Archives For Leadership

This is a guest post from the best mom ever, my wife, Sara. I’m so thankful for her!

I don’t know when I began our ritual, but it was sometime before Lylah’s first birthday. While she sat in her high chair, I would poke myself in the chest while saying “Mama.” Then I would poke her in the chest while saying “Lylah.”  When Austin was around, I would repeat the ritual, adding in “Dada” as I poked him.

Raising this little one takes persistence.

Raising this sweet, little one takes persistence.

I would do this almost daily, usually when she was in her high chair. I bet some days I did it at all 3 meals. Usually, Lylah would just smile at me, or giggle after I poked her. By the time she was 1, she was able to recognize me as “Mama” and Austin as “Dada.” These were her first words and I don’t know about Austin, but I cried with joy the first time she looked at me… really looked at me… and said “Mama.” Continue Reading…

He made another $4,000 while I wrote this post.

He made another $4,000 while I wrote this post.

Two days ago, Zach Braff started a Kickstarter campaign. As of the time I’m writing this, he’s raised $1,753,503.

He’s made almost a million bucks a day. I’m watching the amount of pledged money increase while I write. It’s amazing.

For those who don’t know who Zach Braff is, he played John Dorian, or JD, on the TV show, Scrubs. I remember laughing out loud throughout the first episode of the show that I saw. “I have to watch this series,” I resolved, and bought the first season on DVD as soon as possible. I was an instant fan.

It’s debatable, though, whether Zach is better known as JD from Scrubs or as Andrew Largeman from the first movie that Zach wrote and directed, Garden State. Either way, through his involvement in Scrubs and Garden State, he has accumulated a gargantuan following of dedicated, Indie fans. For example, he has over 1,000,000 Twitter followers.

But Garden State came out in 2004. And a ton of people (myself included) have been wondering why he hasn’t undertaken anything significant recently.

In his Kickstarter video, he explains that if he wants funding from large financial backers for a new movie, he would have to give up a significant portion of artistic rights, and he wouldn’t be able to make the movie that he feels passionate about making.

Enter Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is still a relatively new idea in the world, but not so new as far as internet time goes. Essentially, anybody with a great idea sets up a plan and asks people for pledges to make their idea become a reality. They set a target financial goal and have an allotted amount of time to reach the goal. People then can pledge various amounts of money toward the project and they receive varying degrees of rewards for their pledges. Some of Zach Braff’s look awesome, by the way.

If the goal amount is not pledged by the allotted time, then nothing happens (and Zach is sad, according to his page). But if the goal amount is reached within the allotted time, then everybody who pledged their money pays their pledged amount at the end of the campaign. And the great idea is now funded to become a reality.

Zach Braff teaches us a powerful lesson about building trust as a leader. Continue Reading…

About ten days ago, I went on a short field trip with a few of our 8th grade Confirmation students.

Steve(left) at the Beacon.

Steve (left) at the Beacon.

We had some time to kill so we decided to head over to the Beacon of Hope, a men’s shelter in our town. We toured the facility and spent time talking with the director, Steve, the chaplain, Eric, and one of the men staying at shelter. It was a powerful experience. Continue Reading…

On March 9th, Rachel Ramsey Cruze spoke at our church.

Even Lylah likes financial peace!

Even Lylah likes financial peace!

Sara and I had an unforgettable weekend with her as we had dinner on Friday night, and led a Saturday event at my church for young adults, teenagers, and their parents. The event brought in over 200 young people and their families. It was a great success.

But it was also a big risk.

There were numerous details and financial issues to take care of in order to invite a great speaker like Rachel Cruze to our church. It took financial commitment from our church before we knew how the event would turn out.

We knew Rachel would be great, but we didn’t know how many would show up to hear her speak. After all, it’s tough to sell high school students on an 11am event about sound, Biblical financial practices, even though we said the event would free. And in Iowa, your best laid plans can be waylaid by snow all the way into spring.

So our church said “yes” to Rachel before we knew how to fill it with people.

As I said earlier, the event turned out great. People from all over Fort Dodge and surrounding towns came to hear her speak. It was advertised on local radio stations, on billboards throughout town, and in our newspaper. People from a multitude of contexts saw that our church was reaching out to the community, helping people take control of their finances.

I heard from parents that their teenagers started talking about money in entirely new ways after the event. Parents were thankful to have a common language for talking with their kids about honoring God with money.

But none of this would have happened if a few key people in our church hadn’t been willing to take a risk. One of our elders and some people from one ministry team shared their vision to bring Rachel Cruze to our church. They spent hours in planning meetings with church staff and myself to make everything work. Even more, they put their name and reputation in the church on the line to bring Rachel here.

As I stood in our Christian Life Center, introducing Rachel Cruze that morning, I felt so proud for the faith of these people in our church. I felt so proud to be a part of a church where people were willing to commit their finances, time, and reputation to organize an event that can impact a generation of young people in our community.

I’m reminded of Hebrews 11 that I read this past we. In this famous passage, the author recounts the stories of those who’ve gone before us, taking risks for God’s calling. They’re all commended for their faith.

And they lived out their faith by embracing God-ordained risks.

What risky thing might God be calling you to embrace during this season in your life?

This is a guest post from my wife, Sara. Show her your support by leaving a comment below.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” ~Harry S. Truman

What Austin is currently reading.

What Austin is currently reading.

I had heard a variation of that quote many, many times in the last three years. Usually, the variation said, “readers are leaders and leaders are readers.” It went with an encouragement to READ if you were in leadership. The assumption is that one cannot adequately lead without reading. Continue Reading…