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May 20th, 2011

by Bobby Gruenewald

Guest: Jon Acuff

Our friend Jon Acuff just released his new book, Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job. We’ve appreciated his work for quite a while, so we invited him to share a few thoughts with the Swerve community.

The truth about being a nobody.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak at a fun LifeChurch.tv event. While introducing me to the audience, Craig dropped one of those grenade sentences he’s so great at. Here is what he said:

“Three years ago, Jon was a nobody with a passion.”

I love that sentence because it’s the opposite of what so many of us think.

When it comes to chasing our dreams, to stepping out into big adventures with God, we often think we need to “be somebody.” When God puts a desire in our hearts or awakens us to a cause he wants us to run toward, we often think, “Who am I to do that?” We imagine that before God can really use us, we need to become somebody. We look at our lives and our gifts and discount them in comparison to the people around us.

“I like to write, but I’m no Donald Miller.”

“I like to serve, but it’s not like I could do what Charity Water does.”

“I like to sing, but it’s not like I’m Chris Tomlin.”

“I like to __________, but I could never _________.”

So we don’t get started. We think that being a nobody with a passion is no place to start a new mission. If we had more money, more time, more anything, then we’d begin. If we were somebody, then we could do big kingdom work. But I think the reality is that nobodies are God’s favorite people to use.

Look at Gideon, a nobody from a nobody family who was hiding when God called him.

Look at David, considered such a nobody by his own father he wasn’t even initially called in from the field when Samuel asked to meet Jesse’s sons.

Look at the disciples, a nobody crew of fisherman until they bumped into Jesus.

The Bible is littered with examples of people who were nobodies with a passion. People who God transformed. People who God called to big missions. People who God used to change the world.

I don’t know what God has in store for you. I don’t know if he’s calling you to start a non-profit or a conversation with a neighbor at your mailbox. But along the way if you ever feel like a nobody, don’t worry.

It’s OK to be a nobody, those are God’s favorite people to use.

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May 19th, 2011

by Craig Groeschel

Twitter Book Recommendations

Yesterday I asked my Twitter friends to recommend leadership and spiritual books. Thank you for your awesome suggestions. If you’d like to add your favorites, please comment!

Click here for recommendations from my Facebook friends.

Sun Stand Still by @stevenfurtick (Love this one)

When Helping Hurts by Corbett

Lone Survivor by Luttrell - leadership

When Life Isn’t Working by Merritt - spiritual growth

The Good & Beautiful God

Tribal Leadership

The Radical Disciple

Weird by Craig Groeschel (Already read that one!)

Radical Together by David Platt

A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

Sabbath by Dan Allender

Prayer Saturated Kids by Cheryl Sacks and Arlyn Lawrence

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

Off-Road Disciplines by Earl Creps

Failure of Nerve by Friedman

Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders

Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by Kent & Barbara Hughes

Leading Change by Kotter

Winning by Welch

Missional Renaissance by McNeal

The Power of Team Leadership by Barna

How the Mighty Fall by Collins

The Spiritual Leader by Chambers

Lead Vertically by Craig Johnson

Jesus’ Plan for a New World by Richard Rohr

More Than Conquerors by Simon Guillebald

VENEER by Timothy D. Willard and R. Jason Locy

Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders

The Man God Uses by Henry Blakeby

On Being a Servant of God by Wiersbe

Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

Leadership Gold by John C Maxwell

Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel

The Called to Lead by John MacArthur

26 Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Apostle Paul by John MacArthur

Men’s Health-The Basics by @DruglessDoctor

Renovation Of the Heart & The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Humilitas by @johnpauldickson

Happy reading!

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May 18th, 2011

by Craig Groeschel

When A Small Staff is Better

Most church leaders believe that if they had more staff members, they could get more done. While that’s occasionally true, it’s often not.

I’ve found that a smaller staff is often better than a larger one.

Based on my experience, when LifeChurch (or a specific campus or team) is slightly overstaffed, forward progress generally slows. When we are slightly understaffed, we usually take more ground.

Here are my theories on why smaller is often better when it comes to staff:

  • When you have more staff members, the roles are often clearly defined and can lead to “That’s-not-my-job” mindsets. Smaller staff teams are forced to work together and innovate creating unity and a spirit of collaboration.
  • Bigger staffs take more time and energy to manage. Smaller staffs move quickly.
  • When more money goes to pay staff, less money goes to expand the ministry.
  • When more people are paid, it’s easier to stop building volunteer leaders, which eventually weakens the foundation of the church.
  • A larger team might unconsciously not work as hard as they would otherwise.

Obviously there are exceptions and being grossly understaffed for a long period of time is not healthy.

Still, given the choice between slightly more than we need and slightly less than we (think) we need, I’m choosing the leaner staff every time.

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