One Responsibility A Christian Leader Cannot Delegate!


Recently, I read a powerful book (Essentialism by Greg McKeown) that taught me the need for better delegation. When we properly delegate, it allows us to focus our attention on those issues and tasks that require our skills and ability while offloading those tasks that do not (Acts 6:1-7). It also helps in the development of our team members so that their skills can increase. While there are many benefits to delegating, there is one responsibility that a Christian leader cannot delegate…that is prayer!

Delegating Prayer?

As Christian leaders of our organization, department, or team, we have several responsibilities. Among these responsibilities are casting the vision, setting priorities and goals, and holding the team accountable. In many cases, we can delegate parts of each of these areas to qualified team members. As I said above, there are many benefits to doing this.

But there is one responsibility that you simply cannot delegate to your team – not even to your inner circle. This responsibility is prayer.

Alone Or In A Group – Which Is Best?

This is the fourth in a series of posts on recommendations I would make to someone at the beginning stages of deciding to use their business as a platform for Christian ministry. While this list of recommendations is not exhaustive, it should be a great start on which to build. Today we address joining a group.



So far, we have covered a lot of ground in this series. If you are just now joining us and have not read the other posts, you should go back and read them now. Here are the three recommendations we have discussed up to now:

    Recommendation #1 – Pray

    Recommendation #2 – Read Proverbs

    Recommendation #3 – Become An Expert

Each of these three recommendations build on each other so it is pretty important you follow them in the order presented. Of course, you do not have to fully complete one before you start the next one…just begin them in the order listed. Let’s talk about the next one.

Recommendation #4 – Join A Group

For the same reasons you need to join a church body when you become a Christian, I am recommending that you join a group of other Christian business owners and leaders. Just in case you are not clear on these specific reasons, I will go through them for you.

Fellowship – When you are able to spend time in fellowship with like-minded people, there is a bond that develops. You are able to discuss similar challenges and victories. You will find out that you are not alone in your struggles. You are not the only one with spiritual opposition to what you are trying to do through the business. This knowledge is empowering!

Accountability – In addition to learning that there are others in your same boat, you will figure out that making commitments for improvement is much more effective when you are making them to a group. It is difficult to face your peers and confess to lapses in judgment or failure to achieve objectives. The threat of having to do this will often be just the push you need to get you started on a project you have been delaying.

Perspective – When you hang out only with those people who have your same perspective (fellow employees or partners) on you business, you tend to all agree on solutions, strategy, etc. When you seek wisdom from a group with diverse perspectives, you will find solutions you never considered. You will be asked questions you would not have asked yourself. There is tremendous value in this.

Counsel – Proverbs repeats many times that we are to seek godly counsel. While reading God’s Word is a great source of godly counsel, so is a group of godly Christians. A solid group of Christian business people can provide wisdom and advice that will often confirm what you have read in the Bible or vice versa. Trying to go it alone is often a recipe for disaster.

Other Group Benefits

While there are likely many other benefits I could list, I think you get the idea. In fact, it is likely you already knew this to be the case and have experienced the results from a group like this in other areas of your life. I can promise you that you will see similar results from making this same idea a priority for your business.

I have mentioned many times on this blog that I am a member of a C12 group. In fact, both of my brothers are members of C12 groups as well. We have found immeasurable benefits to our commitments to these groups and would not give them up for anything. I have found C12 to be an integral part of our efforts to leverage our business as a platform for Christian ministry.

Do The Research!

If there is a C12 group in your area, I highly recommend you take the time to visit a meeting and see if it is a fit for you. If there is not a C12 group in your area, don’t stop there. Go online and find out if there is something similar available. Check with your church to see if there is a small group with business as the common denominator. If all else fails, start one yourself! Why not?!?

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:25

What benefits have you seen from being in a group setting?

What is stopping you from joining this kind of group?

What next step do you need to take?

7 Ways To Get and Keep A Good Name

We can all remember famous people, or just someone significant to us, who have done something to forever ruin their good name. I will not list the names of politicians, sports heroes, and religious leaders that have disappointed us all with their fall. you can come up with your own list in your head. Unfortunately, it seems that a good name is tough to get these days, and even tougher to maintain.

good name

7 Ways To Get And Keep A Good Name

In my last post, we looked at the importance of having a good name or reputation when it comes to running a Christian business. We agreed that our responsibility of representing the name of Jesus demands this. But now I want to look at 7 ways to get and keep that good name.

