Monday, 29 July 2013

The Foundation of Leadership Is Character, Not Charisma By Rick Warren

I have always respected Rick Warren and consider him to be a great leader worth listening to and learning from.  Here is an excellent article that is worth the read for ALL leaders.

Plenty of highly charismatic leaders have bombed out and failed because they lacked character, which trumps charisma every time. You don’t have to have charisma to be a leader.  You do have to have character, credibility, because leadership is influence and if you don’t have credibility nobody is going to follow you.

While your reputation is about what people say you are, character is who you really are.  D. L. Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark when nobody is looking.”  In Timothy 3:1-13, Paul lays out the necessary characteristics for church leadership.  He never addresses having a robust resume, having gone to the right seminary, or having a magnetic public persona. He talks about character traits.

Leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. There is no one particular leadership personality. In fact, there are many. You don’t have to be outgoing to be a leader. God wants to use your personality. Paul was a choleric.  Peter was a sanguine.  Moses was a melancholic. Abraham was a phlegmatic.  They are as different as night and day.  God used them all.

The fact is you will burn out if you try to imitate somebody else’s personality.  If you want to be a leader, don’t say, “I want to be like…” and pick a model.  If you try to imitate their personality, you will most likely burn out.  All leaders are very different, there is great diversity.  What great leaders do have in common is credibility and character. All great leaders have character.  Sometimes a person gets into leadership without character and then those character flaws cause their downfall.

Hebrews 13:7-8 “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”  This passage gives us three characteristics of good leaders:
  • They have a message worth remembering.  When they talk, people listen.  “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.”  Evidently, there is something worth remembering there.
  • They have a lifestyle worth considering.  “Consider the outcome of their way of life.”  Does their walk match their talk? Does their life match what they say they are?
  • They have a faith worth imitating.  “Imitate their faith.”
If you want to be a good leader, you need to develop a message worth remembering (Do I understand and articulate the gospel clearly? What is my life message?  What does God want to say to the world through me?), have a lifestyle worth considering and have a faith worth imitating.  That’s all character.

Friday, 26 July 2013

20 ways to serve your street

1.            Smile and say hello to your neighbours in the morning, even when you are in a rush!
2.            Child-mind or baby-sit for a family in the area you get to know.  It is often a real treat for those with children to get a night or even a whole day off.  
3.            Help parents with a newborn baby by cooking a meal or offering to look after older children.  This will allow them to spend time with the newest member of the family.
4.            Invite a neighbour round for coffee and a chat.  The impact of simply spending time with another person cannot be underestimated.
5.            Offer to go shopping for someone who is elderly or housebound.  
6.            Teach someone how to use e-mail, facebook or Skype something which many people don’t know how to do.  You might be able to help a grandmother keep in touch with her grandchildren.
7.            Visit the sick in hospital, especially those who may be long-term patients.  They might even welcome someone reading stories from the local newspaper to them.
8.            Help an elderly churchgoer by providing lifts to church on Sunday.  If he or she can’t be there, offer to get hold of a recording of that week’s sermon.
9.        Organise churchgoers to clean up a local eyesore.
10.        Do some gardening for neighbours who might not be able to do it themselves.  It might not be Groundforce, but mowing lawns, cutting overgrown hedges and taking rubbish to the dump can transform a garden.
11.        Do some decorating for someone who doesn’t have the time, money or strength to do it themselves.  You don’t have to be too ambitious – a lick of paint can make a big difference.
12.        Offer to drive for Meals-on-Wheels and bring some nourishment and friendly company to those that are housebound.
13.        Become a mentor for a child or teenager in your neighbourhood.  It is a great opportunity to invest time in developing a positive relationship with a young person.  Contact an organisation like Oasis Trust or your local YMCA, which run mentoring schemes.
14.        Get into youth work and spend some time with young people in your area.  Your church or council will probably be able to provide some training to get you started.
15.        Offer your professional skills to someone who could not otherwise afford services such as a plumber, electrician, accountant, language teacher, lawyer, administrator etc.
16.        Become a school governor and contribute to the life of a local school.  
17.        Serve on a Youth Offending Panel, which recruits volunteers to work with young people who are in contact with the criminal justice system.  You might be able to help them stay out of trouble in the future.
18.        Throw a street party for your neighbours this summer.  Get everyone to bring different foods, drinks and music and encourage people to get to know each other.

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Most Important Word in Leadership Development

An excellent post by Mac Lake

It seems everyone’s trying to figure out the leadership development challenge nowadays.  But when you ask, rarely do you find a church that feels they’ve discovered the secret sauce.  Because the need is so great they begin to act out of desperation and focus efforts on finding a program to develop their leaders.   Programs can useful tools, but ultimately we must remember that leaders produce leaders not programs.  When we become program dependent we may be undermining the most powerful leadership development influence of all…leaders developing leaders. 

