The Monday Morning Hangover

It’s Monday.

Which means your twitter stream will fill up with tweets from pastors citing something called the holy hangover.

What is the holy hangover? It’s the Monday-morning feeling of emptiness that comes from preaching your heart out. It’s coming down from somewhat of a spiritual rush. It’s a real sense of being drained that only preachers will understand.

But before you Facebook about your holy hangover, press pause for a minute and think with me. How are your followers going to interpret this holy hangover.

You talked to people.

On a stage.

Most people don’t think it’s hard work.

They don’t know how much time you spent preparing and they don’t understand the spiritual weight that comes with preparing and delivering a sermon. In their minds, you were the center of attention for a few hours.

On top of that, they read your holy hangover tweet from the teachers lounge when they have to eat a 22-minute lunch that was reheated in the community microwave. Or maybe they read about your holy hangover on Facebook, which they checked from their office cubicle where they will sit for eight hours doing work they don’t enjoy for a boss that has little personality. Or they didn’t even see your status update because they were on their feet for ten hours straight in the restaurant.

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty for needing a Sunday afternoon nap or feeling emotionally drained on Monday morning. That’s reality.

But perception is also reality.

When you talk about a holy hangover, it disconnects you from your congregation – the very people you’re attempting to help follow Jesus with all their hearts. I know being a pastor is a ministry and a calling and a divine responsibility, but many of your people feel the same way about their jobs. At least, that’s what you told them when you told them to be a missionary in their workplace and invite their co-workers to church.

I know there’s a spiritual weight but it sound like whining to the everyday person.

Is the holy hangover real?


It might be a very real sensation for you.

But my humble advice learned from years of making this mistake: don’t brag about how tired you are on social media.

Most people will think you’re crazy.

Complete List of Church Planting Networks

A friend started a list of all the church planting networks, and asked me if I knew of any more. Since everybody is smarter than somebody, I thought I would post the list and ask for your help. What’s missing?

  • Acts 29
  • Stadia
  • New Thing Network
  • ARC – Association of Related Churches
  • Orchard Group
  • National Missions (General Baptists)
  • North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist)
  • Next Coaching Networks
  • Missio
  • Passion for Planting
  • Launch
  • Vision 360
  • GlocalNet
  • Mosaix Global
  • Liberty Church Planting Network
  • PLNTD Network

Please leave a comment and tell me what’s missing.

What I Learned From Donating Money to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

The Elephant and the Donkey

The other day, I conducted a little experiment. I decided to make identical donations to both Presidential candidates to see how easy it was. Here’s what I learned.

  1. It NEVER occurred to me to try and find my local campaign headquarters to make a donation – I went straight to the web. Digital is my default. If you’re still REQUIRING people to give or pay in person or with cash or checks, you’re missing it. Nobody is getting elected President without being able to receive digital contributions.
  2. Both websites made it EASY to find the contribution page (screenshots below).  I didn’t have to search through a site map to get to a donation page. It was super clear and easy to find.
  3. I was able to donate with my American Express, which is my credit card of choice. You’re crazy if you don’t take all four major credit cards.
  4. Both candidates gave me the opportunity to turn my one time donation into a recurring donation with one simple click. Right after I entered the amount, there was a button that said, “Make this a recurring donation.” One time donations are great, but they know that recurring contributions are a home run.
  5. Both websites gave me the option of setting up an online profile for expedited giving later, but only AFTER I made my one-time donation. If you ask people to set up an account before they give, you’ll lose people in the process. Churches, go ahead and ask people create an account, but make sure you give people a “no registration required” and super-fast option as well.
  6. President Obama’s website asked for slightly less information that Governor Romney’s site. I was able to cut and paste my credit card number into a field on President Obama’s site, but Governor Romney’s made me remove the dashes. On one website, I didn’t have to enter the 3-4 digit security code; on the other it was required. If you don’t have to ask for it, don’t ask for it – the simpler the better.
  7. Donating to President Obama took me 92 seconds from start to finish. Donating to Governor Romney took me 2 minutes and 19 seconds.
  8. Both websites offered me extra incentives to give. President Obama was featuring an evening with George Clooney and Mr. Romney offered me a chance to meet his wife. My donation entered into a raffle for these things. I think it would be way cooler to have dinner with Clooney.
  9. I received immediate confirmation of my donation (screenshots below). Both emails were short and to the point. Governor Romney’s confirmation email looked better, but President Obama’s email was more clear and did a better job asking me to make another donation and set up recurring contributions.

