Mark Batterson - Win the Day - Leaders.Church


Mark Batterson – Win the Day

What’s in this Episode?

Join Jonathan as he sits down with author and pastor, Mark Batterson, to discuss his new book titled: Win the Day. This is a book that emphasizes daily habits to help you “win the day” from a Christian perspective.

Jonathan Hardy 0:06
Hey guys, I am so excited to be with you today and I have a special guest. This is Mark Batterson, the lead pastor of National Community Church and author of many books, including the newest book, Win the Day. Mark, thanks so much for joining me today on this podcast.

Mark Batterson 0:24
Absolutely. Jonathan, great to be with you and look forward to, to our conversation.

Jonathan Hardy 0:30
Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome. Well, I just love this book. And it’s been, it’s actually been very helpful for me personally. And I want to just come out right out of the gate and ask you, how did this concept of Win the Day come about for you?

About the Book

Mark Batterson 0:43
Well, I mean, I think yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s mystery, all you can do is win the day, you do that enough days in a row, and some good things are gonna happen. And so I think whatever goal you’re going after, you’ve got to reverse engineer it into daily habits. And so I don’t care if you’re an athlete, or an entertainer, or you’re in business, or you pastor a church, at the end of the day, it comes down to daily habits, and that really is the heart and soul of the book.

Jonathan Hardy 1:18
Yeah, that’s awesome. Speaking of habits, one of the things I really liked about what you talked about was habit stacking. Can you maybe share a little bit about that, maybe give everyone just a little nugget from the book, and then maybe even give a practical example of what that looks like. Maybe from you or others that you see?

Habit Stacking

Mark Batterson 1:37
Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s been a challenging season to lead. Or is that just me? You know, between COVID, racial tension, political polarization, a really challenging season to lead. And so the one habit that is kept me grounded the past year, is my daily Bible reading plan. And so this is not rocket science. I read through a different translation of the Bible every year because it makes my synapses fire in a little different way. And by the way, I keep this in my Bible, and it says, whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy. However harmless it may appear to me. A W. Tozer said that.

Mark Batterson 2:27
So that daily habit of a daily Bible reading plan has been critical. But here’s the deal. The Bible reads better with caffeine. I have it stacked by getting a small latte, two shots. And as I’m drinking my morning latte, above the coffee house that we own and operate on Capitol Hill, I’m reading my Bible. And so it’s taking a habit that maybe is harder to practice, and coupling it with something that comes very naturally and normally. And so I habit stack my Bible reading with my coffee drinking and the world is a happier and better place.

Mark Batterson 2:43
Scripture just like, you know, enlightens you in so many new ways because of that caffeine, I’m sure.

Mark Batterson 3:19
Yeah. And Jonathan, let’s be honest, habit stacking is as old as the Shema, that, you know, God told them to put it on their door frames, and to wear tassels and put it on your forehead and Mezuzah the world around you so that you have these reminders of the sacredness of life and the covenant that I made with you. And so habit stacking is 1000s of years old, and God used it an awful lot in the Old Testament and the New Testament. And I think it’s a critical practice and something that I tried to teach in Win the Day.

Jonathan Hardy 4:00
Yeah, yeah, no, I really loved it. And one of the things you said, I think it was in the habit stacking chapter. I had flagged it here because I wanted to say it was within those hurried minutes, there are holy moments. And, I thought that was so true, you know?

Within Hurried Minutes, there are Holy Moments

Mark Batterson 4:17
Well, you know, time is measured in minutes, life is measured in moments. And I’ve learned that I pastor people, but I also pastor moments. And learning to discern those moments. In fact, let me broaden the scope and just say, as a parent, you need to identify teachable moments, you’ve got to know what those moments are. And those are the moments that are going to make your life what it is, and so pretty critical, whether you’re a leader or a parent to be able to identify those, those holy moments.

Jonathan Hardy 4:55
Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s helpful. And as I was reading it, I was thinking about that specific to my kids. You know my kids are ages 4 to 10. That’s kind of my range right now. And I just was thinking about man I’ve got to capture these moments, I don’t want to let time pass by too quickly, and miss out on these special moments. I love your stories, you know, the Grand Canyon, all the different things and just so inspiring to be like, man, yeah, I need to, I need to create those things. I’m already planning a Colorado fourteeners trip with my son this year. He’s seven. And so I’m ready to do this man.

