Tag Archives: Leadership

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
Little_country_church_Cedar_Valley_near_Winona,_MN
“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
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“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…
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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.”


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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…
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My Picks for Monday 11-23-2015

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

Possibly the best article I’ve read on the refugee crisis…

Building His Church in a Refugee Crisis-David Crabb
Building His Church in a Refugee Crisis“Do you see the enormity of the possibility here? We have spent years plotting and praying to get missionaries into some of the most difficult places in the world. Now, four million hurting and broken people from at least eighteen unreached people groups are coming to the West. ‘Is it safe?’ sounds like a question a government would ask. And it should ask; a government should seek to protect its people. But Christians ask, ‘What is God up to?'”


On a related note, it might be helpful to remember who some of these refugees really are. “Photojournalist Magnus Wennman traveled around Europe and the Middle East, capturing these children of war as they tried to find some rest in a frightening, uncertain world.” These are some beautiful and moving photos…

Syria’s Lost Children -Magnus Wennman
Where-the-children-sleep-refugees-09


7 Signs It’s Not Really A Team -Ron Edmondson
power meeting from above“Those are a few clues which tell me it’s really not a team. There are certainly others…You can call it what you want – could be a group, or an association, or even an organization. But it’s not a team…

It should be noted. There are times when we don’t need a team. We need a leader who will stand even if alone and lead people to places they can’t yet see but where they need to go. I have found those times to be rare when I have a healthy team. This post addresses teams – and we need them more often.”


Don’t get bogged down in this one. Just keep reading to the end.
Our God is an awesome God…

Why Fractals Are So Beautiful-Joel Bezaire
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/64988.jpg?w=1600“…when I study the amount of complexity in a fractal—zooming in closer and closer, yet never losing any resolution or altering its appearance in any way—I am reminded that the same painstaking detail went into God’s plan for my life. I break out in praise. And then I want to zoom in a bit more.”


The “human whisperer”?

http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bz-panel-11-17-15.jpg
Dan Piraro

 

 

Weekend Picks 11-13-2015

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

My experience tells me that Carey speaks truth…

7 Things Every Growing Church Struggles With
-Carey Nieuwof
growing churches struggle“So once you start growing, all the critics will disappear, correct?

Sorry to break the news…but just the opposite. They’ll line up.

You’ll have internal critics who want things to be the way they used to be. After all, the people heading for the Promised Land always want to go back to Egypt.”


Do you struggle to reconcile what scripture says about creation with what science has discovered?  This 8 minute video is definitely worth your time…

Genesis Through Ancient Eyes -Andrew Wilson
Genesis Through Ancient Eyes image“If I could force everyone who studies Genesis to watch one video clip, it would be this one. In just eight minutes, Professor John Walton explains what the authority of Scripture looks like for Genesis, how the ancients saw the cosmos, and what that means for our interpretation of the text.”


Seth blogs for business and entrepreneurs, but his insightful posts can often apply in church work…

Falling down the quality abyss-Seth Godin
“Often, organizations don’t realize that they’re falling down the abyss until extraordinary efforts are required to make a difference. But it’s always easier to fix it today than it will be tomorrow…

The challenge is to have the guts to care even when you’re not apparently rewarded for caring.”


Just getting ready…

The Norwegian Secret To Enjoying A Long Winter
Laura Vanderkam
“At first, she was asking “Why aren’t people here more depressed?” and if there were lessons that could be taken elsewhere. But once she was there, “I sort of realized that that was the wrong question to be asking,” she says. When she asked people “Why don’t you have seasonal depression?” the answer was “Why would we?”

It turns out that in northern Norway, “people view winter as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured,” says Leibowitz, and that makes all the difference.”


Isaac Adams shares a painful experience…

Mizzou and a More Excellent Way-Isaac Adams
“Yet as we walked to our church’s building—which is located in one of the nicest parts of our mid-Atlantic city—a white gentlemen walking past us glanced at me, an African American. Then he glared at my wife, who is white, who is beautiful. This gentleman started loudly singing the following words:

“Too many niggers, too many niggers.”

Immediately I turned around and stared at this man. He stopped, looked at me, and said, “This city is the rape capitol of the world, and you’re surprised, nigger?” He turned around. He walked away.”


Life is like…well, you get it…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/lifes-box-of-chocolates.jpgSource: Wrong Hands

 

My Picks for Tuesday 11-10-2015

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

“Ressentiment” – The Danger That Destroys Your Hope
-Trevin Wax
slide12“We betray our faith when we are united more by bitterness and grievances than by cheerful confidence in God’s good purposes for the world and our love for the people who may injure us. When we are united by outrage, we look and sound just like the world.”


