leadership


It’s hard for leaders to rely on others.  They like being on the pedestal and feeling responsible for everyone.  It makes them feel needed and important. 

In Exodus 18 we see Moses taking on too much in his role as judge over the people of Israel.  Good ole’ Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, rebukes him saying, “What you are doing is not good.  You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you.  You are not able to do it alone” (Exod. 18:18).

Leaders can’t do it alone.  That’s clear in this text.  God drove this point home to me even further in a book I’m reading called, Organic Leadership.  As a leader I’m not only going to wear myself out if I try to do it alone, I’m also enabling the irresponsible behavior of others.  Neil Cole says,

As long as leaders continue to fulfill all roles of responsibility, the others will not be able to do what God has called them to do.

Do you see what he’s saying?  The bottleneck in God’s work within a church if often it’s leaders.  We need to be reminded of this daily.  Moses did.  You see, the ironic thing about this story in Exodus 18 is that one chapter earlier God used Moses’ outstretched hands to conquer his enemies.  Whenever he held up his hands, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek prevailed (Exod. 17:11).  But Moses’ hands grew tired and weary and so he had to rely on Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side, in order to defeat Amalek.

Perhaps we can learn from Moses and visualize ourselves on a battlefield.  Just like Moses we must rely on others to hold up our hands in order to move forward and do what God has called us to do.  And just like Moses we must look for “able men who fear God” to help bear the burden of leadership.  The result?  I’ll let good ole’ Jethro tell you.

If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.  ~ Exodus 18:23

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10 Characteristics of a Spiritually Plateaued Leader

1. Avoids relationships of personal accountability

2. Rarely applies the truths of God’s Word to himself personally

3. Has replaced his joy, peace, and love with envy and resentment

4. Frequently looks for greener pastures in other places

5. Finds faults in others more often than in self

6. Burned out with busyness that has been substituted for simply intimacy with Christ

7. Compromises on ethical principles once held dear

8. Stays w/in safe areas of expertise rather than new learning endeavors

9. Unable to acknowledge  the wisdom of others

10. Has reduced the Christian life to a routine

(Taken from Neil Cole’s book, Organic Leadership, pg. 22-25: list by Terry Walling)

Here’s a few of the books I look forward to reading in the days ahead.

Leading Naturally Right Where You Are

Great teams always have great leaders.  It’s clear that both the Steelers and the Cardinals possessed great leadership this season.  We all know about their quarterbacks and their coaches, but I never knew about their owners–specifically Dan Rooney of the Steelers.

While most owners are somewhat stand-offish, Rooney is hands-on.  According to this article, he flies on the team charter, eats lunch with his players, and knows them each by name.  He was recently quoted saying:

We don’t care who gets the credit, and all we want to do is win. It’s very important that a team come together, that they develop respect for each other — you can call it love.”

Wow.  We can learn a lot about leadership from this man.  It made me think of a book I just finished called, Tribes, by Seth Godin.  Though it’s a secular book, there are many golden nuggets for those seeking to lead their communities to “win” and succeed as a team.  Godin says,

The first thing a leader can focus on is the act of tightening a tribe.

Great leaders connect people together to form a close community.  Indeed, when a leader cares about it’s community and the community cares for one another, great things can happen.  I think the Pittsburgh Steelers would agree.

I’ve been thinking about leadership lately.  In particular, one little phrase in Romans 12 captured my attention.  Paul lists a few of the different gifts given to the body and mentions leadership.  He says in verse 8, “the one who leads, [must lead] with zeal.”  This exhortation seems to imply that as leaders we are prone to not lead with zeal.  We are prone to laziness that keeps us from taking our people to where they need to go.  But Paul makes it clear; if you are a leader, lead with zeal, lead with enthusiasm, lead with devotion, lead with passion.

A few weeks ago I picked up a book called, Tribes, by Seth Godin.  This book helped me see another dimension of leadership that is often lacking among leaders in the church.  Godin says:

… there’s a difference between telling people what to do and inciting a movement.  The movement happens when people talk to one another, when ideas spread within the community, and most of all, when peer support leads people to do what they always knew was the right thing.

Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate.  They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.

This is very insightful.  In addition to leading with zeal, great leaders inspire their communities to own the vision put before them.  They encourage their people to talk together and share the burden they have. 

Are you a leader?  If so, lead with zeal and empower your people to talk with one another.  And when they begin to see what you see and share what you have first shared with them, you know that a “movement” is beginning.

031028530511Pastor Geoff Surratt, a self-confessed “church addict”, recently completed his latest book, Ten Stupid Things That Keep A Church From Growing.  He humbly admits that he himself has committed all ten of the mistakes mentioned in his book.  Here’s the first two:

  • Trying to do it all

“Pastors tend to default to doing everything themselves rather than working through people in the congregation,” Surratt explained to The Christian Post. “They take on a lot of different hats and wind up overworked and underproductive because of that.”

  • Establishing the wrong role for the pastor’s family

He lists five “stupid ways” a pastor or ministry leader can destroy their family while chasing after God’s vision for the ministry.

For more info. on the book, go here.  It will be published by Zondervan in May 2009.

panel1state-lp1

Is your church ready to jump in to the New Year?  A recent study by Group Publishing aims to help Christian leaders get the information they need to impact their ministries in 2009.

Some of the study’s finding include:

Check out the website for more information here.

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