“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left” Chinese proverb. Geri and I now depart with respect (for our partners The Willow Creek Association New Zealand and Australia, and Eagles Communications in Singapore, along with New Life Fellowship Church out of which EHS flows), with affection (for the many wonderful people we have met), and with gratitude (for the people who worked hard to serve EHS in this part of the world). I think we are finally getting it that EHS offers a powerful message of deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation that resonates around the world, and not simply in New York City. At the same time, a consistent thread weaved itself through this trip – our doing must flow from our being. In other words, live the message we preach, giving out of the overflow of a full cup. What does that look like when we are traveling?. Read more.
“Sometimes our best is not enough. We have to do what is required.” Winston Churchill Bob Biehl quoted these words to me after listening to my complaint about the detailed, administrative, technical chores that were before me as a leader. I wanted to write, create, preach and train. Hadn’t I been doing these things for the last 26 years? James March, a former professor on international management at Stanford University, says there are two essential dimensions of leadership: plumbing and poetry. Plumbing refers to the management, i.e. things like fixing the faucet in the bathroom, that are repetitive and often unpleasant. Poetry is the imagination and innovation, the art that most people call ‘leadership.’ “No organizations work if the toilets don’t work,” March argues. Yes, we want to be faithful to our God-given life. At the same time, leadership is servanthood. There are no exemptions from that. “Sometimes our best is not enough. We. Read more.
How are you being formed spiritually as a leader? This formation does not take place in a vacuum; it occurs within a certain environment and context. There are, at least, four primary ones today: Active leadership. The emphasis is on learning skills, cutting edge ideas, and creative means to preach Christ and be a more effective leader. Most conferences and para-church ministries in North America focus here. Intellectual leadership. The emphasis is on theological formation, Scripture, orthodoxy. Evangelical seminaries and a few denominations and conferences focus here. “Revival” leadership. The emphasis is on growing a heart with passion for Jesus. Awesome worship gatherings, power encounter conferences, and growing hearts on fire for Jesus are prized. Much of my charismatic, prophetic formation occurred here. Contemplative leadership. The emphasis here is on developing a contemplative, prayerful life that is rooted in Scripture and results in loving union with God in Christ. Out of this we are. Read more.
A museum curator knows he or she can only display a very small sampling of the artifacts to depict a certain era or time period. Among the perhaps hundreds, or even thousands of possibilities in their storage area, they must choose the few that are most significant. We are much like curators. One of the most important leadership functions is to edit – whether it is in deciding what to not include when we teach/preach, the focus of a staff meeting, the most significant emphasis for a given season, or what is presented in our lobby space to represent our values and vision.
I received a letter recently that I wrote to myself after a 3 day retreat over seven months ago. It reminded me again that I am the most difficult person for me to lead! The following are a few rich nuggets of gold from this short letter: 1. Remember what you are all about. (In my case, it was to take 30-50% of my time to write). 2. Guard your spirit from trifles, fast from overconsuming, and forget what others think. (See “The Woodcarver” story). 3. Feel your own weight and density. There is no need to wear other people’s faces (See the poem, “Now I Become Myself”). 4. Go to the fields and be lovely. Come back when you are through with blooming. (See the poem entitled, “Camas Lillies). 5. Stay the course and be kind to yourself. For a free sermon I preached on what it means to live a life where. Read more.