Category Archives: Quotable

Catalyst 2007 – unChristian

A moderated discussion with Tri Robinson, Chris Seay, Dave Kinnaman, and Gabe Lyons, on Kinnaman’s & Lyon’s new book unChristian.

  • Why does our revelation to others that we’re Christians bring such rejection?
  • unChristian set out to scientifically document perceptions of and attitudes towards Christians. Over 10,000 interviews were conducted.
    • Top perceptions: Anti-gay, Judgmental, Hypocritical, Sheltered, Too political, Proselytizers
    • NonChristians 16-29 years old are 8x less favorable about Christians than their Boomer parents
    • unChristian is not an opinion poll to see how we should act… we still have the Bible for that.
  • “We’re not hated for righteousness, but for self-righteousness.” Dave Kinnaman (DK)
  • “On ‘Oh, this is nothing but media bias…’: Research shows that 16-29 y/o’s have 5 Christian friends, 6 months experience among a church community, a majority have at least considered what it means to follow Christianity, etc. They’ve been up close and personal and have some very real things to say.” Gabe Lyons (GL)
  • “They have personal stories to back up their perceptions of Christians as hypocritical, shallow, etc.” (DK)
  • “This generation is slipping away from us. If we sit back and assume our world’s going to Hell, and just leave it alone… well, we just can’t be like that.” (GL)
  • There’s been a surge of people identifying themselves as ‘Christ-followers’ and other similar terms, instead of ‘Christian’. “We need to be redeeming the term ‘Christian’, showing all the things we’re for.” (DK)
  • If Jesus were physically among us again, “his focus would not be on morality… it would be on God and the Creator. If you focus on morality, Romans ultimately tells you you won’t get morality. unChristian is not despair of where we’re at, but hope of where we can be.” Chris Seay (CS)
  • “Before we’re gonna change our culture, we’ve gotta change our own hearts.” Tri Robinson (TR)
  • “It’s wrong to preach a message about social justice or giving water or feeding the poor without providing an outlet for people to go and put it into action. We need a path to run on and it’s the role of the church to provide that path.” (TR)
  • “Christians today are waiting for their leaders to say its ok to care for the environment.” (TR)
  • “It comes down to our character. So far, the right answers have produced the wrong character. We have to own some of that.” (CS)
  • “In those perceptions are tremendous opportunities. They [nonChristians] are smart & savvy. They do remember. They’re begging for chances and deep conversations to wrestle with their doubts. They’re absolutely waiting to be awakened to God’s purposes. They could change the world, we just have to get out of the way.” (DK)
  • “Spirituality is at an all-time high, but they’re not finding it in Christianity. It’s not just an image problem. It’s not that you have to five yup the truth. You just have to hold it in tension as you engage people that are different than us, that are anti-us.” (GL)
  • “I feel that there is a major major trend coming. Let’s talk about the things we agree on. There are so many organizations that are on the same page that don’t know each other exist. Let’s draw the gifting into one place.” (TR)
  • “They don’t recognize the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ in Christians. The generation is skeptical of us. What will we do? Will we hole up? Do we draw a line in the sand? How could we embody that grace and truth that Jesus tells us he is?” (DK)

Tom’s Shoes

One thing that sometimes turns me off to even the noblest of fundraising plans and charities and stuff is how complicated they can get. I mean, before you give to something, you should investigate it and find out where your money’s going. So when 55% goes here and 30% goes there and 84% is overhead, blah blah blah, I’m like, “Eh, it’s kinda complicated… Whatever…”

So what about a charity or service that has a 1 to 1 giving ratio? Pretty straightforward and real easy to give to.

Tom’s Shoes.

You buy a pair, another goes to one of 600,000 barefooted kids in Ethiopia. Easy.

On that note, here are some wise words about what we buy:

In simple English, this is truth
So see if this makes sense to you
Under the guise of Jesus Christ
Beneath the vibe and all the lights
They lie, these spies
Covered, your eyes
I never knew this was a contest
I guess we lost it long ago

Blue mixes
Kick us while we’re down, yeah
Fixing prices
Sure, you say one thing
But your actions tell the truth on you

So, blue mix means to weaken sound
Turns concert halls to battlegrounds
Make us pay to go on tour
Marked up t-shirts to match yours
Blind fans, gold mine
You are, dollar signs
And when did this become a contest?
I guess we lost it long ago

Blue mixes
Kick us while we’re down, yeah
Fixing prices
Sure, you say one thing
But your actions tell the truth on you

You are responsible
To watch what you buy
These bands that you love
Pull the wool over your eyes
So watch them
Watch us
Watch them

Five Iron Frenzy, “Blue Mix”

[FIF HT] : t.c.

