How to create a culture of personal development in your church

How To Create A Culture Of Personal Development In Your Church

This post has been adapted from episode 13 of our podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast here or read the transcript below. 

Kevin Fontenot: Hey there, I’m Kevin Fontenot and I’m here with Scott Magdalein. We’re your hosts of the Thriving Ministry Team’s podcast where we talk about all things really to church leadership, discipleship, and training. On today’s episode we’re talking about how to create a culture of personal development inside of your church and this is something that I’m excited to talk about. I love learning, in fact if there’s something that I don’t know I always seem to figure it out. It’s something that my wife always makes fun of me for because I have a bunch of random information inside of my head that she has no clue why I know it. I have no clue why I know it but I know it because if there’s ever anything that I don’t know I get to go read the whole Wikipedia article and then read all the sources about it, and I’m just naturally curious.

Kevin Fontenot: I have no clue why I’m that way but I think it’s just rooted in the idea of always wanting to better myself.

Scott Magdalein: I’m the same kind of way. So, my family kind of comes to me when they have a question and they don’t want to Google it or whatever, mainly when we’re in a large family environment or whatever and some topic comes up and they don’t really know the answer to it they’ll ask me about it. And honestly I don’t have that much information in my head but I know little pieces of lots of information across the board and so it’s one of those things where they’ll ask me about a random president, something that happened to a president and I’ll just kind of spout off one little piece of information that I remembered from my AP US history class in eleventh grade.

Scott Magdalein: Not that I know all about that president but they think, oh he must know about all about that president because he knows that one little random fact about them. But the thing I do excel at, I will say, is words, specifically spelling and definition of words. I had a real curiosity and I still do about having a large vocabulary and knowing how to spell lots of words as well as knowing what they mean. Not that I actually use that vocabulary. I don’t have a very big, fancy words that I use in my talk if you can’t tell but I tend to know a lot of words.

Scott Magdalein: It’s also kind of built on that curiosity as well so I’m very curious when I hear about something that I don’t know about I tend to just go straight to Google and Google it or find it on Wikipedia and read about it. What’s funny is I wonder if that’s a learned trait or if it’s hereditary or whatever because my dad is that way. He doesn’t have a great memory anymore so he doesn’t remember all the stuff but when I was younger he was that guy you could ask and he would know things, and then my son is starting to get that way. We’ll be talking about something and he’ll ask me to, if we don’t know the answer to something, he’ll ask me to look it up or we’ll be listening to podcasts because I like to listen to podcasts with him, mostly learning podcasts like history podcasts, and they’ll mention some small thing in the history podcast and he’ll be like, hey dad can we look that up on Wikipedia and read more about it?

Scott Magdalein: So there’s example was, there was this podcast about a missing wardrobe from the 40s or whatever and the rumor was that the wardrobe was on this ship that was sunken during World War two and so he wanted me to look up the ship and see how it sunk and see where it’s located, see what it looked like, and so we did that. That was a couple of months ago, and yesterday he brought it up and he said something about the HMS Gandalf. Not Gandalf, I even forgot about it. He was like, dad, dad, the HMS Gandalf is on the bottom of the ocean in that area too and I was like, what? How did you know that? He was like, dad we looked it up on Wikipedia last month.

Scott Magdalein: So, I don’t know if it’s hereditary or learned but he’s becoming like that and just like me in a way but more intense.

Kevin Fontenot: I like knowing a little bit how your mind works because you said wardrobe, which somehow associated with C.S. Lewis for you and then brought you directly to Lord of the Rings through J.R.R. Tolkien and so that made me really happy right there.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah, wardrobe. I was watching Ant Man, Ant Man and The Wasp, I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet, the new one.

Kevin Fontenot: I have not.

Scott Magdalein: I won’t give anything away but there’s this one scene where Scott, the main character, the Ant Man guy, is trying to relate a vision that he had or a dream that he had and the girl next to him said, was the girl in the wardrobe? And he was like, I don’t know, what’s a wardrobe? She said, it’s like a standup cupboard. He said, oh yeah she was in a wardrobe.

Kevin Fontenot: You talked a little bit about your son and your dad kind of being the same way and I know that we’re a lot alike, especially our personality types where I’m an INTJ, you’re an ENTJ and I wonder if that has something to do with it as well.

