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Leader Newsletter June 2018 Part 2

Hear God in the silence

Computer scientists recently used new techniques to read the 1500-year-old Ein Gide scroll. Because the scroll is badly burnt, archaeologists were too scared to open it. They were afraid the scroll might crumble. The scientists used X-ray scanning and special software to read the scroll digitally. They read the first verse of Leviticus: “The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting.”

In Leviticus we read about God’s law and his orders to Israel. The purpose of this was to allow God’s people to enter into a relationship with Him and to show the necessary respect. The consequences for those who disobeyed were dire. This happened in Leviticus 1 – 7. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorised fire to the Lord. God immediately sent fire down from heaven to destroy them.

Critical leadership ‘battles’

There are moments in your life that will make a lasting impression. Moments like these define you. Here are a few critical leadership ‘battles’:

1. People vs. processes

Processes are only as good as the people who implement it. Focus on the people first. While you are busy with that, make sure that they understand the context and purpose of the processes.

2. Filter vs. copy

Good leaders realise that they should serve as contextual filters for their team members. In difficult or stressful times, messages from the top can be hard to deal with. This is something leaders should handle. These messages are often simply ‘pushed down’ towards team members.

3. Trust vs fear

Leading through fear may work in the short term, but it never works in the long term. Building trust is a better approach, although it requires more time. This is why fear is still used, even when it shouldn’t be used at all.

4. Humility vs. Ego

It’s all about the team, not about you. Give credit to the team and blame yourself if things go wrong.

5. Wanting to succeed vs hoping to succeed

Pay attention to the tone and words you use to encourage your team. One of the biggest differences that you can make, is changing the way you talk about challenges. Do you hope to succeed? Or do you project determination that shows that you are doing everything in your power to succeed? As Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War: “An army destined for defeat fights in the hope of winning.”

6. Empathy vs detachment

In the past it was deemed undesirable for a leader to become involved in his team members’ lives and wellness. That is a thing of the past. We should understand what is happening in their hearts and thoughts so that we can handle performance problems better. We can also tailor skills to personalities better if we know our team members.

7. Big picture vs getting lost in the details

A leader should step away from day-to-day details to look at the bigger picture. Every team member’s contribution should be placed in the context of the bigger picture and his/her contribution to the success to the project should be emphasised. Team members should understand that their work is valuable. If they understand their contribution, they will find it easier to take ownership of the task and how they perform it. This changes the attitude and energy of the whole team.

8. We vs them

Using the terms “us” and “them” too often builds walls between people. This wall is difficult to break down. If you want people to walk in line, you should use “we” more often.

9. Participation vs the ivory tower

It is easy to sit behind a desk all day. There you handle calls and emails. Don’t let the ivory tower keep you captive. Go out and interact with your team members. Roll up your sleeves. If you lose the vital contact with the “real world”, your ability to make good decisions will be influenced negatively.

What obedience in marriage isn’t

We can learn a lot from 1 Peter 3:1-6. There are six things that obedience is not:

1. Obedience doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything.

The man in this passage is an unbeliever. The woman is a believer. Jesus is now her Lord and King. The man belongs to another god. Good leadership often says: “You are right. I am wrong.” If the man should say: “You may not be a Christian,” what should she say? “I love you. I want to be obedient to you. But on this point, I have no choice. I belong to Jesus.” He may ask her to leave. This happened in 1 Corinthians 7. It is a tragedy.

Obedience doesn’t mean that you should agree with your husband on everything, not even on something as fundamental as Christianity. God made you with a brain. You should think for yourself. You are capable of deciding whether the gospel is true or not. And if it is true, you should believe it.

2. Obedience doesn’t mean that you should leave your brain at the altar.

Any man that says: “In this family I do all the thinking,” is wrong and has a warped view of his own power. Men sometimes detach the words “power” or “leadership” or “obedience” from the Bible. They then fill these words with things they want.

Throughout a marriage the man is confronted with an independent brain centre that have worthwhile things to say. Leadership doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen. Leadership also doesn’t mean that you should always have the last say. Leadership is about initiative that allows the woman to flourish.

3. Obedience doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to influence your husband.

Obedience doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to influence or change your husband. This woman is dedicated to her husband and tries to change him from being an unbeliever to being a believer. You wouldn’t be a loving person if you didn’t try to change him.

4. Obedience doesn’t mean that you put your husband’s will before the will of God.

Obedience doesn’t mean that you live in fear. Christ is now her Lord. Because of Christ she will be obedient to her husband, but he will not be her Lord. If she should choose between the two, she will choose Jesus. She says it with an attitude of “I can’t follow your leadership here”.

5. Obedience doesn’t mean that you get all your spiritual power from your husband.

In this part the woman receives no spiritual power from the husband, and yet she is spiritually strong. God is her hope. She gets her power and worldview from Him.

6. Obedience doesn’t mean the woman lives and acts in fear.

The God-fearing woman is fearless.

I believe that men are called to a unique kind of leadership in marriage. I believe that women are called to a unique kind of submission in marriage. And I think it’s a beautiful thing — the way those two roles complement and serve one another. If we probe the depths and keep digging into the Scriptures, even though they’re written in another time, they will shape a marriage today into a beautiful thing. (John Piper)

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