5 Things Leaders Think About

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A leaders view is usually different to everyone else. They have already seen where they want to take people. The vision is very clear. Just like standing on the mountain top on a clear day, seeing for miles in full colour, all around, a great panoramic view. The challenges lay more in how to take everyone on the journey, to help them to see the future and to want to make progress towards it.

Leaders maybe look out from the summit and wonder how shall we do this? They think about the difficult questions, the balance different aspects and facets of leadership and decision making like others on the journey with them may not.

From my limited experience here are 5 possible areas of thought (potential areas of disagreement)

Big picture  vs  Small details

Making decisions individually  vs  Making decisions collaboratively

Listening to the right opinion  vs  Ignoring the wrong opinion

Staying inside the lines  vs  Thinking outside the box

Honouring the past  vs  Living for today  vs  Building for the future

6 Things About an Idea

I have recently spent time inviting some young leaders into my world and what I am often surrounded by…IDEAS. There is not a shortage of ideas when the Vision Team for Xcel Church get together. Leaders need to learn about the journey an idea may have to travel.

Here are some thoughts about ideas…

1. Ideas are not difficult to come up with

2. Just because you have an idea doesn’t mean it should be done

3. Ideas deserve to be challenged to help make them the best they can be

4. Ideas need to go through a process to answer some important questions…

  • Is it feasible? Do we have what it takes to do this?
  • Is it sustainable? Can it last?
  • If we didn’t do use resource on this idea what could we do instead?
  • Is it attached to the vision? Does it fit?

5. Don’t hold on to your idea so tightly that it will be too painful if it isn’t adopted

6. Above all – keep having them

What are your thoughts about the idea creation process?

 

 

Big Conversations

Leadership involves BIG conversations. Not always easy or comfortable but absolutely necessary.

BIG courage.
BIG vision.
BIG hearts.
BIG minds.

Big courage to hear what may be difficult to hear.

Big vision to see the future even though the view maybe different to yours.

Big hearts so that you don’t fall out with people who are on your team.

Big minds to be open to new ideas.

I love that the team I work with can be honest, open and forthright at times. We can disagree. We can challenge ideas. We can say no. All done not just to be awkward but with the purpose of discovering the best way forward. That’s the quality of a great team.

BIG conversations lead to BIG visions being accomplished.

I would rather be on a team like that than one geared more towards SMALL conversations because the vision doesn’t challenge things enough, doesn’t stretch the imagination or need any difficult decisions to be made.

Always go BIG.

A Reminder to Walk With God

And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” [Genesis 35:2-3]

When was the last time you did an inventory of your life?
When was the last time you examined yourself to check that you were actually living from the right position?
When was the last time you were honest enough to say that other ‘stuff’ was getting in the way of your walk with God?

I can procrastinate with the best of them. There is always something else I could be doing. I watch too much tv, I play too much Football Manager, I just waste a lot of time. Nothing wrong with those things. Rest and relaxation is important but even as I write this sentence I am convicted that despite that being right, I could still make more effective use of my time.

I want my walk with God to be the best it can be. Then honestly, I need to spend time on it. I need to spend time with God. Like any relationship, for it to flourish and grow it requires time invested into it.

I want to build a strong family for God, not just a beautiful family. This is more than just hanging out together, although that’s important but it’s about intentionally modelling what it means to love God, to honour Him and live by faith. That doesn’t always happen with just being together. It also doesn’t mean we are having Bible studies and prayer sessions in our house either.

I want to write a book. I love writing. I don’t know if I’m any good yet but it’s definitely on my heart. I just don’t give it enough time and effort. Without the time and effort, it will never happen.

I am learning that God wants all of my attention.
I am learning that God wants me to have a full life but not so full that I have no room for Him.
I am learning that God wants my life to be full but full of the right things.

If I am choosing to ‘walk with God’ then I must be a ‘BIG ROCK’ in my life. I am intentionally putting it in first and I have to recognise that there are consequences to this choice. This first decision will affect all other decisions, it will become the filter by which I can confidently say, ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ to other things.

God spoke to Jacob and reminded him that he had decided previously [Genesis 28] to make his walk with God a ‘BIG ROCK’. Yet we find him here just getting on with life, hanging out with family, settling down, a life consumed with the small stuff. God challenges him to reassess and get the ‘BIG ROCK’ positioned correctly.

