Advice on Taking Your Best Next Step When Life Is Uncertain with Jeff Henderson

Thanks for joining us for the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Jeff Henderson, founder of The FOR Company, which helps organizations build a good name where purpose and profit grow together.

Many people are more familiar with what the Church is against rather than what the Church is for. What does your church WANT to be known for? What would the people you are trying to serve say you ARE known for? Listen in as Jeff shares how to shrink the gap between these two questions.

  • What’s uniquely different? // Jeff built the framework of The FOR Company around two questions: What do you want to be known for? And what are you known for? When the answers match, you create vision carriers for your organization. Your people will invite others to try your church because of the vision and integrity that has been built.
  • Close the gap with clarity and research. // Most organizations have a gap between what they are known for and what they want to be known for, so Jeff and his team help non-profits and businesses close that gap. Once you clarify what you want to be known for, then do research on what you are known for. Once you have that research in hand, you’ve got to get to work on closing the gap. If there’s confusion in the office space, there will be confusion in the marketplace.
  • Begin at the top. // What is the problem that your team has been gathered together to solve? Every organization needs to be solving a problem. When Jeff works with an organization, he has the leadership team write down what they think their organization wants to be known for. More often than not, the answers are very different from each other. That’s when you know the work of clarification has to be begin at the top.
  • Get into the community. // How do you figure out what people in your community think about your church? Ask guests for feedback when they attend your church. To keep from isolating yourselves from the people you’re serving, have staff and leadership meet in the community as often as you meet in your church offices. Use your social media accounts not just to promote your church, but also highlight businesses in the community and add value to them. Introduce yourselves to business leaders and create personal interactions in the community. Have the courage to listen to feedback and don’t take it personally if you discover your church has work to do.
  • Apply these questions personally. // The pandemic has forced people to look closely at their lives and ask hard questions. Many people realized they didn’t like their jobs, but figuring out what to do next can be a paralyzing situation. Asking what you want to be known for can be a way to clarify your next step. You don’t have to figure out your whole life, just figure out what’s next and keep moving forward.
  • What to do next. // If you’re looking for help on taking your next best step in your career or circumstances, pick up Jeff’s book “What to Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life is Uncertain”. This book outlines the process Jeff used to determine the next best step for him and how you can pursue more meaning and purpose in your life and work as well. 

Learn more about Jeff’s book and other resources, including the free career risk assessment at jeffhenderson.com.

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Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Hey, friends welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in. Super excited for today. You know we every week try to bring you a leader who will both inspire and equip you, and that’s our goal every week, but this week I know that’s going to happen. We’ve got my friend Jeff Henderson – he’s an entrepreneur, speaker, pastor, business leader, really incredible leader. For 17 years he led 3 of North Point Ministry’s campuses in the in the greater Hotlanta or region. I’m sure it’s hotlanta this time of year! And he’s also has been really helping churches, organization, businesses wrestle with this whole idea of what do they want to be known for, and how do we action that. He leads and and that all has taken the kind of current kind of framework of an organization called The For Company. He really helps organizations really build a good name where where purpose and profit grow together. Jeff, welcome to the show. So glad that you’re here today.

Jeff Henderson — Rich, it’s great to see you again, buddy. Thanks for having me on and big fan of yours and just appreciate, you know, we’ve known each other for a number of years now so excited to see what the Lord continues to do through you.

Rich Birch — Yeah, Jeff’s one of those guys that I consistently find myself quoting things that he said twenty years ago. And I’m not just saying that because you’re on the phone I or on the call. I literally there are times where I was in a call, conversation this week talking about, of all things, multisite. And it was like the classic campus versus you know, central discussion. And literally twenty years ago you had a car I was standing with you at the at the I like to call it the grocery store location of Buckhead. And you said something that I just keep resonating and I keep repeating, and I said well my friend Jeff Henderson said this twenty years ago so it’s still true, or maybe not quite you twenty years ago, a long time ago. So I’m glad you’re here. But talk to fill out the picture, tell us a bit more like kind of for people that don’t know you tell us a little bit more about who is Jeff and anything I missed there.

Jeff Henderson — No, that was great. Well, you know, I’m a preacher’s kid so I promise myself I would never ever work at a church. So yeah…

Rich Birch — And that didn’t work out.

Jeff Henderson — I I promised God, God I’ll never work at a church.

Rich Birch — Nice.

