Archives For Books & Media

Now that my friend Brian Houston’s new book “Live Love Lead” is out and being read by plenty of leaders, I thought it was time to ask him some questions. As founding Pastor of Hillsong Church, with locations in at least 15 major cities around the world, his leadership principles have impacted thousands of pastors and ministry leaders. Plus, “Hillsong Music” is the most popular worship label worldwide, and the feature length motion picture “Let Hope Rise” – about their band “Hillsong United” – is in the works. So we had a lot to talk about:

Phil Cooke:  Hillsong seems to be taking off like a rocket these days. You’re continuing to open churches in major cities around the world, the conferences are growing, Hillsong music is exploding, and the feature film “Let Hope Rise” will be released soon. With everything that’s going on, why did you decide to write the new book right now?

Brian Houston:  God’s grace never ceases to amaze me. Last year I turned 60 and celebrated 40 years of ministry – and…

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The United States is rapidly becoming multiethnic. Within ten years we will probably no longer have a majority race. Every facet of our American culture is transitioning to multiethnic . . . except the church. The church remains the most segregated institution in America. It will take multiethnic churches to reach a multiethnic America.

So how can your church transform into a gospel-centered, mission-shaped, multiethnic local church?

In The High-Definition Leader author, Derwin Gray, issues an invitation for church leaders to help their congregations embrace Christ’s call to the early church—a call that crosses ethnic and socioeconomic barriers to create heavenly colonies of love, reconciliation, and unity.


  • understand that planting and transforming churches into multiethnic groups is a biblical calling church leaders must encourage
  • identify and implement the best practices to help leaders build multiethnic churches
  • recognize that reconciliation between ethnic groups in the church is not just a social issue but a theological issue church leaders cannot ignore

The apostle Paul built multiethnic, socioeconomic diverse local churches of Jews and Gentiles. We must follow his godly wisdom and leadership if we want to be the church for which…

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Gaining by LosingPeople are leaving the church J.D. Greear pastors. Big givers. Key volunteers. Some of his best leaders and friends. And that’s exactly how he wants it to be.

When Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission, he revealed that the key for reaching the world with the gospel is found in sending, not gathering. Though many churches focus time and energy on attracting people and counting numbers, the real mission of the church isn’t how many people you can gather. It’s about training up disciples and then sending them out. The true measure of success for a church should be its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.

But there is a cost to this. To see ministry multiply, we must release the seeds God has placed in our hands. And to do that, we must ask ourselves whether we are concerned more with building our kingdom or God’s.

In Gaining By Losing, J.D. Greear unpacks ten plumb lines that you can use to reorient your church’s priorities around God’s mission to reach a lost world. The good news is that you don’t need to choose between gathering or sending. Effective churches…

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Through a Mans EyesTwenty years ago, people in the church didn’t talk about porn, or visual temptations in general.  Today, churches across America have Celebrate Recovery groups, men’s small groups that study Every Man’s Battle, and experienced counselors with specialized training.  You as pastors talk to men during Sunday morning worship services about the importance of discipline and purity in their thought lives, and every man intimately understands the challenge being laid before him.

The problem is: most of the women don’t.  And that is one reason why all our effort in the church – as great as it is — hasn’t yet made a systemic difference to eradicating the problem of porn in the church.  A difference to individuals, yes; A sea change for the Body of Christ as a whole, no.

We need to enlist the understanding of women, if we are going to support men.

In extensive research over the last thirteen years, I’ve seen that there is literally no other single topic that so deeply affects many millions of men, that so many millions of women are completely blind to.  Yes, we women know that “men are visual”… but we…

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Pete BookFor years I believed that if I could simply identify the right planning and decision-making process, we would then make good decisions at the church I pastor. That, it turned out, was both naïve and misguided. Over a twenty-year period, however, the dramatic difference between our standard process and emotionally healthy planning and decision making became crystal clear.

The first is the foundation from which all the others follow—defining success as radically doing God’s will.

We Define Success as Radically Doing God’s Will

From the time I became a Christian, I believed intellectually that listening for God’s will was vitally important. But it wasn’t until a four-month contemplative sabbatical in 2003-2004 that my approach to planning and decision making was utterly transformed. As a result, my definition of success so broadened and deepened that my leadership and my approach to discerning God’s will experienced an extreme makeover.

What happened? I slowed down my life so I could spend much more time being with God. Listening for and surrendering to God’s will became the focus of my life—both personally and in leadership. I realized that New Life had one objective: to become what God had…

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TeamsThatThriveHealthy conflict is the catalyst of extraordinary performance. If your church leadership team never has conflict, then something is wrong. Effective teams welcome healthy conflict – and they manage it in such a way that it actually aids the team.

Numerous studies overwhelmingly suggest that task conflict is good, whereas affective, or relationship, conflict is bad. In other words, team members should challenge each other’s ideas, interrogate one another’s beliefs and values, and willingly offer different perspectives while refraining from attacking others in the process, or making snide, sarcastic comments in the process.

Based on our recent study of nearly 150 church leadership teams, we encourage you to cultivate the kind of conflict that fuels great team performances. We found that thriving teams engaged in challenging dialogue. They also cultivated (rather than squashed) healthy conflict significantly more than under-performing teams.

