Leader Newsletter March Part 1
How can I lead my congregation well in 2018?
Everyone wants to be a big leader. The local congregation is no different. Books about leadership mostly provide broad advice which isn’t applicable to the congregation. Christianity Today gives the following advice:
1. Diagnose your team
How do you develop and maintain a team that really works together as a team? A very good source is Patrick Lencioni’s book It will enable you gather a team that uses every member’s talents, takes good decisions, performs well and likes working together.
2. Develop the leaders in the congregation.
Many leaders wait until late in their lives before they learn anything about leadership. In the meantime they are formed by their participation in the congregation. Identify potential leaders and give them special attention.
3. Lead from your strengths
Don’t ignore your weaknesses, but find ways to apply your strengths in solutions to difficult problems.
4. Pray for your congregation
So often prayer becomes an afterthought. Conversations, articles and books about leadership take preference. How can we make prayer a priority if there are so many problems vying for our attention? By simply doing it.
5. Set clear goals
These goals don’t have to be about numbers and finances, but they must be measurable and should match the vision of the congregation. A goal is a catalyst that helps you reach your vision. It is not a vision in itself.
6. Be committed to training new leaders.
You should create a climate in which people want to lead and serve. Train them. An important part of the training is developing relationships with young people who you can mentor.
Life follows your lead.
Drift is inevitable. Course correction is normal.
Cars and motorbikes often drift in the direction in which their drivers are looking. Individuals and organisations likewise steer towards short-term views and important matters. If you drift away, you should step in and implement change. If you don’t, things will always end badly.
If everything seems to be running smoothly, it may in fact be drifting. No one notices gradual drifting. Organisations slowly slip off the path until someone asks: “How did we get here?” And then the accusations start. People point fingers, but when an organisation loses its path, it is always as a result of poor leadership.
Why do organisations drift?
Pointing out that an organisation is adrift can leave you looking like a fool. Initially, drifting isn’t a pressing matter.
The issues of the day dominate.
Being busy is an admirable skill.
Productivity isn’t measured.
Urgency is viewed as more important than priorities.
‘Failing organisations are usually over-managed and under-led.’ (Bennis) Management focuses on today and leaders focus on the future.
How should you handle a potentially drifting organisation?
Pay attention where your attention is needed. Evaluate that you’ve been focusing on. What caught your attention? What attitude dominated your thoughts?
Ask yourself: Which destination will we reach on our current course? If nothing changes, where will we be next year?
Act like then is now. (Andy Stanley)
Review your mission and vision regularly.
Handle problems with optimism and not blindly.
Create points to celebrate. It helps others to focus on what is important.
You will become the things that you pay attention to.
Focusing on problems and not the next steps, make you pessimistic.
Appreciate and develop strengths.
A turnaround strategy
Is the South African market at the start of a turnaround? Things have been improving over the last two weeks. Many believers also need a personal turnaround strategy. God is the author. His Word gives principles to help you succeed.
In 1 Chronicles 5 we read about the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the halve-tribe of Manasseh. They had to face the Hagrites. We can learn five principles from their experiences:
They were brave.
They were equipped – they had weapons.
They were skilled – in the use of their weapons. They were trained fighters.
They prayed – they called to God in the fight.
Their prayers were heard because they set their faith in Him.
Reuben, Gad and the half Manasseh tribe had 44 760 fighting men between them. They waged war against the Hagrites Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. The Hagrites and their allies were conquered by Reuben and their allies. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in Him (1 Chronicles 5:20).
The story of Gideon (Judges 6 – 9) gives us insight into how to experience a turnaround. Israel was suppressed by the Midianites. The Lord used Gideon to defeat 135 000 Midianite soldiers with only 300 of his own soldiers. Here are a number of principles that we can learn that can help us establish a turnaround. The Lord doesn’t change. Perhaps we should change. Here follow a few principles:
Gideon understood miracles correctly even though he had only heard about them in the beginning.
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about?” (6:13a)
Realise that your abilities and power come from God.
Gideon had a poor self-esteem. The solution was to realise that God was with him. (6:15 – 16) (6:12)
Make sure that you hear the Lord before you act.
Gideon wanted to be sure that he wasn’t being misled. Three times he asked for signs (6: 17, 36 and 39). We don’t have to ask for signs, but we must make sure that we hear the Lord. Consult Scripture.
Believe and be obedient
Once Gideon was sure that he heard the Lord, he was obedient. It requires faith to break down all your father’s false gods and reduce your army of 32 000 to a mere 300. And to then attack an army of 135 000.
Give thanks and authority to the Lord.
“I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” (8:23) We just celebrated the most wonderful birth in history. Honour Him by changing your life. He can, and He wants to.
Discover your passion and change your life
Everyone says you have to follow your passion. What happens if you can’t discover it? Look at the things that bother you. Passion is often hidden in dissatisfaction. Look at the things you dislike. Reject comfort – it is the enemy of passion. Find passion by following pain. Follow your strengths if you haven’t discovered your passion yet. We won’t find passion in our everyday activities. If we could, we would know it. Passion is more about what you don’t do. Follow your strengths even if it is buried, under-used or neglected.
Your contribution in the world improves when you improve yourself. A hasty life smothers passion. Reflect every morning and evening, or go for a walk. Sit in complete silence for 10 minutes each day. You can’t escape the tyranny of urgency if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to do so. Passion is firstly about being, and then about doing. Accept the future you.
Talk to someone who discovered his passion and forget about success. Look at contagious joy and the discontent that accompanies it. Was their passion a flickering flame that suddenly flared up, or did it arrive like lightning?