8 Characteristics of GLS Leaders

As many of you know, the Global Leadership Summit was last week. It looks like it was another great year, as always.

Here is a great summary of a message Bill Hybels gave on the types of leaders the Global Leadership Summit is seeking to raise up.

I think he gave it before the actual summit to a meeting with their international partners. Nonetheless, it is useful for everyone as it summarizes very well the vision of the entire summit.

Crowdfunding Project #3: Short Ebook on Gospel-Driven Productivity

For the last few days, I’ve been taking you back into the kitchen of our GoFundMe campaign. So far we’ve looked at the first two projects this is helping support: an online course on gospel-driven productivity, and the online build-out of the resource library.

The third project is a short ebook on gospel-driven productivity — that is, on how to get things done, with less friction and frustration, but in a gospel-centered way (which most current resources on productivity completely leave out).

My book What’s Best Next gives the comprehensive perspective on this. But people have also asked for a shorter, quick hit version of those concepts so they can get going quickly. That’s what this ebook will aim to do. It will be about 25-40 pages, giving an overview of what it means to understand productivity in a biblical way, and then outlining the simple systems you can put in place to keep your focus on the most important things and get them done.

If you have already given to the campaign, thank you! And if you’re still thinking about it or just hearing about it now for the first time, your involvement would be a huge help. You can be involved by giving at the GoFundMe page and/or sharing it by email, twitter, or Facebook. Thank you so much!

Crowdfunding Project #2: The Online Resource Library

Thank you to everyone who has been giving to and sharing our online funding campaign. Please keep it up! Even a simple tweet or Facebook share makes a big difference.

Yesterday I took you back into the kitchen with the online course. Today I want to do the same with a second project, the online resources.

Expanding the Resource Library

You may have noticed the “resource library” section in the global navigation for this site. That is where I post more detailed and long-term articles, as opposed to the general blog posts which are more front-burner and timely (for the most part).

You may also have noticed that there are more categories than there are resources. That’s because this section is under construction. I have between 600 – 1,000 articles I want to post. These articles are on all aspects of theology, leadership, productivity, and management, from a biblical point of view. Once we get them up, the site will hopefully be able to serve you as a large on-going resource site on these subjects, similar to how Desiring God is such a helpful resource site on theology.

What Kinds of Articles?

Someone recently asked me, “how can you possibly have 1,000 unpublished articles?” The answer is threefold.

First, I used to answer theological correspondence for John Piper. I kept many of the more substantial responses I wrote for people on important subjects in theology and Christian living. That totals about 300-400 I think. (Since some of these are short, I don’t always include them in the full count of articles, hence I usually am thinking in terms of 600 articles; but there are about 1,000 units.) These emails were written before this blog, which is why they are not up yet.

Second, in college I wrote a bunch of articles on all aspects of Christian theology and apologetics as I was learning those subjects. I put those articles on the website Justin Taylor and I started together in college, way back in the early days of the Internet. They have been there ever since, and my plan is to move them over here so that everything is in one spot.

Third, over the last 8 years or so I’ve written many articles on leadership and management from a biblical viewpoint, as I have been developing my thinking on the subjects. These articles outline biblical leadership philosophies that also utilize the best of secular research (such as Jim Collins and others), and also develop systems for implementing these principles in your organization (performance management, hiring, meetings that are better than movies, and many other things).

You can see an example of what I’m doing in the “web strategy” category, where I’ve already posted most of my resources on that subject.

I’m also posting the audio and video of my messages over the years, whenever I have it, so this will be multimedia as well.

A Comprehensive Tool for Free

My plan is to get all of these resources posted so that this site can be a comprehensive tool for you, serving you both with fresh content through the blog and a large amount of ongoing foundational content through the resource library. And I want all of this available to you for free.

To make it available for free, of course, costs time and money on my side, getting things posted and set up. Which is a big reason for the financial appeal. If this vision is exciting and compelling to you, would you consider a gift?


Crowdfunding Project #1: The Online Video Course

Yesterday I announced this funding campaign to invite your help in supporting these three projects:

  1. An online productivity course helping individuals and teams who learn best through audio/video content
  2. A new, short ebook on Gospel-Driven Productivity that will be more accessible than What’s Best Next
  3. The posting of over 600 articles on theology, leadership, and productivity to this site

Today I’m going to bring you into the kitchen and share about the online course. Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about the book.   

The Basic Concept

People have a variety of learning styles, and many learn best when they can interact with the content in multiple ways. The online course will be designed with this in mind.

