Transforming Mission LeaderCast

Tim Bias and Sara Thomas

Insights and resources you need to lead a movement of Jesus followers. We’ll cover faith topics that trip us up, hold us back, and guide us forward…all so you can lead people to Jesus in your local context.

All Episodes

This week, as you gather around the dining room table, kitchen table, card table, or hospital table with the people you love to celebrate Thanksgiving, know that we’re giving God thanks for you.  While this week is hyper-focused on the American holiday of Thanksgiving, we want to remind you of something that occurs more frequently (for most) than annually.  When we come to the table to celebrate Holy Communion, the liturgy of the Great Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to participate in the mighty acts of God. The liturgy recalls, affirms, invites, and celebrates.  During Episode 205, Tim and I walk through portions of the liturgy. It is a reminder that while we may move through the liturgy quickly, there are many moments to pause and give thanks.  As you listen, reflect, and give thanks this week, perhaps the Great Thanksgiving will be a reminder of that “outward sign of an inward grace” available to you throughout the year.  Wishing you and yours a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. We are grateful for you!

Nov 23

25 min 24 sec

We all know we should be grateful for what we’ve been given, whether it’s an experience or a tangible gift. But, hard situations can make gratitude difficult. Today we have three reminders for being grateful in hard, or difficult, situations.    Explore three psalms alongside four reminders (that double as prayers) to guide you through difficult seasons and practice gratitude.    First, explore Psalm 30.  In this psalm, we experience David who is overwhelmed with gratitude because of God’s saving work in his life. David called out to God for help and God responded. David recognized he couldn’t emerge from where he was without God and God answered.    David had only one response: Thank you, God. This is a complete response. Sometimes, those three words are all you can muster. Pray these words. Repeat these words. Cry out to God with the words.    Second, turn to Psalm 32.  When you’ve done something or people have treated you in a way that you feel as though there is no return, turn to Psalm 32 and David’s response to God. David broke a boundary with Bathsheba. This Psalm is believed to be his response to God’s forgiveness after that affair.    Remember, you can be forgiven. Seek God’s love. And remember, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, God loves you.   Third, explore Psalm 34. In this psalm we experience David feeling alone and left behind. When you feel abandoned, even if by the people who should be loving you, remember God’s grace renews your spirit.   Together, these three psalms serve as a reminder of God’s goodness, God’s steadfast love, and God’s forgiveness. Here’s one final reminder that bears repeating: God loves you and there’s nothing you can do about it.   Write it down/Talk it Out In what circumstances is it easy to give God thanks? What circumstances is it difficult to give God thanks? Reflect on why there is a difference.  Who are the people that remind you, No matter who you are or what you’ve done, God loves you. Give thanks to God for them, then reach out and thank them.

Nov 16

22 min 30 sec

What scripture reminds you to practice gratitude?  Join Tim or Sara this week as they explore five scriptures that lead to five reasons Christ-centered leaders need to teach gratitude. Will the scripture that came to mind be included in this episode? Read more and listen to Episode 203 to find out. From a boy with fish to Jesus and Joshua, you’ll hear scripture that reminds us of God’s presence, encourages you to take a 25,000-foot perspective, and that God’s in the restoration business.  If you know you should be grateful, but don’t always practice gratitude, here are five reasons to practice, and teach gratitude. Before reading any further, what are your reasons for teaching and practicing gratitude?  Here’s our top five list. Listen to the episode to explore the corresponding scriptures that each of these reasons comes from.  Five reasons to Teach and Practice Gratitude. Reminders of God’s goodness are all around us. God’s goodness invites a response of gratitude. God is in the restoration business. Leaders need to take a 25,000-foot perspective, especially when people are grumbling about “what we don’t have.” Instead, it’s an invitation to name what you do have. What is in front of you. Those are reasons to be grateful to God.  We’re God's people who are chosen, blessed, broken, and given. God’s grace breaks in at each of those moments, leading to gratitude. God’s in all things. God’s goodness is present in our life. God’s given you the opportunity to recognize God’s goodness. It’s an opportunity to be thankful.  Write it down/Talk it Out Which Scripture resonated with you? Take time this week to explore it in gratitude to God. What aspect of teaching gratitude is your growing edge as a leader? 

Nov 9

27 min 36 sec

Is an “attitude of gratitude” enough?  Before you answer, consider the source of your gratitude. If your gratitude is circumstantial or based only on feelings, what happens when the circumstances around you are hard? Do you simply stop being grateful? We hope not. As Christ-centered leaders, God is the source of our gratitude. As such, regardless of circumstances, God’s goodness is present. That’s why gratitude is essential. Once we decide we need to practice gratitude and want to practice gratitude out of response to God’s goodness, we’ve started the journey of gratitude.  One Journey of Gratitude We agree we need to be grateful. We discipline ourselves to be grateful. We keep it up as a disciplined habit, whether we feel like it or not. It becomes a joy—we are thankful for the privilege. We’re nurtured by a relationship with God that responds to God’s goodness with gratitude. As a leader, you have the opportunity to model for others something more than an attitude of gratitude. You have the opportunity to practice gratitude with the people you lead. The only question is, will you? Write it Down/Talk it Out Do you value the kindness of God's work? Said, as we talked about in this episode, “Is God good, and do you start with God’s goodness? What are you going to do about it? Where are you on the gratitude journey and what's your next step in practicing gratitude?  What did you learn about yourself and being grateful from this episode?

Nov 2

19 min 37 sec

“Why don’t they follow the rules?”  If you’ve ever heard this question asked about immigration, join Scott Hicks, Immigration Attorney and Pastor, for Episode 201. Scott’s deep faith and grace-filled perspectives guide you to explore:  the myths about immigration how a culture of fear is perpetuating these myths how faith informs our response to immigration.  Then, explore with Scott how a shifting landscape is inviting a local congregation to innovate and connect as a community through technology.  Myths About Immigration Scott explores the myths perpetuated by lack of knowledge and media that keep individuals on a long waiting list that can last from 7-50 years. Additionally, he shares how long-term and recent history continues to perpetuate practices that are racist.  Culture of Fear When it comes to conversations about immigration, Scott explores how fear has informed the debate in congress. From threats of violence to “stealing jobs” the culture of fear around immigration has created a system that is enforcement based and runs contrary to what data shows to be true.  Perspective of Faith As an immigration attorney and pastor, Scott holds space to explore not only the legal implications of immigration but invites us to consider the faithful response as followers of Jesus. He reminds us of the greatest commandments and how loving God and not oppressing the foreigner, protecting orphans and widows appears throughout scripture. If loving God and loving our neighbor guides our actions as Christ-centered leaders, are there things we should be doing differently around immigration? We’ll let you decide. Finally, Scott reminds us that being a follower of Jesus is not connected to a political party or a political ideology. Instead, when we start with our faith in Jesus, we lead others to encounter the love of God we know in Jesus.  Innovating Church When it comes to the intersection of church and immigration, Scott continues to be an advocate and educator. The challenges of the pandemic brought another reality to the local church Scott pastors. Explore with him how they’ve pivoted to an online community that is not only reaching people in their community but around the country.  Write it Down/Talk it Out Where are you starting in your understanding of immigration?  How do loving God and loving others guide your actions or inactions as a leader?  What is dying in your leadership so that new life can emerge.  Are you starting with Jesus? Or maybe the better question is what's the difference between starting with Jesus and starting from a political, whether it be liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican point of view? What new challenges and opportunities are emerging in this time of leadership for you?   

