Category Archives: Leadership

In the Moment, I forget the Past

Sometimes, in the moment in life of something hard or difficult, I forget what God has done with me in the past. In a moment of fear or trepidation, I forget that the God I serve has been a God of peace and wisdom and has led me through these types of times in my life.

I saw the following come across my facebook newsfeed from Youversion. I have been doing daily readings with Youversion for quite some time (because they are delivered to my phone and they can be read out loud to me as I drive). I am really looking forward to this particular five-day reading of God’s Word because it will remind me of God’s faithfulness in the past. Personally, it’s something that I must get better at if I am going to celebrate God’s goodness in the future!

If you are reading the five-day plan with me, comment below!

Click here for the Five Day Reading plan focused on God’s faithfulness in the past.


Learning and adopting a strategy

from Hill Country Bible Church

A group of elders, leaders and pastors visited Hill Country Bible Church in Austin, TX  yesterday to understand their model of chuch planting. They have an audacious vision: “HCBC desires to see every man, woman and child in greater Austin hear the gospel from the lips of someone from Hill Country Bible Church.”  They are making progress as each individual owns the vision and through churches planting churches.

God used our trip to confirm the basic strategy and to further break our hearts for the Wichita area. HCBC graciously sacrificed a day to invest into Wichita. We have a lot of information to process, but are moving forward with the new strategy toward reaching this city for Christ.

You can check out the rest of the newsletter that was sent out to our church by clicking here. There are several videos from church planters from Austin embedded. Enjoy!

Am I a Traveler or a Disciple?

Thought I would post a little about what I am currently thinking about and processing in terms of scripture.

Luke 14:15-25

In the past week, God has really used this passage in my life to really think through the lens of counting the cost of Discipleship. Am I willing to give everything up, my life, my family, my desires and wants, and all that I think I need for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of following Jesus? The truth is, I still have a selfish twinge when I answer that. I say, “Of course I will give it all up for the sake of following Jesus. There has to be benefits to that too, right?”

As I look at this passage, I see two very saved groups that are both ‘following’ Jesus. One group is following Jesus from afar, and one group is following Jesus up close and personal. The group that is following Jesus from afar is the ‘traveler’ group. They are the group that is watching from afar, cheering Jesus on, listening intently when he preaches. But when Jesus does something amazing and miraculous, they are only on the outskirts of what is going on. They are not hearing the face to face interactions of the dead man that just became alive and Jesus. They aren’t hearing and seeing what Jesus hears and sees as he heals a blind man that can’t walk. They are only observing from far away. I think in this day of age, there are alot of us like this. We observe Jesus from afar, we come to a church where we might hear a good message or two. We might even read our bible daily and sing songs to him in the car as we drive. But we are not walking right beside Jesus. We are only a traveler, observing what is happening in his kingdom from afar. This leads to a life of apathy, complacency, and a lack of zeal for the Kingdom of God. Regularly, people tell me that there is a lack of luster for the Kingdom of God in their lives and regularly, I ask them if they have ‘counted the cost’ and given up everything for the sake of being a disciple. And regularly, the answer is, “I have no idea what that even means. But no, I haven’t. That’s uncomfortable.”

You see, later in the passage, Jesus teaches what it means to count the cost of discipleship. He teaches us that anytime we are going to commit to something that is total obedience we must understand what we are getting ourselves into. He lays out the ‘covenant of cost’ where he says that we may have to give up relationships, we may have to give our wants and desires, and we may have to give up our life. For what? To be a disciple!

Again, I go back to my very selfish statement of “Why would I want to be a disciple? What is there in that for me?” And I find something in this passage and in Jesus life that very much motivates me to want to walk closely with him. Those that walked closely to Jesus never struggled with the concept or notion of apathy and complacency. They never struggled with ‘boring’ Christianity. In fact, it was all that they could do to simply hold on for the ride. They were asked to do things that were way outside of their comfort zone (take up your cross and follow me, go and heal the sick and share me with others, build my church) and that were risking. For instance, if Peter was asked to be the “rock” that Jesus would build his Church, what if he hadn’t succeeded? The name of Jesus, the redeemer, the Son of God would have been lost and buried with no life transformation (naturally speaking). Instead, Peter was willing to count the cost (which ultimately cost him his physical life) and go on with the mission that Jesus had given him. But he would have never known the mission that Jesus had for him unless he had lived as a disciple, up close and personal with Jesus.