Jeff Henderson — So if if we don’t get anything out of what I say today, never tell God you’re never going to do something. So I really I you know I was a marketing guy, business guy. You know, I love sports and I didn’t know that you could do sports marketing so I started working for the Atlanta Braves baseball team here in Atlanta. And then worked for another another few other organizations, then landed at Chick-fil-a and managed their sponsorships, sports marketing, regional marketing, beverage marketing, and never thought I would ever ever leave. But we were involved very heavily involved at North Point, and long story short, God just called us to leave that and to help start the church you mentioned ah Buckhead Church. In the early early days we just kind of jumped on board and eventually became lead pastor and was there for 8 years.

Jeff Henderson — And then was asked to leave that to go start two other North Point campuses in a northern suburb of Atlanta called Gwinnett. My wife Wendy and I are from Gwinnett County. My dad pastored church in Gwinnett. So to be able to do that was just so much fun. So we did that for was at North Point for 17 years.

Jeff Henderson — But when we were there at Gwinnett, we began to ask a lot of the questions that I was taught and trained in from a marketing background, which is what do you want to be known for? And we in the early early days of of Gwinnett Church we, you know, discovered a kind of stumbled on this reality that for many people they’re more familiar with what the church is against rather than what the church is for.

Jeff Henderson — And that was both both broke our hearts and also excited us to go, you know, in our community let’s try to change that. And so that’s when we launched For Gwinnett and and it really began to take off. And and then about 2 to 3 years into that, Rich, I came into the office one day and I got a coffee mug from ah, a church somewhere in Winnipeg that said For Winnipeg and you know and as a thank you note and I thought, oh my goodness people are paying attention to this. And so um, it just began to kind of spread like wildfire around really around the world. And then businesses started to do it. And then when we became empty nesters in the spring of 2020, Wendy and I felt like this was a season that we could now be released from day-to-day church work and to really go help other churches and businesses really clarify what they want to be known for. And the two questions kind of that we built the whole framework around. And so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last twenty-some odd months. And so, you know I have I think I do this, Rich, I think every 6 to 7 years I go do something new.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — So um I don’t recommend that but that’s kind of my track there.

Rich Birch — That’s what’s happened. Yeah, exactly. Yeah I love it. You work for a hashtag. That’s what I love.

Jeff Henderson — That’s right.

Rich Birch — It it’s like you work for the for, you know, city in the world hashtag, which is incredible. And it is amazing. It’s actually been fun to see as that has spread. So many churches have embraced this idea of, hey we want to be known for something, which I just think is great. What a cool thing that you’re stewarding. Now you talk about these two questions that you built the whole framework around. What are those two questions that when when we’re thinking about this idea of being for.

Jeff Henderson — Absolutely. Well, question number one is, what do you want to be known for? What is your what is your vision? And it doesn’t have to be you know For Gwinnett like ours was. It could be whatever it is. But what is you know Steve Jobs would say, what is your dent in the universe? What Andy Stanley would say, what do you bring uniquely different to the marketplace?

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — That’s your vision. So that’s question number one. Question number two is not yours, but it’s your that your customers or the people that you’re trying to serve. It’s their question to answer. And question number two is, what are you known for? What are you known for? So question number one is, what do you want to be known for? Question number two is, what are you known for?

Jeff Henderson — Here’s the power of those two questions, Rich. When the answers to those two questions match, when they’re the same, when what you want to be known for is actually what you’re known for, you create vision-carriers for your organization. They carry your vision to their friends and they say, you should you’ve got to try out this church, or you got to come to this restaurant. or you got to work at this company. And they become your vision-carriers. And the reason that’s true, let’s just talk about business—this is true for churches, but we’ll just put it from business language. A business is no longer what it tells customers it is. A business is what customers tell other customers it is. That’s the ball game.

Jeff Henderson — And um, you know my experience in launching, not just in business world but launching three churches in Atlanta, if you were to say, Jeff, we’ll give you you know $50,000 to launch the coolest website and social media campaign, which would be cool. Or I’ll give you 100 people that will tell people and invite people to your church, and what you’re doing. You can’t have both. You can only have one. I’ll take those 100 people every single time. Now that’s not to say we shouldn’t do websites and social media and all that – we should. But um, we all know this, this is true for church or businesses, the most powerful form of advertising if you will is positive word of mouth advertising.

