Archives For Lead
Your impact will only go as deep as your knowledge of the gospel of Jesus.
Your impact will only reach as far as your ability to lead others.
Your impact will only be sustained as long as your character is strong.
Your impact will only be fruitful to the extent you are faithful to Jesus’ mission.
It’s your 4D focus.
A little over a month ago I began to think about what our church is doing well that is generating momentum. My question led me to investigate and explore the intangible values that we are embracing as a church. I wanted to know what we unknowingly are doing that people are connecting with.
As I looked at processes and listen to first time guests responses and read their comments I began to see an emerging pattern. The more I narrowed my list down, the more these three qualities stood out in the working DNA of our small, but growing church.
“I felt so welcomed.”
Almost every visitor, and regular that told me about their first experience used those words, “I felt so welcomed.” Then a good percentage of the people would follow that up with, “No one judged me.”
I wanted to drill these statements down to a value and then take that value and turn it into an action to repeat. What I saw was that we were creating, or had created, a culture of acceptance.
I guess we talked about it enough, taught about it enough, and modeled it enough that our people had naturally began to make this a part of their own DNA. When someone,who wasn’t like them—whether they were of a different color, class, or context—our people have been accepting them.
“They are always asking me to take my next step.”
That’s exactly what we do every week. We challenge people.
We accept them as they are and then challenge them that God doesn’t want to leave them the same.
We challenge people by helping them recognize where they are and how applying the truth of scripture can take them further on their faith journey.
There is a reason why we can challenge people and they not feel judged. First because we accept them and secondly because of the last thing people tell us.
I felt good about myself when I left.
The reason people leave with a positive feeling is because they were not just accepted but they were additionally encouraged.
A challenge without encouragement is like running a race without a crowd. It’s harder and easier to give up. Whenever we encourage one another, we are lending them some of our courage.
One of the best ways to encourage someone is to share your story of how you took your next step and overcame that same challenge.
A DNA to Cultivate
This is what we told our Westside Leaders here in Port Elizabeth. We gave them the challenge to:
Accept people because we were accepted by Jesus.
Challenge people to take their next step.
Encourage people by sharing our story and acknowledging their strengths.
It’s not cliche for me to say this, but I believe if we are truly accepting people as they are, challenging them to grow, and encouraging them along the way, we will be able to influence more people.
Then we can lead them to accept others, challenge them, and encourage them to influence others the same way they were influenced.
I believe this could work within any organization, not just a church or non profit. I believe it could work for any context. It lets people know you believe in them and that you are willing to go with them and not just point the way.
How can this work in your context?
For those who don’t like acronyms I want to apologize. I am still, and will probably always be, one who likes to make things memorable. So if it rhymes or if it can spell a word, I will use it unashamedly—knowing it isn’t cool.
Every Thursday you can find me teaching to my 2001 Neon in my garage. This is how I sharpen my communication skills and pursue excellence.
I put on my microphone. I open up GarageBand and hit record.
I then upload the teaching to our web server and then I email the link to several of our leaders for them to listen at their leisure and send me their feedback.
I refuse to get up on a Sunday morning and give the people my first pass at the teaching. Rarely has my first pass been my best pass so why would I want to give that to God and to the people He’s called me to?
There are many who might read this and ask if this is even necessary? I believe so for the following reasons.
First, I’m still learning my art. Those who have been communicating for a lot longer than I have probably don’t need to rely on a “run through” of their teaching.
Second, excellence is a habit. I love Aristotle’s defining of excellence being what we repeatedly do. I want to be an excellent communicator, so I am creating the habits now to put me on this path of improvement. I hope to keep this habit when I am leagues ahead in my skill than right now.
Third, God deserves my best. I don’t need to elaborate this but I do want to mention the drive to be our best for God is our response to what He has done for us.
Fourth, I set the bar for the people I lead. The effort I put into leading and developing myself sets an example for those in our church. I learned a long time ago that you can teach what you know but you reproduce who you are.