So, yes, I believe in Jesus. And yes, I love Jesus and know that he loves me. But am I close to him and following him (also known as being a ‘disciple’) or am I walking lengths behind him, observing, watching, maybe cheering on, and experiencing apathy and complacency (also known as a traveler)?

I want to be  a disciple. I want to count the cost of discipleship. God, would you teach me what this looks like.

passionate, irrational, costly

We had the opportunity to hear Duffy Robbins speak last night. The man has been doing youth ministry for a LONG time and seems to have the spirit of God working in him and through him as he communicates from the stage (not to mention, he is really funny which makes things interesting.) He talked about Philippians 2 where Jesus gave everything (coming down to earth, being a man, and being God at the same time), humbled himself and became a servant. Duffy had some great things to say about the concept of this love that Jesus displayed for his people.

My prayer has been since we got here is that God would teach us to love teenagers better and last night was a great reminder of some things.

Love is

1. Passionate – We tend to overuse the word “passion” but Duffy illustrated the word passion with his Father who cared for his mother until she died an untidy death and he was taking care of her. Her love was worth the discomfort and pain of really “loving” her with passion. We say passion is some sort of crazy emotion about something and Duffy defined passion as more of an action.

2. Irrational – This is where I really started listening well. He said that Jesus love was and is completely irrational. He came to live and to die for people that would reject him. How irrational is that? He came to ask people to love God and love others…knowing that people wouldn’t…How irrational is that? And then he related it to youth ministry. Youth ministry is sometimes irrational. If you ask folks that don’t know much about working with teenagers and even more with those that do, they will look at you with an odd look on your face and say something like, “you do what?” It’s an irrational work of God that we have the privilege of loving teenagers. And I’m excited to continue that particular call in my life.

3. Costly – Peter said, “Jesus, I’ll do for you.” And yet, one only dies once. Duffy said, “God doesn’t need people to die for him today (he may in the future), he needs people to live for him.” (My favorite quote.) The life of following God is costly, absolutely costly, and if I am to truly live a sacrificial “costly” life it means giving up my relational comfort, my addictions and battles with things that I want to do, power in the traditional sense, and all control of who I am and want to be. I think of a people that I have studied that have spent their whole lives working with a few people, given up the “right” to success that they seemed to have and let their lives “cost” for the sake of love. I love that concept and I want to love others and God in a costly manner (now that I have said it in a blog, there is some accountability that can happen with that.)

Duffy was great. I look forward to the next 2.5 days at the conference and am itching to get to the first session. This morning Tim Timmons plays, Derwin Gray speaks, and Rick Lawrence will lead us in devotion.

God, work in our hearts today. May you be glorified and honored as we seek to love you and others in light of your love for us.

Church Planting Conference – Day 1

As a church, West E. Free has a dream to daughter churches that daughter churches to reach our county (Sedgwick) for Jesus Christ. This is a dream that was planted deep within us years ago as we looked at what God had for us in the future and the ways and methods in which God called us to engage the culture around us. When Cassie and I came to West E. Free nearly 3 years ago, this is one of the things that I was tremendously excited about and wanted to join with people in this journey of truly understanding the concept of faith, practice, and church. I was interested in joining an equipping church as we reached our county for Christ.

Today, I am retreating with elders in Atlanta, GA at the “Velocity” conference. It’s a church planting conference really tailored to speak right to leaders in Church plants or people considering church plants but there has been some awesome material that has allowed the elder board to really process our dream of daughtering churches. It has also been an affirmative time of recognizing that God’s dream through West E. Free is still very much alive. The fire is being stoked within each of the elders (and myself) to continue to ask what the next church “multiplication” might be and what that might look like and I am extremely excited about that. I’ll share just a little bit about what each of the speakers mentioned as well as some from the presenter that I went and listened to today in this post.

Shawn Lovejoy was the first speaker to step onto the stage today. He talked about how God has gifted people uniquely to really go after the mission and kingdom that God is intending to build and is currently building. He pointed out that confidence in Christ is invaluable as we walk the line in church leadership of humility and confidence. Shawn was passionate about the concept of believing that God would direct people as he wanted them to be and no where else. For me, I wrestle with knowing that my worth is in Christ and that my leadership relies on the God of the universe but sometimes listening to people or circumstances rings much louder than does the God of the universe. And Shawn reminded me that this was not the way God intended our relationship to be. It was a good opener to the afternoon and I found it refreshing to be part of a group of people on a journey contemplating what it means to really go after the calling that God has on their lives.

