thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Sunday, January 30

Away we go...

The Hodge Blogosphere will probably be somewhat quiet the next couple of days as our staff heads out for a day and a half retreat to plan, strategize and have lots of fun.

See you Tuesday!


Friday, January 28

Search Queries

It always interests me as to what brings people to my blog. Here are the latest search "terms" that brought me visitors:

"using bengay when pregnant" (???)
"Scott Hodge" (who's asking?)
"face fungus"
"homer simpson"
"thumping in my ear"
"chantico review"
"why leadership is important"
"women of walmart pics" (WHAT???)
"Earwax pics Chicago"
"adult diapers tennis match"
Note to someone: If you are the person who found my site by searching out the phrase, "adult diapers tennis match", I would heavily suggest that you not try it.


7 Practices of Effective Ministry

The past couple of days I've been reading an excellent book written by the staff of Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta, GA (Andy Stanley) entitled, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry.

The book focuses in on the importance of operating your church (or business) on 7 "practices":

1. Clarify the Win - If the goal is unclear, a person is forced to guess, or even worse, decide for themselves what a "win" really is.

2. Think Steps, Not Programs - Does a "program" take people anywhere or are we just trying to keep people busy? We tend to get programmed minded VS. "step" minded.

3. Narrow the Focus - Discover what it is that you can do well and DO IT. Don't try to be everything to everyone. There is a natural tendency to drift toward complexity. Years of adding and never subtracting have created layers of programs that all FEEL necessary.

4. Teach Less for More - Most people don't learn just so they can know more; they learn when they need to know something. Figure out what people need to know and teach them - they will learn!

5. Listen to Outsiders - If you aren't willing to listen to "outsiders", you may miss a great opporunity to gain market share. Our tendency is to listen more to those INSIDE our organization than those OUTSIDE (the ones we are trying to connect with.)

6. Replace Yourself - If you fail to develop a strategy to replace yourself, you will force talened individuals to remain in the wings and perhaps cause potential leaders to exit the organization.

7. Work On It - Take time to constantly evaluate your work AND to celebrate your wins. (We are usually better at critizing than we are at celebrating our wins.)


Thursday, January 27

Priscilla's Ultimate Soul Food

Had a great lunch today at Priscilla's Ultimate Soul Food in Hillside. Fried chicken, green beans, mac & cheese, cornbread, SWEET tea and for dessert...pecan pie. I've eaten myself into oblivion.

Great place, worth a quick drive over to Hillside if you live in the Western suburbs.

Priscilla's Ultimate Soul Food
4330 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Hillside, IL


Napoleon Dynamite

I just can't take it anymore.

My friend, Ted, recently introduced me to Napoleon Dynamite. We watched it one evening and I thought it was funny - sort of. But now, the more I think about this guy Napoleon, I'm realizing that I really got a kick out of him. So now I have to talk about him for a sec.

He's the guy we've all gone to school with. Tator Tots in his pants pocket (leftover from lunch), hunting for wolverines, fannypack obsession, walking up to girls who he thinks is attractive and asking, "I see you're drinking one percent -- is that because you think you're fat?"

Go to the website here and watch some clips.

You tell me - did you go to school with Napoleon?


Tuesday, January 25

Organizational Culture 2 (again...)

A bunch of people asked me when I was going to do part 2 of my post on organizational culture in the context of our journey at the Orchard, when in fact I already posted it on 12/27. But I guess they were all consumed with the whole "Christmas" thing and missed it... So here it is again.

In my first post about organizational culture, I wrote about the cultural transition that we have experienced in the past two and half years and specifically, about the importance of leadership by example - taking initiative and being intentional about modeling what it was we were expecting from those inside of our organization (which for us is a church…).

Another thing that helped our organization make a major shift was getting our words aligned and finally getting to the place where we were all...

2. Speaking the same language.

As we sat down to discuss the future of what we believed we were "called" to be as a church, we began noting words that seemed to clearly represent that direction. For us, some of those words were: connection, relevant, authentic, community, leadership, gathering and partnership.

Before the transition, we had never been very intentional about using these types of words. So to help ourselves become intentional, we would literally script out every announcement, every message and every piece of “communication” that would be released by our staff. On the surface, it seemed somewhat micromanaging, but it got all of us on the same page and speaking the same language.

