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20 Life and Leadership Lessons I Learned From Reggie Joiner

Carey Nieuwhof

Leaders are learners. There are people that I learn from each and every day of my life. Sometimes though, I love to hear where those whom I am learning from are learning from.
In this post one of the guys I am learning from, Carey Nieuwhof, share lessons he has learned from another great leader, Reggie Joiner.  I hope these 20 lessons will inspire you today to continue to learn from others who are ahead of you.
Better Together,
Pastor Ryan

I’ve been at the Rethink Leadership and Orange Conferences this week in Atlanta. If you’ve never been you’re missing out.

I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Reggie Joiner over a number of years. We have written together, traveled together and spoken together and even started the Rethink Leadership conference together.

But more than that, he’s become one of my best friends and he’s been an incredibly positive influence on my leadership. He also officiated at my son’s wedding a few years ago. I have cherished his friendship and leadership now for over a decade.

While Reggie Joiner is passionate about families, he’s also one of the very best leaders I’ve ever met – anywhere. He’s creatively brilliant and strategically laser focused. And he’s an incredible friend to many. I think anyone who knows Reggie would agree.

But I thought you might like to learn from Reggie the way I’ve learned from him. So I thought I’d highlight 20 leadership lessons I’ve learned from Reggie over the years.

No one has a heart for families and leaders who want to help families like Reggie.

1. God doesn’t use perfect pictures. He uses broken people.

The ideal family doesn’t exist. Just read your bibles and breathe a sigh of relief. Most biblical families were just as dysfunctional as yours.

2. God wants to tell the story of redemption and restoration in every family.

God meets us where we are, not where we think we should have been.

3. God’s story of redemption in a parent’s life gives a child a front row seat to the grace of God.

When God begins to work in a parent’s life, the kids get a front row seat to grace. So beautiful. And true.

4. The environment you want to create is one where no matter how far people might stray they want to come back

When people ask me what Reggie’s like, I tell them “He’s a creative genius…one of the smartest people I’ve ever met…he’s deeply relational.” All of that is true. But he also just loves people and knows how to value them in their worst moments.

If I was ever ended up in the moral ditch, I would ask for Reggie to come help me get out. He creates the kind of environment where no matter how far people stray, they would want to come back.

Always let those who have strayed know they’re welcome home.

5. People will never believe you love them if they feel you don’t like them

The problem with many Christians is we say we love people, but we act like we don’t like them.

Nobody will believe you love them if they feel like you don’t like them.

6. Your legacy matters most with the people closest to you

Invest in the people closest to you. I have seen this modeled in Reggie’s life. His investment in time and care in the people who know him is second to none. Although he leads thousands of people, he leads the few around him with completely commitment and humility.

7. Nobody has more influence in the life of a child than a parent

Fact. This is even true into the adult years.

You can ignore that influence, or you can leverage it for good.

8. A parent is not the only influence a child needs

God never designed parents to handle their kids all alone. We need each other and we need the church.

9. Two combined influences have a greater impact than just two influences

When you combine the influences of church and family, you get something more powerful, like when red and yellow combine to produce Orange.

10. 100 years from now, the only thing that will matter in the life of a child is their relationship with God

Bam. If that isn’t perspective, what is? I have a coaster in my home I use every day for my morning tea. That’s what it says on the coaster.

11. Every child needs another voice saying the same thing a loving parent would say.

This may have saved my sanity as my kids move through their teenager years. Even though they might not want to tell me anything, they had other adults in their life they could talk to. Powerful.

12. People will not believe they are significant until you give them something significant to do

That’s why in Orange ministry, we give teens and even pre-teens significant opportunities to serve.

13. Fight for people not with them

Reggie taught me what it was like to fight for people, not with people. My life will never be the same as a result.

14. Push others into the spotlight

I don’t think anyone I know does this better than Reggie. He loves raising up leaders, handing over the mic, standing to the side and helping other leaders succed.

15. Change isn’t an option

Change isn’t an option. How you respond to it is. I love talking/writing about change. Reggie nails it in this quote.

16. Strategic steps beat random programs

Reggie taught me to think steps, not programs. Our church is so much healthier as a result.

17. The problem with needs based ministry is there’s no end to human need

Every time someone says “I see a need we should respond to”, I think about this quote from Reggie.

You could go there as a church, but just know you are never going to solve every need you see. So we just pick one or two and go deep.

18. Your strategy ultimately determines the success of your ministry.

Effective ministry is not just about great content, mission or vision it’s about having a great strategy. A poor strategy will frustrate the execution of a great mission.

