L3 Leadership Podcast Transcripts: Peter Haas Lightning Round

By August 28, 2018Transcripts

Please enjoy this transcript of our lightning round interview with Peter Haas, Pastor of Substance Church. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Peter,  check out our show notes.

Doug Smith: 02:35 With the time that we have left, I want to dive into what I call the lightning round. Just a bunch of fun, Short, quick questions. I’d love to ask leaders and so let’s just dive right in. First would be, what is one belief or behavior that changed your life?

Peter Haas: 02:50 Coming right back to the book. It’s that promotion will make my life simpler. It’s just, it doesn’t. There’s no, I put it this way. If life is like a juggling act where, um, you’re, you’re, you’re juggling. If your life, imagine if every sector of your life represented a different or every ball represented a different sector of your life. Do you have a marriage ball? You have a parenting ball and you have a career and you’re juggling these balls. Well, I believe that that careers, jobs, things like that are rubber balls, but marriage and kids, those are glass balls. You can, you can drop them and maybe you can get away with it kind of like the time you dropped your phone and it didn’t break. But inevitably, if you don’t have a case and you keep dropping things, it’s going to crack. And um, I, I really, I, I’ve noticed that every single time in my life that I’ve prioritized my vocation over my marriage or my family.

Peter Haas: 03:49 Um, I have regrets because it, it’s, it’s easy to underestimate how valuable those things are. As people, age careers are not the thing that they think about. They think about their grandkids, they think about their families, and so I’m always like, Hey, listen, your careers will always bounce back if you have to prioritize anything, make sure it’s loving on your kids. And every year that I get older, I have never regretted spending more time with my kids. Even if that meant, yeah, I lost, I lost the heart of that staff member, that staff member left because I didn’t put enough time in them. I can live with that regret, but I couldn’t live with the regret of my kid not wanting to be with me or my wife not wanting to be with me. And so it’s making sure that you keep your priorities straight when it comes to family because, at the end of the day, nobody lays on their deathbed wishes.

Peter Haas: 04:42 They spent another time at the office that, that that’s not the thing that really matters.

Doug Smith: If you could put a quote on a billboard for everyone to read, what would it say?

Peter Haas: Oh man, that’s, that’s a hard one. Maybe because I’m a perfectionist. I would probably say something deep and existential like, you know, doesn’t it seem strange? We all exist and then the mysterious came up to ask deep questions about God. Actually, you know what, that would be a waste of money. One of my favorite quotations is this, this is what I put on the billboard. Pain that is not transformed, is transmitted, and then I’d put our church website on it. Pain that is not transformed, is transmitted. I, I just maybe, maybe it’s that on social media or on the news. We just live in a world where everybody is transmitting their pain.

Peter Haas: 05:35 Nothing ever alleviates the pain because I know that there is no circumstance that’s going to satisfy us. No pillow, no politician will ever satisfy us, no nothing. At the end of the day, we need to focus on things that transmit or that transform pain, not transmit it. And so me posting a snarky thing on social media, it’s the answer. Um, you know, it, it’s just getting us jumpstarting our culture out of this, this finger pointing culture. It’s the most dysfunctional diseased thing that I think Americans deal with nowadays. It’s, it’s, it’s this reactivity finger pointing. At the end of the day, we just need to, we need to focus on things that truly change. Not that just make us feel good for a second.

Doug Smith: 06:25 Can you talk about that? How do you do that as a leader in the culture we live in and then how do you even lead the people that you have influence over, uh, to be light of the world instead of pointing fingers or doing things that aren’t actually transformative?

Peter Haas: 06:37 Well, you know, I think a lot of, a lot of the things that we, especially in the church that we do under the pretense of truth, um, are actually killing people. You can oppress people with truth or you can uplift people with the truth. And the difference between the two. It may sound like semantics, but I think we’ve all been to. I think we’ve all heard podcasts that pressed us versus that uplifted us or preachers that’ll press us versus uplifted us political dialogues that’ll press us rather than I’ve lifted us and I come back to that, that scripture in James 3:17, wisdom from heaven. It’s, it’s pure, it’s peace-loving. It’s submissive. It’s, you know, impartial. It’s sincere. I think that if we literally scrutinized every post on social media through James 3:17, is that submissive? Is it sincere? Is impartial, is it peace loving? Um, I actually think that a lot of what we say and do is actually wisdom from how we may be right, but it’s dead, right?

