Leadership & Emotional Intelligence

This past week in the leadership class we studied emotional intelligence and how it affects our lives.  Whether we are in an official leadership position or not we are influencing others through emotions.

  “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” -Dale Carnegie

Drawing heavily from Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and Primal Leadership by Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee, our class talked about the importance of recognizing, understanding, and managing our own emotions.  The students were able to give examples of when they’d felt a particularly strong emotion but failed to manage it properly.  We were all able to see how emotions, when not managed, affect those around us, including the people we are intended to lead.

From there, we moved a bit further by discussing how we can recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of those around us.  Sometimes this can be as simple as recognizing the sadness of a friend, understanding why he or she is feeling that sadness, and becoming the sensitive person your friend needs.  In a leadership context, this means being aware of your team members and speaking authentically to resonate with their emotions.

Its tempting to fall into the rut of to-do lists, meetings, and budgets all the while believing that emotion has no stake in a board meeting or the day-to-day activities of running an organization. However, this simply isn’t true.  Our emotions and how we handle them have everything to do with the success or failure of our leadership.

While it is often overlooked, Emotional Intelligence is the bedrock of leadership.  If we can work on growing our E.Q., then we will see rapid improvement in all the other attributes needed to lead our companies, teams, and families.

To anyone reading, I highly recommend learning more about you E.Q., and if you already know, take the necessary steps to develop it.  Read the aforementioned books and seek out an Emotional Intelligence self-evaluation (Like this ONE).  Or, if you want the Works, visit http://www.thelionslead.com and request more information.

Gut Check for a Mission Trip

There are many different philosophies floating around in the Christian world concerning short-term mission trips.  Mentalities range all the way from “I’m going to make myself feel good” to “I’m going to save the world.”  Obviously, both extremes are unhealthy, and neither of these attitudes has a place on the field.

Focus Outward – Expect to be Changed

A short-term mission trip can accomplish many things for everyone involved, but I can say one thing with absolute certainty, if your focus is on those you are going to serve, the result will change you.  

Take special care to evaluate yourself and your motivations before even signing up to go on that mission trip.  If you only want that “spiritual high,” you’re wasting time, money, and effort.  Stay home and dig into the Word of God instead.  If you want to feel good about yourself for whatever reason, stay home and volunteer at your church.  If you think you’re going to single-handedly change the world, stay home, take a nap, and keep dreaming.

However, your attitude should be that of a humble servant (sound like anyone we know?).  After going on dozens of mission trips all across the world and hosting dozens of mission trips here in Thailand, nothing makes a team better than a group of humble servants.  I’ve worked with the “I have all the answers” type, and they’re annoying and useless on the field.  I’ve worked with the “I’ll just read my Bible by myself while my team plans for an outreach or plays with kids” kind of folks, and while they are usually low maintenance, they are also useless.  Participate by serving those you went to serve!

The ones who get and give the most out of a mission trip are the ones who submit fully to the needs of those around them.  The full-time missionaries need your help.  Empty yourself spiritually, emotionally, and physically for their sake, otherwise you will regret not giving it, and they of all people need your encouragement!  The people you serve need to hear the gospel.  Check your fear at the door and put on the courage God gave you to deliver his Gospel.  Your teammates need your leadership, and you can be the leader that shapes the attitudes of your team.

Things to Consider

While you are being this humble servant to these people, be thinking about a few things:

  1. What’s different about this culture compared to my own?  And how is that difference affecting people’s faith?
  2. What is inhibiting the spread of the gospel in this culture?  This question will take years of observation and study to understand, so ask those who have been there. Don’t be tempted to draw your own misinformed conclusions without even having adjusted to jet lag yet.
  3. How can I help take down that barrier after I go home?  Ask the long-term missionaries on the field what you can do to help.  Again, don’t rely exclusively on your own conclusions.  Your effort might actually be having a negative affect.
  4. How will I be involved in missions in the future?  Be careful with this question. Don’t be tempted to think that if you send $50 a month to a missionary that you’re off the hook.  Sending means more than money!  Cash is certainly needed, but sending involves emotional and spiritual support as well.  You’ll also need to consider the possibility that you belong on the field yourself.

Whether local, global, sending, or going YOU were called as a disciple of Christ to participate in making his name known, so consider your own identity, skills, and giftings to effectively contribute to the mission.

“Send, Go, or Disobey.” -John Piper

A mission trip should be a blessing to everyone involved.  You can expect to connect with the people you went to serve, to lighten the burden of the full-time missionaries or help carry their ministry forward, and to grow in unbelievable ways.  Remember to have the attitude of a humble servant, and everything else will fall into place.



Why Cities?

