Archives For Leading


Note: I’m late posting this article from Christmas Eve, but the message remains the same. I hope it helps you.

It’s Christmas Eve, 2017. Do you know what that means? It means that it’s almost January first!

I’m not a proponent of New Year’s Resolutions; not at all. Resolutions rarely work. I won’t bore you with all the scientific details, but there are actually physiological reasons for the failure of resolutions.

Resolutions rarely work because we stand up tall, square our shoulders, and declare to ourselves that we resolve that next year will be different because we resolve to accomplish something; and it’s usually the same something we declared last year. Then something happens. It’s called life. As life happens, those spoken resolutions fade into the blur of a fast-moving calendar and everything that comes with it. But for the most part, those resolutions are forgotten until December 31 of the next year.

I am a believer in having goals and that leading up to January is a good time to review, renew, and establish goals. What’s the difference? Honestly, I’m not totally sure; but hang in here with me.

I believe in establishing goals. Goals are life targets. However, there are problems with goals, too. Goals can be forgotten. I have an application on my devices called Evernote. The cool thing about Evernote is that you never lose anything you put into it. Word recognition makes it almost if not entirely impossible for anything to be lost. Scan a document in and it will recognize the words in that document. Simply type some words into the search bar and every note and document you have that includes that word will appear.

Recently in Evernote I typed “goals” into the search bar. Goals that I had typed into Evernote as far back as 2012 came to the surface. With those goals came some disappointment. I had typed them into a note and forgotten them. Why would I forget an important goal? Because life happened and, well, I forgot.

Why is it so easy to forget? Life! Looking back at my goals from 2012, I found one of my goals that I didn’t totally achieve but I didn’t forget it, either. I set a goal in 2012 to read fifty-two books. I do believe in reading, but fifty-two books is not a goal that I necessarily recommend. I didn’t forget that goal to read all of those books because it was always in front of me. Every day, my current book was there for me to pick up. On my desk there were always three or four books that were in the bullpen just waiting for their turn. As I started reading one book, I ordered another. I didn’t read fifty-two books in 2012, but I did read thirty-four, which is pretty good and most importantly, I never forgot the goal because it was in front of me.

Lately I’ve been thinking again about my goals and that 2012 goal to read fifty-two books. So, I’m approaching the year with a new, untested goal- tracking system. I bought myself a cheap journal. It’s one of the spiral bound type that almost looks like your typical high school composition book.

Here is the untested system.

First, I wrote my goals on the first two pages of the journal. Remember, some scientists say that the action of writing makes the information more concrete, mentally. Now every morning as I have my quiet time, I read from the Bible, pray, listen to a podcast, read a few pages from my current read, and I re-write my goals. That’s right! The plan is that everyday of this next year, I will rewrite my goals. I will also add notes such as, “goal completed” and “goal dropped”; or I may write a note to explain what I will do on that day to help myself achieve that goal. We’ll see how it goes.

W Clemet Stone said, “No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.”

Finally, here are a few goal-setting pointers:
1. Write you goals down.
2. Read or rewrite your goals daily.
3. Be willing to edit your goal list. You may find that your priorities will change as the year goes by.
4. Act! Do something to make your goals a reality.


Today during my early morning quite time of Bible reading, prayer and reflection I was thinking about a hard reality of life and especially leadership and even more especially church leadership.

The thing about church is that we’re supposed to love each other. That’s what the Bible says. Being a Christian means loving people. Not liking or agreeing with everything they do but being patient, loving, forgiving and trying to understand.

I must confess on the outset that  I have not always been patient. As a matter of fact, honestly, I’m the most inpatient person I know. Now is not the time to lament why I struggle with being patient with Christians. I just need to admit it.

We want everyone to like us, even love us. It’s human nature and leaders are no different. The truth of the matter is they won’t. Not everyone is going to like you, your personality, your leadership style, your decisions or the stands that you take as a leader. It’s not going to happen.


What has amazed me through the years is not the fact that people don’t like something I did but the hatred that I feel or even experience from people who claim to be Christians. Not dislike, hatred! I did something they didn’t like or, yes it happens there is a personality conflict.

In politics you expect that people are going to hate you. The corporate world is cutthroat and people will hate you. It’s to be expected.  In Christians circles hatred never ceases to surprise.

I’ve been involved in church ministry since I was about 16 years old. I have been in church leadership for twenty-seven years. I’ve been around the block a few times and I have some knowledge about leadership. It doesn’t matter what you do… someone is not going to like it and someone may even hate you for it.

Sometimes for me I think it’s because of my personality.  I’m not the most outgoing, warm person I know. But then I think of a really close friend of mine who is the nicest, warmest, friendliest guy I know. I’m serious, I’ve never seen, know of or even heard a rumor of this man being anything but gracious, loving and kind. What he is, is a leader. I’ve witnessed he and his family going through hell on earth because someone didn’t like the way he led and yes, he is a pastor.

