Tag Archive for: Leadership

The Group vs. The Team

Read Phil 2:1-2

  • Power in Unity
  • Power in a team working together

In Judges 7 – Gideon had a group of 30K, but God used a team of 300. You will never advance with a group, you will only advance with a team. The main difference between a group and a team — groups celebrate wins, but teams create wins.

The truth is not everyone on the group has was it takes to be on the team. Don’t confuse the crowd (group) with the committed (team).  There are several reasons:

  • Everyone in the group won’t think like the team
  • Group minded people observe; team minded people participate
  • Group minded is individualism; Team minded is collaboration
  • Group minded focuses on being valued; Team minded focuses on adding value
  • Group minded focuses on looking good; Team minded focuses on being good
  • Group minded is consumed by the price; Team minded is consumed by the prize

As you can see there is a big difference between the group and the team. We won’t get the same thing from the crowd as we get from the team. Put your time and energy in discipling, developing and multiplying your leaders – the team. Don’t spend your time trying to coddle a group minded person. Love them. Smile at them. Be kind to them. Don’t get mad at them. Just understand, not everyone will be able to make the leap from the group to the team.

With every move of God there is always a leader, a team and a group. The leader points to It. The team drives toward It. And, the group follows It. Sometimes, not everyone can make the transition from following a vision (group minded) to driving a vision (team minded). This doesn’t make anyone better than or less than, just different seasons of life in their walk with God.

If you’re a part of a ministry team, serve God with all of your heart and realize what you’re doing is bigger than you.

Your Thoughts?


Hindered or Hoisted? Part 1

A short while back Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church Sydney, Australia tweeted this statement: “Don’t deny a person who has faithfully served your vision; the right to pursue a grand vision themselves!”

What does that statement do to you? The truth – the emotion that this statement evokes reveals your heart and its motives.

Do you have kids? Are they young and still living at home? Are they grown and still living at home? Are you looking forward to the day when they are on their own, with families of their own? Do you hold your children back from chasing their dreams or do you try to guide them and prepare them for the world that awaits their contribution?

As parents we tend to nurture our kids the way we lead people. Do you have overgrown staff and leaders who should have left the “nest” long ago but you were too scared or selfish to let them go?

Let’s breakdown this statement into further examination:

“deny a person…” – to the person who has served in your vision and comes to you with a desire to step out into new ministry terrain, and you have the power to release or deny them. As their pastor or leader, they are coming to you for guidance, wisdom, and blessing. If you knowingly deny them the wisdom and blessing, you have betrayed their trust and stifled the vision of God in their life to serve your own needs. Is this being Kingdom-minded?

“…faithfully served YOUR vision.” – this same person has faithfully, loyally, wholeheartedly served your vision and they’ve sensed God’s hand sending them out, and to step out into other areas of ministry they haven’t experienced – what do you do? Hinder them under your authority or hoist them over your shoulders? As a pastor or leader, you have a responsibility to foster growth among your staff and leaders. Guess what happens when you do that — they grow! And some might leave and this is ok. Its healthy, its normal, and its necessary.

“…pursue a grand vision…” – while serving your vision they have captured one of their own, this is good. This vision may grow to be more influential than yours is, are you ok with this? Jesus told his disciples, “greater works than this shall you shall do.” Jesus created a model among his disciples to expect great things and to do greater things than what they saw Jesus do.

If we are going to hold people back from doing what God has called them to do then we are not fulfilling the command of “go into all the world and make disciples.” How can they go into all the world if we don’t let them leave the backyard. Eliminate the lid that stands between you and the limitless sky above and do great things – and release your people, your leaders, and your staff to do even greater things.

At the end of the day, this statement by Brian Houston will always bring you back to examine who’s Kingdom you’re building. God’s Kingdom or Your Kingdom!? How can you determine which Kingdom you’re building or a part of? The evidence is not how many people attend your church, or how many services or events you have or how many popular guest ministers you invite in. The evidence is and always will be how many disciples you develop and release to the nations!  Developing people and releasing people is Kingdom business…nothing more, nothing less!

Do you go to a releasing church? Does your church have a culture of discipleship? If so, what do they do? How do they release your leaders?

Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned from Jack Bauer

Tonight on May 24, 2010, the whole world stood still and watched the series finale of 24. I’ve followed this series these last 8 years and wanted to highlight some leadership lessons I’ve learned from watching Jack Bauer.

  • Jack never quits on his mission. Why should you quit on yours?
  • Jack is trustworthy. Do people trust you? Are you dependable?
  • Jack is loyal to his friends. How strong is your loyalty? How far will you go to help a friend?
  • Jack stands for justice, not convenience. Do you stand for what’s right or with whatever is convenient at the moment?
  • Jack perseveres. Do you push through obstacles and/or political barriers or do you get intimidated by them?
  • Jack always out smarts his enemies because he knows their weaknesses. How well do you know your enemy? Do you know your weaknesses?
  • Jack is not afraid to look evil in the eye and deal with it. Do you deal with it or does it deal with you?
  • Jack hates cover-up’s and scandals. What are you covering-up that needs to be brought into the light?
  • Jack would give his life for his family. Would you give your life for yours?
  • Jack never got caught up in the politics or side dramas around him, he always stayed focused on his mission. What’s your life mission? What is distracting you from accomplishing it?

What are some other leadership lessons you have learned from Jack Bauer these last 8 years? Comment and share them with us!

24 News: Release Date for Season 8 and Complete Series on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Three Pillars of an Anti-Leadership Culture- Personalities, Silos, and Church Politics

Personality-driven (Celebrity culture) leadership styles, fragmented internal communications and relational church politics are “kryptonite” to the empowering and releasing of next generation leaders. How can we reach the world and release young leaders into ministry if we are concerned with the competition down the street or within our own church staff and volunteers? Ministry leadership should not mimic the leadership style of secular politics or Hollywood, and yet somehow it does in some church organizations.

These three items are what I call the “Three Pillars of a Anti-Leadership Culture.”

1. A personality driven culture revolves around a single person or personality. Rather than discipling and empowering leaders to surpass them, this leadership style creates a lid and a world that is centered their ability to lead. Young leaders within the organization requiring mentorship and release will not find it here; instead they will be met with mistrust, gossip, and at times being sidelined. Ultimately the ministry will implode if transformation to an outward and leadership focus doesn’t take place. I encourage you to read the “The Personality Factor” – an Outreach Magazine interview with Brad Abare and Phil Cooke.

2. The silo effect is a lack of communication, sharing of goals and community between departments within an organization. Sometimes, this is seen in larger churches with many ministries, departments, and personnel. Decisions are made that are not passed down to the rest of the organization, or information is only given to a select group. This why building authentic community and trust among staff and volunteers are vitally important. Real community has to be cultivated and nurtured; not executed or treated like an event or church service. When there is deep community among the staff; there is deep community among the congregation. But, when there is a silo effect among the staff; there is a silo effect among the congregation. When it comes to communications and building deep community, the congregation will always mirror what is happening among the staff.

3. Decision-making and implementation often runs into the hidden dragon of ministry:  church politics. Sometimes it’s a controlling leader or second tier leader, sometimes it’s in the flow of communication, or hidden deep in years of tradition. Clear vision and a commitment from all the leaders are essential to eliminating politics within the organization. Politics are meant to mask the truth and cover insecurity. Politics protect leaders from blame or taking responsibility. Church politics are meant to protect tradition and is the enemy of change and progression.

Your Thoughts?

Serving Hearts & Resilient Vision

I meet a lot of young people all the time. And, one of the qualities I find is that many of them have lots of vision and lots of great ideas. That’s a really good thing.  I love to meet and build relationships with other young leaders who have big vision, dreams and cool ideas for the future.  In my opinion, that’s the way it should be in any student ministry or college campus.

But, here’s something I’ve been finding and maybe you’ve been identifying with when working with young leaders (I’m including myself in this as I ask this question.)

Young leaders may have lots of vision and cool ideas, but do they have any resilient vision?

After I finished college from a well-known Christian university, this question became clear to me. Having a vision, dream or a cool idea doesn’t entitle you to lead it, just because you had a vision, dream or cool idea. Because first of all, it’s not your vision, it’s God’s and you serve Him to bring His will to earth.