Peter Haas: 07:47 Being right does not make us in sync with God. Um, so, unfortunately, I think that’s what that’s what a lot of people miss is their right, but they’re dead right there, oppressively right? And so they’re transmitting pain rather than transforming it. And so I’m always, I’m always encouraging like you mentioned, my books have a lot of humor in them. I’m part of the reason why. So I actually wrote those books without humor and they were awful and I realized that was oppressing people through and so then I thought, what if I wrote stand up comedy books and infused them with, with wisdom from heaven and just have people laughed their way into life change. And that actually was a switch for me when I started doing that because I realized that joy is, it’s one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and it’s actually one of the signs.

Peter Haas: 08:45 It’s one of the ways that, that it’s, it’s a part of kingdom culture. If, if everything we do does not have an ounce of joy in it, then I actually believe that we’re missing the spirit of God. And so I’m always encouraging our staff to make sure that everything you say on social media is filled with joy. That it’s, it, it, the fills James 3:17, it’s peace-loving, uh, because other otherwise we’re not actually perpetuating kingdom culture were actually perpetuating held culture. And it may be right, but it’s still wisdom from hell versus heaven. And, and I know that might sound like, again, semantics, but that’s actually why I wrote fair second me, is to kind of help put a finger on things we think are kingdom culture, but they’re actually not

Doug Smith: 09:38 on a totally different note. What’s the best purchase you’ve made in the last year for $100 or less?

Peter Haas: 09:44 Best purchase I’ve made for you don’t know what it is. It is good. This is going to sound totally random, but I recently, uh, you know, a target corporation is trying to compete with Amazon and of course I live in Minneapolis. I’m in fact actually. So our, our downtown campus is right next to Target headquarters and um, so we have a lot of target execs and uh, so I, I ended up, you know, they’re, they’re trying to do this free shipping thing, uh, to compete with Amazon and I for 100 bucks a year, I signed up for the target program called shipped and they deliver all of my groceries all year long, like immediately. So like I literally every time anything that’s in a Target store, I literally just log online and just do it and they deliver it to my house in an hour and you know, it’s not free, it’s 100 bucks a year, but I keep thinking, you know, and as long as you’re, you know, I think my groceries like it’s so weird having them come and bring everything. So every time I forget something which is like all the time, I literally, it’s the coolest thing ever. I just that, that random thing I forget somebody will just show up at my door immediately with it. It’s

Doug Smith: 11:02 totally would have to check it out. I will include a link to target shipped on the show notes.

Doug Smith: 11:11  Other than your own, what books do you find yourself giving away most often or that have impacted you the greatest

Peter Haas: 11:21 other than your own? I know, I hate that it’s true. You know, what’s funny is, is that, so I make, when it comes to, whenever I’m teaching my staff how to breach, I’ve forced all of them to read the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. It’s like me, it’s altered the way I preach and write books. So made the stick. Um, I think, uh, one of the books that, uh, like for spiritual growth, I just finished Mark Batterson’s book Whisper. I love mark. He’s a friend of mine and it’s just a great devotional book. He’s a great writer from a, from a leadership standpoint. I just finished reading, um, creativity inc by Ed Catmull and so Creativity Inc. It’s the story of Pixar and, but really it’s all about how to manage people. I’m creative And maybe it’s because, you know, so we just produced this congregational worship album called substance io.

Peter Haas: 12:22 It’s kind of the substance version of Hillsong young and free. And then we just did a mainstream release substance variant is our electronic dance music album and you know, when you’re managing all these creatives and we’re doing these music videos for it. Um, you know, it’s really hard to force People to go back to the drawing table when they’ve spent hours and hours and hours editing. I always feel like a jerk forcing them to go back and review and uh, and so creativity inc, it was hot. It was all about how they just scrapped Toy Story. Even after they, the movie toy story, after they had spent millions of dollars on it. It was actually, it was very encouraging because, you know, I, whenever we’re working on highly collaborative projects, especially in the church, you’re always, I’m slowly allowing quality to decrease, uh, to, in order to have this collaborative process occur. And so the book is really all about how to you, how do you really produce high-level stuff creatively, uh, without lowering your standards. And how do you manage that tension so that, that book, I’m just, I’m loving it right now at the capital.

