A Word about Fish

Pastor, if you’re in the disciple-making business then you’re in the business of changing people. You’re to be changing people into the image of Christ, God’s Spirit working with you. You’re to regularly be provoking people to live and love and give and care and serve the way Jesus did— motivated by what motivated him.

That rarely happens when you keep handing people fish.

Years ago, I was struggling my way through a character- development workshop in Honolulu with Dan Tocchini, my trainer and mentor. Dan’s life-changing counsel was this:

“Kirk, we’re not here to give people fish. We’re not here to teach them to fish.

We’re here to provoke their hunger!”

Are you?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

A Lesson from Habitat…

A number of years ago Habitat for Humanity approved my friends Richard and Jackie for a Habitat house. Working the graveyard shift in a manufacturing plant, driving a cab, and doing odd jobs whenever he could still wouldn’t provide the down payment my buddy would need to own a home.

Habitat, however, has a pathway to home ownership.

Richard and Jackie donated their time, lots of it, to help other Habitat recipients build their homes over a number of years. When the time came to work on their home, dozens of others were there to help out.

Many of us who love them pitched in as well.

It was a blast. Rewarding. Resourceful. Empowering. Richard and Jackie had “skin in the game.” They got far more than a home. They invested themselves in their home in a way that changed them.

Why doesn’t Habitat just hand out homes? They could. They could use a lottery system to select the fortunate few who’d get a nice new Habitat house for free. But they don’t.

Know why?

Because, getting a house for free doesn’t mature people.

It doesn’t develop character. It doesn’t strengthen confidence. It doesn’t shift one’s self-perception like it did for Richard and Jackie.

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

What We Can Learn from a Capital Campaign

Have you ever been a part of a church during a major capital campaign? What happened?

For a capital campaign to succeed, two things have to occur: those who already give must dig deep and give more, usually a lot more, and they often do. And also, those who rarely give and those who only gesture at giving are called upon to sacrifice as well.

That’s where the commotion commences, doesn’t it?

A capital campaign—like the claims of Lordship that Jesus so clearly articulates – calls each of us to painful sacrifice. In Matthew 10:38, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 and 14:27 the Gospels record Jesus’ clearly: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Yet, in our commitment to be visitor-sensitive, we communicate in dozens of ways that cross-bearing is optional. It is not expected and certainly not insisted upon. Then, when we finally call our people – all of them – to get into the game in a sacrificial way, many of them pack up and leave for another church or no church at all.

Don’t they?

Look at what all this visitor-sensitivity has produced. Do you see maturing disciples all around you?

Do you?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

What do we communicate…

We’ve been looking at the predominance of the 80/20 Rule that operates in much of the Church in North America.

Could it be that a distorted substitute for biblical grace has taken the Church? Consider how little the Church asks of Christians—in the name of what we call “grace.”

Ponder for a minute the abundance of resources we make available to Christians who are expected to contribute nothing in return. Churches, in general, are so transfixed with providing for their own that they have little time, energy, and resources with which to serve those outside.

Think about how much time and energy the Church spends on itself:

Baby dedications                              Baptisms

Child care                                        Mom’s nights out

Children’s ministry                           Men’s breakfasts

Youth group                                    Relationship counseling

Women’s teas                                  Extravagant holiday productions

College and career ministry               Pre-marital classes

Weddings                                        Marriage counseling

Divorce recovery                              Grief counseling

Financial management seminars         Debt counseling

Bereavement care                             Memorial services

Our churches provide cradle-to-grave services to the saved—most of which are free of any call that the recipients contribute to the community of faith from which they take, take, take.

My point is not whether these activities should occur. Their inclusion illustrates the abundance of free services churches provide to Christians (who feel entitled to them). These commitments leave few resources to actually grow Christians up and demonstrate the good news to those who don’t yet know Christ.

Is it any wonder that fewer than 10% of church-attenders tithe?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage


Pastor, innovate ways to involve most everyone, every time your church gathers.

A lot of people come to the church Annie and I attend. What if, routinely in our services, we grouped people and asked them to find someone in the group with whom they discover they have something in common, then turn that common ground into prayer?

What if our greeters grabbed the first ten strangers who walked in, and asked them to help greet our guests?

What if our ushers randomly asked people to help them?

