Lead Well: 10 Steps Towards Gods Future For Us

 

 

 

 


We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps [Prov 16:9 NLT]
We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it. [Prov 16:9 Message]

When I was younger I don’t remember having any great ambition to be something or someone in the future. Maybe you did. I would have loved to have been a sportsman of some sort as I was pretty good at a few. I can complain about lack of opportunity but I lacked the discipline needed when the opportunity came along.

Since then I have discovered that leading well is less about the destination and more about the steps along the way. It is less about what I achieve and more about who I become along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, we need the big dreams and a vision of a preferred future but it is the steps we take along the way which determine where we get to. And then we need to happy that when we get ‘there’ the preferred future may doubtless look different to what we anticipated.

Dreams are exciting and in reality, quite easy. We can all imagine great things. Steps though are more tricky, they represent where the rubber hits the road.

Steps take courage.
Steps involve action.
Steps are time consuming.
Steps demonstrate our faith in God.
Steps will grow us.
Steps can be hard work.
Steps can be quick sometimes or slow at other times.
Steps are often lonely.
Steps take us somewhere.

Steps are Gods to determine. After all, He wants to get us to where we ‘need’ to be more than we want to get to where we ‘think’ we should be.

At the age of 47 I never imagined I would be where I am, doing what I do, but I am. God’s plans have worked out how He saw best. To say I have faith in Him means trusting where I am and the journey I am walking are the steps He is wanting me to take.

My responsibility is simple ~ keep walking, one step at a time, with God very much in the lead position.

Why not take a moment to thank God for where He is brought you to?
Then pray and give Him permission to keep ordering your future steps.

 

 

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Build Church: Know the Why

Why are we here? One of life’s great questions. For the Church the simple answer to the why would be about reaching people, making disciples and honouring our Saviour. All good. Yet each part of has its own unique contribution, something to celebrate and harness, the one thing which makes us distinctive.

As a leadership team we have been talking about this and here’s why it’s important for us to do so.

Simon Sinek in his book ‘Start with Why’ says that ‘people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it’. WHAT can change but WHY is simple. It’s the discipline to never veer from the cause.

It captures the heart. The vision, the cause, is the why. It can grab someone’s imagination as they begin to see what could be possible.

It’s bigger than what we do. Why isn’t what. What we do can almost be irrelevant when we understand why we are doing it. That kind of belief can help build great success.

It keeps us going when it gets tough. What we do can get boring, inconvenient or tiresome. On those cold, rainy days we can opt out of ‘what’. The why reminds about the difference we are making or the reason for what we are doing.

It encourages people to be creative. If the why is clear then people have a freedom to be creative with the what. Leaders shouldn’t have to come up with all the best ideas, instead, the ‘why’ creates an environment where great ideas can sprout from anywhere.

It brings what we do to life. When those within get the why, then people will see what we believe through what we are doing.

I have not always been great at explaining the why. I know that I still get it wrong.  I can argue it’s not my role as I’m not the lead man, but that’s a cop out. If I lead people then I have to be concerned about the why. If I am part of the organisation then understanding the why is my responsibility. If it’s not clear, I should ask.

Telling people what to do isn’t difficult. To articulate the why though, requires time, thought and care. That’s a whole lot of effort. It doesn’t always come easy. I have to give more than a ‘just because’, or point to my position.

It has to be important because the why is inspiring, it stirs up passion and people are more willing to give their time, talent and treasure to a really good, strong, clear why.

What is the kind of ‘why’ you would be willing to be part of?

Build Church: Keep It Simple

As humans we can have a tendency to over-complicate things. We fill our lives to the brim with so much stuff and then get frustrated when we don’t see the kind of growth, change or difference we are supposedly striving for. Or is it just me?

In my last post I talked about being out of whack. Clutter and disorganisation can do that to you. The key is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Now I realise this is not everyones strength but it is everyones need. The most disorganised of people will have others around them whose only purpose is to help them to be organised. This means they can keep their focus on their primary role. All of which hopefully leads to the success we desire. John Maxwell encourages us to organise or agonise. There is nothing more powerful in keeping things simple than to be better organised.

As it is for me personally in my desire to build a better life, to become a bigger person, so it is when it comes to building church. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Clear. Clutter-free. Clarified. Better organised. Get a clear view. Help people to be better placed to help build all that God wants to accomplish in their own lives and in the church they are a part of.

Clear out the clutter. Be willing to ask the BIG questions. Be willing to be honest and maybe remove some stuff from the diary. Don’t let what we say from the front be in competition with what people are actually having to juggle with throughout the week. Help create the space for organic-style connection and friendships to flourish.

Clear the communication lines. Make it as easy as possible for people to know what’s happening, and maybe more importantly, why it’s happening. Make it simple for everyone to know who we are, what we are about and how we are going to go about it.

Clear the line of sight. Make the vision obvious and easy to explain. We do this by clearing away the clutter which creates confusion and by clearing the communication lines too so people know what we are focused on right now.

Clear culture. Possibly most important of all. We may thing we are one thing when people’s own experience would cause them to define it differently. If culture trumps everything then keeping this simple, organised and well-defined is essential.

These are just my thoughts. As a team we are always working on these, doing our best to set others up for a win, so they are better placed, resourced and able to play their part in what God is doing in them and through them, in all their different spheres of influence. How do you keep things simple in your life?

Build Church: Do What You Can

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I remember being asked the question ‘How did you get to do what you are doing in church?’ I’m guessing it may have been a leading question but that doesn’t really matter because the answer is simple….

“DO WHAT YOU CAN”

A few months ago I preached a message which included the one verse account in the book of Judges of a person called Shamgar. He demonstrated the qualities that answer the question above.

