How do you put joy in your soul?

How do you put joy in your soul?

Take a moment and think about what you really need to accomplish today.  Identify the 3 most important activities you can accomplish in a 24-hour period that will move your ministry forward.  Now write those out!

I conducted an experiment in 2020 and purchased two different Muju black books.  One is larger, about 5″x8″ and the other smaller about 4″x6″.

  • The larger book I call my Gratitude Book.  Each day I record 3 things I am grateful for, to remind myself of God’s active involvement in my life, His sovereignty and grace!
  • The Smaller book I call my Top 3 Book.  Each day I do the exercise I opened up with at the start of this blog.

I repeat this exercise Monday-Friday (and sometimes on the weekend).

What has been the results of my notebook experiment?

  • I am seriously less stressed-out. 
    • Coincidentally, my experiment overlapped with the Covid virus which was in the back of everyone’s mind.  It was and continues to be an unpredictable time in our society and globally.  Questions about safety, financial viability and leadership from all-sectors of society scramble my thought life.  But this simple exercise created a moment of clarify that focused my day!
  • I am seriously more productive.
    • In the midst of a typical day if I am honest – the highs, the lows and the mundane sap the energy and joy from my soul.  Keeping this list before me, in addition to the other already planned activities of the day, was like a breath of fresh air.  I can always say at the end of the day – “Well done!”
  • I am seriously more purposeful.
    • I wanted to say “more missional” but that is such an over-used term it can lose it’s meaning.  What I mean by purposeful is that these 3 activities, based upon my best understanding of what will move the mission of God forward, will have the greatest impact.  Regardless of your particular field you can apply this to your context and feel like you are about the Lord’s work – discovering what God is already at work doing and partnering with Him on His mission.

Let’s play this out in real time!

What if you took out a piece of paper – right now.  And you wrote-out 3 things you are Grateful for:  They might be random things like:

  1. your health
  2. your family
  3. the chance to serve God through your work

Now take another piece of paper and write-out the Top 3 activities or tasks that will move your ministry forward.  They might include:

  1. call a leader that you need to foster a relationship with in your church.
  2. write an e-mail to a board member
  3. mail a check to a vendor

Reflection Questions to Consider:

  • How can you improve on what you are already doing?
  • What could this give you that you don’t already have?
  • What one thing will increase your effectiveness today?

This is not simply a work smarter – not harder idea!


A Spiritual Exercise

I approach this activity as a spiritual exercise.  I want to hear what God has to say about my day and the absolute best way I can partner with Him.  This has the desired effect of putting things in perspective and joy in my soul.

Where do you find inspiration?

Where do you find inspiration?

Right now, you and I must be creative in our efforts to discover inspiration.

If you listen to the typical news report, read the latest updates on what is going on in the world and allow your mind to focus on reasons to be fearful – those messages can be less than motivational.  It can be downright depressing.  Or in my darker moments, they just feel evil.

Today I want to ask this question: Where do you find inspiration?

You might be in the throws of finding the right path to navigate complex issues of ministry.  For instance, now that you have “righted” the ship and are discovering how to conduct a hybrid ministry; you might be asking yourself how long will this last.  Of course, no one knows the answer to this question.  Theologically you hold to the inspiration found in Jesus’s ministry, the Psalms and the writing’s of the Apostle Paul.  In the  moments when all odds stand against you, your leadership and even your family – the Word is our source of inspiration.

AND in the midst of challenges it is essential that you grab onto sources of inspiration that force you to see God in a new ways.  One way I find inspiration is through mountain biking.  It provides a needed distraction, forcing me to consider life and ministry from a fresh perspective.  I enjoy riding with my wife.  Mountain biking provides companionship with Gina, breathing life into my weary soul and tired body.  Afterwards, I see things differently.  It puts events into it’s proper perspective.  Inevitably, I discover a new insight I did not have before the ride.  Most important is the gratitude I feel when I realize how big God is and how small our world is and my place in it!

Where do you find inspiration?

In the next month we are launching three Leadership Collectives.  One of the take-aways for leaders that experience the Leadership Collectives is the inspiration they receive throughout the process.  Please look there over and if you have anyone in your network that might benefit – share it!

