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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Part 6 of 7 on Leadership: Where Eagles Dare: Maintaining Altitude

1 Timothy 3:1[MSG] If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap

Maintaining Altitude

There is a saying, “You can not take people where you have not been.” In order to lead a team and leader must be committed to personal growth. If a new leader wishes to maintain the altitude at which he or she is flying he or she must be committed to growing. Through the leader’s own personal growth he or she is able to add value to the whole team including the organization he or she works in. Leaders, whether they are new or old, must be committed to personal growth. A leader who is committed to personal growth can and will add tremendous value to the lives of those he or she leads. Not only does the leader add value to the team he or she is leading but also to the organization he or she is a part of. Reading books, attending seminars, finding mentors, and building a library are all ways for leaders to stimulate personal growth. No one just walks in and has all of the tools they will ever need to lead successfully. Many of the tools that a leader needs must be discovered. Personal growth requires the leader to pay a price. The price is paid through money, time, and effort given to grow. A leader can not expect his or her team to be committed to personal growth if he or she is not. A team’ s direction can be heavily swayed by the leaders commitment to personal growth. Maintaining altitude can be achieved by reading, attending seminars, attending conferences, finding mentors, and mentoring. This is not an exhaustive list there are additional ways to maintain altitude. A new leader must find or create ways to soar at his or her current altitude so that eventually he or she can go higher.

Blazing a Trail

A leader should not ask his or her team to do something he or she has not done. A leader can not ask his or her to go someplace he or she has never been. Encouraging a team seek personal growth and then not modeling how to grow personally is ridiculous. It is the old “do as I say not as I do” mentality. If a leader wishes to maintain his or her current altitude then he or she will have a personal commitment to personal growth. Leaders who wish to take their teams to higher degrees of success to invest in their team and in themselves. Through the leader’s commitment he or she adds tremendous value to the team. The addition of value does not stop there it extends to the whole organization and everyone the leader comes in contact with.

Never to Old to Grow

A friend of the author’s was once sharing a story about his father. He said that one of the things that challenged him the most is when he was dropping his sixty plus year old father at the airport in his father’s car. After he had dropped his father off he said he reached into the center console to find something to listen to and he discovered a tape series on being a better communicator. Here was a sixty plus year old man with over thirty years experience as a communicator still committed to personal growth. The gentleman then shared how he had made a commitment to grow himself stating, “If this great man is still seeking to grow I must.” A mistake a new leader or seasoned leader can make is that they know it all or have no need or time for a personal commitment to growth.

Adding Value to the Team

One’s own personal value is increased through a commitment to personal growth. Gaining additional training and knowledge only adds value to the person and the person’s team and ultimately the organization. The leader gains value and betters themselves and through the bettering of one’s self the team gains value and the organization or team universal is better. Every person who comes in contact with the leader committed to personal growth has the opportunity to grow as well. The author has heard it said, “Everyone can learn from anyone if they desire to.” A leader, new or seasoned, should strive to be an expert in their area of responsibility. A commitment to personal growth is vital to the life and longevity of any and all leaders. A leader is either growing and advancing or shrinking and retreating. In a world filled with multiple avenues to increase value through education a leader would be in error not to seek to add value to self and team.

Ways to Stimulate Personal Growth

Reading books on a variety of subjects or in the area a leader is most passionate about can stimulate personal growth and increase one’s value to the team and organization. The author has been committed to reading books on a variety of subjects for many years now. The wealth of knowledge that has been gained through reading has increased both perceived value and true value in three different team and organizations. Attending seminars is a wonderful way for a leader to get away for a half a day, full day, or a few days and focus on personal growth. Attending seminars gives the leader a chance to learn and grow in both a lecture and interactive setting. Seminars on leadership, team building, finances, management, relationship building, and the list goes on and on. Seminars can challenge inspire and give practical application ideas for all leaders. One outstanding way to commitment to personal growth is to seek out a mentor or a number of mentors. This gives the leader a chance to learn from the experience of men and women who have been or are where the leader wishes to be. Finding mentors is not easy but it is worth the time and effort. Mentors can hold one to a higher standard than one may expect. A friend of the author shared a captivating thought he learned from his mentor.His mentor told him, “You don’t get what you EXPECT you get what you INSPECT.” A leader willing to put him or herself up for inspection is definitely committed to personal growth.

