Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Drive Conference

I went to the Drive Conference ( put on by North Point Community Church near Atlanta, GA. (

The following is a great summary of what Andy shared in the general sessions... I stole these from Tony Morgan who was there and took great notes. John Jackson ( has comments entered in italics.

TONY MORGAN INTRO: Sitting here at the Drive Conference at North Point. Andy Stanley is on the platform. He's going to share some good stuff over the next few days. I thought I'd try to capture all the smart things that Andy says over the next few days. So, here's the beginning of the list. These are the smart things Andy said... part one:

1. We're not there yet. And we won't be. Life is a journey. Enjoy it.

2. We all do ministry in communities where people think church is for church people. That's the type of world we live in. People care about God. People want to connect with God. There's a hunger for God, but the church is in the way. "I'm giving the rest of my life to change that." Ouch. What will it take for me to lead a church that connects people to God?

3. The church ought to be the magnet. It should be irresistible. If we're the body, we should be irresistible. Robert Lewis, The Church of Irresistible Influence

4. Sinners liked to be around Jesus. They liked him, but they were nothing like him.

5. Leaders are very dissatisfied unless there's progress. I believe it was Robert Jarvik who said that leaders have a poorly developed sense of fear about the future.

6. Since the beginning of the church, the "insiders" have been making it difficult for the "outsiders." From the very beginning, the church has tried to change the outsiders before they can connect with the church. (Acts 15)

7. If we create obstacles for people to connect with the church and God, we are working against God. Yes Lord, and I repent of that.

8. The majority of churches have made it difficult for people to turn to God.

9. The Gospel should be easy and accessible. And demand your life. All at once.

10. For some reason, there's something in us that wants to make church a formula. We make it difficult for people who are turning to God.

11. The gravitational pull of your ministry is to create insider language, rules and programs that makes it more difficult for people to turn to God.

12. The only people that really love a big church are the pastors. It's a hassle for everyone else.

13. We had to create empty seats at optimal times in order to make room for people who were unchurched. Otherwise, I would have just been talking to the Christians.

14. This is the difficult question we need to continuously ask: Is it still easy and accessible here?

15. When a local church gets off-mission, God gets uninterested. God says, "They don't need me."

16. We made a fundamental decision years ago that we were going to be more committed to reaching people than keeping people.

17. We're not here for the party going to Heaven. And therefore we have to be ever vigilant about our Older Brother Worldview (see Luke 15)

18. Are you willing to take a critical look at your organization or ministry team and determine whether or not you're unintentionally making it harder for people to take steps toward Christ?

19. God works through systems. For example, your body is a complex system designed by God. It's systematic and predictable. God created systems. That doesn't make him small. Likewise, God works through systems in our ministry. Systems aren't secular. When I write about it, I say Developing Systems is one of the 4 key roles of leaders

20. You can pray your heart out for change to take place in your church, but change will not take place without change to your systems.

21. Your church is a conglomeration of systems. You can't pray that away. You can't faith that away. You can't inspire that away. You can't preach that away. Somebody has to address those systems.

22. McDonalds and Coke have accomplished their "great commission." We say, "That's the worlds way." Maybe not. Maybe it's God's way. God works through systems.

23. There are some organizational systems that impede ministry. In effect, we are resisting the Holy Spirit.

24. Some systems free leaders and some obstruct leaders.

25. "I may not be right, but I'm going to be critical."

26. I know a pastor that is supposed to lead his church but a separate committee hires the staff. "That's stupid." It's obstructing ministry in his environment.

27. When you don't understand systems thinking, you always blame the players.

28. Systems create behaviors. For example, if you're a youth pastor, your teaching can't outweigh the influence of a dysfunctional family system. Or, if you're a parent, the wrong system of friends trumps what you teach at home.

29. The systems you inherit, adopt or create will eventually impact what staff and volunteers do. This is really a critical piece…more on this in future blogs….what we think, feel, say, decide, do is all interwoven like a chain.

30. The reason people are not inviting friends to attend services and events in your church is because you have a system that discourages people from doing that.

31. If you have to get up on the platform and beg people to do something (like recruit volunteers), that's a system problem.

32. Anytime you hear, "our people just won't," you're listening to someone who doesn't understand systems. They're blaming people instead of addressing the systems. (Tony's note: And these people are not leaders. They're just whiners.)

