This week on Tithe.ly TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry sit down with Larry Osborne, a pastor of North Coast Church, author, and leadership consultant, to talk about the three most powerful strategies for growing a generous church he and his team have discovered.
This week on Tithe.ly TV, Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry sit down with Larry Osborne.
Larry is a pastor at North Coast Church, which is considered one of the most influential and innovative churches in America. He’s also an author, and a nationally recognized leadership consultant and trainer.
During their conversation, they talk about:
Afterward, Dean and Frank review North Coast Church’s online giving page and share practical tips you can use to optimize your giving form to increase giving.
Below are a variety of resources mentioned during the show or comments:
Dean Sweetman: Hey everybody, Dean Sweetman here with Frank Barry, episode number two. Great to see all. Hey. Frank. How you doing today?
Frank Barry: Hey, doing great, Dean. Good to be here.
Dean Sweetman: Good to be here. We've got a fantastic show. Got a really great special guest coming up here in a moment, and you're going to love that.
Dean Sweetman: So Frank, what's this Gif thing you're going to do?
Frank Barry: What's-
Dean Sweetman: What's that all about?
Frank Barry: Is it Jif or Gif? It's a great debate on the web.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah.
Frank Barry: But yeah, I mean this is a live show, people are joining in right now. We can see live viewers jumping in, but we'd love to have some fun with you guys. We appreciate you spending 30, 40 minutes with us on a Wednesday. And so, we really want to make it interactive. So, we would love for you to post something in the comments. Obviously tell us your name and where you're from, those kinds of things. We love to learn more about folks, but also, we'd love for you to post a Gif or Jif, depending on how you want to say it, that sort of describes or visually shows people what you think about or how you feel about taking up church offerings.
Dean Sweetman: Oh my gosh.
Frank Barry: So, if anything comes to mind, try to post that in the comments for the live show, and we might even be able to pull some in and show those live.
Dean Sweetman: That would be fun.
Frank Barry: It's good to have everyone. Thanks for joining.
Dean Sweetman: Absolutely.
Dean Sweetman: So, we've got a special guest, Frank. Do you want to do your magic and ring in the man himself?
Frank Barry: Yes, absolutely. Why don't you do your intro there and I will get everybody.
Dean Sweetman: Dr. Larry Osborne is the pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California in the San Diego area, and he's a very influential, very innovative, great church down there. We go to the Sticky Teams Conference, which we'll talk about later, and he's got a passion for leadership, and spiritual formation, and discipleship. Prolific author, I think we're giving away some books today.
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Dean Sweetman: Welcome Larry to the program. It's great to have you here, mate.
Larry Osborne: Thank you. Glad to be with you. Appreciate it.
Frank Barry: Yeah, and Larry, you're coming to us from your office over there at North Coast Church, correct?
Larry Osborne: Yeah. Yeah. Somebody has to suffer here in San Diego, so I signed up for it.
Frank Barry: San Diego is a beautiful place. We're kind of like, I'm in San Diego a little bit further south than you. Then you got you, and then Dean is over there and in L.A. holding down the fort. So, we're coming to you guys from all over the place.
Dean Sweetman: Yep. Can't beat the southern California weather. Got to love it.
Dean Sweetman: So thanks for joining today, Larry. It's really an honor to have you on the program.
Larry Osborne: Good. Glad to be here. Any way I can help.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah.
Dean Sweetman: So, we're going to talk about some things around growing a generous church in a moment, but I thought it'd be good if people got a little bit of background, how you got into ministry, a little backstory on Dr. Larry Osborne. It'd be great for everyone to know.
Larry Osborne: Okay, well, I actually came to North Coast Church when I was 28 years old, after having been a youth pastor for five, six years. And then, just done a lot of lay ministry, teaching Bible studies, and having people in your home and all that, right after I came to Jesus. So, I had an immediate excitement about the scripture and, if I was one step ahead of the hounds, that was good enough. So, I teach them what I've learned and hope that they would slow down so I can learn one more thing to teach them the next week.
Dean Sweetman: So good.
Larry Osborne: And North Coast was a church plant when I came, about 70 adults. It was about a year and a half old, meeting in a school. My office was a parishioner's garage and the desk was literally taken out of the trash of the church I'd been a youth pastor at. So, I kind of know the small church plant era.
Dean Sweetman: Humble beginnings.
Larry Osborne: Yeah. And it took us five years before we were able to add anybody else to the staff. I think, because of our size now, people often think, oh, it's one of those giga churches that just exploded, but that's really not what happened. Five years I was finally able to get a little bit of help besides just my wife, and whatever spare time I had, and whoever I could rope in.