Scott Magdalein: It’s got to. There has to be a factor especially in the J piece for me … wanting to know black and white that there is a right and a wrong, that there is knowing something and not knowing something and I want to know. Generally I don’t like not knowing something or at least I don’t like being completely in the dark about something and so when somebody, like when Jared, it happened the other day, Jared said something in our chat. I think it was something that had to do with monarchism and I was like, monarchism? Now I gotta look that up. Great, thanks for making me Google. I want to know things and I think that person, I think that’s related to the J-ness in my ENTJ, which I think partly it certainly is not related to my extroversion at all.

Kevin Fontenot: So let’s talk a little bit about past experience where we’ve seen personal development happen. Scott, have you had any experience with teams that you’ve been a part of where personal development was part of the culture?

Scott Magdalein: Yeah, so I’ve had a bunch of jobs. There was no personal development at the trucking companies where I was driving a forklift in a warehouse so beyond getting my certification to drive the forklift legally there was no personal development happening. I didn’t experience personal development until I was in my mid 20s and I joined the team at Life Church and the Digerati team working on YouVersion and then Church Online and some other tech stuff and Life Church has an incredible culture of personal development. They even have an entire lead staff person that handles all of what they call Leadership XP which is their leadership development department for all of the staff at all of their campuses which gives them a great leg up.

Scott Magdalein: They can hire from volunteers in their church and then developed them within the church. They don’t have to go out and go through a staff search tool or service or anything like that. They can hire from within the church because they have an incredible leadership development culture. So I experienced that at Life Church and then a couple years later I went and worked as a programmer at Treehouse, which is an online learning company, Team Treehouse dot com, and of course they’re a learning company, they have videos where you can teach and learn or you can learn about technology stuff. You can learn how to code, you can learn how to design stuff, you can even learn some business skills and it’s a great company but they took a different approach to development.

Scott Magdalein: What was interesting at Life Church was that it was very hands on, very personal. I worked directly with my boss, Terry on evaluations, on assessments and then also on reading assignments, specifically things the team would read together. So it was very hands on leadership development or personal development experience. At Treehouse it was completely hands off. They were very interested in it, cared a lot about it but what they did is they said you have $500 a year that you can use to do whatever you want to but it has to be used on personal development and if you don’t use it you lose it.

Scott Magdalein: So, they would say buy books with it, if you want to sign up or go to a conference with it you can do that, if you want to watch videos, if you want to get a subscription to another learning site. So they were like, we care about personal development but we want you to be able to develop in the areas and the ways that you want to develop. So they just kind of funded it instead of personally managing it.

Scott Magdalein: Personally I grew much better in a Life Church model. I’m a big believer in coaching and hands on with leaders of personal development so Life Church was really informative for me because of that personal development culture but if you don’t have the staff or the resources to be able to do that kind of thing, hands on at the very least that Treehouse model of funding it, providing funds available for people to develop personally is a completely valid approach to personal development in my opinion.

Kevin Fontenot: That’s really good. I was actually listening to a podcast this morning from Ryan Carson, who’s CEO of Treehouse, he was on a podcast with Josh Pickford, who’s a CEO of another tech company. I was just kind of listening to them talk and so, it’s kind of interesting hearing you talk about Treehouse and Life Church, just kind of out of that context of hearing a little bit more about the story of how Treehouse came to be this morning and one of the things that Ryan Carson had said was that when he’s taking a self-evaluation of himself he says that he’s not a good manager and that’s one of his low areas or weaknesses as he kind of looks over his self. What kind of role do you think that has to play in the idea of creating personal development?

Kevin Fontenot: You said Life Church was really hands on, had this great culture, Treehouse was more of kind of the hands off. Does it have a lot to do with the individual personalities that are in charge or do you think it’s something that can be implemented by anyone?

Scott Magdalein: Yeah, definitely has the approach to personal development and a team has everything to do with how the leadership views their role in the life of their employees and the team. To me the main difference, the driving difference between why Life Church was more hands on and why Treehouse was more hands off is that Life Church had a very specific idea of what they wanted you to be, where they wanted you to grow toward and the reason for that is really simple because in Life Church 90% of the staff were leaders, were leaders of other people and so their core job was once that leader was developed they would then develop other people and so they build a culture of leadership development or very hands on with their staff so that their staff could be hands on with their volunteers because a church grows and thrives on their people, right?

