Category Archives: Leadership

New Life is defined by our frontline volunteers

Believe it or not, this is a statement that causes some discussion.  Many people think that a church should be defined by the people who have attended there the longest.  Some think it should be defined by the person who spends the most time presenting behind the mic.  Some think that the church should be defined by the family who holds the most power.  We don’t believe this at New Life.  We truly believe that we are defined by our frontline volunteers.  Think about it…we can do all the strategizing and planning to create irresistible environments….yet if the person who meets the guest first…gives a wrong impression….that is how we will be defined.  Our fronline volunteers are people like Mike & Abby Durrett.  They lead our host team.  They carry themselves very well and challenge our host team to strive for the best care to everyone who walks through the door.  Guests make comments like, “I really felt like they were pleased to meet me”, “I felt very welcomed when we came in”, “the people seemed genuinely happy”.  This is our host team.  They make a difference by making people feel welcomed.  Others on our frontline are our volunteers in Adventureland (nursery) and Kid Tough (elementary kids).  Again, we can create the best environments possible for adults….but if we suck in the area of reaching kids…the parents would not come back.  The final group that I define as our frontline volunteers are all the people who trust us by bringing their friends who are far from God.  Think about it.  You’ve built a relationship with a friend/neighbor/co-worker and now you’re going to take the risk of inviting them to one of the most important areas of your life….you church and relationship with Christ.  We’re honored and humbled to have great people who trust us to bring their friends to the environments we’ve created for the sake of eternity.  New Life is defined by our frontline volunteers.

What defines your organization/church?

People attend because they are invited, they stay because they are included.

We have found that one of the areas that we are NOT weak in is having new people come visit our church.  We don’t have an “evangelism” problem.  The people in our church have really embraced the environments that we’ve created and church has become irresistible.  People attend because they are invited. The question we need to ask and the tension that’s created is, how do we get them to stay?  Why do they stay?  What keeps them connected?  We believe that they stay because they are included.

My friend K (yea that’s his name) has been coming to New Life for just over a year.  When he first walked in he had the look of someone you should be afraid of.  Someone who might hang out with gangsters.  He came to church with his wife & kids.  I got the impression that he was coming for his wife.  K’s total involvement was whatever his wife wanted to do and whatever his kids needed to do.  Over time, he went through Starting Point, Crown Financial, he’s joined our Host Team, and he’s one of our key leaders for setting up our “Well” service.  Not that it matters, but he just cut his hair last week and he’s dressing different.  I asked him why he did that and he said, “to show respect to my elders and be an example for my kids”.  K is a perfect example of someone staying because they’re included.  Yea, he could still be coming and experiencing church with his family just because they want to come…but he wanted more.  He noticed something different.  He’s now included and he’s part of the family.

I’m so glad that I’m part of a church that allows people like K to come and be accepted for who he is and not require that he changes before he belongs.

People attend because they are invited, they stay because they are included.

Why do people stay with your company or stay at your church?

Our steps and systems





Over the next few days I’ll be blogging about ten statements from the initiative we’re doing as a leadership team here at New Life.  These statements are from the booklet that Pastor Troy is creating (and he’s really good at creating booklets) called “Our steps and systems”.  I’ll be commenting on our defining statements.  These are the statements that define how we treat new people.


How do you hear from God?

I know I’ve been away….I’ll try not to ignore my blog for so long again…….

Below is an article I wrote for the Seattle Christian School alumni newsletter.  Enjoy

Growing up in Mrs. Klerekoper’s 9th grade bible class I remember learning how God would speak to the children of Israel. How they would be in peril or just simply looking for direction and God would show up in the form of a pillar of fire, parting waters, or even a burning bush. At the ripe age of 15 I didn’t have a clue that one day I would need to have an ear that would hear from God. When faced with a life choice and asking God to give you direction…what do you do? How does God speak to you? Where do you go to “hear” from God? This has been my journey for the last 5 years…

Life was good and I loved my job. I was in ministry full time at the church I’d attended for 12 years. I had a great wife, 2 beautiful kids, a great dog and a healthy mortgage. Why would God be stirring me to make a change? Why would I feel like I needed to take a big step? I remember discussing this with my wife and sharing with her my desire to be directly in the middle of God’s will for me. She agreed…yet didn’t feel the same way about possibly moving across the country based on a “feeling”. I had the opportunity of a lifetime. Moving to Atlanta, GA and working for my hero and mentor John Maxwell. What a great opportunity. Truly my wife would have the same excitement about this move that I had and she’ll jump for joy at the possibility of leaving all our friends & family here in Seattle for this job? We’ll, not exactly. At first she was hesitant. Then we had a great conversation with my mother-in-law about how to pray for Gods will in this decision. She said, “If it’s truly God’s will….He will confirm it in our spirit individually and separately so we will both feel the confirmation”. That was truly wisdom. As we prayed about this opportunity…we both had peace that this was God sending us on this journey. So we moved to Atlanta…..everything was great until I lost my job 10 months later.