Larry Osborne: I think another interesting thing, based on our topic, about our church is that it's really blue collar. A lot of people think of really large churches as being very wealthy churches, but we're very much a blue collar community. In 38 years with the size of our church and campuses and all that, I've had, in campaigns two 500 thousand dollars gifts max, that's it. And we might, in a year, have one person who gives 100 thousand or two out of a huge church. So what that means is we've had to think through these things, not as if you're living in some special part of suburbia where there's a bunch of rich people.
Dean Sweetman: I think that goes to a lot of the misconception people have is that churches kind of pull this lever and there are buckets of money coming in. But it really is about creating a generous culture and having that kind of pushed through all the way down to every levels of church membership.
Larry Osborne: Yeah, I do some coaching and a lot of things with pastors. And I was recently with one that has had numerous of those kinds of large gifts. And I know a lot of people would look at that and go how lucky you are. But in reality, though that's what a lot of people wish they had, it's a very dangerous place to be. Because, if that person moves, dies, or gets mad at you, you're in trouble, which is not the way it is when you just teach people, as a whole, to learn how to be generous and everybody grabs an oar and just kind of helps row.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah. Yeah.
Frank Barry: I'd love to Larry, just- like where we're headed is awesome. I can't wait to dig in more, but I'd love- even just you as a person, what are some of the things early on that you sort of maybe did really well in building the church, but maybe also some of the fails, like things that didn't go well and lessons learned since you've been at it for quite some time and built an incredible church.
Larry Osborne: Yeah.
Larry Osborne: Well, probably the biggest fail is one I talk about in Lead Like a Shepherd, and that is that I didn't lead like a shepherd. I lead like a CEO and an entrepreneurial person building a company. So, what that meant is the people I had were viewed as kind of tools to help me reach the people I wanted to reach.
Frank Barry: So good.
Larry Osborne: And it's no wonder God wouldn't send me more sheep when I was unwilling to care for the sheep he had. And that doesn't mean there isn't much we can learn as things get larger from even outside business principles and all that. So, I'm clearly, anybody who knows me, I'm not anti-structure, business, and all of that. But, by far, the biggest mistake was thinking that I was trying to build something for God and the foundation cornerstone was shepherd the sheep I gave you, and you do that well, I might trust you with more.
Dean Sweetman: Very good. Very good.
Larry Osborne: It took me a while to learn that.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah.
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah, most of those who pastor have to learn that one the hard way. So, that is just terrific.
Dean Sweetman: So I want to go down a little deeper. One of your core beliefs for you and your team is the whole thing around simplicity and generosity, and that leads to simplicity and discipleship. Can you talk a little bit about that whole kind of concept of making things simple, and then having a great outcome as a result of that simplicity?
Larry Osborne: Yeah. Pretty much in every area of ministry, we think that clear is better than clever, and that complexity is where the sand gets in the gears. Whether it has to do with campuses we're launching, adding another service, a team growing, be it in the early stages, volunteers, or one or two staff members, to a huge team. One of the major break points is when things get complex. Out here in California, we have a thing called the In and Out Burger.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah. Love it.
Larry Osborne: Yeah, right? In-N-Out Burger.
Larry Osborne: And it's really pretty easy when you go to In-N-Out Burger. You look at the menu, there's burger, fries, and a drink. That's all you got to pick. Now there's a hundred off menu things. You can get an animal style, this or that. But the menu, the core focus is on three things.
Larry Osborne: And there are a lot of churches, I call them Jack In the Box churches, they have funny commercials, they have a huge menu, and no line. And it's far better to focus on a few things and do them well than to get very complex where you're the master of nothing. And so, we spend an awful lot of time in pretty much every area of our ministry and life saying, how do we keep things simple, as opposed to letting them grow complex.
Frank Barry: Can you unpack that a little bit? What are some of the things specifically that you've worked on or done over the years to keep it really simple?
Larry Osborne: Well, when I said clear over clever. People often know we have all these venues, different styles of worship, five going on simultaneously. It's really hard to figure them out. One is called traditions. One is called Live. One is called the Edge. One is called Country Gospel, right? It's like, duh. I know what that is. So simplicity and communication.
Larry Osborne: Our small groups, which are the hub of our ministry, we have 90% of the number of people who show up on a weekend are in those. And they are sermon based, a very simple lecture lab model. Almost everybody can discuss the movie they saw. So, what'd you think? Did you learn anything new? Was there anything particularly challenging or confusing? And sometimes groups never get beyond those questions. It's a very simple model rather than workbooks. And in fact, it's kind of ironic when our small group pastors go to small group conferences. They'll be sitting there with our materials which are about four pages, and people come in with books of how they do it, and all of these guidelines, and all that, but they're not doing much. They're just laying out policies, philosophy, and structure. So simple, simple, simple, simple. That's what we try to do.
