What Hedgehogs Teach Us About Ministry

In Jim Collin’s classic book, Good to Great, he introduces readers to the idea of a Hedgehog Concept. Collins says the idea came from a famous essay by Isaiah Berlin called “The Hedgehog and the Fox.” It’s based on the ancient Greek parable: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The fox uses multiple ideas and numerous strategies in its battles with the hedgehog. But, says Collins, the hedgehog always wins by using one simple, surefire approach – curling up into a ball. When the hedgehog employs this defensive position, it exposes his sharp spikes to deter attacks from predators. Despite the many and varied tactics the fox uses, the hedgehog always emerges victorious by using his one, focused strategy.

Collins goes on to say that the idea of a Hedgehog Concept has helped successful companies define who they are, focus their energies and become more successful. They do this by answering three critical questions. 1. What are you best at? 2. What are you most passionate about? 3. What drives your economic engine?

Developing a Hedgehog Concept for churches can be extremely valuable. As churches grow, they naturally drift towards complexity. So the need to define and embrace a Hedgehog Concept will help define vision and mission, give a framework around resource allocation and give clarity to critical decision making.

I was part of a church that used the Hedgehog Concept. The senior leaders asked the three questions. After much time, thought and prayer, their answers were incorporated into the culture of the church and helped the church in a major season of growth.

As church leaders who want to bring increased levels of organizational health to your churches, encourage your leaders to wrestle with these three questions.   Continue reading

21 Unforgettable Quotes from the 2017 Leadership Summit

Every year, the two days I spend attending the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit with my fellow staff members is the highlight of my year. The Summit is two amazing days filled with refreshment, recharging, learning and inspiration from top-notch leaders from the realms of business, church, activism, media and government.

I hear so many brilliant and inspiring thoughts each year, I try to tweet them all. But, because I can’t keep up, last year I wrote a blog on the 21 most unforgettable quotes from the Summit. This year is no different. Here are 21 unforgettable quotes from the 2017 Leadership Summit.

“Your organization’s culture will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.” – Bill Hybels

“Leadership development is both the individual and organization’s responsibility.” – Sheryl Sandberg       

“Listen to outsiders. Outsiders aren’t bound by our assumptions.” – Andy Stanley

“Talent x effort = skill. Skill x effort = human achievement. Talent counts, but effort counts twice.” – Angela Duckworth

 “Leadership begins with a dream. Fear silences dreams.” – Gary Haugen

“Sometimes, where you are used to being is not where you belong.” – Sam Adeyemi Continue reading

Book Review: Pull – Making Your Church Magnetic

PULL by Bob FranquizOver the past 25 years, there have been many great books on how to make church better. I’ve read many of them and each one offers a unique perspective on the topics of what to do, how to do it and why do it? Bob Franquiz’s book, Pull – Making Your Church Magnetic is a great example of this kind of book.

To give a bit of historical background, there has been much debate in the past two decades on the best way to grow a healthy church. For many years the main method was the invitational approach. In this line of thinking, the “product” at your church is so important and relevant, you merely need to invite people to come and hear the message, and they will show up. And their lives will be changed. Yet more recently, there’s been a different methodology embraced by many. Some suggest an incarnational approach recognizes that people will not respond to an invitation to visit a church. So instead of inviting friends and neighbors, a believer should simply allow God to be formed in him or her, share that experience with others, and they will eventually accept Christ. Volumes have been written about this and other approaches to building God’s Church and fulfilling His Great Commission. This blog entry will not attempt to repeat that.

Additionally, phrases like “externally focused”, “missional”, and “emergent” tend to muddy the water and confuse many. But Franquiz is definitely in the attractional camp of doing church, and Pull gives many specifics on how to make church irresistible. I’ve chosen three themes in his book to point out. Continue reading