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!
Malcolm Muggeridge argued that, if Jesus was alive today, there may have been a fourth temptation. It is the temptation to a fast faith and a fast leadership. He describes it like this: One day a Roman tycoon named Lucius hears Jesus preaching in Galilee and is very impressed. “This Jesus has star potential. He could be a superstar!” He tells his representatives to “puff Jesus,” then bring him to Rome – along with the John the Baptist guy. Lucius promises: “I’ll put him on the map, launch him off to a tremendous career as a worldwide evangelist. I’ll spread his teaching throughout the civilized world and beyond. He’d be crazy to turn it down! Instead of a ragtag lot following him from Galilee, everyone will know him.” Jesus, of course, says no and is dismissed as irrelevant. “Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only’”. Read more.
I spent most of my adult life reading great leadership books. EHS led me on a journey, however, to recognize there were unique issues to church leadership that were rarely discussed. I have identified eight unique leadership challenges, each of which is powerful and far reaching in their implications. Each is worthy of a chapter or a book itself. I have crafted them in the form of tensions that we hold as leaders. 1. Dual Relationships- Supervision and Being Friends We are a church family and we often hire our friends who then become our employees. The result is I become both your pastor/spiritual leader/supervisor and friend. Which is it? We hire people we mentor and then they become our employees with a contractual agreement and money is exchanged. We are naïve to admit that all things are equal. They are not when we have the power to fire or increase/decrease someone’s pay. The. Read more.
Over my 22 years of pastoring NLF, we have contracted with an outside coach to lead our pastoral staff in a strategic planning process at least 5 different times. I was reluctant to do a strategic plan again. The church was doing well. Yes, we were at a transition in a number of areas. We were growing. But I carried bad mem0ries of striving, about internal my own motivation (e.g. Was this really for God, or was this really about me and the need to prove something?), and of tensions between staff that I had been unwilling to address. This is my first time since my journey into the contemplative almost six years ago. It has been a wonderfully relaxing, enjoyable process. Why? I think the answer is the addition of contemplative spirituality and deeper integration of emotional health into our leadership. What has been different? The following is my short list. 1. God’s will is really what matters. Something. Read more.
Every year we experience a marked increase of activity around Christmas. We have our own families to attend to (thinking through and buying of gifts), our co-workers and staff, our churches’ additional services and the normal stuff of life (e.g. food shopping, laundry, car break-downs). This time of year only accentuates our need for increased differentiation and less fusion from the forces seeking to shape us. Consider what, I believe, is God’s order for us as we shape our lives and time. 1. God. It was Heidegger who made the distinction between waiting “for” and waiting “upon” Waiting for involves looking for a specific, concrete result. Waiting upon involves allowing insight and direction to emerge, an openness to whatever God has. I spent a good portion of my day alone with God yesterday meditating on Ps. 123:1-2. The most loving thing we can do for those around us is withdraw for our rhythms with God and to wait upon the Lord. Read more.
I preached yesterday on Abraham and Sarah’s impatient decision to move ahead of God as they waited for His promise of Issac (Gen. 16:1-4). It is hard to pass judgment on them since I have birthed many an “Ishmael” in my life. Sarah skillfully develops a plan that had worked well for other “ministries” of their day. The only problem is that it was not God’s plan for them! Strategic planning, goal setting, determining our priorities and our “to do” lists are all essential leadership skills. Yet I am also aware how easy it is to use my goals and plans to eliminate the mystery and mess that come with following our living, “wild” God. So I developed this little “Ishmael Test” out of my pondering that I shared with our church family yesterday: 1. Am I afraid to ask God what His will is in this situation? 2. Am I uncomfortable exploring my hidden. Read more.