Look how easy it is to find the donate button on President Obama’s website:

And here’s the top of Governor Romney’s homepage.  Again, it’s super easy to find the donate button.

Here’s a screenshot of the email I received after making a donation on President Obama’s site.  It’s 100% get, which is certainly mobile friendly.

And here’s a screenshot of the email I received from the Romney campaign.  I think it looks better but it’s doesn’t lay out a clear next step.

When’s the last time you made a donation to a church or politician? What the process easy or complicated?

What is ZMOT and What Does it Mean for Churches?

I recently finished reading a free Google eBook called ZMOT: Zero Moment of Truth. And while I was reading it for business purposes, I couldn’t help think about what it means for churches.

Here are some notes from the ZMOT:

For companies, the first moment of truth is when a customer grabs a product off a shelf to purchase it. It’s all about placement and price.

But today, there’s pre-shopping, something Google called the Zero Moment of Truth. It’s a young adult who checks out user reviews before making a purchase or a new mom who asks her Facebook friends what baby formula they use, or a hotel shopper who searches for “Best Hotel in San Francisco” before skipping the description and diving into the user ratings.

Consider these stats:

  • 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.
  • 20% of Google searches are on a mobile device; and for LOCAL searches, the number jumps to 40%. Mobile is not the future – it’s already here.
  • The average shopper uses 10.4 sources of information to make a decision.
  • YouTube is the second most used search box on the Internet.
  • The worldwide average for product reviews is 4.3 out of 5. “Negative comments add authenticity,” says Dave Reibetein.

People begin their research online and their research looks more like a conversation. Friends, strangers, websites, and experts all weigh in. People now think about thinking about buying something. If you’re not visible online when people are doing their homework, they will find others who are. The Internet is the new 1-800 number, and it’s been set up for you even though you didn’t ask for it.

Audiences are asking three things about your product: Will it save me money? Will it save me time? Will it improve my life? None of those questions have to do with the product – all three of them are about the person.

Here is what this might mean for churches:

1. Its’ time to stop sending postcards and start creating conversations. I’m actually a fan of traditional marketing (I wrote a free ebook on how you can get more people to visit your church), but it’s not enough. We need to figure out how to leverage user reviews, social interaction and feedback. When someone in the community says, “Hey, I’m thinking about taking my teenagers to a church…where should I go?” that’s a Zero Moment of Truth.

We need to teach church members how to have normal conversations with people. Just like they would recommend a gym, they need to recommend their church – no pamphlets or tracts are required. We need to remember that Word of Mouth is the best way to spread a message, and utilize traditional forms of advertising and outreach as supplements.

2. We need to talk about benefits, and not features. A feature is about us – a benefit is about them. And while your website, logo, brand, ministries, services and mission might be compelling, most people think of themselves and their situation first. So you have a student ministry – how will that benefit my 10th grader? So you do a mission trip – how will that help me? So you have good music – what do I care?

People who are considering attending a church are asking questions, and I don’t think they have to do with a statement of beliefs or who is the chairman of the Finance Committee. If someone is thinking about visiting a church, they want to know what the pastor is like, they want to know what their kids are going to do and if they are going to have a good time, and they want to know if the people are friendly.

Features make your church sound impressive. Benefits get talked about.

3. We need to deploy more resources to video and search. We can have fancy live video websites, but if YouTube is the second most searched box on all of the internet, we need to get video to where people are. And I’m not just talking about 45-minute sermon videos. Highlights, recaps, testimonials, baptisms, etc. all need to make their way online.

Churches should use Google’s Keyword Tool to see what people are searching for online and then engage in conversation and add their voice. Pastoral Blogging isn’t dead – a Pastor could use this tool to talk about what people are talking about.

And in all of this, we need to understand that people are accessing this information on MOBILE DEVICES. Whether it’s a responsive website, video encoded for YouTube, or a church app, you must think mobile.

