Monday Start: Resources for the Week

StartIn your backpack

Pete Scazzero writes thoughtful posts regarding the interior life.  See his post “Removing the Clutter.”  Scazzero asks this important question, “What are you carrying in your “leadership backpack” that needs to be removed so you can listen for God in your interior world?”

Self-differentiation

Also, don’t miss this post by Scazzero  “Am I Becoming a More Mature, Differentiated Leader?”  This is such an important concept for any leader to grasp.  I am thankful for Ed Friedman whose books, papers, and speaking introduced me to this concept many years ago.

Creativity

See Ann Voskamp’s post “Why Your Soul Needs You to Make Time to be Creative: 7 Keys to Being More Creative.”  This is a good post!  Like so many of Ann’s posts, it has numerous pictures and a fresh way of expressing the ordinary.  Be sure to finish the post since the seven keys are actually listed at the end.

Time

Lifehacker recently had a post entitled “The Best Time of Day to Do Anything.”  Agree or disagree, these posts typically make me think.  For example, skim through this post “The Best Sounds for Getting Work Done.”

Sex

See Thom Rainer’s post “Sex, Millennials, and the Church: Five Implications.”  I appreciate Rainer’s tone as well as his research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start (1)Wisdom  I often read posts written by Dr. John Willis.  I read him for his wisdom. Today he writes about Movers and Shakers.

Stackhouse

John Stackhouse is interesting.  I find his writings stimulating, provocative, and thoughtful.  Agree with him or not, he makes me think. Even this post regarding upcoming courses this summer at Regent makes me think.

Again speaking of wisdom

Bill Mounce has written an interesting post based on a new book by John Walton and Andrew Hill.  The post deals with the meaning of wisdom.

Fear

Here is a great post by Harold Shank on fear.  Much needed regardless of one’s age.

Storms of life

John Mark Hicks has posted a number of videos of a class he taught recently entitled, “Yet Will I Trust Him: Trusting God In The Storms of Life.”

 

Ministry Inside.127

Each Thursday I post “Ministry Inside” specifically for church leaders.

I have been wondering

lately about church leaders who stretch themselves while others basically remain the same. Those who stretch and grow often do so by developing good habits.

Now some of us take a “Eureka!” approach to ministry. That is, we seem to always be looking for the missing ingredient. Someone reads a book and believes he has found it. Still another attends an incredible seminar and now sees this perspective as it. Then someone else visits a congregation on the other side of the country and perceives this church to possess the real deal.
As helpful as a book, seminar, or church visit might be, a church leader’s growth typically is not centered on eureka moments. Yes, there may be some breakthroughs in your thinking or practice. However, the growth that will sustain you over the long run is typically less dramatic.

Below are four actions to take if you want to grow spiritually.

Step forward.

Do something. Reading, thinking, and reflecting are very important even indispensable. However, ministry is not simply a seminar of ideas. At some point it is time to start. Start small, but start. Far too often I have waited until I was fully prepared or knew enough. Preparation and knowledge are important but at some point it is time to move ahead. Remember that the first step is not about trying to get others to do something. The first step is your own.

Step away.

Make sure you take adaquate time for reading and thinking. Don’t worry about reading the latest. Read what matters. Step away and go to a great seminar. Take a class. Audit something. Check out the many opportunities to learn through iTunesU. Talk to people you admire and appreciate and find out what they do for their growth.

Step up.

Some people make excuses (If we only had a better preacher or the right elders.) Others try to make things happen through manipulation instead of doing the hard work of leadership. Church leaders who are maturing step up and deal with their own functioning and their own maturity (or immaturity). People who are maturing focus on how they can take responsibility for their own behavior, words, and actions. Does my functioning reflect that I am maturing or that I am stuck in immaturity?

Step back.

Reflect on what is happening. Seek out a few trusted people with whom you can process what is happening in the life of your congregation and, in particular, your own functioning. Step back and consider your actions in a conversation, a meeting, a sermon, etc. What is the perception of your spouse and other people whose wisdom you trust?

Question:
Which one of the above has been particularly helpful to you? Is there one that deserves more attention from you?

 

5 People I Admire

Microsoft Word - anniversary11. I admire people who are respectful and gracious in their speech. I knew someone who would regularly say, “I’m just being honest.” In his mind, this seemed to excuse his crass, rude, and insulting remarks. Yet, speaking with honesty does not give one the license to put away their sensitivity filter and say whatever might happen to pass through their brain. I know people who are honest and transparent. Yet, they do not speak at the expense of others. They are not condescending or insulting. Rather, these people have a way of communicating in ways that actually invite others to hear.

2. I admire people who are quick to say “I’m sorry.” In a culture that seems to respond to most every problem by blaming others, it is refreshing to have someone say “I’m sorry.” I admire people who are quick to take personal responsibility and slow to blame.

3. I admire people who build up instead of destroy. These people are more focused on the impact they have on others than on what they are able to get out of the relationship. This calls for maturity on the part of a person. I knew a couple who were both attractive and likable. However, shortly after meeting them, I noticed that she walked with her shoulders slumped and would look down and barely make eye contact in a conversation. Then I began to hear about how “heavy-handed” he was toward her. In fact, he was very domineering toward her. Builders do not treat their spouses this way.

4. I admire people who don’t have to be the center of attention. Some people are obviously uncomfortable if they are not the center of a gathering. Yet, the truth is that others have stories that could be told; they have jokes that could be shared, etc. I enjoy being with people who do not feel compelled to dominate a conversation or pull away emotionally if they are not at the center.

