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Posts tagged with: Leader

Persevere to Momentum

Imagine the power that is essential to achieve the first rotation with a locomotive that is sitting idle. Intense, dramatic, clanking steel, tons of fuel, teams of people, one goal in focus, plumes of smoke, unseen energy, and sheer grit. Creates movement!

I haven’t updated my experience at Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills(CCFH) in about a year. I’ve recently been asked by many people to share an update. This post is a brief update. (My brief may not be your brief!) ūüôā

In February, 2017 I was given the task to take the drive mechanisms of CCFH and move it forward. At that moment the Church was simply at a standstill. Not right or wrong, good or bad, just factually still.

Someday I will write a full detail post of the hard-to-believe experiences I’ve had over the past two years that were necessary to get the rotation and movement going in this complex body of people called the Church. Today is not the blog to post the blood, sweat and tears stories that got us to get our first rotation of movement. Today is a blog to simply say that it is happening! Forward movement. Momentum. Action. Success. Perseverance paid off!

Today is simply a day to encourage you to persevere to momentum. You are facing something that is good and yet it is stuck. Whatever it is, use your head, heart, and gut…surrounded by wise counselors, prayer, and sheer grit to get your thing moving. It’ll test you like nothing else. It’ll make you want to quit…sometimes…every day…every 10 minutes. Depending on what you are facing…you may need to quit. If you need to quit…never quit on a bad day! But in all likelihood, you do not need to quit, you need dig in with grit and persevere with wisdom.

If you are in something stuck…the greatest reasons for the interrupted forward movement, are summed up in 2 C’s. Circumstances, and Critics.

Circumstances. This is usually difficult to mention because it tends to get personal towards the team who led in the past or whoever you are currently in a stuck situation with. But it shouldn’t be personal for the simple fact that times change. What used to be right and worked, doesn’t make it wrong today, it was right, back when it was applied. It’s just the wrong time now and is no longer working and moving. The best way to think about it is this…Nothing fails like success. In other words, when a challenge in life is met by great leadership that is right in their pursuit of accomplishing their goals…they have success! But, as in all things, the challenge changes, it moves to a higher level that the previous methods no longer meet. The old, one successful response no longer works–it fails; thus, nothing fails likes success. Every single one of us would do well to humbly admit this, and welcome the new challenge and new methods to meet those challenges.

When I arrived here at CCFH, I had previously been leading a Church that had more than 3000 people regularly attending our weekend services. I want to humbly and with gratitude inject, in Church world, that is like leading an NFL football team in football world. I came to CCFH and took on the leadership of a Church that had about 300 people regularly attending worship services. The average size Church in America is less than 100, so in sports terms, this new Church I took the lead with, was like leading a High School Football team. An NFL coach, stepping into a local High School Football program…when it comes to football knowledge…is a pretty easy shift. I knew what new things needed to be done to get CCFH moving once again. I also had wise counsel around me, Christ leading me, and the energy to do it. I’m grateful for my track record and experience, however it did not make this momentum shift any easier. Knowledge and getting knowledge done are very different things.

Whatever your circumstances are, depending on your past experience, and the energy level you have today, determines how you move forward. I warn you, DO NOT, try this on your own. You need to humbly allow others to invest in you and your decisions to get your cemented circumstances, free and moving! I’m writing this blog from a 20/20 hindsight perspective. Trust me…there were hundreds of days where I wanted to quit every 10 minutes and so many days where I thought I was going to fail. This feeling of failure was instigated continually by antagonistic critics. This is the second of the two C’s.

Critics. The other C word that will work tirelessly to keep you stuck. I could add yet another C word here… Control. Control is what the critic wants. In Church world, the biggest critic who wants control will do another C word. Cite. They continually cite the past. The “good ol days.”