A poor strategy will frustrate the execution of a great mission.

19. Teach Less For More

To cut through the communication noise our culture suffers from, teach fewer things for greater impact. All information is not equally helpful, relevant or engaging.

20. Focus on who you want to reach, not who you want to keep

I always wanted to be about unchurched people, but this principle changed my focus more anything else.

Those are 20 leadership and life lessons I learned from Reggie Joiner.

What have you learned from Reggie?

5 Ways to Stay Open-Handed When Money Is Tight

Art Rainer

God has designed us to use all of our resources to point people toward Him and advance His Kingdom.

Open-handedness, being willing to let go of your resources when God calls you to do so, is not just for those with a large balance in their checking account.

It is for you. It is for me. It is for everyone.

Many assume that because they have little margin in their finances, they are unable to have a posture of generosity.

But this is not true.

Being open-handed extends beyond your the money in your bank account. You can live generously with and without large sums of money.

Here are five ways to stay open-handed, even whey money is tight:

  1. Continue giving to your local church. I know. Money is tight. But even when you experience financial stress, you should still make it a priority to give to your local church. God tells us to give and does not provide an exclusion clause. The giving of our money is an act of obedience.
  2. Ask your church where you can serve. Be open-handed with your serving. This just takes a simple email. Connect with your church leader to see where they need help. Each church needs it’s members to participate in the ministry of the church. And, more than likely, they need you. Just ask. And try to participate in whatever way they suggest.
  3. Ask, “Can I help you?” When you see someone who might need help, ask if you can assist them. And if they say “yes,” do it.
  4. Request ways you can pray for those around you. Be open-handed with your prayers. You have friends. You have family members. You have neighbors. And they are all facing something in their life. They all have concerns that hang over them. Ask if you can pray for them. If they share a specific item with you, pray for it. If they don’t give you something specific, still pray for them.
  5. Keep your eyes and ears open. You never know where or when God will show you a need that you can meet. Stay aware of what is going on around you, and be prepared to say “yes” when God presents a need that you can meet.

God designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows.

We need to pursue financial health, to be in a place where we are open-handed with our money, ready to give when God commands or tugs on our heart.

But even when money is tight, we can live with open hands.

Consider the ways you can live open-handed today.

7 “BE’s” of Effective Leadership and Management

Ron Edmondson

What you do matters more than what you say.

One of the chief goals of this blog is to encourage better leadership, so I normally write about leadership issues.

In this post, I’m including the term management. I believe the two are different functions, but both are vital to a healthy organization. Whether you lead or manage a large or small organization – or a church – there are principles for being effective, which work with leadership or management,

These I call the “Be” principle. Who you say you are and what you actually do often are two different things in the eyes of people who report to you. Effective leaders and managers learn to manage their “BE”.

Here are 7:

Be aware

To be effective you have to know your team. People are individuals. They have unique expectations and they require different things from leadership. Some require more attention and some less. Use personality profiles or just get to know them over time, but learn the people you are supposed to be leading or managing.

Be open

It’s not enough for you to know them. Let them know you – as a person outside of the role as leader or manager. Integrity is earned by experience. Be transparent enough they can learn to trust you.

Be responsive

Responsiveness should be a high value to leaders and managers. People left in the dark – or wondering how you respond – will never be the best team players they can be. Information is powerful. Don’t leave people waiting too long for a response. They’ll make up their own if you do – and it’s usually not the conclusion you want them to reach.

Be approachable

You can’t be everything to everyone, and you may not always be available, but for the people you are called to lead or manage, you need to be approachable. They need to know if there is a problem – or a concern – you will be receptive to hearing from them. I realize the larger the organization the more difficult this becomes, but build systems – and even more so a culture – which allows you to hear from people at every level within the organization.

Be consistent

Over time, the team you lead or manage needs to know you are going to be dependable. The world is changing fast. It’s hard to know who to trust these days. We certainly need to be able to trust people we are supposed to follow. This doesn’t mean you never change. That would equally be wrong for your team, but it does mean your character and the way you respond to life (change, success and disappointment) should be fairly predictable by the people you lead or manage.

Be trustworthy

Follow through on what you say you will do. If you make a promise – keep it. If you can’t support something – say it. If you’re not going to do it – say no. And, say it on the front end, in clearly understood words, not in a passive way. Don’t say “we will consider it”, for example, if you know you never will. Let your word be your bond. Spend time building and protecting your character. Be the quality of person you would want to follow.

Be appreciative

Recognize you can’t do it alone. Be grateful. Be rewarding. Celebrate well. Love and care for others genuinely and display it by the way you treat them.