Top 10 Podcasts of 2017!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

For a while there I thought 2017 would never end. But wouldn't you know it, it's about to. We are mere days away from 2018 and with it the opportunity for a fresh start in every area of life. I was thinking back on 2017 and how blessed I am that so many of you have chosen to listen to my podcast and to be a part of this little community I call the Stan Rodda Podcast. 

People have accessed the podcast from Ukraine, Russia, Thailand, Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the United States. I am blown away by this. Thank you all for being a part. The podcast will be kicking off again on January 15, 2018. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. You can subscribe here

With all that said, here are the top 10 podcast episodes from 2017!

  1. 042 - Honoring Your Host Location
  2. 043 - Storytelling and the Generation Gap
  3. 037 - Bite-Sized Leadership
  4. 027 - Thriving Theater Churches
  5. 033 - Ministry That Lasts
  6. 041 - Celebrating Baptisms
  7. 045 - LIVE from Exponential West 2017
  8. 025 - Engaging Your Community
  9. BONUS Episode 001
  10. 046 - First-Rate First Impressions

To access every podcast episode and to subscribe, click here

Don't forget, the Stan Rodda Podcast kicks back off on Monday, January 15th. It would mean a lot to me if you would help spread the word to someone you think might benefit from the practical conversations. Simply share this blog post with them and encourage them to subscribe. Let's start of 2018 in a BIG way. Can't wait to connect with all of you again.

Connect With Me

Twitter

LinkedIn

Facebook

FREE eBook

You can access my FREE eBook, "The Art of Self-Leadership," simply by subscribing to my weekly email. Every Friday I send out free content from ministry leaders all over the country. Subscribe at stanrodda.com and automatically receive a link to download your FREE copy of my book. Read more about it on the website.

 

 

C'mon Men!

There is no celebration in another man biting the dust. It's not something to be snarky or giddy about. There are victims involved. People whose lives are permanently changed because some man couldn't be, well, a man.

Matt Lauer was fired from NBC this past week. He is being accused by multiple co-workers of sexual misconduct. The stories coming from those accusations are not good. Before I go any further, I want to say that I believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But let's be real, men have been getting away with a lot of this nonsense for years, decades, centuries. Heck, they've been getting away with, "boys will be boys," and "locker room talk," since the dawn of time. This is simply not okay and if you are a follower of Christ, you should be absolutely disgusted by this kind of behavior.

The list of men accused of sexual misconduct issues is quickly growing. From Billy Cosby to former President H.W. Bush, the list just keeps growing.

  • Harvey Weinstein
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Ben Affleck
  • Roy Moore
  • Anthony Weiner
  • Bill O'Reilly
  • Roy Price
  • Louis C.K.

The purpose of this post is not to cast blame or declare a verdict. The purpose of this post is to offer a few practical things to men must do to right this ship.

1. Joseph is a verb!

When Joseph was a stud-muffin in Egypt, another dude's wife had the hots for him. Big time. She wanted him desperately. Every day when her husband went to work, she went after Joseph.

One day she pulls him into her room and tries to seduce him. He pulls a crazy ninja move, slips out of his robe and Usain Bolts out the door. This is called "Josephing." He's a verb.

Here's my point. This isn't even about right and wrong. This isn't about consensual anything. This is about knowing what's right before God and having the integrity to do the right thing no matter the consequences. Joseph will serve some time in prison after being falsely accused of rape. But that's not the point of the story. The point is that God honors his integrity by eventually giving him the second most powerful seat in Egypt which allows him to save the nation of Israel.

No Joseph. No nation of Israel. No Jesus.

How many opportunities are missed and lives ruined because men can't see the long picture? They give it all up for a few minutes of fun or by trying to hide things from people around them.

Men, do more Josephing.

2. Stop looking at porn!

Back in history some 4000 years or so, there wasn't "porn" like we think of it today. But there were still attractive women and men who consumed them. So this is really more about controlling your eyes. Every woman who walks down the street, comes into your gym, works at your office, sips coffee at your local watering hole, is not yours to consume with your eyes. Get a grip, men.

I love how Job handles this from thousands of years ago.

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. Job 31:1 NLT

He's saying, I am in control of my eyes and I will not use them to consume women. And do you want to know something Job would never be accused of? Sexual misconduct or assault. Why? Because he would never be in that position in the first place because he was in control of his eyes. So he never viewed another woman as his to use for his own pleasure. Which brings me back to my original point.

