Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Bryan Loritts. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. To connect with Bryan, check out the show notes.
Bryan Loritts: 00:00 Well what you want to do is you want to turn your woundedness into brokenness. Just because you’ve gone through pain doesn’t mean, doesn’t mean it’ll prepare you for leadership. You’ve got to learn how to redeem that pain.
Doug Smith: Wow.
Bryan Loritts: And so if you don’t redeem it now it’s bitterness, right? And there’ll be this sense in you in which man I went through that I’m never going to do or deal with. You don’t want that. You want to walk with a limp and you want a genuine sense of humility.
Doug Smith: 00:30 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 225.
Doug Smith: 00:46 Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host. I hope you’re doing well. In today’s episode. You’ll hear my interview with Bryan Loritts. If you’re unfamiliar with Bryan, here’s what you need to know about him. He is the lead pastor of Abundant Life Christian fellowship in Silicone Valley, California. He’s an award-winning author of six books. He founded the Kainos movement an organization, committed to seeing the multiethnic church become the new normal in our world. He travels in the world preaching the good news at conferences and events. He serves on the board of trustees at Biola University and Pine Cove Christian Camps. And his messages can be her daily on the Salem Radio Networks, Kfacts station. And I had the privilege of interviewing Bryan at the men up conference here in Pittsburgh, a conference hosted by Urban Impact that is focused on helping men become better dads.
Doug Smith: 01:34 And in this interview you’ll hear Bryan talk about just that he talks about what authentic manhood looks like, looks like, why it’s important and what we can do as men to become better men and better dads. And then we also dive into leadership and talk about why it’s so important for leaders to develop strong friendships. And we also talk about how leaders can deal with pain in their lives. And he just had so many great insights in each of the subjects. I cannot wait for you to listen to this interview. It is so good and I really encourage you to check out all Brian’s messaging. You can just go to Bryanloritts.com and find all of his content there. There’s so much to dive into and I can’t encourage you enough to do that. But before we dive into the interview, just a few announcements.
Doug Smith: 02:11 I want to thank one of our favorite charities, Urban Impact, their nonprofit reaching urban kids here on the north side of Pittsburgh and they’re just an incredible organization. My wife and I support them and we’re huge fans of their work and their mission is simple. Their vision and desire is to see lives holistically transformed in their community. One person, one family, and one block at a time who in turn make a powerful impact locally and globally for Jesus Christ. And literally, they’re doing incredible work. If you’re not connected or don’t know about Urban Impact, please check them out. Just Google Urban Impact. You’ll find their website, incredible charity that I encourage you to get involved with. And I also want to make a plug for man up, which I’ve already mentioned, but Urban Impact hosts a conference called Man Up each year and Man Up is a conference that encourages and teaches men to be godly leaders for their families and raises awareness of the detrimental impact of fatherlessness among youth today. And it’s an incredible conference. My life’s been greatly impacted by it. They’ve been doing it for seven-plus years now and I can’t wait for next year. So if you want to connect with urban impact and Man Up, go to Uifpgh.org. That’s Uifpgh.org and you’ll check out all the great work that they’re doing, including men up. With that being said, let’s dive right into the interview with Bryan and I will be back at the end with a few announcements.
Doug Smith: 03:30 Well, Bryan, thank you so much for being willing to do this interview. And we’re here in Pittsburgh and an event called Man Up,
Doug Smith: 03:36 an event whose purpose is to teach men to be great men, great fathers, and great mentors to other men. And, I’m just curious why, why are you speaking a lot of events? Why did you choose to speak at this event and why it is, or is this message to men so important to you?