In the course, I’ll walk through everything you need to know to reduce stress and increase productivity in a session-by-session format. I’m excited to be able to incorporate a lot of principles and practical content that I couldn’t fit into the book.

Each lesson will accent application; it will be designed to help you absorb and integrate the content as effectively as possible. And, I’m designing it (of course!) to be able to fit into your busy schedules. So you’ll learn more, in an efficient way, and get a jumpstart in applying it in your life.

Think of it like a training program for your job, except you don’t have to take an extensive amount of time away and can do it at your own pace. Plus, it will be a lot of fun! I don’t like boring things, so I’m going to work hard to make this course engaging and interesting.

Productivity is More than Tips and Tools

A central feature of the course is that productivity is about way more than tips and tools. Those things are important, and I will teach many of them, but productivity is actually first a result of worldview. It needs to be on a biblical foundation and pursued with consistent biblical principles. The course will provide those biblical worldview foundations so that you can be truly productive, as well as give you the tips and tricks and tactics that can really help you get moving.

Free Access for a Gift of $100 

Your financial support is an essential part to helping me produce this content swiftly. So if you can, check out the GoFundMe page to learn more about the campaign and how you can support.

Any gift over $25 will get you a free copy of the book (more on this tomorrow), and gifts of $100 or more will trigger free access to the online course when it’s ready (estimated value of $250).

If You’ve Benefitted from My Books or Blog, Here’s a Chance to Help Financially

A Special Message from Matt Perman

My mission in life is to build up Christians in the faith so they might point people to Christ, transform their communities, and do all the good they can to the glory of God.

The chief way I aim to do this is through public theology––leveraging the writing, teaching, and organizational gifts God’s given me through various media, speaking, and consulting opportunities. For 13 years this was expressed in different roles at Desiring God, including leading the web department, serving as director of strategy, and helping build the ministry for greater spreading.

Over the past few years, my two biggest projects have been publishing What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done and creating content for WhatsBestNext.com, a resource site focused on applying theology to leadership, management, and the world of work. I have also been doing a lot of speaking at churches, conferences, non-profits, and businesses.

Your Help: Why and Why Now?

With the humbling success of What’s Best Next and the passionate feedback I receive, one thing has become increasingly and compellingly clear: there is a deep hunger for more training in these areas––especially in the realms of gospel-empowered productivity and management.

Many Christians today are hungry to do work that matters, but they’re simply overwhelmed. They want to honor God and serve people in their work, but aren’t always sure how to do that with less friction and frustration.

I believe What’s Best Next has a role to play in meeting this need, but I keep hitting two major roadblocks:

  1. I can’t expand these ministry initiatives on my own
  2. Living expenses and family commitments prevent significant financial investment

In order to dedicate my full-time attention in this next season, I need help from a team of generous catalysts. I created this GoFundMe campaign to ask if you’d consider a gift of support to make the following strategic projects possible.

What Your Support Will Accomplish

Your generous support will enable the following:

  • Producing an online training course in Gospel-Driven Productivity (GDP)
  • Creating a much-requested book on GDP (more accessible than What’s Best Next)
  • Editing, organization, and making available over 600 unpublished articles on theology, leadership, management, and the world of work––all from a gospel-centered perspective. These will be free on WhatsBestNext.com
  • Start-up funds for building a WBN team

What Supporters Will Receive

If you’re able to support these efforts, I want to say thank-you in the following ways:

  • For gifts over $25, you will receive a free digital copy of the GDP book (when finished)
  • For gifts over $100, the book and free access to the online course (when finished, estimated $250 value).
  • For gifts over $500, the book, the course, and a free coaching session in the realm of personal leadership and personal management that customizes GDP for you.

Thank You

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this opportunity. I am deeply appreciative of your support.

In Christ our Savior,

Matt Perman

[Help Support Matt’s Ministry Projects]


The Three-Fold Method for Evaluating Daily Work

This is a post from a while ago that contains an important framework that is always helpful to keep in mind. I’ve found it helpful in a new way recently, and thought you might as well.

David Allen very helpfully defines three different types of “work” that we do when doing our work:

  1. Doing predefined work
  2. Doing work as it shows up
  3. Defining your work

Many people get caught up in number 2, and let 1 and 3 slide.

He then notes:

Your ability to deal with surprise is your competitive edge. But at a certain point, if you’re not catching up and getting things under control, staying busy with only the work at hand will undermine your effectiveness. In order to know whether you should stop doing something and start dong something else, you need to have a good sense of what your job requires and how that fits into the other contexts of your life.

