You never know who’s watching.

You never know who models his or her life after you.  Sure, there are the ten percent who make it clear, but like icebergs, the other ninety are quiet. Below the surface and virtually invisible, but no doubt there.

All the while watching… for a path to follow… a faith to imitate… or a life that’s contagious.

So walk your path authentically. Believe hopefully.  Live abundantly, all the while leaving clues for searching hearts to find.

Because somebody’s watching.  And they’re following you. [click to continue…]


Row American Flags Half Mast Washington DC USA

Here we go again.

Another day.

Another crisis.

Another call for leadership.

Another round of half-mast flags…

Another set of news-bite wags…

A fresh supply of new #hashtags…

And another call for leadership.

More outrage at this

More outrage at your outrage at that,

Another mad rush of the gun shop owners to the bank…

And another call for leadership.

What do we mourn when we bemoan the lack of leadership?

Do we really know what are we calling for? [click to continue…]



There’s no question that Anthony is a leader in the making.  His dad raised him to think for himself and test everything, and fully expects Anthony to outdo him.  And Anthony has accepted the invitation, so to speak.  He’s a visionary, a solution seeker, and has a bias for action, not just talk.

That said, Anthony is young and inexperienced.  At least that’s what he’s told whenever he offers up an idea to Gary the Gatekeeper, Anthony’s boss and longtime mentor.  Anthony does have some experience, and is about to complete his degree in college.  But Gary the Gatekeeper still discredits anything Anthony offers by way of vision for the future.

“When I want to take action,” Anthony says, “I have to go to him and wait a month or more before he even looks at it.  And so I can’t get anything done!”  He adds, “Whenever I offer constructive criticism, Gary acts as though he’s under attack.”  Anthony concludes, “What can you do with a leader who won’t let you grow up?”

It’s a fair question.  How do you respond to a “leader” who spends more time blocking you than leading you?  I should start by saying that such a person is not a leader in the truest sense of the word.  The root nature of mature leadership doesn’t seek just to generate blind, thoughtless followers, but to enflame and empower a new generation of leaders.  And at some point that requires some letting go.

But what happens when the leader has his own growing up to do?  How should Anthony, or any other emerging leader, respond to an insecure control freak who is in a position of power or authority? [click to continue…]


Half Full Half EmptyWhat do you do when you’re the leader and somebody on your team drops the ball? Or worse, in their zeal for your cause, they do more harm than good?  Every leader would relish having people with the strength of a bull on their team.  We just don’t want the bulls charging into china shops.

Leadership is forged during awkward times. During periods of public strain, pain, or frustration, our attention turns to those we presume to be in leadership. On a national scale, for example, people in the United States turn to the president to help make sense of their fearful or angry moments (and we’ve had our share of those lately).

They assume that leaders have something to say.  They watch instead for what the leader actually does.  They’re not looking for place holders. They’re looking for leaders who have a sense for how to please them as they lead them.  And as leaders throughout time have discovered, there is no such thing as private or secret leadership.  Heck, even the Secret Service isn’t that secret.

In between the stories of his giant killing and his adultery dodging, an obscure little verse in the Bible describes how people responded to its beloved King David.  It’s every leader’s dream come true: [click to continue…]


Footsteps in SnowThis is a true story.  The names are changed.

Will was an insecure, painfully shy 11-year-old boy who came from a very poor family.  But his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Goodwin, saw something special in him – not just in the student he was at the time, but as the adult he could become. And through that year, she began to give Will a gift that no one to that point had ever dared offer – the gift of confidence.

She told him he was the smartest student she ever had. She said it to him personally and to the class.

She told him how much potential he had.

She took him to her home.

She even took him to the junior high school he would attend the next year to introduce Will to his teachers and tell them what a great student he was.

She told him that the only other student who showed his potential became the vice president of a well-known university.

True to Mrs. Goodwin’s prediction, Will became the first person in his family to go to college. Buoyed by her care and concern he went on to a successful academic career… as a… (you guessed it) vice president of a major university.

