When we take on a new role or position, it is helpful to remember Tertullian’s (155–222 AD) wise counsel: “It is God’s nature to be patient. One of the signs the Holy Spirit has descended is that patience and waiting is always by its side.” A few years ago Bobb Biehl, one of my mentors, shared an application of this principle that has served me well. It is the 4-year rule: When you take on a new position or role, it will take you 4 years to learn it. (This applies even if you have been in the organization for 20 years yet are moving to a new role). Year 1: Orientation – It takes one year to adjust to your new role. By the end of the 1st year, you are beginning to understand where things are, how to relate to co-workers, the strengths and weaknesses of the ministry, etc. Year 2: Experimentation – By the. Read more.
Anxious. Frustrated. Annoyed. Angry. Resentful. These are emotional states that describe our leadership more often than we care to admit. Relaxed is not an adjective I hear often to describe us as Christian leaders. Consider this important case study of Moses. Moses worked and waited for almost forty years to enter the Promised Land. Having started with 603,550 men to manage — not to mention all the women and children — Moses’ and Aaron’s patience was repeatedly tested to the limit by a seemingly endless barrage of complaints. When the people cry about their lack of food and water and accuse Moses of bringing them out into the desert to die, Moses is livid. At this point, he is also exhausted and has little capacity to manage his anger and resentment. Imagine the scene as he loses his cool: The LORD said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather. Read more.
Just as Jesus lived in a relaxed, loving union with the Father, we are invited to a similar relationship with him. “If you remain in me as I remain in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). He promises that if we do this, “fruit” always follows. Jesus doesn’t say that we cannot do things without him. He doesn’t say that we can’t lead or build a ministry without him. He does say that, unless these behaviors flow out of a relationship of loving union with him, they are worth nothing. I name God’s invitation to us loving union. Love captures the way we remain. Union speaks to the depth of the connection. It is helpful to think of the level of our loving union on a continuum that ranges from 1-10. Use the brief assessment that follows to get an idea of where you fall on. Read more.
Jesus’ leadership flowed from a deep centeredness of loving union with his Father. His activity flowed from a total dependence and unceasing communion with him. He invites us to a similar relationship with him: “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John15:5). I call this loving union. Love captures the way we remain. Union speaks to the depth of the connection. Top 12 signs I am in loving union with Jesus 1. I am relaxed and unhurried. 2. I am deeply aware of God’s great love. 3. I appreciate and love one person at a time. 4. I am content amidst suffering and setbacks. 5. I praise and promote others easily and joyfully. 6. I am generous with my time, money, and gifts. 7. I listen for God’s voice and will throughout the day. 8. I forgive and let go. Read more.
This blogs flows out of a question a friend recently asked Pete and I around books that have most shaped our journey with Christ. I noticed a couple things: I follow authors more than books so each author is a person whom I respect and resonate with. I love books that, for me, are profound but nuanced in very practical ways. I read them more than once. I read them slowly and prayerfully. The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford I know Leighton personally. Every time I’m in his presence I cry. That’s because every time I’m in his presence I’m given presence – attention, value, time stands still. In this book Leighton leads us to experience God’s presence the way I do when I’m with Leighton. New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton This book led me into a conversion of heart that slowed me down to enjoy God and receive His love in deeper ways. Again, doing for. Read more.
As I was reading Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, by Peter Steinke (an excellent read), I began to wonder. Are we being honest about the depth nor extent of the fundamental illness afflicting our leadership of the church in the 21st century? Maybe better said, am I being honest with myself? As we work with denominations and pastors, many of whom are now doing the church-wide initiative in emotionally healthy spirituality, it is becoming increasingly clear that the call to slow down our lives so we have integrity, is much more comprehensive and far-reaching than we initially realized. Our faulty training and models for church leadership have so negatively shaped us that, to sustain long-term change, we need an enormous inward passion from within and external support for a new direction. Steinke cites an illustration out of the medical field. For thousands of years, women were dying of fever at childbirth. This. Read more.