Oct 26

55 min 54 sec

Episode 200. Wow.    Beginning places are important. Your starting point as a leader is important. But so is the journey. Pausing to take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going is an important part of being a Christ-centered leader.    It seems like another lifetime that Tim & I sat in the District Offices in Dublin, Ohio with sound pads all around us recording the first episode on my old Apple laptop. While the District Offices have now moved, we’ve both taken on different or additional roles, and we no longer record the episodes in person (we didn’t do it for long), the podcast is going strong at Episode 200!    As I (Sara) write this, I’m not sure I thought we’d stick with it for 3.5 years, let alone get to Episode 200. If you’ve watched anyone or anything grow, you know the feeling!  But, here we are: “We Should Do a Podcast About That” comes at a great time when we’re exploring the importance of history and context in leadership.    There are a couple of new things in this episode. One at the beginning and one at the end. You’ll pick up on them as you listen to “We Should Do A Podcast About That”   As you listen to Episode 200 you’ll hear the lessons we’ve learned about ourselves as leaders, the things that tripped us up, and a few defining moments in the past 3 years.    We share our journey as a way of inviting you into a time of reflection on your own leadership and growth over the past three years. You’ll hear plenty of laughter and poking fun.    But most of all, you’ll hear appreciation. Appreciation for you, our listeners. Appreciation for our guests. Appreciation for the journey we’ve been on over the three years of recording episodes.    Thank you for being on this journey with us. For reflecting on ideas, insights, and continuing to grow as a Christ-centered leader. Soon, we’ll have something we hope you’ll join us for in 2022. We thought it might be ready to be shared when episode 200 dropped, but it’s not. So hang tight for just a couple more weeks as we put the final touches on an invitation for 2022.    Explore the episodes from 2021 here.   Finally, if you’re wondering the technical parts of podcasting, here’s a download of the gear, programs, and resources we use if you might be interested in launching your own podcast.    I’ll tell you this: it’s A LOT of work. Pastors, I compare it to writing a sermon every week.   Review on Apple Podcasts Our Favorite Podcasts Then & Now Rob Bell - Rob Cast  Read to Lead Donald Miller Brene Brown - On Spotify ONLY John Meachum Jim Day Podcast  This Cultural Moment The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill   Write It Down/Talk it Out What new things have you done as a leader in the last three years? How do new ideas take shape for you and become a reality? What pivots do you need to make right now in leadership? Maybe another question is what have you learned from the mistakes?  What did you learn about yourself as a leader when the pandemic hit and what are you learning about yourself as a leader now?  

Oct 19

27 min 16 sec

The missional identity of a local congregation is essential to embrace the people in your local context. This week, Karen Cook will encourage you to lead in ways that connect the local church's unique identity to its mission field.  We explore church mergers, the different life stages of a local congregation, and the importance of knowing your unique missional identity. At each juncture in the conversation, Karen offers a nugget of wisdom for leaders. For congregations nearing the end of life, Karen reframes the conversation to remind us that the legacy a church leaves can extend beyond the life of the church. It takes intentionality, knowing your unique identity as a congregation, and the courage to step into difficult conversations.  Karen’s passion for ministry with people shines through as she reminds leaders that we have to get out of the church building and meet people where they gather. If you’ve gotten comfortable in mid-life as a congregation, it’s time to get outside the doors of the church, meet the people in your community, and recognize that what worked to connect with new people at the height of the church’s ministry likely won’t work today.  Finally, Karen reminds us to listen to the hopes of people and to come alongside people anticipating God’s transformative work.  Overall, this is an episode you’ll need to listen to more than once. Write it Down/Talk it Out What phase of life is your local congregation currently in? Early? Mid-life? End of Life? What is the congregation's unique identifier? What is your missional DNA?  Consider Karen's distinction between transactional ministry and transformational ministry. Ask yourself, honestly, where are we focusing?

Oct 12

44 min 39 sec

Where is the first German-speaking Methodist Church located? No, we’re not asking a random trivia question. It’s a question about history.    Listen to Episode 198 and get the answer. For now, we’ll tell you this: it’s probably not located where you think.    This month, we’re diving into the importance of history and context in leadership. To get us started, we explore the history of one local congregation that earned the name First German Methodist Episcopal Church. And, literally, it was the first German-speaking Methodist Church in the world.    Through this one story, you’ll hear why exploring the enduring threads of history is essential to leaders. Then, you’ll get to explore what to do when the history of a local church isn’t positive or it doesn’t sync with the current climate surrounding the church.   Finally, we’ll offer questions to help you explore your community and identify the history and context that is essential for current leaders.    Write it Down/Talk it Out What are you doing to understand the history that led to your current reality? Download the 7 missional questions What do you understand about your current context?

Oct 5

26 min 36 sec

Leadership as service is a selfless, loving way to lead. In the context of the Christian community, when a leader focuses on service, Jesus is the one we are serving.  But, there is one thing that gets in the way of leadership as service. What is it? Entitlement.    Before you dismiss the fact that you’re not “entitled” or don’t occasionally behave in ways that are entitled...pause for a minute and listen to this short episode.   We offer several scenarios that are more common in the church than we care to admit. Each one, in different ways, points to entitlement. The hope is a few minutes of reflection will help you reorient your heart, soul, and mind to Jesus. On that journey, you’ll continue to live into being a leader who serves.    What is entitlement? Sometimes entitlement is obvious. Often, the small things we say or do can (un)intentionally place self-importance above service.    Here’s how we’re defining entitlement in this episode: you think it’s your right, your prerogative to do or have something. You think it’s your liberty to say or do something.  You already know the current cultural climate we’re a part of in the United States is overflowing with entitlement. The church, and God’s people, are at their core, countercultural.    As you listen to this episode, listen to raise your self-awareness about the people, places, and things, that you feel entitled to. Then, turn your heart and eyes back to Jesus and ask the question one of our guests offered this month: What would Jesus do? Then do it.  Write it Down/Talk it Out In what ways do you experience entitlement? (You’re listening to this on a computer or smartphone, maybe start there.) What is one step you’ll take toward becoming a Christ-centered leader who serves? 

Sep 28

21 min 49 sec

As we continue exploring the theme. “Leadership as Service” this week we’re hearing from Bishop Cal Holloway. Bishop Holloway shares his wisdom and reminders for Christ-centered leaders.  As you listen, you’ll find places to hit the pause button and reflect on what Bishop shares. From exploring what it means to believe and trust Jesus to becoming a part of the fabric of your local community, he reminds us what it means to lead people to follow Jesus. You’ll hear stories and reflections from a ministry that happened yesterday as well as in different seasons of life. Expect to laugh, hit the back button, and be challenged to become who Jesus is inviting you to be.    Write it Down/Talk it Out Who is Jesus to you? What does that mean? What are the key values that guide you? Who has shaped you to be a Jesus follower? How generous are you willing to be as you live out the gospel?

Sep 21

51 min 45 sec

Leadership as service begins with modeling your life after Jesus. This week, Lizzy Ortiz, Pastor of St. Mark’s UMC and Iglesia Hispana, offers encouragement for unity in the body of Christ.    Lizzy’s leadership is modeled after Jesus. She serves first and through that service, she is a leader. As you listen to Episode 195, you’ll hear how relationships set the foundation for leadership.    Often, we focus on relationships with others. Of course relationships with people within and beyond the church are important. But, Lizzy reminds us that our relationship with Jesus guides the way toward building relationships with others.    Sharing Our Stories She encourages us to share our individual stories with others because our unique stories help us to experience Jesus in one another. And, our stories intersect with the life of Jesus at important places. Finally, Lizzy reminds us when we’re unable to understand the experiences of others, all we need to do is focus on Jesus.   Barriers to Unity Lizzy offers a poignant reminder that our biggest barrier to unity is being unwilling to meet and get to know other people. She shares stories of how she’s addressed small aspects of their community life to bridge the gap between two worshipping congregations who have different first languages. Need some encouragement? Lizzy’s spirit of encouragement overflows in this episode. Her genuine, authentic love for Jesus and the people she leads will encourage you to serve others, build relationships, and ask yourself if you’re willing to meet and get to know other people.    Write it down/Talk it Out What is one step you can take toward unity in the body of Christ? (Consider Lizzy’s example of paper plates and Bibles) What are you willing to learn so you can serve others with the heart of Christ? Who is Jesus to you? Bonus: This week, as you’re wondering what to do, ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”   St. Mark’s UMC and Iglesia Hispana 5200 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43228   Worship: Sundays at 10:00 a.m. (English) & 12:30 p.m (Spanish) Get directions here. Explore St.Mark’s Facebook Page Explore Iglesia Hispana’s Facebook Page

Sep 14

37 min 26 sec

As leaders, sometimes we plant seeds, sometimes we water them, and still others we till the soil to nurture others towards growth. Listen as Tim and Sara explore one question that will help you lead others by serving first. Whatever season of leadership you are in, let’s explore what it means to be a leader who serves. One of the ways leaders serve is by helping others become who God created them to be.  In Episode 194, Tim and Sara have a conversation about one question that can make a difference in your leadership. We’ll explore the question, its intent, and how it’s received by others.  Most of all, as you listen, consider the leaders that have helped you become the person you are today. When a leader invests in you, it starts by developing a relationship and is deepened by the way they support you.  You’re now that leader.  You’re the leader that has the opportunity to invest, nurture and develop others to become the people God has created them to be.  Join us throughout this month for conversations with leaders and reflections on leadership around the theme of “Leadership as Service.”