What if our trained prayer team picked a handful of people to whom they gave one minute of prayer training, then had them come alongside and assist when praying for others?

What if every ministry team, the weekend before they do a local ministry, randomly asked people in the service to come and do it with them? What if they kept asking until 15 people agreed to come and help?

What if you made it clear that your church is a community where, from day one,

everyone gives.

Where everyone contributes.

Where everyone plays.

What if giving, contributing, and playing is actually how mature disciples are made?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Who is God Stretching?

Pastor, stop counting the numbers of spectators who amass at your weekend events. Instead, fix your attention on those who are making a difference for Christ: those who are serving, contributing, ministering. Rivet your collective leadership attention here.

Decide what maturing in Christ looks like in your context. Is it serving the unchurched by giving sacrificially of one’s money, time, and talents? Count those who live this way. It is those who contribute, who serve, and who minister outside as well as inside the church who most likely are maturing as Christ-like disciples.

Count only these!

Focus on their progress. Use them as examples when you teach and train. Make them your congregation’s visible heroes.

Pay attention to their growth. Who among them is God stretching, growing, maturing, and strengthening?

What are the experiences that seem to contribute to the development of their character, confidence in ministry, trust in Christ, and tenderness of heart?

What can you, as a senior leadership team do to provoke your people to love and to do good works? [Hebrews 10:24]

While you’re doing that, wean yourself off your fixation with how many attend this or that. To undermine the 80/20 rule, stop yourself from caring about how many come and listen. Stop asking about how many simply sit and take and leave.

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Equipping the Saints

What if your church staff became trainers, coaches, and equippers of the Saints [Ephesians 4:12] rather than event planners and show producers?

What experiences would support your people’s growth into maturity?

What skills would you be sure to have them practice? Perhaps you could give them drills in discerning God’s direction, praying for others effectively, and listening well?

What would you have them role play? Perhaps, you could instruct them to communicate parts of their Christ-story so as to connect with a variety of people in any number of life situations, to respond biblically to universal ethical and moral challenges, and to select appropriate scriptures that could support people facing common difficulties, life experiences, and perplexities?

What field trip experiences could be core to your disciple-making process? How could you have your people serve those outside the church who are culturally similar to them, volunteer with secular service organizations, and interview civic leaders [police officials, Mayor’s office, school administrators, YWCA director, city council members] about the true needs of neighboring residents?

How would you ensure that your people applied what you teach them when you do an education event? What pathways can you pave in advance of your weekend events so that every person can take action in line with their new learning?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

People-Developer or Entertainer?

As senior pastor, elder, or lay leader, what can you do to undermine the 80/20 Rule in your congregation?

One: Think like a people-developer, not a gatherer of spectators.

Re-think why you’re in Christian ministry.

Decide to jettison the notion, promoted by almost three hundred years of post- enlightenment Church culture, that your role primarily is to educate and entertain church people.

Instead, become primarily a disciple-maker and maturity-provoker. When your purpose is to catalyze people to live like Jesus, so much of the activity that fills and frustrates your workweek will change.

Think about it.

What if your senior staff took 80% of the hours it devotes to preparing for and pulling off a slick service – an education and entertainment event – and dedicated that time to imagining ways to provoke Christ-likeness in your people?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

How do Cults do it?

Ever wondered how cults are successful getting a following despite their whacky teaching and bizarre priorities?

One reason is that they communicate clear and challenging expectations to their followers. Often, these are very rigorous requirements. Though the cults’ demands are frequently misguided and always theologically corrupt, people by the thousands “pony up” whatever is required.

Maybe the cult leaders abuse the scriptures that you avoid?

Still, Jesus said: “If anyone will come after me, he (or she) must take up their cross daily and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34] Yet, such preaching is rarely heard in the namby-pamby, keep-them-coming-back Church of our day.

I wonder what prices we pay as a result. I wonder what prices America is paying.

Don’t you?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

Heart Renovation

“Discipleship,” to Jesus, had everything to do with how people live, and why they do what they do. He was laser-focused on the heart-posture and motivation behind people’s actions.

Discipleship began with the renovation of the heart; a heart-posture that expresses itself in a way-of-being in the world that is remarkable. [Acts 16:7]

Yet, in North America, church members’ way-of-being in society seems anything but remarkable.

Doesn’t it?

I wonder why that is.

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Go to Top