Abortion as a Form of Discrimination: Why It Ought to be Unthinkable

This is a paper I wrote in seminary showing why abortion is wrong on the basis of reason, philosophy, science, the founding documents of our nation, and Scripture. I’ve been intending to post it for quite a while, along with most of my other papers, and with the Planned Parenthood revelations going on, right now seems as good a time as any to post this.


A. The Dignity of Human Beings
B. Human, or a Human Person?
C. Personhood and the Constitution
D. Personhood and Arguments for Abortion Rights

1. The Right to Privacy
2. A Woman’s Right to Do What She Wants With Her Body
3. The Back Alley Argument
4. “If you don’t agree with it, just don’t do it”


A. The Unborn Are Living
B. The Unborn Are Living Humans
C. The Unborn Are Living Human Persons

1. Unique Individuality
2. Personhood is Ontological, not Functional
3. Gradualism Fails
4. Scriptural Testimony
5. The Existence of the Soul
6. The Inconsistency of Denying Personhood to the Unborn


The purpose of this paper is to argue that the unborn, from the moment of conception, have a right to life that is on the same level as infants, children, and adults. An induced abortion[1] at any stage, therefore, is a form of discrimination that ought to be just as unthinkable to our society as slavery and genocide. Indeed, our society’s permissiveness toward abortion is nothing short of hypocritical when placed next to its passion for political correctness. In a society where so many run eagerly to show sensitivity towards the “rights” of nearly every special interest group, no matter how extreme, it is unconscionable that the rights of the weakest and most defenseless among us are revoked in the name of “choice” more than one million times a year.[2]

The discrimination inherent in abortion may be termed natalism. As philosopher and ethicist Francis Beckwith explains, natalism is “the denial of the fundamental human right to life to a segment of human beings simply because they are not post-uterine.”[3] Natalism is a form of prejudice that is even worse than its counterparts of racism, ethnocentrism, and sexism because the end result is almost always the death of its victims:

Just as skin color (racism), ethnic origin (ethnocentrism), gender (sexism), national power (imperialism), and birth date (ageism) are irrelevant to one’s possession of fundamental human rights, so is one’s degree of development and location inside or outside the womb (natalism).  Unfortunately, this politically correct prejudice, manifested in the practice of abortion, nearly always results in the death of its victim.[4]

Our argument that natalism ought to be unthinkable in our society will proceed in two steps. First, we will argue that whether the unborn have a right to life on the same level with all who are post-uterine is completely settled on the basis of one question: Are the unborn human persons? Second, we will argue that, from the moment of conception, the unborn are indeed human persons—and therefore in possession of a right to life equal to that of all other people.

[Read more…]

Don’t Divide Your Christian Principles from Your Practical Decision Making

This is well said by Phillip Johnson, in his foreword to Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth

Every one of us has a worldview, and our worldview governs our thinking even when — or especially when — we are unaware of it.

Thus, it is not uncommon to find well-meaning evildoers, as it were, who are quite sincerely convinced that they are Christians, and attend church faithfully, and may even hold a position of leadership, but who have absorbed a worldview that makes it easy for them to ignore their Christian principles when it comes time to do the practical business of daily living.

Their sincerely held Christian principles are in one category for them, and practical decision making is in another. Such persons can believe that Jesus is coming again to judge the world and yet live as if the standards of this world are the only thing that needs to be taken into account.

That’s a very profound statement. It is worth re-reading and reflecting on.

I remember experiencing this dichotomy in my own life. My senior year in college, I had an internship as a claims adjuster at a large insurance company. One of the things we were taught was that the popular dictum “the customer is always right” would bankrupt the company.

The reason is that customers often had an inadequate conception of their insurance policies, thinking that certain things would be covered when they are in fact not. If we granted the wishes of the customer in each of those cases, we would be paying far beyond what the policies were designed to cover, which would indeed spell disaster for the company.

In this case, of course, the reasoning is correct. The policy rates were set on the basis of the limitations on the policy spelled out in the contract, and to go against those would be to over extend the capacity of the company to pay the claims. I don’t think there is anything unbiblical about sticking to agreed upon characteristics of the insurance policy, especially since the customers are able to read and agree to the policy with full knowledge and consent when they sign on.

The problem, though, was that this could easily have an unwelcome side effect. Even though the company did not advocate doing so, nonetheless this reality could easily create an adversarial mindset toward the customers of the insurance company. You could go in expecting them to disagree, and your mission was to make sure not to give in. Your task could easily become not seeking to maximally serve the customer within the constraints imposed by the policy, but standing your ground against the customer. And justifying that by saying “this is what the policy states. You just have to deal with it.”

