“Leaders learn. They read. They study. They take time to familiarise themselves with the world of ideas. Only thus do they gain the perspective to be able to see further and clearer than others… Leaders should never stop learning. That is how they grow and teach others to grow with them.” –Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible by Jonathan Sacks.
How are you currently leading? How are you growing? How are you improving yourself? If you are a leader you must be leading yourself. No one wants a starving baker, that is a baker that is so busy feeding others that he cannot sustain himself. As leaders we must constantly be pursuing growth and transformation. We must be self-aware, and developing our strengths. The best leaders spend a lot of time working on themselves. This can be done through reading, listening, hearing differing perspectives, getting a mentor, and just by journaling your own process. What are you doing to grow today? What are you doing to be a better leader today? How can we help each other?
Jeremiah 29:4-9 MSG
4This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5“Build houses and make yourselves at home.
“Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country.
6“Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away.
7“Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare.
“Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.”
8-9Yes. Believe it or not, this is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: “Don’t let all those so-called preachers and know-it-alls who are all over the place there take you in with their lies. Don’t pay any attention to the fantasies they keep coming up with to please you. They’re a bunch of liars preaching lies—and claiming I sent them! I never sent them, believe me.” God’s Decree!
How are we serving our cities? How are we partnering for the flourishing of the place God created us in? Are we just consuming? Or are we making an impact to make the place around us better. We should seek to bring wholeness to the place we belong. Are we so focused on our own agendas and organizations that we miss our calling to serve, love, and bring light to the place we belong?How are you taking ownership for your city? Let us be people who love our neighbors well.
I read this quote today and at first glance it isn’t anything new. I’ve acknowledged the power of listening and communication in leadership for quite some time. This quote stood out to me because simple word: unspoken. As leaders we must realize what people are trying to communicate to us but not actually speaking. I know when I’m speaking to someone that leads me, there are times that I do not say what is on my mind or heart and am hoping they will pick up on what I’m trying to communicate. To me this is two-fold, hopefully I learn to speak clearly what I am actually experiencing, and hopefully I listen better when others don’t. Listening to what is said and not said are equally important. Are you really listening?
Below you will find an essay I recently wrote:
“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be either good or evil.” – Hannah Arendt.
I completely agree with this statement, because if we are not intentional about what we are choosing then by default we choose to be idle. To be idle destroys society. We must be proactive to create a culture that shows compassion and love to our fellow man. To sit by idly is to assume that things are just fine the way they are, and need not be changed.
One of my biggest frustrations is the apathetic mind. There are many apathetic leaders who choose to sit by while radical injustices are right in front of their face. This is a principle rooted in scripture. Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to make a point of what loving our neighbors truly means. In that story he also shows us what it means to not love our neighbor. He gives two examples of apathetic leaders. They choose not to do good or evil. This is also convicting, as it means I, too, must act when I see an injustice. I cannot sit by idly, or I too play a part in perpetuating the evil.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, a man is beaten and left broke to die on the side of the road. Two religious leaders choose to just walk past him. These men knew the laws, they knew the commands, and they knew the right thing to do. They may have excuses that are justifiable; maybe someone was waiting for them, maybe they were running late. We get so busy with what we are doing that we miss the opportunities to genuinely show love to those in front of us. These men made an evil choice to leave a man on the side of the road when they could have helped. The unsuspecting hero is a man who had been marginalized throughout his life as a Samaritan. Jesus used this example to make it known that anyone can show love to his neighbor when we see our neighbor in need. We must take action when injustices are in front of us.
In James 4:17 we are told that when we fail to act on the good we know we ought to do, we are sinning against God. This in and of itself is an evil action. Sin separates us from God. The role of evil is to get us separated from God. This implies that the failure to do the good we know we ought to do is to choose evil over good. We tend to know the right choice but choose to just skip over it, which in turn shows evil or at the very least it allows evil to grow while we sit idly by.
“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” -Henry Ford
I’ve been on a lot of different teams. Sports teams, work teams, ministry teams, project teams, and almost any kind of team you can think of. My wife and I have always said, “we make a good team”.
But after four years of marriage, sometimes I’m not such a great team player. I get moody, selfish, and really don’t represent the man I want to be for her, or the man I want to raise my son to be. When I do this I undermine the team. I try to be an MVP personality, while forgetting that the success of the team is way more important that my own personal success.
I must continually and daily die to myself. Die to my own selfish ambitions. Die to my own carnal desires. And pursue Christ who gives me wisdom, strength, and hope to be a better husband, father, man, and team player. Lately Kasie and I have had some great successes, and some great frustrations. Most of the frustrations happen when I lose sight of the team. When I lose sight of putting her before myself as I always should. She deserves better, and thankfully God’s perfect grace allows me to be changed, but it often takes work.
Ironic to be feeling and thinking this way as I spoke on Philippians 2 on last Wednesday night. Jesus just seems to work like that.
Confidence is one of those things that if you don’t have it, you won’t lead well. Insecurity will destroy us from the inside out. I know this from experience. I’ve only really learned how to lead other confidently in the last year and a half.
As a leader and pastor I am constantly thinking of the culture I am living in, and the culture I am creating. I think about the culture I live in so that I can communicate a clear message that transcends culture. I want to communicate clearly who Jesus is, and in order to do so I must be able to communicate in a way that is understandable to those around me. If it’s not understood, it can’t be internalized, if it can’t be internalized, then it was last. I must understand my audience, and know who they are.
At the same time organizationally speaking, we have a culture. In our culture people often speak a different language, have different world views, and have different expectations. My role is to help shape that culture. For example, I always want to make sure we have a culture that is serving our community, and being generous toward missionaries to serve around the world. I must set that tone. I do that by teaching, doing, and setting an example of how. For me to neglect these things is to push them out of our culture. It takes deep intentionality to set culture.
Culture is even important on the family level. How do you raise your children? How do you speak to your spouse? How do you want your children to treat others? This flows from the culture of your family. How do you set that culture?
The question becomes first, what culture do you live in? What is the goal of your ministry, organization, or family? This is critical to know what the larger culture is, and then to decide what the culture and tone you desire to set are.