Leadership Q&A

Good morning!

What are some key components in helping lay leadership understand the mandate for moving from keeping the institution alive to actually engaging in mission?

What are some ways to break down old habits of controlling ministry to unleashing passions?

That’ll get me started.



Dear John:

Great questions. Things tend toward entropy, and that is to keep an institution alive. We find that in Jesus’ day when in Mark 3:1-5, the religious leaders were much more concerned with keeping the institution of the Sabbath rather than having compassion on a man with a withered hand.

We can do the same.

The remedy? We as leaders must constantly point to what our main objective is: “Equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry in such a way that we reach the lost for Christ.” The pastor’s teaching ministry is absolutely foundational as we help change mindsets by the Word of God. Never underestimate the power of God’s Word in correcting vision and recalibrating hearts toward that which is most eternal.

I have to do this all the time… reminding our saints that nearly everything is a means, not an end in itself. Whether it is the weekend services or our building and programs, they are not the end. They are the means for something far more eternal… reaching people for Christ who will open their hearts to the Savior, even discipling people and equipping. The goal is not to have them “equipped.” It is that they USE what they’ve been equipped to do and do it.

This is where good coaching comes in.

Your second question is a common malady in the body Of Christ… Controlling ministry.

The Lord said to me that I should not hire those who do it well, but rather hire those who can FACILITATE other who do it well.

We put team builders into places of leadership. We teach on it and celebrate it often. We applaud servants, but we don’t applaud “celebrities.” We build a culture in which controllers don’t thrive. They don’t even survive.

In my book “Culture Shift” I talk about this and how to build a culture in which teams thrive the best. This may help you.

God bless you John! Keep your eyes on the mission and don’t relent!

I’m with you!


Hi Wayne and others. Wayne thanks so much for your Doing Church as a Team. It has been such a source of help and encouragement for me.

I’m very convinced that team-based, lay-led ministry is the way to go. I’m discovering more and more discouraged and burned out pastors who just don’t seem to have the strength or sometimes vision to move the church forward. They and their churches are stuck in maintenance mode.

I’ve been coaching pastors for years now and I’ve seen many recapture their vision and energy but I can’t reach some. Any suggestions?

I’m working on a series of articles now and an online forum on “Re-Careering Clergy”. I’m beginning to believe that God may be moving some clergy into ministry in the world.

How could the team philosophy be used by clergy in this emerging ministry and mission field?


Dear Eddie:
Thank you for your question. I agree that there comes times when present clergy need to pass the baton and move to a different positioning of their calling. Not a different calling, just a different positioning. Then with new vision and opportunities, they can strike up the band again.

As far as a team approach in the marketplace ministry, there will need to be a distinction made between evangelism and discipleship.

At first, there will need to be evangelism. This is a one-on-one type of ministry. You can’t hand this one off too soon. There needs to be contacting, bridge building time, and leading people to Christ.

But there can also be team building when other Christians are ready to jump into a common cause and work together on an aligned vision. When that happens, you can form a fractal team and the ministry then can be highly accelerated and it becomes much more natural and joyful.

God bless you Eddie! Keep up the great work for the Kingdom. We need people like you in the Church!


Thank you Wayne, for being here. Thank you, Eddie, for raising this issue.

I am co-pastor (with my spouse) of a traditional UMC congregation that worships 225-250/week in 3 services. We have been deployed as two full-time generalists to turn around a declining church (talk about contradictions!)We were appointed with a deficit budget, yet even in the midst of some real growth (increase worship attendance by 25% and almost 100 new folks in membership) we are losing ground financially and cannot sustain our present staffing model. Just yesterday, our church council affirmed our recommendation to downsize to one senior pastor–so we will be leaving at the end of June.

The good news is that several of our leaders stood up and passionately talked about how the congregation has to own their ministry and stop expecting the pastors to do everything. “We must stop burning out our pastors and start doing ministry ourselves!” We were both surprised at the level of passion in their voices. So I see great potential in planting seeds of lay-empowered, team-based ministry here.

I have identified three leaders who I will mentor closely to do the ministry they are called to lead.