1. Don’t do it for the name.

While this may seem contrary to what you might think, I really believe this is true. If you set out with the sole purpose of developing a good name for yourself, you might succeed. But it is more likely that this strategy will backfire on you.

The best way to gain a good name is just to begin doing the right thing. Do it because it is the right thing, not because someone is watching. Every time you have the opportunity, you just do what God leads you to do. It is that simple. The hard part is that this takes time. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen over time.

2. Always be aware of others watching.

While this one may seem to contradict #1, it really does not. This is not about doing the right thing just because someone is watching. This idea is more about a constant awareness that you are on stage.

When you associate your good name with the name of Jesus, people will begin to watch you. Some are hoping you fail while others are secretly pulling for you. Either way, you need to know that their eyes are on you even when you are not aware of it. Don’t slip up when you think you are alone. You likely aren’t.

3. Make your decisions ahead of time.

My father always taught me to make my decisions ahead of time. Before I found myself in a tempting situation, I had already made up my mind as what I would do. Then, when the temptation popped up, I was prepared to act – no thinking necessary. Good name intact!

If you will make this a practice in your personal life, as well as in your business, you will see the benefits. No opportunity to “play with the numbers” or omit truthful disclosure in a transaction will trip you up if you have already decided how you will respond.

4. Remember the “Why?”

It is almost certain that there will be times where you are tempted to give in. The devil is good at his job and you cannot anticipate every possibility ahead of time. It is these types of situations that trip up the best.

When you stop to think about what you are going to do, just remember the reason you are committed to a good name. Remember that you have taken on the association with Jesus and giving in would bring a mark against Him as well. Then run!

5. Under-promise and over-deliver.

It is often tempting in customer situations to promise the world. Whether you are trying to sell something or just estimating when the repairs will be complete, over-promising is a common mistake. It is damaging to a good name.

Instead, make it your practice to under-promise. Give yourself some cushion in the timing. Back off a touch on the promised performance of your product. Then, when you come in ahead of schedule or your product exceeds the customer expectations, you both win! This is a well-known, but seldom used business principle.

6. Err on the side of doing the right thing.

There are many times when the “right thing” to do is not black and white. In other words, it is not exactly clear how far you should go in making something right. Maybe you are reimbursing a customer for lost time and frustration. What is the real cost of that?

Here, I am recommending that you go a little further than you might think is acceptable. Get other opinions if you must, but add that one notch at the end. Go a little overboard rather than risk falling short. You won’t be sorry in the long run.

7. Enlist accountability.

We all have blind spots. There are simply areas in which we cannot see as well as others. When we enlist accountability, we can cover these blind spots. Then we are less likely to miss something that could be damaging to our good name.

In my business, it is my inner circle of leadership that helps me avoid trouble. For you, it may be your spouse, chaplain, or someone else. Regardless of who it is, you cannot do this alone. There are too many pitfalls out there that will destroy a good name. It is not worth the risk of going it alone!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my FREE book give-away going on until midnight 2/28/13!
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What would you add to this list?

Have you struggled in any of these areas?

In which of these areas have you seen victory?

11 Benefits of Living Out Your Vision and Core Values

I have posted recently about some issues going on in our business and how one of these issues related to one of our core values: Integrity. Well, I want to talk about the other situation a little more in depth at this point. This situation is related to another of our core values: Employee Development.

core values

Not A Good Time

As I mentioned in a recent post, a key, long-term member of our company’s leadership team (my inner circle) gave me their resignation. While there is never a good time for this to happen, this announcement came at a particularly bad time for me.

We are less than 60 days away from beginning a total renovation of our Honda dealership facility and this leader was to be one of the key drivers of this project. He was also a leader in ensuring the smooth transition into the temporary location from which we will operate during construction.

We are also just over six months into a new management team under his leadership. This leader has played a critical role in their development. Though the team has shown amazing progress during this six-month period, there is still a distance to go before this team truly realizes their full potential.

As I said, this is not a good time for him to leave.

Employee Development

At the same time, one of our company’s five core values is Employee Development. We describe this core value this way:

We strive to create an atmosphere that inspires and enables people to reach their full potential.

Moving People

In addition to this core value, our Vision statement is “Moving people.” We explain our vision by first pointing out the connection between “moving” and transportation – in our case, selling and servicing automobiles. But the true meaning of this vision applies to the people that come into contact with our business – the stakeholders. These people fall into three categories – employees, customers, and community.

