Archives For Leadership

My good friend, Rob Hager, planted Jacob’s Well in Plano, IL several years ago based on a core value, “because there is a better way.” Their vision statement found on their website, welcometothewell.com states: “To constantly learn of, live out and lead others to God’s ‘better way’ as we live together in biblical community of His truth, with His love and through His grace for His glory.”  In 2015 may all of us pursue a “better way.”

Rob goes on to explain their vision statement: “God’s ‘better way’ is a life lived on His truth, with His love through His grace for His glory in a biblical community.  We are convinced that absolute truth exists and it is God and His reality as revealed in His inspired Word.  Only as we truly know and embrace His truth in each area of our lives can we be set free to live the best possible life.  We believe this truth must be presented to others as we ‘show and tell’ them in the context of love.”

“Without love, our presentation of His truth is nothing more than disturbing noise that distracts or repels them from His good…

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People Pleasing PastorsCharles Stone pegged me well with his book People-Pleasing Pastors, which I highly recommend. I have struggled with people-pleasing for most of my life. As a kid, I think I had a positive tendency to want to obey authorities in my life, but as an adult I managed to add to that dynamic a tendency to avoid any correction or conflict. And the only alternative is to keep everybody around me happy while bottling up my own feelings of frustration and disagreement. And whatever we keep stuffing inside… eventually leaks, or explodes, and I’ve been guilty of both.

As Charles points out, Pastors are particularly prone to people pleasing. We want people to like our sermons, to feel good after our counsel, to agree with our vision and leadership, and to feel better about themselves for having been around us. While some level of encouragement and affection toward others is healthy and biblical, if we’re not careful it can ultimately feed our ego, present itself as a false humility, and change the way we lead and live.

I’ve learned this lesson the…

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There are perks to leadership but there is also a price to leadership.  And that price is steep.  There is pain, sacrifice, disappointment, sweat, hard work, time, obstacles and financial responsibilities.  But what all successful leaders know is the price is more than worth it.

I was reminded of this fact after watching the video above.  After defeating the Indianapolis Colts 42-7 to win the NFC East championship, the Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett delivered the following post-game speech.

As I listened to Garrett’s words, I gleaned the following 13 Reasons Everyone Should Want To Be A Leader:

  1. Leaders Get To Celebrate Accomplishment – The Cowboys were experiencing sheer joy as they left the field and entered the locker room.
  2. Leaders Have Stronger Beliefs –  Because of the responsibilities leaders have, they simply own things at a deeper level than others.  Coach Garrett acknowledged, “I just believe this from the bottom of my heart.”
  3. Leaders Get To Build Up The Self-Worth Of Others – Some people have a poor self-image.  Leaders get to help others have greater self-confidence.  Coach Garrett said, “Be who you are.”
  4. Leaders Are Get To Live Lives Fueled By Deep Passion – When hiring people to…

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Framework

In my last article, I talked about the first four actions you need to take to reach your biggest goals. After you’ve…

  1. Determined your present position,
  2. Described exactly what you want,
  3. Found a promise from God, and,
  4. Asked God for help,

Then you…

5. Identify the barriers.

Identify the barriers between you and your goal, between you and your vision, between you and your dream for the next year or two or ten years of your life. The question you want to ask is this: Why don’t I have it already?

There may be relational problems, financial barriers, or educational barriers. There may be emotional barriers that keep you from your dream. A lot of people sabotage their own success because they don’t feel they deserve it.

Faith says, yes I see the problem but I believe God is bigger than the problem. Faith doesn’t deny the problem, it just believes God is bigger than those roadblocks.

6. Create a step by step plan.

To reach your goals, you must plan it one step at a time. You need to…

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TargetIn the book “Extreme: Why Some People Thrive at the Limits,” writers Emma Barrett and Paul Martin explore what makes thrill seekers get such a rush from being out on the edge. “Brain imaging studies,” they write “have found that risk seeking behavior is preceded by activity in the region of the brain associated with the anticipation of pleasurable experiences like sex, drug taking, and monetary gain.” In other words, situations that would be terrifying to us, are pleasurable to them. As a result, they don’t understand the kind of fear, insecurity, and intimidation most of us experience. The book is filled with stories of people who have gone beyond what we normally think human beings are capable of, but in their list of attributes of thrill seekers, two things stood out:

Resilience and Single Mindedness.

The biggest reason people who most people would call crazy are still alive is that far from being impulsive or easy to panic, they are actually control freaks.  The writers list many of the keys to their success, including planning and preparation (rehearsing for catastrophe), experience, and methodical thinking. They’re not really risk TAKERS, they’re…

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DiveNothing paralyzes good leadership like fear, and nothing fuels good leadership like taking risks in faith. Obviously, we must make decisions wisely, but when we know, it’s time to go. This is coming from a somewhat trigger-shy leader.

If you know what a DISC profile is, I’m a high “I” and a fairly low “D.” That simply means, I want everybody to be on board with a decision before I move forward as opposed to driving ahead on my own. So when I feel that people disapprove of my direction, I’m prone to want to plant my feet. Knowing this is half the battle, and dumping my fear and leading confidently anyway is the other half.

As leaders, we fight fear daily.

