Helpful Insights for Church Leaders with Brian Dodd

Thanks for joining in for the unSeminary podcast. This time we’re talking with Brian Dodd, the Director of New Ministry Partnerships at Injoy Stewardship Solutions. He also runs a blog called Brian Dodd on Leadership which provides perspective, encouragement, and solutions for church and ministry leaders.

When you look at the world today, there seems to be a real deficit in leadership at the top levels. But if you look at everyday life and what’s happening in local churches, local businesses, and community there’s extraordinary leadership going on right now. Listen in as Brian shares wisdom and insights on leadership that can be used to train, inspire, develop, and equip your people and teams.

  • Humble leaders grow churches. // Around 85% of churches are plateaued or declining. If your church is one of the 15%, what are you doing to get to that point? The number one characteristic Brian sees in pastors of growing churches is unbelievable humility. A humble leader who is ready to follow God’s leading and steward well what they’ve been given is a number one asset for a growing church.
  • Three components to spiritual leadership. // There are three components to spiritual leadership: God, the assignment, and a person. God determines the assignment and then gives a person the privilege to be part of that assignment.
  • Character, competence, and creativity. // When doing personal coaching with church leaders, Brian has them focus on character, competence, and creativity. In his research on leadership, he found that character didn’t make it to the top ten traits needed to get to the top in a person’s line of work. While you may not need character to get to the top, however, you will need it to stay at the top.
  • Leadership skills and leader skills. // A leader must develop leadership skills and leader skills. Leadership skills are developing the skills, talents, and abilities to accomplish a task or assignment given to you by God. Leader development is becoming the man or woman who can accomplish those tasks given to you by God. When you systemize the setting of God as the primary resource of everything in your life and leadership you have solved 90-95% of the character issues you’ll face.
  • Creativity is about solutions. // Creativity is directly tied to what we are producing. It’s leveraging resources in a new and different way to produce results that nobody has ever done before. It doesn’t come from abundance, but rather from a lack of abundance. We need to make sure we aren’t leading in a domineering way that stifles creativity and does not produce solutions.
  • A tool for leading your people well. // Brian has written a book called 2021: The Year in Leadership. The Stories of Faith, Athletics, Business and Life Which Inspired Us All. Every page is filled with leadership lessons and contains over 80 illustrations that church leaders can use in sermons, trainings, team huddles, as well as individual growth and development.

You can follow along with Brian Dodd and grab a copy of his book at, plus get free access to The Top 75 Leadership Quotes Of 2021 Part 2.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway

If you are trying to find, develop and keep young leaders on your team look no further than Leadership Pathway. They have worked with hundreds of churches, and have interviewed thousands of candidates over the past several years. They are offering a new ebook about five of the core competencies that are at the heart of the leadership development process with every church that they partner with…just go to to pick up this free resource.

Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Well, hey, everybody – welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in. You know every week we try to bring you a leader who will both inspire and equip you. Today We’re also going to bring you someone who I know you’re going to be encouraged with. You’ve got my friend Brian Dodd. He is the Director of a New Ministry Relationships at Injoy Stewardship Solutions. He runs an incredible blog called Brian Dodd on Leadership where he really provides lots of great information and help. Over the years he’s a couple times has pointed people to ah resources on on unSeminary. Listen friends, this is why I want you to to lean in. Brian, I think, is a professional encourager. He is so good at getting in the corner of church leaders particularly and and wants to help push your ministry forward. So I’m excited to have you on the show today, Brian.

Brian Dodd — Hey, great to be here, Rich. It’s my second time so I am honored to be back. Ah, you’ve been a friend for years, and hey man thrilled to thrilled to spend some time with you and invest in your audience a little bit.

Rich Birch — Yeah, why don’t you tell us a little bit about ah about you – just fill out your story a little bit. Give us your your background. Fill out what I didn’t I didn’t say much there, but kind of tell us a little bit about who you are.

Brian Dodd — Yeah, so I mean you you said it well. I’m Brian Dodd. My daytime job is Director of New Ministry Partnerships at Injoy Stewardship Solutions and what I do there is I help pastors and church leaders think through what’s necessary to fully fund their mission and vision. So when you talked about being a professional encourager, hey we’ll give all the credit to God for that. You know we we all drift into states of carnality from time to time, if you want to use that phrase.

Rich Birch — Sure, sure.

Brian Dodd — But but yeah my job is to is to talk with pastors and church leaders and listen to their story and uncover things that we then can discuss based upon those findings. Hey here’s what’s possible. So I do that all day, and thrilled to do that.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Brian Dodd — This is my twentieth anniversary doing that by the way. Yeah, so passing a milest…

Rich Birch — Oh congratulations, congratulations! I’m not sure how such a young man has been there for 20 years. I don’t know how that worked out but nice.

