Tag: Alan Danielson

Don’t be “too good” for me

I am a learner.  And as such, I actually enjoy learning.

And when I started out as small groups pastor at Grace Community Church, I had no idea what I was doing.  Some days, I still feel like that.

So I started looking for a tribe.  I read books.  Blogs.  Twitter accounts.  I went to conferences.  Sent emails.  Made phone calls.  I just knew there had to be a tribe out there.

And I grew a ton through this process.  But I got a myriad of no-responses.  Or responses that went something like,

Well, I will be at this conference, and we can talk there…if you’re able to get to Dallas…tomorrow by 6 am.

I was just trying to build some relationships and learn from guys who had been blazing the path I was peering down.

The problem was that these guys were ‘too big’ for me. They were a bit too important to talk with a rookie in Tennessee. (although rock stars Heather Zempel, Alan Danielson, Mark Howell, and Rick Howerton (just to name a few) actually did take time to answer emails and phone calls…thanks guys!).

I never want to get so important that I can’t schedule time to talk with another person who wants to learn from my mistakes.  I never want to be the big shot that can’t walk someone else through principles that have helped me grow as a young pastor.

If I ever get that ‘important’ I have done something wrong.  The day that happens, please unfollow me on Twitter, block me on Facebook, and unsubscribe to my blog.  I’m not worth following at that point.*

Pride goes before destruction,
and haughtiness before a fall.

Better to live humbly with the poor
than to share plunder with the proud. – Proverbs 16:18-19

Will you give up the plunder with me?

*Note to future self: you’re not as awesome as you think you are.


Family Devotionals

To me, family devotions are kind of cheesy.

I mean, I like the concept of sitting down as a family and talking through the truths of the Bible together.  But when it comes to sitting down and actually doing it, in my head it just comes off being silly.  I keep imagining a family all cozy in their den, with the children in the pajamas, sitting around a fire.  Dad gets out his guitar, and they sing a song together.  The children are gleaming as mom and dad, in their footed pajamas, talk about how God changed their soul…at breakfast that morning.

Weird, no?

This Christmas season, though, I’ve found a new resource I’m going to try.  And I won’t be wearing any footed pajamas when I read it.

Because I really want my son to understand the beauty of the Christmas season.  Why we give gifts.  Why we decorate our house.  Why we visit family.

Because in all of the hustle and bustle of getting ready, it’s incredibly easy to forget to instill in my son the values that are driving our generosity.  I want to raise a son that understands our traditions, and celebrates them with as much life and vigor as we do.  And not just because he’s excited about getting gifts from a fat man whose belly jiggles.

Here’s the new ebook, called Christmas Reboot, written by a good friend of mine, Alan Danielson.  You should pick up a copy.  It’s only $8.

My family and I are going to be working through this throughout the holidays.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  I’m pretty stoked about it.

Will you join us?


Triple Threat Leadership

A friend of mine, Alan Danielson (on Twitter HERE), has recently released a self-published book, Triple Threat Leadership (to read all of his posts on Triple Threat Leadership from his blog, click HERE).

Triple-Threat Leadership is written to help you understand and developing the three skills that are absolutely necessary for you to be an effective leader: casting vision, creating strategy and fostering relationships.   Alan does a great job unpacking each of these leadership qualities, and works to help you implement them in your leadership roles.  Included in the book is an assessment that you fill out that will help diagnose your leadership strengths and show you the weak areas you need to work on.

Instead of me giving you a rundown of the highlights of the book, I thought I’d let Alan convince you why you need to read it.

What was your driving inspiration/catalyst for this project?

Triple-Threat Leadership is a concept that’s been growing in me for many years. In my 20 years experience leading churches I’ve seen the Triple-Threat principles surface repeatedly, and over time I began to articulate what I was observing. In a sentence, Triple-Threat Leadership is based on the belief that good leaders do three things well: cast vision, create strategy, and foster relationships. I found these observations to be universal truths that applied to all leadership situations, and whenever I’ve utilized and/or shared the principles people have whole-heartedly agreed with my findings. I have a passion to help people in any and all kinds of leadership roles, so I put my thoughts on paper, created a workshop and began sharing it with clients. Finally, I’ve written the book at the urging of my friends, and clients who have learned these principles and seen them in action.

I’m sure that the readers here have lots of books on their shelf right now to read. Why should yours be the one they pick up next?

First, because everyone’s followed a bad leader at some point and hated it. No one wants to be a bad boss, manager, or volunteer leader and this book will help them avoid the pitfalls they’ve seen others fall into. Second, because it’s a concise, easy read that will affirm what people already believe about leadership, while at the same time challenging them to become even more effective leaders. Third, because it gives leaders a common vocabulary that will help them simply and accurately discuss their leadership successes and challenges. Lastly, because it will clearly expose people’s blind spots and help them know how to dramatically improve their leadership ability.

What value do you think this book has for small group pastors/leaders?

The Triple-Threat principles apply across the board, so small group pastors and leaders will immediately see how it can impact their own leadership settings. The book is not just for CEOs or Senior Pastors. It’s for anyone who is in leadership.

Some people say that, in leadership, you should work on what you’re good at, and the stuff you’re weak on…just find somebody else to do that. Yet you encourage readers to work on their weak spots, too. Why?

Great question! This book is not about shoring up all of your weak spots. This book is not about being good at all leadership skills. This book is about being good at the three most important leadership skills. Regardless of your leadership talent or personality type, all leaders need the three skills outlined in Triple-Threat Leadership. Leaders lacking one or two of the skills detailed in this book will be able to lead, to a point, but they will never reach their fullest potential.