Doug Smith: 13:34 If you listen to podcasts, what are one or two of your top favorites right now?

Peter Haas: 13:38 Oh gosh. It’s always changing. I think my favorite podcasts, you know, I love, I love Brian Houston, a leadership podcasts. He’s just in, just to hear him say, you know, like I, I don’t know, I just, uh, they just think on another level. Um, I obviously love Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcasts has fresh stuff. And so, um, and of course my friend Matt Keller, I got to give a shout out to him. So, um, you know, so those are, those are the podcasts that are kind of fresh in my mind right now.

Doug Smith: 14:14 Yeah, I saw that you recently got to spend time with Chris Hodges and you get to spend time with a lot of great leaders. I’m just curious, when you get an opportunity to, to sit down with a great leader, do you have one or two questions that you always ask them?

Peter Haas: 14:25 Uh, yeah. In fact, actually, just, even before I ask questions, I always encourage everybody. I actually have a mentoring budget. I’m always looking for people that are better than me at what they do that do the same thing as me but are way better at it. And I think my favorite questions to ask them are, are, are actually fold. What do you, what are you failing at right now? And uh, because it’s always fun to hear great leaders fail because it makes me feel better about it, but it’s also because, you know, success is a terrible teacher. It, you know, a fail, you always learn more through failures. And so I love hearing about what are the risks you’re taking that in and what are working and what are not working. But then like, what are you dreaming about right now? You know what? Because when people tell you their dreams, that really reveals a lot about them.

Peter Haas: 15:20 And, and there’s a lot of leaders with some unique dreams and it’s fun. It’s fun to hear what, what are people dreaming about because, you know, it also gives me a little bit of a key to their passion. I love to. I love to ask people that work for me. That question. Uh, so what, uh, what are your dreams? But especially people like Chris Hodges, you know, what do you failing at? What, what’s working with multisite, what’s working with everything? And, and he’s such a, an amazing big brother. And in the faith for me, and every time I’m around in my brain just explodes. So if I could just apply 10 percent of what he tells me, oh my gosh, watch out world. So I’ll just send it right back at you. What are you dreaming about right now? One of my, this is going to sound really funny, but, um, you know, having come out of nightclubs, I, so as a, as a megachurch pastor, I actually believe that the single biggest competitor to the average American megachurches a mega nightclub.

Peter Haas: 16:20 Um, I was through las vegas recently and, you know, just watching thousands of people line up to go to these nightclubs in every major city around the world. There, there are hundreds of thousands of people that are paying astronomical quantities of money to have a sub par worship experience. And uh, I, it, it sounds really funny, but, um, so I, I’m dreaming about. so when we’re, we’re doing this, this substance variant, this mainstream stream electronic dance music project. I really want to go back into the clubs I recently saw. I was reading the Forbes 100 entertainers and so many of them are these DJ producers and they’re good, but I like, there’s this part of me that’s like, we could take them, you know, and so especially with our substance variant project, I really want to go to the church knows so little about club culture, which is sad because that’s where most young people are going and if we don’t, if we don’t understand club culture, we won’t be able to reach, reach it and it, it, it blows my mind that of the top 20 best selling albums in the last two decades, that’s majority of them are wrapped, RnB and uh, electronic dance music.

Peter Haas: 17:40 And yet churches do not have a single song in their setlist from any of those cultures. It’s like we, we, we call contemporary and yet we’re rated by like 15 years still. And so I’m dreaming about retooling the way the church thinks about worship, thinks about worship, music, thinks about club culture so that we can actually be effective with this next generation. So, uh, I’m, I’m, I’m kinda thinking maybe a little out of the box even more than most pastors are even thinking, but I’m, the cultural disparity is bigger than it’s ever been in. And I want to close that gap.

Doug Smith: 18:17 Do you have, I’m just curious, do you have a DJ name or your DJ name? back in the day?