Paying the Price to Maintain Altitude

The price to maintain altitude is paid through blood, sweat, and tears. A leader maintains altitude by investing time, money, and effort to personal growth. Blood represents life. Giving one’s life to personal growth is a price that many are not willing to pay but it is a necessary part of being in leadership. A leader’s life must be given to growth. The reward for a life given to growth is the right to lead others. Sweat represents the fulfilling of a leader’s purpose. Leaders are built not born. While some are born with all the tools it takes to be a leader it does not make them a leader. Leaders are built as they seek to fulfill their purpose in this life. Some never fulfill their purpose because they are afraid to pour out the sweat and discover then fulfill that purpose. Tears represent the effort a leader gives to see him or herself, their team, and organization grow.There is no substitute for effort. You can put a person in a leadership role but they still have to lead. If the effort to lead is not put forth the person and the team will ultimately fail. So maintaining altitude requires a leader’s blood, sweat, and tears.A commitment to personal growth requires an leader’s life, purpose, and effort.

Who Holds Sway?

The direction of a team is heavily swayed by the leader’s commitment to personal growth. If the leader if committed to personal growth and leads by example his or her team will follow. A leader can not ask a team to be committed to personal growth while he or she is not. A leader can heavily sway the direction of his or her team by supplying books, seminars, and mentors for his team members and organization. Bringing in a skilled person to offer training and instruction for a team is a wonderful way of adding value to the team. A new leader and the seasoned leader must constantly seek out new ways for him or herself and the team to soar. Maintaining altitude for an extended period of time will eventually lend itself to gaining altitude. The leader holds sway over both his or her and the teams ability to maintain and gain altitude.

Life Lessons From The Author

I would not trade my college education for anything. It was a tremendous time of growth and discovery. However, my education did not end with a degree hanging on my wall. It was the beginning of a life and study and growth. As a leader I have a responsibility to myself, my team, and my organization to grow. I have made it a life mission to study books, go to seminars, listen to CD’s and podcasts , take courses, that will stimulate personal growth. When I was fresh and new to my field I made it a priority to go to seminars to gain knowledge and ideas. I made calls to successful people in my field and visited different organizations to gain personal growth. On one occasion I was at a conference for leaders and I had a life changing moment. I will never forget that day. It was the day I realized that no one is going to educate me I must take responsibility to educate myself. I could no longer count on my organization or leaders to grow me I had to grow myself. I hated reading because I had always read for the wrong reasons. When I started reading to gain personal growth and add value to my life I start reading constantly. Reading became a way for me to grow and when I started seeing results because I my commitment to personal growth I never looked back. I started giving the books that I had finished reading to other leaders and those I was mentoring. To this day if I read something that speaks to my life I quickly refer the book, tape, seminar, or tool to those around me. If I commit myself to personal growth I can hold my team members and leaders to the standard that I set. I will only take people as far as I am willing to go myself.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in COAH

 

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Part 5 of 7 on Leadership: Where Eagles Dare: The Battle: Dealing with the Turkeys

Proverbs 25:4 [MSG] Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice; Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.

Dealing with the Turkeys in the Flock

The first thing that must be done before one can deal with a turkey is to define what a turkey is so that they can be identified. A “turkey” is a member of a team or organization who has his or her own agenda. “Turkey’s” are great at politics. They know what to say and when to say it. The author likes to call them “word smith’s” because they can take words, whether it be yours or theirs and twist them to benefit themselves. Turkeys are also masters at covering their ineptitude. In short, turkeys are the team breakers rather than team members. They are team members who have a position but not a passion. You have heard it said that “eagles don’t flock”, well turkeys do! Dealing with the turkeys within a team or organization can be extremely tricky. If they have the favor or ear of the head leader a new leader must walk cautiously and carefully when dealing with them. Turkeys will not be hard to find for new leaders because they are insecure and normally they will make themselves known through their actions toward the new team member. Turkeysseem to always be striving to make life for a new leader difficult. If the new leader is confident, consistent, and committed and begins to get noticed for his or her successes he or she must be careful to watch their backs. The new leader must use their words and actions with great wisdom. Turkeys with a certain amount of “pull” or “power” or resources can make life miserable for new leaders trying to fulfill their purpose. A new leader must not be afraid to confront the turkey and stand up for what he or she is trying to get done. An effective way of dealing with a turkey is to let one’s work and success speak for itself. No one can argue with success!

