Leading to Discovery

A coach is one who leads people to discovery. It is not often that a person will realize his/her potential without the help and encouragement of others. A coach helps individuals and teams to realize their potential and to discover ways of being efficient and effective in reaching that God-given potential. Most often when we think of a coach we think of sports teams. There is at least one similarity between these two types of coaches.

There has never been a sports coach who gave one once of skill to an athlete. A sports coach cannot endow or give an athlete any skill or ability to be a better ball player or athlete. You cannot give skill. What the great sports coaches have learned to do is assist the player in discovering and developing the skill and ability that lies inside the athlete. Thus, challenging the athlete to rise to his/her full potential as a ball player, runner, or swimmer.

Similarly, a personal coach assists the coachee in discovering and developing the life skills and abilities he/she has inside, allowing him/her to rise to his/her full potential in business and in life.

Not only in business and ministry, today people are using coaches for academic purposes, health related issues, family and personal coaching. One of the great attributes of coaching is that the skills and abilities worked on in one area of life tend to transfer over to other areas of life as well bringing balance and satisfaction.

The above is an excerpt from Coaching: A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life. The official release date for this book was Monday, April 17. You can order your copy at Amazon or by clicking the book title above at SonC.A.R.E. Ministries. We are all coaches and leaders. Read what Associational Missionary, Larry Cheek has written about the book and other materials from George Yates and SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

George Yates’ latest book, reminds me of the lyrics of John Fogerty’s song “Centerfield” and I must say, “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today!” I have known George and have read and used everything he has written to improve my performance as a leader. Regardless of your profession, this book will help you to become a better listener, learner and most of all a leader! I encourage you to join George on the path of self-discovery and a better way of life! Dr. Larry Cheek, Associational Missionary, Stone Mountain Baptist Association of Churches

Start Something New……….A Missions Outpost  

The following is a guest post from my friend Larry Cheek.

When was the last time your church started something new? Have you ever considered starting something new “outside” the four walls of the church?
Daylight savings time is an excellent time to start something new as an outreach of your church. May I suggest that you call it a  Mission Outpost?
An ” outpost” is a military term which means  “a position at some distance from the main force.”  I added the word mission because we need to get beyond ourselves and often the internal conflict and challenges that keep us focused on ourselves.
Recently, Thom Rainer shared in his book, Who Moved My Pulpit…Leading Change in the Church, that “your church will not likely be ready for change until it experiences some action toward an outward focus.”
What keeps us from having an outward focus? Here are some examples that were listed in the survey Rainer conducted:
1. Fight over whether or not to build a children’s playground or use the land for a cemetery.
2. A church argument and vote to decide if a clock in the worship center should be removed.
3. A big church argument over the discovery that the church budget was off $0.10. Someone finally gave a dime to settle the issue.
4. Arguments over what type of green beans the church would serve.
5. A major conflict when the youth borrowed a Crockpot that had not been used in years from the kitchen.
So, my suggestion is rather than being focused on the inside, get focused on the outside. Look around your community. Is there a need that is going unmet? In a mobile home park? A subdivision nearby? A school? An apartment community?
Then, lead your church to move beyond the church property and start a mission outpost!  Do you need help? We have resources and people to assist, just give us a call!
Dr. Larry Cheek
This article first appeared in the Stone Mountain Baptist Association newsletter April 2017.
Dr. Larry Cheek is the Associational Missionary for Stone Mountain Baptist Association of churches.

Support the People, Accomplish the Vision

The leaders of any organization have but one primary purpose. In the church or other volunteer organization, this primary purpose is magnified greatly. The leader’s job is to support the people in accomplishing the vision by removing barriers, ensuring policies, practices, & systems make life easier for the members of the organization.

Many churches and similar organizations have no true vision. They may have dreams, goals, or “hoped for” aims. In my mind a vision is the compelling image of an achievable future. Even in organizations that have what they call a vision, very seldom is there any part of that vision compelling members toward fulfilling it. To compel is to desire something with all your heart. If it is not something that tugs at my heart I will not be compelled to help you achieve it. Leaders must cast a vision that tugs at the heart of individuals, compelling them to action.

Part of casting the vision for an organization is the removal of barriers. If I were in the jewelry business and our vision was to be the best known diamond carrier in town, I had better be certain we had a supply of fine quality diamonds in stock at all times. Yet, there is one organizational health factor even greater than carrying the needed inventory.

The greatest asset of every organization is the same – its people. The people in your church or organization need to know you understand this factor. The more you demonstrate to them your understanding of their importance to your organization, the more they will strive for the vision. Successful leaders know some of the greatest motivators for producing great workers have nothing to do with remuneration.