Scott Magdalein: Even though I was in a mostly technical position I wasn’t leading teams of volunteers, I was leading a team of programmers and designers, it was still a leadership role and even the programmers and designers were much more in a social environment than just working on code versus Treehouse where if you want to develop a team at Treehouse most of those people are designers, developers, or they’re teachers where they teach a video class and there’s no actually students in person.

Scott Magdalein: And so their goal for personal development was just they wanted those people to get better at their skills, get better at the things that they wanted to get better at. So they believed in personal development but they believed in much more a self-led, almost anarchist approach to personal development where it was we just want you to be a better person, a better version of who you want to be.

Scott Magdalein: And again the big reason behind that is because Life Church has a specific vision for what the- when you’re developed this is the kind of person you will be. And of course that was all very much informed by the Bible and the kind of leadership that Jesus provided and the kind of other leadership examples in the Bible through David and Solomon and everything. So, really the difference was motivation and the fact that if you’re developing leaders in a church you’re developing leaders of leaders versus just developing people who could code better this year than they could last year.

Kevin Fontenot: Got it. Let’s dive in a little bit more to that. So, why should pastors and ministry leaders care about creating a culture of personal development?

Scott Magdalein: Oh, goodness. I can’t imagine a pastor not caring about it honestly. I think every pastor that I’ve ever sat under or worked with has said that they care about personal development or has intimated in that regard [inaudible 00:11:46]. They know that it’s important, right? They know that you can’t be an equipper of ministers if you’re not caring about those people developing and growing. You’re not gonna grow your church if you don’t care about people developing and growing so pastors know that personal development is important.

Scott Magdalein: I think there’s a big gap between knowing it’s important and going to the effort and the trouble, the expense, the headache really as well of implementing and pushing personal development in your staff but I think the reason … why should they care? I think the more when the Bible commands it. It’s something as simple as Ephesians four where it says equip the saints for the work of ministry, that’s personal development. That’s getting people ready to be able to do ministry, to care for the community, care for the church, and if you’re not equipping those people to care for the church and to do ministry then you’re not developing those people.

Scott Magdalein: So I think there’s a pretty clear command in the Bible to do that. Honestly the other side of personal development, beyond leadership development, is also discipleship and so I think it’s pretty clear that there’s a command in the Bible to make disciples and that that concept of making disciples is developing those people into fully devoted followers of Christ or however you want to phrase the meaning of disciple. And then the other piece is that it’s also part of being a good steward.

Scott Magdalein: So there’s two sides of what God has given us as pastors. Part of it is financial and facilities and all that sort of thing, we’re supposed to be good stewards of what God has given us from a financial perspective but also God has given us and entrusted us with people under our care as shepherds. And so I think there’s a massive responsibility, you could even say maybe a primary responsibility to be good stewards of people and growing people.

Scott Magdalein: In the parable of the good steward in Matthew five the good steward wasn’t the good steward. The steward who kept what he had safe, he was the one who doubled his money essentially, the one who grew what the master had given him and so while I think that that can be directly applied to are we helping our people grow, are we helping our people develop more as followers of Christ, develop more as fathers and mothers, develop more as good employees, all those things where we can help our people grow as part of being a good steward. In my opinion that’s a principle that you see in Matthew five that translates.

Kevin Fontenot: Absolutely. One of the things that I have a problem with really is the idea of kind of how you phrased it, you said that you wouldn’t know of any pastors that would say that they don’t care about creating a culture of personal development and one of the things I have a problem with and maybe we can go into this a little bit more and kind of go back and forth on this is I think if we really care about something we’re gonna spend the time to invest in it, we’re going to put our money where our mouth is kind of metaphorically and actually do something about it.

Kevin Fontenot: We can say that we care about all these things that I think if we talked to pastors everyone will agree that personal development is important, that leadership development is important, that discipleship is important. By and large when you look at research that is done with pastors, with church staff members, when you ask them about those things if they’re actually doing them the answer’s overwhelming no. If you look at discipleship specifically no one has a comprehensive plan for discipleship that they’re putting in place and that’s been a lot of research has been done formally and informally that kind of shows those things.

Kevin Fontenot: And so I wonder if we really care about these things why aren’t we doing them in the church itself?

