3 Things Leaders Listen For


Leaders need to learn listen in.

Listen for what is being said. Be present in the conversation, acknowledge what is being said. Don’t be so busy preparing your next sentence you aren’t really aware of what they are saying.

Listen for what is not being said. The cry of the heart is harder to hear. The unspoken words are harder to hear. Yet we are surrounded by people who have so much going on, most of the time life is not about hearing the actually words being spoken but how they are being said. Then we become leaders who start making a real difference.

Listen for what God is saying. God has something to say. Let’s be leaders who make time and pay attention for the whisper of God. I would rather get Gods thoughts on something than just my own but I am only going to get them if I set time aside to listen.

If we have the desire to hear more clearly we will be willing to remove some distractions and pay better attention. It’s possibly about talking less. Be more focused as a leader on the right things.

How’s your listening and what would you say we could do to help improve our listening?


5 Ways to Be Determined


Leading well in life doesn’t come by default, it only comes by design, through a determined effort on our part to actually make something happen. I can pray like it depends on God but I must still work like it depends on me.

In Mark 5:25-34 the story is told of a woman who had been ill for years who reached through the crowds, touched the cloak of Jesus and received her healing. Her determination to live differently in life and lead well can remind us of a few thing:

Have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Paint a clear image. Put that preferred future in front of you as often as possible. In my imagination I see her having on the wall somewhere, maybe on the equivalent of the fridge a little message, ‘If Jesus comes through town make sure you get out there and touch His cloak.’

Push through the crowd of normalness. A post-it on the fridge is one thing, acting on it is something else altogether. Lots of people want change but are unwilling to put the effort in. The same power was available to everyone yet she was the only one who saw the change because she was the only one willing to ‘reach out from the crowd’.

Be willing to have some awkward moments. The spotlight may well come on you. ‘Who touched me?’ An awkward moment for her. However, it was the acceptance of this awkward moment which brought about the healing. When you go after what you believe God is calling you to do, the eyes may be on you and that’s alright. In such a moment, just like this woman, we experience the power of God in our lives

Stay in faith. Don’t back off, keeping leaning in. Keep praying and keep working. There were plenty of opportunities for her to back away and not follow through with this crazy idea, yet she stayed in faith. Never lose hope that the breakthrough, the success, that thing you desire to see happen will happen.

Remember, nothing changes unless something changes. When you have been stuck for 12 years it can be easy to just accept this as the way things will always be. The change we want can come miraculously but more often than not it is attached to some change we have to do ourselves. Weight doesn’t fall off in a miracle, we play our part. Debt doesn’t disappear with a prayer, there is some change needed from us too.

Be a person who leads well in life. Keep pushing forward on your 80 day goals. Be determined, don’t give up.

How is your sense of determination? What gets in the way of you seeing your preferred future actually happen?


5 Things Leaders Should Build


It was 1996 when I first thought about leadership development. A throw away question in a youth leaders meeting about how to invest in a bunch of younger leaders triggered something in me. Since then I have read myriads of books, attended umpteen conferences and listened to a boat load of messages and podcasts too.

Everyone has an opinion about leadership so I know what I am about to write will not be considered original or particularly controversial.


Building is hard work but rewarding. Building is about the future and not just about today. Building changes the landscape and creates the culture within it.

BE A LEADER WHO BUILDS. And spend your energy on building the right things. Build those things that have an eternal value and an eternal mark on them.

1. BUILD CHARACTER. We can build a great life but it can just become a monument to a failed individual if we don’t build the character to go with the talent and opportunity God brings our way. Character keeps us and protects us.

2. BUILD OTHERS. Leaders serve others. We don’t build ourselves for ourselves. We build ourselves so we can pass on what we learn and experience to others following in our footsteps or working alongside us.

3. BUILD A LEGACY. We build with generations in mind. Build something which last beyond your own lifetime, something you have to pass on to the next generation. Like the cathedral builders from the past who gave their all to build way into the future

4. BUILD SLOWLY. Good builders understand it takes time for what they are building. Build in a hurry and you may build for failure. Instead, decide to become a master build, commit to the long haul and build a life of substance, one others would want to follow.

5. BUILD EXCELLENTLY. Build well. Give it your best attention. Care. Make it count. Jesus spoke about how a good builder considers the cost, lays a proper foundation, and only starts what they know can be finished.

Lets be great Christian leaders who are willing to give everything to build the right kind of life for Jesus. One thing is certain, building such a life is the most rewarding kind of life.

Let me know what you think about this idea of being a builder? What are the challenges to developing such an attitude towards life?

This Kingdom Life [2]

Every day is a kingdom day full of kingdom opportunities. The big question then is whether I am ready and willing to take them.

By entering the kingdom through surrender, I become a part of the kingdom story God has been writing since the moment of creation. I want to contribute something of value. This may not be the best way of putting it, what I mean is, I want my kingdom life to be just that, a life lived for the kingdom and to be a story worthy of being a part of the bigger kingdom story God is always writing.

I’ve just read that previous paragraph and I may be guilty of having made the kingdom about me, which it is not.