Jeff Henderson — And I know in church world we don’t like the words advertising and marketing and and and I get all that. But from my perspective it’s just simply people that can communicate your vision and can tell people about it. Because the language of organizations are so under… the value of that is so underestimated because when you ask people, hey what do you want? What do you think this organization wants to be known for? When there are glazed looks, when they go have to go to the filing cabinet or their computer to pull it up on something that we came ah you know came up with ah eight seven years ago, then suddenly your vision’s not portable. And if it’s not portable portable. it’s not memorable. And if it’s not memorable, i’s not personable. And so that’s why these these two questions have been really really helpful for in for organizations. And it’s really really simple. People go that’s really really simple. Absolutely. But don’t equate simple with easy. It’s actually hard.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Jeff Henderson — Because in any organization—I don’t care how great it is—there is a gap between what they want to be known for and what they are known for. And so what we try to do is to teach them how to close the gap. Once you have clarity on what you want to be known for, and then once you have some research, or data or some understanding of what you are known for, you got to get to work closing the gap. But the great thing about that is when you have that clarity in an organization, um, the organization understands it and we’re all moving on purpose.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — But if there’s confusion if there’s confusion about this in at the office. Um, if there’s confusion in the office space, there will be confusion in the marketplace about what you want to be known for. So…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — …so that’s what we’ve been teaching churches and organizations. And this is something that I didn’t come up with like three weeks ago, Rich. This is something like like a mentor of mind said, you know, I was telling, man I’ve been so fortunate you know Chick-Fil-A is a multi-billion dollar company. They’ve had same store sales increases for you know decades now.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — I worked at North Point – one of the largest churches in America. How that’s such a big blessing. And he goes well, it’s a blessing but it’s also a stewardship, you know, responsibility..

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good point.

Jeff Henderson — But did you learn, that catalyzed that growth because you were on the front line of both of those. Tell us what you learned. And I thought and that’s that’s one of the reasons I wrote the book. I’m like oh that’s a great point. and so it really kind of came down to both of those organizations were really clear about what they wanted to be known for. They had measurement systems and practices about, you know, where the gaps were, and they went to work.

Rich Birch — Love it. Let’s talk about that first question around being uniquely different, particularly in a church context. I think that’s an an interesting idea that maybe some of us can struggle with, right? It’s like how do we define what is uniquely different about us. What what kind of processes do churches need to go through? What does that look like to actually try to begin to to flesh that out? So many church mission statements are the same. It’s like we want to reach and teach people for Jesus. We want to ah you know, win and build the lost, or whatever. Like we come up with the same stuff. But but talk to us about this uniquely different thing. What does that look like?

Jeff Henderson — I think it goes back to, what is the problem that you’ve been gathered together to solve? What is that problem? Every organization, business, church needs to be solving a problem. And for me what what drew me away from the business world to North Point is when I I heard Andy Stanley say, hey Atlanta doesn’t need another church.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — Atlanta needs a different kind of church. Atlanta needs a church where you could invite your unchurched friends to, and they could attend, and begin a relationship with Jesus. And we all know what our lives the difference our lives would have been if we had grown up in a church like this.

Jeff Henderson — Now that’s not to say that everybody resonates with that kind of vision. But it resonated with me. It resonated with Wendy. And it resonated ah with us so much that we were willing to take a huge pay cut to go and be a part of, you know – this is back in the day with video church is like what!? Their church the preacher’s on video!? That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of! So it was all this big “I” experiment idea. But what wasn’t it wasn’t video church that we were going to – that was just the mechanism. What was what we were going to was, hey Atlanta doesn’t need another church. Atlanta needs a different kind of church that’s focused on unchurched people.

Jeff Henderson — Now again that may not be yeah… your your listeners, they may say, that’s not what resonates with me. Okay, that’s cool.

Rich Birch — That’s fine. Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — Well then what is the problem you’ve been gathered together to solve? And that’s why for us For Gwinnett tied directly into the vision of North Point to create churches unchurched people love. Because we wanted to add we just we felt like when Jesus people show up, the community should get better. When we go work, when we go to school, when we go to restaurants, we go into the community, we just want everybody to go, I’m so glad these Jesus people are here. I’m not sure I believe in everything they believe in…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — …but man. And what is it about our community that they’re just so… they just… I’m so glad they’re here. I’m so glad that church is here. In fact in the early days of Gwinnett Church I had this this statement , Rich, where I would say, you know, if we ever decided to go out of business as Gwinnett Church, my hope is that the community would rise up and protest.

