Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Leadership 2.0

I have just returned from a month's leave in South Africa. I had a great break catching up with family and mates.
Next friday is our next Vision Youth Network (which will be held at the Elim Church on Te Rapa from 2-4pm). I am really excited about sharing with you when we get together.
Then on the 5th June we have our 2nd ONE event... this is going to be massive! Spread the word!!!

Well lets get to the meat of this week's post... Michael Hyatt wrote a great post about the new generation leadership. I will give you the points, but click HERE to read his full post.

Therefore, if leaders are going to be effective with the current generation of Internet-savvy web-users, they must shift their leadership style. I call this Leadership 2.0. Here’s how it compares to Leadership 1.0:

  1. Leadership 2.0 embraces change.
  2. Leadership 2.0 demonstrates transparency.
  3. Leadership 2.0 celebrates dialogue.
  4. Leadership 2.0 employs collaboration.
  5. Leadership 2.0 practices sharing.
  6. Leadership 2.0 welcomes engagement.
  7. Leadership 2.0 builds community.

Click HERE to read the full post.

Leave a comment and lets get some conversation going.

Godspeed & Kaizan

Friday, May 8, 2009

6 Reasons Why No-One Likes You On-Line

Church and our Christian walk is all about community. The internet has brought new avenues for on-line community... while not perfect it does present new opportunities.
So below I have found a good post for those of you wishing to increase your on-line community experience.

I found a great post via Twitter at the Viral Garden.
In the post we are given 6 reasons why no-one likes you on-line. I'll give you the headings and then give you the link to go and check the full post.

1 - You think monetization first

2 - Value creation? What's that?

3 - You are waiting for the community to come to you

4 - You don't give your members the ability or incentive to promote you to others

5 - You don't appreciate the people that are trying to help you

6 - You don't give a damn about the people you are trying to reach

If you'd like to read the full post then click HERE.

Let me know what you have learnt about on-line community and what you thought about the post at the Viral Garden.

Godspeed & Kaizan

Friday, May 1, 2009

This video has some good lessons in it:

What applications did you find for your communication and ministry?
Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

I love the quote:
"It's a sin to make God / Bible boring."
We can all work on this. I suppose the greatest thing that gets in our way is carving out enough time and mental energy and make our communication and thinking top class.

I have read a really great article called Skimming. May you feel challenged and motivated to apply it...


Stop trying to look good, and do the dirty work beneath the surface.

Pete Scazzero | posted 20/3/2009

After twenty years as senior pastor, I finally had to admit I'd been "skimming" in my leadership. Skimming is the way many of us cope with multiple demands, constant pressure, and overloaded schedules. We cover a lot of ground superficially without being fully engaged. Like skimming a book, this can produce the impression that everything is covered, but in reality, you aren't completely there. How do you know you're skimming?

· When you go from meeting to meeting without awareness of God.

· When you say “yes” to new commitments and expansions without properly following through on what you are already doing.

· When it is Friday and you realise you have not had enough time to allow the truth of what you are preaching to transform your own walk with Christ.

· When you avoid difficult decisions and truths because someone will be upset.

· When you muddle your way through a meeting because you have not clearly determined your goals and agenda.

· When you make a pastoral phone call or visit – resentfully.

· When you cannot stop thinking about the unfinished work at church when you are with your family.

· When you are too busy to reflect on your own heart or cultivate your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

· When you are not investing in your own personal growth and marriage.

· When you measure your success based on what other people say rather than your own internal values before God.

Many times skimming is a "defensive mechanism" of denial that blocks us from growing up spiritually and emotionally. It's a way of avoiding aspects of ministry that stir up anxiety or pain. It can work for a while, but eventually it catches up with us, and there's a price to pay.

Here's how it caught up with me.

For years our church board, in their annual review of my role, asked how I enjoyed my position as senior pastor.

"I love preaching, teaching, casting vision, and discipling people," I replied. "But God just didn't gift me to do administration or run the organisation. It's frustrating."

For years I, along with our board, attempted to find ways to provide administrative leadership alongside my role as the visionary, senior leader. As our church grew, we tried different staff configurations, hiring from inside, hiring from outside, dividing the job between different people. Each time we hit a wall. Nothing seemed to work long-term.

I continued to avoid making personnel decisions or managing staff and key volunteers or writing job descriptions or taking time to plan for meetings or following through on project details.

During this 20-year period, I saw clearly what needed to be done, but I wanted someone else to do it.

"That's all administration," I told myself. "That's something that someone else should do. It's just not me."

In hindsight I can now see two factors that hindered me and led to this form of skimming.

