Warning: You Are Decreasing Your Impact by Not Meeting Other Pastors

If you’re like me you love the people in your church. You love the work you get to do and the people you get to work with, but slowly over time your realize that you are living in a bit of an echo chamber. You slowly loose the ability to look at your situation “from the outside”.

Then we get busier.

We have more programs to put on, more events on the calendar, more people to take care of.

It can feel hard enough to get our OWN thing done, and that don’t have the energy to listen anyone else’s thing.

And while it can feel busy, it can feel lonely and draining.

Before you know it you’ve slipped into a slow, inward focused, downward spiral.


The thing is, we don’t have to feel alone.

We don’t have to get sucked into the vacuum of inward focus.

But when we don’t have the chance to meet other pastors we are missing out:

  1. We miss out on new ideas. 

    When we live inside the echo chamber of our own church or denomination, we can tend to try the same things over and over. 

    Just spending time with other pastors in other churches allows for those moments of curiosity. 

  2. We miss out on new relationships

    Being a pastor can be lonely. It can feel like you are always on, that your friends are also people you are responsible to lead and shepherd. 

    Meeting other pastors allows you to rub elbows with your peers, people who you can think out loud with. They are people who we can share ups and downs with, and very often, without the fear of doing damage in our own church community. 

    We all need people to talk to who don’t “have a horse in the race,” as they say. 

  3. We tend to be unprepared for the future.

    Think of it like insurance. It’s something you invest in now so that it’s there in the future. What you learn from other pastors and the relationships you build help to prepare you for those moments you weren’t prepared for. 


So get out there! Meet some people, go to some pastoral training events and sit by some people you don’t know. 

Find the next pastor’s network gathering in your area. 

Look for prayer breakfast or for a church planter meeting in your city.  

Jump on Google or Eventbrite and search “Pastor Event” and the name of your city.

Find something and jump in. Your “future self” will thank you.

If you are going to be in the Pacific Northwest in the beginning of May, join us at Church Health & Growth Accelerator

I’ll be co-hosting with my good friend Gabe Kolstad and special virtual guest, Tony Morgan.

It will be a great place to get some training, meet some new people, and invest in your future, as well as your church’s.

[Learn more]

You Might Be Wasting Time and Money on Good Ideas

Feel busy? Do you ever have that moment where you look at the next event on your calendar and ask yourself “Why are we even doing this?”

You’re not alone.

If left unchecked, the meetings, events, and ministries we repeat week after week become routine and disconnected with why they started in the first place.

That’s a problem…but it doesn’t only exist with those routine events on your calendar.

It can happen with new ideas too.

You might be wasting time and money on good ideas....png

I was recently at a Pastor’s conference and was having lunch with two attendees I had not met before. They were not on staff at their church (they worked full time in the marketplace) but told me about a preaching development program they were participating in at their church.

I, of course, was intrigued.

I began asking questions to better understand what their participation looked like.

They began to describe some of the incredible communicators that had come to speak to them about the importance of preaching.

Honestly, I was impressed with the caliber of their guest “lecturers”. Whoever was designing this program was inviting some accomplished communicators to speak to the program participants.

But it all fell apart when I started to ask about their end goal.

What was the purpose of the program? They couldn’t really say.

Were they getting any preaching reps? No.

What were they accomplishing in the end? Learning about preaching.

That last one was noble, but problematic .

They knew it was a good idea to teach their people about preaching, but no one really had a sense of the problem they were trying to solve.

And here in lies the problem.

A solution without a problem is a waste of time. 

A solution without a problem is a waste of time.
— @StevenJBarker

We can experience this both in our routines and when implementing new ideas.

  1. Routine Meeting, Events & Ministries

    With any event on your calendar you should be able to answer:

    “What problem is this solving?”

    If it’s a weekly meeting with your team, maybe it’s insuring you stay connected as a team. The agenda should reflect that.

    If it’s a 1:1 with a direct report, maybe it’s calibrating their goals and activities. The questions you ask should reflect that.

    If it’s an annual event for your church, ask yourself: Why did we start this event? Has the goal changed?

  2. New Ideas

    New ideas, quite honestly, are easy to come by. Visit another succeeding church and I’m sure you’ll come away with a list. Listen to a prominent church leader’s leadership podcast and I’m sure you will easily double the length of that list.

    Inspiration is undoubtably important for you as a leader, but where we get ourselves in trouble is when we fail to ask they question:

    “What problem where they trying to solve?"

    And then following that question with, “Are we experiencing that same problem?”

In the end, the most valuable thing you can do is to have a vision for where your church is going in the next two years and then filtering everything through that.

Grab a piece of paper.

At the top, write this sentence:

In the next two years, our church will…

Brainstorm away. You’ve got a vision in there. A place you believe God is leading you. Write it down.

Then write down a list of problems that need to be solved in order to get there.

That list of problems becomes the filter for the types of podcasts you listen to, the questions you ask of leaders at those succeeding churches. It becomes the filter for your meeting schedule and agendas.

And then share the problems with your leaders. You wouldn’t ever be the one to come up with all the best solutions, that’s something that is always better with more minds.

Remember, a solution, a meeting, a ministry, a new idea without a problem may be wasting your time and your church’s finances.

And that’s not something that any of us get excited about.

The Secret to Finding Your Purpose

Exploit your strengths, push to discomfort.

I was confused on my journey to discover my strengths.

Maybe it had to do with those two ridiculous interview questions: What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

As I would stare at the interviewer, I'd describe something already listed on the job description (”I’m great with people.”). Then with some twisted reverse psychology I'd describe some irrelevant characteristic like ”I work too hard.”

As humorous as that is, it doesn’t do me any good in my pursuit to find purpose and impact.

The Secret to finding your purpose.png

In fact I think we can get confused with the idea of strengths, confusing them solely with abilities that come easy to us. That’s a limited view that does more to create frustration and disappointment.

Instead, let’s look to Marcus Buckingham’s four clear signs of strength:

  1. Success — This is effectiveness in the activity you are doing.
  2. Instincts — Find those things that you instinctively look forward to, and capitalize on them.
  3. Growth — You're growing when you can concentrate on an activity, and time just flies by.
  4. Needs — Some activities might make you tired, but they fulfill you.

I can tell you from experience that it took years of experimenting to hone in on my strengths, but once I began to understand them, I could offer them whenever possible.

The Problem

Discovering your strengths/your greatest contribution is exhilarating. It’s like uncovering hidden treasure. We discover something about ourselves that we’ve always had a hunch was there. The problem is stopping here. Discovering your strengths is not discovering your purpose, but it is a step on the way their.


Once you discover your strengths, you’re next step is to lean in. Offer that strength whenever possible. Offer it on small projects, offer it on large ones. If you do it better than anyone else, with proven results, put those skills to good work. [Read more]


The secret to finding your purpose is hidden in discomfort. The danger of discovering your strengths is the huge temptation to stay safe, to only do things you know you’re good at. You box yourself just to stay safe.

Instead, push yourself to the edge of your skill set. If you’re using your strengths, but are at the edge of your ability, you’re in just the right spot.

Modified. Image credit,  @darcyjohoman

Modified. Image credit, @darcyjohoman


Ask for new responsibility, talk to that person you feel intimidated to talk to (could be a neighbor or someone you look up to).

Just make sure to exploit your strengths & push to discomfort. You never know what God might want to do through you.