5. I admire people who spread joy instead of cynicism. Anyone can be cranky, sour, and bitter. A friend of mine once told me about a preacher who was so negative and bitter that even his sermons on grace were depressing.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start_button_gif (1)Christian Education

Don’t miss this very good post by Dr. Harold Shank, President of Ohio Valley University.  See “Why Choose Christian Education?”  Excellent!

Resources

See Michael Hyatt’s “99 Resources to Make Your Personal and Business Life Hum.”  Excellent resources.  I don’t know anyone who creates better lists of helpful resources.

Prayer

Terry Rush has written a great post entitled “Calling for Prayer Expansion.”  Made me think about my own prayer life.

Digital

Chris Brogan has written a nice piece “The Single most Effective Change I Made to My Digital Presence.”  Certainly made me think about how to use digital media today.

Productivity

Leo Babauta has written a post “The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most.”  Could be very helpful in learning to better organize and structure one’s day.

 

Ministry Inside.144

Life-from-the-Inside-png-300x300Every Thursday, I write this post particularly for church leaders. As church leaders, we strive to lead holy and transparent lives. Yet, some of us do not address certain issues or problems in our lives that may be so apparent to those who know us best.

Remember the first couple, Adam and Eve.

Perhaps you also remember that God once asked them a question. In fact, this is the first time on record of God asking a human being a question.

Where are you?

After all, they were hiding. They were frightened. They did not want him to find them. They had eaten from the forbidden tree. Now God is in the garden and they are hiding. Eventually, they will have a conversation with him and begin blaming others for what they did.

Where are you?

This is still a very important question.

Some of us may hide. We are doing fine. Everything is wonderful.

Some of us may blame. I know this isn’t right, but after what he did . . .

Some of us may become fearful. What will people think if they see that I am inadequate and that I become anxious at times?

Some of us may deny that anything is wrong. I don’t really have a struggle with temptation or sin. I’m no worse than some of the other church leaders I know.

As church leaders, we need to receive this question and let it penetrate our hearts. The evil one has helped to slowly destroy many church leaders who did not take this question seriously. Nothing may be more important than to be honest and humble before the Lord.

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

start (1)Just read

I just read Rick Lytle’s book Abandon the Ordinary: Building a Distinctive Leadership Brand in Business, Family, and Church.  Excellent book!  Helpful.  Inspirational.  Encouraging.

N.T. Wright

See one of N.T. Wright’s recent presentations at Oklahoma Christian.  Wright is always interesting, insightful, and thoughtful.

Leadership

Joe Lalonde has written a nice post based on the book Leaders Eat Last.

Early morning

You might enjoy this video by Brett McKay “How to Become an Early Riser.”  Couldn’t help but smile all the way through this.

Preaching

If you preach, don’t miss this outstanding post by Thom Rainer “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Preachers.”  Very good.  Don’t miss this!

 

Monday Start: Resources for the Week

Start (1)Ministry

Don’t miss Dr. Harold Shank’s fine post “Growling Over Ministry.” I have great respect for Harold and for his love for Scripture and ministry.  This post is a great reminder of the importance and value of ministry.

Amazing discount!

Did you know you can purchase the Kindle edition of Tim Keller’s Center Church for $2.99?  This is one of the best ministry books I have ever read!

Fred

Jonathan Storment has written a very thoughtful and needed post “God Loves Fred.”  (Regarding Fred Phelps.)

Free

Have you seen Putting Jesus in His Place by Robert Bowman, Darrell Bock, and Ed Komoszewski?  Get it while it is free as a Kindle book.

 

Is Real Life Happening Yet?

reallifelogoFor years, I waited.

My perception of my life was all about circumstances. I saw myself as not being in the ideal circumstances but assured myself that one day things would be different. As I saw it, the present was always lacking in some way. However, things would really be good when, one day, life would be what I wanted it to be.

When I was single, I thought life would really begin when I got married.

When I was in college, I thought life would really begin when I graduated.

When I was in graduate school, I thought life would really begin when I finished the program.

When I was married, I thought life would really begin when we could settle down somewhere.

When we were renting a house, I thought life would really begin when we could own a home.

Ministry Inside: 142

blah-blah-blahHe talked on and on.  People gathered around.  He clearly was the center of attention.  As people begin to gather around this church leader, he became more animated and loud.  Onlookers were laughing as he told the story. Finally, everyone disbursed.

Later, this same church leader walked into a meeting where another was talking to a group and seemed to be the center of the conversation. The church leader who earlier was energetic and intense when he was telling the story, now seemed uncomfortable and ill at ease.

As the conversation in the room prolonged, the church leader silently began scrolling through his iPad.  He made eye contact with no one and seemed disconnected.

Finally, the conversation in the room ended.  At that point, this church leader began telling a story to the group, once again becoming loud and animated, while everyone laughed.   He seemed to come alive again.

His behavior did not go unnoticed.

Some people seem to function most confidently when they are the center of attention.  However, these same people may be very uncomfortable when another receives the attention of a group.

Why mention this?

A church leader perceived to be an obnoxious bore who constantly demands the attention in the room can drain the energy out of a group. The default of the rest of the group is often silence while they defer to the one who will gladly talk on and on. One minister was described as “loving to hear himself talk.”  Not good.

It is true that some church leaders run into difficulties because of theological differences. Others, however, hurt their influence within a congregation by making relational mistakes. After awhile, a church can become weary of too many thoughtless, unnecessary relational blunders.  These blunders have a way of costing a church leader needed goodwill.