We want anyone, from any of these three categories, that comes into contact with our company to be better off having done so. We want to help “move” them from one position into another, better position as a result of their interaction with us. We want every decision we make to reflect this vision.

Key Leader Resignation

Let’s go back to the leader that has now resigned. When he first told me, he generously offered to work a month’s notice. He was willing to help in the transition in any way I wanted. He explained how this new business opportunity was not one that he sought out, but was simply too good for him to ignore.

As he explained the opportunity, I quickly saw that he was right. I realized that I could never offer him the same chance to reach his full potential in our company as he could reach in this new job. I was disappointed in losing him, but I could not blame him for saying yes to the offer.

Living Out Core Values?

It was at this point that I had a choice. I could get angry and do what the majority of owners would do in our industry – tell him to pack his things and go ahead and exit immediately. I could cut off his compensation and benefits that very day and do only what I was legally bound to do.

OR, I could embrace our core value of Employee Development and our “Moving people” vision. I could congratulate him on his tremendous opportunity and begin laying out a plan that would maximize his effectiveness while he worked his notice, benefiting both of us in the process.

I chose the latter. In fact, I used the opportunity to reinforce our commitment to our core values by going to every department individually and explaining the whole situation. I tried to show, by example, that we are indeed serious about these core values and our vision.

The Results

The results? Well it has not been long enough yet to give a full report, but I can give you some of the immediate benefits…

    1. Other leaders have immediately stepped up to fill in the void caused by his departure
    2. Employees have seen we are committed to our core values – “moving” them whether that means they are moving “up” in the company or “out!”
    3. Our company’s relationship with this leader is fully intact and will bear fruit by maintaining an open line of communication in the immediate future in case we need help tying up loose ends (or accessing a lost password!).
    4. We were able to have a going-away party to show him our appreciation for his contributions and to allow closure to those employees closest to him.
    5. I believe his transition into a new job will be easier because we eliminated any stress that could have come from a messy separation.

As I began listing these immediate benefits, I realized that there are longer-term benefits as well. Here is a short, not exhaustive, list of these benefits…


    6. The remaining leaders in the company will be stronger in the long term due to stepping up their game in the transition and beyond.
    7. Other employees may realize we are serious about employee development and our other core values. Hopefully, they will work for similar opportunities in their own career. While some may move “out,” they will be better off having worked here. Still others will move “up” and make us a stronger company as a result.
    8. Our ongoing relationship with the departing leader will bear fruit in many other forms as he will be working on cutting-edge ideas and processes in his new job. We will have the inside track access to what he is learning.
    9. His future job performance will be better due to the ongoing relationship with our company. We will likely serve as testing grounds for some of his ideas and projects.
    10. His personal relationships with some of the employees, hampered while here due to working relationship, will likely blossom without that hindrance.
    11. I will maintain a friendship with him. I already look forward to hearing how his new job is going and how he is using the skills and talents God gave him to impact others.


Have you had similar opportunities to live out your company’s core values?

What would you have done differently?

What benefits did I overlook?

Step Three In Developing An Inner Circle

inner circleThis is the fifth post in a series on developing your own inner circle of leadership in your business. We are on step three of Dave Anderson’s three-step process from his book, How to Run Your Business by The Book. The first steps in developing your inner circle dealt with choosing, investing, and empowering them. In this post, we will discuss holding them accountable for results.

Higher Expectations

While it is common business sense to hold individuals accountable for results on a day-to-day, project-by-project basis, this concept goes even further with your inner circle. If you, as the business owner or leader, are going to carefully select, invest in, and empower a few of the higher-potential members of your team, then you are certainly going to expect a higher degree of “fruit-bearing” from them.

Jesus’ Example

Your goal should be multiplication of impact through your inner circle, just as it was Jesus’ goal with His disciples. Jesus did not expect His disciples to just go around winning people one at a time. He taught them to multiply themselves. That is why they delegated the feeding of the widows to the deacons in Acts 6:1-7.

This idea is also illustrated in the story of Jesus’ encounter with the fig tree in Matthew 21:18. Most people notice that it says Jesus was hungry and was therefore upset at the fig tree with no fruit to eat. But have you ever thought of the other God-given purpose of the fig’s fruit? The fruit of the tree is where the seeds are – its God-given system of multiplication! Could it be that Jesus was more upset about this than His hunger? What are the possible parallels here?

