6 Steps for a Christian Leader’s Best Year – Part Two

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We all want to grow as Christian leaders but honestly, leadership growth rarely happens accidentally. We’ve got to be intentional. So today, we’re gonna talk about part two of six steps to your best year as Christian leaders.

Every single month we gather. We’re focused, we’re growing, we know that when Christian leaders get better, everyone gets better.


I want to welcome those of you that may be joining us for the first time. Let me tell you about what we do. I value your time because your time is valuable. We’ll talk for 20, maybe 25 minutes. We’ll give you application questions, always at the end to help you grow and apply what you learn. We want to be your go to place so that we can help you to be Christian influencers we know you can be and through our training give you Christian motivation to be the best Christian leaders you can be. If you want more information perhaps, I know a lot of you go over this with your teams, you can go to life.church/leadershippodcast, just subscribe and we will send to you every month, The Leader’s Guide that has detailed notes and questions for your team so you can go through this together.


If you rate it or write a review it actually gives us more visibility and so thank you to those who you who help get the word out. Today is part two of six steps to your best year as Christian leaders. If you have not yet listened to the last episode, I would encourage you just to stop, go grab that one first and then pick this one up. Let me give you a quick review of what we covered last time, then we’ll dive into new content. In the last episode we talked about who before do. Before you think about what you want to do in a new year, start with who you want to become. Based on who you want to become, then you decide what you want to do.

We talked about three steps last week. We talked number one about a discipline to start.


What do we know? 

Small disciplines done consistently lead to big results over time. What does a small discipline do?

Discipline closes the gap between what you want and what you achieve. Discipline is the bridge between who you are and who you want to become. So based on who you want to become, what discipline do you need to start? Number two we talked about the courage to stop. As a leader or as an influencer, you want to go up, you want to rise.


To go up though, you have to let go. To accomplish more, you actually do less. In other words you don’t grow with your yeses, you actually grow with your noes. The key is never doing more, the key is doing more of what matters. So, based on who you want to become, what do you need the courage to stop?


Don’t just think personally but think organizationally, maybe there’s a program, a meeting, something organizationally you need to stop.



Number three, you need a person to empower. Why, because over time your organization doesn’t grow stronger by what you do, your organization becomes stronger by who you empower. What do we know? The potential of your organization doesn’t rest in your ability but it rests in your ability to empower others.

If you don’t empower others, you will become the limiter to your organization’s potential.


Every day we must wake up with the mindset of how I can make myself redundant. Now this does not mean you are trying to remove yourself but that you have a daily intention to grow Christian leaders through empowering them to be Christian influencers who are encouraged to be the best they can be. Through this Christian motivation leaders will gain the courage to challenge themselves and to push themselves to be the best they can. This isn’t easy but I want to promise you, if you want to accomplish more, you actually do less. Focus your energy on the things that have the highest return. What do you need to do? You need a discipline to start. You need the courage to stop.

So, who will you empower to do what? You want to have your best year as Christian leaders’ year ever, you need a discipline to start, the courage to stop, a person to empower. Let’s dive into new content today. Number four, you need a system to create.


If you want to grow, be more influential, you need a system to create. This is such a big idea. We’ll likely do a whole episode on systems later on but let’s just cover the basics. What is a system? At its essence, a system is how you accomplish the what.

It’s how you specifically get things done in your organization. The truth is, most of the problems that you have are systems problems. You might say, you know I’ve got a customer service problem or I’ve got quality control problems or I’ve got a messy house problem. The truth is, you don’t have a customer service problem, a quality control problem or a messy house problem. You have a system problem that’s manifesting itself in the other things that you see.


What tends to happen in our organizations? A lot of times, we blame the people downstream. It’s your fault, this isn’t being done right, what’s your problem? We blame the people downstream but the problem is often a system upstream.

We haven’t created the right system to bring about the right result.

Now, some of you might say well, in our organization, we don’t really have systems. I want to tell you respectfully, you always have systems. Your system might be to show up, answer emails, attend meetings, handle problems and go home. That might be your system. It is a system, it’s not a good system but that is your system.