Sep 7

27 min 10 sec

As we wrap up this month’s focus on having a growth mindset and being a learning leader, here’s a simple reminder: as leaders, relationships are central to everything we do.  Episode 193 invites you to consider five ways practicing a growth mindset can help you navigate the local and global challenges that continue to emerge. Some of these practices are simple. Others take ongoing practice and persistence. Together, they remind us that as Christ-centered leaders, the love of God we know in Jesus is central to everything we say and do. Leaders who model for others the practices we share in this episode are shaping a culture that is based on love and kindness. If you’re knee-deep in frustration, fatigue, or fighting, perhaps this episode will help you take a step back and consider a different way forward.  Here are the five practices we explore in this episode: Understand your sources and the perspectives of your sources. Practice curiosity. Test what you’re seeing, hearing, and reading. Ask “Does this add up?” Integrate what you’re learning into your leadership. Be generous with yourself and others.  Now, although we’ve listed the five practices above, there’s much more to each of those statements on the episode. Take the time to listen to the episode and you’ll be practicing what we talk about. And, there’s a bonus lesson we didn’t list here! Write it down/Talk it Out This is your opportunity for integration. Which one of the five reminders we offered do you do regularly? Which one will you start integrating into daily life? What informs your point of view? Why?

Aug 31

40 min 39 sec

Learning leaders get things wrong. And you already know, for many, it is hard to be wrong.  Leaders make mistakes...and it’s hard. And then there’s uncertainty and emotional exposure you feel as a leader...that IS hard, too. Here’s the thing: you can do hard things.  In this episode, you'll be reminded that you can do hard things. You'll hear how leaders who seek to get things right often find themselves in hard conversations. Then, we'll help you understand what you need to participate in the hard conversations. We won't promise you'll avoid moments of awkwardness. Instead, we simply invite you to acknowledge it. Sometimes there are conversations that are uncomfortable. But, you can be courageous and learn the skills you need for hard conversations.  We walk through four reminders for learning leaders to have hard conversations. Here’s the good news: it’s not that hard at all.  Write it Down/Talk it Out What do you need to learn to have hard conversations? What are you learning about yourself as a leader? (Especially as it relates to diversity, race, politics, and theology).

Aug 24

22 min 31 sec

“Growth mindset leaders want to be challenged.” Carol Dweck Growth happens when there is enough challenge and support offered to a leader. When there is too much or too little of either element, growth doesn't happen. Instead, leaders experience stagnation, uncertainty, overwhelm, and coddling. If you’re not growing as a leader, it’s likely there’s an imbalance in the challenge and support around you that’s putting up one of these four barriers.  At the end of the day, learning leaders want to be challenged.  Because they believe in the potential for people to grow, they need opportunities that stretch their talents, skills, and capacity.  What We’re Not Saying Before we go much farther, let’s be clear. We’re not saying, leaders with a growth mindset want to experience challenging people or circumstances. No. Challenging people, personalities, and crises can lead to growth, but, they’re not essential for growth.  Instead, learning leaders want the challenge of a new opportunity, a new skill, or a new experience. Balanced with support, these experiences bring about growth.  Three Ways to Overcome the Barriers If you find yourself up against the four barriers we mentioned above (stagnation, uncertainty, overwhelm, or coddling), here are three ways you can proceed. This isn’t an exhaustive list. Instead, it’s a place to begin to explore and find the sweet spot for you and the people you lead.  Build relationships First, build relationships. If you’re saying, “I’ve known them for 7 years at this point.” That’s ok. Simply because you’ve been around someone in the same office or on the same team doesn’t mean you have a relationship. If that was an “ouch,” pause for a minute and reflect on the people on your team. What can you tell me about them? What experiences have you shared together? Have inside jokes emerged? If you were asked to write a recommendation for them, could you identify their strengths, passions, interests? Sometimes we assume relationships exist because of proximity. Instead of making this assumption, here’s an invitation to get intentional about building relationships. Explore Adding Support Second, explore what support looks like. Or how you or the people you lead need to be challenged. While there likely won’t be easy answers, what you may find is a place to explore, reflect, and experiment.  Ask for What You Need Third, ask for what you need. The people you lead and the people who lead the teams you’re on do not read minds. That may seem like an obvious statement. Here’s why it’s important if you’re not being challenged or experiencing the support you desire: resentment can emerge when people are not getting what they need. Without articulating your needs, the people around you don’t have an opportunity to respond. You have an opportunity to be an adult, embody leadership, and take responsibility for naming your needs.  Write it Down/ Talk it Out Think about a current project or task you’re working on. Where are you on the challenge/support grid?  What needs to change?  Who do you need to ask for support?  How would you like to be challenged? Ask one of the leaders on your team to name where they’re at on the challenge/support grid. Remember, if learning leaders want to be challenged - it’s for growth’s sake, not simply to be challenged.

Aug 17

32 min 2 sec

Uncertainty has a way of messing with our thinking, feelings, and behavior.  At times the uncertainty looks like doubt. Other times, it looks like the need to learn a new skill. Still other times, it’s wrapped up in decision fatigue or endless options that overwhelm you. You’ve likely found yourself in one of these situations in the past week, if not the past 24 hours.  So what do you do when you don’t know what to do? That’s the topic we’re diving into on Episode 190 of LeaderCast.  As we continue to explore the big idea of what it means for Christ-centered leaders to be learning leaders, this episode takes a deep dive into uncertainty and learning.  When you find yourself in a place of uncertainty, recognize it’s a part of learning. Our skills and consciousness (whether we’re aware of what we don’t know or not) are described in the four stages of learning. Explore how the four stages of learning can help you recognize what you’re experiencing and what to do next. Additionally, uncertainty in leadership can lead to self-protection. As it relates to our topic for this month, it can show up as always having to have the answers. As you listen to Episode 190, we identify four ways this can show up in organizations and teams.  Once you recognize what is happening, ask for help and stay curious. That’s what being a learning leader is all about.

Aug 10

38 min 15 sec

What would you say about the power of being a learning leader? In this episode, we focus on the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset for Christ-centered leaders.  Join us for Episode 189 to explore how each of these characteristics can show up in Christ-centered leaders and what you may need to consider to continue becoming a learning leader.  Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, studies achievement and success. What she found was that people who have a fixed mindset believe that their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talent, are fixed traits. You have a certain ability and can’t grow beyond that fixed state. In other words, what you have is what you've got. Change isn’t going to happen - no matter how hard you try.  In a growth mindset, people understand that their talents and their abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. They don't necessarily think everybody's the same or that anyone can be a genius by studying more. But they do believe that everyone can get smarter or grow if they “work at it.” If there is effort put forth, they believe people will grow. We all lean toward one of these mindsets. You might guess what we’ll say next. You can work to have a growth mindset. If you’re thinking, I don’t have a fixed mindset, pause and ask yourself if you ever try to hide your insecurities or control a conversation. Often, those can be indicators of a fixed mindset. Because of the limitations of “what you have is what you’ve got” people with a fixed mindset can find themselves trying to protect their intellectual status.  Whereas growth mindsets can show up in simply pausing to ask questions and recognizing you don’t know everything. It also shows up as focusing on transformation. A growth mindset for a Christ-centered leader means you’re focused on transformation. The experiences you have with others - how are lives being changed? The worship you lead - who is being transformed into the image of God? The classes you facilitate - how are people becoming more who God created them to be?   As you can guess, we’re encouraging you to focus on developing a growth mindset. There’s power there and there’s even more power in being a learning leader.  Write it Down/Talk it Out What triggers you toward a fixed mindset? What transformation is happening in your leadership?   Write it down/talk it out is an ongoing feature of LeaderCast. These are two or three simple questions to prompt you in reflecting throughout the week. Use these prompts however you’d like: as a journal prompt, a conversation starter with a colleague, or a question to consider with ministry leaders in your local context. Join us next week as we continue the conversation about being a learning leader and explore the big question, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?”