  • The fear of trying and failing.
  • The fear of criticism.
  • The fear of doing something dumb and getting everyone hurt.

Way back in 2000-ish, the church I was leading in Kentucky was averaging about 60 in weekly worship, so we set aside a Sunday as a big day and we set a goal of having 75. I announced it publicly. We prayed…

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Tune to Clear Vision

There is nothing more powerful than a focused life. The more focused your life is the more impact it will have. Goals are extremely important in life, as is the action on our part it takes to reach them, but too few of us set goals in life. And when we do, we usually overestimate what we can get done in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.

You will always need a dream in your life. You will always need a vision in your life. No matter how old you are, whether you’re retired or not, you need a goal, a dream, a vision. Because if you don’t have a dream you’re not living; you’re just existing. You’re just drifting. Without a dream you drift.

To focus your life and reach your biggest goals, there are at least nine actions you need to take.

1. Determine your present position.

You can’t figure out where you want to go until you know where you already are. You’ve got to know your present position, your current condition. You have to know where you are right now.

Where am I now financially? Where am…

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photo: Johnny Ainsworth, Creative CommonsThe church has always been a controversial place. Everyone has a different opinion, and church culture and beliefs smash up against the beliefs of the world like two monsters in a truck rally. We’ve crushed each other for all of history, the upper hand shifting back and forth from us to them, and it seems like the debates and the misunderstanding are only getting uglier.

It’s a tense place we live in. We’re sandwiched between church culture and popular culture, trying to keep our footing.

But what do we do when our next-door neighbors live in a way we fundamentally disagree with? It’s difficult to know how to act. Either we befriend them, which seems like condoning their sin. Or we keep our distance and our moral integrity.

But neither feels right.

There’s the old phrase, “love the sinner, hate the sin,” but even that doesn’t seem to help. Our hate isn’t known for its accuracy, and often misses its target. Having your sin hated doesn’t exactly feel the same as being loved.

So what do we do? How do we love people without condoning their sin?

The answer isn’t easy to live out, certainly,…

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Can DoDiscouragement is one of the enemy’s most effective tools against the people of God. How many small group leaders begin with great dreams of seeing spiritual growth in their group members only to become discouraged and quit? How many pastors assume leadership in a new church only to run afoul of a power structure, become discouraged, and lose heart?

How many men and women enter the world of business with big goals and high expectations but end up experiencing discouragement? How many people enter marriage in love with one another and soon become discouraged with each other and marriage itself?

Let God Encourage You

Writers in the Psalms knew discouragement well. They also knew God was faithful to provide encouragement. Consider Psalm 42:1-2, 6 as it says, “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar” Have you ever been that hungry for God while feeling detached from Him? You are in…

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CameraEveryone talks about “passion” these days, and truthfully, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s always better to be emotionally plugged into projects and excited about the possibilities. But these days, it seems that people talk about passion a lot, but they don’t see the importance of preparation. For instance, you’d be amazed at the number of people who call our office hoping I can introduce them to a literary agent – except for the small fact that they haven’t actually written a book yet. The other day someone asked me to introduce him to a movie studio executive so he could pitch his idea, but the caller has never actually worked in the movie industry, written a screenplay, or know anything about the business.

I literally get hundreds of calls from people who want to speak at conferences. But they’ve never volunteered at a conference, met the people in the background, or taken the time to learn by speaking at smaller, less important events. Others want to teach at a university but haven’t taken the time to get a graduate degree. The list goes on and on…

Surgeons don’t get into an operating room…

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Rick Praying

Years ago, an old saint shared with me twelve prayer principles from the life of Jesus Christ. It made such a difference in my personal prayer life. There are only 17 references to Jesus praying and most of them are in the book of Luke.

1.  The principle of ILLUMINATION.

Luke 3:21-22 says, “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.  And as He was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My Son whom I love.  With You I am well pleased.”  The setting here was Jesus’ baptism and this is the first recorded example of Jesus’ praying and we see in the book of Luke three results of His praying.

  • Heaven opened up.
  • The Holy Spirit came down.
  • The Father spoke.

These are three results when we make contact with God in our prayers. Symbolically, heaven opens up and we receive God’s blessing. The Holy Spirit fills our lives afresh. And the Father speaks to us. If you’d like to know the Spirit’s power in your life, if you’d like God to speak to you,…

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IMG_0046A dark reality exists for many Christians that deep down they don’t talk about at parties.  Many Christians, if they would be totally transparent, are extremely nervous to bring their unchurched friends to their weekend services.  This concern comes from a variety of things.  Lack of excellence, outdated music, rude members and boring sermons are just a few of many hurdles Christians must overcome before inviting their friends who are unchurched.

This past Sunday my wife received a phone call from a friend who joyfully said, “The young couple we just met came to church today.  They had a great time.  I am so proud of our church.”  I immediately followed up to find out what were the key factors in this young couple, who also had a newborn baby, having such a great experience.

The following are 11 Practices Of Churches You Are Excited To Take Your Unchurched Friends To:

  1. Churches You Are Excited To Take Your Unchurched Friends To Act Like They Are Expecting Unchurched People To Show Up - This church had clear signage upon entering the property which directed them directly to easy-access Visitor Parking.
  2. Churches You Are Excited To Take Your Unchurched Friends…

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