stone with fire flowers

“A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

5 Steps to Staying on Mission by Using the Vision – Values Cycle Tool

Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Costa Rica-Riverside 2

Leadership Training In the Jungle of Costa Rica

Leading with vision is not easy. It does not look like a casual stroll through the park on a wide well-maintained path. Rather, leading with vision looks more like a jungle adventure, meandering through ups and downs, scaling sharp cliffs, making progress at times, and at other times standing still. One of the observations I’ve made about leading with vision is that that good visionary leaders understand the “Vision-Values Cycle.” Whether you are leading a small group, classroom, a business, or a family… here are some insights that will help you stay on your mission by using the Vision-Values Cycle Tool.

If Jesus isn’t Who He said He was, the World has No Hope | 10 Reasons

I recently had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with a young man in a foreign country who grew up in a family that taught that the way to God is only through believing the message of a different book than the Bible. After sharing the Gospel with him for a couple of hours I pleaded with him to take my Bible read the story of Jesus for himself to see how different his story is from this other religious book.

boy with soccer ball

Although he listened intently to everything that I told him about Jesus and seemed to want to believe it… he would not accept my Bible because he said that his father would disown him or kill him if he came home with it. This is where my mind went:



Case studies help leaders solve problems more effectively. They also help leaders learn how to make more efficient decisions. Case studies examine a variety of angles surrounding a problem and help you form an idea based on the information at hand. A good case study not only challenges an individual to use their noggin, but also encourages group discussion.

Case Studies: A Treadmill for Leaders

So, what makes a case study such a powerful tool for leaders, teachers, and students? Look at a case study like a leader’s treadmill: the overall purpose is to paint a picture of an actual situation—often ambiguous in nature—whereby the participants are left to process the situation and provide a solution to the problem, which may have multiple outcomes.


Airline Maps

New research on Twitter’s global impact has implications for leaders who want to leverage influence in their ministries.

Since I fly alot to work with leaders around the world, some new “twitter trends” research on the global impact of Twitter’s social media caught my ear. Steve Inskeep & Shankar Vedantam’s piece called, Why Twitter Ties Resemble Airline Hub Maps has some potentially interesting implications. Apparently two assumptions about Twitter are totally wrong: 1) Geography no longer matters, 2) Twitter is a truly cross-cultural medium. Instead, Barry Wellman, a sociologist from the University of Toronto, did a study of 1/2 million Twitter users and found some Twitter trends worth considering. Those who use Twitter care about 1) Local interests, and 2) People who live in similar cities as they do. So if your Twitter followers are an airline flight away from the city you live in, they are more likely to follow you.


Ashley with Nepali KidsHow does the term “social justice” strike you?

If you haven’t had a chance to read Timothy Keller’s book, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, I would highly recommend it. Below are a few quotes below that give you a snapshot of some of what he is writing about. Depending on what circles you run in, the term “social justice” might mean a variety of things. You might be “turned off” by that term, or you might be passionate about it depending on your political or theological bent.

Regardless of your position, Keller’s book seems to approach this topic from a theological rather than sociological viewpoint which is very helpful. Followers of Jesus should never put their head in the sand when it comes to standing up for what is just, right, and fair, and Keller’s book is a helpful primer for thoughtful leaders who want to do just that.


Rivendell-Like SceneThe Hobbit is a Window into Spiritual Reality.

Reading the Hobbit makes me tired. It is one battle after another… with seemingly little respite. Yet the story Tolkien portrays is one of inexperienced and fearful hobbits becoming courageous champions of a cause that they believed would save the world. With a little vision and encouragement from Gandalf, they were on their way, not knowing what would happen to them. Tolkien’s story is full of lessons on spiritual leadership.

Similar to Gandalf’s conversation with Frodo, when Jesus took his young disciples up on a mountain before he ascended to heaven, he also made his mission intent clear… that although they may be afraid and the world seemed like a field too big to plant the seeds of the Gospel (see Matthew 28:19-20), he was sending them anyway… ready or not. He knew they would become courageous as they went. And so they did.

7 Ways to Change How You Lead Meetings to Improve Teamwork

How often do you feel “dragged” into meetings? How often as a leader do you feel like you have to drag people into meetings when they’d rather be doing something else? No matter how hard we try, leading teams requires meetings. So how can we lead in such a way that meetings become meaningful and people feel like they’ve gotten something accomplished?

Is this what your team looks like after a meeting?

I recently read a very helpful article by Daniel Harkavy called, “7 Steps to Improve Your Meetings — and Your Team’s Effectiveness.” Below I’m sharing an abridged version of Harkavy’s list that I’ve rewritten to help me be more effective at leading meetings. I’ve included a general list and a more specific list for youth ministry leaders. Hopefully by trying some of these suggestions you’ll notice immediate a change in attitudes among your team.


photo by Daniel Treat |

If you could point to one characteristic visionary leaders have that gives them the unique ability to cast vision, what would it be?

My pick would be that visionary leaders tend to use word pictures in their vision statements to paint a picture in people’s minds. Visionary leaders have a tenacious desire to inspire people to pour themselves into causes that they believe must happen. They know that vision is not just about sharing good ideas. Vision casting states reality and boldly asserts what must be done, now.