Archives For Leadership

Weak Rock

I think there are two great confessions in the Bible. One of them is Peter’s great confession in Mark 8:29: “You are the Christ.” Our faith is built on that great confession. Then there’s what I call Paul’s great confession in Acts 14:15 at Iconium: “We too are only men, human like you.” (NIV) I know a lot of pastors who are quick to agree with the first confession, but they’re more cautious to proclaim Paul’s confession. A lot of us are more interested in proclaiming our spirituality than admitting our humanity. We want to deny that we are mere mortals and appear super human.

But to deny your humanity is not only untruthful, it’s a disservice to both yourself and those you serve. The fact is that God likes to take weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

In this context, I’m not talking about sins of character – like greed, overeating, or laziness. I mean any limitation in your life or ministry that you’ve inherited and can’t change.

Maybe it’s a circumstantial limitation or a disadvantage that you’re facing in your church. It could be emotional limitations, scars we all carry from childhood. It…

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I’ll admit, as a leader it’s quite easy to get caught up with a vision.

It’s natural because as leader’s we’re encouraged to look out for opportunities and then take the lead in making things happen. But sometimes we find ourselves alone out front and wonder what happened to the people we’re leading? Why aren’t they with us?

Do You Like To Fish?

Take a scenario of a group of people going fishing on a lake. Typical leaders get the vision, jump in the boat and are off to fish straight away. But the rest of the group may take a different approach. As the leaders look back, they find that half the people are still on the river bank.

Some are still prepping their fishing gear. Some are just starting to launch their boats. Others are on the water but are heading in the opposite direction. Some are going in circles, and still others haven’t yet even decided if they feel like fishing after all. That’s when you realize that only leading from the front doesn’t always help facilitate the transition.

We have a choice to change or remain the same.

John Maxwell in his book

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The strategic emphasis in most denominational or network circles is on church planting. I suspect that few would disagree with this, as it builds up new church bodies, expands the impact in communities, and reaches larger amounts of individuals.

Many of the same circles that focus on church planting, however, have given up on the struggling, already-established churches.

I believe that key to the church in America in the future is not only church planting, but also church revitalization. We need both church planting and revitalization. So how do we do this?

I have trained and sent out many church planters after their time preparing at Dallas Seminary. One of the things I’ve noted over the years is that the most successful church planters have been those who plant with the full-support of an established church.

Thus, if we want to do a good job of church planting, we need to work hard at not abandoning established churches, but revitalizing them. As we seek to multiply churches through church planting, let’s not be too quick to ignore established churches.

Church Adoption

When seeking to save a dying church, consider church adoption. I challenge many established and planted churches to consider not merging with (as this seldom works), but adopting…

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Angry Guy YellingThis is a very important post because the content below is going to save someone’s job and ministry.  For others, it will be a sad reminder of lost opportunity.  For another group, the information will be laughed off and ignored to your own peril.

The only difference between anger and danger is the letter “D”.  This is especially true for pastors.  Over the past three decades, I have encountered several pastors with anger issues.  The stories never ended well.

The following are 13 Realities Of Angry Pastors:

  1. Angry Pastors Have Experienced Significant Pain And Disappointment – Hurt people hurt people.  Even when they are pastors.
  2. Angry Pastors Have Control Issues – They get angry when they cannot control others and/or situations.  This often reveals itself when they are questioned.  Angry pastors frequently confuse questions with questioning.
  3. Angry Pastors Have Short Tenures – Because they lack emotional intelligence and needlessly burn so many bridges, attendance and giving decline.  The people have voted with their feet and wallets.  The pastor is ultimately removed.
  4. Angry Pastors Lead Smaller And Smaller Congregations – Interestingly, anger limits the size of churches you can be entrusted with.  I know of one pastor…

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FullSizeRenderRecently, I changed roles from helping to lead one of Saddleback’s multisite campuses to helping to start the next 10. That change brought a change in work location. Each day I come into the Ministry offices at Saddleback’s Lake Forest campus I walk by a small humble plaque on the wall near the entrance. It’s a simple tribute to an amazing leader who left an enormous legacy at Saddleback Church….Pastor Glen Kruen.

All leaders who desire to be great leaders will learn from others who have gone ahead of them and have blazed a trail of humility and service.

Pastor Tom Holladay shared some of these 10 leadership lessons he learned from serving for 20 years alongside Saddleback’s first and only Executive Pastor Glen Kruen.

1. No job is more important than pastoring. (the action of pastoring and shepherding)

We are all pastoring God’s people.

The task can always seem urgent and the people can be put off…don’t wait!

What are ways I keep the “pastor” in my job?

If all it is tasks- you won’t last.

2. Believe that God can do great things in every person’s life.

You have never meet someone who God couldn’t do great things in…

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Pete BookFor years I believed that if I could simply identify the right planning and decision-making process, we would then make good decisions at the church I pastor. That, it turned out, was both naïve and misguided. Over a twenty-year period, however, the dramatic difference between our standard process and emotionally healthy planning and decision making became crystal clear.

The first is the foundation from which all the others follow—defining success as radically doing God’s will.

We Define Success as Radically Doing God’s Will

From the time I became a Christian, I believed intellectually that listening for God’s will was vitally important. But it wasn’t until a four-month contemplative sabbatical in 2003-2004 that my approach to planning and decision making was utterly transformed. As a result, my definition of success so broadened and deepened that my leadership and my approach to discerning God’s will experienced an extreme makeover.