Peter Haas: 18:24 So, uh, before I was a Christian it was euphoric you for I see. And after I became a Christian, I changed my DJ name to two peter para helion funny. Now, now everything has always been a substance variant. So variant, uh, so now we have like a, we have a DJ ministry in our church where were all these DJs can, can bring their turntables into our foyer and spin. And so now I’m kind of handpicking some of the best and the best. So what with substance variant, we’re actually putting together, it’s a DJ team and we toured with a video wall and we can control the video wall through our turntables. And so it’s so substance variant is the monitor that I’ll, I’ll do remixes under. And so, you know, from youtube to, you know, our next project, so it’s very now is the, is the newest moniker, so watch out. Maybe we’ll change it again, but probably not.

Doug Smith: 19:25 Are you going to have time? I know we’re over already. Do you have time for a few more? Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. Um, so as a leader, what’s your most worthwhile investment of time and money outside of your family right now?

Peter Haas: 19:41 Most worthwhile investment of time and money. Well, people are always the most worthwhile time in investment. I’m always thinking about who are the up and comers in our organization and what do I need to do to log more hours with them and just being more disciplined and intentional about spending time with people. I realized that there’s a lot of things and experiences in my brain that hasn’t been transmitted. um, like even organizationally, if I, to use the football metaphor, if I’m the head coach and I’ve got these young quarterbacks coming up and there’s a 400-page playbook, you know, in most NFL teams and uh, that’s a lot of plays to memorize. And so when you have an injured quarterback or you have to get a new quarterback, a quarterback has to learn a lot of plays in a very short window of time. And I, I’m, I’m realizing that one of my failures in the with leaders is that I would train only one quarterback, all 400 plays and that quarterback leaves and then I have to start from scratch.

Peter Haas: 20:56 And so, um, I, I, the, one of my rules is I never want only, I never want any ministry to be led by a singular personality of st quarterback. I always want to make sure that every ministry has at least three quarterbacks that know the whole playbook. And so, um, in order to do that, I’ve got to be able to, um, first off, articulate all 400 plays, the playbook, all of my values. I’ve got to be able to articulate it. I’ve got to be able to curate it independently of an individual. And I’ve always got to make sure that I’m training that two groups. And so, um, for me to be able to log hours, just be getting groups of people together for me to teach them, this is how I preach, this is how I lead, this is how I write, now I’m teaching people on how I write music and how I produce music.

Peter Haas: 21:48 Working with a team of people and kind of this, these are the nuances of how I think, what I’m producing music or how I think about graphic designing. And so just making sure that our team is always, I’m scaling that they’re always learning plays. And so when we lose a person who, you know, God sends to a different church or different organization, it’s never as big of a deal as it used to be because I’m, I’m always spending time with a group of people who are understanding the playbook. So that’s kind of the, I, I know that was kind of a lengthy answer, but investing in the playbook and in training people that playbook, do you have any unusual habits that allow you to be effective? Uh, yeah, yeah. I, I think, uh, uh, I, I’m constantly trying to hang around big thinkers and I have a budget to do it.

Peter Haas: 22:41 Um, uh, there’s, there, there are these three questions I’m constantly asking in my head probably every three months and it’s one of my dreams. Who is living out my dreams and what am I doing to earn the right to be around those people or to, or to reframe it a different way? What am I problems? Who has successfully navigated my problems and what am I doing to earn the right to get around those people. And I, the first two are kind of self-explanatory, but the third one, what am I doing to earn the right? I’ve realized nobody, nobody is entitled to mentoring. And sometimes people approach mentoring that way, but I actually believe that the greatest mentors are always a little too busy to mentor. And it’s the people that have all this time that those are the people you don’t want to mentor you.

Peter Haas: 23:36 There’s a reasonable time on your hands. It’s the people that are busy, uh, that you really want to get around. And so I’m always asking the question, what are, what can I do to earn the right to be around those people? And so I’m always, I’m big thinkers. I’m always asking, what can I take off your plate? What can I do to help you fulfill the vision God has given you? I’m part of the reason why I’m always asking great leaders, one of their dreams is because if I can help them reach their dreams, uh, it’s more often to reciprocate or um, you always reap what you sow. If you’re mentoring other people, you’re more likely to get Access to greater mentors. Um, and so I’m always trying to get around big thinkers, great thinkers, but one of the ways that I help identify those people are what are my dreams?