He used what he had, he did what he could, and he started where he was. In other words…just serve. Do something. Do everything. Do what you helps. If you can do it, then do it.

With this kind of attitude we build the church, we make the name of Jesus better known, we love one another and glorify our Father in heaven. From such an attitude a new orange cake business was started, a new honest blog was begun.

When we live feeling like others owe us a favour or that we have somehow become entitled to rewards or promotion due to all we have already done, we are in danger of falling into pride and losing our focus on the God we are called to serve. What does it matter if we end up doing the same thing for the next 50 years? If it honours God and  helps builds His church, is that really a problem?

Use what you have. Do what you can. Start where you are. Get on the journey of serving and allow God to then direct the route and the steps He has ordained. God wants to get us to where He needs us to be more than we want to get there, so the best option is always to just start to serve somewhere.

Are We In?

We need to treasure church as the gift that it is and be willing to play our part in making it great. Not for our own sakes but for the glory of God.

To treasure church is to understand the cost of the gift. The price paid by Jesus. How He identifies with His church, loves His church, is building His church and gave Himself for His church. What a privilege, what an opportunity, what a responsibility then as we get to be the hands and feet in being the church today.

Am I in? Absolutely. I’m in hook, line and sinker. I love the church and I love my church. I am engaged in all that God is wanting to do. I am all about helping to grow this thing and make church as great as it can possibly be.

Are you in? When I asked that question tonight I was encouraged to see so many hands being raised. Lets do this. Lets make an impact. Lets change the world. Lets be people who truly leave everything ‘on the pitch’ and have no regrets by not going for it on behalf of Jesus.

Don’t let anything stop you. Are you in? I hope so.

Zoned Out

You know what it’s like. You’re in a meeting, then the combination of the warmth of the room, the level of the conversation, the topic being discussed and suddenly, without even realising it, you have zoned out. Let’s be honest, it happens to us all and if you’re anything like me, when you have zoned out your mind starts to wander and you begin to think about way more important things like food or some sporting event you have a vague interest in.

It’s going to happen and it’s probably alright, for a short time. Some might say that to close off all other distractions and wander can lead to a sense of clarity, genius moments perhaps.

However, in my time as a leader and a Pastor I have observed on too many occasions people who seem to live in a constant state of zoned outness. Life is passing them by and they don’t even realise it.

Have you zoned out?

Have you zoned out from your God-given destiny?

Have you zoned out from living life on purpose for the cause of God?

To zone out means to miss what is happening around us, to lose an awareness of the immediate. It’s as if we have gone offline, we have uncoupled ourselves from life and are headed somewhere else. I’m all for a distraction, a laugh, something to take my mind of the important stuff but not to live that all the time.

I think there are some things we would do well to zone out from. Sin. Laziness. Unkindness. Gossip. A lack of care. Unforgiveness. Controversy. Religion. Wasting time.

When it comes to the things of God I need to zone in. Life is not meant to be lived according to what I think is right. I need an increased awareness of what God is saying not to just not try and miss it altogether.

When it comes to the promises of God over my life I need to zone in. I don’t need to be worried, overwhelmed, fearful or lacking confidence. I need to focus on His word, meditate on it and the promises contained within it, all of which are for me, and that I can they are ‘yes and Amen’.

When it comes to fulfilling the call of God on my life I need to zone in. Love God, love people, love His church. When I zone out I do not perform well, I am not living out of my full potential. I need to zone in, to know who I am in Christ. From identity will come activity. From knowing I am His, how I do what I do will be different.

Only what we do for Christ will last. We only get one life so maybe it’s time to wake up, get back in the room, focus our attention on what God is doing right now and zoning in, getting ready, making ourselves available to play our part and enjoying the adventure along the way.

Vision To Build

We are gearing up at my church for our annual vision offering next Sunday. The Xcel 2020 vision is one full of faith, all about the future and it’s big enough that requires all of the family to participate in and play their part.

Vision is the capacity to see beyond what we can see with our eyes. To be people of vision takes faith.

Vision is about painting a picture of the future. What could this part of God’s family look like in 5 years time? One thing is for sure, it’s an exciting time to be part of what God is doing.

Xcel 2020 is all about growth, helping more people, connecting as a church family more effectively, training leaders for life and increasing our influence as a resource to the church. Lots to be praying about including new locations, Xcel Bangalore launches in 2016, more Groups, new community based initiatives, leadership development & life courses plus an Xcel album too.

This is my church and I love that I am a part of something that has BIG vision and is making room for me and everyone else who calls Xcel home the opportunity to partner with them in seeing it fulfilled. Next Sunday I not only bring my financial seed to sow into the vision but my gifts, talents and whatever else God would have need of to see people reached for Him.

Like I wrote yesterday, we only live this life once, so what are we waiting for? Only what we do for Christ will last. My true reward and legacy isn’t going to be how good I was at my job or even how good I was at raising my family. Instead I believe it will be from how I invest in the Kingdom and be about those things that Jesus love ~ His Father, people and His Church.

So, let’s do it! Let’s do God proud and honour Him with everything we have. Let’s make the most of our time and make a difference while we are for Him. After all, He has definitely made a difference to all of us.

 

7 Things Leaders Have to Think About

This reads simpler than it actually is.

1. What the preferred future looks like

2. The detail of that preferred future

3. The strategy required to move towards that preferred future

4. The leaders who will own the strategy that moves us towards that preferred future

5. The teams that the leaders will grow who can work together with the strategy that moves us toward the preferred future

6. The resources that those leaders require to give their teams, equipping them so they are more capable of achieving the strategy that can move us towards the preferred future

7. Are we on track in all that we are doing in respect of the preferred future we have seen?

Would you agree? Or would you change the things you think leaders have to think about?