The fig tree was accountable to Jesus for fruit. As a result of its lack of fruit, Jesus cursed the tree and it died.

The lesson of the vine (John 15:1-8) is another example of Jesus holding us accountable for our fruit when He said the branches not producing fruit would be thrown in the fire. While I do not recommend this exact punishment to be inflicted on members of your inner circle, it certainly shows us a clear example of accountability!

Your Inner Circle

So how do we apply this to your inner circle? I think there are several things to consider in holding your inner circle accountable.

    1. Where did they start? If you began with really green members of your inner circle then your expectations are going to be different than if you started with tenured and experienced leaders. You need to refer back to Part 1 of this series when I told you to look at where your group is right now and determine the gap.
    2. The key is progress. Regardless of where you started with your group, are they making progress? Are they growing as a result of the development efforts you are making? Look at them both as a group and as individuals. Are they moving forward together? Is any one individual holding up the progress of the group?
    3. Address shortfalls. If there are shortfalls in their progress – either as a group or as individuals – you must address it. Find out what obstacles are in their way and remove them. Help them see the gap between your expectations and where they are. Then help them close that gap.
    4. Cut the fruitless branches. In the event you chose poorly or if outside influences have taken one of the members of your inner circle off course, you are to try to correct that. But if your efforts to do this have been ineffective and the gap remains, then you must act. It is better for you, the team, and the company as a whole, to cut this member from your inner circle than to continue trying in vain to bring them along. While this is certainly a decision that requires prayer and a lot of thought, it must be made.

Are you holding your inner circle accountable?

If so, are you pleased with their progress (and yours)?

If not, what are you missing? What do you need to do next?

(Originally posted 10/21/11)

Step Two In Developing An Inner Circle

This is the fourth post in a series about developing your own inner circle of leadership in your company. I am following the three-step process outlined in Dave Anderson’s How to Run Your Business by The Book. In my last post, we discussed how to identify your inner circle and how to intentionally invest in their development. Now we will turn our attention to the next step in the process – Give up power to go up higher!

inner circle

You Cannot Do It Alone

If you have been in business for long, you already know that you cannot do it all alone! If you want to grow and expand your business (and the eternal impact that comes as a result), then you must learn to get more done through others rather than doing it all yourself.

Giving up control is tough for most business owners and leaders – even when it is a simple task. So asking them to give up real power and authority to anyone else is almost incomprehensible! Unfortunately, this very issue causes many entrepreneurs to fail (worst case) or stunts their growth (best case).

Give Up Power To Your Inner Circle

If we are going to avoid this issue, we must learn to give up power in order to grow. In the context of our inner circle of leadership, this is going to require us to give up more than just day-to-day tasks to them. We must be able to let go of some of the more executive tasks as well.

Of course, this is not a step to be taken lightly. Nor is it a step that should be taken quickly. We must slowly and methodically grow into this or we could run into serious trouble.

Examples From The Bible

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of giving up power from the Bible. First, consider Acts 6:1-7. The early church ran into a situation where there was too much for the twelve disciples to do alone so they were forced to delegate some of the daily tasks to others.

Note verse 7 in particular – “So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.” As a result of their wise delegation, the church saw tremendous growth!

What about Jesus’ actions in Luke 10:1-12? Here He sent out 70 disciples and gave them power over demons and power to heal the sick. He gave them clear instructions about what He wanted done and how He wanted it done. What was their response when they returned to Jesus in verse 17? “They returned with joy!” What about Jesus’ response in verse 21? “In that same hour, He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit…” It looks to me like it was a success!

Practical Tips

What can we learn from Jesus’ example here? Here are some practical tips we can pick up from this passage.

    1. Give clear instructions and expectations – Jesus was very specific in His instructions to the disciples. When delegating to your inner circle, don’t expect them to know what you are thinking. Make clear your vision of the process and the expected results. This will help you to avoid many problems!
    2. Have them report back – Jesus did not just send them out and hope they did what He asked. He had them report back to Him with their results. We don’t know if there was a specific time frame for this reporting back, but that certainly would be helpful if it makes sense. This puts urgency in the process.
    3. Coach them upon their return – Jesus was clearly pleased with their results (v.21), but He also took the opportunity to coach them in verses 18-20. This is critical for their development and future growth.
    4. Celebrate success and build them up – As we see from verses 21, Jesus was excited about their progress. He praised God and “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” when they returned. He also took an extra moment to build them up and strengthen their confidence in verses 22-23. Don’t miss this step if you want your inner circle to continue to grow!