In response Jacob made some decisions that would affect him and his family…
He got them to put away the foreign gods. A removal of the ’stuff’ that was getting more of his attention than God was.
He got them to purify themselves. To come clean and stay clean, to remove contaminants, not allowing the sinful nature to distract them and cause them to drift from walking with God.
He told them to change their garments. To get ready for the journey with God, wearing the right clothes as prescribed by the word of God.

I am still working on only walking with God and I guess I will be until I get to heaven. I find it easy to be distracted by the ’new shiny’ thing. I am glad for the reminder that I said I would walk with God and that everything about me would flow from that great decision. It’s time to get myself aligned again.

How about you? When was the last time you checked your walk and positioned it as the BIG ROCK in your life from which all other decisions would be made?

Sometimes We Are Wrong But Just Won’t Admit It

In my absolute determination to do things right with God, I recognise that I no doubt get it wrong quite often. I can look back on life and see clearly times when I was convinced that what I was launching into, be it a job, a career move or a ministry opportunity was exactly where God wanted me to be. I thought I was in the centre of His will.

But I wasn’t. All I had done was convince myself that I was in the centre of His will. They can be two very different places.

‘When we covet something contrary to God’s will for us, God will often give it to us; His answer is according to the idols resident in our heart. He does this to ultimately recapture our heart’ [John Bevere, Drawing Near] 

Now there’s a tough thought to mull over. Those things we really want to see in our life, why do we really want to see them in our life? Are we coveting something that is not actually meant for us? This could be anything that is actually becoming a substitute to just knowing God and worshipping Him – a position, a ministry, a calling, an object of desire.

SOMETIMES WE ARE WRONG BUT JUST WON’T ADMIT IT.

Maybe we would even nod our head in agreement with that statement but not actually admit that it might be talking about ourselves. After all, it’s usually someone else who is wrong.

I have learned that I need to consider certain things when I am convinced that I am truly in the will of God:

  • am I spending my time trying to convince others of the same thing?
  • am I  unhappy that people I trust don’t agree with what I think?
  • am I holding on so tight to my own viewpoint that seeing or hearing any other just seems wrong?
  • from what position is this feeling of being in God’s will coming from – have I been hurt, feel let down by leaders, could I be carrying an offence, have I removed myself from being ‘undercover’ of church leadership?

How about you? If we said ‘yes’ to these then we need to pray. We must check our motives. The condition of our heart determines the condition of our lives. It influences how we think and therefore influences the decisions that we make, which can then become slightly skewed if our heart is not right.

Don’t get me wrong. We might be exactly where God wants us. My own experience would say that most times we are where we think God wants us to be but actually we are not where God wants us to be, instead we are trying to convince God that we are in His perfect will. Not the same.

Jesus put it like this ‘These people draw near Me with their mouths and honour Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me’ [Matthew 15:8]

I guess I’m saying be careful. Let’s not self-appoint ourselves to new roles. Let’s not be in a hurry to make big decisions. If it truly is God’s will, then with or without our help He can bring it about. Our role in all this is simple – stay connected to His body, draw near to Him, honour Him with our hearts, for our own benefit and for the benefit of those around us.

[These are just my thoughts, doesn’t make them right. What do you think about the challenge of being God’s will for your life? How do you know if you are right or not? How easy do you find it to admit that you were wrong?]

Take the Limits Off [2]

This is a challenge. To not allow things or thinking to stop us from tapping into the potential God has placed inside each one of us.

Image plays a part.

So does IDEALISM. I would describe this as the pursuit of ones own ideals. That dream, that romantic view of how things should be, the perfect scenario of how God can use me. Extremely idealistic, just not very realistic.

Maybe the man in Matthew 25 given one talent had an idea of what he could do but as he thought about it more the need for everything to be right before he moved took over and eventually stopped him from doing anything.

You know the problem. Everything has to be ‘just’ right. Everything in its place. If it won’t work out that way, then why bother. Such an idealistic approach will put limits on me.

I think of the rich young ruler who had a perfect idea of what it meant to follow God. Jesus challenged this, made it messy and uncomfortable, maybe a little more chaotic. But that’s okay. To take the limits off may involve a change of thinking from ‘It’s not what I wanted so I couldn’t possibly’ to ‘It’s what God wants so I couldn’t possibly not’.

I need to be less idealistic and more realistic, let go of my need for things to be perfect and be intentional about doing SOMETHING and TRUSTING God for how it might turn out. I just need a VISION, an IDEA and to then start to work towards it.

INDECISION. The challenge of what to do & when to do it. That certainly effects my willingness to use all that God has placed inside me. Maybe the man in the story suffered from indecision and then as a last resort just put the talent in a safe place, to return when appropriate.

