development training

Development Training Pastor Austin Taylor Interview

What is your position with Life.Church Online?

My role is Development Training Pastor, which means that I oversee the initial training process new Church Online volunteers go through when they join the team, as well as their ongoing leadership development throughout their time serving with us. I love supporting our amazing team!

How long have you been a Development Training Pastor?

I’ve been on the Church Online staff team for 6 1/2 years. But I’ve been in this specific role for about a year and a half. I’m so grateful to work for a church that places such a high value on equipping people. So they can do what God has called them to do.

Can you describe to me a typical workday as a Development Training Pastor?

This is kind of an impossible question, haha! Ministry is so dynamic and every day can look totally different. It all depends on the needs of the team and our community. In a typical work week, I have meetings with the rest of the Church Online staff team to review the previous week’s stories and metrics, track our team’s progress toward annual goals and strategize for the upcoming message week; write content for our weekly “Tuesday Talk” [Facebook Live training video for our volunteers], then meet with the other pastors to rehearse and film it; plan logistics for upcoming international travels for our team; connect with volunteers, leaders, and givers in our community; and review our existing bank of volunteer training to identify where we need updates or new resources.

A couple of other projects I’m working on at the moment are researching current Learning & Development best practices to find learning we can apply from the business world into our team and interviewing job applicants for open roles within Digerati [Life.Church’s digital missions department, which includes teams like Church Online and YouVersion.

Share a funny story as a Development Training Pastor.

Here’s one of my favorites: A few years ago, my work laptop was downloading a software update that was going to take 8 minutes or so. I couldn’t really do any more work until it finished, so I decided to take a quick power nap at my desk while it was downloading. When I woke up, I lifted my head and realized I wasn’t looking into my laptop screen, but my team leaders.

She had Skyped the entire rest of our team on a group video call, and they were all laughing and taking pictures of me sleeping. When I realized what was happening, we all started cracking up! I love working with a team that works hard—and pranks hard—together.

What is most challenging in your job?

Our Church Online volunteer team currently includes 630 people serving from over 50 countries. They represent every kind of cultural and church background you can imagine, and most of them have never stepped foot in a Life.Church location. We absolutely love the diversity of our global and remote team, but from a training perspective, it does present the unique challenge of making sure everyone is fully aligned as they serve. We’re constantly reevaluating our volunteer training and communication to make sure that we’re consistently reinforcing our mission, core beliefs, and DNA in everything we do. As Patrick Lencioni would say, we need to be the “CROs” (Chief Reminding Officers) of Life.Church’s vision.

Can you share an inspirational story?

Yes—I could share 1,000 if you’d let me! We hear so many incredible stories of lives being changed each and every week at Life.Church Online.

Here’s one of my favorites: A few months ago, I was in a Church Online service at and got to connect with Moussa from—get this—Timbuktu! It’s a real place in Mali, a predominantly Muslim country in West Africa. He had just gotten off work and told us that it was his first time attending with us. I believe it was quite possibly his first church service ever. He stayed for the entire service and asked several questions along the way.

How amazing is it that our church is able to reach people like Moussa in places like Timbuktu?!

What is one piece of wisdom you would like to share with my audience?

If you love Jesus, have the heart to reach the nations, and have internet [which I know you do, if you’re reading this!], God can use you and your gifts to impact people all over the globe through Church Online. We want to equip you to become a digital missionary—all without leaving your home. All you have to do is say yes! Come join us and be part of a global movement that’s taking the Gospel to every corner of the world.

As our Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel said recently, serving always changes lives—and the first one to change is always your own. Learn more here:

How do you navigate family life and ministry?

This is another area I could write volumes on because it’s so important for any leader. To keep it brief, here are a few key principles I try to stick to:

1) God first, family second, ministry third. My priorities have to remain in that order.

2) Be 100% present at work and 100% present at home. Both deserve my full attention and energy.

3) Find mental stopping points. At the end of each workday, I take a few minutes to wrap up whatever I’m working on, recap and assess my work from that day, quickly glance over my calendar to prep for the next day, and mentally transition out of work mode so I can be fully engaged at home.