Brian Dodd — Exactly. I started you know in grade school, you know as an intern. Yes.

Rich Birch — Ah yes.

Brian Dodd — Started in the mail room as an intern.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, love it. Nice.

Brian Dodd — Started in the mail room as an intern. So um, yeah, and nighttime, yeah and kind of like you, Rich, you know I produce helpful content for leaders. Um, you know, mainly it’s it’s primary to Christian leaders.

Rich Birch — Right.

Brian Dodd — But I delivered in a way that it helps the athletic and education communities and the business community as well, and other nonprofits. And out of that once again, kind of like you it’s grown into podcasts, books, things of that nature. But but yeah I mean you and I are in the same space on ah on somewhat of a similar journey, not exactly the same. But yeah God’s kind of set us aside, you know help his bride…

Rich Birch —  Absolutely.

Brian Dodd — …and resources bride and let let you know let the church be everything God intended it to be so.

Rich Birch —  Yeah I love that. and you know we we are ah old school you know bloggers, like you know back when that was like a thing you know we both been doing this for you know back when, you know people used to it used to be cool to be a blogger, so and we just never gave up. That’s I always joke like yeah I just never stopped writing I just kept going so which is funny. Ah.

Brian Dodd — Right. Yeah, we were blogging when it wasn’t cool, when it was cool, and now when it’s not cool again. So we’ve…

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s great.

Brian Dodd — …and ah we’ve we’ve ah we’ve we’ve lasted the whole journey. So.

Rich Birch — Nice. Well you talk to church leaders all day long, like you said in your day job, and so the reason why I wanted to get you on was to take advantage of that. The fact that you’re engaging with church leaders a lot. To kind of get a sense of where the church is at, to kind of hear what’s what’s top of mind with leaders these days. What are the things as you’re engaging with that you just see either explicitly or implicitly in the conversations that you seem to be engaging with on a regular basis with church leaders?

Brian Dodd — Yeah I want to point out two things that are that are that I think are unique. Um, you know that that that would make your listeners go okay, that’s ah, that’s a different perspective. Ah, the first thing is when you talk to church leaders, and you’re talking to Christian alpha male and alpha females, okay. Um, you would think that there’s a level of bravado, and ah a level of gravitas, and ego and all of that. I find that to be unbelievably rare.

Rich Birch — Mmm, true.

Brian Dodd — And you know one of the questions I always talk to people or when I talk to leaders and I’ll say look, give or take what stat you’re reading this week let’s just say on average 84 to 85% of churches are plateaued or declining. And as you like to point out that still does in fact to factor in compared to the growth of the city.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, yeah.

Brian Dodd — But let’s just say 84/85% are plateaued or declining. You’re one of the 15%.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Brian Dodd — Obviously it’s the goodness of God, but what are you doing that’s causing that 15%, or that makes you one of the 15%

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good. Yeah.

Brian Dodd — Rich, the most common answer I get is you know, Brian, we obviously try to you know, serve our community. We obviously try to meet needs. We obviously try to put on great Sunday services that are relevant and speak to the needs of people. And we try to have in great systems in place and drive people to groups. You know we do all the things that you hear you’re supposed to do. He goes Brian but the bottom line is we were talking about it in staff meeting this week, we have no idea where these people are coming from.

Rich Birch — Right. Right, by God’s grace.

Brian Dodd — And we’re just trying everything we can do not to mess it up. The the number one characteristic I see in pastors of growing churches is unbelievable humility.

Rich Birch — That’s so true.

Brian Dodd — And they are and they are privileged to be part of what God’s doing. And and realize that you know they’re like a surfer riding a surfboard. They didn’t cause the wave, they didn’t build the surfboard, they’re they’re just trying to steward the surfboard in the wave well.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s good.

Brian Dodd — And you know so that’s that humility is, number one, attractive in leaders to begin with. But I think a humble leader is your number one asset, other than the Holy Spirit, to be an accelerant for growth of your church. Yeah.

Rich Birch — Oh that’s so good. And that I love that you pointed that out, like that is true in so many leaders that I’ve run into over the years. And I would say particularly you’re true it’s you’re right. Like yeah in I’ve had the honor, the privilege, would be like you to interact with leaders at some of the largest and fastest growing churches in the country, and ah the vast majority are do hold what they do ah very lightly in the sense of that’s not that they don’t steward it, but they they don’t take credit for it when it’s all said and done. They’re like, wow, I’m honored that I get to sit in the seat that I’m in I get to do what I get to do. Um but man this is really because of God and because of what he’s he’s up to. That’s that’s a I love that you’re pointing that out because I I think the assumption could be like you say like, you know, being a driven leader or being you know, kind of making it all about yourself.