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Dean Sweetman: What about maybe around the offering, just kind of walk us through how around the generosity moment in your services, how you've simplified that and that-
Larry Osborne: Well, I think we've done a good job by simplifying the communication of how you can give, and that you should give, and a variety of things. There's one area we've done a very poor job at, even though we've been blessed financially, and that is to take those moments and help people see how they're being used to advance the kingdom. I have a number of friends who almost treat it as a giving moment. And instead of the drive by guilting and I grew up with, what they do is a yay God. Hey, this is what has happened with this or a little bit of a teaching moment. And we've talked about that much and I know it'd be a powerful thing to do, but, honesty in interview, we haven't done that very well. But what we have done is a series of things that make it seem as if we're not always in financial crisis, and have helped our people see that giving is more about helping them grow than helping us meet the budget.
Dean Sweetman: Fantastic.
Frank Barry: That's really good.
Frank Barry: I'll chime in real quick. We've got a live audience on Facebook. Obviously a lot of people are going to listen to this recorded, but for the live viewers, we'd love to take some of your questions and incorporated them into the show. So, if there's anything you want to ask Dr. Larry Osborne here about keeping things simple or even some challenges you guys have had related to keeping things simple, especially around generosity and giving. Pop them in the comments on Facebook and we'll take some of those live as we go here.
Larry Osborne: By the way, as my son told me when he was about five or six years old, I'm the kind of doctor who can't fix anything.
Frank Barry: Love it.
Larry Osborne: So, Larry is good enough, unless you're trying to sell me something.
Frank Barry: Got it, got it. We can keep it to Larry. That's easier, less words.
Dean Sweetman: So, Dr, Larry, one of the things I think is- and this goes to money in general and how we manage our finances from a personal, in a family, and certainly in a church, a lot of the things that we miss in managing is the way we run our budgets. And you guys have a pretty unique way that you run your church very lean. And, as in my experience, and even running our company, we run very lean. We're bootstrapping, even though we've got 50 plus employees now and we're all over the world, nearly six thousand churches, but we keep this kind of lean mindset. Talk to us how you do that in your church setting. And, obviously, that makes a massive difference to the bottom line.
Larry Osborne: Yeah. Yeah. Well, first of all, when it comes to being lean, and then I'll talk about how we budget and how we think about money, which is a very important part of how you raise money. But being lean doesn't mean being cheap. Being lean means you're willing to spend money where it's an investment, that it brings people into the kingdom, that it pays for itself, if you will. But you're very slow with expenses, which are the things that make life easier.
Larry Osborne: So, all the way to this day, even though our church is so large, Chris Brown and I, the two primary teachers in our structure, we have another great teacher, Christopher Hilken on our team, but Chris and I, people look to us like the senior pastors, if you will. Neither of us have a full time assistant. Mine is here, 9 to two Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and his is there about 20 hours during the week, maybe a few more. But our small group ministry has four or five full time assistants.
Dean Sweetman: Wow.
Larry Osborne: Because I can get my own lunch. I don't want to spend money making my life easier. I want to spend money growing the ministry and building the kingdom. And so, I think a lot of times people think lean means junk. Lean means you don't pay people well.
Larry Osborne: Lean means you never ... you don't pay people well. Lean means you don't have perks. No, lean means you think through how you spend your money and you're asking, "Is this good stewardship?" But being tight is simply being tight. There's no godliness in that. So, with that said, the way we approach it is ... I believe a church ought to run its budget a lot like we teach our people to run their personal budgets. And we so often do it very differently. In churches, we often think a balanced budget is a great budget. But, biblically, a balanced budget and practically a balanced budget is a fool's budget, because if what you spend matches what you brought in, you're a fool because opportunity and crisis are going to come. They're not going to send a text message six months ahead of time. And you'll have nothing for that.
Larry Osborne: Soloman it says in Proverbs, "in the house of the wise are stores of oil and grain. The fool devours all he has."
Frank Barry: That's no good.
Larry Osborne: And I grew up with the idea that even if we had any extra, we had to give it away. And yet, can you imagine giving that advice to a young family in your church? "Hey, at the end of the year, balance that thing out and give everything away. Don't you dare save anything for the future."
Frank Barry: Right.
Larry Osborne: And then on the upside, imagine somebody six years in a row got a bonus and so then we would tell them, "Oh hey go out and buy a house or an investment or a house or a car," planning on that bonus. We'd go, "You're a fool."
Frank Barry: Right.