We have to acknowledge that you either have systems by intent or by default but you do have systems. What is your system? Your system is a result of what you’ve created or of what you’ve tolerated. Let me say it again. Your system is a result of what you’ve created or tolerated.

So if you want a better outcome, create a better system. What do you do? Stop tolerating and start creating. Now, I can’t go into the details of this for the sake of time but let me give you the basics.

Essentially what you want to do is you want to create a detailed plan of who does what, when and how.

That’s your system. Who does what, when and how? Very simply, for example my team tells me that there are 47 steps that take place to get this podcast out. I write the content, I put it on my iPad, put the microphone up, I look into the camera, I do the podcast. After that, there is a system that has 47 specifically designed steps of who does what, when and how.

It goes into production, there’s audio mastering, the lower-thirds are put up, someone writes show notes, someone proofs them, they craft the email, they post it on different channels. There’s 47 different, defined steps. Who does what, when and how. What do we know about systems? Healthy systems never happen by accident.

They are created. If you want to grow in your leadership perhaps this year, there is a system that needs to be created. What do we need to grow? Well a system number five, there might be a relationship to initiate.

You need a discipline to start, courage to stop, person to empower, system to create and number five, a relationship to initiate.


Someone said this, I love the quote. Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future. I’ve always said, show me who you’re listening to, and I’ll show you who you’re becoming. As Christian leaders’ relationships matter more than you could imagine. It’s been said and I believe this is generally true that you are the average of your five closest friends.

Your income is probably somewhere in the middle, the way you think, how you’re entertained, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

So, if you want to change who you are, change who you’re with. If you want to grow as Christian leaders, spend time with people who are stronger in their leadership, and you will rise when you’re around others. Here’s a problem, so many leaders essentially or primarily spend time with those who ask for their time. In other words, when it comes to their schedule, they’re responding. If we want to become Christian influencers, we must not allow others to rob us of precious time that needs to be spent in areas we are called to operate in.


You want to see me, so the answer is yes. What I want to do is when it comes to spending time with others, I want to encourage you, don’t just respond but initiate. Decide who you want time with and put those people on your calendar first. Reach out to someone who stretches you, who pushes you, maybe someone who confuses you and ask for time with them. Now as a side note, I just have to tell you that my assistants, and everyone that responds to my inbox made me promise that I would tell you that it’s probably not gonna be me spending a lot of time with you.

They said, this is my time with you. I don’t want to be that harsh but that’s kind of the way it is.

I can’t spend time with everybody but there are leaders in your community that you can reach out to. Reach out to someone that is ahead of you, learn from them, you may even reach out to someone that you’re critical of. There may be someone in your field or in a different field that you really don’t like.

Why can you learn from someone that you’re critical of? Because you often criticize what you don’t understand. The very fact that you’re critical means you don’t understand perhaps their context and you could learn from someone that you don’t like because they think different than you think. I want to also encourage you, don’t just meet with people in your field. Find great people anywhere.

For example, I’m a pastor. I learn from business leaders all the time. I learn from athletes and musicians and entrepreneurs and artists and crazy organized soccer moms. You can learn so much from them. The principles of growth, the principles of success, of discipline, of innovation, they’re easily transferrable and if you apply them, you will soon be on your way to becoming one of the go to Christian influencers.


You might have a relationship to initiate. I’ve always said this, that you may be one relationship away from changing the course of your destiny. You may be one relationship away from changing who you are as a leader. I’ll tell you my favorite story of this. I was maybe 30 years of age, I met a guy named Lyle Schaller who was a consultant.

Some people said he was crazy because he was so far ahead of his time. He was I think, 75 when I met him. Our church was about three years old, we were in three services on the weekend and I wanted to go to four. Back in the late 90s, I didn’t know of another church in America that had four services. That was kind of unheard of.

They might’ve been there but I didn’t know of them. Everybody around me said four is too many, you can’t do four, that’s crazy. You should never do four. I met with Lyle and I said, should I go to four? And Lyle looked at me, he was 75 and he said, “That’s the problem with you young pastors.


