Pastor Larry Osborne on How to Grow a Church with a Weekly Attendance of 13,000+

Show Notes

Pastor Larry Osborne, the Pastor of North Coast Church shares why the best speakers don’t win speaking awards, but they win the hearts of people, why you want a best-practice for the size of your organization and not just a “best practice, why you must create margin, downtime, and space to scale and organization, and more.

Book – A Contrarian’s Guide To Knowing God – Spirituality For The Rest of Us

Show Introduction –

  1. Today’s guest is the author, mentor, speaker and pastor of the North Coast Church based in beautiful Vista, California. His church has an estimated congregation size of more than 13,000 people. Pastor Larry Osborne, how are you sir?
  2. Pastor Larry Osborne, your church has obviously been blessed over the years, but I would love to start by asking you about starting from the bottom and where you believe your career first began?
    1. I found an interest in the Bible in my senior year of high school when I became a Christian
    2. I began having a bible study with friends until I realized that I could do ministry as a living
    3. I became a youth pastor at a young age and served many churches
    4. At 28 Years old I became the pastor of a new church plant
    5. Since then we have grown the church to 13,000 in attendance on any given Sunday.
  3. How do you get new people in the church
    1. We are a little bit different. We had a weird idea where we would spend nothing on marketing and only serve the people we have really well
    2. We have grown this way by word of mouth because the servitude of our church is so impactful that people bring their friends back the next week
  4. What are you doing to serve people?
    1. Back in the “Dark Years” when we first started I was so focused on the people I wanted to reach instead of focusing on the people we had
    2. Just like JC Penny who wanted to reach new clients we thought we could help new people one time and make them raving fans for life
  5. What should a good kid’s and youth service look like?
    1. First, You shouldn’t try to duplicate the services of churches 6x your size. You should focus on finding what works for a church of your size
    2. There are things we can and can’t do in our church because of the size that makes our system different from a church of 200
    3. This was one of our biggest mistakes at the beginning of the church
    4. One of the good things I did is I asked: “What can I offer that no one else can?”
  6. How do you “upgrade” and get excellent team members in a church?
    1. You need to make them slower
    2. Usually, we do them too quickly and we don’t honor the people
    3. As it becomes clear that someone can’t take it to the next level there needs to be a level of candor
    4. It makes it easy to have candor and be honest with someone when you have a great relationship with the person
    5. If you have a great relationship with someone, have candor and then they still reject you then it is there a problem because they are focusing on themselves and not the main goal.
  7. Pastor Larry Osborne, How do you prepare for a sermon?
    1. Strong communicators are themselves and not a different person than they are off stage
    2. People recognize when you change on stage from when they had lunch with you earlier in that day
    3. Clarity and learning to leave things on the cutting room floor
      1. What is it that I’m wanting to say?
        Is this a good verse?
      2. Does this achieve my goal with communication?
      3. You have to keep your eye on what you are ultimately trying to communicate
    4. I write down a few sentences, points, and sound bytes. Other than that I just aim for my communication goal and shoot.
  8. When all 13,000 people want access to you, how do you organize your schedule to serve them but also staying productive?
    1. You can only lead with a margin
    2. The bigger the organization the bigger the opportunities and the bigger the problems
    3. You have to break the celebrity mindset and I did this early in the church
      1. You have to have teaching teams
      2. This allowed me to be able to focus on other things to grow the church
    4. As we developed a team of teachers they not only taught when I was out of town but also when I was in town. This made people want access to them as well which helped me marginize my life.
    5. Most leaders are active.
    6. The margin is something I’m doing that can stop when something important comes up
      1. Writing is what I do in the margin
      2. Opportunities come up and if you don’t have margin you will either miss huge opportunities or a lot of sleep
  9. What does your schedule look like?
    1. I am more of an extroverted personality
      1. I am an ENTP
    2. I never have a meeting before 9:00 am even if i’m up at 5:00 am
    3. It’s not by keeping blocks in my schedule. It’s me taking what is most important instead of having an assistant creating my schedule.
      1. I am the one putting things into my schedule
  10. Pastor Larry Osborne, you’ve written a book titled, A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God – Spirituality for the Rest of Us. Pastor Larry, what first inspired you to write this book?
    1. I grew up in an academic background with multiple degrees
    2. I realized that people in academia were in an “Echo Chamber” and I realized that this was opposite from what Jesus did
    3. I found that we need a spirituality that worked for everyone and not just one type of person or the other
  11. Pastor Larry, you titled Chapter 1 of your book as “Spirituality for the Rest of Us – What Does It Mean to Know God?” What is this chapter all about my friend?
    1. In all of life we spend too much time checking everyone’s watering schedule instead of checking on the fruit
    2. We focus so much on discipline instead of focusing on fruit
    3. Most people have the idea to really know God, you not only have to be “Type A” and also you have to be a good reader!
    4. Spirituality is simple
      1. Jesus was hated in his day because He was making it simpler as opposed to everyone else who was trying to make it more and more complicated
  12. Pastor Larry in Chapter 4 of your book you titled this chapter, “Is It a Sin to Be Average? Why Ambition Should Never Be Confused with Spirituality.” I would love for you to break down what this chapter is all about?
    1. We all have a little bit of projection. A lot of us in the Biblical world have an expectation for ourselves and we tend to project that on everyone else.
    2. Not everyone is going to live up to your expectation and we can’t cut them down just because they don’t live up to ours
  13. Pastor Larry Osborne, you titled Chapter 21 as “Priority Number One? Why Putting God First Might Be A Bad Idea.” Larry, educate us about what this chapter is all about?
    1. As a Jesus follower, Jesus needs to be at the center of what I do. Most people say “I’ll do Jesus things now and stop at this or that time”
    2. When I was in school I would focused on school so much that I didn’t always have time for studying the Bible. All of my other friends were checking off “Read my Bible” from their checklists and getting Bs on their test. I was studying and doing my best as God calls me to do.
  14. Pastor Larry, I’m always curious about the daily routines of super successful people. My friend, what do the first four hours of your typical day look like?
    1. First hours, I get up and do what I need to do
      1. Reading pattern I follow
      2. Podcasts
      3. Blogs
      4. Etc
      5. I make sure I have an hour or two for learning
    2. The next two hours I make sure the important meetings or important studying gets done
  15. If you could say something on a giant billboard, what you say?
    1. NOTABLE QUOTABLE: If I was aiming at everybody, I wouldn’t hit anybody
    2. You have nothing to prove and no one to impress.

