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Next Step Leadership

Author: Chris Maxwell & Tracy Reynolds

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Next Step Leadership is a podcast dedicated to helping you make your next step your best step. Your next step could very well determine the trajectory or direction of your life. Where we step, how we step, and when we step are all vital considerations for your next step. Chris Maxwell and Tracy Reynolds combine decades of experience in ministry, higher education, writing, music, leading organizations, and developing teams to inspire you to aspire in life one step at a time. We desire to assist you in making your next step your very best step.
135 Episodes
Bronson Crawford offers his wisdom in this episode of Next Step Leadership Podcast. Tracy and Chris listen to Pastor Bronson—Stewardship Director at Athens Church and former lead pastor for seven years—as he provides a perspective of the joys, the endurance, the development, and the difficulties of life in ministry. As you listen to his narrative, take time to think about your own story. His parents divorced, remarried, and he then accepted Jesus at a young age. He played basketball at Emmanuel College, and began pursuing ministry positions. Each of his roles in vocational ministry taught him many lessons. He and his family have pursued dreams while seeking the right mentors to guide their steps. As Bronson hoped to do great things for God, those experiences have not always ended how he hoped. But, like each of us, he learned important lessons. Take time to learn from his story and how God works through us despite ourselves. Do not just pursue great things. Be sure you are seeking to do great things for God. Embrace what is often considered a failure. See the good in those tough times.
This episode in the second interview with Pastor Stacy Cope. Chris and Tracy ask you to join them as they listen to Pastor Stacy’s stories. Parts of his narrative are included in the books he has written. When you think about his books, when you read them, be sure to remember this: Pastor Stacy never expected to be able to write books. Like each of us, he is a miracle. Like each of us, God uses weaknesses and pain and struggles to bring us a victory. As today’s people are being called by God to do what they do not feel capable of doing, we need to remember that our calling is not dependent on our strengths. Someone who struggles to read might become an author. Someone who never wants to minister might become a pastor. Someone who has failed might be the very leader to guide a multitude of people toward victory. Believe again. Trust God again. Lead with the awareness that God will lead others through leaders like Pastor Stacy and leaders like you.testimonies Untold Testimonies Told - author website Facebook -
Tracy Reynolds and Chris Maxwell are honored to have a conversation with Pastor Stacy Cope. Pastor Cope is a tremendous story teller. And he has many stories to tell. Like each guest Tracy and Chris welcome on the Next Step Leadership Podcast, this episode begins with the testimony of Pastor Cope. Listening to his story, leaders will hear again how God finds people in many places and guides them into ministry. Bi-vocational clergy are common these days. Many churches cannot afford full time leaders. Many pastors choose to continue other careers. Pastor Cope offers a healthy perspective to encourage today’s ministers to see the other job as their “pulpit.” Listen to his stories and think of how you can lead well while loving what you do, who you serve, and how your story can make a difference in the lives of many people. Let wherever you work and whatever you do be your pulpit. Lead there. Love there.https://www.testimoniestold.comUntold Testimonies Told - author website Facebook -
In this episode of Next Step Leadership, Chris and Tracy are honored again to enjoy a conversation with Coach TJ Rosene. Coach Rosen is the men’s basketball coach at Emmanuel University and leads in many areas in the basketball world. He also motivates other leaders in whatever field they serve. Take time to listen and learn from Coach Rosene. His experience, knowledge, and leadership skills are needed in these times. As you lead, you are building a culture. How is that culture functioning? What steps can you apply from this podcast to make a better impact in your culture? How do you work through the “messy middle” of your own adventure? How have your courageous conversations led to break-throughs? What can we do this week to help lead others into what is best, instead of it all being about what we want as leaders? How can leading from different chairs help guide teams toward victories? Hardwood Hustle Podcast: Basketball -n University Men's Basketball -
TJ Rosene is the men’s basketball coach at Emmanuel University and host of the Hardwood Hustle Podcast. Coach Rosene also serves with Point Guard College, training and developing basketball coaches and student athletes. TJ helps coaches become the best coaches, and the best people, they can be. They seek to be a light in the basketball world, hoping to make a difference in today’s culture. He desires to help people find their “WHY?” As you serve in your role, listen to Coach Rosene’s thoughts. Let his words speak to you. Join the conversation by asking yourself important questions. Why are you here? Who are you leading? Why do you serve where you serve and how you serve? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Who is there to help make you better?Hardwood Hustle Podcast: Basketball -n University Men's Basketball -
This episode of Next Step Leadership continues the conversation with Erik Goss. Experiences which seemed to shut doors can actually become opportunities which opened doors. How does that fit in your story? How can your grim situation be the right time for God to turn a desert into an oasis? Have you forgotten the truth of God’s deep love for you? What are ways we can become more aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence with us no matter what else we are facing? God wants to transform us and help us recognize His character amid our chaos. God’s love doesn’t end. God’s love is steadfast. Whenever we face hardships, God meets us there. Are we willing to trust God during those times? Erik invites us to find that new way of living where God is with us.