4) Understand seasons. There will always be short-term seasons when my work life or home life will require a little more of me than usual, and it’s up to me to communicate about them to my family and team leader.

development training
street sign with the word Leadership

outside sources

Life Church Online Church Room

Life Church Online website

YouTube Streaming

Life Church Life Group on Facebook

Pastor Steven Roberts on Facebook

Open Network Life Church Free Resources

YouVersion Bible App

Austin Taylor

Learn to become a pastor

Pastor/Leadership Development


Gratitude Essay

As I prayed and thought about the post for today I wondered just how many ways, how many times can we write about being thankful? I thought I would start out with gratitude this week. What it is, and what it is not.

In researching the internet, you know the ever faithful “Google”. I find that there is a trend going around called “Positive Psychology.” I thought I would include some of what I found in this gratitude essay.

What is gratitude?

One article I found from Positive Psychology Program listed some definitions of gratitude that I thought may help us understand this elusive feeling. I know we all want the feel good, happy, pleasant feelings all the time and sometimes it seems they are so far away. So, let’s just see just how science today defines gratitude:

“if we acquire a good through exchange, effort or achievement, or by right, then we don’t typically feel gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion we feel in response to receiving something good which is undeserved” (Lacewing, 2016).

I like this definition because it seems to match the Bible. God gives us what we do not deserve. All of us here on earth are sinful, we do not deserve the strength, the health, or even to be alive. We do not deserve the hope of heaven. We deserve hell if anything.

Another definition for this gratitude essay is:

“an emotion that is typically evoked when one receives costly, unexpected, and intentionally rendered benefits, and is thought to play a key role in regulating the initiation and maintenance of social relationships” (Forster et al., 2017).

What happens when someone gives you something or does something you never expected? Does that help you feel good for that person? I may be struggling with this a bit though. I tend to let history cloud my gratitude when someone who has hurt me does something nice.

gratitude essay
a book opened to where the subheading says of Gifting, first line under that says way of expressing gratitude
an open book

I tend to use my marriage as an example a bit much lately. But it is what is on my mind all the time. I am trying to let God teach me to be the wife my husband deserves, and let God do the work He needs to do in my husband. But, here is an example of the past clouding my gratitude.

My personal experience for this gratitude essay

Just recently my husband bought me a coffee from a local coffee shop. Automatically my thoughts of the many times that he would insist on buying the expensive coffees when we are broke came to mind. The hurt, the fear of how we are going to make it.

What did not come to mind is all the times I expressed to him I needed more than just physical love from him. I needed to be appreciated, loved for who I am. I did not express gratitude that he thought of me, only me in buying that coffee. I let my hurt and pain stay and cloud my judgment.

That attitude did not help our relationship. My husband was making a grand gesture that he could do with our circumstances. I stopped myself I looked at him and said, “What I should say to you is thank you very much, I really appreciate that you thought of me.”

Final thoughts for this gratitude essay

You see, it is so easy to lose sight of being thankful. Even when a person is trying their hardest to do something nice. Something to say I know you are hurting let me do this to try to make up for it. Yes, ok a bought coffee will not make up for everything. But it is a step. I need to make a step in learning to be grateful instead of letting the past hold us back.

What about you? Do you have trouble expressing gratitude when someone you are upset with does something nice? Please share your ideas with us! Would love to have you join our community and join the discussion in our Thankful Thursday group!

Outside sources

Essay on Gratitude

#1 Essay on Gratitude Towards Parents. Gratitude is one of the most underestimated ways anyone can use to enrich their lives. It is the feeling and attitude of …
Billy Graham: How to Be Thankful in All Things

Nov 21, 2017  But even so, we all have much to be thankful for. Look with me at … A spirit of thanksgiving is always the mark of a joyous Christian. Why should …
10 Things You Can Be Thankful For Today | Cru

We’re told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in everything. … I know that I have been made right with You because of my faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. 2.
How To Be Truly Thankful- 4 Tips to Develop Christian Gratitude …

Nov 4, 2017  Do you feel it? There’s almost an unspoken pressure in the realm of Christian social media circles to be thankful for each day you have on earth …
4 Reasons We Can Be Thankful in Times of Trouble

Nov 23, 2017  As Christians we can be thankful that we are children of the sovereign Lord. Even when our life seems to be spinning out of control, we can trust …
30 Christian Quotes about Thankfulness

Nov 14, 2016  1 Thing Christians Forget to be Thankful For – Why would I be thankfulfor these things? These horrible, depressing times of life? Because one …
5 things to be thankful for no matter what

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. What is so special about thankfulness is that thoughts like …
Why is giving thanks to God important?