Any suggestions on leveraging points to transform the culture of this congregation under these circumstances?

Andrew Bear


Dear Andrew:

You are a warrior, and how I thank God for leaders such as yourself. Others would have given up, but you are faithful till the end. Thank you.

The best thing to do, since you have till June, is first to make very sure that the LORD is giving you the release to go. (I will come back to this later).

If so, then you must be about developing a culture where the saints take ownership of the ministry just as was said. That is what Ephesians 4 is all about. You can at least set the tarmac for the next pastor who will come behind you.

But this is what I would do:

1. Take a week (3-5 days) and retreat before the Lord to seek His face and will.

2. Put together the most compelling, God honoring vision you can that is attainable in the next year to two.

3. Share it individually with your highest and most influential leaders to get their buy in and input.

4. Share it with all your volunteer leaders to get their input, making sure that those you shared with individually are included again.

5. Break the vision into four stages for the next two years and start on the first one.

6. Throw your heart over the line, but be sure to work through the other leaders who were the influencers. Here’s the thing, don’t do anything yourself. 70% of what you do, do THROUGH another person. You can applaud, coach, encourage, celebrate, instruct, exhort, but you CANNOT DO.

Now … the reason I asked if the Lord is giving you the release is this: if this vision catches, the giving will increase. People always give to VISION. The money is there. It is just not being released. People will however, release funds when they feel part of a compelling future.

Now if the money comes in, would you stay?

The answer to that should be, “If the Lord has me to stay, I will stay. It’s has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with obedience. I can get a part time job, raise my own support, or I will sell lemonade on the corner, but I will stay.

On the other hand, if the Lord has told you to go, then a million dollars cannot make you stay.

Our calling is determined by obedience, not mammon.

So… has the Lord told you to go? Be sure on that one first. If so, then do what you can to set the vision in place and people’s involvement in motion for the next one who will come behind you.

And when you do, even though you may not be a part of this after June, the one who will come behind you will have found you…

Faithful, indeed!

You are loved my friend!


Dear Wayne,

Thanks for all you do to coach and mentor so many of us whom you have never met. Wow.

I am trying to get my “last 5%” nailed down. I am the lead pastor of a church where 750 to 800 Christians are worshiping Jesus each weekend. We have a lot of work to do to grow beyond being an attractional church to one where a boatload of on-fire disciples are incarnating Jesus all over the place, 24/7.

Here’s where I am stuck: I am visioning and catalyzing people into mission, and they are responding. It’s like the gate has been unlocked and people are leading and serving – 19 people in Ocean Springs, MS over Thanksgiving as part of an ongoing relief and rebuilding effort…a man who is leading a 40 Days of Purpose ministry to prisoners in the place where he himself was once incarcerated…and so on. As this mushrooms, I am not getting to these servant leaders fast enough to mentor them and help them grow spiritually. I need to form a team of mentors and spiritual coaches – and fast. Do you have any guidance for me?


Bruce Cole


Dear Bruce:

You are a great leader! To hear what God is doing there is so encouraging and makes me want to serve the king even more!!

When momentum catches and the vision starts to ignite, often training cannot keep up with growth. You just can’t train fast enough to keep pace with what is happening.

So… what do we do?

On one hand, we can step back and let the forest go ablaze and see what is left after the burnout.

Or we try to keep pace, but in doing so, we burn out the pastor and his family, and his wife is wondering when it was that she missed the boat.

So this is what I found out. I needed to train our leaders to develop a “self feeding” program. This is probably the most important thing we have ever done for our leaders and church.

Some years ago, I realized that what kept me from vaporizing in ministry and what kept my marriage from disintegrating were my daily devotions.

I have kept a disciplined time daily not only reading the Word but journaling what God was saying.

Many pastors asked if I would share this with others, so I developed the “LIFE JOURNAL.” This simple method teaches people how to develop a self-feeding program.

When people ask for the “key” to New Hope’s fruitfulness (as we all are looking for that golden “key”) I tell them about the LIFE JOURNAL. It is by far, the greatest thing we have done for our leaders.

You see, I don’t want leaders to become like me. I don’t want any clones. But I do want them to tap into the same source that I tap into.