Scott Magdalein: That’s a good question. Honestly I don’t know why. I’m sure there’s a lot of different reasons for different types of people in different environments. So the cynical side of me says that there’s just a lot of lazy pastors out there and it takes work to develop disciples, right? To help people grow it takes a lot of work. It’s not just a matter of reading a book and assigning some reading to people. You actually have to put together something that is scalable, that helps a lot of people grow and develop.

Scott Magdalein: I think there’s a laziness factor and again my cynical side is like, I’ve just been around a lot of lazy pastors who like to plan sermons, that’s what they like to do and so that’s really all they do. They’ll go to meetings that are finance meetings or they’ll go to meetings that are planning meetings but otherwise they really just like to plan sermons and preach and so they don’t like to get into the work, the hard work of shepherding their people and taking them to greener pastures and helping them grow on a regular basis.

Scott Magdalein: So I don’t think that’s the most widespread reason but I think that’s part of it and so to be more blunt about that I think there’s a sin there of sloth that is effecting our churches and it’s coming from the top. And I think also, just like the famous phrase that any organization is a long shadow of a single man or a single woman, that I think that laziness from a pastor’s perspective creeps into laziness for the rest of the church. It’s not just a matter of not setting up systems and creating opportunities for people to grow but if the pastor’s too lazy to help people grow other people are not gonna be helping other people grow and so you’re gonna see that just like a culture of development can be created, a culture of non-development, a culture of laziness can also be created.

Scott Magdalein: There’s a lot of pastors that are just straight up overworked. They’re not lazy at all. In fact, they work their butts off and they don’t take the time off they need to be healthy, they don’t take the time off for themselves. They don’t set aside their own time to grow personally because they’re overworked with hospital visits and doing all the pastoral care stuff, they’re preaching three sermons a week. They don’t have the time, the bandwidth if you will, to create a system to be able to help people grow whether it’s discipleship or leadership development or any other way of personal growth.

Scott Magdalein: And so I think there’s a lot of reasons to it. I think that most of the problems are, of course all the problems are caused by and can be prevented by the pastor of the church but it takes some soul searching, some hard decisions and honestly getting out of your comfort zone which most people, not just pastors, most people don’t like to get out of their comfort zone.

Kevin Fontenot: I think of the idea of the holy man myth and that’s something that’s prevalent in a lot of churches and the idea of the holy man myth-

Scott Magdalein: The holy mammoth?

Kevin Fontenot: Yeah, the holy mammoth, we’ll go with that instead. The holy man myth.

Scott Magdalein: Holy man myth? Okay. Three words, okay. Holy man myth, okay.

Kevin Fontenot: I’ll try to enunciate better for you, Scott.

Scott Magdalein: It’s that Texas accent, man. I’m struggling.

Kevin Fontenot: But the idea of the holy man inside of the church is that the pastor has to do all the work and then something that we see that’s prevalent across so many denominations, so many churches, and ultimately I think it’s why we have a lot of people that like the idea of TrainedUp but that are never able to implement it. So, when we talk about training with churches and helping them to create these systems to do training one of the things that I always start with first and foremost is talking about the mission and vision of why you’re doing that.

Kevin Fontenot: Because the idea is, with the holy man, is that the pastor has to do everything. They’re the ones that are responsible for doing every single act of ministry, they have to preach every funeral, they have to do every wedding, they have to go visit everyone in the hospital and then at some point they also have to be in charge of discipleship, leadership development, personal development, having staff evaluations, things like that and so for so long we’ve put all this pressure on pastors for them to do, do, do instead of equip, equip, equip. And I think that’s one of the core reasons that we see that we have this problem in the first place.

Scott Magdalein: Absolutely, dude. The thing that you’re reminding of is a story about a pastor here where I live in Jacksonville where the church culture is very much that holy man myth. I’ve never heard of that concept or even that phrase, that holy man myth but I can see it. When I look at churches, and I network pretty well with churches, especially churches in my area, I can see it, especially in this one church that I know about where the pastor is honestly one of the best preachers that I know.

Scott Magdalein: As far as a stage, let me say it like this, he’s a very good communicator and especially in the context and the culture of that church that he’s at. But the church, because he’s such a good communicator, the church kind of has him on his pedestal of, they wouldn’t say holy but they definitely kind of look to him for all answers and look to him for guidance on every step of everything. And if the church would be able to grow much more they’d be able to reach a whole lot more people if they would allow him to delegate but they don’t allow him to. And it’s not a rule or anything like that but they suck him into every single thing that happens at the church because they have such respect and honor for him.

