Breakfast of Champions


Ok, at the request of friends and tweets, I am posting about my breakfast with Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley and Bobby Gruenewald.

Last Thursday, Suncrest sent 25 leaders to Granger Community Church to participate in Catalyst One Day. Heard so much about the Catalyst event in Atlanta, and was really excited to attend this smaller-scale version. There were about 1500 attenders.

A really nice touch was the offer of 1 ticket per 10 purchased to have breakfast and lunch with conference speakers Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley. So we had 2 for each meal. I jumped at the chance to join them for breakfast.

We expected 150 people at a breakfast where Craig and Andy would talk or stand in front and answer questions, but there were only about 8 tables set up.  Kevin Richardson and I joined one other guy at a table, chatted a bit, then made our way to the food table. I turned around for a minute and saw that Craig was sitting at our table in the seat right next to me. Ok, let me admit right here, I get a little giddy around high profile people. Just a warning in case any of you are reading this. Ha! 

Craig, Bobby Gruenewald, a pastor friend of theirs from OK and Andy were talking, and I assumed they had prayed already, so I sat and prayed quietly.  When I finished, Craig turns, shakes my hand.

“Hi, I’m Craig Groeschel.” My intelligent response? “Oh, I know!”

 …Sheesh!  Mom will be so proud of my manners.

Great conversation after that. Andy and Craig talking ’09 budget challenges, ministry initiatives, fun stuff. At some point, I mentioned starting of a snowmobile club at Suncrest, and Andy said how they had a pretty big snowmobile club at North Point. No smile, not even a smirk. Ha ha Andy, I wasn’t that giddy! Snowmobile club in GA!?!  Andy’s so funny and deadpan, it’s hard to tell when he’s playing.

Yes, it was fun, and I’ll remember it for a long time. Maybe next time, I’ll even remember to introduce myself.

Catalyst One Day Session 4 – Andy Stanley

andy_stanley1Don’t Be That Couch

Andy Stanley

Whereas programming begins as an answer to a question, over time it becomes part of organizational CULTURE.

A.  As culture changes, many of the questions remain the same, but the answers DON”T.

B.  The tendency is to institutionalize our answers.

C.  If we institutionalize an answer, the day will come when it is no longer an ANSWER.
Couch metaphor – grandma’s stained couch – in love w/it because of the memories, stains are memories. Couch fulfilled a function when new, now needs to be removed. Stained now. Not beautiful.

When we fall in love w/programming, tendency is to keep it around too long. We become emotional about programming/ministry. Identify couches that need to go. But everybody’s in love w/the stupid couch.

See the couch differently, for what it is now. Can drag around expensive, ineffective couches.

II We must continue to be more committed to our mission than to our programming or our model.
Don’t fall in love with program/model.

A.  Over time, sustaining the model can become the MISSION.

B.  Over time, the model can work AGAINST the mission.

III Points of discussion

A.  What have we fallen in love with that’s really not as effective as it used to be?
What are we emotionally attached to? We created it, and trained for it.

B.  Where are we manufacturing energy?
Pretend/manufacture enthusiasm about an event. Cringe factor? Have a mtg about it asap. You should feel great about everything that’s happening. Don’t kid ourselves. That couch is good!?

“If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he or she do?  Why shouldn’t we walk out the door, come back in, and do it ourselves?” – Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove
New person would see the ugly couch and it needs to be addressed. As leaders we are responsible to step up and acknowledge the ugly couches.
i.e. baby dedications – good leadership saw that it looked old, took a year to revamp.
Write a letter to the child that they receive on the day they receive Christ.

C.  What are our organizational ASSUMPTIONS?

Leaders must bring the underlying assumptions that drive company strategy into line with changes in the external environment.
Wrong assumptions lead to bad decisions.
What assumptions about how to connects Singles? Not band/speaker/production. Community service. works

The assumptions a team has held the longest or the most deeply are the likeliest to be its undoing.  Some beliefs have come to appear so obvious that they are off limits for debate.