We’ve also gotten on the same page as it relates to our mission. Almost everyone who attends our worship gatherings can probably recite, from memory, what our mission is.

Our mission is very simple, to the point and easy enough for people to remember and understand. Every time we have a church community gathering, we state our mission and usually offer just a few seconds worth of explanation as to what that mission means in relation to the gathering we are having at that moment.

Keeping the mission in front of people is huge and allows a couple of things to occur. For one, it gets the mission right out there in the open. And secondly, if people don’t like it or are having trouble connecting with it, they will usually realize it right away.

One of the things we've come to realize is that our church isn't for everyone. And that’s ok! There is no way we can cater to everyone at one time. We just have to do our best to connect with the people God has placed around us in our community.

Speaking the same language was a huge step for us – and it continues to be something we strive towards. It’s not uncommon at all now to hear people talking in their smaller gatherings or in the hallways or in meetings using the same words that we made sure we spoke on a regular basis.


Monday, January 24

What in the world?

Ok. This is really funny. Like Seth Godin, I have no idea what the point of it is, but it's worth a quick look.



Monday Morning Insights

Todd Rhoades from has a great blog for pastors and staff teams called Monday Morning Insights. Here are the most recent post titles:

Is it Time to Leave? Assessing Your Credibility Level
Ten Questions Growing Churches Should Ask
An Opposing Viewpoint: Conquering Fear in the Church
Conflict? Ask Ken: When and How Should I Fire a Church Staff Member
New Trendy Church Names... Do They Help?
Is it Time to Leave? Assessing Your Compatibility of Background
Thanks Todd for the thought provoking posts!



Sunday, January 23

Why you should never put your picture on the Internet...




Friday, January 21

13 Rules for More Effective Advertising

Some good thoughts from McKee Wallwork Henderson (via BrandAutopsy), an advertising agency specializing in "helping fast-track small businesses become bigger businesses.



Thursday, January 20

remembering summer...

rapid transit cycleshop
wicker park, chicago


Blogger vs TypePad

From the inception of my blogging days I have used Blogger. Overall, I've been very happy with Blogger (especially since they upgraded me to BloggerPro which allows me to upload my images directly to my blog...and is, unfortunately, no longer available to the general public.)

BUT, I'm considering making the move over to TypePad which seems to be a step above Blogger. (Don't worry, I backed up my blog before I typed that last line on Blogger's server...)

Any suggestions? Comments? Hesitations? TypePad people - what do you think?



If you read more than a handful of blogs everyday, may I suggest Bloglines? Bloglines is a free, web-based RSS reader which allows you to subscribe to blogs which have an RSS feed. You can categorize and organize your blogs and be notified when the sites are updated.

Check out Bloglines here.

My RSS feed:


Wednesday, January 19

Bye Bye Blockbuster

Bye bye Blockbuster. Hello Netflix.

Last week I joined Netflix because I was about to go ballistic over Blockbuster's late fees (which ironically enough have been canned at all Blockbusters...).

I signed up on Wednesday night and received my first 3 DVD's in the mail on Friday. Amazing! Turns out that Netflix has a shipping location here in Chicago, which speeds the process up and will typically get my DVD's delivered into my mailbox in about a day.

No late fees, unlimited rentals. Great selection. $17.99/month. Not bad.

Oh yeah - Netflix also gives you recommendations based on your rental history and movie ratings. Great concept.



Leadership Triangle

"One of the things I've learned is that sometimes words have consequences you don't intend them to. 'Bring 'em on' is a classic example."
President George W. Bush

First of all, kudos to President Bush for being willing to admit a mistake. It's good to know that the president of the US is still "learning." So maybe it IS ok that I don't have it all figured out yet...

Secondly, his statement reminds me of the old "leadership triangle" illustration that basically says, "The higher up you go in leadership, the less 'rights' you have."

Ouch. That concept hurts.

Think about a triangle. It's wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. The "higher up" your role in leadership, the less "right" you have to lose your temper, say things you shouldn't say, react negatively, etc...