Mark Batterson 5:27
I love it, hey, train up a child in the way they should go.

Jonathan Hardy 5:32
Come on.

Mark Batterson 5:34
And, and I would just say that as a parent, I’m cognizant that I am my children’s historian for the first few years of their life. Because they will remember it. And so really being a student of your kids and being a student of the people that you lead is pretty critical. Especially right now. And yeah.

Jonathan Hardy 6:00
What would you say to a person or a pastor who might be listening or watching this? And, you know, they hear this and they’re thinking, “okay, well, just feels like, either it’s a new year’s resolution type thing, or it’s like, I don’t even know where to begin.” You know, you just kind of feel overwhelmed maybe with that sense of, you know, where do you start? And so obviously, you know, the overwhelm can overtake us and we consequently don’t do anything.

What To Do With the Overwhelm

Mark Batterson 6:25
Yep. Well, I’ll give a couple of examples. I was overwhelmed and frustrated for 13 years feeling called to write a book, but never being able to pull it off. And so finally, I leveraged my 35th birthday as a deadline. And I reverse engineered how many words I was going to need to write to get to that deadline, and finally pulled it off. And so you’ve got to find a way to take that goal and break it into a daily quota or a daily habit.

Mark Batterson 7:03
You know, if you want to run a marathon, which I did a few years ago to celebrate God healing my asthma, which I had for 40 years. I downloaded a training plan and I did 72 training runs, 475 miles. Then, and only then, was I ready to run that marathon. And so, whether it’s writing a book or running a marathon, you do have to think what are the daily habits that are going to produce the result that you want? And then you’ve got to do it one day at a time. And that really is the key question in the book. Can you do it for a day? And the good news is, anyone can do anything for a day. Well, okay. Now tomorrow, can you do it for a day? And then you get a winning streak, and now you’re gonna accomplish some things that I think are beyond what you could ask or imagine if you continue that daily habit.

Jonathan Hardy 8:00
Yeah, yeah. No, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. What about the concept of day by day? I know you talked about that in the book. Can you elaborate on why that’s so significant?

The Concept of Day-by-Day

Mark Batterson 8:11
Well, it’s not just a good idea. It’s a God idea. Give us this day, our daily bread. Now, we wish it was give us this month or monthly bread, right, then, you know, more provision than what we need, then we wouldn’t have to trust the Lord as much. But you know, His mercies are new every morning. Don’t worry about tomorrow, this is the day that the Lord has made. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. You know, I could keep going. I know there are a lot of people that know where this is going, that God created this 24 day, 24 hour cycle. And it’s a tremendous gift.

Mark Batterson 8:47
I would make two observations. One in Judaism, the day begins with sundown. And so we tend to think of sunrise as the beginning of a new day, but I think we’ve got to flip our thinking a little bit. And use that sundown to kind of prepare for the next day because honestly, Jonathan, how much sleep you got may have the biggest bearing on how your next day is. And for what it’s worth, my wife must really love me because she got me this ring with infrared sensors. That tells me how much deep sleep I get, what my respiration rate was, what my heart rate was and every day, it gives me a readiness score. And so I am now dialed into the sleep that I’m getting so that my waking hours are actually more productive. And so I think being a good steward, sleep is a piece of that puzzle.

Jonathan Hardy 9:50
Yeah, that’s really cool. I love that ring. I’ve never even heard of that before either, until I read that in the book. I was like what? That exists? That’s so crazy!

Mark Batterson 9:55
It is. It is pretty fancy and it’s amazing, you start picking up on things that affect how you sleep. If I eat too late at night, I know my body is going to be digesting, my respiration rate is going to spike and I’m going to get less deep sleep. It just is what it is. And so I really believe stewardship involves… there’s nothing that is not subject to the law of stewardship. And so really managing that in a productive way is critical. And that certainly applies to leaders.

