- It’s a dedicated time where you as a pastor get to spend some quality time with your key players.
- It’s an investment in your key people most of whom are volunteers, of course.
- It’s an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve heard and have a conversation about the issues that really matter to you
- It’s a way of saying thank you, but also putting some new skills (and inspiration) into their heads and hearts, that will be a blessing to them, to your church, and to their lives generally. To come alone you get enriched, to come as a team and the impact is exponential.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Over recent years, the society-wide discussion around character, integrity and trust has become, in many ways, the new ‘lightning rod’ in leadership circles.
It doesn’t take much reading of scripture to conclude that character is a central theme in both testaments and summarized superbly in 1 Timothy 3:1-10. It is interesting to note that this passage says very little about gifts and ministry skills - rather emphasises a leaders character in the church and in the home. Personally I like to think of character and integrity as “truth in the inwards parts”. As Psalm 51:6 says, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts, you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”
Kouzes and Posner1 describe good character and emphasise that “Credibility is the foundation of leadership. Period.”
When working on your character...
- Do what You Say You Will Do. When it comes to deciding whether a leader is believable, people first listen to the words,then they watch the actions. They listen to the talk, and then they watch the walk.
- Watch out for “Image Makeovers”. It can be easy to create the ‘image’ of a leader. Image is skin thin! Character on the other hand is about the quality of a person’s heart. It is the personal commitment to live by biblical values - the courage and determination to do what is right, no matter what the cost. Leaders who pay attention to their inner worlds will last the distance.
- Admit mistakes. We all make them. Why then is ‘sorry’ such a difficult word to say? The truth is, admitting a mistake is often hard, especially when you’re leading. Yet admitting your mistakes communicates a profound message about your basic integrity as a leader.
- Endure Hardship. Paul urged Timothy to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:12). Leading a local church is as challenging as it’s ever been - with setbacks, disappointments, and hardships being part of the deal. Leaders of strong character will seize these occasions and learn valuable lessons that can only come in the hard times. Wise leaders allow these occasions to shape and further strengthen their character.
“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost.
When health is lost, something is lost.
When character is lost everything is lost.”
- Billy Graham
Alan is the Co-ordinator for the Executive Leadership programme at Vision College and consults in Organisational Development.
1. Kouzes and Posner - The Leadership Challenge, John Wiley and Sons, 2007
Monday, September 20, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
But it might surprise you to know that one of the most helpful tips for my ministry to youth and young adults came from the Harry Potter series. Through the mouth of Albus Dumbledore, Rowling writes;
“Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.” Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix p728.
Though I love working with young people I quite often find myself lamenting their actions. Asking, ‘Why did they do such a stupid thing?’ And here is where Rowling has helped me.
She’s helped me to remember that young people cannot see their actions through my eyes, with my life experience, Bible College training and fully formed adult brain. But I can remember what it was like to be young. A time when pimples were the bane of my life and exam marks were its focal point. A time when the world was before me but I didn’t know how to handle it. A time when I wanted to fit in and stand out at the same time.
What does this remembering produce in me?
Patience to remind them of the gospel of God’s gracious forgiveness and patience to avoid berating them if they do it all over again. Patience to gently spur them on towards maturity in Christ. Patience to hear and fan their dreams but to also gently remind them that all our dreams must be submitted under God’s.
But even before this idea came from Rowling’s pen it came from another’s. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the writer to the Hebrews says this.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
The incarnation wonderfully makes our Lord Jesus a great and sympathetic high priest who is able to deal gently with each of us in spite of all our sin and inconsistency because he can remember what it was like to be one of us.
And so as He continues to gently minister to me, I will continue to gently minster to the young people around me, remembering what it was like to be young.
Caringbah Anglican Church
Thursday, September 2, 2010
One of a number of highlights was Blake Mycoskie of TOMS. His for-profit company gives one pair of canvas shoes away to a child in a poor country, for every pair of shoes sold. He taught us that giving feels good but is also a good business strategy. If we focus on giving, the customers do the marketing. When people start to serve they quickly forget their own problems.
Business guru Jack Welsh, who is now attending his local church, challenged us to get rid of cynics and develop a culture of candor in our organisations and churches. His comments were controversial, but widely respected.
Throughout the conference we heard many other world class experts in several fields inspire us to excel in our leadership. I did not agree with everything that was taught, but it did sharpen me as a leader.
I have come back home with ideas to put into immediate practice, some principles to do more thinking and reading about, and a renewed desire to keep ploughing the hard and sometimes rough yards of ministry in the name of Jesus.
It would be better if the same quantity of content was delivered over a longer three day conference, rather than two, with time to reflect, discuss among teams, and make action plans.
I valued traveling to the conference with colleagues. We were able to discuss what had touched us during the day and then stretch each other as leaders. Eating plenty of baby back ribs was a necessary part of these discussions. Now for a much stricter diet and exercise program, to get rid of that tyre around my waist ...
CEO, Anglican Youthworks
Author of Leadership on the Front Foot