right now: george barna

i had the privilege of attending the right now conference simulcast at PORTICO last weekend. there were only about 17 of us, but those who stuck to the end all agreed that for $10 and the amazing speakers, there really should have been more people there.

here are my notes from the first session, what i learned from master leaders by george barna. i missed the first half of his talk as i was doing registration, but i still have copious notes.

  • a leader's job is to help people understand and make sense of reality.
  • there is a difference between teaching and leadership; too many people with the gift of teaching/preaching confuse it with the God-given gift of leadership.
leadership checkpoints:

1. leaders can change reality, but they cannot change people.
  • if people don't have the desire an will to change themselves, they will not.
  • once a person reaches the age of 13, they change very little.
  • our best strategy is to work with who people are, who God has created them to be.
  • if you are absolutely committed to changing lives, work with children.

2. nobody is the complete leadership package, so it's important to work as part of a leadership team.
  • there is a fine line between arrogance and self conficence.
  • great leadership teams are: small in numbers (4-6); spend time together, know each other; have shared vision, values and passion; are vulnerable and communicate with each other; strive to empower people.

3. the most undervalued and overlooked skill a leader needs is listening.
  • it takes practice and discipline to know how to listen properly.
  • we need to seriously evaluate how good we are at listening.
  • do the people i work with feel safe to tell me what is on their mind?

4. leaders must master handling conflict and confrontation.
  • we must normalize conflict.
  • when you sense something happening, seize the initiative and address it.
  • know the facts and understand the facets of the situation.
  • position yourself as a friend and not a foe of those involved.
  • be sure to ask clarifying questioning and listen to answers.
  • seek a win-win outcome.
  • the goal is to solve the problem, not win the fight.
  • sometimes you have to create conflict within your team.
  • leaders bring danger with them, beause they seek the truth.
  • do people appreciate my leadership because it is safe or because i make them uncomfortable and challenge them?

5. what is success?
  • you get what you measure (eg. attendance, $, programs, building)
  • success is helping people achieve their potential in Christ.
  • great leadership is not synonymous with popularity.
  • never ask people following you to do what you yourself would not do.

6. do not accept a leadership position unless you are willing to pay a steep price.
  • great leaders are identifiable by their passion for truth and justice, but this will make people uncomfortable and make some enemies.
  • pressure purifies and prepares you for a higher calling.
  • two kinds of pressure: internal and eternal.
  • ignore external pressure.
  • pay attention to internal pressure, it is more real.
Foundation for handling pressure:
  • lean on God for strength and encouragement.
  • examine motivations for leading, be honest with hwo you are an why you are leading; what are your convictions?
  • rely on your close family and friends for honesty and feedback.


  • people need to be led.
  • leading isn't a job, it's a calling of God.
  • success = partnering with God to see lived changed.


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