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Wednesday
Apr262017

Way too many "Power-Hungry" leaders out there! Are you one of them?

 Having an outsized Ego, power-grabbing, grasping for attention, being dictatorial  are never good when discovered in a leader who should be seeking to honor our humble Lord Jesus. Unfortunately there are far too many “Power-hungry” leaders in the body of Christ today. Here are ten signs to look for that would tip you off as to being “Power-Hungry.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

Christian leaders are called to be servant leaders, willing to be last in order to lead (Matt 20:26). Even Christians, though, wrestle with a desire to be powerful and influential. Take a look at your own life, and be aware of these signs that you might be a “power hungry” leader:

  1. You get jealous when others have information you don’t have. Power hungry leaders want every advantage, including being “in the know” more than others are.
  2. You hire only “yes” men who support your position. That’s one way to protect your power – hire only people who depend on you and look up to you.
  3. You network only with people who can help you gain position and prestige. You know what you’re doing, too, when you make deliberate choices to hang out with the power brokers.
  4. You look for wrong and weakness in people who disagree with you. You feel more powerful, more in charge and in control, when you can tear down – in a Christian way, of course – those who oppose you. 
  5. You speak critically about leaders who hold the positions you want. It’s easy to judge those who are where you want to be. After all, you’re really more qualified for that role, anyway – right?   
  6. You remind people of your pedigree and accomplishments, even in sermons. If you find yourself seldom missing an opportunity to talk about what you’ve done, you might be trying to secure your power.
  7. You’re always thinking about the assumed greener grass in the ministry that is larger than yours. Power hungry people seldom get settled where they are since there’s almost always a ministry with greater size and stronger influence. 
  8. You use your title more than your name. In some circles, titles like “Dr.” carry weight. Power hungry people know what those circles are. 
  9. Your public life is more important to you than your private life. That is, you “shine” in the public while spending little time with God in private.
  10. You place your ministry above your family. Daily, you spend more time trying to climb ladders than hanging out with your family. That’s seeking power at much too high a cost.  

What other warning signs would you add?

 

Monday
Apr242017

What does an empowering leader look like?

There has been a lot written about "Empowering" those on your team and with whom you work.

How do you know if you are truly empowering or perhaps inadvertently disempowering poeple by your attitudes or behavior?

Here is some solid insight adapted from "Bits & Pieces." 

The more freedom you give people to do their jobs the way they’d like to do them, the more satisfaction they’ll get from their work.
 
Most leaders are supposed to be a little smarter than other people and, in most respects, they probably are.  But if leaders insist on doing all the thinking for their organizations, if everything has to be done THEIR way, what’s left for the people who work for them to be proud of?
 
How much personal satisfaction can there be in doing a job that is completely programmed, where your muscles or brain are used to perform repetitive operations already planned and dictated by someone else?
 
There ought to be something in every job that’s satisfying to the person who does it.  Unfulfilled people can be just as serious a problem as inefficient methods.
 
Creating a climate that gives people some independence, without losing control, takes a lot of leadership skill.  It also hinges on the content of a job and the judgment and ability of the person handling it.  Here are some techniques which are used by many successful leaders:
 
Managing by objectives - Giving especially capable people a clear idea of the results you want to achieve and leaving the methods to them.
 
Suggesting methods rather than dictating them, with the understanding that people are free to devise something better.
 
Consulting people affected by a problem or a proposed change and asking their ideas, regardless of whether you think you need them or not.
 
Enriching jobs by delegating decisions as far down the line as possible. If a worker is capable of being trained to make a certain decision intelligently, why have it referred to a supervisor?  If a supervisor is capable, why refer to someone above?
 
Guiding your people to think of constructive suggestions you may already have in mind rather than simply presenting them yourself.
 
Eliminating needless rules and allowing people as much freedom and mobility as possible as long as they produce excellent results and don’t interfere with others.
 
Leaders who successfully practice these things will enjoy excellent morale among their people.  If it can be done without abdicating responsibility--without losing control of the situation--they’ll also get excellent results.

Saturday
Apr222017

You’re Not a Leader If You Never Say You’re Sorry


There are some things that good leaders never say or do. Here, Eric Geiger shares a few of them.

Originally posted by Eric Geiger

You’re Not a Leader If You Never Say You’re Sorry 

You are not a good leader if you never tell people you are sorry. There are a myriad of issues in the heart of a leader who never apologizes. If you never apologize, at least one of the following is also true:

1.  You reveal you think you are infallible.

If you never apologize, if you never say, “I was wrong,” you show people you actually believe you are always right. You reveal your foolishness, not your wisdom, if you never admit to being wrong. People are hesitant, as they should be, to follow someone who thinks he/she is always right. There is only One who is faultless, and it is not you.

