Tag Archives: leadership

Good Leaders Encourage

Standard

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Long ago (1990) and in a universe far, far away (Camp Hemlock Overlook, Va.) I walked with Christ on Women’s Rainbow Via de Cristo #21 where I sat at the table of Deborah. Years later someone asked what I received on that weekend that I would most like to pass along.

I thought long and hard and I can boil it down to one word: encouragement. A VDC weekend is probably the only place in the world where all you have to do to get a round of applause is stand up and state your name! It’s a place where virtual strangers (who quickly become sisters in Christ) will hug you. On a VDC weekend, people really listen to what you have to say and they don’t judge you. They pray for you and with you. It’s a place that feels safe, and very, very, encouraging.

Here’s the best part: the weekend happens only once, but you can pass it on by giving someone else that great feeling of encouragement EVERY SINGLE DAY for the rest of your life. Encouragement is listed as one of the spiritual gifts that build up the Church, and every one of us can prac-tice it. Here are just a few suggestions:

  1. Send a birthday card
  2. Write a thank you note
  3. Give a pat on the back –“great job!”
  4. Hug someone
  5. Bake/cook someone’s favorite
  6. Say “I love you”
  7. Help someone with a job or project — before they ask
  8. Ask someone to pray for you (yes, that is encouraging, because it shows you trust them)
  9. Listen, really listen when someone shares with you
  10. Pass along a book you found helpful/interesting/inspiring

Well, you get the idea.  It’s not very hard.  It won’t cost you much.  And it can change somebody’s day, maybe even their life.  It may change your life as well.  Give it a try.  Go out and pass it on.  That’s what good leaders do.

Advertisements

Trusting Your Leader

Image

"I know not the way God leads me, but well do I know my guide." - Martin Luther

Leading Major Change by Jeff Iorg–Book Review

Standard

The Lutheran ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have given it a second glance.  It is definitely geared toward Pastors and other ministry leaders involved in making major changes in their church or ministry.  However, since I am on the leadership team of our church and we are in the midst of a transforming process (Fanning the Flame), I found myself interested and excited to see what Jeff Iorg had to say about the process of change and how to lead people through it.

He begins by reviewing different definitions of leadership (our topic this month).  It’s not as easy to pin down as you might think.  My favorite was:

“Leadership is a process in which leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation, accomplishment and living.”

That is certainly what our congregation is trying to do through Fanning the Flame!

Dr. Iorg has led a number of organizations through major change.  His resume includes:  relocating a church, a church plant, major change in a Baptist Convention, and relocating and reorganizing a large seminary.  He uses his own experiences throughout the book to discuss the pitfalls and opportunities that are part of the process of change.  Also interspersed are brief testimonies from others (employees, laypeople, etc.) who have participated in some of these major changes.

I especially appreciated his emphasis on servant leadership, and the necessity of providing pastoral care for followers.  He reminds readers over and over that change is an event, but transition is a process which can continue for some time after the change.  It can be difficult for many, it can require great sacrifice,  and a good leader needs to earn and retain the trust of followers throughout the entire process.  Followers are the people who must buy in and accomplish the change.  Everyone involved must truly believe that the mission matters most.

“Leaders intend real change–and that is often painful.  It causes organizational upheaval and personal angst.  Leaders’ decisions sometime inflict pain on their followers.  Good leaders do not enjoy hurting others, but are responsible to make difficult decisions (in the short run) for the long-term benefit of advancing God’s mission and the particular mission of the organization they lead.”

Verdict:  I enjoyed this book, and will be passing it on to my husband and other leaders of our congregation.  It was readable and full of useful information and insights for those involved in change within a church or ministry.  However, it will appeal to a limited audience.  I give it four stars.  If you are interested in purchasing it, the link is below:

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/products/leading-major-change-in-your-ministry

Who Follows You?

Standard

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives ,when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2

Maybe you think you are not a leader.  You are not usually the one in charge of a project;  you have never been the president of an organization;  you prefer to work behind the scenes.  However, according to the Via de Cristo talk on leaders, we are all leaders because we all influence somebody.  The people we influence most are those within our own family.

