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Aligning Momentum with your Strategy

Posted on 02. Sep, 2015 by .


Something amazing happened yesterday. We opened registration for Winter Camp 2016 and in just 24 short hours, nearly 200 kids were registered. To clarify, Winter Camp is still 4.5 months away and over half of the kids who will come signed up on the opening day of registration. But it wasn’t an accident. We simply aligned momentum with our strategy and then just watched it all happen.

Here’s what we did:… Read the rest

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Family Ministry Conversation

Posted on 13. Aug, 2015 by .


I’d like to invite you to a special and unique event. Today, August 13th, at 3:00 PM (EST), several NextGen and family ministry leaders from around the country are participating in a live conversation about family ministry… on twitter.

It should be interesting and I’m really not sure what to expect. However, I love so many of the leaders driving the conversation, so I expect that the conversation will be helpful and fun.

Leaders driving the conversation include: asknextgen01

  • Sam Luce
  • Jim Wideman
  • Yancy
  • JC Thompson
  • Jared Kennedy
  • Myself and several others

To see the conversation, simply search #asknextgen in twitter and watch the conversation unfold. Anyone and everyone is invited to comment, ask question or simply follow along.

If you don’t have twitter… well, what are you waiting for?… Read the rest

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How to effectively kill a ministry

Posted on 10. Aug, 2015 by .


Initially reading this title, you might be thinking, “oh, this article must be about how we inadvertently kill ministries or events and this will be a list of things to prevent an untimely death.”

No. This article is about bringing a quick and effective death to your ministry… on purpose. It’s about bringing closure to that event that your church has been doing for decades. It’s about bringing an end to that monthly newsletter, the annual project or the mid-week program.

This summer I read a fascinating article titled, “Your Project Deserves a Good Death” and I immediately thought of all the ministry implications.

I want to encourage you to ask yourself an honest question. What ministry, event or project under your care needs a good death? A true test of your leadership will be your courage to follow through and give it (or them) the death it deserves.… Read the rest

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While You Were Gone

Posted on 05. Aug, 2015 by .


For the last year or two, I learned a valuable insight. I have learned one of the greatest tests of personal leadership. There is something you can do and after you do it, you and everyone around you will have a very clear picture of what kind of leader you are. Are you ready for this? It’s really simple. Okay, here it is.


That’s it. Just leave. Leave for a week. Leave for two weeks. Leave for a month or two. You can even leave for good. When you are gone, your leadership is revealed in multiple ways.

For years I’ve taken a week or two of vacation at a time, which is always a challenge. However, the last two summers I’ve stepped up my game. Last summer I took the entire month of July off. This summer, I was gone for June and July. When you’re a busy person with a lot of responsibilities, it’s a challenging thing to be gone for that long and I do feel that your leadership will be revealed in your absence.

I’ve experienced significant frustration when staff or co-workers leave for an extended break. There have been employees who have left permanently and I’ve struggled to pick up all the pieces. There have been others that made me question, “what in the world have they been doing all this time?” There have been other times where I’ve been frustrated because a decision needed to be made or an action needed to take place, but everything was stalled because no one had been empowered or equipped to move forward without the missing person. That’s bad leadership. So, here are three questions to consider regarding your leadership in the context of leaving:… Read the rest

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On sabbaticals and further life-changing events

Posted on 03. Aug, 2015 by .


It’s been a quite summer for the Conley family. I celebrated my first seven years at Gateway Church with a two month sabbatical. Those who follow me on Instagram probably wondered how long my “vacation” was going to last. Let me just say this.

If you can arrange for your organization to offer sabbaticals – DO IT!

My sabbatical has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Essentially, it was a giant hug from my church saying “thank for for all your hard work.” It has been a huge investment into me and my family, giving me a chance to recharge my batteries for the season ahead.

I’ll write more about insights from my time off (don’t worry, there weren’t many, ha!).

However, the bigger news is the life-changing event that came just a little sabbatical began. We haven’t talked about it much simply because of our history, but it’s news we really can’t hide any longer.

