Craig Groeschel - Build A System In Your Life
The first thing, if you're taking notes is this, it will sound simple, but I promise you it is important. It is you need to change what you believe is possible. You need to change what you believe it's possible. Some of you right now, you are talking yourself out of the very thing that God has promised for you. You're telling yourself all the reasons why you can't, when our God says you can. I'll illustrate it with a story. Years ago, our family went to this family camp, where all of the kids and adults were there, and I was in the swimming pool with a gentleman that I found out later was actually the inventor of the Vortex football, and the Korfball. Very intelligent person, and I didn't know it at that time, and he challenged me to a dare.
He said, we're just talking, you know, two guys and you know how guys are. Like, I dare you, you're like okay, I'll do whatever you say. You know, even though we don't know each other. He said I bet you can't hold your breath under water for a minute. We just met, I'm like pull out your watch, buddy, and watched the guy go. And so, he did, he put on his watch, he said on the count of three, go. And so, I went underwater, and I thought this is gonna be really easy. I'd never tried that before. I had no idea how difficult it was to hold your breath for a minute.
At about 30 seconds, I could hear him saying you're at 30 seconds. I thought, this is bad, 35 seconds I thought I might die, 40 seconds I started confessing my sins, just in case, rededicating my life to Jesus. You know, you never, ever know. About 50 seconds or though, my life is flashing before my eyes. At 55 seconds, my lungs pulled in like this. I almost went dark. At 61 seconds, I exploded out of the water, victory. I did it, and he said not bad for your first time. Then this guy looked at me and said I bet you this time you can actually do over double the amount of time.
I looked at him, the first time he tells me I can't do a minute, the second time he's telling me I can do over two minutes. He had no idea how close I was to seeing Jesus face to face. What I found out later is this guy now was an executive coach to CEOs, and this was an exercise that he would often do with them. And he said I promise you, you can do over double the time, but what you have to do is, you have to listen to me and do everything that I tell you to do.
What I want you to do this time is, I want you to breathe in four times, and what you're gonna do is expand the capacity for oxygen in your lungs. Then, when you go under water, what I want you to do is not swirl around like this like you were doing, but I want you to relax and listen to every word that I say. And every time you wanna come up, don't come up, because there's more in you than you realize. Don't come up, there's more in you. Don't come up, there's more in you. He said at some point, your lungs are going to do this, and that's just your body telling you that you need more oxygen. But your brain does not know what your body is capable of. You don't come up.
At that point, I want you to blow a little bit of oxygen out. That's going to trick your brain into thinking you're about to get oxygen. You're goin' to relax for a little while longer, and then when you can't do it anymore, open up your eyes, find something floating in the water, and watch it for 10 seconds, and that will distract your mind. You'll get 10 seconds more out of it. So, I went under the water, 30 seconds in I'm doin' okay. Forty-five seconds in, he kept saying don't come, up there's more in you. Don't come up, there's more in you. Don't come up, there is more in you. At 45 seconds, I'm still in the water. After a minute, my lungs pulled in and I started to blow air out, and I relaxed.
After a while, I looked a little thing floating in there. What I didn't realize is, the whole time he was lying to me. When I was at 30 seconds, according to him, I was actually at about 45 seconds. When he told me when I was at a minute, I was actually in about a minute and 30 seconds. The second time I did this, the first time I almost died at one minute, the second time I did it, I went two minutes and 45 seconds. If you don't clap for that, I don't think I can go on. Two minutes and 45 seconds.
Your brain cannot comprehend what your body can endure. Let me say it again. Your brain cannot understand what you are capable of. Let's take it to a spiritual level. Your brain cannot understand what your God can do. Our God, who can do exceedingly and abundantly, more than all you could ask, think, or imagine. You need to change what you believe is possible. If there is a business owner right now, and in your mind you are saying we cannot gain market share, you will prove that to be true. If you think that you don't have enough staff, you will prove that to be true. If you think you cannot release your new product by this summer, you will prove that to be true.