10 months after I moved to Atlanta the company I worked for was sold and my position didn’t exist anymore. How could I have done this? How could I have moved my family to the other side of the country and then loose the very job that brought us here? When I faced my wife to tell her the bad news she just simply looked at me with love and understanding and said, “God moved us here for a reason….let’s just figure that out”. Since we knew that we didn’t just move on a whim…we knew that God had a reason for us to make the move and we were determined to walk that path.

I could have pressured my wife to move across the country and she probably would have agreed. Yet, by seeking wisdom from mentors and praying for God’s will….we made the right choice. Living in the center of God’s will is the best place for me & my family.

How do you hear from God?

3 steps to change our nations future

We are at a crucial time in our country’s financial history. Congress defeated the $700 billion bailout plan on Monday. However, they are revising it and trying to push it through again. Dave Ramsey is supporting an alternative plan that will keep our nation from going even deeper in debt.  Click Here for more information about solfing this problem and saving us from going further into debt.

Here is the plan that Dave Ramsey is suggesting to solve our country’s financial issues:

The Common Sense Fix
Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an economic nightmare in this country, but $700 billion in new debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I will not support any congressperson who votes to implement such a policy. Instead, I submit the following three-step Common Sense Plan.
a. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance.
Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.
b. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two things:
1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.
c. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.
a. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.
b. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.
a. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.
b. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement investments that go up instead of down.

This is not a time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all of us, as Americans, to stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.

This literally makes the most sense of anything I’ve seen out there.

Click HERE for more information about what to do next.

You ask….I answer!

Occasionally people will email me with a great question.  Rather than just sending the info back to them…I’m posting it.  Here ya go.


Subject: SG Trainings

Hey Loran:

When do you do your SG Trainings?  I believe you did yours during the services, and asked them to attend one of them, true?  Has this worked well for you?  What are the pros and cons of this?


Since we don’t ask people to stay for both service & Sunday school…it works well. I get about 65% attendance to the training. Typically the majority of those who don’t attend are either serving somewhere in ministry or out of town. I find it very successful.

Here’s what we do (Pro’s I guess….):

S2 training (Shared Skills)

Services: 9AM, 10:30AM, 12 Noon

Training 10:30AM & 12:15PM.

This way they can attend their service and then come to training.

It forces me to keep the training down to 1 hr 20 min.

We have six essentials and rotate the topic.

Lots of table discussion

We feed them brunch/lunch

I give out free stuff.

I ask the leaders to invite their co-leaders/apprentices to come.

I repeat the training on the Tuesday after the Sunday training for the Pastors (They typically can’t attend the training on Sunday). I have them invite their spouses to the Tuesday training. We typically have a Pastors staff meeting every Tuesday at 8:30….so for that Tuesday we do Group Leader Training.  I also host a Grouplife leaders conference in October.

Con’s…..overall vision. People that attended one training think they’ve been there done that and don’t need more. I need to continually cast the vision for ongoing training. Side note: people want ongoing training…. They just don’t know how to package it and value it when it’s offered. I can directly point to the successful groups and failing ones and tie that into their involvement in ongoing training.

Limited time?

Can’t get too specific due to time & audience. I invite all leaders (men’s, ladies, marrieds) to this training at the same time. (future, I might split up the weekends and do marries one weekend and men/ladies the next…..not there yet).

People might choose training over service….not good.

Believe it or not…room availability.

That’s it for now.


Ask Another?

I’m so excited

Tonight we launched three new Crown Financial groups representing 40 people.  This is so exciting because #1. They’re connecting in community and #2…they’re learning Godly principles for their finances.  Watching all those people meet their new leader for the first time and check out the rooms that they’ll be meeting in made me feel great.  I love my job!  I could take nights like tonight 3-4 times a week.  Thanks Michelle, Amy, & Greg for stepping up and leading these groups.  You’ll have a special gem in your crown in heaven and a Starbucks card from me for taking what God put in your bucket and simply pouring it into someone else.

What are you excited about tonight?