What else can we learn from Jesus in developing our inner circle?

Are you willing to give up some of your power in order to grow?

What is the first step for you to take?

(Originally posted 10/20/11)

Step One In Developing An Inner Circle

In my last two posts, I described why you need to develop an inner circle of leadership. We looked at several compelling reasons you need an inner circle, including the example that Jesus set for us. I also identified and answered several common objections to this idea. Now that you are convinced that you simply must have an inner circle, let’s take at look at how you do it!

inner circle

In this, and the next two posts, I am going to break this process into three simple steps using material from Dave Anderson’s book, How To Run Your Business By The Book.

The first step in developing your inner circle is to:

1. Identify and invest more into those with the highest upward potential

Identify Your Inner Circle

Let’s start with identifying the people with the highest upward potential. So, exactly how do you go about doing this? Well, first and foremost, I would pray about it. I would pray for wisdom and discernment as I reviewed my employees for prospects. Ask for Him to reveal qualities and characteristics that you may not already be aware of. Pray for patience as well. Jesus prayed all night!

Next I would look at your current leadership structure. The easiest people to choose are already in your key leadership positions. Hopefully, assuming you have these positions, the people you have here are trustworthy and have the potential you are seeking. Mutual trust is mandatory.

For me, it was fairly clear because I had been fortunate enough to have people in my key management positions that fit this role perfectly. Not only did they have the highest potential, but they also shared the same values and beliefs and were quickly bought in to the mission as I presented it.

Your situation may not be the same. If not, you may have to spend more time on this step. You also may see that you are not positioned well with your key people. While that is likely not something you can change quickly, it is certainly something you need to address over time.

Here are three keys to choosing these people:

    Ready – The people you choose must be ready to take on the additional learning and responsibility. Regardless of where they are now in their leadership growth process, they cannot be immature, unstable, or short-sighted. They need to be ready to take on the challenge you will place in front of them.
    Willing – Another requirement is that they must be willing, even eager to join this group. You do not want someone that you are constantly having to sell on the idea! They need to see the opportunity you are presenting and value it.
    Able – The actual level of each members’ ability to take this on depends on the general ability level of the group. While every member of the group does not necessarily have to be on equal ground with all of the others, they need to be close. If you have one potential member that trails the others by a significant amount, you may want to consider another path for them. Otherwise, they will likely hold back the progress of the group.

One note, it is my opinion that you may need to start with only one individual that IS the right fit rather than trying to force two or three others that are NOT a good fit. Think quality over quantity! Personally, I have a total of five. I am not sure there is a magic number, but I would not have many more than this. Intimacy is also important for this group.

Invest In Your Inner Circle

This step will be different for each leader, depending on the level of the members of the inner circle. Depending on your industry or your company’s mission, you may already have a ready-made path for leadership development. If not, you may have to create your own. The key here is to be intentional about their development.

Here are some simple steps to consider:

    Determine the gap – Look at where they are as a group right now. Look at where you see them in x number of years after you have invested in their development. Now try to plot out a path to close that gap!
    Gather material – Choose material that will reinforce your mission while moving them down the path you have chosen. Make sure it is not too far above or below their ability to absorb. Obviously, the internet is an almost infinite source of material! Consider joining a C12 group as one source!
    Schedule time alone with them – Jesus spent time with the crowds, but He also carved out time just for His twelve. He then carved out other time for the three. You have to do the same.
    Monitor your progress – Take time along the way to stop and check your progress. Document what you are doing. This will give you a sense of how far you have come as a group.
    Celebrate growth – Take time to celebrate your progress! While there is a lot of work to be done in this process, you need to enjoy the fruit of it as well!

Are you ready to choose your members?

What are your challenges here?

What is your next action step?

(Originally posted 10/19/11)

Some Common Objections To Developing An Inner Circle

In my last post, I told you why you need to develop an inner circle of leadership in your company. If you have not read that post, stop now and go back and do so. You really need to be committed to doing this if it is going to be effective.

Now that you know why you SHOULD develop an inner circle of leadership around you, let’s address some common objections to doing so.

inner circle

It Is Not Fair!

One of the first objections that arises at this point is, “But it is not fair to everyone!” The idea here is that those you choose for this inner circle will have unfair advantages and opportunities over the rest of your group. Folks, as Andy Stanley put it in his session at Catalyst recently, “Fair ended in the Garden of Eden!”