Turkey’s Defined

The key to dealing with turkeys is to know what a turkey is. One can not deal with someone or something if that someone or something can not be identified. It is easy to identify a turkey because they have their own agendas. Usually they try and mask their agenda with words but their actions reveal the truth. Turkey’s are excellent politicians. They are full of false concern and they use that to gain information. They always seem to be where the head leader is and they always seem to be in his or her ear. Turkeys have a position but they do not have the passion or drive to fulfill the purpose of that position so they use words to cover ineptitude.

Turkeys are “Word Smiths”

They have the uncanny ability to use words to accomplish their agenda. In the book of Esther in the Bible there is a story of a man named Haman. He is a perfect example of a turkey. He used the king’s own words to have a whole people group exterminated. When the king finally discovered the plot because his queen, Esther, was a member of the people group condemned to die. He had Haman executed by the very words he used to try and destroy a whole people group.Just as Haman used words to fool the king turkeys use words to influence the head leader. The most alarming issue is that they can your words or their words and use them to gain leverage and benefit themselves. Words are powerful so a new leader should use them ever so carefully when dealing with the turkey or turkeys on a team or in an organization.

Turkeys are Masters at Covering Their Ineptitude

Many times the turkey has gotten to the place he or she has by using words to convince the head leader he or she is capable and possesses the abilities needed to fulfill the purpose. Other times the turkey has been put in the position due to the “principle of princes” or length of service in an organization. No matter how they got their they are masters at covering their own ineptitude. The glaring reality of this is felt when other members of the team are relying on the turkey to help them “tow the line” and accomplish the purpose the organization has been created to accomplish. The challenge comes when the turkey continuously “drops the ball” and leaves the new leader or other team members “holding the bag”. It is in those times they use words or actions to cover their ineptitude. Dishonesty and deceptive practices are tool used by these turkeys.

“Eagles Don’t Flock”

We have all heard that “eagles don’t flock” well turkeys do. They usually seem to flock the head leader. The heaviest challenge for a new leader comes when the turkey has the ear and the favor of the head leader. It is at this time the new leader must walk cautiously because he or she could be in grave danger. When a turkey has flocked with the head leader and he or she has gained favor the turkey will make sure the new leader understands the power that they wield. It is a defense mechanism Used by the turkey to keep new leaders and other team members at bay. Flocking close to the head leader provides protection for the turkey to cover ineptitude and it provides safety from the criticism of other team members.Turkeys are normally very insecure and they will attack the new leader or team member as a way of gaining self-assurance. They also attack the new team member if the head leader is paying particular attention to him or her. This is the best time for a new leader to establish themselves with the head leader by not attacking the turkey but letting the turkey hurt themselves.

Success Breeds Jealously from Turkeys

Turkeys do their best to make the lives of new leaders difficult. When a new leader comes in and is well liked by other team members the turkey will see that as a threat to their security. It is in these times that the new leader must be extra careful with words and actions. If a new leader comes in and begins to build success after success and the head eagle notices the efforts of the new leader the turkey can become jealous and launch an attack against the new leader. Jealously is an ugly thing and it can cause a lot of strife within a team. It can also be used by the turkey to cause times of trouble among team members. The new leader who works hard and gets results will be the target of any turkey within and organization. The turkey sees that as an attempt to take his or her place in the flock. The turkey also sees the new leader as a threat because their results based success will eventually reveal the ineptitude of the turkey. Jealous turkeys are even more dangerous than happy turkeys.

The Power of Turkey

Turkey’s with a certain amount of “pull”, “power” , or resources can make miserable for a new leader trying to fulfill his or her purpose. The head leader feels he or she can trust the turkey and the turkey is very careful to keep his or her agenda hidden from the head leader. The turkey will use his or her “pull” with the head leader to keep the new leader from being as successful as he or she can be. It is in those times that the new leader must be committed to his or her purpose and team. He or she must seek out the head leader and negate the “pull” of the turkey by sharing his or her purpose with the head leader and explaining the benefits for the organization a whole. The turkey will use his or her “power” to dishearten the new leader and cause ineffectiveness. The author has suffered at the hands of a turkey so he knows first hand what it means to be disheartened. One particular time the author was in need of equipment to fulfill a purpose and enhance the success of members of his team and the turkey told him, “You really don’t need that stuff to be successful. You just want that stuff. They did not need it in the old days and they don’t need it now.” Then the turkey proceeded to lose the purchase orders for over six months. The head leader never once questioned why the author was silent. Many months later the head leader called the author into the office and apologized for losing the purchase orders and the author finally received the much needed equipment. That equipment was helpful in making the author’s team successful. It also boosted the moral of the team members. Resources are vital to the success of a new leader. He or she must be committed to battling the turkeys to get the tools needed to accomplish the task and fulfill the purpose he or she was called upon to accomplish.

