Month: August 2014

Books on my shelf

10629658_10152205019986370_6670124045181772431_nThe books that I have recently finished, or I am currently reading. Also on this list would be “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek which I blogged about here.

 

What books are you reading right now?

 

Everyone wins when a leader gets better. – Bill Hybels

 

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#ThinkOrange: Our #kidmin is changing colours this fall.

This September our #kidmin program is turning Orange and using the 252 Basics curriculum. I have found myself overly excited about this transition since going to the Orange Conference back in May. I am excited for a few reasons:

  1. The amount of content that will be available to our parents and families throughout the week. This will include Parent Cue, 252 Live, and more. It also means that more families will be talking about Jesus throughout the week. A win on all levels.
  2. The added responsibility and content for our tech team. Our tech team is full of students that have wanted more ownership over the content on Sunday mornings. Even though the content is still prepared ahead of time they will have the opportunity to pull it up at home experiment with it and make the visuals their own.
  3. The added role of a host on Sunday mornings. This will allow some of our volunteers the opportunity to use their dramatic skill sets to help the storyteller bring the Bible to life every Sunday.

The one thing I have not enjoyed about implementing Orange has been the constant need to justify our choice to other #kidmin leaders from other churches I come into contact with. Whether it is their preconceived feelings about what Orange brings, or their desire to have full control of the content that they bring to their kids many leaders have asked me the same question in one way or another,

“Are you worried about the lack of Bible content in their lessons?”

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I have heard this in the last three months. In a way I find it heartbreaking and I always feel as though one of our team’s core responsibilities in being questions. That responsibility is presenting the Gospel to our kids and allowing families the opportunities to live out the Gospel in their homes each week. When I get asked that question about Orange I feel as though I am being asked whether or not our team is capable to bring the Gospel message to our kids.

Orange is creative in ways that I could never be, or would take me hours to produce and summon from within myself. Those hours of creativity that this curriculum saves me allows me to add Bible when I need to, (I personally think that Orange provides just as much Bible content as many of the other curriculums out there do) for my volunteers, or for family specific content. I have also gone through Bible college for Biblical Studies and as a leader in a church realize that part of my job is to add in Bible wherever I need to.

So when I hear that question asked to me what I really hear in my head is,

“Are you prepared to do your job and teach those children in your care how to live out the Gospel message of Jesus?”

The answer is of course. I also realize for me the question goes way farther than what curriculum do I use and I probably take it way to personally, but I am always surprised when I get it.

I am excited for September and what 252 Basics will add into our ministry. I truly believe at this point that the benefits of this curriculum choice will be felt in the lives of the children in our ministry for years to come. As a children’s pastor you cannot ask for anything better than impacting the lives of the kids and families in your community.

#GLS14 Session 1 Notes – Bill Hybels : “Hard-Fought Leadership Lessons”

“Pretty much everything that matters in this world, rises and falls on leadership.”

With those words Bill Hybels opened up the Global Leadership Summit this year and immediately I was hooked. I love listening to Bill as a teacher because you know he speaks from authority, passion and experience. Add into that a great deal of vulnerability and rawness to the stories he shares and you have a great recipe for an opening session. The summit would be built on the idea that humility will be the key to learning between business and church leaders over the next couple of days.

Bill’s prayer – “Speak to us and we will listen and obey.”

Question: Is all leadership intensely spiritual? (True or False)

  • Leadership falls in feelings and spirit. (How it makes you feel and how it moves you to action)
  • All decisions and objectives are hinged on how it makes you feel.

Question: Leaders are visionaries by definition? (True or False)

  • Adrenaline comes with progress made towards a vision or objective.
  • However, vision can soon consume us and change the mood and feelings of the team we are leading.
  • This can cause struggles in how the team feels towards you and the vision as a whole.
  • High visionaries have a hard time understanding the feelings of their team.

Often leaders with the highest level of vision and passion have the lowest level of awareness and passion for the spirit of the team they’re leading.

*Questions that I had personally is how do visionaries handle issues of their heart? Where is the split between personal feelings and the feelings that are sole intended towards their vision? How easy is it for them to differentiate the two?

Do we ask our workers to work more while we care  less?

THE KEY IS THAT GOD CARES ABOUT PEOPLE NOT THE VISION

  • Don’t make people pay because of your fire for a vision. People come first!

 

5 Key Commitments To Make

  1. Use an outside firm to question the engagement level of your staff
  2. The entire executive team has to own the “turn-around.
    1. The culture of the organization will only be as healthy as your Sr. Leader desires it to be.
  3. Get real serious about training everyone on staff who manage people.
    1. People join organizations, they leave managers.
  4. Raise the level of candor in the twice-a-year performance reviews.
    1. Three words to use in reviewing staff
      Stop (doing some negative desired behavior)
      Start (doing something different)
      Continue (praise)
    2. Every staff member wants to know how they are doing and if what they do matters
  5. A ruthless commitment to resolving relational conflict regardless of how scary it feels.
    1. In the average Christian organization 54% are engaged in their work and excited about their work. 30% in the corporate world.

“Great leadership is by definition relentlessly developmental.”

Five key ways to develop a new leader.