I think there’s one word that could radically change your leadership development efforts.  One word that could impact your approach, free you from program dependence and actually begin to produce the results you’re looking for.  But unfortunately when people hear this word they begin to immediately throw up excuses, get skeptical and look for another way.  What I consider the most important word regarding leadership development doesn’t make the task easier but it does increase the odds of a successful development of new leaders.  In fact, I think all organizations should make this one word a required element in their leadership development strategy.

What’s this indispensable word?  With.  Yes, that’s it.  Think about it.

§ “Then he (Elisha) left, followed Elijah and served him.  (He was with him) 1 Kings 19:21
§ “He (Jesus) appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.  Mark 3:14
§ “Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus”  Acts 15:39
§ “Paul wanted Timothy to go with him.” Acts 16:3
What ever happened to With” in the leadership development process?  What are you doing this week?  Who is doing it “with” you?  What do you want them to learn from observing you?  What elements of your responsibilities can you give to them this week?

Give it a try and you may be amazed how much leadership development can actually happen during the “with”.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Nature vs. Nurture in Discipleship By Scott Attebery

Do these names sound familiar? –OJ Simpson, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, Timothy McVeigh, Scott Peterson, The Menendez Brothers, Jeffrey Dahmer, Lindsay Lohan, Casey Anthony, Justin Beiber, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie. What is it that we so desperately want to know about them?

For some reason, we are all fascinated by the stories of their lives. We all want to know how a boy rises from humble beginnings in Springfield Missouri to become a sought-after Hollywood icon (Brad Pitt). We are curious how a timid first grader in West Allis, Wisconsin becomes a cannibalistic serial murderer (Jeffery Dahmer). We are even enthralled to learn about “normal people” who haven’t accomplished anything significant except to make the cut on a reality TV show. Why all the interest?

I have a theory: In all of these “real life” stories, we just want to know one thing: How did they become who they are today?

Ultimately, it comes back to the standing debate in the field of social science: nature vs. nurture.
The influence of nature refers to a person’s internal make-up or traits passed down from their family line. The influence of nurture refers to external factors that have shaped a person by exposure and involvement.
For instance, in a TV trial, a lawyer will usually point to either nature or nurture to explain a defendant’s actions. “He was born with a tendency toward anger” (nature) or “Her parents pushed her too hard in her academic studies” (nurture). In the same way, VH1’s Behind the Music and ESPN’s 30 For 30  documentaries interview family and friends of famous people to determine the same factors in their lives.
Both nature and nurture can have a strong impact on a person’s life. So, when it comes to factors that affect Spiritual Growth, which is it: nature or nurture?

Check out Paul’s answer in 1 Corinthians 3:6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
Paul attributes both nature and nurture to the growth of the Corinthian believers. Paul and Appolos provided the influence of nurture by coming alongside the Corinthians and providing external factors that shaped their lives. In Paul’s case, he provided an evangelistic influence while Apollos provided a follow-up influence. Both, according to Paul, are legitimate factors in the Corinthian’s growth.

However, that’s not the end of the story. Paul also points to an internal influence (aka “nature”) when he states, “God gave the growth.” This is the internal influence where God alone changes hearts.Only God can transform the inside of man (nature). However, He chooses to use the external influences of men (nurture) as part of His sanctifying work in the lives of believers. It’s a divine partnership called discipleship.

Its too bad we aren’t as interested in what makes a 43 year old woman a faithful mother as we are with what makes Angelina Jolie a compelling actress. And it’s a tragedy that we aren’t as fascinated with what makes a 54 year old cancer survivor share his faith with co-workers as we are with what makes OJ tick.  If we were more interested in God’s unique way of growing his people, we might see a grand design of nature and nurture crafted together by the master disciple-maker Himself.  And that’s more than any reality TV show could ever capture!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

William Carey's Example of Generosity

In October, 1795, William Carey received a packet of letters in India. One of the letters criticized Carey for "engaging in affairs of trade" instead of devoting full time to his missionary work. Carey was hurt and angered by the accusation. If he had not worked, he and his family would have starved since the support from England was so slow and small and sporadic in arriving. He wrote back these words which describe the William Carey wildcard, "It is a constant maxim with me that, if my conduct will not vindicate itself, it is not worth vindicating...I only say that, after my family's obtaining a bare allowance, my whole income, and some months, much more, goes for the purposes of the gospel, in supporting persons to assist in the translation of the Bible, write copies, teach school, and the like...I mention...(this) to show that the love of money has not prompted me to pursue the plan that I have engaged in. I am indeed poor, and shall always be so till the Bible is published in Bengali and Hindosthani, and the people want no further instruction. (Mary Drewery, William Carey: A Biography, p. 91). The William Carey Wildcard is not some little gimmick to get you to give another $6.89 to [the local church]. It is a radical call to remember that we are fighting a war for the eternal lives of men and women and to use your possessions like you really believe it. "After an allowance for me and my family, my whole income goes for the purposes of the gospel." That's the William Carey Wildcard. And I believe that's the call of Jesus to all His disciples.3