Leadership series: Erwin Mcmanus

Here is the first of many critiques I will be writing on my experience at the SEU Leadership Forum 2010. I hope all of you will gain much wisdom and encouragement from these presentations.

“Critique of Erwin McManus at 2010 Leadership Forum

  • This critique is on Erwin McManus who spoke on March 10, 2010 during the Late afternoon.
  • Erwin McManus wanted to touch on two major themes throughout his presentation. The first idea was a statement which he felt needed to be driven into the core of our Christianity, “we have to stop acting as if we’ve earned the right to be heard and start doing things that are beautiful and compelling…” The second major idea to which he spent the most time addressing was the questions, what is the meaning of life?
  • Erwin Mcmanus provided two bits of information which I was not previously aware of. The first  statement which really struck out to me was, “if your just working to pay the bills, your life will be meaningless.” This statement is powerful, because most people go through life simply just trying to survive. They want to make money and can’t even give a reason as to why they need to make tons of money. McManus told a story of his son and him having a conversation about meaning and purpose one day. His son talked about working for Erwin and how he wanted to make lots of money for his father. Erwin responded with, “why do we need lots of money?” The son replied, so that they will be able to do more things. To this Erwin replied that, “What things can we not do now?” After thinking about it, the son responded with a new answer, “I want to make money so I can help others realize their own specific purpose and meaning in life.” Money should not be our motive for “doing” life, money is simply one of the tools to enable us to live out “our purpose” which is that, “…everything we do is to bring meaning to others and the world.”
  • The second statement which struck me as unfamiliar was that, “Solomon was wrong.” This seemed crazy, even McManus admitted that when he first came to this conclusion it was scary and seemed “blasphemous.” In context however, it makes perfect sense. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks about how there is “nothing new under the sun.” This is wrong and Erwin went on to show why he believes so, in the Bible, Jesus talks about the wineskins bursting because of new wine, and when God said, “I’m doing a new thing are you even going to be aware of it?” There are tons of examples even out of the Bible, such as traveling to the moon, ipods, cameras, television, vehicles, the light bulb and so many more. McManus was so passionate about explaining why this is untrue, because we as Christians, have become un-original and seem to think that the old way and old ideas are the only right way to go about life.
  • The most helpful part of this presentation for me was the idea of, “earning the right to be heard.” In our culture it becomes to easy for many people to simply believe that because they are in a certain class level, or have a certain title, that everyone should listen to them. Christians are especially guilty of this because we are responsible for spreading the “truth.” A lot of Christians just believe that because you’re right, you’re also healthy, but in reality “just because you’re right, does not mean you’re healthy. A lot of Christians know the truth, but are very cynical and judgmental in their approach to spread that truth. This type of approach is not helpful to anyone and is actually counterproductive in the goal of loving people. I will not forget this quote because it really inspires me to remain genuine and loving in my approach to help others.
  • “We need to find the ‘A’ place for every person and make every job meaningful.” This is so vital in not just the church, but also public companies as a whole. Every person working within your church or company needs to feel as though they are not only wanted, but needed. When people within your company feel like they are wanted and appreciated it raises their motivation and their sense of purpose.

When people feel this way they work harder and become viable assets to a company. On a spiritual level, these people will start to realize that there is more to life than just being successful at work, that there is more out there. They will feel good and be more open to the truth that money is not everything and that a life with God is far more valuable than any promotion. When others succeed because we in some way helped, we actually succeed as well, because we are all on the same team. Those who don’t know Christ are always searching for meaning and purpose to this life, it is the job of every Christian to show these people that purpose.

check out Erwin McManus’ latest book:


5 responses to “Leadership series: Erwin Mcmanus

  1. The first time I heard Erwin speak was at Firefall last semester and the things he spoke about shook my world and really changed my outlook on the Christian life. Because of this I bought his book “Wide Awake,” which is about living the life God wants us to live. Although I haven’t been able to finish it because of busy schedule so far Erwin has discussed awakening the unique creative talents inside of each one of us. He also mentions that we need to be explorers of this earth and take advantage of the things around us that God has provided us with. I really agree with the statement you made, “We as, Christians, have become un-original and seem to think that the old way and old ideas are the only right way to go about life.” People, especially Christians, are the most undervalued resource on this planet because they are afraid to step out of the box and use their God-given talents to their full potential. Thank you for providing us with some insight to the Forum!

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  3. Another great post about the Forum! I agree about the quote, “If you’re just working to pay the bills, your life will be meaningless.” It’s very tempting to just find a job that will earn lots of money, because we all want to have security and to be able to afford luxurious things that we otherwise couldn’t. Working hard isn’t a bad thing. It’s great to have a good work ethic, but if you’re only doing it for the money, it’s going to get old pretty fast. Instead, we need to trust that God will supply our needs as long as we follow His plan—which may involve a moneymaking career or not. This is also why it’s important to discover what we truly love in life, because that can be the difference between surviving and thriving. Though it sounds crazy, you can be more fulfilled earning a tiny paycheck at a job you love than making loads of money at a job that you tolerate.

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