I'm not sure if you know who Erwin McManus is. He's the pastor of a church down in Los Angeles called Mosaic. He's also a world class leader, speaker, and author. I first heard him speak at a conference or something a while ago, and from the first time I really resonated with what he said. His passion was clear, and it didn't take long to realize he was the kind of quality leader many aspire to be. So I picked up a couple books of his and read them. Whenever I heard he would be a speaker at an event I was attending, I was pretty excited. A couple years ago he spoke twice at the Leadership Summit and I really appreciated what he had to say. So when I found out that he would be teaching a January class on Ministry Leadership at Golden Gate (which if you aren't aware, I attend), I jumped at the chance to take it (and so did about 90 other students).
The class was all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. I stayed up on campus, and had a great time. The class was a mix of Erwin answering questions on leadership/ministry and sharing some of his insights on life/leadership/ministry/following Christ/church. I took a lot of notes, and think I might put some insights up here to help me think through them over the next week or two. But it gets cooler.
I often hear that you can become a better leader by getting around leaders. So Thursday I figured I'd give it a whirl and tried to ask Erwin after class if I could have lunch with him on Friday. I was a bit too nervous to go right out and ask but I basically communicated the idea that I knew he was busy but I also know you gotta ask if you want to snag time with leaders, and he said I'd be welcome to join him for lunch on Friday. So today I went to lunch with him and the two other guys from his staff that he had present. They actually took the time to hang out and talk with me about stuff. All three were very friendly, and after I got over my initial nervousness it was very easy to be myself and enjoy the time.
Actually before lunch when I sat down to join them they were in a brainstorming session to try to come up with a pithy three-word phrase to communicate an idea at a leadership workshop they were doing the next day with the leaders at Mosaic. It was a bit comforting to see these guys go through the sort of brainstorming I/we do at Crossroads. They have to sit around and throw out a bunch of random ideas until they find something that works too. Eventually I tried to help and throw in my two cents with some name ideas. I wish I could say I came up with some brilliant phrase that they used, but I didn't. They did give me credit for being a part of the process though so that's cool.
They asked me some questions about myself, my plans for ministry, etc. I shared a bit about oneeighty and how it didn't succeed how I wanted. Erwin asked why I think it failed, and blah blah we had a conversation over lunch and whatnot about leadership and ministry. The cool thing is I never got the impression that they were simply humoring me - and as much of a celebrity as Erwin is on the Christian scene, and as much of a world class leader he is, he had the time to sit down and have lunch with some random guy wanting to learn some more about leadership. It seemed he took a genuine interest in talking to me and trying to help me out. We talked a bit about that, some of my specific struggles with leadership, church planting, overplayed worship songs, and people that get too easily offended by things. So this post is long enough as it is - I'll share a couple things I took from the lunch and then be done.
- If you're thinking the right way, doing the right things comes naturally.
- If you're not having fun in ministry, you're going to be a terrible leader and recruiter, because you won't want them to have to share your misery.
- The best people to have on your core leadership team are people that don't have to be pastored or managed - people so on top of things you're almost afraid they'll leave because they don't NEED you.
- The more real big failures you get under your belt, the better equipped you can be going into the future.
Anyway, more later. Thanks for those of you who prayed that this leadership class would be fruitful - it was an incredible three days and I think that your prayers were answered. Hopefully the proof of that will be in the pudding of my leadership, which will ideally be tasting sweeter in the future because of this experience.