Justin Bieber’s Mom Shares Her Sense of God’s Calling on Her Son’s Life

Justin Bieber and His Mom, Patti

Okay, I’ve never been a big Justin Bieber fan (no tween-agers in my house), but now I am a BIG fan of his single Mom, Patti.

In two minutes she perfectly expresses the heart of a Two Handed Warrior seeking to reimagine faith and culture for a new generation.

Watch and pray.

View Video.

PS See the Hollywood Prayer Network for more ways to pray for Justin and Patti.

Leading Artists and Musicians, in @CatalystLeader

Part of ongoing series: Paparazzi in the Hands of an Angry God: Servant Leadership in an Age of Self-Promotion.


Born in 2000 as a Next Generation Leaders Conference, Catalyst attendance is now over 100,000 and growing

Catalyst was conceived as a Next Generation Leaders Conference in 1999 by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, John Maxwell, Lanny Donoho and several young leaders. Catalyst was able to meet that demand by creating a conference specifically focused on leaders under the age of 40. In October of 2000 in Atlanta, GA, Catalyst convened 1500 church leaders for this inaugural experience. With a unique approach to programming and learning, defined by a fun, dynamic attendee experience, leaders were personally challenged to become “change agents” within their organizations, churches and communities… even and especially Artists and Musicians..

Leading Artists and Musicians

Okay, so alot of us who run organizations, or manage teams, or have staff direct reports, are leading those who consider themselves to be ARTISTS of some sort.

Whether it’s musicians, or designers, or writers, or entertainers, or worship leaders, or those who sketch/paint/draw, I’m going to lump them all together for the sake of this conversation and my thoughts on how to best lead them.

Here is a disclaimer… I’m not so sure I’m the best at this. Specifically leading artists.

Disclaimer #2…. we are ALL artists. In regards that we all are called to create things of excellence. Some of us are way more “Artistic” at our core than others. That is who I’m talking about here. You know who they are on your team. Guaranteed.

I’m also VERY INTERESTED to hear from you on how you best lead/manage artists. Please comment below and share your thoughts.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Start with reality. Artists are different. Not in bad weird way. But in a great weird way. So just begin with this, and it will help tremendously.

2. Lead, don’t manage. Share vision, inspire, and let them loose. Managing an artist type like you would an accountant, or a project manager, or a typical hard charging type A, is not a good idea.

3. Be very specific on areas that most think are ambiguous. Most leaders think that because artists are spontaneous and spatial in their thinking, that they don’t want specifics. So alot of leaders will be totally ambiguous in their interactions with artists. But just the opposite. Most artists need and desire very clear, focused and specific direction.

4. Give them room to dream. This might mean they need to spend an afternoon at a coffee shop or in the park or at the lake. Let them do that.

5. Allow them to decorate and make their area “their own.” Their office or cube or space needs to reflect who they are. Otherwise, finding inspiration could be tough in the office.

6. Release them into their areas of greatest strength. Don’t burden a great artist with tasks and responsibilities outside their strengths. If it’s a money thing, pay them less but let them do what they are great at. Most artists care way more about doing their “art” anyway.

7. Aggregate artists in “pairs” and team lead them. I like to always have at least two artists in a meeting, on a team, working on a project, sitting together, and ultimately working together. It gives them more energy and allows them to vent to each other. Also, if you have personality conflicts with artists on your team, then “team” lead them. Don’t take it personal, but figure out the best way to release them and inspire them. It might be that you are not the best person to do that, and it’s okay that someone else on your team is.


Since inception, over 100,000 leaders have made the annual trek to Atlanta to participate in the Catalyst Conference experience, and this October, once again over 12,000 young leaders will gather to experience Catalyst up close. In addition, over 3,000 leaders will gather for the Catalyst West Coast experience in Orange County, CA and 3,000 more will gather for the first ever Catalyst in Dallas.

Leadership has been the topic of focus for the Catalyst brand since inception and will continue to be so. Catalyst and the annual Conferences provide a wide cover for addressing a variety of topics specific to Next Generation Leaders, including organizational leadership, personal leadership, integrity, character, relationships, and teamwork, among others. Over the last eleven years, Catalyst has grown in influence and reach, now offering three annual events on the East and West coast and in Dallas, regional One Day events, multiple resources, a dedicated online magazine, online community, the Filter content program, a bi-weekly podcast, and many other tools for young leaders. Catalyst has only just begun to go deeper with the Catalyst Community in taking them beyond a conference experience and into a relationship that provides ongoing support for growth and continued learning.

For other posts and information on how to register for a Catalyst Conference near you visit: Catalystspace.com

Guard Your Calling, Frodo, by John Ortberg

An ongoing series: Two Handed Authors and Bloggers you Should Know.

