Tag Archives: Leadership

My Picks for Wednesday 2-3-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well…

Don’t PanicGreg Forster
https://d2ipgh48lxx565.cloudfront.net/uploads/article_56a272ad48be9.jpg?Expires=1454849640&Signature=PwdCfHT1YCqmD0ROuKl974Ryq0hhwCQKfIwj5qWXmUL-U98OjqS6Rz7iF1eSXwEAlzFYJbCfcKngAV9xvT4MthFDH6uSX3is95zd4HmY5ABml5hYeJO6oI-g9zTs5CO44yb3tOMWKaobR1tUFoYSeuLZ~3~vmAlA~Ha0jbqkpbP3JV1ze2NLdvIuzgnK9nDGsC08unxNbULhHjuRERZX~OUJSHizhu8eeRtFsO5bcWpdLwmj0hX9IaamQa~WpW-MAHzx5kf8NPT4gxrStBBG3S1UH~ZNtpkpWKkhaRPjuoEAigU02xBWC1WTTl9T-laSK9JHchIH0pffBfTIaGhBWg__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIN7SVXNLPAOVDKZQ“The crisis of civilization that we are now living through was over a hundred years in the making. It isn’t going to be averted by anything we do in the next five years and certainly not by the results of the coming election. The moral conesnsus at the center of American civilization has broken down. The work of rebuilding it will take time, and election results—as important as they are for other purposes—are only marginally relevant to that work.

I know many of my panicking friends, if they’ve had the patience to read this far, will be crying out, “but even if the crisis is delayed as you say, we still need to be working very hard right now to get ready for it if we are to have any hope of surviving it!”

That’s true. That’s exactly why panic is the wrong response.”

You know I’m a sucker for church signs…

Seven Church Signs That Give a Positive Impression
Thom Rainer
“I was recently in a church that had several signs posted about not bringing food or drinks in the worship center. I asked a guest what he thought of the signs. His response was telling: “I think they are telling me they don’t want to clean up my mess.”

From that perspective, the sign was a negative sign for the church. At least from one person’s point of view it meant, “Don’t bother us.”

Many churches, however, have positive signs posted around the church facilities. Unless you are a curmudgeon, these signs would give you a favorable impression of the church. My comments after each sign reflect the message it would likely communicate…”

To The Small Team Worship Leader -David Santistevan
TO THE“Powerful worship doesn’t consist in the size and quality of your band. It consists in the hunger of the worshipers. How hungry are you? How hungry is your team, no matter how small it is? How hungry is your church? Focus on stoking that flame of desire, no matter how small or inexperienced your team is.”

Faith is the Escape Hatch for EntitlementMichael Kelley
1280px-USS_Hornet_(CV-12)_escape_scuttle“We live in a consumer driven culture, and because we do, most of the time we bring a preconceived notion to a given situation that we deserve more. We deserve better. We deserve something different than what is presented before us, whether it means a lane of traffic all to ourselves, an unbroken travel schedule, or regular promotions at the office…

What do we all do when we feel the impulse inside of us that says we deserve more and better? We trust. Again and again. And when we do, we fix our eyes on Jesus, who knew full well what He was entitled to, and yet laid it all down because He trusted the wisdom, timing, and power of the Father.”

The “better half”?
Source: Bizarro


My Picks for Monday 2-1-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well…

This one is written to worship pastors but applicable to anyone in spiritual leadership…

Playing Hurt: Leading Worship Through Pain
Barry Westman
http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/injury-1432459-1920x1280-1078x516.jpg“To save face, favor and financial security, worship pastors often sense a profound pressure to perform even when they might not feel like it. To secure their position, they often play hurt.

Most church members don’t realize the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual demands required to serve as a worship pastor. They may be aware of the investment their worship pastor has made in their own lives. What they don’t often calculate, however, is the cumulative time and energy those investments require when multiplied by the entire population of their congregation.”