Men, stop looking at porn! No, seriously. Here's the cycle; a little bit of soft porn turns to "real" porn, turns to hard porn turns to acting out because you exhaust your pleasure staring at a screen. If we want to see transformation in our society about how men view and treat women, we need to stop objectifying them in porn. I'm willing to bet porn is a huge factor in the lives of men who are accused and found guilty of sexual harassment, misconduct, etc.

If you need to some help with accountability when it comes to pornography, you can get started with the people over at XXX Church. They have incredible resources for fighting back against porn. Every man needs it. And to be honest, it's a bigger issue among women than we might care to admit.

3. Fall back in love with your wife!

In many ways, it's really that simple. If you head over heels in love with your wife at home, it helps to focus your mind and eyes away from other women. Will you see other women in the world who are attractive? Yep. Does that mean they are yours to consume either mentally or physically? Nope. 

This is what I love about Ephesians 5:25-27. It's all about the husband working so hard to love his wife, so much so that it feels like death. To love her well is to die to yourself. That's what it means. And husbands do this to the point where your wife is presented to you without spot, wrinkle or blemish.

She. Is. Perfect.

This is how Jesus sees the church, His people, men and women. He literally died for them because of His love for them. And now we are seen as perfect before God as a result. 

In the human sense, husbands, if you will love your wives the way Christ loved the church, there will NEVER be another woman on this planet who compares. And definitely not one worth losing your life over.

So if your wife is a flower kind of person. Go buy her flowers. Right now. No, seriously. I'm not the important one here. Go do something for her.

If your wife is a words of affirmation kind of person, go home and shower her with praise. Quit whining about everything you don't have. You're not that big of a deal anyway.

Leave her notes on the bathroom mirror or in her car again. Invest in her. Sacrifice for her. Die to yourself for her. Go fall in love with your wife again.

Men, I want to challenge you in this area. Women are not here for us to consume. They are not objects for us to take advantage of. They are fellow human beings, image bearers of God, children of the King and for those who follow Christ, heirs with Christ, sisters in faith. This comes down to family. They are family. Even the ones you don't know you pass by on the street. It is not your role to consume her with your eyes or hands or worse. It is your job to see her as a precious daughter in the eyes of God and to treat her as such.

Reflections on Sutherland Springs!

Another day. Another mass shooting. Here's my reflection on what happened this past Sunday in Sutherland Springs, Texas at a small Baptist church.

When I first heard the news about the shooting, it was in a text message. I was already busy on a Sunday morning like most pastors. My initial reaction was not much of a reaction. I just read it as if it was another day in our world. Another day. Another mass shooting. It wasn't until I was able to slow down and process what was happening that I really began to think more about it. Here's where I'm landing.

I don't have the answer.

I don't know why this keeps happening. I don't know why innocent blood is constantly shed. I don't know why it seems to be happening with greater and greater frequency and intensity. I don't know why Columbine isn't even in the Top 10 for worst mass shootings in our country anymore. I don't know.

Let me clarify. I have the answer. The answer is sin and evil. There's an entire theological component to this. There's a moral component to this. I have the answer. What I don't have is an answer that satisfies. The intellectual, theological answer to an emotional question simply doesn't satisfy.

A weeping family member cries out, "Why God? Why did this happen?" 

Am I really supposed to respond intellectually? "Well, you see, back in the Garden of Eden..."

Or, "Well, we just don't have good gun control like Japan or Canada."

Or, "Well, if everyone was armed and could protect themselves."

Or, "We have to have free will or there is no love."

Do those answers really satisfy the anguish of a grieving mother who has just lost her 5 year old? Does it really help for the families who remain to pick up the pieces of their shattered community? Maybe for some who have some background in thinking down those paths. But for the person without it, I don't think those answers satisfy in this moment.

I simply don't have the answer.

But here is what I do know. I must repent. I must take ownership of my own evil thoughts and practices. I am a pastor. I am not a perfect person. I am flawed and broken. I'm capable of yelling at my kids and scarring them for life. I'm capable of not caring for my wife the way that I should. I'm capable of allowing bitterness and hatred to grow in my own heart and soul. I'm capable of becoming cynical of others and not letting them in to my world. I'm capable of being a hypocrite when it comes to life; praising an air strike that takes out a Muslim terrorist, even though innocent Muslim people may have been killed in the process. But I mourn for innocent Christian people who are killed by domestic terrorists. I'm capable of hypocrisy and darkness. I'm capable of not seeing ALL of humanity as being created in the image of God. I'm capable of only seeing those who are like me as of worth. I'm capable of that. I'm capable of that evil.

Would you take a moment and reflect on your own heart? Are you at a place of perfect integrity before God on this topic?