In your ministry, if you think we cannot lead our people to be more generous, they just don't have much, we're always going to struggle financially, you'll be right in that mindset. Don't you make excuses. Don't tell me what you don't have. You have everything you need to do everything God called you to do. Don't make excuses. We don't have enough money. We don't have the staff. We don't have enough. Quit making excuses. You can make excuses, listen to me, you can make excuses, or you can make progress, but you cannot make both.
Somebody here needs to change the way you're thinking. Change what you believe is possible. Whenever your ministry, whenever your organization hits a ceiling, a barrier, number one, change what you believe is possible. Number two, this is important. You're gonna wanna change how you empower people to grow. Change how you empower the people around you to grow.
Let me speak into your story, because all of you have one version of this story or another. You start your business, and you've got $40,000 a year of revenue, and you've got an employee that's capable with $40,000 a year of revenue, but when you grow to $400,000 a year, that employee does not grow with you, and suddenly the organization outgrows that employee. The same thing in your ministry. You've got a kids' ministry, and your volunteer is incredible, and she's really, really faithful when you have 20 kids coming every week. But suddenly, when you grow to 40 kids, the organization has outgrown her capacity.
Do you know somebody like I'm talking about right now? Raise your hands. Okay, if they're with you, do not point at them, that would not be polite. But we all know somebody like that. When this happens to enough people around you in your organization, when your organization outpaces the growth of your people, eventually your people become the lid to the progress. Let me say it again, this is so important. Whenever your organization outpaces the growth, the leadership growth, the development of your people, eventually the people become the lid to the organization.
What do we know about the potential of whatever organization it is that you're leading? The potential of your organization always rests on the strength of its people. Your future is based on the potential of the people around you. So, you say, okay, where do we find great people? Where do we find great people? Where do we find great leaders? We don't find great leaders, what we do is we build great leaders. We look at the people around us and we do what Jesus did. We take people that others overlooked, those that religion rejected, we see things in them that other people do not see, and we pull more out of them than they ever thought possible. We don't just find great leaders, what do we do? We build great leaders, don't we, Bishop? We build them. That was my pastor's philosophy.
He said people grow best while in the game. We're gonna put 'em in the game. The first time I preached, I'd never preached before. He called me on a Saturday night, Saturday night at 10 o'clock. He said you're preaching tomorrow. I said are you sick, what's wrong? He said no, I decided a long time ago to have you preach this Sunday. I said why are you not telling me until the night before? He said because I love you. I said, that's not love. He said you have no idea how much love that is. I said I don't get it. He said if I told you three weeks ago, you wouldn't have slept for three weeks, now you're not gonna sleep for one night. That's how much I love you.
And so, he put me up there, and I preached, and the crowd was very responsive, very responsive. I said something about God knew you before you were born, and they were like amen. And so, I was working with it. I thought that's the best response I had all day. So, I dug in a little bit. I didn't know what to say, so I said God knew you way before you were born, and they said amen. I was like God knew you. I didn't know how Bishop, I still don't know how to do it right, but I said God knew you way, way before you were born, and then I made a mistake. I had momentum, and they were with me. I had 'em at way, way before you were born born, then I said God knew you before you were an itch in your daddy's pants.
And my pastor put his head in his face, and we walked back into his office afterwards, and he put his arm around me. He said well, you'll do better next time. You put them in the game. You put them in the game. You look at the people that are around you, and you change how you develop, and you empower people.
What I want to encourage you to do is this. Don't just tell people what to do, but give them the power to create. How do you keep great people? How do you develop great people? You don't just make them doers, you let them be leaders. You give them authority, you don't just delegate tasks, "Go do this". You give them the project. You give them the freedom to create. That's what Jesus did.
When you think about it, when Jesus gave us the Great Commission, what did he do? He said, "Go into all the world". That's the where. He said, "Make disciples", that's the what. Notice, he did not give us the how, because the how that Bishop does is different than the how that I do, and both are effective, and both are important. He gave us the what and the where, he even gave us the why, but he did not give us that. He trusted us to contextualize the message into the current context. He gave us the authority to do the what wherever we were, however we chose to do it. That's what Jesus did.