So what do you do when someone hates you?

Understand that what matters is not what someone who does not know you thinks about you. The only thing that matters is if God is pleased and what those who really know you think.

Does you spouse respect you? Do your children love and respect you? Are you seeking to please God? If the answer to those three questions is yes, that’s all that matters.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the opinion of those who don’t know you.

On the other hand if people who don’t really know you think your great but God is not pleased and your family doesn’t respect you, you’ve got work to do.


Failure is not an option. It is a necessity. • If you’re not failing, you’ve stopped dreaming. You’ll eventually stop learning. And you will stop growing. Those who have it fail often. • Failure is often the tuition for success (adapted from Walter Brunell). • Great leaders learn the art of failing forward.

Craig Groeschel

Leadership is learning what you need to know so that you can do what you need to do.

Andy Stanley

In addition to the Bible which I read daily, many magazine articles, blog post and more these are books that I have read this year, 2012, how I rate them on a 1-10 scale and a link to them at where I buy all my books. They are all rated pretty high. I’m sure that’s because my reading is done on a recommendation basis. I read books that people I respect recommend. This list will be updated from time to time.

Most Recent: Wrecked: When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life. Jeff Goins. This is the best book I have ever read.

1. Killing Lincoln, Bill O’Reilly  (10) 294 pages, Excellent, historical book written in a very entertaining way.

2. The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson (10) 215 pages, again an excellent book. This time on the subject of prayer.

3. Fasting, Jentzen Franklin (7) 230 pages. Good book for getting acquainted with the subject of fasting.

4. The Fasting Edge, Jentzen Franklin (5) 230 pages. It’s ok just more of the same from the first book on fasting.

5. Change, Count on It , Bill McDonald (10) 187 pages. Good book on faith and doing a work for God. I quote this book in my book. No link available but you can find my book The Eye of a Needle.

6. Weird, Craig Groeschel (9) 238 pages.

7. Radical, David Platt (9) 217 pages. Read this book only if you are serious about your relationship with God.

8. Soul Print, Mark Batterson (10) 165 pages. This book helped me a lot. It helps you be ok with being you.

9. Crazy Love, Francis Chan (10) 186 pages. This is another one of those books that you need to read if you are a radical, sold out Christian or want to be.

10. Think, John Piper (4) 184. I really like John Piper but this book was a hard read for me. I had to make myself finish it.

11. Beyond Justice, Joshua Graham (10) 430 pages. I accidentally downloaded this book to the Kindle app on my iPad thinking I was purchasing a John Grisham book. I was well into this book when I realized that it wasn’t a Grisham book but by then the book had me gripped. This is an awesome, legal thriller with Christianity in it. If you like fiction.READ IT!

12. Primal, Mark Batterson (8) 208 pages. I have read all of Mark Batterson’s books and recommend them all. The only reason I gave it an 8 is because I realized that I was give so many 10″s.

13. Wild Goose Chase, Mark Batterson (8) 174 pages. Ditto to the above.

14. The Broker, John Grisham (9) 422 pages. I love to read Grisham books. 

15. Governors of Praise, Joshua Fowler 157 pages. Disclaimer: Joshua Fowler is my cousin so no rating.

16. Not A  Fan,Kyle Idleman (9) 200 pages. Good book on being a follower of Christ.

17. Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson (9) 571 pages. I like biographies and I was very interested in the whole Apple and Steve Jobs thing. It was very detailed and very eye opening.

18. Spirit Rising,Jim Cymbala (9) 191 pages. Good Book.

19. Erasing Hell, Francis Chan (10) 190 pages. Do you believe in a literal hell? Either way you need to read this book.

20.  Platform, Michael Hyatt (10) 227 pages. I have become a huge Michael Hyatt fan. He is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson. This book is how to expand your platform and get noticed in a noisy world.

21. Creating Your Life Plan (ebook), Michael Hyatt (9) 94 pages.

22. Becoming a Coaching Leader, Daniel Harkavy (7) 204 pages. Good book for anyone who is into leadership and life coaching.

23. Crush It, Gary Vaynerchuk, (6) 132 pages. A book on internet marketing recommended by Michael Hyatt.

24. The Complete Guide to Evernote, (5) Not sure about pages now. I love Evernote for staying organized. The book didn’t teach me much that I hadn’t already learned on my own.

25. Wrecked: When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life. Jeff Goins. This is the best book I have ever read.


Something every leader whether in Church or a secular job must know. It’s short and to the point. I recommend that you read it.

Click Here to Read A Strong Word Every Leader Must Learn by Ron Edmondson.

A Pastor and A Beer.

jeffscurlock —  August 3, 2012 — 4 Comments

This is a post that I have much reservation about. I would never set myself up as a judge.

During the last year or so the subject has come up in my circles concerning Christians and Alcohol.  I belong to a network of churches and ministers that have long held that Christians should abstain from alcohol.  It was during my research that I first learned of  a particular, very influential pastor.