Some encouragement for parents…

Patient ParentingDavid Murray
“If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in parenting five kids (now aged 2, 12, 14, 18, 19), it’s the need for patience. That has not come easily to the second most impatient man in the world, but parenting has certainly exercised and strengthened this spiritual muscle over the years. So much so, I now believe that patience is Christian parents’ greatest need. Here are six areas of parenting where I’ve learned (and am learning) to exercise patience…”

I’ve been a Francis Schaeffer fan as long as I’ve been aware of him. January 30 was his birthday so this seemed appropriate. His thoughts and insights on how Christians engage culture are still relevant and challenging today…

12 Francis Schaeffer Quotes That Will Challenge the Way You Engage CultureJesse Carey
“We are not being true to the artist as a man if we consider his art work junk simply because we differ with his outlook on life. Christian schools, Christian parents, and Christian pastors often have turned off young people at just this point. Because the schools, the pastors, and the parents did not make a distinction between technical excellence and content, the whole of much great art has been rejected with scorn and ridicule. Instead, if the artist’s technical excellence is high, he is to be praised for this, even if we differ with his world view. Man must be treated fairly as man.”

Spectacle vs. TranscendenceManuel Luz
photo-1442975433132-cb9580b88538“As worship leaders, we feel the obligation to meet that corporate need for transcendent experiences. In fact, we delight in these very experiences. And that too is a good thing. Because as worship leaders, our “job” is to help people come to the Throne in worship. More so, it is our God-breathed privilege to lead people in worship.

But transcendence can’t be manufactured. No matter how we try, we can’t program it, design it, or will it to happen.”

Source: Wrong Hands


My Weekend Picks for 1-29-2016

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Kill Your (Celebrity Culture) WorshipMike Cosper
“…rather than focus on musical styles—which are always the topic of debates, trends, and preferences (just read J. S. Bach’s letters)—I think we should zero in more closely on the trouble with celebrity culture. Celebrity culture turns pastors and worship leaders into icons. Celebrity culture turns worship gatherings into rock concerts. Celebrity culture confuses flash and hype for substance.”

I’m sharing this because it’s really, really good and challenging…
…not just because Mary and I are related…

What in the world are You doing?Mary Graham
what in the world
“So much of what I’ve always thought about Jesus was because I was an American following Jesus. I’m a white, middle class, educated, Jesus follower. Those are some hard obstacles to overcome when I’m looking at what real wealth in Jesus is. Those are some huge barricades to get past when I live in a culture all about encouraging me to reward myself for my hard work, my “busy” life, and my growing bank account.

Believing those lies makes the Gospel inaccessible for millions and millions of people.”

Why It Never Helps to Pass the BuckMichael Hyatt
A_Seal_Team_is_coming_out_of_water“I once had a boss who with the reputation of being very harsh. He could be hard on people. But that wasn’t my experience. Why? I knew the secret.

My boss was definitely tough. On a few different occasions I saw him chew a person’s face off. But here’s why: He hated it when someone tried to shift blame for an outcome, especially someone in leadership.

One of the most important marks of an effective leader—a leader that other leaders can trust—is the willingness to accept total responsibility for the outcome.

I came to my boss several times with major problems—million-dollar problems. But I owned it. Instead of blasting me, he leant support, patience, and advice.”

Lazy Susan…
Click image for a larger version. Source: Pearls Before Swine

My Picks for Tuesday 1-26-2016

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

I’ve been trying to get a balanced view of what’s really happening with the Texas indictment of the makers of the undercover sting videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the selling of human body parts. It’s hard because the sources are usually publications that are actively campaigning one way or another. I suppose that’s unavoidable on an issue like this. I have no doubt that Joe Carter has strong opinions opposing abortion (as do I) but I found his FAQ post about the charges, as well as some general info on the workings of a grand jury, very informative…

The FAQs: Grand Jury Indicts Filmmakers Who Secretly Recorded Planned ParenthoodJoe Carter

While we’re on the subject, here’s an excellent article from Frederica Mathewes-Green explaining why she moved from supporting abortion to opposing it…

When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense
Frederica Mathewes-Green
http://c6.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/roe-v-wade-abortion-era-end.jpg?itok=heSKsodf“There I was, anti-war, anti–capital punishment, even vegetarian, and a firm believer that social justice cannot be won at the cost of violence. Well, this sure looked like violence. How had I agreed to make this hideous act the centerpiece of my feminism? How could I think it was wrong to execute homicidal criminals, wrong to shoot enemies in wartime, but all right to kill our own sons and daughters?”