To enter the story is a privilege. To live within a kingdom that I was made for but didn’t know it. I was rescued into it. It’s almost exclusive but there is an open invite to join, you just have to come in through Jesus.

This kingdom life is where my loyalties now lay. As my life writes a story, the evidence will be there for all to see as to whether I kept those loyalties or not. God first, easy to say, harder to do. Yet this is where kingdom starts and ends for me. Jesus really is the answer to the question when it comes to this kingdom life.

This kingdom life is a journey. We don’t get it all worked out on day one. There is a battle between the old and the new. Even though we know the new is better we may still hold on to old habits, behaviours, thinking, attitudes and the like. But the decision has been made. It is the willingness to be a disciple from that moment which enables us to fully occupy the kingdom and experience all the benefits. Until the day when the future kingdom comes and everything is made perfect.

In the meantime I pray, ‘Lord help me to keep seeking You first, so my life may be a good story of how living in Your kingdom makes a difference. Amen’

This Kingdom Life

Kingdom living is easier on a Sunday. Gathered with all my fellow believers and followers of Jesus, being focused on Him comes more naturally. 

Then Monday comes. And the call to this Kingdom life doesn’t waiver just because it’s no longer a Sunday. 

Alarms go off. Kids head off to school and college while I head to the office. Surely working for church is good kingdom living. 

Yet here’s the truth, it doesn’t matter where you work the distractions which cause us to not seek God first are as real for me as they are for anyone else. 

To keep my heart right, my words right, my attitude right. To be my kingdom self while recognising and acknowledging those around me as they are being their kingdom self. 

To not allow stuff to cut across my path while I walk with Jesus. No cynicism. No negativity. No arroagance. No anger. No pride. No unforgiveness. No indifference. No status or image. No excess. 

To live for the kingdom is to give up my own. And that’s the battle. I find choosing comfort or convenience over the discomfort or inconvenience of laying my life down so much easier. Yet I know that in laying down my life for Jesus I am more fulfilled and rewarded than when I fight to hold on to my own. 

To enter the kingdom is to surrender. It’s an awkward and uncomfortable truth. To make Jesus King is to surrender, give in, lay down my kingdom rule for His kingdom rule.

It’s a mystery. It’s beautiful. It’s a privilege. It’s difficult. It’s exciting. It’s the greatest adventure I know. 

The choice to make Jesus King of my life is really only measured by the discipline and willingness to stay true to that decision. And only with Gods help through the Holy Spirit will I ever be able to give it a decent shot. It’s nothing I can do on my own and my prayer every day is simple…

Help me Lord to seek You and Your kingdom first, above all other things. 

Today’s Leadership Reminders

Reading feedback today from our first Growth Track session last night and I am reminded of some important leadership principles…

Be willing to listen to other peoples opinions. It can make for uncomfortable reading but by involving others you have the potential to take something which is good and make it so much better. This is why I love that we are doing a ‘pilot run’ of the Growth Track, for such a reason and some of the comments are great.

Be willing to admit when it wasn’t quite right. All the planning in the world doesn’t make up for actually going through something with a bunch of people. The feedback just reminded me of things I had meant to say, they were in my notes but I just forgot.

Be willing to work hard at making necessary changes. Some of these are on me to do and then getting others to help with the rest. It’s no good listening to comments to just ignore them. Leaders execute stuff, they get stuff done and work hard to make things better.

Team is always best. This for me is an example of Team Xcel at it’s very best, collaborating on what we all agree will be a great success and help many people in their journey with God. Team can also help in making the suggestions happen too.

It’s all about helping people move on one step with God. It’s why I am excited about the Growth Track and what it can mean for people and their connection with God, with others, with their purpose and with the church family.

What have your leadership reminders been today?

To Pioneer…You Can Go Back

Pioneers are all about moving forward. They are only focused on leaving the old and embracing new things.

Yes. I agree. But I also disagree.

Friends of mine recently moved from one place to go back to where they lived before. I imagine people asking them why were they going back and asking it in such a way that it comes across as negative.

But going back doesn’t have to be negative. In the same way that an arrow is pulled back to be launched, going back can be he same for us.

We can pioneer by going back to the old, to embrace doing things in a new way. That’s what some of my friends are doing and they are pioneering a new path for themselves and their family.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these pioneer posts. Let me know what you think.

Check out previous posts here…

To Pioneer…

Do Something Ordinary

Commit to the Journey

To Pioneer…Commit to the Journey

Maybe pioneering is about knowing exactly where you headed and working hard for that outcome. 

We can look at people from history and assume that’s what they did and maybe for some that was the case.

For most though there is endless amounts of trial and error. There is a desire to do something without knowing exactly where it might lead. 

Pioneering maybe then is about committing to the journey, working hard but as a Christian then trusting God for the outcome.

After all, God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes [Romans 8:28]

What might it be like for us if we just commit to the journey?  What might the difference be like if we stop focusing too much on the end result and take the opportunities available right now?

I think pioneering is less about the grand and more about doing what you can. What do you think?