Leadership

Life Lessons for Leaders: Echoes from History

Cyrus the Great. 18th Century Tapestry.

Leadership, especially in our Lord’s vineyard, is a challenging call. The same is true of Christian leaders who serve in society, secular work, government work, the military, etc. At first glance, leadership looks like it would be fun. You speak, people do things. The reality is much different. God-honoring leadership is servant-minded influence, empowered by the Holy Spirit, where the leader encourages those who serve with him toward the completion of a unified goal—a goal typically broken up into smaller strategic and then tactical objectives. Biblical Leadership demands that the journey towards completing the goal is just as important (maybe even more important) than the completion of the goal itself.

So much of what Jesus tells us in the Gospels impacts a healthy view of leadership. On top of the red-ink sections of the Gospels, we have equally inspired teachings from the Old and New Testament. Powerful applications can be made for leaders from Moses, Daniel, King David, Noah, Joseph, Deborah, Rahab, and more. As we transition into the New Testament we learn much about leadership from the likes of John the Baptist, Peter, the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Barnabas (my favorite leader in the early church), Epaphroditus, Aquilla, and Priscilla (to name just a few).

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What the Science Says About Meeting Agendas May Surprise You. Plus an Alternative Approach that Could Be a Game Changer

"Instead of designing your agenda as a set of topics to be discussed, consider framing your agenda as a series of questions to be answered. In other words, the meeting is being called given a need to answer a set of important questions." - Stephen Rogelberg

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Controlling the Control Bug

A few years back, in an editorial for the Kokomo Tribune, in a series about “social connectedness,” I mentioned what I call the “anonymous lifestyle.” Now I would like to use that concept as a jumping board for another issue: the “control obsession.”

People often gravitate to an anonymous lifestyle, one in which they can melt into the crowd, one in which the worker bees work, the Queen sits on the eggs, and everything is regimented and orderly. Behind this quest for specialty, organization, and planning is the fear of revealing too much about our humanity, a discomfort with being an imperfect, sinful and sometimes incompetent human. Concealing ourselves means we focus only on our function.

Militaries have exploited this concept for decades. A soldier is no longer a human being from a family with ma and pa; he is a G.I., Government Issue, a son of the republic. Communism capitalized on this idea as well, even removing children from their homes at age 2 for training, returning them to parents for weekends only (as Cuba did during Castro’s heyday). If we can become a cog in the machinery, a gear in the transmission, or a washer holding on a bolt, we somehow sense that humanity—ours included—is either under control or at least hidden from view. We feel secure.

But camouflaging ourselves in the crowd is only one of many “control” techniques.

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Rethinking Leadership

How many workshops, conferences, videos, and books have you experienced about “leadership?” Ten secrets of that, nine habits of those people, or seven principles about leadership that are sure to transform your ministry? Those who present or write those books seem so competent, so successful, so energized.

I want to tell them, “Chill out, won’t you? Stop with adrenaline already!”

I have long been disenchanted with the evangelical world’s obsession with leadership. Leaders have developed an entire (extra-biblical) leadership science. These secular principles are often “baptized” with Scriptural examples to give them an air of authority.

The emphasis on leadership means spotlighting particular leaders. Both the fundamentalist and evangelical communities are noted to gravitate toward the “personality cult,” a modern day version of, “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos.”

Some people are drawn to the mystery and otherworldliness of the great leader. They are looking for someone who is above the fray of normal human existence. It is easy to admire a well-known speaker and/or author who is verbally gifted, filled with unbounded energy, and motivational.

But you don’t know what his family is like, what he is like when he is out of the limelight or in a grouchy mood. Perhaps unlike your pastor who serves a small church and is ready to quit every Monday, the mystery celebrity pastor seems a model for what could be, a man who has mastered life.

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