Leadership Collective

Leadership Collective for Multi-Ethnic Leaders

Leadership Collective for Parent Church Leaders


An Excellent Resource to Equip Your Congregation to Serve Online

An Excellent Resource to Equip Your Congregation to Serve Online

These are challenging times for all in ministry.  We are uncertain about the path forward as the recommendations for keeping people safe change daily.  However, the opportunities for the local church to step-up, have never been greater!  Last week I received an e-mail from a friend highlighting an opportunity to help young people.  As the struggles young people encounter become more and more pronounced during the pandemic, one ministry is offering you and your congregation an opportunity to serve.  Learn how you and your people can serve as mentors to support youth during their time of need. could be an amazing opportunity to allow churches to equip their congregation to do ministry online as they seek to match christian mentors who have made it through various struggles with hurting young people in the middle of that struggle.
Here is a 2 minute long video explaining what they do 


One of my big lessons over the last 30+ years has been learning how to adjust to different personality types.  Helping young people process their struggles requires a high level of EQ (Emotional Intelligence).  I learned that introverts process information differently than extroverts (using the Myers/Briggs).  Understanding how you function is a good first step to self-awareness, understanding how to adjust to the people you coach is a good next step.
Resources to help you understand how to coach extroverts!
Resources to help you understand yourself!
Learn about the various combinations of extroverted personality traits using the Myers/Briggs.


What motivates you to do what you do?

What motivates you to do what you do?

This image has particular interest this week as part of the cathedral was burned and altered the Parisian skyline.  Notre Dame de Paris or “Our Lady of Paris” was started in 1163 and was largely complete by 1345.  For almost two centuries this amazing piece of architecture was under construction.

I wonder what motivated the visionaries that envisioned this house of worship.

What motivates you to do what you do?  I enjoy asking this question because you can tell a lot about a person by their answer.  In the case of Notre Dame was it to reach the heavens so that people could get closer to God; to honor and give glory to God; to make the cathedral the heart of Paris?  Whatever the reasons, people dedicated their lives to fulfill the vision.

When asking people who are discerning how to align their lives with God’s purposes – it takes on an entirely different meaning.  I remember when I was a college student studying environmental design I was asking myself this very question.  It led me to explore other avenues than I had previously considered, including ministry.  My dad was a businessman who was trained as an electrical engineer so ministry was unfamiliar territory. One morning as we were walking and talking, he made an observation pertaining to the internship I was doing at the church where I was raised in the Faith.  He made a comment that range true for me and solidified the change I was contemplating.  He admitted that he did not understand what a vocation of ministry involved; but he did notice that I was invigorated more and more by what I was doing.  That helped me sort through the fog that cluttered my mind and see for the first time what I had sensed in my heart.  Words matter – especially when it comes from someone you respect, love and desire to be like.

That eventually led me down the path of seminary and into coaching, to help: emerging leaders and leaders discern what God was calling them to, navigate critical issues to catalyze movements of disciples that start healthy churches that start churches and faithfully serve God in the next chapter of their life.

One of the reasons we created the Personal Calling Collective is to help you and those you coach do just that.  Younger leaders have a great need for this type of support AND established leaders need it just as much.  CLICK HERE for more information.  Here are a couple of resources that might help you, and others, discern what God is calling you to next:

Personal Calling Coaching Guide with Storyboard


Personal Calling Storyboard

Gary empowers leaders to discover and realize their God-given potential, not by imitating others, but by striving to become the best possible version of themselves.

Rev. Russ Siders – Lead Pastor,, Sunrise Community Church

Learn to coach followers of Jesus to focus on the areas they enjoy most

Learn to coach followers of Jesus to focus on the areas they enjoy most

How many times have you taken people through some kind of process to discern their spiritual gifts, passions, skills or strengths – only to discover that they had not budged in pursuing their calling from God?

When I first started out in ministry my role in the college group that I was serving was to help people understand their spiritual gifts.  It did exactly what it was designed to do.  People with a gift of service found a place to serve.  Over and over again I helped people find how and where they could use their gifts.  What I realized is, that this is a good starting point but not how  people naturally thrive long-term.

Now, I see that the process needs to be embedded in a coaching relationship, providing feedback on an ongoing basis.  When the feedback loop is provided, the person has a chance to reflect on what they are doing, make adjustments then focus more and more on what they enjoy most or – passionate about.  I remember one person that I worked with for an extended period is now thriving in a church planting ministry.

