Archives For Leadership

Helmets

Leaders are readers. Leaders are learners. And leaders are definitely thinkers. Your mind is a special gift from God. It’s one of the most important tools in a leader’s arsenal. Your mind can potentially store 100 trillion thoughts, yet the average person only uses 3½ million thoughts a year. We only use about ten percent of our mental (or brain) capacity.

While our minds can be the epicenter of creative and influential leadership, our minds are also battlegrounds that must be guarded. All moral failure begins in the mind. 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Prepare your minds for action. Be self-controlled.” Notice that self-control and mental preparation go together. God says that the self-controlled person is the mentally fit person. We can love God with our minds. We’ve often talked about loving God with our hearts but God says we can love Him with our mind. I believe that God wants you to make the most of your mind. As that commercial says, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

We battle an old sinful nature that often clouds our thinking. We live in a world that bombards us with false and counterfeit philosophies. And we have an…

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Not In ServiceLeadership makes all the difference. Have you noticed that?

A ship may be well-built with a great crew, but with the wrong captain, it’s going to be hard for the ship to stay on course.

A lot of my friends are looking for the next leader of their church, their business, or their non-profit. As someone who has helped hire many people, here are 10 traits your next leader should not have:

1. He should not have to be a man.

Women are often overlooked for leadership positions, but they’re often just as qualified—if not more—for the position. If you are only looking at men for your leadership position, you’re going to miss out on some seriously qualified candidates.

2. They should not be narrow-minded.

Top leadership positions are not the place for narrow-minded agendas. Great leaders need to be able to see the big picture, accepting lots of different ideas and filtering out the best ones.

3. They should not have different values than your organization.

Having a leader with different core values is a nightmare waiting to happen. Before you get into serious talks about hiring, make sure this person’s values line up with those…

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Strandlehold

You know that “your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing (Andy Stanley).” You know the well-worn path never arrives at a new destination. You even know Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.”

You know all these things. And at the same time…you’re hesitant to try a new strategy (or shut down an ineffective one). Why? You probably need to break free of a stranglehold with a death grip on your ministry.

6 Strangleholds with a Death Grip on Your Ministry

  1. The pursuit of problem-free. This delays more ministry than any other stranglehold. Remember, there are no problem-free strategies, systems or solutions. Every strategy, every system and every solution comes with a set of problems. Wise leaders simply choose the set of problems they’d rather have. See also, The Pursuit of Problem Free.
  2. Indecision about the best way. Obviously, this stranglehold is related to #1. Still, it is motivated differently. If you find yourself stuck even after choosing the set of problems you’d rather have, you are probably dealing with indecision about the best way.
  3. Fear of failure. Perhaps…

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Start Over

God is a God of second chances and fresh starts. And if you’re alive and breathing and reading this post, God obviously isn’t finished with you yet. Don’t quit, and don’t give up, even when you’ve experienced failure. Instead, allow God to use failure to move you forward.

In my last article, I talked about five reasons we often experience failure, and today I want to share with you the four ways to recover from failure and move forward.

1. Accept responsibility for your own failure. 

Proverbs 28:13 says, “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.” When we refuse to admit our mistakes, they are wasted. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. Most of us are experts at passing blame on to others. It’s part of our natural sin nature. We blame the economy, we blame the weather, we blame fate, we blame luck, you blame your parents, you blame your spouse, you blame the government.

But God says if you want to start over — if you failed — just admit it. I don’t know where we get the idea that…

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ForgottenDo you ever feel like the people in your church overlook you, forget about you, or become so familiar with you that they take you for granted? Most pastors do. Here is the great news: God never forgets about you.

There have been many days each of us has struggled with feeling forgotten. I think most pastors may feel more taken for granted than forgotten! Pastor, remember, the longer you are in a ministry, the more seasons you face. Next month, I will have been here for 28 years. Trust me, I know about the ups and downs, the ebbs and the flows, and the various emotions you go through.

We have to trust the Lord, knowing He never forgets about us!

God never forgets us

Joseph was a great leader. The Old Testament story of him reminds us that though we may sometimes feel forgotten, God never forgets us. Even a great influential leader like Joseph needed to know God was with him.

Joseph was the favored son of Jacob. He was the focus of his father’s attention. Jacob’s favoritism was such that his other sons became jealous of Joseph and sold him into slavery.

Joseph quickly attained…

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How Do You Define Success?

By Kurt Bubna

SuccessIn our culture, we underrate failure and overrate success. In fact, I recently did an Amazon search for “how to succeed” and found 27,857 books listed. Seriously, that’s a lot of noise out there about success, but I fear too many insights about this issue have got it dead wrong. Frankly, a lot of pastors wrestle with this issue on a regular basis (myself included).

Several years ago, a middle-aged pastor named Tom came to me extremely discouraged. He told me, “I’ve spent my entire life trying to succeed at something . . . anything . . . but the golden ring is always just out of reach. No matter what I do, my church just won’t grow.”

I asked him an important question, “Tell me how you define success?” Without blinking, he rattled off a list of measurables and goals that “must be met” (his words) for him to feel accomplished as a pastor. Most of them had to do with attendance numbers and recognition by his peers.

