The Right Leaders Catalyze Reproducing

I’ve noticed that the right leaders catalyze reproducing. That’s why so much of the success of our work at NewThing depends on finding the right leaders. Once we find the right leaders we come alongside them and help them do what they’re already wired to do: grow the Kingdom.

I don’t intend to be judge of good leaders or bad leaders. Nor do I claim some exclusive insight into who the right leaders are. But I do know that we to achieve the Jesus Mission we need more of the right leaders.

So who is a right leader?


I love this image for it depicts how great leaders actually lead. The BOSS is really just in it for him or herself.

The right leaders expends their relational equity to expand the Kingdom. They are willing to solicit and enlist other leaders to join networks that can collectively achieve multiplication.

The right leader is building the Kingdom and not their castle. They submit everything  – and I mean everything – to furthering the Kingdom. The right leaders have aspiration for the Kingdom that supersede their desire for church growth or personal platform. For these leaders, it’s all about the #kingdomwin.

The right leaders help others plant new churches. They don’t just plant new sites or new churches, they are actively helping others plant their churches. In this way, the right leader is focused on impact and legacy through church planting.

I am convinced a few of the right leaders working together in a city, region or country will grow the Kingdom.

If you think you’re the ‘right leader’ maybe NewThing can help? Let’s talk.

Not All Leadership Styles Are the Same

Leadership style and culture is contextual. At least this is my experience.

As NewThing has continued to grow internationally, I have had to learn (sometimes the hard way) that leadership culture varies from one global context to the next. The diversity of leadership styles is a beautiful thing but can be difficult to manage.

(Please note the following observations are anecdotal and based on my personal experience.)

Not long ago we hosted three leadership residents from Kenya at Community Christian Church. I had a front row seat to watch how they were taught to lead and how it was different from how I was taught to lead.

For example, American leadership values buy-in. Leaders don’t lead through command and control, rather they lead by casting a compelling vision casting and negotiating what that looks like. There is a high value on collaboration. We collaborate. We need to get the team to ‘buy-in’ and cooperate. We can’t lead through command and control.

In Africa, it’s different. What I’ve learned about leadership in Africa (specifically East Africa) is that leadership is hierarchical. There is a LEADER who leads down and if you’re on the leaders team you simply carry out what the leader asks you to do. While collaboration isn’t valued as much, African leaders are incredible at focusing a team and moving quickly to achieve results despite the circumstances.

An African leader once told me that in Africa, you never delegate upwards. This leader explained that you never ever create more work for the people above you. Your job is to do the work or figure out how to do it. This can sometimes lead to challenges of workload.

Leaders from the West have no problem coming to their leaders and asking for help to get certain jobs or projects accomplished. It’s been more than one season that I’ve felt overwhelmed by all the work coming my way.

It’s important to note that no leadership style is better (or worse for that matter) than any other. Leadership varies and that’s all there is to it. So if we’re going to become effective global leaders, we need to embrace this fact.

So when you’re working cross-culturally it’s important to acknowledge this and prepare yourself to work through it.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions on this topic. It’s important the church gets this one right. 

6 Ways You Can Be A More Effective Global Leader

As NewThing grows, cross-cultural leadership has become a critical component of our missional effectiveness. I am convinced, the better our leaders lead cross-culturally, the more fruit we will see. As our leaders are learning how to lead in different cultures and context, they are reporting back to me.

I am grateful to all of our global partners at NewThing who are helping learn all of these valuable lessons.

Here SIX a things that I think all cross-cultural leaders must demonstrate:

  1. Communicate. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! Realize that effective communication is the heart of leadership. Ensure you understand how to communicate in the culture you’re working or the leaders you’re working with.
  2. Humility. This is all about learning to be open. Be open to new paradigms of leadership that may be very different from the one you know. It all also means acknowledging that leadership varies by culture and country. Your way of leading might not work in all contexts.
  3. Patience. Be patient with leaders from other cultures who lead in your context. Be patient with yourself as a cross-cultural leader. Learning to lead cross-culturally takes time and practice. Accept the other leaders who you are leading with and be patient with them.
  4. Learn. If you have the privilege of working with leaders from other cultures, take time to learn about their culture and context. This will help you lead better together. Good learners are good listeners. They know how to ask questions. If you don’t understand something or why a leader says or does something, ask them to explain. Never stop learning.
  5. Seek to Understand. You need to understand the culture you’re going to lead in. (Or in our case know the culture of leaders who will be visiting you.) There is nothing better than friends on mission together the glory of God. You must see your leadership counterpart from another culture as an asset and as a teacher. They have just as much to teach you as you might teach them.
  6. Serve. Never forget that to lead like Jesus is to serve others.

Ready partner with NewThing? Go HERE!


4 things that will make your next vision casting moment awesome


Leaders cast vision.

I think we all know this.

Yet how many of us have been really inspired lately by a vision we’ve heard?

I’ve sat through some really lame vision casting when I was in the Army, in the corporate world, and yes, even now in ministry.

What about you?

Whether you’re planting a church, starting a new organization, or even helping your family see a better tomorrow it’s going to be necessary to cast a compelling vision.

What is vision?

Andy says it well:

Vision is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be. —Andy Stanley

Your role as vision caster is to give us the could and the should.

People respond to vision. When you give us a compelling tomorrow we’re going to want to play harder, contribute and sacrifice. This assumes you know the could and the should. (Hint: get that before you try casting vision.)

4 Elements of Vision

Here are 4 things I’ve learned that will help you cast compelling vision.

Remind people why this is important. You need to help people understand that this is a priority and demands attention and action.

Show enthusiasm and excitement. If you’re not excited, who will be? Your body language, your tone of voice should reveal this. I am not suggesting you make it up. But show us how excited you are.

Be clear about the goals and outcomes you are inspiring us to consider. In fact, be very clear about them. We can’t get excited about a vision unless it’s clear what it’s going to mean for us, our families, our city etc. Got it? Clarity.

Ensure you have a good mix of stories and statistics. Statistics describe reality and show that you’re serious about metrics. This indicates you actually care about achieving your goals. Stories give us the human element. They help us see how this vision is going to impact real people or how real people are influenced.

Include these 4 elements in your next visioneering moment and you’ll go a long way to achieving your goals.

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And would you consider telling a friend. That would be great.

3 essential platforms for equipping leaders for mission

Where are leaders equipped?

I was meeting with a church leadership team recently. They have a vision to plant churches and start new sites. When I asked them where they trained leaders to accomplish this mission, they couldn’t tell me.

Not good.

The good news is that ALL churches can and should train leaders.

But you can’t expect leaders to emerge.

Churches need to be serious about identifying, equipping and sending leaders to the mission. You must be intentional about this.

So the question for you is this: where do you train leaders? Continue reading “3 essential platforms for equipping leaders for mission”