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Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp

Grab your Judogi and join Jimbo and Bob in the dojo for some leadership lessons on this bootcamp as we talk about the concept of Leadership Judo.

Leadership Judo: taking the energy of an opponent and directing it away from harm to a more productive place.


  • “Karate is defined by sharp, quick blows delivered with hands and feet. . . VERBAL KARATE is the lashing out, as if with the side of a calloused hand, when you snap at your spouse, your children, your employer, your employees, anyone.”
  • “Physical Judo was invented by a Dr. Kano in 1882. It was a derivative of jiujitsu, which means ‘pain.’ . . Judo means the gentle way, rather than the painful way.”

Some guiding verses mentioned in the podcast

Ephesians 4:29

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Proverbs 15:1

A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger

Five Truths for All from Verbal Judo by Johnson and Jenkins (yes, that Jenkins)

  1. All cultures want to be respected and treated with dignity, regardless of the situation. When treated with disrespect, all people want to fight and get revenge.
  2. All people would rather be asked than told what to do. To ask is a sign of respect; to tell is often a sign of disrespect.
  3. All people want to know ‘why’ they are being asked or told to do something. Telling people ‘why’ is another sign of respect.
  4. All people would rather have options than threats. Again, offering people a choice of action shows respect and allows people to save personal face.
  5. Finally, all people want a second chance to make matters right.


Do some serious Judo on your church website by calling our friends at One Eighty Digital, they can get you up and running with their expertise. Tell them the boys at the Bootcamp sent you.

Drop us a line, a question and a comment, we’d love to hear from you!


JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp. 100% Bob Bickford, ready to jump fully recovered from COVID strong as ever ready to run faster, jump higher.

Bob Bickford: Can I say 95%. I’m almost there. I’m almost. Okay. So I can give you 95% today.

JimBo Stewart: All right. I’ll take that. 95%. 95% of Bob Vic bird is better than 110% of a lot of other guys. So.

Bob Bickford: I don’t know about that. I’ve got some questions though. It looks like you’re in a bike store. Are you in a bike store? Like.

JimBo Stewart: I am in my garage, the, uh, the Gehrig office of Casa de Stewart. and those are my that’s my recreational fun family bike behind me from Walmart. And then slightly more expensive road bike for exercise.

Bob Bickford: Good one.

JimBo Stewart: Well, uh, it was not because everybody wants our commentary on college football. That’s what we get feedback on the most, you know, is everybody appreciates how much time we dedicate to [00:01:00] talking college football.

Bob Bickford: We had a bad

week. I think didn’t we

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, we’ll just leave it at this. It was a bad week. It was a bad week for both of us. Um, so here’s the deal we want to move on. We’ve got a fun and exciting, uh, series of episodes that we’re going to do, Bob. And, this, this is, uh, a leadership principle that I, I’ve heard.

I’ve learned from you, the replant guru. and so I want to dive deeper into this. Learn more. Throw in a little bit of stuff that I’m, I’ve read and let’s talk about leadership. Judo.

Bob Bickford: I love it.

JimBo Stewart: Do you, Do you, Do a height? Is it high yard or what do you do?

Bob Bickford: Well, no, cause that’s more karate and I think we’ll, we’ll get into it. And just let me say, I am not trained in any martial arts whatsoever. I don’t have, any kind of belt. I do have a TSA safety, security belt that I can just wear and walk a ride through security. But that is the really only, the interesting belt that I have.

And it does happen to be [00:02:00] black. yeah, leadership, Judah, man. Here’s a concept Jimbo that I don’t remember when I thought about. And I’m probably not the first person to think about it. And I may have heard it at a conference, but I play it off as an original to Bob Bickford.

 I am not, but I’m saying I developed the phrase leadership, judo, and I don’t know if I got it some somewhere and claimed it as mine, or if I coined it originally. So if we’ve got some researchers out there that want to Google it and figure it out, I’ve never published a blog or anything on this. So. it might be written about by some other folks, but, it’s something that I coined and specifically, I remember when I was on staff, when I first moved to St.

Louis at a large multi-site church, the dynamics in the culture of working in that church they were just unique and challenging all the time. And there were a lot of 20 somethings that would, because I was an older guy and, you know, they would come to me and talk to me about their situations.

