Blog

Welcome the Black Swan

By Bill Mowry October 28, 2019

With my gray hair comes a lifetime of reading. There’s a lot of books that have captured my attention over the years. One book that’s had a lingering influence is The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. How can a book about a bird be helpful? For hundreds of years, we assumed that all swans were white. No one thought of a black swan. Then black swans were discovered in Australia. Our knowledge of the swam family was up-ended because we had concluded that since […]

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I Don’t Read Books About Disciplemaking (Here’s What I Read Instead)

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

What?! Someone whose ministry is about disciplemaking doesn’t read books about disciplemaking? Isn’t that a heretical statement? Perhaps it is. Here’s why I say this. I think my taste for disciplemaking books was spoiled by the first book I ever read on disciplemaking, The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman. I still have my worn yellow-cover, underlined 1973 edition. Coleman’s book set the bar for disciplemaking for my generation. Every book since is simply a refinement or expansion of his work on Jesus’ disciplemaking […]

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Beware The Person In Brown

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

WHO is this person in brown? It’s the UPS delivery person! I love seeing the chocolate-brown UPS truck pull up to my house. The sight of the brown truck triggers an anticipation of a package. However, there can be a downside to this brand’s sameness. Several years ago, my Navigator staff friend Jerry made this observation: “The Navigators is like the UPS guy (when they were all guys!). We can spot them by the brown color of their trucks, their brown shorts, and the little […]

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I’ve Changed My Mind About Change

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

I’ve always loved change. A student in our former campus ministry once observed, “You know, Bill, we don’t have to do something different each semester. We can repeat ourselves!” Why repeat yourself when you can try something new? As a leader, I’ve extolled change as a natural part of life and leadership. Change has usually been easy because as the leader I typically initiated the change. I assumed that if people didn’t get on board with the change, the problem was with them. After all, […]

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Are You Practicing Hot-Tub Leadership?

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

Have you heard the story about the hot tub? Mary was part of a male/female leadership team meeting for long-range ministry planning. Their meeting place was a motel conference center. After the evening meal, the men went to relax in the hot tub and invited the women to join them. The women politely declined and the groups went their separate ways. Imagine the women’s surprise the next morning when the men described the decisions made in the hot tub. Turns out that the guys’ casual […]

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Practice Others-Promoting

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

It was twenty-five years ago but it seems like yesterday. I walked away from the meeting feeling humiliated and ashamed. What began as a casual meeting with my supervisor turned into a moment of embarrassment. Sitting calmly in a restaurant, Tim looked at me and said, “I’ve never met another staff who was so self-promoting.” Ouch! I was too bewildered and hurt to follow-up on the conversation. Within several months, Tim floated out of my life because of some organizational changes. There’s no doubt that […]

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Welcome the Contrarian in Your Midst

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

I bet you have one in your life — the sometimes annoying contrarian. There’s probably a contrarian sibling, friend, or church member among your relationships. These men and women“poke the bear” — asking us uncomfortable questions, challenging our assumptions, or proposing new solutions. Contrarians think and say things in ways that are “contrary” to the current norm. We’ve all experienced the impact of a contrarian. In fact, some of us may be contrarians (I raise my hand to this!). Let’s be honest. Contrarians are a […]

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I Was So Much Younger Then…

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

I admit it. His slightly discordant harmonica playing and cigarette-scarred voice is an acquired taste. But, I’m still a fan. Some of Bob Dylan’s songs contain pieces of gold. Here’s one example from My Back Pages. Good and bad, I define these terms Quite clear, no doubt, somehow Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now. I find myself identifying with these lyrics. When I was younger, things appeared so black and white. I was on a quest for biblical […]

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Simplicity Rules!

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

The older I get the more I value simplicity. Maybe its because my attention span is shorter and my patience runs thinner. This leads to a confession. I’m embarrassed to admit that over the years, I’ve devised a lot of complicated ministry strategies, solutions, and programs that yielded little or no returns. Complexity seldom pays off. The folksinger Woody Guthrie is quoted as saying: “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make things simple.” I’m learning the value of simplicity. In […]

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Confessions of a Vision Junkie

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

I have a confession to make. I’m a vision junkie. My fascination with vision is probably because I’m an idealist at heart. Before becoming a Christ-follower, my idealism led me to join arms with the 1960s peace movement and its related streams of poverty eradication and racism. Surely we could change the world! When I discovered Jesus in college, I found the ultimate vision and Visionary. I was a quick convert to the vision of “world-conquering disciples” (a great 1960s slogan!).  At twenty years old, […]

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