The verses above, from 1 Peter, give us a picture of how this might be done.  It sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?  Lead by submission?  How could that work?  I like to think of the Biblical concept of “submission” as putting another person first. Submission isn’t being a door mat, accepting abuse, or losing every disagreement.  It is about caring for someone deeply enough to put their needs ahead of your own.  The Bible actually tells us to do this, not just with our spouse, but with others in our family, our congregation and even the world. This kind of behavior often makes people sit up and take notice.  It earns their trust.  It makes them willing to listen to what you have to say.  It can make them want to emulate you out of gratitude and respect.

Did you know what the biggest factor in determining whether a child continues to attend to church when they grow up is?   It’s whether their father attended church.  Do you know the most frequently cited influence on a person’s faith life?  The answer is “my mother.”  Do you know why most people attend a church for the first time?  Because a friend invited them. Make no mistake, people are watching you every day–the people at work, your spouse, your children, your friends, your neighbors, even the cashier at the grocery store.  Do you use your influence for good?  Do they see a life of “purity and reverence?”  You are somebody’s leader;  think about that responsibility and take it seriously.

Generations of Leaders

Standard

We sang this hymn in church recently.  It reminded me, that we can always look to Christ and many generations of His followers as examples and inspiration for our own walk.  Read your Bible to find the leader you want to emulate, then follow in the train!

 

Costly Grace by Rob Schenck–Book Review

Standard

Rob Schneck has the gift of leadership.  Growing up in the 70’s he converted from nominal Judaism to evangelical Christianity.  His faith journey took him through a variety of roles:  van driver and lay preacher at a shelter for heroin addicts;  Assembly of God pastor; activist in the anti-abortion movement;  supporter and leader of the religious right; minister to a number of top government officials and now founding president of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute.

Rob’s memoir is an honest account of one man’s struggle to fulfill his God-given calling.  He freely admits his failures (lack of attention to his family, being influenced by pride and prestige, being judgmental, etc.)  I think most Christians who are seeking to grow in faith will identify with Schneck as he wrestles with God, allowing himself to be changed and molded in the process.

Verdict:  I couldn’t put this one down.  It’s a new release so you should be able to borrow or request it from your local library.

 

New Month/New Theme

Standard

Our theme for July is leaders.  Leadership is a big topic in the church today.  Peruse the shelves in your local Christian book store and you’ll find many volumes have been written about it. Here are some of the questions I hope we’ll be addressing this month:

  • What Biblical leaders do you most admire?
  • What does the Bible say about leadership?
  • What are the qualities of a good leader?
  • Are you a leader?  If so, what qualifies you?
  • Can we train members to be leaders?  Or is leadership a spiritual gift you either have or you don’t?
  • Who are the leaders who have influenced you in your Christian walk?
  • What are our responsibilities to those who are leaders of our congregation?
  • Should Christian leadership be different from leadership in secular arenas (i.e. business, politics, etc.)?

I look forward to reading what our authors and readers have to say.

 

Wisdom vs. Knowledge

Standard

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this thy people, that is so great?” 2 Chronicles 1:10

The first verse above is attributed to Moses, and the second to Solomon:  two of the most revered leaders in the Bible.  Isn’t it interesting that they ask God, not just for knowledge, but wisdom.  Yes, there is a difference!  Knowledge is book learning.  We can get it by reading and studying the Bible.  If you can memorize verses, list the books in order, recite the history of the Israelites, then you have knowledge.  Wisdom is different.  Wisdom is knowing how to apply the word of God to life circumstances.  It comes from the heart rather than the head.

Here is a definition:

Wisdom means always acting according to the spirit of the Commandments and not looking for an ambiguity or omission which we can use to evade their true intent. Wisdom means understanding the consequences of our actions and words before we act or speak. Wisdom means having the knowledge and understanding to recognize the right course of action and having the will and courage to follow it.

Jesus criticized the Scribes and Pharisees severely.  They had the knowledge they needed to do what was right, but they didn’t use that knowledge wisely.  Instead of complying with the spirit of God’s law, and allowing it to change their lives, they sought to minimize it’s scope and effect.

I’ve been doing some reading about IQ vs. EQ.  This is a similar dichotomy.  Having a high IQ means we can acquire knowledge quickly and easily.  EQ (Emotional Quotient) means we can understand and control our emotions (and those of others) and adjust our actions accordingly.  Unsurprisingly, those with high EQ make the best leaders.  You need heart knowledge as well as head knowledge to become a good leader.

So, as you study the Bible this week (and I hope you do) pray along with Moses and Solomon for wisdom to apply the learning.  And remember, God loves you and so do I!