Stand Up and Fight

A new leader must not be afraid to stand up to the turkey and fight for what he or she needs to be successful. The use of wisdom and words are key to the successful battle against the turkey. Never fight behind closed doors where words can be used against you later. Make the battle known to the head leader. Communicate openly the concerns and challenges that are being faced. If the head leader does not know about the opposition the new leader is facing he or she can not help settle the issue. The best way for a new leader to silence a turkey is to let his or her work and success speak for itself. No one can argue with results. Results also allow the new leader to stand up and fight. When the new leader’s performance outweighs the performance of the turkey the head leader must see the value he or she has brought to the team and the organization. Turkeys are not in every organization and on every team but if your team has one and you are a new leader or team member it won’t be long before you know you have one. A new leader should seek to create success and deal with the turkeys upfront. Don’t do what the author did and wait until the lid blows off. Deal with the issue and fight fair.Let the merit of the work produced be the platform that facilitates dealing with the turkeys.

Life Lessons From The Author

If there is one thing this author hates it is turkeys. I do not hate any person I just hate their methods. In my life time I have allowed turkeys to get the best of me. Then I learned how to deal with them. I learned to keep my mouth shut and let my work speak for itself. I also learned that by keeping my mouth shut their glaring imperfections and methods were brought to light. In the beginning I would kick, scratch, claw, and fight with turkeys. I would attack when attack and it always seemed like I was the one with the bad attitude. You see turkeys have the uncanny ability to fire you up at just the right times. It seemed like right in the middle of my ranting this particular turkey would be sitting there enjoying himself as he watched me make a fool of myself. That is when the light went on! I determined no matter what he would do I would keep my cool and let his work speak for himself. It was not long before he was in the hot seat because of his inabilities. It would drive him crazy he would do all kinds of things to get under my skin. I would just let my work respond for me. After a while the turkey left me alone because he had to get to work. You see I was facilitating his ineptitude by covering it up with my ranting and raving. I still have to watch myself and sometimes I slip. But for the most part I allow the turkey to cook himself. Since I learned my lesson Thanksgiving is a lot more fun.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in COAH

 

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Right Sacrifices

Psalm 51:15-19 (ESV) 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

We are coming off an incredible weekend at City on a Hill Church. It was our special Blessing Service where we bless and anoint our children, youth, college students of all ages, teachers, educators, faculty, staff, and schools as they begin the new school year. We seek God asking for favor, protection, and blessing over each of their lives and agree to pray, love, and support them. Needless to say it was just awesome. Glory to God!

But something amazing happened even before that service in our Servant’s Service. We had a sovereign move of God and a genuine call to repentance and prayer by the Holy Spirit. The enemy was hard after us with a flat tire on the trailer and band members held up in travel but we pressed on because I knew God had something to say to us as a people. In the past few weeks we have dealt with multiple interpersonal relational attacks. We had to call those things out and take a good hard long look at scripture (James 4:1-12, 2 Cor 11, and Psalm 51). This service is a critical time in the life of our church. It is a time where our front lines we connect with God on a personal and corporate level and stay connected to the Church’s vision, mission, and purpose. I attribute much of our church’s health, growth, and strength to the work that God does in these services every Sunday.

Fifteen months ago we planted City on a Hill Church and we decided before we even opened our doors that we would not build on church on the backs of volunteers rather we would build it side by side together with the Master Builder and only Church Growth expert I know, Jesus Christ. Anyone who would tell you church planting is easy is not telling the truth.Anyone who tells you ministry is easy is not telling the truth. Both are extremely difficult and require God’s grace in heaping helpings.