HighRise goes into the cities of the least reached nations…

Why the cities?

John Piper, puts it so well by saying, “the emphasis on cities is both culturally smart and biblically warranted.”  HighRise values strategy and sees that by strategically reaching those in cities, we can reach a nation.

People without the gospel are not just hidden away in remote villages, “People groups may in fact live 50 yards away in a high-rise and be totally unreached” (John Piper).

Check out this 2 minute video by John Piper that conveys the heart of HighRise:


“The world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history. More than half of the world’s population now lives in towns and cities, and by 2030 this number will swell to about 5 billion.”  Urbanization

“Nearly 9% of the world’s population will be living in just 41 megacities (those with more than 10m inhabitants) by 2030.” Urbanization and the Rise of the Megacity

If we can disciple and mobilize those in cities, we can not only reach unreached people groups, but nations as a whole!


Cities are Central

“The heart of the spread of the gospel has always been in cities … since the days of Jerusalem and Antioch and Rome and then London. It has not changed, regardless of where the agencies have focused. Cities are central.” Urban Urgency

With more people living in cities than in rural areas for the first time in history, it is a vital time to raise up disciples in these unreached cities.


This is why HighRise is raising up HighCaliber disciples in Unreached Cities.  


flickr photo shared by Jo@net under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Did you know?

We encourage you to prayerfully consider partnering financially with HighRise Ministries.  Funds will go towards ministry expenses and keeping the Degler family healthy and safe in Bangkok.

This ministry CANNOT happen without your help, so we urge you to join HighRise.

You can give by visiting the following website:


You can also make checks payable to HighRise Ministries and send them to:

HighRise Ministries
P.O. Box 55325
Indianapolis, IN 46205

Thank you for your commitment to help fulfill the Great Commission and to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


My hands are up.  I’m guilty.

There seems to be two or three major things ministries or missionaries ask for, and there is a very predictable order for these common requests.  Right in the middle is usually a request for physical help, like “we need staff,” “can we borrow a carseat,” or “we need a place to stay while back home.”  These things make sense.  If a missionary is back in the USA, or wherever else they call home,  they won’t have conventional possessions needed for a trip back, so they ask for them.

The first request is almost always money, which also makes sense, as no ministry or missionary on the face of the planet can do what they do without it, and for the sake of honesty, readers will most certainly be hearing from us asking for just this thing.  (In fact, I’ll do it now.  Click HERE to donate to HighRise Ministries.)

The third request is a bit disheartening.  Not because we have to ask for it, but because it almost always seems to be added to a list of requests simply as an afterthought or a compulsory thing Christians are supposed to value.  We need money, a bed to sleep in, oh yeah, and could you pray for the ministry?  You know, if you have time.

I’m guilty.

There have been times when, for whatever reason, I have neglected to place proper emphasis and urgency on the need for prayer.  However, at this very moment know with certainty and all genuine conviction that I am imploring you for prayer.  Maybe “imploring” isn’t quite strong enough.  I am begging for it.

This urgency came when I was obsessively browsing the HighRise Ministries website.  Don’t judge, but I was scouring for typographical errors.  Having already found and corrected several on previous occasions, my grammar-obsessive mind couldn’t rest until I’d checked one more time.  I was reading over the mission and vision when I was suddenly hit with the enormity of the work God had put in our path.  I’d never before suffered from a panic attack, but I imagine I was pretty close in that moment.  I was breathing heavily and reading words like “least-reached,” “world,” and “strategic.”  I’m not strategic, I’m a fool.  We can’t reach the world, we’re just one young family.  The least-reached?  That means intentional evangelism with people who might have never heard, or worse, they could meet us with open hostility.

What were we thinking?!  In that moment, I entertained the idea of changing the mission statement to something easier like “we’ll start a campus ministry, and see where it goes.”

I honestly think God was intentionally making me sweat it out for a minute or two.  He was making me sprint circles in my own mind, trying to figure out how we could ever have a faint hope of “strategically” reaching the “world” with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  There are millions and millions of people who’d never get the opportunity to even hear that Jesus loves and died for them, and just a small portion of that responsibility punched me in the gut.

That’s when it all became clear.  God is absolutely right.  I can’t do this.  I am incapable.  This mission is well beyond my ability to achieve.  In addition, its well beyond any of our ability.  Even collectively, mere human beings, fallen and ever-failing, cannot hope to reach the world with the love of God.  It doesn’t even make sense that we should try without Him.  How is a man or woman, who’s mind cannot fathom the depths of God’s love communicate that with another person?  Its like a child trying to explain the highest level of mathematics.  He doesn’t understand it, and has no chance of teaching anyone else accurately and completely.  The idea that we would try to do the same with God is absurd and embarrassing.  (On a random side note, could the outside world’s negative perception of Christians stem from this problem, our superficial and incomplete understanding of God’s love?  I’d say that’s likely.)

