The new year is a popular time for saying “yes.” “Yes” to more family time. “Yes” to exercise. “Yes” to getting plenty of rest. But what if this year, you could accomplish all these things and more because of a decision to say “no” instead?

Today on The Pod, Frank Bealer and EJ Swanson join us to talk about the practice of slowing down. As two ministry leaders fluent in large-church ministry and high-level responsibility, Frank and EJ are pros at being efficient with their time while still leaning into relationships. They share how we can all slow down and manage our days in a way that won’t drive us—or our families—to the breaking point.

Where To Listen:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  |  SoundCloud

Topic Timeline

Dave and Kacey talk New Year’s resolutions (2:47)

Today’s episode brought to us by The Orange Conference (7:17)

Frank Bealer addresses three lies leaders tell themselves about their calendars (8:53)

Lie 1: This is just a busy season. (8:53)

Lie 2: Next week will be better. (11:52)

Lie 3: Everyone understands. (15:57)

50 percent of people who get involved in vocational ministry quit within the first 5 years (21:32)

Sarah Bragg and Holly Crawshaw interview EJ Swanson (22:09)

How EJ knew it was time to slow down and focus on local church ministry (27:09)

One of the benefits of slowing down is getting to know yourself better (29:06)

Sometimes saying “yes” is taking opportunity, but in saying “no” you can give of yourself instead (31:49)

Prioritizing engagements based on relationships (35:08)

As leaders, sometimes we can feel like we’re better at ministry than at being parents or spouses (37:47)

Practical advice for saying “no” (40:45)

Our kids and families won’t always be there—slowing down ensures you get to be there for the important moments (43:29)

Dave’s final thoughts (45:40)

This new year, make a list of the things you’ll say “no” to (46:17)

People, Places & Helpful Resources

The Orange Conference

Simple Church by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger

Featured Guests

E.J. Swanson


E.J leads a team of NextGen Pastors and Directors across thirteen campuses at Woodside Bible Church in The Metro Detroit area. Passionate about people, E.J. oversees staff, volunteers, strategies, and leadership development for kids, students, and young adults at Woodside. He continues to speak to over 150,000 students and adults per year.

E.J. is the founder of and and is involved in some of America’s, most innovative and fastest-growing ministries. He has shared the stage and toured with many artists including The David Crowder Band, Mercy Me, Hawk Nelson, Shawn McDonald, Matt Maher, Big Daddy Weave, and Building 429. E.J. lives in Troy, MI, with his lovely bride, Abbey, and daughter, Ruth.

Learn more about E.J. at



Frank is the Executive Director of Leadership Development at Orange / The reThink Group and CEO of Phase Family Centers. Prior to Orange he was the Family Pastor at Elevation Church in Charlotte North Carolina where he oversaw family ministry at more than a dozen locations. He recently released his first book, “The Myth of Balance”. Frank is married to Jess and together they have four children.

Learn more about Frank at

Frank Bealer

Quotes from This Episode

Ideas to Influence the Next Generation

Saying “no” isn’t easy. There’s a reason so many books have been written about drawing boundaries and setting priorities. With a little practice and a heap of self-awareness though, each of us has what it takes to slow down and point ourselves in the direction of what matters most.

Know your limits.

We all have that person we admire for their ability to get things done. But the reality is, we all have different limitations when it comes to what we can accomplish in a day, week, or season of life. Slowing down will allow you to carefully consider your own personal capacity. And if you’re not sure how to evaluate how much is too much, try talking to those closest to you or maybe check out a personality assessment or strengths indicator for guidance.

Simplify church-wide.

Is the reason you feel as though you’re constantly running from thing to thing because you have way too many things on your church calendar? If so, it might be time to meet with your team and discuss which programs it’s time to say “no” to. Sure, this can be difficult to do. But in time, you may discover you’re not the only one relieved by fewer programming items. The volunteers and families you serve will thank you as well. (For strategies on how to do this effectively, check out the book Simple Church by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger.)

Multiply yourself.

Relationships matter most, and when it comes to being in ministry, there’s a limit to how many quality relationships you can invest in. While recruiting and training volunteers may sound like a lot of work (and it is), surrounding yourself with a team of well-equipped small group leaders will ultimately save you time and maximize your impact down the road.

Conversation Starters For Your Church

What keeps you from saying no (e.g., fear, insecurity, or a desire to feel needed)


What are a few items you could put on your no list in 2019?


What’s a role or responsibility you hold that you could equip another leader or volunteer to take the lead on instead?

Your Hosts

Dave Adamson, The Think Orange Podcast Host


When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at

Kacey Lanier Image


Kacey serves as the Director of Inbound Marketing at The reThink Group, Inc.

Join Us Next Week

Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.

We hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.