Larry Osborne has served as a Senior Pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California since 1980. The church has grown from 128 to over 11,000 in weekend attendance. Larry’s books include Thriving in Babylon, Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret, Accidental Pharisees, Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, Spirituality For The Rest Of Us, and The Unity Factor.
What is your title in the church?
I am one of the Senior Pastors and a Teaching Pastor (We have 4 senior pastors and 2 primary teaching pastors).
How far in advance to you prepare for services?
We don’t plan very far ahead. We tend to preach and teach through books of the Bible so I always know the general direction in advance. But I usually work on a specific message just one to two weeks out.
What do you do if you feel stuck, creatively?
When I’m stuck, I love to mind-map on a piece of paper. This helps me avoid the linear thinking that so often inhibits creativity. In addition, the visual connections help me see things in a new light whether I’m working on a sermon or seeking to find a solution to a difficult problem.
What is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on the pulpit and how did you recover?
Years ago I suddenly started struggling with out-of-the-blue anxiety attacks. They only hit me while on stage at North Coast – nowhere else. For over a year, I did my best to fight my way through. In most cases, no one but my wife and closest staff knew when they hit. I’m not sure I did anything specific to recover. Just lots of prayer. After a season, they went away. No idea why.
What is one ritual that keeps you sane in busy times?
I ritualistically schedule significant margin into my daily and weekly routine. I never know what I’ll work on during those times. But being able to choose my focus and priorities rather than being controlled by preset agendas and routine gives me a sense of control even in the midst of a crazy busy life and ministry.
If you could give one piece of advice to those graduating from seminary school, what would it be?
You have nothing to prove and no one to impress. So do your best under the circumstances and then take a nap. Jesus loves you far more than you realize – and his love and care for you is not based on your performance or results.