Not only do they require God’s grace but they also require those involved to extend and receive grace. We can not expect grace if we do not express grace. Church planting is made even more difficult when you are in a rented facility because it requires weekly tear down and weekly set up. Please understand I know buildings come with their own troubles especially a financial burden that taxes the people. However, without access to a facility practices have to be held off campus, storage is a huge concern, wear and tear on equipment is extensive, and wear and tear on our teams is equally extensive. All of these factors can create issues among team members ultimately we are family members, God’s family.

As a pastor/shepherd I strive to keep a close eye on the flock that God has appointed me as overseer over (Acts20:28).When conflict arises, and it does and always will, we must be ready to deal with it extend and express grace and move forward so that God’s ultimate purpose, the preaching of the Gospel and salvation to our city, is accomplished. We have a cunning enemy that seeks to destroy the unity of the church so that we take our eyes off Jesus and our focus off the ministry and mission He has called us to. If we aren’t careful we can become hard hearted and ministry just becomes a heartless endeavor until we die on the vine. Some indicators that this is happening is a sharp tongue toward others and a critical spirit toward others and the church.

Passion leaves and frustration enters. Psalm 51 illustrates this when the Psalmist says to do not delight in sacrifices or I would give them to you, you do not delight in burnt offerings or I would offer them. Ministry becomes nothing more than an empty act and burnt offerings become burn out when we are disconnected from the Savior. The Psalmist goes on to teach us that a broken spirit and a contrite heart God will not despise. Ministry is tough and it will break us and burn us if we are not careful. Then we are left to wander outside God’s grace with a hard heart toward God, His Bride the Church, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We must turn to Jesus in these tough times. Rather than lash out at our brothers and sisters in frustration we must pray for them, extend grace to them, and express grace. If we come to God with a broken spirit and a contrite heart we have a promise we will not be despised. He is more interested in us than what we can do for Him. He is more interested in our hearts than empty lifeless ritual and service. We see the results in this Psalm it says the Lord will do good in Zion and build up the walls of Jerusalem.

God says if you come to me with a broken spirit and a contrite heart I will delight in your sacrifices. He says if we put down our self -righteousness and replace it with self-examination He will do in us what is necessary to make those sacrifices acceptable and holy. If we lay down our offense and pick up grace we can and will heal us and make things right. If we repent of our actions first (James 4:1-12) then He can do in the work in us, in others, and in our church. Holding our ministry hostage does not only hurt us it hurts the advancement of the Gospel, it hurts the Church, it hurts individuals, and ultimately we lose and the enemy of our soul wins through disqualification. Not His disqualification, but ours. We disqualify ourselves take our ball and go home.

Earlier in the Psalm we see the recipe for repentance vs 1 God’s mercy, God’s unfailing love, and God’s cleansing power.Vs 2 Our broken and contrite heart that reveals our desperate need for God’s forgiveness, our broken spirit vs 11 and 12.Brothers and sisters this is where we must live if we want to see God’s kingdom come in our lives, families, churches, and ministries. We can no longer offer empty sacrifices and burnt offerings. If we want our ministry to be effective it is birthed out of a broken spirit and a contrite heart that fully recognizes we live and breathe according to God’s grace. It is our total dependence on God, the righteousness of Christ, the love of God, and the grace of God that makes our ministry a right sacrifice.

If we are going to live and move into all that God has for us it will be by grace. God’s grace! If we expect grace we must express grace. I appeal to all of my faithful ministry leaders and team members of COAH. I love you all dearly and remember you in my prayers daily. Please treat one another with grace. Measure your words. Check your hearts and motives. Don’t compare anyone’s commitment to yours rather you compare yourself to Christ and see how you measure up then deal with each other. The souls of men and women in the balance. The life of COAH hangs in the balance. Offer right sacrifices not because of what you do but because of WHOSE you are. Never forget where you came from so you don’t end up back there.

God has given us to each other as grace gifts. He has given City on a Hill Church to St. Petersburg, FL as a grace gift.Together with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit we can and will change our world to the glory of God! Yesterday we truly had an amazing God ordained visitation. I could see the Holy Spirit bringing gentle correction and rebuke convicting us and spurring us on toward the mission God has called us too.

For those reading this blog today in desperate need of God’s grace I encourage you. Read Psalm 139 and do an self-examination of the heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth in your soul. Repent of wrong actions, forgive those who have sinned against you, extend grace to others, express grace when asked to, and live the life God has called you too. Offer yourselves first to God then your service will be acceptable.

Be encouraged!

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in COAH

 

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