Pink OR BlueSara and I are expecting our third child in December! Yes, we’re having a little baby for Christmas. The baby is due the day after Christmas, but it looks like we’ll meet little number three the week before the holiday. We are absolutely beside ourselves, grateful for family and friends who have surrounded us and grateful to God who has blessed us with “one more thing.”

We find out the gender on Wednesday of this week. Pink or Blue… any guesses?… Read the rest

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You should see a counselor

Posted on 29. Jun, 2015 by .


Sixteen years ago, my wife and I did an intensive weekend of premarital counseling a month before we got married. It was the best investment we’ve ever made into our marriage. Over the past 7-10 years, I’ve provided premarital counseling for nearly 100 couples and one of the leading motivators has been because of what premarital counseling meant to me as a soon-to-be-married man. For years, I’ve encouraged couples to invest in their marriage regularly. I’d tell them to attend a marriage retreat together. Read a book together. See a counselor for occasional check-ups.

However, there is a stigma about seeing a counselor, isn’t there? Premarital counseling is fine, right? You’re about to get married, so its expected. However, when you find out someone is seeing a counselor, the first thing that comes to your mind is, “what’s going on with them?” or “I hope they’re okay.” I think we’re reluctant to see a counselor because it feels like failure. A voice in our head might say, “you couldn’t do this on your own, so you need someone else to help fix you.”

I’d admit it. I’ve felt this way too. I’m an independent, problem-solving, get-it-done kind of guy. Seeing a counselor is a last resort kind of option. That was until Sara and I started seeing a counselor nine months ago.… Read the rest

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Plan the first task of your day before it starts

Posted on 23. Jun, 2015 by .


Last week I wrote about my new habit of eating frogs for breakfast every morning (most mornings at least). Even though I have changed my morning routine (I wake up at 4:30 AM most mornings now) and get to a place where I can get my day started by 5:00 AM, I can still struggle to get the ball rolling.

Procrastination is a powerful thing and if I give it any space at all, it will devour my entire morning. Recently I’ve started a new practice that has made my morning routine even more effective. I’ve heard this practice for many years from a  variety of sources and coaches, but it never connected. Then I read this post from Shawn Blanc called “the note.”… Read the rest

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How should I spend my time?

Posted on 22. Jun, 2015 by .


This week I’m going to explore some productivity tips and tricks. Productivity is a topic I’m very passionate about probably because I recognize how much much there is that I want to do and how many things there are to distract me from doing what I really want to do. Left to myself, I’ll fail miserably or end up working much harder than I need to.

About fifteen years ago, I was introduced to an idea that would later have huge implications for me. It’s actually a simple chart/matrix the helps you understand how to best spend your time. Although I’ve know this idea for years, it’s only been in recent years that I’ve been more intentional by planning my day according to this chart.

The chart/matrix is the “Time Management Matrix” popularized by Stephen Covey in his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective people. Here’s the chart:… Read the rest

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5 essentials to better communication

Posted on 19. Jun, 2015 by .


This last week I had fun writing about becoming a better communicator and why we need to grow in this area. I thought I’d wrap up with some closing thoughts about communication. Over the past 5-7 years, I’ve been given more and more opportunities to communicate on a variety of stages. Some of the experiences have been spectacular and others have been… let’s just say I wish I could have done things differently.

From my experiences, here are the things I’ve found to be most true of my very best talks. I know that when I do these things, my talk is far more likely to be great.… Read the rest

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Why you must excel as a communicator

Posted on 18. Jun, 2015 by .


Just this last week, I’ve been busy with the tedious project of converting old VHS video to digital video for archiving purposes. It was fun watching videos of me speaking as a 22 year old Children’s Pastor or briefly speaking at my High School graduation. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way. I’m a little embarrassed by how “green” I was. I fumbled over my words and lacked the skills that would come with years and years of experience.

Watching these videos reinforced something I believe with all my heart. The level of your leadership will be determined by your ability to communicate. Yes, there are other skills that are critical to effective leadership, but communication really is the cornerstone. Here are five reason why you must prioritize your communication skills:… Read the rest

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