I think looking back is important. I find encouragement in data. But the most important thing is looking forward. As we look forward for 3 Question Leadership and 2019, I can’t wait for what comes next.
Until 2019, as we get fully settled into December, I thought I would take a moment today to look back over 2018. Below you will find a link to the best performing post (the post with the most views) from each month. Looking at the titles, if you see one you don’t remember or may have missed, click to read it.
I have put some notes beside a few of the posts. But more important than my thoughts, I would love to hear what post may have impacted you this year. After all, my goal is not to help me grow as a leader, but to help you expand your leadership influence. So, let me challenge you to do something today besides read: if there has been a post that stirred your heart in some way, share it with your friends or comment below to let me know. Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for the email to get posts delivered to your inbox, and be looking for a surprise that may be coming down the pipe later this month.
January – 3 Fundraising Tips (A super practical post for ministry leaders)
February – You Can Make a Difference
March – Context is Key
April – Keep Going (The kickoff to 2018’s “Lessons from the Farm”)
May – Calling vs Job
June – Leadership & Yard Work (What you can learn from asking a 10 year old to mow your yard)
July – Navigating Pace
August – Leadership and An Airport Terminal
September – Substance vs Surface (this one may be my favorite post for the year!)
October – Never Lose Sight of the One
November – When Mistakes are not Mistakes, pt 3
Well, this week is just going to be a little different altogether.
On Tuesday, I posted about my oldest daughter turning 11.
Today, I would like to share a few posts whose concepts and ideas have crossed my mind this week, so get ready for a few links.
But before the links, I know the majority of you have been faithful readers, joining my journey somewhere along the way, and for that I am so grateful. But, can I ask a favor? Would you mind taking a moment today and sharing one of the posts I’ve written that has been beneficial to you? Share on your social platform of choice, or even just emailing a link to someone you think might be encouraged by something I’ve written. Thank you for walking this journey with me.
Now, on to a few links.
Don’t Let Someone’s Character Surprise You – I constantly have to remind myself of this principle, that people will consistently behave within their character. Check it out.
The Horizon of Possibility – This is one of my favorites. A leader looks at what’s ahead and sees what the future could become.
Be Careful Who Speaks Into Your Life – The people around us who have influence over us make a significant difference. Guard whose advice you are taking to heart.
Lessons from the Farm part 1 and part 2 – I enjoy my Lessons from the Farm series the most (and the traffic for those posts show that other people do too!). These two posts deal with the difference between someone who is an owner and someone who is a hired hand.
Once again, thank you for spending time caring about your own leadership journey. I hope you’ll click over to one or two of these, even if you think you know what they say, and be refreshed by one or two of the thoughts.
The past couple months have been a unique experience for me, for far too many reasons to list. As a result, however, the dialogues and evaluations taking place in my mind recently provide more questions than answers.
One thing occupying my mind recently is simply the state of the local church, specifically the state of the local and church attendance. Then, it hit me: Carey Nieuwhof has been covering this for a while.
In fact, Nieuwhof has a post on his blog titled: Church Attendance is Dying. Here’s What’s Next.
His post is long, but it is definitely a thought provoking read. Pleas take the time today to click over and read it, but before you go here’s a clip:
Life now slips seamlessly between the digital and the analog. After all, you’re reading this on your phone or on your laptop (digital) and in the next five minutes you’ll make some real-world interaction, ordering coffee, talking to a colleague or family member in real life.
Digital slips into analog, analog then slips back into digital. We all live there.
So will the future church.
Sometimes I wonder if everyone operates the same way I do. Today, let’s find out.
When I drive by certain landmarks and have a memory come to mind, it is generally something I was listening to at the time. As a result, I can drive by a windmill and remember the song that was playing, or under a bridge and remember a conversation I was having. Or, on a tractor, drive by a fence post and remember the point of the story I was at in an audiobook. Crazy, right?
But one place in particular is different. There is one spot between where I live and where I grew up that every time I drive by it, I feel like a 7th grader again.
Honestly, I do not know if the memory comes from that long ago or not, but it’s a spot where over time I have assigned a specific feeling: the feeling of awe at finally having arrived–being an athlete. It was undoubtedly one of my first early bus rides, but the emotion remains. Every time I drive by that spot, I feel optimistic, energetic, and old.
I may not know you well, but I’m going to guess you have something like that. It may be a spot where you fell in love. Maybe it is a note you keep in a safe space. It might be bigger, like your old car from high school, or your very first instrument. Or, maybe, it comes with a person. You think about the first person to encourage you to push for something more, or the first person to point something out to you.
Whatever it may be, I want you to think about this: you are not the same person you were in that moment, in that memory.
I am not a 7th grader anymore, though my wife may accuse me of acting like one from time to time. More than that, I had no clue I could ever become the person I am today.
Again, I would venture to say the same is true of you.
We change over time. We mature. We grow. We make mistakes. We get things right, and we grow some more.
Take a moment today and celebrate that you are not who you were in that memory. You are something more, something better, something different. And, if you’re not better than you were then, take a step today to correct that.
About 2 years ago I stumbled onto what I consider a pretty simple concept. It actually happened on a Sunday I took off, and was the result of evaluating a story I heard. Kind of crazy how things like that happen.
The bottom line is this: about 2 years ago, the 3 questions were born. This entire blog revolves around these three question, so click here to read a more in-depth explanation. But, as a refresher, the 3 questions are:
Today, I thought I would share where I am with these three questions. I have spent the last two years teaching these questions to my student leadership team, taking time after each mid-week program to evaluate how they did at answering the 3 questions. One of the key things I learned this year was the redundancy of asking the 3 questions.
Growing up I ate the same thing for breakfast about 90% of the time. My dad would make a batch of waffles at one time, and I would eat waffles every morning. There’s a rhythm in eating the same thing every day.
There’s also a rhythm in answering the 3 questions. It takes discipline, focus, and a desire to make a difference.
For working with teenagers (and I’m guessing the same would be true for adults), the challenge is finding a way to keep the 3 questions fresh. After all, not everyone wants waffles everyday for breakfast.
So, this summer, on our leadership trip, I plan to sit down with a couple kids and re-evaluate how to implement the 3 questions. Even this is the 3 questions in use (what needs to be done-evaluation, what can I do-evaluate, who can I get to help-student leaders who have put the questions into practice.)
The bottom line is this: when I ask myself (and answer) the 3 questions, my leadership grows. It may not be flashy. It may not be exciting. But I see results. The 3 questions lead to leadership results. But everyone’s context is different.
There’s not much application today other than to say: learn to ask and answer the 3 questions. Your context may be different than mine, but I still believe whole heartedly you can expand your leadership influence when you regularly invite people to help you accomplish what needs to be done.