Tag Archives: larry osborne

4 “Leadership Felonies” That Will Obliterate Your Trust and Credibility

Stop for a minute and look at your desk lamp or your ceiling. Inside is one of the most crucial inventions of the modern world: the lightbulb.

But did you know that one monumental innovation was the result of thousands of monumental failures? In response to that repeated pattern of failure Thomas Edison famously quipped, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”


Plenty of other successful leaders have followed suite: Abraham Lincoln lost countless elections, for years Albert Einstein was told he was stupid, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, the founder of FedEx was given a C by his business professor for his college class idea.

Stories like these are comforting, aren’t they? They reassure us that our own failures and stumbles don’t have to be final.

Until they are. Because as Larry Osborne explains in his new ministry leadership book, Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret, the fact is some failures are final. “It doesn’t matter how much we believe in ourselves or how doggedly we pursue the dream, some failures permanently close the door.” (87)

In his chapter on “The High Price of Failure,” Larry outlines four major “leadership felonies” all of us ministry leaders are capable of committing. If we do, they will obliterate our trust and credibility and prevent us from executing our God-given mission.

Larry Osborne Says Answering These Two Questions Will Make Your Ministry Ripe for Birthing Innovation

As a youth worker, small group leader, or pastor, what frustrates you the most in your ministry? What do you see that’s not working?

In his new book Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret, Larry Osborn says these two questions are crucial for birthing innovation and moving organizations to new plateaus of effectiveness.

I wish I would have known that several years ago when I worked for a unique ministry to congressional leaders in our nation’s capital. The organization ministered to the spiritual needs of Senators, Representatives, and their staff through discipleship and evangelism. One of the major ways we executed our mission was by equipping congressional staffers to minister themselves.

We used a method of evangelism training that was developed in a different time and culture, focusing on answering questions about getting to heaven after death. A year in I had this sense that it wasn’t working in the unique post-Christian, young adult context of Capitol Hill (quick fact: nearly 23,000 staffers work in Congress, average age is 27!). I became frustrated that my Christian friends weren’t being trained properly and my non-Christian friends weren’t finding Christ through this method.

Larry would have told me to listen to the two questions I asked at the beginning that were gnawing at me back then. Had I known what I know now thanks to this helpful manual on ministry innovation, I may have birthed some lasting ideas that would have brought lasting change to this community.

Again, what is frustrating you in your current ministry context? What do you see that isn’t working? Answering these two questions will make your ministry ripe for innovation. According to Larry here’s why:

Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Failure Is The Norm. Larry Osborne Says Do These 2 Things To Succeed

You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Innovate or die. But what most organization consultants don’t tell you is what Larry Osborne does in his new manual for ministry innovation.

The dirty little secret about innovation is simply this: Most innovations fail.

“It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a new product, a new program, or a new process. it can be a new company or even a new church. When it comes time to start something new or make a major change, the surest horse you can bet on is the one called Failure.” (17)

Well that’s comforting! And sobering, especially if you’re in the middle of a campaign to help right a ship that’s drifted off course.

This is where Larry’s new books comes in, Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret. He says that he has long felt that the Innovation Emperor is naked, that the hype and promises are overblown. Perhaps you’ve felt the same way. Larry is here to tell you “that you’re not the crazy one. When it comes to innovation and leading change, it’s the conventional wisdom [about innovation] that’s crazy.” (26)

If you want to avoid failure, or at least minimize the chance its ugly head will pop up, then Larry suggests you do these 2 crucial things in order to better navigate the predictable risks and dangers of implementing new ideas and major organizational change.

Mega Gospel Coalition 2013 Post-Conference Sale

While I’ve been trying to for the past several years, I have yet to attend a Gospel Coalition conference—one of those things I’m planning for next year now that I’m settling into my new ministry role. Well last week a number of ministry leaders and practitioners descended on Orlando to listen to a solid line-up of speakers share thoughts and insights on the mission of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, and what that mission means for our own ministries.

Did you make it to the conference this year? If so, what’s that one insight you learned that has stuck with you?

One of the things I love about conferences are the mega deals on resources that will not only challenge me as a Christian, but “plus” my ministry— I love finding resources that will provoke thoughts and practices that will further equip me to do what God has called me to do. Well, I’m really pleased to let you know that Zondervan is discounting a set of phenomenal resources that will do all the above.

Big eBook sale on Ministry and Leadership books!

Merry Christmas! There’s a big eBook sale going on from now through January 7th. All of the ministry and leadership ebooks listed below are on sale. There are also fiction, kids, and Christian living titles on sale too. You can see the whole list of titles here.

This eBook sale is good across all eBook formats – Nook, Kindle, iPad – everything. So if you’re looking for some good reading to do over Christmas break, or if you’re anticipating having a new eBook reader after Christmas, don’t forget about this sale.



Deep & Wide  by Andy Stanley was $12.99, now $5.99

Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker was $8.99, now $3.99

It’s Personal by Brian & Amy Bloye was $6.99, now $3.99

Adventures in Churchland by  Dan Kimball was $6.99, now $3.99

Humilitas by John Dickson was $10.99, now $3.99

King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight was $10.99, now $3.99

Gospel Coach by Scott Thomas & Tom Wood was $6.99, now $3.99

Sifted  by Wayne Cordeiro, Francis Chan & Larry Osborne was $8.99, now $3.99

Are You Becoming An Accidental Pharisee? Larry Osborne Confronts the Dark Side of Passionate Faith and Ministry

Now that’s a punchy, provocative question if I’ve ever seen one! And a loaded one at that. It’s not meant to be loaded, though. It’s meant as a genuine question for us ministry leaders to consider, because Larry Osborne in his new book Accidental Pharisees is on a mission to help passionate people like you and me who, despite the best of intentions and a desire to honor God, end up pursuing an overzealous faith and ministry life that sabotages the work of the Lord we think we’re serving. (17)

Of course none of us ever start out with the desire to be a Pharisee. For those of us in the know, Pharisee is a dirty word, they’re the bad guys who Johnny and Susie never wanted to be when they grew up. As Osborne says, “I’ve never heard anyone describe himself as a Pharisee. I bet you haven’t either. The word always describes someone else.” (19)

Nope, not me. Yep, someone else. Yet I’ve been there, done that. If you’re honest you have, too.

Interview with Larry Osborne on “Accidental Pharisees”

Larry OsbornePastor Larry Osborne (Northcoast Church) was recently interviewed on “180 with Karl Clauson” about his book Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and Other Dangers of Overzealous FaithYou can listen to the interview here.

“Larry Osborne combines winsome humor, brutal honesty, and keen insights about mistakes that good-hearted leaders are making. Read this book.” – Matt Chandler

“I was thankful Larry Osborne wrote this book for some Pharisees I know. After reading it, I was convicted that he wrote it for me.” – Gene Appel

“Larry Osborne has written many great books, but this is his best. As I read each chapter, I kept thinking how desperately the church needs to hear this message. Every believer should read it.” – Rick Warren


“Accidental Pharisees” by Larry Osborne

The pursuit of radical faith—high commitment, high passion Christianity—has hidden dangers. In Accidental Pharisees, Larry Osborne explores nine of the most common temptations that can ensnare us on the road to a deeper life of faith and warns against the danger of adding activities onto the teachings of Jesus that “prove” our commitment to God.

Read a sample.

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