33. Components of a system include: expectations/rules, rewards (or lack of), consequences (or lack of), communication (content and style) and behavior of those in charge.

34. What's rewarded gets repeated.

35. Systems have a greater impact on organizational culture than do mission statements. That’s because systems are what people “do” and mission statements are what people round file!

36. This principle explains why it is so difficult to transition a church.

37. You can't change, add or delete programs to change a church or change lives. Programming doesn't change behavior.

38. The NT does not present us with a comprehensive system model. We discover what the early church did, but it doesn't instruct leaders what to do.

39. Always ask the question: Is this what we are told to do or is this just what they did? Is it prescriptive or descriptive?

40. Delegation, accountability, authority, interdependence, point leadership and seeking counsel are all examples of systems outlined in the OT and NT. There's nothing to suggest congregational rule is an appropriate system for a church. Preach Andy! Of course, you probably don’t want to know that when I was a Baptist denominational executive that I wrote an entire document opposed to congregational rule, do you? If you do, drop me an e-mail at and I’ll send it to you.

41. Your system should allow you to involve and hire the best person for the job. If you hire great people, great things happen.

42. Your system should provide you with the flexibility to get the right people to the table to make decisions.

43. Your system should allow you to make complex decisions within the context of a small group of empowered individuals. You cannot effectively communicate complicated information to a lot of people.

44. Your system should ensure that only person answers to "they." At North Point, Andy is the only person that works for a group. You can't answer to a boss and a committee.

45. Romans 12 indicates leaders need to "govern diligently." This is all about the systems.
(Some of Andy's staff team also contributed to this session.)

46. Your current system is perfectly designed for the results you're getting. That may be great news, or that may be bad news. Ok…this one feels bad. But it is absolutely right on.

47. Connect the dots. You need to figure out a way for every single volunteer in your organization to understand what they contribute to the whole.

48. The very best people are busy people. Because of that, you need to define the terms of service. What's the commitment required?

49. Fresh starts always provide momentum. Let volunteers take a break and then start up again. (Tony's side note: That's why launching a new weekend series every 5 or 6 weeks is so important.)

50. Eliminate the competition. If you try to do everything, you'll run out of volunteers. One of the questions that's asked around NP is this: Where do we have competing systems?
51. Don't run because you face conflict. If you start running, you'll never stop. There will always be conflict. Wherever there's change, there's conflict.
52. To be leaders, you have to be strong and courageous. Don't show your fear. You cannot carry out your responsibility by being fearful.
53. Conflict in our ministry divides our mind. We think about it all the time. It's a distraction that keeps us from our goals. It destroys relationships.
54. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.
55. The message must never change. The methods can.
56. Learn to fight your battles on your knees. A true is this of me.
57. Just tell the truth.
58. If you focus on your opposition, that's bad. If you focus on God, that's good. It's easy to get distracted. Keep your focus where it belongs. Your object of focus becomes your desire…where do I focus when conflict happens?
Back to Smart Things from Andy:
59. There's a difference between leading a team and leading a staff.
60. A high performance team is a group of competent individuals passionately engaged in the execution of a plan designed to solve a specific problem.
61. Team advantage = synergy instead of misaligned energy
62. Four essentials to team: (1) a clearly defined problem, (2) an agreed upon solution, (3) clearly assign roles, (4) a clear understanding of the interdepency among staff members.
63. The question we need to ask is this: What is the problem that won't be solved if we don't do what God has called us to do?
64. Teams dissolved when the problems are all solved. If meetings are a waste of time, you don't know the problem or you've lost sight of it.
65. If there are 60% of the people in your community driving by your church each Sunday, one of your problems is irrelevant church environments.
66. If you just want to be a boss with employees, just tell them what to do. (Tony's note: If you do this, your leaders will flee.)
67. Agreement necessitates "unfiltered debate."
68. Every team member must buy in before he will wholeheartedly pitch in.
69. Andy challenged us to create a one-sentence job description for each of our team members. That helps them understand their role. Sahweet idea….our church staff team will be doing this!
70. A lack of clarity always results in poor which point we typically blame the person.
71. On a real team, when one person drops the ball, the entire team suffers.
72. You capture a person's heart, you'll get their hands.
73. What without "why" feels like a task.

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