  1. Put them in high-challenge roles
  2. Assign them to a short-term task force
  3. Give real-time feedback
  4. Provide them with coaches mentors
  5. Offer them classroom courses and seminars

Short Term Task Force to see how well emerging leaders can handle themselves in real work environments.

  1. Success and failure both need to be an option
  2. They need to be given full charge
  3. Wide variety of people on the team and that they have the opportunity to work with.
  4. Real pressure of a looming deadline.
  5. The end of the project needs to be reviewed by a Sr. Leader of the staff

Resourcefulness is a key trait for any leader.

  • Figure it out… And don’t call me. (this would become the inside joke of the summit)
  • How do we put new leaders into situations where they don’t know what to do?
  • When was the last time that you gave an emerging leader an opportunity with a short term task force?

John 10 – Two types of shepherds

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

  1. A) Hirelings – They don’t care about the flock. Look out for themselves first
  2. B) Owner – They care about the longevity of the team and vision of the organizations.

 

We need to start mastering the art of discerning these two types of team players as leaders.

This will allow us the opportunity to start training up LEGACY LEADERS

  • Legacy leaders want to give their one and only life to a cause bigger than themselves.
  • Legacy leaders work for the grander vision.
  • Legacy leaders are the only ones wiling to pay the price to fix a broken culture.

These leaders will be the ones that care about the grander vision?

*What do we want theses legacy leaders to work towards? What vision are we pointing them towards and saying “Figure it out”

The danger with the hirelings is that they would have learned to put their own goals and objectives first from someone,

  • Is it you?
  • We have raised up a generation of leaders who are “me centric.”

No leader will ever drift into being a legacy leader. They need to be trained and raised up by mentors so that they can truly see the grander vision instead of a vision that they interpret as being grand.

 

Question: Have you given any thought to your legacy plan? Are you training any legacy leaders to take over your visions?

 

James 1:12 – Legacy and endurance

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

The grander the vision the bigger the price tag.

  • Have you built an endurance plan into your vision?
  • How are you going top keep your heart and soul solid as you peruse the grander vision?
  • How are you going to preserve the hearts and souls of your team in the pursuit of the vision?
  • Have you thought about…
    • Burn-Out
    • Family time and care
    • Spiritual – Do you still have time for Sabbath and scripture.

Do we make time to not be a leader and seek out being a follower of Christ?

Do we make time for solitude breaks? What is your solitude plan?

 

Do you feel “Exhausted, discouraged and at the door of hopelessness?”

As a leader we need to be humble enough to call for help.

Psalm 34:18

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

Ministry progression: Thoughts from the spring.

The following are my speaking notes from a one-day conference we hold at The Peoples Church called Reaching High. This past year we broke up the main session and split it into three and covered the life of a child that would go through a ministry from birth to college. The goal was to equip and encourage the Life Group leaders by teaching them that what they do matters in the life of our kids and families. We tracked the child from children’s ministry and into a jr. High ministry and finally into youth ministry. We as presenters focused on three main questions:

  1. Children’s Ministry – What do I believe?
  2. Jr. High Ministry – Who do I believe I am?
  3. Youth Ministry –    Why do I believe what I believe? and How do I show it?

Each child asks these questions in their respected ministries, but the interesting thing about kids in ministry is that each child is at a different place in their spiritual understanding. You could have a new believer in youth ministry that is asking the basic question “What do I believe to be true?” We placed that question as the defining question in children’s ministry because we would like our grade 6 students that leave our ministry to know what the Bible says is true and to understand God’s plan of restoration. However any new believer will start by asking the same question, “What do I believe?” We decided that if we looked at the progression of ministries as a straight line it would mean that without knowing it we saw spiritual growth as having an end point. A line eventually has to end.

Ministry Graph 1

As you can see children’s ministry has a child for about 11-12 years followed by two years of jr. high and another 4-5 years of high school and then they are done. A linear perspective also speaks to the fact that the leaders in each of these areas is finished when the child passes into the next ministry. This leadership is what causes students to fall through the cracks.

We proposed a different type of ministry model. A more circular look at a child’s life from beginning to end. This is where I will let me notes take over. Enjoy!

Ministry Graph 2

Let’s start with how many church’s view birth to college ministries. One linear line and you are lucky if the children’s pastor and the youth pastor even agree with 80% of what they do. What is even more dangerous is that if we view spiritual progression as one straight line from birth to college we are doing our students a huge injustice.

 

So let’s talk about how we want to move forward.

 

I don’t think that all of the circles are ever entirely separated. They all lead in and out of each other. However, our focus changes. For example when a child is heading out of children’s ministry and heading into Jr. High the question shifts to what does the gospel teach us about Jesus to what does the gospel tell me about my role in God’s plan.

 

The key question for Jr. High will be that of identity.

 

How do I identify my life within God’s ultimate plan of restoration. We need to give these kids the opportunity to experience a God that is huge while they feel super small.

 

Part of the Jr. High dilemma is that these students need to be told what God sees in them. What God sees in them becomes visible when we take the time to use affirming words that showcase God given talent within them.