John Ortberg believes his calling is to lead people to “spiritual formation,” which is how people become more like Jesus. Through his humorous teachings he brings practical applications of Scripture to those around him.

John was born in Rockford, Illinois and received his Bachelors from Wheaton College. He went on to earn a Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology from Fuller Seminary and pursued post graduate studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Since 2003, John has served as the Senior Pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California. And he is the author of If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat and The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Growth for Ordinary People. John and his wife of twenty years, Nancy, have three children


My introduction: Heroic leadership is servant leadership. This means that all heroic leadership eventually leads to the end of yourself. You simply can’t lead with the goal of meeting the needs of others without encountering moments when the cost is the sacrifice of your own needs.  Author John Ortberg taps into one of the more powerful literary and cinematic examples of heroic servant leadership–Frodo Baggins–to find the words to describe the critical nature of “Morder moments” in servant leadership.


Guard Your Calling, Frodo

I ran across a striking statistic recently—90 percent of people who enter vocational ministry will end up in another field. (I wish I could remember the source. I’m pretty sure it was reliable, though I know our subculture is filled with what Christian Smith calls “evangelicals using statistics badly.” And 80 percent of all statistics are just made up. You can quote me.)

Of course, lots of folks who didn’t start in local church ministry will end up there.

And we live in a day when job change is a way of life; “40 years and a gold watch” stopped a long time ago.

But it got me thinking about the notion of calling.

There is something sacred about being called.

And a sense of calling needs desperately to be guarded.

Frodo's transformation from happy-go-lucky Shire youth, into an empire-shaking servant leader came at a tremendous price.

My daughter and I were re-watching Lord of the Rings before Christmas. At one point, on the last part of the journey through Mordor, Frodo turns to Sam and tells him how badly he wishes he did not have to be the one to carry the Ring. Being the Ring-Bearer was a difficult and dangerous role. He took it up voluntarily; he knew it was a worthy task; he understood in some dim way that he was suited for it—even his weakness was part of his gifting, and yet the cost of it wore him down.

Scholars sometimes speak of a distinctness that Christianity added to the idea of a vocation. The Greeks gloried in achievement; heroism was much to be aspired to. However, it was generally understood as a way to express the strength and greatness of the hero. The hero chose what army to lead and what battle to fight.

In the story of the Jesus movement, accomplishment was a more complex journey. From the history of Israel came the notion of a life not so much planned for glory as interrupted by God: “And the word of the Lord came to …” Having the word of the Lord come to you is a little like bearing the Ring—you may know it’s a glorious and powerful thing, but the task can wear on you after a while.

In ancient Greece, heroism was a chosen path.

In the Jesus story, it became a calling greater than oneself; both a glorious quest to be achieved but also a spending of oneself for Something larger.

“But you have been chosen,” Gandalf says to Frodo. “And you must therefore use such strength and hearts and wits as you have.”

You have been chosen. I don’t know if you (or I) am in exactly the perfect fitting job. But that’s not the issue.

You have been chosen.

And this sense of having been called—the worthiness of it, the glorious goodness of a life lived beyond an individual’s agenda—is a precious thing. It is sometimes subverted into grandiosity. It is perhaps more often lost in the ministry of the mundane. It needs to be guarded.

Sometimes, in the quest, we get to visit the House of Elrond; the Fellowship is united and strong, the plans are glorious, hope is fierce, and hearts beat fast.

But you don’t get to spend every day there.

All ministry involves slogging through Mordor…

To read the entire article click: Guard Your Calling Frodo.

How Men Changed Their Mind about Women in Ministry, by Scot McKnight

Ongoing Series: Culture Making Bloggers you should know

Scot McKnight, award-winning author and blogger

Scot McKnight’s award-winning blog, Jesus Creed, has become a highly influential interchange of ideas regarding the future of faith in America. Scot is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University (Chicago, Illinois) and a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. Dr. McKnight obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham, and is the author of more than thirty books, including the award-winning The Jesus Creed, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, Fasting: The Ancient Practices, The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus. to increase in readership. He and his wife, Kristen, live in Libertyville, Illinois. They have two adult children and one grandchild.

When discussing servant leadership and faith today, few issues are as important as the leadership relationships between men and women. Husbands are commanded to lay down their lives for their wives “as Christ loved the Church,” yet highly authoritarian relationships are still all too common in couples of faith.  Still more, deep conflicts over the role of women in ministry continue to plague the church. It is a critical topic for the future of faith in the global village and one that Sue and I are very passionate about.

No matter which side of the issue you are on, Scot McKnight is a great source for nuanced conversation. Here he discusses Alan Johnson’s book on men who changed their minds on the issue of women in ministry leadership.