Bryan Loritts: 03:51 I think any sociologists would tell you, and not, not even just Christian sociologists, but men are incredibly vital and important to the vibrancy of society. So yeah, if a man grasps what authentic manhood is and really latches hold of that, the ripple effect that has not only in his home, his sphere of relationships but across society is profound. So the Bible’s vision of manhood is never kind of this men are intrinsically better than women. I mean, that’s why in Galatians Paul gets at, in Christ, there’s neither male nor female. So he’s not, arguing against difference. He’s just saying as far as intrinsic worth, they’re the same. But as far as responsibility, God puts a lot more responsibility on the man. So that’s why even in the garden, even though eve ate of the fruit first, God came calling for the man first. Not because Adams better, but he holds the man responsible. So as goes the man, so those the home. So those society is there any opportunity I get to invest in something that is investing in men I think is a great use of my time.
Doug Smith: 05:07 Yeah. And just out of curiosity and for context, what was your journey to manhood or getting a vision of biblical manhood like for you? What’s your story?
Bryan Loritts: 05:14 Well, unfortunately, I am one of the rare few who grew up in a home, not only were my parents were together, are still together, just celebrated 48 years of marriage. They both love Jesus. And I had a very proactive, intentional dad who wasn’t passive at all and who just modeled before me, what manhood modeled after Jesus looks like and who intentionally invested in me. So I was able to see that at home, which unfortunately is not the average man’s experience. So that’s where my journey really began and really continues to thrive is just constantly threading back, Hey, would my dad do that? How did he do that? Still in relationship with my father. So that’s where it really begins for me.
Doug Smith: 06:05 I love that. And I believe you have three sons of your own, so you’re raising up three godly men. And I’m just curious, what are some things you do intentionally as a dad to continue that legacy of, of godly manhood?
Bryan Loritts: 06:15 Well, so I, I think, I think the journey with into manhood and fatherhood, the keyword really is intentionality. So I think, I think everything rises and falls on will I be passive or will I be intentional? Because one of the things Adam’s handed to us is passivity, that’s the natural default mode. And that’s genesis. Genesis three. So here’s Satan talking to eve. She eats of the fruit and I used to think Adam was somewhere else, but the Bible says she turned and gave to her husband who was with her. And so here’s this man watching a snake talk to his wife. That’s passivity. So I think that’s what Adam is handed down. Now, this Jesus Christ who in the new testaments called the second Adam, he’s everything but passive. He’s intentional. He’s looking out for our best good. In fact, leadership is taking initiative for the benefit of others and taking initiative is the complete opposite of passivity. So I would just encourage men, be intentional, don’t be overbearing. You don’t want to be a dad who exasperates their kids like Ephesians talks about, but have a game plan.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Bryan Loritts: You know, I, I think that’s 95% of it.
Doug Smith: 07:32 So I’m curious, so you’re a, you’re a pastor, author, speaker, very busy, scheduled right of responsibility, which everyone’s busy in today’s culture. But I’m curious, how do you balance your call and the responsibility that comes with that with also being able to be intentional that is there anything practical that you do intentionally to make sure that you don’t get so focused on what you’re called to do, that you miss your family?
Bryan Loritts: 07:52 Well calendaring is huge. And I think the problem with most calendaring philosophies is most of our calendars are task driven and not priority driven. So I would encourage everybody that in some ways by default your calendar will reflect your priorities. But a lot of our calendaring is reactionary. So figure out what your priorities are and make sure that your calendar reflects that. So if I say my kids are a priority, then that needs to be seen in their, in their calendars. So, but there are two extremes here. So, on the one hand, I want to get away from passivity and prioritize my kids. But on the other hand, I don’t want to idolize my kids. So my father was very intentional with me, but he, he showed up at stuff at my games and stuff. But he would also say, I, I’m not coming to every game is literally what he told me. He says, you, you see those cleats you have, I work, my job pays for that. So I gotta be at work. So I thought that was great because he gave me the of not being the center of his world.
Doug Smith: 08:58 That didn’t harm you? You weren’t offended?
Bryan Loritts: 09:00 No, because I think what most, what I have to remind myself of, I am creating my kids normal.
Doug Smith: Wow.