ACTION ITEM: Ask yourself – What are some things in your life that you can “Say No” to or delegate to others so you can work ON the business instead of in it.

Business Coach | Ask Clay & Z Anything

Audio Transcription

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Today’s guest is the author, mentor, Speaker, and pastor of the North Coast Church based and beautiful vista, California. His church has an estimated congregation of more than 13,000 people. Pastor Larry Osborne joins us today to discuss why the best speakers don’t win speaking of awards, but they win the hearts of people. Why you want a best practice for the size of your organization and not just a best practice. While you must create margin downtime in space to scale your organization, why pastor Larry Osborne considers himself to be a beaver. Why he has all of his staff days on Tuesdays, why he believes that the people in academia have a tendency to talk in a manner that no one understands all this and much, much more. Our interview with pastor Larry Osborne coming up next,

some shows don’t need a celebrity in a rider to introduce the show, but they show dot two eight k Koch created by two different women, 13 multimillion dollar businesses. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the thrive.

On today’s show we are interviewing the pastor, the author deep mentor, the Speaker of the North Coast Church based in beautiful vista, California. His church now has an estimated congregation size of 13,000 plus people on any given Sunday. Pastor Larry Osborne, how are you sir?

I’m doing great. Thank you. Good to be with you,

sir. I have to ask you this because, uh, your church is massive now and therefore I’m getting all nervous. It’s a big church, but I would like to start off at the bottom. Um, where did you, where did your ministry begin? Where did the church begin? I know if you got a church of 10 people or a church of 13,000, you would still be doing this. But how did, how did you start?

Well, I found a real interest in the Bible as a new Christian, about my senior year of high school junior year and I just started to read something. I’d be one step ahead of the hounds and teach it to my buddies at the house. And then more buddies came and more people came. And I woke up one day around 1920 years old and said, you mean there I could actually do this for a living, this thing that I, I love to do and, uh, uh, do with all my friends in my spare time. And so I started working as volunteer and churches became a youth pastor, served a couple of very large churches, uh, at a young age as their youth pastor. Uh, those things went well. And then I had the opportunity, I think I was 28 years old, uh, did become, uh, the, the pastor of a small little church plant. There was about a year and a half old, I think there were maybe 70 adults showing up in a high school cafeteria my first week. And, uh, I’ve been here ever since. They haven’t figured me out how to get rid of me,

brother John Maxwell on the show and a, a lot of the pastors that have smaller churches will email and say, I’m going to church of 300 people and I don’t know how to grow. I just feel like I’m Kinda Kinda stuck here and I don’t want to trivialize or commoditize what you do and call it marketing, but how do you do outreach or how do you get new people, uh, share the gospel, how to get New People in the church?