Anthony Evans is the worship leader (along with Todd Nichols). He is a great singer, a good leader, and seems to genuinely love God and want to lead others to the throne of grace with confidence through song. It was a great day of corporate singing and celebration together.

Alan Hirsch spoke during the second session. Alan talked about the layering that has occurred between the “traditional” way of doing church and the culture that is so far away from that world. He talked about the barrier that is nearly impossible for the traditional church to overcome to reach the 60% of people that will never step foot in the church. There are several barriers. Language, previous experiences, perceptions. All of these are barriers that separate people from the church. But there are barriers that separate the church from people as well. The church has insulated itself from the culture in the name of “holiness” and has created a barrier between itself and the culture that it gives lipservice to serving. Hirsch demonstrated well the inability to really go after truly unchurched people. The thing that I really loved about what he had to say was that we have hope. We must begin to tackle the problem of not connecting and be innovative and creative in this world to bring the message of God, Jesus Christ, and spiritual things (all of which our culture is fascinated with) to a world in which there is no need for the traditional church. The people of God must be the people of God. It was a challenging discussion.

Steven Furtick spoke last. I’m always excited to hear Steven speak and this time was no different. He did a great job talking about the section of scripture where the disciples are asked by Jesus to go get the donkey so that Jesus could ride it. And then went and did as the Lord had asked (Mark 11). He related that passage to anything that we do in ministry. Are we willing to do as the Lord has asked? Are we really willing to step out and do things that don’t like quite right to people around us? Are we willing to not know the whole plan and yet take one step at a time and follow Jesus Christ? Furtick challenged me to think about my own context of ministry. What is the next step God? Teach me!

I went to this breakout session with Hugh Halter. Read his story on his blog. It’s fascinating…Challenging…Inspiring…and seemingly spirit of God ordained. Being “missional” is a buzzword, until you are living it every single day with your family.

God, I pray that you would teach me and elders tomorrow what you would have us learn and process together. May you be glorified, honored, magnified through what West E. Free does in the area of church multiplication! And may your gospel go forward with innovative and creative ways of systematic distribution. Amen.


Sometimes, I wonder what the role of Christian Leadership is. I know, intellectually, that there is supposed to be equipping the body of Christ for the work of Christ that is taking place. And I try with all my might to do that. But what is my role specifically? What am I crafted to do? If you are an engineer, you know your exact place within the company, you know your role, the people that you look to for direction, and where the company is going. If you are a doctor, you have a pretty intense purpose and role in that position. I wonder what the piece of the puzzle is that I need to be focusing on. I read something this morning that intrigued me. Here it is and then I will comment on it.


According to a Gallup poll from about two years ago, there are six needs people have:
1. To believe life is meaningful and has purpose
2. To have a sense of community and deeper relationships
3. To be appreciated and respected
4. To be listened to and heard
5. To feel that one is growing in faith
6. To have practical help in developing a mature faith

So, maybe the role of the Pastor is to go after some of these things and make sure that these needs are being addressed in a practical as well as a philosophical way. These needs can be addressed biblically and they are things that we can really go after with groups of people.

1. To believe life is meaningful and has purpose

I love helping people understand what their purpose in life could be. Doing some of the personality testing as well as really convincing people that there needs to be a purpose to their life is appealing to me. I really enjoy doing this. When people begin to believe that life has purpose, it affects the way that they live. It affects everything that is what they are living by. It makes for a promotion of their beliefs and values when someone truly believe that life has purpose.