Scott Magdalein: And of course he could, because they have that much honor for him, he could at the same time use that honor to say, hey I’m gonna delegate some stuff to some people who I trust and are trustworthy to lead some of these things and he doesn’t do that so it’s on him as well which is, like I said earlier, it always comes back to the responsibility of the pastor. But I can definitely see that that’s a thing especially in those kind of family churches, those smaller churches where the pastor is known and pastor knows everybody in the church and so there’s trust built up specifically with the lead pastor and it’s hard for that lead pastor to start delegating because honestly if I’m at a small church and I’ve had the same pastor for 30 years I want him at my wedding or I want him at my mom’s funeral. I want him to be the one doing those things.

Scott Magdalein: That is selfish from a church member’s perspective but at the same time it’s my family and this is a guy that I trust. I’ve loved his teaching, he’s helped me grow as a believer and so there’s a lot of gravity, there’s a lot of inertia that holds the pastor in that position of being the sole leader in the church and not being able to develop people and not be able to delegate the people, not be able to equip and release people from ministry that is really hard to get out of. And honestly the longer that they’re in it the harder it is for them to get out of that mode.

Scott Magdalein: So the flip side of that, there’s another pastor here in Jacksonville who has done a great job with it. So he’s been the pastor there for 25 years or something. I think last year they celebrated his 25th anniversary at the church. The church is about 80 years old but he’s been there about 25 years. He’s one of those longevity pastors. It was his first church, he was a youth pastor there when he was I think still in Bible school, and then he became the pastor there when the pastor before him that had been there for 18 years retired.

Scott Magdalein: So it’s very much a family-driven church. He took over when they were about I guess 300 or so. Anyway, over the last 18 years he’s been purposefully transitioning the church away from pastor-led to team-led, I wouldn’t say elder-led but team-led where he has very slowly, very cautiously, with a lot of grace and a lot of mercy and a lot of patience transitioned it from him being the only person to do things to the church having a full staff of people that can handle things to [inaudible 00:22:35] leaders handling thing and completely running with new initiatives and new ministries.

Scott Magdalein: And the church, in the last 18 years has exploded in growth and I’m not talking about a Life Church or some super mega church with hundreds of thousands of people but for the area of town that it’s in, it is a relative explosion in growth and I think it’s 100% related to the fact that he has helped the church transition from being that holy man myth, that pastor-led, the pastor does everything to be able to equip and develop his people and to delegate those responsibilities.

Scott Magdalein: Because honestly the only difference is that he’s equipped other people to do it. His preaching is the same. I’ve been listening to him as a pastor for 20 years or so. His preaching hasn’t changed, he’s the exact same preacher he was 20 years ago. The difference has been that his leadership style has changed. He has delegated, he’s brought other people into the fold, and the church has grown because of it and there’s no other change that took place in the entire time. No new buildings, no new programs that are especially big or anything like that, no new lights. They still have very traditional service on Sunday mornings, but he’s delegated and they’ve grown and it’s a clear example of when you move away from the pastor doing everything you create incredible opportunity for the church to grow, for you to reach more people, more people to be saved, more people to be developed, and to be moving toward that good and faithful servant like Jesus talked about in Matthew five.

Scott Magdalein: End rant. Sorry about that. That was a long rant.

Kevin Fontenot: That was good. I’ll let you rant as long as you want to as long as it’s good stuff.

Scott Magdalein: In the future if it’s not good stuff you can cut me off and we can delete it. That way people don’t have to listen to a halfway bad rant.

Kevin Fontenot: I’m the editor so I get to do whatever I want.

Scott Magdalein: You have full power, you do. You are in control of this thing.

Kevin Fontenot: So with that said and just kind of on that note I’d like to shift and kind of talk about what it looks like to create this culture of personal development practically. As I’m thinking through this and just hearing you talk more Scott it kind of reaffirms some things that I’ve been thinking through and in a lot of churches we’re always praying to reach more people. We’re praying for revival to happen, we read through the book of Acts, we’re in Acts two, we see 3,000 people come to the Lord on that day of Pentecost and we get really excited about that and we want to do it but when we really dissect it and look further at that situation the reason that 3,000 people can come to the faith at that point in time in the church’s history is because they were built on a foundation of discipleship.

