Category Archives: leadership

Do As I Say (DEMO)

Do As I SayTime

5 minutes

This demonstration helps participants understand that what they do as leaders often communicates much more than what they say.



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Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Everyone stand up.”
  • “Take your right hand, and hold it up like this.”  (Hold up your right hand about the level of your ear so that everyone can see it.)
  • “Now, touch your index finger to your thumb like this.”  (Demonstrate what you’ve asked them to do.  Your right index finger and thumb should be in a pinching gesture.)
  • “Good, hold your fingers like that, and touch your chin.” (Demonstrate the action, but this time, don’t touch your chin with your fingers.  Instead, touch your right cheek as you tell them to touch their chins.  Most of the participants will model what they see you doing even though you’ve told them to do something different.)
  • “Okay, let’s do it again.  Take your right hand, pinch your fingers and touch your chin.”  (Again, touch your cheek as you do this.)
  • “Everyone stop and hold your hand right there.”
  • “What are you touching?”
  • “Are you touching your chin like I asked you to do, or are you touching your cheek like you saw me do?”  (Participants will usually laugh at themselves for making the mistake.)
  • “So what can we learn from this activity?”  (Responses should include that what people see us doing is a more powerful influencer than what they hear us say.  If our actions don’t match our words, they will be more likely to follow our actions.)

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Filed under Demonstration, Integrity, leadership

Situational Leadership Development Levels (ICEBREAKER)


15 minutes

This icebreaker is specifically for teaching Situational Leadership and the four Development Levels.  However, it can be used with workshops on coaching, mentoring or general leadership skills.  You will teach the participants to sing a simple song at an expert level.


Teens, Adults


o  PowerPoint slide with the lyrics of your simple song, LCD projector and screen

o  (Alternative) Flipchart and marker to write and post the lyrics

o  Flipchart and marker to keep track of the participants’ progress



o  This icebreaker assumes that you have already taught the group about the four Development Levels of Situational Leadership.  If you have not, leave out any references to Development Level and just talk about Beginning Skill, Medium Skill and Expert Skill.

o  Select a song (with motions if possible) that they don’t know.  Pick a song that it very easy to learn with repetitive lyrics, e.g., “Jesus Loves Me,” “B-I-B-L-E,” “Mercy Is Falling,” “River of Life” or “This Is the Day” would work.  It’s okay if different participants are more familiar with the song, but most should not know the words and/or motions.  If you have some D4’s (experts) in the group, get them to teach the song to everyone else, or if you have a significant number of D4s, have them teach smaller groups.  This activity can work especially well for teaching a group that doesn’t have English as its first language.

o  Create a PowerPoint slide or flipchart with the lyrics of a simple song

o  Create a flipchart with four columns, labeled, “D1,” “D2,” “D3” and “D4”

