Archives For Leadership

Windshield TimeIn the American church, we tend to think of leadership development as a classroom and curriculum-based process, but Jesus had a better idea: spend time with people. Jesus allowed His life to rub off on His chosen leaders and to pour His wisdom into them, and we can do the same. Sometimes it’s a matter of spotting the natural opportunities that come along while at other times, its an intentionally-planned conversation.

Here are some simple ways to make leadership development a part of your life…

  1. Schedule three to five informal meetings per week – coffee, lunch, etc. – with people into whom you want to invest.
  2. Take potential leaders on trips with you. I’ve heard great leaders talk about the mentoring power of never traveling alone. My Worship Pastor calls it “windshield time.”
  3. If you’re a Pastor, take a partner as you do pastoral care – hospital visits, etc. Just the time in the car on the way is a great opportunity.
  4. Buy and send books to leaders. I’ve received and given books that have shaped who I am.
  5. Check in with a phone call. Have a list of potential leaders into whom you’re pouring,…

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Gas PedalThere is a tendency among Pastors to think that if we just work a little harder or put in a little more time and effort into it we will get better results.  This philosophy reminds me of a friend of mine who got his truck stuck in the mud one day while we were out fishing.  Rather than coming up with a way to help the tires gain more traction, Mark simply continued to “give it more gas.”  But as anyone who has ever gotten stuck in the mud knows, giving it more gas will simply make the problem worse.  The more gas you give it the deeper the tires will dig down into the mud.  The same holds true in ministry — giving it more gas will sometimes just dig a deeper hole.

John learned this lesson the hard way.  He had served as the Pastor of New Antioch Baptist Church for the past twelve years.  New Antioch was only two years old when they called John to be their first Pastor, after the church planter who started the congregation left.  In many ways, New Antioch and John had grown…

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The resurrection changes everything. Can I get an Amen?

This incredible video by one of WorshipHouse Media’s top producers tells the story of an empty tomb that offers hope and life to all, and is a great introduction to your service, worship set, or sermon this Easter Season.

AND, we’re making it available for FREE exclusively to users! Download The Resurrection Changes Everything today.

Download for Free

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BasketballThis is the third of several blogs inspired by NCAA basketball’s “March Madness” championship tournament.

As described in my previous blog, a few basketball players will become instant heroes when they hit a winning shot during March madness. But for every one person who makes the highlight reel, there will be several who walk off the court with their heads hung in despair. They’re the ones who miss a key free throw or make a bad pass or just have a bad game. And because of that, they feel that the team’s loss rests on their shoulders.

One of the oft repeated sayings during March madness is “win or go home.” It refers to the reality that this is a single elimination tournament. When a team loses, they’re eliminated from the tournament and their season is over. For most of the seniors on the team, it will be the end of their basketball careers.

As a leader, how do you respond to “losing a game”? When you put your energy into a major initiative and it doesn’t go well, how do you feel? When you push for an important decision and…

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I was recently in a meeting discussing the future of an evangelical movement other than my own. The person I was with shared a great challenge–one of the most prominent leaders of their movement was not finishing well, making it hard for the movement to envision a successful future.

That conversation soon turned to why this happened–and how we had seen it happen elsewhere. Within a few minutes, we had identified four others who showed similar patterns. They were all older leaders, were immensely respected, yet who are finishing poorly, griping, complaining and often undercutting those who will likely become their successors.

My guess is that you would not be surprised with some of the names, and you could probably quickly identify others in your own movement who have done the same.

After our meeting concluded, I continued to ponder the situation even more. Why do some leaders end so well–Calvin Miller, Jack Hayford, Bob Russell, Roy Fish, and so many more–while others go out not in a blaze of glory, but in a blaze of gory? They finish poorly and leave a mess in their wake….

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Managing LifeWe all want to lead well. There’s a lot of talk about leadership, and rightly so. We often quote John Maxwell on this blog, who says that:

everything rises and falls on leadership.”

I believe that’s true, not just because it’s a great statement to believe, but because I’ve seen it in action for nearly 25 years leading in Children’s & Family Ministry.

But we often forget, or at least minimize, the place of good managementGood leadership requires good management. And it starts with you and me effectively managing ourselves.

I believe there are at least 3 critical areas that leaders must manage in order to lead well, and they are all connected. These 3 areas are:

1. Time

It’s been said that, in order to see a person’s real priorities, all you have to do is look at how they spend their money and how they spend their time. There’s a lot of value to that statement. The difference for the leader is this: money can be replaced, but time cannot. As the leader, how you spend your time carries a “trickle down” effect to those you are leading. So it’s critical that leaders identify their priorities…

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Bill WalshThe late Bill Walsh transformed the way football was played in the NFL by developing the “West Coast Offense.”

The NFL is what it is today because of him.  He is one of the fathers and architects of  Modern Day Football.

Under his leadership, the the San Francico 49er’s became the standard of excellence in the NFL.  Under Walsh, the 49er’s won Superbowls in 1981, 1984, and 1988.

But his first season with the 49er’s, he won 2 games and lost 14.