Well, we’re actually a big contrary and you could have a great restaurant and it could be Sushi or stake there. You know, there’s different ways to do things. But, uh, we had a weird idea that we literally would spend nothing on marketing and we would try to serve the people we had so well, uh, that, uh, we would grow by word of mouth. And that still is where we are today. So unlike a lot of churches, you know, Christmas Eve and kind of the holiday entertainment that a lot, especially, well actually mid-sized to very large churches provide, we don’t do a lot with that stuff. We just tried to make every single experience. One that people know their friends who have no church background would understand. We don’t aim so much at people without a church background. We aim that people who are Jesus followers, but we do it in a very clear language way. And uh, Lo and behold, they just keep bringing their friends. So I can’t tell anybody how to market. I can’t tell how to serve a really good meal. Uh, so that people go, I’m going to come back and I’m going to bring somebody with me.

Okay, what I’m going to do this because you are the pastor, the outside, outside business guy. And I’m trying to bridge the gap between some of the pastors out there who agree with what you just said. They’re going, I need it. Okay. I’m going to take care of my people. Could you walk me through some of the specific things that you do, because I want to get into your sermons here in a little bit, but what are some of the things that you’re doing? I mean, do you have to serve people? Because I think it’s, I think a lot of midday and ministry want to serve, but they don’t know how.

Yeah. Well, I think a part of it is, in fact, the first few years at north coast, my wife and I show called the dark years. Things did not go well to say the least. And part of that time was I was so focused on the people I want to reach that I didn’t take care of the people I already had. Got It. So let me use a marketplace illustration. It’s not that long ago when a JC Penney’s decided it wanted to reach a whole bunch of people. It reaching, brought a brilliant executive over, I believe, from apple, who did a lot of stuff with apple stores. And what they did is they presumed upon the customers I had. Well, they put every bit of effort into reaching the customers they wanted to get. Well, that that’s a recipe for downhill. The only people who don’t have a history to protect and a a certain clientele or a congregation to take care of, or those who are an absolute startup mode. So I think a very common problem is to presume upon people to say, well, I helped him at one point. So they’re forever going to be a raving fan. And that’s just, that’s just not how life works.

Five years after you’ve saved their marriage and help their life get put together, they want to know how come the third grader doesn’t want to go to Sunday school anymore. And if you don’t care about those kinds of questions because all you care about is reaching the ones you haven’t yet reached, you’re going to find you have a huge front door. But unfortunately, backdoor, that’s this, you know, as big or bigger,

nobody gets 100%. I’ve been trying to read reviews about the Northern Coast to church, you know, just trying to figure out, you know, why people like you and why have you the life of the church. And it seems like your youth ministries on point. Very good. Your praise and worship is, I would say good. Excellent. And I don’t use that word a lot, but excellent is the kid’s ministry. It seems like the praise and worship is excellent and you’re teaching is excellent. There’s gotta be somebody out there listening. And I know this cause I meet these people at our conferences, real pastors who have big churches, you know, people from all over the Midwest and Florida. And they’ll say, hey, uh, what do you think I need to do to improve? And I’ll say, well, can I watch a video of service of your praise and worship? And I watch it. Now again, I’m not a religious, uh, I’m not a pastor. I’m not teaching theology, but I look at it and I’m going, that’s not good for the pastor out there who’s going, you know, I don’t even know how to set a baseline. We would call in business a best practice. Could you help us with the, with the kids’ service and the youth? What, what should it good kids and youth program look like?

Well, first of all, people often make the mistake of looking at a church like ours and trying to duplicate what we do instead of duplicate what we did when you were 150 when we were 300 when we are for, because what you want is you want a best practice for your size, not a best practice. So for instance, right now we’ve got a six getting ready to launch the seventh campus or five, six locally, uh, you know, obviously thousands and thousands of people present plus online. Uh, there’s no way I can offer myself to them or Chris Brown, the other teaching pasture. We just can’t be available. We can, we can hang around out in the plaza and you know, do what we can to get outside of a green room. But the reality is you’re not going to get in to talk to me, uh, to solve your marriage problem next week.