Larry Osborne: But most churches when they do their budget-
Echo: "They go out and buy a house, or an investment or a car."
Larry Osborne: We're getting an echo there, are we?
Frank Barry: A little bit. It's all right.
Larry Osborne: So, what happens is when it comes to our income, we make projections based on growth, because we grow in the past. So, we look to James, "Go to now those of you who say today or tomorrow we're going to go to such and such a city and buy and sell" ... and basically says, "That's a bad idea; you don't know what tomorrow will bring."
Larry Osborne: So our budget starts with last year's income. We're getting ready to put together next year's budget. Our income will be based on what came in this year. No growth projections. And then we will do our best, without it being the [inaudible 00:17:30] to make our expenses 90% of that. So, we've got a 10% cushion if we continue to grow, which, by the grace of God we have pretty much every year for decades, we'll have even more of a cushion. And then we can use that cushion to jump on opportunities all the way to buying a campus building or leasing something, or whatever it is.
Frank Barry: And you guys just recently in the past handful of months launched a new campus, right?
Larry Osborne: We're getting ready to launch one and about a year ago we launched one. Yeah, every time we have opportunity. You know, in this day and age, if you're doing campuses, you're probably competing against developers, 'cause you're trying to buy old grocery store, whatever it is ...
Frank Barry: Right.
Larry Osborne: If you don't have something saved up to at least put the money down, and you've gotta say, "Hey, just hold it while we go out and have a capital campaign," it's gone by then.
Dean Sweetman: It's too late.
Larry Osborne: Yeah, so in business it's called retained earnings. And the value is not to retain them to look at them. The value is to retain them to use them when God brings unique opportunity your way. Or, a crisis comes and then you have a rainy day fund you can use, rather than one you still won't use even though the roof is leaking.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah. I think a big takeaway there, just to simplify that: take your last year's budget, budget to spend 90% of that, give yourself a cushion, and as the church is growing and adding increase, you're gonna have more cushion. That's just gold.
Larry Osborne: Yeah, and the real teat of that, people have to start understanding that budget is a planning tool, not a straitjacket.
Dean Sweetman: Yes.
Larry Osborne: So, on the expense side, nobody puts in what they hope. "Oh, I'd like to add an intern to this program" or "I'd like to get this." We say, only put in your budget what you must have to maintain ministry. And then the question will not be "Is it in the budget?" The question will be, "Is it in the bank?" When August comes and you say, "Hey I need a couple of interns for camps, is it in the bank?" We'll say, yeah. We don't care whether it was in the budget because our budget is not a straitjacket, it's a planning guide. It's done in pencil under the rule of thumb that we don't spend money we don't have.
Frank Barry: Wow. Yeah, that's, I mean ... "is it in the budget? No, is it in the bank?" That's a great way to think about it.
Larry Osborne: If you ask, "Is it in the budget?" What happens is people start padding their budget.
Frank Barry: Yeah, they're just like, "Oh, I'm gonna wanna do this, let me just put it in the budget even though it's not gonna happen right now" or whatever. They're just planning for it.
Larry Osborne: Yeah and then to move to generosity out of that is when people feel your church is always in the red, they do not think you're teaching them generosity; they think you're balancing the budget. It changes everything.
Frank Barry: Yeah. There's a question from the audience, jumping back but it's still related. They ask, I don't know who it was, but someone asked, "How have you done what you've just said, showing people that you're growing?" So showing your members and folks that you're growing as a church and that they're not just giving to pay the bills? How do you practically do that from the stage or in your small groups and things like that?
Larry Osborne: Again, we don't do that well from the stage. That, I think is low hanging fruit for most churches and, candidly, because things go well is why we talk about it but never do it, but it would only make things go better. All you have to do is those community ministries you did. Right before you had the offering, you had that little testimony time or that little quick story and you say, "Folks, this is what your tithes, gifts, and offerings help to do." You tie it to a little video clip of some baptisms and, "Folks, this is what your tithes, gifts, and offerings do." We separate our "yay Gods" from our offerings. A very simple thing is just to combine the two.
Frank Barry: And Dean, you've seen some great examples of that, right? In your history as a pastor for a long time, sharing stories. And that was one of our questions in the survey-
Larry Osborne: Right.
Frank Barry: ... That we actually asked. I don't remember the actual response right now, but I do remember being low, right? We asked people who regularly share stories and it was under four. Right, because the average-
Dean Sweetman: It was that and the sharing of scripture, right? That we were kind of shocked that was so low. But certainly, stories are some of the most powerful ways ... When people can relate to someone else's experience, they're more likely to take that step of faith themselves and dive in and at least begin the journey of generosity when you're seeing it happening in other people's lives. So-
Larry Osborne: We do a pretty good job of telling stories. We just don't tie it to that offering minute or to but people know, "Hey, God's on the prowl here." I always tell people they do not give to vision, they give to success.