Aug 3

34 min 48 sec

For the past two months, we've explored the importance of rest, relaxation, and play. Today, we want to leave you with 71 ways to add play to your day. You'll see some of the suggestions are silly, some are spontaneous, and some you might think aren't fun at all. And that's ok. Our Invitation Here's our invitation: add to the list and make it your own. When someone says "I'm bored," pull out the list, ask for a number and take five minutes to add play to your day. We don't walk through all 71 ideas on the podcast, that's what this list below is for. Enjoy! 

Jul 27

9 min 58 sec

In different seasons of life, rest, relaxation, and play look different. What is fun when you’re a parent of small children and serving youth in the church...during a pandemic? Join Sam Heaton as he shares his experience of leading, loving, and living as a follower of Jesus in the midst of seasons filled with change.  If you ever found yourself worn out from a Zoom meeting, Sam offers reminders about our basic needs. Sometimes it is as simple as seeing the possibility for fun and faithfulness. At other moments, fun involves entering the world of his young son. What may have been fun years ago takes on new meaning as a parent. At the center of our conversation is a focus on authenticity. Sam reminds us what authentic community looks like and the needs of people seeking to live life in community. He shares how life can’t be separated into neat quadrants. Instead, he models what an integrated life looks and sounds like as followers of Jesus. Sometimes it’s messy. Other times, it’s quiet moments of solitude. And still other moments, it’s being self-aware enough to know why you’re scrolling on social media.    Finally, if you’ve wondered whether Sabbath is truly possible, Sam will help you see what it looks like as a parent, partner, and leader in the church. Write it Down/Talk it Out What does Sabbath look like for you in this season?  What margin do you intentionally create with technology?  Where are you finding mini Sabbaths during the day?    Mentioned in this Episode  Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age by Alan Noble  The Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund The Soul in Paraphrase John Donne Poetry TS Eliot

Jul 20

40 min 29 sec

Let's Play When was the last time you stopped and played? If you’re thinking, “C’mon, kids, play. Adults don’t play,” stick with us to learn why play is so important.  To begin, let’s define what we’re talking about. Play is time spent without purpose. According to Dr. Stuart Brown, there are reasons why adults need play: Because we’re created to play. We can’t be fully human and competent without play.  And because it happens to be fun With those reasons as the backdrop for this episode, another way to think about play is planting seeds for relationships to develop. Or, what transformation might be possible because we’ve paused to play?  Benefits of Play Here are a few more things to consider.  The benefits of play seem to show up in every aspect of life and work. Here are a few Dr. Brown and the National Institute for Play identify:  Trust Empathy Optimism Flexibility Attunement Problem Solving Joy in Movement Three-dimensional thinking Perseverance, increased mastery Emotional regulation and resiliency Imagination Openness to receiving inspired “aha” moments Cognitive growth, innovativeness, and flexibility Belonging - the basis of community, cooperation, and altruism While this list of benefits can find root in every aspect of life, imagine if these things were present in the church and our service to the local communities. How might transformation unfold? We’d say the possibilities are endless. So what do you say, go do something for fun that doesn’t have a purpose! Lose track of time and find yourself in the liminal space with Jesus and the people you love. Write it Down- Talk it Down ...or Just Play! Create a “play” list - what activities can you do for hours on end?   Now put it on your calendar, if it will help you do it! Include others.  

Jul 13

17 min 18 sec

Let’s chat about joy for a second. What brings you joy? When you listen to a group of Christ-centered leaders, share their wisdom on rest, relaxation, and play, it creates an atmosphere of encouragement. This week, in part 2 of “What’s your best wisdom for rest, relaxation, and play?” nine different leaders explore the challenges of rest and the joy of having fun.  And you might be surprised by what some of them call fun!  It’s a great reminder that fun and joy are individual traits. But, often, when we’re doing something that doesn’t necessarily bring us joy, we end up having fun because we are with people we love.  As you listen to Part 2 (you can find Part 1 here), be ready to be surprised, encouraged, and challenged by leaders who are doing their best to embody a rhythm of rest, relaxation, and play in the midst of their ordinary days.  Write it Down or Talk it Out What refreshes you?  What brings you joy?  What do rest, relaxation, and play look like each day, each week, and every year?     In Part 1, we’ll hear from the following leaders: Curnell Graham Featured on Episode 168 Joe Geary, Featured on Episode 165 Jessica Moffatt, Featured on Episode 173  Rachel Billups, Featured on Episode 144 Amy Burgess, Featured on Episode 181 Dennis Miller, Featured on Episode 166 Charles Boayue, Jr. Featured on Episode 174   In Part 2, we’ll hear from the following leaders: Courtney Hilbert, Featured on Episode 175 Chris Wiseman, Featured on Episode 177  Rae Lynn Schlief, Featured on Episode 169 Barry Burns, Featured on Episode 171 Sara Thomas - Every episode Jenn Lucas - Featured on Episode 142 Tim Bias - Every episode Marie Smith - Featured on Episode 140 April Casperson - Featured on Episodes 178 and 179

Jul 6

22 min 16 sec

What is fun for you? Yes, we’re really asking.  Here’s why: this week and next, the episodes are filled with fun and joy. You’ll hear from 16 leaders over the next two weeks. Each one shares their insights in joy-filled ways, even when they struggle with rest, relaxation, and play. As we dive into part 1 of this 2-part mini-series, we hope you’ll reflect on their insights and be encouraged to know you’re not alone on this leadership journey.  Whether you need some encouragement to finally get a rhythm of rest, relaxation, and play in your life or you’re celebrating the fun that summer brings, these leaders will offer you nuggets of wisdom. They bring insights and perspectives on our topic that are uplifting and Christ-centered.  From self-awareness to recognize what brings you joy, their candor and storytelling will remind you what it means to find what brings you joy...and do it.  Write it Down/Talk it Out What is fun for you? What helps you destress? In Part 1, we’ll hear from the following leaders: Curnell Graham Featured on Episode 168 Joe Geary, Featured on Episode 165 Jessica Moffatt, Featured on Episode 173  Rachel Billups, Featured on Episode 144 Amy Burgess, Featured on Episode 181 Dennis Miller, Featured on Episode 166 Charles Boayue, Jr. Featured on Episode 174   In Part 2, Episode 185 (drops 7/5) we’ll hear from the following leaders: Courtney Hilbert, Featured on Episode 175 Chris Wiseman, Featured on Episode 177  Rae Lynn Schlief, Featured on Episode 169 Barry Burns, Featured on Episode 171 Sara Thomas - Every episode Jenn Lucas - Featured on Episode 142 Tim Bias - Every episode Marie Smith - Featured on Episode 140 April Casperson - Featured on Episodes 178 and 179

Jun 29

21 min 6 sec

Rest, relaxation, and play are possible...even with demanding schedules.  Ministry and leadership are demanding. There's no way around that fact. But, ministry and leadership are life-giving when we care for ourselves as leaders.  In today's short episode we offer two ideas to make rest, relaxation, and play possible in your life. And they’re easier than you might think! What we didn’t say in this short episode is rest and relaxation begin with a mindset that it’s possible and you want it. If exhaustion is a status symbol for you, go ahead and skip this episode. There is nothing about being worn out that makes you a better leader. First, assess the urgency of the tasks and responsibilities before you. The tyranny of the urgent is a byproduct of our culture. From fast food to amazon two day delivery, most of us want things as quick as possible, if not yesterday. The reality is most things are not urgent.  Second, it’ll sound silly but plan to rest and relax. Schedule your work so it gets done (see tip 1), knowing that you’ll have the margin to rest and relax. For many of us, rest and relaxation feel like a luxury instead of a necessity. As you’ll read in Tim’s blog post this week, rest is essential to our wellbeing.  Tune in for how we suggest making these ideas a reality and for a bonus idea on reframing your expectations of rest and relaxation.  Write it Down/Talk it Out - Or Rest Where can you practice asking, “When do you need this?” What do you need to time block on your calendar? Do it! ;) What will you do today that’s fun?