To spur healthy “task conflict” on your team, we suggest that you and your teammates:

  1. Vigorously solicit critiques of plans, decisions and assumptions guiding decision making.
  2. Model respectful, assertive, thoughtful and honest critiques of ministry ideas and plans, and invite others to do the same of your own ideas and plans.
  3. Celebrate group members who say the…

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practical shepherdingWhether moving into a solo pastor situation immediately following seminary studies or other preparation, or transitioning into a senior pastor position after serving on staff, many pastors have the experience of seeing their own initial sense of confidence evaporate before the demands, sometimes unexpected, of every day pastoral ministry. While some will blame inadequacies in their seminary preparation, to be fair, it is likely not possible for some things to be learned prior to being thrust into actual ministry experience. Nonetheless, those wanting to develop important ministry skills, or those wishing to improve them, can use mentors, whether personal or literary, in those early days of ministry.

The Practical Shepherding series, published by Zondervan and edited by Brian Croft, Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, seeks to help fill this need. Projected ultimately as seven slim books, most of which will be published later this year, the series begins publication with two short works that will benefit pastors in the early days of ministry, as well as their more experienced colleagues looking for either a refresher or a different perspective on ministry concerns.

Comfort the Grieving: Ministering…

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Dirt Matters, Jim PowellA few years ago a local church sought my advice in reversing their decline in attendance. As our conversation unfolded, I noticed all of their questions were programmatic ones—What kind of music does your church play? What do you wear on Sundays? How do you present announcements? Do you serve coffee and donuts?

All this church seemed to be looking for was the right superficial tweak or change in methodology that would attract people. They wanted a silver bullet…and there is no silver bullet

While methods can make a difference in contextualizing the Gospel for this generation, programmatic changes alone are not going to turn a church around and move it forward. When a church is in decline, the problem has a much deeper root. So, I told that church what I’m about to tell you…what really needs to be addressed is not a program, a method, or a ministry, but the church’s culture.

Culture is the somewhat nebulous and complex blend of norms, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and practices that define a congregation. Every church has a culture, and though it can be tough to grasp, it has a tremendous…

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Building Strong Worship Leaders

One of the greatest needs of the church today is gifted, godly worship leaders who will not only pour themselves into the weekly corporate gathering but who will, behind the scenes and off the stage, pour their very lives into discipling and training a whole new generation of worship leaders. That’s why I’m so excited about the work of Dwayne Moore and the Asaph Generation. Worship leaders from various backgrounds are coming together to see a generation of people giving authentic praise to God as never before.

From Nehemiah to the apostolic era, from the Renaissance to Azusa Street, great movements of God have always been fueled by heartfelt repentance and passionate worship. When God’s name is glorified, great things begin to happen. Please read this book slowly. Soak in its wisdom. Hear and heed the call, first to be a worshipper, but also to determine how you can invest your life into seeing God’s name magnified and glorified in our culture.

– From the Foreword, by Brandon Cox

Grab your free copy here!

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Skinny jeans and a tattoo does not make you a leader!” – Christine Caine from Catalyst ’14

As a member of INJOY Stewardship Solutions, I have the privilege of attending some of the greatest Christian conferences possible. During the second half of 2014, several events among others stood out.

Therefore, I am proud to announce my latest Ebook  Skinny Jeans And A Tattoo Does Not Make You A Leader And 999 More Leadership Quotes: Wise Words & Timeless Truths From The 2014 Double, Global Leadership Summit and Catalyst Conferences (and more) is FREE with a subscription to this website.

Here are just some of the events you will learn from:

  • Double ’14 took place at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. Put on by the NewSpring staff, this amazing event was designed to help churches double in attendance.
  • Global Leadership Summit is the Willow Creek Association’s annual convergence of Christian and business leaders.
  • Catalyst ‘14 had a different feel this year. The content was much more geared to Next Generation Christian leaders. An extra day of Lab sessions are included in the content.

These and other events featured many incredible…

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Finding Your Way Back to GodIt’s now been 25 years since my wife and I along with my brother Jon and three friends from college started Community Christian Church. During that time I’ve had the privilege of journeying with thousands of people who describe their experience as “finding their way back to God.” Over the years we began to notice that certain events seemed to happen over and over again to almost everyone as they came to faith. We never took the time to label those events, but we would notice similarities in people’s spiritual journeys.

It wasn’t until Jon and I started working on our newest book, Finding Your Way Back To God did we try to identify these similar spiritual events. We chose a select and diverse group of 25 people and did in depth interviews with them. We listened closely to each of their stories and studied their individual experiences. In time, we were able to name the parallel events that everyone experienced on their journey to God. We call them the “5 Awakenings.”

At the same time, our study of scripture led us to the story of the prodigal…

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StuckIf you have a broken relationship, I hope today’s post encourages you.

I was certain that God was leading me to start a different kind of church across town. My pastor was certain that God would never lead me to do such a thing. I was devastated that he wouldn’t support me. He was devastated that I would risk hurting the church he pastored. After serving together for 12 years and despite being best friends, our relationship completely severed and we wouldn’t talk to one another for years to come.

Years later we reconciled and I interviewed my “friend again”. (I ask the questions and he provides the answers.) I shared some more of this story in my new book STUCK When You Want to Forgive but Don’t Know How.

Warning: Reconciliation may not be appropriate for you if your offender is abusive and reconciling would cause further injury, if your offender does not want to reconcile, or if your offender is unrepentant. It only takes one person to forgive, but it takes two people to reconcile.

I was not only your Associate Pastor for twelve years, but we were pretty close friends weren’t we?


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