I didn't trust myself. Throughout my ministry I had plenty of administrative failures. And I had mixed emotions about trying again. Plus, I was told by consultants, other pastors, even my wife: "You don't have those gifts, so play to your strengths and hire to your weaknesses. Spend your time in the Word and prayer. Let others run the day-to-day operation." This reinforced my mental block that I couldn't do it.

But the bigger factor was that I was a coward. Each time I saw what needed to be done, I found ways not to get into the nitty-gritty. Changes in leadership were needed. A few key people were not properly slotted. Others weren't doing their roles well. This was now having an increasing impact on the larger church.

I had made difficult decisions prior to this, but now I was skimming, trying to stay above the "administrative" issues that were bogging us down. Truth be told, I was afraid of being misunderstood, losing friendships, having people leave the church, halting our momentum.

I complained. I got angry. I blamed. I sulked.

But I did nothing.

Personal integrity, at last

A number of events finally converged to break me out of this gridlock. First, I reached a point of utter frustration. The inner workings of our staff were not reflecting the message I was preaching. I could no longer preach a way of life that our church leadership was not living.

Around this time, my wife, Geri, also spoke up: "Pete, I think the issue is courage, your courage. I'm not blaming you. It's hard to make the kind of changes needed. All I know is that you are in the position to do it, but you aren't. You are not enforcing our values of emotionally healthy spirituality with the staff. You're angry and resentful. We have a great church but …"

She paused and then dropped the bombshell.

"I think this is about you. You may not have whatever it takes to do what needs to be done. Maybe your time is up and someone else needs to step in and lead."

I was exposed. While her words hurt, I knew there was truth in them. I spent the next day alone with God and my journal.

Yes, I wanted someone else to come in and "get the house in order," to do the dirty work of hiring, firing, redirecting, and leading the church through the painful changes before us.

But it now was very clear. It was time to stop skimming, to stop trying to lead at a distance, to stop just casting vision and to take steps to implement it. I admitted the truth: the greatest deterrent to New Life Fellowship Church's becoming what God meant it to be was me.

I was skimming, staying safely above the "administrative" issues bogging us down.

Two weeks later I became the executive pastor, determined to learn the job. For the next year, I would serve under the senior pastor—me!

I cancelled speaking engagements outside New Life, said no to a potential book contract, and signed up for counselling to sort through my own "beneath the surface" iceberg blockages. I preached less, and we moved more deliberately to a teaching team.

Over the next year, I learned that the skills for doing the executive work of an organisation are not hard to learn. The real difficulty was making the time, thinking carefully "before the Lord," summoning the courage to have difficult conversations, and following all the way through. No longer skimming, I was now stepping into the messy, painful truth that would set both me and New Life free.

Skimming in other areas

As "not skimming" in my leadership became a major learning curve for me, I began to ponder how much skimming was happening in other areas of my life.

You can skim on your Christmas shopping and cleaning your car. You can skim on your social life, your email, and your reading list. But don't skim on what is most important.

I became very aware of my temptation to skim in the following four major areas, which had implications that were profound and far-reaching, both for myself and the people I served.

A Skimmed Relationship with God

Cultivating a life with our Lord Jesus requires large amounts of focused time. Days alone with God, hours of meditation on Scripture, and time for reading are indispensable. We are surrounded by endless distractions and voices that call us away from sitting at the feet of Jesus, like Mary did in Luke 10.

Throughout church history, one of the seven deadly sins is sloth (acedia, "not caring"), which was described not just as laziness, but as busyness with the wrong things. We are busy, the spiritual guides argued, because we cannot bear the effort demanded by a life of recollection and solitude with God; we do not care about the right things. There was no patience for activism, even godly activity, unless it was nourished by a rich interior life with God.

The Desert Fathers repeatedly warned about being engaged in activity for God before the time is ripe. They offer a timely warning to us.

So, in order to stop skimming on my relationship with God, I started building into my life monastic rhythms. For example, I began practicing the Daily Office as a way to structure my days. I began planning my day around three or four small blocks of time to stop, centre, read Scripture and be still. I also became ruthless about days of silence as indispensable elements of my vocation as a pastor.

It is an illusion to imagine that we can lead our people on a spiritual journey we have not taken. No program can substitute for the superficiality and self-will that inevitably permeate our ministry when we skim in our relationship with God.

Skimming Ourselves

Most of us are overscheduled and preoccupied; we are starved for time, exhausted from the endless needs around us. Who has time to enjoy Jesus, our spouses, our children, life itself?

