Tag Archives: ministry

Are You Satisfied with Being an Average Leader?

leadership-iconLeadership comes in all shapes and sizes.  Many different types of leaders have impacted my life: pastors, youth pastors, parents, principals, teachers, coaches, bosses, friends, managers.  Some of these have been great; others…not so much!

What separates good leaders from bad leaders?  You can probably spit out several obvious responses with little effort.  Good leaders treat everyone with respect; they lead by example; and they aren’t hypocrites.

However, if you are a leader, this isn’t the question you should be asking.  Instead, you should be concerned with what makes a great leader.  I have outlined below three ways to guarantee your leadership will be nothing more than average.  By simply doing the opposite, you can ensure your leadership is both exceptional and effective.  These are not necessarily tailored toward ministry, but they certainly are applicable in many contexts, including ministry.

Convince Yourself that Intentions Are What Is Important,
Not Impact

Have you ever been misunderstood? I’ll be the first to admit that the impact of what I say is sometimes divergent from what I intended.  This can present significant challenges in non-verbal communication such as text messages and emails.  Many leaders’ attitude is as follows: “If someone misunderstands me or gets offended, so long as I didn’t intend to offend them, it’s not my problem.”  Great leaders approach communication differently.  Their primary concern is how their message is received, irrespective of what they intended.

Effective leaders understand that how you say something is just as important as what you say.  And they are concerned with their impact, not just their intent.  Have you ever stopped to consider that your message may be perceived in a way that undermines what you intended?

Treat Everyone Exactly the Same

Though it seems obvious, two people can perceive the exact same actions or words occurring in the exact same setting in opposite ways.  If person A is making a presentation and you don’t ask any questions, he may view this as you not supporting him.  Person B, however, may view your asking of questions as an attempt undermine to his authority.  Similarly, if there is a problem that needs to be addressed, a meeting in your office might cause person A to resent you, but this might be exactly what person B needs.

Effective leaders know how to encourage and correct each person in their organization.  They know how to tailor a message to a particular person or audience to obtain the desired result.  Are willing to learn about each person you oversee and impact in order to communicate more effectively?

Don’t Worry about Power Dynamics

When asked to rank their own importance within their organization, most people rank themselves lower than their inferiors do.  If you don’t realize the level of your own authority (or power) and how this should impact your behavior, you cannot effectively lead.  Why?  Because you do not know what impact you have on others.

As an example, imagine you are an associate pastor who has spent a significant number of years at one church.  You must understand that a joke poking fun at someone might be appropriate if directed at a fellow staff member yet could be very inappropriate if directed at a congregant or teen.  The appropriateness of having a one-on-one meeting in your office with someone is likely dependent on factors such as age and gender.  An interaction that leaves a college-aged male intern feeling like you are his friend may make your female secretary very uncomfortable.  Power dynamics are multi-faceted and dynamic.  That is, they change over time.

Effective leaders are cognizant of how factors like age, gender, experience, and title can impact communication.  As their role within an organization changes, great leaders understand they often must modify their approach.  Do you understand your role within your organization and, more importantly, how that should affect your conduct?

Leadership comes with authority and responsibility. Both are important factors in determining how you can and should communicate with members of your organization.  If you want to be an effective leader, keep these three points in mind.  If you are ok with being mediocre, feel free to ignore them.

Read more about LEADERSHIP at P4G…

Article by Bryan Likins

@bmlesq

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It Goes Without Saying

Gospel PaintingWhen the Partners for the Gospel was started, it was meant to be a helpful and encouraging tool for us and others in the ministry.  As I read the articles posted each week by my Christian brothers, I would call this a great success for which I am grateful to be a part.  Since we are all believers, our sharing of the Gospel especially to each other often goes without saying.  But in the last few weeks, I have felt under conviction because of exactly that…it has gone without saying.  There are believers and non-believers alike that visit our site, and every single one of us need to hear the Gospel message daily.

Jesus’ commission to the disciples after the resurrection was simple, and non-discriminate.  Matthew 28: 19 commands, Go ye therefore, and teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Mark 16: 15 says, And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.  Luke 24: 46,47 tells us, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And in John 21: 17, Jesus is speaking to Peter.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me?  Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?  And he said unto Him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.  Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

I sometimes forget that any Scriptural advice or Biblical teaching I may offer without the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is little more than a twelve step program the world could find in any number of places.  2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  All Scripture is profitable because all Scripture, from the Old Testament stories to the New Testament parables, point to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.

Isn’t it amazing that the one thing about Christianity that seems the most unbelievable to the world is the only thing that gives us credibility in the world.  

Christ paid the price for our sins when He went to the cross.  He wasn’t dragged or forced you know, He went willingly and obediently so you and I can be perfect and righteous in the sight of God.  That is what the world needs to hear and I am thankful to Patrick, Michael, Bryan and the others for “preaching and teaching all nations.”  We don’t have to be eloquent or educated to be obedient.  Jesus did the work and provided the message…He told us to “Go.”

Article by C.S. Depew

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What the Church Could Learn from Chick-Fil-A

I stopped in to get a chicken sandwich the other day and was overwhelmed with the Biblical principles in action that have made this restaurant very successful in a relatively short amount of time. It’s funny (and tragic too) that a fast food chain is doing a better job of applying the Word of God than many churches…

They take a STAND.