Well, the church at 200, that’s what it has to offer that I can offer. So best practices aren’t necessarily duplicating the best of breed when it comes to church, but the best of breed when it comes to a certain size. Uh, and frankly that was one of the big mistakes I made in the early years at North Coast Church cause I had served as a youth pastor in very large national churches. And the larger the organization, it’s more about what you do on stage than who you are offstage cause they don’t know you. So I come to the sort of group of 70 and I spent way too much time studying, tried to put together sermons for thousands when I had 70. So one of the good things I did was say, well what can I do? Well, what can I offer that other people can’t? And it was, it was me, it was a me and my wife. Uh, it was one on one attention. And so that’s what we gave instead of spending it all outside, I focused on the ones I had. Lo and behold, they began to bring their friends.

Did you sing really well by the way? Are Terrible. We know how, like when my wife and I started our first company, Dj, it was the largest wedding entertainment company in the country. Uh, I did sales. She did accounting. Not because she was good at accounting or because I was good at sales. I just, that’s what we had to do. And then you see a lot of churches that do kind of the same thing. It’s like, okay you, have you ever played the piano in your life? Yes, I played the piano twice. Okay, great. You’re in charge. And so this kind of grows, but eventually it becomes abundantly clear to everybody else that maybe we need to freshen up the praise and worship leader or the [inaudible], the beauty of the person presenting or whatever. Can you talk to me about it? But it’s going to feel so hard cause it’s a church.

It’s loving. Oh Wow. You know, so how do you, how do you get, you know, excellent praise and worship and upgrade the quality and the talent of the team cause praise and worship and in the, in the kids ministry in the, in the teaching and preaching her a powerful parts of a church, how do you upgrade, uh, the praise and worship game? When the guy who started with you with 50 people could play the play, the woodblock and the Cowbell, you know, every Sunday he’d get out there and he played that cal bell and he’d do that and he could get on pitch and you know, and, and you’re kind of going, hey, you know, you’re a good guy, but it’s time to head on out to pasture and we’re going to go ahead and replace you with a better whipper snapper. How do you make those transitions?

Well, I think first of all, you need to sometimes make them a little bit slower. Usually we do one of two things. We make them too quickly and we forget that to honor the people who got us where we are. But we all know the people who got us here are not necessarily the people who can get us where we’re going next. And, uh, I believe in that realm. It’s a, it’s a both end world. Uh, but as, as it becomes clearer and clearer, somebody can’t take you to the next level. I think there needs to be, uh, a level of honesty. Uh, but once again, if there have been genuine relationships built along the way, it’s a lot easier to be honest if then, if somebody was just a function. And that goes back to what I learned in the early dark years at north coast, people were not functions.

They were people. And, uh, when I have a relationship, you with you, the better that relationship, the easier it is to have that hard clarifying conversation. And then once in a while you have that hard clarifying conversation and people don’t want to hear it. But at that point, now the problem is there is not mine because they’re showing themselves as somebody who’s more, um, more into themselves as a selfish pig than they are a servant of the mission. And so at that point, if the relationship sours, I can live with it. I don’t want the relationship to sour because I use people, uh, if it sours because they want to use me and a platform and it’s all about them, not our mission. Well, okay, I can live with that.

I would like for you to give our audience, okay, so about 500,000 people somehow has sat down with, you know, Yoda used to show up via Hologram. You know, Yoda would show up there and this is kind of like, and I’m not implying, you know, it’s worth like Brad Pitt in your case. Brad Pitt has showed up and he’s in a hologram sitting down and mentoring people in day go ba, you know, you’re sitting down one on one. We have so many people that listen to this show who are speakers. I mean they’re, they’re a leader of a group of more than 50 employees or 25 employees or their pastor, their ahead of something and they have to present. And when they get up there to present, it’s bad. You know, Pastor Larry Osborne you go, oh, you know, when they get up there to speak and they say, I didn’t have a lot prepared today.

So, and they did. They start off with that set of underwhelming introduction. What goes through how you prepare for a sermon on a technical perspective? What’s your routine? How do you prepare? Because you, anybody out there listening, if you have the, if you’ve been have Andrew, even if a listener has carpal tunnel, they need to go onto youtube and watch at least one of your sermons because you’re a very good presenter and I know that it’s not just a skill you’re born with. You’ve refined that over time. You’ve learned that. Walk us through your routine per, for preparing an excellent presentation or sermon.