How They Changed Their Mind about Women in Leadership

Alan Johnson, well-known and much-loved professor at Wheaton, has edited a collection of stories of well-known evangelicals who have in their own ways changed when it comes to women in ministry. His book has a great title: How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals. Every person who is either “for” or “against” increased roles of women in leadership needs to read these stories. Before I get to the names and the stories, I want to sketch Dallas Willard’s introduction.

First a question: Who wants to tell a story about change? What were the “factors” that led you to shift your mind on women in ministry? What do you think of Dallas Willard’s three points?

Dallas Willard, in fact, didn’t change his mind because he always believed in the legitimacy of women in leadership in the church. He grew up in churches where both men and women taught — though the preaching pastors were male. Dallas thinks the passages used by the complementarians are not “principles” but expressions of the principle that all Christians should be all things to all people. (I don’t entirely agree with that term the term “complementarian” is accurate for those who use it since I think most everyone would want men and women to work together for the gospel in a complementarian way. More importantly, that term today means “hierachicalist in role.”)

Willard makes three points:

1. Those gifted by God for any ministry should serve in the capacity of that gift and churches (“human arrangements”) should facilitate their service. There is no suggestion anywhere in the Bible that gifts are distributed along gender lines. Go ahead and read the gift passages — says 1 Cor 12-14, Eph 5, 1 Pet 4 — and show how gifts are connected to gender.

2. It is misleading to deal with this issue along the lines of rights and equality alone. When it comes to talents and gifts people aren’t “equal” and it’s not about “rights” but about gifts and our obligations.

3. Excluding women leaves women generally with the impression that there is something wrong with them. They may be mistaken in that but Willard makes the important observation that if God excludes them there must be some very good reason — God doesn’t just flip coins. And the so-called complementarians can’t find clear passages where such things are clearly taught.

And I would add my own two cents here. A fundamental principle in Bible interpretation is that we can’t read the “restrictive” passages in the New Testament in ways that fundamentally deny what the NT shows that women are already doing. I wrote about this in The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible.

Now back to How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals by Alan Johnson. Those who tell their stories are John Armstrong, Ruth Haley Barton, Gil Bilezikian, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Robert and Alice Fryling, Stan Gundry, Bill and Lynne Hybels, Alan Johnson, Walt and Olive Liefeld, I. Howard Marshall, Alice Mathews, Roger Nicole, John and Nancy Ortberg, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Carol and James Plueddemann, Minette Drumwright Pratt, Ron Sider, John Stackhouse Jr., John Bernard Taylor and Bonnie Wurzbacher.

In his own introduction, Johnson maps some common themes that he has found in the stories evangelical leaders tell in how they changed their mind. Are these themes the ones you have experienced or hear about? What else would you add? If you could do one thing to help hierarchicalists or complementarians find a larger role for women in ministries, what would it be?

Themes about what precipitated change, and I don’t see an order here — rather, what I see in these stories a confluence of dialectical factors:
1. The influence of a strong, gifted woman in one’s life.

2. The impression of the stories of those who changed their minds on this very issue.

3. A more careful reexamining of the whole of Scripture in light of its historical, cultural and broader theological context.

4. The experience of working side-by-side with gifted, dedicated, and called women leaders, teachers, and preachers.

5. The realization that there is a view where head, heart, and Scripture can come together and honestly confront the difficulties of applying a restrictive position consistently.

Women tell their stories and their stories show some common themes too:

1. They were shadows of males.

2. They were “submissive” in order to attract a husband.

3. They functioned as a supplement to make males complete.

4. They became depressed and struggled over rejection of their callings and gifts of the Spirit.

5. They received encouragement from respected evangelical males who wanted their gifts and callings to find full expression and for them to be completely themselves.”

What do you think about the two sides in this issue. Does the story of their change in position add to the discussion?

See more at Scot’s award-winning blog, Jesus Creed.

A Guy Walks into a Bar… and Plants a Church!

Chris Fletcher, 2010 Bethel Christian Ministries major, leading 'The Bar Church' in Two Harbors, MN (Julia Cheng)

One of my favorite students, Chris Fletcher, made national news this morning with an AP story about his unique church plant … IN A BAR!

Chris graduated from Bethel University’s Christian Ministries program in May and is now a student at Bethel Seminary.

The Associated Press article “A Man Walks into a Bar… to Preach” is getting nationwide coverage today by CBS, ABC , The Washington Post, etc.

Check it out on of one these news sites, Chris’ blog, A Cup of Grace, or The Bar Church on Facebook.

Talk about a Two Handed Warrior!

Way to go, Chris!