It is not your responsibility to give everyone in your organization equal and fair opportunities with your time and energy. Jesus did not pass around a sign-up list to those in the crowd, giving everyone an opportunity to be in His small group of twelve disciples. Nor did He give those twelve equal opportunity to be in His inner circle of three.

Instead, it appears that each time He intentionally chose those with more potential than the rest. Just like the master in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), you should give of your time and energy “to each according to his ability.”

I Don’t Have Anyone Qualified For An Inner Circle

What if you feel you really do not have anyone qualified to be in your inner circle? Well, there are several ways I could answer this.

First I will assume you have enough people from which to choose, but you do not see any clear stand-outs. In this case, remember you are looking for those with the most upward potential. You may have to start very small and do a lot of developing. You may have your standards too high or you may need to relook at your hiring process! Regardless, it will be worth it.

What if you truly do not have anyone with even a remote hint of potential for this type of group? What if you are such a small company that an inner circle would have to include all of your employees to be considered a group? In these cases, I would advise two things. First, find someone else to mentor you and help you develop as you grow your organization. Second, keep this inner circle in mind as you hire. Do not hire people that could not eventually be considered for this opportunity.

But I Am Not An Expert!

Another argument may be that you do not yet feel like an expert yourself. You do not feel worthy or qualified to gather an inner circle around you for furthering their development. Good point. You are not. Unfortunately, you will never be qualified! If you wait until you are, it will never happen!

To again quote Andy Stanley, he said “It is not your responsibility to ‘fill their cup’, only to empty yours!” You are not an expert, and as long as you keep learning, you never will be! But you do not have to know everything there is to know about your job or role in order to teach them what you do know. Empty your “cup” of all you know – that is your only responsibility here.

Lack of Time

You may object to developing an inner circle by saying you do not have the time to pour into them. This could be a legitimate short-term argument because some leaders truly do not have the time right now to spare for something like this. However this argument virtually ignores the long term necessity and benefits of doing so.

Instead of accepting your current situation, you need to take immediate action to work towards creating this time in your schedule through delegation and elimination of less-critical tasks. By replacing these less-critical tasks with leadership development of an inner circle, you will actually free up more time in the long run than you can imagine!

Do you already have an inner circle? Is it working?

If not, are you now convinced to start working on it?

What is your next action step? Have you prayed about it?

(Originally posted 10/18/11)

Why You Need Inner Circle Accountability!

(Originally posted on 10/17/11) – On two separate occasions during a recent 24-hour period, I had two members of my inner circle of leadership hold me personally accountable on mission-related issues. In both cases, they were “spot on” with their comments and delivered their message with perfect sincerity.

I needed the nudge in both cases, but was not exactly excited to accept their recommendations. At the same time, I knew they were right and I was glad they were comfortable telling me.

inner circle

My Thoughts

As I thought about these situations, I simply thanked God for the privilege of being able to work with people of this caliber and the mutual trust we have established. I have had an inner circle in place for over five years and continue to see benefits!

Of course, my next thought was that I really needed to share this on my blog! So as a result, I am going to give you my reasons for having an inner circle. In the next post, we will look at some common objections people bring up when discussing this topic. I am also going to dedicate the next several posts after that to laying out HOW to develop your own inner circle. I will include some recommendations for additional reading material for further help.

Jesus’ Example

So, we will begin addressing the WHY by doing my favorite thing…looking at the Bible! Let’s consider how Jesus managed His three-plus year ministry on earth. We have to assume that He knew He was operating with limited time to establish an ongoing ministry that would continue after His death (and resurrection!). We can also assume that He would have the wisdom to know the best way to make that happen, right? So how did He do it?

Choosing Twelve

Well, He started with a crowd that was following Him from place to place for various reasons. In Luke 6:12-13, we see that He spent all night praying about who to choose for his small group of twelve disciples. It does not appear that He took this task lightly! The next morning, He chose His small group of twelve disciples from among the crowd.

His Inner Circle

Next, we notice in Mark 5:37, Luke 9:28, and Mark 14:33 that he called out three of the disciples from the small group to go deeper with Him. On several occasions, we notice that He spent additional time with these three, exposing them to opportunities that the other nine did hot have.


I may be simple-minded, but I am one who believes if Jesus saw enough value in the process, then I should as well. However, in case there are some of you out there who need more convincing, I will keep going!

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of developing this inner circle.

