:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: Church

Leadership as a Spiritual Gift — vs — Leadership as a Verb

EVERYBODY LEADS…

Leadership really seems to be a sensitive subject lately. I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere in the past decade, leadership and leaders have been under intense scrutiny.  There are many characteristics that come to mind when someone says the word, leader.  Is it just me, or in the past decade has something shifted in our culture that causes negative stereotypes to intrude our brains the instant we hear the word leader?

If you’d like to read a side post in regards to what are called the top 101 qualities of a leader, just click the picture below and enjoy

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 1.00.51 PM

My first sentence of this post simply states that everybody leads.  I think that most agree, leadership, in its truest definition, is simply influence.  So, in that sense, we all lead because we all influence something or someone.  With that, I want to bring about the fact that there is a difference between Leadership as a verb…which we all do, and Leadership as a Spiritual Gift, which has been given to some and not to others.  The Bible is clear about this in the letter to the Romans in chapter 12:3-8...

Many Gifts but One Body

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s[b] faith;
if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;  (“Whoomp, there it is!”) 🙂 
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

I’m writing about this, because it has become personal to me.  By personal, I don’t mean in an offensive way, I mean in a way that has become personally obvious to me and has impacted me personally.  Since the merge of Parkway Christian Church with Christ’s Church of the Valley in 2011, I have been trying to get back into a Lead Pastor position with a local Church, anywhere in the USA, for the past 5 years and I have encountered a tragic phenomena.  I have encountered more than 30 different local churches across the country saying they are looking for their Church’s next leader/Lead Pastor to lead them into the next phases of their church life…and…as I have delved in with them, in regards to what they mean when they say LEADER, I have come to the conclusion that most really don’t want a leader, but a shepherd, or a manager, or worst case scenario, a hired hand that simply does what he is told…but in its spiritual definition…they actually do not want a leader.  They want a Leader as a Verb, but not a spiritually gifted leader.  The first is safe, the second is risky and dangerous.

Bill Hybels spoke up recently about leadership and the Church…here is a poster of what he said…

Now, please do not misunderstand me.  I am not saying that people without the spiritual gift of leadership should not lead a church.  I am simply asking us all to consider the fact that a church lead by a Leader, gifted with the Romans 12:8 spiritual gift leadership, will be a very different church than one lead by a shepherd, Teacher, Evangelist, a manager, or any other gift mix.

It seems obvious that each gift type grows a different type of fruit, and, not always but most of the time, a different size of harvest. I think many people are afraid to talk about why some churches are smaller than others.  If I could miraculously remove political correctness, insecurities, all sensitivities, and simply speak with impersonal facts…then the answer of why some churches reach mega amounts of people in a very short time, and others stay under 200 for hundreds of years, are mostly simple.

Some answers are as simple as the population of the city the church is geographically located in.  Other answers are found in a lack of strategy.  Most answers, in my opinion, are simply found in the Leadership and how he/she is spiritually gifted.  (In this setting, it would be very easy to use the parable of the talents that Jesus teaches.  Have we considered whether or not that parable could have been titled, The parable of the spiritually gifted?”   If you have time for more reading…then read the parable here and transpose the word ‘talents‘ with ‘spiritual gifts‘ and see if it makes sense. (In fact…depending on the translation, some translations use the word servants instead of the word talents.)  Here is the passage… Matthew 25:14-30

A church that is lead by a group of Elders will have a certain kind and amount of results/harvest.

A church that is lead by a shepherding gifted leader is typically going to have a smaller, very loving, intimate result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a manager-type gifted pastor will have a unique, often corporate result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a group of 5-10 high financially giving members holding the power will have a specific end-result/harvest.

A church that is lead by a teaching-gifted pastor is going to have a specific result/harvest.

They are all different.  Better or worse?  That’s for the eye of the beholder and ultimately for God to decide.