Jeff Henderson — And go you can’t go out of business. If you go out of business, we all lose. And I just I mean imagine if that were the case in every community around the world.

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Jeff Henderson — And part of our vision for The For Company is we would like to have a for-minded church in every community. That doesn’t mean that every church has to be, you know, for their community. I personally think they should, but that may not be the unique…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jeff Henderson — …unique vision.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — But I think it goes back to you know what breaks your heart. What’s the problem you’re gathered together to solve. And this whole idea that Atlanta didn’t need another church, Atlanta needed a church for unchurched people – that just broke our hearts in in a really good way and compelling. So again…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — …it doesn’t have to be that vision. But what is what is that unique vision for your for your organization? I mean at Chick-Fil-A, they want to be the world’s most caring company. That has nothing to do with chicken.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — It is just a mechanism to draw people in, but and you know their goal is to be the world’s most caring company. Is there a gap? There’s a gap in any organization. But everybody knows that. And that’s part of the trick. You know, I work with so many… one of the things I do, Rich, is when I go work with organizations, I’ll I’ll hand out pieces of paper and say, hey I want you to write down what you think this organization wants to be known for. Don’t say it out loud. Just write it down. I collect…

Rich Birch — Oh nice. Love it.

Jeff Henderson — I collect the pieces of paper and then read the answers out loud. And more often than than not the answers are so different, and the room gets really quiet.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — And we begin to realize see this is what we have to we’ve got some work to do because if the leadership team isn’t clear about what we wanted to be known for, then the people outside of this room certainly aren’t. And this is you know this is why companies there’s a huge wave coming right now. We all have been through the pandemic. But the sans-demic is coming. And the pandemic means ‘with all people’.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — Sans-demic means ‘without people’. Meaning that especially in corporate ah, you know, corporate world right now there’s a there’s the war on the war of talent. People are looking for great people to—and let me just speak in America language just as ah and ah for example. In America we have a shrinking population. There are more eighty year olds than two year olds for the first time ever. And if you fast track that about 15 years from now, um, there’s there’s going to be a war on trying to find people and hey…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — …we have to say we’ve got a great culture over here, come work for us. We promise you that we’re gonna have we’re going it’s going to be a great place to work. Well one of the ways you do that is you got to get ahead of that and you got to get really crystal clear about what you want to be known for, so that you can create a culture that attracts the right people for the vision that you have. So this isn’t just some nice sweet little thing to do. This is a strategy for the future that that unless you if you don’t jump on board in terms of trying to really clarify this…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — …you could look up and you could have a lot of work. A lot of opportunities, and no one, or very few people to join you in the mission.

Rich Birch — Right. I love it. You know I years ago I had a a friend of mine, we were talking, similarly talking about our church. And he cast a vision for the value of our campuses to the communities they’re in. He said, you know, what would be amazing is if someday it our church got to the point where when the when the community found out that we were looking at launching in that location and we finally said we’re going to launch a location, if the house values, the housing values of that community went up because people so valued the fact that our church was there, that actually would be reflected in real estate costs. And I was like, wow! That is a massive vision for for the difference that our churches could make – just love that.

Rich Birch — Well the second question I find fascinating, kind of what are we known for. I feel like so many of us we we live in ivory towers where like we we get into our little groups that we we think we all know what we are supposed to be about, and like we—and that’s a humbling example of like maybe we don’t even know that, but I feel like most of us who are listening and are like oh yeah, yeah, we all know we all know. How do we find out what we’re actually known for in our community. So, you know, we’re we’re a church of a thousand people. You know, we’re in our community. How do we figure out what do people in our community think about us?

Jeff Henderson — You need to go ask them. You need to be out there.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Jeff Henderson — And you know, you could do everything we would… I mean I’m not saying this is a great idea but we would actually pay people. We would find them on Craigslist and pay them $25 to come to our church just to give us feedback on what they experienced.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Jeff Henderson — We would I would make sure that our staff meetings and our leadership team meetings we were meeting in the community just as often as we were meeting at our offices. My concern was that if we go to church, and we’re all in meetings and we’re we’re all there, we could we could isolate ourselves from the community and not understand who are we actually trying to serve.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — And so with our social media accounts, we would make sure that every third or fourth post would be more about the community, would be something about the community and not about us.