Don’t miss this excellent and creative post from Carey Nieuwhof…

10 Quotes from The Eagles That Will Challenge Every Leader –Carey Nieuwhof
eagles“The lyrics below are Ecclesiastes-like observations on life that make me think…again and again.

With poignant honesty, the lyrics reflect the reality of life, ambition, relationships, success and disappointment.

Here are 10 Eagles lyrics that challenge me as a person and leader every time I hear them…”

All my best posts are the posts I haven’t writtenSeth Godin
“Sometimes I’ll get a great idea for a post while out walking or showering or generally not in front of a keyboard. Not just great ideas, but fabulous ones.

And then, after rehearsing the keywords over and over so I don’t forget before I write it down, I forget.

And that post, the post I didn’t write, the post that never saw the light of day–that’s the best post ever.

I think most dreams work this way.

The thing is, an unwritten post is no post at all. It’s merely a little bit of gossamer on wings of hope. Doesn’t count.

The only good posts are the ones I’ve written.

I think most dreams work this way, too.”

Kathie and I were watching The Man in the High Castle last night and chuckling over the fact that one of the characters has the title of “Obergruppenführer,” so this seemed timely…

Source: Off the Mark


My Picks for Monday 1-25-2016

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

9 Things That Worked in the Church A Decade Ago
That Don’t Today
Carey Nieuwhof
shutterstock_281195741“You saw your ministry grow, people come to faith and the mission advance.

But times change.

And—these days especially—culture is changing faster than ever before.

As a result, the shelf life of ideas, assumptions and approaches is shorter than it has ever been.

What used to work, doesn’t. Not anymore.

What got you here won’t get you there.

Here are 9 things that used to work in ministry a decade ago that aren’t nearly as effective as they used to be…”

Scruffy Hospitality Creates Space for FriendshipJack King
eating“Unwritten Southern rules of offering hospitality with excellence have affected how often we invite people in our home. ‘We should have the __________s over sometime.’ And then we delay or postpone the invitation. Why? Because the to-do list is always there, the gap between our day-to-day home and the presentable, acceptable-for-hospitality version of our home.

But over the past several months, Emily and I are learning to lay those conventions aside. Why? Because inviting friends into our lives when we are only ‘excellent’ isn’t friendship…Friendship is about preparing a space for authentic conversation. And sometimes authenticity happens when everything is a bit scruffy.”

Below is a sermon by Andy Stanley that is a challenging message that we 21st century American Christians need to hear. I’d like to thank Marty Duren for bringing it to my attention. The video is North Point’s whole Sunday service. The sermon starts at about 29:00 and is about 40 minutes long. It is truly worth your time.

“Uncertainty is for certain. Fearfulness is optional.”

And then, considering all that it has cost so many through the generations: “Is our version of Christianity worth that?”

Seriously, you should set aside the time for this…

Click the image for a link to the service and advance to 29:00 for the beginning of the sermon.


Source: Bizarro

My Picks for Tuesday 1-12-2016

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Having been a staff member at three different churches over 35 years I can name people on either end of this spectrum…

Two Opposite Errors Committed by Church Staff
Eric Geiger
“I have seen two polar opposite errors from those who lead a ministry in a local church.

1. Being overly focused on your area

Some staff make decisions for their ministry area without much or any regard for the whole. They identify with what they are leading, but not with the church as a whole. They want to mooch from the resources, the people, and the support of the church without contributing to the whole. The staff members care only about their team, and not the overall team to which they belong. They may be perceived as highly effective but are equally as divisive.

2. Being overly focused on the whole

There are some staff that want to speak into every church-wide decision, that are constantly evaluating the whole, and that are obsessed with every interaction and every word senior leaders mutter. Instead of executing their areas of responsibility well, these staff members act as internal consultants for everyone else.”