o  Practice the script



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “How many of you recognize this melody?”  (Hum the song for the group, or play it instrumentally.  Don’t sing the words yet.)
  • “Now, I’m not going to embarrass you in any way, but I’m curious to find out.  How many of you feel like you have the skills and knowledge to sing this song?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “How many of you would be confident and motivated to sing this song in the privacy of your own home with no one else listening?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “How many of you would still be confident and motivated to sing this song here in this room?”  (Look for a show of hands.  If you have several hands up, ask how many would STILL be confident and motivated to sing this song alone in front of the class.  If they are willing and wouldn’t be embarrassed, let them come up and perform the song.  Otherwise, you should sing it for the class with the motions – if there are any.)
  • “I am going to teach you how to sing this song (and do the motions).”
  • “My goal is to help you all become either D3 – Cautious Performers – or D4 – Self-Reliant Achievers – before I am done.”
  • “But I want to track my progress, so I would like to get a count of how many people we have at each level.”
    • Ask each group to assign a table leader.  You can add energy to this and make it quicker if you tell everyone to point their fingers toward the ceiling and then point to the person they think should be the leader on the count of three. 
    • Ask the table leaders to talk to their teams and get a count for each development level.
    • Then, ask each leader for a count, and write it on the chart.
  • “How many at your table would you say are a D1 – confident and motivated but lacking skills and/or knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart.)
  • “How many at your table would you say are a D2 – lacking confidence and/or motivation and lacking skills and/or knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart.)
  • “How many at your table would you say are a D3 – lacking confidence and/or motivation but having both skills and knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart.)
  • “many at your table would you say are a D4 – having confidence, motivation, skills AND knowledge?” (Get the counts from each table leader, and post them on a flipchart.  You might want to tally the number of each Development Level and turn it into a percentage to track progress.)
  • “Great, let’s learn the song!”
    • Teach the song one line at a time along with any motions (one word at a time if your participants do not know the English words). 
    • Have them repeat after you each time until they get it. 
    • After several times through the entire song, ask table leaders to count the number of people in their group at each level, and write these new numbers on the chart.
    • Then, ask your brave D4s to come and teach to the whole group (if the D4s are willing). 
    • Let them go through the song twice at a moderate pace so that others can learn. 
    • If some in the larger group are still struggling, ask someone who has moved to D3 or D4 in each group to help the rest of the group, or have your D4 experts go to those tables to coach them. 
    • Give them a few minutes to work through it, and then ask the table leaders to find out what development level their team members are at. (You won’t always be able to motivate everyone to D4, but you can at least give them the skills and knowledge to reach D3.)
    • Write these totals on the chart, and talk about the progress that has been made.
    • Finally, ask all your D4s (old and new) to lead everyone two more times through the entire song (with the motions).
    • Congratulate the group on their expertise! 
    • Reward your D4 volunteers for their bravery.
    • If you want to debrief the exercise, you can ask the following.


Debrief Questions

  • “What helped you move from D1 or D2 to D3 or D4?”
  • “What techniques did you notice me using in order to help you improve your skills and knowledge?”
    “What techniques did you notice me using in order to help you improve your confidence and motivation?”
  • “What else might have been helpful?”
  • “Why didn’t everyone make it to D4?”  (If this was the case)
  • “What did you learn from this activity that you could apply to your leadership?”

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Filed under Coaching, leadership, Performance, Training

Restored (GAME)


15-20 minutes

Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.  After Jesus rose from the dead, he reinstated Peter to leadership of the church by giving him three opportunities to express his love for Jesus.  In this activity, children will try to knock down three cans labeled, “I don’t know him!” with beanbags or balls labeled, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”



  • John 18:15-18
  • John 18:25-27
  • John 21:15-17



  • 3 canned foods labeled, “I don’t know him!”
  • 3 beanbags or balls labeled, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”
  • Note cards or duct tape to use to label the cans and the beanbags/balls.
  • 1 permanent marker for labeling
  • 1 surface (like a overturned bucket or table) to set the cans on
  • Masking tape
  • Bible



  • Label the cans of food and the beanbags or balls.
  • Select a space to play the game.
  • Stack the three cans (two on the bottom and one on the top) on the bucket or table.
  • Use the masking tape to lay down a “throwing line” about ten feet away from the cans. (The children will stand behind this line to make their throws.)
  • Practice the script.