Dean Sweetman: Wow.
Frank Barry: That's good.
Larry Osborne: Okay? They'll give to your vision if you have a track record of success but they won't just give to, "Hey, I've got this vision to change the world." It's like, okay, everybody's got some vision; where's the fruit to prove that it's gonna make a difference?
Dean Sweetman: Yeah, want some meat on those bones. Vision is cheap until you start getting a track record. You can even ... you start small. It's a lot about churches, leaders that are [inaudible 00:23:04]. They might have, not thousands of members in their church. They've got a 150 member church. But you can always celebrate tiny little things. And I always used to try and tell pastors, "Don't go for something where you're trying to hit this thing out of the park where you're not really, have that level yet. Just get some small successes and build on those and then the snowball happens."
Dean Sweetman: You talk about "giving pockets." Can you tell us a little bit about some insights that you've learned on what they are and how you approach that?
Larry Osborne: Well, people have different pockets. And it's a concept a lot of people have shared-
Frank Barry: Like a pocket like in your pants, pocket?
Larry Osborne: Yeah.
Frank Barry: Okay.
Larry Osborne: Yeah, and out of those pockets, they will give to different things. There are some people who will throw a little tip into the offering plate but if you're digging wells in Africa, they will write a big cheque. There are other people that if it's for something they can see, a building campaign or whatever, they will write a cheque. There's a lot of emotive money out there.
Larry Osborne: We probably, oh boy, off the top of my head, I guess we do it about ten times a year, in which they'll be something, and it's right at the end of the service we say, "Hey, we've got this opportunity." And there will be some people with buckets there. And we're gonna be buying backpacks... we explain it well, but we're gonna be buying backpacks like so many churches do for the kids at school, or ...
Larry Osborne: I mean, I can think of one [inaudible 00:24:35]. We wanted to send all of our youth pastors from all of our campuses to Israel, thinking, "You know what, if they're gonna teach the Bible, why don't we send them on the front end, rather than the back end when they find out everything they thought about the Sea of Gallilee was wrong?" So we told our people, "Hey, we wanna do this." And we got this offering and we raised enough to send 14 youth pastors, I think it was, and had something left over for the new ones that we get.
Frank Barry: Wow.
Larry Osborne: And it was pure emotive money. Now, yes, at our size, you get a lot. But you just take zeros away for the total amount as you keep the zeroes away for the attendance. But I bet that a lot of small churches could send their youth pastor to Europe. And it's a totally different pocket. It's not robbing Peter to pay Paul. It's not coming out of their tithe. It's coming out of their opportunity pocket and they'll just give that way. There's something that just touches my heart. I go, "Hey, Nance, let's write a cheque." It's the whole Go Fund Me movement. It's huge.
Frank Barry: How do you get over that Larry? How did you get over? Because you just said something really important. People, a lot of pastors will just commonly think, "If I'm doing this other thing that's going to take away from tithes and offerings, which is going to impact how I run my church and my budget, and all these kind of things." So they're almost afraid of that. How did you guys ... was it a hard thing, or does it just naturally flow out of how you guys operate?
Larry Osborne: Well if you did too much it will take away. And if you don't tell stories it will take away. But primarily, one of the leadership principles I've learned is not to think differently because I'm a leader. How do I think as a regular person and treat my people that way? So, for instance, if every time I go to a conference, I want to sit in the back row on an aisle, why do I get mad at my people if they wanna sit at a back row on an aisle?
Frank Barry: Because you want them up front as the leader, right? You want-
Larry Osborne: Yeah, yeah. Why don't I treat people like I wanna be treated? And so in this area I just realized, yeah, that's how I give. You know, I don't rob the church because I gave some extra money to dig wells in Africa. I still have my commitment to the church, and if I'm teaching the people that the local church is God's Plan A, there is no Plan B, then that's not going to hurt. I love to look in the mirror before I start looking through the binoculars.
Dean Sweetman: Oh wow, hear that church leaders. That is gold. I just love it. Love it. Well we're coming to the bottom of the half hour here and we don't wanna keep you too much longer. You've got so many resources and when I was at Sticky Teams last year seeing your prolific writer, and you've got this recent book, Lead like a Shepherd, and I think, Frank, we wanna give some of those away today.
Frank Barry: Yeah, absolutely.
Dean Sweetman: Talk a little bit about that book, Larry, so people can know a little bit more about what ... You've already mentioned a little bit, but just expand on that a little.