I don’t know how you could have missed it – it’s been all over the news… Chick-Fil-A has been labeled homophobic, bigoted, anti-gay, intolerant, etc.  The boycot backfired when their supporters nearly ate every live chicken on the planet!  Needless to say, they didn’t back down!  They did not change their position.  Far too often, churches take stands which they later fall back from.  Let’s not be guilty of waffling (unless it’s fries!) on our position.  I realize that sometimes we change and grow… but we should never give spiritual ground to the world for fear or pressure.  Be bold & strong!

They know HOSPITALITY.

When I walked into Chick-Fil-A, I was immediately greeted with a smile: “Welcome! How may I serve you?” And after I received my food, “Is there anything else I can do for you? Is everything alright?” And when I left, “Have a great day!” They were intentional and purposed to be kind and friendly.

As Christians, we are commanded to be the same way. In fact, we are challenged to be ‘given to hospitality’ (as an alcoholic is given to drinking) and to ‘use hospitality’ (as a mechanic uses his tools) in Romans 12:10,13 and 1 Peter 4:9. Hospitality is so important in the church that its leaders are required to be friendly to strangers (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8).

A simple question: Should anyone be kinder and friendlier than God’s people? Be aware that your lack of kindness might be offensive to the lost and cause others to reject the gospel (2 Cor. 6:3,6).

They do ONE THING & they do it right!

Chick-Fil-A is not the place to go if you’re in the mood for tacos or tofu. They don’t do pork or beef … only chicken. They are consumed by making the best chicken sandwiches, nuggets, and wraps in the industry. They aren’t the cheapest, but they are the best.

Our churches often fall into the trap of trying to be more like Wal-Mart in the appeal to the masses. God has not called us to do so many things. We have one mission: to win precious souls to our Savior!  Reaching people with the powerful gospel, helping people develop a relationship with God, showing others how to know God and love Him more… No matter how you say it, our one mission is a ministry of reconciliation (Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 5:18-20).  Maybe it’s time our churches backed off from all the fluff and programs that fill our calendars and budgets.  Streamline your ministry to a point – the point of the gospel!

They are FAMILY-FRIENDLY.

I’ve yet to be in a Chick-Fil-A that didn’t have a play-place for the kids (excluding the mall sites). They have a good kids’ menu and a good variety of toys, treats, etc. to keep even the littlest members of my family happy.

Kids can be little nuisances. They’re noisy, they waste supplies, they make messes, they cost money. They don’t tithe, they rarely carry heavy burdens, they are takers instead of givers. This is exactly what Jesus’ own disciples were thinking when they ran the little kids off. Christ scolded them: “Suffer the little children to come unto me…” (Mk. 10:14).

Successful churches make places for young families. Instead of confining the children in nurseries and junior churches, healthy churches facilitate multi-generational worship and education (Titus 2:1-7; Lev. 10:11).

They are good to their workers.

After I placed my order, I asked the girl behind the counter, “You look like you’re having a good time. Do you enjoy working here?” “Yes. This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever worked in my life!” Not only is the atmosphere great, but they pay the employees better than most fast-food chains (and they give benefits, too). Did you know they do not allow just anyone to ‘buy’ a franchise? They only give that opportunity to those within the company. And why are they closed on Sundays? According to their website, “employees should have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so.”

Do the volunteers in your church know how much you appreciate them? Is there any way you can honor those who deserve honor for their service? Do you ever give them time off?  They probably need it!  Servants are the greatest (Matt. 23:11; Col. 4:1).

Rose-Colored Glasses

It’s amazing how many people feel Christians look at the world with naïve optimism.  I was fortunate enough to assist with a Christ-centered addictions program for two years.  Week after week I watched people come to the program once or twice and never return.  One man even stood up and said, “You’re not giving these people any real help.  When they are down in the gutter, they need someone they can call on to drag them out.  Sitting here in a church and praying isn’t going to help them in the real world.”

Oh, how wrong he was.  Many of those people came to church on Friday nights hoping to find a magic cure:  “do this, this and that and presto – the gutters of the world will be a distant memory.”  The glorious truth is they were closer to a cure than they ever realized.  I believe addiction is the result of a conscious or unconscious attempt to deal with the sin-riddled world around us.  It starts with a drink, pill, food, etc. that temporarily blurs the vision, numbs the senses and disarms the moral compass within to give some comfort from the harsh reality of the world in which we live.   They make things, at least for a while, more bearable.

Addiction is the result of a conscious or unconscious attempt to deal with the sin-riddled world around us.

Now, here’s the rub.  As Christians we try to help people with these addictions without realizing we do the exact same thing.  John 14:16 says, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.”  In John 14:26 Jesus says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Why is the Holy Spirit called a Comforter?  Because He is sent to help make things more bearable.  The Comforter sent to us by God clears our vision, heightens our senses and guards our moral compass so we can see beyond the harsh world in which we live and see the world that was intended and will be again.  The rose-colored glasses we wear do not blind us from the reality of the world.  They allow us to look at those who have fallen into the gutters of this world and see children of God.  Our Comforter allows us to reach out to those around us and give them true hope in Jesus Christ and, for the first time, let them see themselves through the eyes of The King.

 

Article by C.S. Depew

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