The McDonald’s leadership model was talked about so much in the evangelical leadership culture in which I was nurtured that I was stunned watching the movie The Founder. The movie tells the story of Ray Kroc and the history of McDonald’s – a company now worth over $100 billion with 36,899 stores in 120 countries. McDonald’s, I was told repeatedly, offered a model to grow our churches – simple, scalable, clearly branded, and entrepreneurial. Sadly, we never talked about the shadow side of McDonald’s history. The Founder does. As I watched the movie, I was reminded of the ancient proverb quoted by Os Guiness many years ago: if you are going to dine with the devil, you better have a long spoon. The Founder stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc who meets Mac and Dick McDonald as they are running a successful burger operation in 1950s Southern California. He sees the franchise potential and. Read more.
One of the most challenging tasks of leadership, and life, is perspective. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: The years teach much which the days never know. I spend much of my time with pastors and leaders from around the world. The surface questions vary, but the underlying ones are similar: “Where is God in all these difficulties? Why is leading so painful and slow? How do I make it long-term?” In this podcast I attempt to give a long view of leadership around God’s process of making us “great” leaders. (“Greatness” refers to remaining faithful to become the person God has called you to become, and do what He has called you to do.) Highlights include: Illusions we must unlearn; The most significant book that helped me stay the course in my most difficult years; Great counsel given to me that has stood the test of time; Practical tips for young leaders in. Read more.
I recently rediscovered these “Turning Point Lessons” that emerged out of a strategic planning retreat of our New Life Fellowship staff team in 2010. At this point, the church was twenty-two years old. What struck me as I re-read these is how timeless and relevant they are for today. The following are my edits and summary out of that discussion: Character is more important than gifting. Being is more important than doing. When we have overlooked issues of character because of anointing, effectiveness, or natural abilities, we have always paid a price. Do not rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and process implications, we always experienced regrets. Seeing the Promised Land without carefully discerning God’s timing led us on detours and painful disciplining from God. Be sure each leader takes responsibility for their growth and development. Our world and church are constantly changing. Thus, every leader needs to be. Read more.
Supervision of people is one of the most important tasks for every leader, especially for Christian leaders. We are concerned, not simply with the task they are commissioned to do; we are also concerned with their personal development and spiritual formation. Why? Work performance and spiritual formation are inseparable. So a spirituality of supervision is not simply coordination of their work with the larger whole. And it is different than mentoring (i.e. pouring into another to resource their growth). Supervision is all about stewarding—bringing out their best contribution in the context of your particular mission. Supervision involves a unique exercise of power (i.e. “the capacity to influence”) as I help my supervisee reach my goals. For this reason, it must be learned and is more an art than a science. The most effective supervision is carried out in a coaching mode—equipping and releasing others to do the goals we have agreed upon, and holding. Read more.
Thomas L. Friedman released an important book a few months ago called Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. I usually take notes on the blank white pages in the back of a book. For a few seminal books, however, I actually type out key things God might be saying to me personally and as a leader. Thank You for Being Late was one of those books. My goal here is not to do a book review, but to share with you my top applications: We must be self-motivated, life-long learners. The world is changing at a pace so fast it has risen above the rate at which most people can absorb all the changes. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, says it best: “The 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able. Read more.
The word “listen” or “hear” is found more than 1500 times in the Bible. The problem is that it is easy to lead FOR God without listening TO God. That is why the most important question every one of us must ask throughout our days is: “God, how are you coming to me, what might you want to say?” The question then needs to be applied specifically to different areas of our lives. Let me provide you with a few examples of what that looks like in my life: Time with God. “God, how are you coming to me in Scripture and silence today?” At times he leads me to linger over a passage, a phrase, or a text for days – even weeks. At times he leads me to read whole books of Scripture in one sitting. While I practice 20 minutes of silence and stillness each morning, I am also listening to. Read more.