2. To have a sense of community and deeper relationships

Fostering environments where this can happen is important to do. It is interesting to me (and I have thought alot about this) that there is a phenomena that has happened for years in the United States especially in suburbia America and that is that we are actually starving our sense of community and deeper relationships by the way that we live. Most of us (at least where I am at) live in an environment nearly 50% of the time where we rarely have any interaction with our neighbors. People go to work, come home and want to be in isolation because they have been with people all day long. They really don’t want to be in relationships with others, but then they miss something because the relationships that they have are functional work relationships and not funloving, exciting relationships. You see, if we were more neighborhood based (we would be working with people in our neighborhood, going to church with people in our neighborhood, going to dinner with people, etc.) then we would have this need met. Instead, we have micro communities outside of where we spend most of our time which requires more time away from our neighborhoods and less time in the neighborhood and when we are there, we simply don’t want to engage with people. It seems to me that neighborhood based living might provide some great positives. But that’s a rant and beside the point. The reality is that leadership in the church has to adjust to the microcosm of community that is created by being sphere of influence based instead of relationship based and so one of the roles of a leader (any leader) within a local church is to create environments where these relationships can flourish and thrive and people’s need for community and encouraging relationships can be met. When this begins to happens, local churches recognize God’s vision for the body of Christ because there is a connection that begins to happen that other people on the “outside” begin to see and want to be a part of. They quickly find a way to become part of this community. This is illustrated in early 1800’s communities. The communities that thrived were the tightest nit communities. Why? Because those that traveled through it desired to be a part of it and so they did everything that they could to jump in and be a part of what was happening. I grew up watching some “Little House on the Praire.” The show was addictive because of the portrayal of community. There were relationships that weren’t forced except by commonality. And when the local church grasps this concept, there can be a movement towards contagiousness that will capture communities for Christ, communities that are locational and communities that are ‘sphere of influence based’ such as the suburbia culture I find myself in.

3. To be appreciated and respected

Yeah. All people at some level want to be appreciated and respected for what they do or who they are. If they aren’t appreciated and respected at one place (at least in a capitalistic world) they will go and find somewhere that they are. This is why you have a phenomenon called “Church Hopping.” When people feel a lack of appreciation or a lack of respect or even blatant disrespect, they are gone. They won’t stay around in any system unless they are paid enough and even then, people won’t stay for long. So unless churches begin to pay people, we must foster appreciation and respect among our people within the church. We must begin and continue to promote honesty, integrity, and trust along with those things so that we are aware of when there is disrespect happening. It’s in these conversations that we begin to see the need of individuals for appreciation and respect. I remember talking to an adult leader who was telling me about how he had been treated the last year within my student ministry. He told me that I had not acknowledged him as an adult leader or even as an individual for a year. I had ‘used’ him to do ministry and cared less about him as an individual and while he loved what he did, he certainly wasn’t going to stay in student ministry. He was gone. I resolved at that moment that I would never go through another year focused only on quality programming with quality adult leaders. I would focus on quality programming with quality leaders that I would acknowledge as quality leaders at every moment that I got, to their face and with everyone that asked. It is a need and something that is part of equipping the saints for the works of service. It is a role to do this as part of being a pastor or any leader in the local church. We appreciate and we encourage and we love people as they serve because they are in the same family as we are!
4. To be listened to and heard

I will be brutally honest as I reflect here. A few years ago, there was a student that came into my office and begin to tell me about all of the things that were wrong in her life. She shared with me the ins and outs of why her faith was on the rocks. She shared why she felt God was distant, why she was angry, how her parents played into that, why she couldn’t go much longer, etc. I had dealt with these conversations in the past and knew some of the ‘right’ things to say to her. It was in the moment of saying the ‘right’ things to her that I wondered when my heart had become so calloused that I didn’t look at her with a deep pain and sorrow and empathy that I was drawn to ministry because of. At camp, hurting kids were where God used me and molded me and shaped me, and now that I was doing this “professionally” somehow, I forgot that love. Teenagers want to be listened to and heard. Adults want to be listened to and heard. Kids want to be listened to and heard. If they are not, there is a basic need that is not met. If they are not heard and understood, all three groups are attuned enough to pick up whether someone is listening or whether they are just checking off the checklist point. As a church leader, we must continue to listen to people, provide empathy, love, direction, care, and often the ‘right’ answers in the context of the previous so that we can help to meet this need in someone’s life.  I think about another experience that I had where I genuinely wanted to listen to a teenager that was sharing his guts with me on the couch in my office and I listened to every word. At the end of the ‘conversation’ I had not said much, but he had walked away with a greater understanding of who God was and that I cared deeply for him and for what God was doing in his life. There was a basic need met that allowed us to go way deeper than any other forced conversation would allow us to go. I didn’t have the urgency to talk and teach him something, rather I let him talk and listened intently as he talked. I processed everything that he said instead of checking out of the conversation. It takes energy. It takes focus. It takes emotion. But it is the essence of the beginning of a conversation. All of us can talk, but those that listen are the ones that engage the conversation. You see examples of this in politics. When two groups disagree, it is never the ‘louder’ group that wins. It is always the group that listens to the other side and begins to focus in on what is happening that is negative in the opposing view. They listen carefully, picking out what needs to be addressed to change the structure around the issue at hand. And when we as leaders begin to change the structure in someone’s life without truly listening, we run the risk of just being the loudest voice that no one listens to.