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good.

Jeff Henderson — That forced us to go out into the business community and introduce ourselves to business leaders and say, hey would you let would you be okay if we featured your business on our Instagram page?

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — And they’re like well how much does this cost? And we would say it doesn’t cost anything.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — Well do we need to come to… you want us to put flyers in about your church in our restaurant or business? No, you don’t have to do that. And then they would look at us and go then why are you doing this? This doesn’t make any sense. I’m like well we’re for our community and we believe one of the ways that our organization and one of the ways our community gets better is to have thriving businesses. So we forced ourselves to get out and have personal interactions with with with people. And then we would do research just to ask that ask that question. So you could have anecdotal that can give you a pulse of how you’re you’re reading. And then you could have hard hard data. But…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — But the challenge with that is, you know, when you ask these questions it requires courage, and it requires a thick skin, if you will. It’s you’re you’re picking up the rock and looking at all the squiggly things underneath it.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — And um and so you have to give yourself some grace, and you have to give yourself the understanding that, hey I’m asking some tough questions. I’m asking, how do we get better, and how do we shrink the gap between…

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — …what we want to be known for what we are known for. And don’t take it personally if you actually get some feedback that we’ve got some work to do.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — We shouldn’t be surprised by that.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — And so um, so but you got to go out there and ask, but you have to put yourself… It’s it’s much very it’s very similar to, you know, as as Christ followers if we’re not careful we can look up and the only people that we know are other Christ followers.

Rich Birch — So true.

Jeff Henderson — And you have to be intentional about putting yourself out into the community, and and rubbing shoulders with people who who may not ever come to your church. But you’re learning from them and you’re just adding value to them. And so many of you are the business leaders that we featured I mean some of them would start attending in our church, and many of them didn’t, but that’s okay because we still want to add value. It goes back to, you know, our church is adding value whether you show up on or not. And that’s why when covid hit and I was I was still lead pastor Gwinnett Church at this time. I just got our team together and said, hey here’s the cool deal. We just got to keep doing what we’re doing.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — Because what we were doing was what we should have been doing all along, which is telling the community, hey you don’t have to come to this building. We’re still for you. Let’s just pour fuel on what we’re already already doing. And so that’s why you know any anytime there’s a crisis like this in History, there are, as hard as it is,—and I’m trying to downplay the the tragedy we’ve been through but—there is a glimmer of possibility of hope.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — And that’s what this I think has provided the church. There is an opportunity for us to rethink things in a really positive way.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love it. You know one of the things I’ve done, you know, multiple times when I’ve out at a church for a weekend, or doing some you know coaching or whatever, then you could do this, listeners, is all like pop into a gas station that’s close to the church. I don’t pick up a thing of gum or something or, you know, some mints and I’ll say like, hey I’m new new to town. You know, what’s tell me about that church over there, like what what do you know about that church around the corner? And then just listen. And it and it’s ah it can be humbling. You know it can be it’s great as the outside guy to say like, well this is what I heard. I know multiple times I’ve when I’ve shared what I’ve heard that that’s it’s humbling for the leadership team. Because oftentimes I would say the common thing having done that at I don’t know a dozen churches over the years has been actually a like, I don’t actually know anything about that church. Like I I actually know very little, like I’m like I see people there but I don’t you know I don’t really know anything. Um, it’s not that it’s negative. It’s just kind of neutral which obviously is is a form of negative. Now you mentioned the the pandemic and kind of were I don’t know what phase of the pandemic we’re in – post-pandemic, intra-pandemic we’re in this – who knows, right? It’s like I I always think like well maybe we’re stepping out of it but you just never know.

Rich Birch — But you know when we think about all these things, what do I want to be known for as ah as a person – where where am I spending my time? That feels like a very that feels like a question of the day with people today. It feels like the kind of thing that folks are wrestling with. I know we’ve been talking about it organizationally, but have have you bumped into people who are wrestling with these kind of questions even personally?

Jeff Henderson — Oh absolutely. In fact, that’s the the premise of the book or the subtitle of the book was a growth strategy for work, but an even better strategy for life. Because these two questions—what do you want to be known for, and what are you known for—are just as important and just as effective and maybe actually more important and more effective for for you and me and for our listeners personally. What do you want to be known for as ah as a dad, or a husband, or as a leader, as a follower, as a financial steward? What is that? And then what are you known for?