So now we have our leaders doing daily devotions, and it is what keeps them growing as the ministry grows. And anything I do is just icing on the cake.

If you will email me, I will be happy to send to you a devotional starter kit with my compliments. It will include a DVD and a sample journal to get you started. Or you can check our website at

Start here and you will be miles ahead.

Thank you for all you do Bruce!!


Dear Wayne,

Thanks for your response and for your kind offer. God is good — earlier today I was led to order a LIFE journal from your e-store. Also, earlier today, before I received an e-mail from EBA reminding me that your seminar was starting, I felt led to grab my worn-out copy of “Doing Church as a Team” and bring it with me to our leadership meeting. So, you have been coaching me all day — and we haven’t even met. Thanks again — I’m grateful for this opportunity to learn from you so directly this week.



I just want to affirm this LIFE inspiring, self-feeding concept. Since I have been using your LIFE journal, my devotional life has mushroomed into real encounters with Jesus everyday! Two years ago, I brought my leadership team into journaling with me, and we meet every Monday night. Those 10 have really grown, and are dynamic leaders in many different ministries. But now I have many more emerging leaders, some of whom are already leading LIFE groups (not journaling groups) on Monday nights, so I’m trying to figure out how to empower them to self-feed, yet get the community that comes from sharing together.
Do you do your devotionals alone every day? Do you share with your leaders? How often? Where?

I am most interested to discover how you utilize this tool beyond just your own growth, into the growth of others!

Candace Lansberry
Song of Life UMC


Dear Candace:

Thank you for your encouraging note, and how glad I am that you are journaling!

It used to be when someone would say, “Wayne, could you mentor me?” I would reply, “I’d love to, but I don’t have the time!”

But now, I simply say, “I would love to! Just join me at 6:30 each morning at (and I give the locations where I will be… usually a Starbucks somewhere in town. I am a coffee addict:)

But when you come, bring these things with you!

1. A Bible.
2. A Pen
3. A Life Journal

We do a 20/20/20 plan. We read our designated passages for 20 minutes. Then we journal for 20 minutes using the S.O.A.P. acrostic, (see the Life Journal for more information @ www.enewhope.org) and then we read what we got for the next 20 minutes.

Here is where I will weigh in on people’s sharing with leadership insights and lessons.

The wonderful thing about this is that I am not the teacher. The Holy Spirit is, and I am able to share my growth lessons along the way. And as I do, they too are learning to mine gems from the Bible on their own.

By the way, on Wednesday mornings, you can watch a live streaming video of me doing devotions with our school of Church Planters on our website. We start at 6 AM Hawaii time, so factor in the time change. After 40 minutes, we start sharing (around 6:40 AM Hawaii time.)

God bless you Candace as you continue to, like Mary in Luke 10, sit as His feet and listen to His Word!



When a church is looking to reproduce sites and reproduce through church planting – what are the top 3-5 “must do” for creating a future culture that will attract high caliber leaders for site pastors and church planters?




Aloha Dave!

Great hearing from you. You are one of the top emerging leaders in the 21st Century Church! Thank you for using your leadership skills for the King!

Great and relevant question.

Top “musts” when creating a future culture that will attract a high caliber of leader will be:


Like attracts like. But one of the more important factors is not just the competency factor, but the “authenticity” factor. That is, the leaders need to be real, and human. I know that sounds dumb, but true leaders can see through any veneer pretty quickly and they are not attracted to competency alone. Authentic character plays a huge part. Are the current leaders “people-persons?” Is there fruit in their marriages? Are they just drivers using people to achieve their goals?


They need to be committed in releasing the dreams of young leaders. Not all emerging leaders will end up in your church, and not all will end up what they thought they’d be in the beginning. Sometimes what was to be the training of a lead pastor will find him to be a marketplace minister after a few years. We have to be committed to seeing them fulfilled in their calling even though it may not include our plans for them.


Often, Christians aren’t that honest. We can say one thing but not mean it. We marginalize those we don’t agree with, and we use religious words to endorse what we want to do. I find that young leaders of high caliber appreciate a gracious honesty in all we do, and one that is biblical in action as well as in spirit. Most young leaders are attracted to that kind of atmosphere.


