5LQ Episode 478: Steve Carter


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In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins and Chandler Vannoy are joined by Steve Carter. Carter is pastor, speaker, author, podcast host and the former lead teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. He hosts the Craft & Character podcast, a sports podcast called The Home Team, and his latest book, The Thing Beneath the Thing, is now available. They discuss how people respond when they are triggered by past pain and why sanctification really matters.


“If I say something I shouldn’t say or I do not follow through on a commitment, I can’t say that just like Paul, ‘I do not understand what I do.'”

“We are people who have been triggered and those triggers are deeply connected to pains, traumas, and wounds.”

“The healthiest people, when they get triggered, don’t see it as permission to escape. They see it as an invitation to be courageously curious.”

“The desert was a real gift for me because it was character school. It helped me remember why I got into this.”

“You can have these principles and values and practices and then all of a sudden you go through a season of three months where you feel like there isn’t margin.”

“I needed to be healthy. I didn’t want to step into another church and transfer my pain onto some other elder board.”

“A lot of times, especially in moments of crisis, there isn’t a true north. Oftentimes, for pastors and leaders, we know the vision for our church, but we don’t have a personal vision.”

“Every 90 days we try to look at the last 90 days to see what worked, what didn’t, what needs to change, what can we be better at.”

“I was grateful that there were pastors in my life who could see that my success was outpacing my character and they pulled me aside.”

“Don’t ever stop working on your craft.”

“I think a lot of pastors plateau in their 30s. I want to be a better communicator when I’m 70. I want to be wiser, but I always want my character to lead the way.”


Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network

Craft & Character podcast

The Home Team podcast

The Thing Beneath the Thing by Steve Carter

Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard

The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton

This Episode’s Sponsor:

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