It’s What You Don’t See That Matters Most

3 Essential Traits Effective Leaders Possess

We’re all living and working in an increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing world.

Succeeding and excelling in today’s world requires you to consider certain traits to be effective. In order to thrive in a fast-changing world, effective leaders make and implement decisions, possess agility, and include others in decision-making. Regardless of their respective industry, effective leaders make decisions and implement strategies to implement their decision.

Youth Decision Making Concept, Feet in Red Sneakers from Above Standing at Ground with Decisons Title Printed, Top View

Making and Implementing Decisions

The critical task of leadership is making decisions.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to know the outcome of the decisions we make. Effective Leaders must decide where they’re going and how to get there.

Deciding where to go could be considered the vision. Having the plan to get there is the strategy. Once a leader decides where they’re going and how to get there the next critical task of leadership is implementation.

Ask yourself: What decision am I making and what’s my strategy to implement it?

Pivot: How One Simple Word Can Change Your Life

Starting something new is much easier than transitioning something established.

Currently, I serve as lead pastor of the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago. I succeeded my father, the late Rev. Dr. Clarence E. Stowers, Sr. who served for thirty-six years. The church I inherited was a traditional African American Baptist Church rich with tradition.

After five years of praying, meeting, teaching, leading, and building supportive teams, we transitioned to a contemporary church. During the process, I almost quit, but decided to pivot and stick it out. It was the best decision of my life. In life, you’ll eventually come to a crossroad. When it happens, you must decide if you’ll stick with it, quit, or pivot. How do you know which choice is best? I chose to pivot.

In life, you’ll eventually come to a crossroad. When it happens, you must decide if you’ll stick with it, quit, or pivot. How do you know which choice is best? I chose to pivot.

Top View of Business Shoes on the floor with the text: New Life - Old Life

So What Does it Mean to Pivot

I love sports, and when I hear the word pivot, immediately basketball comes to mind. When basketball players stop dribbling the ball, they must decide which foot is their pivot foot. Upon deciding, they can’t switch feet. Pivoting is the term used to define both the act of keeping one foot in place while moving the other and the actual foot which remains on the ground.

Keeping one foot in place is necessary when a player stops dribbling the ball but wishes to reposition himself for a pass or shot. A player may rotate and move around as long as one foot remains in place, on the floor. The foot chosen is known as the “pivot”, or “pivot foot”, and if it comes off the ground, or otherwise shifts position away from its original spot on the floor, a travelling violation will be called.

The Real Reason Why Every Moment Matters

Successful People are Great Editors

Every so often something or someone comes along and changes your life forever. It happened to me.

I’m learning that all successful people live by this principle: Edit as you go. Remember, life is about seizing opportunities and moments. And if you never make changes, you’re always living in that would-have-could-have-should-have world.

Have You Experienced Our OnDemand Worship Services?

If Netflix, Comcast, and Apple TV can offer programs, why can’t the church do likewise?

Our journey to live streaming began with the aforementioned question.  Offering OnDemand Worship Experiences allows busy adults to come together to worship and learn God’s word. We think of it as a strategy for busy adults to grow spiritually.  You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW.

I Had These Friends

What’s your story when it comes to relationships? Who are your friends? Whether you’re 2 or 72, it’s all about who is influencing your life.

So often, when someone’s life heads down the wrong path, they can look back to where it started to go wrong and say, “I had these friends…” God wants us all to move from “I had these friends…” to “I have these friends…”

The right friends in life take us to the right places. And they help our lives down the right path. Where do you find “I have these friends…” kind of friends?

I Had These Friends

You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW and invite a friend to worship OnDemand.

Let’s Light It Up

To demonstrate the impact these people would make on their world, Jesus used two common illustrations: salt and light. Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. A light is meant to shine and give direction. A concealed lamp, placed under a bowl (a clay container for measuring grain) would be useless.

Let's Light It Up

We are called to light up the world! Light, by nature, penetrates darkness.

Are you ready to ‪#‎LightItUp‬?  You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW and invite a friend to worship OnDemand.

‪#‎Invite‬

‪#‎Share‬

‪#‎digitaldisciples‬

Pause, Stop, and Refresh

“The best leaders understand the difference between a tension you manage versus a tension you resolve,” according to Andy Stanley.


Leadership isn’t easy. Every decision you make earns the favor of some and the disfavor of others. Some are happy and others are not. Most leaders end up avoiding tense situations and allow them to grow into full blown conflicts.

Your ability to discern the difference between tensions you manage verses tensions you resolve “may determine the level of success a leader can sustain,” according to Ron Edmondson. Do yourself a favor and check out Ron Edmondson’s post, “7 everyday tensions of every leader must manage.”

