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I love this piece by Hugh MacLeod, as it seems so relative—especially in the world of ministries.

It’s easy to follow the crowd. To imitate what everyone else is doing. To want a website/logo/outreach program/fill-in-the-blank just like Big Name Ministry has.
(Side note: If I see one more website—or get one more request—for a website that looks just like Hillsong’s, I’m going to poke my eyes out with pencils)

But I believe the price of being a sheep is much steeper than mere boredom.
We’re robbing the world of what it is we’re uniquely wired to offer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love getting inspired by others who’ve gone before me and look for ways to build upon those ideas to make them my own. But as my friend Mark Batterson has so eloquently put it, “When inspiration stops short & becomes imitation, it’s suicide.”

Discovering your purpose and braving new trails is hard. It takes work, and yes, it can be very lonely. But I think the reward is worth it.

The Price of Being a Sheep

Collyde One Day Q&A with Tim Stevens

I had so much fun at this event. Last year, I had the privilege of speaking at Collyde Summit with some fantastic folks & this year they experimented with a more intimate environment that was just one day. Class sizes were smaller and sessions were repeated so everyone had a chance to experience them all.

The clip above is a Q&A I did with Tim Stevens and we had some great conversations about:

  • How churches can connect with more volunteers
  • Tips to communicate change
  • Ideas for attracting younger people to the church without seniors feeling irrelevant
  • What to do when a team member needs to be let go

Enjoy!

Ps: Collyde Summit 2015 is happening again on the east coast this September 18-19th. Speakers include Pete Wilson, Jenni Catron, Todd Wagner & others. More info & tickets can be found here

How Can Something That Seems So Right Be So Terribly Wrong?

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So yesterday we drove out to an apple orchard with the quest of checking something off my Things To Do in Autumn list. Which inspired me to make an apple pie. Which got me excited about making pies in general. So I decided to go all in overboard and declared Sunday, “pie day.”

This included an apple pie, a salted caramel apple pie and a chicken pot pie–all from scratch, because that’s what sane people do on one of the last nice days in IL before the frozen tundra settles upon us. Why two apple pies? A strategic person might freeze one for later, but I instead promised one to our neighbor. Because I need the applause of others to validate ridiculous decisions on how my time is spent.

Nine hours later, (yes 9) I’m exhausted and have gotten sloppy. Which includes a poor judgement call to taste caramel that was boiling moments before, resulting in third degree burns on my lips and thumb. (Use a spoon? That’s ridiculous.)

Life lesson learned: Too much is never a good thing, even with pie.

Collyde Summit ’14 :: Highlights

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I have to say, as a first-time attendee/speaker at Collyde Summit, I was so impressed.

There was such a great group of speakers with huge hearts to help those that are helping others & the team who made it all happen were nothing short of spectacular. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for next year.

And I’d like to thank everyone who attended (especially those willing to sit on the floor) as well as the amazing Rich Birch for keeping the crazy at bay while we worked through tech set-up. You guys were all fantastic and I loved hearing your stories. An extra big thanks goes to Kristen Hamilton for suggesting me to Jinu, and to Jinu for inviting me to participate. I’m honored & grateful.

As promised, here’s a link to the highlights & slides you guys wanted to keep.

If there’s anything else I can do to help, feel free to drop me an email: dnicole (at) AspireOne (dot) com otherwise I’d love to hear in the comments what you valued most about Collyde this year.

Does Church Marketing Still Suck?

In honor of Church Marketing Sucks‘ 10th Anniversary, I was honored to contribute to the series, Does Church Marketing Still Suck

A lot has changed in the past 10 years—some things have gotten a lot better but we’ve also run into a new problem: over communicating. 

Read the full post here

What do you think—Have things gotten better (or worse) with how churches and nonprofits communicate? 

Do Women Have Something of Value to Say?

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I’ll have to admit I was a bit shocked with the social circus that erupted yesterday surrounding The Nines. Comments were taken out of context, included in a snapshot & spread like wildfire from there.

I know Todd Rhoades, others in senior leadership with The Leadership Network and have spoken at The Nines myself. To say they are biased in any capacity or don’t value the opinions of women is just ridiculous. Christianity Today added more context to what was going on for those interested in the whole story.

Quite frankly, I want to just shake my head in disappointment whenever someone asks me about “gender equality” or why more women aren’t represented on the stage of leadership issues in the church. I recognize there are some very real challenges with how some interpret who can and cannot teach others in a biblical setting that are several pay grades above my ability to weigh in.

But this isn’t about that.

My hope is that when I’m asked to speak at an event, it’s because the organizers believe it’s because I have something of value to offer participants and it fits their programming goals. Not because they need X number of females or Y% of ethnic representation and I fit the bill. Anything less would just be a slap in the face.

If we need to bring awareness to those who are doing great things but may be under the radar, then let’s do that… regardless of what flavor or gender they may be. But let’s not pretend it should be expected just because we’re female. Or black. Or white. Or (fill in the blank).

A platform is earned because of what we have to offer.

Echo ’13 :: Telling Your Story [notes & goodies]

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Thanks again for everyone who came yesterday. As promised, here are the key slides, video links & notes from people who did a fantastic job of making me sound smarter than I actually am. 

Video Links

Live Notes

  • Josh Burns [@jburno] 
  • Adam Legg [@AdamLegg]
  • And an insanely cool artistic notes version by Candace Payne [above]Image

Charts & Slides