In this week’s episode of Next Step Leadership, Tracy and Chris enjoy their conversation with Erik Goss. Today’s leaders need to hear from Erik. He offers years of experience in providing ways of connecting with children through media. Rather than just telling children what not to watch, why don’t we offer them better options to learn truth through today’s outlets? Eric’s media and technology company seeks to provide families with ways people can experience Jesus in a real way. He has learned much working with various companies. His lessons can teach us all how God opens new doors when other doors close. In industrial complexes the gospel is needed. Ministry types of vocations can be crafted in unexpected ways. We do not always need to follow our initial assumptions. We can join Eric and fight through disappointments, depression, and closed doors. From a crisis, a new opportunity can arrive. Be ready. See what God will do through what felt impossible.
This week offers another conversation with Pastor Hans Hess. His evangelistic heart and academic mind come out in his comments. Hans believes the hope of winning people to Jesus directs him in each of his roles. His pastoral experience offers depth to his stories. Pastoring isn’t simple. Death of a spouse isn’t easy. Discerning God’s guidance isn’t always clear. Not all churches grow quickly. Not all gifted leaders can do what other leaders do. Some church doors close. Some people we love die. Hans hopes leaders will not give up. He believes the next step could be the step needed to take us where God wants us to go. He contends we don’t always need to change what we do because sometimes God’s timing is what brings change. Even when we don’t know what to do next or how to endure difficult seasons, God is with us.
Pastor Hans Hess joins Chris Maxwell and Tracy Reynolds for this week’s Next Step Leadership Podcast. Hans is a scholar, a musician, a pastor, an evangelist, an author, and a fabulous communicator. His biblical depth and his pastoral heart offer appropriate guidance for today’s leaders. He leads with a desire to bring the love of Jesus to people around the world. As you listen to his testimony, you can gain a great understanding of why he does what he does. Think about how, though your story is different, the same Jesus who gave His life for Hans also gave His life for you. Through the empowerment of God’s Spirit, Hans believes God continues healing him from his grief and guiding him to reach multitudes.
Jim Thornber continues this week as the guest in Next Step Leadership. His stories remind listeners of lessons he’s learned from orthodox obedience, holy joy, biblical study, and deep grief. Jim hopes audiences hear from his heart as he reveals God’s peace as it visits during life’s tough experiences. Listen to his words as he talks about his wife's battle with Covid and her death. Hearing Jim’s honesty and his tears keeps the focus of this podcast on real life. Real life includes grief. It includes sadness. It includes tears. It includes questions. It includes God’s love and His peace. Leaders must remember those facts. Leaders also must remember the invitation and calling to grieve well. We are not meant to live life—and lead others—alone.
Tracy Reynolds and Chris Maxwell are honored to learn from Pastor Jim Thornber. Jim tells his joyful and painful story about life, ministry, and grief. Jim has written two books—he talks about those books, about his spiritual journey, and about the goodness of God. He also talks about the death of his wife. Jim brings a mixture of experiences, offering thoughts to the wide audience of Next Step Leadership. As you listen to his story, think about ways you can move away from your own comfort zone and welcome God’s invitation into new territory. Take time to reflect on how God has guided you through seasons of transition, uncertainty, surrendering, grief, and deep joy in the Spirit. Welcome the new directions God is taking you.
Tracy Reynolds continues answering questions from Chris Maxwell as they talk about Tracy’s new book, Leading from Second Chair. Tracy is a gifted musician, so it was fitting for him to use music as the illustration to instruct today’s audience how to serve under other leaders. They might not have the final word, but their words are important. They might not always get their way, but they can help others stay true to the leader’s way. The “second chair” is a place to serve, to care, to listen, to learn, to love, and to lead. How can the second chair be a peacemaker? How does the second chair have an important sphere of influence? How can you make things better? What is your lane, and how can you stay faithful and humble in that lane? How can you discover and deploy your greatest gifts? Learn from Tracy. Remember the value and honor of leading well from the second chair.
In this episode of Next Step Leadership, Chris and Tracy do not interview an outside guest. Instead, Chris has a conversation with Tracy about Tracy’s new book. Chris is very excited about this book because he has believed a long time in Tracy and hoped this book would be written. Tracy offers an importance perspective for today’s leaders. Not everyone who leads is the senior leader. Most leaders lead while also working under someone else’s leadership. Second Chair Leadership  is the fitting title for Tracy’s book. First chair get’s much attention in these days of social media and titles and bios. But the second chair offers opportunities where humility and Christlikeness set the mood. Most people do not want to be second. Most want to be first. But there are fewer openings for first chair. Listen to Tracy. Get a copy of his book and read it. Get copies for your team. There are many people sitting in many seats—second chair leadership offers ways to serve like Jesus even when serving in a position we never signed up for.