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Restored.’”
  • “It’s about Jesus and Peter.”
  • “Peter told Jesus one time that even if everyone else left Him, he never would.”
  • “Peter even carried around a sword in case he needed to defend Jesus against an attacker.”
  • “But one night, the Jewish leaders sent their guards to arrest Jesus.”
  • “Peter attacked with his sword, but he hurt a servant instead of the guards.”
  • “Jesus healed the man that Peter had cut and then let the guards arrest Him.”
  • “Peter and all of Jesus’ best friends got scared and ran away.”
  • “Peter followed the guards from a distance as they took Jesus to the Jewish leaders.”
  • “The guards took Jesus to the house of the top Jewish leader and put Him on trial for crimes He didn’t commit.”
  • “Peter waited in the courtyard while the trial was going on, and people started to notice that he looked like one of Jesus’ followers.”
  • “They asked him three times if he was one of Jesus’ followers, and he denied it each time.”
  • “Jesus wasn’t surprised, though.”
  • “He had told Peter that he would deny knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.”
  • “Sure enough, when Peter denied he knew Jesus for the third time, a rooster crowed, and Jesus looked directly into Peter’s eyes.”
  • “Peter was so ashamed that he ran away and cried and cried.”
  • “When Jesus needed Peter the most, Peter wasn’t a very good friend.”
  • “But even though Peter wasn’t a very good friend to Jesus, Jesus still wanted Peter to lead His followers.”
  • “After Jesus rose from the dead, He met with Peter to let him know that he was forgiven.”
  • “Then, one morning, Jesus did a strange thing.”
  • “He asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him.”  (Have volunteer read John 21:15-17.)
  • “By asking Peter this question three times, Jesus was letting him know that Peter was forgiven and restored to a leadership position for Jesus’ followers.”
  • “Each ‘I love you, Lord,’ was like a big eraser getting rid of the ‘I don’t know Hims!.’”
  • “So, this game is like the Bible story.”
  • “Each of these cans is labeled, ‘I don’t know him!’ and represents the three times Peter denied knowing Jesus after Jesus had been arrested.”
  • “Each bean bag (or ball) is labeled, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you!’ and represents the three times Peter was given a chance to express his love to Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead.”
  • “Everyone will take turns throwing three bean bags (or balls) at the cans from a distance of about ten (10) feet.”
  • “If you knock the cans down, it will be like erasing Peter’s denials with his confessions of love for Jesus.”
  • “Want to play?”  (Let the children line up and take turns trying to knock over the cans.  Each child gets three throws before you reset the cans for the next child.  After each child has had at least one chance to knock the cans over, discuss the following debrief questions.)


Debrief Questions

  1. How do you think Peter felt after denying Jesus three times?
  2. Do you remember why Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” three times?  Why did He do that?
  3. How do you think Peter felt after Jesus gave him three chances to confess his love for Jesus?
  4. Do you believe God forgives you for every bad thing you do?  Why or why not?


Filed under Church, forgiveness, Game, Grace, Jesus, leadership, Peter, Relationships

Courage of Your Convictions (EXERCISE)


This exercise challenges participants to make decisions and defend them to their peers.  They will go through several stages of defending their decisions and then coming to consensus.  At the end, they will be able to score themselves based on how well they defended each of the decisions.


  • Print copies of “Courage of Your Convictions – Worksheets” (one per participant).  You can download it on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at  There are eight different worksheets to choose from.  Each one will take up to an hour to complete through all four stages, so you will probably only want to use a few during any given workshop.
  • Hand out colored markers (one set per participant of blue, red, yellow, green and purple markers).  You can use anything colored – paper or posterboard squares, colored paperclips, manipulatives used for teaching young children, colored dots, etc.



Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes.

Stage 1: 20 minutes

Stage 2: 10 minutes

Stage 3: 10 minutes

Stage 4: 10 minutes

Debrief: 15 minutes (Save the debrief until you have done all worksheets that you are doing to do.)


  • Read through the instructions on the first page of the “Courage of Your Convictions – Worksheets” document, and then let them start discussions.  (It may be best to read just Stage 1 and Stage 2 at first.  Once those are completed, share Stage 3, and when that is completed, share Stage 4.  When all four Stages are complete, pass out another worksheet or (if you are done) have them answer the Debrief Questions at the bottom of the first page of their worksheets document.)
  • The process is as follows:
    • Participants will review different scenarios and choose a response.
    • Then, they will reveal their response to their peers and defend their choice.
    • The group must then work toward consensus.
    • Once that is achieved, groups will be mixed, and each team member must then defend the group’s decision to the new group.  However, in the end, they must come to consensus.
    • Participants then return to their original groups and explain what happened – adding new information and rationale to the discussion.  In the end, they must come to consensus again.
    • Finally, participants will grade themselves based on the number of times they changed their decisions.  A high number of changes is not desirable, because it show that they were too easily influenced by the groups (and did not have the “courage of their convictions”).
    • The debrief is saved until the completion of all worksheets.