Well, I think number one is they are themselves. They’re not a different person when they’re on a stage then they were before. That’s one of the first things that I notice when somebody is trying to learn to be a public speaker. I go, wow, you were so interesting at lunch and dinner. You had passion and then suddenly your voice lowers and gave, uh, everything just kind of changes. So, uh, the first thing I always note about gifted communicators is they’re not the kind of person who wins necessarily a speaking award because they’re unique. They break the rules being themselves. And then the second thing I think is clarity and learning, delete things on the cutting room floor. Um, what is it that I’m want to say? And it’s everything, every verse, and I’m looking at the question is, is this a great verse? Is a great illustration.

The question is, does it serve what I’m trying to communicate today? Uh, and it’s, it’s just like a, a great movie has fabulous scenes that are left on the cutting room floor and a bad movie tries to keep every scene in it. And that’s what I find the wandering speaker does. They’ve never figured out what their golden thread is. So it was just whatever pops into their mind. And if they have the little bit of humor, the audience laughs. And so that encourages them to keep wandering. So I often think like, what is it that you’re trying to say? Does everything support that? And then I, I, the only thing I really write down is, uh, my opening couple of sentences, sound soundbites and transitions. Everything else for me for who I am is, it’s pretty loose.

Are we talking about,


well, uh, I would, uh, valley doesn’t mean a wrong turn is a soundbite, uh, as, as opposed to, you know, when we go through hard times it doesn’t always mean that we’re heading in the wrong direction. Uh, taking something down to a memorable soundbite I think is important. And, and for someone that’s a pasture that teachers on a regular basis, there had to be a few soundbites that you use so often that people are kind of a at a roast would mock you for them because when they roast you with a soundbite, you said over and over, they’ll think, Haha, I got you. And the truth is, no, I got you. You know, this one, I’m not even around

to knowing God, spirituality for the rest of us. But before, boy did I have one more question for you about the mechanics of what you do. You have 10,000 we’ll call them. I know they’re not customers. I know you don’t view it that way, but I’m just trying to make the parallels with the business owners. You have 10,000 people. You serve 13,000 people. You serve maybe 14,000 on a busy Sunday. You know there’s a lot of people and everybody wants to have access to you. You know, if there’s 13,000 members and we all have one question, you know, we send a text here, we got boom, um, pretty soon. If you’ve got one text a month from 13,000 people, that’s a, well this just in, let me carry the one that’s 13,000 text messages. So how do you organize your week? How do you organize your schedule so that you are a proactive leader who’s sharing the vision and holding people accountable and recruiting and be an inspirational force you are as opposed to a reactive mental degenerate who’s responding to 13,000 text messages?

Well, the first thing is you, you can only lead with margin and the bigger your organization gets, the more important margin becomes. Cause crisis and opportunity. Never send a text message saying they’re coming. They just show up. And the bigger your organization is, be it a business or a church, the bigger those problems are bigger, those opportunities. And I believe the way you create margin, especially in something where somebody has a speaker or sales or whatever in the public sector or in a church where you, pastor, you’ve got to break this. Let me use a ministry when I’m in. You’ve got to break this celebrity mindset. So one of the things I did very early on to build margin in my life is, uh, our church was one of the first ones to have a teaching team. Uh, so that I wasn’t teaching every single week. Uh, and what that man is, some weeks I can wake up and instead of the back of my mind thinking about all the issues we’ve got going on, what I’m teaching, I could wonder why our website sucks.

I had margin to see the whole. Uh, I think a lot of people when they build their organization, if you think of the Russian nesting dolls, okay. Uh, they realize any one of those you could just crushing her hand out of the light wood they’re made. So they get a little worried. And so they get smaller ones. And sure enough, you get five smaller ones under you and nobody can crush you, but you’re going to get crushed by the pressure of the 13,000 text messages. I happen to like in various areas to get nesting dolls that are bigger than me and then the platform them. So let me give you an example. Uh, as we developed our teaching team of people who were really good and I platform them, they not only taught when I was speaking somewhere else or out of town, they taught when I was in town. It’s in a message, oh, this is an important person. Or guessing started getting in some of those 13,000 text messages they did instead of me.

Yeah, that’s right. I would give out their cell phone numbers.

Yeah. Well as you planned form people, they go, Oh, they had the keys to the kitchen too. That has been one of the great keys to margin in my life. It has been platforming other people and being secure enough. Then it’s okay if somebody wants to go to somebody else instead of me,

can we clarify what it means to you?

