Archives For Chris McAlister

It’s a natural process to be impacted by someone’s leadership and then copy that leadership for a season.

It’s what you know so it’s what you do.

But at some point you have to learn to lead through your voice and style.

Just because someone you deeply respect does certain things in their leadership of others doesn’t mean you should.

It’s so liberating to be able to lead from who you are. Here’s how to do it:

1. Learn to pay attention to your intuition.

Non-robotic leadership begins with learning to pay attention to your gut. Don’t gloss over moments. Watch body language. Try to discern the feel of the group you’re leading in relation to the issues that are most pressing. Don’t assume everyone’s on board. Don’t assume everyone is antagonistic. Where are you hyping yourself past reality? Where do you need to be brutally honest? Where because of insecurity do you want to ignore what is really happening?

2. Courageously experiment with different strategies and tactics.

Finding you own leadership voice and style won’t happen if you’re always waiting on someone to give you permission. Give yourself permission. And try…

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NEVER have I heard of organization/church where there was a collective expression : “Enough already. We’ve heard about this too much.”

Instead UNDER-communication cripples unity and teamwork.

I wake up in the morning and often think : “Who needs to know what I am thinking/feeling/acting on today?”

But teams can push against talking about something one more time. They are tired and ready to go on to the new “sexy” idea. Until your team is almost puking at the thought of talking through your current initiatives ONLY then will the people – the ones your team ministers to – begin to hear it enough.

Running to the next idea too soon will keep you from communicating your current focus.

There is one key secret to communicating well…a secure identity.

When you are secure in who you are in Christ, you can face reality and adjust to meet the demands of the moment to communicate well.

Practices that will flow out of a secure identity in regards to communication:

1. You keep your ear close to the ground and don’t feel threatened personally when you see organizational problems.

Things that look like a part of the plan to…

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You will face those moments. Count on it.

You will feel stuck. You need to make a decision. You feel the pressure. 

And you don’t know what action/course to take. I have faced multi-million dollar debts, major staff crises, a divided church, and a distracted lead pastor. I have messed up more than I have done right. But the most dangerous thing is…to do nothing.

Most team leaders in the face of pressure shut down. The pressure causes them not to act. 

If you let pressure keep you from acting wisely:

  • Your best leaders will move on. They turn problems into the opportunities and they want to be on a team that engages them fully.
  • Your skills will become at best dull or at worst the mounting pressure will cause your skills to become your weakness. You just keep doing today what you did yesterday except you do it with more intensity. You will wear your team out.
  • Your emotional turmoil will release somewhere. You may take it out on those you love most. You may take an action that isn’t consistent with your character that has far…

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When you’re building a team in a high stakes environment there are two ways to operate:

1. Be a driving task master

– you will get the results but you won’t get grow self-directed leaders

– you will get them to match your passion but they won’t learn to dig deep and find their own fire

– you will get them to focus on the present problem in a state of panic but their energies won’t be able to go towards what is truly urgent


2. Be an architect/environmentalist to create a healthy culture

– the results may not come as fast but healthy growth while slower is more stable

– the leaders who learn to persevere with their own sense of calling will be more likely to develop other leaders

– the team will learn to value consistency over bursts of intensity…you will develop Mary’s who know how to serve rather than Martha’s who run around like crazy

When you are building a team you are the thermostat not the thermometer. Make that space feel safe, warm, cozy, passionate, and intense. 


1. Get clear agreements on who is doing what. Lead the people…

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Leading the CrowdMission builds community.

If you try to build community with no mission you will end up playing at life and going through the motions.

It’s the ascent up the mountain, checking gear, adjusting to breathing different than everybody else in the valley, and making sure those taking the journey with you aren’t getting left behind that will develop you to peak potential. But it will also surface your fears.

And this is how your leadership grows!

You alone have the power more than anyone else to wreck your journey. The potential of self-sabotage is your greatest threat. You are wise to be afraid.

Notice the fear. Let it be a compass.

Because if you are going to take significant hills with your life you need to notice the fear. The fear reveals a place you will wreck your leadership.

1. Go to Jesus and ask for clarity for what your fear really is.

2. Wait for Him to speak/lead/comfort, etc your fear.

3. Move forward with a deeper passion knowing that you can be certain your identity is in Him.

4. You will never have 100% certainty in your mission but because of #1-3 you can be…

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