Brian Dodd — Yeah, yeah.

Rich Birch — Ah could be the you know the assumed norm of what it what it could look like to to lead ah a growing church.

Brian Dodd — Yeah I think the first person you know that ever talked about this on what I would call a national level was probably Jim Collins, in built to last when he talked about the myth of the of the larger than life leader.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — But the the reality is I see I see that every day.

Rich Birch — Right.

Brian Dodd — I see that played out every day. And the thing about it, Rich, there are three components to spiritual leadership. There’s God, the assignment, and a person. And God determines the assignment. Things he wants to get done at this particular point in time in human history. And then he gives a person the privilege of being part of that assignment.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — In other words God’s going to get done whatever God wants to get done. But he invites us into that process, and so you know the lasting leaders, the ones that make the most impact, um that they realize that you know in all honesty, God could have picked anybody for this assignment. I just want to steward…

Rich Birch — Yeah, absolutely.

Brian Dodd — I just want to steward it well while I was given to me. So.

Rich Birch — I want to come back to the ah that idea and come back to this idea around what can we do to develop our piece of the puzzle, who we are, I’d love to get your thoughts on that.

Brian Dodd — Yeah.

Rich Birch — But before we get there, this is an example ah, literally was just in this conversation with a friend this week that’s from the marketplace that illustrates exactly what you’re talking about. In one organization that’s been led by two very different leaders, which is Apple Computer, famously you know you know Steve Jobs famously gregaric. Ah famously um you know you driven and um, you know, maybe a bit problematic in how he interacted with other folks. Now that was used in the market. It you clearly you know made a huge difference. But if you look at the value of Apple today, it dwarfs where it was under Steve jobs under their current leader, Tim Cook, who is exactly the kind of leader you’re talking about. Who is ah you know much more of a team player, much more not that he’s not you know doesn’t have opinions, not that he doesn’t you know, ah, he’s not not that he’s not sharp but he is a much more hey, let’s do this together. Let’s figure out how to build a great organization. I don’t need to make this all about me. I don’t need people to cheer for me every time I step out of the building. Um, and you can literally see it if you look up, you know, just the value of Apple Computer. There is an inflection. There’s a number of inflection points but actually the most significant inflection point over the years is actually when Tim Cook took over as the CEO over these last years, which which doesn’t play as well in the in the leadership ah you know, kind of whatever you call that you know this fear of communicators that love to talk about it because they like like a guy like Steve Jobs because he’s so flashy. But actually Tim Cook is doing an incredible job. That’s that’s amazing.

Rich Birch — Well let’s talk about the development piece. So I love that – God, the assignment, and the person. When we think about the person side of it, we think about us and you think about our own development – what we should be doing to grow as leaders. What what are some of those things we should be thinking about as as we lead, as we try to develop who we are, as we lead in the context that we’re in?

Brian Dodd — Yeah, definitely. You know I want to say one other thing and then I’m going to answer that question about God, ad assignment and the person. God uses the assignment to mold the person to be more like Jesus. So for us long time church…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Brian Dodd — For us longtime church people, we would say hey the assignment is part of the sanctification process.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — You know it chips away at you, it molds, it shapes you, it humbles you, it does all those things.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Brian Dodd — But in terms of you know, when I look at when I talk to leaders and I coach leaders, and I say okay look, we’re going we’re gonna talk about personal coaching. I want to zero in on three areas…

Rich Birch — Okay.

Brian Dodd — Character, competence, and creativity.

Rich Birch — Ok, interesting, a different set of three I was going to say that’s a different set of 3 Cs.

Brian Dodd — And yeah now most people do… that’s a different set of three most people do character, competence, and chemistry.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Brian Dodd — And I get that. And you and you do want chemistry, and I think you could you’d have to shoehorn it in but people’s skills, and emotional intelligence, and EQ, and all that, you could shoehorn that into character if you wanted to. But but character. Yeah, you know the second book I wrote was a book called Timeless and what Timeless was is I studied 180 what I call apex leaders and organizations – the best pastors, the best coaches, the best athletes, the best businesses, you know all of those type of things.