Mrs. Goodwin was more than a teacher. She was a leader. She saw in an awkward kid a destiny that nobody else saw. Put in leadership terms, she had a vision. Then she set about investing the time and service necessary to put Will on a path toward that vision.

And the tool she used:  Influence. [click to continue…]


UPDATE:  The giveaway has been moved to Tuesday, May 29.  (Forgot it was Memorial Day Weekend.)

(Shameless Plug:  Be watching Sunday, May 27, for our first-ever prize giveaway.)

The Thanksgiving holiday is still a long way off.  The turkeys are still strutting around the barnyard as if life will go on forever.

Nobody’s playing football on TV, though I did hear that Peyton has started working out with his new team and somebody else has joined the sue-the-NFL club.

School is out this week in a lot of places, so maybe families will be getting together for the Memorial Day Weekend holiday.  But I fear as a nation we’re just as thankless on Memorial Day as we typically are on the fourth Thursday in November.

So.  Since nobody’s going around the table making you share what you’re thankful for, what are you thankful for?  Since you haven’t eaten yourself into a ‘bout-to-pop stupor, what are you thankful for?  Since nobody is having a pre-Christmas sale right now (that I know of), what are you thankful for? [click to continue…]


(With humble apologies to the Mary Stevenson Estate)

One night I dreamed that I was dipping my feet in the dog’s water bowl

And walking the lonely journey across my patio,

Leaving wet footprints along the way.

Soon I noticed tiny little footprints appearing behind mine. [click to continue…]


I want to take you to a place where, frankly, we aren’t invited.  For just a minute, let’s be one of “those” people we often gripe about – those rubberneckers on the highway, who seem fascinated with somebody else’s messes.  

In this case, we’re creeping up to a closed bedroom door, where on the other side, we can hear muffled sobs. 

A man’s sobs.

A few days ago, somebody from home had rocked his world.  The news was bad, and every ounce of optimism he once had was crushed.

You should have been here yesterday.  He was really blubbering then.  And he will be again tomorrow.  Fasting, too.  And praying.  Lots of praying. 

But as he cries and prays and cries and fasts and cries some more, something happens.  [click to continue…]


Follow Me to the Dead End

by Andy Wood on November 7, 2008

in 100 Words, Leadership, Life Currency

From a sign in Chicago.

I’m fairly certain more people turn right looking for North Avenue than they stay straight or turn left.


Because the mind can’t focus on the opposite of an idea.

People tend to go in the direction of your arrows (your example), not the direction of your words.

They gravitate toward what you tell them to avoid, unless you actually point them in a better direction.

They become what you criticize or fear or hate or warn against or dread.

What you say is communication;  that’s important.

Where you point is leadership.  That is vital.

(Photo by Andy Sernovitz)


Leading Broken People

by Andy Wood on September 8, 2008

in Esteem, Leadership, Life Currency, Love, Words

A couple of weeks ago David Hayward, a pastor and gifted artist/cartoonist, posted this picture on his blog site, in a post titled “How I’m feeling about the church lately.”

(Used by permission)

(Used by permission)

I can relate.  For more than 30 years, it has been my privilege, my headache, my joy, and my nightmare to work with broken people or broken churches.  Prior to launching Turning Point Community Church in 2003, three of the four churches where I was senior pastor had experienced major divisions, open conflicts, forced termination of my predecessor, or some other kind of grief or pain.  Some had lived with the crud for so long, they’d arrived at the conclusion that this was somehow supposed to be normal.  “I’m sure it’s like this everywhere,” they’d intone.  “Oh, no it isn’t!” I’d scream inside, all the while smiling on the outside.

The brokenness isn’t limited to the organization.  David’s cartoon reminded me of something we used to proclaim loudly here.  Underneath the doorway leading into our rented facility, our church used to hang a banner that represented a passion and sense of calling for us.  Every Sunday, every worshipper at Turning Point walked under its message:

A Place to Begin Again.

I roughly estimated that for a long season, 80 percent of the people who arrived at Turning Point for the first time came here to heal.  Some came from broken marriages; others from broken lives of addictions or economic messes.  Many came bleeding from the most insidious wound of all – the church wound. [click to continue…]