Casper Ter Kuile is the author of The Power of Ritual. He’s also a Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and the co-founder of startup Sacred Design Lab – a research and design consultancy working to create a culture of belonging and becoming. He co-authored “How We Gather” and his work has been featured in the New York Times, Vice, The Atlantic, and the Washington Post. Casper holds Masters of Divinity and Public Policy from Harvard University.

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The Learning Leader Show

  • Excellence:
    • Always learning
    • Commitment – Willingness to go deep
    • Generosity
    • Patience
  • Casper spent his 30th birthday with nuns. He’s not very religious but realized he had a lot in common with them. They care about the same things. They’re very honest.
  • What he learned from his mother and father:
    • Father – Do well when you follow the rules. Be detail oriented. Honest. Trustworthy.
    • Mother – She has a more “cheeky side.” She breaks the rules.
  • Deep connection isn’t just about relationships with other people. It’s about feeling the fullness of being alive. It’s about being enveloped in multiple layers of belonging within, between, and around us.
    • Four Levels of connection:
      • Connecting with yourself
      • Connecting with the people around you
      • Connecting with the natural world
      • Connecting with the transcendent
  • Tradition — “We mistake tradition for convention. Tradition is the beating heart, convention is the outer expression.”
    • A college football team can change their uniforms and not lose tradition. The uniforms are a form of outer expression.
      • You change symbols as you grow.
  • Preaching at its best is a conversation with the congregation. Ancient texts are so valuable. The Bible is a description of how life is…
  • Casper shares what it was like growing up in England and not fitting in…
    • His home life was great. His school life was awful.
  • Connection:
    • Willing to change
    • Forged in flames
    • Honesty & commitment to each other
  • Science is stable – we value being in tribes. There’s less of a connection to places and family. There is a decline in religious communities.
  • Why has there been a decrease?
    • Productivity has become so important. To be productive, relationships are sacrificed. Priorities have shifted.
      • We are missing opportunities to go deep with people
  • At work: Younger people show up at a job for the meaning of the company…
  • The military: Soldiers care about the people they are shoulder to shoulder with… They honor their culture.
  • As a manager: Replicate water cooler moments (virtually). 30 minutes snippets on zoom. Invite people to go deeper.
    • Use question prompts – create safe spaces. It’s an interesting time for relationship design.
  • He’s created “The Confession Group”
    • The leader needs to model vulnerability but hold the boundaries.
    • Have a place where people can go to admit they screwed up — 10 minutes to share, 10 minutes to ask questions
  • Discipline:
    • Take a tech sabbath — Each Friday, Casper hides his phone and computer. It’s rest time. Sabbath – “The apex of life.”
  • What we practice is what we become
    • “We all worship something. We just don’t know what we’re worshiping.”
      • The paradigm of how we see ourselves in the world.
  • Here is WHY joining a Learning Leader Circle is a good idea…


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