Leaders see the long game

After 3 consecutive series losses, Queensland selected Mal Meninga as the coach of the 2006 State of Origin side.  There was enormous pressure on him to select an experienced, battle-hardened side but he, instead, selected a side with 7 debutants.  Among those 7 were names like Greg Inglis, Sam Thaiday, Matt Scott and Nate Myles.  He also resisted pressure and selected the much-maligned Johnathan Thurston at halfback and Cameron Smith at hooker, even though most pundits thought these two probably wouldn’t amount to much.

Yet, history tells us that Meninga was looking to the long game and, as history now tells us, that group of players made up the core of the great Queensland sides of the last 12 years.

My point is not just to trumpet the success of Queensland (though

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Leaders see behind the question

Leaders see behind the question

A couple of years after I was called to serve at Forest Lake Baptist, I had a conversation with a lady who had recently started attending the Church. At one point in the conversation, she said, “I have the spiritual gift of discernment.”

It was the first time I had come across someone who gave themselves that description so I asked, “How have you exercised that gift?”

She responded enthusiastically, “I‘ve been to many Churches and I use my gift of discernment to point out the problems in the Church.”

I asked, “Does the gift then extend to discerning solutions?”

Her response troubled me, “No, I just point out the problems. That‘s my role!”

Now, it‘s clear that what the lady above described is not the sort of discernment that leaders need. However, good leaders

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Conflict can be healthy


One of the most difficult things for any leader to confront and manage is conflict. Most leaders fear conflict because we have seen the disastrous effects of toxic conflict. However, not all conflict is healthy. Indeed, no real growth happens without conflict.

And the first thing I’d say to leaders in regards to conflict is that you don’t have to fear it. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can actually be profitable for your team. Nor should you jump in too quickly to resolve conflict that arises in your team. It may be that the best thing to do is to let it play out between members. However, that takes discernment.

Jesus seems to have been willing to induce healthy conflict amongst His disciples so they could work through a problem.

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Leaders of the church not just in the church

Leaders of the church

Leadership can be isolating. We can have a “silo” mentality where we focus on the ministry or group we lead, to the exclusion of the rest of the Church of group.

It’s one thing to be a leader IN the Church, where we lead a particular ministry or team. It’s quite another thing to be a leader OF the Church, where we see the broader impact of our leadership in the Church.

Let me give you a sporting example of what I mean. When I played rugby at school, I played at lock forward. One of my key roles as a member of our forward pack was to tackle hard. I was a better defender than I was an attacker so I would try to lead the pack in defence – land

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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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