Successful leaders will always cast a vision, incessantly share the vision, and continuously work to remove any barriers that would stifle the work of fulfilling the vision. Before the vision is shared successful leaders have spent hours with others combing through the vision, identifying potential barriers. Then, more time is spent identifying approaches to break down or eliminate those barriers. Part of casting the vision then becomes equipping the members, not only in what the vision is, but how to overcome or eliminate the barriers.

Barriers to fulfill the vision are not always outside influences. In fact, most barriers reside inside the organization. Organizational systems, policies, and practices can be some of your thickest barriers. Be certain to evaluate these barriers as well as other obvious and not-so obvious ones.

Leaders, support your people, not in what you want, but in the way they need your support.

Support your people, they will accomplish the vision!

George Yates is a Coach and Church Health Strategist assisting individuals, churches, pastors, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.

Securing People’s Investment and Commitment

If you want to be the best, most effective person, church, ministry, or organization around, you must become the Investor of Choice. Many choices are available to the community around you. People will invest only in what they believe to be strong, proficient, and profitable from their vantage point. That includes selecting friends and relationships.

In 1985 the Zastava Koral was introduced into the subcompact Auto market of America. With a top speed of 88 miles per hour and other import drawbacks the auto life cycle in the U.S. was short-lived. Due to political unrest and the outbreak of civil war in its home country of Yugoslavia, the company’s export business was doomed as parts suppliers were cut off and manufacturing difficulties escalated. People in the U.S. (and other ports abroad) were ordering these cars, sold in the U.S. as the Yugo. But the cars were coming in mix-matched; some with bucket seats of two different colors, or a blue dash panel with a brown steering wheel and other mismatched parts.

The Yugo proved also to be unreliable for many owners and parts were scarce and difficult to receive. The short-lived Yugo died a very humiliating death – in the export markets. Consumers were not going to invest in a vehicle that was so unreliable and riddled with troubles. People will invest time, talent, and treasure where they see value.

To be an investor of choice means to provide a service or product of value to the people you are trying to reach. Too often we slip into the perception that what we have is of great value. Yet, what we are portraying to others does not impart that same level of value. In order to produce value, we must first value what we have. In the church, we must value the people in our midst and the people outside that we have not reached yet. For people outside the church to see value in the church, they must perceive the value placed on our current members.

When value is given to current members (and attendees) they will more likely value the vision of the church. This will always bring about a greater effectiveness to the mission of the organization of the church. What commitment will you make to become an Investor of Choice? People invest in what they value. Don’t create a Yugo. Value your people, they will value the vision of the organization.

 George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach partnering with pastors, churches, individuals, and organizations, assisting patrons in becoming effective in fulfilling their God-given purpose.


Character and Integrity

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded as the Mutual Life Insurance Company of the State of Wisconsin on March 2, 1857. Originally located in Janesville, Wisconsin, the fledgling company relocated to Milwaukee in 1859. Shortly after this move, the company experienced its first two death claims, when an excursion train traveling from Janesville to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin derailed, killing 14 people. Two of the deceased were policy owners with Mutual. Together the life insurance claims for these two totaled $3,500. In today’s funds this would likely be close to $1,300,000. Having company funds of only $2,000, Mutual’s President, Samuel Daggett and Treasurer, Charles Nash found themselves in a predicament.

Northwestern had several options. First, they could’ve not paid out the claims, alleging some sort of technical reason. The two officers could have dissolved the company, waited a year and opened under a new name. Third, they could pay out the $2,000 in their bank account, giving the family of each victim $1,000. Certainly, no one would hold any blame against them for giving all they had.

But the two men, Daggett and Nash, did something far greater. They each acquired loans against their personal assets (homes) to meet the needed funds to pay the claims immediately. To Daggett and Nash this was a matter of character and integrity. Paying a portion of the policy was the best of the aforementioned choices. But for these two men, it was not an option. The full cash values of the policies had to be paid. Nothing less.

Integrity is the greatest asset to your character. If you want to be known as a person of high quality character, integrity is a necessity. Talking integrity is not enough. It is like saying you have money in the bank, when your bank account is actually empty. Feeling as though you have integrity is similar to running up a credit card account when you know you do not have funds pay it off. Action is the only means to build and prove integrity. You can talk about and feel as though you have integrity all your life. But people know the depth of your integrity by the actions you make every day.

What are your actions proving about your integrity?

 George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach assisting churches pastors, organizations, and individuals to reach for their God-given potential.