On another note, we have seven sites now that go live except for the message, which comes by video. The first year, we have them download nearly 100% video. The second is 60% video, and 40% the lead pastor teaches. The Next year, they do 60% of the teaching live. After the third year, we cut them off as their own self-standing church. They can still use video up to 40% but we encourage them to do less.

We make a transition with two sites next month after three years. One is 500 and the other is 1900. We stay in close relationship with each of them, but like a baby, we cut the umbilical cord to allow them to breathe on their own, but the relationship is not cut. It actually gets stronger.

God bless you Dave. It is a joy serving the Master with you!
Relationship with each of them, but like a baby, we cut the umbilical cord to allow them to breathe on their own, but the relationship is not cut. It actually gets stronger.

God bless you Dave. It is a joy serving the Master with you!



In a couple of places now you’ve mentioned that in building a leadership team, you are interested in more than competency. It comes close to “character” but that’s my word. You actually said “authenticity” & “real & human” “facilitate getting ministry done.”

When you talk to people about that distinction & teach on it, Scripturally, where do you work from? I’m looking into the new year and laying the groundwork for turning the energized loose from the non-energized & want to lay the best Biblical foundation I can.



Dear John:

Thank you for your insightful question. And I hope that your laying the groundwork for the New Year will be fruitful!

Character is one word, but it is more than just being a nice guy. It is more what the Bible calls “integrity of heart.” That is an inward honesty and teachability before God and His Spirit.

Psalms 78:71-72 would be a good Scripture for you.

“From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him to shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands. ”

There it is. A heart of integrity and hands of skill. Competence and character (with integrity). We really look for both, but if I lean to any, it will be toward the heart of the leader. I can teach skill and they will develop competence, but if there stuff in their hearts that make them unteachable in certain areas, we will forever be locking horns.

God bless you.



Pastor Wayne,

For some time I have very much enjoyed reading the sermons on your church’s website. To me they are a “new” kind of sermon, about helping people grow in Christ, even when life is tough. My experience is that church members are hungry for that message and find it very meaningful. Thank you!

My question is, how do you reinforce and reward those leaders who are authentic and growing? How do you entice others, who might need some growing, to say, “I want to be like that,” “I want to grow, too?”


Dear Maureen:

Thank you for your kind note.

There will always be leaders that fall into both categories… those that are growing and are authentic and those who are career oriented, albeit religious, but whose drive is more determined by goals than by obedience and a genuine love for the lost.

So … you have to work with both. One you encourage and celebrate, the other you graciously correct, and both you disciple.

Rewards come privately more than publicly. A genuine word of thanks and appreciation goes a very long way… especially when it is done in private. Sometimes public rewarding, IF NOT combined with genuine private appreciation, can start to look contrived. So it is not an “either / or” but a “both / and.”

But we do applaud our staff in our staff meetings often. We do so appreciate all their efforts and time spent when no one sees.

Then there are those that need to grow in the areas of authenticity, these we teach and train. I do that often. In a few minutes I go in and do our staff meeting, and I will always do a teaching on some aspect of the heart, a godly work ethic, how to develop people skills, how to prune your life and ministry for fruitfulness, how to hurt without being hurt, how to lead and serve at the same time, how to fulfill the 5% of your ministry that only you can do rather than getting too involved in the 95% that anyone can do.

Lots of teaching and training. Often God does not bring to you veterans. (He doesn’t to me, anyway!) Often I feel like David in 1 Sam. 22:2 where it says, “Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them.” This sounds like our staff! ๐Ÿ™‚

But David took these malcontents and debtors and forged them into one of the most elite fighting forces the world had ever known.

Leadership. Shepherding. Modeling. Training. Serving. Personally growing. That is what will accomplish and answer your question.

You are loved!


Croeso Wayne! Greeting from Wales, UK.
I have just recently started a regional mission development role. I want to model a pattern of changing the underlying culture of the churches rather than end up adding mission onto the existing programs. (Which is frankly, what people assume I am here for!)