Rather than jump to knee jerk, quick reaction answers, I must do some hard work. Some soul searching. I must take the log out of my own eye before I try removing the speck from someone else's eye. It's easy to point the finger at a shooter and cry, "Evil. Hatred. Jerk. Idiot. Loser. I'm glad he's dead." It's a lot harder to look inside of myself and see all of those things. To see the times I have called people those names. To see the times I have treated people as if they were those things. To see the times I have contributed to the lake of sin and evil that we all drink from. To see the times I have avoided people on the street because they don't look worthy of my time or a few dollars to buy a warm drink. I am not innocent in this. I contribute to the sin problem daily.

So what's my reflection on what happened in a small town in Texas, on a Sunday morning at a little Baptist church? 

I am no better than that shooter. I am filled with evil just the same. I need Jesus more than anyone else. My heart is desperately wicked and in need of restoration and healing. I must take responsibility for the fact that when given the opportunity, I haven't given the cup of cold water in Jesus' name. I haven't been to the prison to visit the prisoner. I haven't given warm bread to the neighbor in need.

"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" [Jeremiah 17:9 NLT]

I must resist the urge to tweet, post or comment. I must resist using my authority on a Sunday behind the pulpit to fulfill my own personal political leanings on a subject as difficult as this one. I must resist the urge to act as if I am above it all. As if I have all the answers. As if I have it all figured out. I don't. The answer isn't as easy as...

More gun control. More guns in good guy's hands. Republicans suck. It's a Democrat ideology. He was a Muslim. Antifa. Atheist. Mental health.

Those things are easy to say. It's easy to comment. It's easy to call people online you don't know a "fool" because they see something differently than you do. But these answers just don't satisfy. These are not the answers of life. These are not the answers of living water. These are easy things to say that make us feel better initially, as if we have done something to help the problem.

But they aren't really driving at the root. The root problem is my heart. And yours. It's a lot harder to look at myself in the mirror as a follower of Christ and say, "I am that same evil monster on the inside." The difference is that Jesus died to restore me. To heal what is broken inside of me. To love a sinner filled with evil and cynicism.

Make no mistake about it, the answer is ultimately Jesus. It is Jesus who brings life. It is Jesus who brings healing and salvation. It is Jesus who restores us to the Father. It is Jesus who is living water. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus is the answer. Jesus was the answer before God said, "Let there be light." Make no mistake about it. Jesus is the answer!

But before I can offer the answer. Before I post on social media. Before I condemn others for thinking differently than me. Before I condemn and hate a man like the shooter in this situation. Before I can do any of that...

I must repent.

I must look in the mirror.

I must realize I'm capable of evil.

And I must turn my heart back toward God.

My heart must be guarded and brought into alignment with the perfect will of God.

I must be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

Every. Single. Day.

Followers of Christ - I urge you to do the same.

"Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord." [Acts 3:19, 20 NLT]

5 Ways to Create a Healthy Church Culture!

My friend, Tom Pounder, invited me to be a part of his Summer Ministry Vlog Week! I was honored and chose to share on a topic that is really important to me in this season of my ministry.

I would venture a guess and say that every leader wants to create a healthy culture in their environment. Whether they are in the ministry or church world, or they come from a business background. I don't know any leaders who say, "Yeah, I want an unhealthy culture in my organization." The reality is that we want a healthy culture, but sometimes we may not know exactly how to get there. Well here are five simple ways I believe you can do to begin creating a healthy church or ministry culture.

Get Yourself Healthy!

Every leader needs a coach or mentor. Every leader needs some counseling also. If you aren't being coached by someone who is further down the ministry or business road than you are, I want to encourage you to stop what you are doing and go and find that person. Offer to buy them lunch or coffee. Pick their brain for an hour. Do whatever you have to do to build a relationship with someone who can help you get healthy as a leader and person.

Identify & Eliminate Culture Cancers!

Look around at your current culture and identify the parts that you simply can't stand. The stuff that is going to destroy your church or ministry if left untreated. That may be a specific person who is unhealthy on the team and they must be addressed. Or it could simply be a mindset or mentality, such as people showing up late all the time.

Once you have identified the culture cancer, it's time to eliminate it. Former Navy Seal, Leif Babin, said, "It's not what you preach, it's what you tolerate." Your organization or ministry can be sunk or deeply damaged if you tolerate and allow unhealthy things to continue. Culture trumps vision.

Model the Right Behavior!

All leaders know leadership 101 is to identify the path, align your team on the path and then to model the right behavior. You can begin moving down this path of a healthy church or ministry culture, but if you aren't modeling what it looks like, it won't stick. If you want an organization that values honoring people's time, then you need to be on time for things. You also need to end on time. If you aren't modeling how to honor people well, it won't stick and won't become a part of your culture. 