Success Vs Less,

I am not advocating the following for how to get wealthy. But, similar statistics are true for successful people versus unsuccessful. In fact, I believe they are more true for the rate of success than amount of wealth. The following statistics are from Tom Corley’s website, RichHabits.net. As you read these statistics, I encourage you to read them replacing the word wealthy with successful and poor with less successful. (I have rewritten the first one to demonstrate)

80% of the wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.

80% of the successful are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the less successful do this.

63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people.

81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.

86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% for poor.

86% of wealthy believe in life-long educational self-improvement vs. 5% for poor.

74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% for poor.

6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor.

88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs 2% for poor.

There are many more of these statistics on Mr. Corley’s website. And I think it is plain to see the correlation with these few. It is no accident that those who practice these habits are more prosperous than people who do not practice them. Would you pick out three of these and commit to change your habits in these three areas? Work on these three daily for 30 days, then add one or two more to your repertoire.

I cannot guarantee you monetary wealth. But I can guarantee you success in your life, attitude, and character. Happy Habiting!

George Yates is a Church Health Strategist assisting pastors, churches, organizations, and individuals in becoming more effective and purpose-filled in all areas of life.

400 Years – Are You Kidding?

It is believed that the Hawaiian islands were discovered before AD 1000 – no one knows the exact date – by a group of seafaring Polynesians who inhabited and explored many of the islands in the South Pacific.

Looking at a map, Hawaii is one of the most isolated spots on the planet.  It’s pretty impressive that it was discovered so long before modern technology.

But what these explorers did to get there makes the story one of the most amazing I’ve ever heard. Because of its isolation, there is no way they would ever have known Hawaii existed. Though they were perceptive. The story is told they noticed a bird called the Golden Plover which migrated north out into the open water every year.  These birds were flying somewhere. Land must have been out there, the Polynesians just couldn’t see it.

So they set sail from the Marquesas to follow the birds.  That island is as close as you can get to Hawaii, but it’s still about 2500 miles away.  Using modern day equipment it takes roughly 30 days to sail to Hawaii from Marquesas. Back then, they were only using carved wooden boats and the stars and sun for navigation.

The Polynesians followed the birds closely, but the birds always flew faster than the islanders could row their dugout boats.  They could only keep up with the birds for short distances. At some point each year, they would lose track and have to turn back.

Each year they would try again, picking up where they left off the previous year.  Years passed by and they kept getting farther into the Pacific.  But still they never saw land.

According to one documentary, it took the Polynesians 400 years to finally reach Hawaii using this method.

400 years! As far as I know there is no written record to verify this is factual, but most historians do validate the Polynesians from Marquesas as being the first to “discover” the islands now known as Hawaii. 2500 miles in uncharted waters requires perseverance whether they discovered these new islands in one year or 400. How soon we often are ready to throw in the towel. Ready to give up on our quest, even when we sense our quest to be God-given.

We are only given 70-80 years on this earth. Our quest should be to daily persevere the waters of life and seek God’s direction. When you stand before God at the end of this life, will He recognize you as one like a Marquesas islander or one who turned around in the rough sea and settled for status quo?

George Yates is a church health strategist and coach assisting pastors, churches, and individuals in fulfilling their God-given purpose in life.


This Man had Perseverance

Milton had a long path to the top of his industry. He dropped out of school in the 4th grade and took an apprenticeship with a printer, only to be fired. At age 14 he became an apprentice to a candy-maker in Lancaster, PA. After studying the business for 4 years, Milton moved to Philadelphia and started his first of three unsuccessful candy companies in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York.

Following his Philadelphia venture Milton traveled to Denver, Colorado, and other places working for confectioners including caramel makers. Looking for business opportunities in New Orleans and Chicago, he landed in New York, opening his next candy making business. It only lasted three years.

Not about to give up, Milton moved back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and began the Lancaster Caramel Company. His unique caramel recipe, which he had come across during his earlier travels, was a huge success. After several years of great success, Milton, who was always looking ahead, believed that chocolate products had a much greater future than caramel. He sold the Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million in 1900 (approximately $25 million in today’s currency) and started a new company using his last name. The Hershey Company, which brought milk chocolate — previously a Swiss delicacy — to the masses.

Not only did Milton Hershey persevere to overcome failure and accomplish his goals, but he also managed to do it close to home. Hershey created hundreds of jobs for Pennsylvanians. He also used his money to build houses, churches, and schools, cementing his status as a legend in the Keystone State. To read of all the good deeds and philanthropy he did is truly humbling and inspiring at the same time. It has been recorded of Milton Hershey that he put the quality of his product and the well-being of his employees ahead of profits.