Bryan Loritts: So it’s not until my kids get a little older and they start seeing other kids normal. And comparing their normal to ours that they’ll be able to assess some of this stuff. But I don’t think my kids when they were seven, eight years old, we’re sitting there going, dad’s on another flight. I think they’re going, no dad works and that’s a part of what he does. And now can I overdo it? Sure I can. But I want to toe the tension of I don’t need to make my kids the center of the world. See, I think the reason why we’re in this age of, what do they call it? The boomerang generation. Yeah. Cause the Bible says children are to be like arrows there to be launched out and released. Today
Bryan Loritts: 09:50 they’re like boomerangs, right? We’re in this era of extended adolescence as a sociological term. Adolescence is wanting to privileges of adulthood without the responsibilities.
Doug Smith: Wow.
Bryan Loritts: So, and that gets coddled. Oddly enough. It thrives in middle to homes where I have the resources to give you everything you want. And then I’ve got coddling moms, passive dads, entitled kids. You know, someone was saying to me the other day, he said, your generation rips on my generation about participation trophies. But who came up with the idea? Our parents.
Doug Smith: Wow.
Doug Smith: That’s good.
Bryan Loritts: You know what I’m saying? So I think one of the best gifts I can give my kids is to not make them the center of my world. And so when I graduated from high school, my father, uh, wanted me to meet him outside. We had this brick patio, he had a plate of find set of china in his hands.
Bryan Loritts: 10:51 And he’s crying in the midst of crying, saying, great things about me. I’m so proud of you. A great moment, your life. He smashes the plate onto the brick patio and it shatters. And in tears he says, you know what that was? I said no sir. He says that was your place setting. He says, I love you, but you’re outta here. College or military. Sitting around my home with no plan is not an option for you.
Doug Smith: Wow.
Bryan Loritts: And that lit a fire under me. So I think kids are a lot more resilient than what we give them credit, but we’ve got to give them the gift of struggle.
Doug Smith: 11:26 So are you going to do that with your kids?
Bryan Loritts: I know I am.
Doug Smith: Beautiful.
Bryan Loritts: I am.
Doug Smith: Yeah. So you talked about how it was a rare opportunity that you had two parents that are still together and were able to raise you. Can you talk to the person listening who was probably in the majority of, maybe they had a father but he wasn’t really around or wasn’t present or intentional or maybe their father wasn’t around at all. Can you talk to the father, listen, maybe how can they deal with some of the wounds that they may not even be aware they have as a result of not having that in their life?
Bryan Loritts: 11:51 Yeah. Some of the parents I know are, are exactly what you described that came out of those homes. They know that pain. I mean, that’s my wife, her parents split when she was eight or nine years old. She knows the pain of a dad who didn’t keep his word, and her dad has since just done a drastic change is coming to the Lord. So on and so forth. It’s a beautiful story of redemption and repentance. So I even want to say to the dad who’s divorced and who has stepped away from his responsibilities, in fact that you’re living still says it. There’s time for you to repent. Wow. You know, and that mean it may be too late for you to get back with your family, but you can still be the kind of dad you need to be. So, but some of the best parents I know, I eat my wife, they know that pain and have made up in their mind, my kids will never feel that. So that forces them to be more engaged. So I would, I would say use your pain for good. Use your pain for good and to make up in your mind, I’m not gonna repeat that legacy. That legacy stops with me and I’m going to start a new positive one. That’s what I would encourage.
Doug Smith: 13:04 That’s so good. One of the purposes of Man Up is, hey, once you become a great dad, you have, we have responsibility or mandate to be a good dad to others and it’d be a good godly influence. And I’m just curious, beyond your three boys, what do you do intentionally to outreach to the community and what advice would you have for other men who are saying, I want to make a difference in the lives of other kids who may not have a similar situation?
