“There are many reasons why keynotes are great and brilliant and inspiring. But there are many reasons why the story behind the story can be more helpful.”
—Sean Morgan, Vice President of CDF Leadership Capital
Access to great leadership content is easily available in this day and age. Sermon notes, keynote presentations, and inspirational talks are just a few clicks and swipes away. Because we now have access to a world of educational tools, ignorance is no longer an excuse to remain underdeveloped in any area of growth.
As a pastor who’s been serving in active ministry for the past 20 years, my leadership prowess has greatly benefitted from the flood of knowledge that’s now easily available in our digital world. The one thing that was always lacking, however, was a connection to the personal side of great leaders’ content.
“It’s even more powerful hearing the backdoor stories of how leaders emerged from the ashes to produce challenging content.”—@_seanmorgan
Hearing the heart behind the ideas that were influencing how I led was something I longed for. It’s one thing to read about influential strategies, but it’s even more powerful hearing the backdoor stories of how leaders emerged from the ashes to produce the challenging content that we all have been blessed by.
I wanted to further pick pastors’ and ministry leaders’ brains after hearing their talks at conferences. I wanted to reach through the pages of the books I was reading. I wanted more. And I found it.
Sean Morgan, Leaders in Living Rooms host (left) interviewing Aaron Brockett
The Leaders in Living Rooms podcast, created by Sean Morgan, Vice President of CDF Leadership Capital, aims to bring the personal side of amazing leadership stories to life. Its goal is to bring influencers and ministry leaders together at the table for bursts of hour-long conversations.
“There’s a rising amount of content that’s accessible at your fingertips,” Sean said. “But there was a gap between producible content and the behind-the-scenes story. I wanted to create ways of getting behind-the-scenes access to the stories behind the story.”
“I felt a call and an increasing level of responsibility to share those conversations with leaders who couldn’t be in the room.”
For anyone unfamiliar, a podcast is an audio program, similar to a radio talk show, all focused on a particular topic or theme. Podcasts afford the opportunity to highlight guests and leaders in a more personal light than books and stage speeches do. One benefit is that you can follow and subscribe to a podcast on your smartphone and listen to it whenever you like and as many times as you wish.
“I was inspired to begin to create small cohorts of living room gatherings with leaders and having these conversations,” said Sean. “I felt a call and an increasing level of responsibility to share those conversations with leaders who couldn’t be in the room.”
Those stories are gold for me. The Leaders in Living Rooms podcast allows me, as a ministry leader, to have a cozy seat on the couch right next to Sean’s intimate conversations with these influential spiritual leaders.
Sean interviewing Carey Neiwhouf
Sean interviewing Brady Boyd
“What I really wanted to find was, what are those pivotal things that are not easy to get into the keynote?” Sean continued. “There’s an encouraging side of being able to ask questions when you’re in relationship with somebody. And you really can’t do that, even if a leader takes Q&A after a breakout session, at a big conference.”
The Leaders in Living Rooms conversations have increasingly become more important in this latter part of my own ministry leadership. I went from serving at a fairly large church spread across two campuses in two different cities to planting a smaller church with roughly 40 people on an average Sunday. Needless to say, our financial budget wasn’t quite as expansive, and my ability to attend church conferences was few and far between. I had to be more frugal with our resources, picking and choosing which conferences and books our church invested in. The podcasts are a small church pastor’s dream.
“What I really wanted to find was, what are those pivotal things that are not easy to get into the keynote?”—@_seanmorgan
“If there’s even 50 or 100 leaders out there that I could help and can’t be in the room, their schedule won’t permit it, I wanted to help those leaders,” Sean said of his passion for creating the podcast. “It became a gift to leaders who actually couldn’t be in the room.”
The beauty behind Leaders in Living Rooms is that its influence not only benefits the listener, but it makes room for Sean, as host, to continually be encouraged in the areas of life where he currently leads, including his role with CDF Capital.
“I was reminded about the importance of the ruthless pursuit of clarity,” Sean said about his interview with James Grogan and Mike Meeks of Eastlake Church in Chula Vista, California, episode 8. Mike spoke about a merger that Eastlake Church experienced in the past, and a member expressed her desire for the church to remain status quo. The woman didn’t want the church to change too much, and she was seeking comfort in knowing that the church she’d been a member of for so long would remain the same.
“I was reminded about the importance of the ruthless pursuit of clarity.”
Mike articulated that he and the staff, on the contrary, would actually change everything and the result of the reconstruction would leave her and many of the current members unhappy.
Sean went on to explain that the pastoral staff at Eastlake Church communicated that their methods in fulfilling the Great Commission would be dramatically different than past efforts. Mike argued that, if one’s taste and personal preferences are what defined the future successes of the merge, then those who desired to hold on to the past would be better fit finding another church.
It’s these kinds of stories that keep church leaders encouraged.
Like many pastors, I’ve had seasons where I questioned my calling. I’ve felt alone. I’ve felt the feeling of floating in the ocean of ministry confusion with no life vest or raft to keep me above the discouraging waters of leadership inabilities. I’ve felt like a failure more times than I’d like to admit. The Leaders in Living Room conversations, in many ways, are unfiltered and provide a backdrop for honest spiritual development. They remind me that I’m not alone.
“This podcast is helping people, but I’m stewarding influence in order to help people.”—@_seanmorgan
“This podcast is helping people, but I’m stewarding influence in order to help people,” Sean noted. “Every door that I walk into for a podcast interview, I always remind myself that someone else opened this door of opportunity for me. I’m opening a door of opportunity for other people to have access to this leader’s story.”
Sean concluded, “For us, it was really this idea of, can we get more relationship? Can we get more transparency? Can we get more real? I found you really could find a way of encouraging people without manufacturing sunshine by just being honest.”
Read more from The Cornerstone Summer/Fall 2020
We hope that you are inspired by the stories in this issue of The Cornerstone. Thanks for being a part of God's work to transform churches and lives.