Jun 22

16 min 19 sec

We have a big question, but a short episode for you this week. It continues our theme of rest, relaxation, and play. Here it is: What are the ingredients for joy and meaning in your life?  “Ingredients for Joy and Meaning,” is all about taking a moment to name what it looks like when things are going really well in your family. Said just a bit differently, “What are the specific conditions that are in place when everything feels good in your life?” To go with our theme for June and July, join us on social media for a little fun this week.  A Little Fun...It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3.  Join us to have a little fun this week on Social Media. Let us know your ingredients for joy and meaning. We’ve created two images for you. Pick one - or both!  Blank Images - add your “Ingredients for Joy and Meaning” in the space provided This or That Images - choose your “Ingredients for Joy and Meaning” from a provided list. Directions  First, download one of the images below to your cell phone. 1080 X1080  for Instagram and Facebook Posts Blank This or That 1920 X 1080 (for Instagram and Facebook Stories) Blank This or That Second, mark up the image! Not sure how? Here you go: 1. Open your Photo App 2. Select the Image 3. Tap Edit.  -iPhone: Select three dots in the upper right. Select Markup. To draw, tap Pen. When finished, tap done.  -Android: Select Markup. To draw, tap Pen.  When you are finished, tap Done. 4. Use the mark-up tool to circle your preferences.  5. Click Done  6. Click Done again or Save to save it to your photos.  Third, upload your marked-up image to social media and tag us @transforming.mission on Instagram or Transforming Mission on Facebook. We look forward to seeing your Ingredients for Joy and Meaning this week on social media. Look for our posts on Tuesday night on Facebook and Wednesday morning on Instagram.

Jun 15

14 min 42 sec

Are you ready for a different angle on rest, relaxation, and play? This week, tune in as we talk to someone whose work it is to facilitate the experiences that most of us participate in for entertainment, relaxation, and fun.   Amy Burgess is a mom, the Rosie Red mascot for the Cincinnati Reds, as well as an Executive Director and Choreographer for CAST, a theater company in the greater Cincinnati area.      You’ll quickly learn the things other people do for rest, relaxation, and play, Amy can be found on the other side, working. Amy shares what makes those experiences meaningful for her and the people she seeks to entertain, empower, and educate. She also explores the challenges of rest, relaxation, and play.    Listen for several important reminders from Amy. One of those reminders is this: being good at everything isn’t the goal. Nor is it fun to do things outside of our skill sets. So, how does she accomplish things that she’s not great at? Listen in to explore how Amy’s self-awareness and other-awareness guide her interactions.    Amy’s examples come from choreography and bringing the Rosie Red mascot to life. And woven through her stories, you’ll hear the heart of a Christ-centered leader. Amy is mastering the improvisational art of creating space for others to experience joy.   At one moment in our conversation, Amy pauses on the idea of kinesthetic awareness. In her role as Rosie Red, Amy’s capacity to express emotion without saying a single word is what creates an experience for guests. You’ll hear how listening is integral to creating a space for others to experience rest, relaxation, and play.  The take-aways from this episode are endless: from improv to listening to kinesthetic awareness, and much more.    Write it Down/Talk it Out What does fun look like for you in this season of life? What has the last year taught you about rest, relaxation, and play? What did Amy’s example of kinesthetic listening teach you about the importance of listening and expressing emotion?  Try having a conversation where your response is, “Yes, and…”

Jun 8

49 min 9 sec

Where do those three things fall on your priority list?   If you’re like many people these are the first things that fall off our priority list when busyness creeps in. Did you know that 35% of Americans don’t get 7-9 hours of sleep a night? Or that  77% of the US workforce does not take all the paid time off they earn in a year?   As we continue exploring characteristics of courageous leaders, during June and July you’re invited to focus on the themes of rest, relaxation, and play.    Today, we acknowledge what gets in the way of rest, relaxation and play. We’ll talk about control, excuses, communication and relationships as we explore three common barriers to rest and relaxation.    Throughout these next two months, the podcasts will take on a variety of forms. Some weeks, we’ll have guests, other weeks, it will be short conversations between Tim and Sara, and still other weeks it will be an invitation to rest, relax or play. Next week, look forward to a fun-filled conversation with Amy Burgess, a teacher, choreographer, executive director, and mascot in MLB. Amy has the privilege of bringing Rosie Red to life for the Cincinnati Reds.    In other words, it’s summertime. It’s time to experience a new rhythm, take a step back, and have some fun.    Write it Down/Talk it Out How do you rest?  What do you find relaxing?  What is fun (play) for you? What did 2020 teach you about rest, relaxation and play? What will you continue doing as a result?  

Jun 1

35 min 5 sec

Holy Moments. You’ve experienced these moments.  Time stands still. You’re overcome with the presence of God. You might even question whether the moment is really happening. You’re standing on holy ground (ok, in this case, we were sitting, recording a podcast).  Holy moments can’t be crafted, predicted, or rehearsed. They simply unfold. And when they do, you experience a connection to a community that you haven’t experienced before. In episode 179 we experienced one of these moments - and we hope you will too. Listen and consider what has changed about church and community in the last 30-47 years (yes, 47 years, not 45 or 50 -lol). Explore the shift from “come to church” to “get out of doors” and how one of us first experienced God beyond the church walls.  Then consider how our aspirational values can confuse us and our inability to accurately assess diversity - if we are in majority, the tendency is to overestimate our diversity.  So where do we begin? Begin with the desire to learn and grow. Perhaps you’ll have a conversation about a book. Here are two of April's suggestions: Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown Then, listen to the stories of people around you. If you are white, ask someone who is a person of color, with whom you have a relationship, to tell you their story. Then, LISTEN. No commentary is necessary. The only thing needed is curiosity. April offers a wonderful example of how to enter into these conversations. She also offers an abundance of grace, reminding us that we’re not always going to get it right.  Holy Moments Finally, in the experience of a holy moment, we talk about everything from letting go of expectations, being right and what being fully seen can feel like. We name fear and explore how to remove any barrier that stands between a person and an encounter with God. Yes, the barriers can take the form of doubt, worry, fear, expectations, unwritten rules, perceptions, and stereotypes. How then, do Christ-centered leaders remove these barriers, let go of the filters and expectations to create space for people to encounter the holy.  You see, your story intersects with God’s story. In those holy moments, we not only encounter God but we experience Christ in one another - even online.  Write it Down/Talk it Out Who do you want to invite into a conversation as a result of “being aware of things in a new way?” What recent experiences of God (personal or by others) point to transformed lives and community? What is a transformation story you can share? For example, it can be simple as the transformation from self-centered to God-centered thought last Tuesday after a meeting. Think about daily life, current responsibilities, personal experiences, ongoing learning, etc. What is being transformed in your life? In ministry? In the local church?  Talk it Out What is your hope for the church in the next 10 years as it relates to diversity and inclusion? What barriers exist in the community that are stopping people from encountering God? How will you find out?

May 25

49 min 50 sec

If you want to build community, or deepen community connections, join us for Episode 178 as we seek to model grace-filled, curious conversation about topics we can sidestep in our communities.  Episode 178 is Part 1 of a two-part conversation with April Casperson. April serves as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Ohio Conference. April shares grace-filled wisdom about community, relationships, and yes, diversity. Her role is to help people work better across difference.

May 18

39 min 37 sec

If you’ve been a part of a community, you’ve likely experienced conflict within that community. Sometimes our differences are easy to explore together. At other times, the conflict leads to division. The challenges to leaders during these seasons are great.  But, if you’re willing to reimagine who God is inviting you to be, you just might experience the emergence of a new community. Our conversation this week with Chris Wiseman explores how he’s leading a congregation that experienced conflict by reimagining what it means to be a Christ-centered community. Conflict and division are complex topics. Today, you’ll hear Chris share how listening and conversation are essential to decision making.  You’ll also hear stories about different modes of communication facilitated community. No surprise, those modes of communication were NOT determined by the positional leader. Instead, the needs and abilities of the community guided their modes of communication.    Finally, Chris offers reminders for leaders about the importance of nurturing community connections beyond the local church.  Write It Down and Talk it Out Where do you need to put the heart back in your leadership? In other words, where do you need to be more courageous? (Write) Often we’re told what we can’t do. What can you do today to be the leader your community needs? (Write) If the local church where you worship ceased to exist, would the surrounding community notice? Why or why not? (Write/Talk)   Why are we calling it Write it Down and Talk it Out Allison Fallon reminds us, “A regular writing practice, which can start out with something as simple as 5 minutes a day for 4 days in a row, can help you to get your thoughts down, sort through a decision-making process, alleviate anxiety, recognize patterns in your life that are causing you pain, tell a story, and communicate with people in your life who are important to you.” We don’t know a leader who doesn’t need that. So consider grabbing a notebook or opening a google doc and writing out your responses to the questions above marked “write.” The questions marked “talk” are intended to prompt conversation with a group or team. Remember, conversation involves both listening and talking. Listen more than you talk if you want to explore these questions with others. Need help? Contact us.  We can help you prepare to lead the conversations OR help you facilitate the conversations.