  1. What do we assume about people and how to reach them?
    What assumptions drive our programming decisions?
    We assume Christians love to worship.
  2. What do we assume programatically?
  3. Which assumptions are false?
    Information and inspiration are enough for transformation.
    Moments create movements.
    If parents and kids attend kids programs together, they’ll be better at raising their kids spiritually.
  4. Which assumptions are true, but not fully leveraged?
    People don’t stick to a production, they stick to a relationship.
    How do we create sticking points for relationships?

To reach people nobody is reaching, we need to do things nobody is doing.


What we are doing is so important, we can’t keep these couches around anymore. Tools come and go. Challenge is to lead people in our church to know this.

Catalyst One Day Session 3 Craig Groeschel

cgroeschelGreat lunch with my team. Some lake effect snow – Woot!
Another GREAT session with Craig…

Creating Personal Momentum
Craig Groeschel
Gen 31:43-4

I will do TODAY what I can do,
to enable me to do TOMORROW
What I can’t do TODAY
Begin where you can today. Break down big vision.

Four Things to do Today

1.  Do something to defeat you DARK side.
My leadership dark side is ______________
Name your dark side, i.e. competitive, prideful, fear of lack, insecure, know it all

2.  Create ARTIFICIAL ministry deadlines
Artificial deadlines force you to:

  • Make faster DECISIONS
  • Intentionally DELEGATE
  • Disregard UNIMPORTANT activities

3.  Delegate what SOMEONE else can do.

  • Don’t delegate RESPONSIBILITIES. Delegate AUTHORITY.
    You can have high control with low growth or low control with high growth.
    There will be short-term chaos with high growth!
  • Delegating responsibilities creates FOLLOWERS.
  • Delegating authority creates LEADERS.

4. Do something only  YOU can do.
Make margins  – need time to reflect, think. Use your margin here…
Do not sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry.

1.  You’re the only one who can CARE  for yourself.

  • Care for yourself with  REFRESHING activities
  • Care for yourself by taking TIME OFF
  • Care for yourself by spending time with GOD
  • Care for yourself by EATING right and EXERCISING.

2.  You’re the only one who can LEAD your ministry.

3.  You’re the only one who can do something that PRIVATELY honors Christ to you.

4.  You’re the only one who can be a HUSBAND to your wife or DADDY to your kids.
Don’t brag about not taking time off that shows
pride (I’m the only one who can get it done), poor leader (haven’t raised up anyone else to do ministry)

Catalyst One Day Session 2 – Craig Groeschel

Another great session. Love Craig’s humor and that he’s so down to earth.

Session 2 Craig Groeschel

Busting Barriers with Mindset Changes
The longer a ministry is stalled, the longer it will take to get momentum back.

1.  Think Differently about your church CULTURE

  • Our people won’t _______   serve, give, come to early service, worship, etc
  • We haven’t LED them to _______  Leader – you need to model generosity, evangelism, etc

2.  Think differently about PROGRAMMING
Mindset – we have to do MORE to reach MORE, tons of activity with lower spiritual results
Rate of transformed lives was decreasing in direct proportion to increasing # of activities

  • We have to do  MORE to reach more
  • We can reach more by doing LESS

3.  Think differently about the MISSION
Are you about your mission, or are you about guarding people’s feelings. Love the mission enough to make the hard people decisions. Like a cancer – remove it.

  • We can’t hurt someone’s FEELINGS … a good person in the wrong place holds back the mission
  • We can’t allow someone to hold back the  MISSION of the church

4.  Think differently about people LEAVING the church.
To gain momentum, sometimes you need to allow someone to leave.

  • We can’t let anyone LEAVE.
  • We can GROW when people leave.

5.  Think differently about LIMITATIONS. Sometimes God guides by what He withholds.

  • We CAN”T because we don’t.
  • We ? because we don’t.

Three Assignments

1.  Find someone one or two steps ahead of you and learn how they THINK. Most want to learn what they DO – not how they THINK.

