Planned Obsolescence

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

Read More

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

    Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Is fear a bad thing?

One of the most striking things about our current political and media climate is the “politics of fear.”  Many political leaders today appeal so much to people’s fear of economic turmoil, terrorism, ecological disaster, etc, that we rarely hear our national leaders actually propose a vision for our society.  Fear has become a powerful tool in the hands of would-be leaders.

However, fear plays a more insidious role in the life of a leader.  If leaders are honest and transparent they will acknowledge that fear can often play a significant motivating factor in the life of a leader – fear of failure, fear of the “hard road,” fear of those who might bring them undone, fear of the unknown, etc. 

But fear is not part of God’s plan for leaders of His

Read More

Stepping Forward and Stepping Back

I went to a High School that wanted to produce leaders.  As we walked into the school assembly hall, we would pass 2 honour boards:  1 was a memorial to former students who had died in combat for our country, while the other was for former students who had succeeded in their chosen field. Picture that, on the one board, there were names and birthdates of young men who had been slain in the prime of life while, next to it, were names of Supreme Court Justices, Rhodes scholars, Australia sportspeople, accomplished musicians and even a Queensland Governor.  When we started at the school, we were asked to look at those 2 lists and we were told, “You won’t all be Supreme Court Justices, Governors or represent your country on

Read More

Focus 2016: Ask

Last week, we looked at Christ’s call for us to “abide” in Christ and for Christ’s words to abide in us.  This concept of abiding is so important for the Christian life – Jesus uses the word 12 times in John 15.  Given that the context of this passage was the Upper Room on the night He was betrayed, it is clearly something that was both important and urgent for the disciples.

And the call to abide remains urgent and important for us today as well.

Following the call to abide, it appears that Jesus goes on to give another command, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much

Read More

Focus 2016: ABIDE

I am a terrible gardener. Period.

When I buy a plant from a nursery and it says “hardy” on the sticker – that’s a challenge to me because I will probably still end up killing that plant.  I don’t know why but I just can’t make things grow.  

Some years ago, I had a tomato vine that was actually going along pretty well.  However, during a storm, the best branch was partially broken off the main vine.  I didn’t want to lose it so, with all my horticultural knowledge and experience, I tried to join it back on to the vine – by drilling it on.  Needless to say, my attempt was unsuccessful.

Because of the storm and my poor efforts, the branch withered and died – it was never going to grow

Read More

Let’s MAWL one another

One of the consistent themes of these blog posts so far has been that of raising up other leaders. 

The measure of our leadership is not just in temporary and short-term “successes” but whether we have abided so intimately in Christ that we bear “fruit that will last” (John 15:16).  We often think of the “fruit’ of John 15 as conversions or personal holiness.  But, in the realm of Christian leadership, it also means that we leave a legacy of Christian leaders whom God has raised up into His Kingdom.

It’s a powerful image to grasp that God can take my feeble, fumbling efforts and use them to have generational impact for the Gospel.  But one of the most common questions I receive is, “I understand I should raise up leaders.  But,

Read More