Thankfulness Determines Leadership Ability (1/3)

“Thanks so much for the phone call the other day.  I’ve actually never had a pastor call me before.”

Have you every received a word of thanks from out of the blue?  The statement above came from a young lady who’s fairly new to our church.  I wasn’t expecting it, and the context definitely was not something I felt deserving of gratitude.  It was a simple follow up call.  But to her…it was meaningful.

thankful4

I was reading one of Michael Hyatt’s blog posts today on the advantages of being grateful and it got me thinking.  Some of the most influential leaders in my life over the years have exhibited grateful hearts.

- It was easy to observe their gratefulness for the blessings in their life.

- They would constantly say ‘Thank you’ to those serving around them, especially in the Church.

In addition to the great points that Michael Hyatt makes, showing and verbalizing gratitude also rubs off on others.  This can be referred to as one aspect of discipleship.  Other circles might call it Leadership Development.

“Expressed gratitude helps attract and produce great leaders.” 

Think back.  When was the last time someone you look up to or admire complimented or thanked you?  (hopefully it hasn’t been too long ago)  Do you remember how it made you feel?  I’m guessing appreciation, honor, respect, and value are some feelings that resulted.  So this week, say ‘Thank You’ to someone….anyone.  Try to do this once a day.  You might be surprised at the results.

Question:  Who or what are you thankful for when you really take time to think about it?  Leave a comment below.  
photo credit: www.xpn.org 

4 Ways To ‘Be’ The Church Outside Of Sunday

Be REAL.jpg

There are 4 tangible action steps (probably more) to be mindful of that will help give us a Kingdom mindset.  After receiving some positive feedback on a recent message, I thought I’d post a brief summary of the acronym used in my 4 points.

Message title:  Be R.E.A.L.

Relational in every opportunity | Constantly looking for opportunities to connect with others while we go about our daily lives.  Look, and be attentive of those around us and be sensitive to what they are going through.  The body of Christ is the Church’s best evangelism plan.

Excited about the things of God | When we take notice of all the incredible ways God is moving in our lives, it should show.  And when excitement shows in us, others will often enquire as to what it is.  Bingo….there’s an open door to talk about how awesome Jesus has been to you.

Active in and out of the church | Two parts here: 1. Do something to support your church home.  Get involved, serve, give, lead.  2. Do something with a Kingdom mindset outside of your church.  This helps to keep us from being an inwardly focused church and looking at the bigger picture of God’s Church around us.

Love for the lost | Pray for God to give you a deep, heart-felt compassion for the lost and for their needs.  Why?  Because compassion drives action.

You can actually listen to the full message from October 26, 2014 HERE.

Is there anything you would add?  Or, which of these I’ve listed tends to be the most difficult?

Please leave your comments below.

Photo credit: http://www.wallpapervortex.com 

Book Giveaway Winner!

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.39.40 PMThank you to everyone who took time to give me feedback on my blog.  As promised, I’m giving away a wonderful devotional book for leaders.

And the winner is:  Bryan Donaldson!

Congratulations.

For everyone else, be sure to follow my blog.  I’m likely to have more giveaways for different things in the near future.

How To Know If You’re Standing In The Way Of God’s Will

Gods WillHow would you feel if Jesus referred to you as Satan?  Have you ever argued with God about where your life is heading?

Jesus had just gathered his disciples to tell them about his Father’s plan for salvation.  He explained that he was to suffer and die, and then be raised from the dead 3 days later.  This was God plan.  But Peter didn’t like how this was sounding.

...And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan!  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  Mark 8:32-33

You see, he wasn’t literally calling Peter Satan.  Jesus was telling him that his thoughts were not in line with God’s thoughts.  Peter was allowing his human emotions and reasoning to create a potential roadblock to God’s will.

The crazy part of this story is that just moments prior to this, Peter was the first to verbalize Jesus’ identity the Christ…the Messiah.  (Mark 8:29)

“There’s a difference between knowing Jesus’ true identity in your life…and not standing in the way of God’s will.”

