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Leadership that Matters Is All About Conviction

Just two quotes that grabbed me, from Al Mohler’s book The Conviction to Lead:

Congregations and Christian institutions need effective leaders who are authentically Christian – whose leadership flows out of their Christian commitment. Wherever Christian leaders serve, in the church or in the secular world, their leadership should be driven by distinctively Christian conviction… If our leaders are not passionately driven by the right beliefs, we are headed for disaster. At the same time, if believers cannot lead, we are headed nowhere.

The leadership that really matters is all about conviction. The leader is rightly concerned with everything from strategy and vision to team-building, motivation, and delegation, but at the center of the true leader’s heart and mind you will find convictions that drive and determine everything else.

We need convictional leadership!

The Abiding Church: Calling Church Leaders Back to Jesus

The Abiding Church

When I first moved back to northwest Arkansas to plant a church, not everyone understood. Even quite a few church leaders wondered why the neighborhood needed another church. But Nate Sweeney embraced us and has encouraged us all along the way. I so appreciate his ministry in northwest Arkansas, and I’m excited about the release of his first book, The Abiding Church.

Nate Sweeney has walked through a plethora of leadership issues in his young life, transitioning a church from its long-standing traditions into a church that communicates the gospel clearly to a new generation, with a new name, a new leadership structure, and a new style of ministry. Though he understands how to relate to the culture, Nate’s heart is really for the church to do what it was always intended to do – abide in Jesus. 

In The Abiding Church, Nate offers encouragement, a challenge, and some practical wisdom for church leaders who need a fresh fire in their bones. He balances the idea of growth with the idea of intimacy with Jesus. Healthy churches grow, but healthy churches are more than just smarter or bigger – they’re more committed to the gospel and keep Christ at the center of their attention.

In Nate’s words to church leaders…

At the end of your life you will look back and realize you did a lot of things for God. You had good days and bad. You had victories and failures. You obeyed His word and sinned against Him. All of this should be swallowed up in a loving relationship with Him. If you’re banking on anything else then you will be greatly disappointed. If you remained in Him then you will have produced fruit. You will have allowed Him to prune you so you could grow. You will have done something that mattered because it was centered on Christ. Anything you do outside of Him will not produce lasting fruit. He wants to change you into the image of God as He spends time with you. An abiding relationship with Christ encompasses everything you need to be planted, take root, grow, and produce fruit in God’s kingdom.

Nate oozes kingdom-mindedness and love for fellow leaders, and he’s instigating a movement that might just change the world starting in Arkansas. His words are well worth reading and heeding!

 

What Happens When I Fail to Delegate

LidAlways in the back of my mind is this thought, “Don’t be the factor holding back the growth of Grace Hills Church.” I believe in John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid. So if my leadership is sub-par, and I’m supposed to be at the head of the pack, where does that leave other leaders for whom I am responsible?

I need to be keenly aware of my blindspots, which means allowing other leaders, especially my wife, to look and speak into my life. I have some leadership flaws I’m working on right now, but at the top of the list is my slowness in delegating authority and responsibility to others. Here are some harsh realities about the inability to delegate that I’m trying to embrace today:

  • If I don’t delegate, I’ve snapped a lid on the growth of my organization. We’re done.
  • If I don’t delegate, it could signal a subtle arrogance in me that believes no one else could do as well as me with a responsibility.
  • If I don’t delegate, I rob someone of the pleasure and reward of serving and leading.
  • If I delegate tasks alone, and not authority, I’m still the authoritarian and I fail to value people.
  • If I don’t delegate, I fail to be like Jesus, who had the gaul to go pray alone while sending seventy other leaders out to evangelize.
  • If I don’t delegate, I’m headed for burnout already.
  • If I don’t delegate, I will frustrate the other leaders around me.

I often fail to delegate because I don’t want to burden people, I’m afraid of the “no,” or it’s just easier to do something myself. And therein lies the issue. By doing the work of ten men rather than finding ten men to do the work, I’ve chosen the easy path. I will work harder, with smaller results than if I empowered and released others to fulfill their God-given potential.

What do you need to give away?

Photo by .m for matthijs.


By the way, have you "liked" Grace Hills Church on Facebook yet?


If You’re a Pastor or Church Leader, You Must Read IT

It by Craig GroeschelIt is a really great book! It is all about “how churches and leaders can get it and keep it.” What is it? Though Craig Groeschel never really defines it, he does offer this clarifying list:

It is what God does through a rare combination of these qualities found in his people:
– Passion for his presence
– A deep craving to reach the lost
– Sincere integrity
– Spirit-filled faith
– Down-to-earth humility
– Brokenness

There are a few books I’ve read in the last decade that I would add to my list of “must reads” for leaders. Andy Stanley’s Next Generation Leader, J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership, and Paul Chappell’s Guided by Grace, plus almost anything that John Maxwell guy has written. And now, I’d have to add It to the stack.

Groeschel helps us develop a good understanding of it, and while he never makes an attempt to attach too much familiar verbiage to it (which is purposeful, to keep us from thinking we have it all figured out), he does make us hunger for it. He gets practical, helping us to understand how to have it, how to cultivate it in our church and on our team, and how to recover it when we seem to have lost it.

He showcases seven other ministries across America and describes how each has captured and enjoyed it, highlighting changed lives and communities as the result of churches that have it.

So, want it? Me too. A good step toward having it would be to read the book.

Get It!

You Need to Know Steven Fogg

Steven Fogg

I’m reviving an old practice of using Friday’s to point out leaders I believe you should be learning from. Today, I want to point you to Steven Fogg. Steven and I had communicated for a couple of years over the web about design, communication, and even some theology.

I finally had the privilege of meeting him face-to-face at a conference in southern California where we ate lunch together. He’s British and lives in Australia, so one of my favorite and unforgettable moments was when Steven asked me to “pop the boot” so he could retrieve his bag from the trunk (boot) of my car.

I recently wrote a recommendation of Steven’s work on LinkedIn and said this:

This is the age of the generalist who wears many hats, and Steven does this exceptionally well. I first knew Steven as a blogger, then realized his gift for communication. I was later introduced to his design abilities and when we met face-to-face, I heard his heart for ministry. The kingdom is better because of the multi-faceted contribution of Steven Fogg!

You can catch Steven on his blog and on Twitter. And if you’re a church leader, you need to read his piece about how to build a volunteer communications team.