May 11

32 min

What is community? Community is about the inter-relatedness of people.  In other words, it starts with relationships. It’s about belonging to something larger than ourselves. Community helps people say, “I am a valued part of this body and have contributions to make”. When we see ourselves as a part of a community, we think about how we are related to Christ, people in the congregation, and the people who live near us in our geographic location.  3 Aspects of a Nurturing Community Connection Contribution Care Read more on the show notes pages at Know someone who would benefit from listening to this episode? Share it!

May 4

36 min 21 sec

At the intersection of Jesus, accountability, and corporate life is our guest, Courtney Hilbert. Add Courtney’s passion for leading youth, writing Christian fiction, baking and you find a woman of integrity who embraces accountability in the workplace, church, and in the ministries she leads. If you’ve ever wondered how faith and corporate life integrate, Courtney provides stories and examples to guide the way. She shares how faith and church leadership impact her role in a marketing agency and pauses at a familiar acronym you may have forgotten about.  Continue reading...  

Apr 27

52 min 28 sec

Stories, history, current reality, and Scripture come together in this week’s conversation with Charles Boayue Jr. Charles is a District Superintendent in the Michigan Conference of the UMC and takes us on a leadership journey to point to the importance of accountability.  You’re invited to explore both the full picture and details that accompany accountability. In the context of pastoring a local church, Charles reminds us of the importance of the calling on the gifts of the whole community to help widen your perspective and provide feedback. Additionally, Charles highlights knowing your purpose (See Episodes 159 -162) as an essential element of mutual accountability. As you seek to understand God’s will, recognize the importance of listening and the wisdom of others. As you’ll hear, that’s where mistakes in accountability can happen.  Most of all enjoy the wisdom, grace, and stories Charles shares, inviting you on a journey of accountability that is filled with mercy, direction, and the goodness of God. Mentioned in this Episode Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Books 1-3

Apr 20

59 min 50 sec

What’s your personal accountability practice? Not sure what we mean? Listen to Episode 173 with Jessica Moffatt and explore the intersection of courage and accountability. Jessica is a pastor and coach who helps teams listen for God’s voice to make faithful decisions.  First, we explore how humility, offering ourselves to God, and self-awareness contribute to courageous action. Jessica’s reminders about humility invite listeners to pause and consider the relationship between listening to God and courageous, faithful action.  Then we turn the corner and Jessica shares her personal accountability practices. You’ll hear specific questions Jessica asks herself and key life domains she explores every week. Jessica models how accountability can structure life and fuel relationships.  Our conversation ends with a reminder of trust being the foundation for team relationships and how Jessica’s personal accountability practices influence team accountability practices.    Questions to Consider Who are the two to three people you trust to speak into your life and help you practice accountability? What questions are you asking yourself to practice accountability? What areas of your life are important to consider? If you supervise others, what’s one step you’ll take to build a culture of accountability?   Mentioned in this Episode The Fenhagen Model for Corporate Discernment The First 90 Days

Apr 13

32 min 15 sec

Is accountability a bad word? Short answer: NO!  It’s the fuel for productivity, engagement, and growth for leaders.  When there is clarity and responsibility, accountability becomes a positive force for change and growth. Why then, do so many of us despise accountability? When accountability is used in punitive ways, it often leads to shame and blame. Additionally, many people are attempting to hold people accountable without first providing the clarity and resources for people to be successful. This episode breaks down into three distinct parts. Listen to the whole episode, or jump to the part that’s most applicable to you right now. Accountability in life [1:23] Accountability in the church [15:27] Accountability in leadership [31:15] First, you’ll explore accountability in everyday life through examples from family life. You’ll learn why accountability is not a bad word and how to define accountability. Second, explore accountability in the church and what gets in the way. You’ll hear how to differentiate between what it means to be nice and what it means to be kind. Additionally, explore how the greatest commandment helps you facilitate accountability and what scripture has to say about missing the mark. We end this section with a brief exploration of how to create a culture of accountability. HINT: If there isn’t clarity, it will be difficult to have accountability.  Finally, dive into accountability for leaders. As a leader, it’s important to remember that you take responsibility for the work of the team. Scapegoating, throwing people under the bus, and expectations all get their air time. You’ll hear how lack of accountability erodes trust and builds resentment. We’ll conclude this episode with a few more pointers to begin to create a culture of accountability.  Questions for Reflection How effective are you at holding others accountable? Being held accountable? Who owns the task? Who has responsibility for the task? Do they have the authority to be held accountable? Do we agree the person responsible for the task is set up for success? Do they have the time, resources, and clarity to get the job done? What does done look like? Creating a culture of accountability begins with clarity. Use these questions to set yourself and others up for success: Continue reading on the show notes page.  

Apr 6

49 min 54 sec

What happens when you ask 15 leaders for their best wisdom on self-awareness?  You get stories, poignant reminders, examples, challenging circumstances, diverse perspectives, and enough wisdom to fill several volumes. Whether you choose to listen all at once or in several sessions, these leaders remind us how God is with us deepening our self-awareness.  As you take in the wisdom, grace, and humility of our guests on this week’s podcast, reflect on your own self-awareness. Many of these guests you’ve heard from on previous episodes. But some are new voices that we’ll feature in the coming weeks and months.  You’ll hear wisdom in four broad categories. First, we tackle wisdom around self-awareness as God-awareness. Then we turn to how other people help us grow in our self-awareness. We bridge to our final category with Amy Burgess as she invites us to explore how kinesthetic and spatial awareness impact self-awareness. You’ll have to listen to hear the unique role she plays with a professional sports team. Finally, we conclude with wisdom around dealing with blind spots, triggers, and growing in self-awareness.  While I say we’ve categorized the wisdom into four categories, as you’ll hear, there’s overlap in each category.  Enjoy the diverse perspectives, playful nature, and deep wisdom from these leaders:   Self-Awareness as God Awareness (listed in order of appearance) Jessica Moffet - You’ll hear from Jessica during April as we focus on accountability. Chis Wiseman - You’ll hear from Chris as we focus on Community Marie Smith - Episode 140: Embodying Hope   Tim Bias - Tim’s on EVERY episode. Charles Boayue - You’ll hear from Jessica during April as we focus on accountability.   The Importance of Others in Growing in Self-Awareness Curnell Graham - Episode 168 -  Self-Awareness as God Awareness  Dennis Miller - Episode 166 - Essential Relationships for Christ-Centered Leaders Sam Heaton - You’ll hear from Sam this summer as we explore rest, relaxation, and play. Sara Thomas - Sara’s on EVERY episode. Rae Lynn Schlief - Episode 169 - Self-Awareness in Different Seasons of Life and Ministry   Kinesthetic and Spatial Awareness in Self-Awareness Amy Burgess - You’ll hear from Amy this summer as we explore rest, relaxation, and play.   Triggers, Blindspots, and Growing in Self Awareness Barry Burns - Episode 170 - Self-Awareness, Self-Care, and the Triggers that Trip Leaders Up Jennifer Lucas - Episode 142 - Building a Culture of Discipleship Joe Geary - Episode 165 - Relationships are Messy and Needed Rachel Billups - Episode 144 - Partnerships - Reframing Competition   Questions for Reflection: Is there enough grace for today?  Who are the people who tell you the truth? Who are the people who tell you what you don’t know about yourself? What are your triggers? Tell yourself the truth about yourself

Mar 30

43 min 34 sec

In our conversation today, we’re talking with Barry Burns about leadership and self-awareness. As a pastor, District Superintendent, and Dean of the Cabinet, Barry offers us wide-angle and close-up views of how self-awareness comes into play in leadership. We explore the impacts of social media and seasons of ministry as well as how self-care and having grace for ourselves play into self-awareness.  You’ll hear us talk about how perceptions of social media posts can ignite unintentional fires and cause long-term harm to relationships. You’ll also hear how social media can be helpful.  Join Barry as he reflects on a time in ministry that 75 members of a congregation died over a two-year time span. He shares what he learned about himself, others, and the support he needed to make it through a time of compounding grief.  Barry shares wisdom about recognizing your blindspots and takes us on a journey into the importance of long-term relationships for deepening trust and transparency.  That conversation guides us toward exploring how self-awareness involves others and springboards us into naming our own needs.  Above all, this is a conversation filled with grace. Barry reminds us of the importance of growing in our understanding of who God invites us to be even while being aware of distractions. Continue Reading...