And so I just coined this phrase. Well, let’s practice [00:03:00] some leadership, judo. So let me give you the definition. And then we’ll kind of launch in from there, but here’s my definition of leadership. Judo. It’s taking the energy of an opponent and directing it away from harm to a more productive place. so it’s the inner. So everybody who’s in an organization brings energy. Like we call like a resistance energy, or maybe a, an enthusiasm and they always want to do new things and start new things or, they’re just a negative person and they bring kind of a critical spirit to things. And so oftentimes when you’re working in teams, You can experience somebodies energy, whatever they’re bringing to you and you direct it away from a place of harm to a more productive place.

that’s what I talk about when, I mean, leadership, judo. So I’d sit down with the young staff guys and I would say, oh, okay, well, W, how can we get on the productive side of this? Like how can we direct it to a safe place? So my concept of judo is really small and it may be totally false. So we may have some judo champions in the audience who knows jumbo, but I always understood judo to be something that was more of [00:04:00] defensive than an offensive, right.

So it’s not like I’m trying to go out and attack somebody I’m defending myself. And so this idea of leadership, judo was whatever’s coming my way. Specifically in terms of people skills or people interactions, I should say, I’m going to try to direct it to a place where it’s not going to hurt me or harm me or the organization that I’m part of, but it can be more productive.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So I did a little bit of research to see if there was some other writing out there and cause I love this idea and I think it’s so helpful when it comes to pastoral ministry and replanting and revitalization. So I, I did find a guy who wrote on something very adjacent to the idea of leadership, judo.

He calls it verbal judo, Dr. George J T a and Dr. George has a black belt in TaeKwonDo and a black belt in judo and a PhD. And he was a police officer. for a whole lot of years. And so this idea of verbal judo, he wrote a whole thing, [00:05:00] basically training police officers on, how to deescalate situations whenever they were dealing with people and things like that, which is pretty fascinating idea.

He has since kind of revised and updated the material so that it doesn’t just apply to police officers, but also to businesses and marriages and things like that. And you will never guess Bob, who he brought to be his co-author to help him, clarify this thing of verbal judo to the world. Are you ready?

Bob Bickford: Was it bad? Dr. Jimbo Stewart.

JimBo Stewart: It was not Dr. Jimbo Stewart. it was Jerry B. Jenkins. Now, when I say that there’s probably something in you that says, man, that sounds really familiar. Jerry B. Jenkins. what has he written? well, he’s, well-known for a little series called left behind. and so he wrote the left behind series and for whatever reason, he also helped co-write this book called verbal judo.

So there you go. So you’re not the only guy. [00:06:00] So you go, you, you are, you are right there with Jerry BG.

Bob Bickford: thanks for that. I, you know, I think in our, I think in our church library, we still have some of those left behind books. So maybe we got to do a little giveaway on the old boot camp here. We can give those away.

JimBo Stewart: Well, here’s the deal. There is, I think a little bit of distinction between, what Dr. George and Jerry B call verbal judo, and your leadership judo. But I think as we introduced the idea, I would, here’s what I would say is I think verbal judo, as I have quickly skimmed this book. it seems like it would be a tool, a part of.

Leadership judo, of making sure that we, communicate with people in a way verbally, that helps deescalate situations and, and stay away from conflict and the importance of that. and as we approach that part of the concept, I was trying to think through, okay. Obviously being nice is somewhat a biblical [00:07:00] idea, but where where’s the biblical kind of think of this.

And, and I keep going back to Ephesians chapter four of, for so many different things. And towards the end of Ephesians chapter four and verse 29, it says, let no corrupting talk, come out of your mouth. Right. But then here’s what I thought was really interesting. He says, but only such as is good for building up as fits the occasion. Right. So there’s this like contextualized customized language. so it’s not just saying, just be nice. It’s not just saying don’t like corrupting talk, come out of your mouth, but think about in the occasion that you’re at in what’s going to fit that occasion and we’ll build people. And then as the end of the verse, it says that it may give grace to those who hear.

And I really think that verse Bob and I want to hear your, your take on this kind of connects those ideas of verbal, judo and leadership, judo in contextualizing your speech and your leadership to the occasion. What’s [00:08:00] going to fit that occasion for the purpose of building up, and giving grace to those who.

Bob Bickford: I love that verse. It’s one of my favorite verses in the sense that, Jim, but I think early on in my life and leadership. because of my personality, my wiring, if I thought somebody had a stupid idea, I would just go ahead and say, that’s a pretty dumb idea. Right? I wouldn’t say that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, but I would just go, I mean, that’s kind of a dumb idea right now.

it’s direct and it’s truthful, but it’s not helpful and it doesn’t build others up. I totally agree with you. Like. and I think we’re early on in ministry. I was hanging out with some guys who, when we took some of those spiritual gifts tests, We all kind of scored out, like at the prophetic, you know, truth telling kind of range.

And it would make sense that a bunch of us who were of the similar personality enjoyed hanging out with one another. And so I think we kind of took a sense of pride. Like we’re just going to be prophetic and tell the truth all the time. it was about that [00:09:00] time that I ran across Ephesians 4, 28, 29.

