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December 2019

That Time Tina Fey Helped Me Pick Out Pantyhose


Years ago while working at a comedy theater in Chicago, I was activated as an understudy for a children’s theater performance the next day. This sounded exciting until I realized it involved dressing up as a pirate and I needed to provide my own pantyhose.

After working the late shift at the theater, I clumsily fumbled through the pantyhose aisle of a Walgreens at 3 am. I think my Man Card was suspended for the night.

Luckily, two co­workers from the theater walked into Walgreens and came to my aid: Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey. I wish I could say it was one of my finer moments in life but there’s no way to spin it: I was a twenty­something dude looking pathetic buying women’s pantyhose.

Tina and Rachel must have thought I was nuts and easily could have assumed the worst about me and walked away. Instead they walked toward me. Instead of talking about me, they chose to talk with me. They recognized me from the comedy theater and came over to ask what I was up to.

After I explained, Tina took a few minutes to choose just the right color and size of pantyhose for me to dress up in as a pirate the next day. Yes, it’s true: Tina Fey helped me pick out pantyhose.

Actually purchasing the pantyhose was embarrassing. The cashier stared at me in judgment. He jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst about me.

Isn’t that how we all react sometimes when we encounter something out of the ordinary without all the information? What if we chose to believe the best about the things we hear? What if we eclipsed our inner judge with a presumption of compassion?

Whether it’s on Facebook or ministry blogs, I often see critical comments left by church folk who are assuming the worst instead of believing the best. Online comment sections make me feel like a hemophiliac in a razor factory. Throwing rocks online is silly and can lead to unnecessary black­eyes within the Body of Christ.

Friendly-­fire is preventable. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. It is always wiser to listen more than we speak. If we are unable to gather all the facts, then our default as Christ followers needs to be believing the best about people, not assuming the worst.

Believing the best can be a game changer in your life and your leadership. When we talk to people instead of talking about them, the world takes notice. Jumping to positive conclusions creates energy, trust, and forward movement in any organization. Believing the best helps eliminate gossip and unnecessary drama. And believing the best is how Tina Fey helped me pick out pantyhose.


Jonathan Herron studied comedy under Tina Fey (SNL, 30 Rock) before entering ministry. An experienced church start­up strategist, Jonathan is now the founding pastor of Life Church Michigan and author of Holy Shift.

Make a Holy Shift & Laugh Your Mass Off


There are only two professions that involve writing fresh new material every week that is delivered behind a solitary microphone in front of a live audience: Stand­Up Comics and Pastors.

This new book from author and pastor Jonathan Herron will reveal the secrets of comedians, shake pastors from tired old formulas and equip church leaders to passionately generate contagious enthusiasm for reaching people far from God!

HOLY SHIFT releases nationwide this February -- Discover more and join our Street Team!


Tuesday Night Bible Study: Temptation

Think of a time when your sin took you where you didn’t want to go and you stayed longer than you wanted to stay.

The events related in 2 Samuel 11-12 mark a low point in David’s life. Coming off a great victory against the Ammonites and the Arameans, David finds himself in an interesting situation.

In chapter eleven, we discover that, instead of leading his army into battle, David decided he would spend some down-time while the rest of his men went out to fight on his behalf. David unknowingly found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. David’s error in judgment placed him in a situation where he would face a temptation that would lead him down a road that he never intended to travel.

By chapter twelve we see the devastating consequences of David’s sin: His life would never be the same and the nation would also suffer.

In the end, David would acknowledge his sin and be reconciled to God. Unfortunately, the consequences could not be undone. Despite being a man after God’s own heart, David could not escape the spiritual, physical, and emotional consequences of his sin.

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-24

  • How is David’s behavior different here than in previous chapters?
  • Did David consciously set out to rebel against God?
  • Sin has a way of sneaking into our lives and taking hold of us without us even knowing it. Can you relate to David’s dilemma? If so, how?

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-14

God sends Nathan to confront David concerning his sinful behavior.

  • What do you think of David’s initial response? Are you surprised at David’s initial reaction? Why or why not?
  • Once David realizes that he is the “rich man” in Nathan’s story, his attitude changes dramatically. What do you suppose changed in David’s thinking?
  • God has unique and powerful ways of getting our attention. What do you believe the difference is between conviction and condemnation?

Read Hebrews 12:4-11

  • What is the goal of God’s discipline in our lives? (See verse 10)
  • What can we learn from David’s life about sin and God’s discipline?


Like David, our spiritual lives are marked by high and low points. It is easy to walk with God when we are experiencing the high points. What do we do when we are going through the low points? What can we learn from David’s life?

