So, I have come across a guy who I believe is one of the most effective leaders in America.  I’ve read some of his books, listened to his podcasts, visited his church and have learned so much from him while going through his coaching program. Matt Keller is the Lead Pastor of Next Level Church in Ft. Meyers, Fl. It is a great place to visit, attend and be part of. I believe what God is doing in and through Next Level Church will change Southwest Florida and beyond.  

I’m going to give him credit for a majority of this blog. His leadership teaching about Trains, Tracks, and Future Cities has helped me immensely.   

One of my favorite things about past leadership positions has been clear guidelines of what I should be doing. When I worked at Denso, I knew exactly what to work on most of the time. The schedule dictated it. In previous churches, I knew pretty much what to work on because of the vision and business of church life. As great as those positions were, they didn’t offer me what I really wanted, the chance to lead the way God has wired me to lead.

If I had to be honest, since starting the process of launching RE.THINK Church in Merrillville, IN there have been days when I ‘go to work’ and realize “…umm, what should I be working on?”.  With the launch comes building renovations, creating a launch team, building the team, developing leaders and responding to emails and phone calls. I also have the task of completing all the necessary documents to start a church and not screw it up! I have felt overwhelmed and had no idea what I should do next. I have felt frozen.

I came across a teaching from Matt Keller about Trains, Tracks, and Future Cities. It is one of the most helpful teachings I’ve found for leadership.  

In Matt’s words, the “train” is working on our own business. It’s making sure things are running smoothly, bills are paid and events are taking place that is necessary for our business or church to be successful. The “tracks” are short term goals that are going to get us moving. The “future cities” are long term goals that we are on a journey to reach. I have spent a lot of time wondering what to be working on. This leadership teaching has helped shape me to know what to be working on.

RE.THINK Church launched weekly services Jan. 21st. Since that night, things have been crazy. It’s a good crazy, but still crazy. It is good to have a clear direction and certain things that I can focus on that have to be accomplished.  

It has been so helpful to be able to define what the “train” is, what my “tracks” are and what “future cities” we as an organization are headed towards. I love to dream and accomplish tasks, but Keller points out that it’s not enough to be working on Train, Tracks and Future Cities. We as leaders must work on a fourth task, “tracks back from the city”  in order to make sure the forward-moving tracks meet at the right destination. Reverse engineering is such a crucial part of dreaming and planning on any level.  

I’d encourage any leader in any capacity to spend time and determine what’s your “train”, what are your “tracks”, what “future cities” are you headed towards and how will you ensure you get there?

One of the most important groups of leaders that typically allow themselves to be overlooked is parents. I believe with everything in me that parents are some of the most important leaders out there.  Parents, we get to shape and influence the next generation in amazing ways!  What would it look like if we were to take the time and define our Train, Tracks and Future Cities and reversed engineered the tracks to ensure we arrived at the correct destination?

Leaders, take time and figure out where you’re headed. Where are you leading your organization, church or family? It would suck to get to the end of our leadership and realize we didn’t take our people anywhere or we lost all of our people because we never helped look for a future destination.




Keller, M. (n.d.). Trains, Tracks, and Future Cities. Retrieved February 01, 2017, from



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