First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We are to be thankful not only for the things we like, but for …
The Power of a Thankful Heart

Nov 18, 2015  “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Enmeng Womens Blessed Thankful Printed T-Shirt …

Buy Enmeng Womens Blessed Thankful Printed T-Shirt Casual Thanksgiving ChristianTee Tops: Shop top fashion brands T-Shirts at ✓ FREE …

where is God

Where is God

It has been a crazy few days. My youngest getting sick and then sharing the germs with me. Then as I check the homes for sale I find a mobile home right across the street from my in laws! Perfect spot, perfect amount of space, and some possibility of being able to afford it. But, in that all my in laws are dealing with some pretty major health issues. Things that could affect their ability to help us. My emotions have been so up and down! I started wondering where is God in all this?!

My youngest son and I are pretty much over the cold. So, God helped us through that. But, soon after that my in laws were hit with health issues. Today my mother in law is going in for a test that could determine if she needs surgery or not. Also, my father in law is having trouble controlling his blood sugar levels. He has a month to get his A1c3 down or he could lose his commercial drivers license. That is his job! His business! Their only income! Where is God in all this?! What is God’s purpose in these struggles? Could He really have faith in us to hold true to Him?

In his worry my father in law starts to worry and try to control others around him. I and my daughter came to his mind. He knows how hard it is when starting out on your own. See, when my husband and I move in together my daughter will move to her own place for the first time in her life. You can read up more on her and the situation between my husband, and her disability under the key word my testimony. This worry of my father in laws lead him to try to tell me and her what needs to be done. Which triggered my emotional reaction of having someone tell me how to parent when I have been a single parent and raised her to adulthood. Where is God in these emotions? What is God’s purpose in these interactions?

I calmed down, prayed and talked to my mother in law. For right now they both seem to understand why things cannot be done the way he wants them done. But, now this mobile home I mentioned earlier. My hope, excitement and wanting to figure out just how that home can become ours was over the top. It would mean my in laws would not need to make all the renovations on their house to accommodate us moving in. But, we would still be right there to help each other. All day yesterday my thoughts were racing, I was checking things, talking, researching. All the while trying to say ok God, I know when I try to do things I mess them up you need to do it. But still I let my emotions take my research and thoughts to areas they should not have gone. Where is God in these emotions? What is God’s purpose?

What I have learned in my studies about God is that He uses you, He wants to use even you who is reading this right now. If you are like me in situations similar to what I described above you experienced overwhelming emotions too. How can He use you in these troubling times? What I see is that as we deal with the emotions we need to lean in more, to fight more to talk to Him. If all you can do is say Praise Jesus while trying to draw on His strength to find an even keel then do that. Once you find that center on God, is where He can use you.

where is God
A forest with the words “You can never go where God is Not” Max Lucado

Today, I have that center and I am seeing, for just this little bit, how God can use me. Through these emotions I felt God calling me to read His Word. To really study it and focus on Him. I did that. I am doing a read the Bible through a year plan on YouVersion Bible App, plus a study with my husband and a study with some church leaders. He calmed me down, reassured me that no matter what happens with my in laws health, or the mobile home He is still in control. I need to focus on the goals He gave me in life, not my goals. The first goal is to put Him first in everything, and then to live my life so others can see Him through me. So, I will pray for my in laws like never before. I will pray for the people who are in the mobile home as they are in financial trouble or more. I will trust that God will bring the home for my husband and I when we need it, not when we think it is best. In all this I have achieved joy God can only give.