Perseverance and commitment to achievement can belong to anyone. Unfortunately, it is easier to give up or not get back up when knocked down. And many stay down. Entrepreneurs like Milton Hershey should be an inspiration to each of us. God has given you gifts and talents to use in fulfilling a God-given purpose. You may never make $1 million in caramel candy sales, or amass the world’s largest chocolate empire. But you can make a difference in your own little corner of the world. I know, because God created you this way.

Persevere, get back up, and take off running again toward your goals and your God-given purpose.

George Yates is a Church Health Strategist assisting churches, pastors, organizations, and individuals to effectively fulfill their life purpose.

The Influence of Our Actions

I noticed for years, when mashing potatoes, my wife first drains the cooked potatoes, adds a little margarine and milk. Then she takes an electric mixer – turned off – and works the beaters up and down in the freshly cooked potatoes. She continues this all around the pan, breaking up the potato pieces before turning the mixer on. Early on I inquired about why she does this before of turning the mixer on. She’s never really had an answer other than it was the way her mother mashed potatoes.

I have, in recent years, seen my Mother-in-Law and one brother-in-law prepare potatoes the exact same way. Why is still in question, but the where is likely from my wife’s maternal grandmother. It is a learned behavior.

Learned behaviors are those ideas, actions, and obsessions we pick up from watching someone we trust or ascertain from. The behavioral traits of leaders are adopted and accepted by those among us with whom we have influence. We not only lead by our actions. We teach and equip others to repeat our actions. Many aspects of leadership are caught, more than they are taught.

Every person is in leadership. Every person is influential in someone’s life. You have influence in the lives of others. Someone is watching you and being influenced by your actions every day, throughout the day.

The Bible in 1 Chronicles 29:1, 5b-9, 17b gives us a great example of positive influence in action.

“Then the rulers of the fathers’ households (heads of the twelve tribes), and the princes of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the kings work, offered willingly… And whoever possessed precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord.”

Notice the chain of leadership. First the King gave, then stepping down through the chain of leadership, each gave, and they gave willingly. No one was forced to give. Each gave voluntarily because of what was modeled by those in leadership.

When it was obvious that the leaders gave willingly, everyone under their influence also gave willingly. People will give, not only of their possessions, but of their time, talents, and giftings as they see those in positions of influence give as heartily.

Commanding someone to do something may produce lackluster results. But modeling good work ethics will always produce greater results and change behaviors.

Remember, giving is of the heart. Every day your actions are influencing others. By the way, my wife, Mother-in-Law, and brother-in-law all make great mashed potatoes. They were influenced well!


To learn more about influence and leadership, contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach assisting pastors, churches, organizations, and individuals to reach the summit of their God-given potential.

Guest Post: Reaching the Summit

Encouraging, challenging, insightful and practical are words to describe the work George Yates has accomplished with his book Reaching the Summit. The subtitle of the book is “Avoiding and Reversing the Decline in the Church.” He methodically works through the five phases of decline: “Loss of Vision,” “Lack of Purpose,” “Denial of Reality,” “Grasping for Survival” and “Relinquishment of Ministry.”

Then he begins the process in section two of identifying the principles and strategies for “Reversing and Avoiding Decline.”

So much of what you read in his text is common sense to the observer but difficult for the practitioner. Using subtle humor and clear illustrations throughout helps the reader connect with the truths page after page.

The book is peppered with one-liners like:

  • “Where there is no vision, the people will leave your parish.”
  • “To reverse decline in a church or similar organization, you sometimes have to recognize the dead horses (ministries inside the church), dismount and find a new mount (a new ministry meeting the needs of the community).”
  • “A person with passion will far outwork an experienced person with no passion every day of the week.”
  • “Do not copy models. Capture principles.”
  • “Without action your vision becomes only a dream.”

Included as practical tools in the appendices is a tool for “Evaluating Ministries,” a tool for “Choosing a Consultant or a Coach” (with definitions of each), and a tool for “Building an Intentional Strategy for Small Open Bible Study Groups” (Flake’s Formula).

The author communicates in a clear and concise manner, always encouraging the reader to go further in being faithful to the calling God has placed on the ministries as well as their leaders. He challenges all readers to have a “vigorous face-to-face summit with reality” (a completely open and honest assessment personally and corporately).

I recommend this book to any who are seeking to move their organization from where they are to where God wants them to be. He has targeted the church with his text, but the truths are applicable to other types of ministries. A great read and a great tool!

Reaching the Summit: Avoiding and Reversing Decline in the Church, by George Yates (Belleville, Ontario, Canada: Essence Publishing, 2012), 144 pages.

This week’s post is a guest post written by Rick Barnhart. Rick serves as the Office Director for Associational Missions and Church Planting with the Alabama State Board of Missions.

Contact George Yates at http://soncare.net