First of all…There is no such thing as the good ol days. The good ol days simply means that something was working and momentum was happening and everybody except the negative Circumstances and Critics of the time enjoyed it. The good ol days are in the past. Everybody in your life knows that there is no influence that happens with the past. It is a memory to be cherished and that is that. Wisdom can be derived from it, but the past tends to be dangerous to the future. The past used to be right, but rarely is effective for today. (I could share countless examples of this, but I said I’d be brief)

Critics make critical errors when they verbally vomit their desire to control and use the past to cite their opinion. They are more committed to their view, than a you. A critic is right as they cite their past’s success. A critic is not wrong, they are stuck in the past and are perpetuating the stuck-ness of the current circumstances. They are guilty of prioritizing their view more than a you. In Church world, the YOU, must be Jesus and His desire. We all know that Jesus’s greatest desire is to reach the unreached person, and to represent Jesus’s very lifestyle. That is the you that must take priority over every persons view. (By view, I do not mean Biblical integrity…we can never compromise Biblical integrity for a you.) Most critics do not cite Biblical truth as their backbone for being a critic, they tend to cite history and their personal preferences. I personally believe that most critics love their views more than the You named Jesus. They won’t admit that, but their actions prove their priority of who’s views they choose. What do you do with your critics? Listen. Love. Be patient, but do not be pushed around as you stand your ground. Be like Jesus.

If something is stuck, the leadership’s views overrule you’s. If something is stuck, somebody is allowing a view that used to work, stay in place. The reason the leadership allows this, are the influence of the C’s + 1. Circumstances and Critics + low Energy levels = fruitlessness. Critics and downward trending Consequences are giant energy extractors. The longer someone leads and is confronted by the never ending critic and circumstances, the more worn down they become. Add years of this, and an aging leadership’s energy levels are depleted to a point where recovery simply takes too long for the organization to keep moving. Momentum stopped. When momentum stops, the energy that is essential to get that locomotive rolling again is just too great. When the leadership is tired and their views naturally overtake the you’s, the commodity gets stuck. The best solution is to bring in new and freshly energized leadership. If your marriage is stuck, or something smaller than an organization, then the new leadership you bring in, must be in the form of counselors, mentors, and accountability partners or straight up intervention groups.

This critical decision of bringing in the new, takes guts, and I hold all who make it, in high regard. My heart aches for the new person who takes the new roll of leadership of an organization of any kind…especially a Church. The new leadership views that are administered into a momentum-less organization are going to take a beating from the C’s. However, if the new leadership will persevere to momentum, it will succeed. Painfully.

I’m seeing it happen before my eyes. Over the past two years I seriously considered that I had lost my ability to lead well. I seriously thought that I had lost my touch. But, that is just was the C’s were saying. I kept my ears and eyes on the You of all you’s. Jesus. I surrounded myself with teammates who had the energy and expertise and the grit to persevere to momentum. It is working.

I believe with everything in me, that CCFH will someday be a Church that creates such momentum, that more than a 1000 people will call CCFH their home Church every weekend. In this size of town, that would be remarkable. Just last weekend, we experienced 20 brand new people in our Church. We don’t market or advertise…on purpose. These new people were invited. The laughter, joy, new growth, and just sheer fun is making all the C’s worth it. Discipleship is reignited, evangelism is strong, growth is on. Momentum!

The momentum has begun. We are just now in the second and third wheel rotation of the locomotive regaining momentum at CCFH. The fuel reserves are stockpiled, the leadership team is in place, and the momentum is starting to take on its own power. Once a locomotive starts moving… don’t do anything stupid to stop the momentum. Let it keep moving and just guide it from the steering wheel! Here’s what is good news…once momentum starts moving and success is being repeated…the C’s begin to diminish. They never go away…they just lose a ton of power against a locomotive that is moving. Its easy to rob a train when its stopped!

You too can get momentum going in whatever you are facing that is stuck. Check your energy levels. Know you’re circumstances. Know your critics. Surround yourself with wise advisors. Use your grit! It’s worth it. If I can personally assist you with anything, please contact me. I’ll do my best to help you, and if I cannot, I’ll connect you with someone who can.

If you are interested in the CCFH story. Stay tuned. The momentum is just getting started! I can’t wait for the next update. You know the sound of the steam locomotive that is ch-k-ch-k-ch-k-ingalong at a fast pace? If you imagine it, you’ll “hear” it in your head right now. That’s our aim. That’s your aim in every area of life. It doesn’t come easy, but if it is worth doing, it will never ever be easy. Grit on, my friend. You can do it. We got this!


Got a decision that needs to be made?

I’ve encountered groups of people recently, and not so recent, who customarily, in the face of a decision, freeze.