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Brian Dodd — And I identified 302 traits they had. I narrowed it down to the top 10. The 10 most common threads. So that’s the 10 enduring practices. Now when you do a project like that there are some things that you’re going to assume are the the or the 10.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Brian Dodd — You know you’re going to assume teamwork, and hard decisions, and persevere, and variance. You know you’re going to assume those things. And they were in there. I assumed character would be in there. Character did not make the top 10.

Rich Birch — Mm interesting.

Brian Dodd — Matter of fact, it came around you know around fifteen-ish. Okay?

Rich Birch — Right. Okay, okay.

Brian Dodd — And here’s what the study told me – you don’t need character to get to the top, but you need character to stay at the top. And…

Rich Birch — Mmm, that’s so true. So…

Brian Dodd — So go ahead. But.

Rich Birch — Yeah I’d love to talk about that. So we unfortunately we don’t have to think long and hard to find examples of leaders who have either their you know their creativity and their competence has got them into the room, or got them to the place they’re at, and then their character erodes, and and it extinguishes them. It’s not like woo who do we have to think of that we’ve got too many examples of that, particularly in the Christian world and in the church world. But what should we be thinking about on the development of character side? How how do we actually develop that? How do we how do we, you know, stretch that muscle?

Brian Dodd — Great, great question. And Rich, you talked about my encouragement at the very beginning so we’re not going to single people out. We All know we all know. And look. We’ve seen people fall in in ministry, in entertainment, politics – you name it. I mean every walk of life that they’ve had that. Ah, here’s what I think happens and then I’m going to talk about what to do with this information.

Rich Birch — Ok.

Brian Dodd — There are two things that a leader must develop – leadership skills and leader skills, and those are two completely different things. Leadership skills is developing the skills, talents, and abilities to accomplish a task or assignment given to you by God. That’s what most people think of, Rich. It’s the reading the books, listening to your podcast, read, going to conferences.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Brian Dodd — Yeah, you know it’s the development of the skills, coaching networks. You know all of that kind of stuff. Leader development is not developing the skills, talents, and abilities to accomplish a task or assignment given to you by God. It’s becoming the man or woman who can accomplish a task or assignment given to you by God.

Brian Dodd — This is the development of character. And the number one thing that I talk to leaders about and I’ll tell them I say, look, genius is making the complicated simple, not the simple complicated. Do you start the first 30 to 60 minutes of every day in a quiet time with God? Bible study and prayer. When you set God as you when you when you systematize the setting of God as the primary resource of everything in your life and leadership, you have just solved 90 to 95% of the character issues you’re ever going to face.

Rich Birch — Right.

Brian Dodd — And so many times when I talk to leaders know they don’t do that.

Rich Birch — Right. Yes.

Brian Dodd — You know they’ll wake up. They’ll get their coffee. They’ll do this, they’ll they’ll check their phones first thing. You know and look I’m guilty of that as well. You know, the teacher is the number one student – I’m as guilty as that ah as anybody. But yes, the the setting aside of a as simple as it sounds, Bible study and quiet time is is so critical to the development of character. And here’s the thing, Rich.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — There’s been some high profile people that have had issues and I don’t need to name them, and neither do you. But when somebody says to me, Brian, are you surprised so and so had that problem? I may or may not be taken off guard. But all leaders, Rich, if they’re not careful, can spend so much time on developing their leadership skills…

Rich Birch — Right.

Brian Dodd — …that their leadership skills will outpace their leader skills…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — …and then their skills, talents, and abilities will take them to a place their character can’t sustain them.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Brian Dodd — And to be perfectly honest, I’m as susceptible to that as anybody. You know we’re all one decision away from stupid as the say in goes.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, no. Absolutely.

Brian Dodd — So so I don’t think negative about, I just very pragmatically know that this is a process that probably happened.

Rich Birch — Yeah, and how do you How how do you coach a leader. So I think one of the occupational hazards of being in the church is our content is so connected to our spiritual development. So we um, you know, we’re we need to be in God’s word, we need to be leaning in and drinking from that well for our own spiritual development. Ah, but we all know that there’s a difference between that and making the making of messages, the leading of team meetings, all of those things where we’re also engaging in scripture. How how do you separate those two? How do you ensure that in your own life how have you found, you know the ability to, hey I’m I’m in I’m in God’s work today and this is about, hey Lord what do you have for me today? Not like I need to come up with the great talk for you know this this church I’m going to talk to next week?

Brian Dodd — Rich, I want to challenge that thought process.

Rich Birch — Okay, good – challenge me.

Brian Dodd — Well I’ve heard everybody say that that your personal devotion time should be completely separated from “the job of pastoring”.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Brian Dodd — Okay. And we’ve all heard that.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — Why? Why do we have to live a bifurcated life? Why can’t Sunday be an overflow of what God’s doing in our life throughout the entire week?