I’m reminded of the story of David in the Bible. (Read 1 Samuel 16-17).  And we all know the story, when David received his purpose and vision for his life when Samuel anointed him to be King. David was looked upon as the youngest and irrelevant kid in the household or in other words as someone of very little importance.  Let’s break down the line of events between the time David discovered his vision and when he stepped into it. And, through this process let’s try to identify the key denominators the kept David moving forward.

  • David serving in his Fathers House (1 Sam 16:11)
  • David discovers his vision and anointed to be King (1 Sam 16:12-13)
  • David served Saul by ministering to him (1 Sam 16:23)
  • David served his brothers by bringing food to them (1 Sam 17:17-18)
  • David solved a problem for his leader, Saul – David killed Goliath (1 Sam 17: 45-51)
  • David’s popularity and national influence grew throughout all over Israel (1 Sam 18: 6-7)
  • Saul resented David for helping him solve his problem (1 Sam 18:8)
  • David kept serving his leader with music (1 Sam 18:10)
  • Saul tries to kill David (1 Sam 19)
  • David spares Saul’s life (1 Sam 24:3-4, 9-10)
  • David spares Saul’s life a second time (1 Sam 26: 5-11)
  • David becomes King over Israel (2 Sam 5 1-4)

Now, these are a lot of events in David’s life. But, let me pull out a three tests that David experienced through this time line.

1.The Serving Test – Look and see how many times David served throughout his life. It was before he discovered his vision and after. It was before he killed the giant and become a national influencer and after. And, he kept on serving Saul before he started to resent him and afterwards.

Vision doesn’t carry any weight or resilience just because you say that you have one. You must have a heart that doesn’t mind to serve quietly and humbly in someone else’s vision. If you can’t, then your vision and cool ideas will hold no weight or substance to them.  The first thing every leader is called to be is a servant-leader. This is the foundation on where your vision will stand.

2.The Problem Solving Test – God has put us on this earth to take dominion in it. And, I believe part of that process is helping others solve problems, come up with solutions, eliminate giants and obstacles that stand in the way of a fellow leader or one that is in authority – pastor, employer, etc… In this situation David became the solution for Saul and all of Israel’s biggest problems – Goliath and the Philistine armies.

Sometimes, I see a whole lot of young leaders with a whole lot of vision and passion, but not a whole lot of credibility. Why? Because, they haven’t done anything yet. Until, you can help solve someone else problems and eliminate someone else obstacles – your leadership and vision will have no credibility.  The best way to contribute value and build credibility around your vision and leadership is by humbly, creatively and sometimes boldly and aggressively become the solution to someone else’s headache.

3. The Persecution Test – It’s amazing to me that after you’ve established yourself as a servant-leader and then as a problem solver that can get things done, this one always comes up next. It’s bound to happen, so just get ready for it and get used to it. It’s part of the journey. This has been proven throughout history and is happening right now among people in the Body of Christ.

People at all different levels of influence will come against and be insecure around you after you have established a trend through your personal leadership that can get things done.  In my personal life, I’ve had pastors and church leaders gossip behind my back and try to slander my reputation, even after serving faithfully in their organizations. I’ve had friends turn away from me because I had to make tough, unpopular decisions. Was it hard? Yes! Did it hurt? Painfully! But, guess what, I’m still here, alive, laughing and smiling – because of what Jesus did through all of it!

The fact is the persecution test is going to happen to every leader. And, it will happen from those that are the closest to you — a friend, a family member, a church leader, etc…Going through this builds even more resilience inside your vision. When other people tried to reshape my identity, change who I was and persecute my vision, God was using it to build even greater identity, endurance, and purpose inside of my vision. When Saul started to resent and then later try to kill David – God was testing David’s heart and was building inside of his vision, resilient leadership.

These three tests will come over and over again throughout your journey. And, when they do, just remember, God is doing several things in your life:

  • Creating a servants heart in you: The Serving Test
  • Establishing credibility around you: The Problem- Solving Test
  • Building endurance and resilience within you: The Persecution Test

Your Thoughts?