Eventually, David exhibits humility and repentance. God responds to David’s humility and he is restored to intimacy with God. The consequences of his sin will still be realized, but his relationship with God is restored!

Monday Motivation: Be Direct + Be a Coach

Your job is not to make people feel good about themselves.

A fearless leader will step up and be direct, challenging their people to achieve more than they could ever dream of!




Fresh Leadership Resources to Motivate You

1) 3 New Ministry Tool I Can't Live Without --…/new-ministry-tools-pro…

2) Fearless Leadership Podcast #23: First Steps toward a Fast-Growing Church Start-Up --

3) NEW 2020 Staff Playbook + Worship Arts Playbook --


  • * * BONUS: Live + Personal Online Coaching this Wednesday, 9am EST

Email for a complimentary link!

Three New Ministry Tools I Can't Live Without


I am a busy leader.  

Kicking Monday in the face requires having the right tools in my tool belt.

Here are three new ministry tools that I LOVE and I cannot live without:


  1. Evo - I have tried every organizational tool on the planet to no avail: Google Cal / Planners / Writing on My Hand... Nothing worked.  Then I discovered Evo - this is a gamechanger! 

    Evo Brain Types
    What makes Evo different is you first take a free Brain Type assessment that helps you understand your brains natural rhythms (I tested out as an Explorer -- spot on!)

    Then you download the free Evo App and get your Brain Type's Evo Planner

    It.  Is.  Amazing. 

    My Evo Planner tells me exactly WHAT to write WHERE plus my App scans each day's writings to better assist me in being the best me possible!   

    The only negative is Evo's clunky website -- It looks like something from the Dharma Initiative on LOST.


  2. Breeze - Our church was recently named the 11th Fastest Growing Church in America.  We have a LOT of guests who come through our doors across 4 worship experiences.  Tracking and connecting with guests is a huge hurdle.  We've tried software like Fellowship One (confusing and clunky), Planning Center (better, but still hard for volunteers to navigate), etc.

    Enter Breeze.  I have a hunch that Breeze was developed as a start-up from a Planning Center ex-employee -- it is very similar, yet WAAAAAY more easier for volunteers to navigate, more intuitive, and 75% cheaper than Planning Center.


  3. Aplos - Clumsy name (sounds like a disease) with outstanding service.  Aplos is Life Church's new accounting service with industry-leading online finance management tools plus a personal off-site Bookkeeper that creates robust integrity for our donors. 

    Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 1.06.01 PM
    Our bookkeeper is Miguel -- super cool guy who has patiently walked us step-by-step through a process for creating stronger accountability and systems inside our Finance Department. 

    Aplos easily links with Gusto for payroll services and I can't speak highly enough of these ministry tools.


How to Build Stronger Men in 2020

I love organizations that feature strong, robust names: Resolute. Fearless.

I figure if you have something to say, be bold about it!

That's part of what attracted me to author and speaker Vince Miller's ministry, Resolute.

Vince told me:

"The problem is not all the bad things men are doing, but rather the kind of men we are developing. So let's build better men!"


Vince is this week's guest on the Fearless Leadership podcast.

Grab it now:


Tuesday Night Bible Study - 2 Samuel 5 - 10

God With Us | 2 Samuel 5-10
(Parallel Section: 1 Chronicles 11-19)


David finally became King of Israel about 15 years after being anointed as the successor to King Saul by Samuel the Prophet.

Under David’s leadership, Israel experienced many military victories and also enjoyed material blessings from God.

David established Jerusalem as his capital and the center of worship for the nation by moving the Ark of the Covenant there.

David wanted to build a house for God (a temple), but instead God assured David that He would build David’s “house” (David’s legacy).

The Lord would work through a descendant of David to build God’s house, and also would establish David’s lineage on the throne of Israel forever.

  1. Read 2 Samuel 2- 1. Read 2 Samuel 2-4; 5:1-5

    • What is the difference between the throne of Judah and the throne of Israel?
    • After David had possession of the throne of Judah, why did it take several additional years for him to take the throne of all of Israel?
    • Why do you think God made David wait so many years after Samuel anointed him to receive the throne?

  2. Read 2 Samuel 6:1- 2. Read 2 Samuel 6:1-13; 1 Samuel 6:1 13; 1 Samuel 6:1 13; 1 Samuel 6:1-12; Exodus 25:12 12; Exodus 25:12 12; Exodus 25:12-15; Numbers 4:5- Numbers 4:5-6, 15

    • How did David and the men with him transport the Ark?
    • Where did they probably get the idea of moving it on an ox cart? (see 1 Samuel 6:1-12)
    • How should they have transported it according to Exodus 25:12-15, and Numbers 4:5-6, 15?