What happened? I slowed down my life so I could spend much more time being with God. Listening for and surrendering to God’s will became the focus of my life—both personally and in leadership. I realized that New Life had one objective: to become what God had…

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I first began to understand the importance of teams as a seminary student. I did a study of the 100 largest churches in the United States, and I asked them a series of questions related to staff and ministry. This may come as no surprise, but the study showed strong churches have a strong team spirit.

They do this by combining two things: a common goal with good communication.

Both of these elements have to be present. You can have people working on the same project but not communicating with each other, and they ARE NOT a team. You can have people who communicate well, but are not working toward the same goal, and that is NOT a team, even if you call them that.

Let me give you some foundation on why I think this is important:

First, the body of Christ functions as a team ministry.

Romans 12:4-5 says that, just as there are many parts to our bodies, likewise there are many parts to Christ’s Body. Essentially, God designed it so that we all need each other to have a fully functioning ministry and EVERY ONE of your staff members (or lay ministry leaders) plays…

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Coaching focuses on people learning rather than us teaching them. The Holy Spirit teaches and reminds (John 14:21). Coaches actively listen and ask reflective questions, supportively challenge limited beliefs and behaviors – all in order to assist people to hear from God and respond to Him.

This practice of coaching in leadership development is actually a throwback to the historic roots of word “coach”, which is the Kocs wagon of 15th century Hungary. A coach figuratively “carries” a person to his or her desired destination through ongoing conversations, thought-provoking questions, and support.

In practice,

·       A coach focuses on the agenda of the coachee. The coachee decides which goals or problems to work on, not the coach.

·       A coach uses powerful questions to generate new learning. The coach does not teach or advise, but rather asks questions and listens.

·       A coach encourages action. The coachee develops his or her own action steps, not the coach.

·       A coach supports change. A coach follows-up to support personal learning, growth, and change, rather than demanding change.

Those who are coached (coachees) are in the driver’s seat. They choose their own growth goals, reflect deeply…

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The winds of change blow from time to time in our lives. I am currently in a transitional season in my life.  This process is producing some valuable lessons I thought I would share.

I have learned several things but for narrowed it down to four for this post.

1. Relationships are like bridges

And like bridges, they can have a lot of mileage on them. Keeping these relationships strong demands we inspect them so they are well maintained.

According to the Transportation for America, one in nine bridges are structurally deficient.  In fact, there are 260 million trips per day on deficient bridges. Like bridges, our relationships can be deficient and still get the job done for a season.

I have seen many leaders light a bridge on fire. They watch it burn as it gets smaller in the rearview mirror.  Then later in life, they need to cross that bridge to get to another destination.

If we want our relationships to survive through transitions and the test of time, we must inject intentionality into their survival.

2. It’s easy to make assumptions

In horse racing, almost everyone in attendance are guessing at who will win the race. The oddsmakers and commentary fill the air…

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Quickly think of five common traits of high-impact leaders… good time management, assertiveness, drive, energy, charisma, etc. Humility rarely lands in the list when it comes to our modern, top-down management systems. But Jesus (the greatest leader ever) and Moses (perhaps the second) had this one thought in mind – great leaders don’t have power over people, but power under people by way of humility.

Humility may be a forgotten virtue in conversations about leadership today, but I believe it’s absolutely essential to having long-term, broad-range impact. Here are some reasons why…

  1. Until you can be managed well, you can’t manage well, and being managed definitely requires humility.
  2. You’re not leading well until you put the needs of others before your own, which requires humility.
  3. You won’t invest time into others until you realize you’re not the center of the universe.
  4. You won’t be a learner without humility, so you’ll stagnate and die on the vine.
  5. You can’t be a listener without humility, and when you don’t listen, you’ll miss some vitally important feedback.
  6. Receiving and making the most of constructive criticism definitely demands humility.
  7. Being concerned about the personal welfare of others requires humility.
  8. You won’t improve unless you realize your need…

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I work hard.  I bet you do too.  The work weeks are long and the hours that we put in at our jobs seem to grow over time.  The idea of one person doing the work of two or even three has permeated our culture in the wake of diminishing budgets and lower sales.  As leaders, we have lots of motivation to put in a ton of hours each week – a better bottom line, fulfilling the mission, and simply getting the job done, to name a few…

Because of this, many people struggle to have a real life, doing the things they love, outside of work.  The weeknights go by too quickly and the weekends are full of necessary tasks like paying bills, grocery shopping, etc.  It’s all understandable, but in my opinion, it’s not acceptable.

Now that I’ve been blogging for over a year, I often have people ask me how I have the time to do it.  Last year, I wrote over 100 posts and grew my platform exponentially.  It was an exciting year that happened with many other things going on in my life that could have easily kept me from…

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Clear Lake

No matter how many times I hear it, it still shocks me: A pastor announces his resignation because of adultery. Often it’s with someone within his church, sometimes even someone actively involved in ministry, such as a choir member or Sunday school teacher.

It’s such an incredible waste of God’s resources that it not only grieves me, it angers me. I have told my staff that if any of them even flirt with temptation, I will come after them with a baseball bat, and I’ve told them to do the same with me.

As Christian leaders, we need to be above reproach. Paul wrote, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” (1 Cor. 10:12, Msg)

That’s why I established these Saddleback Staff Standards for maintaining moral integrity:

  1. Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex. *
  2. Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you. *
  3. Thou shalt not kiss any attender of the opposite sex or show affection that could…

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