Jeff Henderson — Like I could tell you, Rich, man I want to be known for being an intentional, legacy-leaving, memory-making dad. But you know who you have to go to to see whether I’m actually doing that? Not me…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jeff Henderson — …it’s my daughter Jessy and my son… You know, your dad was on the unSeminary podcast telling us how great a dad he was, but you know, can you give me the real data here? So…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jeff Henderson — …so kind of the next step of this is is there’s so many people who’ve come out of the pandemic and or, to your point, where are we in the coming out of the pan… who knows?

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Henderson — But wherever the the pandemic has forced people to think do I like my job?

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — Do I like this career? And so that’s why this whole thing that’s been happening I think since the fall of 2020, the great resignation—at least in America—4,000,000 people every month just quit their jobs…

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Jeff Henderson — …to do something else.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Jeff Henderson — And they’re waking up every day going. What what do I do now, and what do I do next? And that can be a paralyzing situation. But for me I mean my story was in the, you know, the fall of 2020, I made a career move in the middle of a global pandemic, or whatever the timeline was.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jeff Henderson — And we just felt like this was we’d been talking about this for well over a year and a half. We became empty nesters. It was going to be a new season for us. We actually were going to leave in in May of 2020, but with when the pandemic hit we extended that out for for a few more months until we just had to to make this make this leave. But a lot of people have asked me, how did you figure that out?

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — And how did you figure out what to do next? And you know and that’s been kind of my track record, leaving Chick-Fil-A for Buckhead Church, Buckhead Church Gwinnett Church, Gwinnett Church to what I’m doing now. And it’s been I got the questions so often that it really just led me to the next book that I wrote, which is simply called “What to Do Next”.

Jeff Henderson — And I think what happens is is for people as they’re asking these questions, what I want to be known for. And you know these these questions can be so sometimes daunting, intimidating. It’s like I got to figure out the rest of my life. But what I’ve been telling in this season is hey, here’s good news. I got good news and I got good news. The good news is is you don’t have to figure out the rest of your life.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — The other good news is you just got to figure out what to do next.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — And and when you do that one of the best ways that you can understand what you want to be known for is to figure out what to do next. And and for some people that that means to stay a little longer in your current role. Um for others, the greatest risk isn’t leaving, for others the greatest risk is actually staying.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — You know you’ve been in similar situations where you were working at a church…

Rich Birch — Yep, absolutely.

Jeff Henderson — …and then you decided, you know what, I think this season has come to an end for me. Well, how do you know that? What’s what’s what’s the decision making criteria you use to do that? And and and so I talk to a lot of people who are suffering silently on on Zoom calls, or in their cubicle, or at home, because they’re like I just feel like there’s more within me, but I just can’t figure out a process of how to figure it out. So I think that’s why these questions of what you want to be known for and then what do I do next, they really go hand in hand. And if you can make, you know, the best wise decision possible in terms of what your next is, then you keep moving.

Jeff Henderson — One of the things that that helped me so much early on in this new season is was speaking at a conference with John Maxwell who’s ah you know the leadership guru and he’s written like 90 books on leadership…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jeff Henderson — …and just a mentor and role model of mine. And and so I was speaking to this conference and he spoke first and he said, hey I never had a clear vision, I just kept moving forward. And I thought oh my goodness.

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good.

Jeff Henderson — I mean I get I get it that I don’t have a clear vision, but John Maxwell didn’t have a clear vision? And he just kept moving forward?

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, yeah.

Jeff Henderson — And that’s one of the things I’ve been doing in these last twenty months is I just have kept moving forward.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — And and and and just kind of making it up somewhat as as I go along. And and I think that’s freeing for people…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — …when they go, I don’t have to figure out the rest of my life. I just need to figure out what’s next. And even when I was when I figured out that next move, I just got to keep moving.

Rich Birch — Yeah, and I you hear that a lot actually from leaders that that it’s like in hindsight it’s like I it all kind of fits together, but it’s not like I planned 25 years ago that this is where I would end up. It’s like we kept taking steps forward and kind of they all it kind of what evolved one to the next. As people are wrestling with um, you know, this decision. They’re kind of in their stuff their where they are today. They’re they’re wrestling, they’re thinking maybe maybe this is the time for me to step out and try something new. What do what do you think the the fear around inaction is? So or or maybe indecision?It’s like the why does it feel good to be in that middle zone where people are like oh I’m not sure, and then we just kind of are brewing in that. Because I it see I feel like I run into people who are in that all the time, who are in this kind of like they’re they’re one foot in one foot out. Um you know why is that? Why do why do humans like that? Or why do why why are we are we stuck in that spot?