Indecision is the friend to missed opportunities. It’s fellow team players are doubt, procrastination, hesitation, wavering, uncertainty, ambivalence and dithering. It leads to laying on my death bed wondering what might have been. The thing with indecision is that while I stand still, someone else may possibly step in to take my place.

Esther 4:14
‘For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’

There is a time to wait.
There are times to pray.
Then there are times just to step up & get involved.

The Apostle Paul uses a great phrase over and over again…

Acts 27:22
But now I urge you to keep your courage

Romans 12:2
Therefore I urge you, in view of God’s mercy to offer you bodies as living sacrifices, holy & pleasing to God…

Romans 15:30
I urge you brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ….to join me in my struggle by praying

1 Corinthians 4:16
I urge you to imitate me

2 Corinthians 2:8
I urge you therefore, to reaffirm your love to him

Ephesians 4:1
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received

Hebrews 13:19
I urge you to pray

1 Peter 2:11
I urge you as aliens & strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires….

Jude 1:3
I urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to you

Urgency cancels out indecision.
Urgency makes me act before I have too much time to think about what I am doing.
This is not a time for indecision. This is our ONE life & we MUST not let it pass us by.
None of us can afford to be indecisive. After all, Jesus simply says FOLLOW ME. He never said where to, what would be involved or how things would pan out.

Let’s take the limits off. What’s stopping you?

Are You Well Positioned?

It’s an interesting season we are in at Xcel Church. Definitely a time of transition. I truly believe God has a great future in store for us, as a Church and as individuals, if only we will POSITION ourselves correctly.

The best of future times requires good decisions to be made today. I am as guilty as the next in having made decisions based purely on what I consider to be best for me and never even considering that I should ask God what He thinks.

My choices are my choices. WRONG.
My priorities are my priorities. WRONG
My opportunities are made by me. WRONG

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

The more I consider God’s way of doing things the more I have to admit that I have had it wrong. Too many times I have made a choice based only on me meeting my NEED. For example…I NEED money to pay the bills so this job will do. I’m not saying you shouldn’t work BUT…

…if that job though advantageous financially may be detrimental to you spiritually…how do you decide?
…if that job though advantageous career wise affects your ability to gather with others regularly…how do you decide?

I know how easy it is to do things for the right reasons but actually for it to be all wrong. I am amazed how easily people decide to pursue something that knowingly takes them away from Church, knowingly loosens their attachment to other believers. 12 years ago I made that mistake. Even after counsel, I still made that mistake and every time decisions need to be made in our house, I pray that I will not make that mistake again.

My NEED for security is not met in the POSITION I have in my job, my title or my role.
My NEED for security is met by the right POSITION I keep with God.

Priorities. Love God. Love my family. Love my role & ministry. I will not give so much to church that it destroys my marriage or my family. However, I will never use that as an excuse to not SERVE, to not be in Church on a Sunday. Encouraging our girls to experience God has always been a priority for us and we believe that ‘planted in the House of God, they will flourish’.

Choices. We have a number of non-negotiables in our life that influence the choices that we make. Whenever possible my family & I will ALWAYS be at Church. Not only that but we will SERVE at every opportunity. I have learnt that I can RECEIVE and SERVE at the same time.

Our PRIORITIES mean we will work hard to not make decisions as a family that interfere with our ability to WORSHIP God. And not just worshipping at home but as we GATHER together on a Sunday. Powerful things happen when we worship God corporately & it is important that all my family have every opportunity to encounter God.

I am learning that right choices come from having right priorities.

Opportunities. FAITH is a funny thing. We like to help it on it’s way. We encourage God with ideas for answers to our prayers. We drop hints to God about how much we like this or that. FAITH at its purest is trusting in Him. Nothing more, nothing less. No one said it was easy. Following the right OPPORTUNITIES that God brings your way is easier when you have right PRIORITIES set in place.

I PRAY that I would be more like the Apostle Paul whose life was continually interrupted by the Spirit of God leading, showing and telling him the way to go and the way not to go. I pray that I would be more in tune with the voice of God in my life…to PRIORITISE this aspect of my relationship with God, so I will be better POSITIONED to make great CHOICES and better understand the OPPORTUNITIES God wants me to take.

I believe that as we do this as individuals it will IMPACT on Church. We will grow, therefore Church will grow. ‘As for me & my house, we will SERVE the Lord’. No better place to be. No better thing to be doing than helping to build local church, build the Kingdom of God.

[What do you think?]