Kevin Fontenot: Jesus had spent three years pouring into 12 men that turned into 120 in the upper room that were there ready to go after the things of God and ready to take the gospel to the ends of the Earth and that’s kind of the context of what’s happened in Acts two. You have Peter preaching the sermon, so many people are giving their lives to the Lord, and then they’re getting discipled. They’re coming into the church, they’re understanding how to do all these things and there’s this idea of personal development there because it was so embedded in what they do. And I think one of the biggest sins that we can commit is praying for revival, praying for the Lord to do huge works in our churches but not actually taking the practical steps it takes to put in processes and systems to actually make sure that we can steward people well, which is something that you had said earlier, Scott.

Kevin Fontenot: So as I’m thinking through this I’m reminded of one of my favorite books that I’ve read that talks about church growth, leadership development. It’s called Ready, Set, Grow by Scott Wilson, he’s the senior pastor of a church here in the Dallas area called the Oaks Fellowship, it’s in Waxahachie, near Southwestern Assemblies of God University, one of those good old AG churches. But he kind of walks through this process that he took with his staff at the time. They were a church of 650 people, kind of went up and down over time and could never really push past certain barriers.

Kevin Fontenot: We all know those barriers that exist inside the church and there are always things that we have to do to jump over those barriers and for Scott Wilson and the Oaks church, what they saw was they had a problem with actually developing leaders. Where their staff was at at that time, where their leaders were at at that time they were great at doing ministry, they were great at making sure that all the work was done but they weren’t good at pouring into others, to equipping others, and so what they had done out of that, they had this staff meeting where they set these goals of what they wanted to do but the biggest thing that they did and the biggest shift that they made inside their church was turning towards personal development.

Kevin Fontenot: So what that looked like at the Oaks church is they all committed as a staff to read through 12 books that year, actually I think it was more than that. I think it was 36 books is what they had. Yeah, there was 36 books and something like 70 sermons that they had to listen to. I can’t remember the exact numbers but it was a ton of work that they were requiring their staff to go above and beyond and it kind of walks through the process of they had ups and downs. So if you’re listening to this podcast that’s one of the things that I’d really direct you to is that book by Scott Wilson, Ready, Set, Grow. It’s a great book to take yourself through, to take your staff through as you’re kind of thinking through this idea but some of the key things that you can pull out of that is first and foremost you have to model the idea of personal development inside of your church.

Kevin Fontenot: No one is gonna jump behind you saying that we need to do personal development if they don’t see you actually growing. One of the biggest successes that you can take away from Ready, Set, Grow is the idea that once these staff members started diving into all these books where they were learning more about Christian living, about leadership principles, different aspects of ministry, is they started talking out of the overflow of that. So as we feed ourselves we’re gonna naturally start talking about that. Instead of conversations about football or the basketball game or the NBA draft or whatever is happening or politics, we’re gonna start talking about what we’re actually engaging in.

Kevin Fontenot: So if we’re engaging in this idea of personal development we want to talk about it because these are things that excite us. If we’re reading a book and something jumps out at us, I use a Kindle and I highlight everything on my Kindle and then I love tweeting it from there just because I love sharing what I’m learning from the books that I’m reading. And so being able to model that will encourage others to start to want to go deeper in their walks with the Lord, in their own times of personal development and then I think one of the other key aspects is accountability.

Kevin Fontenot: We can’t just have the idea of saying that we want to go deeper, we want people to grow, we want them to develop themselves personally if we don’t have some sort of accountability aspect. Now this isn’t to say that we want to get mad at everyone when they don’t do something that they’re supposed to but I think it’s really setting clear expectations of what people should do and also providing a regular room for discussion, giving them some sort of outlet each week. Whether that’s some sort of small group that they’re a part of, whether it’s a staff meeting if we’re talking about staff, or you set some time apart to talk about what people are learning, what they’re actually growing in, what they’re struggling with and one of the biggest things that you could do from that is you’ll learn to hear what people are struggling with, you’ll learn to hear the wins and naturally from those conversations you’re gonna have people recommending other things to each other.

Kevin Fontenot: They’re gonna share things that they’ve learned that have helped them through certain things and it kind of creates this community-driven personal development from that.

