Ultimate Leadership Testimonies - Pastors

The week I spent at UL was such an excellent investment in my personal development and I feel the impact of it every week. I am still processing many of the principles I learned. I continue to apply these to my life and my work. I am different. I lead differently.

Dustin, Lead Pastor

"Wow! What an amazing experience. I won't lie, I did not expect UL to have the impact it did. I knew others who had attended and suggested I go. I arrived excited to learn some great leadership principles to bring back to my church plant in Flagstaff, Arizona. I certainly got that...and much much more. UL was a God-given opportunity to learn and grow in areas and ways I didn't even know I had to learn and grow. The relationships I formed there, I believe, will continue to last and be pillars for me in the coming years. I truly believe that because of my time at Ultimate Leadership I will be a better father, husband, pastor and most importantly lover of God. Thank you, I am eternally grateful!!!!.

Vince, Pastor,

"The Ultimate Leadership week is like discovering you have been living in a black and white world and suddenly walking into a room bathed in technicolor. I was asleep and I’m now wide awake. Wow!"

Lori, Pastor

The experience I had at the Ultimate Leadership intensive workshop was, to use an over-used cliché, life changing. I have been to more so called “life changing” conferences in my life than I care to remember. My bookshelves are full of conference notebooks, the contents of which I never looked at again once the conference was over. The material may have been interesting, even challenging, but I found nothing that helped me in the areas where help was needed most…areas such as processing past hurts, relational wounds, being open and vulnerable with others, knowing how to establish and maintain healthy personal boundaries. All that changed at this particular conference. Through the experience of small groups, let by extremely competent Christian facilitators, coupled with the insightful and engaging teaching of Henry Cloud and John Townsend, I was able to process issues in my life as never before. Yes, the experience truly was life-changing.

Don’t let the title of the workshop fool you. The title could just as well be “Ultimate Life” because the principles and truths learned apply to all of us. As believers we are all called to be leaders and influencers of others. The group attending the workshop with me included lawyers, financial planners, pastors, and entrepreneurs, to name a few…all with the desire to move beyond the stuck places in their lives into a season of fruitfulness and growth.

Some may think this is workshop is expensive compared to other conferences out there. However, the benefit and value were far greater than the cost; this workshop was a bargain. Coming at the “half-time” of my life, age 54, for me personally, the timing couldn’t have been better!

Pastor Bob Barrows
Pawley’s Islands, SC

"I have been in pastoral ministry for over twenty years and in my present parish for the past seven. While I have always experienced a measure of growth, satisfaction and success in the past, the increased challenges of ministry in my present parish had brought me to a growth impasse. I felt stuck and unable to get beyond where we were.
I began to recognize many of the same frustrations and blockages to growth as I had experienced in earlier settings. When I looked at the people and things that seemed to hold both myself and our parish back I found that the common factor was 'me'!

I knew that I couldn't change or pacify all of the irritants in my life: I had already tried and failed for years. I knew that the charisma and adrenaline factor would not be enough to make it to retirement. Besides, I wanted to be about God's kingdom work and not just personal and congregational maintenance. I needed to know what might be in me that has continued to hound and hinder my personal and spiritual growth and that of my congregations over the years. Someone told me about Ultimate Leadership and I decided to try it. I was not disappointed in the least!

I would recommend UL to any pastor, priest or minister who is struggling with reoccurring frustrations in their life and ministry. UL helped me pinpoint the problem in my own life, take responsibility for it and develop an action plan to begin to deal with it. It has given me a fresh start and hope in my mid-life years and ministry."

The Rev. John Paul Westin
Anglican priest and rector
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

"When I first attended Ultimate Leadership, I was perhaps the most outwardly skeptical person in the place. I sat as far away from the front of the room as possible.

It didn’t take more than a day for my heart to get fully engaged. The Ultimate Leadership workshop was without doubt the most profound experience I’ve had after meeting the Lord. The group sessions seemed to fallow the spiritual soil and the didactics planted the seed.

I would say the real growth began after leaving the workshop. I am amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life as a result of The Ultimate. I look forward to coming out and participating as an alumnus someday soon."