  3. Read 2 Samuel 6:12- 3. Read 2 Samuel 6:12-23; 1 Samuel 18:17 23; 1 Samuel 18:17 23; 1 Samuel 18:17-19:17; 2 Samuel 3:12 19:17; 2 Samuel 3:12 19:17; 2 Samuel 3:12-16

    • Who was Michal and how did she become David’s wife? (see 1 Samuel 18:17-19:17; 2 Samuel 3:12-16)
    • What insights do you get from the text about the health and quality of Michal and David’s marriage relationship?
    • What do you think could have been going on inside of Michal that triggered her to despise David and respond to him like she did?

  4. Read 2 Samuel 9:1- 4. Read 2 Samuel 9:1-13; 1 Samuel 19 & 20 13; 1 Samuel 19 & 20 13; 1 Samuel 19 & 20

    • Who was Mephibosheth?
    • Why did David proactively seek him out? Why do you think David was so gracious to him? (see 1 Samuel 19 & 20)

  5. Read 2 Samuel 10:1- 5. Read 2 Samuel 10:1-5; Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 20:4; 1 Samuel 24:1 5; Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 20:4; 1 Samuel 24:1 5; Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 20:4; 1 Samuel 24:1-8

    • What happened to the delegation that David sent to show kindness to the King of the Ammonites?
    • Why do you think the Ammonites treated them this way? (see Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 20:4)
    • Why do you think David was sensitive to his men’s embarrassment and took steps to minimize it?
    • Why is it so hard to wait patiently on God’s timing?
    • How can you make sure you are doing this God’s way instead of your own?

Create a Culture by Design, Not Default

"Create a culture by design, not default"

(Walt Disney)


Since our very first Informational Meeting eight years ago this week (!), Life Church has chosen to be known by what we are for, not what we are against.

Our culture is the secret sauce.  We're all about Jesus: dangerously, obsessively, undeniably Jesus.

Culture determines behavior.  In order to be the church we dream of, we must fight for our culture -- our unique flavor that propels us forward to reach the lost at any cost.


This is why I am committed to raising up a generation of fearless leaders in the Church. 

The Church is worth fighting for.  We must always rally around our shared heartbeat if we are to extend that passion into the world.

Being a Culture-Keeper requires thick skin and calcium in the spine. 

Agendas must always be eclipsed by the Culture Code of your organization.


"For it is Christ’s love that fuels our passion and motivates us, because we are absolutely convinced that He has given His life for all of us.

This means all died with Him, so that those who live should no longer live self-absorbed lives but lives that are poured out for Him—the One who died for us and now lives again."

(2 Corinthians 5:14-15, The Passion Translation)


Heading into 2020, I have been working on codifying our original Culture Code.  The words are nearly exactly the same, the passion is as present in my bones as on Day One, and now it's been distilled into 4 easy-to-remember big ideas.

For what it's worth, here is Life Church's 2020 Code:

  1. HONOR: We are a generation of honor and integrity. We do not gossip. No insider politics. We are not competing with any churches. Full of honor and integrity, we will do the right thing even when it hurts. Our heart is to out-love, out-serve, and out-give those who misunderstand us.

  2. HUMBLE:  We will be known for what we are for.  We will speak vision and life over our people. We choose to leverage humor over hammer. We will lift up the life-giving power of Jesus Christ rather than using our platform to condemn.

    Movements move. We are not Atari, we are Apple, joining God's audacious movement of changed lives.  We will always maintain a posture of learning new methods.  We will always narrow the focus in all we do.  We think steps, not programs.

  3. HUNGRY: We are united under one vision -- to reach the lost at any cost.  To reach the people no one else is reaching, we will do the things no one else is doing.  We will do anything short of sin to reach people far from God.  We will aggressively defend our unity and vision.

    The church is a rescue organization, not a social club.  We will not cater to personal preferences in our mission to reach this region.  This is not a Yacht Club.  We are more concerned with the people we are trying to reach than the people we are trying to keep. We are only as "deep" as the last person we served!

  4. HUSTLE: Don't just stick your toe into the water -- Cannonball!  We do it right and do it big! Greatness is never on sale.  We believe undistracting excellence honors God and inspires people.  We place a disproportionate value on creating a worship experience that boldly celebrates Jesus and attracts people far from God.

    We are all about the numbers.  Every numbers represents a person.  Every person represents a story of life-change through Christ.  Tracking metrics measures effectiveness.  We will unapologetically celebrate life-change!

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