Archive for April, 2010

Leadership Pipeline

Friday, April 30th, 2010

While in a seminary leadership class I read a great book on leadership by Ram Charan et. al.; The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company. The book discusses why corporation often fail to develop leaders in their organizations. The root problem, Charan proposes, is that the organization does not think about the skills and training necessary to develop a leader in their organization. Rather than preparing and promoting the best leaders they promote the best performers who often are not the best leaders. For instance, the best salesman in the organization may be great at sales but mat never be a good sales manager.

The book proposes that to develop leaders in an organization the organization needs to first identify the skills and abilities necessary for the next level of leadership. Then they can train to and promote to those skills and abilities.

I think this is true in the church world as well. It seems that those who are the best communicators or have the best stage presence are pushed into leadership in the church, whether they are good leaders or not. I think we have failed to identify the skills and abilities necessary to lead in the church. We, therefore, train and promote communication ability and neglect other necessary skills and abilities.
We need to identify the skills and abilities necessary to lead and start training to and promoting to those. Below I’ve started a list of skills and abilities that I think are necessary for leadership in the church. What would you add or subtract and why?

Communication (While I think this one is over-emphasized I don’t think it should be left out.)
Team Building
Project Planning
Time Management
Task Evaluation
Leadership Evaluation

Why I Love Detroit

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking at the Michigan Youth Leadership Summit hosted by the Young Lawyer’s Section of the State Bar of Michigan. The whole purpose of the event was to encourage high school students to step up and become leaders in their communities. As you probably know, Michigan is bleeding young talent and the organizers for this event are hoping to slow the exodus from Metro-Detroit be getting young people to invest here and make a difference here. The event featured messages from Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Representative Thaddeus McCotter, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. The highlight of the event for most of the students was an appearance by the Detroit Redwings head of player development Jiri Fischer.

For my portion of the event, I spoke on the four essential characteristics of effective leadership, which I’ve featured before on this blog Care Relentlessly, Act Graciously, Lead Courageously, and Learn Continuously. After sharing those essential characteristics with the students I challenged them to develop those characteristics in their lives and step up and make a difference in their communities. It was exciting to see the students energized and engaged by everything that was going on at the Summit.

The best part, however, was the follow-up from the students. During lunch I had several students ask me for advice on how they could start serving and making a difference in their neighborhoods and communities. The Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar have also been contacted since the event by students asking for advice on next steps.

I love Detroit because there are people here who care enough to put on an event like the Michigan Youth Leadership Summit. I love Detroit because there are people here who care enough to accept an invitation and give up their Saturday morning to talk to high school students about leadership. I love Detroit because there are high school students both from Detroit and the suburbs that care enough to give up their Saturday morning to attend an event about how they can make a difference. I love Detroit because even though the rest of the country seems to have given up on us there are people here who will not give up. I love Detroit. I’m proud to be a part of the Detroit community and I’m looking forward to being a part of what God is doing here.

If you’re a Detroiter whether you live in the city or suburbs, no matter who you are what are you going to do? Have you given up on us too or are you going to be a part of what God’s doing here to make a difference in Detroit. On April 17, 2010 I called out high school students to make a difference. Now, they’re calling you out. Are you going to answer the call?

A Church’s Biggest Stewardship Mistake

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Most churches view stewardship as an issue for individuals within the organization but don’t think about the implications for the organization. In other words, they teach the principles of stewardship to the congregation but don’t practice them as an organization. This is the fourth wall that keeps us from being the church that God intends. As church leaders, we need to remember that stewardship is just as relevant to how we handle our ministry budget as our family budget. Organizationally we need to remember that the church organization does not own anything anymore than individuals own anything. We are stewards of what God has given us. (This also means that we are stewards (shepherds of God’s people, but that’s another post for another time.) We need to develop a stewardship plan for our organization that sets the philosophy for how we develop our budgets. We then need to be transparent about how we are practicing stewardship as an organization so that we model it to the church. Then our church will learn to be effective stewards of what God has given us.

For more information about developing at Stewardship Plan or how to guide your church to become betters stewards of what God has given them contact Jericho Ministry Solutions.

The Importance of Community in Church

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

In John 13:35 Jesus said that people would know we were Christ-followers by our love for one another. The funny thing about that is; the only way people we see us love one another is if we actually well… love one another. This is something that can’t be done in a large weekend gathering. It can only be done in the context of real relationships. It requires that we get into each other’s lives and share our triumphs and our failures. Unfortunately, churches aren’t really known as places to form relationships and develop friendships. In fact, most people that I’ve met feel that they’re more likely to find good friends at the local bar than at church.

This is the third wall that keeps us from being the church that God intends. We need to knock down this wall be creating an atmosphere where true community, true love can thrive. We need to lead our churches to love one another. This is not as easy as it sounds. It’s more than launching a cool Small Group program that gets a lot of people to study the Bible together. It requires a strategy that will encourage people to break down their own walls of insecurity and doubt and be real with each other. It requires a plan, hard work and patience.

What are you doing to develop this kind of community in your church? For more help in creating this structure, contact Jericho Ministry Solutions.

Taking on Your Child’s Illness

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

When I was sick as a kid, my dad would come over to me and tell me that he wished he could be sick for me. That never made sense to me. Why would someone want to be sick?

That changed a couple of months ago when my 4-year-old daughter was sick. She had a fever and was vomiting quite a bit. She was miserable. I would have given just about anything to be sick for her. I just didn’t want my little girl to feel bad. I didn’t want my little girl to suffer.

That day, I think I learned a little bit about how Jesus feels towards us. He doesn’t want us to suffer. As a matter of fact, He gave everything so we wouldn’t have to. Today is the day we call Good Friday. Today is the day we remember all that Jesus did for us on the cross. We remember He took our sin and suffered so we wouldn’t have to. Without Good Friday there would be no Easter.

Take time today and stop.

Remember what Jesus suffered for you.

The Second Wall That Keeps Us from Being the Church that God Intends

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

The second wall that keeps churches from being all that God intends is their Spiritual Development plan, or more often, their lack of one. I’ve been to a lot of churches that do a great job getting people to show up Sunday morning. But, they don’t know what to do with to do with them once they get there. Most of these churches say things like: “We do a great job on the first half of the Great Commission” or “We need to find a way to close the back door.”

The answer is they need a Spiritual Development Plan. A Spiritual Development Plan starts with a clear vision of Spiritual Development. In my experience this is the key piece that is missing in most churches. I’ve heard churches say that the goal of their Spiritual Development program is to make people more Christ-like or more loving. Statements like that preach well. They’re inspiring. But they don’t help the average Christ-follower. They’re too vague. A vision should describe what tomorrow should look like. There should be enough detail in the vision for people to know what next steps they should take. Yet, there should be room in the vision for people to paint their own part of the story as well. A Spiritual Development Vision should describe what people will look and act like when they are more Christ-like or more loving.

With the vision for Spiritual Development in place then it’s time to develop the Spiritual Development Plan. The plan will provide key action steps, milestones, and goals that will help individuals fulfill the vision for Spiritual Development. For more information on developing a Spiritual Development Vision and Plan contact Jericho Ministry Solutions.