Becoming Critical

Becoming Critical

It’s very easy to see the problems in other people and miss the weaknesses in ourselves. As Jesus said,

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

In the busy-ness of life, work and “stuff,” we just get so focused on the “other” that we miss the time and discipline for self-reflection.

 

The irony, of course, is that the very thing we identify in others is usually the thing that is an issue in our own lives. We can see someone else with a huge need to for others’ validation and we can be critical of their need for affirmation, when, all the while, we are doing exactly the same. Alternatively, we look at someone

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Tuning In and Tracking the Enemy

Tuning in and tracking the enemy

As we come back to my temporary role as the Leadership blog writer, we will be returning once again to a military analogy as the basis for my thoughts, as the military forms the vast majority of my leadership experience. Yet I assure you this will only be the illustration, and military experience will (hopefully) not be a prerequisite for benefitting from my thoughts.

With that preamble, the concept I want to discuss is related to the skill of tracking, which was something I always found fun during training, and was generally fairly good at it. As you may have guessed, tracking was the process of looking for sign that people had been through an area, gathering information about those people, and ultimately following the sign to their location. The sign

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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

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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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

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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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