Tag: routine

Big Picture, Leadership Journey

Connect with Other Leaders

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I got to spend the first part of my week at the Texas Baptist Youth Ministry Conclave in Arlington this week. For years I have always gone with the intent of connecting with friends and picking some insight up along the way.

This year, I was reminded why I enjoy connecting with other ministers.

I worked the booth for Horizon Camps and Resources, so I was able to interact with a variety of people. We gave away YooHoo (the official camp drink of Horizon Camps), but the better part was being able to reconnect with friends I have developed along the way.

One minister, in particular, I engage several times each year, but Tuesday I realized how much we had in common, and I was grateful for an opportunity to process some things together.

Today’s lesson is a simple one, but it’s this: connect with other leaders. If you are able to network regularly, keep it up! If you are one of the people who naturally engage with others, embrace that.

But, if you’re like me, I intentionally force myself to connect. Not because I think I am better, but because connections do not come easily for me.

Who are two leaders with whom you identify and respect? What would it take to call them up and invite them to coffee, or to do a video call if the distance is too great?

The truth is we pursue what is important to us. If growth is important, you will pursue it. If connection is important, you will pursue it. If relationship is important, you will pursue it. But, if your priorities are somewhere else, you will avoid the others out of necessity.

Make connecting with other leaders an intentional part of you life and priorities, and see what happens next.

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3 Questions

3 Reasons to Ask for Help

three question leadership
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Okay, so you are a leader. You are probably even good at some (if not most) of the stuff you do. But have you ever considered your ability to do more is actually a hindrance to those around you? Leaders fail when they fail to ask for help.

Think about it. The more you accomplish, the less the people around you are able to accomplish.

Granted, we are approaching today’s topic from a different perspective, possibly even a counter-intuitive place. But if we are going to buy into the 3 questions to help us grow as a leader then we have to admit a few things.

Here are 3 reasons why you should ask the people around you to help:

  1. You’ll make fewer mistakes. When you focus on what you should be doing and let other people handle the rest, you are able to do your part better. Have you ever tried to juggle? Like actually tried to juggle? Juggling two things is pretty easy, almost natural for most people. Adding a third is more challenging, but definitely accomplishable. Juggling four things, however, is something few people can do well, ask Four Toed Frank the Knife Juggler. The truth is when you ask someone to help, your own effectiveness goes up.
  2. You will frustrate fewer people. Someone who can think for themselves doesn’t want to feel useless. Put another way, high performing people do not want to feel sidelined, so let them get in the game. Taking a step back and bringing them into (or appropriately handing off) the conversation (or project, or task) allows them to feel helpful and fulfilled, thus expanding your leadership influence and theirs. And as a result, they will likely hang around longer because they feel useful.
  3. You’ll get better at your job. When you focus on one thing, you’ll learn how to do it better. Being a jack of all trades, but a master of none is not a desirable trait! This is hard to say, because this is who I am. I do a lot of things, but I only do a few things well. When I spend my focus and energy on the things I do well, I get better and those around me benefit.

The more I teach and talk to other leaders about the three questions, the more I realize the biggest impediment to impact is failing to empower those around you to serve. If you want to see your leadership impact grow exponentially, learn how to ask people to help.

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Incoherent Ramblings, Leadership Journey

Never Lose Sight of the One

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Today’s post is going to be ministry specific, but it plays a role in leadership as well.

When I think back to the influential ministers in my life, very few of them became influencers because they stood at the front of the room.

There was my youth pastor who would stay after Wednesday service for an hour or more talking with me and a friend or two about all sorts of random things, until my parents called the church to see if I was okay.

There was the pastor who saw something in me and started spending time with me each week, helping me grow in my faith.

There was my coach/youth pastor who would put in extra time with me on the basketball court, giving me tips for improving my jump shot or baby hook.

Ultimately each of those people spent that time with me away from their “stage”. As a result, when they stood on the stage (or at the front of the room), their words carried so much more weight. They cared about me, and I knew it.

