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Huddle Up


(This note was sent to equip Head Coaches and Coaches in our ongoing journey to develop a thriving and reproducing Volunteer Leadership Development Pipeline at West Ridge Church. It’s totally ok for you to peak behind our curtain.)

Ever noticed a quarterback having to tell his guys to huddle up. There is this little motion they do with both hands open and the fingers outstretched, you pull your hands together to intertwine the fingers a couple of times. It means let’s get together. If someone who doesn’t know football looked at it from an outsiders perspective you might think the quarterback is asking for a group hug.

Most of the time huddling is a given, but when the quarterback has been in a hurry up offense for a few plays trying to make things happen quickly they have to break the ‘hurry up’ mode with this cute little gesture. We get in a hurry for lots of reasons like trying to keep the defense on its heels, or perhaps by starting a Third Service and cutting down the amount of time in between services making some leaders feel like everything is more rushed! See what I did there! 🙂

Huddling is important. It brings the connectivity to volunteering so people don’t feel like they are just doing a job. Your huddles are probably very quick; five, ten, fifteen minutes max. Here are some tips on huddling that will add value to even a short amount of the time.

1. Begin with BLESS. A majority of West Ridge Staff Meetings begin with a question, “Who are you BLESSing? The acronym stands for: Begin with prayer, Listen to what people are saying, Eat with them, Serve them, Share your Story with them. Not every staff member answers the question every week. In fact, there are some periods where the answer is the same, or no further progress has been made. That’s ok. Prayer can keep going as long as needed, but all of us should have someone outside of the Christian faith that we are figuring out how to BLESS.

2. Cast Vision. Walking around on Sunday a couple of weeks ago, I sensed God reminding me that He has a vision for every volunteer role. If He doesn’t, let’s not waste people’s time in asking them to do something. As the Coach or Head Coach, do you have a vision for every volunteer role on your team? Not the reason a task could or should be done, but the vision for how that volunteer opportunity helps create opportunities for Life Change.

In a huddle, pull out one volunteer every week and in front of everyone give the vision for how what they do creates Life Change. Everyone will leave that huddle under your leadership ready to tackle every challenge of the day and seize every opportunity.

3. Give Information. The Pastor, Director, or Ministry Leader probably give you some things to share here and there to keep you all moving together. Our Director of Mission and Mobilization, Kevin Dunlap, told me when I was Children’s Pastor that lack of information creates anxiety. I’m not going to tell you why he told me that, but I may have given him a reason. Make sure everyone feels like they know what they need and then some to make the whole team successful.

4. Pray. Prayer is not a throw away, a last resort, or a convenient way to end a meeting. In fact you may want to begin your huddle with it. Prayer reminds us that on any given Sunday the impossible can happen. Every day of our own journeys can be filled with holy expectation when it is covered in prayer, and Sunday should be no different. Let prayer fill God’s house so that He can show up and not hold back.

How do you know if it’s a good huddle? When you break your team should be inspired and energized. It won’t happen every time, but if it happens enough, your volunteer team will buzz with energy and unity and will recruit others to multiply the work.


Paul Richardson
Pastor of Ministry and Leadership Development
West Ridge Church

Blog –

Anything Is Possible


Octane 1I was speaking with a Ministry Leader at another Metro Atlanta Church a couple of weeks ago. This person is coming to Local Church leadership from another vocation, and in the conversation made a statement that made me want to stand up and worship right there in that coffee shop. He said, (And I’m paraphrasing) “One of the things that I love about the local church is knowing that on any given Sunday anything is possible.”

I don’t know what your knee jerk reaction is to that comment. I hope that you respond with “Of course it is!” However, I believe a lot of congregations don’t show up on Sunday with that kind of holy expectancy. Worship, volunteering, and vocational ministry can get mundane in a hurry. But with prayer and in the power of the Holy Spirit, “Anything is possible…today!”

Today could be a day of major breakthrough.

Today could be the day when a prayer is answered.

Today could be the day the prodigal returns.

Today could be the day when a life is changed.

After our Third Service yesterday I spoke to a guy who said he spent $4,000 on cocaine alone in the last week. That is in addition to his struggle with methamphetamine. Yesterday was the day he came forward to begin the journey of putting Christ in charge of his life. Alongside of him was his fiancé who has been asking him for months and months to come with her to Church. With tears in her eyes all that she could say in a barely audible whisper was, “He came today.”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

Still Learning,


Baby Steps

There are moments in life when you might feel absolutely paralyzed. Where your mind is so clouded by circumstances or overwhelmed by clutter that you don’t even know where to begin. That may be you today. In fact, if your brain was well organized and you were prepared to get work done there’s no way you would be reading this. There’s a pretty simple formula for dealing with this. Here goes;

#1 – Pray.