Bryan Loritts: 13:24 Yeah. So I, you know, I’m glad Man Ups doing that, but I think that’s really key to what it means to be Christian. Right? I think the essence of Christianity is, it is disadvantaging myself for the advantage of others. So I think the essential message of a Christian is how can I take what God’s blessed me with and use it to bless others. And that’s a way in which you can do it. What’s interesting is just on Thursday, so my youngest son graduated from middle school. I’m dropping them off at a party and then dropping off at the party, I see this kid who’s got two lesbian moms, they’re married together and I’ve been involved in this kid’s life and it’s a totally long story that could fill up your whole podcast. Long story short, their moms, we just started loving on them and they said, our kids get into an age where he needs a positive male voice in his life.
Bryan Loritts: 14:25 That’s not us. We think it needs to be you. They specifically moved to be closer to us, for me to invest in his life. And we do. I let them to the Lord. We took them on vacation, costs us a lot of money, but he came to know the Lord on vacation and we do weekly Bible studies together and he had moved down to southern California to be with his biological dad. That didn’t work out. Now he’s back and his moms are saying, can you please just, just help us? And of course, he spends the night over at her house, comes to church with us, so and so forth. But that’s something that I saw my dad model, my best friends, the oldest of 16 kids. And my dad had this policy, always keep an extra plate out on the table. And that’s how we became friends. He starts coming over our home. My parents helped send him to college. We’re doing lunch together this coming Friday. I mean, we’re just great friends, but it’s because of that mentality. I’ve been blessed. So how can I use those blessings? Not to just buy another jet ski. But how can I funnel it into somebody else? That’s really where your legacy is.
Doug Smith: 15:35 This is probably a whole other tangent, but I’m just curious, do you think it was the way you love this young man that gave you the influence with his parents?
Bryan Loritts: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
Bryan Loritts: 15:43 And it just, all, it just always starts with where am I? Where’s my sphere of influence and how can I leverage that for the kingdom? So he plays on the same AAU basketball team as my youngest. That’s how we just got to know each other. And then we just started befriending this couple. We weren’t even trying to evangelize them. We just wanted to build a friendship with them. And out of that friendship, he then comes with us on vacation and they’ve started coming to our church.
Doug Smith: Wow. That’s amazing.
Bryan Loritts: But it’s, it just begins with friendship.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Doug Smith: 16:14 Speaking of friends and proceed, you talked a lot about friendship this morning. I’m just curious on the leadership. Nse, too many leaders doing life alone, they don’t have authentic friendships. They don’t really if you ask them, they don’t have anyone that they can actually be real with. What advice do you have to leaders when it comes to not doing life and leadership alone?
Bryan Loritts: The average highly successful
Bryan Loritts: 16:31 male leader, leads out of competency and not out of character and characters develop biblically speaking, through an abiding relationship with Christ. And a part of what that means is when I’m walking with Christ through the spirit, Galatians chapter five, all of those fruits are relational, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is supposed to be played out in context of relationships with others. But you see this all the time. You get highly skilled, highly competent individuals who are only really valued and prized for their ability. So they, they’ve learned how to treat that as a commodity that bankrolls their lifestyle and their sense of identity. And then there are these public successes who become amazing private failures. So they don’t know how to really invite that in. And so the key is you gotta let some people in on the character side of who you are and you’ve got to create a space where you are no longer the CEO of your own PR firm, which is what a lot of men are.
Bryan Loritts: 17:39 Let me build my own brand and give people these impressions of who I am. In the meantime, nobody really knows exactly who you are and all of us have struggles. And so in the absence of that, when I’m isolated, I then nurse these private struggles and it’s the proverbial, you know, a baby gorilla that turns into an adult gorilla that crushes you.
Doug Smith: Yeah.
Bryan Loritts: And you’ve got to have these outlets where you just, I would just make it a matter of prayer first because again, you can’t manufacture these friendships. There’s gotta be that sense of connection and then just keep your eyes open and you’ve got to learn to trust and extend yourself.
Doug Smith: 18:17 I just want to hear you talk briefly about leadership and the pain and pressure that comes with that. I’m reading a book by Sam Chan called Leadership Pain.
Bryan Loritts: Great book.