Margin does not mean, but most leaders are acting. So I tell people I’m a beaver. I built dams and when all the dams are build, I tear some down so I can build more. I don’t just like the set around that. It’s not relaxing to me, but margin is something that I’m doing that I can stop when something more important comes up. So for instance, if I’m scheduled just solid speaking at conferences, doing weddings and all of this, when a unique opportunity to crisis comes up as came up just here today at North Coast to unique opportunities, I can’t cancel that wedding, that counseling, uh, that speaking Gig for me, writing is what I do in the margin. Uh, some people relax in the margin and they hunt in a march and they read in the margin, whatever. But I, I’ve been laid on the deadline of some of my books when opportunity has come up. And I said, okay, I’ve got something I can cancel rather than I’ve got a huge opportunity and now I’m getting no sleep for three weeks.

So you’re intentionally scheduling and when you say margin, like downtime or gaps in your schedule, that’s a strategic for you?

Very much. Very much. And because I’m kind of a busy body, I’m usually doing something during that, but it’s something I can just stop with. No great loss.

So do you have a set schedule each week where you say, I’ve got some margin here, but this is when I have this staff meeting and this is what I have, that staff may do. You have?

Well, there’s two types of Skype. I like Myers Briggs, a lot of tests. But one thing I like about Myers Briggs, are you an introvert or extrovert and a j or a perceiver and, uh, people who are more controlling find their comfort in a controlled schedule. I’m a classic what’s called ENTP entrepreneurial personality, which means I like flexibility. Uh, I don’t like rigidity. So for me, what I’ve done is I never have a meeting before 9:00 AM really. And that means if I wake up, yup. If I wake up at five or I wake up at, you know, eight, seven 30, which would be rare. Um, it’s Larry Time until nine. Now after that, you own me. Uh, I have all our staff meetings aren’t Tuesday, so to, uh, Tuesdays is a kind of a crazy day of meetings. But, uh, uh, uh, uh, Wednesday will be a day in which I have three and four hour slots that I will feel was lot’s important, but they’re not controlled. I might not know my whole schedule until a week out.


go on.

That’s powerful right there. That is powerful. The Skype connection cut out there that that’s so powerful though, that you have decided, okay, I’m going to go ahead and all my, all my meetings, whether you like to have meetings or not, you’re going, let’s get them all on Tuesday. Let’s do them all Tuesday. You know, and then you’re giving yourself that Wednesday for wonderful things that you might not know about until the last minute.

Yeah. And everybody’s to do list is way bigger than their time. Uh, and so it’s not by keeping blocks in my schedule that I somehow like I’m watching the sunset necessarily. Uh, but what is going on is I’m picking what’s most important rather than say for instance, and assistant having looked at my schedule and said, oh, it looks like when she afternoon is free. It’s like, no, let me put that thing in a, so another thing I do to control schedule is I outside of certain parameters, I’m the one who enters things into my schedule.

You, you personally entered in though, you do it every time.

Yep. Yeah. Well, no. My sister might come in and say, hey, so and so wants to meet with you. Or, or when this podcast came up, uh, can you do that? And here are some days a, and then I picked the one and she might put it in or I might type it in, but she’s not going to type in anything unless I say, well, Tuesdays, you know, those days are meetings all day long. So put whatever, whatever you want. As long as I got a couple of bathroom breaks,

my wife, my wife taught that because my wife knows that I am, I grew up really poor and, and I just want it to be successful. So, you know, my goal was not to be at 20 before I’m 30 I want to be a millionaire. So I was like 26 and I hit my goal and I’m going, I’m going to do this. I’m gonna and I would just book anything. You know, Pastor Larry Osborne, I would just say yes to anything. And then I let my assistant book anything too. So I’d have schedules where I’d be working til 10 o’clock at night doing anything. Anything that could produce revenue. I’m yes, yes. And my wife during the teach me no. And so now it’s more of like, you know, John puts it in there, but he runs it by a who call my wife, like the, uh, I consider John [inaudible].

John is sort of like the vice president of our country, of our business country. And my wife has sort of like the president and I don’t know what I am. I probably like the joker of our country here. But now I want to ask you about your book here because you wrote this book called a contrarion. Got a contrarian’s guide to knowing God and spirituality for the rest of us. And I like you and the sermons I’ve watched because you’re not woo woo. I don’t know if you use the word we, we were out there, but you’re not, I don’t, you don’t know to talk to you about mystical, um, cosmic theoretical metaphysical ideas that I don’t understand. You’re taking the irrefutable, um, the infallible word of Christ and you’re taking it and making it practical, illuminating it in a way that makes me want to do what you said. And I love, I love, I love the title of the book. So let’s talk about the book. What inspired you to write a contrarian’s guide to knowing God, spirituality for the rest of us?