One thing that is very clear…a Church that is lead by a Leader who has the Romans 12:8 gift of Leadership is very obvious. Like it, love it, or hate it, that fact cannot be denied.

I think the passage below from Proverbs sums it up pretty well…think about it.

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”  Proverbs 14:4

Our culture, for some safety reason, is afraid of strong leadership.  No doubt a strong leader will stir it up, break power controls, push us out of our comfort zones, and even sometimes make messes…but the fruit produced is tremendous.

Perry Noble said, “The size of the dream you have, is directly correlated with the amount of pain and suffering you are willing to endure.”  Solomon was right…the stable might get dirty, but wow…what a reward.

I know that we can agree that the Church is living in interesting times and facing difficult circumstances.  If Bill Hybels is right in his statement above, then there are some serious decisions that need to be made in The Church. If you are currently looking for a Lead Pastor, does your church have the courage to allow a leader, with the spiritual gift of leadership, lead you?  If so, get ready to begin an unforgettable adventure with a huge harvest of fruit on the way.


March Madness! 7 Ways Basketball is like Life…

elite basketball

I love March Madness!  I love the game of basketball, but you’ll rarely see me taking the time to watch any games unless it’s my kid’s games or it’s officially March Madness!  March Madness is when the phrase “Game On!” truly incarnates into the 10 young men that step on the NCAA basketball floors all over the USA.  It is the time of year when the Elite players gather in 5’s and live out other vital phrases such as, “Give it your all!” — “No Regrets!” — “No Retreat!” — “Bring it!” — “No do-overs!” — “Go Big or Go Home!” — “Do or Die!”.

With that…it seems Basketball and life have a lot of parallels.  Here are 7.  I’m sure there are more.  If you have another one, write it in the comments section!

Here you go…7 things about March Madness Basketball that relate to real life…

1.  I play better relaxed. 

In life, when I’m frustrated, I live horribly. When relaxed I focus on wise and pro-active choices. When frustrated I tend to argue and fight and that just rarely ends in productivity.

2.  The measure between in-bounds and out-of-bounds is the difference between ASSERTIVE and AGGRESSIVE.

Assertive actions are focused on what is necessary towards what you want. Aggression clouds my focus and causes fouls from a heavy hand. Assertive behavior leads to goals achieved. Aggressive behavior causes pain and harm.

3.  Practice does = Permanent.

Work hard and smart because we all know it will be worth it.  Find what works and repeat until it doesn’t work anymore.  Practice…a lot.

4.  Good Self Esteem = Good Performance.  Performance does NOT = Self Esteem. 

5.  It’s a TEAM game. 

You can’t win basketball or life on your own.  Many Christians mistake the passage of Philippians 4:13 as a passage that means you can do everything on your own.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.”  Most people stop with that verse…but verse 14 says, “yet it was good of you to help me.”  

There’s a lot of arguing going on about this in our culture from prominent people such as Barack Obama, Michael Jordan and others.  Somebody told Michael Jordan that there is no “I” in team…His reply was, “But there is in “Win.”  🙂  Makes me smile, but it’s just not true.  Some have discovered that there is actually an “i” found in the word “team.”  See pic below to figure it out yourself.

The-I-in-Team1

My spiritual gift of immaturity causes me to laugh and shake my head at that pictorial proof that there is on occasion “i” in team.

6.  You have to score to win.

Basketball is like life because it is vital to set goals and be assertive in pursuing them.  It is important to understand that great goal achievement in basketball is at between the 50% – 60% success rate.  And…basketball is like life in the fact…The tougher the shot/goal the more satisfaction there is in attempting it and scoring it! Man…some goals can just make the crowd go crazy!!

7.  You cannot hold on to your mistakes for long…

So…you gave the ball away.  You missed a crucial shot.  You tripped and looked silly in the moment.  LET IT GO!  The game of basketball and life is fast.  It moves on with or without you.  Dropping our heads to pout will only be another error.  The best players in the world miss 50% of their 2 pointers and nearly 70% of their 3 pointers.