2.  You are never having difficult conversations.

If you never need to look at someone on your team and say, “I am sorry, but…” then you are ignoring difficult conversations that would make the person and the team stronger. If you talk about people instead of to people, you are not a good leader. If you work around deficiencies instead of confronting them and providing opportunities for growth, you are shirking your responsibility.

3.  You are afraid of making mistakes.

If you take risks and try new things, you will make mistakes. And wise leaders own those mistakes and learn from them. If you hate saying you are sorry, if you hate ever being wrong, you will be much more risk adverse and unwilling to try new things to advance the mission.

4.  You are never repenting.

Most importantly, a leader who never apologizes is a leader who is not repenting. Great leaders repent. Tertullian said, “We were born for nothing but repentance.” The first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses is “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matthew 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” If you never admit your wrongs and ask for forgiveness, you have an elevated view of your holiness and a woefully incomplete view of His.

The post You’re Not a Leader If You Never Say You’re Sorry appeared first on Eric Geiger.

Saturday
Apr222017

7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

Stephen Covey wrote a book describing the seven habits of highly effective people. Well, if there are habits that people can acquire to make them effective, then there are also habits that leaders will want to avoid or break that cause them to be ineffective.

Here are some I have been thinking about and working on:

Leaders who want to be effective will be careful that they are not:

1.  SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME MANAGING AND NOT ENOUGH TIME LEADING

Leadership guru Warren Bennis notes that most organizations are over-managed and under-led. There are major differences between managing and leading. Here are a few:

Generally speaking:

  • Managers think short term, leaders long term
  • Managers control and minimize change, leaders initiate change
  • Managers are reactive (responding to ideas) leaders are proactive (creating ideas)
  • Managers solve problems, leaders create excitement, generating more problems by coming up with new ideas never tried before
  • Managers are process-oriented (how it is done), leaders are result-oriented (why and if it is done)
  • Managers motivate by rules and regulations, leaders by empowerment and vision

2.  SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME IN COUNSELING THE HURTING AND NOT ENOUGH TIME IN DEVELOPING THE LEADERS

John Maxwell makes the observation that people with very strong mercy gifts don't function well in visionary leadership. They don't want to hurt anybody or make decisions that offend or cause conflict. My experience would verify that.

Those leaders who know they have a strong mercy side must be very careful about who they spend time with. All their available time and energy will go to the hurting and the discouraged, leaving minimal time to develop future leaders which is the leader’s main responsibility. The hurting will find you. You will have to find the leaders.

 3.  SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME FIGHTING FIRES AND NOT ENOUGH TIME LIGHTING FIRES.

The leader needs to be a proactive fire lighter, not a reactive fire fighter. Many leaders spend so much time dealing with issues in a crises mode that they have precious little time left to deal with the longer term issues so as to not be caught behind the change curve.

4.  SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME DOING AND NOT ENOUGH TIME PRAYING, DREAMING AND PLANNING.

We have all heard the expression, "Don’t just sit there, do something." Leaders need to practice, "Don’t just do something, sit there." A good leader will balance out doing and dreaming, active and quiet, energized and hibernating. A good leader will have less on the "do list" and will free up time to "just sit there"--not always chasing his own tail light in the traffic of life. 

Many leaders are entirely too busy with the day-to-day issues and spend comparatively little time in creative dreaming and time alone with God. Peter Drucker says that action without thinking is the cause of every failure. 

5.  SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME TEACHING THE MANY AND NOT ENOUGH TIME TRAINING THE FEW. 

The war will not be won from behind the pulpit. Many leaders invest entirely too much time in public teaching in spite of the fact that statistics show that 70-80% of most audiences are not listening and will not apply what they are getting. Speaking to the crowds needs to be balanced out with investing quality and quantity time with the few who can and will reproduce (2 Timothy 2:2).

6.  SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME DOING IT THEMSELVES AND NOT ENOUGH TIME DOING IT THROUGH OTHERS. 

Short-term thinking leaders do it all by themselves, long-term thinking leaders get others to help them. You have two choices in your leadership. Do it yourself, or get others to help you carry the load (Number 11:17). Your willingness and determination to train, delegate and work through others, more than anything else, may well define your effectiveness and success in ministry. 

Today is the day of the team and collaborative leadership, not "the Lone Ranger." I have been in the hiring position numerous times through the years and the person I'm always looking for is the one who does ministry through people, not for people, or with people. Delegate or suffocate, which will it be?

7.  MAKING TOO MANY DECISIONS BASED ON ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS AND TOO FEW DECISIONS BASED ON BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES

I wish we had more leaders (in the church as well as in the private and public sectors) who do the biblically correct thing and are not overly worried about the politically correct thing. Leaders who don’t hold their wet finger in the wind to see which way it is blowing but using that same finger to turn the pages of Holy Writ to see which way the Spirit of God wants to move.

