Archives For Leadership

Curse-Leadership-FailEveryone has seen a political or religious leader implode, and often the failure is sexual in nature. Recent political history has many examples from men like Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer. In the Church it’s been guys like Ted Haggard and Doug Phillips. Of course, biblical examples include men like King David and his son, Solomon. It seems there is a potential curse, of sorts, on those who lead.

Tragically, I have way too many friends who have fallen as well . . .

  • A mentor in ministry who committed adultery many years ago.

  • A good friend who lost his church and wife due to a pornography addiction.

  • A fellow pastor in town who now is in prison for the use of and distribution of child porn.

Frankly, it’s happened so often to so many that I find myself bouncing between depression and anger.

How could he do that to his wife?

Why would he risk everything for the temporary pleasure of sexual sin?

What possible reason could he have for risking all and losing so much?

But then . . .

I turn on the television, and the normalization of the abnormal and the promotion of illicit sex is everywhere.

I open…

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o-CREATIVITY-facebookOver my career, I’ve had the fortune to be a part of many meetings.  Ok, maybe fortune’s not the right word…  I should have said that I’ve been forced to be a part of many meetings.  Throughout the years, comments have been made about how quiet I am.  People say they wish I would speak up more and share what I’m thinking/feeling more.  I would guess, if you’re an introvert, you’ve heard many of these same comments.

Because of this perception, the organizers and leaders of the meetings can begin to exclude you from future meetings. And, as AWESOME as that may seem, it’s really not the right move.  Excluding introverts from meetings doesn’t increase the value of the time together and it certainly doesn’t lead to a better end product.

The easiest kind of meeting to exclude introverts from is a creative meeting.  I remember being asked to sit on a committee that was to select a new marketing firm for the organization that I worked for.  It was a big task.  An important task.  A highly creative task.  I was honored to have been asked to sit on this committee.  We…

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Defeat-BlogPastors experience seasons when ministry defeats them. I have been there personally. At times, I still get there.

What This Looks Like

When ministry is defeating you, failure seems to be at your door continually. Perhaps ministry seems like it cannot return to what it once was before this season. Simultaneously, the critics are making themselves known loudly. You struggle daily, trying to move things along positively, but setbacks seem to be your daily challenge. You look around and nothing seems positive at all.

You determine to bring things back and set your gaze on the future positively. Yet, questions continue, insecurity abounds, and you are really not confident you have it within you to do what needs to be done. You try, but every decision is like climbing a mountain and every emotion is hyper sensitive.

People notice you are struggling and try to encourage you. While their intentions seem pure, their words seem so futile. You have stopped believing in yourself and even struggle in believing God can change the situation. This makes their words seem meaningless.

Have you ever been anywhere close to this? If so, what did you do? How do you…

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“The best thing about ministry is the people.  The worst thing about the ministry is the people.” – Unknown

Does your pastor truly love people?  If you are a pastor reading this you are probably thinking, “Of course I do.”  But I talk to dozens of people who would say otherwise.  They would say that while their pastor is an incredibly gifted communicator or administrator, he simply does not love his people.

Last week, I had the privilege of joining two of America’s greatest pastors, Dr. Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church Woodstock (Ga) and Mike Linch of NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, GA, to serve pastors and church leaders in a two-day event called Capital Campaign University.  Mike delivered the opening devotion while Pastor Johnny was the first evening’s dinner speaker.  Notes from their sessions can be found HERE and HERE.

What I took way from my time with both pastors was how much they genuinely love people.  Loving people…

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Setbacks are disheartening.  They can leave us feeling disempowered and discouraged. Mostly setbacks can leave us feeling as though we have no real control over our lives.  Yet there are some people who are successful despite the challenges and setbacks they experience. What is their secret?

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Setbacks Help You Gain Perspective

Successful people view setbacks differently.  The difference is that they have a different perspective on setbacks.  While they realize that they can’t always control the world around them, they can control how they respond to circumstances.  In other words, successful people use setbacks to gain perspective when they experience circumstances beyond their control.  They see setbacks as an opportunity to REFOCUS and find an EVEN BETTER WAY to achieve their goals.  Setbacks don’t stop them, they simply slow them down for a short period of time.

“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.” – Unknown

Setbacks Bring Clarity

The truth about setbacks is that you always have a choice. You choose how to respond to circumstances and that choice is what can make all the difference. John Maxwell is a well-known author on the…

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FightHave you ever sensed you were surrounded with insurmountable challenges? As a pastor and leader, times like these definitely occur. They test us greatly and reveal much about us. In times like these, how should we react and what should we do in order to overcome these challenges?

Learning From One Who Walked Before Us

There is a story in 2 Chronicles chapter 20 that illustrates the attitude we must bring to these kinds of moments. The people of Judah were in the thick of trouble. It looked as if it was going to be total devastation for God’s anointed people. Even Jehoshaphat, the warrior king, was afraid.

He became so fearful that he turned all his attention toward seeking the Lord in his life as he began to pursue God more intently than he’d ever done before. In his terror at the prospect of massive defeat, the prophet proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. He asked the people to stop eating until God prevailed in their situation. He understood the spiritual practices of fasting and praying.