Philippians 3:13 says, “But one thing I do…forget (let it go) the past and strain (assertive) to what lies ahead.”  

 

Basketball and Life do have a lot of similarities.  There are others…I’ll leave it up to you to add them to the comments section if you’d like.  We could brainstorm many other parallels with basketball and life… Boundaries. Refs. Coaches. Racing the Clock. Strategic plays. Momentum. There’s always a crowd watching. Retaliators get called for the foul. Locker Room talk. Having the right shoes. Dunking! Having the right players on the team.  Making the Cut. Rest and Recovery. Shirts and Skins…etc. etc.

Let’s get our game on!

 


In search of a Church where i can best use my strengths…my wish list…

I am in search of a Church that will allow me to lead them in honoring God’s will.

I have a Wish List…If the Church isn’t committed to the point of writing this wish list as its upmost importance, then I must decline leadership in it.  I do not want to just LEAD in it…I want to incarnate it and vice versa.

The Wish List…wishlist

I want my family to be a part of a Church Body that...

1.  …is fully committed to the acknowledgment that there is no difference in our spiritual and secular lives 7 days a week.

2.  …doesn’t rely on a church building, me, or the people up front to be the primary source of growth.

3.  …will disagree well, because our common enemy is the devil, not each other.

4.  …is devoted to the restoration of people who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, or have shattered lives.

5.  …will agree that the Lord is worthy of excellence and only the excellent will be used in public worship gatherings.

6.  …has an aggressive pursuit of Health, Growth, and Love, founded in the Teachings and Commandments of Jesus Christ.

Bonus items…

Will no longer have the Lord’s Supper be a short pause with a little cracker and cup of juice during a worship service, but will meet once a week in homes and have a full supper together.  The Supper is a focused appreciation of common fellowship, Bible Application, prayer, and focus on the Lord’s body and blood.

Every member will be committed to baptizing at least one person a year with whom they have built a trusting and loving relationship with.

Every member will meet regularly with 2 other friends for accountability and prayer.

There is a Church that exists with this focus out there, and they are looking for a leader like me to join them…I just know it.  If not…I’m going to start a brand new one.


Truth and Nonfiction versions of the Church…

The title seems redundant. It is not.

Truth is purely what Jesus says. Non-fiction simply means facts of a reality. nonfiction

My intention here is to simply describe the Church from Truth’s design, and pray that we all measure our reality, and reset our targets accordingly.

Here goes…

It doesn’t matter if you are The Lord Jesus, the Lead Pastor, an Elder, a Nursery Care Volunteer, or the Wednesday Night Janitor, your mindset in the Church is the same because everyone knows they must rely on one another.  This united mindset is that the whole body of Christ experiences operational excellence and consistent holiness effort with minimal error. Whether it’s preparing a message to preach, a song-set to be led, a business CEO strategically planning around the staff meeting table, a man sitting in his living room at home by himself with his computer, or the three ladies meeting for tea and coffee to talk…they all, always, strive for holiness and excellence, and rely on the entire body to do the same.  It is in every tribe, every nation, every tongue, and every household.  You do right for yourself, but more importantly, you do right for your fellow body members, and most importantly for The Lord and Savior.  It is in our blood and in our brains, and it takes all our brawn to live it minute by minute, day after day, until Jesus arrives to gather this united group and restore us all on a fully remade Heaven and Earth…simply called Heaven.

Thy Kingdom come on earth…as it is in Heaven.


Having Done in Room 1501 (wk 15) Winning is Everything

I just wrapped up week 15 at Joy Christian High School as a first year teacher.  I teach the Bible Class to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.  Sophomores are going through New Testament Survey and the others are going through World Religions.   It’s still pretty amazing to me that I get all those students in Room 1501 every week and we get to learn The Bible and it’s impact on life.  I pray it plants seeds that God continues to grow for the rest of their lives.