Tomorrow (wed) I meet with the leadership of a church to discuss working with them intensively on this culture shift. Your book offers guidance to the pastors of a church in this, how does this adapt to those in a consultantative role? What are your recommendations for coaching the leadership and communicate what is hard for them to grasp?



Dear Helen:

Thank you for your question all the way from Wales! I wish I were there on Wednesday to help you with the consultation. This is so important as we help pastors and leaders’ minds embrace not only the concept but the “how to’s” of culture shift!

But since I cannot, know that I will be praying for you that the Lord give you a special deposit of wisdom and insight!

By the way, we had a bag piper in service this weekend that played Christmas music. He was from Dublin. What a great experience! I think I will need to get me one of those kilts! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not really…

Anyway, back to the forum.

The first thing to do is to appreciate what has gone on before you. The forefathers who laid the foundations of that church gave much of their lives to bring it to where it is today. Hallelujah for that! And now we get to be faithful to build on that foundation, a fruitful and effective ministry that will honor the Lord and honor those who have gone before us.

So start with what you think their ultimate goals will be in the end. What will God hold them accountable for as leaders on that Day? Will it be to have a nice building, great social times, or a beautiful fountain in front?

Have them discuss and then write down what God will hold them accountable for on that Day. List them, and usually it will have in some kind of combination things like: Evangelism, equipping leaders, helping the hurting, reaching the community, etc.

Then I usually ask them how serious do they want to be about this? If they really are, then we need to develop, not a program, but a culture where these things naturally thrive and are reproduced in people. Those who come need to be caught up in this atmosphere of values without it being regimented or laid out in a policy manual. It needs to be being lived out and exampled by all the leaders.

I give context to why culture is so critical to a living organism. It will thrive or die based on the culture it is in. And every church has a culture. It may not be the one you want, but you have a culture. So now find out what your culture is, what you want it to be, and being to slowly shift through the lives and examples of leaders.

Well, I can go on and on, but let me encourage you to read and reread the book, “Culture Shift” by a fine author ๐Ÿ™‚ and his friend, Robert Lewis.

You can email me and I will help as much as I can… or better yet, I may just have to come to Wales and help in person!! (In the spring or summer, of course:)


Thanks for this. This particular church is still at a point of strength in terms of numbers (over 100) and talents, they have a lot going on but no clear direction or focus – just a whirlwind of vaguely positive activity. If the leadership meeting goes well we will prepare for me to come alongside them for an extended period of support and coaching for culture change and establishing DNA. As I am a new person in a newly created job coming in with new ideas other places will look at how things progress here as a model for whether they open the door for me to share with them. Thus it has a regional significance as well as that specific church.



Hello Wayne,
Thank you for mentoring us. Like others, I have already learned a lot from the fruit of your ministry.

My wife and I co-pastor 2 United Methodist churches in a rural northwest Ohio small town.

The two congregations are now much more united in their ministries than they used to be. We’re also nudging them toward a possible merger.

Mainly we’re nudging them to shift from church as a spectator sport with minimal participation to church as the body of Christ making, nurturing, and sending disciples as we impact the community and world.

Some of our struggles are:
Getting the people to see themselves as not just leaders in the community who go to church, but to see themselves as disciples who also lead in the community.

Moving from passive listeners and doers to being active disciples.
Seeing the great commission as part of their identity, not just something Jesus did that they don’t really have to do outside the comfort of their families who don’t resist them.

I continue to test the journaling waters with different people, hoping to catch a few.

I haven’t bought Culture Shift yet, but will be doing so in the near future. Everything I’ve read about it sound really good.

Any tips, comments, etc. on what I’ve said so far?
Thank you


Dear Greg:

You are a one in a million… those who are given oversight over multiple congregations and can actually accomplish that! That is wonderful and how I thank God for leaders like you and your wife!

Actually what you are doing is exactly right one. It simply needs, as one author said, a “Long obedience in the same direction.”

For example, teaching people to develop a self feeding program with the LIFE JOURNAL is probably the most crucial aspect of what we are doing. In fact right now as I type this, our staff are downstairs doing devotions together. I will join them soon. It is a part of our culture. It is not a program, nor is it an option. It is our very DNA.