If you’d like the chance to win a free copy of Alan’s book, either:

1. Leave a comment on this blog telling me what your favorite color is.

2. Tweet this: Check out @benreed ‘s interview w @alandanielson & his take on leadership here: http://ow.ly/219×3

If you’re not a winner, or you don’t have a favorite color, you can still get a 10% discount by using this coupon code at checkout: benreed


Safe = Dangerous

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched this short video of a sermon given by Alan Danielson (you can follow him HERE on Twitter).  So I thought I’d share it with you.

I love this quote from the video:

“We are so far educated, above and beyond the level of our obedience, that it’s disgusting.  It’s time, if we’re going to say we want to be like Jesus, to stop just talking about it, and start doing it.”

Is your small group too safe?


Meet Alan Danielson

Is your church looking to hire a lead pastor?

Do you know of a church looking to hire one?

I’m doing some legwork for you (or them).  Here is an interview with a friend of mine, Alan Danielson.

Ever felt like God called you and equipped you to do something…yet the opportunity to express those gifts didn’t quickly come to fruition?  Friends of my blog: meet Alan.  Alan, meet the friends of my blog.

I “met” Alan about a year ago through his blog.  I thoroughly enjoyed his updates that got my mind stirred about ministry.  Then, I had the privilege of being in a small group with Alan via Tokbox.  I loved hearing his heart, and seeing him offer sound, biblical wisdom to those in the group who were hurting and needed pastoring.  Unfortunately, because of scheduling conflicts, I had to pull out of the group, but Alan and I have maintained contact.

Here’s my official, unsolicited endorsement of Alan: Alan is a leader.  A pioneer.  He thrives on shepherding a team of folks to accomplish the mission and vision of a congregation.  Alan is creative.  He would bring great enthusiasm and wisdom (a rare combination) to any team he were a part of.  He has expertise in preaching/teaching, small groups, online ministry, and writing.  He’s spoken (and been on staff at) mega-churches, small churches, conferences, and home-based small groups.  But maybe the thing that has impressed me the most about Alan is hearing him pray.  The way that a person prays says a lot about their spiritual maturity.  Alan prays as one whose heart beats after God.

In order to give you a snapshot of Alan, and not just my words about him, I put together some questions that a typical “search committee” (or whatever form of a team a church body would assemble in order to find the person God has especially called to lead that local congregation)

I asked Alan to keep his responses brief, so to see his resume, preaching/teaching videos, recommendations, family pictures, blog, and more, you can find him at http://www.alandanielson.tv.

When it comes to ministry, what thing(s)/areas of ministry are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about mission and evangelism that results in discipling relationships.

Besides ministry, what things are important to you?

My relationship with God, my family, and Star Wars!

What do you do for fun?

I collect Star Wars memorabilia and create hand-made lightsaber replicas.

How has the Lord gifted you for full-time vocational ministry?

I’m a relational leader and an effective communicator.

How do you know you’re called to ministry?

I’ve been in vocational ministry since I graduated high school in 1990 and led literally thousands of people.  God has chosen to use me and that constantly affirms my call.

What is it about doing full-time ministry that gets you going in the morning?

Personally connecting with people and helping them discover the ways they can grow to become like Jesus!

What strengths do you bring to the table?

Relational ability, communication, activating people to action, developing/implementing strategy, and faith.

What are your weaknesses?

Organization, spreading myself too thin, balancing work and health, and cheese burgers.

What kinds of things do you look for in a church where you would serve?

Cultural relevance, unapologetic evangelism, great family ministry, and good theology.

What makes a healthy church?

Unity, clear vision, passionate leadership, articulate leadership, and simple strategy.

What is the purpose of church?

Joining with others to fulfill Christ’s Mission through which we experience radical spiritual Formation and unbreakable relational Connection

How important is “teamwork” to you?  Does it matter to you who you serve with?

Prime importance!  Chemistry is the biggest factor in determining a team’s success, so yes, it definitely matters who I serve with.  If the right chemistry isn’t there, disappointment will surely follow.

What is your Myers-Briggs score?

ENFP, so I’m in need of professional help!

Orange carpet or brown?

Orange, because my wife is an Oklahoma State University fan.  Hey, if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

To read more, and connect with, Alan, you can find him HERE.


The Validity of Virtual Community

I’ve read the blogs.  I’ve listened to the arguments.  I had even tried it out…a little.

But I hadn’t fully experienced online community.

I would say that there has been some level of “community” developed for me through Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.  Community, for me, though, is one of those things that was always developed in person.  Sometimes it’s on a biycle, other times it’s with my small group, and other times it’s at a coffee shop with a few guys.

I unexpectedly experienced community yesterday morning after I read this update from Alan Danielson:

@alandanielson: I’m praying for NOW 10 more minutes. Reply with your prayer request or join me for live prayer via @TokBox

There was a link after the update, and I clicked on it.  There was Alan, sitting in front of his computer screen, praying for his friends.  I shared my request with him, and he prayed for me on the spot.

Alan then invited me to “hang on the line,” and he was going to invite some of his other friends into the conversation.  As the other 3 men joined, they began to share their experiences from their prayer time.  They, like Alan, had prayed for their friends during that 20 minutes, and invited people to share requests with them.  As they finished sharing their stories from the prayer time, they shared their own requests with the group.  I thought that it would be a bit cheesy, even cold-feeling because we were so far spread out across the country, looking at each other on a tiny screen.  But real, gut-wrenching requests were shared.  Nothing fake.  No masks.  No walls of separation.  Real, honest, vulnerable requests.  And it all happened while I sat in my office chair alone.

Twitter and Tokbox helped me fulfill this today:

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:11-13

I felt a real burden, prayed a real prayer, and was really encouraged after talking with these men.

What do you think of online community?

Is it real community?  Or is community only formed while sitting in the same room as the other person?


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