5. To feel that one is growing in faith

My hope and prayer is that beyond ‘feeling’ that one is growing in their faith, that we are genuinely helping people to grow in their faith. There has to be a sense of knowledge of the next step within the system of spiritual growth. When there is this knowledge and this process in place, people begin to feel movement and experience movement in their life. No person wants to stand still and never go anywhere in life. So, how do we create environments where one is feeling the growth in their faith. This process takes leadership that allows for celebration of growth. We must take time to hear how God is moving and working in someone’s life. We must carefully direct our attention to those small voices that say how big our God is. I believe that the local church has to develop some of the tools of evaluation that are currently missing. We often say that we don’t think people are growing in their faith or that they are horrible at sharing their faith when those statements have no evaluation (other than a few subjective comments) behind them. We have to be careful not to disparage growth patterns by using these subjective statements as a ‘catalyst for growth’ rather we must promote that growth can be and is happening during a message or a Sunday School lesson or during a worship service. This helps people understand that this is part of the process of growth within us.

6. To have practical help in developing a mature faith body of Christ.

Now we go from some of the philosophical to the practical. You see, people ARE looking for tools to develop this idea of the body of Christ that we continue to promote as amazing. They are motivated by the “why” of the body of Christ and are screaming for the how. When there are no tools to develop the body of Christ to maturity other than a statement that says that ‘we should’ there seems to be a disparity to the local member of the body of Christ. We again find the dreaded standstill in one’s life and most people hate to stand still. They want to be part of something big. Something that they can buy into and something that has movement and direction within the system. When they find this organization, they often buy into it and support it but even more than that, they add the weight of their own momentum to it because of their buy in. There is a snow ball that begins to develop and roll down the hill because of the grandness of the vision and mission of the organization. I have not been in the corporate world but have seen from the outside in companies that develop have a huge simple mission that all people are working towards. When people know what their role is in that huge simple mission, they want to be a part of it. But the definition of the roles takes time. I think this has to be some of what the role of the leadership of any local church engages in. Developing the “how” behind the mission is extremely important so that people can plug into their appropriate role in the body of Christ.

Concluding Thoughts:

There are many different roles and functions of leadership of a local church but equipping people to do the works of service is incredible important and also biblical. If these are basic needs that are current, some of what we must be doing is addressing some of these basic needs on an individual level as well as on a programmatic and organizational level. It is when we begin to do this that we find that there is movement and growth through a group of people as well as in individual’s lives.

A Middle School Kid at Heart

It was easy when I was in college. I had just come from High School and it was fresh in my mind. I knew the structures that could work for students and thought I had a decent grasp on what wouldn’t work for students in youth ministry. And I haven’t grown up all that much from what I was in early college. That was only 4 years ago that I said to a roommate of mine, “It seems like I am only a teenager myself and I am working with teenagers.” And sometimes, I still feel like that. The age disparity has not hit me yet like it could. But something has changed and I am very conscious of it. The other day, I was thinking through some new paradigms of youth ministry that could be applied to my context here at West E. Free and realized that I was not thinking from a student perspective. I was thinking from a leader perspective, a parent perspective, and a leadership perspective. None of these are bad and in the end, some of the ways that I was processing may actually work, but the reality is, if I am working with teenagers, I need to be thinking the way that they might think. This requires that I be closer to the culture in terms of what students are experiencing and thinking. It does NOT mean that I myself become a teenager or that I emerge myself in the ways of teenager once again. But it does mean that I ask a lot of questions, wonder out loud with teenagers, and be very careful to make decisions with the teenager and family perspective in mind. Now, don’t read this and say, “He has thrown it to the wind and says that he doesn’t care about the leader and parent perspective.” That’s simply not true. All that I am saying is that when students are left out of the discussions of things, there is something that we lose, a view that is gone and missing from that discussion. And we really need to have that back!