The other is getting them to realize that we are all full time ministers. Not part time. Before we are business people, we are ministers, Ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace. Before we are a teacher or a police officer, we are full time ministers. That is our eternal identity. The rest of our roles are part time. In “Doing Church As A Team” you can read how to further that concept.

You are running the right race Greg. Just keep running and check you pace and that of those you are leading. Don’t run too fast but neither sit on the side with those who refuse to run.

There are many depending on your persistence, commitment to what is right, and your consistency regardless of the speed bumps. Thank you for loving God’s people like you do!

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).



I love you man…I have a couple on staff at Skyline in San Diego who have sat under you, Paul Rischer stayed with you for a week, and Jim Garlow, our senior pastor, went there a year ago and we all were encouraged to start Journaling and continue on to this day. It has changed us as a staff.

I am 36…came to the Lord late…mid twenties…and have a heart to see God work in peoples lives and watch that work come out in their own lives. I have never planted but have had a dream for several years to do so.

What are the top 1-5 things we need to always do to stay connected to God and faithful to the call…

I just want to be fruitful in what God called me to do…

Praying for you now
Phillip Longmire


Dear Phil:

What a great joy to hear great names such as Paul
Rischer and Jim Garlow. Two giants in the Kingdom. Give them my love.

Staying connected to Christ is pivotal to every discussion, every endeavor, every attempt at ministry. For without Him, we “can do nothing.”

1. The first principle, you already mentioned. That is your daily devotions. In Luke 10, Mary is at the Lord’s feet, listening to His Word. Martha is scurrying around doing ministry. Jesus addresses her, and He addresses us as well. Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only a few are necessary, really only one. And Mary has chosen the good part which will never be taken away from her.” Sitting at His feet daily is a non negotiable.

2. The second in staying connected to Christ is staying connected to your wife. They say that often the darkest part of any lighthouse is at its base. Love your wife. Be sure that your relationship with her is healthy and genuine and that you are best of friends. Maintain that and invest in that. It will pay the highest dividends.

3. Don’t violate the Sabbath. Take time to let your soul catch up. We often run with a weary soul, and when that happens, we are on the verge of collapse. And we often collapse on the inside far sooner than we do on the outside. Be wise. Often the road to success and the road to a nervous breakdown are the same.

God bless you Phil. I will pray with you that the Lord open the right doors at the right time to fulfill the dreams He’s put in your heart!


Great stuff. Most pastors and staff I know, as well as many lay leaders, struggle with managing the present while birthing the future. The tyranny of the urgent seems to sabotage the birthing of the future for many churches. What helps you keep things in perspective in your ministry?

What will help us build a healthy balance into our churches, staffs and ourselves?



Dear Eddie:

Your question has plagued leaders since the beginning of time! I don’t know if I can solve it now, but let me take a few hacks at it.

I have seen many an occasion where one who began as a leader ends up as a manager. We need both, but there is a big difference between the two.

A manager solves the problems of today while a leader solves the problems of tomorrow.

What I have had to do is encourage our managers because they are crucial to leaders staying in their anointing and role. If you have bad managers, the leader ends up working for them.

So, choose your managers wisely and encourage them often. Train them well. Supervise them and give them accurate directives and parameters.

Then remember this: 80% of what you do, anyone can do. 15% trained managers can do. But there is 5% that only you can do, and that 5% is what will determine the course of your church’s future. Correct back to your 5%… vision catching and vision casting. Finances and staffing, recruiting emerging leaders, and establishing the tenor of the ministry. What I mean by this is the culture you have. The leader to a large degree, sets that.

identify your 5%, and prune back to that often. I call that “reinventing yourself” back to your calling as a shepherd/leader. My “management team” helps me to stay true to that.

Well, I hope that helps! God bless you in all you do!


I couldn’t agree more about enlisting leaders who have a ‘teachable heart’.

When potential leaders are closed, combative or unwilling to talke risks I find that you end up exerting energy ‘trying to convince’ rather than disciple a new leader.