Rich Birch — That’s good. That’s good.

Brian Dodd — Ah, that’s just a question I want to ask. You know, um, there’s there’s definitely room for disagreement on that and people have been very successful doing it both ways. Okay, but just a…

Rich Birch — Yeah, well, there’s yeah, there is no, there’s for sure you know what you don’t want is, hey you’re getting up and talking about things that ah… yeah I think the saying is you want to you know, smoke your own stack, like you know you want to whatever you’ve got, you know, your eat your own dog food. Whatever the the phrase is. Listen I don’t want to get up and have something that’s so disconnected from my own personal life that because that’s dangerous as well, right? There’s ah, there’s a danger on the other end of that spectrum too. That is a very good point. I appreciate you pushing on that.

Brian Dodd — Well, you know if I’m setting up an annual preaching calendar. Okay?

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — Let’s say I’m setting up an annual preaching calendar and it’s going to be built around our core values as a church, and then here’s what we want to see God do in the hearts and lives of our people through the next twelve months. And obviously all pastors know if something pops up, like a pandemic or something like that, there’s margin to change.

Rich Birch — Yep. Yep.

Brian Dodd — Okay, but at that same time I am kind of like, just like you pick a word for the year, which is now very popular thing to do…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — …why can’t you say, okay God, that’s the journey you’ve got me going on as well.

Rich Birch — Right.

Brian Dodd — The shepherd and the sheep are going on the same journey this next twelve months.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, that’s good.

Brian Dodd — and that that and and I think that can really help relieve a lot of “pressure” that someone may be feeling and that you have to have an unbifurcated spiritual experience as a pastor or church leader.

Rich Birch — Right. Okay, that’s good. Let’s talk about creativity. Why why do you list that in the three? Why is that you know the kind of thing that we should be thinking about? What and what do you mean by when you say creativity, and why is that so important for leaders today?

Brian Dodd — Okay, so I am the classic meat and potatoes guy.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Brian Dodd — You know, I just wear blue, brown, red you know, staple colors.

Rich Birch — Ah, sure.

Brian Dodd — I’ve had the same hairstyle just thinner since the late 70s. Um, been married to the same woman for 31 years

Rich Birch — Love it.

Brian Dodd — Until we just my daughter just got out of college and we had money freed up. Both my cars were over 200,000 miles.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — I mean I’m a very stable/boring individual.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — Okay, all right? So this is coming from that type of mind. Most people think of creativity as lasers, light shows, skinny jeans, low v-necks, and scarfs.

Rich Birch — Sure. Yes.

Brian Dodd — And that is not creativity that is style.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Brian Dodd — You cannot have creativity without creation. Ah, whoever your top producers are in your church. That’s your most creative people because they are creating the most. Oh for instance I’m gonna take an extreme example…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — …the 70 year old second grade Sunday school teacher who somehow has this generation of people that came through her class and are now missionaries and pastors.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — I can make the argument. She’s the most creative person in your church.

Rich Birch — Yes, Love it. Yeah.

Brian Dodd — Okay so creativity is directly tied to creation. Who are, you know, are you as a leader, are you producing? And I’ll also I’ll also go you know talk about this: creativity is directly tied to solutions as a leader and creativity is not “working outside the box”. Creativity is leveraging resources in a new and different way to produce results within the box that nobody’s ever done before.

Rich Birch — Right, right. Love it.

Brian Dodd — And like Craig Groeschel and the invention of the you of the YouVersion Bible App…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — …and you’ve you’ve had them on your podcast I’m sure. Creativity, you know comes from… does not come from abundance creativity comes from a lack of abundance.

Rich Birch — Yeah, restriction for sure.

Brian Dodd — If you have a if you have abundance, you’re just going to pay for it.

Rich Birch — Right.

Brian Dodd — That scarcity causes you to figure things out.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s so true.