Larry Osborne: Well, my publishers hate it because I write in two genres. You know. And they say, "Larry, people don't know what you are. Are you a mystery writer or a cook book writer?" But I believe leadership without discipleship is a waste of time and discipleship without leadership's a pipe dream. So, really, all my books fall into two categories: spiritual formation, the next step of obedience, which is discipleship. Then the others are on leadership from Sticky Team, Sticky Church, Sticky Leaders, sticky buns, sticky fingers, all those sticky things.
Larry Osborne: And then Lead like a Shepherd is really about the heart of the leader as opposed to the methods of leading, which really most of the ... again, Sticky Church, Sticky Teams, those have been ... Sticky Leaders have been about, methodology. How do you think about change and innovation? How can you do it in a way that doesn't get blown up? That's Sticky Leaders. Sticky Teams, building teams. Sticky Church, slamming the back door shut. But none of them really talked about the heart, the shepherd's heart. So, that's been a long passion of mine. It's the thing that ties discipleship and leadership together. So I decided maybe I oughta write on it.
Dean Sweetman: Well, we're glad you did. Frank, how are we gonna do this?
Frank Barry: I think to give away the books, we wanna hear from you guys. So, if you're on Facebook Live right now, this is a great reason why you wanna join us for the live show because we always try to give things away, being a show about generosity. So, if you would, give us your name, your home church, where you guys are from, and we'll draw some out of the live comments and report back out after the show's done.
Dean Sweetman: One final thing, Larry, Sticky Teams Conference is coming up. This is great timing. October 16 and 17 at your church. I was there last year, blown away. Always a great lineup of speakers. Great time of connecting. Let's encourage everyone that they can come to Sticky Teams.
Frank Barry: Yeah. What's unique about it for your listeners is it's designed for a team. In fact, often in our ticketing we punish you if you come alone. So, we're not ... There's some great conferences out there that you go to even alone and you get challenged. Kind of a Preach Off. There's all kinds of different things and they all have their own niche to the body of Christ.
Larry Osborne: There's all kinds of different things, and they all have their own niche to the body of Christ, but what we felt was there's not a lot of places without a green room. So we even tell our speakers, "When you come, this is a 'no green room' conference."
Dean Sweetman: It's all good.
Larry Osborne: We don't have one at North Coast, and we're not going to have one for you. We expect people to be able to get hold of you, and we try to present everything to the team, whether it's a church plant, it's a large church, it's a mid-size church.
Larry Osborne: Speakers address team ministries. That's kind of been our niche, it's been a real [crosstalk 00:30:33].
Frank Barry: I love that it's kind of speaks to your roots as a church, you're like, "we're blue-collar" and the whole no green room thing fits right in. It's like, go be with the people, hang out. You're not necessarily special because you're speaking here, right? So I just love that mindset and that heart behind what you guys do at Sticky Teams. But I [crosstalk 00:30:54] did hear it was sold out.
Larry Osborne: I don't think it's quite sold out yet. It's right on the edge.
Frank Barry: Okay, okay [crosstalk 00:31:02]
Dean Sweetman: Better hurry.
Frank Barry: Better hurry.
Larry Osborne: Yeah, you can just type in Sticky Teams or North Coast Training Network and Google that and you'll find it. But there are still some openings, but we do close it off. I got tired of going to conferences where I loved what the speaker said, and I had a question I could never ask him.
Frank Barry: Yeah. [inaudible 00:31:25]
Larry Osborne: Again, that's a niche, God bless it, but we can't do that well. We can do what we do well, so that's what we do.
Frank Barry: Right.
Dean Sweetman: I love that.
Frank Barry: Can I ask just, we're kind of through Sticky Teams, but just jumping back real quick. How do you teach, because your book 'Heart of a Shepherd' you're talking about discipleship. Through your small groups or through how you guys do church, how do you teach the heart of generosity to people as they grow in their relationship with God?
Larry Osborne: Well I think you do a couple of things. Number one, there's an unseen realm when it comes to generosity and all kinds of things. I don't know the name of every spiritual force behind the curtain, but I know it's really true. And so I believe a generous church that's truly generous usually starts with a leadership team that's generous.
Larry Osborne: You know, I love Barnabas. Before God entrusted him with so much, he gave away his stuff, which is what set him up. That's how he's introduced. His nickname is 'Son of Encouragement', Barnabas is not his real name. But he sold a field. Well once he was able to do that with his stuff, he had a heart to even later on raise up a Paul and let Paul surpass him.
Larry Osborne: I think it starts with leaders who are generous. And then if you're living within your means, like we talked about, people will know we're talking about this to grow our people, not to meet our budget. So, those are very important. And then after that, it's just removing obstacles to taking the next step.