“You all think so small.” Then Lyle blew my mind. He said, “You shouldn’t be thinking three or four, “you shouldn’t even be thinking five or six. “You should be thinking seven services “at your first location. “Then seven at your second, then seven at your third.

“You won’t know what you’re doing “until you have five locations “but if you can do it at five, “you can do it at 50.” Totally blew my mind, he gave me what I call the gift of disorientation which gave this Christian motivation.

What you want to do is you want to look for people that are way, way, way ahead of you and let them change the way that you think. Well, because of Lyle, fast forward now some 20 years or so, on this weekend we will have 183 services, at 32 different locations. At Christmas we had 263 services at physical locations.

Why, all because Lyle Schaller helped change the way that I think. On a side note, I called Lyle before he died and I said, Lyle you told me seven services.

We should do seven services, well guess what? We’re doing eight at some campuses and now honestly, now we’re doing nine at some locations and Lyle said, eight, I never thought eight was possible. And I said, Lyle that’s the problem with you old guys.

You all think too small. If you’re stuck in your leadership, if you want to grow, find someone several steps ahead of you and learn from them. If you just meet with someone one or two steps ahead of you, you’ll see tweaks. If you find someone several steps ahead of you, you’ll see leaps of difference in how they think.


Now, let me just say this.

If you get a meeting with someone you respect, promise me you’ll come prepared, you’ll ask questions, you’ll shut your mouth and listen to them, take notes. So many people get a meeting with someone they respect and they do all the talking. Do not do that, ask them what are they reading? What podcast stretches them? What are your theories?

What do you think about the future? If you’re a 30-year-old meeting with a 40-year-old ask them, how does life look different at 40 than it did at 30? Just pick their brains, shut up, take notes and listen.

Everyone has relationships but few people have relationships on purpose. You want to grow, maybe you have a relationship to initiate.


This could be your best leadership year ever. What do you need to do? Based on who you want to become you need to have a discipline to start. The courage to stop, a person to empower, a system to create, a relationship to initiate and number six, you ready for it? You need a risk to take.

Remember, no one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe. If you want to be who you’ve always been, do what you’ve always done. If you want to change who you are then simply change what you do

“Take a risk, that’s where the good stuff is. So, wherever you are in your organization, if you’re just launching your organization, if your organization is succeeding, if it’s struggling. Wherever you are in your development, you’re a rookie or you’re a veteran, whatever your age, you’re a teenager, you’re in college, you’re just married.

You’re 70 and strong, now is Christian leaders is exactly the right time to take risks, now. Take a risk.

Take risks when you’re small and starting. Why, because you have to. You’re just getting off the ground. Take risks when you’re growing and stretched. Why, because you have to; to get to the next level.

Take risks when you’re strong and thriving. Why, because if you think doing the same thing is gonna work forever and ever, you’re kidding yourself.

Take risks whenever you’re declining, why? Because if you don’t, you will wake up extinct. Now is the time to take risks. Christian influencers are risk takers so we need to take risks but make sure you seek God because the world does not need another great idea from you what it needs is a great idea from God. This new idea will give each of you Christian motivation needed to cause you to stir your self up to take action.

In my organization right now we’re in a season of what I could call extreme strength. We’re growing, and what we’re doing is working in a really, really great and amazing way. I’m tempted to play it safe. And to be honest with you in some ways, we will play it safe.

In other words what we’re doing, it’s predictable, it’s kind of boring, it’s the same thing we did last year, and it is working.

So, we’re not gonna mess with what’s working but we’re going to anticipate what’s coming and take some risks toward the future. We’re not gonna blow up what’s working now but we’re also not going to coast, we’re not gonna rest on our success, we’re not gonna assume that what we’re doing today is gonna work five years from now.

In fact, recently I met with my top leaders and what I said is, we’re gonna designate a percentage of resources just to risk. Kind of what I’d call you know, a gamble, something that could have a big payoff. Something that may not work.


And so, we decided to come up with three different ideas to invest a significant portion of our resources toward one of those three. If we’re gonna spend this much money, if we’re gonna put this much time, we’re gonna come up with three competing, innovative, crazy, different, risky ideas. We’re gonna pick three and we’re limit it down to one. What’s the best one of three and then we’re going to take a gamble. We’re gonna risk some resources on something that could have a big payoff or it may not work but we have to take some risks.