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Filed under Choices, Consensus, courage, Decision making, exercise, leadership, Problem solving

Staff Care (DEVOTION)

The Philistines and the Israelites were at a standstill in their war, with one army on each side of a pass.  Jonathan, King Saul’s son, bravely attacked a Philistine outpost with just his armor bearer and with only one sword between them.  This caused a panic in the Philistine camp, allowing the Israelites to rout their enemy.

Saul, in his desire to completely defeat the Philistines, made a hasty rule that none of his men could eat until evening because he wanted them to continue fighting without taking a break.  Jonathan was the first to eat, and as punishment, his father sentenced him to die.

Read 1 Samuel 14:24-48.  Then answer the questions below.

  1. What do you think about Saul’s leadership?
  2. What do you think his men thought about it?
  3. Can you think of a time when an organization you worked for sacrificed the wellbeing of the staff in order to achieve a goal?  What happened?
  4. Why do you think organizations and leaders sometimes put goals above the wellbeing of their staff?
  5. What are the consequences of this approach?
  6. How can we guard against doing this as an organization?

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Filed under Burnout, Devotion, Jonathan, leadership, Management, Motivation

Project Management Series – Nehemiah (DEVOTION)

This series of devotions is designed to be completed over several days.


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Initiation & Planning

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 1-2
  • What steps did Nehemiah take to initiate and plan this project?
  • Who are the people in these roles: project manager, team, customer, sponsor, stakeholder?
  • What agreements does Nehemiah make with different groups or individuals?
  • What requests does he make from different groups or individuals?
  • What is the project scope?
  • What can we learn from how Nehemiah managed this project?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Execution

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 3
  • Create a project plan for building the wall. For each task, identify:
    • Owner
    • Duration
    • Due Date (assume an overall project deadline of 4 months)
    • Cost/Budget
    • Who Pays?
    • Put the tasks in order and identify predecessors and successors (be creative with this, since it’s not clearly stated).
  • Identify the critical path by placing asterisks by critical path tasks.


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 4-6
  • What unexpected events threated to take the project off plan?
  • Which threats were internal to the team, and which ones were external?
  • How did Nehemiah deal with them?
  • How could he have prepared for them in advance?
  • What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 7:1-5, 70-73; 8:1-18; 9:1-3, 38; 10:28-39; 11:1-2; 12:44-47
  • What things did Nehemiah do that would help to ensure the sustainability (ability to be maintained) of the project?
  • How do you think these would help?
  • What promises did the people make?
  • What can we learn from these Scriptures?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Close-Out

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 12:27-43
  • How did Nehemiah celebrate the completion of the project?
  • What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?
  • Why do you think celebration and close-out might be important?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Monitoring & Evaluation

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 13
  • What happened after Nehemiah returned to Babylon?
  • What promises from Chapter 10 did the people break?
  • What could Nehemiah have done to prevent these problems?
  • What is the importance of monitoring and evaluation for the success of a project?
  • How should it be done?

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Filed under Bible study, Challenges, Devotion, Evaluation, leadership, Management, Nehemiah, Overcoming obstacles, Planning, Priorities, Problem solving, Project management, Resources, Solutions

Joseph’s Journey

For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

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Filed under Abraham, Abundance, acceptance, activity, Agape Love, Annointing, Belief, Bible study, blessing, Challenges, Change, Character, Christianity, Comfort Zone, Coping skills, courage, Discipline, distractions, drama, exercise, faith, Fear, forgiveness, Future, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's favor, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on, Healing, heart, Hope, Humility, Jesus, Joseph, Kindness, leadership, Lesson, Listening to God, Love, Obedience, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Pride, purity, Relationships, Repentance, Salt of the earth, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Warfare, Strengths, struggles, team, temptation, territory, test, tool, Transformation, Trust, unconditional love, Waiting on the Lord

Needs Analysis (DEVOTION)

As a group, read the following Scriptures, and use the form to do a needs analysis of the situation.

Matthew 17:14-20         Mark 9:14-29       Luke 9:37-43


  • What are the main issues?
  • What isn’t working well?
  • What is obvious about the problem(s)?


  • What pain is it causing?
  • Who/what is impacted by the performance gap?
  • What is it costing individuals, the team or the organization?