Ron Cousineau, Adult Development Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Massachusetts

"We had recently been going through a devastating split in the church that I pastor. This was only the latest in a series of events in my life that had left me feeling very wounded. I knew I needed healing, but I didn't know where to turn for help, or how to get healed. When my wife encouraged me to attend the UL conference, I thought the last thing I needed was some more information on how to be a better leader. I knew I needed something different.

Ultimate Leadership turned out to be that something different. Only God knew that this was exactly the thing I needed. I learned many things that filled some holes in my personal life and theology - things that definitely impact my effectiveness in leading. Through the teaching, and especially through the loving interaction I received in the small groups, I finally began the process of healing. It has literally changed my life and also changed my family. I don't know how my church situation will turn out, but I know that I will survive and thrive. Also, the potential of church management software has me hopeful that any future hurdles I will be forced to overcome as a pastor can be done so easily and effectively with the tools it provides - I have yet to try it but look forward to its implementation in my church. I have a renewed sense of hope and excitement about the future of my life and ministry. I have also been keeping in touch with the friends I made while there, a rich treasure that will last."

Andy Smith, Pastor
Fredericksburg, VA

"After 30 years of pasturing I had become very aware of some chinks in my own armor. Desiring to “finish well” the course that God has set before me, I knew that something inside of me needed to be explored at a deeper level. Thus I signed up for the Ultimate Leadership Workshop.

In a setting that was permeated with grace and acceptance, God was able to open up my heart and allow me to see to the root of some things that have dogged my steps and rendered parts of my ministry and leadership style ineffective. Ultimate Leadership was a painfully glorious experience. Painful, as God opened my eyes to some things desperately needing attention. Glorious because along with these revelations came waves of grace. I feel I’ve been given some tools that will help truly “apprehend that for which I have been apprehended of Christ” (Philippians 3:12).

You and your staff are the best! The message of Cloud/Townsend Resources is even more powerful for me because I’ve seen and experienced first hand who and what you all are. Thank you once again for being a conduit for the Spirit of God."

Wayne Hoag, Pastor
Truckee, CA

"The Ultimate Leadership workshop was truly a life-changing week for me—my soul was very refreshed! The process groups were a very important part of what God did in my life during that week.

The authenticity that Drs. Cloud and Townsend demonstrated made them approachable and real. Their passion for God's Word was evident and their gift for revealing what it has to say about our emotional and relational health and how that relates to spiritual growth and leadership was remarkable. The teaching sessions were clear and insightful and brought real life to great information. Ultimate Leadership puts biblical principles into practical situations, something we all need.

This workshop is a valuable resource for anyone interested in spiritual and personal growth, whether in crisis or already on the way to emotional health. I have highly recommended Ultimate Leadership to my ministry partners, and I will continue to recommend it to all I have contact with."

Larry Knutsen, Pastor
SeasideCommunityChurch, Huntington Beach, CA

"The path to becoming a highly effective leader is broader than many of us think. It is much more than effective decision-making skills, interpersonal techniques, vision casting or great strategic plans. Highly effective leadership first and foremost begins with who you are as a person.

Ultimate leadership guided me through a process of healthy self-assessment, presented thoroughly researched and understandable biblical teachings, provided a life-changing exchange and interchange with others, helped me to unpack the essentials of how to navigate the complexities of leadership and how they impact the totality of my life, and assisted me in the process of putting together an action plan to take home to insure continuing change and progress.

If you have struggled through adversity, stress, anxiety, fear, inadequacy, loneliness, disappointment, or hurt as a leader, this is a gold mine of help. This is the real deal!"

Michael Randerson, Senior Pastor

"Here's just one of the things that Ultimate Leadership did for me: Since going to the Ultimate Leadership workshop, I now realize that getting connected with someone is a kind of soul fuel that raises me up to another level--which positions me to better solve life's problems. Put differently, if I'm a 5 and I'm facing a challenge that's a 6, opening the emotional flow of connection raises me to a 6. Ultimate Leadership showed me what is involved in making that connection with someone else, and the importance and the value of doing it ---after all, what do I know about connection? I am a guy!