So, when you look at the people around you, if you want to develop them, don't just see people as a means to do your tasks, but see giving them something to do as a means to develop the people. Don't just give them tasks, but give them authority. You may want to jot this down, if you're taking notes. If you delegate tasks, you will create followers. But if you delegate authority, you will create leaders.
Number three, I'm about to give you the most spiritual thing you've heard all day. Change how you create systems. Change how you create systems. Here's what I want you to think about. I want you to think about everybody you know, those who are winning and those who are losing, those who are successful and those who are unsuccessful, and what you're gonna notice is almost everybody's got the same goals. Everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to be healthy. Everybody wants their organization to grow. Everybody wants to reach more people. We have the same goals, but we have very different results, why is that? Because goals don't determine success, systems determine success.
James Clear said it this way in his book on habits. He said, "You don't rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems". Systems matter in every growing organization. What is a system? A system, very simply, is a set of principles or procedures that determine how something is done. It's a set of principles or procedures that determine how something is done.
I'll illustrate it by talking about two different chicken restaurants. One chicken restaurant was my childhood favorite. This is not the real name of the restaurant, I'm gonna call it Grandmas Chicken, not the real name. Grandmas Chicken was amazing beyond measure, best chicken fried steak you've ever had with gravy. Little Grandma would walk around with a basket and give you out free roles with honey on it. Incredible customer service. We went there all the time, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing.
Well, I hadn't seen a Grandma's Chicken in decades. Finally, I'm with my family one time, and I saw it, and you are not gonna believe how amazing this restaurant is, get ready, kids. This is gonna blow your minds. We walked into Grandma's Chicken, and unfortunately this one didn't look good. It wasn't clean, the environment wasn't great, but I didn't care. I knew that food would be good. We walked up to the counter and there was nobody there.
We waited for a little while, we made some noise, and finally, a very annoyed-looking teenage girl came out, looking like we're just interrupted her private time. She reluctantly took our order. It took a long time to be delivered. When it came to us, the food was unfortunately not great. They had messed up on the order, there was no grandma with free biscuits anywhere to be found in the whole building.
When I went into the bathroom, my feet stuck to the floor. The bathroom was filthy, and, you know, whatever the bathroom's filthy, it makes you wonder if the kitchen's not taken care of. It was a really bad experience. So, I thought, "Well, this is just a bad Grandma's Chicken". I don't know, maybe a year later or so, we found another Grandma's Chicken in another town. I was so excited to go into it, and unfortunately, it was almost the exact same scenario. Bad service, food wasn't as good, building wasn't cared for, bad experience.
Then one day, we walked into a newer chicken organization, one that we had never been to before. This now very popular, it's called Chic Filet. My first time into a Chick-fil-A was a very different experience. The building popped, the environment looked like they had been waiting for months for the first person to come in. There was excitement, we were greeted by people when we came in the door.
We took our six kids, they were little at the time. Six kids, like, imagine six drunk squirrels climbing all over us. A lady came up that was grandma looking, and she very appropriately, in a very honoring way said, "Would you like for me to take your baby"? I'm like, "Yes, take them all, we'll come back Tuesday". She took my baby, took her over, and put her in this little highchair, got my baby a balloon. We ordered with the most friendly person.
We sat down, the food was delivered, it was amazing. They waited on us as if we were at a full-service restaurant. The customer service was so extraordinary. I saw on the countertop a picture of the person that was the franchise owner. I saw this guy sitting at a table, talking to a lady, and I had to interrupt them. I apologized, I said you need to know this, I'm sorry to interrupt your meeting, but whatever you pay those people, double it. They are fantastic. This is the best of the best of the best of the best. They are incredible, bless them, do whatever it takes to keep them.
