Leadership Means Letting Go …

I’ve just finished reading a book by William & Susan Bridges called, “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.”

Their basic idea is that one of the key reasons why significant changes end badly in many organisations is that the process of letting go of the “old” is not done well.  They give an example of a company that moved from their original premises to the new one. The old building was run-down, too small, cold in Winter and hot in Summer.  Conversely, the new building was large with room for growth, comfortable and more suitable for their needs.  The leaders of the company assumed everyone would embrace the change and were surprised by the negativity they received after the move.  People missed the old building – “we were all in together,” “we knew where everything

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When criticism comes …

One of the things we just need to accept (and even embrace) as leaders is that we will be criticised.  There is no doubt that there is a difference when you step up to leadership – it is like targets are drawn on your back and front.

Sometimes criticism will be unfair but, more often, there will be at least some truth to the criticism.

There are numerous examples of criticism in the Bible:

  • Jethro rightly criticised Moses for taking too much on himself (Exodus 18);
  • Nathan the Prophet rightly criticised King David for his sin (2 Samuel 12);
  • The Apostle Paul confronted Peter about his hypocrisy (Galatians 2).

The thing to note about each of these examples is that the person acted appropriately and correctly:

  • They all went to the person directly;
  • They all acted out of genuine

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When Things Are Going Well ….

We’re in a good season at the moment as a Church.  It’s only the beginning of March and yet we’ve see a team prepare to plant a Missional Community, 5 people baptised, 6 kids commit their lives to Jesus at Kidzone, numerical growth in our services and people stepping up to serve.

One of the outcomes of all these good things happening for me is that I love being active in it – almost every meeting feels positive and there’s lots going on so I fill my diary with more meetings.  Additionally, my health is in as good a place as it has been in 5 years so I have a lot more energy than I have had in a long time. 

So, I get busier and busier, enjoying ministry and life. 

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We Give Out Of An Endless Supply

One evening, I was serving up the last of a tub of ice cream to our kids.  I had been sure to dish it out evenly and I served it from youngest to oldest child (because little kids are not great at waiting their turn).  However, by the time I had finished serving it, Angus had already finished his and wanted more.  I tried to explain to him that there was literally none left in the tub but, even though I showed him the empty container, he just could not understand that we had run out.  He kept saying, “Daddy get more.”  The simple truth is, with any finite thing, when we’ve run out, we’ve run out. 

We cannot give what we don’t have. 

That’s the message of one of my favourite books, “Dangerous

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Your Theology Is More Important Than You Think

In the practical space of doing ministry and life, it can become easy to just get into the grind and get stuff done without asking the broader questions behind what we do.

One of the most important questions we need to ask of ourselves is, “What is my underlying theology in what I/we do?”

Theology matters!

J. I. Packer has famously said, “Every time we mention God we become theologians, and the only question is whether we are going to be good ones or bad ones.”  So, our theology undergirds everything we do. 

Let me give you an example.   A friend of mine is part of a Church that uses the phrase “On Earth As In Heaven” as a bed rock to everything they do.  When he told me about this, I was excited

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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

Conflict

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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