So let me ask you this. What theory do you have? What hunch are you sitting on? What idea is kind of in the back of your mind? Well it’s time to take a risk.

For you, it could be launching a new product line.

It could be going back to school to finish your degree. It could be asking your boss if you can take on a new project. It could be launching a new ministry. It could be that you start writing your book.

You may sell 10,000 copies, you may sell three. But at the end of the day you’re still gonna get your book done and you’ll accomplish something and you’ll grow, it could be you start podcasting. It could be to ask her out on a date. Come on bro, do it. I’m cheering for you, what’s the worst that could happen?

What’s the best that could happen? If you get married and have a son, call him Craig because I got you into the faith zone to ask her out on the date.

I like what Tony Robbins says. He says this, “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong “and start being excited about what could go right.” You may say there’s a risk I want to take but I’m not ready yet.


Let me make you a promise, you’re never gonna be completely ready. In fact, if you wait until you’re completely ready you’re always gonna be too late. Let us review and then we’re gonna do questions for application, you want to have your best year of leadership what do you need? A system to create, what’s a system? A system is how you accomplish the what.

You either have systems by intent or you have them by default but you have them. Your system, what is it? It’s a result of what you’ve created or what you’ve tolerated. If you want a better outcome, it’s time to create a better system. Stop tolerating and start creating.

So what are you gonna do? You’re gonna create a detailed plan of who does what when and how.

Why, because healthy systems never happen by accident. They are created. You may need a relationship to initiate.

Show me who you listen to and I’ll show you who you’re becoming. If you want to change who you are, change who you’re with. You may be one relationship away from changing who you are as a leader. If you get a meeting with someone, respect their time. Come prepared, ask questions, listen, take notes, everyone has relationships.

Few people have relationships on purpose. You’re going to have some on purpose, initiate. And then finally, you may have a risk to take. Remember no one ever achieves greatness by playing it safe. If you want to be who you’ve always been, just keep on doing what you’ve always done.

But if you want to change who you are, change what you do. What theory do you have? What idea, what hunch? It’s time to take a risk. Three application questions.


Number one, where do you see tension in your organization? Where is there a rub organizationally? When you answer that, answer this question.

What system do you need to create to get the result you want? Your system is perfectly designed to get the result that you’re getting right now.

If you don’t like the result that you’re getting, change the system. What system do you need to create to get the result you want. Number two, based on who want to become, who do you need to meet? Or another way of asking, what relationship do you need to initiate? Be intentional, who knows.

That one relationship, like my time with Lyle could dramatically change what you’re able to do. Number three, based on who you want to become and what you want to accomplish, what you want to do, what risk do you need to take. Great Christian leaders are made not born, yes you are born with the talents and skills but if you will not hone them, discipline them you will not become one of the great Christian influencers. Your lack of due diligence will result in you losing your Christian motivation and stop you empowering others. Let me encourage and get up into your business for a moment. Stop talking about it, get off your you know what, roll the dice, pick up the bat and swing, get in the game, give it a whirl.

Take a risk, but I’m not sure I’m ready.

You’re never gonna be completely ready. If you wait until you’re completely ready you’re always gonna be too late. I want to again, say a heartfelt thank you to all of you for being a part of our community. Thank you for sharing on social media, inviting others to be a part of our leadership community

Write a review for it, that helps create the exposure. And let’s take the pressure off. We feel so much pressure as leaders. We feel like we have to have all the answers, we have to know it all. We have to get it all right.

You don’t have to. Care about people, lift the lid for people.

Believe the best, empower them. Together you can create something great. You don’t have to be perfect, be real.

Be yourself because people would rather follow a leader who’s always real than one who’s always right


***Thanks so much for joining us for this discussion on 6 steps to Christian leaders’ best year. This discussion is notes and transcripts from The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast and I encourage you to watch the video  . If you want to go even deeper into this episode and receive episode resources like summaries and discussion questions, you can find those online at www.life.church/leadershippodcast.RELATIONSHIPS