  1. Displaying confidence without being arrogant.
  2. Making bold decisions while building collaboration.
  3. Showing strength while displaying compassion.
  4. Controlling energy towards a vision but allowing individuals to chart their path.
  5. Celebrating victory while not resting on current success.
  6. Learning from other leaders but being who you were uniquely wired to be.
  7. Spending time with people versus completing tasks.

As a leader, what tension do you face, and how do you manage or resolve it?

How To Livestream Using Facebook Live in 10 Minutes or Less

I have a confession: I’m a certified geek pastor and make no apologies.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy when Facebook made live streaming available to celebrities and those with verified pages (pages with those little round, blue checkmarks right next to their names). Immediately, I Googled every possible phrase to find an alternative and found nothing except Periscope.

Recently, Facebook added the ability to live stream on Facebook Profiles, in Groups, and on Pages. So what does all this mean for churches, pastors, and church leaders who rely on Facebook to communicate with their Facebook communities?  A lot!

How To Stream Live

I use Facebook live to make the sermon stick past Sunday. You can read more about why I chose this format to engage our congregation beyond Sunday HERE.  Find a quiet place and take copious notes while I explain how to live stream using Facebook Live.

How to Make The Sermon Stick Past Sunday

Give Me 10 Minutes and I'll Show You a Strategy That Will Keep Your Congregation Talking About Your Sermon Beyond Sunday

Leading a church in Chicago, IL is tough.

It’s even tougher during our brutal winters. So what does a pastor to do when the temperature dips below zero, and the wind chill factor dips to double digits? Cancel service? Oh no! We’re the City of Broad Shoulders, and we don’t dare cancel services due to inclement weather.

Imagine making your sermons stick past Sunday? Imagine a proven strategy to get members and guests engaging with your messages long after Sunday. Are you interested? If so, read on.

Hand holding tablet with Live Streaming word on wood table ,Internet marketing concept..

My generation experienced the election of the first African-American President, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Desert Storm, Iraq War, historic government bailouts, the passing of healthcare reform, and the greatest economic downturn since The Great Depression. However, in my opinion, the greatest shifts are happening now!

Only You Can Stop You | #MotivationalMoment

Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you. People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. ‪#‎GoalSetting‬.

make the right choice

Work On It – Not In It

Sometimes Stepping Back Is Good

This is a Periscope replay of the #MotivationalMoment.

Sometimes life’s consuming, taking up all of your time, thoughts and energy.  Do you want more success in life? Do you think you’ll have to work harder to get it?

In this special edition, you’ll discover why sometimes moving ahead requires you to step back…sometimes way back.  If you are interested, I broadcast three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) on Periscope. I mainly share tips on living and empowered life.  And I always take some off-topic questions.  You’ll need to download the free Periscope app if you want to watch live. Thanks!

What’s in a Name?

The Real Reason Why We Chose Mars Hill As Our Name

When someone asks, “what’s the name of the church you pastor” and I respond, “Mars Hill,” three things happen:

  1. A blank stare
  2. They ask: “Are you affiliated with the church that disbanded in Seattle, WA?” (NO! We were Mars Hill before they were)
  3. They ask: “Are you affiliated with Rob Bell and the church in Grand Rapids, MI?” (see #2)

History makes one’s life richer by giving meaning to the origin.  It broadens one’s outlook and enables one to grasp an understanding of one’s being by shedding light on its past.  Since it is Black History Month, I would like to share the history behind why we chose Mars Hill as our name.

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Athens, Greece | Photographs of Mars’ Hill, Acropolis

The Origin of our Name

The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the “Hill of Ares” or Mars Hill.  It is located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens.

In classical times, the Areopagus functioned as the chief homicide court of Athens.  It is known as the location where Ares was supposed to have been tried by the Gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son, Alirrothios.  Also, the hill was said to be the site for the trial of Orestes, for killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, his stepmother and her lover.

In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders, in the city, and were much like the Roman Senate.  Similar to the Senate, its membership derived from those who held high public office, in this case that would be the Archon.  In 462 BC, Ephialtes put forth reforms, which deprived the Areopagus of mostly all its functions, except the murder tribunal.

At the foot of the Areopagus was a temple dedicated to the Erinyes, where murderers would find shelter, in an effort not to face the consequences of their actions.  Near the Areopagus, the Basilica of Dionysius Areopagites was constructed.  The basilica was a rectangular building used as a town hall and law courts.  It was used in the Christian period and served as the blueprint for early churches.