He is the founding pastor of a mega church and is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience-fans and critics alike-span the theological and cultural left and right.  This pastor was named one of the 25 Most Influential Pastors of the past 25 years by preaching magazine, and his sermons are consistently at the top on iTunes each week for Religion & Spirituality with over 10 million of downloads each year.”

I shared the information above from an internet site to establish the amount of credibility and influence this pastor has. I must tell you that in reading some of his stuff and listening to many of his podcast I enjoy most of what he has to say.

My problem with him is over alcohol. By his own admission he was never a drinker. Not in High School or College.

In a podcast that I listened to and a video I watched where alcohol was the subject this pastor admitted that he never drank until about three years ago.

Here is my problem. One of the most influential pastors in the world who is especially influential with young adults never drank but now has decided to be a drinker.  My question is why?

If you were never a drinker why would you as an adult who is a Christian leader decide to start drinking?

I have a problem with alcohol.  You can read my post Christians and Alcohol to see my argument. But let me pose this question. How many young Christians have decided to drink because a pastor or other Christian does? How many of those young Christians who may have never been drinkers but now are because of a pastor or another Christians influence become alcoholics? How many of them will never be able to influence another person to come to Christ because of alcohol? How many of them will die because of alcohol?

I believe God has called Christians to a higher standard. I also believe that men and women of God who have been given influence over others are called maybe even to a little higher standard.

From what I have learned of this pastor he is a great man with a heart for souls. He is a gifted speaker, writer and leader. My hat is off to him for what he has accomplished in his young life.  I hope in the years to come I could gain just a fraction of the influence that he has already gained.   I just don’t understand why?

Please subscribe to my site. You can do an RSS feed at the top of the page. There is an email subscription form in the right hand column.  You can also help me by getting the word out about this site. If you read something you can share please do so on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow this link to read my post, Christians and Alcohol

Follow this link to order a paperback copy of my book, The Eye of A Needle

Follow this link to order a kindle edition of my book, The Eye of A Needle

Follow this link to order the book, Hell’s Spells: How to indentify, take captive, and dispel the weapons of darkness. By Jim Raley. I highly recommend anything from Jim.

Follow this link to order the book, Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. Great book on the subject of prayer and I highly recommend it.

Follow this link to order the book. Soul Print by Mark Batters. I highly recommend this book

I’ve been involved in some sort of ministry since I was a teenager. I have been in full time preaching and leading ministry for twenty-seven years. During those years I’ve learned a lot.

My passion is to be a pastor. I love having people under my care, teaching them and seeing them grow. I have learned that a pastor (especially in smaller churches) has to wear many hats.

One of those hats is being the janitor.  I’ve heard young guys coming fresh out of college say things like “I’m called to preach, someone else needs to clean the toilets.” Unfortunately and maybe even fortunately that other person is that cocky young pastor who things that janitorial work is beneath him.

Since I have become a pastor I have cleaned toilets, mopped floors, washed the windows, picked up snotty tissues left behind, cut the grass, painted and more.

I have been a teacher and a preacher. What’s the difference? I head one many say, “teaching is telling it and preaching is yelling it.  That’s funny. That’s not my definition I just thought it might make you grin. I’ve been a ministry leader, a counselor, a consultant, a coach and more.

When I was in High School I had aspirations of becoming a football coach. My high school principle assured me that if I would get a teaching degree I would have a job waiting for me.  God had other plans for my life.

I am currently reading the book “Becoming A Coaching Leader” by Daniel Harkavy. A book that to this point I can highly recommend and I have put a link below for you  find it.  In this book Harkavy spells out the differences of some titles that leaders have. All of these are hats that I have to war.

Counselor, According to Harkavy, “a counselor can be helpful when someone is struggling with some current or past event .”

Teacher: “Teachers have an assigned curriculum; their job is to help students learn that curriculum.”

Trainer: “A trainer helps someone to learn a new behavior.”

Consultant: “A consultant comes into an organization to determine where the most significant challenges or opportunities for improvement might be and then makes specific recommendations….”

Mentor: “A mentor shares what he or she knows with someone less experienced.”

Coach: “A Coach helps others to assess their situation and then improve their skills, disciplines, and knowledge so that they can make the necessary big picture changes.”

I love the idea of being a coach. The only problem is that many Christians want to be preached at, taught at, counseled at and even have recommendations given to them but they don’t want to be coached. Why? Because coaching demands a change.

The late Tom Landry who coached the Dallas Cowboys for years once said, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear and has you see what you don’t want to see, so that you can be who you’ve always know you could be.”

I love the idea of coaching and being coached. The prospect that all of us can be better! I am expanding my personal coaching service and looking for willing vessels.

Get Daniel Harkavy’s book, Becoming A Coaching Leader.

Get my book, The Eye of A Needle.

Please subscribe to at the email sign up above and to the right.