Jeff Henderson — I think it’s because we’ve never been taught how to manage risk in our lives personally. We’ve we’ve been taught how to manage risk, like financially, or manage risk by getting life insurance.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — We manage risk by getting car insurance. But there’s no such thing as career insurance necessarily.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jeff Henderson — And so what what happens is is your level of comfort as it relates to risk often dictates whether or not you’re you’re willing to make a move. And and sometimes you can be too comfortable with risk.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — And if you’re too comfortable with risk, that’s not good. But if you’re not comfortable with risk at all, that’s not good either. And I think what we’re trying to do many times is we’re trying to eliminate risk. And what I’ve discovered in a move like this, you cannot eliminate risk…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — …but you can reduce it. You can you can reduce it. You can shrink it. So what I wanted to do in this, you know, in any career move that I’ve had, I’ve never wanted it to be like I’m leaping across the Grand Canyon.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — What I wanted what I wanted to do is, I’ve got risk, I can’t eliminate it. But it’s kind of like I’m jumping over a mud puddle. I might get wet; I might get muddy, and it won’t you know it won’t be fun, but at least I’m not plunging thousands of feet below. And and so what I wanted to do in this new book is, how can you shrink the gap from the Grand Canyon to a mud puddle.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — So that if you do make the leap you you get wet. And the other thing is is that you’ll never truly know what can be put in your hands until you let go, but letting go is hard. For example yesterday I was in a meeting of a client that wasn’t a client of mine twenty months ago. I didn’t even know I would be actually doing what I was doing yesterday for them. Um, and I never would have stumbled across that unless I had let go. But the other thing that I’ve realized about this is that um the path to your dream job often leads through your day job. What I mean by that is your…

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good.

Jeff Henderson — …your past experience, your strengths, your giftings, they’re all clues about what your future is. For example, the meeting that I was in yesterday, I was coaching communicators. Well communication has been a part of my background from the very beginning.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — So I’m not going to go coach musicians because that’s not in my background, right?

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — I don’t like to play anything. I don’t know how to sing. But I do know how to coach communicators. And so that that understanding of my background, my day job, my my experience, my gifting, my talent. It’s all clues to pay attention to to figure out what’s next. And so…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — …I think for someone who might be dissatisfied with where they are, I think they got to find out what their strengths are. They got to find out how can they shrink the gap. One of the ways that you have to shrink the gap is to get a little bit of a financial runway. I mean how how long could you so go without taking a paycheck? Is it a month? Is it two weeks? Is it six months? I mean build up some financial margin that that will allow you to explore.

Jeff Henderson — The other thing I would highly recommend, Rich, is side hustles. You know people, because of my Chick-Fil-A background people ask me, hey Jeff, do you think I should but be a Chick-Fil-A operator? That sounds like a pretty cool job. And my response is I don’t know, but I know how you can find out.

Jeff Henderson — You should go down to your local Chick-fil-A and apply for a part-time job.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — And if you don’t like the part-time job there, you’re certainly not going to like the role of being a full-time operator where your whole likelihood depends on this.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Jeff Henderson — But if you enjoy it, and you fall in love with the business, that’s good. Well, that’s what a side hustle can do.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — Ah, side hustle is you keep your day job, but you’re working on the side and a lot of people are like I don’t know if I can do that. Well okay, but understand…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jeff Henderson — …you either can be frustrated or you can actually do something about it. That’s the whole John Maxwell keep moving forward. It’s it’s much similar to…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jeff Henderson — …very similar to one time when I had a cold, Rich, and I kept complaining at my wife like I got a cold. I got a cold. And Wendy’s like, you should go to the doctor. I’m like I’m not going to go to the doctor. So I kept complaining and finally she’s like, hey Jeff I love you. But if you’re not going to go to the doctor, you forfeit the right to complain that you have a cold, right?

Rich Birch — ‘ve had the same conversation with my wife.

Jeff Henderson — Yeah, it’s usually a husband kind of a thing, right?

Rich Birch — Ah yes, yes.

Jeff Henderson — We’re just not going to go a doctor. Well when I hear people complain about their job or where they are, and I’m like, okay do you want to do a side hustle? Have you created some financial margin? Do you know what your strengths are? Have you, you know, the other thing we we could talk about is building your network of contacts..

