Fanning the Flame — Debbie’s Story

I’ve asked some of the Fanning the Flame team members to let me know what they have been learning as part of the process.  This is Debbie’s story which she has allowed me to share with our readers.

When I first heard about Fanning the Flame I was anxious to find out what this could mean for our Church.

I have not been disappointed. I am excited with what we have been doing so far and am looking forward to all that is coming next.

One of the first things was looking at our prayer life individually and as a Church.  I have a much better understanding of the importance and necessity of my prayer life.  I really took an in depth look at my prayer life as it is today and what I want it to look like in one year from now. Just taking the time and really focusing on my prayer life for the first time was really an eye opener. I found my prayer life a was not what it should be and this has helped me change it and has made a huge difference.

I am working on my spiritual gifts survey now and I know this will help me find out what my true spiritual gifts are and will help guide me to do what God wants me to do.

We have been talking about repentance and how necessary that is as individuals and as a Church.  The Pastor just talked about repentance in his sermon.  True repentance for all of our sins is absolutely necessary in Christian life and restores our relationship with God.  I have come to realize that just asking God to forgive all my sins is not enough.  For true repentance I really need to think about all my sins when I repent and this has helped me focus on all my sins when I am asking God for forgiveness.

There are many strategies we have identified to best help our Church and fulfill God’s purpose for us.  I was asked to be on the FTF Strategy Task Force for Small Group Discipleship and we just had our first meeting.  We are looking at small groups ministry and the leadership of these groups and how these groups should look and what important aspects they should contain.  We are off to a good start and I am excited with what we are going to be doing.

FTF is definitely changing me and I am looking forward to what we will be doing as a group and as a congregation.  There are so many good and positive things in store for us.

Advertisements

MBWA?

Our life is full of acronyms and I’m going to teach you  a new one. We learned this from the recent CD that the Fanning the Flame team reviewed together.   MBWA = Ministry By Walking Around.  What does this mean?  Well, leaders must be visible and accessible.  You’ve heard of managers having an “open door policy”?  This takes it a step further.  Leaders must go out and mingle with their followers;  they must hear what they have to say;  they must know what’s going on in their lives;  they must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.  This develops relationships and trust.  It helps the leader accurately access where his followers are now and how to guide them to the place he wants them to be.

Maybe that’s why Jesus is sometimes called our shepherd.  A shepherd lives with the sheep:  he knows them and they know him.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

Sheep trust their shepherd — they are willing to go where he leads because they have learned that he has their best interests at heart.

In our church, I notice my husband, the Pastor, doing some of this MBWA.  Every Sunday he is in the sanctuary early to meet people as they come in.  He takes time to ask them how things are going, and take prayer requests for the service.  Even if he is not working at a particular congregational event, he tries to spend some time just being there.  He often chats with people when they stop by the church during the week to do some chore or drop something off.  I have also learned the value of just taking an interest in the hobbies or interests of others.  It goes a long way toward building friendships.

Woody Allen once said, 80% of success is just showing up.  There’s some truth in that.  If you’re in a leadership position, do you show up?  It’s a good question to ponder and pray about.

 

The Spiritual Gift of Leadership

As part of our Fanning the Flame process, all team members (and eventually all of our congregation) will be offered the opportunity to do a spiritual gifts assessment.  Leadership is a spiritual gift, and in this month of exploring leaders, I thought everyone would benefit from having the following definition which was provided as part of our material.  After reading this, do you think you may have the spiritual gift of leadership?

 

LEADERSHIP

 

Literal Meaning: To stand before

 

Description: The gift of leadership is the special ability that God gives to certain members of  the Body of Christ to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose for the future and to communicate those goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God.

 

Distinctives:

  1.     Provide direction for God’s people or ministry                                                                                                2.
  2.     Model the values of the ministry
  3.     Take responsibility and establish goals
  4.     Motivate others to perform to the best of their abilities
  5.     Present the big picture for others to see

 

 

Traits: Cautions:
q     Influential q     Should realize their relational credibility takes time
q     Diligent        and is critical for leadership effectiveness
q     Visionary q     Should remember that servant leadership is
q     Trustworthy        biblical model, the greatest being the servant of all
q     Persuasive q        Do not need to be in a leadership “position” to use  this gift
q     Motivating
q     Goal setter

 

References: Acts 15:7-12; Romans 12:8; I Timothy 5:17

Fanning the Flame #10 Continued … Creating a Culture for Change

This is a continuation of my post from yesterday, which discussed Pastor Harry Reeder’s talk about how leaders create a culture for change.  Listening to it was part of our teaming process.

Lay leaders are also important in any transitional process.  Here are some of the ways they contribute to successful change:

  • Take a pulse of the congregation;  let the Pastor know where the people are in the process
  • Pray with and for individuals in the congregation
  • Remember the Pastor can’t shepherd everybody so lay leaders can be there for fellow members who are hurting
  • Find ways to communicate change

Good change agents know that VISION PROMOTES CHANGE.  We must all have a vision of what we want our congregation to look like, and we must communicate that to others.  Harry Reeder says successful change agents should:

  • Bring change respectfully, not judgmentally
  • Start with affirmation
  • Be patient
  • Find a way to be a good loser (not every change will be accepted)
  • Use logic and passion to persuade with gentleness and without emotional manipulation
  • Don’t surprise people
  • Admit your own mistakes

I found this CD both inspiring and helpful.  One big takeaway — good leaders build morale and achieve consensus.  That’s what we’re working toward here at St. Paul’s.  Readers, pray for us to be successful.

 

 

Good Leaders Encourage

“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.

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

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