Adam Hamilton on What Leaders Do and Why

Below are the notes and liveblog of Adam Hamilton’s first presentation to the North Carolina Annual Conference. Adam is pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the largest congregation in The United Methodist Church, a congregation he was appointed to start almost two decades ago. I appreciate Adam’s willingness to share what he is learning along the way. As he shared at the end of the session, Adam was dealing with the pain of two clergy staff members being involved in an extramarital affair. You can check out the conversations at to see how Church of the Resurrection is handling this as a community.

What Leaders DO, part 1:

  • Set the TONE of the organization.
  • REPRESENT the organization in the community.
  • Hold the organization ACCOUNTABLE to accomplish the mission.
  • Own ultimate responsibility for the organization’s SUCCESS.
  • Responsible for preparing the organization for the FUTURE.

What Leaders DO, part 2:

  • Clarify and champion the MISSION.
  • Discern and cast the VISION.
  • Ensure PLANS are developed to accomplish the mission.
  • MOTIVATE and INSPIRE (the body) to pursue the mission.
  • Evaluate, celebrate victories and honestly address shortcomings.
  • One thing leaders don’t do … they DON’T GIVE UP!

Five Important Leadership Principles:

  • It’s all about PEOPLE.
  • Healthy organizations have a clear MVP (Mission, Vision, and Plan).
  • Change, innovate, improve or DIE.
  • The DISCIPLESHIP pyramid. (10% are going on to perfection, 10% are tithers and leaders, 30% are regular attenders and givers, and 50% give only when they are in worship). Most sermons and worship celebrations are geared to the top two tiers of the pyramid, but you must have a strategy to reach not only those at the bottom of the pyramid, but those who are not yet on the grid.
  • Discernment by NAUSEA. Successful churches / pastors / leaders are willing to do what unsuccessful churches / pastors / leaders are unwilling to do.

Are you willing to do “whatever-it-takes”?

You can check out the video at this link: “What Leaders Do and Why
Scribble Live Notes:

  • 1:48 PM: AllenBingham Adam is on stage now and hoping to inspire and encourage us.
  • 1:52 PM: AllenBingham I believe in the church and do not want to devote my life to a dying institution.
  • 1:55 PM: AllenBingham There is no future with a hope given our current realities: from 2001-2007 membership is down 4%, UMW down 14%, professions of faith down 18%, confirmations down 21%, worship attendance down 8.4%. We can continue to do this for another 44 years.
  • 1:58 PM: mfmcclure The UMC will die in 44 years @ current rates of decline….what are we going to do about it? #nccumc
  • 1:59 PM: AllenBingham So let’s do three things better: (1) leadership, (2) worship and preaching, and (3) living out our witness in the community. Adam tells us the story of a two-point charge (Drake’s Chapel & Calhoun) in central Missouri (7 and 30) now (worship 30 and 60). A district lay leader kicked in to help out — that doubled the worship attendance in two years. We could double our denomination if every church did this.
  • 2:01 PM: chadmfoster Adam Hamilton…”We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.” #NCCUMC
  • 2:01 PM: NCCUMC Adam Hamilton is currently speaking. Check it out at! #nccumc
  • 2:01 PM: mfmcclure The UMC will die in 44 years @ current rates of decline….what are we going to do about it? #nccumc
  • 2:01 PM: chadmfoster Praying for boldness and inspiration for Pastor Adam as he prepares to teach us at #NCCUMC
  • 2:02 PM: AllenBingham So let’s talk about leaders. What are the qualities of an ineffective leader and an effective leader. Adam is using audience aparticipation.
  • 2:09 PM: chadmfoster AH “don’t do the stuff from the bad leader list.” #NCCUMC
  • 2:10 PM: AllenBingham Effective leaders are authentic (I respect those who are respected by their team), encourages, humble, passionate (I light myself on fire and people come to watch me burn), courageous risk-takers, love people, visionary. Take a clue – stop doing those things on your ineffective list and start doing those things that are effective.
  • 2:10 PM: chadmfoster AH “don’t do the stuff from the bad leader list.” #NCCUMC
  • 2:11 PM: AllenBingham Leaders can laugh at themselves … check out the video.
  • 2:14 PM: AllenBingham Leaders set the tone of the organization, they represent the organization in the community, hold the organization accountable to accomplish the mission, owns ultimate responsibility for the organization’s success, and are responsible for preparing the organization for the future.
  • 2:16 PM: AllenBingham Adam sets the tone by parking his car the farthest away. The other servants are starting to pick up the pace. Are we willing to become servants? Are members willing to become servants?
  • 2:16 PM: AllenBingham Check out my live blogging notes on Adam Hamilton’s talk on leadership at scribble live #nccumc
  • 2:19 PM: AllenBingham Accountability is the key for leaders. We must own the organization’s success.
  • 2:19 PM: AllenBingham Managers plan and budget, develop processes and policies, problem solve, create predictability and order.
  • 2:22 PM: AllenBingham Leaders establish direction and cast vision, align people and resources to the vision, motivate and inspire, produce chaos and change.
  • 2:24 PM: AllenBingham Change looks like: records, eight-track tapes, cassette tapes, compact disc, ipod all have been our music sources over the last four decades. Is your church more like a record or an ipod. You have no future without paying attention to the digital age.
  • 2:30 PM: mfmcclure At Church of the Resurection they have two people who are under 30 years of age on every committee of the church…. #nccumc
  • 2:34 PM: chadmfoster AH “Your mission allows you to say goodbye to some people”…so you can reach others. #NCCUMC
  • 2:40 PM: chadmfoster “What is your Disneyworld?” #NCCUMC
  • 2:45 PM: chadmfoster How do you get to your Disneyworld? #NCCUMC
  • 2:50 PM: AllenBingham Leaders clarify and champion the mission (why we are here), discern and cast the vision, ensure plans are developed to accomplish the vision, motivate and inspire to pursue the vision, and evaluate, celebrate victories, and honestly address shortcomings. Leaders don’t give up. The mission of Hallmark is to “enrich lives” (cards, ecards, an movies). Is our mission clear and are people willing to die to see it through. The mission is why we are here, the vision is where we are going.
  • 2:57 PM: AllenBingham Its all about people. People are impressed that you love them, that your relationship is growing. Read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People … that is key to leadership.
  • 2:58 PM: AllenBingham Healthy organizations have a clear MVP (mission, vision, plan).
  • 2:59 PM: AllenBingham Change, innovate, improve, or die.
  • 3:02 PM: AllenBingham We tend to preach and teach most to the top 10-120% of the people. We need to focus on those at the bottom of the discipleship pyramid and those not on the pyramid. Where do I want my people to be in two years. If you don’t know, you will not get there.
  • 3:06 PM: AllenBingham Discernment by nausea. When facing a fork choose the one that makes you feel sick thinking about how you can make it happen. (Or as Robert Frost wrote: two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I took the one less traveled by …”
  • 3:16 PM: AllenBingham Adam closes by sharing a story about two staff persons who crossed a moral boundaries. At the moment of the “maybe” we have to be willing to be say NO. Lord help me be the person or the leader you want me to be. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me …
  • 8:48 PM: binaryflow Adam Hamilton – Session One video is now available online: #nccumc