And so, you know, I was like, you know, this is a good sanctifying verse for me. And I think from that point on. I realized it’s really important how you answer somebody because you need to keep the conversation going rather than shut it down. And the reality is for most of us who are staff members or pastors, we’re going to be in situations where we have co staff, or maybe we’ve got a pastor above us or deacons, or we have lay members or sweep older ladies and congregants that are just kind of say things.

We, we need to be able to respond with a visions 4 29 is our guide. Right? And so I think the steps that, are contained here in kind of verbal judo are super helpful. and I hope the guys can really be encouraged as we walk through.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. One of the distinction they make only, uh, they make early on in verbal judo is between verbal judo and verbal karate. And so in verbal judo, it says karate is defined by sharp, quick blows delivered with hands [00:10:00] and feet. And so verbal karate is the lashing out as if with the side of a cow’s hand, when you snap at your spouse, your children, your employer, your employees, or anyone, rice that, that quick.

wit or part of the tongue and, uh, it shuts things down like you were saying, and that in, in contrast they described. Judo. They say physical judo was invented by Dr. Kanno in 1882 derivative of jujitsu, which means pain. Judo means the gentle way rather than the painful way. and so I was thinking about the Ephesians 4 29 verse there it may, and they’re just countless Proverbs that kind of speak to this idea.

Proverbs 15 one, a soft word turns away, away wrath, but a harsh word

stirs up. and so much of conflict is miscommunication and misunderstanding, whether that be in your marriage, whether it be in a workplace or wherever else. I mean, just the large [00:11:00] majority, I would say in my observation of all conflict is almost always a miscommunication.

Or misunderstanding. And if we, if we could find a way to garner real understanding and take time to connect with people, to understand them, and then explain what we’re trying to do, and make sure we really understand what it is they’re trying to say and do we’re going to have a much more productive conversation because the minute it feels like conflict, we go into a deal.

Style of communication. Right. and we, we start to become combative and, and wanting to kind of go at things. And we don’t feel like we’re in a safe space. And I even didn’t want to use that phrase safe space because it’s so misconstrued. Right. I

Bob Bickford: You just triggered me Jimbo. You triggered me.

JimBo Stewart: I’m not worried about triggering you.

what I mean, I say safe space. That’s that’s a whole nother conversation. We could probably shouldn’t have, So, I don’t want to say [00:12:00] anything to shut anybody down right now, but she’ll respect. but here I did read the reason I bring it, that idea of safety. So I was reading a leadership book the other day that I highly recommend, called everyday people, extraordinary leadership by cruises and.

We did a leadership challenge together. This is a follow-up to that. And I actually a bunch of research that they did, out of that, out of people’s, personal best leadership experiences. And they pulled a whole bunch of data, and a bunch of aggregate data from other literature and put together this book, which I highly recommend, but here’s this quote that I found in it that really stood out to me.

it said a multiple year study of over 18 teams at Google found that no mix of personality type skills, backgrounds, or matches with the work expected, helped explain which teams performed well. And which did not psychological safety was the critical factor explaining why some teams outperformed others.

 so just a. What I mean by [00:13:00] psychological safety is not safe space in the way that that term is used a lot today, but safe to have ideas, safe, to ask questions, knowing that when I say something, my supervisor, my coworker is going to want to hear what I have to say. They’re going to value my opinion.

They’re not going to shut me down with these, this verbal karate and shut me out of everything. but I don’t mean to say space in that, like all my ideas have to be accepted and everything has to go my per my way, my perspective. And that’s where I would, I think this leadership, judo idea that you’ve got really, comes out on in the, in the personal side, through, an adaptation of Les McKeown and predictable success.

When he talks about what he calls the enterprise commitment. where basically out the enterprise commitment is basically I’ll put the interest of the enterprise, above my own preferences and desires. And so I’ve adapted that with his permission, to what I call a kingdom commitment, and I [00:14:00]will place the interest of the church, both local and global in the kingdom of God, ahead of my own interests and preferences.

And, and, and so when I say safe space, I don’t, I don’t mean, but when nobody gets to challenge you, no, we need to be able, we need to challenge each other. We need to challenge the status quo. We need to ask questions. Not every idea you have is a good idea. now you should be free to say it out loud and you should be feel, but you also need to know when to speak and when not to.

and then what’s ultimately, what’s going to be good for this church that I’m helping lead in, not just what’s going to scratch my itches. And I really think that’s where leadership judo comes in is we all have kind of our own leadership style way that we like to do things. And we assume that our leadership style is the answer to every. And, and so I think leadership judo helps us not attack people, but, and, and let people be who they are and the way that God has wired them and designed them to be [00:15:00] in their own leadership style, but also recognize that you’re not the only leader and this has to be what’s good for the whole church, the whole organization.