How do you go from 2-14 to 3 Superbowl victories?  Walsh in his book, “The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership” explains how that transformation took place.

As leaders, we’d be wise to learn and implement his leadership wisdom.

The 5 Do’s

Do expect defeat.

It’s a given when you the stakes are high and the competition is working ferociously to beat you. If you’re suprised when it happens, you’re dreaming; dreamers don’t last long.

Do force yourself to stop looking backward and dwelling on the failure you’ve just been in.

It is mental quicksand to dwell too long on past failures and defeats.

Do allow yourself appropriate recovery and grieving time.

You’ve been knocked senseless; give yourself a little time to…

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DuckDynastyBy Diana Chandler

The 8.6 million who viewed the 2013 season premiere of “Duck Dynasty” no doubt enjoy family patriarch Phil Robertson’s antics, from his unkempt beard to promises of poor hygiene. But the fisherman and duck caller with a master’s degree in education also tells a story of faith.

Robertson’s faith walk began in his late 20s during his “sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle” when his sister was handing out Christian tracts in a bar where he worked, he said in an interview at

“I just decided to follow Him 38 years ago when I heard that He, in fact, was God in flesh. Not only was He God in flesh, it took the blood of God to remove my ‘sex, drugs, and rock and roll’ lifestyle — sin,” Robertson said. “Well, I’m sitting there listening and I’m like, ‘Man, that was a mighty kind thing to do for a scumbag like me.’ Not only that, it wouldn’t do me any good, though, if something could not be done about the six-foot hole I’m going into — and you too, by…

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DigitalThe Digital Age is upon us. In the span of less than three decades, we have redefined the way humans communicate, entertain, inform, research, create and connect — and what we know now is only a hint of what is to come. But the greatest concern of the church is not a technological imperative, but a Gospel imperative.

The digital world did not exist a generation ago, and now it is a fundamental fact of life. The world spawned by the personal computer, the Internet, social media and the smart phone now constitutes the greatest arena of public discussion and debate the world has ever known.

Leaders who talk about the real world as opposed to the digital world are making a mistake, a category error. While we are right to prioritize real face-to-face conversations and to find comfort and grounding in stable authorities like the printed book, the digital world is itself a real world, just real in a different way.

Real communication is happening in the digital world, on the Web and on the smart phone in your pocket. Real information is being shared and globally disseminated faster than…

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 Three Ways to Become More Like Christ

Scripture Cards

The novel Across the Nightingale Floor is a classic hero tale set in a fictional ancient Japan. Cut off by tragedy from his childhood world, teenage Takeo forges a new life as the adopted son of Lord Shigeru. Shigeru is nothing like the villagers among whom Takeo was raised, but the boy quickly decides he wants to be just like Shigeru when he becomes a man. It’s not just that Shigeru saved his life. Shigeru also has qualities that Takeo wants: wisdom, patience, kindness, and the skills and honor of a warrior. Takeo commits his life to emulating his adopted father/master and fulfilling Shigeru’s goals.

Like Takeo, we too were born to be heroes—people who serve God and bring about significant good in the world. But who can save our lives and then show us how to live them? Jesus can.
When Simon, Andrew, James, and John first met Jesus, they were already looking for something more in their lives than just fishing. Jesus was a rabbi seeking students. In those days a rabbi wasn’t just an academic lecturer, and a student or “disciple” wasn’t interested in mere…

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John 3-16By Mark Coppenger

Like the fellow who thought he’d be crossing visible longitude lines on his ocean voyage to Europe, some may think that the chapter and verse divisions were on the sheet when apostles such as John (or psalmists such as David) wrote down Scripture.

But no, they wrote letters and poetry and Gospels and other history without numbering. Those markers were added centuries later. Indeed, when Jesus referred to Exodus 3:6 in Mark 12:26, He simply located it in “in the passage about the burning bush.” Neither the “12:26” nor the “3:6” were yet in place.

To make a long story short, biblical scholars were making divisions of one sort or another in the centuries following the books’ original composition, but it wasn’t until the early 1200s that we got our current chapter setup, thanks to Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. As for the verses, Jewish scribes had already done work on the Old Testament around the year 900, and their work was wedded to Langton’s. But the church had to wait another 300 years for its New Testament breakdown, performed by a French-born printer, Robert Estienne or…

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By Russ Rankin

For too long there has been a disconnect between the church and issues surrounding orphan care, according to Johnny Carr, national director of church partnerships at Bethany Christian Services.

Carr addresses the issues in “Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting,” a book from B&H Publishing Group designed to provide education about and action plans to care for the estimated 153 million orphaned and vulnerable children in the world.

“Many churches have started orphan ministries, but this movement among churches is still very much in its infancy,” Carr said in an interview. “It is my hope that this book challenges churches to take their involvement further.”

Carr said he wrote Orphan Justice based on his own journey in understanding the instruction for “pure religion” defined in James 1:27, which calls believers to care for orphans. As a former pastor, Carr said he believes the church — not government programs or social service agencies — has the most potential and the mandate to take the lead in addressing the world’s orphan crisis.

Adoption is only part of orphan care, he said. HIV/AIDS, human trafficking and poverty are all…

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