    You will learn in the process! – As you go through the steps I will lay out for you over the next several posts, you will realize that this process will teach you as you go through it. Not only will the members of your inner circle benefit from the increased development, you will also learn as you take the time to pour into them. If you are one who does not feel you need to learn, then please stop reading and click on the little red “X” at the very top right of your screen.
    You will raise the bar for all of your leaders! – Not only will those in your inner circle become better leaders, those outside of the inner circle will respond to the higher expectations. They will work to improve their performance and potential because you have shown them this is the way to get your attention.
    You will all gain strength! – While you may think your team members are all on the same page right now, by drawing a small number of them into your inner circle, you will increase the effect of their combined focus. Just like Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
    You will gain accountability! – Just as I described in the introduction, we have established such a mutual trust in my inner circle that they feel comfortable enough to call me out. Whether we like it or not, we all need accountability!
    You will perpetuate your mission! – Just as Jesus did through his small group of disciples and, to a greater extent through his inner circle of three, you will exponentially increase the odds that your mission will continue long after you are gone.

Do you already have an inner circle? What benefits do you see?

If so, how could you improve it?

If not, what are you waiting for? Why not start now?

How To Manage The Tension Between Business and Christian Ministry

It seems that every time I turn around I am neglecting either the business of our company or the goal of doing Christian ministry through our company. It is a difficult balance to maintain. In fact, I have often felt I was doing something wrong because I could not shake the tension between the two. I recently found out this is not true.


Jim Reese – CEO, Atlanta Mission

This is the third post in a series of five that describes the advice my brother and I received from business and ministry leader, Jim Reese. Mr. Reese seen incredible success in the business world over a stellar career with executive positions in companies such as Randstad N.A., Frito-Lay, and HoneyBaked Ham, but he has also significantly impacted people for eternity through his work with Atlanta Mission. He has taken his exceptional business skills and is applying them in Christian ministry.

In the first post in this series, we discussed how Mr. Reese advised us to Redefine Success if we are going to attempt to run our business as a platform for Christian ministry. In the next post, I told you that he urged us to remember that when we do ministry in the course of doing business, Results Are Not Always Immediately Evident Or Measurable.

Below, is the third of five main points I gained from our conversation. This advice is directed at anyone trying to buck the norms of this world and integrate their faith into their work. If you are trying to run your business from an eternal perspective, then you need to heed this advice.

[box][typography font=”Cardo” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]Recommendation #3:[/typography]

    [typography font=”Cardo” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]Recognize and manage the constant tension between business and ministry.[/typography]


Always A Tension

Mr. Reese did not say that business and ministry do not mix. He did not say that you cannot do both at the same time. What he did say was that there will always be a tension between the two. To ignore this fact is to deceive yourself. To embrace this fact is to accept reality and work through it.

Consider Non-Profit Work

The truth is that anyone who has ever worked in ministry or in the non-profit sector has experienced this as well. Regardless of the nature of the organization, there is the need always to balance your focus between impact activities and fundraising (or profit) to pay for the activities.

On one hand, you need to be thinking about what you can do to make the programs more effective. You ask how we can serve more people and meet more needs.

On the other hand, you also need to be thinking about how to add more donors or givers and raise more money. You cannot have the impact through the activities unless there is funding to make those activities possible.

Same True For Christian Business

The same is true in a business where the goal is to be a platform for ministry. Without a healthy and growing business, there is no opportunity for ministry.

As a result, we must manage this constant tension. We cannot eliminate it and we cannot ignore it. We must simply manage it.

So the question is…How do you do it?

Well, there are several options that I will offer.

Managing The Tension

1. Get outside help rather that going it alone. For me, being a member of a C12 group provides me with a group of like-minded business owners who all need the same type of support. We offer each other accountability in this area as well as ideas on how to better manage the constant tension. You could also choose to create your own board of directors or even enlist a life coach. The key is to gain an outside perspective.

2.Develop an inner circle of leadership within your company. Having other like-minded leaders that are walking with you every day can be a great source of support and ideas. They can warn you quickly when they sense something is out of balance. They know your company best and will have the same goals.

3. Create a personal life plan with a weekly review. While this is a solo activity, it is one that has gone far in helping me stay balanced over this tension. The weekly review helps me to get a 10,000 ft. view of where I have been and where my energy has been allocated. Any imbalances are quickly evident and correctable.

Have you recognized this tension in your life or business?

How do you manage it?

What do you need to do differently?