Peter Haas: 24:24 Who’s living them out and what am I doing to get around them? Because if I’m not doing those things, then, uh, because the truth is I don’t even know what I don’t know. And um, so like I had the opportunity to hang out with Brian Houston a while back. And so just, you know, if I got to spend money on getting on an airplane, getting to a place where I could have a meal with him to hear how he thinks about music and about, you know, Hillsong in the early days because, you know, someday I have a dream of, of being like a hill song with music that’s all over the world. And um, so I’ve got to get around him and that’s going to cost me money and I don’t, he, Brian Houston doesn’t own me in anything. And so what can I do to just love on the people he loves. and I. Same thing with Chris Hodges, what can I do to love on, you know, right now Chris is big passion is building highlands college. And so if I got, if I got to love on highlands college and preach, they’re free to the students there then so be it. That’s how I love on the things that he loves. But every time I’m around him I get like, I get an idea that saves my organization $100,000. So it’s worth it every single time.

Doug Smith: 25:37 Yeah. So I’m just curious on how you actually, so you kind of talked about it’s okay, Chris is really passionate about highlands college. I can preach there for free. I mean when you hear about that, do you actually just say, Chrishris, I noticed you’re really passionate about this. If there’s anything I can do within the college, a few immediate. I mean do you just have that conversation? I’m just curious on how versus just saying like, hey, anything you need, like I tend to do that but my heart is to do and you’re doing. But I don’t always find tactical ways to serve leaders that way. I’m just curious how you process that.

Peter Haas: 26:05 Well, first off, in order to have a good spiritual fathers, you have to learn how to be a good son. And a good spiritual son always makes it easy for the father to father them. And I like, for example, I’m always setting up hoops, people, people that want to want me to mentor them. I get that question every single week and yet have to be blue. Asked that question. They don’t really want me to mentor them. They just, they just want me to pat them on the back and say, good job, or like I can’t tell you how many times I used to. Every single time somebody would ask me to mentor them, I’d be like, I was like, wow, I can’t believe somebody wants me to mention that I was, and then I would mentor them and they wouldn’t apply a single piece of advice that I gave them. And I noticed that I was wasting my time on a huge number of people and the Lord started convicting me.

Peter Haas: 26:54 Peter, you do not steward your life very well and you need to be way more picky. You need to make people jump through hoops more and at first I thought that was just being mean and yet actually, that’s good stewardship. And so now I know that when I get, um, when, when a great leader tells me I can’t meet with you, you need to be with my assistant. I don’t get an attitude about it. I don’t get depressed. I say, yes sir, I am honored that I get to meet with your assistant’s assistant because I don’t get insulted anymore. I realized that that’s what great leaders do, or actually, you know, what I learned, I learned it from a, a kid in our church. He came up to me, I learned how to be mentored from a kid in my church, believe it or not, who came to men who asked me to mentor him and initially I said, bro, you don’t want me to mentor you.

Peter Haas: 27:45 I’m actually a so unavailable, but, and I told him to, you know, meet with my Assistant and that can tell you is depressed because he was like, you know, I connect with you, not with your assistant’s assistant and, and, and, and, you know, he kind of walked away depressed and I kind of walked away feeling like a jerk, but I knew I was obeying the Lord by being a good steward, a making a hoop for them to jump through. Well, a couple months later he came back to me and he’s like, hey, I’ve been meeting with your assistant’s assistant and it’s awesome. Thank you so much for hooking me up. And I was like, you know, immediately I thought, you know, okay, you jump through the hoop that, that honors me. And then he said, hey, the Lord put it on my heart to just mow your lawn for free all summer.

Peter Haas: 28:29 I don’t know if you’d be comfortable with that. And I’m like, mow my lawn for free all summer. And he’s like, yeah, no strings attached. You don’t have to talk to me or do anything else show up. And I initially I was like, well, I still need you to do a good job. Right? Like, it’s got to be quality. I can still fire you, right? He’s like, yeah, you can still fire me. And he’s like, but I’ll do it for free. And sure enough, that dude showed up every single week, mowed my lawn, and of course, I’d see him out there mowing my lawn. And he was, I could see it was hot, he was thirsty. And so I’d invite them into the house to get a glass of water. And, and as he’s drinking a glass of water, he’s like, Pastor, real quick question for ya.