I gently pushed back and responded, “What if success is different than you think? Is it possible you’ve been reaching for the wrong golden ring?”…

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FailureFailure doesn’t have to be final. In fact, I believe God wants to put our failures to work for us. Everybody experiences defeats in life. Everybody has failures. The book of Proverbs has a lot of insight into what causes failure. Five different things that cause failure in our life according to the book of Proverbs:

1. We fail when we don’t plan ahead.

It’s like the old saying, “If you fail to plan you’re planning to fail.” Proverbs 27:12 says, “A sensible man watches for problems ahead and prepares to meet them. But the simple minded man never looks and suffers the consequences.” Are you simple-minded? Some of us have a tendency to be impulsive. Yet the sensible man plans ahead. The impulsive person never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.

Proverbs 16:9 also says, “We ought to make our plans counting on God to direct us.” One of the reasons we fail is we just don’t plan. Was it raining when Noah built the ark? No. It didn’t rain for 120 years. That’s what I call long-range planning. For 120 years he worked on that ark. Jesus told the story about a man who…

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ObstaclesHealthy people grow. Healthy animals grow. Healthy trees grow. Healthy plants grow. Healthy churches grow. Growth is a characteristic that God supernaturally breathed into all living things. And the body of Christ—the local church—is a living thing.

So, when a church is not growing, it is helpful to ask: “Why?”  If we understand the reason for a church’s lack of growth, it is easier to accurately diagnose the cause and to prescribe the cure.  Here are the five most common “growth-restricting obstacles”…

Growth-restricting obstacle #1: The Pastor.

There are three different causes if the pastor is inhibiting the growth of a church:

1. The pastor does not have a PRIORITY. Churches grow when they have a priority for reaching the unchurched. When the pastor doesn’t, the church won’t. (See Luke 19:10)

2. The pastor does not have a VISION. Growing churches have pastors who believe God wants to reach people in their community and assimilate them into the Body. No vision for outreach is as much a barrier as no priority.  (See Acts 16:9)

3. The pastor does not have the KNOWLEDGE. Working harder is not the secret to effective outreach. The secret is working smarter. Unfortunately, little is taught in most seminaries or Bible schools about how…

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VolunteersIt’s impossible to have a healthy church that experiences multi-dimensional growth without trusting people enough to delegate leadership to them. Having said that, this remains one of the greatest bottlenecks to growth for thousands of churches. And delegation remains one of the hardest challenges for Pastors and church staff members.

One of the reasons we fail to delegate leadership is our fear of wildfire. We’re afraid things will get out of control – and indeed they will – but limiting control is actually what often fuels growth. We often encumber leaders with too much red tape. Policies and procedures have their place, but we can easily add so much structure that people don’t feel free to lead and make decisions.

The key to motivating creative people to lead ministry effectively is granting ownership. At Saddleback, as much as possible, each ministry makes its own decisions without a lot of oversight from the staff. We believe that the implementers should be the decision makers. When everything has to be passed by a committee or board, we tend to ask why? about every decision. But our initial response to the ideas of creative people should actually…

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Some Bible verses are so clear that their simple truth is undeniable, such as Hebrews 11:6 which says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (NLT)

In case you missed the deep, hidden meaning of the phrase “it is impossible to please God without faith” let me state it clearly. It is impossible to please God without faith. In other words, God has spelled out for us the kind of life that He finds pleasing. It’s not a life of achievement or good works or religiosity. It’s a life of faith. And if our primary motivation for ministry is pleasing God, then we need a ministry of faith.

The fact is, ministry is too unpredictable to be motivated by security. It’s too unprofitable to be motivated by money. It’s too demanding to be motivated by pleasure, and it’s too criticized to be motivated by fame. Our ministry should be motivated by the pleasure of…

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What does it mean to be a master in the art of living?

If you asked a hundred different people, you’d get a hundred different opinions. That’s understandable. It’s a vague question. But I read a James Michener quote recently about the art of living that I just can’t get out of my head.

I love his definition.

He says: “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and play, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.” – James Michener

I’m fascinated by this quote. I can’t help but think about how living congruently like this might transform the way we lead and love those around us. And at the same time, I can’t help but think very few of us actually live this way.

Living with great vision and intention isn’t easy, but it is so important. 

What vision do you have for your…

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Friends“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Have you ever heard that quote by Theodore Roosevelt? I find it to be true in my own life, and if you think about it for a moment, I think you’ll find it’s true in yours as well.

Comparison is such a natural tendency for people, and as pastors, we’re not exempt.

Have you ever found yourself thinking about another pastor’s church or hearing from someone how great another pastor’s sermons are? Have you ever found yourself wishing your building was just a little bit more like theirs or that your church had as much money as the one down the road?

Sadly, it’s easy to find ourselves comparing ourselves to other pastors and our churches to others around us. It’s easy to look at other churches and want a competitive edge or to look at other pastors through the corner of your eye, feeling like they’re the competition.

Not only does this comparison and competition steal our joy, it also steals one of our greatest resources: other pastors.

Our lives as the heads of our churches are unique. The way we live, the pressures we feel, our schedules, and…

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