I have been reading Peter Drucker for years. I recently finished Bob Buford’s new book, Drucker and Me, where he records his learnings from being mentored by Drucker over a thirty-year period. The following are the insights that challenged me to pause, to pray, and to ask God what adjustments He might be inviting me to make in my own leadership. 1. “Build on islands of health and strength.” 2. “The predominant need in our culture is for individuals to make their lives useful to themselves and other, and nonprofits are best suited to do that.” 3. “The best nonprofits devote a great deal of time to defining their organization’s mission.” 4. “The fruit of your work grows on other people’s trees.” 5. “When the horse is dead, dismount.” 6. Have people you mentor meet with themselves before meeting with you. Drucker forced Buford to write a letter outlining the challenges he faced. Read more.
85% of Christians are stuck at a personal Wall in their walk with Christ. It may be that another 85% of leaders are stuck at a Leadership Wall also. In Real Power: Stages of Personal Power in Organizations, Janet O. Hagberg develops a helpful model that integrates the essential place of the Wall in our lives as leaders. We tend to have one particular stage that best describes where we are now. Note you have to pass through one stage to get to another. Each builds on the ones that go before it. And it is possible to remain stuck in our leadership at a certain stage and choose not to move forward. The following are the six leadership stages: Stage 1: Powerlessness – We feel powerless, like we are being pushed around, controlled, and taken care of by others. We are dependent on others to get things done and need approval for almost. Read more.
Our two-week vacation in Italy confirmed what I had heard for the last 30 years: Italy is one of the least evangelized countries in the world. It is a country filled with beautiful, historic churches and, perhaps, the best Christian art in the world. While open to spirituality, the population is alarmingly disconnected to Christ and His church. As much as I attempted to shake off my grief (and enjoy vacation), I had a deep sense God might be saying something. Allow me to offer you a few gleanings that emerged out of my wrestling and listening: We need to recognize that the old wineskins and ways of doing church are over. We need new wineskins today for the wine of God that flows from His throne. The way we presently do church cannot contain what God wants to do, not only in Europe, but in North America, Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe,. Read more.
For years I heard the maxim: “Only the one who has learned to be silent is prepared to speak.” I would also add: “Only the one who has learned to be silent is prepared to lead.” Think about it: Paul, after his conversion, spent three years in a silent retreat in Arabia. Jesus spent thirty years of silence until he opened his mouth and began to teach. John the Baptist spent his adult life in the desert before he brought a word from God. Ezekiel said, “For seven days I sat in silence and was dumbfounded.” Job seven days in silence until he opened opened his mouth in anguish. Habbakkuk and Samuel waited before the Lord before they spoke. How can we learn to lead out of silence in the midst of our noisy world and churches? Slowly practice silence…. before, during, and after our words. This is a life work, and it can. Read more.
We want deep churches where people are transformed. We also want wide churches that grow rapidly in numbers. The problem is that these two values are often incompatible. Think about it. Let’s say you are committed to bridging racial barriers in the church. That requires you slow down enough to listen to people’s stories, to ponder the complexity of structural and personal racism, to wrestle with issues of power and privilege, to read history and perspectives different than your own. Let’s take sexuality, singleness, and marriage. You can offer a class for 300 people at a time, touching broad theological issues at the 10,000-foot level. The problem, however, is that the issues are highly complex and nuanced. Each person and marriage has personal questions and struggles that require one-on-one conversations. The very preparation for this kind of formation slows you down. Think about the breadth of what is involved in a person’s formation in. Read more.
I did a year-long internship at Grace Chapel when I was a seminary student many years ago. I did that in order to learn from Gordon MacDonald, the senior pastor at the time. Over the last 30 years, God has used Gordon as a key mentor in my life. (He is now 72 years). Last week, at the Germany Willow Creek Summit, we had a great deal of time together. The following are the key points of the message he delivered last week at that conference. His text was: ‘”I have fought the good fight, finished the course…”(2 Tim.4) Here are some things MacDonald said you can anticipate as a leader over the long-haul: 1. You can anticipate periodic brokenness and rebuilding. “I have been broken so badly (in leadership) it is a wonder the pieces ever got put back together again. You have a choice you must make every day. Most people will. Read more.