Mar 23

35 min 49 sec

What is your first memory of becoming self-aware? How about your most recent memory?    The reality is, we are never finished growing in self-awareness.   In our conversation this week with Rae Lynn Schlief, we talk about self-awareness through different seasons of life and ministry. From the first moment of radical self-awareness in the midst of clinical pastoral education to approaching retirement, Rae Lynn shares stories that will inspire and challenge your life and leadership. We talk about what self-awareness is, how it serves you in leadership, and how to continue cultivating self-awareness through the different seasons of life. Through it all, grace abounds.  Rael Lynn invites you on a journey through stories. Lean in as she reflects with us about internal dialogue as well as external perceptions can deepen our self-awareness. Pause during moments in the conversation when we discuss vulnerability, triggers, and candor in prayer. Continue reading at  

Mar 16

36 min 3 sec

What is self-awareness for Christ-centered leaders? Our conversation with Curnell Graham offers you a way to experience self-awareness that you may not have considered. He turns self-awareness inside out and invites you to focus on God-awareness through his stories, life experience, and leadership. From acknowledging the barriers and -isms that attempt to divide us, to reflecting on the beautiful and challenging moments of pastoral ministry, you’ll encounter grace at every turn in this conversation. Continue Reading on the Show Notes Page

Mar 9

41 min 46 sec

Find show notes for this episode at What is self-awareness? Tim and Sara highlight five aspects of self-awareness that are essential for leaders and in daily life.  Explore these five aspects and listen throughout the month of March to episodes highlighting how different leaders continue to deepen their self-awareness.  Five Aspects of Self-Awareness to Consider Identifying emotions - Can you name what you’re feeling and the thoughts associated with those feelings? Accurate self-perception - Do you know how your words and actions land on people? Recognizing strengths - What can you do better than anyone else? This isn’t a competition, but an awareness of your giftedness.  Possessing strong self-confidence - Does your ego balance itself out? You’re able to do things because you have an ego, but your ego gets checked with humility  Possessing self-efficacy - Can you exert control over your own motivation, behavior, and social environment? Questions to consider Which of the five aspects of self-awareness do you need to spend time exploring?  What question(s) do you need to ask yourself to be able to respond instead of reacting? Is it different for different situations?

Mar 2

36 min 36 sec

Can you name your four most important relationships?  Yes, we’re really asking. Episode 166 is a conversation with Dennis Miller. Dennis serves as the District Superintendent of the Foothills District in the West Ohio Conference. As we conclude a month focused on relationships, Dennis reminds us of the essential relationships that nurture a leader’s soul. Listen in and pause to consider your essential relationships. If you’re wondering where we start the conversation, yes, we begin with your relationship with Jesus. Continue reading at  

Feb 23

38 min 44 sec

You may have heard someone utter the phrase, “the church would be great if it weren’t for the people. And while we can smile and shake our heads in understanding, people are the church.  People make up the body of Christ. So while people are complicated, relationships are at the center of the church. Our relationship with Jesus, our relationships with one another, and our relationships with the surrounding community is the fabric of the church.  Episode 165 with Joe Geary helps you explore the beautiful as well as messy aspects of relationships. Joe invites you to journey with him to explore stories that shape his life and relationships. Continue Reading at  

Feb 16

40 min 35 sec

Do you see yourself as a leader? Do you need to see yourself as a leader to be a leader? Perhaps you’ve never paused long enough to answer either of those questions. Perhaps you assume the first is true. Therefore, the second question has yet to emerge as a question you’d consider.  Or, perhaps you’ve only ever associated leadership with a title or a position. Push beyond the titles. We’re not asking about positional leadership. We’re inviting you to consider relational leadership. Relational leaders influence others through their presence, awareness, and emotional intelligence.  In our conversation with Amy Graham, we talk about how talents and gifts guide your leadership, the resistance to claiming the title of leader, and the power of relationships to influence others simply by being present.  Continue Reading...

Feb 9

35 min 26 sec

If you’re missing specific relationships, there’s likely a good reason. The pandemic has removed one of the spaces we need relationships. As a result, we’ve spent more time with fewer people.  Yes, it’s for a very good reason. Yes, we’ll continue to do it as long as we have to. But, anyone else just want to go to a game, concert, or performance?  You’re not alone. Relationships matter. You’ve heard Tim and Sara say that over and over again.  But saying it doesn’t make it so. As we begin month 2, we’re focusing on the importance of relationships for courageous leaders. Relational leadership is essential to guiding one person as well as a group of people toward any goal.  But, have you ever stopped to think about the different types of relationships that exist in different spaces? That’s the focus of our conversation in Episode 163. Continue Reading Show Notes at Look for Episode 163    

Feb 2

54 min 40 sec

You can find show notes for this episode at Episode 162 Is Your To-Do List Never Ending? What is on your list of competing demands? Maybe they don’t feel like demands. Maybe the things that keep you busy also energize you, empower you, and even fulfill your purpose. Whether you call them demands, invitations, tasks, or routines, there’s A LOT going on around you. You have people and circumstances in your life that want your attention.  There’s the nudge from a friend to stay on the call a little longer. And the pile of laundry that hasn’t folded itself in three days. You might have grocery shopping that needs to be done. And then, there are the meals that need to be prepared. Not to mention, who is going to clean up after the meal is prepared? I haven’t mentioned children, pets, or even work outside the home. Dare I bring up the challenges of a work-from-home-educate-from-home-do-all things-from-home life? No, this isn’t intended to raise your stress level.  So, please, take a long, deep breath.  Really. Do it.  Breathe. Staying Focused on Your Purpose You have a list like what is described above. It may or may not be a written list. As you’ll hear from our guest this week, Jayk Hinze, Youth Pastor at Church of the Saviour UMC in Cincinnati, Ohio, some of us make a list. Others make lists and add the things we’ve already completed to the list. That’s the beauty of one of Jayk’s top 5 talents, Achiever.  It’s also the focus of our conversation today: How do you stay focused on your purpose in the midst of competing demands? How do you get things done while remembering you’re a human being, not a human doing? Celebrating the People Who Support Us As you listen, you’ll notice Jayk return to one important element of staying focused on his purpose. It’s not a planner or a to-do list app. It’s also not time management or motivation. While each one of those things has its place in productivity, Jayk reminds us of the importance of supportive people in staying focused on your purpose. Explore the importance of people in your life who stand with you, guide you, nudge you, and partner with you to stay focused on your purpose. Consider for just a moment who they are and whether or not you take them for granted. If you haven’t thanked the people in your life who help you keep your “true north” this is a great day to do so. As we explore Jayk’s CliftonStrengths and how his unique combination of talents guide him, you’re encouraged to consider how your top 5 talent themes help you stay focused in the midst of competing demands. While your top 5 strengths will be different, you can explore all 34 talent themes here. Questions for Reflection/Action Who are the people around you that help you stay focused on your purpose?   What do they say, do or not do to help you stay focused? Maybe this week, you'll reach out to one of those individuals and thank them for being a part of your life. Thank them for being on this journey with you. Thank them for reminding you, who you were created to be.  Who do you help stay focused on their purpose?  What do they need from you to stay focused on their purpose? Reach out this week to the people you support and ask them: How can I support you in staying focused on your purpose? Then, be quiet and listen.  Jayk’s top 5 CliftonStrengths Restorative People exceptionally talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it. Strategic People exceptionally talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues. Learner People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them. Communication People exceptionally talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters. Achiever People exceptionally talented in the Achiever theme work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive. Mentioned in Episode 162 Pandora - explosions in the sky Bob Ross - NOT Jayk Hinze 

Jan 26

35 min 59 sec

Find the full show notes on the episode page Look for episode 161 The demands of ministry are ever-changing.  During a global pandemic and deep polarization in our country, it can feel like the demands are multiplying in front of you. At the very same time, you’re continuing to learn new ways of being in ministry and you’re caring for the health and safety of one another.  And that’s where remembering your purpose comes in. It’s also where you might feel like the only thing you need and the last thing you have is focus. Continue Reading...  