Outside sources

Where Is God?
We want to know — where is God when I hurt, or where is God when … Psalm 19: 1-2 tells us: The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His  …
How to Seek Jesus Christ and Find Him
Stop seeking blessings and worldly riches and money from God. Seek the person JesusChrist. Go seek Jesus Christ now and you will find Him. Isa 55:6-7: Seek …
How to Seek the Presence of Jesus Christ in your Life: 6 Steps
Apr 11, 2019  If you want to find life in this dark world, then you can find Jesus. If only you diligently seek Him in prayer, he will personally guide you to truth in …
How do we find Jesus Christ?
If you have come to a place in your life where you would like a personal encounter with the Living God, Jesus Christ then all you need to do is pray the sinner’s …
How to find Jesus… – YouTube
Jan 4, 2009  Hurt, afraid, confused or just generally fed up with life? Jesus is the answer. Listen here to learn how to find Him. Message from Larry Beckett of …
Finding Peace with God through a Personal Relationship with Jesus …
Learn how to find peace with God through a personal relationship with Jesus … a short time, we ultimately find that the empty longing inside us always returns.
The Only Way To FIND Jesus – YouTube
Feb 18, 2014  My site at Jesus calls each and every person, to get to KNOW HIM and to come into a relationship with him.
How to Find Jesus in the Old Testament: part 1 – YouTube
May 28, 2018  In this series we will seek to understand how the New Testament finds Jesus in the Old Testament in order to learn principles that will guide us …
How to Find Your Way Back to Christ
Sep 20, 2016  How to Find Your Way Back to Christ, Rhonda Stoppe – Read more … us with a sense of peace, joy, and inspiration to tell others about Jesus.
Find Peace With God
The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [ Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”  …

Sometimes God gives us instructions, and we say “Yeah, I really need to do that. I need to get that done. I know, Lord, that I need to talk to that person, pray for them, forgive them. Remind me to get on that in the morning. Good night. Oh yeah, I almost forgot what I was going to ask. Can you help me get stuff done around the house? I am really behind on that – oh, and I could use some help in a lot of other areas too. Thanks for listening.” Oops.

I think that kind of prayer is missing something – obedience. We can’t expect God to answer our prayers if we are not doing what we know He’s already told us to do – pray, forgive, speak, be quiet, sing, whatever the Spirit has impressed on our hearts.

God is generous to listen to us, His children. Sometimes we need to be a little quicker to listen to Him. (Does anybody else find this writing to be as convicting as I do?) Lord, have mercy.

Until next time,
Pastor John

(Now what was it God was asking me to do? I know it was something.)

In James 1:19, we are instructed as follows: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” It goes on to say that our human anger does not produce the righteousness that God requires. (verse 20). We are to be quick to listen.

God is love, and in that love He is giving us this instruction to listen. Our listening to each other reflects His love. Listening is God’s design. (Maybe that’s why He gave us two ears and one mouth – we will listen twice as much as we talk.  Well, I’ve heard that anyway.) I digress. God wants and expects us to listen. But why? I can think of two reasons off hand. You can probably come up with more. If you do, comment below this post.

One reason we are instructed to listen is because it is very effective. Not just listening for information, but listening to each others’ hearts – listening to show compassion. It is very healing to have someone listen to us.

One study I read about did an experiment with people in counseling. Half the group did the professional counseling, which itself can be very healing. Get hold of a Christian counselor, and it will help. I know it helped me. The other half just had someone listen to them. In the end, they measured the results, and the study found that both groups showed equally positive results. Both were very effective. It helps us a lot when people listen to us.

Yes, listening reflects God’s love, but it also reflects His character. He wants us to be like Him, and God listens. I said God listens. I need that reminder. Not only that, I think it is fair to say that God is quick to listen. He wants to hear us. He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him and to come to Him with confidence.  Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

God is ready to listen right now. I want to be that way too. I’m going to get started with this – “Heavenly Father, it is a privilege to write these words that hopefully reflect Your word. I pray for whoever reads this right now, that they (and I) will listen to You, even as you are always ready to listen to us. God bless the readers of these words. In the strong name of Jesus, who makes all this listening connection to you and to each other possible. Amen.”