Book Notes: The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Here is my two minute book review and my raw notes from The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Businessby Patrick Lencioni.

And here are my RAW notes:

Leaders sometimes have three biases-

1. The sophistication bias – leaders who think simple things aren’t important
2. The adrenaline bias – leaders who are afraid to slow down to deal with things that are truly important
3. The quantification bias – leaders who shy away from things that can’t be measured in a precise way

Organizational health is the GREATEST opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage.

“Smart organizations don’t seem to have any greater chance of getting healthier by virtue of their intelligence. In fact, the reverse may actually be true because leaders who pride themselves on expertise and intelligence often struggle to acknowledge their flaws and learn from their peers.” – page 9

The environment matters. If you had to bet on the future of one of two kids, would you choose the kid raised by loving parents in a solid home or the one who was a product of dysfunction. Resources don’t matter as much as environment.

The Four Disciplines Are:

1. Build a cohesive leadership team
2. Create clarity
3. Overcommunicate clarity
4. Reinforce clarity

Teamwork is not a virtue – it is a strategic choice.

Two methods for leading a discussion:

  • Advocacy – I think we should change our strategic choice.
  • Inquiry – Why do you think this approach is not working?

Intelligent people should never sacrifice the effectiveness and manageability of their team for a tactical victory.

Members of cohesive teams spend many hours working on issues or topics that don’t fall directly within their formal areas of responsibility

Fundamental Attribution Error – We give ourselves the benefit of the doubt but assume the worst about others. You attribute negative behaviors of others to their character and attribute your own negative behavior to your circumstances. St. Francis said, “Seek to understand more than to be understood.”

Leaders don’t tolerate artificial harmony. Two people who trust each other and who are engaged in something important SHOULD feel compelled to disagree when they see things differently.
You can disagree and commit.

In meetings, silence can mean disagreement. At the end of the meeting, ask for a formal commitment to the decision. You must prevent “I never really liked that idea in the first place.”

Firing someone isn’t always an act of accountability – it could be a sign of cowardice for a leader who doesn’t know how to hold people accountable.

Behavioral accountability is more important than the formal, result-oritented kind.

An organization that rarely achieves it’s goals is, by definition, not a good team.


Most mission statements do not accurately define what the organization actually does for a living. You can use lots of words and say nothing.

“A good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – General Patton

If your mission statement was never formalized or written down, it would still live in your heart and be real. Your purpose needs to be your purpose before it’s worded for a billboard. You can focus on saying it right, but first it needs to be real.

Values should attract and repel customers. CEO who responds to a customer, “We’ll miss you.”

A core value is only a core value if you could honestly say you’re more committed to it than 99% of the other companies in your industry.

A strategy is nothing more than a collection of intentional decisions made to give yourself the best chance to thrive. It’s a plan for success.


Every organization must have a single top priority within a given period of time. A thematic goal is a rallying cry. It should provide clarity around how to spend your time. Specific objectives are the activities required to achieve the goal.

If you have multiple roles in the organization, be clear about what role you’re playing when you’re making a decision. Expecially if you’re the CEO and also fulfilling another role.

Peopl are skeptical about what they are being told unless they hear it consistently over time. You don’t need to set it and forget it – you need to set it and continually remind.

“Most leadership teams are more than adept at sending out email messages and giving presentations, and yet they still struggle with effective communication because employees wonder about the authenticity of what they are reading and hearing.” (page 145)

You can know how to build a website, btu never achieve clarity around key messages.

Institutionalize your culture, don’t bureaucratize it.

The most memorable time of an employee’s career, and the time with the biggest impact, are his or her first few days on the job.

The best management programs are designed to stimulate the right kinds of conversations around the right topics. Compensation plans should be simple and clearly remind employees what is most important.


Most important thing to observe is the leadership team during a meeting. Bad meetings are the birthplace of unhealthy organization and good meetings are the origin of cohesion, clarity and communication (page 174)

Don’t reduce time or combine meetings…make sure they are the right KIND of meetings and make them effective.

Separate tactical decisions from strategic ones.

Click here to get the book from my Amazon store.