I also know people on both ends of this spectrum. Both are prideful and both can damage community…

2 Kinds of Pride that Crush Biblical Community
Michael Kelley
“Whether we refuse to carry another’s burdens or whether we refuse to have ours born, the root is the same: I’m too good for this.”

This is great! Please don’t miss this excellent column. Why is it always so “shocking” when Christian institutions of higher learning are discovered being Christian?

Let Wheaton and other Christian colleges be Christian
Timothy Larsen
Capture“The media does not go into coverage overdrive every time a monk is disciplined for allegedly breaking his vows. Is it not time that journalists just accepted the fact that Wheaton College is an evangelical Protestant covenant community of higher education and stopped being “shocked, shocked” every time a case arises regarding what the standards of faithfulness are or ought to be in this community?”

Reader’s digest…
Source: Wrong Hands

My Picks for Wednesday 12-16-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Still Proceeding -John Fischerth
“Christmas carols have always been a mysterious phenomenon to me. They contain clear, sometimes deep and complicated expressions of the Christian faith that are nonetheless a part of secular society because they are … well … Christmas carols. They are a part of the Christmas tradition everyone seems to accept. There’s more theology crammed into just one of these carols than in most sermons, and yet you can hear them in supermarkets, restaurants, Christmas shows, and from carolers on your front lawn…

And as this song plays on in shopping malls and supermarkets, listen for it. Find it out in the world, just where we find Christ, today. Worship in the world where many are still seeking Him — still proceeding.”

You Don’t Need a Date NightTim Challies
You Do Not Need a Date Night“Marriage is made up of date nights and romantic weekends. But far more it is made up of those million mundane little moments. More than it is dancing and candlelight and bed and breakfasts, it is doing chores together, driving to church together, watching a miniseries together, eating meals together. It has been my experience that the more we enjoy those ordinary moments and the more we find satisfaction and significance in them, the less we need or even desire those extraordinary occasions.”

“The View” On “Being Good” vs. The GospelTrevin Wax
Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.19.50 PM“A remarkable conversation took place on ABC’s The View last week.

It began with an American Atheists billboard featuring a picture of Santa Claus that says, “Go ahead and skip church. Be good for goodness’ sake.” One of the hosts, Joy Behar, wondered if religious people would take offense at such a statement.

In the conversation that followed, we catch a glimpse of how people view the role and place of religion in society, as well as the counter-intuitive nature of the gospel of God’s grace.”

I think Thom Rainer is right on most of these trends,
and on his conclusion…

16 Trends in American Churches in 2016Thom Rainer
Trends 1 to 8                 Trends 9-16
16-Trends-in-American-Churches-in-2016“I have been writing on trends in churches for two decades. I certainly don’t have a perfect record with my predictions, but my overall record is pretty good.

My methodology is simple: I observe emerging issues in some churches and extrapolate them into major trends.

In many ways, I see 2016 as a pivotal year for thousands of congregations. Unfortunately, many church leaders and church members will elect not to change anything. Those congregations will be among the 100,000 rapidly declining churches.

But for other churches, new opportunities abound. For decades, churches could choose a path of modest to no change and do okay. That is not the case today. For those congregations that are eager and willing to face the culture in God’s power and strength, they will likely see incredible opportunities for ministry and growth.

It is becoming that simple.

Change or die.”

Source: Bizarro

My Picks for Thursday 12-3-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

I gotta be honest, 35 years in ministry and this has been a constant struggle. I like to think I’ve gotten better at it, but it’s still there. Carey Nieuwhof (as usual) has some words of wisdom on the subject…

5 Much Healthier Ways to Tackle Your Critics
-Carey Nieuwhof
handle the critics“Why is it that people who have accomplished very little with their lives are completely convinced they can run a multibillion dollar business far better than the CEO? Or their favourite pro team better than their coach? Or the nation better than anyone? (To which I always say, then get off your couch and do something with your life.)

Criticism is always easier than contribution.

And leadership means contributing, not just criticizing.”

