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August 20th, 2014

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Welcome to Swerve!

Visit the Archives

Feel free to search the archives for topics like church leadership, innovation, church planting, team management , casting vision, development, and many more. Although Pastor Craig is not actively blogging, there are many articles and ideas that we hope you find helpful to you and your church.

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categories: Uncategorized, development, personal, time management
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July 6th, 2011

by Craig Groeschel

The Imaginary Deadline

For years I struggled with managing my time effectively. One tool I learned that dramatically increased my effectiveness is the “imaginary deadline.”

If I’ve got a project without a deadline, it’s easy to procrastinate or work halfheartedly. When an assignment has a hard deadline, I start faster, work smarter and focus better.

  • Instead of thinking, I need to have my sermon finished before I preach this weekend, I have a Wednesday-at-noon deadline. It’s not anyone else’s deadline. It’s mine.
  • Rather than saying this video needs to be finished by next week, I complete all videos by Wednesday at 2 pm. Again, this is my deadline.
  • Instead of deciding to read my Bible plan some time during the day, I have mine read before I leave my house.

These are all imaginary deadlines. But when I treat them as real, my productivity and efficiency increase.

I’d love to hear from you if you do something similar.


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June 1st, 2011

by Craig Groeschel

39 Speakers on One Weekend

Last weekend gave 39 different staff members the opportunity to preach. We called it our first “Developmental Weekend.”

In case this idea might be helpful to other churches, I’ll share what we did.

· I prepared an outline for everyone to use. The outline gave the staff members a consistent message but plenty of room to personalize the texts and application.

· I prerecorded an explanation to get our church behind the concept and motivate them to support our rookies.

· I also prerecorded a 7-minute introduction to the message and a 7-minute ending plus ministry and prayer time.

· Our Pastors selected people to preach one or more services at our 14 different campuses. We selected Missions Pastors, LifeGroup Pastors, Youth Pastors, Host Team Coordinators and more. Each speaker had about 15 minutes to speak.

Here are several of the noticeable benefits:

· 39 people got to preach.

· The Pastors spent time preparing and developing their team members.

· The church embraced the idea of developing the next generation of leaders.

· These staff members got exposure to large groups of people, increasing their pastoral influence.

· Everyone on our staff understands that your position doesn’t determine your influence. You could be called on to do more at any time.

I’m very proud of our team!


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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 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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April 7th, 2011

by Bobby Gruenewald

A Weird Approach to Parenting

With two young kids and one on the way, I’m especially interested in what Craig has to say about parenting in his new book Weird. With six kids, he has three times the experience I do :) I found the following excerpt a very practical way we can bring God into our everyday lives as we parent:

The best thing you can do for your kids is to show them God working in you on a daily basis. I love the practical teaching of Deuteronomy 6:6 – 9: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

You can do all these things God’s Word encourages us to do. They can become a part of how you do life — in fact, they are only really effective if they’re a consistent part of everyday life. Kids are quick to pick up on our real feelings and motives, so the only way to be a truly weird, life-changing parent is to express your faith organically.

Talk about God with your kids in the morning on the way to school, let them know when you pray for them during their day, and share a meaningful truth from Scripture on the way home from dance. Put a favorite Bible verse on the wall alongside Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Let them know the hardest part of your day, as appropriate for their age, and how you connect it back to your trust in God. Make spiritual conversations a part of how you do life.

Transparency is something I strive for, so I like the idea of leveraging that in parenting our kids.

Weird has lots of practical ideas like the above. You can get it in print or download it from:


Barnes & Noble



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categories: Uncategorized, books
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April 5th, 2011

by Bobby Gruenewald

Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working

Craig’s latest book is officially launched and we’re thrilled to see how God uses it to help people break free from the norm and live a radically abnormal (and much more fulfilling) life. Here’s a quick video from Craig about Weird, a sample from the book, and some helpful links.

You can get your copy now:


Barnes & Noble



Normal people are stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Many of their relationships are, at best, strained and, in most cases, just surviving. Even though we live in one of the most prosperous places on earth, normal is still living paycheck to paycheck and never getting ahead. In our oversexed world, lust, premarital sex, guilt, and shame are far more common than purity, virginity, and a healthy married sex life. And when it comes to God, the majority believe in him, but the teachings of scripture rarely make it into their everyday lives. Simply put, normal isn’t working. Groeschel’s WEIRD views will help you break free from the norm to lead a radically abnormal (and endlessly more fulfilling) life.

A Sample Chapter


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