Larry Osborne: I'm challenging everybody, hey are you tithing? But from nothing to something, from something to systematic, from systematic to a true tithe, from a tithe to sacrifice. So the question we try to do with people is, "what's your next step of obedience?", instead of "how do you become a navy seal Christian overnight".
Dean Sweetman: It's all good.
Frank Barry: Love that, yeah, take them on small steps, make it about the journey, help people [crosstalk 00:33:24]
Larry Osborne: Yeah, make it doable.
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Dean Sweetman: Right. Yup.
Frank Barry: Understood.
Dean Sweetman: So good. Well fun fact, Barnabas is my oldest son's name, and just happens to be the CPO of Tithe.ly, and he's my favorite character in the Bible. Because you wouldn't have had the apostle Paul without a generous Barnabas.
Larry Osborne: You wouldn't have the gospel of Mark, John Mark, and you wouldn't have Gentiles in the church. He's also my hero. Besides Jesus, I think he's the coolest guy in the New Testament.
Dean Sweetman: I'm with you, I'm all the way. This has been such a pleasure, Larry. It's just great pulls. You know what I love about seasoned leaders that have been around the block a few times? We just get you talking and out it comes, and I think it's just been so helpful. Really appreciate you giving us the time today.
Frank Barry: Larry, where can people go to grab your new book?
Dean Sweetman: Oh, yeah!
Larry Osborne: All of the places, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all of those places would have it. Just type in "Lead like a Shepherd" and it's pretty much everywhere. My mom hasn't bought it.
Frank Barry: Well we'll give a few away. We know people were chiming in in the comments. And we'll also make sure we link to it in the show notes and get it out on our e-mail list and all that kind of stuff. We really appreciate you [crosstalk 00:34:37]
Dean Sweetman: Hey thanks, Larry, and we'll see you, I guess, in a few weeks!
Larry Osborne: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. Okay.
Dean Sweetman: Alright, thank you so much!
Frank Barry: Bye Larry. God bless.
Dean Sweetman: Man, how good was that Frank?
Frank Barry: Oh that was amazing! Amazing stuff.
Dean Sweetman: Gold!
Frank Barry: Quotes for days, right?
Dean Sweetman: I know, I know, so good. So we're gonna wrap in a minute. We wanna do our little truth and love segment.
Frank Barry: Yes, we do.
Dean Sweetman: Which is where we kinda evaluate church giving pages, and we're gonna do actually the North Coast Church.
Frank Barry: Yeah, let me pull that up real quick.
Larry Osborne: That could be painful.
Dean Sweetman: No, you guys are great! But we do this little thing where we just like to look at giving pages and we're kinda freaks on all that. That's what we do for a living, right? How do we make the technology easy? And we've got a lot of data, obviously, and we know what works and what doesn't work. And so, anything practical we can pass on by looking at some of these giving pages from our customers, and others as well out there on the intergalactic webs.
Frank Barry: Yeah, okay, let me ... Okay, we are sharing [crosstalk 00:36:04] let me pull off this stuff real quick. Okay, we've gotten North Coast's page up, can you see that Dean?
Dean Sweetman: I'm actually looking at it on another tab, so I've got it here.
Frank Barry: Okay, awesome. Why don't you give it a go? You start off.
Dean Sweetman: So the first thing I like is in the top right, in the menu, is the "donate" or "give" button. So just again, people's eyes, the way they look at things, top left is prime real estate. So name of the church, logo, then you go across the menu, but then top right, I always think is the best place to put the giving button. Then, it comes to a really clean page, I love it! Online donation, give by Tithe.ly. No registration or account needed. One time or repeated. It explains everything in ten seconds, and then all I do is hit the button. Less clicks, the better; and all I do is hit the button, and boom! I'm on the giving form. I mean, it just doesn't get much better than that.
Frank Barry: Yeah, I 100% agree. The button being right there, there's tons of white space, it's pretty hard to not figure out what I should do here. Especially if I clicked on "donate" already, now I'm here. So, click, give with Tithe.ly, giving form pops up, and off you go. Since I have an account already, it's asking me for my pin, but super simple once you get there.
Frank Barry: The one thing that I would love to see on a page like this is something that sort of pulls at your heart a little bit, so I love imagery on giving pages. I know we looked at another giving page last week, or two weeks ago, and they had a great image of somebody giving on their mobile phone and the image was oriented towards sort of the call to action on the page, it was looking at the button.
Frank Barry: So, I love the simplicity of this. I would love to see some imagery kind of added into it, because I think that connects people just at the heart level versus just the "okay, now I know what I need to do". So, combining that together I think would be a great add-in.
