categories: church, communication, creativity, culture
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October 14th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Catalyst One Day : Virginia

Catalyst One Day is coming to Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia next Thursday, October 21. Join Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel for a one day leadership event focusing on the topic of Momentum. How to create it, how to sustain it, and how to implement systems and tactics in your organization that will fuel momentum on a continual basis. This practical leadership experience includes Q and A, dynamic music, and insight from two of the principal leadership voices in the Church today.

Visit to register to attend. Use special Rate Code SWERVE to receive a discounted ticket price of $99.


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categories:, church, church planting, creativity, innovation, leadership
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August 16th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Death of the Five-Year Plan

When I started in ministry two decades ago, everyone I knew made five-year plans. While planning is wise and biblical, I’m changing how I plan.

Instead of planning for specific buildings, campuses, staff roles, and outreach, I’m planning to be prepared for opportunities that I can’t name today. We are creating margin and planning to respond quickly to ideas that we don’t yet have.

Speed, agility, flexibility, and financial margin are far better than a detailed road map.

We are in the ready position. Instead of asking God to bless our carefully crafted plans, we’re trying to be prepared to move when He speaks and guides.

When people ask me what we’ll be doing in five years, I laugh. I have no idea. But I’m certain it will be more fun and more impactful than anything I could plan today.


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categories: creativity, personal, recommendations, spiritual development
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June 16th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Swerve Favorites: Strategic Disruptions - Disrupt Your Rhythms

[Repost from May 19, 2008]

The longer you do ministry, the easier it becomes to minister from memory. You tend to do what you used to do. It is safe, comfortable, and convenient.

To stay spiritually and creatively fresh, I suggest “strategic disruptions.” Today we’ll talk about disrupting life’s rhythms.

Because people can be creatures of habits, life often looks relatively similar from day to day, week to week, and year to year.

I suggest defining your rhythms—then disrupting them.

  • If you drive the same way to work, take a different road.
  • If you study the Bible the same way, try a different approach.
  • If you listen to the same type of music, tune into something entirely different.
  • If you read the same books, stretch yourself. Read out of your comfort zone.
  • If you order the same thing off the menu, venture out and try something you’ve never had.

By disrupting your rhythms, you may experience just enough to change your perspective slightly. Suddenly, you could be more sensitive to hear something new from God.


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categories: church, creativity, leadership, vision
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June 15th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

Swerve Favorites: The Summer Slump

[Repost from May 27, 2008]

Most churches experience a “summer slump.”

  • Attendance drops
  • Giving slows
  • Volunteers miss
  • Interest fades

What should a leader do during down times? Although I can’t answer the question for you specifically, I would say, “DO SOMETHING INTENTIONAL!”

You might:

  • Challenge the church to host summer neighborhood block parties
  • Ask your small groups to take the summer off and challenge them to devote one weekend a month to an inner city mission project.
  • Write devotionals for people traveling on vacation.
  • Do a summer long overview of the Old Testament
  • Experiment with a different style of worship
  • Participate in “One Prayer” (Couldn’t resist)
  • Take some extended time off
  • Challenge people to devote a week of their vacation to minister on an international mission trip

Whatever you do, don’t miss this great opportunity to pray, seek God, and do something intentional! Even though many are distracted, God still wants to do something powerful through your ministry this summer.

Please share any summer ideas or ministries you are excited about.


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categories:, church, community, creativity, development, generosity, global church, innovation, leadership, social networking, working together
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January 12th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Strategically Generous Church

I pray your church or ministry gives spontaneously to meet needs. But if we only give spontaneously, this style of giving will limit what we’re able to give. Another way to think about giving is to be strategic.

  • Abraham thought ahead of time to send gifts with his servant for Isaac’s future wife.
  • The Magi planned ahead of time to bring extravagant gifts for God’s son.
  • God strategically showed His love for us by sending Christ while we were still sinning against Him.

Isaiah 32:8 says, “But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” (NLT)

We could say generous churches plan to do what is generous. Instead of just planning our next building project or fundraiser, we should also “plan to do what is generous.”

Unquestionably we should plan to help the poor and needy. (Most churches do this well or at least are trying to do so.) We can also plan to help and support other churches or ministries.

In our meetings, we have learned to strategically ask, “What can we give to other churches to help them?”

  • Do you have a building you could offer another ministry one day a week or more?
  • When you upgrade choir robes, a van, or a sound system, can you give what you had to bless another ministry?
  • Can you make your sermons, outlines, or videos available to serve other churches?

When you plan to be generous, you might be surprised how many ways you can be a blessing.

How is God using your ministry to serve others?


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categories: creativity, development, leadership
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January 11th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

Generous Churches

Just as some people are more generous than others, so are some churches. This week I’ll talk about three ways people and churches can give:

1)  The spontaneous giver

2)  The strategic giver

3)  The sacrificial giver

Let’s start with spontaneous. Many people and churches often give spontaneously.

(Giving spontaneously is an important way to give. But if it is the only way we give, it will drastically limit our ability to give.)

  • The Good Samaritan spontaneously met the needs of the wounded man. (Luke 10:35)
  • A young boy spontaneously offered his lunch to Jesus. (John 6:9-13)
  • An immoral woman spontaneously worshiped Jesus with a very expensive bottle of perfume. (Luke 7:37)

As church leaders, we’d be wise to plan for spontaneous giving. It might sound strange, but we can plan for unplanned ministry opportunities. When we see unexpected needs, we’ll have something to give.

How has God used your church to spontaneously meet needs?


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categories: I'm curious, church, creativity
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December 9th, 2009

by Bobby Gruenewald

Christmas 2009

I hope you are already having a great holiday season!

If you are serving at a church, I imagine many of you are busy preparing for Christmas (Eve) Services or other Christmas events.  I’m always fascinated by the creativity and diversity of the Church surrounding the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  For some churches, it’s a time to return to long-standing traditions.  For others, it’s an opportunity to try to creatively grab the attention of their community with a large production or event.  Yet there are still others who approach Christmas like they would any other week of the year (just maybe with a few more decorations than normal).   One thing that is fairly consistent between churches is that church attendance will likely be higher at Christmas than normal.

One of the new things we will be doing this year is incorporating a unique short film our team developed into the message during our Christmas experiences.  It will definitely be something different for us.  I hope to be able to share it with you all soon.

I’m curious - what new (or traditional) things are your churches doing to celebrate Christmas in 2009?



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categories: church, creativity, development, innovation, leadership
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November 4th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

Letting Go of the Fear of Failure

The fear of failure paralyzes too many people.

I’ve found one of the best gifts God can give a leader is the gift of failure.

Too many of us are not doing what we feel called to do because we’re afraid to fail.

As I observe the people around me, it seems the most effective have failed far more times than the least effective.

The people making the biggest impact seem to:

1)  Try something outlandish.

2)  Fail.

3)  Learn.

4)  Adjust.

5)  Try something that works better.

Failure is never final. It is often the first step to success.

If you haven’t failed in awhile, why don’t you try something crazy and see what happens.


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