LEADING THE WAY

change-fish

by Dr. Steve Dunn

As we were created by the Master Designer, we are hard-wired for change.  But sin has rewired us to see change us something to be feared and resisted.  This rewiring is often disguised by a desire to be comfortable or a belief that practicality is the supreme value in any situation.  The need for change is often ignored because we are busy maintaining life as it has been handed to us.  We even believe the theological lie that good is good enough and so change often doesn’t occur even when there is mounting evidence that without change we will die.

Many persons see their role in the leadership in the church is to help the people go where they want to go.  That is a dangerous fallacy.  The role of leadership in the church is to help the people go where God wants them to go.

Leading the way is not easy.  It requires three things:

  1. It requires vision on the part of the leader.
  2. It requires prayer to insure that the leader’s vision is truly God’s vision.
  3. It requires relational work to help others share that vision.
  4. It requires courage because sooner or leader has to get out front and lead the way.

And that courage must be grounded in the faith that trusts that God will be at work in and through the leader and the process.

A wise leader does his or homework.  You must look before you leap.  But sooner or later you have to leap.

© 2018  by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com 

 

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How to Help Cautious Decision-Makers Make Commitments

Sharing a particularly helpful from Dan Rockwell. – Steve

BY DAN ROCKWELL

Great results require meaningful commitments.

A commitment is saying NO many times in service to a meaningful YES.

The truth about MAYBE:

I hate MAYBE. Just say yes or no!

Maybe is worse than No.

People who can’t say NO and aren’t ready to say YES are anchors. When someone says, “I’m not sure,” everything grinds to a halt until they make up their mind.

MAYBE is a stranglehold on progress.

But thoughtful people need time to commit.

7 steps that help cautious decision-makers make meaningful commitments:

  1. Make clear requests. Don’t beat around the bush. Cautious decision-makers hate ambiguity. Discuss purpose, outcomes, and responsibilities, for example.
  2. Connect requests to their values and goals. How are you helping them get where they want to go? Explore what they get when you explain what you need.
  3. Expect ‘Maybe’ and ‘I’m not sure’ if it’s a big ask. Stay on target, but don’t push down the door.
  4. Offer support. “I’m glad you’re giving this commitment some consideration. What information might I provide that will help you make up your mind?”
  5. Ask, “What needs to be true for you in order for you to be comfortable making this commitment?”
  6. State intent. “I want to keep moving the agenda forward.”
  7. Set a reasonable deadline. “Could you give me your decision by end of day this Thursday?” Or, “When is a good time for you to give me your decision?”

Help team members identify and explore their greater yes if you expect meaningful commitments.

Tip: Relieve pressure by saying, “I’m OK either way.” If you aren’t OK with someone saying no, it’s not a request. It’s a demand.

Teammates who make commitments slowly and follow-through fully are better than those who commit quickly and disappoint.

How might leaders help people make meaningful commitments?

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5 WAYS TO KEEP CRITICS AT BAY

Charles Stone has some wise counsel on an issue that affects and afflicts most leaders. It is part of a larger volume published by InterVarsity Press (see below) – Steve

5 WAYS TO KEEP CRITICS AT BAY

by Charles Stone

Criticism in ministry is never fun. And we often try to avoid our critics thinking that by keeping our distance, we can keep their criticism as bay. However, the opposite may be true. I’ve found that staying closer to them may actually lessen their criticism. Consider these five ways to keep your critics closer to you and their criticism away from you.

 Take the initiative.

Make a list of critics in your ministry that you currently avoid and with whom you need to (re) connect. Pray that they will respond to your initiatives to reach out. Ask the Lord to give you the courage to act. And determine the best way to reach each individual. Should you schedule a breakfast or lunch with him? If you do, be sure to communicate that you don’t have an agenda but that you simply want to connect. Or should you seek her out after a church service to chat? Perhaps you should perform a simple act of kindness.

I once dealt with a leader who would often cast a wary eye toward me. It seemed that I could never meet his expectations. He rarely affirmed me, and although he was not necessarily an open critic, his emotional field around me was seldom an attracting one. I knew his wife enjoyed gardening, and loved unique gardening tools. I saw an interesting hand tool in a flight magazine on a plane trip, so I ordered it for her. A few days after she got it, this leader gave me one of the few compliments I ever got from him; he thanked me for my thoughtfulness toward his wife and seemed truly appreciative. That small act of kindness helped keep me connected to this critic.

As you increase the frequency of contact with your critics, you will build trust. Someone once said, “Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by use.” One final thought: some critics are so caustic that you need to keep your distance. Remember, you don’t need to maintain contact with every critic. Use your judgment.

Leverage the power of story.

Learn to share your story regularly with others. Let your critics know who you are and what makes you tick. That doesn’t mean you must share every intimate detail. Rather, open your heart to let others in. Be vulnerable to them. At the same time, learn your critic’s stories as well. In a non­intrusive way, express curiosity about his life and his story without overdoing it with questions. God may give you a broader perspective and insight to what fuels his criticism.

Put yourself in your critic’s shoes. Instead of mentally tagging her with a negative description, reframe your self-talk. Ask yourself, “I wonder why Jill acts likes she does. I wonder what she brings from her past that could be fueling her criticism.” Adopt a learning mindset rather than a judging one.

