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Category Archives: Discipleship/Formation

Great Leaders are Great Listeners

The fruit of a mature spirituality is to be an incarnational presence to another person. It was for Jesus. It is, I believe, for all his followers, especially for those of us in leadership. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus’ interactions with individuals — Matthew, Nathaniel, a prostitute, Nicodemus, a blind man, a Samaritan woman, and many others. When the rich young ruler came up to him, Jesus “looked at him and loved him.” He listened. He was present, never in a rush or distracted. He took the time to explore stories. When is the last time someone said to you, “Let me tell you about those Christians — they are fantastic listeners! I have never seen a group of ¬people more sincerely interested to know my world, who are curious, who ask questions — who actually listen to me!” Listening is not simply a key discipleship issue. It is a core. Read more.

Are Emotionally Healthy Relationships Possible?

When Geri and I became committed followers of Christ, we learned about spiritual disciplines – Bible Study, worship, giving, community, prayer, spiritual gifts, etc. We immersed ourselves in the best of Christian training and discipleship for years. It was always confusing, however, that people in the church were supposedly growing in love for God, but they clearly weren’t growing into greater love for people. We couldn’t figure out why people with “great passion” for Christ and Scripture were often defensive, judgmental, critical, unapproachable and unsafe to be around. (Sadly, this was often true for us as well.) We gradually acknowledged a painful truth – the quality of love inside the church was not really that different from the quality of love among people outside the church. How could this be, especially when Jesus repeatedly linked love for God with love for others as the essence of true spirituality? The answer lies, I believe, in. Read more.

The Massive Problem in the Church Few People Are Talking About

Over the past few years, I have become acutely aware of what may be one of the greatest problems confronting the church today: We have large numbers of people who enjoy attending church and small groups, love great worship, and serve in ministries, but do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. In a very real sense, they live the “Christian” life without Jesus. People need pastors, teachers and leaders like us to equip them. Yet if they connect to us without connecting in loving union (i.e. abiding/remaining) with Jesus, we are simply rearranging chairs on the Titanic. The churches’ effectiveness in bearing lasting fruit to impact our world for Christ will be short-lived. In this podcast I share my reflections on this massive problem and what we can do to equip our people to create space to allow God’s will and presence full access in every area of their lives. LISTEN HERE Join. Read more.

5 Core Issues for Leading Millennials

According to a Pew Research study, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. Millennials, whom we now define as those ages 20-36, number over 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 53-71). Businesses such as Goldman Sachs are studying this trend, recognizing they will “change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.” I too have been thinking about this new culture of Millennials as they increasingly become the dominant culture in many of our churches. What are the critical issues we must address to make mature disciples, build sustainable communities, and reach the world effectively? The following are my top 5: Practice Presence in a Digitally Connected World. Millennials are the first generation where social media and smart phones are the air they breathe. But screens can’t teach empathy or face-to-face conversation. We have an amazing opportunity. Read more.

Part 3: Dealing with Elephants in the Room- An EH Leader Podcast

Few things highlight our unresolved immaturities than the size and number of elephants in the room among those we lead (i.e. those inappropriate behaviors that remain unacknowledged). For this reason, God so often uses them as gifts to grow us out of our childishness into becoming godly, adult (telios) leaders. That is why we must become experts at dealing with elephants in the room. In Part 1, I explored the roots of why this is so pervasive in our lives. In Part 2, I explored five elements on how to deal with elephants. And now, in this podcast, I summarize and expand on this multilayered reality that each of us faces as we lead for Christ. Enjoy! LISTEN HERE Once again, let me invite you to our Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference on May 3-4. This unique equipping experience will equip you with the essential inner and outer life skills needed to create a truly. Read more.

Part 2: Dealing with Elephants in the Room

We often see elephants in the room as interruptions when, in reality, they are gifts and opportunities. Elephants, as I explained in last week’s blog, are those inappropriate or immature behaviors that remain unacknowledged and unaddressed on our teams. Dealing with elephants is a central part of what it means to be a leader. Of course, elephants show up on our teams. The higher up, or deeper in, people progress as leaders, the more their immaturities and gaps reveal themselves. Simply think of Jesus and his team of disciples. These are God’s gifts for us to invest in our team members and shape the culture of the ministry or organization we lead. I have 30 years of wrestling with elephants and have made innumerable mistakes, many of which are recounted in The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Nonetheless, out of these failures, and some successes, 5 elements on how to deal with elephants have emerged for. Read more.

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