Scott Magdalein: Yeah, so I’ve never read that book but I think I need to go back and I need to get that book and read it. Now, you’re absolutely right. I know when Kevin is reading a book or reading his Bible because he always tweets it, without fail. It’s 2:00 AM and there’s a tweet, I’ll wake up in the morning and there’ll be a 2:00 AM tweet of a book that Kevin’s reading and then another one at 8:00 AM so I was like, dude you were reading at 2:00 AM and then again at 8:00 AM. There’s no way you got enough sleep last night, let’s be honest.

Kevin Fontenot: I want to set the record straight. I go to bed by 10:00 PM every night unless it’s the weekend so, just want to set the record straight there.

Scott Magdalein: Oh you know what, there’s a time difference, but also do you schedule twee- May you should schedule tweets. Do you use a buffer or something like that or are you actually tweeting real time?

Kevin Fontenot: No, I think you just can’t tell time, Scott.

Scott Magdalein: Maybe Twitter fudges its six hours ago kind of things but anyway, so my approach from a practical perspective is three words, read, watch, and learn or read, watch, and coach. So, reading and watching for learning skills. I like to read books or have my people read books to learn skills and that includes both hard skills like computer skills and teaching skills but also soft skills like leadership and problem solving and project management stuff.

Scott Magdalein: And then also watching videos. Of course, I’m a big believer in videos as a learning tool. Built an entire company around video learning, I’ve done a lot of video learning at other companies in the past, I’ve experienced the most success in my own growth when I watch videos whether it’s- I even learn more watching a podcast video if that makes sense. Watching two guys talk in a studio versus just listening to them talk, so I’m a big believer in video but also reading.

Scott Magdalein: I’m not a very fast reader so it’s frustrating for me to read. I will tend to listen to a book on audio versus read the book but that’s just because I’m such a painfully slow reader, I’ve never been a fast reader. Anyway, so that’s to learn skills and then coaching to learn problem solving with humans. That’s that specific thing that I love coaching for is how do I work through problems and then of course you tend to, as you work through individual problems with the coach you tend to learn how to problem solve and you tend to learn how to approach hard conversations, you tend to learn how to approach hard people, people that are difficult.

Scott Magdalein: So coaching is great for learning those things that are just really impossible to learn by watching a video or reading a book. You really just have to sit down with somebody who’s been there before and have that person help you walk through problem solving with humans which to me is the essence of leadership, problem solving with humans.

Scott Magdalein: But my approach is very simple, but of course I’m sure that there’s a whole lot more that goes into it that I just am not self-aware enough to know, to realize but read, watch, and coach.

Kevin Fontenot: You’re just gonna have to read some more to figure those things out.

Scott Magdalein: Or maybe ask someone to coach me through.

Kevin Fontenot: Awesome. Well, that’s gonna be it for today’s episode of The Thriving Ministry Team’s podcast. If you are listening to this, if you’re enjoying what you’re hearing on this podcast if you could take just a few seconds to leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. That helps us get the podcast out there and if you’re listening to this and you’re kind of thinking through these ideas of personal development and you just kind of need some more information of how to start, you want to have a conversation with Scott and myself head over to TrainedUp dot church. We’re available via chat there. We’d love to talk with you, to work through some of those things, to maybe give you some additional ideas, to hear what your church is doing now and how you can improve on it.

Kevin Fontenot: And maybe you’re listening to this and you’re kind of thinking through the idea of maybe I am that kind of holy man myth and I am trying to do everything myself, everything’s on my plate and if you’re looking for a way to easily raise up some additional people and don’t really know where to start that’s the whole reason that we’ve built TrainedUp. We have a library of over 600 videos that we’ve created that you can use right out of the box. You don’t have to think through the content and put a lot of finishing touches on it, you can easily get started raising up new people, raising up your existing teams right now and if you head over to TrainedUp.church use the coupon code thriving. You’ll get 50% off your first month and if you have any questions please let us know, we’d love to help you out, and we’ll see you guys next week.

About Kevin Fontenot

Kevin is the Director of Marketing at TrainedUp. He is passionate about helping churches make disciples with technology. In the past, He has served on staff at churches, overseeing small groups and creative ministry. He lives in Dallas, TX with his wife Brooke and their two dogs.