He looked up at me and said, oh, my gosh, I've seen you at leadership events. I'm so glad that we were able to serve you well, and then he gave me ten free coupons for Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Ten free. So, I went home, and I blogged about it. I expressed my gratitude and told as many people that I could about their fantastic customer service. A gentleman by the name of Dan Cathy, who runs the organization, evidently somehow heard about my blog, sent me, about seven days later, a hand-written note with 20 coupons for free chicken sandwiches.
Let me ask you a question. I'm goin' somewhere with this. If you go to Chick-fil-A, and if you ever say thank you, what is the response? My pleasure, my pleasure. What I want you to notice is that the systems are so strong, that all the way down to the response to an expression of gratitude, the response is systematized with a, "My pleasure". All that to say this. If you're taking notes, what do we know about good systems? Strong systems make good people look great. Weak systems make great people look bad. You take that gal and Grandma's Chicken, you put her into Chick-fil-A's systems, and suddenly, she looks much better.
What do we know about systems? Systems create behaviors, behaviors become habits, and habits dive outcomes. Systems, it creates behaviors. This is what we do. This is what we value. Suddenly, those behaviors become habits, and habits drive outcomes. Now, I want to speak to those of y'all who say, "But this isn't spiritual. Where's the preacher? Where's the preacher, Pastor? Where's the Word? Where's the Word? This isn't spiritual. Where's God in this"?
What did God create? God created a solar system. For some of you, the most spiritual thing you can do is get organized. Because if you're faithful with a little, God will trust you with much. What do you do when you hit a ceiling? What do you do when it's up and to the right, and then it flattens out? You change what you believe is possible. You change how you empower people to grow. You change how you create systems. And then you change what you believe about yourself. You change what you believe about yourself.
Let me talk to you about my insecurities. Back when I used to preach, I would always vomit in a bucket before I would preach. I would vomit bucket, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I would vomit in a bucket. I don't do that anymore, now I throw open my mouth, I swallow it, I'm good to go. Just joking, just joking. Okay, here's a little secret. So, Bishop Noel, like, rocked the house down with content and preaching. Bishop Noel brought the house down.
Here's one thing he didn't tell you. For those of you that are new to preaching, if you forget what you're gonna say next, just repeat the last thing you said slowly, and walk back to your notes. You just repeat the last thing that you said, slowly, and you walk back to your notes, and you pick it up. That's just a little secret there, just little secret, little secret for you. Write that down. So, what I do every time before I preach is this. If you ever come to our broadcast location and you watch me preach, I don't hide it, I don't pretend like it doesn't happen, but I take one big step forward before the camera comes on, and in my mind, what I'm doing is, I'm stepping out of my insecurities. I'm stepping out of my lack. I'm stepping out of my fear and I'm stepping into the authority and the anointing of the office for which God created me to step into.
There's somebody here that all you need to do to fulfill what God has called you to do is take one step out of yourself into the authority and the anointing for which you were created. One step, you step forward, you step into it, you step into it, you step into it. I'll tell you more reasons why I was insecure. I was brought on to staff by my pastor in a denominational system.
I was halfway through cemetery, excuse me, seminary, seminary. I was halfway through seminary when I went before the ordaining board of this denominational system. There was a whole group of people that went before the board to be ordained, and there was one that was rejected, me. I was the only one that was rejected. My ideas were too wild, I was too crazy passionate about it, and I was rejected.
I got in my Geo Prism, and that one had been to church, Bishop Jones, wherever you are. That one had been to church. My little Geo Prism, I cried all the way home. Mostly because I was rejected, kinda 'cause I was in a Geo Prism and was rejected, but that's a whole 'nother story. And I'm driving home, and I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and said this. You are not who others say you are, you're who I said you are. And I say you're called. I say you're called. And there's somebody here, you need to stop listening to what everybody else is saying about you. Stop listening to those voices. Change what you believe about yourself. Listen to me, there's more in you. There's more in you. Your brain cannot comprehend what your God can do. There's more in you.