FullSizeRender

It is a true honor to witness the students of JCHS entering into that blue door each day.  A majority of them wear their emotions on their sleeves.  It is pretty evident what kind of day each student is having just by reading their body language when they enter.  I can tell that the semester is getting ready to end, because many of the students are weary of school.  They are in need of an extended break.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Week 15 at JCHS, taught me its most valuable life lessons, outside of the classroom.  This week the JCHS Volleyball and Football teams had their season ending State Playoff games.  Both teams had a phenomenal season as they demonstrated their athletic gifts God gave them.  But, each team, even with their overall successful season, ended the season heartbroken because they didn’t progress and have an ending result of ‘State-Champs.’   In their minds they didn’t win.  In reality they didn’t win.  As the Room 1501 Bible Teacher, I found myself heart broken for them.  This week’s experience reminded me of something that our American culture seems to be embarrassed of.

Admitting that WINNING IS EVERYTHING. 

Stop and think about it for just a moment.  If you disagree with that statement…then…when did you stop believing that winning is everything?

Harry “Red” Sanders, head coach of the of UCLA Bruins from 1949-1957 is the one who get’s the credit for that phrase.  Vince Lombardi is known for using that phrase as he led the Green Bay Packers to be a winning dynasty that still inspires people today.

Harry Sanders’s exact quote is, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Lombardi gives Sanders the credit for being the originator of the phrase in his book, “The Lombardi Rules.”

So, do you believe that winning is everything?

I think there is Biblical evidence that winning is everything.  However, before we jump into the Bible let’s first start with the Dictionary.com.

WIN …  verb (used without object), won, winning.

1.  to finish first in a race, contest, or the like.  

2.  to succeed by striving or effort.  

3.  to gain the victory; overcome an adversary.

It is of my opinion that the current American culture…is meandering through life without any stimulating vision. Somewhere along these past 10-15 years, the American people have catered to some strange people who live on the fringes of society. Somehow these types have gotten into the leadership of too many things.  Am I the only one who thinks we have given influence of the American Culture, to the kind of people who were not present when the “Common Sense Train” stopped to give out its gifts?  I think these types have been influencing some very important USA things, and have been brilliant in their influence, to the point that the average, common sense gifted American, has become the frog in the kettle that is about to be cooked.

Have these types somehow slow-cooked you into thinking that winning is for greedy, mean-spirited, and self-ambitious people?

I say it again, Winning is everything.

Bible time… 

The Apostle Paul, the writer who wrote more than half of the New Testament under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote this…

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!”

1 Corinthians 9:24

“So run to win.”  The Bible says that!  If you think with me, I think you will agree that there are 7 areas of life.  All things life, fall into one of these 7 categories.  1. Spiritual  2. Social  3. Psychological  4. Parental  5. Physical  6. Financial  7. Marital.

In the 7 areas of life, can you think of one that would be okay to NOT win in?  Do you want to lose in your marriage?  Do you want to lose in your physical life?  Do you want to lose in the Spiritual world?

I repeat, Winning is everything!

Part of the problem we might have with our current attitude towards winning is the simple fact that somewhere along the way we have been slow cooked into believing that winning is only about some position.  No doubt…part of a win is actually a 1st place position.  Surely you have heard the phrase “2nd place just means you are the first loser.”  But I want to say, that if the attainment of your first place position was done with any form of integrity problem, then you may have won a 1st place position, but you did not win a first place function.  (Please understand the difference between Functional and Positional winning.)

There are many things in life that carry attributes of what is called Functional and Positional differences.  As an example, I’ll demonstrate what I mean by using one of my favorite topics, Spiritual Leadership.  There are many people who hold the position of leadership in their Church, but it’s just a position.  Somewhere in that church there is a person or a group of people who truly FUNCTION as the leadership. In Church world this is not healthy.  In Church world, the average Church(an average church in the USA runs about 90 total  in attendance) is struggling to produce any kind of fruit, because the Church might have a Pastor/Minister/Preacher that has a Position/title of leader, but in all reality, there is a group of about 5 -10 people/families that function as leaders and if you the positional leader do not do what they say…well…there will be heck to pay. Positional vs Functional Leadership.  There is a distinct difference.