I thought this was an interesting and insightful observation…

Prayer Shaming After a Mass Shooting in San Bernardino
-Emma Green
“These two reactions, policy-making and praying, are portrayed as mutually exclusive, coming from totally contrasting worldviews. Elsewhere on Twitter, full-on prayer shaming set in: Anger about the shooting was turned not toward the perpetrator or perpetrators, whose identities are still unknown, but at those who offered their prayers…

[However,] The most powerful evidence against this backlash toward prayer comes not from the Twitterverse, but from San Bernardino. “Pray for us,” a woman texted her father from inside the Inland Regional Center, while she and her colleagues hid from the gunfire. Outside the building, evacuated workers bowed their heads and held hands. They prayed.”

(To illustrate the point even further, click the word “prayed” above and read through the comments.)

Just passing through -Seth Godin
“After all, every one of his customers is just passing through, no need to care.

And that message comes through to the staff, loud and clear.

Of course, at one level, all of us are just passing through…

But most of all, life is better when we act like we might see someone again soon, isn’t it?”

There are some drummers who just don’t seem to age. He can take on the best in every generation. Of course, he’s a puppet, so…

Animal vs. Buddy Rich in 1978…

Animal vs. Dave Grohl in 2015…

My Weekend Picks 11-27-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

When Culture Leaks  -Danny Franks
“Is it possible that what we have gained through experience, we have lost through habit, and that what we have gained through organization, we have lost in enthusiasm?”

Why Controversy Is Sometimes Necessary-Albert Mohler
“The only way to avoid all controversy would be to consider nothing we believe important enough to defend and no truth too costly to compromise…

To our shame, the church has often been divided over the wrong controversies.”

Bleak FridaySteve Dennis
https://stevenpdennis.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/cropped-o-shopping-bags-facebook.jpg“Get ready. The stories about Black Friday will start ramping up today. And by the time you awaken from a tryptophan induced haze on Friday morning,  you can expect your TV to be chock-a-block with shots of reporters standing outside Walmarts and Best Buys and Apple stores and within some big fancy mall opining on what it all means.

Spoiler alert: it means nothing. Absolutely nothing.

For consumers, it’s mostly a con.”

The vulnerability of ‘thank you’  –Seth Godin
“Thank you as in: I couldn’t do it without you. As in: I don’t want to do this alone. As in: I was afraid. And mostly: I would miss you if you were gone.

Thank you brings us closer together.

Thank you is a limb worth going out on.”

This Unusual Child
“If you were going to start a revolution that would change the world forever, how would you go about it?”

I’m really looking forward to this new series beginning this weekend at WOCC


My Picks for Tuesday 11-24-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

In Defense of Christmas Cheer -Trevin Wax
Merry-Christmas-holiday-family-fun-time-lifepopper-food-magic-gathering-6“It seems that every year I come across blog posts chiding Christians for allowing the shopping season to overtake the church’s calendar. Or bemoaning the early encroachment of Christmas music (“It’s the most wonderful time of the” — NOT YET!). Or reminding us that the real reason for the season must remain front and center in a world of sentimental mush…

‘Joy and singing and big family dinners and giving and receiving and caring for the poor’ may not be what the original Christmas was all about, but it’s certainly part of Christianity as an atmosphere, is it not?”

Five Mistakes Pastors Make On Social Media -Marty Duren
Five Mistakes Pastors Make On Social Media“Social media is like a phone, car, newspaper, magazine, hammer, weed whacker, or skillet. It can be used constructively or destructively, but it has no inherent morality. Blaming social media for being misused is misguided.

For pastors, the potential good uses for social media far outweigh the bad ones. In our constantly interconnected world social media provides the opportunity to have influence far beyond our immediate circle of contacts. Pastors should avail themselves of the possibilities social media provides as a tool useful for the Kingdom.”

They Calmly Sang On -Ray Ortlund
capt-ship_storm_WIP_04“When the next 9/11 hits us, may we serve others in every way we can.  But through it all, and even right now, may we not yield to hysteria.  May we calmly sing on, because we have in Christ a hope that nothing in this world can destroy.  Our serenity will make an everlasting difference to others.”

A cheerful giver…
Click image for larger version