Well, I grew up in kind of an academic background and I have a bias towards that, you know, multiple degrees and all that kind of stuff. But it seems to me that people in academia ended up talking and a little echo chamber. Uh, and that’s the exact opposite of what Jesus did. He wasn’t in the echo chamber. He was out in the world. And over time I just began to notice that all the books on the inner life or discipleship or what, whatever you want to call it, uh, they were all written by, uh, introverts type a personalities with big vocabularies in big brains. And by definition, that’s not most people. So a contrarian is guide to knowing God was simply wait, we need a spirituality that works for everybody, not just a small subset of, of giftedness and personality. And so that became contrarians. Cause frankly, pretty much every book on knowing God I ever read again, a type a introvert wrote it.

You know, chapter one of your book, you write the book title. The chapter title is spirituality for the rest of us. What does it mean to know God, my friend? What’s this chapter all about?

Well, I think in all of life and in the spiritual realm as well, we spend too much time checking one another’s watering schedule and checking our watering schedule against what everybody tells it it should be instead of the fruit. So the fruit of the spirit is what it means to know God. The fruit of obedience is what it needs to know means to know God. But when we have a course on you know how to grow in your walk with God, it almost always is all about disciplines. Hey, you need to read your Bible this way. You need to do this, you need to do that. And again, when I look at the list, it’s almost always by somebody who also exercises regularly gets up at the same time regularly. In other words, their path to knowing God is much more reflection of their personality than any biblical path that is laid out in scripture. I’ll give you one of my favorites is, uh, most people have the idea to really know God. You’d better be not only type a better be a good reader, but I like to remind people that no one had a bible by their nightstand or Journal through the Bible before Gutenberg came along.

[inaudible] Berg was actually opposed by some of the people that were hand writing the Bible deployed. If this guy, you know, it’s this invention apart of tier. So it’s interesting how, and then once the, I can’t remember the guy’s name, but the main guy who opposed Gutenberg ended up being the first best selling author, which is hilarious.

Did Not.

Yeah, I’ve spent too much time on it. Sorry about that. Back to you sir.

No, that’s, that’s, that’s great. But anyway, I just think spirituality simple. Jesus was hated by the religious leaders of his day because he kept making it simpler. He as it were, he lowered the bar that they kept trying to raise. Like, why are you hanging around these people? Why are you doing this? And he said, well, I came for them and so I came for, and to me, that’s who I wrote for

lightning round here. I’ve got a few more questions I want to ask you here before we have to let you get back to doing what you do that makes the church grow the way your church does. Chapter four of your book you write isn’t a sin to be average. Why ambition should never be confused with spirituality? What is this chapter all about?

Well, again, we all have a little bit of gift projection where we think that when people grow up, they’ll be just like us and see the world as we do. And so the people who have platforms and Christianity, those of us that are Bible teachers are so many props or write books, whatever. We tend to have a lot of ambition. That’s how we got where we got. And then we project out on everybody else as if everybody needs to want to be a leader. But if everybody is supposed to be above average and shame on you, if you settle for being anything less than average, by definition, half of the world is just an absolute loser. Why let them live, right? 50% of people by definition, however you want to cut it, are going to be low below average on whatever it is you measure.

And so what we do is we cast a ton of guilt, uh, and I like to teach people to be the best they can under the circumstances, not the best of breed. And if somebody has the gifts to be best of breed or somebody has a 10 talent gift, great. I will do everything I can to help you become a tent, Alec. Yest but, uh, you see it in the sports world. People talk about, well, I won because I have more dedication and I practice harder than everybody else. Well, Bologna Dude, you won the gene pool race. You started on, you know, halfway from third to home base. Uh, I would’ve been a former NBA play or if all it took was passionate and practice.

Well, okay. I want to ask you this because, um, this is, this is so powerful. Um, you said in your book it’s Chapter 21. Now you wrote priority number one. Why putting God first might be a bad idea that I really was wrestling with. What does this guy mean? Can you talk to us about what you mean in this chapter?