Social Media Revolution – The Landscape has Shifted

The media landscape has shifted dramatically in the past 4-5 years and even more so in the past 1-2 years. The flow of communication, information and media isn’t a one-way channel anymore, it’s a two-way channel. Watch the video below. It will be interesting to watch how it impacts the church and ministry leadership landscape.

10 Things Every Leader Should Know About Reaching 20-Something’s

Now I’m probably writing to the choir on this post, but I thought I would identify the top 10 things that every leader should know who is involved in or has a passion to reach 20 and 30 something’s. I have been active in young adult ministry over the past 5 years. Here are some of things I’ve learned and discovered while serving and leading young adults.

1. Your leadership style must be relational and authentic: Young adults will not follow a leader who is unrelational, distant or fake. Young adults can pick up on plastic Christian smiles and fakeness a hundred miles away. Remember, that is one of the major reasons why so many students leave church after they graduate from High School. As a leader, you must be able to lead and influence relationally; if not, then you’re in the wrong ministry.

2. When You Teach – Go Deep, Not Wide: Over the years, I’ve had so many young adults tell me how much they can’t stand superficial and fluffy teachings. I don’t really think that the previous generation of church leaders really quite understand how much young adults are crying out to be challenged by the scriptures. Fluffy and superficial teaching that makes your average Christian feel good about themself won’t cut it anymore. This generation is hungry to know the Bible in its fullest; not just nice motivational talks. That’s why more in-depth Bible study forums attract more than traditional weekend services. What is communicated and discussed in small group communities carries a lot more Bible weight and depth than a weekend service does from a 20-something’s perspective. (We’ll touch on this a little bit later…)

3. Be active in Innovation, Technology and Social Media: Every leader in young adult ministry must be able to leverage technology and social media as a tool for community and online ministry. Technology is a tool that helps create environments and experiences online and offline that can communicate the Gospel and your mission in relevant ways. I believe every leader that is influencing young adults should at minimum be on Facebook, Twitter and have a blog. Why? Because it will keep you connected with people as well as build more awareness about your mission, your community and your ministry. I love what Craig Groeschel always asks his Innovative Pastor, Bobby Gruenewald at LifeChurch.tv, “Bobby, what have we not done with technology yet that can help and impact other people and other churches for the Gospel?”  Maybe you should ask the same kinds of questions to some of your young adults in your community? What has technology and social media not already done that we could develop to reach more people for Christ?

4. Build A Culture of Community: The DNA for most 20 and 30 something’s is to be a part of a culture that has a primary focus on community. I’ve discovered that 20-something’s need to feel that they are a part of a family and in a environment where their thoughts and ideas can be expressed and valued. I’ve learned that churches that don’t value or push to develop thriving small group communities, will never experience a major involvement of young adults in their church. Why? Because 20 and 30 something’s desire to grow in a community format, not just a weekend event format.

5. You Must Be Missional: For your church or ministry to attract and sustain young adults, you must carry a DNA that is missional. Why? The DNA of 20 and 30 something’s is to respond to the social problems of our culture around the world;  for example: poverty, education, human trafficking, hunger, pandemic diseases, community development and the list could go on and on. Young Adults want to be part of a church and ministry that thinks outward more than it thinks inward. I am convinced that many Western-American churches are too focused on their weekly experience, instead of focusing on the people that have never heard the Gospel. And, that is why many young adults are leaving church. Not because they don’t love Jesus, they just want to be a part of something that is bigger than a Sunday service. They want to give their lives to a cause that is actually strengthening humanity.

6. Cultivate a Two-Way Conversation: For years we have been brought up in a church culture that says you come to church and listen while the preacher does all the talking. I believe those days are coming to an end. The Bible says in Romans 10:14, How will they hear without a preacher? So, I believe the preaching of the Gospel will never be done away with. However, how we do it will change. And, I believe it will change with the help of technology and creative discussion on how the preaching and teaching of the Gospel becomes a two-way conversation, instead of just a one-way dialog.  Young Adults want to be part of a two-way conversation, where they become a part of the formation and developing process of how the Gospel is communicated to this generation.