We assume we'll catch up on our sleep some other time. The space we need for replenishing our soul and relaxing can happen later. Few of us have time for fun and hobbies. We don't have a life! There is simply too much work to be done for God.

Jesus models for us healthy self-care. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, we observe him resting and enjoying what others bring to him before going to the cross (John 12:1-8).

Bernard of Clairvaux, like Augustine before him, recognised that mature love does not exist without a healthy and God-centred self-love. Unless we know what it is to care for ourselves, we can't love others well. Only in light of the love of God can we love ourselves rightly. Bernard even argued that love of self for God's sake is the highest form of loving God.

This is a good word for leaders today as so many of us carry resentments for giving out beyond what God has asked. Unrelenting duty can destroy the joy of the Lord, which is our strength.

A key to our freedom is rediscovering Sabbath-keeping, a radical, countercultural spiritual formation practice. I accept God's invitation to stop, rest, delight, and contemplate him for a 24-hour period.

For me, this means stopping from Friday night at 7 p.m. to Saturday night at 7 p.m.—even if my sermon is not finished (Is it ever?). I stop all "have to's" and "shoulds." I avoid the computer, e-mails, and church related work. I spend the day on Friday doing my other work, such as cleaning the house, repairing the car, cleaning laundry, and paying bills.

The Sabbath calls us to build the doing of nothing into our schedules each week. It is, by the world's standards, inefficient, unproductive, and useless. Yet is one of the most fundamental elements given to us by God that we might take care of ourselves.

A Skimmed Marriage

Few people are willing to admit the sad state of many pastors' marriages. It would potentially disrupt, at least in the short term, some of our fastest-growing churches.

Our leadership and denominational conferences, along with our seminaries and schools, do not train us how to have marriages that taste of and point to heaven. We ignore the unique pressures of the ministry, mistakenly assuming that a great marriage will happen naturally if we work for God.

We forget the biblical principle: as goes the leader's marriage, so goes the church. If we're skimming at home, we're not going to be able to lead a healthy church family (1 Tim. 3:5). If you are married, your vocation is your spouse first, and any children God has given you. This covenant takes priority over our church and people.

Paul refers to the "one flesh" union of husband and wife as a foreshadowing of Christ's union with his bride, the church (Eph. 5:31-32). For this reason our marriage and sexuality are meant to proclaim and reflect our union with Christ. Our marriage is to be a picture, and an experience, of receiving and giving the love of God.

Who has time to invest in such a learning/growth journey?

Some pastors will say, "Pete, this would require I change the entire way I do ministry?" Yes. It certainly did for me. Geri and I made a commitment that investing in our marriage was the highest priority of our lives after Christ. Our calendar began to reflect that change. We carved out exclusive, uninterrupted time each day and week to be fully present with one another. And we began regular overnights to nearby bed and breakfasts for getaways.

Of course, the temptation to skim on our marriage remains. But as our theology of marriage as a vocation, as a specific call and mission from God, has deepened over the years, the temptation has weakened.

A Skimming Leader

Part of the reason I skimmed on my leadership is that I divided the secular and sacred, treating the executive/planning functions of pastoral leadership as less meaningful and holy than prayer and Bible study.

For years I preferred to do the easy things, not the necessary things. I don't enjoy conflict and tension. Who does?

When I stopped skimming, I began to see how much of my life was driven by external validation, other people telling me I was okay. Volunteers and staff didn't move toward me after difficult conversations about their performance. They distanced themselves from me.

I sometimes avoided meetings I knew would be hard. I skimmed on "truth" when it was uncomfortable. I preferred to not speak up when something was wrong.

It is easier to rush into a staff meeting without spending the time needed to get clear on our goals and agenda.

It is easier to be reactive than to be thoughtful and prayerful. More of my decisions than I care to admit were based on feelings and impulse. It is hard to provide prudent leadership.

It is easy to say one thing and do another. It's hard to follow through on my commitments.

It is easy to engage in false peace by appeasing people. It's hard to speak truth when they may become angry.

It is easy to justify our spin and exaggeration as vision. It's hard to combine faith and hard facts.

We need to remember our goal—people's transformation into the likeness of Christ. Loving people does not mean keeping them happy. Jesus models for us that hurting people is often part of helping them mature.

And remember: leadership that does not skim sets us and our people free—even if it is painful at first.

Pete Scazzero is pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, and author of The Emotionally Healthy Church emotionallyhealthy.org.

This post was way longer than usual... but if you've made it all the way through... I'm sure you found it was worth it!

Don't forget to leave a comment.

Godspeed & Kaizan