Peter Haas: 29:11 I, I have the opportunity to go to this internship or that internship, what do you think? And then, you know, it would be like afive-minutee conversation and I tell them what I thought and bony was often and uh, you know, just short little conversations, no obligation. And by the end of the summer I, I, I suddenly, the thought occurred to me that dude got more of my time than half my staff did. Like, he’s brilliant. He literally cut the servant strategy. He, he did something that was a win for me and as a result, that he ended up getting more mentoring and I thought I need to actually apply that to my mentoring. Like. And so I started going to the guys that I wanted to get mentoring mentored by and I just, first off I just started spending money being around them. And then once I’m around them I knew what they, what they loved, what, what would help them.

Doug Smith: 30:02 Did you mow Brian Houston’s lawn?

Peter Haas: I didn’t mow his lawn, but uh, you know, I, I, but I did speak at. One of the things that I’ll do is I’ll speak at conferences that I may or may not have time for it. I’ll do it at my own dime. And so I’ve actually spoken at a lot of conferences that I never would’ve spoken at or even done podcasts like this that I, I may not have ever said yes to a had it not been for one of my mentors saying, do this for my friend. And um, and so to a certain degree there’s always a price for mentoring, but it’s worth it. And so for Chris it was more of an issue if he was like, well, if you want me to mentor you, you definitely have to. You have to make it easy for me by flying down to birmingham twice a year.

Peter Haas: 30:55  And then secondarily, you got to do what I asked you to do. If I, you know, if you’re not applying any of the advice or you’re going out there being an idiot on social media. And you know what I mean? Like I, I realized that the more that I get mentored by chris, the more people will associate me with him. He wrote the foreword to my book, a broken escalators. So to a certain degree, if I am an idiot, it reflects poorly on his reputation. So I realized that I’ve, I’ve also got a secured his influence as well, uh, which is also why he needs me to be aware of, of, of his needs too. So it’s always reciprocal. I, I’ve, I’ve got to be like arrows in the hands of a warrior, a, if a warrior is going to shoot me, so to speak, um, the arrow, I’ve got to allow that warrior to ruffle my feathers and tell me to do things that I may or may not want to do.

Peter Haas: 31:45 It’s kind of like naming the story in the bible. He had leprosy and the prophet of god made a meet with the assistants assistant and told them to dip seven times in a dirty river. And he got upset about it. Like, that’s not the advice that I want, but that’s the advice he needed. And because he was willing to walk through some of those hoops, dipping seven times in a river, the bible says he got healed. And I think the same thing is true about all mentoring. Um, so a lot of these guys, like chris hodges will say, I want you to mentor a lot of these guys in the arc for me. Be out there giving phone calls to these guys and inconveniencing yourself, uh, helping people that you may not even want to help. And that’s I, I take pressure off of him by mentoring other people. And that’s just one example. That’s just one example. That’s so good. Well, I appreciate everything you’ve said today. So thank you so much for taking

Doug Smith: 32:40  Is there anything else you want to leave our audience with?

Peter Haas: 32:46  Just ask them entering questions. get around people that make you think bigger. Listen to podcasts, expose your exposure, yourself to, to, to people who are doing things on a higher level. And I’m, I’m telling you, mentor other people and you reap what you sow because you know, we all want access to opportunity, uh, but we don’t want to be the ones creating the opportunity for other people. And I believe that god can snap his fingers and open up doors for us that’s never been the problem. And he’s looking for people who are willing to be kingdom minded, build other people’s platforms, build other people’s lives. I feel like my, my greatest fruit grows on other people’s trees. And at the end of the day on personal success is not what fulfilled me. It’s, it’s watching the people around me succeed. Even people like you, Doug, I don’t want your podcast to thrive. I want, I want you to experience a higher level of fruitfulness. And so just being helpful to other people that that’s kingdom mindedness. And yet there’s so many leaders out there, they’re just at. it’s, it’s all self interests. Let me push my, my social media. Let me push my book, push my this, push by that. And I keep thinking like you’re, you’re, you’re approaching it the wrong way. Focus on promotability. Let God take care of your promotion.

Doug Smith: 34:14 That’s a good way. thank you again for your time.

Peter Haas: 34:16 Absolutely.