TRULY EFFECTIVE LEADERS WILL:

  • Lead, not merely manage
  • Develop future leaders
  • Light new fires
  • Spend time praying, dreaming and planning
  • Do ministry through others
  • Make biblically based decisions

So, my fellow leader, how are you doing? Is there something you need to change, do differently?

Thursday
Apr202017

Things to seriously consider before planting a church!

Church planting is one of the most difficult of ministry callings.  Many, if not most, church plants don’t succeed. Here are some great insights from Brian Howard on what to seriously consider before planting. Do share this with those you know who are praying and considering church planting as a ministry.

Originally posted by Brian Howard

Fourteen Things to Consider BEFORE Church Planting

Are you considering Church Planting? Here are Fourteen things to consider BEFORE church planting

1. Are You Character Qualified?

The character qualifications for a pastor are clear in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Don’t create a future train-wreck if you know in your heart that you have legitimate character issues. And don’t move forward if your current local church has not affirmed your character.

2. Is Your Primary Goal to Reach People For Christ?

The reason to plant a church is to reach new people for Christ. Planting a church to “Do church better” than other churches is not a reason to plant a church. We don’t need more “gospel-centered” churches who believe that no other church in their community gets the gospel right. We also don’t need more hipster churches that simply cater to young Christians.  What we do need are church planters whose primary focus is to reach people for Christ.

3. Do You Have a Strong Desire to Plant?

Church planting is a trendy thing to do. Young Christian men often feel like the highest ministry calling is to plant a church. There are many ways to be in gospel ministry other than planting a church. Do YOU have a strong desire to plant a church or is it someone else’s plan for you? Desire alone is not a call, but the strong desire to plant is a part of a call.

4. Do you Have A Place?

Planting is about taking the gospel to a particular location to reach a particular people. If you have a generic desire to plant a church but no clear focus on a people to reach, then you are not ready to plant a church.

5. Do you Have Opportunity in a Particular Place?

The desire to plant a church in a given place is not enough to move forward. What other indicators are clearly pointing the way to where you are considering planting? Do you already have a substantial group of people in a particular place? Is there NO gospel witness in that specific place? Is there an opportunity for funding for that particular location? If God has called you to a place, doors will be open, and the opportunity will be clear.

6. Are You a Cultural Insider?

My consistent experience is that the most successful planters plant in a place where they are cultural insiders. There are times when a man is called to go to another culture, but this tends to be the exception than the rule. If you have a desire, clear opportunity, and affirmation to go to a different culture, this may well God’s calling. Know, however, that as a cultural outsider, your church planting journey will be longer. You will likely spend several years learning the culture of the place where you are going (Even in a US city where you are not from). If you do not have clear desire, affirmation, and opportunity indicators, you are wise to plant in a familiar culture. My encouragement is to get out a map and put a mark on it where you (and your wife) grew up. Consider planting within a 6-hour drive of where you grew up.

7. Do you have a Track Record of Starting Things?

Being a decent teacher or a caring pastor does not qualify you to plant a church. Church planters are starters and builders. How do you know if this is you? Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. What have you started from scratch? Do you have a pattern of successfully starting new things? Church planters think like entrepreneurs.

8. What Has grown Under Your Leadership?

Church planting involves not only starting something but leading the plant to grow to the point where it is sustainable. Do you have a track record of building and growing things in your past? When you lead things, do they grow?

9. Do Other People Believe that You Should Plant a Church?

Affirmation is part of a call. Would those who know you affirm that you should plant a church? Does your current church see you as a church planter? Is there anyone telling you that you are not gifted to do this? Pay attention to the people who are around you. God will use them to speak truth into your life.

10. How Many People are Willing to Join With You?

Who is willing to follow you to plant this church? Successful Church Planters are able to gather people to join them. A Church Planter is the lead missiologist of a band of missionaries. Is anyone willing to go with you or join you on the mission?

11. Are People Lining Up to Fund the Church Plant?

Have you found that people and churches are willing to fund this vision? If a potential church planter is unable to raise sufficient funding, then he should not plant a church. Part of the affirmation and gifting of a church planter is the ability to raise funds.

12. Have you Gone Through a Church Planting Assessment?

A Church planting assessment is a beneficial and worthwhile investment.  Having a team of seasoned veteran church planters evaluate your readiness to plant is a step that you would be wise to walk through. You can take a simple assessment here.  You will find Acts 29’s application process here.

13. Is Your Family on Board With you?

Church Planting is not a one person commitment. If you are married, is your wife on board and committed? It takes a lot of energy and perseverance to plant a church. Setting out to plant with a wife whose commitment is questionable will make the road much more difficult.

14. Have you Served for Several Years on a Church Staff?

Head coaches are first assistant coaches. Successful twenty-five-year-old church planters who have not first served for several years on a church team are a rarity. You may be able to point to an exception, but it is just that – an exception. Before you plant a church, put in several years on a church staff team maturing, learning to work under authority, learning about different kinds of ministry.