In life, it seems like all the power is in the Positional leadership…but eventually functional leadership will WIN out.  FUNCTIONAL leadership trumps POSITIONAL leadership…sooner or later!  It may take Jesus’s return and the initiating of eternity to set that point as fact…but it is fact, none the less.

This is why Jesus says, “The Last shall be first and the first shall be last.”  According to Jesus, true winners may not hold the less important POSITION of leadership, but FUNCTION behind the scenes as a real functioning leader.

Position does not always define a win.  A true win is accomplished when Position and Function bond as one.  If you cheat to win, you don’t win…no matter the position you finished in.  If you have positional power and you have to “show”your power to get what you think is a win…then you didn’t win at all.  (In teaching world…there are teachers who think they win when they “nail” a student, but that teacher won the little skirmish at the loss of the entire battle.  They lost the student’s respect…that’s not a win.)  Positional leadership “sticks out its chest.”  Functional leadership doesn’t need facades. Functional leadership is invisible power.

I think, part of the reason as to why America has developed a misunderstanding about winning, is simply because we have become a dumbed down society that is too busy to think deeply anymore.  We do not think deeply about what a TRUE WIN really is because we don’t have the time to really study and learn deeply about things, due to our fast pursuit of what we think is a win.  We have become a society of “the ends justifies the means.”  Too many just want some end goal result and they will bypass almost anything to get to that first place position.

I have heard and experienced horror stories of churches, corporations, schools, and governments that will do anything to get a “win.”

 

Why?

Because…winning is everything.

It’s time we quit lying to ourselves about winning.  Winning is everything. It really matters to every one of us.  Winning matters so much that people will do anything to win.

But here is the deal…

If you win a first place POSITION by ignoring first place FUNCTION…then you are a loser…not a winner.  If I have to cheat/lie or in any other way keep secret what I had to do to get the “win”…then in all reality I lose.   If in no other arena…then when I look in the mirror.  If I lost my integrity to get a win…my mirror will let me know.  Below are just a few comparisons between Functional and Positional Leadership.  Understanding the difference will help you truly win. The material below is written from a Biblical World-view perspective.

Positional vs Functional Leadership.jpgBottom Line … Winning is everything.  I can’t think of anything that I want to lose in.  I suppose what is difficult to determine is what is truly a win.  All the money in the world, all the fame, all the influence, all the positions of power, all the _____________????

Have you heard the following phrase?  “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”  I want to scream, “FALSE!”  The true phrase is…

“He who dies with the most toys, still dies.”  

You can erase the underlined word above and put in any earthly word in its place and it is still true.

I don’t want to lose in anything.  I want to win.

Especially in the Spiritual realm.  To lose spiritually is to go to Hell eternally.

To wrap up this blog post about what I have learned from Room 1501 on this 15th week at Joy Christian High School, I simply want to add what Jesus said about winning and losing.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”    Luke 9:23-24 

Jesus didn’t come to be served…even though He deserved it.  He came to serve others.  Jesus didn’t come to win in this world…He came to die…a.k.a…”lose,” so that He could live eternally in the presence of His Heavenly Father.  He “lost” so that you could win.  Now…we are going to have to copy Him.  What is it that you must “lose” in this life so that you may gain eternal life?  What positional powers are you indulging in right now that you need to transform into Functional powers.  What is it that you must die to, so that you can win? What must you lose…to truly win in what matters?

WIN!

The athletes that filed through Room 1501 this week helped me think about what true winning and losing really is.  And no matter how you look at it…Winning is everything.

Don’t let anybody tell you any differently.