Brian Dodd — And here’s the thing is a leader. When I walk into a meeting that’s already in progress and they’re trying to solve a problem and I walk in, one of two things is gonna happen. They’re either gonna go, oh Brian, great you’re here. We’re bouncing around this idea. What do you think? Or either the room’s going to shut down. And creativity goes out the window…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Brian Dodd — …collaboration ceases. All of that all of that open communication stops because I lead in a domineering way that stifles creativity, and does not produce solutions. Or either I lead in a way that does. So yeah I talk to leaders about, walk me through the issues that you’re facing and how you’re going about solving those problems. That’s how I classify creativity.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love that. That’s actually at the core the reason why I started the podcast all those years ago was I really do think that ah, huge part of solving problems in the church, you know—and this is like in my own church as I’m leading in the things I’m leading in—is like finding those ideas in other churches that are maybe not directly applicable, but are like two steps removed and then saying you know what if we tried a little bit of what those guys were doing over here, and kind of added that to our thing. I wonder what that would do. You know, and then trying it and then being like, hey maybe maybe we’ll see what difference that could make. I really do think that’s the value of conversations like this because, you know, you you chew over it with other leaders. You learn. You get a chance to try see what does this what does this look like? How do we how do we move from here? Love that. Love that. Well I know you’ve got ah a brand new book that’s just come out, or is coming out. I’d love to hear a little bit about it. It’s called 2021 The Year of Leadership. The Stories of Faith, Athletics, ah, Business and Life Which Inspired Us… I’d love to hear… Inspired Us All. I’d love to hear a little bit about that. Tell us about why why this book. Why did you why did you pull this one together?

Brian Dodd — Yeah, um, number one it was ah, always a dream of mine to to write this book. And I I can unpack that in a little bit, but for the reader you know when you look at leadership in the world today, Rich, and you look at it like on a top level, there seems to be a real deficit in leadership, right now. You know John Maxwell even famously said all throughout 2020 that he was leadership sad. You know at that top level there just was such a deficit of basic fundamental leadership skills. Okay. But, Rich, if you if you look at everyday life and what’s happening in local churches, and what’s happening at local ball fields, and in local businesses, and things of that nature, there’s extraordinary leadership going on right now.

Rich Birch — Mmm, love it.

Brian Dodd — So I wanted to take a I wanted to create a forum that a lot of those stories could be told. And so that’s why I wrote the book so that you could just see on a day in day out basis throughout an entire 365 day year…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Brian Dodd — …was extraordinary leadership last year leadership that as I said in the title, it is inspiring. And if I’m an executive pastor of church leader here’s how I use the book. Number one, there’s leadership lessons on every single page. Now I self-published this book and we can talk about that in a second, but there’s leadership lessons on every single page. So there’s no fluff. Every page matters, every page you can use to say, okay I got something now I can go train my team. Okay?

Rich Birch — Yep, yep.

Brian Dodd — There’s over eighty illustrations that you could use in sermons. You know if you’re leading a team meeting and say okay I need an opener, this book is for you.

Rich Birch — Right. Love it.

Brian Dodd — And so it’s just a great tool and resource to help pastors and church leaders with their individual growth and development. But also, hey this is a tool that helps me lead my people well.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Brian Dodd — So that’s that’s the macro reason that the book was written. So.

Rich Birch — Love it. Yeah I I think when I was checking this out the thing that struck me was exactly what you said there. This could be a great tool even to give to my team like who are leading people. You know if I’m an executive pastor at a church today and I’ve got you know 10 staff who you know report to me or whatever. This could be a great book to give to all 10 of them and say, hey I know you’re looking for stuff for your huddles. You’re looking for stuff as you’re engaging, you know people. This could be a great resource, so I’m glad you said that because that was actually the thing I was like ooh this could be a great ah, kind of a great tool on that front. Anything that as you were pulling this together I’m sure but you know you’re talking about inspiration, you’re talking about inspirational leadership in a lot of different spheres, was there a story or two that kind of bubbled to the surface that were like, wow this was particularly in so inspiring or you know, shocking, surprising kind of like made you kind of lean in as you thought about it?

Brian Dodd — Well okay, this is and this is a personal favorite of mine.

Rich Birch — Yes, yep.

Brian Dodd — Okay, so this is this is this takes up like three pages in the book. So so if you’re an executive pastor, coaching a small group pastor. Or you’re a small group pastor, or you’re a pastor teaching on the value of community, these three pages are for you in the book.

Rich Birch — Yes, okay.

Brian Dodd — In early July there’s a town called Nome, Alaska. Now you’re from Canada – this is Nome, Alaska.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — The population 3866.

Rich Birch — Ok.

Brian Dodd — Nome Alaska is so remote. It’s at the Seward peninsula of the Bering Sea. This city does not even show up on the Alaskan roadway system.

Rich Birch — Ok.

Brian Dodd — It’s a 90 minute flight from Fairbanks, Alaska into wilderness.

Rich Birch — Right. Wow.

Brian Dodd — In early July there was a guy named Richard Jesse. If you go to Nome, Alaska and then go forty miles deeper into the wilderness, this is where Richard Jesse was, okay?

Rich Birch — Okay, yes.