Dean Sweetman: Yup, absolutely. Good stuff. Well we went pretty long last week, so we're not gonna go that long today. What a great episode, Frank, just reflecting on that was just ... I mean it's mind-blowing. And the goal is we wanna help our audience, we wanna help our customers, and anyone else who wants to tune into the podcast and the show. Just to get better at this, and talk about it. Bring it into the light, and just have pastors and church leaders not be afraid around the giving moment.
Dean Sweetman: It's a fact of life, for some leaders it is a struggle and so, these podcasts are all about uncloaking the offering. Like, demystifying the offering, simplifying the offering, like Larry said today, and then building a generous church. You know one thing I thought about, about those pockets and those moments right when you've got a specific need. Hey, we wanna send the youth pastors to Israel, what a great thing. That just doesn't come automatic.
Frank Barry: No! I literally think most pastors are actually slightly afraid of adding these in versus knowing that people are generous, and I love Larry's comments about, there's multiple pockets, and people will give based on things that pull at their hearts.
Dean Sweetman: Well, and it goes to a little bit of the generosity versus the poverty mindset. The poverty mindset kinda traps pastors into thinking there's not enough, and there's only x amount, and oh my gosh! See, like even having a guest speaker and taking up a love offering, I always loved giving my church that opportunity, because people wanted to give and sow into that ministry. But I know churches and ministers are like, "Oh, I can't take up a separate offering for the ...." Like even with all the stuff going on with the hurricanes, and we're gonna do some stuff here in a little bit and help people raise money for that. We're already partnering with one of our other partners in [inaudible 00:40:08] It's like, "Oh if I take up an offering for this, am I gonna have enough left for us?" And that's the difference when you're thinking in a poverty mindset when there's not enough.
Dean Sweetman: Listen, God is a river, and God has an abundance of provision and blessing for your church. And teaching that generosity mindset is always gonna put you in a great position so when there's a moment that, and look what's going on in the Carolinas right now with those floods. I was watching the news this morning and it was the Baptist Men's Association that was out there doing like 20,000 meals a day. Like just mind-blowingly awesome how the church often first in, last out in these disasters, doing such a phenomenal job. Well that comes from a church that knows how to give. And that's not for us to get more.
Dean Sweetman: Having a generous church is about having the ability to fulfill needs, help the local community, do all kinds of crazy generous stuff; and in turn preaching the gospel at the same time.
Frank Barry: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I love that the other needs, like if your church is sponsoring kids or doing backpacks or helping disaster relief, or whatever it is that your church has latched onto and has a heart for; I love how that also speaks to sort of younger generations of givers as well. Where younger generations of givers love to give to things that they can sort of touch [crosstalk 00:41:47] Yeah, so I think that's like, yeah you wanna give to your local church and kinda have that heart, but having these other opportunities, too. I think it connects people more and then you're excited about what your church is doing.
Frank Barry: I love it when Larry said, "we sent a bunch of people to Israel, a bunch of our youth ministry, our youth pastors to Israel" Like, how cool is that? Like you got to help these young folks go on this trip that likely had a major impact in their lives, right, and you got to contribute and sort of help that. So I think those kind of things. And then they get to come tell all their friends, "oh the church supported me in this to get there" and their friends are excited about it for them. It's pretty cool. [crosstalk 00:42:29] So I think having all those ways to give is important.
Dean Sweetman: So if you would like us to review your church giving page on your website, pop into the comments, we'll take a look, and we might feature you in an upcoming episode. But this has been a great episode today, just phenomenal. And I can't thank Larry enough, and gonna look forward to being there in the conference. We're a sponsor, and we'll be there doing our thing. Awesome, man.
Frank Barry: But good day! We'll make sure we get this thing up on the website, get it on iTunes, and SoundCloud, and all the places. Thanks for joining us live on Facebook today. And, man, we'll be back in two weeks.
Dean Sweetman: Thanks everyone! We'll see you soon!
Frank Barry: Oh! We actually have a great guest in two weeks at Sticky Teams. If I remember right, I think we're at Sticky Teams live with Chris [crosstalk 00:43:23]
Dean Sweetman: Oh, we're doing the show live from Sticky Teams?
Frank Barry: Yeah, we're gonna do it at Sticky Teams. So [crosstalk 00:43:28] if I'm remembering right, it's live from Sticky Teams with Chris Brown. We'll find a spot [crosstalk 00:43:34] It'll be a blast! So you know, we've got North Coast, Larry, Chris, back-to-back, it's gonna be good.
Dean Sweetman: Dig it. Awesome everyone, hey thanks for joining, and we'll see you next time! God bless you!