This experience has changed how I interact with others and how I connect with them. I would highly recommend Ultimate Leadership to anyone wanting to get "unstuck" and improve every area of life, spiritual, personal and professional.

I think it is impossible to really describe how much going to Ultimate Leadership is still impacting my wife and me. Without question it was the most powerful spiritual experience of my life--and I've had a few. I'm really connecting with people here in a way I never did before."

Pastor John Sherk
Middlebury, IN

The Ultimate Leadership Workshop is like nothing I ever imagined and everything I ever needed in a conference.
As a leader, over time you can become numb to a lot of things, especially yourself. This week will give you the opportunity to take a good hard look into your core, your heart. The principles that I learned about myself and those around me have changed my heart, and my perspective, forever.
To say that God has used this conference to prepare me as I leaned into these challenges is an understatement. I didn’t realize how important this time was, but it continues to impact me years later. How many conferences can make that claim? At the end of the week you will understand what I now know. It’s called “Ultimate” for a reason.
Thank you for making it possible for me to attend! I am grateful

Kevin, Pastor, Husband, Dad
Northern California

"As a pastor, I expected a skills conference - how to do more. What I learned is that God expands your capacity to function by changing your character, not your skills. Since I returned from Ultimate Leadership, God has done great things in the church I pastor. Small group attendance is up 70%, we added a second service, worship attendance is up 30%, and we're adding a staff person. What I learned is that the 'problems' I faced as a pastor were a product of my character deficits. Until you have the character of a leader, you lack the capacity to lead."

Dave Lohff, Senior Pastor,

My time at GrowthSkills was a real breakthrough for me. For the first time, I was able to look inside my heart and discover what was holding me back from being the man God wants me to be. I am so grateful! I also made great friends who refreshed my soul and encouraged me along the way. Every aspect of leadership in my life has been impacted for my benefit and the benefit and blessing of others. Thank you for the money that helped make it possible for me to attend!

Jason, Pastor

"I have been in ministry for 35 years, and I have attended numerous leadership retreats and conferences throughout my career. Each of these had something helpful to offer, but nothing as profound as Ultimate Leadership.

I can say without hesitation that the Ultimate Leadership workshop was the most powerful week I have ever experienced .This workshop was enlightening and practical; it answered questions I have had for years.

This has also turned out to be an amazingly abiding experience; one year later, it is still changing my life. I continue to reap the benefits from that experience, personally and professionally.

I intend to come back to the Ultimate workshop; it has become a permanent part of my growth plan. If you are thinking of going, don’t hesitate. It will be the best investment you could ever make in your self, your career and those you care about."

Al Detter, Pastor
Erie, PA

"Throughout the years, I have attended many leadership seminars and workshops - but none compare to the teaching, training and personal transformation I received from Ultimate Leadership.

Before attending the UL, I had not completely learned that my life experiences have a tremendous impact on how well the principles for success work or don’t work in my life. Finding myself stuck in some relational and professional struggles, I sought help and found it through the UL Intensive.

I truly cannot describe the depth of transformation that has taken place in my professional and personal relationships as a result of attending this one week intensive. Whether learning to attach to feelings or validate the feelings of others, the UL has been one of the most significant tools God has used to help change my life and set me on a growth path that will bear fruit for years to come.

If you are looking for an effective way to integrate living and leading, I highly recommend that you attend the Ultimate Leadership. You may have attended leadership seminars in the past but you haven’t attended one like this! If you want to grow in your ability to integrate faith, learning and living, I can’t think of a better opportunity than the Ultimate."

Greg Brown, Pastor
Livermore, CA

"I usually don’t fill out evaluations on conferences…but this one was the “ultimate”. This experience went to the core of who I am as a person and as a leader. It opened my heart, it strengthened my faith, and it helped me to believe in myself and to be the person that God made me to be. It helped me find the courage I need to live, love and lead.

I believe my character has been shaped and touched in profound ways – my competencies will be enhanced and energized by my healthier inner self. With God’s help, and the help of other safe people, I believe I will continue to grow into a leader who is not afraid to confront or enter conflict.

I’m now seeing life and leadership through a new set of lenses, and the future is bright – filled with hope and anticipation."

Jon Osmond, Pastor
Ontario, Canada