Brian Dodd — So what happened with Richard. He was out there one day and he was driving his ATV across ah a river, and he was ambushed by a grizzly bear. sSo he’s attacked by the grizzly bear, the ATV sinks to the bottom of of the of the lake. His cell phone sinks to the bottom of the lake.

Rich Birch — Oof oof.

Brian Dodd — And it’s him and the grizzly bear forty miles from a town that’s so remote it does not show up on a roadway system. Okay?

Rich Birch — Okay, you have set up the tension. I’m leaning in.

Brian Dodd — I know. So for three days with just a gun he holds this bear off.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Brian Dodd — Fortunately for him low cloud cover comes over Nome, Alaska so a a helicopter crew Coastguard then has to divert around the low cloud cover to get where they’re going and they discovered that he had made an S-O-S signal, and they and they so and they lowered the helicopter and rescued him.

Rich Birch — Wow. Wow.

Brian Dodd — So hopefully Richard has already signed the book and movie deals and got Leo Leonardo Dicaprio to play him.

Rich Birch — Yes, ah yes.

Brian Dodd — But but you listen to that story, and I think there’s three big lessons that come from that story. Okay. Number one, Rich, human beings were not designed to be alone. We were designed to be part of community, right? And what what we learned from Richard Jesse is when we’re alone and we’re disconnected, we are open to all kinds of attacks. Spiritual attacks, emotional attacks, psychological attacks, physical attacks. And one thing that we learned from Richard is that when we’re in community or when we’re not in community, no one’s there to watch our back.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

No one’s there to take care of us. That’s the first thing we learn. Second thing we learn is when crisis and calamity come into our life, embrace the gift of the brevity of language.

Rich Birch — Hmm ok.

Brian Dodd — And economy of words. The three letters S-O-S communicates a great deal.

Rich Birch — Right. Right. Love It.

Brian Dodd — I love the movie Sully. If you go back and watch the movie Sully. As soon as the Canadian geese—we’re going to blame it on y’all, Rich—when the Canadian geese hit the airplane…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — …notice the language that takes place between the co tom Tom Hanks and the copilot. It’s very crisp, very sharp.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — Your plane, my plane. He goes through the checklist and the stewardess or excuse me the flight attendants begin to tell the you begin to tell the passengers head down, stay down, head down, stay down.

Rich Birch — Right. Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s so good.

Brian Dodd — So when there’s crisis, a brevity of language is your friend. We don’t need people waxing eloquently during times of crisis. Okay.

Rich Birch — Yep. Yep.

Brian Dodd — And the third thing is don’t quit. You know there’s going to be people on that staff and in that church that today may be the day they quit.

Rich Birch — Right.

Brian Dodd — They may quit the ministry. They may quit their marriage. Sadly, some of them may be considering suicide and quitting life. Um, another Tom Hanks movie Castaway. There’s a great scene when he’s back in Memphis and he’s telling his friend about the experience and he said I just kept breathing. I just stayed alive and then one day the tide brought a cell in. You never know what the tide’s going to bring in.

Brian Dodd — Richard Jesse would agree with that.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Brian Dodd — He kept staying alive. He kept fighting. He kept doing everything he could to hold the bear off. Because you never know what low cloud cover could bring in.

Rich Birch — So good. Love it. Yes.

Brian Dodd — And today may be the day somebody on your staff or in your church today may be the day that God brings in low low cloud cover, and they’re going to be rescued.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Brian Dodd — So this is an example of how the book can be utilized. That it takes stories like this Richard Jesse – an incredible demonstration of self-leadership.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — It takes stories just like that and how you can use them in a church context to really equip, and motivate, and inspire the people of your church and your staff.

Rich Birch — See see friends as you’re listening in, this is why you should be following Brian. He he does this stuff all day long pulling out incredible leadership lessons from ah the realms of entertainment, from sports, all different areas. I find it so helpful, so engaging and so helpful. So yeah I would love for you to pick up a copy of his book. Friends let me be completely honest, so there are times where people want to bring come on and talk about their book, and most of those people I turn down. Not only was I happy to have Brian on to talk about this book, but I also bought the book myself like with my own money. I didn’t say, hey send me a free copy, because I really I I just believe in Brian, believe what he’s doing and I think this is a great resource. So I’d love for you to pick that up. We could pick this up at Amazon. Is there anywhere else we want to pick it up? Where should we be sending people who want to pick up a copy of the book?

Brian Dodd — Yeah, you’re right, Rich. Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Brian Dodd — And you know for some reason if if those slip your mind you can go to briandoddonleadership and there’s a link right there to pick up the book. It’ll link you right back to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, that’s great.