Fifth, it gives me an opportunity to receive feedback which has several benefits. Asking for honest feedback by asking “what doesn’t fit? (It doesn’t need to be mentioned)” and “what needs to be more clear?” makes the teaching better on Sunday. Opening my teaching up for feedback also keeps me humble and remembering that I never arrive. Right now that is easy because I know I’m not as strong of a communicator as will be by continuing this process. One more advantage to opening up your teaching for feedback is those who give the feedback improve as communicators as they develop their skill.
After I record this teaching, I listen to it too and am able to improve the pace, tone, content and make the total delivery have a better chance of hitting home on the weekend.
This practice is crucial for me as a church planter. Sundays get hectic. Set can be rough with people not showing up or equipment not operating. Or we might have a weekend where the hall we rent on Sundays has an event the night before and they decide not to clean it until Sunday morning. These days are always a scramble.
My run-through on Thursday becomes a life saver to me. It is hard to go from problem solver to counselor to motivator to repair man to computer fixer to then teaching.
I prepare like it depends on me but during the week, especially on Sunday, I pray knowing it depends on God.
Soon, I will post the weekly teaching prep schedule that gives me the margin to put more than one evening of prep the night before.
I was emailed an interesting study from the Washington Post giving the projected United Nations statistics of where the world will be in 100 years in population and health.
The projections in this article are comforting and challenging.
Here are the big take-a-ways.
- Africa will quadruple in population with Nigeria becoming the 3rd largest country in the world.
- The majority of Africa’s growth will be Sub-Saharan.
- Life expectancy will grow across the globe.
- US life expectancy is projected to grow from 77 years old to 89 years old.
- Asia’s life expectancy is predicted to grow from from 69 years old to 83 years old.
- Africa’s average life expectancy will dramatically grow from 53 years old to 77 years old.
The Most Impacting Factor
While all of that data is encouraging, the most influential is theDependency Ratio.
A dependency ratio, as I have learned, says there are so many dependent children and elderly to every 100 working adults. (i.e. if it is a 50% dependency ratio then there are 50 children or elderly to 100 working adults.
Currently, 80% of Africa is either under the age of 15 or over 65 years old. To understand the stat, let me simply switch the percentage. Switching the numbers, 20% of Africa between 15 to 65 years old.
Eight of ten people on the continent of Africa are dependent on 2 working adults. This currently is unsustainable. But the future brings hope.
In the next 50+ years, the numbers show a tremendous improvement. By 2060, the dependency ratio drops to below 60%. This means six of ten people will be under 15 or over 65 years old.
What Does this Mean for the Church?
More churches will be needed to reach the growing population.
As the population increases, church planting will become a critical component in reaching the growing cities with the Gospel of Jesus.
Churches will need to innovate as the culture innovates.
Growing cultures mean expanding ideas. The church can choose to grow in innovation or chose to let the culture out pace them. If culture out-paces the church, then the church will struggle to catch up to speaking the language and being effective in communicating the truth of Jesus.
Innovation means an increase in transporting information. People will be using different communication tools that will enable the church to share Jesus’ story with larger groups of people. This will also increase the churches ability to disciple others to follow Jesus in new ways.
Churches will need to have a stronger ministry to the whole family.
Churches will need to expand their ministry influence. Instead of focussing on a target audience, each church will need to expand their reach to an older target as the age expectancy grows.
These are exciting numbers for the church. We need to embrace the future and pray for wisdom to know how to change and pray for courage to set aside our current templates and try something new.
You can read the full article here.
Leadership without a clear and compelling vision will lead to “leaderslip”.
“Leaderslip” is the slippery slope of not continually communicating your vision.
Leaderslip will always lead to “leadershift.”
“Leadershift” occurs two ways:
1) Someone else’s vision takes the place of the organization’s vision.
2) People migrate to a more clear and compelling vision.
Let’s avoid leadshifting,
by not allowing leaderslipping,
which is eluded by exercising strong leadership
with a clear and compelling vision.