Why I Don’t Always Give People an Answer – Even When They Come to Me for Answers -Ron Edmondson
multicultural mentor“Leaders, parents, friends – ideally you want people to develop healthy decision-making skills. You want them to gain independence and be able to stand on their own. If you’re always making the decisions for them they will never they will never become all they can be individually.”


Winsome Weirdos -John Piper
Winsome Weirdos“According to the apostle Peter’s first letter, labeling Christians as ‘winsome weirdos’ is not only linguistically alliterative; it is also exegetically accurate. The implications for our cultural moment in America are crucial.”


Thanks, Snoopy. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of this…
Die - not die

 

 

Weekend Picks for 11-6-2015

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

You’re going to need to set aside some extra time for reading this weekend. So much good stuff!

The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy
-Sarah Boxer, The Atlantic

“Before all that happens, before the next generation gets a warped view of what Peanuts is and was, let’s go back in time. Why was this comic strip so wildly popular for half a century? How did Schulz’s cute and lovable characters (they’re almost always referred to that way) hold sway over so many people—everyone from Ronald Reagan to Whoopi Goldberg?

Peanuts was deceptive. It looked like kid stuff, but it wasn’t. The strip’s cozy suburban conviviality, its warm fuzziness, actually conveyed some uncomfortable truths about the loneliness of social existence. The characters, though funny, could stir up shockingly heated arguments over how to survive and still be a decent human being in a bitter world.”


This short list of bullet points is packed with a lot of insight…

Ten Differences Between a Boss and a Leader -Eric Geiger
MichaelScott_TheOffice


As the title suggests, this is pretty long. Set aside a little time this weekend to read it, you’ll be glad you did. After all, it’s N.T. Wright. You can’t go wrong with Wright! (See what I did there?)

What Is Marriage For?-N.T. Wright
Tracing God’s Plan from Genesis to Revelation
painting of man and woman“Now it’s important to begin with that big picture. If we don’t, we can easily imagine that what the Bible has to say about men and women, about marriage, about all that follows from and surrounds that complicated and rich and exciting topic, is simply a set of rules. We in the Western church have tended to isolate rules from the rest of the picture. We have imagined that the purpose God wants for us is to leave “earth” behind and to go to “heaven” instead, and that God has in the meantime given us these somewhat arbitrary regulations for how he wants us to behave…Now that isn’t just a parody of the truth. It is actually a radical distortion of what the Bible is all about.”


Ann Coulter Is Wrong About Russell Moore, Evangelicals, and America-Brandon Mark Showalter
“Ann Coulter has written some real doozies over the years and her latest column is no exception. Much like her left-wing friend Bill Maher, the conservative author and columnist has one acerbic tongue and it was on full display in her recent effusion denouncing the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (SBC) President Russell Moore. When Coulter wants to be she is an articulate defender of first principles, a shrewd prognosticator, and–also like Bill Maher–a bold voice decrying political correctness. Yet she consistently manages to disembowel her strengths with her penchant for saying truly vile (not to mention ridiculous) things.”


Speaking of Russell Moore, I really enjoyed his take on the CMAs and country music in general…

What Hath Jerusalem to Do With Johnny Cash?
-Russell Moore
rsz_6036694106_13640308c8_b“Country music recognizes sin and redemption even from people who are lost. Whereas in some other genres of music you can have sin consistently glorified with no consequences, country music rarely does that. Of course, there is much singing about sin–but it is almost always sin that has some hope of redemption or some recognition of judgment, the sowing and reaping and consequences. Country music tends to bypass self-justification by recognizing that something is wrong with the heart.”


I think if looked out my window at this, I’d freak out just a little bit…

 

 

My Picks for Thursday 11-5-2015

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

Ed Stetzer has a lot of good stuff to say here. May we listen well…

Three Ways Christians Can Be Like Jesus Amidst a More Polarized Culture-Ed Stetzer
Three Ways Christians Can Be Like Jesus Amidst a More Polarized Culture“As we Christians watch our views become ever more unpopular in an increasingly polarized culture, the temptation to defend ourselves in vitriolic, even hateful, ways will grow. As we interact with others virtually or in our communities, we must remember our call to live like Jesus. We must not adopt secular rules of engagement regardless of whether culture is religious or irreligious.”


How many times have you heard someone say, or perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, “I’m not being fed by my pastor’s sermons”?

Bob Russell does a great job addressing this common complaint…
Bob Russell


Seth Godin has a way of saying a LOT in a few words. Here’s an example. No need to follow the link because this is the whole post.

“It’s not your fault, but it might be your responsibility. That’s a fork in the road on the way to becoming a professional.”
–Seth Godin


And now for something completely different:
Breaking news from Bizarro Land…

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(Click image for a larger version.)