A Favourite Day

Loved today. The VIP Christmas Dinner.

One of my favourite days in the Church calendar. A great opportunity amidst the Christmas preparations to take some time out and serve by giving others a chance to celebrate Christmas. This year was not as busy as others but it was still a fantastic day and the elderly from local nursing homes, the homeless guys from Middlesbrough and local families were absolutely blown away.

Thanks to the Xcel Darlo crew (and others) for giving up their Saturday to come and prepare a 3-course dinner, wait on tables, wash up, clean up and look after our guests. You are heroes!!

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Vision Night

I really enjoy doing training sessions. A 30-minute session is a challenge but I hope that those who participated tonight managed to get something from it. The pace was fast but the comments were great.

You have to stick with what you know best so I stuck with leadership. Becoming the person you need to be to make the difference you want to make. Used the book You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader by Mark Sanborn as the basis for teaching. It’s an easy read but packed full of useful and challenging thinking about leadership. The influence and inspiration come from the person not the position. This means, anyone can make a difference if they adopt the right habits.

Self-Mastery – thinking like the person you want to become; make time to think
Focus – an intentional choice that stops you from drifting
People Power – gaining the support and cooperation of others; more than just talking
Persuasive Communication – understanding that it’s the impact of what you say, not how long you say it for
Execution – how can you implement more; you build a reputation based on what you do – not just good intentions
Giving – live to make the world a better place for others, you win too

Tried to make it as practical as possible. If you were there – what’s the biggest challenge for you in applying these ideas to your world?

Volunteer Sunday at Xcel

Looking forward to tomorrow at Xcel. Across all venues we will be celebrating volunteers, maybe even honouring one or two along the way too. Local church might be the hope of the world but without the willingness of individuals to serve, we wouldn’t get much done.

Great churches need everyone to play their part.

Here’s some of the quick thoughts I will be sharing tomorrow…

Serving is a choice
Someone has to decide to act first.
Jesus said ‘Take up your cross and follow me’. You choose.

Serving is a gamble
Who knows how it will turn out? You could find yourself becoming a ‘lifer’ for the Kingdom.
You could become addicted to it (in the right way)

Serving is not someone else’s job
Why watch others change the world when you can join them?
Everyone can do something
Servanthood is the primary calling on our lives

Serving is not just for Church
Jesus said ‘By this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another’
It has to start in the Church, but it must flow out into our worlds
Accept the honour. Rise to the challenge

It’s going to be another great day – hope to see you there.

Leading a Team [4]

There are probably many more thoughts on how to lead teams – I imagine that if you google it literally millions of pages will be found. These are just what I’ve been learning…

Concentrate on the ‘Why’ not the ‘What’
People have joined the team so they know there is a job to do. They accept that. What can become annoying to some is the continuous reminder of the ‘whats’, picked up on when it’s not quite right and feeling nagged all the time. Now, I’m not saying you never correct, that is important but micro-managing is never fun. Not for the person doing it or the person receiving it.

Better to talk more about the ‘why’ aspect of the team. Why does the team exist? Why are we important to the success of the vision? Why do we do what we do?

At Xcel Church – we are building a strong, healthy, relevant Christian Church. We do that through being builders of a new Conference Centre, a great Aycliffe Venue and two thriving congregations at Darlington & Durham. Why do we do this? To reach people. It’s all Church. It’s all about being a great Christian influence in business and in community across the region.

If you keep the why in front of your team you have every chance of getting them to invest their time, energy, belief and finances, almost anything probably, to see the vision become a reality.

How do you feel as a team member when you are constantly reminded about what to do? How does the why factor influence you?

The Appreciation Test

John Maxwell says ‘Everything rises and falls on leadership’ and I am in no doubt that this is true. I know lots of wonderful people who at the moment are not fulfilling their leadership potential, maybe they never will.

Anyway, here is another great test for any leader. The ability to show appreciation.

Leaders expect, don’t we? We expect full on, 100% from our teams, and if possible, a little bit more. We want blood really. After all, you have vision, an end goal in mind and to reach it you need everybody on the team giving it everything they have got in the capacity that they are on the team for. As a leader we do all we can to help them understand the ‘why’ element of the ‘what must be done’ part.

We should be instructing, encouraging, correcting, advising, guiding, leading, making decisions, changing stuff if necessary and my guess is we probably do all that without even trying. Some of us are better at some parts than others.

So…my question for all you great leaders.

Why do you find it so hard to say thanks?

You would tell them its wrong quickly enough, you point out where things need to improve without any hesitation – but where is the thanks, the show of appreciation, the pat on the back, the thumbs up, sign of approval for a job well done?

Maybe its a cultural thing. Perhaps we Brits have become too much ‘expectation’ and too little ‘appreciation’.

It is said that one of the main reasons people leave teams is a lack of appreciation, especially teams of volunteers. So here is the thought – shouldn’t we be making an extra effort to make sure our teams know how thankful we are for their part in the process.

When was the last time your boss said thanks?
When was the last time your boss said thanks to you?
Can you become a great leader without passing this particular test?

Take a moment and think about how appreciation makes you feel ……..[pause]…….exactly. It doesn’t take much really but it certainly goes along way.

Would love your thoughts on this subject as we unpack it a little bit more of the next few posts.