Archives For February 2012

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” ~ Jane Howard

Often it’s not the external or obvious challenges that kill a team. It’s the subtle stuff. The underlying fears. The suspicions or frustrations that nobody talks about openly. The unspoken rules of engagement. In other words, the team’s culture. Here are 9 subtle messages that sometimes infect a leadership team. Nothing turns a powerful team toxic and ineffective more quickly than undermining messages like these:

  • It’s not okay to make mistakes.
  • It’s not okay to take care of yourself first.
  • It’s not okay to disagree when everyone else agrees.
  • It’s not okay to be too functional or too happy.
  • It’s not okay to be at ease or unhurried.
  • It’s not okay to trust yourself.
  • It’s not okay to depend on anyone or anything.
  • It’s not okay to be vulnerable or to appear weak.
  • It’s not okay to say no, or to set a boundary with others.

Do any of these messages show up on your team? If so, which ones? How strongly do they influence the culture of your organization?
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“If I…do not have love, I gain nothing.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:3

The leadership culture of the Church in the West is enamored with programs. We love to package the things we’ve learned ~ be they strategies, techniques, processes, or curricula ~ and scale them, to multiply our impact, and to help more people.

The motive is noble. And if we were merely in the knowledge-sharing business, then creating a program or curriculum to increase our impact would make perfect sense.

But we’re not in the knowledge business. At least, not primarily.

We’re in the transformation business.
We’re in the business of changing lives.

In this business of transforming lives, things like strategies, techniques, processes, curricula ~ they all have their place. For anyone experiencing authentic life transformation, there are definitely skills that need to be learned, new ways of being and doing that better serve the new person they have now become.

But programs don’t change people. They don’t produce that transformation. They can’t. They can’t because they lack the one and only thing in the universe that can authentically transform a person into who they were meant to be.

Love.

Yes. Love.
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“Our first job is to see correctly who we are, and then to act on it. That will probably take more courage than to be Mother Teresa. To be really faithful to that truth is utterly difficult and takes immense courage and humility…The most courageous thing we will ever do is to bear humbly the mystery of our own reality. That’s everybody’s greatest cross.” ~ Richard Rohr

Another amazing BraveHeart Intensive weekend just happened. Fourteen men awakened to their True Identity and the Mission they are called to fulfill in the world.

Here’s what some of them said about the experience:

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Why Pastors Need a Coach

February 25, 2012 — Leave A Comment

“There are some dragons in my life I cannot slay on my own.” ~ Ted Beasley (a pastor)

Pastors are a notoriously self-sufficient lot. Truth is, it’s one of the qualities I admire in strong leaders. Their belief in their calling and their passion for their mission compels them to believe they can handle whatever challenge comes their way.

So I appreciate it when pastors I meet are bold enough to ask me point blank why they (or any pastor) should consider hiring a coach. In response, I often share with them some stats from this surveyof Reformed and Evangelical pastors in the U.S.:

  • Of the 1,050 pastors surveyed, every single one had a close associate or seminary buddy who has left the ministry because of burnout, conflict in the church, or from a moral failure.
  • 90 percent reported that they are frequently fatigued or worn out on a weekly and even daily basis.
  • 77 percent reported that they did not have a good marriage.
  • 75 percent reported that they felt ill-equipped to manage the church or counsel others effectively.
  • 71 percent said they battled depression on a weekly or even daily basis.
  • 30 percent confessed they had either been in an ongoing sexual affair or had a one-time encounter with a parishioner.
  • Only 26 percent said they had regular personal devotions and felt adequately fed spiritually.
  • Only 23 percent reported that felt happy and content on a regular basis with who they are in Christ, in their church, and in their home.

If that’s not enough to convince you, there’s more corroborating data from Barna and other research entities. (read the article in its entirety here).
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Don’t Give Up

February 25, 2012 — Leave A Comment

“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” ~ Hebrews 12:4

You’re on the cliff edge, and you’ve got no wings. You’re facing the giant, and so far it hasn’t budged, even after all this time. You’re swinging your sword like a madman, but the blade is never striking home. You’re failing. Repeatedly. You’re exhausted. Hope is slipping away like the fading light of dusk.

You had no idea it would be this hard. You need a win ~ even a tiny one ~ just to keep going. But there are no wins in sight.

Where is God’s strength now? Why doesn’t He come charging in and save the day? It doesn’t make any sense. Was I an idiot to believe this vision? Was I wrong to believe it could really come true? Am I a hero, or just a fool?

It all sounded noble and exciting in the beginning, didn’t it? And it was! You were Joshua taking the Land that God had said is yours. You were David going after the crown that God had promised. You were Abraham leaving all you’ve known to possess a place you’ve never been and have no map to find.

You knew it would be hard. You expected it would be hard.

But not this hard.

Not this…impossible.

Like this, for example.

So what do you do when your quest to become all that God has called you to be starts to look less like a noble battle and more like a fool’s errand?
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“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~ Mother Teresa

As a leader, there are a few lessons you learn very quickly. One is that people are beautiful. The other is that people are messy, and leading them a messy business.

I’ve yet to work with a leader who didn’t have to grapple with significant relational conflict within his or her organization. Like it or not, it comes with the territory. But rather than resist it or deny it or try to wish it away, I challenge leaders to see conflict for what it really is: an essential element in God’s developmental work in every human soul, and an opportunity for authentic transformation.

So how do you navigate conflict in a way that produces genuine transformation? In my work with leaders and their teams, it’s not uncommon for us to spend many weeks working through deep conflict issues in a way that results in God-inspired change. The process is delicate and rarely easy. But it begins with the leaders learning to follow these foundational guidelines:
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Top 5 Posts of 2011

February 25, 2012 — Leave A Comment

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” ~ Frederick Buechner

Well it’s year’s end, the time when leaders take stock of the year that’s past and refine the course for the year to come. As a part of my own review, I’m taking a look back at the blog posts that garnered the most attention in 2012. For those who might have missed them on the first pass, I thought I’d share the list with you.

So here they are, my top 5 most popular posts from 2011:

Blessings and grace on you and your journey in the coming year!

“Tell me…do you not feel a spirit stirring within you that longs to know, to do, and to dare, to hold converse with the great world of thought, and hold before you some high and noble object to which the vigor of your mind and the strength of your arm may be given? Do you not have longings like these, which you breathe to no one, and which you feel must be heeded, or you will pass through life unsatisfied and regretful? I am sure you have them, and they will forever cling round your heart till you obey their mandate. They are the voices of that nature which God has given you, and which, when obeyed, will bless you and your fellow men. ~ James A. Garfield, in a letter to a friend