One way to share your story is through passion. I’m an introvert, and although I have good people skills, I’m not a party person. If given a choice, I’d rather read, be in a quiet place, connect one on one and stay out of the limelight. When on stage, though, I communicate passion. But I’ve realized that in day-to-day encounters, my introverted personality can sometimes convey to others that I lack passion, especially to extroverted leaders. When trying to connect with extroverted leaders, sometimes I’ve tried to force passion, which unfortunately can come across as emotional reactivity. I’m now learning to communicate more of my heart and passion through story, while staying true to how God created me. I now share more of my life when I preach and when I lead meetings. So, if you’re an introvert like me, you’ll probably have to work harder to communicate passion than if you’re an extrovert.

READ THE REST OF THIS POST ….

FOR A FULLER TREATMENT GO TO: Used with permission of InterVarsity Press, Stone, Charles (2014-01-01). People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval-Motivated Leadership (Kindle Locations 2062-2098). Kindle Edition.

HOW YOUNG LEADERS CAN HELP OLDER LEADERS

This blog post comes from Dan Reiland.  It is one of the best I have read in sometime. – STEVE

Leading someone older than you can be challenging.

As the Boomer generation ages and hands the baton of leadership to the X’ers and Millennials, more and more young leaders find themselves leading those older than themselves.

This is an important question: Why do some young leaders do it well and some do it poorly?

I remember the first time this really hit me. On my first day as Executive Pastor in San Diego, I suddenly realized I would be leading staff who were older and more experienced than I was. That was intimidating, to say the least. Thoughts went through my mind like, “What do I have to offer them?” And, “Why would they listen to me?

When young staff leads older volunteers with more life experience, they often encounter the same feeling. Over the years I’ve learned that’s a pretty natural response. In fact, it’s actually healthy.

In contrast, if a younger leader assumes, and behaves like they know more than the older leaders they serve, that’s a pretty arrogant disposition. That never goes well.

Even though intimidation, insecurity or lack of confidence can be part of a normal response to leading people with more life experience than you, it’s important for you not to get stuck there. Don’t let your leadership become paralyzed because you are young. You have much to offer.

7 Insights to help young leaders lead older leaders:

1) Remember, you were chosen.

You were picked from all the others. There’s a reason for that. Someone, or several people, saw gifts, talents, and ability in you. Whether you were hired onto a staff team or you were asked to be a leader in a volunteer role, they chose you!

Don’t talk yourself out of deserving this opportunity to lead people. If you focus on their good and the good of the church, you are off to a good start.

2) Embrace the truth that they want you to win.

It’s extremely rare that someone wants you to fail, particularly those who are older than you. Yes, sometimes a few can be difficult, but every once in a while you can be difficult too. Right?

They want you to win. Think about how hard they have worked for a long time; they want all that effort to matter.

If you also want them to “win” spiritually, in their family life, at work and in life in general, this group will eagerly follow you! And they may become your most loyal and strongest advocates.

READ MORE

5 HONEST STRUGGLES MOST CHURCH LEADERS DON’T WANT TO ADMIT

This is one of the best leadership posts that I have read in the last week-STEVE

BY CARY NIEUWHOF

Most of us who get into full-time ministry do so because we sense a calling, not because it was a ‘career path’.

Chances are you got in this because you love God, deeply, right?

So it’s always a bit surprising and unusual then when ministry leaders find themselves struggling with the very God who called them into this in the first place. This is true whether you’re paid, bi-vocational or even a full-time volunteer.

Ministry can not only be hazardous to your spiritual health, it can be confusing.

But the good news is that struggling with God is normal. You are not alone.

The best leaders struggled with God.

Jacob wrestled an angel.

Moses almost quit more than a few times.

Jeremiah tried to quit but couldn’t.

Today’s struggles might be a bit different, but in some ways struggle is inevitable.

I personally have struggled with every one of the five challenges I outline in this post.  And what’s amazing to me is that you can get through them. You really can.

Sometimes all you need to know is you’re not alone. And you’re not, even if you feel that way.

Here are 5 ways ministry leaders struggle in their relationship with God:

1. You see setbacks in ministry as a personal statement from God about you

Hey, everybody thinks this way when life circumstances don’t tilt in their favor (why did God allow me to have cancer/lose this job/be in this place?). So it’s natural that this line of thinking would emerge in ministry.

Just because things aren’t going the way you want in ministry isn’t an automatic sign that God is angry with you. I’m always amazed that constant imprisonment didn’t cause Paul to second guess himself or God.

God isn’t always punishing you, even if it feels like he is.

The key is to take the setbacks in front of you seriously, not personally. You’ll be so much healthier.

2. You believe that greater faithfulness should result in greater impact in ministry 

Ever tried to improve your personal devotional life so your church would do better? Gosh, I wish this wasn’t true but in the early days of ministry, I really thought greater personal fervor would automatically translate into greater ministry impact.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

7 BIGGEST BLUNDERS OF EXPERIENCED LEADERS

Dan Rockwell is a daily source of great teaching on leadership.  Here is the best of his blog posts this past week – STEVE

#1. Forgetting who serves who. Leaders serve others so others can serve others. It’s easy to begin thinking the people around you are there to serve you.

Repeat to yourself, “I’m here to bring out the best in others.”

#2. Blaming rather than taking ownership. The first question real leaders ask when someone under-performs is, “What will I do to maximize their performance next time?”

#3. Thinking that self-perception is accurate. I’ve read that only about a third of us see ourselves the way others see us. You think you’re nice. Others think you’re a jerk. You see yourself as open to feedback and suggestions. Others see you as closed and rigid.

Hire a coach to perform a narrative 360 review. This process goes beyond filling out questionnaires. All participants are interviewed. To be effective, make this a forward-facing activity, not simply a backward-facing witch hunt.

READ MORE ….