Brian Dodd — But but yeah, those are the those are the places to get it.

Rich Birch — That’s great and then you’ve also… listen, you just Brian just keeps given to you. So we’ve given some stories, some good stuff to wrestle with, but you’re also going to give us a downloadable resource that we want to pick up. Kind of tell us a little bit about that. Ah, what is it that we’re going to. We’re going to link to in the show notes here? Where what do we want to send people for that?

Brian Dodd — But yeah, a couple of years ago I started accumulating just great leadership quotes. And I know if you’re ever a person who has to develop content, you love quotes.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Brian Dodd —You know quotes frame it. You know quotes quotes give you additional credibility because somebody very famous said something that supports a point you’re trying to get across.

Rich Birch — Yes, so true.

Brian Dodd — So I started to accumulating quotes. And twice a year I always do here’s the best quotes I got from the first half of the year, or the second half of the year. So obviously at the time of the year that you and I are taping this I’m in the process of gathering for the first half of 2022. But for the free downloadable resource, yeah, they’re just going to click the link in your show notes and we’re going to provide them the best 75 great quotes from the second half of 2021. You know that’ll just make them laugh, it’ll challenge their thinking. It’ll inspire them. Um and great resource to build into the into the content they’re creating.

Rich Birch — Love it. So good, so helpful. Like I say friends, Brian is in your corner. He wants to help you out. Ah well I think we’re gonna land this plane here. I appreciate you being here. Is there anything else you want to share with us just as we wrap up today’s episode?

Brian Dodd — You know, Rich, the the only other thing I’d say is your I got introduced to your content unSeminary ten years ago maybe give or take.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Brian Dodd — The information that you’re providing to church leaders is invaluable.

Rich Birch — Oh thank you, man.

Brian Dodd — And you know I just want to I want to end by encouraging you. Um I do believe with every ounce of my being that that being a pastor is the toughest job in the world.

Rich Birch — Very true. Yep.

Brian Dodd — And if for no other reason, two things. Number one you lead volunteer armies, and satan is not omnipresent. He’s not everywhere. He’s a master of deployment, but he’s not everywhere. So there’s some places that you’re not going to run into satan today and you’re not going to run into the enemy. The people you resource and the people you equip face him every day. And so what you do is you fill in gaps that they were not taught in seminary that when you fill in those gaps that that eliminates a place that the enemy can work.

Brian Dodd — So my friend you are you are providing an invaluable resource to pastors and church leaders, particularly executive pastors, and I just thank you for all you’re doing. So if I can ever encourage you in any way we are all on the same team and fighting the same battle and and I appreciate what you do.

Rich Birch — I appreciate you, Brian. Thank you so much I want to make sure people get to your website. We’ll have links in in our show notes. But it’s BrianDoddonleadership that’s Dodd with two d’s or I guess 3 ds um, you know we want to make sure that you get over there anywhere else. We want to send people online if they ah, want to track with you?

Brian Dodd — You know I’m still old school a little bit. I like Twitter.

Rich Birch — Yes!

You can put links in Twitter you know. Hot links in Twitter @BrianKDodd on Twitter.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes. Love it.

Brian Dodd — I like you know I’m still, you know, I was at Twitter when it wasn’t cool, and when it was, and now it’s not you know, kind of like blogging. So but yeah.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, yeah, no, it’s true. You know it’s it’s funny I was I was talking with a friend this week about Twitter. I was like Twitter has been you know I’m still there I’m not as active as I once was, but I do find myself opening it up more recently like over the last six months than I have. I’m like there is something great about the simplicity of Twitter that is that’s actually fantastic for connecting with people.

Brian Dodd — Yeah.

Rich Birch — So love that. Well Brian, I appreciate you being here. Thanks so much for encouraging leaders. Thanks for what you do every day to help leaders that Injoy and in your own stuff. Just wish you the best as we continue through. I’m looking forward to the I’m looking forward to the book for 2022 as well. I’m sure you’re gathering ideas now. So looking forward to that.

Brian Dodd — I am I am in the process of writing it now. So yeah.

Rich Birch — That’s great. Thanks Brian appreciate being here.

1 Comment

  1. […] Helpful Insights For Church Leaders With Brian Dodd by Rich Birch.  This is a GREAT conversation I had with Rich!!!  Few people make the person being interviewed feel more comfortable than he does.  Also, there are few ministry consultants as smart as Rich!!!  Click for info on his new resource The Hosting Coaching Clinic. This is a 6-week training course helps church leaders maximize their church announcement time & increase engagement.  Definitely worth your time and a look! […]

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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.