Archives For Leadership

goal-setting-feature

Note: I’m late posting this article from Christmas Eve, but the message remains the same. I hope it helps you.

It’s Christmas Eve, 2017. Do you know what that means? It means that it’s almost January first!

I’m not a proponent of New Year’s Resolutions; not at all. Resolutions rarely work. I won’t bore you with all the scientific details, but there are actually physiological reasons for the failure of resolutions.

Resolutions rarely work because we stand up tall, square our shoulders, and declare to ourselves that we resolve that next year will be different because we resolve to accomplish something; and it’s usually the same something we declared last year. Then something happens. It’s called life. As life happens, those spoken resolutions fade into the blur of a fast-moving calendar and everything that comes with it. But for the most part, those resolutions are forgotten until December 31 of the next year.

I am a believer in having goals and that leading up to January is a good time to review, renew, and establish goals. What’s the difference? Honestly, I’m not totally sure; but hang in here with me.

I believe in establishing goals. Goals are life targets. However, there are problems with goals, too. Goals can be forgotten. I have an application on my devices called Evernote. The cool thing about Evernote is that you never lose anything you put into it. Word recognition makes it almost if not entirely impossible for anything to be lost. Scan a document in and it will recognize the words in that document. Simply type some words into the search bar and every note and document you have that includes that word will appear.

Recently in Evernote I typed “goals” into the search bar. Goals that I had typed into Evernote as far back as 2012 came to the surface. With those goals came some disappointment. I had typed them into a note and forgotten them. Why would I forget an important goal? Because life happened and, well, I forgot.

Why is it so easy to forget? Life! Looking back at my goals from 2012, I found one of my goals that I didn’t totally achieve but I didn’t forget it, either. I set a goal in 2012 to read fifty-two books. I do believe in reading, but fifty-two books is not a goal that I necessarily recommend. I didn’t forget that goal to read all of those books because it was always in front of me. Every day, my current book was there for me to pick up. On my desk there were always three or four books that were in the bullpen just waiting for their turn. As I started reading one book, I ordered another. I didn’t read fifty-two books in 2012, but I did read thirty-four, which is pretty good and most importantly, I never forgot the goal because it was in front of me.

Lately I’ve been thinking again about my goals and that 2012 goal to read fifty-two books. So, I’m approaching the year with a new, untested goal- tracking system. I bought myself a cheap journal. It’s one of the spiral bound type that almost looks like your typical high school composition book.

Here is the untested system.

First, I wrote my goals on the first two pages of the journal. Remember, some scientists say that the action of writing makes the information more concrete, mentally. Now every morning as I have my quiet time, I read from the Bible, pray, listen to a podcast, read a few pages from my current read, and I re-write my goals. That’s right! The plan is that everyday of this next year, I will rewrite my goals. I will also add notes such as, “goal completed” and “goal dropped”; or I may write a note to explain what I will do on that day to help myself achieve that goal. We’ll see how it goes.

W Clemet Stone said, “No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.”

Finally, here are a few goal-setting pointers:
1. Write you goals down.
2. Read or rewrite your goals daily.
3. Be willing to edit your goal list. You may find that your priorities will change as the year goes by.
4. Act! Do something to make your goals a reality.

YouthteamII

Photo by Jeff Scurlock – Our Youth Leadership Team.

John Buchan said ‘The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”

At the church where I serve as lead pastor we are going through a staff transition. Two staff members, Chris and Alicia (husband and wife) who have served with us for over six years in extremely capable fashion are moving on. They have accepted the position of lead pastor in another church.  When I knew for sure that they were leaving I began struggling with what would be the best move. What should I do? Should I immediately hire new full time staff to replace them? Honestly it is a stressful process.

Felicia and I had many conversations and agree that we believe that there is enough talent already present within our congregation that hiring new staff is not necessary yet.

The key to leadership is giving those you lead a chance to shine. To discover talents and abilities that you might not have been previously  aware of and then utilizing those talents.  I love the quote from John Buchan that I began with so I’ll share it again. “The task of leadership is not to PUT GREATNESS INTO PEOPLE, BUT TO ELICIT IT,…”

The danger for leaders is trying to put everything on yourself. I struggle with the it’s easier to do it myself than to take the time to teach someone else syndrome and that’s not good.  Leaders must invest time and energy into discovering and teaching. Today is my new administrative assistants first day on the job. She’s being trained to do some bookkeeping by Chris, one of our outgoing staff members because he also did our books. It’s stressful for me but guess what,  I know that as we elicit greatness from her and as she learns and grows that she will shine. Now that’s good.

Our student pastor (Chris) is leaving but we have a young adult leadership team of ten individuals who will work with our new, younger, inexperienced student pastor.  They will all grow together and greatness will come from them.  Our praise and worship leader (Alicia) is leaving but we have rallied the troops and now I’m confident that as we elicit greatness from them that they will shine. They already have.

Are you a leader? I hope this helps. What do you think?

Hatred

Today during my early morning quite time of Bible reading, prayer and reflection I was thinking about a hard reality of life and especially leadership and even more especially church leadership.

The thing about church is that we’re supposed to love each other. That’s what the Bible says. Being a Christian means loving people. Not liking or agreeing with everything they do but being patient, loving, forgiving and trying to understand.

I must confess on the outset that  I have not always been patient. As a matter of fact, honestly, I’m the most inpatient person I know. Now is not the time to lament why I struggle with being patient with Christians. I just need to admit it.

We want everyone to like us, even love us. It’s human nature and leaders are no different. The truth of the matter is they won’t. Not everyone is going to like you, your personality, your leadership style, your decisions or the stands that you take as a leader. It’s not going to happen.

NOTE: IF YOU ARE A LEADER AND EVERYONE LIKES YOU…. YOU ARE NOT LEADING.

What has amazed me through the years is not the fact that people don’t like something I did but the hatred that I feel or even experience from people who claim to be Christians. Not dislike, hatred! I did something they didn’t like or, yes it happens there is a personality conflict.

In politics you expect that people are going to hate you. The corporate world is cutthroat and people will hate you. It’s to be expected.  In Christians circles hatred never ceases to surprise.

I’ve been involved in church ministry since I was about 16 years old. I have been in church leadership for twenty-seven years. I’ve been around the block a few times and I have some knowledge about leadership. It doesn’t matter what you do… someone is not going to like it and someone may even hate you for it.

Sometimes for me I think it’s because of my personality.  I’m not the most outgoing, warm person I know. But then I think of a really close friend of mine who is the nicest, warmest, friendliest guy I know. I’m serious, I’ve never seen, know of or even heard a rumor of this man being anything but gracious, loving and kind. What he is, is a leader. I’ve witnessed he and his family going through hell on earth because someone didn’t like the way he led and yes, he is a pastor.

So what do you do when someone hates you?

Understand that what matters is not what someone who does not know you thinks about you. The only thing that matters is if God is pleased and what those who really know you think.

Does you spouse respect you? Do your children love and respect you? Are you seeking to please God? If the answer to those three questions is yes, that’s all that matters.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the opinion of those who don’t know you.

On the other hand if people who don’t really know you think your great but God is not pleased and your family doesn’t respect you, you’ve got work to do.