Jonathan Hardy 10:26
Yeah, yeah. I want to talk, speaking of leaders, you know, most of our audiences is pastors, they could be ministry leaders, they could be even people who volunteer in the church, but they’re heavily invested. Want to maybe just wrap up with just a couple of questions, specifically, really targeting them. First thing is, in your fifth habit, you talked about cut the rope, which really has this concept of you actually, you say that playing it safe is risky. Could you speak specifically to pastors and ministry leaders, who maybe they have difficulty or they have this fear of risk, even calculated risk, which you talk about? What would you say to those folks?

When To Take Risks

Mark Batterson 11:15
Well, if you wait until you’re ready, you’re going to be waiting the rest of your life. So, you have to at some point, take the calculated risk. It doesn’t have to be something huge. We gave our first… we’ve given $25 million to missions over the last 17 years. It started with the first $50 check. So it’s finding ways to stretch your faith just a little bit. It’s the $85 registration fee. It’s the two minute phone call. It’s just stepping into the water enough to see if there’s something there. So it doesn’t have to be a huge, huge risk, but you’ve got to force yourself to keep taking those risks.

Mark Batterson 12:08
You know, we would have never launched a second campus or third campus or seventh campus, if we’d been waiting until we’re ready. And so there comes a moment where, here’s how I would say it, Jonathan, I think you have to count the costs, but not just the actual cost. The best leaders count the opportunity cost. In other words, it might cost you nothing to not do something. But you might be missing the greatest opportunity of your life. And so learning to calculate the opportunity cost. And I will tell you, actual costs don’t scare me. I mean, we’re 50 million in on a building project right now a city block, a mile from the Capitol, it’s the cost of doing ministry in DC. The actual cost doesn’t scare me. The opportunity cost does. Like, we’re setting ourselves up for 70 years from now. And so make sure you are counting the opportunity cost as a leader and that will get you out of your comfort zone. And it will force you to take some of those risks that you need to be taking.

Jonathan Hardy 13:25
Yeah, that’s awesome. What final message or thoughts would you hope pastors and ministry leaders would walk away with after reading Win the Day?

Final Thoughts

Mark Batterson 13:34
Well, I might share this thought, um, you know, it’s been a hard season to lead really, really hard, really hard. I mean, really, really hard. Here’s the posture I’m taking. If you stay humble and stay hungry, there’s nothing God can’t do in you or through you. I have a friend who attends our church. He’s an admiral, and formerly worked a few doors down from the President’s Oval Office. And he manages national crises. And I asked him, how do you lead through crisis and here’s what he told me. I reserve the right to get smarter later. I love that posture as a leader, it’s okay to not have all the answers. You need the humility to make some wrong decisions. And then the courage to admit those mistakes. And guess what, your stock goes up as a leader. People will trust you even more because they know that you will own the mistake if you make it. And so I think it’s about day in and day out long obedience in the same direction, keep doing the right thing. And eventually God is going to show up and show off his faithfulness.

Jonathan Hardy 14:55
Yeah. Well, hey Mark, I really appreciate that and your insight and you know, this book, pastors, you’ve got to get this book if you haven’t gotten it. And as Mark was just saying, it’s been harder to lead now probably than ever before. And this book is going to help you go to that next level as you start doing the principles that he talks about these habits, I really believe it. So Mark, I just want to personally say thank you, you know, I’ve got, I’m looking at my bookshelf over here, I’ve got several books of yours. And this is just another amazing book, that is your investment in the kingdom of God. And obviously, to those listening, who are pastors, ministry leaders, it’s playing a huge part. And so I just want to say personally, thank you, thank you, for me personally. But I know for all those listening, also who have been blessed by your ministry through writing, it’s such a privilege to read your books. And so thank you for taking time to hop on the call here. For those listening, be sure to follow Mark. Best place Mark is, right?

Mark Batterson 15:57
Yeah, that’d be great. And, Jonathan, thank you. It’s a joy and privilege for me to just spend a few minutes with leaders and leadership starts with self leadership, and your podcast is so helpful on that front. So thank you for helping us lead ourselves well, and hopefully Win the Day will be a piece of that puzzle for leaders.

Jonathan Hardy 16:21
Well, I hope so! Thank you, Mark. So go to his website to follow Mark at As well, go to to pick up Win the Day or of course you could go from his website. And thank you so much Mark. We’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Take care.

Mark Batterson 16:36
God bless. Thanks so much.

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