  • What are the organizational goals that are being impacted by the lack of performance?
    • (If possible, tie these in with the organization’s strategy, vision or mission.)
  • What is the potential cost to the organization if the goals and outcomes aren’t achieved and the performance problem isn’t addressed?


  • What is the desired performance?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are the expectations?
  • How will we know when we get there?


  • What is happening now?
  • What level of performance is currently being achieved?
  • What are the gaps between the desired performance and the current performance?


  • Why is the gap happening?
    • Know, Grow, Whoa, Mo, Go
  • Who or what is responsible?


  1. 1.    Suggest
  • What do you recommend?
  • Who should do what by when?
  1. 2.    Select
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 3.    Start
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 4.    Status (Celebrate or Start Over)
  • Return to the Status step to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.


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Filed under Apostles, demons, Devotion, Disciples, faith, Healing, Jesus, leadership, Management, Needs Analysis, Overcoming obstacles, Performance, Problem solving, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, test

Cross-Cultural Leadership (DEVOTION)

In your groups, read or skim the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Exodus 2:11-22
  • Exodus 3:7-22
  • Exodus 4:10-19, 27-31
  • Exodus 5:1-23
  • Exodus 6:1-12
  • Exodus 7:8-13, 22-24
  • Exodus 12:31-38
  • Exodus 14:10-31


  1. What cross-cultural challenges did Moses face in each instance of his leadership?
  2. How successful was he in dealing with them?
  3. How did his early failure impact his future efforts?
  4. What helped Moses to be successful in his later efforts?
  5. What lessons can we take from his experience?

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Filed under conflict management, Conflict Resolution, culture, Decision making, Devotion, leadership, Management, Moses

Remember the Titans (MOVIE MENTORING)


Teens, Adults


3 hours

Remember the Titans deals with race relations in the 1970s in Virginia, when black students were bussed into white schools.  A black coach is appointed to lead a high-school football team, and he and other members of the team struggle with the prejudice and racism that threatens to ruin their chances at a successful season.

The movie is relatively safe to show to teens and with different types of audiences.  There is minimal swearing and only one inappropriate scene (where Sunshine, kisses Bertier in the locker room).  Sunshine is apparently trying to be provocative.  It does not appear that the character is actually homosexual, and homosexuality is not glorified.  Christianity is shown in both positive and negative ways.  Some Christians act in prejudiced or racist ways, but others (particularly Rev and Louie) put Scripture to song to encourage the other players.

These questions are for teaching about high-performing teams.


These Scriptures speak to some of the themes of the movie. 

o  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

o  Hebrews 10:24-25


o  Copy of the movie

o  Equipment for showing the movie (TV, DVD player, LCD projector, Speakers, Screen…)

o  Question Sheet (attached)

o  Popcorn and drinks (optional)


o  Print out copies of the question sheet for each individual or group.

o  Set up everything for viewing the movie.  (Be sure to test it all out to make sure that the movie plays well and that the sound can be heard by everyone.)

o  Prepare snacks. (optional)



Watch the movie.  Then on your own, with a mentor or with a group, answer the questions on the Question Sheet.

Question Sheet

1.     What were some of the challenges that the Titans faced as their coaches tried to make them into a team at the beginning of the movie?

2.     What did the coaches do that was helpful in shaping the players into a team?

3.     What did the coaches do that was harmful to their goal?

4.     What did the players do that was harmful to teamwork?

5.     What did Julius Campbell (the leader of the black students, played by Wood Harris) mean when he told Gerry Bertier (the leader of the white students, played by Ryan Hurst) that “attitude reflects leadership?”

6.     How did this feedback impact their relationship and the team?

7.     What was the turning point for the team?  Why do you think so?

8.     What were some characteristics of the Titans when they became a high-performing team?

9.     What challenges did the team face after they became a high-performing team?

10. How did they respond to these?

11. What kinds of changes do individuals need to make in order to become part of a high-performing team?

12. What do you think is the most important lesson that you can take away from this movie?

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Filed under Challenges, Change, Character, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Coping skills, courage, diversity, Fear, forgiveness, Group Dynamics, Healing, leadership, Relationships, team, teambuilding, teamwork, Trust, unity