Jan 19

42 min 7 sec

You can find show notes for this episode at While articulating your why can feel like a big question, it’s the fuel that propels leadership. Explore with Bill Lyle, Lead Pastor of Peace UMC in Pickerington, Ohio how starting with why has propelled his leadership.  What’s the Motivation Behind Your Purpose Bill offers insight about our starting with why that can’t be overlooked. Knowing your why is about motivation.  For example, if you say making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the church, community, and world is your purpose, why is this important to you? Does it start with your calling? Perhaps it is about being a follower of Jesus and understanding that disciples make disciples. In short, if you want to get to the heart of your why, explore your motivation.  Listen as Bill shares a story about assisting at his daughter’s swim team practice. His understanding of his why was central to not only to finding joy in the midst of helping but in understanding his purpose for volunteering his time.  Leading Others to Focus on an Organizational WhyThen, explore how an organizational why is connected to a team’s why. Listen for five ways Bill helps his team live into the why of the church. It begins with calling, continues with focus, learning to say no, leading by example, and sharing stories of where your why is coming to life.  If you’re not familiar with Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, add it to your reading list. Or, watch the Ted Talk by the same name.   In both the book and video, Sinek talks about concentric circles of why, how, and what, to illustrate that organizations who are making a difference start with why, not how, and certainly not what.  Courageous Leaders Start with Why You’ve been practicing for 10 months how what you do and how you go about doing them are different. Our hope is that you’ve stayed focused on your why. When you know your why you’ll be better able to lead with courage. From making difficult decisions to learning how to use different mediums, courageous leaders are adaptable leaders.  Action Steps We trust that what Bill shares with you has you thinking. Maybe you even hit pause a few times to consider what he was sharing. Here are a few questions to consider, to take action on what you've heard in this podcast: The first thing that I'm going to ask you to do is more of an action than a question.  Identify a few people in your circle of influence who needs to listen to this podcast so that you can have a conversation together about either your collective or your individual why. That's more of a task than it is a question. So here's the question: How is your why informing every decision that you make?  What story about leading from your why can you share with others? In other words, how is your why making a difference in your life, in your leadership?  Ask the people that you were leading this question:  What why are you seeing in my leadership? What are you doing as a leader to connect people to your collective? Why even as you evaluate how and what you were doing. 

Jan 12

56 min 54 sec

You can find show notes for Episode 159 at Each month throughout 2021, the podcast will focus on one theme. Episode 159 sets the foundation for everything that follows with a conversation around purpose.  Courage and Purpose We begin with the question, “Why is knowing your purpose essential to being a courageous leader?” This question helps us point to a bigger truth that our purpose is tied to who you are, that is, your identity. To clarify, no, we’re not talking about wealth, status, or power in terms of “who you are.” Knowing your purpose stems from self-awareness (hint-hint, a future theme) and being able to live out your purpose.  A phrase you’ll hear us say a lot in 2021 is this: who you are is how you lead. And, until you understand who and whose you are, it will be a challenge to identify and focus on your purpose.  Purpose and Conflict Purpose grounds us. It centers us. It sets our direction when conflict arises. When there is a lack of clarity around an organizational purpose, conflict often arises.  For a conflict to be generative and innovative, it needs to come from a place of connection to our purpose. When there is a disconnect between your individual purpose and the organizational purpose, there is probably a lack of integrity as well.  Adaptability, Nuances, Fear and Rest Further, we explore how adaptability, staying nimble, and not being rigid help us stay grounded in our purpose while continuing to grow. Related, consider how nuances and holding the tension of two different perspectives can be clarifying for our purpose and next steps. The final two things we discuss are fear and rest. Courageous leaders recognize fear is a part of leadership. You might get butterflies in your stomach every day and still, they don’t allow fear to hold them back from pursuing their purpose. Finally, when it comes to rest, remember this: the world keeps going when you stop. If it doesn’t you haven’t been leading people, you’ve built an empire around your personality.  Questions to Consider What is your purpose? What do you need to reset on a monthly and weekly basis to stay focused on your purpose? 

Jan 5

33 min 38 sec

You can find show notes for this episode at The end of the year is here! Wasting time or wishing time away doesn't serve anyone. But, 2020 was... Challenging Interesting Strange Chaotic Anxiety-producing Crazy Out of control Like no other year "Your description here" So as we come to the end of this year, we offer you two questions and a bonus question to review 2020. Whether the year started with great hopes and terrific plans that quickly got tossed aside or you're giving thanks for the technology you learned about in 2020, the calendar year is coming to an end. Our invitation is to reflect on these questions and the bonus question as you prepare for 2021. -What's gone well? -What have you learned about yourself and others? -For whom or what are you grateful? Know that we're giving God thanks for you even as we continue to manage the expectations for 2021!

Dec 2020

27 min 12 sec

You can find show notes for this episode at What values ground your leadership? Once you can name those values, as a leader, you have a place from which decisions can be made. Without an understanding of your values, you may have a hard time making decisions.  With this in mind, our conversation today is with Chris Thompson. Chris is the Pastor of Selmer First UMC is Selmer, TN. Chris leads with the following five strengths: Connectedness Belief Input Maximizer Strategic In our conversation today, we explore how Chris uses his Belief talent to make decisions, build trust, offer hope, show compassion, and provide stability. We explore the thought that comes up often in Christian groups: Should everyone who is a person of faith have the Belief talent in their top 5 talent themes? Short answer: No! The talent theme may have connections to faith for people of faith with Belief in their top 5, but it is not a religious or faith-based talent theme (those don't exist).  Instead, the Belief talent theme points to your core values.  Additionally, you'll hear insights about working for change, not giving up, and seeking the unity of Christ above all things. Clifton Strengths mentioned in this episode: Connectedness - People exceptionally talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links among all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has meaning. Belief - People exceptionally talented in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their lives. Input - People exceptionally talented in the Input theme have a need to collect and archive. They may accumulate information, ideas, artifacts or even relationships. Maximizer - People exceptionally talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb. Strategic - People exceptionally talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues. Questions for consideration 1. Name three ways you used your strengths in the past week. 2. What core value(s) do you celebrate being a guiding light in 2020? Or what core values will you focus on being a guiding light in 2021? Mentioned in this Episode Honest Advent by Scott Erickson Discover Your CliftonStrengths    

Dec 2020

38 min 2 sec

You can find show notes for this episode at Follow the link to Episode 156. When was the last time you had a conversation with someone that extended past the surface pleasantries? If you’re having a hard time thinking about that experience, today’s episode just might remind you to hold space for a deep conversation.  Episode 156 is a conversation with Julie H. Richards. Julie is a Developmental and Relational Trauma Therapist. Learn more about Julie’s therapy practice here. She explores the questions we ask on multiple levels while modeling what it means to hold space for others.  As you listen, you’ll experience a faithful guide with the tenacity to maintain hope even during the difficult moments. If you’re now thinking, “2020 has been one difficult moment after the next,” you now have another reason to listen. If you’re thinking, “I want 2021 to be different.” Again, you have another reason to listen.  Julie reminds us that the healing journey is not only worth it, but it can also be filled with hope.  Listen today. Connect with Julie JHR Counseling & Consultation Questions to consider Julie shared with us a gratitude practice related to her birthday. Here’s our challenge: Name what you are grateful for as many times as you are old. If you’re 55, name 55 things you’re grateful for. Take the time you need to do so. You don’t need to complete the list in one sitting, one day, or even one week.   In your life right now, where do you need the reminder, “Keep going, God is with you.”   CliftonStrengths Mentioned on this Episode Achiever - People exceptionally talented in the Achiever theme work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive. Learner - People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them. Relator - People exceptionally talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal. Harmony - People exceptionally talented in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don't enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement. Intellection - People exceptionally talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.  

Dec 2020

39 min 45 sec