Bob Bickford: Yeah, it’s so true. I think that, you know, going back to the quote from quizzes in Posner, One of the things I have learned is that the most effective teams allow everybody to lead from their strengths and to share their insights. you get a better product when a visionary works with an operator, an operator is the one who helps that vision become reality.

And then you also get. Application, when you get a processor involved who can do the nuts and the bolts on the details and the legalities and all of those sorts of things. And so when you’re brainstorming about solutions for an issue, when you put those VOP S leadership styles in a room, you’re going to automatically have tension

and you need to develop a [00:16:00] culture in which everyone realizes there’s going to be.

But the tension is about our view and how we’re wired up, but we really want to get to the. Well, you know, the enterprise solution. Well, in the church, we want to see the gospel proclaim. Do we want to see people discipled and we want to make a difference in the community. And so if that can be the dashboard and you can begin to say, how do we do that in the best possible way, you’re going to have a wide variety of opinions.

And then what I would say, Jimbo, as the leader, you need to realize a couple of things. One is it’s not your job to have. Idea about how the best way to do that is your job as a leader is to, through the people. God has given you in the church to go after the mission that God has given us in this great.

And to facilitate that and to, to let that go. being committed to that means as a leader, you’re going to have to facilitate conversation among the people whom God’s brought around you to accomplish the vision. And [00:17:00] that’s going to naturally lead to some spaces and places where it’s tough and it’s difficult, but if you can create that culture, and everybody realizes that what they say matters.

and in terms of shaping the eventual outcome, then I think you get, you get a team that’s ready to participate, and you’ve really got a value at, in the moment. Right. And that’s, I I’ve been in teams where, you know, somebody’s ideas are ridiculed or laughed at, or the leader. Basically, it’s like he’s swatting tennis balls on the court during ball machine practice.

Right? Every idea, boom back, you know? No, no, no, no. And then what happens is, and this is a key, this is a perfect sign that you’re probably not practicing leadership, judo and verbal judo is when people on your team stop talking and they don’t have anything to say, and they don’t communicate their idea. And that’s the hallmark of when something’s gone wrong in the organization because people go, it doesn’t matter what we say, the point person, the leader, [00:18:00] the pastor, the CEO, you know, the executive pastor or whatever, whatever they think is whatever goes in. So I’m not sure why we’re having this meeting.

JimBo Stewart: so good to think about that in a sense that, do you have a culture where people feel like they can. They can contribute with the way that God has uniquely wired them to contribute. or do they have you create a culture where, if the boss hog doesn’t say it, then it doesn’t happen. Right.

And you got to do, you gotta do what the, what the lead guy says. and that’s never the way we see it described in scripture. he here’s, what’s fascinating to me about that. Right. Even when God put on flesh and came down to earth, he likes surrounded himself with a bunch of knuckleheads, not, not cream of the crop, not the top tier.

Seminary grads, like, I mean, he, he surrounded himself with these guys and he, he delegated [00:19:00] authority in leadership to them. Right. He didn’t always, now there were times when he had to, as a leader, cut and dry go, this is what we’re going to do. And right when Peter cut a guard’s ear off and he was like, look, you live by the sword.

You die by the sword. That’s not how I came to fight this thing. But just knowing, knowing that people deserve to be respected. And so I want to use that to transition. in the book, verbal judo, the most recent, version, which was coauthored by the Jeremy Jenkins of left behind who, by the way, just full circle connection for you.

I don’t know if you know this. Do you know who Jerry B. Jenkins son is Dallas Jenkins. Who is the director and producer of the chosen series.

Bob Bickford: Well, there you go.

JimBo Stewart: So, oh, Jerry, when he contributed to this, I don’t know if it was his contribution or what, but only in the latest edition of verbal judo, they give these five truths for all people. And it’s really good stuff to think about as you have [00:20:00] these conversations.

Number one, I’m just going to go through these real fast. Number one, all cultures want to be respected and treated with. Regardless of the situation when treated with disrespect, all people will want to fight and get revenge. You’ve immediately escalated this to a conflict situation when you fail to show respect and dignity.

And so always be respectful, always show dignity. Secondly, all people would rather be asked than told what to do. to ask somebody as a sign of respect to tell is often received as disrespect. Even if you have the authority to tell, uh, now there are situations when you need to tell, right? So we’re not saying don’t ever tell, but if you can.