What are the characteristics you look for in leaders who exhibit a ‘teachable heart’?

One of the most crushing experiences I’ve ever had developing new leaders is when I selected the wrong persons, invested deeply and didn’t pay attention to several signals. I’ve learned to ‘believe the first time what people are telling me about themselves.’



Dear Wayne,

Thanks for leading us this week. Through you, God filled in some missing pieces of the puzzle for me. Incredible!

From your comments during your devotions with the SCP yesterday, it sounded like a pretty busy day for you. In terms of how you prioritize and schedule for a given week, is it possible for you to give us a glimpse?

I ask because another growing edge for me is to put a stick in the spokes and stop the very fast-paced wheel from turning. I’m still looking for a model of leader’s week that works well for me and doesn’t leave me feeling as tired and burned out as I have been feeling lately.

As background, I began my new work as lead pastor of Joy! Church in suburban Chicago back in April. It is an amazing church and the founding pastor who planted Joy! ten years ago did an outstanding job. Unfortunately, we are understaffed by about 8 people. We have a faithful and bold staffing plan that we will begin to put in place starting in January. An executive pastor and a business manager are first on our plate. So, this is a great opportunity for me to start to dream and live into a better pace and posture as a leader. How do you try to order your steps in a given week?

Thank you Wayne!

Bruce Cole


Dear Bruce:

I hear it is COLD in Chicago right now. I heard on the news that it is threatening to hover around freezing till Jesus returns. To comfort and encourage you, it’s about 78 degrees here, sunny and beautiful. I did a work out today in the ocean, riding some waves:)

My week is first balanced by an acrostic I use “PEPRD” which I pronounce “peppered.” It is like peppering my food. Helps me remember. These I do every day. If i do these and nothing else, I am happy. If I do everything else and not there, I am unfulfilled.

P: Prayer… I start my day out with prayer. It’s the first thing I do.
E: Exercise… I try to do some some of exercise every day.
P: Plan … I look at what’s coming up and make notes so my mind is prepared. I make the calls I need to in order to get in place what needs to be!
R: Read … I read something. Right now I am reading Jimmy Carter’s book, “Our Endangered Values.” It helps me to see a Democratic Christian’s point of view on things that I saw as controversial. It also pushes back on some Republican views that causes me to think more deeply rather than take sides.
D: Devotions… I do devotions daily and journal. I also do a little message prep every day.

These help me to keep a balanced week and it keeps me sane, preventing me from going over the edge!

Monday Is my Sabbath, but if I need more time due to busy days, i will take more time. For example I took today (Thursday) off and did an all morning work-out, too a nap, and now I do a wedding rehearsal and an evening event.

Tuesday is dedicated to staff. I have a time with some interns early Wednesday (6 AM), then at 8:30 AM I do devotions with the staff (about 40 full time staff). I then have a staff meeting and then lunch with my management team (my fractal). After that I do other meetings with our program team and checking on how projects are going, individual meetings, etc. I leave around 4 PM and do a work out on the way home at the YMCA. I often play racquet ball with our mayor. (I let him beat me occasionally to keep relationships healthy). ๐Ÿ™‚

Then Wednesday begins with devotions with our School of Church Planters. Then the rest of the day is taken up in various leadership things or filming. I sometimes speak for our Wed. evening service.

Thursdays usually finds me at a Rotary club, then devotions, then i work on my message a bit as I need to have note for the weekend done by that night. I then have a host of things waiting for me to do. Thursday night is free. And Fridays I begin by teaching a Bible college class with our Pacific Rim Bible College. (tomorrow is finals!) I then get ready for the weekend and Friday night is free.

Saturday I usually ride my motorcycle to devotions and take time going over my message. Our first service is a 5 PM so I am there about 3:30 or 4PM. We have two Sat. night services.

Sunday I do three more services, do a workout in the afternoon, have a nice but early dinner with my wife Anna at a local restaurant, and go to bed early.

Whew! I am more tired writing this out than I am doing it!

I take breaks whenever I “feel” my soul needs it. If that goes down, everything else does too, I take a weekend off a month and sometimes I go away for a week with my wife.

Much Love,


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