Admitting Our Helplessness to God

Jehoshaphat knew that to fast before God was the best way to show…

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LoveOur goal is to have healthy churches!  There are many descriptions, concepts, books, and trainings talking about what a healthy church looks like.  There is “Simple,” “Purpose-Driven,” “Sticky,” Vertical,” “Emotionally Healthy,” and many more.  All of these have great content and biblical directives but here is something else we need to ask ourselves, “Are we a generous church?”  Isa. 9:6 says, “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor,  Mighty God, Eternal Father,  Prince of Peace.” Christmas is about giving!

What would happen if your church was known to be a giving church?  What would it look like if you were known first and foremost for your generosity?  If you really want to know the heart of a church take a look at how they spend their money.  This is not about what individuals give to the church, but rather, what does a church do with what they have been given.  Quite often most of the funds given to a church are spent on church members.  When times are tough, and…

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Rick Warren Martin Luther King JrOne of the greatest privileges of my life was being invited by Dr. King’s children and family to preach from the same pulpit that he preached from at the great Ebenezer Baptist Church , the congregation Dr. King pastored in Atlanta. The occasion was the 40th Anniversary of Dr. King’s death, and the family told me that I was the first white preacher to preach there.

People forget that, first and foremost, Martin Luther King was a PASTOR, He was not a politician. He was a Baptist minister of the Gospel, and a pastor of a local church. Everything he did to promote freedom, justice, and racial equality flowed out of his understanding of God’s Word. I have read hundreds of his sermons and they are rich biblical content.

Hanging on the wall of my study is hand typed and signed note from Dr. King. It hangs next to a handwritten note from Mother Teresa and a letter of encouragement from Billy Graham. Each of these 3 Christian leaders left their mark on me as I was a young man.

In honor of Pastor Martin Luther King…

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In 1954, The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL called Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. to serve as their pastor. He was just 25 years old.

A year after he arrived in Montgomery, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, and King led the Montgomery bus boycott to end segregation. His decision to lead the boycott would thrust him into the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

Leadership isn’t about having a title. Often, the strongest leaders in an organization, and in life, are those who don’t have official titles. Who gave King permission to make a difference? No one! Why:

You don’t need permission to make a difference. 

King’s most powerful asset was his ability to focus on the task at hand. Focus and determination beat brains and intellect every time. You don’t necessarily have to be smarter or better educated to succeed.

Your power lies in your ability to focus on doing what is important. If you focus on the right things, and work at them often, you will achieve exceptional results.

Again,…

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FlagThis is the State of the Union season, where our President will address the nation, Governors will address their respective states, and Mayors will address their respective cities. They will unveil their dreams for today and hopes for tomorrow.

Questions Worth Asking

Who is addressing the spiritual state of our nation? Are we really trusting only in governmental powers and processes to heal our land?

I love America and believe each citizen needs to be involved in charting the future of our nation. The Church has compartmentalized its faith from influencing our nation far too long, just as most of America’s leaders compartmentalize their faith from their politics. Today, our nation has become a product of this sad reality.

We need to return to the conviction that a faith worth believing is a faith worth dying for. Our faith cannot be checked at the door like a piece of luggage at an airport.

The Time is Now

The time is now for the Church to rise up and address the spiritual state of our nation. With compassion, we need to tell it like it is. With hope, we need to share it like we believe it. With…

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Million DollarsI hear it all the time from pastors and church leaders, “If we just had someone who could give us $1 million, wouldn’t that be great?”  You have heard these words as well.  Perhaps you are the one who has said them.

God wants all churches to be financially blessed.  So why does one church get large gifts and another doesn’t?  Why does financial resources and relief seem to flow to certain ministries and not others?  There are many great churches and pastors who seem to do everything right but just do not seem to catch a break.  Why?  I had to find out the answer.

Recently, the wonderful North Metro Church in Marietta, GA received a $3.4 million matching gift to help pay off its $7.6 million debt.  This church is very close to my heart as I was part of the group who initially planted it.

I recently sat down with North Metro’s Lead Pastor Rob McDowell and Operations Pastor John Maggart to learn what they did to receive such a generous gift.  They were kind enough to share their thoughts as we collectively have a desire…

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One GuyNot all churches use pastor search committees to call a pastor. Some congregations belong to a denomination that uses an appointment process. Other churches depend on elders to find the next pastor. But a large number of churches today still use the pastor search committee process to find their next pastor.

Even though this process is in use in as many as 200,000 congregations in the U.S., there still seems to be a mystery about its work and decision-making processes. To be certain, pastor search committees are not identical from congregation to congregation. Those differences explain some of the mystery and confusion. There are often great inconsistencies from one committee to another.

Perhaps the primary reason for the apparent mystery of search committees is their own evolution. Not too long ago, their task was to cull through a pile of paper resumes; find three or four prospective pastors to hear preach in the respective pastors own church; and then present the finalist to the church.

Much is changing in the pastor search committee process. Some of it is due to the availability of information in the digital age. The waning of denominational influence…

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