7. More Ministry; Less Programming: For this generation, ministry opportunity will always trump organizational programming every time. Now understand what I say, organizational programming and structure has its place in the whole 360-degree picture. But sometimes this generation will view it as a threat that could limit or cap ministry opportunity. And, guess what, they’re right. My advice would be, if you are big on programming, then you might want to evaluate your calling in young adult ministry. Start out with a little programming with a wide space of ministry opportunity. Activate young adults in ministry, not in church programs.

8. Empower Your Core Influencers: In every young adult ministry team is a small handful of influencers that impacts the overall ministry. These influencers have a few things going for them among the other young adults in the ministry: 1. Relational Capital. 2. Charisma. 3. Trust. These influencers can be your greatest assets on your ministry team. Empower them to lead. Reproduce leaders. Reach out and disciple more young adults.

9. Coach this Generation in Practical Living: The church must provide coaching in practical living to this generation. So many 20-somethings don’t know how to put a resume together, manage a budget, or become financial stewards. I believe every young adult ministry within the local church must provide tools and personal training that can equip young adults to lead and flourish in their careers, finances, and relationships.

10. Everything Must Be About Jesus: Beyond all the cool environments, experiences, small group communities, events, missional outreaches, ministry opportunities, programming, technology, social media, team development, edgy buildings, etc…Everything you do for young adults must be about drawing them in to know Jesus more! Your ministry must carry a contagious passion and energy to spread and influence the love of Jesus Christ! That’s our cause, mission and reason for living. Everything else better come secondary, otherwise your young adult ministry will die quickly.

Your Thoughts?

Tribes – We all have one!

I believe everyone has a tribe or niche that they are called to work in. A tribe is a community of people that thinks, works, and functions in a unique way.  I’ve noticed, even in my life, that sometimes it takes a while for some to discover their niche or better yet their tribe or community that they are like-minded with. That is not a criticism just an observation. My heart goes out for those that always feel like they are a fish out of water, or that no one understands them. I believe it’s probably because they haven’t found the niche or the tribe they are called to do life with and reach.

A tribe can be a church or business. It’s a cultural mindset of how things are done. For example, there are some churches or businesses I would fit well in, and then there are those that I would not. Not because they are bad or wrong, it’s just that I will always be attracted or drawn to a particular style of ministry, business and leadership mindset more than others. That’s why I always encourage, before you join a church or finish  interviewing with a company, make sure you know their values. Study their fruit, study their cultural and why they do the things they do. And, then ask yourself, “would I want to be a part of this tribe?” Would I grow in this culture and how?

When I look back at some of the decisions I have made in the past, there were some tribes (churches, companies, relationships, etc..) that I should have not linked up with. Not because they were bad, they were just not a place where I could grow and flourish. It was not my niche. My true giftings were not developed because I was in a context to where there was no demand put on them.

I highly recommend the book, Tribes by Seth Goodin. This book will rock your world and teach you how to connect with your tribe and discover the niche you are called to reach.

Church World vs. Corporate World! What They Can Learn From Each Other to Work Together – Pt. 1

I want to do a series of posts called, Church World vs. Corporate World – What they can learn from each other to work together! There are so many different directions we can go with this topic. But, lets begin with the obvious.

Why Does the Church Exist?

  • To reach people
  • To lead and set the spiritual tone in a community
  • To give a context from where people can grow in God and each other
  • Provide a context where people can grow in their calling and purpose

Why Do Businesses Exist?

  • To make profit
  • To stimulate the economy in a community
  • To provide a product or service
  • Provide jobs for people to grow professionally

There are probably a million other reasons we could add to these lists. But, what I would like to challenge you to do is try to find the spiritual dynamic comparisons between these lists.

For example, #1 The Church exists to reach people. Businesses exist to make profit. The main goal for a church is to reach as many people as possible for Christ. The main goal for a business is to make as much money as possible. What would happen if the spiritual enterprise of the community and the economic engine of the community partnered together to better the life and overall function of humanity in a community?

What would happen if the church could set the tone for the leading spiritual direction in a community and the businesses could stimulate the economy to its full power of potential? What would happen if The Church and Corporate America would work together to strengthen their communities for Christ spiritually and economically?

The two most powerful resources on the planet is #1 People and #2 Money. Let the church strengthen and raise the leadership caliber in people. And, let the businesses strengthen the value of the dollar in the community.

Your Thoughts?