The same is true for us in leadership, especially in ministry. We have to be willing to spend time investing in individuals. When we do, the words we say from the stage carry more weight.

But there’s more to it than just being able to influence someone. Investment makes a difference.

When we invest in someone, we experience compassion for what they’re going through in life. Learn how to ask questions about what is going on in their life, and take a genuine interest.

When we invest in someone, we experience frustration because people are flawed (newsflash–you’re flawed too, and that may be where your frustration comes from).

When we invest in someone, we experience hope. As we get to know someone, we get a peek into what they could become, and then as a leader we get to help them realize that potential!

The bottom line is this: in leadership, never lose sight of the one. Foster relationships that provide a greater opportunity for impact and watch what happens next!

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Podcast Week

Podcast Week: Church Leadership

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Confession time: I admire people who are avid readers. One of my goals this year was to read more books, but it has been a battle (one which I am certain will get blogged about before the end of the year).

But what I lack in reading, I make up for in Podcasts. There are weeks where I will listen to close to 20 hours of podcasts (and audio books are slowly creeping their way into my rotation).

Last year I wrote a few blogs I called Podcast Week. (Click here here and here to read them.) This year, I am going to do something similar, just topical.

So, today, here are my top four church leadership podcasts, all linked to iTunes:

  1. The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast: These are long form interviews, usually lasting over an hour, but can be quite fascinating. For a season, this was my running podcast because I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with intros and outros during my run. The bottom line is I usually grow as a leader because of the time investment I’ve made listening to CNLP. My recent favorites are episodes 218 (Francis Chan) and 212 (Erwin McManus).
  2. The Unstuck Church Podcast with Tony Morgan: I can’t remember how I stumbled across this podcast, but I am so glad that I did. These, unlike Carey Nieuwhof, are quick hit podcasts, usually between 15 and 20 minutes. The content is fascinating, and this has become one podcast that I feel the urge to binge listen to every episode. My recent favorites are episode 55 (Thom Rainer) and episode 60 (Andy Stanley).
  3. 5 Leadership Questions Podcast: This is my mowing podcast. The chemistry on the show is pretty solid, and they do a good job covering a range of topics I would not normally explore on my own.
  4. Youth Ministry Booster: I’m going to be honest here: I have a difficult time with youth ministry podcasts. Most of them can’t hold my attention, mostly because I feel they are way too insider (one group takes around 20 minutes to get to their content), but YMB has my attention. When I want a word on youth ministry, I turn to these guys, and I’m rarely disappointed.

That’s it for today. Happy listening!

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3 Questions

The Power of the 3 Questions

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A couple weeks ago we were on the back end of our youth room remodel, and our deadline (Wednesday night) was approaching fast.  I was spending the majority of my time that week trying to rearrange, clean up, and reassemble the room. I had both of my daughters with me to help, but that was not working the way I hoped.

Then, a light bulb came on. As my oldest daughter was asking what she needed to do next, I did something I have not done yet: I asked her to answer the first 2 questions (Click here for the explanation of the 3 questions). I helped her as she looked around the room to see what needed to be done, and then helped her see what she could do.

Now, I have said before that I do not sit my daughters down and make them listen to me lecture on the 3 Questions, but earlier this summer I did let my oldest sit in one of my talks on them. She was excited about the idea of it, so our conversation in the youth room was not out of place.

What happened next was great. We were able to accomplish more because she was not interrupting me every time she finished a task. She was learning to trust herself and ask the questions, and I was encouraging her along the way.

The 3 Questions are simple. Some people take to them naturally. Others, it takes a little more effort, but it can happen. The key is in the repetition, the redundancy.

If you are trying to learn to ask the 3 questions personally, hang in there. It takes time, but it can make all the difference in the world.

If you are trying to teach the 3 questions, stick with it. When someone embraces the possibilities, the results are amazing. It will take time, but push through and see what happens.

I’m cheering for you and your leadership today.

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