However, that support is often-times missing for people who are discerning their way in ministry.

The solution is to have leaders who know how to support people in their unique, personal calling process.  One group that we really, really need to help is the up and coming generation.  Call them what you want, the younger generation are hungry for this type of attention – that is one reason we created the Personal Calling Collective, LIVE online learning community.  To help you learn how to support followers of Jesus to discern what He has called them to do with their spiritual gifts, passions, skills, strengths all in the context of their life journey.

One of the tools that is central to the Collective is the Focused Ministry Coaching Guide & Storyboard.  It provides the framework for the self-discovery process.  What I like it that it describes the process – allowing you to utilize tools that you are most comfortable with to assess a person’s spiritual gifts, passions, skills, strengths, etc.  There are so many available today and every leader has their favorites.

Who do you know that might benefit from being a part of an exciting group of leaders, working hard to help people discern what God has called them to accomplish? 

The start date is June 24 and the Collective includes four, 1-hour group sessions with six, 1-1 coach appointments; for a total of 10 contact hours.  Please reach-out to me direct and let me know if you have any questions.  You can schedule a time to meet by CLICKING HERE.

Below is a breakdown of the topics you will learn how to coaching people through:


  • Showing Up
  • Trying things out
  • Connecting with your passion


  • Evaluating your service
  • Examining your life journey


  • Discerning your calling
  • Sharpening your skills


  • Involving others
  • Training others
  • Broadening perspectives

CLICK HERE for more information.

Great Coaches Make the Right Decisions at the Right Time

Great Coaches Make the Right Decisions at the Right Time

What lesson can we learn from the best coaches in the world?

What do world-class; truly world-class coaches do that set them apart?

Let’s take a look at the world of professional sports and assess what coaches at the highest level do that translates into the ministry world. For instance, take one of the most successful football coaches in European club football – Zinedane Zedane. Not only was he one of football’s greatest players of his generation; but now is approaching his team’s third European Championship in a row. A feat that has only been achieved by Bayern Munich from 1974-1976.

For our purposes, what can we extract from what Zedane does and apply that to how we approach disciplemaking and leader development?

First, Zedane understands the game.

Second, he knows his players.

Third, Zedane makes the right decisions at the right time.

I realize that I am making a leap to suggest that coaching in the sport’s context can have some relevance for coaching in a ministry context; but these are worth consideration.

Let’s take that third one today – Zedane makes the right decisions at the right time.

His knowledge of the game and innate understanding of his players feeds his masterful ability to make decisions that will advance his team odds of winning. Through a couple of key substitutions in the first leg of the semi-final against Bayern Munich, early in the game, the flow of the game changed. They were able to shore up their defense, build up play from the back, advance through the midfield and eventually score. This was not an accident, this was the result of a tactical change made by their coach, Zinedane Zedane.

This Saturday, May 26 we will see how Zedane matches up against his Liverpool counterpart, Jurgen Klopp (see COACHABILITY TRAIT #3 – SMART blog entry). Two extremely knowledgeable football minds with different approaches to the game. Zenedane makes tactical decisions during the flow of the game and Klopp is capable of making adjustments but is unable to alter his approach – all out attacking football. Mind you, this will be a clash of two similar but very distinct styles of play. Should be an exciting match.

What can we learn from Zedane as it relates to coaching in a ministry context? When coaching disciplemakers and leaders, it is imperative that we know when to allow the person to figure the problem out on their own vs. “fixing” or solving the problem for them. When a coach jumps in and fixes the problem it communicates: “I am smarter” than the person they are coaching. This strokes the ego of the leader and in most cases, undermines the development of the person and ultimately, dis-empowers them. But when the coach allows the person the time to reflect, expand their awareness and arrive at their own solutions, people tend to:

  • Feel Empowered
  • Own the Issue
  • Take Action.

These are just some of the benefits of taking a coach approach with people you develop.

Here are three questions for your reflection:

  • What has happened when you allow people time to process their thinking and arrive at their own solutions?
  • What has happened when you have stepped-in to offer your solution?
  • Which approach is more empowering?

Here are three coaching resources I have found helpful to increase your effectiveness as you coach a person to enhance their problem solving abilities: