Stop Trying to Please People

Please note: stop trying to please others.

Not only does it cause anxiety and frustration for you, it does not acknowledge that God has made you and has a plan for your life and that you are unique.   The only one whom we should try to please is God.

The other day I was having a conversation with a leader I really admire and he admitted that he gets stuck trying to please others. I know this happens to lots of you. I think leaders often struggle with this, alone. And over time I think it causes burnout and despair.

I struggle with this on occasion. You would think that I would shake this desire and figure this out by now. I haven’t. Seasons of my journey have been all about relenting of who I expect myself to be in order to please others. Sometimes it’s exhausting.

  • I want to please my kids.
  • I want to please my colleagues.
  • I want to please my bosses.
  • I want to please other leaders.
  • I want to please family and friends.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with pleasing and serving and loving others . Christ follower should do these things. But it becomes dangerous when it becomes your drive and inspiration.

Where does this come from? Why does it continue to dog me? I am not sure I know.

I am learning though…to embrace the truth. I am learning to embrace the truth of who  I really am – that God made me, well, to be uniquely me. My journey has been a long one and I’ve often stumbled. But I know that there is only one I will answer to.

When I veer off course, Psalm 139 always reminds me that I am unlike any other.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:14)

Moreover, Jesus has made the ultimate sacrifice for me so that I could step from darkness into the light:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

The truth is, I don’t fit a mold or standard; I can’t be like everyone else nor  can I please everyone.

I have to trust God and be the best version of me. I believe the scriptures that Christ died for me because he loves me. These are the truths I must acknowledge. I am loved by the creator of the universe and therefore no other opinion of me matters.

So if you’re trying to please others, stop it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made to be uniquely you.

Let’s Learn to Lead Cross-Culturally

As the gospel has spread across the world, it has united the body as never before. As globalization becomes normative, the church must rise to the challenge.

What does this mean for you?

Very simply this: If you are a leader in the church you must learn how to lead cross-culturally.

Whereas in the past this might have been optional, it is no longer true. Moreover, the church has a real opportunity here to be the first to go globally. We are the universal body of Christ, and therefore we can lead the way.

Let’s do this!

To learn more about NewThing go HERE.

Three Shifts to More Robust Global Engagement

As the world gets flatter it will be increasing important for the American church to shift how it engages with the global church.

NewThing North America Regional Director Dave Dummitt argues there are three essential shifts to be made.

  1. Shift from mission to global church planting.
  2. Shift to collaboration
  3. Shift from a lower investment in many projects to major investments in fewer projects.

I couldn’t agree more. The American church has a real opportunity to be part of something big and beautiful that God is doing in the world. The only question is: will it?

At NewThing we are committed to making these shifts together.

What other shifts do you think the American church needs to make to engage better with the global church? I’d love to hear from you.


Grateful for our NewThing Gathering 2017

Well – another NewThing Gathering is in the books.

Over 300 NewThing leaders present. I was delighted some of our global leaders could join us. And a fair number of guests joined us which we love!

I’ve had a little time to reflect on the day. The best word to sum up our gathering for me: GRATEFUL.

I am grateful for all of our NewThing leaders from across North America to join us.

Commissioning the North American Team!

I am grateful for our North American team led by Dave Dummitt. It was inspiring to commission them to their work of reproducing more churches.

I am grateful for our guests who I hope got a glimpse of what we’re doing and how we could help them fuel church planting.

I am grateful to all of our great strategic partners who come alongside us to further our mission: CCB, Aspen, Aware3, Compassion and CICM.

I am grateful for the fantastic team that put it all together. They worked tirelessly to bring all of the details together.

I am grateful for our time of worship with Community Music.

Bob Carlton, Ridge Point

I am grateful for everyone of our workshop leaders who crafted practical and engaging platforms for us to learn from one another.

I am grateful for all of our volunteers who helped make it happen.

I am grateful to our North American Advisory Team who are leading us to the next level. These leaders are committed to movement.

I am grateful for Albert Tate who truly challenged us to lean into the gap.

Albert Tate

I am grateful for Bob Bouwer who taught us how to lead ourselves better (1 Timothy 4:16).

I am grateful we’re beginning to tell more stories about how God is using Catalyst Communities to start new networks.

I am grateful for all of the churches and leaders who have partnered with us to catalyze more church planting all over the world. They are doing great work.

I am grateful for a great night out (seriously it was a BLAST) celebrating God and connecting with friends.

I am grateful for the unique vantage point God provides me to see what he’s doing all over the world.

I am grateful that for reasons we simply don’t understand, God continues to work in and through us to plant more churches. He continues to do exceedingly more than we could ever dream or imagine. And for that, I am truly grateful.

If you’re ready to join NewThing, 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.