Check it Out, Leadership Journey

Check it Out: The Horizon of Possibility

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Today’s link back is to one of my favorite concepts: the Horizon of Possibility, the way a leader looks at the future.

Check it out here: The Horizon of Possibility

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Lessons from the Big Chair

Lessons from the Big Chair: Listen to Your Elders

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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.

Have you ever felt like you were the young gun in the room, and as a result felt under-prepared? Have you ever felt overwhelmed at the knowledge other people in your field know?

Early on in our interim’s tenure, he shared a story with me about something he learned early in his ministry–a 20 something can have the wisdom of a 60 something simply by asking a 60 something to share their wisdom.

In other words, if you’re young, ask older people for guidance.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was walking into the interim’s office and sitting as he shared stories of his experiences: stories of humbling events, incredible relationship, and life change. Very few times did I sit knee to knee with him and not feel energized by his wisdom and experiences.

There is a natural humility in asking people for advice and to share their experiences from lessons learned. Learn from the paths others have walked, and your path will suddenly seem less treacherous.

Now, for just a moment, let me offer a counter-view: if you’re, ahem, older, do not be afraid of sharing your experiences with those who are younger than you.

Please do not begin sharing your experiences by referencing a “young whippersnapper” or “you kids”, and be very cautious of offering your experiences until you’ve been asked. If my generation has any sense, we will ask. Then, you have the freedom to unload your learnings.

One last thought: I love hearing the stories of other people, especially their leadership stories. Hearing stories and understanding why people are at the place where they are energizes me and helps me become a stronger person and minister.

So, once again, you young whipper-snappers, listen to those who are older than you–they are even wiser than you, if you can believe it.

Now, you more experienced generation, please share with us what you learned along the way–we will be better for it.

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Lessons from the Big Chair

Lessons from the Big Chair: Passion Paves the Way

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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’s lesson is more of an observation than any conversation we had: Passion paves the way.

I like routine. I like consistency and predictability. So, when our interim came in and started recommending changes, I was naturally a little hesitant. But, over time, I started to notice something.

The changes being made were not being made for no reason, but there was passion behind the motivation. For me, when I begin to see someone’s passion, I get excited and passionate as well.

There’s a downside to this learning, because sometimes passion is misguided and downright wrong. But when hearts are pure, passion paves the way.

Our interim was passionate about a few things, and because of that, those topics continually resurfaced in conversations. He made an impact as he moved forward with passion, and people started to line up behind him and follow.

Where is your passion leading? Is it leading to a greater sense of self-worth? Is it leading to a false sense of self-importance? Or is your passion leading others to get better, to grow, and to know Christ better?

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Check it Out

Check It Out: Learning to Let Go

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Today’s check it out is very straightforward: let go and let others grow around you.

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Lessons from the Big Chair

Lessons from the Big Chair: Work with People

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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.

First, something we covered regularly, was at the end of the day all we have left to work with are people.

Understanding the reality of this statement is imperative for leaders. We are not working with robots, cattle, kittens, or cookie dough. We are working with people with individual and unique personalities, preferences, opinions, strengths and weaknesses.

For a minister, this means leading a group of people is never the same experience. Every meeting, every service, every event, has a unique feel and energy because the people who are present is constantly different.

For a leader, this means get to know those you lead. Learn what makes them tick, what makes them happy, and what makes them upset. Take some time jotting down a few personal observations about how they respond.

If someone seems to always respond in the negative, learn how to lead them to a positive reaction by anticipating their negativity.

If someone values being included in a decision, find ways to include them in other decisions.

If someone brags on a written note they received from you, write more notes to them.

At the end of the day, all we have to work with are people. Make the most of the effort you spend and get to know the people you lead and serve.

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