That would be an example of following the standards the world often follows — and thinking you are justified in doing so because, of course, you really can’t pay out for things the policy does not cover. Right?

The problem here is not with upholding the policy. The biblical answer here would not be to go against the agreed upon characteristics of the insurance policies. The problem is with what is being left out — namely, humanity. 

The biblical answer here was not to go against the policies, but to remember compassion and understanding. As claims adjusters we might not be able to give the customers what they really wanted in certain cases, but we could always accompany that with saying “I understand this is frustrating. I am sorry about this. And perhaps the conception of this policy is not as helpful as it should be, and we will need to look into that. But this is the policy that was agreed on, and this is what we have to stick to.”

That is a very different approach than just giving people the cold hard facts and saying “deal with it.” It seems so obvious. This is a way of treating the customer with dignity and respect, even when they are not “right” and cannot have their way.

Yet, that that is the type of thing you don’t always see. Perhaps some people think that showing understanding opens them to liability or risk. To acknowledge the person’s frustration, they think, is perhaps to acknowledge that the policy is indeed bad, thus opening them to a lawsuit.

But fear of risk is never a good reason to fail to take the actions that are necessary for affirming a person’s dignity. People’s concerns need to be validated. Even if the company is technically “right,” as was the case most of the time in these situations, it is never right to toss that out as a cold hard fact that a person just has to “deal with.”

This is just one small example of how Christian principles can be set aside in the name of seemingly doing “the right thing” according to a certain (even legitimate) set of standards, and how a Christian view can come in and provide what is missing so that people are always treated the way they ought to be treated.

There are lots of other examples that are more extreme and more significant. Regardless of the situation you are in, always remember to ask not only “what are the typical practices for handling this situation in my industry” but also “what does God have to say about this type of thing, and how does that apply to me as well?”

Is Excessive CEO Pay a Problem?

I am a capitalist and I believe in the free market. Government interference almost always makes things worse, not better. Then, when the government “solution” causes those worse problems, people forget that government caused those problems in the first place. And so another government “solution” is called for, and so the cycle continues.

So one might expect me to say that high CEO pay should not be considered a problem.

But that is not what I think. My thinking is in line with Peter Drucker’s thinking, well summarized by William Cohen in The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Management Thinker:

Drucker defended perceived high executive salaries in his earlier writings. He knew how hard executives had to work to reach the pinnacle of their careers.

However, skyrocketing executive salaries caused him to drastically alter his opinion. He said executive salaries at the top had clearly become excessive and that the ratios of compensation — top managers in relation to lowest paid workers — were the highest in the world. Moreover this income difference wasn’t slight — it differed by magnitudes.

Drucker felt that this was morally wrong, and that we as a nation would end up paying a tremendous price for this. Indeed, in 2001, the ratio of average US CEO compensation to average pay of a non management employee hit a high of 525 to 1. At that point, Drucker recommended a ratio of no more than 20 to 1.

Interestingly, Drucker drew a parallel between high executive salaries and the demands of unions for more and more benefits without increases in productivity. He predicted we would pay a terrible price for these examples of gluttony from both management and labor. “It is never pleasant to watch hogs gorge,” he said. In fact, we have been paying this price for several years.

I agree that in general, CEO pay is too high in proportion to the pay of the non managerial worker. I believe this causes all sorts of problems. While I believe that companies ought to have the freedom to pay their executives what they choose, as it is their money, that does not mean that all of their decisions are by definition morally good or beneficial.

So what is the solution? Well, we know what it is not. It is not government interference, such as in the form of wage controls. That will simply cause even more — and likely worse — problems (see first paragraph). A company owns its money, and has a right to do with it what it chooses. For the government to come in and force certain wage restrictions or other such things is simply a disguised form of stealing. It is for the government to force itself into participating in the management of the company, which it does not have a right to do.

So what, then, is the solution? The solution has to come from the market it self; from people. From persuasion, not force (read, laws).

And that is one of the beautiful things about the free market. The market does have imperfections. But, just as with the scientific method, by being left free those imperfections often become self-correcting as we begin to see the damage they are creating.

The imperfections of the market can often be overcome by ordinary people making good decisions and using influence to change cultureAnd so even when the market is imperfect, it must be left free to correct itself. (Cases of ethical violations of course excepted.)

And that, I believe, is the solution here. But at some point, this specific issue of extreme executive pay needs to become a bigger issue. It’s not a crusade I’m interested in taking up. But it is something worth thinking reflectively and intelligently about — from a free market (rather than command and control) perspective.