Ask and you can make it, come across as respectful as possible, always to be as respectful as possible. Number three, all people want to know why they are being asked or told to do something. none of us liked it when we were kids when our parents would say, [00:21:00] because I said so, and we don’t like it as employees either, usually, or as coworkers on a team or as church members or as.

We don’t appreciate as well, even as adults are. And all people would rather have options and threats. Right. and then finally people want a second chance to make matters. Right? As I was reading through these five, I was thinking about one quick scenario. I want to share of a guy who came and he was so.

unbelievably arrogant, a young guy that was doing an internship with us and assumed that I knew nothing at all about urban ministry, because I was not leading in the way that he thought I was supposed to lead as a young arrogant college intern. And so he literally walked into my office and said, You don’t know what you’re doing.

You obviously don’t have experience in an urban context. Let me lead this outreach and I’ll show you how it’s done that. Those are his words, not his, he didn’t insinuate that there is actual words. so here’s the deal I [00:22:00] should have just let him go right then probably. But I leadership judo, right?

I didn’t say you’re done. I gave him an option and I gave him respect and I asked him questions. I gave him a pathway that he ultimately didn’t choose to take. And that’s, I’ll just say, and we’re going to get more into all of this in the coming episodes. I would much, rather than fire somebody or cancel somebody or get rid of somebody or anything like that.

that last drastic step, I would much rather create a pathway, however unlikely they are to take it. That does allow for them to continue to serve if they actually walk that pathway. Right. So with this guy, I said, the only way forward right now is, for the next 30 days, we’re going to go through the book of Proverbs.

And every day, you’re going to read the chapter that correlates with the day of the month and you’re going to journal. And every time it says hasty, every time it says Hottie, every time it says full, every time it says prideful. I want you to write that verse down. And I [00:23:00] want you to ask the Lord to tell you if that’s you, if you are the fool in that verse, and I want you to pray about it.

And I want you to see if that’s what the Proverbs says to you. And once a week for the next 30 days, you and I are going to, I’m going to do it to. And once a week, we’re going to talk about this. And if at the end of that 30 days, I see that the Lord has done a work in your heart. Then we’ll continue to find ways for you to serve here.

but if not, I can’t let you serve with that attitude. And he ultimately did chose not to take that pathway. but I didn’t tell him he couldn’t serve. I just created a pathway because I believe every opportunity is a discipleship opportunity. Right. And that was a discipleship opportunity as well.

Bob Bickford: And I, you know, Jimbo the, all those things that you listed. I think could be summarized under the statement of if I was leading me, you know, if I had a leader who who’s let me, how would I want to be led? Right. And how would I want to be listened to, how would we [00:24:00]talk to, how would I want to be valued, et cetera.

Right. Cause I think most of us when we’re young, we’re all Jones in for the leadership position. We want the, we want the title. We want the chair, give me the reins. Right? Give me the steer. And because we’re, we’re running behind guys. And what happens is we run into the back of our leader and we drive him nuts.

Right? Like we just bump up and try that. So what I would say is when you get the leadership position, one, a couple of things hopefully occur. One is you realize how big a responsibility is to you realize you don’t have all the answers. And three, you really get serious about leading the people who are under your leadership authority.

You get serious about leading the. Right. So what I would say is over the next couple of weeks, man, just lean in and listen and learn and see how the Lord wants to shape your leadership and using this concept of leadership, judo, and verbal judo. and man, just let the Lord do some really cool things in your life.

JimBo Stewart: It’s almost like Jesus said something like treat others the way that you want to [00:25:00] be treated, or it was something along those lines. I’ve heard it before. Uh, it was their hammer, Jerry B. Jenkins, one of the two. look, here’s the deal guys, tuned in for the next several weeks. Our plan is to utilize as a framework, just so that we can have a framework for clarity, the visionary operator processor, synergist framework of leadership styles by Les McKeown, as we’ve mentioned on Haber for, one of the reasons we’ll use that is there’s a free quiz that you can take that doesn’t sound, I mean, You’re not obligated to do anything for it.

but if you wanted to, we’ll have a link to that in our show notes. And if you want to figure out your leadership style, according to that, but that allows us to work through some framework of material to talk about. If you are a visionary and you’re leading, or you are a leading a visionary or working with a visionary, then how do you.

practice empathy, respect and leadership, judo, and verbal judo in that context with each of those four leadership styles, visionary operator processor, and synergist. So over the next four [00:26:00] weeks or so, we’ll be diving into that. Take the quiz, send us your questions along the way. If you have questions about that, that you want us to answer in this series, or even after that series, we’d love to hear from you.

black belt, judo, leadership, leadership judo, left behind

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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