Niceties and Knife-Hands

Have you ever been knife-handed by a leader? It probably seems like a strange question, especially if you’ve never heard of a knife-hand before. This image above I think sums it up pretty well. Especially in the military, a knife-hand is when you point your hand in somebody’s face, particularly when you’re getting stuck into them and want to add to the seriousness of it all. It’s actually a very useful tool for reprimanding a person that has messed up.


So again the question is: have you ever been knife-handed? Maybe not exactly, but have you ever had a leader (either in church or elsewhere) that has just really laid into you in front of everybody else. Was it effective? Is it an appropriate way of dealing with issues?


The truth is, as

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A False Dichotomy

In the past, it has been quite common for leaders to be split into 2 categories: people-oriented and goal-oriented. That is, leaders either have a disposition toward the joy of their people, at the potential cost of the goals of the group, or vice versa. So we are often told to look at ourselves and evaluate which way we tend to lean.

However, I have come to see that this is a false distinction.

If we truly love people, it won’t be at the expense of the goals because our goals will take into account the people in our team and the people we serve. Alternatively, if we truly want to achieve goals, it won’t be at the expense of our people because we realise that our ultimate

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Faith Steps

Welcome to 2017!  I trust you’ve had a break to rejuvenate, and now you’re ready for another great year.


As we press into the New Year, it’s important that we ensure we’re all on the same page and pushing in the same direction – what some people call “alignment.” Organisational alignment means that, while we may all be working in different areas and at different tasks, those different efforts are all contributing to a common goal.


For us as a Church, our overall vision is to become a “Planting, Multiplying, Sending, Equipping Church that tells people Every Person Is Important To God.”  We want to be a Church that equips and sends people in such a way that we see disciples multiplied and congregations planted.  We’re a Church that’s focused on people

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Finish Well

It’s that time of year when things are starting to come to an end for the year – TV seasons are wrapping up, Christmas decorations are in the stores, work Christmas parties dot the landscape and many ministries are coming to a close for the year.

For some of you, you will be feeling like you are only just limping over the line. You’re exhausted and you’re counting down the days until you get a break. Well done for your perseverance this year! Leadership is a tough gig sometimes – you carry a unique burden and it’s understandable that you’re tired.

One of the traps we can fall into when we’re tired, though, is not finishing the year well. We get to the end of the year and we just go our

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I got Rhythm

In a recent sermon, I gave some thought to the idea of the “rhythms of life.” That is, the ebbs and flows, the rest and work, the times we need to push through and the times we can step back.

There is a wonderful sense of rhythm in nature — the seasons have their rhythm, the day has it’s own rhythm with sunrise and sunset, the ocean has the rhythm of it’s tides. Even the Australian bush has a rhythm of bushfires and flood. So, it becomes obvious fairly quickly that God has ordained that nature has healthy rhythms of restoration and rejuvenation.

However, one of the effects of sin has been to empty life of its rhythms. Instead of letting the sun order our times of work, devices now mean we

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There has never been a time in history when technology has developed as rapidly as it is now.In 2002, I gave the eulogy at the funeral for my 85-year-old grandmother and I shared some of the changes she had seen in her life – cars became commonplace, computers, man on the moon, people flying commercially, telephones in homes, etc.But, consider what’s happened even since then – the explosion of the internet, Facebook, iPhones, and so on.

One of the outcomes of our increasingly rapid technology development is that things become obsolete much quicker than they once did.Often times, when we walk out of a store with something, it is already old technology by the time we get home.This means that we now are planning for things to be obsolete – we

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Wounds from a friend

One of the dangers for any leader is that they can become isolated – not necessarily intentionally but just through circumstances and the demands of leadership. It is normal for a leader to carry more responsibility and stress than anyone else in the team because they tend to be more aware of what’s going on, the challenges and the workload.

But, as we’ve said many times in this series, leadership is not meant to be done alone. There are too many dangers to being isolated. Here are some:

  • We can become blind to our own faults because there is no one close enough to us to point them out;
  • We can be discouraged by some of the darts that get shot our way because we don’t have people around us to encourage us;
  • We

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Paddle Together

Some years ago, I worked with a lady who was into dragon boat racing. She asked a group of us (none of whom had ever even been in a dragon boat) to participate in a charity dragon boat race. We had 30 minutes to practice together just before the event and our leader decided there was really only 1 lesson she wanted us to understand – Paddle Together!

It didn’t matter if we had the strongest crew, fittest people, best boat, if we didn’t paddle together, we wouldn’t come anywhere near our potential. But, if we paddled together – everyone in time and everyone together – we would be better together than the sum of our parts.

It’s the same in Church. We need to paddle together. It’s what leadership theorists call

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Just keep swimming

I am in awe of people who have persisted in leadership over a long period of time.

Recently, I spent some time with some guys who have been in pastoral leadership for over 25 years. They gave great advice and wise insights, but the thing
I appreciated most was that their lessons came from their experience and perseverance. They had seen the highs and lows of leadership, times of incredible
doubt and seasons of exhilarating joy. The outcome of those conversations has been for me to ask “What helps us stay the course as leaders?”

The Bible speaks to this question in many ways:



For most leaders, we cringe at the word “conflict.” We have been taught that conflict is inherently a bad thing because we’ve normally seen conflict
handled really badly. However, conflict can be an incredibly profitable thing if it is handled and resolved well. Often times, it is out of conflict that
the best ideas and solutions come.

Unhealthy teams are afraid of conflict. Good teams allow conflict. Great teams encourage healthy conflict.

Abraham Lincoln famously had his “Team of Rivals.” He assembled a Cabinet of rivals and enemies, because he wanted people to throw counter-opinions into
debate. He didn’t

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