Can you relate to Peter?  I know I have in the past.  I’ve even told God ‘No’ a couple of times.  And like Peter, he has a stern but loving way of redirecting us.

What is God calling you to today?  And are you good with it?

Join the discussion, comment below.

(background) photo credit: drawnmonsters.com 

FREE Book Giveaway

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.39.40 PMI want your help.

I would like your input on changes I can make to my blog that would be most helpful to those connected to me on social media.

Complete this short survey of my blog and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of Life Promises for Leaders, by Zig Ziglar.

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A winner will be chosen and announced on this blog on November 18.

Bonus:  If you share this post (remember to tag me), I will enter you twice once you have completed the survey.

Thanks so much!

Here’s a taste of what I’ve been recently writing about:

3 Things Every Church Leader Should Produce

Do You ‘Know’ You’re Singing Out Loud

3 Ways to Continue Leading When Life Gets Difficult

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You ‘Know’ You’re Singing Out Loud?

gymAre you as amused as I am at the things we often observe at the gym?

I started back at a regular exercise routine today.  It was just me in our little fitness room at our apartment complex until I was wrapping up.  I noticed a man enter the gym and go right to the treadmill.  Both of us had earbuds in (I was on the stationary bike). Then, I couldn’t believe what I heard.  I had to mute my music to be sure.  That guy was not only getting his groove on, but he was singing out loud to his tunes! (not exactly male vocalist of the year)

This made me wonder two things.

1)  Does he realize I can hear him?

2)  Does he know he can’t sing?

Given the situation, I would assume he would answer YES to both questions.

This entire 10 minute event made me realize something about our leadership in the Church.

-  Whether we are intentionally leading or not, someone is always watching us.  Good or bad, others are constantly learning from our actions and lifestyle.

-  Knowing our weakest abilities as a leader and still trying to develop those skills is so important.  To try something with a high chance that we might fail or embarrass ourselves models humility to those we are leading.

-  Finally, enjoy the journey.  Above all the success, failure, frustration, and victory…try to enjoy church leadership any way possible.

Ministry work is a huge calling.  Enjoy it and pace yourself, or it might just break you.

 

3 Things Every Church Leader Should Produce

Is there anything ‘good’ in what you and I produce as church leaders that God would consider honorable?  This passage struck me this morning.  Check it out.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.  Proverbs 3:9 (NLT)

Photo credit: christianityworks.com

Photo credit: christianityworks.com

Granted, this is mainly addressing our income…what we earn for our work.  But the Lord also challenged me in the second half of this verse.  What am I responsible for producing?

Here are what I would consider to be 3 main things every church leader should be producing.

1.  Disciples | This includes everyone in our churches, as well as our own kids and spouse.  I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I have put more effort into discipling church folks more than my own family.  Ouch!  That’s not easy to put out there, but recognizing it helps to bring forth change.

2.  A strong marriage | For those of us who are married, we owe it to Jesus, ourselves, our kids, and everyone we influence to authentically model a healthy marriage relationship. Not perfect…..just healthy.  If our spouse can’t respect us in our home, how can we expect anyone else to respect us in the church or in our community?

3.  Personal integrity | As ministers and church leaders, are we being intensional about staying connected to Christ in His Word and through prayer?  Are we taking the initiative to build accountability into our lives.  Is the person others witness at church on the weekend the same person our family lives with during the rest of the week?  Difficult questions, but left unasked we will most likely not notice.

Is there anything you would add to this list?

The bigger question I am wrestling with is, “Am I truly honoring God in what I’m producing in these areas?”

Please join the discussion and leave a comment below.

Top 5 Recent Leadership Posts

feedbackBelow are my most popular posts on leadership.  I’m sharing these with you for one key reason.  I am looking to making a few small adjustments with my approach to my blog and I really need your input.  Take a look.