They say…“We need more time to decide.” or… “We need to slow down.”¬†

If you’ve experienced this too, then you know the heart ache of watching hope and progress get stuck in the mud. It’s tragic.

MOMENTUM BUILDING…

Knowing what is essential to save the life of your organization/family/personal life, etc, or at least reinvigorate it, is not too difficult anymore.  Social media, and our small-world of networking, is making it easier to ask for help and find similar situations from which to gain confidence and determine the best course of action.

Getting people to actually make the decision is where the difficulty lies. ¬†Why? Because….Decisions are scary and they demand responsibility toward action, causing the fearful’s brain to terrifyingly scream, “It’s better to not decide.”

Fear in action…

Fearful people are also afraid of admitting they are afraid…So…they camouflage their fear under the excuse of needing¬†more time….explaining it away as being responsible and good stewards. ¬†In a meeting of fearful people, with no risk taking leadership in the room, fear will win every time. ¬†It’s why the org is stuck and rarely ever breaks through the next growth barrier. ¬†In all reality, the only growth barrier any organization has, is a lack of courageous and wise leadership.

Fear… lies to its listener. ¬†It whispers, “If you have more time, you can move away from the decision. Maybe someone else will make it for you. ¬†Maybe it won’t need to be made at all.”¬†

If the fearful have control…the org gets stuck in a rut. ¬†The only difference between a rut and a grave, is six feet.

Wisdom lived out…

Wisdom hears fear’s whispering, and will consider the possibility that fear has something worthwhile to contemplate. ¬†Wisdom then thanks fear for the concern, and then courageously moves forward, and quickly. ¬†Fear can have no control in an organization if that organization wants to be healthy and productive. ¬†If decisions can’t be made, due to fearful people controlling the momentum, then a leader must rise and have the courage to replace the fearful, with the faithful. ¬†(It’ll require a different post to explain the dangerous process of replacing fearful types with faithful types.)

The reality is, fearful people don’t have it in them to step over the edge of the cliff your org needs to rappel life-savingly down. ¬†The fearful will strangle the faith attempt…its just too scary for them. (They can change from being fearful to faithful, but again, that’s another post.)

In the Church-World, where I am thankful to get to lead, the decision making for mission accomplishment, is where God is swiftly moving and leading us. ¬†He’s running ahead of us looking back with a big smile, beckoning us to keep up. ¬†If we move to slow or not at all…well…the Lord will out pace us, and will move out of sight very soon. ¬†He will keep moving, without us, and find a courageous leadership team who can keep the pace with Him. ¬†This creates a missed growth opportunity for everyone in the Org, tragically, due to a few fearful types controlling the speed of the whole thing. ¬†What a missed opportunity. ¬†Fear motivated leadership creates an Org that continually misses out on opportunity for character building, growth, health, and mission accomplishment…and ultimately…victory!

The work of a great leader is to make tough decisions. ¬†In the faith world, those decisions need to be made in wisdom and with speed. ¬†Decisions in Church world, have the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars leading and backing them. ¬†That same creator commanded us to, “GO!” ¬†And, my experience has proven that God moves swiftly when it comes to the Great Commission. ¬†He’s patient with us personally, but that is different than being slow in accomplishing the great commission and stepping out in faith as the Church.

THE SOLUTION: 

Surround yourself with wise, faithful, and holy people who never allow fear to have the final say! Build great team and trust with them. Surround yourself with people who won’t bow and submit to the fake god named fear. Surround yourself instead with people who hunger to fit in the ranks of the greats of biblical history who did astounding things for God and His Kingdom. God is perfect love, and perfect love casts out fear!

You have an adventure that God wants to orchestrate through you…be faithful, not fearful, and get ready for an adventure that will carry rewards into eternity!

Life is short. Decide. ¬†Make a decision now. ¬†Count the cost, and decide! ¬†Make the decision a yes or a no…and either one will have inevitable consequences.

Taking more time to decide yes or no will leave you in the dust, in the form of a rut or grave.

If you have a decision that needs to be made…Decide Now! And get ready for the consequences, and the next decision, and the next, and the next. ¬†Faith advancement requires courageous decision after decision after decision..for the rest of your life. ¬†What an adventure!

Be wise, and be courageously swift.

Decide.

 


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

3 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. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

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

‚ÄúWithout oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.‚ÄĚ ¬†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.