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Jeff Henderson — And there’s a lot of stuff that you could do

Rich Birch — There’s ton you could do.

Jeff Henderson — If you say, Jeff, I’m not going to do any of that. Okay I understand that. But you forfeit the right to complain about your job any longer.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, yes.

Jeff Henderson — Um, and so there are some things that you can do. It will take a little bit longer probably than you think.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Jeff Henderson — Sometimes it won’t. Um, sometimes you start working on things and they just kind of pop out of you know clear blue sky and I think that’s the God factor. Um, but um…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — …but if people wrestling with that, that’s that’s one of the reasons that it’s basically a field guide. My field guide that I’ve ah used the last twenty some odd years about how to make the career decisions um, that that I’ve made.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — And but it’s not for the faint of heart, but neither is staying.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, yes.

Jeff Henderson — Neither is staying. You know so you got it… but but risk I think to your to your great question, Rich. I really think it’s we’ve never been taught how to manage risk in our personal careers.

Rich Birch — Right, right. Love it. Well this is so good. So the name of the book is “What to Do Next: Taking Your Best Step (why my my words are not working here today) When Life is Uncertain.” Ah, obviously available at Amazon. Is there anywhere else we want to send people to pick up a copy of this book?

Jeff Henderson — Yes, well it’s available… well it will be available everywhere in August.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah.

Jeff Henderson — It’s preorders now. But yeah and I would say this too, if even before they they get the book, they could I have a free career risk…

Rich Birch — Love it. Yeah.

Jeff Henderson — …assessment at jeffhenderson.com. It’s a it’s just called the career risk calculator. Basically what it is, Rich, is it’s a series of questions and you get a red light, a yellow light, or a green light.

Rich Birch — Love it. Yes, yep.

Jeff Henderson — That’s not a pass fail. It’s not it’s not any of that. It’s like if you get a red light, it doesn’t mean you failed what it means is is whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Before you take another move, we got some work to do. Um, if you get a green light that does not mean you are now required to leave your job.

Rich Birch — I Love it.

Jeff Henderson — That mean that it’ like okay you got a green light. You’ve got some you know financial margin or whatever. But here are some extra things that you might want to think about before you make the move. So they can even before the book gets out, they can just go to jeffhenderson.com

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — …click on that, and this is just completely free assessment. But that will give them some clues about what their action items might be to help figure this out. And even for those who would say Jeff I love my job I’m not even sure I’m ever considering this, I still think it’s helpful because you never know what could happen.

Rich Birch — Right. Yeah, I love it. Yeah, love that, friend. So again, go to jeffhenderson.com for that. Is be a great tool, great thing to do as you’re thinking about, even if it’s in your like you say in your mind you’re kind of wrestling through this I think that would be a great next step. Jeff, I really appreciate you being here on the show today. Anything you want to say just as we wrap up today’s episode as we kind of close things down?

Jeff Henderson — Yes, Rich Birch, you’re amazing. That’s what I would like to say.

Rich Birch — Oh come on. Oh, no.

Jeff Henderson — I’m grateful for what you’re doing for church leaders. And I would say for church leaders and pastors in particular, I mean I I grew up I’ve been in church all my life. But obviously these are challenging, challenging days. Don’t forget that the grace of Jesus that you preach about is also available to you.

Rich Birch — So good.

Jeff Henderson — Don’t also don’t hide you need to have someone who is pastoring you. You need to have someone that you can share what’s truly going on inside of you. And so fight for that. And you know that’s why we’re so glad that you’re part of the unSeminary podcast. It’s one of the things Rich’s try to do.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jeff Henderson — So God loves you and just don’t forget that the same grace that you’re preaching about is available to you as well.

Rich Birch — Love it. Thanks so much. So we want to send people to jeffhenderson.com – is there anywhere else we want to send them online if they want to track with you?

Jeff Henderson — Yeah, you can just go to Instagram or LinkedIn um, um, Jeffery Henderson at Instagram and and you’ll you’ll start to see a lot more as the book starts to come out with a lot of other free resources and stuff.

Rich Birch — Love it. Thanks so much, Jeff – appreciate you. Appreciate what you’re up to. Thanks for being here on the podcast today.

Jeff Henderson —  Thanks, Rich.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.