 

As students begin to navigate out of the What do I believe phase we need to capture their attention through a compelling story of a God that is present in their lives. If a student enters Jr. High looking at who they are without knowing who God is our world is way to loud for them to make clear and correct decisions.

 

In Jr. High social media has produced a mentality that they have to create moments in their lives to generate likes on their social media sites. There is a pressure to perform and out do peers in those moments. (We will talk more about that in my session)

 

When we have done our job in Jr. High and showed the students how to experience a God that is alive in their life through engaging stories we can start to move them towards the next question – How do I use these gifts to live out the gospel message in my life outside these walls. I am not saying that students don’t ask this question earlier, I am  simply saying that as they round out their Jr. High years they will enter into this. Faith becomes their responsibility.

The end goal of this model was that the child would work their way through our ministries asking the questions that are relevant to their exact needs. Our goal as leaders would be to allow these students the opportunity to ask these questions and we would help guide them to the sweet spot where all our ministries intersect. That would be the home. Our goal is that the students begin to act out their faith at home, in their school and into their adult years.

Ministry Graph 3

Quote from “Things A Little Bird Told Me” by Biz Stone

Believing in yourself, the genius you, means you have confidence in your ideas before they even exist. In order to have a vision for business, or for your own potential, you must allocate a space for that vision…

Real opportunities in the world aren’t listed on job boards … Inventing your dream is the first and biggest step toward making it come true. 

Biz Stone

Things A Little Bird Told Me

 

As I head into a couple days of extreme learning I am reminded that I am often my worst nightmare. I kill dreams and aspirations even before they leave my brain. They don’t even make it into words. 

My hope for this week at #WCAGLS is that I get the opportunity to dream and allow for space so that my dreams can grow.  

What dream are you as a leader not giving head space to these days? I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Review and Look Back at “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek

 

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – George J. Flynn

 

leaders-eat-lastI truly struggle with leadership. I struggle living in the tension of wanting to be the person described at the beginning of Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last,” and the person who I know that is not perfect. It is the tension of leading others towards a vision and knowing that I screw up multiple times everyday. It is this tension that causes me to doubt my own leadership skills and drives me deep into these types of books.

 

First and foremost this book was great. I loved how it bounced between real world stories of leaders who lead well and others who I am glad I do not work for. The negative leaders were not bashed, but looked at as examples for how to create a work environment that is lacking both a circle of safety as well as a culture that does not promote innovation and creativity.

 

I also believe this was a great book for ministry leaders who work in environments that require a lot of community thinking, innovative ideas to lead others towards Christ and to equip those individuals in our congregation. The warning that Simon brings forward in regards to leading through dopamine highs only is truly transferable to ministry life. We get an energy boost through high attendance, new members, great one off events, and 500 new Likes or Shares this week on our social media pages. These quick shots of dopamine are great for moral at times, but they lack the long lasting effects of leading as many people to Christ as we can. The in depth look at leadership through the chemical releases in our body is one of the best parts to this book. It is an easy way to read the words on the page and implant your own experiences towards those feelings. It also makes the reader more aware of what chemical release is their primary driver. The scientific look at how trust and commitment are formed through the chemicals in our bodies was fascinating.

 

“Too many of our environments in which we work today frustrate our natural inclinations to trust and cooperate” – Simon Sink

 

A huge chunk of this book is designed to illustrate the need for a circle of safety within your organization that allows the workers to become creative, innovative and open without fear of being replaced, down sized, or forced out.

 

“A company of strong character will have a culture that promotes treating all people well, not just the ones who pay them or earn them money in the moment. In a culture of strong character, the people inside the company will feel protected by their leaders and feel their colleagues have their backs. In a culture of weak character, the people inside the company will feel that any protection they have comes primarily from their own ability to manage the politics, promote their own successes and watch their own backs…”

 

I truly believe this 100%. I cannot tell you the creative liberty I feel when I know that I can share openly and honestly around our table meetings. That freedom to do ministry in new ways helps us feel like we can impact the lives of our families in new and better ways. It makes me believe that the kids coming through our ministry will see Jesus come to life in their own life in new and meaningful ways. It all begins at that table and the circle of safety that in created within the organization. I love the meetings where new ideas come to life.

 

“Leadership is about taking responsibility for lives and not numbers.” – Simon Sinek

 

There is a great section near the back of the book that looks at the differences between the generations that make up the work force.

 

Baby Boomers ————— Generation X ————— Generation Y

 

There is no blame placed for the lack of great working environments, but the look at the genetic make up of organizations based simply on the differences in these three generations of people shows that atmosphere’s of unrealistic expectations, simple ignorance between generations, stereotypes that become labels that cannot be shaken and in some cases stubbornness becomes the norm. The key I think is to know people by their personal traits and not the traits that have been placed upon their generation. People are more than a label.

 

I will end this look back with a quote that I found hit the nail on the head.

 

“It is not the work we remember with fondness, but the camaraderie, how the group came together to get things done.”

 

Strong teams build strong ministries and in the words of Simon Sinek leadership is not a ticket to do less, but a responsibility to do more.

 

 

 

5/5 and a must read for everyone who is a part of a team, and anyone who interacts with people on a regular basis.