I had a humbling experience last week. One of my peers in youth ministry, who has been a big supporter of my blog to this point, posted a picture of his computer screen. What made it humbling was the side of his monitor where he had written the 3 questions on a sticky note and left it there as a reminder. (Click here if you’re not sure what the 3 Questions are.)
Then, another peer commented he had them written on his white board, and I was struck by something.
Perception makes all the difference.
I have been using these three questions as a way to equip and encourage student leaders for a little over a year, but how well do I apply them to my own life?
If I were going to be honest with you (and why wouldn’t I?), I wrestle with the exact same part of the three questions as most of my students: the third question.
I’m a wonderful analyzer, and I have a stubborn streak that tends to say “I’ll do this myself”, but I fail time and time again at asking and answering the third question.
But if I’m serious about growing my own leadership influence, I have to start somewhere.
And one thing I know, when I do ask and answer the third question, I love to watch what happens. I love seeing people find a spot to serve. I love equipping others to step up and meet needs.
Ultimately, the three questions are what we use them to be. We can train student leaders, or adults. But, most importantly, we can use them to grow as leaders ourselves.
Look for ways to answer the three questions in your personal life today.
The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way. Today will be the last post in this series.
It’s really hard to narrow down some of the major lessons I’ve learned, while at the same time trying to keep situations general. Let me finish the series with the final piece of advice he gave me as he left: keep the lines of communication open.
So many leadership struggles happen as a result of poor communication. I find myself referring to people as “black holes of information” whereas just this week my loving wife accused me of the being the same thing.
Communication can be hard.
While communicating, intent can get ignored.
Content can get confused.
Comments can get misunderstood, and tensions can rise.
That’s why, as leaders, we need to learn to continually keep the lines of communication open, going both ways. We need to communicate well with those we lead, but we also need to be willing to listen and establish a culture of two-way communication.
So, how are you doing at communicating this week? Do you need to work out a situation with someone in a supervisory role above you? What about someone you are leading who may need to communicate with you? What are you doing to help them find opportunities to communicate with you?
Or maybe, for you, communicating means simply checking in and asking how life’s going. Whatever it looks like, keep the lines of communication open and watch your leadership influence grow.
The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming next week, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.
I’ll never forget playing bass at a July 4th concert when I was in college. The band I was in had the opportunity to play as an opener for a Church organized July 4th event. The group playing after us featured an incredible guitar player.
Because he was friends with a couple of guys in our group, he decided to play one or two songs with us, having never played or practiced with us at all, and he nailed it.
I’ve never been the kind of musician who can play by ear, but this guy could. While he was playing some incredible licks, he was also listening to what was happening in the song, and could anticipate what came next. That was important.
So many times, we get too busy to listen.
And that was one of the most practical lessons I learned during our interim–sometimes the best thing to do is to stop and listen. People want to be heard, to know their voice matters.
Leadership is no different. Until we learn to take the time to listen to what is going on around us, to weigh the possibilities, and to evaluate the potential, it will be difficult to lead other people.
If someone suggests a change and I brush it off as unnecessary without full consideration, then my leadership influence takes a hit.
If someone offers a suggestion and I choose to not even consider it, my leadership influence suffers.
But most importantly, when I take the time to listen to someone’s story, I’m able to understand them better.
If you’re serious about increasing your leadership ability, take time today to listen.
The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.
Genuine compliments speak to my heart. When someone notices something I’ve done, specifically, and highlights the work, it is special to me.
Something that happened over and over during our short time serving together was the support I felt from our interim. I cannot tell you the number of times when I was not in the room and I heard someone say how the interim pastor had bragged on me.
Now, this isn’t me being insecure or needy. The things he was saying were things I would do without notice simply because I love God and I love serving Him by serving the church. BUT, to know the interim pastor not only recognized that love, but verbally supported me, meant the world.
So, what’s the lesson? Support those you lead. Find ways to highlight the effort they are putting forth. Bring attention to their victories. Celebrate the positive, happy moments with them. Learn what speaks to their hearts, and affirm them that way.
How well do you do at that? Let’s test it: think of one person you lead and write down how they prefer to receive support. Got it? Try another, and then another. See how far you can go before it becomes too difficult.
Support matters. Our relationships are stronger when they are girded by support and encouragement. Find a way to bless someone today by showing your support for them.
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