Doug Smith: I mean just the, just reading some of the stories of these leaders that you know, we look up to and admire and it’s like they had to go through that. Can you just talk about how maybe if there’s a circumstance, they’re a season you had to go through that it was painful and what God did in your life through that? But I’m just, I’m really interested in how leaders are dealing with pain.
Bryan Loritts: 18:39 Well, it really is a biblical theme. Brokenness is a prerequisite for leadership. So even in me talking about David, you know, he’s anointed as king for Samuel 16 it’s probably around the age of 30 and 13 and then he doesn’t sit on the throne until 14 to 16 years later. Right. And what does he do in those 14-16 years? She’s hiding out in caves. Is dodging spears from Saul. He’s on the run. He’s writing all these lament psalms, right, but it’s 14 to 16 years, or you take Joseph the story of Joseph and the incredible betrayal and the hurt he experienced at the age of 17. He doesn’t become second in command until around the age of 30. It’s 30, 13 years of crying himself to sleep at night. You take, you take Moses, Moses, his life is in, three sections of 40, that middle 40, we hardly know anything about except for he’s a shepherd tending sheep on the back side of a mountain. And what is God doing? He’s preparing him for leadership of his people. Even Jesus. We really only know three years of Jesus’s life, the previous 30 relative obscurity. Even Paul, Paul says, I had to go for 14 years into the wilderness. So I get scared of any leader who gets too much too soon and hasn’t spent time in God’s proverbial crock pot.
Doug Smith: 20:06 Hmm. That’s so good. Any encouragement for those in the Crockpot right now? I’m just what to do if they’re just hanging on, if they’re crying at night, waking up with cold sweats. How do you get through those seasons and not give up?
Bryan Loritts: 20:18 Well, what you want to do is you want to turn your woundedness into brokenness. Just because you’ve gone through pain, doesn’t mean, doesn’t mean it’ll prepare you for leadership? You’ve got to learn how to redeem that pain.
Doug Smith: Wow.
Bryan Loritts: And so if you don’t redeem it now it’s bitterness, right? And there’ll be this sense in you in which man I went through that I’m never going to do or deal with. You don’t want that. You want to walk with a limp and you want a genuine of humility where you’ve redeemed that pain. And that happens, I think by leaning into God, cultivating just a vibrant life of prayer and, connecting with God on that level.
Doug Smith: So as we start to wrap up, if people want to connect with you, get your content, et cetera, where can they find you?
Bryan Loritts: Yeah. So for my messages and stuff, you just type my name into Youtube. Or you can type in ALCFinto your APP store and or Apple come up with all my messages. You can follow me on Twitter at bcloritts, or Loritts on Instagram.
Doug Smith: 21:25 Hey everyone, thank you so much for listening to our interview with Bryan Loritss. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did and if you want to find ways to connect with Brian and everything that he’s doing, you can find links in our show notes at L3Leadership.org/episode225 I want to thank two of our sponsors. First Henne Jewelers. There are jeweler owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne. My wife Laura and I got around engagement and wedding rings through Henne Jewelers and we just think they’re an incredible organization. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every engaged couple of book to help them prepare for marriage and we just love that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com I also want to thank my friend and sponsor Alex Tulandin.
Doug Smith: 22:05 He’s a full-time realtor of Keller Williams Realty and if you are looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market, Alex is your guy. As I mentioned, he’s a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership and he would love to have an opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more about Alex, that Pittsburgh propertyshowcase.com and lastly, if you want to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L3 Leadership, you can sign up for our email list on our website at L3leadership.org and you’ll get a free copy of my ebook Making the Most of Mentoring, which is my step by step process for getting meetings with leaders. And I know that it will add value to your life. And so thank you so much for that. And as always, I like to end with a quote and being the Bryan just talked about pain. I found a great quote that I love by Craig Groeschel on this. He said, “The pain you endure today often leads to the strength you enjoy tomorrow.” I love that. “The pain you endure today often leads to the strength you enjoy tomorrow.” Thank you so much for listening and being a part of l three leadership. Laura and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.