What Gets Celebrated Gets Repeated!

Look around your organization or ministry and find people who embody your church's culture. Find the people who are doing things well, the people who are doing the things you want everyone on your team to look like. Then highlight them publicly. Share their story with your team. Create a video that tells their story and share it publicly on a Sunday morning. You need to celebrate the attitudes, behaviors and mentalities that you want everyone to be living out. 

Use Fresh, Memorable Language!

Your team needs to be able to quickly identify and share simple principles that help create your culture. One that I use is "1% improvements." How are our teams getting 1% better every single week. What went wrong last week that we need to eliminate? What went well that we need to build on and make even better? Our team finds momentum when everyone is speaking the same language and focusing on 1% improvements.

No matter what language you are using, make sure it's simple, clear and memorable. Then repeat it often until it comes a part of the DNA of your culture. 

Find more about Tom Pounder here...

http://ymsidekick.com

Podcast

Extreme Ownership

4 Stages of Adult Development

Recently I had a conversation with my friend, Jody Corbet, about the four stages of adult development. Jody has been bringing his wisdom and insight from strategic thinking to our staff at New Life. Here are the basics of that conversation. You can listen to the podcast here. 

These stages of development are different from personality traits. People can also move back and forth into different stages. Most people will land in one stage as their primary comfort zone, but depending on the situation and their desire for growth, can move into new stages.  Here are the four stages and some of the characteristics that come with them.

Opportunist

Opportunists are typically the teenagers of the group. They are very much in it for themselves. "Why should I empty the trash? What's in it for me? Will you give me $5?" This makes them somewhat manipulative and distrustful of people. Because they are in it for themselves, the assumption on their part is that everyone else is also, including their peers. They ignore long-term consequences and aren't big fans of policies.

The positive side is that they are self-directed. While they may not be great on teams, they love to get after very specific work for a short period of time. You might say, "I need you to do 'X' job and here's what you will get out of it." This is one way to approach teens in your student ministry. "You should come serve at the shelter with us. Here's what it would mean for you…" Only around 5% of leaders in the world are opportunists.

Diplomat

Diplomats have grown to realize that the group is stronger than the individual. They move from an "I" focus into a "We" focus. As a teenager grows up, they realize they want to be in the group to some degree. Many adults will stay in the stage and have tendencies toward being people-pleasers. They follow rules, norms and procedures. They want to avoid conflict within their team or sphere of influence. If there is conflict with someone outside of the group, they are okay with that, but within the group they want to maintain peace.

Diplomats may be a challenge because feedback is difficult for them. They don't want to make hard decisions because it might rock the boat for the group. This can also tend to slow them when it comes to improving their own performance. They don't want it to create any issues with the rest of the group, team or organization. Unfortunately, diplomats don't make strong leaders. In fact, only about 10% of the leaders in our world are diplomats.

Expert

Experts seek to be original and superior in their craft. They have grown in their role and believe there is one "right way" to do everything. They resent feedback from outside of their group, especially from someone they don't view as an expert also in their field. They aren't great team players and often view collaboration is a waste of time. Why? Because they already know the right answer. 

Some positives that come from being an expert as simply that they are good contributors. Because they are experts in their field, they have answers and are willing to share them. They follow procedures and policies well because they have become an expert in that environment. Changing the rules or culture can create tension for them since they aren't experts in this "new way" of doing something. Around 45% of leaders are experts.

Achiever

Achievers focus on the plan that will lead to a specific outcome. They have a single purpose they are focused on. They are not afraid of change, but any change has to convince them that they will achieve the goal in a smarter or better way. They are open to feedback as long as it achieves the goal. A positive work environment usually follows an achiever. Again, they want to deliver a goal, a result, and a positive work environment contributes to that.

Some challenges that come with achievers are simply that they can inhibit "outside the box" thinking. They aren't open to it if they don't see how it achieves the goal. So they can be quick to squash ideas. And if there are experts in the room, there can be clashes between the two. Around 30% of leaders are achievers.

Understanding these stages of development can be extremely helpful in a ministry context. It can help you navigate conversations with people who always have ideas. The knowledge can help you lead through meetings more effectively. And it can also help you understand who is working for you on your teams and how to navigate those relationships. There are some great positives to understanding these stages of development. 

What questions come to mind for you as you read through these stages? Any questions about a specific situation you would like input on? Listen to episode 026 of my podcast to learn more or head over to my Contact page to share your question. I am planning to have Jody back on as a guest soon to answer your specific questions.