Geri and I have just begun our yearly, summer “sabbatical” rest (our old term was “vacation”). We are in Thailand, beginning to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Yet we wanted to take a few moments and share with you several highlights from our time in Singapore at the Eagles Leadership Conference where we spent the last 6 days. 1375 delegates (pastors and leaders) from 19 countries attended this very well-run, powerful conference. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were the top four countries represented. Geri and I did a plenary session around our story and the main insights of EHS. This was followed by a full day workshop for around 200 leaders, and then 2 shorter workshops around “The Leader’s Spouse (by Geri) and Insights of Monasticism for the 21st Century (me) on the final day. We were very well-received and felt greatly honored. We also learned quite a bit. The following are a few. Read more.
After another couple of weeks of pondering and passing this around our staff team for a second round of discussions, here is a second, more precise listings of our learnings. This is a living document, borne out of twenty-one years of labor, mistakes, and fruitful suffering. For this reason, I am prayerfully re-reading these lessons with a healthy reverence before God. 1. Character is more important than gifting. The power of God really is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we have overlooked issues of character, and humility in particular, we have paid a price. 2. Do not rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and proces implications, we have had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land without seeing the pillar of cloud and fire is foolishness. 3. Leaders need to take responsibility and initiative for their own growth and development. As leaders invest time in personal growth and development, they shape all those who look. Read more.
Last week we did an exercise listing our “Turning Point Lessons” out of our twenty-one year history. 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, leadership abilities, etc., we have always paid a price. Don’t rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and process implications, we have had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land is one thing. The pillar of cloud and fire saying it is time to go in is another. Leaders need to take responsibility for their growth and development. My journey, along with Geri’s, has had a profound impact on NLF. As we invest time in our personal growth and development, we are shaping all those who look to us for leadership. A clear, differentiated vision results in a unified leadership and. Read more.
I returned this week from 5 weeks away and began the difficult transition of coming down off the mountaintop of being away with God for a sabbatical rest (i.e. vacation) and returning to the ordinary, the mundane, the imperfect, the very real work of life. The work of bills, house, cars, parenting our four girls, congregants with cancer, families in crisis, a sermon to finish and the rest of what makes up pastoring a church. It sure is easier to be a contemplative away from it all! I am sobered by my limits and body resisting too much activity after time away. By God’s grace, I am trying to listen to the Spirit in my body/spirit to live slowly. Each year I teach a course for 3 consecutive weeks on a book of the Bible. This year it is Galatians and the theme of Sonship and the gospel, one of the greatest contributions of the. Read more.