What a contrast in thought compared to the "old school" management practices that said, "I'm at the top so I can treat everyone the way that I want to." True statement, but unfortunately this mindset brings with it consequences which will eventually kill morale and cause you to lose your best talent.


Monday, January 17

Who are you?

I'm not sure if it's just because I can't think of anything to write about today or because I'm truly intersted in knowing, but WHO ARE YOU? Ok, I really am interested. Share some info w/ me. Click on the "comments" and tell me who you are!

Why in the world do you even read this blog?:
If you could take over weebleland for a day, what would you change? (design, content, etc.):
The topic you'd like to see Scott cover next on weebleland:

(thanks adam for the idea...)


Thursday, January 13

FREE Chantico

GO NOW. Try it. Come back and post your review.


Wednesday, January 12

Preacher Dies During Sermon About Heaven

Weird... Can you imagine being a visitor on that Sunday?

Maybe I'll rethink the "Heaven" series I was planning... :)


The churches response to the media's coverage, link


Behind the Scenes @ NPR

Just the other day, Cara (my sister in law) and I were discussing the way in which NPR produces their stories - so smooth with nice, musical interludes between them.

But wait.

The veil has been lifted. It's not quite what it seems. John Moore @ Brand Autopsy has a great post (and links) to a news story by John Solomon of NPR’s On the Media who takes a look "behind the scenes" of NPR and how they make themselves seem so "well" produced.

Turns out that the NPR people aren't robots afterall...!



Tuesday, January 11

Chantico Review

Ok, so I tried it. The fine folks at Starbucks whipped me up a sample of the newest Starbucks beverage called Chantico.

The verdict? Good. It really is. The blend of chocolate is perfect. It's not overly sweet, but it is rich. (I'm almost positive that I'm the only person sitting in Starbucks right now swooshing Chantico around in my mouth like I'm at a wine tasting...)

It's thick too. Not the type of drink you would gulp, by any means. It's more a sip and meditate type drink. Definitely much thicker than a typical Starbucks mocha, plus without the espresso taste. (This is perfect for all of you Starbucks posers who walk up to the barista and ask, "What drinks do you have that don't taste like coffee?")

I haven't had lunch yet today, but I would imagine this would be a nice dessert drink to sooth the chocolate cravings that people like my wife experience - all day. (Kidding honey...)

Overall, it's good. A very rich hot chocolate.

Now I'm going to go wash it down with a burrito from Chipotle.



Has anyone had the new Chantico drink @ Stabucks? It's a non-coffee chocolate drink that is supposed to be somewhat of a spiritual experience for chocoholics.

This Thursday they are giving free samples at Starbucks. Let's all try it and report back to weebleland...


Monday, January 10

A (BIG) Rolling Stone...

Can you even imagine? You're driving down the road somewhere in California and you see this?

A 25 foot boulder sitting in the middle of the road in Malibu. Strange weather these days...

Link (via)


Sunday, January 9

Natural Disasters

Here is a link that documents the worst natural disasters since records have been kept. You will be astonished as you read about one natural disaster that took 1.1 million lives.



Thursday, January 6


We are preparing to launch a new preschool room @ our church in FEB. We are trying to come up w/ a name for it. The "theme" is going to be fruit (as in "fruit of the spirit").

Any suggestions? Help us out!


Tuesday, January 4

The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership

I'm finally digging into The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample. It's a book that everyone and their mother was raving about two summers ago. So far it's very good. Here's a few quotes:

" of the most important and contrarian points we can make about leadership is that it is highly situational and contingent; the leader who succeeds in one context at one point in time won't necessarily succeed in a different context at the same time, or in the same context at a different time."

"A truly effective leader... needs to be able to see the shades of gray inherent in a situation in order to make wise decisions as to how to proceed."

"The essence of thinking gray is this: don't form an opinion about an important matter until you've head all the relevant facts and arguments, or until circumstances force you to form an opinion without recourse to all the facts..."


Monday, January 3


Wisconsin gets a bad rap. A lot of people think that WI is boring, but it really has some nice scenery, especially up north. Here are a few pics I snapped on our trip "up north". (These pictures don't really compliment the "natural" scenery, but they certainly caught my eye...)