2.  Identify one WRONG mindset and ask God to renew your mind with

3. Identify one PAINFUL decision you’ve been avoiding and commit to make the decision no matter what the short-term PAIN.


How to make change in the community?
Preach reward highlight. Became more kingdom-minded. Lead them to it.

How do you make change happen?
Symbolic leadership – can’t do everything, but can do a few things well.

Giving people freedom to leave?  What if people want you to leave?
Ask God, “Am I the right person to make this church go?”

What about changing the leadership culture?
Don’t give every one a voice., Maybe a staff led model. Fewer people making leadership decisions, not a big committee. Not more than 12.

Home campus was declining, what did you do?
Became more passionate – improve your heart for Jesus. Bring spiritual leadership.

Catalyst One Day Session 1 – Andy Stanley

Unexpected little gift today, sat at breakfast table with Craig Groeschel, bfast
Andy Stanley and Bobby Gwald. All incredibly nice!!

Session 1

Andy Stanley

I  Gaining and Sustaining Momentum

“If you don’t know what creates your momentum, you are one stupid step away from killing it.”
“What if there is a principle/formula for momentum?”
A Commonality to momentum?

A predictable system is part of how the Holy Spirit works in church/people.

Three components of Sustained Momentum

  1. New
  2. Improved
  3. Improving

A.  New

  1. New triggers momentum.
  2. Anything new, by definition, generates some kind of momentum.
  3. The momentum can be positive or negative.
  • Negative Event – Negative Momentum – 9/11
  • Negative Event – Positive Momentum – Rescue
  • Positive Event – Positive Momentum – New Sports Franchise

tip: Neg circumstances are the fertile soil for a burst of positive momentum

4.  Organizational momentum is often triggered by one of three things.

  • New Leadership
  • New Direction
  • New Product

5.  Implication: When evaluating an org or program that lacks momentum, ask, “Do we need a new leader, a new direction, or a new product?  Or do we need some combo of the 3?

6.  Momentum is never triggered by tweaking something OLD. It is triggered by introducing something NEW.  – New doesn’t guarantee sustained momentum

B.  Improved

  1. The new must be a NOTICEABLE improvement over the old.
  2. When evaluating a new option, ask, “Is this a significant improvement over what we had before?”
    Momentum will bring more people.
    Warning: Even a significant improvement has a shelf life.

C.  Improving

  1. Momentum is sustained through CONTINUOUS improvement.
  2. Continuous improvement requires SYSTEMATIC evaluation. (needs to be built into rhythm of org)
  3. Continuous improvement requires UNFILTERED evaluation.
  4. Continuous improvement requires that nothing and nobody be off limits.

II Applying “New and Improved” to the World of Ministry

A.  New

  1. New personnel
  2. New programming
  3. New Season
  4. New series
  5. New look
  6. New venues

B.  Improving

  1. Look for ways o upgrade your PRESENTATION
  2. Visit other ORGANIZATIONS
  3. Attend other CHURCHES

III  Momentum Stoppers

A.  Disengaged LEADER

B.  Overactive MANAGEMENT

C.  COMPLACENCY – tip: you rarely regain momentum by simply doing what you did to create it in the first place.

D.  COMPLEXITY – works against momentum (do 2 or 3 things very well)

E.  A breach of TRUST

Managers manage to sameness, predictability
Momentum creates chaos. Need good mix of leader/mgr.


who to pick for team to help you evaluate?
People who created whats being evaluated. Get feedback from a survey.

New seasons?
tailor rhythm/seasonality of program to those you’re trying to serve. Life cycle of singles is ~3months. Shorter than adults, students, kids  Introduce NEW every 3 months for singles.

Balance between mvmt of God, mvmt of man…God assembling people vs men assembling people?
God works thru principles, gives us gifts. Implement what NT teaches.

Parameters of Complexity? Who decides the level of complexity?
Lead pastor, elders