1) Manage your life, or your life will manage you

2) Your worship style is not working

3) We’re going to skin our knee on ministry work

4) 5 tips to having a good day of rest

5) Taking the Church’s Biblical pulse

Now tell me…which of these post did you like the most and why?

What aspects of the content did you find most helpful, and what material do I need to change or completely get rid of?  Are there leadership topics/issues that I am missing?

I’d love your input.  Either comment below or email me at brent@ccclive.org

(photo credit: www.jeffbullas.com)

3 Ways to Continue Leading When Life Gets Difficult

Leaders don’t have the option of quitting when life gets difficult. 

tornado-over-road

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?  Loss of a loved one.  Wrecked the car.  Unwanted medical diagnosis.  Family drama.  You name it…we have all experienced an untimely life difficulty right in the middle of a season when more than usual is demanded of us as leaders.  It never fails.  Maybe it’s an outreach event, speaking engagement, or project deadline.  Or maybe it’s launching a new ministry or planting a church (that one’s mine).

So, how do we continue leading through a challenging season without losing our sanity, credibility, and family?

Here are 3 critical steps I’ve used recently.

1.  Evaluate | No matter how much you feel that you don’t have even 5 minutes to yourself, take time to stop, breathe, and evaluate your current situation.  Inventory the season you’re in so that everything is on the table.  Otherwise, we fall into the trap of simply running around putting out fires as our task lists seem to multiply like Gremlins (you might not get that reference if you’re under 25).

2.  Adjust | Now that you’re breathing again and can hopefully look at the big picture objectively, there are likely some adjustments that need to be made.  Say this with me, “I am not Superman!”  Furthermore, you are not Jesus either.  Now, take 1 to 3 items off your plate.  Don’t have a coronary.  I’m not saying this is forever…just long enough to get you through this season ALIVE.

3.  Move forward | If you have actually done #2 and taken the ‘appropriate’ items off, you should be feeling a huge weight lifted.  Next, simply inform those people who need to know and how this adjustment might effect them.  This does two things.  It provides others clear communication about you as a leader and how you are prioritizing your time.  It also builds in accountability.  When others know our plans it helps us actually stick to those plans.  We know they will be checking up on us.

What would you add?  What has worked for you.

Join the conversation, leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

God of ‘WOW’

When was the last time God ‘Wowed’ you?

I don’t know about you, but when God amazes me in larger than normal ways it usually includes a bit of humility.  Recently, I had one of those moments.  God stepped in and reminded me that He was still in charge of the situation….NOT me! 

This was a healthy piece of humble pie.  You see, the week leading up to our first ‘soft’ launch of our new Satellite church campus was packed full of endless task lists, technical disappointments, exhausting work days, and personal family struggles.  

The problem:

   – There was too much left to do before Sunday.

   – Contractors informed me we would not have internet, video teaching or projection capabilities. 

   – I was struggling emotionally to maneuver through and balance leading a new church launch and a family crisis at the same time.  And my college studies had come to a screeching halt.   

The result:

   – Our core church family showed up, cleaned up, donated and constructed in a HUGE way.  God deployed His Church body and the work got done.  

   – Video streaming capabilities, projection, and high-speed internet…..were ALL in place by Friday evening.   

   – We had an unexpected breakthrough in our family situation which gave my wife and I hope that we didn’t have before.

God showed up in a big way.  He blessed me with peace of mind and comfort that He was definitely in control.  Then, I was reminded of God’s reply to Job in chapter 38.

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
 Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

    Tell me, if you have understanding.”  v.2-4

More humble pie.

I was relying on my own knowledge and control of these details.  I was allowing myself to become anxious about things that God was already at work in.  And the purpose in all of this became crystal clear.  God gets the credit for all of it….NOT ME.

As for our first worship service together, everything was perfect.  God’s Spirit was there.  We worshipped, learned, and fellowshipped together.  There was a shared energy and hope for families and individuals in our new community.  

How about you?  Has God ‘Wowed’ you recently….and what did you learn from it?  Please comment below and share this post with others who might need it.