designed to help churches lead their congregations into deep spiritual formation.The calculus of transformation is an informed practice in a reflective community over time.Brian Wallace says spiritual formation requires time.  Not many hours in a week, but many weeks over time.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Books mentioned:In the Name of Jesus, by Henri NouwenThe Message of the Sermon on the Mount, by John StottThe Collective Works of C.S. LewisRenovation of the Heart, by Dallas WillardBrian Wallace:E-mail: spiritualformation@fuller.eduRelated episodes:Ep 44: Spiritual Formation and Lectio Divina, with Eric NevinsEp 112: The Beatitudes and Spiritual Leadership, with Mark ScandretteEp 119: Being Leaders of Grace in a Divided World, with Kirsten PowersEp 122: Burned Out and Broken, with MiEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
125. Fruitful Leadership, with Tom Nelson, author of The Flourishing Pastor
Mar 29 2022
125. Fruitful Leadership, with Tom Nelson, author of The Flourishing Pastor
Tom Nelson is author of The Flourishing Pastor, as well as the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Kansas City and the president of Made to Flourish.In this episode, Tom Nelson unpacks what it means to be a flourishing pastor--a pastor who lives and leads from a deep well of inner health and wholeness.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Tom Nelson is author of The Flourishing Pastor.  He is also the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Kansas City and the president of Made to Flourish.The Flourishing Pastor is based on Psalm 78:72:  “So David shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart and guided them with his skillful hands.”“A flourishing pastor is increasingly like Jesus as he or she is yoked in apprenticeship with him over a long time.”When we prioritize greater intimacy with God, our leadership will grow in fruitfulness.What we are doing and what we are accomplishing matters, but for a flourishing pastor it’s secondary.“To lead well we must be led well.”Leadership and followership go hand in hand.Failure often is our greatest teacher.Tom Nelson explains what he means by “an integral life,” which refers to a kind of seamlessness in life.  When we are in Christ, we experience life as fully unified and integral.  That’s what it means to be a flourishing pastor.We are moving toward a greater wholeness.A “black swan” experience, as Tom Nelson describes, is a completely unexpected experience.  It’s something you’ve never seen before (something like a global pandemic).There are four things a flourishing pastor can do when confronted with a “black swan” experience:Lean into wisdomRemain relationalBuild enduranceStay in missionRELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Books mentioned:The Flourishing Pastor, by Tom NelsonMade to Flourish:www.madetoflourish.orgChurch Leadership Institute:Website – www.depree.org/churchAnvil Leadership Support NetworkRelated episodes:Ep 36: The Vulnerable Pastor, with Mandy SmithEp 53: Growing Hearts, Not Attendance, with Mike McClenahanEp 113: Flourishing Leadership, with Andy CrouchEp 116: Power, Vulnerability, Rest, with Tod BolsingerEp 120: Forming Leadership Resilience, with Tod BolsingerEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course
124. Racial Justice, Sexual Wholeness, and the Way of Jesus, with Rich Villodas, author of The Deeply Formed Life
Mar 15 2022
124. Racial Justice, Sexual Wholeness, and the Way of Jesus, with Rich Villodas, author of The Deeply Formed Life
Rich Villodas is the lead pastor at New Life Fellowship and the author of The Deeply Formed Life, in which he explores five values that help us live in union with Jesus.In this interview, Rich and I focus on two of those five values:  racial justice and reconciliation and sexual wholeness.  These are not values typically associated with spiritual formation, but they are incredibly important nonetheless to being formed in the way of Jesus.THIS EPISODE'S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:Rich Villodas is the lead pastor at New Life Fellowship in Queens, NY, and the author of The Deeply formed Life:  Five Transformative Values that Root us in the Way of Jesus.Rich shares the story of how he came to faith in Jesus and was called to be a pastor.The five values discussed in The Deeply Formed Life flow from the values of the church Rich Villodas pastors.These five values are:Contemplative rhythmsRacial justice and reconciliationInterior examinationSexual wholenessMissional presenceSpiritual formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus for the sake of others.Rich Villodas explains why we need to think about racial justice formationally.Despite our many ethnicities, races, socio-economic backgrounds, and so forth, what unites all of us is that we have all been socialized in a racialized society.Rich Villodas unpacks what it means to be formed into sexual wholeness.Contemplative rhythms is about ordering our lives with God in such a way that we are living from a place of Communion, prayer, reflection.Rich Villodas explains why contemplative rhythms are so important for healthy spiritual leadership.RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:Rich Villodaswww.richvillodas.comInstagram - @richvillodasTwitter - @richvillodasBooks mentioned:The Deeply Formed Life, by Rich VillodasGood and Beautiful and Kind, by Rich VillodasRelated episodes:Ep 123: Gentrification and Spiritual Leadership, with Mark StrongEp 112: The Beatitudes and Spiritual LeadershipEp 111: A Gospel for the Sinned-Against, with Phuc LuuEp 87: Racism and the Trials of Hercules, with Dr. Jerome ButlerEp 42: Speaking Out Against Injustice, with Kathy KhangEp 27: Developing a FrameworEngaging God's Mission online course (with special Christmas offer)Growing Where God is Working online course