Too many times we ignore prayer. The longer I listen to Christian leaders who really get things done, and read scripture about great leaders the more I realize that prayer is not a meaningless footnote or a glossing over. It is a necessary first step to accomplishing anything that will make a difference on this day and beyond.

#2 – Just write today’s plan.

Keep in mind this is if you are stuck and overwhelmed. This isn’t the weekly, the monthly, or the annual plan. This is just today. I can be a compulsive planner. I can plan about planning and when the day is over all I have is a plan. If you are really stuck think of it this way; when you get home at the end of the day to engage your family what accomplishment will give you the most peace. If that thing left undone is going to make you grouchy or irritable (I have experience in this), then get it done before you go home. Don’t drive angry.

#3 – Take a Baby Step

I love the Bill Murray movie “What About Bob”. It’s right up there with ‘Groundhog Day’ when it comes to true classics. Bill Murray’s character Bob suffers from multiple phobias, and at times is literally overwhelmed about even the thought of taking the right next step. Until Dr Leo Marvin gives him a ground breaking book called Baby Steps.

There are times I have been overwhelmed by grief, by financial stress, by job pressure, you name it. I bet you have too. During these times I do my best to discipline myself to stop and pray, and then God reveals He has given me today. Today, is full of God-breathed potential, and could be a day with a breakthrough or a Divine appointment.

No matter what you are faced with don’t think or look too far down the road. Just take a baby step.

Still Learning


Joseph Grenny

Leadership is intentional influence.

How do you create ‘Vital Behavior’?

Make and keep weekly commitments to income and savings (To help change behavior).

Sources of Influence:

Personal Motivation

The influence of the pain or pleasure of the behavior itself

Bad stuff often feels like fun with no consequences. Good stuff often feels like sacrifice

As an influencer we have to make the good stuff feel pleasurable.

Don’t just teach principles. Connect them to values.

Help people frame specific daily decisions in godly ways.


Personal Ability…

…is the influence of skill. Ability often comes before motivation.


Want more influence?

You have to help people with deliberate practice under realistic conditions.

Create periods of Intense focus

Lots of coaching and feedback.


Social influence – The influence of other people through modeling, praise, helping, and enabling.

The influence of other people can have a tremendous impact on behavior


Structural Motivation

We have to look at the incentives that create changes in behavior.

Space data, cues, tools, processes, and other environmental behaviors.

These can be used to make bad behavior harder and also good choices easier and obvious.


Notes taken from @JosephGrenny talk at 2013 Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church

Still Learning,


Liz Wiseman – Global Leadership Summit 2013


A Multiplier is a Leader who amplifies and multiplies the intelligence of those around them.

Why do some leaders drain intelligence while others multiply it?

There’s more intelligence in our leadership teams than seems available to the naked eye. When you lead like a multiplier people can literally get smarter working for you.


Doesn’t listen


Doesn’t delegate









A diminisher gets less than half of their teams capability

A multiplier gets more than 90% of their teams capability

A multiplier creates an environment that gives people space to do their best thinking and do their best work.

Are you leading like a genius that knows everything that needs to be done (Diminisher)? Or are you leading in such a way that creates genius in others (Multiplier)?

Everything above was said by Liz Wiseman or are my quick summary of what was said.


Still Learning,


Patrick Lencioni – Global Leadership Summit


How To Lose Your Best People

A leader is a chief reminding officer. People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.

It’s not about getting a good job or a bad job. It’s about getting a job that creates fulfillment or misery.

Three Things That Create Job Misery

1. Anonymity

The people that we worked for don’t know us and don’t have an interest in getting to know us.

No one wants to be anonymous.

Good people don’t leave jobs where they are known.

We are called to love the people that work for us.


2. Irrelevance

If you don’t think that your job matters to some one in some way you cannot love your work.

Thank people for how they do their job and tell them how they make your life different.

Why don’t we do it? We assume they already know, but they need to be reminded constantly.


3. ‘Immeasurement

All human beings have a need in their lives to be able to assess for themselves whether or not they are successful.

A leader has to be able to give up control and allow people to assess for themselves whether or not they are doing a good job.


You cannot be a Christ-like leader without taking the time to get to know other people.

Management is a ministry.


(Everything listed above was said by Patrick Lencioni or my quick summary.)

Still Learning,


Colin Powell – Global Leadership Summit 2013


Leadership is about getting more out of people than the science of management says you can.

Leadership is about followership. It is about the collective efforts of individuals.

Always empower…and empowerment means taking risk, and it means trust.

Give your followers a ‘zone of operation’ to make decisions in.

Trust is both the glue that holds things together and the lubricant that will keep things moving forward.

If you want to be a great leader have a destination and take care of your troops.

Execution is the most important part of getting to your destination.


Axioms from Colin Powell

It will look different in the morning. (An axiom that helps you face the next day with a positive attitude)

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. (People look to the leader for confidence. People look to the leader to solve problems.)