This week’s episode continues the conversation Tracy and Chris enjoy with Charlie Dawes. As a servant leader, Charlie talks about life and ministry. Life is not always easy. Ministry is not always easy. But serving Jesus and loving people are the true goals for today’s leaders. Education, a life of learning, finding mentors, valuing pastoral care, pursuing God in healthy ways, vocational ministry: realizing we can only take people as deep as we ourselves have gone. Taking the right steps. Accepting the value of training and growth. Read Charlie’s book, Simple Prayer. Listen to his heart. Pursue the best method of learning for yourself and those you lead.
Pastor and author Charlie Dawes is an ideal guest for Next Step Leadership. Chris has known Charlie for many years and is excited to see all the work Charlie has done. Charlie serves as a pastor of Hill City Church and is the author of Simple Prayer: Learning to Speak to God with Ease. Charlie tells his story about growing up in church and being mentored well by his pastor. While many congregations in today’s culture get attention based on numerical growth, young leaders need mentors. Pastor Basil Savoie was that type of true pastor for Charlie. Those years helped Charlie become the servant leader God wanted him to be. Listen to his story. Look for those who can mentor you and those you can mentor. Do not miss these important times.
In this episode of Next Step Leadership, Tracy and Chris continue their conversation with Elias Dummer. As a gifted writer and worship leader, Elias offers deep thoughts on theology and modern trends. Today’s leaders need to gain a better understanding of what key voices like Elias bring. He has concerns about how a few companies control church music, influence the trends of followers of Christ, and potentially limit creative minds from accomplishing kingdom work. Elias and others worked on a project asking important questions related to worship and the brain. Why do we choose songs the way we do? Why are worship songs changing so quickly? What is driving those decisions? Through their study and data, today’s leaders can learn more of the “why” related to today’s worship.
Chris and Tracy enjoyed a wonderful conversation with singer, songwriter Elias Dummer. Elias has been involved in various bands and worship teams. In this episode, Elias tells his story. His band City Harmonic, his church involvement, and his desire for building a community of faith reveal his hope for being like Jesus and following Him.  As he talks, his wise mind and caring heart are obvious. Neuroscience, academic research, data studies, worship trends, merging various denominations together, pastoral gatherings, writing, church planting, loving his family, marketing: the story of Elias offers many components. His thoughts provide an inspiring and challenging segment for today’s leaders.
This episode continues the conversation with Tim Elmore about his book A New Kind of Diversity. Tim brings so much wisdom to help today’s leaders learn from and work with each generation. Who is walking along beside today’s leaders? How can every age work well together? What if we receive the strength from each generation? How can the deeply committed, the creative minds, the dreamers, the realists, the optimists, and the entrepreneurs all partner to serve as one team? How can we narrow the gap between generations? Tim encourages leaders to clarify expectations and grasp communication norms. His action steps give practical hope for leaders to run toward success instead of running away from the unknown environment. https://www.timelmore.comNew Book - A New Kind of Diversity - HERE
Tracy and Chris are honored to interview Tim Elmore again. Tim’s latest book, A New Kind of Diversity: Making the Different Generations on Your Team a Competitive Advantage, is the ideal theme for Next Step Leadership. Instead of just tolerating one another, leaders must leverage the strengths of every generation. Instead of division, this can create teamwork and community. Instead of building walls, bridges must be built between each generation. There are seven distinct sociological generations living on planet earth now. Five of those are in the work place. Older veterans and young rookies need to get together to share ideas, stories, and super powers. Tim offers insight on understanding and working with each generation. This mindset can offer a creative, wise, and successful season for the next steps of today’s leaders. https://www.timelmore.comNew Book - A New Kind of Diversity - HERE
Chris and Tracy continue their conversation with Pastor Sean Seay of Athens Church. Sean’s story is needed to be heard in today’s audience of leaders. He spoke in the previous episode about deep wounds he carried—and each leader carries—into ministry. He now brings listeners back to this important question: “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?” All real growth begins with self awareness. Brokenness will hurt the people leaders serve and love. But what can be done about those wounds and unhealthy tendencies? Sean took a sabbatical, stayed away from church events, and began counseling intensive. That season moved him toward a healthy soul. His honesty invites leaders to be still, to hit pause, to deal with addictive tendencies, to change diets and schedules, to view life holistically. Lead with a healthy you! https://athenschurch.comTwitter - @seanseayInstagram - seanseayRuthless Elimination of Hurry - John Mark Comer book - HERERobb Reimer - Soul Care book - HERESoul Keeping - John Ortberg book - HERE
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