Five Things Bob Goff Taught Me When He Came To Our Church

Our entire church community is still buzzing and processing everything we learned and experienced this past Sunday when Bob Goff came to town.

Bob was everything you would hope he’d be: funny, genuine, encouraging, authentic, and people-oriented.

For what it’s worth, I thought I’d share five things I learned as a leader and communicator by observing Bob in action.

  1.  NO ENTOURAGE NECESSARY: Bob speaks to millions every year at major conferences and events.  He wrote a New York Times Bestseller.  And he pulled up into our parking lot in a budget rental car!He didn’t have “his people” surrounding him: it was just Bob.  And everybody noticed.

    To us, it communicated approachability and humility.  People LOVED that Bob Goff just sorta showed up without pomp and circumstance and hung out at our church.

  2. JUST GRAB A BACKPACK AND GO: This goes along with Number One above in that Bob travels light.  Just a simple backpack will do!

    This was encouraging to me, as I often speak at events and prefer to travel simple and light also.  If something doesn’t fit into the backpack, it’s probably not necessary for the trip.

  3. OVER-PREPARE + BLESS PEOPLE: Bob spoke three times at Life Church and every single message was entirely different!  I was blown away!  He could have easily given the exact same talk three times in a row and we would have been happy.  Instead, he took time to personally change slides after each talk and give entirely new messages.
    Bob later told me that he simply wanted to bless our church — wow!  That is a form of extravagant love: no coasting and being all about blessing others.
  4. BE WITH PEOPLE: Usually when a guest speaker comes into an event, a separate ‘green room’ is prepared backstage for the speaker to kick back, rest, and chill before/after speaking.
    Not Bob.  He wanted no special frills or space backstage.  He just wanted to hang out with people!
    Bob selflessly took selfies with strangers, signed every book placed in front of him, and chatted with everyone.  It was like everyone was Bob’s friend! He had time for every request made of him with no complaints.

    That really stuck with people: his willingness and availability to just be with everyone.

  5. I shared this on my Instagram, but I’ll close with this story:
    When my 10-yr-old son heard that Bob Goff was coming to speak @lifemichigan, he shrugged his shoulders: “Who’s that?”
    I told him Bob wrote a bestselling book called Love Does. Josiah grabbed my copy and began reading of Bob’s crazy-but-true adventures.
    Saturday night I looked all over the house for my copy of Love Does, but figured I had misplaced it.
    Sunday at church, Josiah plopped himself in the front row next to Bob and proudly produced my missing copy of Love Does for Bob to sign!

    Bob turned to Josiah and did what came natural: Bob fist-bumped my 10-yr-old!

    We took the photo below later in my office. I love that my son is growing up in a church where it’s “normal” to welcome world-class authors and speakers like Bob.

    And I LOVE that world-class authors and speakers like Bob are authentic, humble, down-to-earth awesome fist-bumpers!

    PS – My kid is on Cloud 9 now. Thanks, Bob.

    There is one more thing Bob taught me when he was here.
    I’ll share that on my blog in a few days.

    * All photo credits: Hope Sweigart Design & Photography

Jonathan is the founding pastor of Life Church Michigan.

You can get his new book at

He once bought pantyhose with Tina Fey (true story).