So, some things that I as a youth pastor need to be doing :

With Students

Meeting regularly with a core group of students and asking all sorts of questions about their perceptions of youth ministry will be helpful in the processing of issues within the ministry. When this core group has input into decisions that are being made, there is a “buy in” that often happens because the students have been a part of the decision. When there is buy in from this group, there is often buy in from the larger group of students because this group carries influence in the larger group. I think also meeting regularly with a fringe student (someone who is not necessarily in the middle of everything) is important to gain valuable insight and perspective into what is happening in their world. Really, the goal with the fringe student is to find out what puts them on the fringe. This is not where I invest all of my time but certainly this can be insightful as I seek to understand students. Listen, student ministry is about loving teenagers and showing them God’s love. I love it when teenagers “get it” and have the “ah ha” moment. When this happens, I smile and say “God is obviously at work.” And this is exciting to see this happen. Praying for my students is something that I will never stop doing. This may seem a little freakish (I promise you, it’s not) but I have a list in my outlook that pops up daily of students that I need to pray for today. And within one month, I have prayed through that list. It is extremely helpful to remember names, but also to lift those students up to the God of the universe. There are times when I say to students that I will “pray for them.” And I do. I didn’t used to, not because I was a horrible person, but because I simply forgot. Now, when I say that I will pray for them, I go and find that name in the index of names and put a note by it that says what I am praying for them about. Very helpful for me.

With Families

I have long thought that student ministry needs to be family friendly. I remember in high school being incredibly busy and the church being just a part of this busyness. And I don’t want to create busyness for families, rather I want to create environments for life change to occur. And if this has to be less time per week so that families can hang out together and really grow together, then I am okay with this. If I am calling parents to really be the primary spiritual providers for their teenagers then I need to make sure that I am programming in such a way that doesn’t contradict that statement. If I was programming out 4 nights a week for teenagers to be at church and then I was trying to get them here on a Sunday morning and one Saturday per month, what does that really say to families? It certainly does not scream “family friendly.” I want to make sure that as I call parents to disciple their students that I am working hard to create structures and support systems that do not “limit” this venture for parents. And so we have tried to go to “1 night per week” programming. The students are asked to be here (as a large group) one night per week and we do our small groups on the same night. This creates its’ own problems in and of itself, but the reality is that we are working hard to work with families. And I love that part of what I do. Working with parents particularly is exciting and lets me learn all sorts of things about parenting.

With Leadership

I love the leadership team that I am a part of. The pastors that I work with, the support staff that surrounds me, they are great folks. One of the things that I must continue to work hard at is the communication portion of what I do. Simply having one or two conversations about an issue that is going to change doesn’t do it for some people. I want to make sure that when there is change on the horizon, I am always opening my mouth and talking about it. I also want to make sure that I am being completely open and honest when there is something within our church that seems out of place or weird in the context of things. This is part of building trust within our team. I love how we have each other’s backs and desire to be a community. Amazing! When it comes to student ministry, I am always open to the input of my leadership team (senior pastor, associate pastor, and others) so that we can continue down the same path together. This is an exciting church to be a part of as we continue to move forward in reaching Sedgwick by planting churches! I look forward to our next one.

With my family

This is a great avenue of input that I must always be cognizant of. At the end of my life and time in ministry, I want to look back and if I have succeeded with ministry but not my family, I have not succeeded. This is a priority for me and so when there are changes in ministry, I must be good about communicating these things as well as working through hard issues with my wife and my kids. The church that we are a part of is a loving community but I know that there will be issues in the future with my family and how we deal with church as a pastoral family. I want to be present in my kids’ lives and I want to make sure that my wife feels loved and is loved. This is a great source of input.

Other Thoughts

I don’t know that I will ever ‘grow up’. (My wife still calls me a Jr. Higher at heart). But the reality is that at some points I will forget the input factors in a change or decision that is being made and at that point, I need to make sure that I tread lightly and continue walking through the correct modes of gathering input, processing it, and then making the decision. I must be willing to do this hard work so that there is buy in and ultimately so that there are environments that are created where life change occurs.

God, you lead me through this process. Don’t ever allow me to make a bunch of decisions in a vacuum, but let me understand your principles of leading people, loving people, and learning from people. Amen!