Pete signed off from social media last Thursday, August 3rd as he exited the EHS offices to enjoy a restful vacation/sabbatical. Over the next 3 weeks while Pete is away, we’ll be sharing 3 new podcasts that we recorded before he left. Enjoy! Drawn from a New Life Fellowship Church strategic planning day over 7 years ago, in this podcast Pete shares 10 insightful leadership lessons he and the staff team identified during their planning meeting discussions. These lessons remain relevant to church leadership today. What might you add? – The EHS team on behalf of Pete Empower Your Church to Really Love Others in Difficult Situations. Join Us for this Training Event from Anywhere!
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.
I recently finished Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. It was, by far, the best biography on Bonhoeffer I have read. After pondering his life, the following were three key questions I asked myself: 1. Do I really have the courage to follow Jesus wherever He leads? Between his natural talents and upper-class, family connections, Bonhoeffer could have done anything with his life. Yet he became a pastor and theologian. When Hitler came to power in Germany, passing legislation that German Jews without Aryan blood be removed from the German Christian church, Bonhoeffer immediately saw the contradiction. He was one of the first to speak out: “Only he who cries out Jews can sing Gregorian chant.” We must “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31). As a result, he lost his position, his security, his reputation, his opportunity to marry the woman he loved, and his life out of. Read more.
Last week I preached on this at the twentieth anniversary service of Iglesia Nueva Vida. I was senior pastor of the church for five years before Pastor Julio Rodriquez took over leadership and greatly expanded the work. They now number about a 1000 people and have over 90 works in Latin America. You can listen to this bilingual message if you like by clicking here. (I actually begin speaking 1 hour and 12 minutes into the video). The following are the hard lessons that I wished someone had taught me 24 years ago when I began pastoring: 1. Be Yourself. I spent too much time in my early years trying to be someone I was not. As Rumi said, “To live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage.” David models this for us in 1 Sam. 17 as he takes off Saul’s armor. This takes great courage and faith. 2. Seek. Read more.
God came to me through two great biographies that I finished reading recently. The first was about Micky Mantle. was one of the greatest, most gifted American baseball players that ever lived. When I was growing up, everyone wanted to be like Micky. He enjoyed unprecedented success, wealth and fame in his twenties. He seemed to be immune to the suffering and pain of life. All his dreams and more were his. By the time he was in his early 60’s, however, as he lay dying of liver failure, he grieved and wept over his life. “I’d like to say ot he kids out there, if you’re looking for a role model, this is a role model. Don’t be like me… Everything I’ve got is worn out. Although I’ve heard people say they’d like to have my heart… it’s never been used.” Nelson Mandela’s reflections on the end of his life, as recounted in Conversations with. Read more.
It is ironic that Christmas is often the time we as pastors find ourselves least centered on Jesus. With the emergence of social media and new technologies, this problem has reached proportions. The following is an adaption of my top 10 lessons for leadership applied to this Advent season. 1. Be yourself. You and I are uniquely crafted by God to lead. That means we cannot do what others can. You may be able to do more or less. The great challenge of leadership is to calmly differentiate your “true self” from the demands and voices around you. Discern the desires, vision, pace, and mission the Father has given as you lead. Take off Saul’s armor. How much activity can you sustain without losing your soul? And remember, “to live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage” (Rumi). 2. Your first work is to be contemplative before God (to be with him). Our. Read more.