Catalyst 2007 – Patrick Lencioni

“The Ministry of Management”

  • Work is under-focused-on in our lives. Not in terms of time spent, but how it’s often thought of as that “other thing we do.”
    • Even in church. There’s not much talk about work. Family, poverty, orphans, etc. All admirable topics, but honestly, what takes up the majority of our time? TV clergy/priests always shown giving a sermon or leading confession, never doing paperwork.
  • Ah, but it’s changing. Shows like “Dirty Jobs.” The people on those shows, the people that have crappy jobs, seem to be pretty much content. And then we look at the CEO’s and high-level managers, and they’re miserable!
    • Maybe we should be focusing on … fulfillment.
  • Nobody’s immune from the “Oh, crap, I gotta go to work tomorrow…” blues.
  • “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” -Samuel Johnson
  • Observed an obviously cheerful young employee at an airport fast-food joint. His colleagues obviously despised him.
    • BUT… Like everyone else, he deserves to love his job. So what does he need from management to help him continue on as he is?
  • We all need just a few simple things, or rather, need the absence of a few simple things:
  • Anonymity
    • We ALL have a need to be known.
    • Why don’t we think we’re supposed to invest in the people we work with? (Especially those with whom we’re trusted to manage!)
      • Lencioni was wined and dined while being recruited for a consulting job out of college. Very same managers actively ignored him from Day 1 on the job.
    • Excuses for allowing anonymity: Too busy, forgot what it’s like to be
    • there, fear of suddenly coming off as disingenuous, lazy, arrogace
  • Irrelevance
    • You have to know that you make a difference in someone else’s life, however large or small that difference might be.
    • Pastors have the “making a difference” market cornered, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need reminding that people appreciate the difference they do make.
  • Immeasurement
    • A Fundamental Wondering: “How am I doing?”
    • We need to be able to know how we measure up, and ideally need to be able to informally measure ourselves
    • Do those you manage have the tools to know how they’re doing? They could be miserable if they don’t..
    • Example of immeasurement: pooled tips.

    Bottom line… Don’t wait to retire so you can go be a missionary, and let that be your grand legacy of influence. Don’t wait to retire to realize the impact you have at the place you’re at right now. The people you manage are more long-term impacted than anyone you’ll short-term serve on a mission trip or other retirement project!

(RPD comments forthcoming.)

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Catalyst 2007 – Andy Stanley, part 1

“The Most Powerful Man in the Room”

  • Power has become a 4-letter word in conversations about leadership.
  • If God has you in leadership, the fact is that you have power. We like the word “influence” but let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s essentially power.
    • Student ministry is a prime example of immense power. Power to build and crush with very little effort.
  • We shy away from power because it’s intimidating. Churches don’t like point leadership (i.e. power concentrated in few people)
    • But really, “Follow We” is no better than “Follow Me” if those We’s aren’t properly stewarding their power…
  • So, when we’re talking about power, the big question is: What do you do when you realize you’re the most powerful person in the room?
    • Side-note: Chances are that in 11,000 people, some of you will be anti-megachurch. But please hear me out because a justifiable bias probably comes from your experience with abused power, which makes you a prime candidate to go forward and leverage God’s power. You know the dangers of it and you care deeply about its wise use.
  • Jesus (didn’t see that coming, did you?) gives us a prime example of how the most powerful man in the room responded: The Upper Room, John 13.
    • “He showed them the full extent of his love.” (v1) Sneak peak of what Jesus did with his power.
    • “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power.” (v3) Clearly, Jesus knew he was the most powerful man in the room.
    • “So…” (v4) As a result of this…
    • took off his outer clothing” (v4) shed his symbols of rabbinical authority
    • “began to washed his disciples’ feet” (v5) used miracle-conducting hands to scrub crusty grime, among a culture obsessed with cleanliness
    • “I have set an example,” (v15) So maybe we should follow suit?
  • Look for ways to leverage your power for the sake of others around you. Because that’s the example Jesus set for us.
  • If you leverage your power for your own sake, you (un)consciously declare that you are greater than your Master (cf. v14)
  • Not to apply this principle is an admission of weakness, not a display of strength.
  • “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” King George III, upon learning of George Washington’s intent to pass on emperorship, and let someone else take the reins.
  • Basically, don’t fear power. Simply learn to leverage it properly.
  • The legacy of your leadership will not be determined by a lifetime of applying principles and insights, but it will be the product of your reactions time after time when you realize you’re the most powerful person in the room.

(RPD comments forthcoming.)

William Blake quote

Both read the Bible by day and night; but you read black where I read white.

-William Blake


Just Show Up

In his charge to the Class of 2007, Theodore J. Wardlaw, president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, recounts an unpleasant ordination examination conducted by his Committee on Preparation for Ministry.

The meeting ended with them saying, “Mr. Wardlaw, we’re not persuaded that you can answer two of these ordination questions in the affirmative. In face, we think you may be a Neo-Kantian Whiteheadian.” (apparently an unpopular theological stance in South Carolina during Rev. Wardlaw’s seminary days…)

Wardlaw continues, Continue reading


Reading my email this morning, I was reminded this morning of a couple passages in chapters 13 & 17 in The Gospel of John. Jesus prays for unity among those who claim His name.

Francis Schaeffer points this characteristic as the “mark of the Christian.”
Schaeffer goes further and reminds us of its inherent challenge:

“Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon his authority he gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born-again Christians on the basis of our observable love toward all Christians.
That’s pretty frightening. Jesus turns to the world and says, ‘I’ve something to say to you. On the basis of my authority, I give you a right: you may judge whether or not an individual is a Christian on the basis of the love he shows to all Christians.'”

A tall order from the Prince of Peace, no doubt.