Sure. As a, as a Jesus follower, he needs to be at the center of everything I do and not first time I check less. So the whole problem of saying, Hey, what are your life priorities? Oh, okay. I started my day with God, when am I done with him? And then everybody puts family second. Okay, when am I done with them? And, and that whole list mindset leads to some very goofy patterns. Uh, the question I want to ask every day and every week and every season of a month or two is, is what am I, what’s my assignment right now? So, for instance, I learned this way back when I was in graduate school when I was about to take a major exam. My assignment was to do the best I could on that exam. And I might not have hardly any time praying or reading the Bible that morning because God called me to take an exam and I got an a on of that exam while a lot of my friends and felt, well, no, I need to put God first. Got to be on it because they had this checklist every day. Uh, it also do value some marketplace. Uh, it’s a doctrine called the priesthood of the believers, which means every single Jesus followers in ministry, the only question is where is their assignment to represented? Uh, and this idea of, well, God first that I checklists means, okay, I finished that now he’d go to work and somehow Jesus doesn’t need to go to work cause I took care of him in the morning.

Okay. So you, you, my friend have a clearly thought through why you do what you do and then you come across as a very intentional person. What do you, what do you, how do you spend the first four hours of a typical day at the day of the life of pastor Larry Osborne? What are the first four hours look like for you? Typically?

Well, the first couple of hours you’re going to be, why I never have a meeting before 9:00 AM. And again, I might have two or three a year if that’s all they can. In fact, I got one this Friday, but I might not have another one for six months. But it’s just getting up and doing what I feel like I need to do. I have a reading, a pattern that I follow, which now in the day and age of Internet is set up by, uh, just using, uh, uh, podcasts and different things that I want to read, blogs, et Cetera, uh, newspapers, uh, by interest and I just read all the headlines and pick out what I’m going to read that day. It could be theology, it could be medicine, it could be a culture. I don’t know what it’s going to be politics, but I just make sure I have an hour or two in which I am learning and I have no idea what I’m going to learn tomorrow. Uh, and then usually I try to take the next two hours cause mornings when I tend to be freshest to make sure that’s when the important meetings are or if it’s a major study speaking week that I get some time. Uh, when I met my best, uh, focusing on what is most important so that that would pretty much go the first four hours of my day.

Do you, uh, it was an la, New York, Tulsa, which I know you probably go, why are we advertising in Tulsa? But you can put a billboard anywhere. Um, and it does, it’s one in every city. Big Billboard. What would it say? What, what’s the message you’re wanting to communicate right now at this stage of your life, this stage of your ministry? I know you’re not passionate about getting to 13,000 members, but you understand that’s according to the George Barna Research. I mean you guys are in rare air and have a church that large. Uh, what is the message you want to communicate to all the listeners out there?

Well, first of all, I don’t think I’d have any idea what to communicate to everybody. Cause usually when you aim it, everybody you hit nobody.


If I was Amy, if I was aiming at Christian leaders, uh, probably the one thing I’d say is you have nothing to prove and no one to impress

skew. Repeat that one more time. My brain exploded for just a second there. I want to make sure I get it back.

You’ll have nothing to prove. You have nothing to prove and no one to impress because as long as I’m living my life with a father wound trying to impress people and make sure everything ever written or said about me is, is good. Every race I ever one I, when I, I’m pursuing an identity they can’t last. Uh, and unless our life has taken away with a tragedy, all of us are going to outlive our success, our shame, uh, our, whatever it is. And so at the end of the day, I have not seen it proven no one to impress. Uh, I’m going to wake up, do the best I can, take a nap, go to bed, get up tomorrow and do the same thing over and over and over again. And yes, I’ve been very fortunate. It’s taking me very far, but I don’t want to find my identity and how far it’s taken me when nothing went right and I was depressed. It was the same mental math that would’ve made me arrogant if things went well.

You, my friend, are unbelievable speaker, great communicator. Your books are great. Is there a certain book you’d recommend that all the listeners, the listeners had to go through and find one book, just one book of yours to buy on Amazon for themselves or somebody in their lives? What’s the one book?

Oh, I’d probably say contrarian’s guide you. Knowing Guide.

All right. Thrive nation. Do you heard it right there by checkout. Purchase the contrarian’s guide to knowing God. Pastor Larry Osborne, thank you for taking time out of your schedule. I appreciate you so much for hopping on the show to share with our listeners. It means the world to us.

Well, it’s been an honor. Thank you very much.

As we wrap up today’s show, I would encourage you to ask yourself, what are some of the things that you need to say no to? If you want to begin to grow your organization, what are some of the requests? What are some of the obligations? What are some of the things that you are involved in right now that you need to begin saying no to? If you’re going to take your company or organization to the next level? My name is Clay Clark and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow for another edition of the thrive time show on your radio and podcast.


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