Archives For parenting

Hopeless Hope

September 7, 2016

Christians and ministries often have a hard time losing hope. Hope filled Christianity is a wonderful thing, but it is more and more normal for people to hold out hope without any evidence to support it.

There are times when we must actually lose hope and it may be in the best interest of the person or the project.

Henry Cloud in his fantastic book,Necessary Endings,  deals with this at length. Take a look at some of these thoughts.

“Hope is based not only on desire, but also on real, objective reasons to believe that more time will help. That is way different from mere desire. Here is the principle: In the absence of real, objective reasons to think that more time is going to help, it is probably time for some type of necessary ending.”

Recently I have been able to step back into the classroom of our local Bible School. For the last few years, I had been serving at the regional and international level. Returning to the local level and interacting with the same group of students as they journey through Scripture has been so refreshing.

I speak to many of my co-workers who express how little they interact with the “everyday common” person. The higher they climb on the leadership ladder, the less they do of what they truly love.

Much of our time ends up in meeting and committee, deciding policy and executing projects. If we are not careful, we lose touch with the life and vitality of ministry at the grassroots.

This tendency to drift is common to so many areas of our lives.

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Being a Good Follower

June 30, 2015

Most leadership books and teaching centers on being the top guy; the number one in the organization.

I recently read a refreshingly different perspective. Creative Followership: In the Shadow of Greatness centers on influence, while not being the top guy.

Jimmy Collins retired as the President of Chick-fil-A restaurants. He was a great leader to many. But, he knew his role was to serve the founder and chief visionary leader, Truett Cathy. Together they built a successful organization which is seen as a model for business around the world, in both style and substance.

His philosophy on leadership is different than most. Rather than considering how to be the best number one and always looking to climb the ranks, he knew he could succeed by being a successful follower.

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He gives a few principles which are equally powerful for both leaders or followers.

Great leaders ask questions. They are always seeking to learn and grow from others.

In his recent leadership podcast, Andy Stanley looks at the power and influence questions can accomplish. This short talk has stayed with me for days. It is extremely profound, yet refreshingly simple.

Asking questions of ourselves and others do three things for us:

  1. They reveal values.
  2. They reinforce values.
  3. They reinforce behaviors.

But perhaps the greatest questions great leaders ask is the ones they ask of themselves.

Andy shares the story of something Bill Hybels shared with him about decision-making. Hybels when faced with a decision, will ask himself a profound thing.

“What would a Great Leader Do?”

Roads Academy Masterclass, Warwick University, November 2010.

This question accomplishes four things:

  1. This raises the standard of our leadership above the circumstances and emotion of the issue we face. We can make sound decisions rather than those which cater towards the loudest and most immediate need.

Several former heroes and people of influence from the youth group era of my life have crashed and burned recently.

At times it has led me to exclaim, “Are there no heroes left who can finish well?”

I feel like the frequency in which I hear of friends and former students walking away from God or living in choices which are opposite of what God would desire; is increasing exponentially.

I feel weary as I watch people I care about wreak havoc in their own lives and the lives of others.

As I try to make sense of this personally, the common thread which emerges is selfishness.

This is not new. There really is nothing new under the sun.

  • Adam and Eve considered their view of the world better than God’s.
  • King David chose his own personal desires over that of a nation and his troops.