However, if God is at work and is a light to our feet, then we’ve found the missing puzzle piece.  Paul speaks my heart more clearly than I ever could.  “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).  Notice Paul doesn’t say “first of all, go tell people.”  While I am certainly a believer in all Christians “going” in some way, Paul says that God’s first instruction is to pray.

If God wants all people to be saved, then so does HighRise.  If the best way to accomplish this is through “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving,” then HighRise will do that.  This is why we are asking for your time in prayer.  HighRise will be moot and ineffective without it.

With that, before all else, I want to urge you all to join with us in prayer.

  • Pray for the multitudes who have yet to hear the name Jesus Christ.  Pray that their hearts would be open to hearing and believing.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would visit them in powerful and undeniable ways.  Pray that they would experience the love of God that we so often take for granted.
  • Pray for the leaders of the world.  Just like Paul wrote to Timothy, so that we may have peace and justice in the nations.
  • Pray for the people of Thailand.  Pray that God would begin to prepare their hearts and minds for the gospel, and that believers would be put in their path so that they might hear about Him.
  • Pray for the wisdom of HighRise Ministries, that we would work within the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Pray that all decisions will be made with integrity and within God’s heart.
  • Pray for present and future ministry partners of HighRise.  Pray that we work together in unity of mind, spirit, and mission, including partners on the field, the board of directors, and donors.
  • Pray that the ministry is supported in everything it needs to function with excellence.  Including spiritual, emotional, and physical support of the staff members, their safety, and the ministry’s funding.

If you are unfamiliar with HighRise, visit highriseministries.org for more information or the Facebook and Twitter pages for regular updates.




Who is HighRise?

Who is HighRise?  And why does it exist?

So far we’ve been asked these two questions the most, and I hope to answer both of them here.

HighRise’s Vision is simple; we want to see God glorified through strategic transmission of the gospel throughout the least reached cities of the world.  Sometimes it easy to look around at the people we interact with on a daily basis only to see the person they portray on the outside, and we neglect to see them for their hearts and souls.  I am certainly guilty of this, but at critical times in my life, for whatever reason (likely the Holy Spirit), my heart breaks for the hearts and souls of lost people around the world.  Early in 2015, after studying key passages of the Bible, I was struck again with this heartache, but this time it was coupled with the strong vision to work primarily in the hubs of culture, economics, government, education, and entertainment: big cities.

This led us to develop our mission; HighRise will go into the cities of the least reached nations of the world with the mission to strategically preach the gospel, reach the lost, and make disciples for the ultimate glory of God.  We believe that the big cities of every nation supply influence to the rest of the country, and by first reaching a city, the rest of the people will naturally follow.

Our mission and vision beg a few follow-up questions.  What does least reached mean?  The Joshua Project (www.joshuaproject.net) defines least-reached as “a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group.”  HighRise uses the word least-reached in the same way.  This is why our goal is to raise up local believers with the same heart to reach their own nation, so that “adequate numbers” can be attained.

Who are these least reached nations and cities?  This is where you will catch us saying the 10/40 Window frequently.  This video (Watch Me) says it better than I can, but essentially, there are billions of people between the 10th and 40th latitude on the eastern hemisphere, 95% of these people are unreached, and only 1.25% of the world’s missions giving is directed to these people.  HighRise seeks to be at the heart of these unreached people.

HighRise exists because we believe that Jesus was serious when he commanded His disciples to go into all the world with the intent to duplicate themselves.  If Jesus was serious about the mission, then HighRise Ministries is serious about the mission as well.

Unreached Cities

HighRise Ministries is focused up raising up HighCaliber disciples in unreached cities. Specifically we are focused on reaching the lost in major cities throughout the 10/40 window.  The 10/40 Window is located 10 degrees to 40 degrees north of the equator, spanning the globe from West Africa to East Asia.  Here are some facts and reasons why we are focused on this area of the world:

  • There are 62 nations within the 10/40 Window.
  • 4.1 billion of the world’s 5.6 billion people live here.
  • It is home to 85% of the world’s poor population.
  •  It is the headquarters of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Atheism.
  • 97% of the un-reached people groups are located here.
  • It contains over 70% of the world’s people but only 8% of the church’s missionary efforts.
  • Less than 1/2 of 1% of the mission budget of churches goes to reach the 10/40 Window.
  • Many in the 10/40 Window have never heard the Name of Jesus – even one time! (http://www.wfwradio.com/the-10-40-window/)


flickr photo shared by tinabasgen under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license