Get mad and then get over it. (You can’t stay mad or the whole organization is contaminated)

Leaders are people who solve problems. If you are not solving them that just means people stopped bringing them to you. They have lost trust.

What is a red flag with an emerging leader? Ego. No humbleness and no consideration of others.

Promote people based on their potential not just their past performance.

Tell me early (Tell me about the problem early. Tell me about it before it blows up.)

I’m the product of every circumstance, best and worst, and every person who has ever intersected with me.

Still Learning,


Bill Hybels – Global Leadership Summit 2013


“The Courage That Leadership Requires”

Deuteronomy 31:7-8, Joshua 1:9


Be Strong and Courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you 

wherever you go.” 

Joshua is doubly warned about fear and encouragement.

Leadership demands a non-stop flow of fortitude


Courage correlates to every facet of leadership.

Vision is the most important tool in a leader’s arsenal.

Make people so discontent with where they are that they are willing to move from ‘Here’ to ‘There’

Every significant vision that God puts in you is going to put your courage to the test.

Many leaders will abort the vision halfway from here to there.

A lot of leaders will secretly destroy a vision that God has given them because they are not sure it will succeed.

Don’t go to your grave with great vision dying inside of you. Don’t die a coward.

Visions are commodities that come from God.


The Courage To Define Your Current Reality

All leaders are leading in either a; a)  an area where things are going down, b) status quo environment, or c) an environment where there is an upturn.

You have to know which you are in to know how to lead.

The hardest thing is to have the courage to figure out which one you are.


The Courage To Create A Fantastic Culture

People join organizations. They leave managers.

Staff cultures will only be as healthy as the CEO/Senior Pastor will want this to be.

Enormous courage is going to be required to make significant gains in your culture

Don’t pay people to bruise and bust our culture.

You will not believe the performance difference in a healthy culture vs a toxic culture. It all comes back to a healthy flourishing culture


Establishment and Enforcement of Values

There’s a time of casting vision and there’s a time of creating an enviable value

There’s a time where a leader has to stop suggesting something and throw down the gauntlet and create a value

It’s no longer a vision. It’s a value.

Something typically has to flip over in the heart of a leader before this happens.

This is the difference between cowardice and courage in leadership

This is a difference between level 4 and level 5 leadership


The Courage Required By Leaders To Finish Strong

If you lead an organization long enough you will have to reinvent the organization and yourself more than once.

Leading over the long haul and finishing strong requires unending courage.

Some of a leaders most rewarding experiences are reserved for the end of the race.


Notes are all quotes from Bill Hybels or my quick summarizing during his talk.


Still Learning,





May God Give You Courage

Look Up LionEarlier this year I was in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso as part of my work as the Executive Director of Engage Burkina. This non-profit was began to help pull more resources into this incredibly under-resourced country in West Africa to provide water, schools, and opportunities for women. Seeing projects accomplished is inspiring, but it’s the people that make the efforts worth while.

One of those people is a man named Tomas Traore. He is a Pastor and Leader for hundreds of other churches as part of his denomination. He is a Board member to this non-profit. I like him because he is shorter than I am, and because he is a powerful man of prayer. Occasionally you encounter people that just seemed to have a different wave length as it applies to the supernatural. Pastor Tomas is just such a man.

I was sharing with him the story of losing my closest friend, Andrew Pray, in a cycling accident five months previous to our conversation. With another non-profit director and partner in the room as well as the site leader for Engage Burkina, John Arnold, I began weeping as I told the story. It was an ugly cry, if you know what I mean. There was no stopping the tears or controlling the octave levels of my voice. I was hot, tired, had just overcome a special version of West African Revenge in my intestines, and grief was still much closer to me than I expected.

It was in this moment that Pastor Tomas leaned over his desk and said to me, “May God give you courage.” It was the first time I have ever heard anyone associate courage with grief. I have heard and used words like comfort, peace, and strength to those in grief. That day a light went off for me, courage has been the antidote I needed for grief.

I am used to thinking of courage as standing up out of conviction for what you believe in, or having the gumption to face a fear and those are true. By definition courage is first; “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear”.

If you have only experienced grief as an emotion, or only treated it that way, courage may not make a ton of sense. However, if you have experienced the pain of grief you understand the need for courage. Emotion can sneak up on us, and can hold us back for a moment. Pain can be sharp and sudden. Pain can be a weight. It can be a dull ache you carry with you that can constantly remind you of how the wound was caused. Pain can stop you in your tracks, make you want to turn around, and lay yourself back down. It is courage that stands you back up, keeps you moving forward, and helps you face another day.

I have observed grief from afar, from up close, and watched it emerge with my own tears. For as long as I live when I approach grief I will say to myself and to others, “May God give you courage.”

Still Learning,