My One Word for 2013

 —  January 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

I reviewed the new Jon Gordon book The One Word That Will Change Your Life last week and told you I would be writing more about the one word I chose to define 2013 in another post. Here’s the word, and here’s the why:


Belief in the people who serve with me
I’m so thankful for the people I serve alongside. They are the most passionate and faithful people I know. Doesn’t matter if I’ve served with them for years or they started on the team this week. I’m reminded of that when I see them in Starbucks with their crying student, celebrating at their basketball game and cheering them on as they come up out of the water during baptism.

Belief in our church’s ministry and mission
From time to time every youth workers gets an unsettling and unshakable gut feeling- I’m not sure I believe in my church anymore. This year I want to believe more than any ever before. I want to cheer on our pastor and the leadership and what we are all about. I’m “all in” for my church.

Belief in my calling as a youth pastor and equipper
I don’t need to say ‘yes’ to every ask, it is OK to have a callingfilter and I don’t need to be ashamed of having a laser-focus in my life and calling. I’m going to choose to believe that God can use a 38-year old youth worker for another year and that my mission can focus on students and youth workers.

Belief in my role as a husband and father
I know it is important and it is one of the pillars I live my life on – but I’m not going to cheat them this year. I’m going to believe that every moment is important (because it is) and when I’m not there I’ll miss out on an important shaping moment. I’m going to love my wife and kids unashamedly, no matter what guilt will be put on me by unhealthy expectations or leadership.

What’s your One Word for 2013?


Finished up a little book on the airplane on the way out to plan the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this week. One Word (That Will Change Your Life) by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page is a simple book that is a perfect read here at the beginning of the New Year. The book is a short read- literally took me 44 minutes but has a chance to profoundly impact your focus each year. Instead of a resolution to start 2013, the book challenges you to start your year in reflection, prayer and a search for a word that will define you in the 365 days ahead. I had so much fun with this little twist on the typical beginning of the year process. I’ll write more about the word I chose a little later in the week. Loved it!


Book Review: The Seed

 —  November 11, 2011 — Leave a comment

Finished up a couple books lately and my favorite of this last batch was The Seed by Jon Gordon. I’ve ready every one of his fables so far and this one is by far his best. Jon tells the story of Josh, a young man hoping to find his purpose in life. It is a great fictional story – by far Jon’s most spiritual story so far. It is a quick read that might help you discover your purpose, too. Good stuff.


Really enjoyed Jon Gordon’s blog post the other day about leading through caring. Here’s an excerpt from his post called 3 Ways to Be a Positive Leader, some simple but good stuff:

Care about them – The main question every employee in every organization is asking is, “Do you care about me; can I trust you?” Employees want to know if you care about them. If you do, they will be more likely to stay on the bus and work with you. Employees are more engaged at work and will work at their highest potential when their manager cares about them.

Appreciate them – The main reason why people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated. For example, Doug Conant, the CEO of Campbell Soup, has written more than 16,000 thank-you notes to employees in the past seven years and created a very positive business in the process. It’s as easy as saying (or writing) “Thank you.”


Book Review: Soup

 —  August 12, 2010 — Leave a comment

Just finished up reading Soup, another business fable from Jon Gordon. This time he goes after the ingredients of what make a healthy team and focuses on creating a winning team culture that rallies your people to the cause and around an optimistic leader. Honestly the first few chapters really drew me in – not because I’ll ever run a company called Soup, Inc but because he outlines what I’ve felt but been unable to articulate about the importance of team culture. Couple of standout quotes:

  • You create a culture of greatness by expecting great things to happen – even during challenging times.
  • Leadership is foremost a transfer of belief.
  • People follow the leader first and the vision second.
  • It is through relationships that you can shape people to be their best.
  • We are transformed by our spiritual relationship with God and our relationship with family, mentors, and coaches and we transformothers through our relationship with them.
  • Lukewarm isn’t an option. No one likes cold soup.

Good stuff – loved it! Super simple, easy read.


Just finished the quick read new business tale The Shark and the Goldfish by Jon Gordon. It is written almost like a kid’s story – but right from the start you can see principles about your outlook on life and transferable lessons to bring into the real world. A goldfish is swept out to sea and a caring shark takes him in and teaches him how to survive in the new environment. It makes for a stable analogy of the job market, layoffs and the current perspective on the economy. My favorite section of the book is about fighting through the chorus of negativity, people who don’t believe in the impossible and make it their personal quest to suck the joy from your dream. We’ve all got a few of them in our youth ministry world – amen, Jon! Other solid thoughts:

  • Fear is the belief that the future is bad. Faith is belief that the future is good.
  • Every day you work hard and don’t settle is a step toward your goals.
  • There are all sorts of waves, one you can always count on is the waves of change.
  • Adversity doesn’t stop those with the drive to>
  • What challenging situation are you currently going through that is actually an opportunity?


Just finished up Training Camp: What the Best do Better than Everyone Else by Jon Gordon, author of The No Complaining Rule and Energy Bus. I really enjoyed the fable writing style that Jon has used in the trilogy, and this time the setting of an NFL training camp also really hit the mark for me. Lots of subtle learnings in the book – the standout for me being how little of a difference there is between good and great, and how a little more hard work could make something average into remarkable. All in all a good quick read to encourage you in your pursuit of excellence, I really enjoyed it. A


I like Jon Gordon’s books. His new title, The No Complaining Rule, is better than his earlier Energy Bus that I read earlier this year. The No Complaining Rule centers on one simple message – negativity and complaining is killing your office culture and destroying your productivity. In business fable form, Jon helps managers stop criticism in the workplace, manage your organizations messaging and use complaints as a gateway to helping your business.

In short, if you are a complainer on your youth ministry team or church staff – you’re driving away volunteers, and making sure that students won’t stick very long. Good learnings. A-